So I have this reflex — let’s just call it the Canadian reflex — that kicks into high gear somewhere around the back half of September. It’s a not-so-quiet anxiety of sorts that appears to be hardwired into my brain and prevents me from staying inside on unseasonably warm, sunny days. Try as I might to tie my ankles to a piano, I cannot stop myself from dropping everything to dart outside and soak in those last, delicious days of summer.
And what now.
There appears to be no sign of fall. No changing weather and no turning leaves. No cold breeze in the air to trigger the resurrection of warm, cozy sweaters or signal the desire to sit with a warm cup of ginger tea. No more excuses to linger and no need to savour the fleeting moment.
The weather is precisely the same here, every day. Sunny. Warm. Rest and Repeat.
(I’m not certain that’s a complaint. Merely an observation).
But I will say that my body and brain don’t quite know what to make of it yet.
And while I’m not seeing the seasonal transition, I know my loved ones are experiencing it and in a weird kind of way, I’m living it too (a bit like a phantom fall). So in honour of fall and the flood of memories and sensory delights it represents, I’m sharing one of our family’s favourite autumnal sides. A delicious roast potato recipe that truly could not be any simpler. It will take you about 5 minutes to whip-up the glaze for these potatoes and the rest is cooking time. You can even chop the potatoes ahead of time and store them in a bowl of water in the fridge overnight.
I often make this recipe with sweet potato but I recently picked up some lovely spuds from a local grower and decided to use them here.
Keep those fingers off the prize until they’re done — the exquisite aroma will tempt you no end!
Whenever I feel like I’m going to lose it, which happens a fair bit, I find myself holding on to Dr. Seuss:
We are so blessed to have spent fifteen incredible years in this beautiful city with its spirited inhabitants. I am now intimately acquainted with every tree-lined dog walking path, soccer pitch and hockey arena scattered across eastern Ontario (in fact, I can even tell you the mean temperature inside each of those arenas — yup, I’m even going to miss freezing my butt off!).
So we move forward, with open hearts and optimism. And we have so many people to thank for supporting us both while we lived here and during our warp speed transition out of the city. Family, friends and neighbors who have extended their hands and celebrated our final days — thank you for making us feel so well surrounded and loved. That’s what we will remember most.
As part of Inspired Edibles’ ongoing Healthy Lunch Series, I’m excited to share this seasonal zucchini and quinoa bake that you can serve up warm and comforting from the oven or cool and refreshing from the fridge.
Many of us are experiencing mercurial weather this summer — cold and rainy one day, uncomfortably humid the next. This simple, nutritious meal will accommodate either end of the spectrum nicely.
Made ahead, these cooled squares pack up beautifully into lunch boxes and picnic baskets and you can easily vary the contents and flavor accents with different fruit, vegetables, herbs and spices as desired (see suggestions in the Cooking & Nutrition Notes section below).
I hope you have fun with it and enjoy adding the recipe to your lunch repertoire!
Here’s to you and your radiant health!
together with her exquisite attention to detail will literally take your breath away
One of the most talented recipe developers you will come across in the
food blogging world, Sonia is a constant source of inspiration and wonder.
She also happens to be a downright lovely person!
Grain Free Granola and Fruit Salad by The Healthy Foodie
Baked Egg & Veggie Bites (Grain Free, Gluten Free)
- 6 eggs
- 1/3 cup milk
- 1/4 cup plain Greek yogurt
- 1/2 cup shredded cheddar cheese
- 1 + 1/2 cups fresh chopped vegetables of choice (I tossed in zucchini, orange bell pepper, onion, Swiss chard and cherry tomatoes)
- Sea salt and pepper to taste
Makes 6-8 regular sized muffin bakes (or 20-24 mini muffin bakes).
Preheat oven to 350 F.
There’s a new pizza place in town and it’s proving itself to be no ordinary joint.
With its signature fresh thin crust offered in a choice of honey oat, dusted cornmeal or gluten free and a combination of 32 different toppings (forgive me but I must list just a few: grilled eggplant, grilled zucchini, snow peas, artichoke, pear, avocado, spicy havarti, brie, goat cheese, arugula, fresh tarragon (!), coriander-yogurt drizzle (!!), roasted portobello, shiitake, cashews, pecans, chorizo sausage, tandoori chicken, prosciutto, sirloin steak…). Good heavens, where was I going with this? Right. This new pizza place is quickly ascending to wild popularity.
If you were ever looking for an excuse to treat yourself, this may well be the spot.
But wait, I haven’t even gotten to my favourite part yet!
Pizza hysteria aside, it’s the salads that have stolen the show for this gal. You can always tell the mark of a quality restaurant by the time and effort they put into their sides. And ZaZaZa Pizza nails it. The complimentary house coleslaw with chili-lime vinaigrette is lip-smacking, eye-watering delicious (yup, I like it that much) and the plat de résistance for me, the Feta Crunch Salad with Lemon-LuLu Dressing may well be the best Greek inspired salad I have ever tasted.
So today, I’m putting my own spin on this bountiful and nutritious Greek salad – a relatively painless task given our family’s deep affection for this delicious dish.
I hope you enjoy it as much as we do!
Revamped Greek Salad with Lemon-Tarragon Vinaigrette
For the Salad:
- 3 large tomatoes, diced or 1 carton of cherry tomatoes sliced in half
- 1 cucumber, sliced and chopped into bite sized pieces
- 1 yellow bell pepper, chopped into bite sized pieces
- 1 red bell pepper, chopped into bite sized pieces
- 1 orange bell pepper, chopped into bite sized pieces
- 1/2 red onion, thinly sliced or chopped as desired
- 1/2 cup (about 70 grams) crumpled or cubed feta cheese
- 1/2 cup sliced Kalamata olive
For the Lemon-Tarragon Vinaigrette:
- 1/4 cup olive oil
- 2 Tbsp fresh lemon juice
- 1 Tbsp white rice vinegar
- 2 Tbsp fresh tarragon, finely chopped
- 1 tsp brown sugar
- 2 tsp grainy Dijon
- Sea salt and cracked black pepper to taste
Assemble all salad ingredients in a large mixing bowl.
In a separate small container with fitted lid, place all vinaigrette ingredients. Cover lid and shake well before drizzling vinaigrette over salad.
Distribute salad into individual bowls and enjoy.
Spotlight: Kumato® Tomato
- 4 Kumato® tomatoes, sliced
- 1 package of fresh mozzarella (I used the kind that is soaked in its own milk), sliced
- 1 avocado, sliced
- Handful of fresh basil leaves
- Olive oil and Balsamic vinegar
Have you ever encountered a cat with a voracious appetite for vegetables?
Our little (big) fellow, Monsieur Black, is particularly fond of cucumber and red bell pepper (he also happens to love fresh watermelon and apricot). Upon smelling cucumber, he has been known to wake from a deep slumber two floors away and fly into the kitchen like his life depended on it.
Now I’m no cat whisperer but I’ve always understood felines to be obligate carnivores – meaning, their digestive systems are designed to derive nutrients principally, if not exclusively, from animal proteins. Cats cannot digest vegetables nor derive nutrients from them. Which leads our entire family to wonder, what the what?!
Beyond the jokes about the not-so-accidental coincidence of a nutritionist’s cat liking veggies, I can’t, for the love, put my finger on the precise allure they hold for our frisky friend. My top guesses, if I must, would be that he is either drawn to the water content in these vegetables (although he quite likes drinking directly out of the toilet bowl) or, possibly more likely, there is some combination of enzymes in these vegetables that he can smell/detect readily and simply can’t resist.
Either way, it’s kinda funny if you ask me.
Does your cat eat unusual things?
|Monsieur Black hanging out with his best friend
& baby ‘sister’ Stella
Veggie and White Bean Rice Rolls with Sweet Mango & Ginger
For the Rice Rolls
- 2 cups cooked white beans (cannellini), thoroughly rinsed if using canned
- 1 ripe mango, peeled and cut into long thin’ish strips (julienned)
- 1 red bell pepper, jullienned
- 1 cup shredded carrot
- 1 large, ripe avocado, julienned
- 1 bundle fresh mint
- 12 or so sheets of rice paper (available in the Asian section of most grocery stores)
- 1/3 cup low sodium soy sauce
- 1 tsp sesame oil
- 1 tsp rice vinegar
- 2 tsp fresh grated ginger root
- 1/8 tsp red pepper flakes if desired
- sprinkling of sesame seeds
If you haven’t worked with rice paper before, you may need some practice to get the hang of it but it’s a very low risk proposition. Even the most awkwardly wrapped versions (I have made several) are perfectly usable and equally delicious!
Makes about 8-10 rice rolls
Assemble ingredients (your choice of bean, fruit, vegetables) and cut them into long thin slices where applicable.
Place about a half inch of hot water into a pie plate (or other suitably sized bowl). Working with one rice sheet at a time, immerse each sheet into the water for about 10-15 seconds. The rice paper should become soft and pliable but not completely lifeless (it will literally disintegrate if you leave it for too long).
Place the softened sheet of rice paper on a plate or clean working surface. Begin by placing a few mint leaves horizontally across the center of the sheet, followed by about a quarter cup of beans and sprinkles of all the other ingredients: carrots, red bell pepper, avocado and mango (or whatever ingredients you are working with).
For the rolling part, fold the bottom edge of the sheet (the one nearest to you) over the top of the filling pressing it down slightly to hold it in place and roll into a cylindrical shape halfway. Now fold the left and right sides inward and continue rolling the remaining distance until you have a nice tight and fully wrapped bundle. You can leave the bundles as such or cut them in half to expose the lovely interior. (I wrapped the cover photo slightly differently so that you could get a good look at the interior ingredients).
Dietary Strategies to Support a Strong Immune System
Antioxidant rich foods ~ While there is no one food or nutrient that can guarantee health, a balanced diet that includes a variety of protein, whole grains, nuts/seeds, and plenty of fruit and vegetables will help build a strong immune system.
Vitamin D ~ studies continue to link a shortage of this mighty nutrient to many serious diseases including: cancer, multiple sclerosis, diabetes, heart disease and influenza. It is believed that vitamin D increases the body’s production of proteins that destroy viruses.
During the fall and winter months, when the sun in the northern hemisphere is not sufficiently strong to synthesize vitamin D under our skin, adults are advised to take a minimum of 1,000 IUs (international units) of vitamin D per day while children should supplement in the range of 400 IUs daily. Older adults, people with dark skin, those who don’t spend a lot of time outdoors and those who wear clothing that covers most of their skin, should consider supplementing year round. Vitamin D levels can be easily tested through your medical or naturopathic doctor.
Probiotics ~ studies reveal that good bacteria (the ‘friendly’ strain of live microbes that are used to repopulate the gastrointestinal tract) can enhance the immune system helping to both prevent and reduce symptoms of flu and cold.
The information in this post is provided for educational purposes only and is not intended as a substitute for the advice of your physician. Always consult your physician or other health care professional directly before beginning or changing a course of health treatment.
- 2 large yellow onions, peeled and coarsely chopped
- 1 tsp chili-garlic sauce
- 3 garlic cloves, minced
- 2 cups sliced mushrooms of choice
- 5 cups low sodium vegetable stock
- 3 cups water
- 1 cup shelled edamame beans, (run frozen beans under hot water for 15 seconds)
- 1 large red bell pepper, coarsely chopped
- 1 large yellow bell pepper, coarsely chopped
- 1 package (about 500 grams or about 2 cups) firm tofu, diced
- 6 Tbsp miso paste, or to taste
- 1 bundle green onion (scallions), finely chopped