Thursday, November 24, 2011

Kale Crisps.....I know they look freaky but they sure are tasty

I'm pretty sure just about everyone has already heard of and probably experimented with Kale chips but I'm good at jumping on bandwagons so I thought I'd give it a try too. I have recently become addicted to Kale and have been trying to entice the kiddies to get in on the act and share my love of this curly leafed nutritional wonder food. Unfortunately because it does not start with "Pas" and end with "ta" they are sceptical to say the least. My cunning tactic of turning it into a crunchy chip and calling it a snack worked with Neil, he has even gone so far as to request more. I call that success!
Kale crisps are ridiculously easy to make and can be seasoned in a billion different ways to suit your taste buds so there's no excuse not to experiment. No matter what you do to them they'll still be better for you than a-deep-fried-to-oblivion-piece-of-nothing-but-trans-fat-and-artificial-flavour-dust chip. Why is Kale so good for us?
Here's a little snippet of info from my favourite source of nosh inspiration My New Roots

"First of all, it packs more nutritional punch per calorie than almost any other food on the planet. Seriously. It is crazy-loaded with vitamin K, an essential vitamin for preventing bone fractures, postmenopausal bone loss, calcification of your arteries, and has even been shown to protect against liver and prostate cancer. And because kale is a member of the brassica family (think broccoli, cabbage, collards, and Brussels sprouts) it contains the organosulfur compounds that appear able to lessen the occurrence of a wide variety of cancers, including breast and ovarian cancers.Kale is also excellent source of vitamin A, vitamin C, vitamin B6 and manganese. It is also a very good source of dietary fiber, calcium, copper, vitamin B6, and potassium. This combination of vitamins, minerals, and phytonutrients makes kale a health superstar."

Well then. I don't think I have anything more to say other than EAT KALE!

I made a funky lime, soy and flax dressing for mine before baking but here's a simple recipe to which you can add whatever the heck kind of yummy flavouring you like!
1 bunch of Kale
1 tablespoon of olive oil
sea salt to taste

preheat oven to 300F. Rinse and dry kale then remove the stems and tough centre ribs. Cut into large pieces and toss with olive oil in a bowl. Sprinkle with salt then arrange in a single layer over a large baking sheet. Bake for 20 minutes or until crisp.
Leave to cool then tuck in!

Monday, November 21, 2011

Winter? This is more like it.....

It snowed......In Tofino! Alright, its a pathetic amount of snow but, you know what? I think Tofino suits the snow. With all the mountains and evergreens, it's a proper winter wonderland here at the moment. It's a funny thing though to see all these people walking around in their mitts and hats and winter coats and then see someone cycle by in a wet suit with a surfboard strapped to their bike. Oh Tofino. 

Snug as a bug....

It's been snowing in Tofino (not much Dale don't worry) but enough to make it feel like winter. What could be nicer on a snowy day than a lovely, cosy knitted sweater! As if by magic, the first day it snowed this special package arrived for me at the post office and I LOVE it! Neil had it hand-knitted for me as a birthday present. It was knitted in Vancouver and even has a zip pull made from salvaged yew wood from Vancouver Island. Lovely!

Thank you, thank you, thank you Neil!

Saturday, November 19, 2011

Starlight, star bright..... in the absolute middle of flippin' nowhere has it's benefits. The starry sky on a clear night in Tofino is like nothing I've ever seen before. I took this photo last night when I let the dog out in the back yard for his evening business and if I were to tell you that I've never even tried to photograph the stars before, literally didn't have a clue, and that my camera was on it's last seconds of battery, I was cold and in my p.j's and that because of all these factors my photo is not a patch on how impressive that sky was in real life......I'm sure you wouldn't believe me :)

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Hot cha-loc-a-lat......

That's how Sebastian say's it and he's addicted! At least once a day he asks me if we can all have a hot cha-loc-a-lat (it must be all of us, he doesn't like to drink alone) and when I say yes he insists that we drink it outside. And so begins a half hour ritual of finding socks and boots, making hot cha-loc-a-lat, waiting for it to cool, opening the back door and carrying it all outside without spilling it on anyone's head. Then we all find a spot, I usually don't get a chair but Seb does always give me a cushion from his. Then we sit. and sip. Listening to the leaves rustle and watching out for Cougoos.  I am making it my mission to try to remember these simple moments, so easily lost in the whooshing of time. Thank goodness for blogs eh!

Sunday, November 13, 2011

Scrummy simple spelt pancakes...

Holy moly these were good! Just looking at the picture is making me want more!!
Seb requested pancakes and Daddy wasn't home.  He's usually the go-to man for pancakes you see and is known to whip up a dozen with barely a second to think about it. He does make a particularly good pancake but he's a old school crepe man of the lemon and sugar club and I decided to go for the full on big fat and fluffy american style pancake mountain smothered in maple syrup and topped with a good heap of blueberries. It was breakfast heaven my friends and I was PROUD of myself!

I used Spelt flour, (more on the wonders of spelt here) which combined with a good heap of blueberries and a dash of maple syrup means these pancakes are feeding you all kinds of nutritional wonders as well as tasting just about as good as breakfast can taste.

Here's the recipe...make them today!

2 cups of spelt flour
2 tbspn sugar
3/4 tspn salt
1tbspn baking powder
2 tbspn coconut oil (or butter) melted
1 3/4 cups milk or nut milk
1 tspn vanilla extract optional

*Whisk together the spelt flour, sugar, baking powder and salt.
*Combine milk and melted coconut oil (or butter) and vanilla.
*Form a well in the flour, pour wet ingredients into dry. Stir the batter until just thoroughly moistened.
*let batter sit for 15 mins to thicken. 
*Heat a very lightly oiled skillet or heavy pan until a drop of water splutters across the surface then spoon in batter 1/4 cup full at a time. 
*When just beginning to set, flip and cook for about another minute. 

You will probably need to adjust the temperature of your pan to get it nice golden pancakes (my first two where blackened and didn't make the cut! Ooops.)

Oh and because Neil missed out he made me make them again for lunch....this time with bacon! Oh naughtiness!

Have good day folks!


While our friends in Edmonton are shivering in temperatures well below zero and slip sliding around in the first snowfall of the season, here in Tofino things are a little less, well, wintery. Yesterday Neil was wearing shorts and Isobel made me feel positively summery in her cute short sleeved strawberry dress. After five winters on the prairies it all feels a little odd.  I'm sure as heck not complaining though!

Wednesday, November 09, 2011

No piggies were harmed in the making of this sandwich....

Just look at it, take a moment to absorb it in all its scrummy, sandwichy glory..... Mmm mmm..... Soft bread, fresh spinach, delicious avocado, zingy salsa and Bacon......
Yes, my friends, this is a meat free bacon sandwich and I'm as shocked as anybody. Who knew you could make bacon with baby coconuts? Not me. Not until Ani Phyo told me (thanks Kate!). I almost didn't believe her and when I came across a baby thai coconut in Tofino Coop (if you can find one here you can find one anywhere) I had to give it a whirl. I followed Ani's easy instructions on how to get into the coconut and how to extract the "bacon".  Then I had to improvise. Ani is a raw foodie and prepares her bacon in a dehydrator. I used the conventional bacon cooking method and stuck it under the grill with a bit of seasoning. As for the result, I was shocked! It crisped up on the edges and tasted meaty and a bit oily and delicious. Now if you're a real bacon lover this probably won't convert you to veganism forever but if you're interested in trying something new occasionally that could be a little better for you (and for the poor piggies) then give it a go. I highly recommend it!

Sending you all some piggy love!

Tuesday, November 08, 2011

The little things...

Like bright red leaves on an old blue bucket, a wet afternoon at the playground, rosey cheeks, crystal clear rock pools and sand in your boots. I wish every sunday afternoon was as perfect as this one.

Monday, November 07, 2011

What I like to do with nuts....

For the last couple of months I've been making my own nut milk most mornings. It's ridiculously easy and it's become a really enjoyable little ritual for me. I soak my nuts overnight then first thing in the morning, while the kids are eating their toast, I rinse my nuts, whizz them up in the blender with some water, then strain and squeeze. I usually add a drop of maple syrup or agave nectar into the blender to sweeten and sometimes add some raw cacao powder to make extra yummy chocolate milk. Raw cacao is a total superfood, it contains more antioxidants than blueberries or green tea and is one of the best sources of magnesium found in nature. It also has a subtle amount of caffeine, just what I need to get me buzzing in the morning!
I've tried a few different recipes for my nut milk and have modified these to find the one that I like best. 
1/2 cup of nuts, soaked overnight....I usually use almonds but anything goes. 
2 Tbspns of maple syrup or agave nectar.
5 cups of water.
Blend, blend, blend!
Some recipes leave the pulp in the milk for added fibre but I'm more partial to a smooth, milk-like texture so I strain the pulp out.  Just pour through a nut milk bag or cheesecloth then squeeze the pulp bag to get the last drops of nutty milk out. I use these old juice bottles and love that they look like glass milk bottles from the good old days! My milk keeps for up to four days in the fridge (but usually gets drunk within a day or two in this house.) Remember to give it a good shake before pouring. We've used nut milk in in everything you would usually use dairy milk......with cereal, in smoothies, for baking....Neil even used it for Yorkshire Puds! 

Now, onto the pulp.....
Because I strain my nut milk I'm left with a pot of nut pulp every morning. I quite like munching on a spoonful straight out the blender but I've also sprinkled it on yogourt  or used it to make thicker smoothies. A couple of morning ago I was feeling experimental and decided to try making crackers.  I mixed the pulp with a little coconut oil and spread the mixture across a silicone cookie sheet to about the thickness of typical "ryvita" style cracker. (I told you this was experimental :) I baked the sheet at 250f for about half an hour checking constantly. Half way through I cracked the sheet into smaller "crackers" so that I could turn them.....
.....and voila!

They were a bit more crumbly than I was hoping for but really tasty! Much more so than a boring Ryvita! I topped them with my version of chocolate spread - mashed banana and raw cacao and a slice of fresh banana "for colour" as my Mummy would say :)

The crackers and choc spread were snaffled in a flash but I had lots of toasty nut flavoured crumbs left over and they were so good sprinkled over our salad for lunch. Waste not want not and all that!

Hope I have inspired you all to be creative with your nuts!

Thursday, November 03, 2011

Halloween part 3.....

Trick or Treat!

Here's the house in finished full spooky mode complete with a bowl of treats as we were about to abandon the place to wander the neigborhood with our friends Darth and Yoda.  Before we did set off we got caught by some early bird treaters, a headless man and a cute kitty, (notice Kitty's dad hanging back by the driveway in his pointy-hated princess frock :)

And now for the big reveal.......DA-DAaaaaa!!!
Darth Vader and Yoda!

And off we set to spook up the place...

Hmmmmm, caught red handed eating the candy before we even got home. NEIL.

Seb decided to abandon the mask after about two Neil became Daddy Darth Vader...

This was by far the spookiest house on the block. they had a smoke machine, spooky howling noises, skeleton ghosts and a life size, very realistic Ghoulish butler by the door. Neil was the only one of us brave enough to approach, he'll do anything for candy.

The best pumpkin award goes to this proud Mama pumpkin who had just given birth to a beautiful orange baby! I was impressed!

By this time it was getting pretty late and dark so we headed back home to eat our stash and check out our pumpkins now glowing in the darkness of All Hallows Eve...