Wednesday, 18 April 2012

Super Quick & Delicious Dinner - Millet with Roasted Veggies

Today I was pondering what to make after an intense workout, and I realized I had all the ingredients needed to make my super easy and delicious favourite meal - millet with roasted veggies! Millet is an ancient grain that's full of protein, and can be used in a variety of recipes. Here is my go-to recipe, guaranteed to satisfy anyone's pallet.


-1 small sweet potato
-1 large or a few small beet(s)
-2 sunchokes
-2 medium carrots
-2 tbsp olive oil
-2 tbsp tamari
-1 clove minced garlic
-cayenne pepper flakes to taste
-1 cup millet
-1 3" piece of kombu
-1 tbsp sesame seeds, cashews or nut/seed of choice (optional)

*Note: Any of the above veggies can be substituted for other root veggies. Good alternatives are turnip, parsnips or squash!


Preheat oven to 350. Thoroughly wash veggies (especially if not organic) and chop in large chunks, leaving skin on. Combine olive oil, tamari (adding more as desired, keeping a 1:1 ratio) and garlic. Dump the chopped veggies in a large tupperware container, adding dressing. Close the lid and shake until coated. Spread them evenly in a single layer on a lightly oiled baking pan. Sprinkle with cayenne, if using. Bake for 30-40 minutes, until desired tenderness is reached. Flip them halfway through.

While the veggies are roasting, combine the millet with 3 cups of water and strip of kombu in a medium saucepan. Bring to a boil, simmer, and cover. Cook until water is absorbed, approximately 20 minutes.

Serve the veggies on top of the millet, adding more tamari as desired. Sprinkle with nuts, if using. (Seeds or nuts can be dry roasted before adding, as well.)

Makes 4-5 servings.

Monday, 16 April 2012

A Food Day in the Life of Me

Recently, someone made a comment that because I'm vegan, food must be a very small part of my life. Couldn't be further from the truth. I'm a busy girl, but eating well is my number one priority. I'm always adapting how I live and what I make, but I've really gotten some staples going in my day-to-day life. Here are some things I eat on days when...

...I'm working out first thing in the morning
First thing in the morning, no matter what I'm doing that day, I wake up and chug a huge glass of water. This really gets your digestive system going, and an added lemon slice can be a nice touch.

Breakfast - A power smoothie to give me liquid energy that my body can quickly absorb for my workout. I will put any combination of the following in my smoothie: frozen banana or mango, fresh avocado, some almond butter, cacao, carob, raw honey, maca, cinnamon, ground flax, spirulina, coconut water, or chia gel. I usually make a big smoothie and save half for after my workout.

Post-workout - I make my own raw protein bars. If I don't have any, I do half my smoothie and maybe a handful of nuts.

Lunch - A steamed sweet potato with tahini and sprouts.

Snack - Chopped veggies.

Dinner: Steamed greens with umeboshi vinegar and olive oil, served with a yummy grain.

...I'm out and about all day
Some days I go to work and then school directly after, meaning I'm out of my house for over half the hours in the day. I need something I can make quick that will fill me up all day!

Breakfast - Green juice with a handful of nuts.

Snack - Small fruit salad.

Lunch - Steel cut oats soaked in cashew or almond milk, with cinnamon, cacao nibs and mashed banana.

Snack - Chopped veggies.

Dinner - Big salad with homemade dressing.

...I have a bit of extra time
Ah, weekends. Love 'em.

Breakfast - Grilled tofu with cornmeal and fresh black pepper and a hint of olive oil, served on a small bagel with vegan cheese, ketchup and chopped veggies. Note: I eat this delicious treat maybe once a month if that. But oh man, what a good indulgence!

Snack - Apple slices with almond butter.

Lunch - Roasted veggies and millet, topped with cashews.

Dinner - Shredded cabbage, carrots or beets with sea salt, vinegar and olive oil.

Tuesday, 10 April 2012

Healthy Eating on the Go

A lot of people tell me they would eat better if they just had the time to do it. First of all, I always reply that if we need to manage time accordingly anywhere in life, it should be on how to better our health. Nothing is worth your time (or money!) more than treating your body and mind with quality nourishment.

I work, go to school four nights a week, and hit the gym almost every day. I very seldom buy lunch. I always pack all of my day's food...even if I have to go to the gym, and work and then school after. Yes, it can be tedious, but with the right planning tools it's pretty simple to get into a routine of packing a healthy lunch and snacks every day. You may be wondering what the heck to do when you do get home and you're too exhausted to make dinner. Well, that can also be resolved with a little planning. Here are some tips I've picked up.

Have healthy munchies on hand
Picture this scenario: You're starving after being swamped with errands and work all day, craving any piece of greasy food you see or smell. We've all been there. I don't even need to tell you you gotta eat more of your calories earlier in the day...meaning a hearty breakfast, people! Nevertheless, we all get these moments and they can be unavoidable in this crazy world. For those times you just wanna snack, make sure you have something healthy and ready to snack on in your fridge. What I do every few days is buy some cauliflower, broccoli, carrots, cucumber and bell peppers and wash and cut them as soon as I get home. I leave them in a container in my fridge so they're good to go for munchie attacks, to throw in a salad or to pack a quick snack for your lunch. Eating a whole bag of carrots sure beats a bag of Lay's.

Have cooked grains ready to go
A great way to plan ahead for the week's meals is to cook up a big pot of your favourite grain and use it in various meals throughout the week. For example, you can make 4 cups of plain brown rice and leave it in your fridge. This can be used to:
  • Make a porridge: Heat it in a small saucepan with soy milk, mashed banana, cocoa powder and cinnamon.
  • Make nori rolls: Just buy nori (seaweed) sheets and make a cone stuffed with rice and chopped veggies. Sushi is not that far off and it's pretty simple to make, too.
  • Make into a one-pot dish: Add some tomato paste, beans and veggies with a few herbs and spices.

Don't underestimate the power of a great salad
If you think salad is all rabbit food, you got it all wrong. Having a great salad for dinner is healthy, delicious, inexpensive, quick and very satisfying. I would say I do a big salad almost every other day for at least one of my weekday meals...and I don't get sick of it because it's always different! Just start with some baby greens, throw on your pre-chopped veggies and go from there...nuts, seeds, dried fruit, gomashio, nori, leftover grains, tofu, tempeh bacon...whatever looks good, add it! A delicious and easy vinaigrette I do is equal parts olive oil and umeboshi vinegar with some fresh minced garlic. I will include another one of my favourite dip/dressing recipes below that will also be a great topper to your super salad.

Super quick recipe ideas:

Tij's Overnight Oatmeal
Put 1/4 cup steel cut oats, 1/2 cup nut milk, cinnamon to taste, one mashed banana (or avocado), 1 tbsp carob or cacao nibs and 1 tbsp nuts (optional) in a glass jar. Stir, close jar lid and refrigerate. Enjoy warm or cold the following morning.

Avocado Garlic Dip
Blend 1 ripe avocado, 1 tbsp miso, 1/2 cup water, 1/2 cup olive oil, 1/2 cup diced onion, 1/4 cup lemon juice or apple cider vinegar, 1 diced hot pepper, 2 cloves garlic, and sea salt (to taste) in a food processor. Serve with chopped veggies for dipping. NOTE: This recipe is from the book The Idiot's Guide to the Raw Food Detox.

Typical Tij Salad
Salad with baby spinach, shredded cabbage, carrots, peppers, cucumber, broccoli, sesame seeds and chick peas, topped with umeboshi-olive oil-garlic vinaigrette.

Quick n' Easy Steamed Root Veggies
Chop up either (or a combo) of the following: sweet potato, squash, parsnips, carrots, beets or turnip. Lightly steam until desired tenderness is reached. Top with tamari and olive oil with a few toasted pumpkin seeds (heat in a dry skillet until lightly brown and start to "pop"). DELICIOUS!

Thursday, 5 April 2012

An Ode to Juicing

Recently, my dad got me the gift of a juicer for my 21st birthday. It truly is the gift that keeps on giving. I’m a bonafide juice junkie!

Let me tell you why fresh vegetable or fruit juice is one of the most amazing things to put into your body. First of all, your body doesn’t need to put the effort into breaking down food for digestion. Within about fifteen minutes of drinking the juice, the nutrients can be absorbed and used to nourish your body in all kinds of beautiful ways. This is a big reason drinking a green juice in the morning is the best wake-up. The surge of nutrients invigorates you and gives you a nice energy kick to start your day. You get the nutrients without the bulky fiber, which is also healthy, but juicing helps give your digestive system a little break.

This brings me to another popular “trend”: juice fasting. When my mom heard about this, she thought you starve yourself on juice until you’re skinny. This may be the stigma, but fasting with just juice can (when done at the correct time and in the correct way) help your body with its natural detoxifying processes. All your body wants to do is cleanse. It does it through your skin and through your excrements all the time. Juicing gives the digestive system a break and lets the natural cleansing processes your body undergoes have a little bit of an easier time. I personally feel great doing a day of juice cleansing after a naughty night of overindulgence. I’ve read a lot of info on how frequently is safe, but I’d personally say it’s totally fine once a week, as long as you don’t overexert yourself on the fast day (light activity is okay). In a film I just watched called Fat, Sick and Nearly Dead, a man did it for 60 days! Check it out, it’s a must-see.

Juicing can take a little trial and error until you get some yummy creations going. I like to include some sort of sweet fruit or vegetable in all my juices. I usually add lemon and ginger to any kind of juice I make, because they’re great cleansing helpers. Here are some of my fave combos:

-          The Sweetie
             1 apple, 2-3 carrots, 2-3 beets, ½ a lemon and a ½ inch piece of ginger
This one is probably my fave ever, so sweet and powerfully detoxifying. If you’re worried about the glycemic index, dilute with water and enjoy slowly (not too slowly, ‘cause enzymes lose their magic the longer you wait to drink your fresh juice).

-         Green, Lean Cleansing Machine
3    4 leaves of kale,  ¼ cucumber, handful of spinach, 1 sweet fruit, ½ inch piece of ginger
Green juice is honestly not the most delicious thing in the world, at least for me. But a little sweetness and ginger go a long way.  It is honestly one of the healthiest things you can put in your body. If your juicer can juice sprouts (mine can’t), add those guys too.
           Frothy Fruit & Veggies
       1 small sweet potato, 1 small orange, 1-2 beets, 3 leaves of kale, ¾ to 1 cup chopped pineapple
-          I just tried this baby, and man, it is delicious. It’s so frothy and sweet, yet still contains healthy greens rich in chlorophyll.  

I encourage you all to try adding a fresh green juice to your morning routine. Swap it for your coffee for a few days and see how amazing you feel. Cheers!