A Guide to Feeding our Future

Archive for the ‘Salads’ Category

Marinated tofu, buckwheat noodle salad and steamed edamame

By: Alison Bigg, Chef, Mother, Artist – Victoria BC, Canada

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My kids and I are having a blast cooking together.  This is the age to learn how to cook using intuition, trust in yourself and also how to learn from making mistakes. Every week it’s my kids’ turn to make a meal.  I invite you follow me on their journey as they learn how to make healthy food from scratch.  Maybe your own children will be inspired to do the same with you?!

This week Oliva made marinated tofu, buckwheat noodle salad and steamed edamame for dinner.  YUM!

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Ingredients:

  • 1 package medium organic tofu
  • 1 package frozen edamame (in the shell)
  • 1 small package buckwheat noodles
  • 1/4 cup nutritional yeast flakes
  • 1/2 cup panko breading or GF bread crumbs
  • 1 tsp cooking oil
  • 1/3 cup pure sesame oil (plus a dash)
  • 1 TBSP maple syrup
  • 1/4 cup tamari or Braag’s sauce
  • 2 TBSP rice wine vinegar or lemon juice
  • 1″ fresh grated ginger
  • 1-2 carrots, grated
  • 1 red pepper, sliced
  • 2 bunches (lots!) of fresh herbs, lightly chopped ie: mint, cilantro, chives, basil.
  • dash sea or Himalayan salt

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Directions:

  1. Slice medium organic tofu into 10 1/2 inch rectangles.
  2. Put them in a bowl with the tamari or braggs, 1/3 cup pure sesame oil and grated fresh ginger.  ( Save the marinade for the buckwheat noodle salad.)
  3. Coat the tofu with marinade then cover with mixed panko and nutritional yeast.
  4. Put frying pan on medium heat and heat 1 tbsp of cooking oil.
  5. When hot gently lay down the tofu. Brown on both sides and keep warm in the oven.
  6. In large pot, boil water. Add frozen edamame, in shell, and cook until tender but not squishy. 5 minutes.
  7. With a colander take out the beans but save water for noodles.
  8. Put beans in bowl and toss with a dash of pure sesame oil and salt. Keep warm.
  9. Using bean water, cook one small package of buckwheat noodles just until done. Don’t overcook. Drain and rinse with cold water.
  10. Place in a bowl with left over tofu marinade, maple syrup and rice wine vinegar or lemon juice. Add lots of  chopped herbs.
  11. Add one sliced red pepper and one or two grated carrot.

 

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JUNE Feature Food: Radishes

By: Suzanne Brett, RHN – Victoria, BC

radishes for the month of june

Fresh radishes dusted with a tad of dirt, straight from the garden are my favorite!  Almost as good as a juicy carrot.  Some people think radishes are too spicy or pungent for their tastes and they prefer them cooked, shredded fine or pickled.  Others, like me, crave that detoxifying nourishing root.

The pungent spicy flavour that some of you may be adverse to is due to the fact that radishes are a part of the cruciferous (or brassica) family. All of those slightly bitter greens, like mustard greens or cabbages like kohlrabi, contain phytochemicals that produce that strong flavour. For those with some certain hormonal conditions like thyroid issues, it’s imperative to cook all vegetables from this family.  Doing so removes the oxalic acids that cause this flavour and that can directly block your thyroid from functioning optimally. For those not concerned about this hormonal disruptor, munch on!  If you are cautious or struggling to re-balance hormones, the recipe at the bottom of this post is a great simple way for you to enjoy the benefits of radishes while eliminating that thyroid-blocking agent, and pungency.

Medicinal Benefits

Radishes are known to be protective against many chronic or acute toxicity conditions.  The original radish was actually deep purple or black.  This colour is known to be more powerful in promoting the efficacy of those phytonutrient warriors battling our free-radicals and flushing excess chemicals and hormones from our systems.  For this I am grateful! Thank you, radish!  These little friends are great used in detoxification and cleansing protocols.  Also a super hero in fighting and preventing many cancer battles and protecting against common colds and flues.

In Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) we look at the connections between certain flavour profiles and which organs they are related to.  Pungent is related to the large intestines and lungs.  It’s that pungency that exists in many of these cruciferous foods.  Think about a strong mustard or wasabi, which are also pungent foods, and how they can really get your respiratory system flowing, right?!  Same thing here…some are just a tad gentler than others, depending on variety and quantity, but radishes are known to do the same thing.  They’ll help strengthen and tone the lungs, helping clear blood vessels of toxicity and moving the blood-circulating oxygen into our respiratory systems.  They will also stimulate appetite and improve metabolism by stimulating the digestive system.

Radishes are also known as a balancing or neutral food in TCM.  Certain foods are considered yin or yang, hot or cold, masculine or feminine… and radishes are considered balancing because they are neither hot or cold, or just enough of hot and cold to balance itself out.  We often refer to root vegetables as a balancing and calming food. Some, but not all of them are considered balanced in the TCM approach.  To someone like me, this makes radishes awesome!  A real super food!

Recipe: Roasted Radishes and Brussel Sprouts

Here’s a simple radish recipe you can use with any other cruciferous vegetable.  This time of year, instead of brussel sprouts, cauliflower may be more available to you and is a great replacement in this recipe.

roasted brussels and radishes
Ingredients:

  • 1 lb Brussels sprouts, halved
  • ½ pound red radishes, halved (quartered if large)
  • 1 TBSP coconut oil
  • A few sprigs of fresh rosemary
  • ½ cup of walnuts or pumpkin seeds
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • ¼ cup balsamic vinegar, reduced by at least half, or until thick

Directions:

  1. Preheat oven to 400° degrees.
  2. Cut sprouts from stem, cut large ones in half, peel stem and cut into similar sized chunks. Toss in large bowl with coconut oil, rosemary and radishes.
  3.  Space on a large roasting pan and place in top rack of the oven. If you have a convection oven, turn it on, watching they don’t burn. This will cut your cooking time in half.
  4. Roast until brussel leaves are brown and crisp and heads are tender and brown. Radishes will be lightly browned but still crunchy.
  5. Remove and plate.
  6. Drizzle with balsamic reduction and sprinkle with nuts or seeds.

APRIL Feature Food: Fiddleheads

By: Suzanne Brett, RHN – Victoria, BC

fiddleheads for the month of April-complete

For some reason, every time I think of fiddleheads, I’m reminded of leprechauns. It’s possible this has something to do with a connection I have to running through the woods as a child with my father, while he made up stories of mythical woodland creatures that I truly believed existed. This would always be about the time the fiddleheads were beginning to pop through the luscious mossy covered soil. It’s a great memory. Although I do wonder why I don’t think of violins or cellos…

Now, as an adult and Registered Holistic Nutritionist who sadly doesn’t believe too strongly in these gnome and fiddlehead leprechauns anymore, I am still excited this time of year to share with you the nutritional benefits and health impacts of foraging and munching on the diverse flavour of FIDDLEHEADS! YAY!

Fiddleheads are lovely spring fern shoots. Also known as Ostrich ferns or fiddlehead fronds. They can easily be foraged on some grassy/mossy paths near river beds, IN rivers or especially wooded areas. You may be surprised how easily accessible they are, you don’t always need to go on a big foraging trek to get at some munchy treats such as these. They may be right in your own backyard, on the trail you ride to work on, or in the park you take your kids to. They grow along the rhizome path of ferns. Fiddleheads taste much like green beans or asparagus with a slightly increased sweet earthy flavour. So keep your eyes peeled for these and make sure to carry a basket or bag for collecting your FREE nutrient dense side dish this evening.

Let’s get down to the facts, shall we?

Antioxidant super powers:

These young shoots are full of carotenoids that our body so kindly converts into Vitamin A. A is for Amazing Antioxidant, Against cancer. 😉 It’s also great for our mucosa, cell protection and formation and strong beautiful skin.

Vitamin C. We all know this one well. When we feel the sickness coming forth, we pump ourselves full of this great immune supporting vitamin. As usual, there’s also so many great ways of ensuring we’re getting enough of this support through whole foods. In fact, this is the BEST way to absorb many nutrients, as it’s naturally paired with the others that we need the most. This is how food is medicine. Do you get it now? Hippocrates was a smart man!

Zinc. Oh zinc! Do I really need to express my love for zinc rich foods anymore than I have in previous articles? I’m going to spare you the repetition this time around. Feel free to read last month’s article on oysters, for many zinc facts: https://educatedeater.com/2015/03/04/march-feature-food-oysters/

fiddlehead heart

Have an energetic spring:

Due to the fact that these are an early/young spring food, they are higher in those lovely soil-transferred-rich vitamins and minerals. They hold a great amount of iron and copper. Iron from a whole food vibrant green source such as this is the best way to ensure absorption. Feel tired often? Think about your iron intake. Iron is a common deficiency for young adult women. It’s essential for energy production and cell oxygenation. It’s the C that helps us absorb the iron. In fact, it’s essential. Lucky for you, many iron-rich foods also contain high amounts of vitamin C. Just make sure to never overcook these fragile water-soluble vitamins. It’s often possible that if you suffer from anaemia, the proper amount of copper in your diet may not be sufficient. Although, it’s generally more common to have an excess of copper; a deficiency is often overlooked. Copper is much needed for the development of nerve, blood, bone and connective tissues.

There’s also a high amount of potassium and manganese that these lovely shoots absorb from the soil. Combined with iron and copper these all work synergistically to reduce blood pressure, and heart rate by reducing the effects of sodium in our blood stream.

It doesn’t end there. Fiddleheads contain plenty of B1, B2 and B3 vitamins. These are super helpful in supporting blood and energy formation, circulation, healthy metabolism, preventing mental illness and reducing stress.

And for you vegetarians or vegans out there; or any other folk for that matter…fiddleheads are a super option for protein and EFA’s. This makes them also great anti-inflammatory treats that help support auto-immune disease, diabetes and metabolic syndrome. The Omegas found are great in supporting a more balanced nervous system, preventing neurological disorders, mental illness and general stress.

So, if I haven’t said enough: balance your life and balance your plate.

And eat some fiddleheads for STRESS AWARENESS MONTH!

How to prepare fiddleheads:

First thing’s first, I must mention that only the Ostrich variety of fiddleheads can be consumed. Make sure you know the difference and do your research before you start plucking away in your local neighborhood or forest.

Once you’ve collected or bought your fiddleheads, lightly brush off the brown scales with a dry cloth or vegetable brush.

Rinse them under cool water.

Fiddleheads should not be consumed raw. They must be cooked lightly in order to prevent stomach upset, dizziness, lethargy and confusion (much like food poisoning).

Boil or steam the fiddleheads for a brief minute or two in a small amount of water. Discard the water and continue with any recipe you desire. It’s important not to overcook your fiddleheads. Mushy fiddleheads are NO GOOD!

My favourite way to eat fiddleheads, is definitely the easiest. It’s the same way I eat asparagus:
Toss them (3 cups, raw) in a pre-heated pan on Medium heat with a TBSP of butter (or coconut oil), 3 cloves chopped garlic, 1 small shallot, a dash of s&p and lemon zest. I sometimes throw a few chopped herbs on top when serving for extra nutrient value. Best served with a nice fresh fish or chicken. For a great veggie option, add in some cooked fava or kidney beans and toss in olive oil and parsley let cool in the fridge and you have a tasty spring salad.

I hope you enjoy your new non-mythical friends.  These guys are the real thing!

FEBRUARY Feature Food: Sprouts

By: Suzanne Brett, RHN – Victoria, BC

sprouts for Feb

Many of you may be questioning my knowledge about seasonal foods about now.  Sprouts?  Gardens aren’t sprouting yet!?   It’s still cold outside!   You’re correct.  Most soil in N America is NOT pushing out little green shoots at this point in the year, what I’m referring to are sprouting sprouts and microgreens, from sprouting seeds.

As mentioned in last month’s article, these cooler months do not provide us with many fresh fruits or veggies.  Sprouts are an easy and efficient way to ensure we are still getting enzymatic and nutrient dense foods that still taste crispy and fresh through the winter.  The best part is, we can make this happen in our own homes no matter what the temperature is outside AND kids love it.  Yay!  There are 2 simple methods to sprouting that I will include at the end of this post, so stay tuned.

Most of you may be familiar with the more common sprouts that we buy already sprouted, these are usually alfalfa, clover and bean sprouts.  Although, specific sprouting seeds come in many varieties, any beans, nuts and seeds can and SHOULD also be soaked and sprouted for proper digestion and nutrient absorption.  Sprouting seeds, in particular, are available in many health food and garden supply stores.  Daikon and white radish, mung beans, lentils, quinoa, broccoli, mizuna and kohlrabi are just some of the options available.

Copyright 2010 http://vegrecipesofindia.com

Sprouting is a great way to ensure that we get the most out of our foods.  Sprouts contain an amazingly high nutrient content, especially if eaten raw.  They are known for being cleansing (particularly for the liver and colon), hydrating, and full of essential vitamins and minerals, as well as amino acids and Omegas 3 and 6.  Sprouts have a great cancer fighting ability (especially radish sprouts), they are great for supporting weight-loss and for increasing the body’s fat-burning ability.   They are also very supportive for the cardiovascular system due to the high folate and B6 content.  Sprouts are a great supporter for neurological support due to the high levels of thiamine (B1) and fatty acids.  They are amazing throughout pregnancy and breastfeeding by ensuring a high nutrient content for energy production and supporting a balanced hormonal system.  The more pungent sprouts, like daikon radish, kohlrabi and mizuna, are great for moving stagnant energy (qi) and for clearing the lungs and mucous.  Almost all sprouts are very high in Vitamin C, iron, and protein, making them an excellent immune strengthening food.  Some sprouts are high in Vit K and, with the combination of the rich water content and high Vit C, these sprouts are excellent for improving the function of the eyes, hair, nails and skin – especially for improving elasticity and development of collagen.

Just as an example, lentil sprouts alone are very high in protein, iron, Vit C, manganese, phosphorus , copper, flolate (B6), thiamine (B1), Fiber, Omega 6 and 3 and amino acids.  Add mung bean sprouts to the mix and you have more folate, Vit C, manganese, Omega’s AND Vit K.  If you add in some cleansing and clearing radish sprouts you have yourself a beautifully supportive and yummy salad, that is fresh and hydrating.

To try sprouting at home…first, if you have kids, get them involved.  They tend to get super excited about planting and especially sprouting, thus are more likely to EAT the delicious sprouts if they’re involved in the process.

There are 2 methods:

THE JAR:

sprouts in jars

1. Rinse and soak 2 tsp of seeds in a 1 L mason jar for aprox 6-8 hours, in about 1 cup of cool water, to begin the germination process.   Cover the jar with a sprouting lid.  If you don’t have one you can use a steel screen or mesh and an elastic band to secure it.  Drain.

2. Continue rinsing and refilling 2x a day for 3-6 days.  Place the jar on an angle, lid facing into a bowl or sink.

3.  Watch them grow!  Once sprouts have fully formed and the jar is full of tails, drain well and place them in an airtight container in the fridge for up to 4-5 days.

sprout

THE SPROUTING TRAY:

A proper sprouting tray is great, but if you don’t have one, a garden starter pan with a cookie sheet underneath will also work, so long as it has proper drainage holes on the bottom.

  1. Rinse and soak ½ cup of seeds in a bowl for 6-8 hours. Drain.  Sprinkle seeds onto the bottom of the tray and cover with a sprouting tray lid, plastic bag/wrap or cheesecloth.
  2. Rinse the seeds 2x a day for 3-6 days under the tap or with a mister, draining them properly and replacing the cover.
  3. Once sprouts have fully formed and the tray is full of tails, drain well and place them in an airtight container in the fridge for up to 4-5 days.

Note: For micro greens, use the tray method and sow seeds into a veggie soil as if making starter plants but sprinkling seeds much more freely.  Water 1x/day for 8-12 days.  Once sprouted, use small kitchen scissors to trim greens directly from the tray.

TO EAT:

For maximum nutritional value, I recommend eating sprouts raw – although many can be cooked.  Raw sprouts can be made into sandwiches, wraps, spreads/pates, placed on top of stirfrys, soups, curries, crackers, stews or made into fresh salads.  Get creative and share your sprouting experiences with us here anytime!  We love to hear how you enjoy your healthy foods!

JANUARY Feature Food: Millet

By: Suzanne Brett, RHN – Victoria, BC

In the cool month of January, we’re all ready to wind down after the holiday hustle and we’re in need of warming nourishing foods.  It’s that time when we tend to begin thinking about our health and energy levels after all those holiday meals and sweets.   Potatoes and other starchy foods might not be what we’re craving this time of year, but healthy whole grains are a great energy source and are one of those foods that are available to nourish us during the winter months.  So, without further ado, let me introduce millet as a restorative and healthy alternative to many other grains and starchy vegetables.

Millet-rainbow

Millet is usually a small, pale-yellow, ancient grain that looks similar to couscous or corn and is somewhere in between in size.  Although there are other varieties that are less common and are a more reddish-brown or black in colour.  This grain’s origin is primarily Africa where they harvest it, grind it into flour and make that delicious roti flat bread that helps us shovel yummy spicy curries into our mouths.  Mmmmm…

bajra roti

Millet is a great gluten-free alternative, it’s generally not a reactive food as it contains few oxalates and it contains many health promoting properties.  Millet is one of the few grains that is considered alkaline forming, meaning its PH level after digestion has a more alkaline effect on the body than acidic, as opposed to many other grains that show up on the acidic side of the chart.

Like many other grains, Millet is a great source of lignans.  Lignans are also found in berries, nuts, seeds, teas and many whole grains.  Lignans are known to be protective against hormone-related cancers, and heart disease.

This brilliant grain holds a significant amount of Magnesium, which is proven to be quite effective in regulating blood pressure and insulin/glucose levels for those with Type 2 diabetes.  Magnesium is also a co-factor in regulating metabolism and, along with the great amounts of copper in Millet, it helps create healthy cellular function, thus providing us with a lively energy that keeps our fires aflame for 2015!  Copper is also an anti-oxidant which can prove to be most useful this time of year when we need to begin thinking about detoxifying all those harmful holiday chemicals.


How to cook Millet:
millet-measuring cup

Millet is as easy to cook as any other grain.  It needs 2 cups of water to 1 cup of grains, just like rice or quinoa.  If you prefer to use it as a porridge in the morning, you could add 2 cups of fruit juice as well as the 2 cups of water to get a sweeter and more porridge-like consistency.  Millet takes about 20-30 minutes to cook.

millet-cooked

My favorite way of eating millet is to toast it in a dry pan on medium heat for about 10 minutes or until it begins to become golden and THEN transferring it into a pot or grain cooker with 1 cup water and 1 cup bone broth.   This fashion makes the grain taste a bit more nutty and toasty and adds more minerals and restorative nutrients from the broth for that winter comforting feeling.  I usually serve it with fried tempeh and steamed greens, drizzled with a tad of tamari, sesame oil and a few pumpkin seeds.  Very simple, quick and satiating.

I hope you enjoy your new-found love of Millet and kick your New Year off with an excellent start by making great healthy food choices and visiting us at the Educated Eater often for many more health and lifestyle tips.

Healthy Bacon Bits

By: Hollie M. Hunt-Last, D. C’Ed. ROHP/RHN – Moncton, NB

bacon bits

“This month, I am sharing a recipe idea…simple and compromising – without specific quantitie, but a wonderful idea!

There are few things that add more flavour – yet are more toxic – in the store than bacon bits!  So, if you use meat more like a condiment (as I strive to do), and ceaser salad simply isn’t ceaser without this luscious covering, consider this recipe idea.”

Ingredients:

  • Fresh bacon and smoked ham. The trick in making this healthier is getting your meat from a market first, to ensure ethics and organics. Buy from your local farmers.

Note: You ‎will want twice as much ham than bacon (I will not give you quantity, you decide how much you wish to make). It is very surprising , however, how much meat it takes to make these tid bits!

Directions:

  1. Once you have your desired meats, cook these together. You can do this in a fry pan or in an oven. This way the ham gets infused with rich bacon flavour.
  2. Drain off fat.
  3. Break up the meats to fit in a food processor. Use sharp knife insert to blend together until you see that they are ground in to bits.
  4. Place in a zip lock bag, flattened down into a thin sheet.
  5. Freeze!

Use these directly out of the freezer to sprinkle on salads, cream soups and other recipes. They add flavour without toxic chemicals!

Awesome Avocado Salad

By: Susan Kingston, RHN, NNCP – Montreal, QC

avocado-tomato-salad-8

Ingredients:

  • 1 avocado chopped into small squares
  • 2 tomatoes cut into wedges
  • 1 onion, sliced
  • 1 large handful of fresh basil, chopped
  • (If you eat cheese-add mini bocconcini cheese balls as desired)

Dressing

  • 2 TBSP tamari sauce
  • juice from ½ lemon
  • 1/8 Cup olive oil

Directions:

  1. Mix all ingredients together, toss and enjoy!