Thursday, February 24, 2011

Super Food Part II: Citrus Fruit

Another amazing super food I'd like to share with you and one of my favourites: citrus fruit, in particular, grapefruit!  Citrus is not only amazing for its rich nutritious value (Vitamin C anyone) but they are also fat-burning foods.

Best time of day I find to enjoy any citrus fruits is in the early hours, for breakfast or as a morning snack, and I especially love a lemon slice in tea.

So really, why is it so great (or why I say it is), here's the low-down (don't quote me on this but I can believe it):
  • citrus fruit also contains many citrus flavonoids and phytochemicals that help protect our bodies from disease - not a cure but it certainly helps!
  • All citrus fruits contain valuable fiber, especially in the membranes separating the sections and in the white part of the rind - good thing it's often added to my baked goods

  • Citrus also helps prevent stomach cancer and cancers of the mouth and larynx - more heroic work

  • Citrus fruits are also a good source of fiber, which will help keep blood sugar levels under control - which is why they help keep your waistline in check, they help you feel fuller, longer
Some vegan friendly ways to enjoy citrus in your diet ...
    1. A fantastic morning cleanse option that I like to implement from time to time (ideally I would like to do this everyday) is before you start your breakfast, squeeze about 1/2 a lemon into 1 cup of fresh water and drink it down.  A friend got me onto it, it's a great way to start your day and lemon water is good for your stomach, your skin, teeth, throat and it helps with weight-loss
    2. Add a few slices of oranges or grapefruit in your green salad.  I try to eat a grapefruit as a snack from time to time, it's especially nice when you feel parched.  You can also just add the lemon or orange zest to your salad or dressing.

    3. Make a big Vitamin C fruit salad with orange, grapefruit, kiwi, mango and a dash of lemon or lime juice.

    4. If all else fails, a gin and lime juice before bed can do wonders to help you sleep! ;)

      Thursday, February 17, 2011

      ♥ Dinner for my Sweetheart

      As part of my Valentine's gift to my sweetheart was a heart-shaped dinner with the theme of ... you guessed it, love!  All of his favourites (well, minus the salad perhaps) pizza, apple crumble and wine.

      I did my best to make most of the dinner vegan, about 85% at least (cheese was the exception).  This salad was simple, mixed greens, baby tomatoes and heart-shaped carrots and zucchini.

      How to: Simply slice the carrot and zucchini in rounds and using a hear-shaped cookie cutter that will fit the size cut out the hearts and add to the top of the salad.

      The pizza again was mostly vegan except for the cheese, which he loves (can't really take that away from hi m).  The Pizza: tomato sauce, vegan pepperoni "hearts," broccoli pieces and cheddar cheese "hearts."

      The heart-shaped cheese and pepperoni was done in the same fashion as the carrots and zucchini.
      For dessert - his favourite - apple crumble (vegan).

      I found the recipe online and tweaked it a bit for our liking.  It was the best vegan apple crumble I've made yet and of course, baked in a heart-shaped dish.

      Vegan Oatmeal Apple Crumble
      Note: I made half of what each ingredient called for, to make just enough for two of us.
      • 4 medium baking apples, chopped (skin left on)
      • 3 tbsp organic cane sugar
      • 1 tbsp maple syrup
      • 3 - 4 tbsp filtered water
      • 3 tbsp orange zest
      • 1/3 cup organic cane sugar
      • 1 1/2 cups oatmeal
      • 1/4 tsp baking soda
      • 1/4 tsp salt
      • 1/4 cup vegan butter, at room temperature
      1. Preheat oven to 350F. 

      2. Lightly grease your baking pan of choice.

      3. In a large skillet, cook the apples with 3 tablespoons of sugar, maple syrup and water over medium heat for a few minutes or until the water is gone.

      4. Add the orange zest, mix it in and set aside.

      5. Combine 1/3 cup of sugar, oatmeal, baking soda, and salt in a bowl, mixing together well.

      6.  Add the the vegan butter and stir well to combine.

      7. Spread half of the oatmeal mixture to form a thin layer on the bottom of the baking pan.  Add the cooked apples, then add the rest of the oatmeal mixture on top, being sure to cover all the apples.

      8.  Bake for about 30-35 minutes, depending on your dish.*

       *Darker dishes take less time to cook, the lighter the dish the more time it needs to cook.

      ♥         ♥         ♥                                   

      Thursday, February 10, 2011

      Swap 'til you Drop!

      Last weekend I hosted my first ever swap / brunch with the girls and it was such a success I'm already planning the next one, which will likely coincide with Spring cleaning. Every one who attended had a great time and left with some great finds.

      A swap party is a fantastic excuse to clean out your closest and drawers to bring anything from clothes and accessories to kitchen and housewares, books, games, toys, everything goes and it's a great way to exchange your stuff with others!  It's free - like you've just gone shopping without spending the money, environmentally friendly because there's little waste and everything that didn't get swept up in the chaos was donated to charity (6 large bags to be exact).

      The party was also a brunch, which I did my best to cook and/or bake everything myself and it was completely vegan.  Around the table we have: a veggie platter, fruit platter, fresh made coffee, mini lemon cupcakes, a salad, Banana-Cashew Balls, Chipotle Chickpea Dip, Black and Gold Salsa, Baba Ganoush, and organic store-bought salsa.

      The Bean salsa was the most popular next to the Baba Ganoush, best served with blue corn and yellow corn tortilla chips which were also served.

      My bachelor apartment was quite a small space to hold the party we managed and were able to fit quite a lot of stuff in the small space we have to work with.  Here's an example table - the designated bathroom and accessories table.

      By the end there were pretty much clothes and stuff every where and no corner was left uncovered! At least I was happy that everyone had a great time including myself ... and maybe my dog Scarlet, she definitely loved the attention but with all the excitement I'm pretty sure she thought we were all nuts!

      These ladies are nuts!

      Thursday, February 3, 2011

      Super Food Part I: Mushrooms

      Why mushrooms are amazing ....

      They are small but mighty, a meaty, filling vegetable packed with vitamin D which make them an excellent stand stand-in for beef.

      They are super healthy, they can cut up to 400 calories from a meal.

      They may also protect against breast cancer by helping to regulate a woman’s estrogen levels.

      They are low in calories, high in vegetable proteins, chitin, iron, zinc, fiber, essential amino acids, vitamins and minerals.

      Mushrooms have history baby! Long used in Traditional Chinese Medicine, their effects on promoting good health and vitality have been supported by recent studies. 

      Studies suggest that mushrooms are probiotic, meaning they help our body strengthen itself and fight off illness by maintaining physiological homeostasis (restoring our bodies balance and natural resistance to disease)

      ... Super Mushroom to the rescue! 

      Looking to make something yummy with mushrooms this week, here are a few fantastic suggestions:

      Real Simple magazine

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