By Elizabeth Whalley R.H.N.
I’ll bet as part of your spring cleaning regimen you’ve dusted away all those cobwebs from even the hard-to-reach corners, wiped the winter grime from windowsills, and even thrown out that questionable jar of who-knows-what from the back corner of your refrigerator. But have you given any thought to what may have built up in your body over the past year?
Cleansing and detoxifying are important aspects of maintaining a healthy body. These days we live in a world where our bodies are faced with harsh toxins, chemicals and radiation at every turn. If not in our daily beauty routine then in our cereal bowl or along our morning commute. Our bodies are strong and very resilient, equipped to do lots of detoxing in our ever changing world, but giving your body a break every so often means it can get a leg-up on the competition. Shopping at the market is a great place to start! Local organic fruits and veggies mean no pesticides and less carbon emissions to get them to your plate. And naturally raised, organic meats mean your liver is not bogged down with hormones and antibiotics unlike supermarket products.
This simple springtime salad features lots of foods that support a little spring cleaning in your body;
Fennel and Radish Slaw
- 1 bunch radishes
- 1 medium apple
- ½ medium fennel root
- 3 stalks celery
- zest and juice of half a lemon
- zest and juice of half an orange
- ½ cup oil (sunflower or grapeseed works best)
- chives and fennel leaf to garnish
- sea or rock salt to taste
A mandolin makes quick work of all the veggies in this recipe, however, slicing them all into matchsticks will work in a pinch. Combine the vegetables, apple and citrus zest in a medium-sized bowl. In a small bowl, combine the lemon and orange juice and slowly and whisk in the oil to emulsify. Drizzle over the salad, season with salt and toss. Garnish with chopped chive and fennel leaf.
The word “superfood” gets thrown around a lot these days, often featured on the label of a never before seen fruit from deep in a distant rainforest. That says two things to me; after traveling so far there is no way it’s still alive and it has nothing to do with our southern British Columbia ecosystem. With all the hype around exotic superfoods, people tend to forget about the great superfoods grown right here in our own backyard!
Kale is one of my all time favourites, its versatility means it can be incorporated into almost any recipe and hardiness means it can be grown locally all year round. Its high fibre content aids in detoxification of the digestive system (including the liver) and supports a healthy heart by encouraging excess cholesterol out of the body. Kale and the rest of the cruciferous vegetable family (like broccoli and cabbage) have amazing anti-cancer properties; they support both the detoxification of cancerous cells and the cancer fighting components of the immune system. On top of all that kale is a great source of antioxidants (also very anti-cancer), vitamins (K, A, B6 and C), minerals (calcium, magnesium, potassium and manganese), and even omega-3 fatty acids!
Packing lots of this powerful superfood into a light springtime meal is simple with the help of Urban Digs Farm and their tasty parsnips.
- 1 Tbsp olive oil
- 1 Tbsp butter
- 1 medium onion, chopped
- 2 cloves garlic, chopped
- 2 large parsnips, chopped
- 1 ½ cups kale, chopped
- 1 litre stock (vegetable or chicken works best in this recipe)
- 1 Tbsp Dijon mustard
- Salt and pepper to taste
Melt butter with olive oil in a large saucepan over medium heat.
Once butter has melted, sweat onions and garlic until translucent.
Add chopped parsnips and sauté for a few minutes, add stock and reduce heat to medium-low and simmer for 30 minutes to an hour, the longer you leave the soup to reduce the sweeter the parsnips will become.
After simmering use an immersion blender to partially blend the mixture, while the soup is still hot add the kale and Dijon mustard and continue to blend until desired consistency is reached.
Simmer for a few minutes more, season to taste and serve.
By Elizabeth Whalley,
You know what they say, breakfast is the most important meal of the day. Have you ever bothered to ask, why?
What’s the most greedy of all of your organs? Your brain! That’s right, starting your day off with a good breakfast is not only important to kick start good digestion and metabolism for the day, but it’s also key in keeping your mind sharp!
A nutritionally balanced breakfast is one that will supply you with lots of nutrients, but will also keep you full and provide you with energy for the rest of the morning. How exactly do you manage to pack all that into your cereal bowl? Simple; lots of nutrient dense food with an extra hit of protein, healthy fat and fibre, things like; nuts, seeds and WHOLE grains. Sorry to be the bearer of bad news but those “whole” grain Cheerios, don’t make the cut!
Lucky for you there are some great ingredients hidden throughout the market to add to your morning bowl of brain power! I picked up some of the best dried cranberries I have ever tasted from the BrainFood Snack Co. There is a great selection of local nuts at various vendors, I chose almonds from Greendale Herb and Vine.
The best part about this recipe is it is easy to incorporate any nut, seed or fruit you have in your cupboards. Get creative and try any combination!
3 cups old fashioned rolled oats (not instant)
3/4 cup sliced almonds
1/2 cup flax seeds
1/2 cup pumpkin seeds
1/2 cup sunflower seeds
1 tsp ground cinnamon
1/2 tsp rock or sea salt
1/3 cup melted coconut oil or butter
1/2 maple syrup or honey
Preheat oven to 325 degrees Fahrenheit. Melt butter or coconut oil, I just put the oil in my glass measuring cup and then leave it in the preheating oven for a few minutes.
In a large bowl combine all dry ingredients, stir until combined. Gently mix in the honey or maple syrup and oil or butter. Spread the mixture out evenly on a baking sheet. If needed, line the baking sheet with parchment paper to avoid sticking. Bake for 25-35 minutes, stirring the mixture a few times throughout so it browns evenly.
The granola has finished baking once it is crispy and golden brown. Let the granola cool on the baking sheet before transferring it to an airtight container. It will remain fresh for 2-3 weeks in the cupboard.
Now for the best part; yummy toppings! For this batch I used market cranberries (3/4 cup) and organic unsweetened coconut (1/2 cup). I mixed the toppings right into my storage jar for the perfect grab and go breakfast.
Some of my other go-to toppings are apples and nut butters (both of which are also available at the market). Or you could transform this breakfast into a sweet treat with blueberry compote and a little whole milk yogurt. I’ve seen lots of frozen blueberries at the market lately and they are easily made into delicious sauce for granola or pancakes;
Put a cup of frozen berries into a small pot on medium heat. Let them simmer for about 20 minutes, stirring often. Add a tbsp of maple syrup and voila; homemade blueberry compote!
By Elizabeth Whalley
This week, here is my take on an old Valentine’s tradition; breakfast in bed! Nothing says, “I love you” quite like the smell of fresh pancakes from the comfort of your bed. The nutritionist in me doesn’t want to admit it, but oatmeal just doesn’t lend well to the feelings of love and romance you’d expect on Valentine’s Day. And personally, I feel everyone would be in a better mood if they broke down and had dessert for breakfast more often, so here’s my way of fitting a little cake in before noon; Carrot Pancakes with Lemon Cream Cheese Icing.
These pancakes are made that much more special because they’re loaded with local goodness straight from the market; eggs, apple and carrots; best of all everything is 100% organic! Plus it makes this meal just a smidge better for you. The pancakes are loaded with fibre from all the whole grain flours and fresh fruit and veg. The walnuts, my personal favourite nut, pack a quick hit of Omega-3 fats to start your day off on the right side of the bed. And with a few tweaks this breakfast can satisfy even the gluten intolerant’s sweet tooth.
Carrot Pancakes with Lemon Cream Cheese Icing
- 1 cup flour (I used; ¼ cup oat flour, ¼ quinoa flour and ½ spelt flour)*
- 1 ½ tsp baking powder
- 1 tsp sea or rock salt
- 1 tsp cinnamon
- 2 eggs
- ½ tsp pure vanilla extract
- 1 medium (sweet) apple, diced
- 1 medium carrot, grated
- ¼ – ½ cup almond or cow’s milk
- 2 tbsp roasted walnuts
Cream Cheese Icing
- 1 tbsp butter (at room temperature)
- 1 tbsp cream cheese (at room temperature)
- ¾ cup icing sugar (pure cane if you can find it)
- The zest and juice of half a lemon
*The flour recipe can easily be augmented to be gluten free; 1/3 cup GF oat flour, 1/3 cup quinoa flour and 1/3 cup buckwheat flour
Whisk eggs in a medium sized bowl until light and fluffy. Add vanilla, diced apple, grated carrots, baking powder, salt and cinnamon, stir until combined. Add flour and stir in gently. Stir in enough milk until a thin consistency is achieved. Set aside.
To make the frosting, cream the butter and cream cheese together in a small bowl. Add lemon juice, zest and icing sugar and stir until smooth.
On medium heat, melt a small amount of butter in a frying pan. Pour about a quarter of the batter into the hot pan, cook until golden and flip. About 3 minutes on each side.
To plate, place 1 pancake in the centre of a plate, add a heaping tablespoon of the icing in the centre and set the second pancake on top. Smooth a second heaping tablespoon on top and then sprinkle half the toasted walnuts and some lemon zest on top.
By Elizabeth Whalley
It’s the beginning of February and that means one of two things; if you’re not dodging rain clouds, you’re warding off the latest flu bug. Ergo, soup is a must. But forget chicken noodle, I have a delicious, vegan and gluten free, immune boosting treasure from the soup gods; Carrot Ginger Miso Soup. It’s packed with all my go-to cold fighting ingredients and most importantly, undeniable flavour.
During my trip to the market last Saturday I couldn’t help but notice the hefty bulbs of garlic littered throughout the stalls. That got me to thinking of all of garlic’s mystical powers. Garlic is awesome at fighting off mid-winter bugs; it’s antibacterial and antiviral! There are many other benefits to enjoying a clove of garlic everyday; ranging from improving cardiovascular function to warding of cancer! Ginger is a cold fighting powerhouse all its own; it calms nausea, helps you sweat out a cold and is immune boosting. These two are a match made in cold fighting heaven.
The base for my immunity soup? None other than the common carrot. Forstbauer Family Natural Food Farm had crates full of multi-coloured carrots that caught my eye. Don’t be fooled this everyday root vegetable is full of anti-oxidants that are good for you anytime of the year. They were destined for my soup pot.
Carrot Soup with Miso and Ginger
- 5-6 large carrots
- 1 large white onion
- 2-4 cloves of garlic
- 1-2 tablespoons ginger
- 1 tablespoon coconut oil (or butter)
- 2 tablespoons sesame oil
- 1 litre vegetable stock, homemade or low/no sodium
- ¼ cup organic miso paste*, I used Amano’s Genmai Miso
- Green onions
- Sesame seeds
*Some miso pastes are not gluten free and contain barley or wheat, read the labels carefully!
Thinly slice the carrots and onions. A mandolin will make short work of all the carrots in the recipe if you’re lucky enough to own one.
Mince the garlic and ginger.
Heat both oils in a large saucepan over medium heat. Add the carrots, onions and garlic, sauté until onions are translucent.
Add stock and minced ginger to the saucepan. Bring stock to a boil and continue to cook until the carrots are tender, about half an hour.
Remove the soup from the heat and add miso paste. Using a hand blender, blend the soup until a smooth consistency is achieved. Finish with salt, pepper or additional miso paste to taste.
Serve hot. Garnish with additional sesame oil, thinly sliced green onion and sesame seeds.
Recipe adapted from SmittenKitchen.com
Congratulations to Andra Louie for a double whammy win at RCFM’s first annual Pie Bake Off! She won over the judges’ taste buds and stomachs to capture Best Overall and Best Crust with her Lemon Dreams pie.
Andra is creative inside and outside of the kitchen. She enjoys working and volunteering in the arts community, including the Vancouver Folk Music Festival and New Westminster’s Vagabond Players. Andra and her husband, Mark, are kept entertained by their active two-year old and are otherwise busy exploring the city and great outdoors.
Andra dared to share her winning pie recipe with us! Give it a try yourself and let us know how it turns out!
Lemon Dreams Pie Recipe
- 1 1/4 cups graham crumbs
- 1 tbsp sweetened coconut
- 1/4 cup sugar
- 1/4 cup melted butter
- Mix together in a bowl and then press into a 9 inch pie pan.
- Bake at 350 degrees Fahrenheit for 8-10 minutes.
- Let cool completely.
- 1 1/2 cups sugar
- 6 tbsp cornstarch
- 1/2 cup cold water
- 1/2 cup fresh lemon
- 3 egg yolks, well beaten
- 2 tbsp butter
- 1 1/2 cups boiling water
- 1 tsp grated lemon (and orange) zest
- Combine the sugar and cornstarch in a saucepan over medium heat.
- Gradually blend in cold water and fresh lemon juice (I mixed in a little orange juice, too) until smooth.
- Add egg yolks and blending thoroughly.
- Add butter in small chunks.
- Gradually add the boiling water while stirring constantly.
- Bring to a full boil, stirring gently. Once it begins to thicken, reduce the heat and let simmer for one minute. Remove from the heat and stir in the grated lemon (and orange) zest.
- Pour into pie crust and let it set for a few hours.
Andra served this pie with chilled whip cream and toasted coconut on top. Enjoy!
Congratulations to Melissa Roth for winning Most Unique Pie at our first annual bake off! She was kind enough to share her pie recipe with us, alongside with her own personal tips that made her pie pop out at the judges. Let us know how your own Sugar Cream pie turns out - Tweet or Facebook us!
Sugar Cream Pie Recipe
- 1 1/4 cups white flour
- 1/4 t salt
- 1/2 cup butter chilled
- 2 Tablespoons ice water
- Mix flour and salt. With a pastry cutter, cut in cold butter until the mix looks like coarse crumbs. Drizzle in the ice water and toss around to evenly distribute the water.
- Gather dough particles together into a ball. Wrap in waxed paper and put in fridge for 30 minutes+
- Roll out dough and put in pie plate.
Sugar Cream Filling:
- 1 cup sugar
- 1/8 t salt
- 2 1/2 cups half n’ half
- 5 Tablespoons cornstarch
- 1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla
- 6 Tablespoons butter
- Mix sugar, cornstarch, half n’ half, and salt in saucepan. Cook to boiling point (around medium on my stove) stirring constantly along the bottom of pot.
- Add vanilla and butter and return to heat. Cook, stirring constantly until thickened. (It can feel like it takes forever the first time but it’ll happen as long as it’s on medium heat).
- Transfer mix into pie shell and sprinkle with cinnamon.
- Bake at 325F or 350F for about 30 minutes (I just keep my eye on it until it looks good).
Melissa’s tip: If it hasn’t browned, I dab a bit of butter on the crust/pie filling, put it on the top rack, and broil it for a minute or so – but it’s very important to watch the pie the whole time it’s broiling since it’s easy to burn!
People who say salads are boring must simply not like their greens because salads can be the most colourful, flavourful, and healthiest dishes out there. With a little creativity and help from seasonal produce, you can make your own summer salads a hit at parties without KO-ing your wallet.
With broccoli in season it’s no wonder we’re making salads devoted to it. Food Network’s recipe takes no time at all to prepare and gives a delicious variety of flavours. The one plus I love with this salad are the cherry tomatoes from our farmers market that pop in your mouth!
- 1 head broccoli
- 6 to 8 slices cooked bacon, crumbled
- 1/2 cup chopped red onion
- 1/2 cup raisins, optional
- 8 ounces sharp Cheddar, cut into very small chunks
- 1 cup mayonnaise
- 2 tablespoons white vinegar
- 1/4 cup sugar
- 1/2 cup halved cherry tomatoes
- Salt and freshly ground black pepper
Trim off the large leaves from the broccoli stem. Remove the tough stalk at the end and wash broccoli head thoroughly. Cut the head into flowerets and the stem into bite-size pieces. Place in a large bowl. Add the crumbled bacon, onion, raisins if using, and cheese. In a small bowl, combine the remaining ingredients, stirring well. Add to broccoli mixture and toss gently. Serves 6-8.
Orange and Fennel Salad
Some may think that fennel is strictly used as a dried herb to help spice up dishes, but this recipe lets you enjoy fennel in its fresh, raw state straight from the farmer’s market.
- 1 large fennel bulb, trimmed and thinly sliced
- 2 medium oranges, peeled
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- 1 tablespoon red wine vinegar
- Salt and pepper
- 2 tablespoons sweetened dried cranberries
Place the sliced fennel in a salad bowl. Slice oranges to divide flesh sections and add to bowl. Drizzle with olive oil, red wine vinegar, and salt and pepper. Toss, top with sweetened cranberries and serve. Serve 4.
Kale Salad with Apricots, Avocado and Parmesan
Raw kale is surprisingly un-bitter, especially if you buy it fresh from the farmers market. With its chewy texture, earthy flavour, and superfood nutrition profile, kale is a great base for your salad. This recipe might definitely convert you to a kale-dominant salad eater!
- 6-8 ounces of kale
- 6-8 dried apricots
- 1/3 cup cooked beans
- 1/4 cup almonds
- 8-10 flakes of Parmesan cheese
- 1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
- 2 tablespoons red wine vinegar
- 1/2 avocado
- salt and pepper
Fold a piece of kale in half lengthwise and use your fingers to tear out the tough inner stem. Repeat with the other leaves of kale. Tear all the leaves into bite-sized pieces and put them in a medium-sized mixing bowl.
Cut the apricots into small pieces and add them to the kale, along with the beans, almonds and cheese. Whisk together the oil and vinegar. Pour the vinaigrette and salt over the salad and toss everything together.
Just before eating, slice the avocado into cubes and spoon them over the salad. This salad will keep for about 24 hours, preferably refrigerated. Serves 1.
With the RCFM now open and running every Thursday during the summer, there are tons of varieties of fresh fruits and vegetables available at vendors’ tables. I ran across strawberries and rhubarb and was given the idea for a strawberry and rhubarb crumble! Not familiar with rhubarb, I wasn’t sure what to expect, but the end product was sweet, tart and all around delicious!
I followed Smitten Kitchen’s recipe but cut my ingredients in half. Below is the original recipe which yields 4 to 6 servings.
1 1/3 cup flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
3 tablespoons sugar
3 tablespoons Demerara sugar (or turbinado sugar aka Sugar in the Raw)
1/2 cup unsalted butter, melted
Zest of 1 lemon
1 1/2 cups rhubarb, chopped into 1-inch pieces
4 cups strawberries, hulled and quartered
1/2 cup sugar
4 tablespoons cornstarch
Juice of 1 lemon
Pinch of salt
1. Heat oven to 375°F.
2. Prepare topping: In a mixing bowl, combine flour,
baking powder, sugars and lemon zest and melted butter.
3. Mix until clumps form. Refrigerate until needed.
4. Prepare filling: Mix rhubarb, strawberries, lemon
juice, sugar, cornstarch and salt in an oven dish.
5. Take topping ingredients and cover filling evenly with topping.
6. Bake for 45 minutes, or until crumble topping is
golden brown and fruit is bubbling beneath.
Instead of the typical boxed chocolates,socks, or a tie, make your Father’s Day present a little more unique this year and add a personal, homemade touch. I snagged this recipe off Allrecipes Lemon Square Bars Recipe but added a bit more lemon to the suggested servings for that extra zest. This recipe only takes about an hour, a nine by 13 inch deep-dish pan, mixing utensils and the following ingredients:
1 cup softened butter
1/2 cup white sugar
2 cups flour
1 1/2 cups white sugar
1/4 cup flour
3 lemons, juiced
I made half the amount this recipe called for only because I wanted to taste test my creation before presenting it to my dad, so the pictures displayed below are my modified quantities.
1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit.
2. Mix the ingredients for the crust, the butter, white sugar and flour together in a mixing bowl.
3. Press the mix into your deep-dish pan.
7. Bake for 20 minutes.
From my first attempt, I ate about half the pan as soon as the squares came out of the oven. They had a nice, crunchy crust that had the right amount of sugar along with the confectioner’s sugar on top, and the added lemon juice (the original recipe asked for two lemons) in the filling countered the sweetness with more zing. I was surprised by how moist the lemon squares stayed after baking. This was by far one of the easier desserts to make without breaking the bank or mussing up the kitchen and is a definite must-bake for Father’s Day.