Quinoa Cabbage Casserole

Hi! I hope everyone has access to organic and local produce. Like grass-fed beef or chicken. I love animals and a big part of me wants to be a vegan. My family wants to eat meat so let them eat meat.
For something a little different try this Quinoa Cabbage Casserole. My toughest critics ate it with no complaints. Feel free to leave out the mushrooms or sweet potatoes for your toughest critics. Also replace the Herb De Provence with a little thyme, oregano, marjoram, tarragon and rosemary. Top with sour cream too.
Easy to cook in a casserole dish or a crockpot. Go ahead make it your own!
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Quinoa Cabbage Casserole

1 cup Broth (use less if cooking in crockpot)
1 cup Quinoa
1 Sweet Potato shredded
1 cup Cabbage chopped

Ground Meat
1 Onion chopped small
1/2 cup Mushrooms chopped small
1 Celery chopped small
2 Cloves of Garlic minced
1 1/2 cups Cabbage chopped
1 Can diced Tomatoes
Pinch Allspice
Pinch Paprika
1/2 tsp Herbes de Provence
Salt and pepper
In layers place, quinoa, broth, sweet potato and cabbage. Fry meat until almost done and remove some liquid from the meat. Add onion, mushrooms, celery, garlic and fry a few minutes.
Mix spices in the can of tomatoes.Layer on the meat then tomatoes then cabbage.
Preheat oven to 400. Cover casserole with foil and cook for about 45 minutes. Remove foil and cook for 5 more minutes. Let sit for 10 minutes.
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To cook in crockpot, the time will depend on your crock pot, maybe 4 hours or more on low.

Easy and Cheap Zucchini and Beans

Hey I hope everyone had a nice summer! Mine was very busy with work, kids, gardening, camping and pokemon go adventures. I also moved half my perennial garden and started strawberries and grapes. I figured I would rather have plants that feed me. We do two small trips every summer to different provincial parks. We love the adventure of discovering new places. We rode our bikes around and hit the beach. This year we discovered Ivanhoe and Chutes provincial parks in Ontario.
 This summer I cooked and baked mainly my go-to recipes, such as my cool chocolate chip cookies or Go to Guacamole and tried to eat all my garden vegetables. I did develop this zucchini and beans dish. I was at my lake house with only my youngest for two days and I came down with a cold. I felt terrible so I made this healthy dish with lots of garlic. I made it the following week for the rest of the family and it was liked by all. Even better that it only cost $3. What? Yeah, my zucchini are free so just green onions, organic garlic, and canned pinto beans were purchased.
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Serves four or five
3 Zucchini’s or 2 medium ones
3 Green onions
2 or 3 Garlic
Can of pinto beans
Salt and Pepper to taste
Cooked quinoa or rice optional
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Cut up zucchini, green onions and garlic. Strain and rinse the beans. Heat pan and add coconut oil or other oil or butter. Fry zucchini until almost translucent then add Green onion, garlic, beans, salt and pepper. Fry for a few minutes until desired tenderness. Serve alone or on a bed of quinoa or rice.
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I did go see some live music this summer. Kate Maki and Fred Squire are an awesome singing couple. I’ve been a big fan of Kate for a long time and highly recommend purchasing her albums on iTunes. Also Brock Zeman and JoPo. To end my summer I saw an awesome punk show, SNFU, at my favorite bar. I felt 21 again.

Dear to my Hemp Heart

Hemp hearts are like one of the Healthiest food on the planet! A complete protein, it has omega 6-3, iron, thiamine, magnesium, zinc and lots of other healthy stuff. Basically, if you look at the nutrition facts on a bag of hemp hearts and fortified milk or bread they are similar so what would you rather eat? Real food or fortified foods? I really notice the difference in my hunger levels when I eat Hemp hearts. The same way an avocado does for me.
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I sneak Hemp hearts into my family’s breakfast nearly every morning. I’ve always been a morning person and liked to plan my breakfast before bed. I love waking up before anyone else and having quiet time. I make apple oatmeal 5 days a week, I love it so much but not as much as peach oatmeal. I try not to cook the hemp hearts because the fat breaks down easy so its better to add hemp hearts after the oatmeal is ready. Raw is best!
oatmeal
Favorite foods that I add hemp hearts to:
Yogurt – Add to plain yogurt with fruit
Oatmeal – Add after oatmeal is cooked
Smoothie – My usual is half of a banana or avocado, strawberries, mango, hemp hearts, coconut milk, water and maybe kale.
Pesto
Energy balls
Salads and salad dressing – Blend oil, acid, dijon mustard, herbs, salt and pepper
Popsicles – I ask the kids what fruit flavor they want (lately it’s been orange) and blend it with lemon, honey, coconut milk or water and hemp hearts and freeze.
Raw cookie dough – roll balls in it but seriously you must try these! No measure raw cookie dough
Soup – Add after soup is cooked. Super good with Butternut squash soup
Chocolate bark
Hummus
Oven Beets – Oven Beets img_20161207_153836

cookie doughdough rolled in hearts

The list goes on and on. When you need a protein boast look no further because Hemp is what you need.
People ask me a lot how I eat hemp hearts and I thought this post might inspire your love for hemp hearts too.
Three tablespoons a day keeps the doctor away.

Summer Quinoa Salad

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You can eat this salad anytime of the year but for me it’s a summer thing. I bring this salad with us on our adventures. It’s perfect for a picnic and it sustains us for our activities. I hope this summer we will have lots of amazing memories. The best activity for me is camping with my kids. We usually have no cell reception so that means no distractions. I can focus on what really matters and that is to have fun with my kids.

Follow your cravings with quinoa salad because it can be made so many ways. I make it with the ingredients below most of the time because the kids eat it with no complaints. I make the quinoa earlier and it’s there for me when I need it. Those crazy days when I can’t keep up; I just add some ingredients that I have on hand and boom I have a meal. I leave out the beans if I’m serving it as a side dish. One batch makes a lot so just half the recipe if you are not serving a lot of people. Ingredients for Quinoa Salad

Salad Ingredients:
Quinoa (cooked according to the instructions on the package and cooled in fridge)
Half a Red or yellow Pepper
Half an Orange Pepper
Cucumbers
Avocado
Cherry tomatoes
Green Onion
Beans such as Black beans, Bean Mixed or Chickpeas. 1 small can, drain and rinse.
Fresh herbs, optional
Dressing:
Olive Oil, 2 TB
Half a Lemon or Lime juice, 2 TB
soy sauce or soy sauce alternative like tamari, 2 tsp.
Chili Powder, 1 tsp.
Garlic Powder, 1 tsp.
Salt and Pepper, to taste
Make quinoa earlier in the day or previous evening and cool in the fridge. Dice up vegetables using more of what you like or ingredients you have on hand. In a large bowl mix the dressing, add olive oil, lime juice, soy sauce or Tamari, chili powder, garlic powder, salt and pepper. Add half of the quinoa, all the vegetables and mix well. Add remaining quinoa and beans if using. Stir until combined and store the salad in a container and refrigerate. Serve cold.
Quinoa saladQuinoa Salad on the Lake
Peace, Love and Eat!

BBQ Stuffed Avocados

Avocado on the BBQ is a treat. I have to admit I’m afraid I will blow my self up when using the BBQ but it’s worth a try. I was following my cravings and got to thinking about a deconstructed guacamole, all the ingredients of guacamole but stuffed in half of an avocado and cooked on the BBQ. Ingredients straight from the garden, maybe. The filling is also good on burgers or as a dip because not everyone likes avocado. I do like having a vegetarian option and this is a good one. The cheese melts and holds everything together. The options are endless. I hope you follow your cravings and have a great BBQ.

lets eat
this one
Vegetarian Filling: 
Tomato diced
Basil leaves diced or try another herb, for example, cilantro or parsley
Green onions diced
Mushrooms diced
Garlic minced
jalapeño minced, optional
Salt and Pepper
Tempe or tofu optional
bocconcini cheese, cut in small 1/4″ cubes or replace with vegan cheese
Sausage filling:
Tomato diced
Basil leaves diced or another herb, for example, cilantro or parsley
Green onions diced
Mushroom diced
Garlic minced
jalapeño minced, optional
Salt and Pepper
Sausage meat, (italian style)
Bocconcini cut into 1/4″ cubes
Tuna Filling:
Tuna canned
Tomato diced
Basil or Dill diced or another herb, for example, cilantro or parsley
Green onions diced
Lemon or lime juice (not to much)
Salt and Pepper
Prepare ingredients and gently mix together all into a bowl.  Cut the avocados in half and scoop out the large seed. After removing the seed, scoop a bit of the avocado flesh if there is not enough room to add your filing in the centre of the avocado.
Other Options:
Try adding olives, capers or bacon.
Cooking:
Place on BBQ medium heat and cook until done about 30 minutes. The cooking times will vary according to the size of your avocado, the amount of stuffing and the BBQ temperature.

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Oven Baking:
Place on a cookie sheet and cook in an oven at 375.

 

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 Life is so busy but I hope you can make time for cooking! Thanks for reading all the way to the bottom!  Peace and love!

Dandelion Greens Pesto

Pesto is very simple and there is no need to measure. Pesto can be made so many ways, pretty much any nuts or seeds will work. I buy organic pine nuts from Costco and I leave them in my freezer, up to 6 months. I use half basil leaves and I grow my own. For the other half, I use any greens I have in the fridge, such as spinach or kale. This time I used something out of my front yard. Why not? Dandelions are usually easy to find except this year. On the weekend I found lots at camp. The babier the better! The baby leaves are less bitter and spring is the perfect time for harvest. I kept mine in a plastic container, or wrap the leaves in paper towel and refrigerate.

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Dandelion Pesto
Handful of Pine nuts or Hemp seeds
3 Handfuls of Fresh Basil
3 Dandelion, Kale, Spinach or any leafy green
1/2 cup Olive oil
1 small Lemon juiced
Salt and pepper
Parmesan cheese, optional
Nutritional yeast, optional for dairy free
 Blend all ingredients together. Refrigerate for a week or freeze up to 3 months.
Pesto goes great with:
cauliflower
eggs
spaghetti squash
potatoes
chicken
pasta
pizza

Just want to clear any confusion. Handful of pine nuts is 1/2 cup and 3 handfuls of basil and greens is 1 cup. Enjoy! My kids don’t love pesto but they eat it. I love it so I’m happy! Have fun foraging!

Cool Chocolate Chip cookies

These are my family’s healthy chocolate chip cookies. You can make them in a pan and call it a blondie or make cookies. Chickpeas are high in starch so I don’t eat a lot of them but they are healthy too. Chickpeas have a shell on them that are hard to digest so I always take 10 minutes to take them off, that is totally your choice. These cool chocolate chip cookies will satisfy your sweet Cravings.

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1 can chickpeas

1/2 cup peanut, almond or sunflower seedbutter

1/4 cup maple syrup or honey

1/4 cup coconut sugar

1/2 cup coconut milk

2 tsp vanilla

2 Tbsp coconut flour

1 tsp baking powder

salt, depending on the salt in the nut butter or chickpeas

1/2 cup chocolate chips

In a food processor or blender process chickpeas until it clumps up or is in small pieces. Add nut butter, honey and sugar; blend until smooth, scrape down sides of blender. Add milk and vanilla blend until smooth . Add coconut flour and baking powder and blend until creamy. Put in the fridge for 10 minutes. Preheat oven to 375.

Grease a 9X11 pan or a square 8X8 inch pan for the blondie. The blondies take 22-28 minutes to cook.

If you are making cookies, prepare a baking sheet with parchment paper. Place dough 1 inch apart and add a few chocolate chips to the top. Cook for 12-15 minutes.

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Enjoy! Peace and Love to all!

Family Time Fajitas

Delight your friends and family with these mouth watering fajitas. The fajitas sauce has amazing flavor that goes into the cashew cream, the vegetables and the chicken. I use a jalapeños in the sauce and the kids never complain because it’s not that spicy but if you want spicy then use 2 jalapenos. I had some pinto beans in the cupboard so I made refried beans. That post will come later. I like that this is a way to please meat eaters, vegetarian and vegans. Everybody’s happy! Prepare sauce and slice vegetables the night before for a quick awesome meal.
Serves 4-5
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Fajitas Sauce
2 Garlic cloves, minced
1 jalapeno, diced small
1 or 2 limes squeezed (about 3 Tbsp)
3 Tbsp of grapeseed oil or other oil
1 tsp honey
1 tsp cumin
2 tsp chili powder
Salt and pepper to taste
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Cashew cream
1/2 cup cashews raw (soaked for two hours or more)
2-3 Tbsp Water
2 Tbsp fajita sauce, above recipe
(I haven’t tried replacing the cashew cream with sour cream or greek yogurt but I’m sure it work with the fajitas sauce)

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Filling
3 Peppers, sliced
2 Portobello mushrooms, sliced
1 Onion, sliced

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Chicken
4-6 chicken breasts, sliced
2 Tbsp fajitas sauce
Tortillas
Avocado sliced, optional
Shredded cheese, I used cheddar
Refried beans, optional
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Soak the cashews in water for a least 2 hours; cashews can also soak overnight. Mix the ingredients for the sauce in a small bowl.
Marinade the chicken with 2 Tbsp of sauce and set aside.
With my magic bullet I blend the soaked cashews with water and sauce. Add more water, lime juice, salt or sauce to the cashew cream to get the consistency and flavor. The consistency should be like sour cream.
Fry sliced vegetables using the rest of the sauce in a fry pan.
In a separate pan, fry the marinated chicken.
Warm tortillas. Fill each one with ingredients, top with cheese, and fold tortilla. Serve hot.
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Have a Happy and Healthy weekend!

Cell Phone Pouch

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In the winter I have lots of big pockets to put my phone but with summer I have one layer with small pockets. So many times my phone falls out of my pocket and falls hard on the ground. Luckily I have a Blackberry that can handle the abuse. I thought to myself I have to solve this problem. So say goodbye to losing your keys, phone, money and other stuff.

This pouch is very handy; you can clip to your pants so its like having a pocket that fits an oversized cell phone, a pack of gum, lip gloss, and money. Clip your keys on to the carabiners (hiking clips) so if you’re like me you won’t lose your stuff out of your pockets anymore. I started taking quilting classes when I was pregnant for my son over 11 years ago. It got me out of the house and gave me something to keep me busy. I loved it! I haven’t done much sewing in the past couple years except this awesome pouch and hemming curtains. I have lots of ideas, fabric and tools so I hope to find time because it feels great to make your own bags, pillows, presents for others or whatever you want.

It takes only two hours to make this pouch and in the long run that’s less time looking for your lost items.

Material list

Standard sewing stuff

9″ square of fabric, new fabric or feel free to cut up some old clothes
9″ square piece of quilt batting
9″ square of cotton for the inside fabric

1″  2 1/2” rectangle of the outer fabric

Two carabiner clips
Favorite colour thread
8″ zipper
Long piece of fabric for the strap. I used 38” long and 2 1/2” wide
A few safety pins

My favorite is jean fabric for the outside because it blends well with most of my clothes.

The size depends on the size of zipper you have. Go one inch bigger than the zipper. I learned that the hard way.
Measure and cut 9″ squares, outside, inside fabric and batting.

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Secure all layers together with safety pins and trim edges if necessary.
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Stitch edges using a zig zag or overcast stitch.
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Pin fabric and zipper with right sides together. If you have an owner’s manual for your sewing machine, it’s nice to look to see which foot to use. Sew close to the zipper then zig zag rough edges.
Trace a logo of any image; I use my dove logo that my best friend, Debra-Lyn Ireland, animalartist.ca helped me design. Pin under the zippered edge. Sew on top of the tracing paper and then peel off the paper. If you have an embroidered patch that would be nice too.

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After one side of the zipper is sewn and the logo is done, fold right sides together and align other side of the zipper with the edge of the fabric. Sew close to the zipper, then zig zag rough edges.
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Ok, hand sewing time. Hand sew the zippered edge to the inside fabric. Sewing the zipper edge to the inside fabric keeps the inside of the pouch neat.
Strap: You can skip this step if you have an old belt, guitar strap or an adjustable strap possibly from an old backpack or something. Customizing your own makes it original.
Cut 2 1/2″ long enough piece to wrap around your waist plus extra to use for your belt and carabiner clip loops. Mine was 38″ long. Safety pin a shoe lace or something similar to one end, tuck in and fold right sides together. Sew edge using a 1/4 inch seam, leaving an inch at each side. Pull the cord and wiggle the the fabric to go over the safety pin. You can iron press the strap flat or finger press which is my favorite method. Sew straight down each side of the pressed strap. At each end of the strap fold over an 1 1/2″ and fold the end in 1/2″ to sew on top. Sew back and forth many times to make it very secure.
Loops to attach carabiners:
Cut two 1″ X 2 1/2″ pieces of the outside fabric and finger press the edges inward and fold in half and press again. Move the needle on the sewing machine all the way to one side so that your fabric meets the drop feed teeth and sew once or twice.
Carefully place carabiner loops in position on sides near the top. Sew both side edges of your pouch and you are done.
Feel free to customize this pouch to your liking. Also you can cheat by adding loops to an already made pouch such as a pencil case or make-up bag. I would have liked to take more pictures of my pouch in use but I’m still wearing my parka. I found it difficult to take picture of my phone with the pouch because my phone is my camera.
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 The red pouch was my prototype which suits my needs so there wasn’t much to change. The blue pouch is for my best friend Lindsay, I started it in July and thought I would give it for her birthday in September but that pasted so I thought for Christmas but that pasted so now she gets it for being my best friend.
I am very thankful to have a few close friends who will always be their for me.
I feel so LUCKY!

Baked Eggs and Bacon

Perfect for brunch! I love this recipe because it is a great way to have vegetables for breakfast because of the bacon and the cheese it makes all vegetables taste really good. My kids never complain about it. It’s how I got them to like asparagus. I’ve made this with what ever vegetables I have in the fridge my favourites are asparagus, peppers, zucchini, broccoli (specially the stem), onion, celery. The main idea is using up the bacon grease. Don’t forget to add some grease to your dogs food. I like to split a pack of bacon in 3 or 4 portions and freeze it so you can make this recipe a few times with one package.
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Baked Eggs and Bacon
1/3 package of bacon
9 eggs (more or less depending on how many people)
Water, milk or cream
Asparagus, bottoms cut in half inch pieces
Coloured Pepper, cut into pieces
Celery, diced
Green onions, diced
Fresh basil, optional
Salt and pepper
Cheese, shredded
Herbs or spices of your choice, optional
Preheat oven to 400
Place bacon in a casserole dish and bake until the fat cooks out about 12 minutes turning over half way through. Prepare eggs in a large measuring cup or bowl and whisk. Add a little water or milk and fresh basil if using, salt and pepper. Take out the bacon and cut up into pieces, leave the fat. Swirl the fat around in the dish. Add celery, peppers and bottoms of asparagus. Pour the egg mixture over the vegetables and sprinkle on the green onions, then the tops of the asparagus and the bacon pieces. Turn oven down to 380. Bake for 15 minutes and take out and add cheese. Bake for 10-15 more minutes. Let cool for 5 minutes and enjoy.
Sorry to the vegans but the kids love it.
Have a nice long weekend! Enjoy the special moments!
My next post is a sewing pattern.