Apr 07

How to Make a Moscow Mule

moscow muleAlthough the Moscow mule may sound like it came from Russia, it is actually a pure American made cocktail drink created by John Marin back in 1941.  The creation was somehow out of desperation in order to sell three products that were having very poor sales – ginger beer, copper mugs, and vodka.  John Marin sold ginger beer back at that time.  His friend on the other hand was selling copper mugs but was not really popular.  However, the act of desperation somehow inspired brilliant creativity in John Marin and thus the birth of the Moscow mule.

The Moscow mule is a concoction of ginger beer and vodka along with some lime juice and lime garnishes.  What makes this cocktail drink a very desirable drink to have is that it is very refreshing.  Essentially, the ingenuity of the inventor of the Moscow mule has helped to increase the sales of all three products, including his own ginger beer.

How to make a moscow mule minhas style, make sure you use only ginger beer and not ginger ale.  It is vital that you are able to distinguish the two as there is really a big difference when making the Moscow mule.  If you are unable to tell the difference between a ginger ale and ginger beer, you ought to try both products to get enlightened.  Once you’ve done that, you will surely know why ginger beer is necessary for making the Moscow mule.

How to Make a Moscow Mule:

2 oz. Vodka
½ oz. Lime Juice
4-6 oz. Ginger Beer

To concoct the Moscow mule, get a copper mug and pour half ounce of lime juice inside.  Then add some ice along with two ounces of vodka.  Fill the copper mug with ginger beer (not ginger ale), then stir the content.  Add some lime garnish.  Enjoy.

Mar 16

Pointers to Prepare when Looking for a Wedding Caterer

weddingcateringcalgaryWhen it comes to weddings, one of the highlights for the guests will always be the food.  While it is true that the guests will admire the elegance and beauty of the wedding dress, during the reception though, it is likely that most of them will be talking about the food and not the wedding itself.  For this reason, it is important that you have your guests served with the most scrumptious meal that they normally would not experience elsewhere.

Of course, the main trouble with weddings is that it can be a fiasco to prepare and organize.  This is the very reason why most simply rely on wedding organizers.  Then again, no matter what the wedding organizers decide on, the decision on food matters will be on the side of those who will be getting married.  After all, it is their wedding day so they should have the final say when it comes to the food that will be catered.

When it comes to the main celebration of the wedding day itself, it is during the reception where all will sit down, relax, and have a hearty meal.  It does not matter whether the guest or relative is young, old, or from any side of the bride and groom.  What will transpire during the wedding reception will be the eating of food.  Normally, when the food is exquisitely delicious, the guests will talk about it, even loudly at times.  However, if the food is not above standard, the guest will also talk about it, but more of secretively.  The latter situation will always fall on the newlyweds as they did not pick the right catering services properly.  Of course, this issue will not happen if you choose Wedding Catering Calgary as your wedding caterer.

When it comes to wedding catering services, it is crucial that you not only test the food that will be served, but you also prepare some pointers for your wedding caterers to follow.  Here some pointers you need to have prepared.

  1. Sample the food the wedding caterer will provide.
  2. Upon sampling the food and it meets your expectations, hire them to cater the wedding.
  3. Tell your caterer the budget and how much guests you are expecting for the event.
  4. Confirm the date, time, and location with the caterer to ensure that they reserve that date and contract for you.
  5. Ask your caterer if they will also provide the necessary catering equipment to be used for the event or if you need to rent when needed.

Feb 16

Healthy Peanut Butter Cups

Peanut butter cups are one of my favorite guilty pleasures. Peanut butter and chocolate is pretty much the best combination ever. It doesn’t need a lot of talk. Peanut butter and chocolate. That’s all you need to say and you have peoples attention. I used to make peanut butter cups fairly regularly last year. I’m not really sure why I stopped. But they’re back and they’re better!

Peanut Butter Cups

Ingredients

Peanut butter bottoms:

  • 3/4 cups natural peanut butter (no added sugar, fats, salts, etc)
  • 2 tbsp coconut oil, melted
  • 1 tsp agave nectar
  • 1 scoop (1/4 cup) vanilla Sunwarrior protein powder (or of your choosing)
  • 1/4 cup ground flax seeds

Chocolate tops:

  • 1 1/4 cup vegan chocolate chips
  • 2 tbsp almond milk
  • 2 tbsp coconut oil, melted
  • 1-2 tbsp coconut sugar (or agave nectar)

Directions:

Combine all the peanut butter bottoms ingredients together in a bowl. Scoop about 1 tbsp of the mixture into lined muffin tins. Should make 1 dozen. Place in freezer for 15 minutes.

Melt the chocolate chips in the microwave or in a pot on low heat. Once melted add the remaining ingredients. Stir until well combined and remove from heat. Scoop 1 tbsp of the mixture on top of the peanut butter. Put back in the freezer for another 15 minutes or until hardened.

Tip: Keep them in the freezer. This will keep them from melting and loosing their shape.

Feb 14

5 Ingredient Soup: Red-Lentil

Lentil soup is ones of those dishes that should be a regular in everyone’s kitchen. Lentils are high in protein, readily available and pretty cheap. They are one of the easiest legumes to work with as they don’t require any soaking time prior to use (when using dry ones of course). I make variations of lentil soup quite often and red lentils are my favorite to work with. This recipe is super easy to make and takes only 5 ingredients.

This 5 ingredient soup is bound to warm up your belly and your soul.

Red Lentil Soup

Ingredients

  • 1 cup red lentils
  • 2 large carrots
  • 1/2 white onion
  • 2 tsp curry powder
  • 8 cups liquid (1/2 veggie stock, 1/2 water)

You can do all veggie stock, but I like it a bit less salty so I did half and half.

Directions:
Put the garlic and onions in a food processor and mince for 10 seconds. Saute for 2 minutes with no oil on medium heat.

Process the carrots until minced into a pulp, about 20-30 seconds. Add them to the pot and saute for 1 minute. Add the remaining ingredients and bring to a boil. Once boiling, lower heat and simmer for 30 minutes.

The soup will be ready to eat in 30 but the longer you cook it for the better. I let mine simmer for 2 hours.

This made about 4-5 servings and were a great addition to my lunches.  I had it one night for dinner with some brown rice and a side salad. Lentils have a ton of protein in them so eat em up!

Eat better. Feel better.

Feb 13

Quinoa Pilaf

It’s becoming harder for Vancouverites to break bread together considering that many of us don’t eat bread anymore. Our appetites are hindered by many dietary restrictions such as gluten free, vegan, vegetarian, sugar free, low fat, low carb, local, sustainable, raw, macrobiotic, soy free and pescatarian. No matter what the reason for the dietary restriction, it can be solved by letting your host know  so they can accommodate or you can bring a dish.

Last week I was invited to a dinner where the host didn’t know that I was vegan. I let the host know that I am vegan and that it was no trouble at all to prepare a dish to bring that would suit my dietary restriction. She made sure there was veggies and salad for me to add to my plate as well.

I made lots of this quinoa pilaf so that the other guests could try it too. It was a hit!

Quinoa Pilaf

Ingredients

  • 1 cup dried quinoa, cooked according to package
  • 1 cup chickpeas (1 sm can)
  • 1/2 onion, chopped
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • 3 large celery stalks, diced (2 cups)
  • 2 cups green beans, chopped
  • 3 cups spinach, chopped
  • 1 cup tofu
  • 2 tsp gluten free soy sauce
  • 1 tsp chili powder
  • 1/2 tsp cumin
  • 1 tsp coriander
  • 1/2 lemon, juiced
  • sriracha, to taste

Directions:

Dice the tofu into cubes, toss in half the soy sauce and sesame oil then bake for 25 minutes. Set aside.

Saute the onions and garlic in a tbsp of grapeseed oil for 3 minutes. Lower the heat and add the celery, green beans and chickpeas and saute for 5 minutes. Add the remaining ingredients and cook until well combined. Stir as required to prevent sticking to the bottom.

Serve on its own or with a salad.

Makes enough for 2-4 people.

Whether you need this quinoa pilaf for a dinner party with omnivores or just a night at home, it surely will satisfy anyone. It combines many dietary restrictions such as vegan, vegetarian, gluten free and low fat.

Eat better. Feel better.

Feb 12

Lemon Coconut Protein Balls

We all love the occasional snack but when you sit all day at a desk, snacking can be your biggest enemy. Having healthy, homemade snack options available will not only make your wallet happy but your waist line too. These protein balls pack a huge punch of flavour and protein. They are practically raw, although not official. They do not need to be baked and require very little prep time.

I got inspiration for these yummy protein balls from Ani Phyo who is an eco-lifesylist and raw foodist. I was looking for a recipe that didn’t contain dates. Dates are a very common ingredient in raw food and especially raw protein balls/bars. I used the Coconut Breakfast Cakes and made a few modifications to get what I wanted!

Lemon Coconut Protein Balls

Ingredients

  • 2 cups milled flax seed
  • 2 scoops vanilla protein powder (1/2 cup, I used Sunwarrior, Warrior blend)
  • 2 tbsp melted coconut oil
  • 1/4 cup agave nectar
  • 1/4 cup lemon juice (1 juiced lemon)
  • pinch sea salt
  • 1/2 cup water
  • 1/2 cup shredded coconut

Directions

Put all ingredients into a large bowl and mix well. Form into bite sized balls. This will make about 20 balls, depending on how big you like them.

They can also be flattened into a pancake and topped with fresh fruit! I didn’t have any in the house (gasp) so I have to wait till next time to do this. YUM!

Eat better. Feel better.

Feb 10

Sweet Potato Chili

Chili is a classic dish that is typically made with chili peppers, beef, beans and spices. Technically it’s a stew but it is so popular and common that it has it’s own category. There are a plethora of variations and so many chili cook offs occur around the world. This version is vegan, gluten free and soy free. I always have chili in my freezer. I like to make it in my crockpot and freeze it for when I’m too lazy to cook; they make excellent lunches too.

I try not to use prepared tomato sauces as they typically have lots of salt and either refined sugar or high fructose corn syrup and I’m just not down with either of those. Sooooooo, I make my own tomato sauce OR find one that is a plain, low salt tomato sauce in a glass jar. This one has only 5 calories (vs 60), 40mg (vs 600), 1g sugar (vs 7g). That is a HUGE difference in the salt content!!!

Sweet Potato Chili

Ingredients

  • 1 large sweet potato, peeled and diced
  • 2 cups black beans
  • 2.5 cups pinto beans
  • 1/2 cup red lentils
  • 3 tomatoes, diced
  • 1 red pepper, chopped
  • 1 orange pepper, chopped
  • 3 cups tomato sauce
  • 1 jalapeno, minced
  • 3 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 onion, diced
  • 1 handful parsley minced
  • 1.5 tsp cayenne
  • 1 tsp cinnamon
  • 1 tsp cumin
  • 4 tsp chili powder
  • 3 cups water
  • 1 cup veggie stock

Directions:

Put all ingredients into a slow cooker and cook on high for 4-5 hours. Or low for the day while at work.

If you don’t have a slow cooker:

Saute the onions and garlic until translucent (about 5 minutes) then add the sweet potato, water and veggie stock. Bring to a boil and simmer for 5 minutes. Add all remaining ingredients and cook on medium-low heat for 30  minutes. The longer you cook chili the better so if you have more time, let it simmer on a lower heat for at least one hour. But if you’re short for time and really want a steaming bowl of delicious chili, then this will work just fine!

I like to add a sweet potato to my chili or stews as it adds some bulk and it’s consistency goes well with the beans. Chili is great on it’s own or you can serve it on top of brown rice, quinoa, with a side salad, or a bun/bread.

Eat better. Feel better.

Feb 09

Mexican Fried Rice

I haven’t made fried rice in a long time. Typically it is made up of Asian flavours but this time I decided to try something different. I also have been trying to get back to being almost gluten free. This Mexican fried rice dish is VEGAN and GLUTEN FREE and super satisfying. I’m a big lover of black beans and Mexican cuisine so that’s where my inspiration came from for this meal. And many subsequent meals as this made A LOT of leftovers.

This dish was easy! I made the rice and quinoa in the rice cooker the day before and even prepared the dried beans too. I try to always stick to dried over canned. Much better for your health (bpa free and low sodium). Takes a tad bit more prep but not much. I prepare my dried beans while doing housework or something where I’m home but can leave a pot boiling on the stove.

Mexican Fried RiceIngredients

  • 4 cups brown rice (cooked)
  • 2 cups quinoa (cooked)
  • 2 cups black beans
  • 2 cups corn
  • 1 large onion, diced
  • 2 carrots, diced
  • 4 roma tomatoes
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 jalapeno
  • 1 lime, juiced
  • 2 tsp chili powder
  • 1 tsp cumin
  • 1/2 tsp sea salt
  • 1 cup veggie stock
  • 1 tsp garlic powder
  • cayenne (to taste)

Toppings: Daiya, salsa and avocado (or guacamole), cilantro

Directions:

Chop the tomatoes into thirds and boil for 5 minutes. Place in a food processor and add the jalapeno. Add veggie stock and spices. Process until smooth.

Saute the garlic and onions in a tablespoon of grapeseed oil until translucent (about 5 minutes). Add carrots and corn then cover and cook for 10 minutes. Add the remaining ingredients, mix until fully combined. Add more spices if needed.

This dish was really great on its on. But would also go good addition to a salad or side dish to any meal. The whole grains and quinoa add lots of fibre and protein along with an array of nutrients.

Eat better. Feel better.

Feb 08

Vegan Salad Dressing

It is definitely that time of year when you can’t go the day without hearing that someone is on a diet, cleanse or lifestyle change. I’m not unlike everyone else. Although it was already a lifestyle for me, I just fell off track over the holidays. So, I’m back in the kitchen preparing all sorts of yummy, healthy meals.

I am going to focus on adding more raw food into my life again. Start my day with a warm glass of lemon cayenne water, a veggerific smoothie with protein powder (Vega One, Sun Warrior or Garden of Health), at lunch I will focus on 60-80% raw and the rest can be cooked and dinner will be the same ratios. Snacks will be fresh juices made by me, smoothie, almonds, veggies and hummus, fruit, rice cakes/crackers and many more.

Seeing how I’ll be eating a lot of salads I thought a new dressing is in order.

Green Goodness Dressing

Ingredients

  • 1.5 Avocado
  • 1 lemon, juiced
  • 1 garlic clove
  • 1 cup Italian parsley
  • 2 green onions, chopped
  • 1/2 tsp cayenne
  • 1 tsp agave nectar
  • 5 tsp apple cider vinegar
  • 1/2 cup water

Directions:

Place garlic, parsley and green onion in a food processor and process for 30 seconds. Add remaining ingredients and process until smooth. Add sea salt to taste.

I found processing the garlic, parsley and green onion a bit before adding the remaining ingredients beneficial as it ensure that they get minced up sufficiently. 30 seconds was good for me, but keep going if you need to.

The consistency was perfect; thick and creamy but liquid enough that it poured freely out of the jar. Start with 1/2 cup and go from their until you find the consistency you prefer.

This salad consists of mixed greens, broccoli sprouts, shredded carrots, cucumber, sliced red pepper and broccoli. With a side of brown rice, tempeh bacon and steamed kale. This is about 70% raw and 30% cooked! I was very satisfied. In fact I could just barely finish it.

Eat better. Feel Better.

Feb 07

Wild Rose Cleanse Review

The Wild Rose Cleanse was formulated by Dr. Terry Wilard, a fellow Canadian. It is a 12 day detox solution to help you feel energetic, clear skin and boost your immune system (and maybe lose a couple pounds in the process). The program is made up of some supplements and a diet to follow for maximum results. The Wild Rose Cleanse website has a great explanation of the reason to do a cleanse:

“Internal cleansing is considered to be the cornerstone of good health by many natural physicians. Pollutants from the environment – found in the air, water and foods that we eat – as well as wastes produced from normal bodily processes, tend to accumulate within the body and lead to a state of congestion. To help maintain a healthy balance of assimilation and elimination, the Wild Rose Herbal D-Tox Program is uniquely designed to enhance all aspects of metabolism. Wild Rose Bliherb formula gently promotes bile production by the liver, supporting digestion and enhancing the elimination of toxins. Laxaherb, Cleansaherb and CL Herbal Extract additionally support the cleansing and elimination of wastes from the system.”

The diet program that is recommended is quite basic but extremely vital. It gets you back on track eating a diet that is rich in whole foods that are alkaline. You can eat as much as you want, but your choices are restricted to three categories: Column 1 is the Protein Foods/ Acid Forming Foods, Column 2 is the Starch Foods/ Alkaline Forming Foods and Column 3 is the Bulk Forming Foods/Neutral Foods. The Protein Foods makes up 20% and the Starch and Bulk Forming Foods make up 80% of your daily diet.

Here is a quick break down of the diet you will follow:

  • No flour products at all (no bread, pasta, noodles, cookies, crackers, cakes, pancakes, flour in sauces, etc)
  • No fermented foods (No wine, beer or alcohol, vinegar, soy sauce, miso, tofu, etc)
  • No peanuts
  • Fruit is allowed, but not all of them. The sweeter the fruit, the worse it’s considered.
  • Juice is restricted. If you make it yourself its all good but store bought juices are frowned upon.
  • Coffee is allowed in moderation, no more than 2 cups a day. But you cannot have dairy or sugar in it. Herbal and green tea is permitted.
  • Drink lots of water!
  • If the food is not on the list then you cannot eat it!!I have done this cleanse many times in my life. I do it at least twice a year. I find that it gets me centered in my diet. I start focusing on whole foods and eating a lot cleaner. It makes me feel energetic, my skin glows, I lose a couple pounds and all around makes me feel better. Depending on your diet before the cleanse, it can be rather daunting when you look at the list of foods you can eat and all the rules you need to follow but it doesn’t need to be! The basic understanding of the program is to eat a diet that is rich in whole foods. And you definitely don’t need to be vegetarian or get the benefits!

    There are some detox symptoms that can and probably will occur during the 12 day program. I found the first three days to be the most intense. I suggest starting it on a weekend so that you are close to home. I won’t go into many details but I will say this: it increases bowel movements. Nuff said. BUT once this part passes you will feel energetic, light, clean and your skin will start glowing.

    There are so many creative ways to prepare Wild Rose friendly meals. The options are endless! Here’s some of my faves:

    – Red lentil daal
    – Three Bean Sweet Potato Chili
    – Joli’s Inspiration Chili – just sub the veggie ground round out for more veggies, beans, ground beef or ground turkey (if you’re into that kinda stuff)
    – Indian Spiced Lentils with quinoa, kale and swiss chard
    – Chickpea patties and Superfood kale salad – fave salad ever!
    – Tabbouleh
    – Chickpea Spinach Curry
    – Cauliflower Curry
    – Mexican Quinoa Salad
    -Stuffed peppers, Mexican styles

    Salad Dressing: Juiced lemons, 1-2 tsp cilantro, ½ jalapeno and olive oil. I didn’t put measurements here because it depends on your palate. I prefer the least amount of oil as possible so I usually only put a tablespoon or two and go heavy on the lemon. But if you like more go for a ¼ cup olive oil, 1 juiced lemon and the remaining ingredients!

    Roasted Veggies: Toss some broccoli, cauliflower, carrots, squash, potatoes in some olive oil, sea salt and pepper and roast for 30-45 minutes. Yum! I throw those on a bed of greens and have a yummy roasted veggie salad. They can also accompany any meal or be a great snack.

    The key to being successful during the Wild Rose cleanse is to be prepared. Take the list of approved foods to the grocery store and get shopping! Have a Food Prep Sunday and make a bunch of salads, chili, soups and snacks ready so that you have these nutritious foods right at your fingertips. You will be less likely to slip up if you stock your fridge full of these goodies.

    Good luck! Happy Detoxing!

    Eat better. Feel better.

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