Tuesday, March 31, 2015

Passover Power Granola

Sorry, but I have to say it every year: DO NOT BUY PACKED PASSOVER FOOD!

While all processed food is basically crap, the stuff they make specifically for Passover is often even worse.  Not only that, but its ridiculously expensive and tastes like shit.

Do yourself a favour and make your own Passover eats.  We only buy the whole wheat matzo and whole wheat matzo meal and that's about it!

If you like cereal or granola for breakfast, I know that it can be hard to just eat matzo.  I don't recommend it anyways, its just empty carbs that will leave you feeling famished and sluggish in a few hours.

This granola is filled with fibre, protein and nutritious seeds and fruits.  Pair it with some Greek yogurt and maybe some fresh fruit and you'll be sailing through your morning with energy and vitality.

Passover Power Granola

1/2 cup coconut oil
1 cup apple sauce
1 tsp vanilla extract
1 tsp pure, uncut stevia powder (or other sweetener, to taste)
1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
1/2 tsp salt

180g bag plain puffed quinoa
2 tbls whole flax seeds
2 tbls hemp seeds
1 tbls chia seeds
1 scoop vanilla hemp protein powder (like this one)

1 cup mixed dried fruit (unsweetened) and pumpkin/sunflower seeds (I used this)

Place oil, apple sauce, vanilla, stevia, cinnamon and salt in small pot and warm over medium heat until oil is completely melted.

Place dry ingredients in a large bowl and stir.  Pour wet ingredients over top and mix well.  Spread evenly on non-stick baking sheet and bake at 350F for 30 minutes, stirring twice.  Let cool and stir in fruits and seeds.  Store in an airtight container.

Monday, March 30, 2015

Passover Charoset

This coming Friday is the first night of Passover...and its Good Friday! We've got a big celebration planned as my parents are coming here and we are all, my brother and his family included, going to my in-laws' for a big sedar.

I am glad its a short week.  It's Monday, but I can't really say we had a relaxing weekend around here.  It was busy.  Good busy, but busy.  And Adam caught a bad cold and lost his voice and has to give a big talk today.  He's pretty down in the dumps.

Our little pre-Passover party on Saturday was a hit though, and my charoset was an even bigger hit!  I am thrilled since (1) I've never bothered to make it before, and (2) I didn't, as usual, use a recipe, I just made up my own.

The photo shows just the tiny amount that was left afterwards, and Adam polished the rest off yesterday. 

Even if you don't celebrate Passover, its a yummy little treat and you don't need to eat it with matzo by any means.  It would actually be awesome with Greek yogurt!

Passover Charoset

4 apples, grated (I used the food processor)
1 cup chopped walnuts
2 tbls lemon juice
2 tbls honey
2 tbls pomegranate molasses
1/2 tsp ground cinnamon

Combine all ingredients, stir together and serve.  Keep refrigerated for up to 3 days.

Friday, March 27, 2015

Is It the Weekend Yet?

Stay at home mom at that!

Its been quite the week.
Car accident, work, and the most stressful thing of all?  Organizing what the kids are doing this summer!

I am on the girls' daycare board, and just waiting until the second day of registration left us on the wait list for one week this summer for Big A.  She is also going to Kingston for a week to see my parents and my mom and I are going nuts trying to find a camp for her for that week!  Getting kids into activities and camps these days is a freakin' competitive sport!!

This weekend is not likely to be more relaxed either.  I work tonight and tomorrow and they we have a community pre-Passover party, the girls' spring session activities start up again, then Big A has a birthday party on Sunday and I have my first book club meeting.  All that and I have to start making stuff for Passover.  This year my parents are coming here for the first time ever, and we are all doing a sedar and my in-laws' place. 

For tomorrow's party, I've just made some Charoset...recipe to come!

Have a happy, healthy weekend!!

Thursday, March 26, 2015

Sweet Potato Chickpea Roti

This delicious curry can be rolled into a roti shell (or whole grain tortilla), or served over rice or quinoa (or cauliflower rice!).  Its so yummy, you may just want to eat it alone.  No matter how you serve it, it is as healthy as it is tasty.  Win win!!

Sweet Potato Chickpea Roti

1 cup lentils, cooked
1 sweet potato, cooked, peeled and mashed

1 tsp coconut oil
1 onion, diced
Fresh ginger, chopped, to taste
2-3 cloves garlic, minced
1 tbls garam masala
1 tsp turmeric
1 tsp salt
Cayenne pepper, to taste (optional)
1/4 cup cider vinegar
1 can light coconut milk
1 can chickpeas, drained and rinsed (or 1.5 cups, cooked)
1/2 green cabbage, sliced

Saute onion, ginger, garlic and spices in oil in large skillet or pot over medium heat.  Once onion has softened, add vinegar, coconut milk chickpeas and cabbage.  Simmer until cabbage is cooked.  Stir in cooked lentils and sweet potato and continue cooking over medium low heat until liquid reduces.  Spoon into roti shells or tortillas or serve over rice or quinoa.  Keep refrigerated 4-5 days or freeze.

Wednesday, March 25, 2015

Close Call #2

I don't know what plan the universe has for me but after being hit by a car while walking a few weeks ago, I was sideswiped while driving our car yesterday!

It was yet another reminder of how things can change in the blink of an eye.

I am, fortunately, not hurt, however, pretty shaken up.  And the car is in bad shape.  Very expensive repairs required and we will be without it for about 2 weeks.  At least insurance will cover it.

It wasn't even the usual impatient, rude Toronto driver who did it (believe me, if you think Canadians are polite, you'll feel differently if you drive in this city!!).  It was a dude from London, Ontario, a guy driving his musical band to a gig.  Unfamiliar with the city, he is apparently not used to driving in Toronto and tried to do a U-Turn without looking and smashed into me.

At the end it really meant nothing more than a wasted bunch of hours dealing with towing companies, police and insurance, so I am trying to focus on being grateful for the fact that I wasn't hurt and I was the only one in the car.

Part of me wants to grab Adam and the girls and hide in our house.  Its not just terrorism and crime that we tend to worry about that is such a threat, but the more everyday things like accidents! 
I know, I know, overprotecting them isn't the answer, but we live in a scary world and it sometimes feels next to impossible to keep our kids safe from every single threat!

You know? In my 20s after getting hit by a car twice in a few weeks, my phone dying and my Ipod exploding (Apple fortunately replaced it), I would have been feeling very sorry for myself.  But now that I'm older and wrinklier...I mean wiser, I realize that I am actually very fortunate.  Its all nothing.  I have all the important things including my amazing family and my health. That's what matters.

Have a great hump day and drive carefully!!

Tuesday, March 24, 2015

High-Protein Ginger Fig Granola

One of my favorite food blogs is Vegan Richa.  Virtually every recipe she posts is not only nutritious but drool-worthy.  Recently she posted a granola recipe using lentils instead of grains.  OMG, I cannot believe the brilliance!  What a fabulous idea!!

My kids will NOT eat lentils and beans knowingly and getting Big A to eat protein at all is often a challenge, but the kid loves granola.  I could have done an entirely lentil-only granola, but I was afraid that was too risky, so I simply added them along with the other (gluten-free) grains to bump up the protein in this granola.  Oh man, so so so good!

This granola pairs some of my very favorite things: ginger, figs, and warm, sweet spices. It also happens to be gluten-free, sugar-free, and high fibre.  Adding cashews would be awesome, but I kept it nut-free so the girls could take it to school.  If you aren't a fan of figs, substitute with another dried fruit such as raisins, cranberries, cherries or apricots.

High-Protein Ginger Fig Granola

1 cup red lentils
1/2 tsp cinnamon
2 tbls stevia (that measures equal to sugar), or 1/2 tsp pure, uncut powdered stevia

150g package of brown rice, millet or quinoa cakes, unsalted, unflavoured, crumbled
1 cup uncooked millet
6 cups large flake oats (gluten-free, if necessary)

2 cups unsweetened pear or apple sauce
1/3 cup coconut oil
Large piece of fresh ginger, chopped (or grated if you want a less pronounced ginger taste)
1 tsp pure, uncut powdered stevia, or other sweetener, to taste
1 tsp vanilla extract
1 tsp cinnamon
1/2 tsp apple pie spice*
1/4 tsp salt

2 cups figs, chopped

Place lentils and 2 cups water in covered pot.  Bring to a boil and then drain and rinse immediately.  Lentils should still be firm.

Remove excess moisture from lentils and then toss with cinnamon and sweetener and bake on parchment-lined baking sheet in the oven at 350F for about 10-15 minutes until crunchy.  Do not burn. Let cool.

Place dry ingredients in a large bowl and toss together.

Pour pear/apple sauce into a pot with oil, sweetener, ginger, vanilla and seasonings.  Stir over medium heat until oil melts. Drizzle over dry ingredients and stir to evenly coat grains.  Spread on 2 baking sheets in an even layer and bake for 30 minutes at 350F, stirring and rotating pans at least once.  Turn off oven but leave granola in the oven for another 30 minutes.  Remove from oven and let cool.  Toss with lentils and figs and store in an airtight container.

*Or pumpkin pie spice.

I have shared this recipe with Urban Naturale's Healthy, Happy, Green and Natural Party Blog Hop and Vegetarian Mamma's Gluten-Free Friday.

Monday, March 23, 2015

Farewell Target and Why Online Shopping Rocks

In case you haven't heard, Target, which finally came to Canada a few years ago, is now leaving.  Yep, like they will all disappear within the next few weeks.

Apparently they tried to use the U.S. business model here and it just didn't work because, well, we Canadians are unique.  Partly, we love online shopping and Target didn't offer us this option.  Its true, at least in this house.  Internet shopping has become so simple, and in a big city like Toronto where getting anywhere can be mayhem, and what your looking for in the stores could be sold out, it just saves so much time and energy.

Nevertheless, now that Target has got the last of its stuff on 40% off or more sales, we packed the kids in the car on Saturday and heading to the nearest one to check it out.  The deals were indeed very good, so we all brought some things to take home.  The girls got sandals for summer that they adore (so much so that they are refusing to take them off) and some clothes they picked out (which are not my taste but I bit my tongue).  I am thrilled with some new weight lifting gloves, a make up brush, two pairs of leggings, and a beautiful leather belt, and Adam found a bunch of stuff for himself too.

I guess from now on I will have to seek out Targets in the U.S. whenever we visit...the ones here were never as good anyways.  Now if only we could get Trader Joes here!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

By the way, I must have angered the Device Gods with my rant about technology because, I kid you not, last week both my phone and my Ipod died!

For what its worth, we did get stuck in bad traffic trying to get to Target, and on Saturday when I took the girls with me to the Apple Store at Yorkdale Mall, half the subway was closed down (For maintenance maybe?) which resulted in us having to take 2 extra buses to get there and back.  See?  Online shopping is much better!