Just to catch you up, I have been busy practicing my passions... cooking and eating. I have been working on my "eat more plant based journey" and have dabbled in a variety of food choices including "raw", "dairy free", and gluten free". I have embraced the green smoothie as an almost daily breakfast of champions; I have been buying fewer made for me products like salad dressings, granola, and jams, opting to make them in my own kitchen from scratch (or as close to scratch) as possible. I have tried a variety of meatless dishes that have incorporated more lentils and beans and have been met with a less than thrilled family... <sigh> BUT on a happier note, I have managed to re-create much healthier versions of my "traditional" desserts using less conventional/traditional ingredients (shhhhhhhh) with great success and cutting down on our refined sugar intake! I am still working on my ever present task of "hidden healthy" to help my family eat better, even if unknowing. I am also lucky to have sourced out cleaner and more ethically raised chicken, turkey and pork. Hopefully soon, I will be able to find some grass fed beef and then I can feel better about eating meat when that is on our family meal menus.
I have spent much time perusing other wonderful food blogs such as Oh She Glows, Joyous Health, Pure Ella, The First Mess, and My New Roots, just to name a few. I have spent a great deal of time reading about these ladies and have been busily getting to know them through the stories, food and recipes they share; not to mention salivating over the gorgeous pictures they post. YUM-YUM-YUM! Food blogs like these provide me with great inspiration and help me to learn about a whole new way of cooking and eating.
I still regularly visit the more traditional food web sites like Canadian Living and Chef Michael when I am looking for particular recipe. Sometimes I make the recipes as written, while other times, I tinker with them subbing out some ingredients for healthier options or because of dietary requirements... just to practice. As a side note, I do find it interesting that even the more traditional cooking sites like Canadian Living and Chef Michael are providing recipes using less typical ingredients and even providing wonderful food for those with specialized dietary requirements (gluten free, dairy free, vegan, etcetera). At the end of the day, I do find one common thread within the pages of all that I have been reading and that is to use REAL food, fewer or no "made for you" ingredients, and to enjoy whatever it is you create. With that said, I would like to share a few of my successes in the year of my hiatus.
My vegetarian pizza made with a homemade whole wheat crust, my marinara sauce lovingly topped with diced bell peppers (organic only please), sliced mushrooms and zucchini, kale, sliced tomatoes and a few handfuls of mozzarella cheese. This pizza is perfect for our Friday pizza and a movie family night!
My beet borcht by Canadian Living. A hot and hearty soup for dinner. Topped with a healthy dollop of organic yogurt for a vegetarian option OR how about some Vegan Sour Cream by Oh She Glows? Who could not love this soup with it's gorgeous crimson colour and the sweet and tart flavours?
Macaroni & Cheese
Who would have thought to add butternut squash mac 'n cheese? Canadian Living, that's who! I was inspired by their recipe and decided to give my Mom's classic recipe an update and apply some hidden healthy. I opted to play with my Mom's recipe because it used real cheddar cheese instead of a cheese product. You can blitz the sauce with your immersion or regular blender and you will end up with a gorgeous cheese sauce and not a single sign of a vegetable. Can you see any squash? My family couldn't either. this mac & cheese was cheesy, comforting and creamy... just like my mom's traditional recip! I am still tweaking this recipe and will share it once it is perfected!
Going forward, I hope to continue with some regular blogging. I miss the creative outlet! So until I come back, please check out some of my favourite foodie sites. Do try some of their recipes, but most importantly, cook for you and your family. Eat REAL food, lovingly prepared by YOU and feel better!