H’angry Heart (and Sick n’ H’angry Soup)

Are you feeding your soul? It’s so easy to get caught up in the busy and to forget to check in with yourself to see if your heart is feeling fulfilled. We can be in our routines and doing our thing only to realize that we feel exhausted–the trouble then becomes that we feel too tired to do the things that bring us joy. Instead, we settle for brain-sedating activities like watching television or surfing the internet that are possibly accompanied by food or alcohol to further numb us. Everything else feels like too much effort!Read More »

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The Revival (and 7 Layer Tex-Mex Pasta Salad)

A few days ago I got called out by a good friend (thanks Yammykins!) on my MIA blog status: I’d not posted since December 21 –EGAD! The truth is that things have been so intense on all levels of being, I literally fell into survival mode. I was stretched emotionally, mentally, physically and spiritually. My inspiration and creativity was an afterthought and the longer I neglected that side of me, the harder it seemed to be to find the spark and go deep. I was spread so thin and my plate was so full (as it were). I grappled with identities and questioned my contribution to the blogosphere, feeling at times that I was jack of all trades and master of none. My inner perfectionist (you know the one) cut her all-or-nothing card, and, I didn’t have it in me to prevail. On top of that, the reality of limited time and my hectic schedule meant that I really had to focus and let some things fall by the wayside.

Upon being prompted, I realized it was time to make a return to this channel of expression, showing up as who I am now: a recently engaged, soon-to-be Masters of Counselling Graduate! And the timing couldn’t be better! I’ve slowly been making my way back into the kitchen and my heart, head, and stomach are hungering to make, bake, and create again! So please take me back! I apologize for my absence, but I promise it has all felt like part of a divine recipe. I don’t quite know what’s coming out of the oven, but, despite my four month hiatus, I am showing up now. What better way to mark my re-entry into the blog world than with a tex-mex pasta dish, vegan and gluten-free. Life is good!

Tex Mex

Originally inspired by the famous “Seven Layer Dip” that seems to show up at potluck and parties everywhere, this dish is delicious served hot, or cold as a pasta salad. The recipe here is vegan, but feel free to sub in your dairy originals if that’s your thing.

7 Layer Tex-Mex Pasta Salad

Sauce

  • 1 pack of msg-free taco seasoning
  • 1 can of black beans, rinsed and divided
  • 1 cup vegan sour cream
  • ½ cup of your favourite salsa

Pasta Dish ingredients

  • 2 cups kamut or brown rice fusilli, cooked according to package instructions
  • 1 cup grape tomatoes, sliced in half
  • 1 cup mixed orange and yellow peppers, chopped
  • 2 green onions, sliced
  • ½ cup of Daiya cheddar shredz
  • ¼ cup chopped parsley or cilantro
  • 1 tbsp freshly squeezed lime juice
  • Sea salt to taste (this will depend on how salty your seasoning pack is).

In a high powered blender, blend sauce ingredients together until smooth. Assemble remaining ingredients, letting the pasta cool first before adding if you are going for the cold salad version. Mix in the sauce, sprinkle with a bit more Daiya, and serve!

Your food fit (and grilled corn and peach shallot salad)

What does your way of eating look like for you? A huge part of recovery for me was about finding out what foods work for me and my body–it’s like having a personalized meal plan designed for you by your body! Each body is different and that is why I never advocate or push for a certain diet or way of eating. And this is also why my radar goes up whenever I see the next trendy way to eat or weight loss diet pitch.

My gage of what works for me has nothing to do with what I think I “should” eat, or classifying foods as “good” and “bad.” It has everything to do with how I feel when I eat what I eat. Little by little, I incorporated that feedback and, over time, developed a pretty good repertoire of foods that I know work for my body.

I know that after I eat refined or concentrated forms of sugar, for example, my head feels fuzzy –and I usually want more, lots more! When I eat wheat, my belly balloons out and I get constipated (sorry if that’s TMI!). If I don’t have enough protein, my muscles feel weak and I crave junk food. Whenever someone asks me how I eat, I respond the same way every time: “I eat what my body likes.” There is no magic formula –your body is your compass. Sure, there are certain foods that tend to cause reactions in a good many people, so these may be foods you want to check in with your body about for sure. Even with this though, every body will react differently and will have varying degrees of tolerance and sensitivity. Here are some check in points to be mindful of as you evaluate your compatibility with a certain food:

  • Is your stomach bloated after you eat it? Are you gassy?
  • Is there a disruption to your digestion (does it speed up or slow down)?
  • Is your mind clear after you eat this food?
  • How is your energy level? Did you crash and burn or are you full of beans?
  • How is your skin? Do you notice more acne, dryness, or rashes when you consume a certain food?
  • How do you feel about the food? Do you feel safe and grounded eating it, or does the very thought of it leave you teetering on the brink of a binge? If it sends you flying into a binge, your body is probably trying to tell you something.
  • Does this food cause you to crave other not-so-nourishing foods?
  • Do you feel nourished on every level of being when you eat this food?

These questions are just a starting point as you begin to develop your own way of eating. In many ways, you probably already have a pretty good idea about what works for you (and FYI, it might not be what the Canada Food Guide tells you!). Does that mean I don’t ever have dairy, sugar, or wheat? Heck no! But when I do have these things, I try to space them out in my diet so my body can re-calibrate in-between. Nothing is all or nothing. In fact, being lenient with our diets is SO important for those of us coming out of all-or-nothing and binary (good food/bad food) diet-oriented mindsets and approaches to eating. The more you truly feed your body based on the feedback it gives you and what it desires, the more you will want to continue to eat that way because you just feel better when you do. It really is that simple.

This recipe is one of the last lingering tidbits of summer–so before we all slip into full pumpkin mode, I thought I’d better get it up! Warm grilled peaches, corn, and sauteed shallots with a few dots of goat cheese and a sweet and spicy dressing makes this salad a perfect transition into fall.

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Grilled Peach and Corn Shallot Salad

Serves 2.

  • 4 cups mixed baby greens
  • 1 corn of the cob, grilled on the BBQ (see below)
  • 1 peach, sliced in half, pit removed and grilled
  • 1 shallot, thinly sliced
  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • 2 tbsp goat cheese, crumbled (optional, omit for vegan version)

Dressing:

  • 1 tbsp dijon mustard
  • 1 tbsp thai sweet chili sauce (or sub honey and chili flakes)
  • 2 tbsp apple cider vinegar
  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • salt and pepper to taste

Grill corn and peach on the ‘Q (medium high) –about 3-4 minutes per side, each side brushed with olive oil. I like to do this on a grill plate, but on foil works too. The peach will soften and caramelize — when it gets there, remove and allow to cool. De-cob corn and slice the grilled peach. While these are grilling, saute the shallot in olive oil over medium-high heat until translucent. Whisk the dressing together in a small cup. Spread lettuce out on two plates and place corn and peaches on the lettuce, followed by the goat cheese so that it gets all melty. Add shallots. Add dressing. EAT!