menu plan monday

breakfast, food, mains, recipes, salads

It has been awhile since I created a Meal Plan Monday post! 

I guess there are few reasons – while Ryan is away, I am only cooking for one,  and I have been doing a lot more experiential cooking with the things I have on hand or finding random inspiration on a Wednesday night via Pinterest. I am also getting through items in our freezer + pantry and picking up seasonal produce on my walks home from work. Although the actual planning process has been a little unpredictable, I have still been putting together delicious, healthy and affordable AIP meals.

This week will be slowing down a bit, which helps with planning and returning to my well-planned grocery shop haul. The plan… is to plan when I can, not stress when I can’t, and to be reminded of why I love to cook. Having any kind of chronic illness related to diet and nutrition has the potential of causing added stress in the kitchen. But this healing journey through AIP has truly made it more enjoyable.

BREAKFAST

Does anyone else feel like you might be breaking the law if you opt for vegetables for breakfast? It definitely feels like some rule is being broken if you get out of the sweet-baked-smoothie, egg-box, doesn’t it? Growing up, I would watch my granddad eat green peppers, tomatoes, sauerkraut and rye bread every morning. I though he was crazy and reached for my Cinnamon Toast Crunch.

Veggies are a great way to start the day. I have been experimenting with this and I actually feel fuller longer, and I have noticed that my body handles a warm savoury breakfast much better than a sweet or cold breakfast. Don’t know why but if anyone does… enlighten me! Although I do love a good pancake or creamy fruit smoothie bowl, I have enjoyed this new routine. For the recipes below, I will be adding shredded chicken or homemade turkey sausage,egg yolks and a heaping cup of probiotic-full sauerkraut (thanks Grandpa) to really maximise my first meal of the day with nutrient density.

AIP Veggie Hash

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AIP Spring Vegetable Breakfast Soup

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Fennel, Apple + Pomegranate Salad

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LUNCH + DINNERS

Interesting side note… this week I read that a third of office workers eat exactly the same lunch, every day, for an average of four and a half years! Whoa! I am definitely guilty of weeks like this, but I am learning that it is so SO important for our gut-health to provide variety and not rely too heavily on the same foods over and over. I typically bring huge amounts of dark leafy greens and lettuce and to put together a massive salad at work. The toppings depend on what I have on hand, but it’s usually shredded chicken, cucumbers, beets, avocados, celery, shredded carrot, … really any vegetable. If I have leftovers from dinner, I dollop that on top of my salad. These selections feature a recipes that would be easy to batch-cook for dinners at the beginning of the week and top up my lunch bowls.

AIP Turmeric Chicken Salad

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Cucumber, Carrot + Avocado Salad

Carrot Mash

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Mayo-free Chicken Salad

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Roasted Beet, Pear + Walnut Salad

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Roasted Spring Vegetables 

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Sweet Potato Picnic Salad

sweet potato aip recipe

Wha-la. Here is to a week of nutrient-dense and low stress cooking! 

I am really interested in seasonal eating and buy as much local/seasonal produce + meat/seafood as we can. There is a great website, Eat the Seasons, where you can look up what is in season every week of the year. The recipes that I will be trying out this week include many ‘July’ produce items – which keeps the diet varied, but also means you save a bit a money, invest in the local economy and eat fresh food. Win!

I would love to know how you prepare for the week and what meal planning tips you have. 

Have a delicious Monday.

x

River Cottage Veg Every Day

cookbook, reads, recipes

There are a lot of things I can spend my money on and a few things that I should spend money on and books always prove to be a good investment. This series called Weekend Read, will include posts about my favorite reads and resources related to cooking, healthy nutrition and tips for well-being.

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When we decided to move to the UK, our suitcase space was limited and a lot of things just didn’t make the cut. I ended up having to do things the old fashioned way and hand-write my favorite recipes from my family binder and personal cookbook collection. Pinterest, Instagram and food blogs are just about my favorite way to find recipe inspiration these days but there is something nostalgic and endearing about a shelf full of cookbooks in the kitchen including hand written recipe cards from generations past and friends present.

This cookbook by River Cottage is definitely worth checking out. River Cottage is known for easy and healthy recipes that incorporate the best of British larder. A dear friend recommended Veg Every Day right after moving to Scotland. Yes, I bought it. Yes, I broke the pact I had with my husband about accumulating things. And no, I don’t feel bad because it’s a book!

I turn to this book when I need inspiration for something quick, healthy, in season and creative. Everything we have tried, has been delicious. The recipes are funky and get my taste buds dancing… peanut butter + lime + chili in a Sweet Potato + Peanut Gratin? Oh yes, ma’am. Since we are approaching the pot-luck, bring your own side dish, holiday season, here are two recipes that I tried recently and will definitely be sharing with friends this year.

Seasonal produce: beetroot, parsnips, and red cabbage

Both of these salads can be served warm or cold. They are bright, crunchy, flavorful and packed with nutrients!

Beetroot Salad with Walnuts + Cumin 

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INGREDIENTS – serves 4

75g walnuts
2 tsp cumin seeds
About 400g beetroot
2 tbsp chopped parsley
Juice of 1 small orange
Squeeze of lemon juice
2 tbsp olive oil
Sea salt and ground black pepper
A pinch of hot smoked paprika

METHOD

Heat a dry frying pan over a medium heat and add the walnuts. Toast gently for a few minutes, tossing often, until they smell toasted and are browning in a few places, put aside. Put the cumin seeds into the frying pan and toast gently for a minute or two, tossing a few times, just until they start to release their scent. Tip on to a plate to stop them cooking further.

Peel the beetroot, grate it coarsely and put it in a bowl. (If you have fresh baby beetroot, just slice it very thin.) Add the parsley, orange juice, a squeeze of lemon and a tablespoon of rapeseed oil, and season. Stir, adjust the seasoning to taste and, if possible, leave for 20 minutes or so, during which time the dressing will marinate and soften the beetroot.

Spread the beetroot in a dish. Crumble the walnuts and scatter with cumin over the beets. For a delish finish, add a few drops of olive oil and dot with a couple spoonfuls of plain yogurt. Sprinkle on the remaining cumin and the paprika.

Red Cabbage, Parsnip + Orange Salad with Dates 

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INGREDIENTS- serves 2

1 orange, ¼ small red cabbage, core removed and finely shredded
1 parsnip, peeled and grated, 1 small handful dates, chopped
2 tbsp olive oil, ½ tsp fresh thyme leaves

METHOD

Cut the top and bottom off the orange and stand it on one of the cut ends on a chopping board. Work your way around it, cutting off the skin, pith and membrane, then cut out the segments. Squeeze the juice from the segmented orange into a small bowl.

Arrange the cabbage on a large plate, or two smaller plates, along with the orange segments, parsnip and dates. Trickle over the reserved juice and olive oil, then sprinkle on the thyme leaves. Serve at once.

Click here to view recipes from Veg Every Day! on the River Cottage website where you can find an index of many of their recipes.

What are your favorite go-to cookbooks?

x

Thanksgiving: herb roasted root vegetables

appetizer, holidays, mains, recipes, sides

It is time to celebrate our second Scottish Friendsgiving.

Thanksgiving is less than one week away and we are grateful to have friends to share the occasion with in Scotland. This time of year, many people find it impossible to eat healthy. This side dish is seasonal, festive, mouth-watering and it won’t break the bank or increase the waistline. This recipe is great for a crowd because you can easily double the quantity and roast baking sheets full of veggies.

This year I am contributing these delicious herb roasted root vegetables. The mix is a wonderfully colourful and comforting mix of roasted parsnip, butternut squash and sweet potato. You can use any combination of root veggies you like. If you don’t like sweet potato, you can substitute white or red potatoes. Not a fan of parsnip? Use carrots instead. It’s a great way to clear out your produce drawer, and the process could not be easier.

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Ingredients

Serves 4

1 large butternut squash, halved, seeded and cubed
3 large sweet potatoes/ yams, scrubbed and cubed
1 medium yellow onion
3 large parsnip, cubed
2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil (or coconut oil), plus more for drizzling
1 1/2 teaspoons kosher salt, chopped garlic, mixed herbs + thyme
Freshly ground black pepper
Top with 2 handfuls of pumpkin seeds

* Dairy options in notes below

Method

Place 2 baking sheets in the oven and preheat to 425 degrees F or 220 C/Gas Mark 7.

Cut all the vegetables into 1 1/2-inch pieces or cubes. Cut the onions through the base core to keep some of the layers in chunky pieces. Toss all the vegetables with garlic, oil, seasoning and salt in large bowl. Season generously with pepper.

Carefully remove the heated baking sheets from the oven, brush or drizzle with olive oil. Divide the vegetables evenly between the 2 pans, spreading them out to assure they don’t steam while roasting. Roast the vegetables until tender and golden brown, stirring occasionally, about 45 minutes to 1 hour.

Notes
-If you tolerate dairy, some sprinkled feta, parmesan, or crumbled goat cheese would be a nice addition.
– Best to keep seasoning simple in this recipe.  Root veggies have such earthy and wonderful flavors. For more flavor, you could sprinkle them with rosemary, oregano, a little cumin, or fresh chopped parsley. Be creative as you want.

-If you use red beets in this recipe, keep in mind that the roasting will release a pinkish juice that will color the other vegetables. If you’d rather not have pinkish veggies, use golden beets or omit the beets completely.

For more inspiration click here to see several healthy vegetarian side dishes for Thanksgiving from Food Network and Delish.

What do you plan to cook this Thanksgiving? I hope your day is a special and delicious time with family, friends and the ones you hold dear. May peace and grace be yours abundantly!

 

x

 

 

 

 

 

grilled vegetable skewers with spicy tofu

mains, recipes

Warm weather is made for grilling. This weekend, as we celebrate the first official day of summer, we are definitely in the mood for grilling, even if the clouds and breeze are hanging out in Scotland today. I love to grill because basically, everything and anything you can imagine can be cooked on the grates of a grill – often times with amazing results. A summer salad gets a little crunch with a handful of grilled kale… delicious. Even desserts get a little more interesting when charred, grilled peaches on ice cream anyone?

Firm tofu and if you tolerate dairy, halloumi cheese, are great vegetarian options for grilling because they are firm enough to hold their shape as they cook. The spiciness and saltiness of the tofu (or hallolumi) in this recipe balance out the sweetness from the peppers, courgette and red onion.

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INGREDIENTS

For Vegetables

2 medium courgettes, cut crosswise into 3/4-inch-thick slices

2 medium red bell peppers, cut into 1 1/2-inch pieces

2 large red onion, cut into 1 1/2-inch pieces

1/4 cup olive oil

1 tsp salt + pepper

metal or wooden skewers (soaked in warm water 30 minutes if wooden)

For Tofu

1 package (350g) firm tofu, diced into 1-inch cubes

1 tbs olive oil

1 tsp cumin + garlic salt

1/2 tsp red chili powder

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METHOD

Prepare grill for cooking over medium-hot charcoal (moderate heat for gas).

Place the zucchini, red onion and bell pepper in a large bowl. Drizzle with oil and sprinkle salt + pepper. Gently toss to combine.

In separate bowl, combine cubed tofu, olive oil, cumin, garlic salt and chili powder.

Arrange vegetables and tofu onto soaked bamboo skewers (keeps them from sticking too much). Grill kebabs on lightly oiled grill rack, covered only if using gas grill, turning over once, until vegetables are tender, 6 to 10 minutes (timing will vary among vegetables).

Serve with brown rice and spinach.

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NOTES

* Mushrooms, cherry tomatoes and squash would make great additions
* Skewers can be prepped 1 day ahead, chilled and covered
* If you aren’t able to grill outdoors, place skewers onto lightly greased tray and cook under the grill for 10 to 12 minutes, or until the tofu is golden and the veg are soft, turning halfway through.