Slapdash winner

You know those hellish winter Mondays, when you get home after a long day at work and it’s too cold to go out again to get groceries, and you’re really craving an elaborate comfort meal but it’s already way past dinner time?

Today was one of those days, but thanks to quick thinking and Rochon Garden’s CSA vegetable box, we were able to throw together a slapdash winner for dinner.

South meets Mid-East at delicious

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Trusty any-fruit squares

I have found the one.

Blueberry chai square

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More on healing

Seeing the positive results in my life in the past month, many friends have been asking me about the process back to health. As a follow up to a previous post about stress and nutrition, I will share in more detail the process of discovering intolerances and how it has helped me.  Please bear in mind that this is only my process, and I am still very much living this journey.  Always consult a doctor and/or naturopath when considering healing approaches.

Before I dive in, I want to share a photo of a recent meal from Havana Café, in Old Ottawa South. I had this amazing plate – fish with tomato and garlic sauce, purple rice and beans, grilled vegetables, fried yucca and plantain.  There was nothing I could not eat on this plate and I felt great afterwards.  It is so wonderful to not have my body break down after eating.

Basa fish with tomato garlic sauce, friend plantain and yucca, purple rice with beans, grilled vegetables

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Coconut Lime Blondies

Ironically, having a bunch of new food intolerances has given me a new resolve to cook more.  I’m excited to be back in the kitchen again, excited with trying out new ingredients, checking out new recipes.  It’s like doing the Home Made Challenge, but less stringent because I always have the option of eating out!

Everybody knows that I have a sweet tooth.  I’m not going to let these food intolerances stop me from satisfying my undying love for sweets – I am determined to find and develop desserts that will not knock me out.

Enter, coconut lime blondies.


Coconut lime blondies!

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On stress and healing through nutrition

This new year has been a whirlwind of things that can be summed up by this sketch I did at work one day.

Crushed, by too many things. Ink pen on sticky note. Momo Lambkin 2014

First, I got over the high of being a new Master’s student, and really got into the hard part of working full time and being a student.  Like working late into the night with assignments and course readings after a long 9 hour work day.  Like not having enough time to make food to feed myself.  Like the only source of nutrition I was getting was from the milk I put in my coffee.

Then, February came.  February meant no sunlight, on top of not getting the recommended intake of fruit and water daily.  Fruit`s expensive in the winter, people! February also saw me prepare and write 2 exams, deliver a really *really* big project in Asia, and at the same time, finish a final project for school with a remote team.  Oh and 2 less days in the month in which to do all of the things.  What kept me going were my amazing classmates, colleagues, and Donica from the Café Vérité who made delicious and nutritious meals at my workplace.  You might notice that I didn’t put friends in that list because I simply had no time to socialize.

Despite my support network, I felt like I was being crushed.  I had migraines and/or massive joint pain every day, I couldn’t get out of bed in the morning, and I wanted everything to just end.  I had a health crisis.  I needed to do something about it, and so I went to see a naturopath-nutritionist.

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Veggie Chili Meets Pumpkin

It’s that time of year again! It’s the time when we dust off our slow cookers and start looking for new recipes. The days are shorter, and I find it so easy to throw everything in a pot and hope for the best 4-6 hours later. And so I found myself making my veggie chili twice in the last two weeks.

Recipe update: I just throw everything into the pot and turn it on, instead of cooking the onions and spices first.

The second time around I didn’t have as many veggies as my recipe called for. I was unfortunately missing the butternut squash (my hands thanked me) and zucchini (who knew I would actually start liking you one day).

Since I had already started dumping ingredients into my slow cooker, I went looking through my fridge and cupboards to see what I could add to the recipe instead.

The only thing I could find was a can of pureed pumpkin. I had an extra can from the Thanksgiving Pumpkin Dip (Yum!) I had made.

I have tried pumpkin in tomato sauce once or twice, but it wasn’t AS good as just plain old tomato sauce. But I gave it a go thinking that maybe because the chili has so many spices, and HEAT it might work. AND it worked! I can’t taste the pumpkin at all in the recipe, and it gives it a smoother/velvety texture, while at the same time thickening everything up!

Be sure to add some tomato paste to the mix so that your chili is red and not orange, but I would DEFINITELY try it the next time you make chili.

Original Recipe: Crock Pot Veggie Chili on a cold night

Home Made Challenge – Week 1 Recap

This year’s Home Made Challenge follows on the heels of a particularly gruelling three weeks away from home – two of which was spent in a remote location with little access to real food.  I came back to an empty fridge, feeling like I’ve completely lost my food literacy.

Eerily beautiful and isolated campus at Royal Roads University – it is right on the ocean.

The first few days of November -after a debauched weekend in Montreal eating tonnes of real Chinese food- I went back to comfort food when I had to cook for myself. For me, it’s noodles with vegetables and an egg with a runny yolk.  I grew up eating versions of this simple combination of starch-vegetable-egg topped with sesame oil and soy sauce – we would have it on white rice or on noodles.  My favourite was Chinese broccoli and fried egg on rice.

Ultimate comfort: ramen noodles topped with teriyaki stir fried vegetables and a soft-boiled egg.

Cooking and eating this dish helped me reintegrate back into normal life that involved cooking my own food and packing lunch.  (Admission: I hadn’t packed a lunch since the summer..)  Over the past week, I’ve made pita chips, quinoa brownies, tonnes of noodles and pasta, zucchini  fritters and even a Thai curry.  All delicious, all super easy to make.  I do get the random craving to just go and buy some ready-to-eat food though.

Tonight, when I tire of working on my essay, I plan on making some sunbutter cookies.  Because it snowed for the first time today.  (But do I really need an excuse to bake?)

Week 1 recap