Blog

entree, recipes

chickpea tacos with a middle eastern twist

IMG_9460

This is one of those dishes that keeps you going in for the next bite! It’s loaded with freshness, fun spices and flavours that satisfy all the tastebuds. The hardest part really is the prep because after you have the fillings all set up in their own bowls, you lay out all the prepared ingredients and let the diners do the work. It’s super fun to build your own taco, especially for kids (or, like my middle child boss does, keep it all separate!). I think this keeping things separate might be an age thing…my oldest piepie used to be like that but recently she has been happy to eat sandwiches and mixes things up on her plate!

IMG_9462-1
boss and her love of keeping things separate

I have to thank my husband’s aunt for giving me this dinner idea – when I saw her last week she was telling me about how she has been having success in finding delicious recipes that are vegetarian and vegan friendly.  She was raving about a chick pea taco she made from the blog Feasting At Home.  When I looked it up tonight I did not have everything the recipe called for, but I was able to adapt my own twist on it using what I had on hand.

For the Tzatziki I use a brand we love and almost always have in our fridge (Skotidakis) but of course you can make your own! When you’re in a crunch though, one less thing to make on a weeknight is a win! If you’re looking for vegan you can substitute with hummus. You can use traditional corn or flour tortillas for the taco shell part – all I had at home was left over naan bread so I cut them in half and warmed them up in the oven.

IMG_9463.jpg
piepie building her taco

I hope you enjoy these as much as we did! It certainly hit the spot for dinner at our place on this beautiful Autumn Monday.

Tip: it’s a good idea to do some of the prep ahead of time. For example, I cooked the beets and chickpeas on the weekend when I had more time and then just kept them in the fridge to use for the week. Of course, you can also use canned chickpeas and find cooked beets in the grocery stores. But it’s a better bang for your buck when you buy the dried chickpeas and the whole beets in a bag!

serves: about 3-4 people

what you need:

  • 2 medium carrots
  • 1 large yellow onion
  • 1 pinch of sugar or agave nectar
  • 2 red beets, cooked
  • 1 cup grape tomatoes
  • 1 very small clove of garlic
  • 1/2 lemon
  • 1 handful cilantro
  • 1 handful of chives
  • 1 1/2 cup cooked chickpeas
  • 1 cucumber
  • 1 tsp cumin
  • 1 tsp onion salt
  • 1 tsp za’atar (a blend of spices, if you cannot find it you can leave it out)
  • cooking oil (I use grape-seed oil)
  • tzatziki (store-bought or make your own)
  • taco shells, tortillas or naan bread

what to do:

  1. Prepare vegetables by washing them all well. Create shredded carrots by using a cheese grater. Slice cucumbers in half, then cut into thin half moons. Place in individual serving bowls.
  2. Thinly slice onion then sauté with about 2 tsp of cooking oil in a non-stick pan, until gently caramelized (lightly browned). Add a pinch of sugar or a small drizzle of agave to give it a little sweetness. Set onions aside in an individual serving bowl.
  3. Cut grape tomatoes into quarters and mix with juice of 1/2 lemon, a pinch of salt and pepper, finely chopped cilantro, chives. Toss together and set aside.
  4. In the same onion pan, heat up 1 tbsp cooking oil on medium-low and add spices (cumin, onion salt, za’atar) – once you smell the aromas of the spices (about 30 seconds) – add the chickpeas and toss until all coated and warmed through. Place chickpeas in their own serving bowl.
  5. Prepare your taco shells (warm up soft ones in the oven, or bake the crunchy kind as indicated on the package).
  6. Lay out all the individual topping bowls on the table and invite everyone to build their own tacos. I like to start mine with a thick spread of Tzatziki so that the chickpeas, shredded carrots, tomatoes, beats, cucumbers and onions have something to stick to.
  7. Enjoy!
baby food, recipes

baby’s ginger carrot blend

IMG_7844
fit for a mini foodie!

Baby food doesn’t have to be bland and boring! Introduce your baby to new flavours (even spices!) gently so that they can transition more easily later on to enjoy dinners with you as toddlers and kids!

Here, I’ve used two thick slices of ginger to give the carrot, pea, and lentil puree a little warmth and soothing effect for the tummy. It also helps with digestion!

what you need:

*makes about 2 16oz mason jars

**tip: if you are freezing some, make sure there is plenty of room in your jar so that it doesn’t crack from expansion in your freezer

  • two chunky slices of fresh ginger
  • 3 large carrots
  • 1/2 cup red lentils
  • 1/2 cup frozen green peas
  • water

what to do:

  1. Peel carrots and ginger. Cut carrots roughly for quicker cooking. Add to medium sized cooking pot.
  2. Rinse lentils, add to carrots and ginger.
  3. Cover with cold water, just enough so that the carrots are 3/4 submerged.
  4. Using an instant pot , cook on high pressure for 12 min. Alternatively, you can cook this stove top – bring to a boil on high heat, then simmer gently on low for 20 minutes, until carrots are very tender (you may need to add water as you simmer).
  5. Once the carrots are tender, remove from heat and carefully remove ginger slices.
  6. Add frozen green peas. Stir.
  7. Using a handheld immersion blender, puree until desired smoothness (you know what your baby can handle!).
  8. Store in mason jars. Enjoy!

 

recipes

apple cider vinaigrette

DSC_0498

Okay this is one of those dressings that can go on anything – it’s so tasty that you’ll love whatever is coated with it. Tangy, but slightly sweet, this addictive dressing keeps you going in bite after bite. I have a friend who buys it at Farm Boy all the time – all she did at a playdate was toss it with mixed greens and a few chopped peppers, and it was such a delicious salad!  You can definitely find different kinds of apple cider vinaigrette at the store but if you are like me and have a giant jug of apple cider vinegar from Costco, making it yourself is way more economical! And also – the ingredients are super simple and non-perishable! It will keep in a mason jar in your fridge for weeks.

Summer time is here! What a great season to enjoy all the fresh veggies and leafy greens (currently our favourite at home is a mix of baby arugula and baby kale). Be sure to make extra dressing so that you always have a dressing on hand, whenever you need it.

what you need:

  • 6 tbsp apple cider vinegar
  • 8 tbsp grape seed oil (or similar oil – something very mild in flavour)
  • 4 tbsp raw local honey (try to find local honey, as it has the best benefits for your health)
  • a few twists of freshly ground black pepper
  • two pinches of salt

what to do:

  1. Put all your ingredients in a mason jar and shake really well. Use immediately or store in fridge for later use. Enjoy!
DSC_0496
Left over grilled steak finds a new home in this simple salad of greens, avocado and tomatoes. The dressing pulls it all together!
CSC_0501
One of piepie’s favourites is this vinaigrette on bean salad – it holds up well for school lunch!

 

yoga

25 min Yoga for Happy Hips

Hips – they don’t lie! Do you feel tight in your hips? Ask yourself:

  • Can I sit comfortably cross legged on the floor?
  • Can I sit in a chair and cross one ankle over the opposite thigh, keeping my back straight?

The hip joint is a ball and socket joint, and should be able to move in all directions.  Most of us who have tight hips find sitting cross legged uncomfortable or impossible.  Many chalk it up to old age but this isn’t true! Just like strength, flexibility comes with practice and is an ongoing journey. It is incredibly important for injury prevention. I really like to use the slip and fall example – if you suddenly slip and fall you’re more likely to recover quickly or reduce/prevent injury because your body has been stretched that way before. One of the many many reason why YOGA is so good for us!

This 25 min hip flow targets all muscles layers of the hip (there are several!!). It may feel difficult the first few times, especially if you are particularly tight in the hips. Repeat it daily for a week and stick with it, you will be surprised at how your body responds and how good it feels to open up those hips.

recipes

rice bowl – Indian inspired

Rice bowls and Buddha bowls are widely popular right now, and it’s no wonder why – they are usually loaded with delicious ingredients and really hit the spot when you’re hungry.

CSC_0371
load up on fresh ingredients!

Be sure to make extra if you want leftovers for lunches the next day!

Start with a cuisine you’re craving and create your toppings around that. For example, this bowl was Indian inspired so we used lentils (think daal) and spices such as cumin and turmeric. If you were going with an Asian flare, you could use soy, garlic, ginger, and green onions. Mediterranean could look like olives, oregano, dill, honey, lemon, and feta. You get the drift!

Indian Inspired Rice Bowl; garlicky lemon green beans, quick lentil daal, saucey black beans, shredded raw carrots, cilantro & lemon wedges

*If you like heat, you can add a pinch of cayenne or fresh red chilies. I did not include it because of my little ones.

makes about 4 servings

garlicky lemon green beans

  • ~500g green beans
  • 1 large garlic clove
  • juice from 1/2 lemon
  • a pinch of salt
  • 1 tbsp cooking oil (I use grape seed oil)
  1. Wash and clean green beans. Roughly slice them on a diagonal angle.
  2. Finely chop garlic.
  3. In a pan over medium heat, add oil and garlic. Once it is fragrant, add chopped beans and sauté, about 2-3 minutes, just until tender but still has a bite (not soggy).
  4. Remove from heat and sprinkle with salt and toss with lemon juice.

quick lentil daal

  • 1 1/2 cup dry red lentils
  • 1 tsp turmeric
  • 1/2 tsp coriander
  • water
  • a pinch of salt
  1. Rinse lentils.
  2. Put lentils in a pot and fill with just enough water that it covers the lentils by 1″. Put the lid on.
  3. Bring lentils to a boil then reduce heat to low, cooking until semi-tender (about 3-5 min).
  4. Add spices and salt, stir well then put the lid back on and simmer another 3 minutes. If it seems too watery, you can simmer with the lid off for a little longer – just keep an eye on it so the bottom doesn’t burn.

saucey black beans

  • ~1 1/2 cup cooked black beans
  • 1 large tomato
  • 1 small onion (either red or yellow is fine)
  • 1/2 tsp cumin
  • 1 tbsp finely chopped fresh ginger
  • 1 tbsp cooking oil (I use grape-seed oil)
  1. Dice the onion. Roughly chop the tomato (keeping the juicy seeds).
  2. In a large non-stick pan, heat oil on medium – high.
  3. Add ginger, onion, and cumin. Sauté until fragrant.
  4. Add black beans and tomato and cook until everything comes together, about 3-5 minutes.

Rice 

  1. Cook up your favourite rice (we used a mix of short and long grain white rice, and red rice). Follow instructions on the rice package, but in general it’s 1:1 for rice to water ratio. In a covered pot, bring it to boil then turn down to simmer until water is all absorbed.

shredded carrots: wash and peel 2 carrots, then use a grater to shred them.

cilantro & lemon wedges: for final garnish

How to serve:

Place every item in a different bowl or serving dish. Place rice at the bottom of your bowl and top it with desired toppings, mix it all up and enjoy! Or, if you like things separate (like my kids sometimes do) – enjoy each one separately. ENJOY!