No-Cook Tuna “Casserole” (Gluten and Dairy Free)

It’s been a cold and rainy (dare I even say…snowy) April here in Toronto. So as much as I’d like to be transitioning to fresh spring salads come lunchtime, the thought of something warm and satisfying is far more appealing.

This not-quite a salad, not-quite a casserole is reminiscent of a classic creamy tuna noodle casserole minus the white pasta and soup-in-a-can sauce. Plus its beyond simple to whip together and can be served hot, cold or somewhere in between.

No-Cook Tuna “Casserole”
(Gluten and Dairy Free)

photo

Ingredients:

  • 1-2 cans tuna
  • 1 cup cooked chickpeas
  • 1.5 cups cooked millet
  • 2 big handfuls of spinach, coursely chopped
  • 1/2 jar capers, chopped (about a palmful)
  • 2 tbsp tahini
  • 1/2 tbsp yellow mustard
  • 1/4 cup nutritional yeast
  • pinch of garlic powder
  • salt and pepper

Directions:

1. Mix together millet, chickpeas and tuna in a large bowl.
2. Add in 1 tbsp tahini, nutritional yeast and mustard.
3. Mix in the fresh chopped spinach and capers and the other tablespoon of tahini. Use your hands to mix the salad, ensuring all the leaves are separated and coated in dressing.
4. Season with salt, pepper and a pinch of garlic powder. Stir again to combine.

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WIAW: My first and likely last attempt

For those of you unfamiliar with the concept of a WIAW it’s pretty self-explanatory. Blogger trend. Take pictures of your eats for 1 day of the week. Not every morsel just main meals and snacks.

Kinda problematic because obviously every body is different, every day is different, yada yada yada. But I write a food and fitness blog so it’s all pretty problematic when you think about it too hard. Grain of salt, people. Here goes…

Breakkinz:A LIBRA solution to the sweet/savoury dilemma

A-SIDE: 2 egg scramble with onions, peppers & mushrooms in a swiss chard wrap

B-SIDE: A cup and half of oats with a chopped peach, soy yogurt, coconut flakes, chia seeds & sunbutter


No decision necessary. Just the way I like it.

LUNCHRidiculously large tupperware full to the brim with kale salad (about half a bunch), shredded beets, zucchini & carrots, sprouts, 1/4 avocado, handful of cherry tomatoes, 1 slice toasted and chopped ezekiel “croutons” & about 1/3 block curried tofu cubes.

Desk snacks

DinnerProtein salad from Fresh – tempeh, chickpeas, quinoa, goji berris & tahini dressing

Evening snacksMany handfuls of sweet potato, beet & yuca terra chips to make up for my lighter-than-average dinner.Chocolate avocado shake for dessert!

Just almond milk, cocoa powder, avocado, maple syrup, ice and a 1/4 scoop of chocolate sunwarrior.

And voila! I certainly won’t make a habit of this since, even as a food blogger, I’d still rather spend my time eatin my food than takin pictures of it…but it was kind of fun just this once 😉

Summer Spelt Berry Salad

Summer Spelt Berry Salad

Ingredients:
For the salad

  • 1.5 cups cooked spelt berries (or quinoa for gluten-free)
  • 2 cups shredded zucchini
  • 1 cup shredded cabbage, blanched or lightly steamed
  • 1.5 cups watermelon, cubed

For the dressing

  • 2 tbsp dijon mustard
  • 2 tbsp plain yogurt (dairy or non-dairy)
  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 tbsp honey or agave
  • juice and grated rind of 1/2 a lemon
  • a few tbsp water for thinning
  • salt and pepper

Directions:

  1. Whisk dressing ingredients together to emulsify.
  2. Combine grains and vegetables in a large mixing bowl, add dressing and stir gently to combine.

Makes 3-4 servings. Stores for several days in the fridge.

Serve as a side dish or pair with greens, salmon and avocado for a light summer supper.

INSPIRATION & RANDOM ACTS OF NEON

If last week felt like carefree summer in Toronto, this week felt like nose-to-the-grindstone fall. The weather turned grey and drizzly, work got busy and hectic and the city went into a bit of a miniature hibernation. Despite my love for all things hustle bustle, it is often during these downtime days/weekends/weeks that I get the most inspired creatively. Perhaps that’s why I’ve almost exclusively chosen to live in grey, rainy cities (Amsterdam/Halifax/Prague/Oviedo/etc)

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Here’s a little rundown of how I channeled my creative chutzpah this week…

1) DIY PROJECTS: NEON ACCENTS

Vintage Granny Chair + DAYGLOW PIPING

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Neutral Colourblocked Vase + SAFETY ORANGE

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2) SIMPLE, COLOURFUL, BALANCED MEALS

Loaded up on kombucha.

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Oatmeal bowls made for me and my dad (topped his with organic yogurt, mine with extra nuts and berries)

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Lentil hummus and roasted veggie stuffed chard wrap with a pile of squash and sweet potatoes (possibly ate half of these directly off the baking sheet) and a redundant side of greens and chopped apple for crunch.


Baked salmon served on a mountain of roasted veggies (potatoes, squash and brussel sprouts)

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3) YOGA x A MILLION


One of the things I’ve enjoyed so far about my 6 x 6 plan is that it has encouraged me to listen more attentively to what I actually want to do rather than mindlessly following some fitness schedule. Some days this means hauling ass to the gym in the middle of my workday to sweat like. Other days it means leaving the gym behind and going for an evening walk with my bestie and her pup.

This week my body was craving yoga almost every day and I was more than happy to oblige. Of course by early Sunday morning it became clear why I’d spent the week in stretchy/gumby/relaxation mode…

6 x 6 Update

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Monday: 1 hr yoga class
Tuesday: ZILCH. I had no energy all day and couldn’t put my finger on why…
Wednesday: 75 minute super sweaty gym session. Full of beans. Random.
Thursday: 1 hr walk with my pal and her pup.
Friday: 1 hr Hot Hatha Yoga.
Saturday: 30 self-led morning yoga. 30 minutes cardio LIFE (hoofing it back to the city carrying 2 gigantic bags of laundry I did at my dad’s place…cause I’m a grown-up like that)
SUNDAY – MONDAY: Surfin the Crimson Wave (TMI?). But it explained all my wacky energy changes as well as my need for serious yoga/stretching time. Both of these days I put my plan on the back burner and gave my bod the rest it needed.

I did however complete multiple sets of the following circuit workout, which I highly suggest you try:

1) Dip a big piece of banana in almond butter
2) Dip nut buttery banana in vanilla coconut yogurt
3) Dip nut buttery, vanillafied banana in brown rice crispies
4) Douse in cinnamon
5) Nommmmm…..

Repeat this circuit to tummy fatigue.

Does dreary weather inspire you to get productive or does it leave you in a funk? How are you channeling your creative energies this week?

In-a-Hurry Lunch/Dinner/Workouts/Life

I have worked a lot of jobs in my life (barista, waitress, tap dancing instructor, teacher, au pair, web designer, researcher, marketing consultant, etc.) but until this week I had never actually worked in a 9-5 office environment. But bright and early Monday morning I started a dreamy dream job working for an non-profit I really believe in doing work that I love. But the hours behind a desk, the office culture & my ears popping every time I take the elevator? All that will definitely take some adjusting…

This week I was far too busy getting mentally prepared for my new job to do much planning for things like food or fitness but I’ve been just barely getting by by cutting corners wherever possible.

1) Workouts

I’m currently between gym memberships so it’s been all about the outdoor running lately. For cardio I have lovingly found my way back to this pyramid interval run because it is super quick and always leaves me panting. And while I’ve been pretty light on strength training due to my lack of gym access, circuit workouts like this one (jotted down on a random envelope?) are definitely doing the trick.

Repeat this circuit for 10-15 mins for a short and sweet (and by sweet I mean suprisingly hardcore) workout!

2) Dinner/Lunch Combo Prep

 Seriously people, even if you don’t have time to do an epic weekly meal prep on Sunday afternoon, you can always prep your lunch while you make your dinner. Such a simple idea but one that has totally saved my dress-pant-wearing butt this week.

Tonight, for example, I whipped up a quick little dinner of one-pot curried cauliflower & pumpkin stew (topped with some pan fried haddock, basil & lime)

This isn’t a full on recipe but in case you’re interested…

Directions

Sauteed a handful of chopped carrots, a chopped celery stick and 2 cloves of garlic in sesame oil. Once fragrant add 2 cups cubed fresh pumpkin, 2 cups cauliflower & 2 cups of veggie broth  then simmer until all the veggies are very soft and you can lightly mash them with a fork. Finally season to taste with curry powder, soy sauce, ginger and a little squeeze of agave…then top with basil, lime & siracha for the perfect one pot dinner!

And now on to lunch…

Since those ingredients were already out of the fridge and handy I decided I would whip up a second dish that I could use as the base for my lunch tomorrow…

You’re shocked, I know. It’s a kale salad. What can I say? I’m easy to please! This salad is dressed in sesame oil, soy sauce, ginger, lime juice, flax oil & agave then topped with sunflower seeds and chopped carrots. All the ingredients used in the previous recipe just repurposed with lunch in mind! A simple way to save time prepping lunch (or money buying it!)

Do you work in an office? How do you usually prep for the busy week? 

Lovely Lunching

I must admit that when it comes to meals, I always pick favourites and breakfast typically wins out.

But for some reason this week I’ve been all about eating/packing/buying big, elaborate lunches.

Happiness is the soup & salad combo at Hibiscus.

The trick for me is that on any given day I crave a massive-bowl-of-salad more than just about anything but even I can find that tiresome after a while. So I’ve been using a few strategies to continue enjoying my salad bowl while also making my midday meal just that little bit more exciting. Here are some of the tactics I’ve come up with so far:

Kale salad with roasted carrots and broccoli, marinated tempeh cubes, toasted pepitas and about 1/2 cup cooked millet. Topped with a simple dressing of tahini, lemon, agave and tamari.

1) Switch up your greens.

Used to light, crunchy romaine? Swap out for a heartier green like collards or kale. Bored of bland spinach? Top it off with a handful of peppery arugula. Personally I’ve been enjoying kale salads like its nobody’s business. The trick with kale is that you need to rub your dressing right onto the leaves with your fingers before eating. Sounds weird but it works!

2) Roast your veggies.

I always forget that I can use roasted veggies in a salad but I never regret it when I do. It’s as easy as making a double (or triple) batch of roasted zucchini, peppers, mushrooms, fennel, broccoli or cauliflower the night before. Then just toss with a little olive or flax oil and seasonings and refrigerate for use the next day.

3) Pump up the flavour of your protein.

Whether you’re topping your salad with tofu, tempeh, tuna, eggs or chicken remember that lean protein sources like these tend to lack in the flavour department…but that’s where you come in! Tandoori Tofu? Barbeque Tempeh? Curried Egg Salad? The options are endless.

4) Don’t skimp on the toppings.

Sure it’s easy to dig into a salad once you’ve got the bare bones together but topping off a salad with toasted nuts and seeds, chopped up fruit, a handful of edamame et. al. will enhance the flavours of the whole meal not to mention adding healthy fats and fibre-loaded fruits that will keep you feeling full and satisfied!

Extra tips: 

  • Always pair with a delicious beverage aka. tasty kombucha or…say…an almond milk misto courtesy of Capitol Espressso

  • Don’t forget a hot lunch date…

Clearly my bestie knows his way around a smoothie…
And yes. There are two pink straws in that strawberry mango masterpiece cause we’re adorable.

And there you have it! The perfect recipe for a happy, healthy midday meal! 🙂

Hello April!

Spring is really, truly here and I can’t help but get inspired by the pops of colour filling the streets. And no…I don’t mean the tulips on the ground or the premature magnolias blooming in the trees.

Now bikes on trees? There’s something really special…I am totally in love with the idea of this suspended makeshift bike rack.

Not to mention all things neon

And of course I love colour on my plate too. As many colours as I can fit into one bowl is really my ideal scenario…

Where else would I go but my beloved Hibiscus for the dreamiest bowl of rainbow coloured food heaven. (And in case you’re wondering…that’s sweet potato, broccoli, beets & tofu topped with kelp noodles. YU-UHMM!)

Unfortunately my own kitchen is very sparse right now as I am smack dab in the middle of moving week so I’ve been making due with a single pot and a boxed up pantry all week….

NO KITCHEN + INTERMITTENT INTERNET + EPIC PACKING = THE GROUCHY HIPSTER!

But as usual I’m making due amongst the chaos…Tonight’s dinner? Taco salad! Served in a stainless steel mixing bowl of course…


In the (mixing) bowl: 

  • Romaine
  • Sweet Orange Bell Pepper
  • Black Beans
  • “Baked” Sweet Potato (prepared in the microwave)
  • “Scrambled” Egg whites (also prepared in the microwave – 3 minutes or so at 70% power)
  • Chipotle Salsa & Greek Yogurt
Did the trick! 😉

What are your favourite no-cook meals? 

And how do you feel about moving? Do you love the change or hate the hassle?

Simple Spring Lunch

Spring cooking for me is all about simple flavours and fresh ingredients and today’s lunch was the perfect way to ring in the season…

Asparagus, Avocado & Poached Egg on Toast

Click here for my step-by-step instructions on how to execute the perfect poach.

Additional tip: Blanch asparagus alongside the egg in your poaching liquid to avoid dirtying a second dish!

I’ve actually been incredibly sick since arriving home from Ottawa (for the first time in over a year!) but I’m hoping that deliciously healing whole food meals like this one will set me right soon enough and I’ll be able to fill you in on all my glorious updates soon.

In the meantime, here’s wishing you all a happy, healthy and inspired spring equinox!

Embracing Spring: Raw Lemon Ginger “Stir Fry”

Spring has officially sprung here in Toronto and you know what that means…

Street Style Photo by George Pimentel for Toronto Fashion Week

Bare ankles, nautical stripes & denim? You betcha. But also…the end of slow roasting, root vegetables and comfort foods and the beginning of fresh spring produce!

We’re not quite there yet but here’s a fresh take on stir fry that will definitely satisfy your craving for fresh, crisp veggies in the meantime…

Raw Lemon Ginger “Stir Fry” with Marinated Peanut Tofu

Ingredients (Tofu):

  • 1/4 block tofu, cubed
  • 1/2 tbsp peanut butter
  • 1 tsp fish sauce (or tamari)
  • 2 tbsp almond milk
  • 1 tsp curry powder
  • 1 tsp maple syrup
Ingredients (Stir Fry):
  • 4 large leaves of bok choy
  • 1 medium carrot, halved and sliced thinly
  • 1/2 zucchini, halved and sliced thinly
  • 2 large mushrooms, halved and sliced thinly
  • 1 spring onion, sliced into thin rings
  • juice of 1/2 lemon
  • small pinch of garlic powder
  • 1 inch of grated ginger
  • 1 tsp flax oil
  • 1 tsp sesame oil
  • 1 tsp maple syrup
  • 1 tsp tamari

Directions

  1. Mix ingredients for tofu marinade (warming peanut butter if necessary) until well combined, pour over tofu cubes and set aside.
  2. Whisk together lemon juice, seasonins, oils, maple syrup and tamari and pour over chopped stir fry veggies. Massage dressing into the veggies for 1-2 minutes or until they begin to wilt slightly. Allow to sit for 10-15 minutes.
  3. Top your raw, marinated stir fry with marinated peanut tofu.

Enjoy with a side of fruit, crackers or leftover cooked grains and you have one delicious, seasonal lunch!

Weekend Roundup: Kale Salad to Electro-Goth Dance Parties

Here are a few things that I came to realize this weekend….in no particular order.

1) I only want meals in bowl-form lately.

 Breakfast

1.5 servings rolled oats cooked in soymilk for some extra protein, topped with 1/2 banana and 1/4 cup trail mix

Lunch

2 Whole Eggs Scrambled with Curry Powder, Mushrooms and Spinach. Served over a (buried) sweet potato and topped with 1/4 avocado, 1/4 cup hummus and some more trail mix

Dinner

Kale Caesar Salad from Live Organic Food Bar with Eggplant Bacon, Raw Croutons & Marinated Tempeh

2) Rest days are my new best friend.

The past week or so I have been taking more days off the gym than on because my life has been so hectic and I’ve been doing a lot of walking around the city on my search for a new place to live. Also a lot of anxious fretting…does that count as a workout? Anyways I was pretty sure my first day back this morning was going to be brutal but to my surprise I had much more energy and stamina than usual. I even managed to complete a set of full bridges (also known as full wheel in yoga or sometimes reverse pushups) which is huge for me. A lack of upper body strength made bridges the bane of my existence during my days as a dancer.

[Source]

This little personal success reminded me that giving your body extended time – not just a day but a whole week or two off – to rest and recover might be just what you need to avoid burning out and help you break through your own fitness plateaus.

3) I can still stay out past 2am.

Unlike many folks my age I wake up early. And do things. Things like cooking breakfast, reading the newspaper, moving my body in some way, grocery shopping and (very occasionally) cleaning my house. I get razzed about this all the time but honestly I like my morning routine and lovingly accept myself for the nerdy proto-grandma that I am. But I definitely can’t (nor would I want to) keep this schedule all the time…Sometimes it’s a Saturday night and one of your favourite bands is playing and your friends are out and you just want to dance till an unreasonable hour….


TRUST LP RELEASE PARTY @ WRONGBAR. TORONTO, ON.
[Source: PinkMafia]

STILL GOT IT.