Wild Rice and Mango Salad

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I’m sure I have mentioned before how much I love mangos. But in case I haven’t- I LOVE MANGOS! So fresh. So juicy. So sweet. It is everything you could want on a hot summer day. But the thing is, mangos are at their best (in Canada) at this time of the year. And as everyone is well aware- it is far from summer out there. But I won’t let the horribleness that is this winter won’t stop me from cranking up the heat, peeling a mango and pretending I’m somewhere exotic. Which is exactly what I did this evening with this salad.

What You’ll Need

3/4 cup cooked black wild rice

1 Mango, cut in chucks

1 red bell pepper, thinly sliced

1/2 purple onion, chopped

cilantro (as little or as much as you like)

1-2 tbls olive oil

juice of 1 lime

salt and pepper

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What to do

In a bowl, mix together the cooked rice, mango, red pepper, onions and cilantro. In a separate small bowl whisk together oil, lime juice and salt and pepper. Pour dressing over mango mixture and stir. Refrigerate for at least 30 mins. 

I served mine over a bed of arugula and added a few slices of fried tofu to make it a full meal.

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Now if only someone would make me a margarita to really make these winter blues go away!

Roasted Eggplant, Tomato, Mozzarella & Pesto Open Faced Sandwiches

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My parents recently moved to a condo in downtown Toronto almost right beside the St Lawrence Market.

It is a beautiful space with a ton of fresh produce, artisanal cheeses, breads and more! In other words- endless food inspiration.

I had been browsing for some salad recipes and came across this Eggplant, Tomato, and Mozzarella Salad by Martha Stewart. So I headed to the Market to get the freshest ingredients to make it. While I was there I came across some freshly baked buns and decided to turn the salad into a sandwich.

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I baked the Eggplant following Martha’s directions

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While the Eggplant is cooking, cut the bun in half, and spread pesto on both halves.

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Arrange eggplant, tomato slices, and mozzarella on the bun and drizzle with olive oil and balsamic.

I had lots of leftovers the next day to make a big salad- delicious!

Naan Style Pizzas

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Pizza is one of my all time favourite foods. Really what is not to love?! Bread, cheese, endless topping combinations- Pizza has it all!

These Naan Pizzas are great for entertaining, as appetizers, or for a small meal. I did two types: Caprese Naan Pizza and Caramelized Onion & Goat Cheese Pizza. You can easily change it up and put whatever toppings you fancy on- just make sure to grill the naan first as it keeps it from getting soggy in the oven!

Caprese Naan Pizza

– 2 Naan Breads

– oil for grilling

– 2 tbls pesto

– handful of cherry tomatoes, cut in half

– 10 slices bocconcini cheese

– 5 large basil leaves chopped

– balsamic vinegar for drizzling

Caramelized Onion & Goat Cheese Pizza

– 2 Naan Breads

– oil for grilling

– 2 Tbls pesto

– Half large purple onion, sliced

– 1/3 cup goat cheese, crumbled

Instructions

1. Preheat oven to 400

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2. Start Caramelizing the onions in a frying pan with butter over medium-high heat.

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3. Lightly coat naan breads with oil and grill them either on bbq or grill pan.

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4. Arrange grilled naan bread on baking sheet and spread on pesto

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5. Arrange toppings on the naan

6. Cook in oven for about 10 mins or until cheese is melted

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7. Drizzle Balsamic Vinegar on cooked pizzas

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8. Slice and Enjoy!!

Zesty Pasta Salad

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This past weekend, for the first time in what felt like aaages, the forecast didn’t call for rain. So with the promise of a sunny Saturday my friends decided to have a last minute BBQ. I was told to bring a side dish. At first I thought I would make my grilled corn salad that I posted a little while ago. However, when I got to the grocery store- they had no corn! I had to think fast and sticking with the salad theme I landed on a pasta salad.

This recipe is super easy and can be adapted to suit your tastes.

Ingredients:

1 package rotini, cooked

1/2 cup sundried tomatoes, chopped

1/2 cup cherry tomatoes, chopped

1/2 cup sliced black olives

1 cup cucumbers, chopped

1/4 cup red onion, chopped

1/2 cup- 1 cup crumbled feta cheese

1/2 cup-1 cup Italian dressing

Salt and Pepper to taste

Instructions:

Cook pasta according to package directions. While it is cooking, chop and combine tomatoes, olives, cucumbers, and onions in a large bowl. Drain pasta and add to bowl. Crumble in feta. Pour in dressing and stir to combine. Refrigerate for an hour.

It was a hit and the bbq! Enjoy!

Moroccan Inspired Couscous

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This recipe was inspired by the salad bar at Longo’s Grocery Store. Whenever I go I can’t help but fill a small (sometimes big) container with a variety of their green, grain, and pasta salads. One of my favourite of the bunch is their Moroccan Couscous.

Here is my take on it:

Ingredients

2 tablespoons olive oil
1 onion, minced
few cloves garlic, minced
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
1/2 teaspoon ground coriander
1/2 teaspoon powdered ginger
1 19 ounce can chickpeas, drained and rinsed
1 cup couscous
1/2 cup raisins/dried cranberries
2 cups orange juice
1 lemon, zest and juice
pinch of sea salt and freshly ground pepper
1/2 cup sliced almonds
a handful chopped cilantro

Directions

1.Heat olive oil in medium saucepan over medium-high heat. Add the onion, garlic and spice and sautee for a few minutes until onions begin to soften.

2. Add the chickpeas, couscous raisins/cranberries, orange juice, lemon zest and juice,  and salt and pepper. Bring to a simmer uncovered, then cover and turn down to low and cook until cousocus is tender and liquid has been absorbed.

3. Turn off heat and let rest for a few minutes before fluffing with a fork. Add almonds and cilantro. You can enjoy either hot or cold.

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Summer of Salads

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The weather and seasons dictate what I like to cook and eat. My winters are filled with soups, stews, curries and pastas. But when the weather gets warmer I like to turn to lighter fare, and nothing beats a fresh, crisp salad. These are a few of my favourites.

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Spicy Peanut Butter Quinoa Salad

This recipe comes from Vegangela and is great either warm or cold. I love peanut butter anything- chocolate, dipping sauce, noodles…the possibilities are endless and delicious! I sometimes add tofu to this salad, and a few drops of Sriracha to the sauce.

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Endive & Arugula Salad with Apple, Blue Cheese and Walnuts

This salad is great as a starter, side, or main. Endive can be a bit bitter, but the sweet tartness of the apple and creaminess of the blue cheese create a perfectly balanced dish.

Ingredients

– 3 small heads of endive chopped

– 2 cups arugula

– 1-2 granny smith apple chopped

– 1/3 cup walnuts

-1/3 cup crumbled blue cheese

– 1/2 cup olive oil

– 3 tablespoons white wine vinegar

– 1 tablespoon dijon mustard

– Salt and Pepper

Instructions

Combine first 5 ingredients in a bowl. Combine last 4 ingredients in separate bowl then drizzle into first bowl. Stir to combine.

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Grilled Corn Salad

I know summer has arrived when my mum makes this salad. Cilantro is one of my favourite ingredients and it makes this salad.

Ingredients

– 4 Cobs grilled corn

– 1 purple onion chopped

– 1 pint cherry tomatoes, chopped

-1 can black beans

– 1/2 cup cilantro chopped

– 1-2 tablespoons jarred jalapenos chopped

– 1/2 cup olive oil

– 2 tablespoons lime juice

– 1/2 tablespoons honey

– salt and pepper

Instructions

Combine first 6 ingredients in a large bowl. Combine last 4 ingredients in a separate small bowl and drizzle into first bowl. Stir to combine.

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Greek Salad

Greek Salad is pretty fool proof. I don’t really follow an exact recipe when I make it. I just chop up red and green peppers, cucumbers, tomatoes and combine with some black olives and feta cheese  then drizzle on some olive oil & balsamic and some oregano. Any leftovers are great wrapped up in a flour tortilla.

Dr Joshi Detox: Day 6

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Day 6 was a so-so day. I had my hot water and lemon first thing followed by the now usual granola, banana, soy milk combo for breakfast.

I didn’t have a ton of time to make lunch so decided to throw together a sandwich using the gluten-free bread I had in the freezer.

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I mixed together some softened goat cheese and dried herbs to make a spread and then layered on spinach and beets. It was my first time trying the bread and can say I honestly didn’t taste a real difference.

Dinner is where I had a tiny slip up. I didn’t finish work until 8:30 and was going to be spending the night at my parents. I really didn’t feel like cooking, so on the way home I stopped at the grocery store and grabbed this:

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It is a gluten and dairy free rice and bean burrito by the brand Amy’s. Even though it doesn’t have wheat or cheese, I still count it as a bit of a slip up as it is a processed food. On a different note, I do like Amy’s product and would recommend them!

6 days down, 15 to go!

Dr Joshi Detox: Day 4

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I’m halfway through week 1 already! I am fully into my morning routine of hot water and lemon now, and enjoy it more than I thought I would. For breakfast I had the same as yesterday- gluten-free granola, banana slices and soy milk. I think this will probably be my go to breakfast in the coming weeks.

Lunch consisted of yesterday’s Quinoa Salad leftovers- still as good the next day!

I wasn’t totally sure what I wanted for dinner, so looked at one of my favourite vegetarian restaurant’s menu: http://www.freshrestaurants.ca/eat

I usually get the Buddha Bowl when I go, but since peanut butter, cucumbers and tomatoes aren’t exactly detox friendly, I had a look at the other bowls. The Green Goddess caught my eye and I decided to try and put my own spin on it. Here’s what I came up with:

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 First I made some baked tofu following this recipe: http://www.healthytippingpoint.com/the-perfect-baked-tofu

While that was baking I made brown rice (nothing fancy, just package directions), steamed some broccoli, asparagus, carrots, and kale, and made a tahini sauce by mixing tahini, olive oil, lemon juice and water together. When the rice and tofu were ready, I quickly made a scrambled egg, and sauteed some green onions and garlic. Then I threw everything in a bowl, drizzled some sauce on, and garnished with cilantro (my fave!)

I am finding my meals are keeping me fuller longer and I am a lot less hungry throughout the day- which means no mindless snacking, which I am usually a culprit of.

4 days down, 17 to go!

Dr Joshi Detox: Day 3

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Day 3 has almost come and gone and I still haven’t cheated! (self high-five!)

I started the day with the usual hot water lemon drink, followed by a half-cup of Gluten-Free Granola, with some banana slices, and soy milk for breakfast.

For Lunch I made a Quinoa Salad with broccoli and beets that my roommate Robin sometimes makes. I didn’t use an exact recipe, just googled a few and went from there.

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I added some Chickpeas for a bit of protein. I was originally going to eat the salad cold, but with the gross weather outside I decided to keep it warm and also melted some goat cheese in at the last minute.

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I found it quite tasty and filling!

Since the weather stayed crappy all day, when dinner came around I decided on a soup. Using this recipe from another one of my favourite food blogs I made a delicious Curried Carrot Soup:

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http://naturallyella.com/2011/06/27/curried-carrot-soup-vegan/

I added some Roasted Curried Chickpeas as a kind of substitute for croutons.

Luckily, I haven’t suffered any of the headaches many people warn about (even Dr Joshi himself) yet. But I am not a big coffee/caffeine drinker so am not going through any withdrawal from it.

3 days down, 18 to go!

Dr Joshi Detox: Day 1

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I am almost done my first day of the detox and am happy to say I did not cheat-woo! I started the morning with a cup of hot/warm water and some lemon. Dr Joshi recommends doing this every morning- check out this link to find out the benefits: http://tasty-yummies.com/2013/03/18/10-benefits-to-drinking-warm-lemon-water-every-morning/

And while I was sipping that I prepared my breakfast– Mini Frittatas! I used this recipe: http://www.canadianliving.com/food/mini_spinach_and_feta_frittatas.php but cut it in half, omitted the mushrooms (not allowed), and substituted the milk for soy milk. And here is the end result

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They are very tasty, perfectly sized and under 100 calories each!

Because I slept in and had a late breakfast, I didn’t have a mid-morning snack, which means the next thing I ate was lunch.

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Lunch was a mixed greens salad with shaved carrots and beets, topped with crumbled goat cheese, sunflower seeds (“borrowed” from my roommate), and two falafel patties, with a bit of olive oil and lemon juice as a dressing.

Around 4pm I got a bit peckish so had a rice cake with some honey on it. Rice cakes are gluten-free, and the honey is good for satisfying a sweet tooth.

For Dinner I made a recipe from one of my favourite food blogs- Smitten Kitchen http://smittenkitchen.com/

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The recipe is Asparagus, Goat Cheese, and Lemon Pasta and can be found here: http://smittenkitchen.com/blog/2009/05/asparagus-goat-cheese-and-lemon-pasta/

I used Brown Rice pasta instead of the regular stuff, and honestly found no difference! I didn’t have any fresh tarragon so just used some dried herbs from my spice rack.

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I thought it was delicious and can’t wait to have the leftovers for lunch tomorrow!

So that is it for day 1. 20 more to go!