Sheryl Jesin


Leave a comment

A Whole Foods Lunch

I have been doing a lot of our grocery shopping lately at Whole Foods. It may be more expensive than other grocery stores, but the produce is so much fresher – especially the organic items. I don’t know of another grocery store that consistently has fresh organic kale week after week. If it exists, please let me know. We also buy little to no meat on a weekly basis, and that saves a lot of money on the grocery bill.

When I’m at Whole Foods, I sometimes treat myself to lunch at their salad bar. It truly is outstanding. Today I had a selection of vegan and gluten-free items. My lunch consisted of curried chickpeas, quinoa with sweet potato and spinach, steamed kale, raw kale salad with beets, coleslaw, and a salad made from cauliflower, broccoli and carrots.

Benjamin and I shared this when we came home from the store. I think he loves their salad bar as much as I do. It was good till the last drop.

20121126-153604.jpg

20121126-153612.jpg


Leave a comment

Meal planning

I’ve been meal planning on and off for the past year.  When I stick with it, it makes a huge difference in our lives.  It makes grocery shopping a breeze, and we throw out far less food.  We always have a delicious, home cooked meal on our table.  I tend to make dinners the night before, as there is very little time for cooking after I pick Dylan up from school.

I’ve tried out a few different meal plan templates, and this one is my favorite:  The Project Girl Meal Planner.   I’ve been using her second version, without separate squares for each meal, but I have been planning each meal of the day – breakfasts, lunches and dinners.  It might seem a bit anal to plan out breakfasts, but it saves precious brain power in the morning when I  no longer have to decide what to make that day!

What I love about this meal plan is that there is room on the same piece of paper for a shopping list.  I take the meal plan and the list with me when I go grocery shopping each Monday morning.  I’ve found it works best if I take the list with me in a plastic page protector, and keep it in there for the remainder of the week.  That way the meal plan and the list don’t get crumpled.  I save each week’s meal plan in a binder and often refer to them when I’m sitting down each Sunday night to make my meal plan and shopping list.

Do you meal plan?  Do you make grocery shopping lists?


1 Comment

Sunday Brunch at Live Organic Food Bar

A few weeks ago, Jake and Dylan were out of town for the weekend. My mom, Benjamin and I decided to head down to Live Organic Food Bar on a Sunday morning for brunch. Two kids in a restaurant = hell. One kid = a fun outing.

We arrived right at 11 am to avoid any lines. The restaurant was empty when we got there. It slowly started to fill up as we ate, but we enjoyed having the place to ourselves for a while. The decor is modern, cool and clean. All of the food at Live is vegan, gluten free and sugar free. There are an array of raw and cooked dishes to choose from, in addition to a large selection of juices and smoothies.

I had french toast on a gluten free bun, made with almond butter and bananas. It was served with fresh berries, maple syrup, jam and coconut whipped cream. It was absolutely delicious. My only complaint is that it was quite small.

My mom had a sunshine wrap. This is a raw dish. It is made up of the following: sundried tomato wrap, sunflower sesame hummus, avocado, tomatoes, cucumbers, carrots, micro greens, and a balsamic reduction. It came with a side salad of mixed baby greens, micro greens and sprouts. My mom was nice enough to share half of her wrap with me. She tends to be not as starving as I always find myself to be. Half of her dish, along with mine, filled me up.

We shared a juice called Green Electricity. It is made from kale, apple, grapefruit juice, cilantro, ginger and lemon. It was refreshing and delicious. I liked that it wasn’t super sweet, as juices can be. Benjamin loved it! He also snacked on some of our food, and was quite happy to be there with us.

We were quite satisfied with our brunch. It was so nice for me to be able to go to a restaurant, and know that every choice on the menu was something that I can eat, and something that is healthy. My mom commented that she felt so good after eating – she felt light, rather than stuffed and bloated. I would recommend this restaurant to vegans and non-vegans alike. While the food is healthy, it is also delicious. The presentation of the food was also top notch, with carefully placed berries on each plate, and even an edible flower perched on my french toast. I wish more restaurants offered brunch like this. I can’t wait to go back to Live!


Leave a comment

Mixing up salad

Good food isn’t cheap and cheap food isn’t good.

–   Vegan chef Doug McNish

Do you ever get tired of the same old salad greens? I know that I do. It is convenient to buy those large containers of organic baby spinach from supermarket. They are fast and easy. They’re also versatile. A handful in a smoothie, a handful in a stirfry, a quick salad that can be made in a couple of minutes.

Spinach can get boring after a while. Lately, when I’m in the mood for some fresh, delicious, and different salad greens, I head over to our local farmers market at the Evergreen Brick Works. The vendors there never disappoint me. I’ve been having a love affair lately with the outstanding produce grown by Cookstown Greens. Today I threw together a small salad for lunch in about two minutes using their greens. A handful of their baby greens, topped with their sunflower sprouts and a few pine nuts I found in my fridge was an easy way to get some veggies in at lunch time.

Their baby greens are not only delicious, but they are also so beautiful to the eye, with gorgeous edible flowers in the mix. I spent about $15 on their greens this week. Yes, they are more expensive than lettuce you will find in the supermarket, but it is well worth it. I find when I buy produce at the farmers market it is remarkably fresh. This means it lasts longer in my fridge, and I throw less out.

Here’s what they put in their baby greens mix: Hand-picked lettuces, mustard, cresses, gold and crimson chards, spinach, arugula, seedlings and petals.

And here is a picture of my simple lunchtime salad.

20121102-142918.jpg


2 Comments

Meal Planning Monday

As I’ve mentioned before, I tend to hop on and off of the meal planning bandwagon.  I don’t know why I don’t just stay on – there are so many benefits when I take 5 minutes to plan out our meals on a Sunday night.  I spend less money on groceries, throw less food out and spend less time in the kitchen!  Plus we eat better!

Here’s this week’s plan.  (I plan out dinners – breakfast is usually a smoothie for me, oatmeal and fruit for the kids.   Lunch is left overs or a quick sandwich).

Monday – Salad, green quinoa bowl

Tuesday – Salmon burgers, roasted cauliflower, brown rice

Wednesday – Salad, lentil sweet potato loaf, roasted zucchini, brown rice

Thursday – Soup (from the freezer), lentil sweet potato loaf leftovers, roasted brocolli

Friday – Going out!

There you have it.  Quick and easy and now we are set for the week.


Leave a comment

Recipe – The World’s Yummiest Rice (aka Fragrant Indian Brown Rice with Coconut Milk)

As someone who is trying to avoid gluten, I eat a lot of rice.  I eat brown rice cakes, brown rice pasta, and use brown rice flour in baking.  Brown rice is a frequent side dish also!  I like rice – it has quality carbohydrates that give me energy to chase after two kids and helps to fuel my runs.  And it does so without hurting my stomach, as wheat tends to do.

A couple days ago I tried a new rice dish and I have coined it “The World’s Yummiest Rice”.  Both my kids loved it and so did my husband and brother-in-law, so it’s not one of those crazy healthy dishes that I love, but no one else does.   This has mainstream appeal!  I wanted to take a picture of it, but we ate it all up before I had a chance!

It contains delicious Indian spices and the secret ingredient is coconut milk.  The coconut milk makes it creamy and satisfying.   You’ve got to try this!

Recipe – The World’s Yummiest Rice – Fragrant Indian Brown Rice with Coconut Milk (based on Marni Wasserman’s recipe)

Makes 8-10 servings, 15 minutes prep time, 45 minutes cook time

Ingredients:

2 cups brown rice

1.5 tsp cumin

2 tbsp grapeseed or coconut oil

2 medium onions, diced

4 large cloves garlic, sliced

1 cinnamon stick

1 tsp whole cloves

1 tbsp grated ginger

1 tsp salt

1 tsp tumeric

1.5 tbsp garam msala

1 can coconut milk (398 mL)

3.5 cups water

1/2 cup raisins (optional)

Directions:

1.  Add oil, onion, garlic, cumin, cloves and ginger to a large pot.   Set heat to medium.  Stir.  Add in the tumeric and garam masala, and saute until onions become soft and translucent.   Stir often.

2.  Add the rice, water and coconut milk.  Bring to a boil and simmer covered over low heat for 45 minutes.

3.  When the rice is cooked and liquid has been absorbed, add the raisins.   Stir well.   Remove cinnamon stick.  Serve and enjoy!

Note about amount of liquid – different rice may require different amounts of liquid.  Follow the directions on your bag if they differ from what mentioned above.  Factor in the coconut milk and reduce water as necessary.  For example, the rice I had said 2 cups of rice and 5 cups of water.  So I used just under 3.5 cups of water and 1 can (or 1.5 cups) of coconut milk. Check the rice at around 35 or 40 minutes to see if you need to add more liquid.


13 Comments

Recipe – Coconut Milk Ice Cream

I’ve been avoiding cow’s milk dairy for the past few months for a variety of different reasons.  Does that mean I have to give up ice cream?  Nope!

I discovered an amazing brand of vegan, soy free ice cream called Luna and Larry’s Coconut Bliss.   It is made with coconut milk and it is truly blissful!  It is creamy and delicious and even if you eat dairy, you should give it a try.   Why?  It’s made from amazing ingredients – in particular, coconut milk.   Coconut milk is is super creamy and delicious but its fats are actually good for you!  Unlike the cholesterol-laden artery-clogging fats in cream, coconut fats are high in medium chain triglycerides (MCTs).   These MCTs are identical to those fats found in human breast milk, and contain similar antimicrobial and heart protective qualities.   The breastfeeding advocate in me just loves this!!

Fat in coconut is used differently by your body than other fats.  MCTs don’t need to be broken down – instead they can be used by your body immediately as energy.  In fact, coconut fat provides easily digestible energy that is ideal to consume before physical activity such as running, cycling or hiking.   Coconut fat stimulates your metabolism!

I buy Luna and Larry’s at Whole Foods or Noah’s Natural Foods here in Toronto and I definitely recommend that you try it.   If you can’t find it in a store near you,  I recently discovered that it is pretty simple to make your own coconut milk ice cream using the Vitamix.

Recipe – Coconut Milk Ice Cream

Ingredients:

One 14oz or 400 ml can of coconut milk – (I used full fat, not the light versions)

Sweetener – maple syrup, agave syrup or honey to taste

Vanilla to taste

Mix your coconut milk, sweetener of choice and vanilla in a bowl.  I didn’t list amounts because the amount you use is really personal preference.   Start with 1 tablespoon of sweetener and 1/2 tsp of vanilla.   Give it a taste and add more if necessary.

Pour the mixture into an ice cube tray.   Freeze for a few hours until solid.

Place the frozen ice cube mixture into your Vitamix and blend!   It will become creamy and delicious and take on an ice cream texture within seconds.   Serve right away and ENJOY!