pumpkin, sweet potato & leek soup

Wakey, wakey, eggs and bakey!  I woke up early this past Saturday morn and decided to make a trip to the Evergreen Brickworks outdoor farmer’s market.  Did a little texteroo with one of my friends (who actually picks up the phone and calls people anymore?  I know I should more…) and arranged to meet up at her place and drive over together.  So, we did just that.  With reusable bags in hand and cash in our pockets, we were good-to-go!

When we pulled in, the market was already in full swing.  We were fortunate enough to squeeze into a parking spot that someone was just pulling out of.  Fantastic timing.  Next, we made our way into one of the buildings that just opened up a new cafe, to get the much needed americano.  It was delish.  While warming our fingertips…fall was definitely in the air, we strolled around taking our time to check out all the vendors.  Now, when I say, taking our time…I really mean it.  While chatting it up with people, looking at different products and enjoying the company of one another…we fully and completely lost track of time.  I love that feeling.  Yes!  Three hours went by in a flash.

If you know me…I have a very difficult time focusing on one thing at a time.  I am a total distracto at the best of times.  There was a lot going on…so in the end, I think we did about 800 laps of the market, just to make sure we didn’t miss a thing.  Nearing the close of our visit, we stopped by an apple orchard stand that was selling apples (of course!) and hot apple cider with cinnamon!  Yep…that’s it…that’s all…just those two ingredients.  I am usually not the biggest fan of cider, but to say that it was unreal is an understatement.  Definitely a little somethin’ to write home about!!!  Oh…and I bought some of their MacIntosh apples.  Small, some weirdly shaped and NOT shiny!  Yes folks…that’s what apples are supposed to look like!

Anyhoo, after realizing the time, we decided that we better make a push for home.  We were both super proud of our wicked hauls and 100% pleased with all the yummy goodies that we just reeled in.  I left feeling so warm and fuzzy inside (kinda corny I know), but good food excites me!  What I love even more, is knowing where my food is coming from and also supporting local farmers.  If you live in the Toronto area or will be visiting soon…seriously check out the Evergreen Brickworks on Saturdays.  You will be glad you did!

With the cool breeze blowing through my hair on this venture and the inaugural sportin’ of the fall jacket, I was inspired and decided to wrap my arms around what is ever so closely upon us…FALL/AUTUMN…whatever you may call it.  This recipe screams warmth, comfort and coziness all in a bowl!  I am a huge soup fan any day of the week, but this one’s flavours are especially delightful this time of year.  P.S – Not gonna lie…I love fall sweaters. Don’t fight it…embrace it!  Get some stuff and make some soup.

This week’s big ass market haul:

pumpkin, sweet potato & leek soup
Print
Recipe type: appetizer, side
Prep time: 15 mins
Cook time: 30 mins
Total time: 45 mins
Serves: 6 +
Ingredients
  • 1 small cooking pumpkin – cubed
  • 6 large leek stalks – finely chopped
  • 6 medium sweet potatoes/yams – cubed
  • 4 medium carrots – chopped
  • 1 can coconut milk
  • 1 container of vegetable stock (I used about 800 mL)
  • 5 cloves garlic – thinly sliced
  • 1/2 red onion – thinly sliced
  • coconut oil
  • ground nutmeg and cinnamon
  • ground pepper and sea salt
  • a few dashes of hot sauce (optional)
Instructions
  1. start by sautéing the onion and garlic in coconut oil on low-medium heat on the stove-top, in a LE CREUSET/dutch oven, until they are translucent
  2. follow by adding in the leeks and let cook until softened
  3. next, take your chopped pumpkin, sweet potato/yams and carrot and add them into the pot
  4. pour in your vegetable broth and bring to a boil
  5. reduce heat to medium and continue until these veggies are throughly cooked
  6. season with a few teaspoons of ground nutmeg and/or cinnamon (sorry, I didn’t measure the amounts here, but I wasn’t shy)
  7. then, take an immersion hand blender and puree the soup until smooth
  8. at the same time, add in the coconut milk slowly, and continue blending until desired consistency is reached
  9. allow time to simmer on low heat for flavours to melt together
  10. serve it up in a bowl and sprinkle with a pinch of sea salt and ground pepper
  11. finish with a few dashes of hot sauce if you want a little bite!
  12. p.s – I added in an extra spoonful of coconut milk to give it a pretty swirl in the end
  13. enjoy!
Notes

• feel free to play around with the spices if you wish
• some cumin or paprika would probably be a nice touch
• also, you can modify the consistency of your soup by adding in a little bit more broth, if you find it is too thick
• have fun with this one…choose some veggies that are in-season and you are off to the races
• any type of squash is always a good bet as well
• oh ya…when re-heating the leftovers (this makes a ton), I also added in some more liquid to even things out

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pesto and coconut zucc noodles

So…the topic of THIS spirally thingy came up when we were up North at a friend of the fam’s cottage a couple weekends ago.  While we were there, my mother-in-law mentioned it in conversation whilst (love that word, but hardly ever use it) on the dock chillin’ as pictured below..ahhhhhhhh – PURE BLISS!

It was seriously sooooo relaxing.  Totally awesome to spend loads of quality time with loved ones and then to have the opportunity to communally create some pretty amazing feasts in the evenings together.  We ate like Paleo kings and queens!  Workouts included swimming across the lake and back, kayaking, canoeing, aqua lily pad fun and of course, the inaugural adventure on the ‘newly popular’ paddle board (video coming soon…).  If you haven’t tried this yet…I strongly encourage you to give it a go!  I thoroughly enjoyed every single minute of it.  Even the near face-plant onto the dock right at the beginning!!!

Changing gears for a second (bear with me)…at the beginning of our 10 day, California Coast “expedition”, we were fortunate enough to meet and listen to some really incredible speakers at UCLA, throughout the 2-day 2011 Ancestral Health Symposium that we attended.  There was one presentation that really resonated and rang true to me at that present time.  Consequently, I have come to realize that I do in fact need more play in my life, after listening to Mark Sisson’ s presentation on ‘The Lost Art of Play’.  It was phenomenal in my eyes!

A huge ‘thank you’ to Mark for sharing his love of life with the audience.  Incorporating more play into my ‘everyday’ is def on the forefront for moi, having now listened to him share his infectious spirit and passion for ‘being in the moment’ and ‘detaching oneself from the outcome.’ (Okay…fully off topic now, but he seriously inspired me with his words of wisdom.  I am going to do a full/proper post on the importance of what he and others spoke of in a separate entry very soon!)  An amazing weekend we all had…filled with lots of PLAY!Alright…back the THIS spirally thingy!  Joannie (MIL), started telling my about it and it’s rave review that a friend of hers had excitedly conveyed to her earlier that week.  She went on to say that this cool device has the capacity to create these spirally noodles out of many different types of vegetables, such as: zucchini, yams, sweet potatoes etc…  At this point, I could kinda picture was she was talking about, but needed to see it in action to grasp it’s full beauty I think.  Nonetheless, I was super stoked to do a little researcheroo upon returning back to the city, to find out where I could pick-up something of the sort!?

A couple days later, after being back at home…I couldn’t stop thinking of the potential possibilities of such a damn clever sounding creation.  Soooooo, while not totally knowing the ‘exact brand’ that she was referring to, I decided to go on the computer and do some investigating for myself.  I read several reviews on various makes and then called up a couple local stores, in the neighborhood to see if they had something similar in stock!?  First one (Stack)…no dice!  Second one (Cook It!)…YES!  They had 2 different brands in-store.  The sun was a-shining, so I decided to take a wee stroll to hopefully (fingers crossed), find what I was looking for…which was of course…THIS spirally thingy!!!

Upon entering the shop, the owner greeted me and directed me towards the shelf, where they both sat.  She took both of them out of the package and laid them on the counter for me to have a closer peek.  It wasn’t even a contest!  The first one that she showed me was made of a flimsy plastic…I think something even fell off of it as she pulled it out of the box!  The second one was different.  A total beaut!!!  It was even grey and red!  Two of my favs (but that’s not why I bought it okay! Haha!)  I could just tell by looking at it, that it was well-made, durable and would stand the test of time.  I don’t splurge too often, but when I really want something I will not hesitate to get it.  It was the last one and was on-sale…bonus!  My days of over-thinking purchases and being wishy-washy on things are over.  I could tell right away that this new addition would be soooo helpful in making countless meals.  Without a second thought, I was over at the cash register buying up my new…well you know, sprially thingy – aka…the German-made, Westmark Spiromat!

BTW – I am sure there are several other wonderful spiral slicers out there too!  But, here are the photos of my ‘baby’ for your viewing pleasure! ;)  It has 3 different blade inserts, as shown below.

I have used this sweet little contraption twice now.  Both times I made zucchini ‘noodles’; the first being the ‘spaghetti’ style ones you see in the first 2 photos above (thick/thin) and the second time,  I tried the wide/flat style that is pictured in the third photo.  I am going to continue to experiment with different veggies, as the potential for more greatness is right at my fingertips.  Without further ramblings (sweet if you made it this far!), here are the 2 different versions that I have made to date…

Zucchini “Spaghetti” with Pesto Sauce (at top of page)

pesto and coconut zucc noodles
Print
Recipe type: appetizer, main
Prep time: 5 mins
Cook time: 5 mins
Total time: 10 mins
Serves: 2
Ingredients
  • 3 large zucchini – spiraled
  • olive oil
  • pesto sauce – you can use store-bought or homemade (I have done both before)
  • my homemade pesto: fresh cilantro, basil, cashews, garlic, olive oil, lime juice (squeezed), jalapeno peppers, sea salt and pepper, various dried spices – I apologize that I didn’t pay much attention to amounts here…I was basically just ‘eyeballing’ and tossing the ingredients into the food processor! I will update with specifics, when I make it next!!
  • sea salt and pepper to taste
Instructions
  1. wash your zucchini thoroughly
  2. secure in your spiral slicer and turn handle to create ‘spaghettish noodles’
  3. using olive oil, sautee your zucchini on low heat on the stove-top (note – this doesn’t take long! keep an eye on it, because no one likes mushy ‘noodles’.)
  4. when you feel like the zucchini is almost cooked to your liking, add in a few spoonfuls of pesto sauce
  5. mix it in thoroughly and continue to heat for a couple more minutes
  6. plate and sprinkle with some sea salt and ground pepper
  7. enjoy!
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Curly Coconut Zucchini and Carrot Ribbons (above ^)

  • 3 large zucchini – spiraled
  • 1-2 carrots – peeled and shredded
  • coconut oil
  • dried chili pepper flakes (optional)
  • sea salt and pepper

Prep:

  • wash your zucchini thoroughly
  • secure in your spiral slicer and turn handle to create flat/wide ‘ribbonish noodles’
  • wash and peel your carrots
  • use a ‘regular’ peeler to shred them and then combine them in with the zucchini ‘noodles’
  • using coconut oil, sautee your zucchini on low heat on the stove-top (note – this doesn’t take long!  keep an eye on it, because no one likes mushy ‘noodles’)
  • when you feel like the zucchini is almost cooked to your liking, add in a few shakes of dried chili pepper flakes
  • mix it in thoroughly and continue to heat for a couple more minutes
  • plate and sprinkle with some sea salt and ground pepper
  • enjoy!

These 2 dishes are great grain-free ‘noodle’ recipes.  Zucc noodles are also a nice alternative to having spaghetti squash.  I choose to sautee the noodles in these sauce variations, but play around with whatever you like!  I probably wouldn’t get too carried away though with a heavy sauce – the simplicity of both dishes made for heightened flavours.  Next on the docket…spiral slicer + sweet potatoes and yuca!  Stay tuned…

very berry parfait

Nothing says summer like fresh berries.  Very berry parfait, a.k.a. berries smothered in coconut butter! So scrumptious…the raspberries are by far my fav.  This is a super simple treat.  Easy, ready in a flash and serves well as a yummy addition to any family bbq, potluck party or picnic on the beach.

Most people love having somethin’ a little sweet after eating their dins.  Can be oh so delightful!  I myself have never been much of a “sweet tooth girl” as you know, whereas salty goods were more my vice.  However, if that sweet craving comes a calling, there are many ways to feel satisfied, without having to dive into baked goods that are ladened with processed sugar and gluten.  Works well for me, as I am not much of a baker either.  Very berry parfait is a perfect alternative.

I think fruit salad or mixed berries are often overlooked because of their simplicity.  I love the bright colours and the intense flavours.  That is one of the reasons I decided to include this as one of my posts.  The beauty of this option is that you can tailor it to your preference based on your tastes and also what is in season at the time.  This dish is also super versatile – it can be enjoyed as a snack, dessert or as a side for breakfast in the morning.  If you have children…they will love ‘building” their own”too!  You could get totally creative and turn it into a fun little sundae kinda station/bar.  Put all kinds of different toppings into little dishes…and let them go wild!

What are ya waiting for?  Grab a massive bowl/platter, tons of fresh berries (or other fruit), a colander, cutting board and knife (if needed) – and you are good to go!  As an added bonus- try topping with warm-melted coconut or cashew butter for some extra flavour.  You could experiment here with any type of nut butter really.  YUM!  In the past, I have made a similar version and topped it with roasted walnuts for that extra crunch.  I am also a huge fan of garnishing with some freshly chopped mint, dark chocolate shavings and shredded coconut as well.  You can even squeeze a little lemon or lime juice on the berries if you wish.  Play around and make some magic happen in the kitchen!

very berry parfait
Print
Recipe type: dessert
Prep time: 10 mins
Total time: 10 mins
Ingredients
  • various fresh berries or other fruit of choice (raspberries, blueberries, strawberries and blackberries)
  • coconut butter – melted
  • chopped nuts and/or other desired toppings (optional)
  • freshly chopped mint – to garnish (optional)
Instructions
  1. wash berries thoroughly in a colander
  2. mix together is a large bowl or place on a platter
  3. scoop out individual serving into a “parfait” type glass (extra fun and fancy!)
  4. drizzle with warm coconut butter
  5. top with chopped nuts and/or fresh mint
  6. enjoy!
Notes

• to melt the coconut butter place the glass jar in a saucepan filled 3/4 full with water
• heat on stove-top on medium heat, stirring thoroughly until it turns into a thick liquid

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coconut curry chicken soup

This past week, I was feeling a little bit under the weather.  My husband happened to be over at his parents and ended up staying for dins.  When I got in from work…I arrived home to such a wonderful surprise!  I came home to a big container of homemade soup.  Seriously…who doesn’t love soup?!?  I could eat it any day of the week, but so comforting if you aren’t 100 % or if it is chilly. Now…this s not just any soup, but this is a super delicious number created by Joannie!!!  My momsie-in-law had whipped this up the evening before and kindly sent some home with Dusty. We are so fortunate to experience their cooking regularly!  All the ladies over there are so incredible in the kitchen.  Dusty lapped this up in ‘three shakes of a monkeys tail’…and to be honest, I wasn’t far behind.

coconut curry chicken soup
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Recipe type: appetizer, main
Serves: many
Ingredients
  • whole chicken – roasted and shredded (keep the juices for broth/flavour)
  • additional container of organic chicken stock (minimal added ingredients)
  • coconut/olive oil (for cooking veggies)
  • celery, onions, carrots and sweet potatoes – all chopped (divide ratio as you wish)
  • 1 can diced tomatoes
  • 1 can coconut milk
  • 1 lime -squeezed, plus some zest
  • 1 tsp Sambal Oelek (chili paste)
  • 3 tsp curry paste
  • 1 tbsp turmeric
  • 1 tbsp cumin
  • splash of hoisin sauce – *ISH (optional)
  • sea salt and fresh ground pepper
  • garnish with fresh coriander
Instructions
  1. in a roasting pan cook whole chicken and keep the juices for broth (you may want to use a food thermometer for accurate cooking time, depending on size of chicken)
  2. when finished, remove all chicken, shred and re-add it to the leftover juices
  3. in a separate pan cook/saute – celery, onions, carrots and sweet potatoes (in coconut of olive oil)
  4. cook and ‘sweat’ the vegetables on low heat
  5. when cooked, add them back in with the chicken stock
  6. next, add in additional container of store-bought chicken stock to the pot
  7. open can of diced tomatoes and coconut milk and add in as well
  8. squeeze in the fresh juice of the lime, along with some zest
  9. spoon in chili and curry paste and stir thoroughly
  10. add in a splash or two of hoisin sauce (optional)
  11. finally, measure and add all dry spices
  12. cook on low heat and let simmer (the longer the better)
  13. if soup is too thick, feel free to add in some more stock or water to the pot, if needed
  14. divide into bowls
  15. garnish with fresh coriander
  16. enjoy!
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chocolate and coconut covered bacon

Oh soooo good!   ”Chocolate and coconut covered bacon?”, you may ask. Yep you got it!  It may seem bizarre at first, but it is actually a really amazing combo!  If you are a fan of  ‘sweet and salty’, then this dessert is a must try for you.  In the past couple weeks I have tried two different versions of this recipe, one topped with shredded coconut and the other with crushed macadamia nuts, while both drizzled with coconut butter.  Super easy peasy to make and will be a guaranteed hit at your upcoming holiday parties.  A rich treat that is immensely satisfying.  Go ahead…choc it up!

chocolate and coconut covered bacon
Print
Recipe type: appetizer, dessert
Prep time: 10 mins
Cook time: 25 mins
Total time: 35 mins
Serves: 4
Ingredients
  • 1 pound of good quality bacon
  • 2 Organic Dark Chocolate bars ~ *ISH
  • handful of unsweetened shredded coconut or crushed raw macadamia nuts (I have tried both)
  • a few tbsp of coconut butter
Instructions
  1. cook bacon in frying pan on medium to high heat, until crispy (I had to do this in a couple batches)
  2. remove from heat and plate to cool for a few minutes
  3. in the meantime, melt dark chocolate in a double boiler (avoid burning the chocolate) – stirring frequently
  4. when completely melted, take a pair of thongs and fully immerse the slice of bacon in the chocolate sauce
  5. when coated, place on a baking pan lined with parchment paper
  6. sprinkle with shredded coconut and place in the fridge to cool for 10-15 minutes
  7. while it is solidifying in the fridge, melt some coconut butter (manna), by placing the jar in boiling water
  8. once melted, take a few tbsp and spoon it into a Ziploc bag
  9. take the chocolate covered bacon out of the fridge, snip a tiny hole in the corner of the Ziploc bag and drizzle lightly with coconut butter
  10. place back into the fridge and let cool once again (doesn’t take long to solidify)
  11. when ready remove bacon strips from parchment paper and plate
  12. enjoy!
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  • There was a little bit of dark chocolate left over, so I decided to take a pint of fresh blueberries and toss them in the pot.  From there, I stirred them around, making sure they were all covered with the sauce and then placed them on some parchment paper.  I followed the same process by sprinkling and drizzling them with the shredded coconut and the butter.  Threw them in the freezer to harden…and voila…another simple, yet fabulous dessert!

coconut curry chicken

 

 

Perhaps you remember an earlier post that I wrote on PALEOdISH about attending Mat Lalonde’s  nutrition seminar several months ago?!?  Anyhoo, I am SUPER stoked because I have the opportunity to go see him again tomorrow.  I couldn’t be more pumped.  I spoke to Mat and he told me that some of the content will be the same, but he has also added a bunch of new information.  He honestly packs so much relevant and thought-provoking stuff into a day, a second time through is going to resonate and sink in even more I bet.  He has also agreed to talk with me after for a mini-interview, while I fire off some burning questions that I have.   I will post his views and thoughts from this chatty chats very soon, so stay tuned!!!

Today I thought that I would leave you will a recipe that is one of my Paleo favs so far!  I have several photos albums stored on the computer of dishes that I have made over the past couple years…and this one goes down as a def winner in the archives.  I will forsure be making this one again either this weekend or early next week.  It is one of those meals that is even yummier the next day to bring in your lunch.

Finally, some “food for thought”…does your mind feel foggy?  are you focused? are you dialed in? do you give it your all?  Ponder these questions if you will…until next time.

coconut curry chicken
Print
Recipe type: main
Prep time: 10 mins
Cook time: 25 mins
Total time: 35 mins
Serves: 2-4
Ingredients
  • 2-4 chicken breasts- cut into pieces
  • coconut/olive oil
  • 1/2 cauliflower- chopped
  • 1/2 large onion- thinly sliced
  • 1 red pepper- chopped
  • 1/2- 3/4 can coconut milk
  • 3 tbsp curry powder (depending on your taste)
  • 1 tbsp cumin
  • a few shakes of chili flakes (hey kinda rhymes!)
  • ground fresh pepper to taste
  • 8 bay leaves
  • side- 1 bundle of asparagus
Instructions
  1. brown the chicken in coconut/olive oil on medium heat (set aside)
  2. when done add in the veggies and cook until softened
  3. then add in all other ingredients (spices and coconut milk), and the chicken back in as well
  4. stir everything together while cooking on low heat for another 20 minutes or so
  5. in the meantime, prepare the asparagus and put in oven during last 5 minutes of chicken cooking time
  6. serve the coconut chicken curry on the bed of asparagus
  7. enjoy!
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lotsa goodness on a bed of asparagus...

Finally, finallly…(I promise).  Check out this really cool article about a CrossFit Toronto  experience.

Get off the couch people and get active! Explore! There is so much going on around you…dare to seek it out. That is the basis behind the idea of “Generation Go!” About a month ago, Nadia and Sean stopped by CrossFit Toronto to check out our digs. We had a wonderful conversation and then they decided to take part in… the introductory session workout to get a taste of what CrossFit workouts are actually about.

It was such a treat and absolute pleasure to meet two highly inspired and eager people. They were so keen and adamant about spreading the word on improving your health, by becoming more involved in some sort of physical activity. Check out the experience they had with us, through their eyes…then come and see for yourself!

http://www.gengo.ca/uncategorized/crossfit-excursion/

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