Getting Healthy from the Ground Up!

VibrantBlog

My favorite food and why

I am food obsessed. I love the texture, the nutrients, the taste. Mother nature is so clever to put all the things we need to keep our bodies healthy right inside all of our food. Nutritious and delicious food.

My favorite food is something I can hold in my hand. Little bite sized morsels of deliciousness!

Tapas, horderves, finger foods… whatever you call them, I call them wonderful.

Why do I love them you ask? Well,fingers were made before forks after all!

Food is not simply stuff that people eat when their hungry. Food is awesome, delicious, inventive, colorful, inspiring, and so much more. A mutual love of food can bring different people together and can make the saddest person feel a little better without even meaning to. I love food and think you should too

Here are some reasons why I love food

It brings people together

Let’s you explore other cultures without travelling the globe

It’s social

It makes any party better

It shows people you care

Inspires creativeness

Makes you feel good

Tastes great!

Here is one of my favorites…..

 

 

Print Recipe
BRIE WITH ROASTED PEAR AND THYME
Instructions
  1. 1. Cut off top rind of Brie and discard. Set Brie aside. Preheat oven to 425°F (220°C).
  2. 2. Peel and core pears, then slice ¼-inch (1-cm) thick. Lay on a generously buttered baking sheet in a single layer. Roast in oven for 15 minutes. Turn slices and continue roasting 10 to 15 minutes or until edges are caramelized and brown. Arrange pear slices overlapping in a circle overtop Brie. Refrigerate, uncovered, for up to half a day.
  3. 3. When ready to serve, heat in a preheated 350°F (180°C) oven 10 to 12 minutes or until softened. Sprinkle with thyme and serve with slices of fresh baguette and crackers.
Share this Recipe

Pickles, pickling and you

You don’t need to get yourself into a pickle. Canning your cukes is easy when you know how!

First, get out to your farmers market and get yourself some beautiful baby cukes.

Kirby or Persian cucumbers are the best variety to choose as they hold up their crunch factor without becoming soft and mushy. No one wants a soft or mushy pickle.

So why pickle you ask? Well first, you will know exactly what is going into your pickles, there will be no weird additives or unlabelled shenanigans in your final product.

Second, fermentation. This gives your gut the healthy bacteria that it needs to flourish and keep your immune system healthy.

Third, it is easy!

You can can your pickles using a hot water bath method, or you can just jar them and put them in the fridge. Canning will allow you to store them for about a year.

Did you know that you can also pickle other veg? Okra and green beans are always favorites, but garlic scapes and carrots work well too. Get creative and try pickling other veg from your garden. What ever veg you choose should be ripe and firm to the touch.

Grab some dill, some garlic, vinegar and cukes and let’s get into a pickle!

The Brine

A basic brine will be made of equal parts vinegar and water mixed with salt. It then gets poured over the cucumbers and turns your veg into pickley goodness! You can of course eat them straight away, but the longer you leave them soaking in the brine, the better the flavor!

Keeping the ratios the same you will be able to make more or less brine depending on the amount of veg you would like to ferment. You can also play around with different spices and vinegars. Experiment with cider or homemade vinegars, mustard seed, red pepper flakes.. .the possibilities are endless!

To Process or Not to Process

If you want to keep your pickles for up to a year, you will need to process them. If you just want to reach into the fridge and grab some on the go you will not.

You can make the recipe below and decide which you will want to do, process or not. If you want to keep them for up to a year, then you will need to hot water bathe them for about 5 minutes. The only downside is that the hot water will cook the pickles a little bit and sometimes make your pickles a bit soft. If you would like them to stay crunchy, just skip the hot water bath and them in the fridge. They will keep for several weeks in the fridge.

So there you have it, easy breezy pickle making. What kinds of veg will you try to get into a pickle?

Print Recipe
Make Dill Pickles!
Course preserves
Cuisine Pickling
Servings
Ingredients
Course preserves
Cuisine Pickling
Servings
Ingredients
Instructions
  1. Get your jars ready: If you are going to can your pickles you will need to boil and sterilize the jars and their lids. If you are planning to make refrigerator pickles, washing the jars and lids is fine.
  2. Prepare the cukes: Wash and dry the cucumbers. Be sure to trim away the blossom end of the cucumber, as it contains enzymes that can lead to limp pickles. You can leave the cucumbers whole,  or cut them into spears, or whichever shape you like.
  3. Spice up your veg: Divide the spices of your choice between the jars
  4. Pack the cucumbers: Pack the cucumbers  into the jars. Leaving about 1/2 inch below the top of the jar. Pack them in as tightly.
  5. Pickling brine: Combine the vinegar, water, salt and other spices in a small saucepan over high heat. Bring to a boil. Pour the brine over the cucumbers. Fill each jar to within 1/4-inch of the top.
  6. Remove the air bubbles: Gently tap your jars against the counter a few times to remove all the air bubbles. Top off with more brine if needed.
  7. Tighten the lids: Place the lids over the jars and screw on the rings until tight.
  8. If Processing: For longer shelf life your pickles will need a hot water bath. Fill your canner with enough water to cover the jars by a full inch. Boil the water, place jars into boiling water, wait for water to return to a boil and keep them in there for 10 minutes. Once they are finished, use tongs and carefully take jars out and let them cool.  
  9. Cool and refrigerate: Let the jars cool to room temperature. If you processed the jars, they can be stored on the shelf. If unprocessed, store the pickles in the fridge. The pickles will improve with flavor as they age — try to wait at least 48 hours before cracking them open.
Recipe Notes

Storing canned pickles: Canned pickles will keep for at least a year on the shelf and for several weeks in the refrigerator once opened; refrigerator pickles will keep for several weeks.

Share this Recipe

Edible Flowers for your Vibrant garden

These edible flowers for your vibrant garden are flowers that you don’t want to miss planting and eating! Let’s take a look at a few that will make lovely additions to your garden and your plate!

Lavender –  oh sweet relaxing lavender, how I love you!

A little lavender goes a long way in any recipe. The flavour is quite strong so remember to use sparingly.  English lavender is the touted as the best for culinary uses. You should harvest your lavender right before the flowers fully open to get the essential oils while they are most potent.

Put a few dry buds in a sugar jar and use for baking. You can also chop a few of the fresh bud and bake with them by just adding them to the dough. Sprinkle a bit on a salad for a pretty garnish or use it to infuse lemonade or tea.

Check out Bon Appetit Recipe for shortbread here: https://www.bonappetit.com/recipe/lavender-shortbread-with-fruits-flowers-and-herbs

And genius kitchens recipe for herbs de Provence http://www.geniuskitchen.com/recipe/herbes-de-provence-162668

Chive & garlic Blossoms This pretty, light purple, edible flower has a light onion flavor. Chive blossoms can be tossed in a salad or, more commonly, used to garnish a dish. garlic chives produce edible white flowers with a garlic flavor that is stronger than the leaf itself.

Hello epicurious…. https://www.epicurious.com/recipes/food/views/Goat-Cheese-Scalloped-Potatoes-with-Chive-Blossoms-103329

Food and Wine: http://www.foodandwine.com/recipes/baby-green-salad-with-chive-blossoms

Squash Blossoms

These are much more popular than I knew and quite versatile! Fried, baked or added to pasta, these blooms are delish! But remember, if you pick the blossom there will be no squash, so don’t pick them all!

Fried: This is one of the most popular ways to prepare squash blossoms. You just batter and fry them. You could even stuff them first with ricotta, fresh mozzarella, and/ or goat cheese, add your favorite herbs  like, basil, thyme or parsley and you will have yourself a side dish that is amazing! Try squeezing a little lemon and salt and pepper over them to finish them off.

Baked: If deep frying turns you off, or you just want to try something different, you could stuff the blossoms with cheese – savory or sweet – and then bake them in the oven. Steaming is another healthy option.  

https://www.thekitchn.com/try-this-recipe-3-cheese-stuffed-squash-blossoms-the-cheesemonger-175303

So there you have it! Edible flowers for your vibrant garden! Why not get started today?

 

Sourdough Banana Bread

Love my sourdough!

Finding new ways to use my starter every weekend! This past weekend I made sourdough banana bread. It is vegan and delish! Why not try it yourself?

Print Recipe
Sourdough Banana Bread
Course snack
Prep Time 15 minutes
Cook Time 1 hour
Servings
loaves
Course snack
Prep Time 15 minutes
Cook Time 1 hour
Servings
loaves
Instructions
  1. Cream together the butter, sugar, and vanilla.
  2. Mix in the sourdough starter and mashed bananas.
  3. In a separate bowl combine the flour, salt, and baking soda. Add the flour mixture to banana mixture and mix just until combined. Do not over-mix.
  4. Pour the batter into two greased 9x5-inch bread pan. Bake at 350°F for 1 hour or until a toothpick inserted into the center of the loaf comes out clean. Cool completely prior to slicing.
Share this Recipe

Cauliflower Skillet Pizza

This cauliflower skillet Pizza is gluten free and so good, you wonder why you ever ordered takeout!

Ingredients:

3 cups cauliflower, chopped fine

2 1/2  cups shredded mozzarella, divided

2 large eggs

1 cup. freshly grated Parmesan, divided

3 tbsp of your favorite pizza sauce

1 clove garlic smashed and chopped finely

Salt & pepper to taste

Toppings of your choice

Direction:

Preheat oven to 425º.

Grease your cast iron skillet well.

Mix the cauliflower, ½ the mozzarella, both eggs, 1/2 the Parmesan, and the garlic together. Season with salt and pepper to taste.

Press the cauliflower mixture into the bottom and sides of the skillet and bake it in a 425 degree oven until deep golden brown, about 25 minutes.

Take out of oven.

Be careful as the pan will be quite hot!

Spoon pizza sauce over crust and sprinkle with remaining mozzarella and Parmesan. Top with favorite toppings  and bake 5 minutes more.

Enjoy, this delicious better than take-out cauliflower skillet pizza!

 

Salad Dressings, the best way to top your salad.

We all need to eat more greens and the two best ways to get them into you are smoothies and salads.
I don’t know about you but the only way I am eating salad everyday is to have a wonderful tasty salad dressing to top it off with.
Salad dressing require a base, usually a fat and an acid to start, then you add layers of flavor. Herbs, spices, peppers, well anything that suits your fancy really. You can use flavored oils & vinegars or even pickle juice! Salad dressings can be so creative!

So for today, I would like to share some of my favorite salad dressings!

 

Japanese-Style Sesame Dressing

This is a fantastic dressing and definitely one of my favorites.

Ingredients:

4 tbsp Mayonnaise

3 tbsp Tahini

3 tbsp Rice vinegar

2 tsp Sugar (optional)

2 tsp Soy sauce

¼ tsp salt

¼ tsp Onion powder

½ tsp Fresh or frozen ginger grated

Directions:

Put all the ingredients into a blender and blend until smooth.

Avocado & Lime Dressing

Ingredients:

1 beautiful avocado
½ cup olive oil
2 tbsp lime juice
½ cup fresh oj
1 green onion
¼ tsp salt
Pepper to taste

Directions:

Peel and pit avocado, Scoop out flesh and add to blender. Chop green onion, add to blender. Add all other ingredients to blender and blend until smooth.
If you would like a little heat with this dressing, go ahead and add a chilli or some sriracha.

 

Creamy Tahini Dream

Ingredients:

1/2 cup fresh lemon juice

1/2 cup tahini

1 clove garlic

1/4 teaspoon onion powder

1/2 teaspoon salt
water for desired consistency

Directions:

Peel and smash the garlic with the side of your knife. Allow the garlic to sit for a few minutes. This allows the compounds in the garlic to blend and create acillin, a powerful healing compound.
Juice the lemon.
Put all of the ingredients in a blender, and blend until smooth and creamy. Add water to thin out, if desired.
This dressing will thicken in the fridge.

There you have it! Three gorgeous dressings for you to try out on your salads. Please share with me your favorites!

Ah, Christmas parties!

mmm delicious chicken

Tis the season to get together with friends and family to celebrate the season! I went to celebrate with family and was asked to bring a main dish. This buttermilk baked chicken is what I decided to bring to the festivities! It is delicious and juicy.

Print Recipe
Baked Buttermilk chicken
Instructions
  1. Preheat the oven to 400 degrees Grease your pan well or add parchment paper.
  2. Mix together buttermilk, lemon juice, spices, garlic, salt, and pepper to a large freezer bag. Add chicken and coat with mixture. Seal bag ensuring all air is removed from bag and place in the refrigerator for 3 hours or up 12 hours.
  3. Mix Panko bread crumbs and seasoning of your choice together.
  4. Beat egg in separate bowl.
  5. Remove chicken from the marinade, letting the excess drip off.
  6. Dip in egg mixture to coat, then into the panko bread crumbs. Doing this in small batches I find works best to keep the coating adhering to the chicken.
  7. Place in the pan and bake for 45 minutes until golden and crisp.
Recipe Notes

Enjoy this juicy and flavorful chicken.

Share this Recipe

Bold and Pungent day!

Happy bold and pungent day!
Pungent taste is sharp, concentrated, and intense. It spreads quickly throughout the mouth and digestive tract. Chillies and black pepper are common pungent tastes.

So to celebrate the day, let’s be bold and make something pungent!

For today I have adapted Christine Cushing’s recipe from the food network. The original recipe can be found here: http://www.foodnetwork.ca/recipe/spicy-green-mango-and-cucumber-salad/6904/

Another wonderful salad that is bold and pungent can be found here: http://www.vibrantfoodvibrantyou.com/recipe/watermelon-jalapeno-with-feta-salad/
Enjoy!

An Apple a day!

MMM. nothing like ontario apples to make snacks, ciders, pies and even added into your mains. Apples are so diverse there are many recipes to try them in!
When baking with apples you want to stick with apples that will stand up to the heat in the kitchen. For the best results when baking with apples try Gala, Fuji, Cortland, golden delicious, granny smith or Northern spy apples.

Print Recipe
APPLE SQUASH SOUP
Instructions
  1. Cut you butternut squash in half. Remove seeds. Save seeds to plant for next year.
  2. Place cut side down in baking dish. Bake on 350 for 1 hour or until soft.
  3. While the squash is baking, you want to caramelize your onions. Add oil to cast iron frying pan, add onions, cook on medium heat for about a half hour. The onions will sweeten and get brown.
  4. Add squash, apples, onions, chicken stock, apple juice and spices to your slow cooker. and cook on low for a couple of hours. Blend well with a hand blender.
  5. Serve with a dollop of plain yogurt or cream. Chopped apples and candied walnuts also work well on top.
  6. Enjoy.
Share this Recipe