Next Steps & Cauliflower Pizza Crust

I am extremely excited to announce that I have been offered an amazing internship opportunity with Bell’s Professional Management Program! After attending a four-hour interview for the position last week, they called me today to inform me that I have been selected as an Associate for the Workplace Optimization Coordinator position with their Talent Management department (quite the mouthful, I know).

I’m still not entirely sure what this position will involve, but I know it will be having a lot to do with professional development, recruitment processes, and planning health and wellness initiatives. 30% of the position also involves some cross-functional work in other departments, so I’ll also be working on projects with individuals from other areas of the program as well. Pretty exciting stuff! I’m really looking forward to this next stepping stone of my career and hoping it will lead to even bigger and better things :)

To celebrate this exciting opportunity, I decided I wanted to have pizza for dinner. But not just any pizza. I’ve been leaving myself little notes with reminders to eat healthy! So, I decided to try a recipe for cauliflower pizza crust that I pinned on Pinterest a while back! It was absolutely delicious (and gluten-free!). Definitely not the same texture as normal pizza dough, but it tasted so good that I hardly noticed. Thank you Eat. Drink. Smile. for posting such a tasty recipe! Click here to find out how you can make your own cauliflower pizza crust!

Here are some photos showing how mine turned out. FYI – this pizza is much easier to eat with a knife and fork :)

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Be Well! xo

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Garlic Scape Pesto

Happy [belated] Meatless Monday :) I apologize for not posting a recipe yesterday, however I was out of town!

This recipe should make up for my lateness. Mama Earth sent us some garlic scapes recently. I had never heard of them before, but was excited to try them out! Thankfully Mama E sent us a few recipe ideas as well, which was very helpful considering I had no idea what to do with them.

If you love garlic, you will definitely enjoy this dish. The pesto was quite delicious and has such a lovely, bright green colour! Any leftover pesto can be stored in the fridge, covered, for up to 7 days or frozen for up to one month.

Garlic Scape Pesto with Whole Wheat Spaghetti & Grape Tomatoes

Ingredients:

8 garlic scapes

1/4 cup unsalted pistachios

1/4 cup Parmigiano-Reggiano, finely grated

1 handful fresh cilantro (Mama Earth’s recipe didn’t call for this ingredient, but I felt like adding some fresh herbs!)

Pepper, to taste

1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil

Spaghetti

Grape Tomatoes, halved

Directions:

1. Combine the garlic scapes, pistachios, Parmesan, cilantro and pepper in a food processor until very finely chopped. With the motor running, slowly pour in the oil.

2. Cook the spaghetti according to package instructions. Reserve 3/4 cup of the pasta cooking water, then drain the pasta.

3. Whisk together a few spoonfuls of pesto and the reserved pasta water. Toss with the pasta and grape tomatoes. Enjoy!

Be Well xo

Asian Peanut Noodles with Tempeh

This recipe is definitely a keeper. My whole family devoured everything in their bowls. Yep, that’s right – even my 17-year-old brother! Mind you, my dish was the only one with “the weird-looking brown stuff” (aka tempeh). Everyone else had chicken instead. Even still, when I normally make noodles with vegetables, my brother always eats the pasta and leaves all the veggies behind. This time his bowl was clean :)

I had only tried tempeh a couple of times prior to this and had never cooked with it before. I definitely need to incorporate it into my diet more frequently, as it is quite delicious! If you’re wondering what tempeh is, well… it’s ridiculously good for you. It’s a soy-based product that’s similar to tofu, except the texture is more firm and it has an “earthier” flavour. I find it has a bit of a nutty taste, which is perfect for this recipe. Aside from being very high in protein (an 85g serving contains 11g of complete protein), tempeh is also a source of fibre and iron. The brand I purchased was also free of saturated and trans fats. I suggest giving it a try if you’re bored with tofu or chicken!

Asian Peanut Noodles with Tempeh

Ingredients:

1 375g package of whole wheat spaghetti

1/4 cup no-salt-added vegetable stock

3 tbsp all-natural, organic peanut butter

2 tbsp reduced-sodium soy sauce

1 tbsp honey (brown sugar also works)

1/2 tbsp rice vinegar

2 cloves garlic, crushed

1-2 tsp grated fresh ginger

Red chili flakes, to taste (optional)

1 carrot, peeled and grated

1/2 red bell pepper, chopped

2 cups kale leaves, chopped

2 green onions, chopped

1/2 cup fresh cilantro, chopped (plus more for garnishing)

1 package of tempeh

Other optional veggies to use include broccoli, snow peas, mushrooms, bok choy, or bean sprouts. Adding a squeeze of lime or sprinkling a few extra peanuts on top is also delicious!

Directions:

1. Cook the spaghetti according to the package instructions. In the meantime, prepare the peanut sauce by whisking together the stock, peanut butter, soy sauce, honey, rice vinegar, garlic, ginger, and chili flakes (if using) until smooth.

2. In a large wok or frying pan, stir fry the carrots, peppers and kale in 1 tsp of olive oil until the kale has wilted (about 5 minutes). While the veggies are cooking, pan fry the tempeh slices separately in 1 tsp of sesame oil until slightly brown (about 2-3 minutes per side). Set aside. **I chose sesame oil because the tempeh I purchased was sesame/garlic flavoured. Olive or canola oil works too!

3. Add the green onion, cilantro, cooked spaghetti, and peanut sauce to the vegetables in the wok. Toss to coat. Serve the noodles in bowls and top with a few slices of tempeh and some cilantro. The recipe serves 4-6 people. Enjoy!!! :)

Be Well xo

Meatless Monday: Swiss Chard & Chickpeas with Brown Rice

Sorry for the lack of posts over the past week, folks. I’ve been rather busy! I ended up returning to my old summer job for a couple of weeks to help coordinate a charity golf tournament (all went extremely well – I think we raised over $150,000 for medical student bursaries!). I’ve also been running around attending a few job interviews, so keep your fingers crossed in the hopes that I receive some positive news soon :)

This week’s Meatless Monday recipe was inspired by something I found on one of my healthy recipe apps. We had a HUGE bunch of rainbow chard in the fridge from Mama Earth that was patiently waiting to be used. After spending a majority of my weekend consuming copious amounts of candy (my friend had a 90s-themed birthday party, which was complete with loot bags containing all the classic favourites – candy necklaces, Ring Pops, Air Heads, Popeye candy cigarettes, and more), my body was desperate to load up on something a little more healthy. Swiss chard was just what I needed – it’s packed full of vitamins A, K and C!

Swiss Chard & Chickpeas with Brown Rice

Ingredients:

1 onion, chopped

3 cloves garlic, crushed

1 tbsp sesame oil

1 cup chopped tomato

2 cups chickpeas, rinsed and drained

4 cups chopped chard (keep stems and leaves separate)

1 tsp dried chili flakes (optional)

Pinch of pepper

Directions:

1. Prepare 1-2 cups of brown rice according to the instructions (quinoa or whole wheat pasta would also work).

2. Saute the onion, garlic and chard stems in the sesame oil over medium heat until softened. Add tomatoes, chickpeas, chili flakes and pepper. Let simmer for about 5 minutes.

3. Add the chard leaves, cover, and let simmer for 3-4 minutes or until the leaves have wilted – stir occasionally. Serve over brown rice, quinoa, or whole wheat pasta.

Happy Meatless Monday!

Be Well xo

 

 

Meatless Monday: Summer Salad Series #3 – Going Grilled

It’s Meatless Monday & my Summer Salad Series combined!

Nothing beats grilled veggies on the barbeque. They’re the perfect side dish to any summer meal, and super easy to prepare. I especially love grilled tomatoes. They seem to just melt in your mouth.

Since it is Meatless Monday, I thought it might be appropriate for me to share some quotes from the book I’m currently reading. It’s called “The Food Revolution” by John Robbins. He argues strongly about how eating a plant-based, whole foods diet can not only improve your personal health and well-being, but also contribute to a healthier planet. Right now I’m still working my way through the first section, which mainly discusses various scientific studies that have found a strong correlation between eating a plant-based diet and experiencing low incidence of disease, such as certain types of cancers, cardiovascular disease, and diabetes. I will leave you with some of the statistics he presents, along with the references in case you want to read about the studies more in-depth:

  • Risk of death from heart disease for vegetarians compared to non-vegetarians: Half (pg. 19). Source: Thorogood, M., et al., “Risk of Death from Cancer and Ischaemic Heart Disease in Meat and Non-meat Eaters,” British Medical Journal 308 (1994): 1666-71.
  • Incidence of very high blood pressure in meat eaters compared to vegetarians: 13 times higher (pg. 29). Source: Ophir, O. et al., “Low Blood Pressure in Vegetarians.” American Journal of Clinical Nutrition 37 (1983): 755-62.
  • Risk of colon cancer for people who eat poultry once a week compared to those who abstain: 55 percent greater. Risk of colon cancer for people who eat beans, peas, or lentils at least twice a week compared to people who avoid these foods: 50 percent lower. (pg. 49). Source: Singh, P. N., et al., “Dietary Risk Factors for Colon Cancer in a Low-Risk Population.” American Journal of Epidemiology 148 (1998): 761-74.

I think you get the idea. While these studies do suggest that a vegetarian diet can contribute to better health and perhaps even protect against diseases, it’s important to point out that other factors are also important to good health, such as frequent exercise, abstaining from smoking, and limiting alcohol consumption. However, one cannot ignore the fact that what we eat clearly has an effect on our health!

This brings me back to why I started my blog. I hope that by posting delicious, healthful recipes, people might start to realize that it’s not very difficult to go meat-free once in a while. I realize that a vegetarian diet is not for everyone. It’s a personal choice. However, with all of the evidence pointing towards the benefits of going meat-free, what’s wrong with giving Meatless Mondays a try? Especially when I have already taken the time to provide delicious, simple recipes for you ;) Hehe.

On that note, I hope you enjoy this week’s meat-free recipe! Stay tuned for more insights from “The Food Revolution”…

Summer Salad Series: #3 – Going Grilled

Ingredients:

White Button Mushrooms

Grape Tomatoes

Zucchini Slices

Green & Red Bell Pepper

Onion

Olive Oil

Fresh Herbs (we used oregano and basil)

Pinch of pepper

Directions:

1. Preheat your BBQ to medium heat. In a large bowl, combine the veggies, chopped herbs and pepper (or any other spices you wish to use). Drizzle with a bit of olive oil and stir to coat.

2. Grill the veggies in a grilling basket for about 15-20 minutes, or until tender, stirring occasionally. I enjoyed this grilled salad as a side dish to my veggie burger :)

Happy Meatless Monday!

– Be Well xo