Monday, December 12, 2011
It's nearing mid-December, temperatures are dropping, the days are getting shorter and if you're not one of the lucky ones living in a more temperate climate you'd probably do anything to feel a little warmth in your bones.
These cold winter months can leave even the most disciplined foodist battling those carb cravings that promise us that warm feeling of comfort in our bellies.
Now is not the time to say no to carbs, your body is right by signaling you to eat foods that make you feel warm when the temperature drops. So when you're searching for meal ideas, why not top your favorite pasta, grain or protein with my creamless creamy tomato sauce? It's loaded with veggies with no added salt and you would swear you were eating a rich cream-filled sauce, but there is not a drop of dairy or dairy substitute in sight. All the veg make for a rich and satisfying sauce, so I promise you, you won't miss it. The best part is it took my about 5 minutes to whip-up a batch, and you can freeze whatever you don't use. Plus what's better than fresh tomato sauce from scratch? Once you've had the real deal I challenge you to not think twice before forking out the cash for the sodium, preservative rich brands that line the walls of the grocery store.
This sauce is soo good you might even want to eat the rest as a soup.
Happy Eating & Stay Warm!
Emilee's Creamless Creamy Tomato Sauce
What you'll need:
- if you're lucky enough to own a Vitamix aka the Holy Grail of blenders use it.
- in absence of a Vitamix, you will need a food processor
- 6 fresh roma tomatoes, washed, skin on, roughly chopped (one can of passata (Italian tomato puree) in the absence of tomatoes)
- 1/2 tsp tomato paste (not entirely necessary, use only with fresh tomatoes)
- pinch of sea salt (optional)
- 1 small zucchini
- 1/2 - 1 small onion, diced
- 1 clove of galic, diced
- 1 small carrot, roughly chopped
- splash of extra virgin olive oil (optional)
- 1/4 cup fresh basil leaves ( I used a tsp of leftover pesto in this case, which was fabulous. You could also use a tsp of dried basil or oregano)
Tip: I like to mix in any leftover sautéed mushroom or other veg once I've created the base for the sauce.
- place either the pasata or the chopped Roma tomatoes into your Vitamix or food processor and puree if necessary
- add in the herbs, chopped onion, zucchini, carrot and onion and blend until liquified
- simmer on stove for 30-45 min and add salt, EVOO and another leftover veg you might have. Stirring occasionally.
*Best served over pasta, your favorite rice bowl or any of your favorite proteins.
* If you're feeling super experimental why not try adding some of your favorite curry paste to the mix. The variations of this sauce are endless.
Wednesday, February 9, 2011
I'm officially off hiatus to let you all know that I will be indulging in some float therapy at floatation spa Floatopia in London on Sunday evening.
I will be floating in about a foot of dense epsom salt solution for an hour. The water is warmed to skin temperature and the tank is devoid of any light or sound. This sensory deprivation is supposed to promote relaxation, putting one into a meditative state.
On top of the relaxation, float therapy claims to boost circulation, energy levels and encourage homeostasis within our bodies. All good stuff.
Not sure how it will work out, but at the very least the epsom salt will be good for my sore muscles.
I'll be back with a full review on Sunday.
Monday, November 29, 2010
Photo Courtesy of Me
Yum these gourmet baby squashes were delicious, however, I have to say they tasted more like zucchini than squash! They were super tender and only took a couple of minutes to steam in the microwave. The flavour was so good I didn't need to add a pinch of salt or any other seasoning. For those of you who like to add a little extra something to their veggies, a healthy sesame vinaigrette would be excellent on these.
Wednesday, November 24, 2010
Photo courtesy of Vapur
I do my best to drink a lot of water and am usually toting around water bottles that I've purchased or that I am reusing until I tidy things up and toss it out. I feel a lot better not relying on store-bought bottled water all the time but I have to admit carrying around a big clunky water bottle once it's empty takes up a lot of valuable space in my already jam-packed purse. In comes the BPA-free, Vapur Anti-Bottle. This bottle claims to be able to stand when full, that it can be rolled or flattened when empty and that it is dishwasher safe. It can also be frozen and double as an ice pack. In addition the bottles come with a space for you to write your name and a carabiner so you can look super cool and attach it to anything from your belt loops to your backpack.
So did the Anti-Bottle live up to the hype? Once fully filled the bottle stood upright as promised and it took up virtually no space in my bag once it was empty which is a huge draw. The only downside to this product is that I found it a little difficult to drink from and needed to use two hands b/c of the flexible nature of the bottle. For this reason I don't think I'll be taking the anti-bottle with me to the gym, as I foresee trying to drink with it on the treadmill being a messy endeavor. That being said, it would be an awesome addition to any hiking trip where you want to carry multiple bottles without sacrificing all the room in your pack.
For more information on Vapur visit http://vapur.us/
For more information on BPA please visit http://www.buzzle.com/articles/bpa-in-plastic-really-is-bad-for-you.html
Monday, November 22, 2010
Dried fruits of almost any variety are one of my favorite indulgences, and I've been known to have it on my person at any given time. Chewy and rich in texture and concentrated berry flavor, unsulphured (organic) strawberries are quickly closing in on dried cherries as my dried fruit of choice.
Unsulphured simply means that the fruit is free of sulphur dioxide, which is a preservative used to keep fruits "pretty" by preventing oxidation which turns the fruit brown. It is also used to prevent mold from growing on the fruit. Buying unsulphured dried fruit means that you are buying a product (hopefully) free of preservatives and are getting the fruit as it was intended. In addition many people are sensitive to sulfites and they are a common source of allergies. Asthmatics in particular have been known to be especially sensitive to sulfites and should be sure to read labels carefully.
So how can you be certain your dried strawberries are unsulphured you ask? Well if you're buying them in bulk and there isn't a list of ingredients readily available, look at the colour of the fruit. More brown and drier looking in appearance, unsulphured dried fruit products are the uglier but nicer, better for you in the long-run sister of their sulphured counterparts. If the product is packaged, learn the terminology and anything that contains Sulphur dioxide is not preservative-free.
Sunday, November 21, 2010
As a self-professed struggling sugar addict, I am a lover of fruit and all things sweet and know firsthand how hard it is to get off the high-fructose corn syrup wagon and stay off it. Particularly with the start of the holiday season and an influx of festive sugary treats seemingly at every turn.
Today's generation is eating more sugar than ever before and it is estimated that the average western diet has 1/3 of it's calories coming from sugar and white flour which is highly refined and behaves like sugar when it enters our system. Like most things in excess, sugar can have a damaging effect on our bodies. (Duh). Like a drug, sugar gets you high and then quickly brings you down craving another fix. Did you know that sugar works the reward and addiction pathways in our brains in the same ways that other narcotics such as cocaine do? This series of highs and lows can put unnecessary stress on our adrenal glands.
Our adrenal glands are those two little guys sitting on top of our kidneys that are responsible for the secretion of adrenaline when we encounter stressful situations both physical and emotional. In Western society our adrenals are usually already working overtime and are undernourished to boot. Putting constant stress on the adrenal glands, in this case by consuming an excess of sugar and refined foods, leaves us vulnerable to conditions such as hypoglycemia and arthritis among other conditions related to diminished immunity. This may be due to the fact that research has shown that sugar inhibits the entrance of Vitamin C into white blood cells, making them function less effectively.
The list of complications from a diet ripe with excess sugars goes on. We all know too much is a bad thing, so what can you do to curb the cravings, consume less?
- Professionals suggest taking 1000-2000 mg every couple of hours as needed of supplements such as L-Glutamine, which is used by the brain as fuel and often relieves sugar cravings.
- Drink your H20. Hydration is key. Food cravings are often mistaken for thirst.
- Learn how to read labels. If we know what we're consuming we're less likely to make the mistake of consuming excess amounts of sugar which encourage dependence. Look for words like high-fructose corn syrup and dextrose.
- Supplement when necessary. Make sure you have a good quality multivitamin in your arsenal and that you're getting enough Vitamin D and omega fatty acids, as poor diet often leads to more cravings
Just remember to try your best. Don't beat yourself up for enjoying a few treats this season, just be aware and when you're really stuck try having a piece of fruit instead. A good bowl of berries works for me.