Tag Archives: healthy food

A toast to toast: 3 of my favorite ways to eat toast

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“When you wake up in the morning, Pooh,” said Piglet at last, “what’s the first thing you say to yourself?”

“What’s for breakfast?” said Pooh. “What do you say, Piglet?”

“I say, I wonder what’s going to happen exciting today?” said Piglet.

winnie & piglet

Pooh nodded thoughtfully. “It’s the same thing,” he said.”

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Many of us get into a routine of eating the same things over and over again. At times this can be good – like when we are pinched for time and need a go-to no-fail meal. I know I certainly could do for some more routine in my eating regimen. But I, like Pooh, get quite excited by meals, especially breakfasts. So that means I like to switch things up every now and again.

Recently toast has been a quick, easy, and economical breakfast for me. And, not to mention tasty, nutritious, and hunger-satisfying.  The trick to make toast a fulfilling meal is by adding an ingredient that brings fat and protein to the table. Without fat and protein in the meal, toast is just carbs and sugar, which we know will not suffice for the ol’ body, mind, and spirit.

Here are 3 of my favorite ways to enjoy toast.

The-Laughing-Cow-Cheese-Spread1)  Toast + Laughing Cow Original Swiss Cheese (1 wedge) + whatever jelly/jam I’m digging at the moment (could be pepper jelly, apricot, ligonberry, the list goes on). I was introduced to this cheese from my dear friend Irene. I like the taste, the ease of the spread, and the portion controllable packages. The cheese adds protein and fat to the meal, which is great, and who doesn’t like cheese?
butter-coconut-crunchy

2) Toast + Earth Balance Crunchy Coconut and Peanut Spread + fruit slices (apple/banana). I was given a taste test of this delightful spread when I was walking in the Linden Hills Co-op on a yoga teacher training Sunday afternoon. Since my first bite I have not found a happier, nutty spread. In addition to putting it on toast I like to eat it as a snack with fruit or veggies. This spread adds balance with its healthy fats and protein. If I feel like spoiling myself, I admit I do sometimes add a little Nutella or some dark chocolate chips to the mix. Obviously, this would not be the healthiest version, but it is definitely a good option if you are in the treating yourself kind of mood 🙂 

3) Toast + Salmon Spread + Egg (hard-boiled, sliced). I came up with this creation a few days ago. I had to pick up my husband from the airport last Tuesday, so I figured I’d make a pit stop at my favorite co-op, Mississippi Market. While there, I decided to try out their smoked salmon spread. We always keep hard-boiled eggs on hand for quick and easy snacks, so come the next morning, I decided to slice one up and put it on top of the salmon spread to see how it tasted. Turns out it’s my favorite new way to eat toast. YUM!

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Honorable mention: It would be unfair for me to go without mentioning avocado in this post. Toast1/2 of an avocado + seasonings (a little sea salt, thyme, pepper) – or an egg if I’m really hungry, is another way I like to enjoy toast.  Because I do normally like to add a fried egg (because I am normally hungry), I would not consider this as quick of a breakfast option, but it is quite delicious!

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What do you eat for breakfast? What’s your go-to meal? How do you like to eat toast?

Cauliflower Rice

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If you are friends with me on Facebook you may have seen me mention that my husband and I were considering a reopening of our old cooking blog. However, with a little more thought, we decided that now is not the time. 2014 is sounding like a good year to readdress the possibility. For the time being, I plan to share our cooking experiments on Mandala Reflections 🙂

Truthfully, a lot has been cooking around here, both figuratively and literally. More to come on the figuratively. Today I want to mention something that is cooking literally at our home – Cauliflower Rice. Have you heard of it before? It’s sort of like it sounds, cauliflower that is ground up in a way that resembles rice. For health nuts it serves as a substitute for rice.  However, don’t be fooled – it is not an exact substitute for rice. It only mimics rice in that it acts as a filler and absorbs sauces and flavors well.  If you plan to test it out a prerequisite to enjoying cauliflower rice is liking cauliflower in general. Maybe that’s a no-brainer, but I just want to put it out there, so nobody is surprised.

Below is the basic recipe Jay came up with:

Ingredients:

  • 1 medium sized cauliflower
  • 1/4 large onion, finely chopped
  • 1 clove of garlic, minced 
  • 1 TSBP cooking oil
  • 1/2 cup water
  • 1/2 cup chicken stock
  • sea salt + any other spices/sauces to taste
  • + shrimp, chicken, veggies, tofu, cheese, etc. (basically whatever you like to eat with rice)

Directions:

1) Chop cauliflower into florets.

2) Place florets into food processor or super nice blender, grind up to small rice-sized pieces.

3) In a large saucepan on medium heat, add a TSBP of your favorite cooking oil (we use coconut oil), then add garlic and onions,  and let them sweat until the onions become translucent (about 3 min).

4) Add cauliflower rice to large saucepan, stir to combine and heat.

5) Add 1/2 cup water and 1/2 chicken stock to the mix, cover, stir occasionally.

6) Remove from heat once cauliflower absorbs the liquid and reaches a tenderness you enjoy (it’s like pasta – you can make it as soft or al dente as you like).

7) Add whatever it is you like to eat with rice to the mix and you’re good to go!

Here is our first rendition:

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You may be wondering to yourself, why the heck one would want to replace rice? I know where you’re coming from as rice is one of my all-time favorite comfort foods. The reason why our family decided to try it had a lot to do with our wish to reduce and regulate sugar in our diet. We heard of cauliflower rice as an alternative to the carb- and sugar- loaded white rice. So one night Jay made a cajun-y shrimp dish with this healthy substitute (pictured above). Our only complaint was that it needed some salt. Other than that, we both enjoyed the dish, and we even shared it with a friend who liked it enough to ask us for the recipe.

That means we are three for three on likes. What’s your take on it? Have a go-to recipe or method? There are many variations. I encourage you to find a recipe that intrigues you and report back if you’re in the sharing mood!

Food Sadhanas: 4 Practices to Keep Your Mind & Body Whole

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After prenatal yoga teacher training a few weekends ago, I was inspired to reacquaint myself with Ayurveda (India’s traditional healing system). As a person who associates my primary dosha as pitta (fire), I reviewed the list of foods and spices that I am supposed to avoid according to ayurvedic principles. I quickly remembered why I didn’t pay much attention to Ayurveda when we covered it in graduate school–as a pitta I am to avoid or limit many foods that I love–like garlic, onions, and spices to name a few. Messing with a pitta’s cherished food is not a fun or an easy matter. In fact, it might be dangerous. If you are part-pitta, you know what I’m talking about. With this one fact in mind, it’s no wonder I decided against adopting this healing system into my way of life.  And yet, here I am blogging about it and thinking about my views and practices around food.  Maybe it’s a sign I need to revisit Ayurveda.

For today, I did not come here to discuss the particular foods as they relate to my body type and Ayurveda, but I came more so with the intent to speak about food sadhanas. To keep it simple, a sadhana (sod-a-na) is a special practice. This practice is typically a wholesome/spiritual activity that is connected to nature, and it is a pattern that is based on the memory of the universe. It is an action that can lead to those “a-ha” moments that some of us seek out and some of us avoid. According to Maya Tiwari, sadhana awakens our cognitive memory and replenishes the lost art of beauty, grace, and accommodation. Through sadhana we can better connect to the earth and to our own internal and external environment.

The simple act of cooking and eating can inspire and rejuvenate our body’s cognitive memory. Food sadhanas are so important to “waking up” and connecting to nature and others, because food takes us through the complete cycle of life and elicits universal memories. From seed to waste to seed, this central practice helps our whole life come into balance. Special food practices help us reacquaint with nature and with our own nature. And yet, today, confusion about food is the norm. People consult with dieticians and nutritionists to navigate their relationship with food. And who can blame us? With the way most food is produced, there is no wonder why we have “experts” who exist to help us with it all. However, if we look at it from a very basic perspective–from the perspective of a food sadhana or food practice, we all can agree that we know more answers to our questions about food than we realize. And we also know that many of us are guilty of not engaging fully or honestly in our food practices.

Some food for thought today surrounds some basic and timeless concepts that connect the individual to the greater community/world through simple food practices. We often think about what we eat as being important to our health but not about the practice of how we eat.

Practice #1 Expressing Gratitude 

When it’s time to sit down for a meal or food, how often are you grateful? How often do you think about the farmer or person who made this food available to you? And how often do you send a thank you note either mentally or physically to that person? By being thankful and grateful while we eat, we have a peace of mind, which leads to a more peaceful digestion. How do you practice gratitude as it relates to your food practices? Do you offer to clean up after a meal? Or do you inhale the meal and move on to the next thing? Unsure about who to thank when you eat your food? Think about that for a minute. Investigate.

Practice #2 Emotional Eating–How do you feel?

A sweet meal can turn sour really easily if you are feeling in a dumpy mood. Never eat when you are upset. It is an insult to your body, the food, and the food-maker. How often do you eat when you are upset? Unfortunately, this practice is a habit many of us know too well or maybe even do without realizing. What would it look like if you did not eat when you were feeling down? How would your relationship with food change and how would your body change if you were not eating to fill a void?

Practice #3 Savoring the Flavor

Part of eating is for sustenance, but it’s also for enjoyment. Are you actually tasting what you are eating? Or are you checking your email? Or thinking about what you have to do or what you should have done? Are you chewing your food? Are you being present with your food and surroundings? Research has shown the importance of chewing food and being present. We all very well know that when we take our time eating, we usually feel better afterwards.

Practice #4 Eating in Community 

How often do you eat with your loved ones? Sharing is such a gift, and to share a meal with someone is a very healthy and necessary food practice. Through shared meals we cultivate friendships and make connections that are greater than ourselves to those around us which is important to our well-being. When we do not fulfill the human need to bond with others, we tend to try to bonding or attaching ourselves to other things, like the food itself, drugs, or possessions. When was the last time you shared a meal with someone? Were you fully present?

Main source: Ayurveda a Life of Balance by Maya Tiwari