Sunday, February 28, 2010

Louisiana Red Beans and Rice

Oh, you are in for a treat if you have never had Red Beans and Rice!
Mmmm the earthy spicy beans are bubbling on the stove right now- bringing back lots of memories of enjoying this meal with my parents and 5 siblings many years ago. My parents lived outside of New Orleans for 15 years and Mom picked up some classic cajun and creole recipes including this one.
A little story: When we moved from Louisiana to Antigonish, Nova Scotia , my parents invited Father Andy Hogan and Father Ginevin (two Roman Catholic priests-Antigonish has also been called "little Rome") over for dinner. Mom decided to serve Red Beans and Rice as  it would be new and different to them. Well, they took one bite and that was it - they asked for the ketchup and smothered their meal in it.
Mom never served it to guests again.

As are many of my recipes - this is is sort of a 'non recipe' - no precise measurements.

Lousiana Red Beans and Rice

1 1b bag of dry red kidney beans, rinsed and drained
10 cups of cold water

Put this in a big pot

Add 1 chopped onion, a bay leaf, and some chopped garlic cloves.

Bring the pot to a low boil and cook uncovered for 2-3 hours, stirring occasionally.

When the beans become soft add a generous amount of cumin - 1-2 tbsp (or more), 1-2 tsp of cayenne pepper and some cubes of cooked ham or cooked spicy sausage. Simmer for another 30 minutes or so, stirring occasionally.

If bean mixture becomes too thick, add a little boiling water.

Serve the beans over hot brown rice. Some may like a dash of hot sauce over their portion - hopefully not ketchup though!!!

Enjoy! I hope it becomes a family favourite!

Saturday, February 20, 2010

I dropped my sister, Margaret off at the airport and got a parking ticket after saying goodbye in record time of 1 minute! I just got back into the city and Margaret called to say that she was 5 minutes too late to get on the plane!...So, I returned to the airport and we came back to three hungry boys at home.
What to make ?- something delicious, fast and nutritious.
We put together a big pot of chili , a green salad and whole grain toast in record time.
Chili is a really speedy dish - and can easily be vegetarian or meaty. I love to make a veggie version with a variety of beans, but I knew the boys would like a little meat in it....sooo.
It started with sauteed onion, garlic, celery, grated carrots then a little lean ground beef. After the meat browned, in went the diced tomatoes and tomato paste. Then, my favourite part - the beans! Rinsed canned red kidney beans and chickpeas. I added cumin, cocoa, paprika, cinnamon and of course...chili powder.
Topped the bowls off with a little grated mozzarella and fresh parsley. Wow - that was fast - we were enjoying it in 30 minutes!! You can do that too, right!?
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Wednesday, February 17, 2010

Snow Day Menu Planning

After an hour of snow shovelling, I am sitting in front of a fire with Bella, our Golden Doodle. Perfect time to plan the menus - just cleaned the fridge yesterday, so it is ready for several days worth of groceries.

Wednesday: Tonight we will have salmon with roasted root vegetables and a winter salad of purple cabbage and parsley.

Start with the root veggies; I am using carrots and potatoes.
Peel and cut them into cubes, toss with olive oil and put in a preheated 400 oven.
After about 20 minutes, spread them out to the edges and place your salmon in the middle - drizzled with a little olive oiland a sprinkling of freshly ground salt and pepper. Bake for another 12-15 minutes, or until fish is opaque and flakes easily.
Cabbage Salad: Shred the cabbage and add cleaned, chopped parsley. Toss with a little olive oil, lemon juice and red wine vinegar.

Thursday: I am going to try a new recipe: Curried Cashew Burgers, from an Eating Well cookbook, and we will probably still be enjoying the purple cabbage salad from Wednesday night!
Curried Cashew Burgers: looks a little labour intensive folks. I am going to try to simplify the recipe:
To make 6 burgers: combine 1/2 cup rinsed uncooked lentils with 1 cup peeled, died carrots and 2 cups water in a saucepan. Bring to a boil, then cover and simmer until lentils are tender. Drain and squeeze out extra water.
Add 2 tsp curry powder to lentil mixture.
In a food processor, pulse 3.4 cup cashews until finely chopped. Add the lentil mixture, pulse until cohesive but not quite smooth.
Transfer to a bowl and stir in 3/4 cup dry bread crumbs. Season with a little freshly ground salt and pepper.
Shape into patties and cook in a non stick pan over medium heat until browned and heated through. Serve in a pita or a bun.
Friday and Saturday we are off to my Mother's home.......

Monday, February 15, 2010

Olympic Gold Nutrition

Gold Medal Nutrition

I am pretty sure that the olympic athletes don't eat regularly at McDonalds, as some of the commercials lately would lead us to believe! For an athlete to perform at his/ her best, they need high quality fuel!

Most of us certainly don't need the quantity of food that olympic athletes need, but we do need the quality to perform and feel our best everyday!

Health journalist Michael Pollan has recently written several popular books regarding nutrition. He puts it very simply and straightforward when he says" Eat real food. Not too much. Mostly plants. " In other words, avoid processed foods as much as possible and fill half of your plate with veggies. Good advice!

If you need help creating a healthy meal plan for you and your family contact me: