Friday, May 24, 2013

Spicy Weekend!

Last week was Food Revolution Day which inspired me to pull out my Jamie Oliver cookbook for a few different meals.  We enjoyed the Tikka Misala for a few days, and I definitely liked a bit of plain yogurt with mine because it had some spice!  Spicy food can be a great choice when the temperature rises, but be careful if you're competing in a race this weekend - keep things simple and stick with your nutrition plan (you can enjoy the spice next week while you recover). 

Source: Jamie Oliver's Food Revolution 

Tikka Masala Paste
Makes 1/2 cup

2 cloves of garlic
1 thumb-sized piece of fresh root ginger
1 tsp cayenne pepper
1 Tbsp smoked paprika
2 tsp garam masala
1/2 tsp sea salt
2 Tbsp peanut oil (I used olive)
2 Tbsp tomato paste (you can freeze the leftover)
2 fresh red or green chiles (I also keep these in the freezer)
A small bunch of fresh cilantro
1 Tbsp unsweetened shredded coconut 
2 Tbsp almond flour (I used whole wheat)

Spices for toasting: 1 tsp cumin seeds, 1 tsp coriander seeds

Peel garlic and ginger. Put a frying pan on medium to high heat and add cumin and coriander to the dry pan - lightly toast for a few minutes until golden brown and fragrant; remove from heat.  Add the toasted spices to a pestle and mortar and grind until fine, or put them in a food processor and whiz to a powder.  Once ground, whiz the toasted spices in a food processor with the rest of the ingredients until you have a smooth paste.

Light and Fluffy Basic Rice

Serves 4-6
Sea salt
1 1/2 cups basmati rice (I used Tilda whole grain basmati)

Put a large pan of salted water on a high heat and bring to a boil. Rinse the rice in a colander under running water for about 1 minute, or until the water runs clear. Add your rice to the boiling water and wait for the grains to start dancing around. From that point, boil for 5 minutes. Drain the rice in a colander. Pour 1 inch of water into the pan, put it back on the heat, and bring it to a boil again, then turn down to a simmer. Cover the rice in the colander with aluminum foil or a lid. Place the colander on top of the pan of simmering water and let the rice steam over it for 8-10 minutes (mine took longer). Remove from the heat and, if you’re ready, serve immediately. If not, leave the aluminum foil or a lid on and put aside until ready to serve – it should stay warm for about 20 minutes.

Tikka Masala
Serves 4-6

4 boneless skinless chicken breast fillets
2 medium onions
1 fresh red chile
A thumb-sized piece of fresh root ginger
A small bunch of fresh cilantro
Peanut or vegetable oil
A pat of butter
1/2 cup tikka masala (as above) or mild curry paste
Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
1 - 14 oz can of diced tomatoes (I used a drained 796ml can with no salt added)
1 - 14 oz can of coconut milk
1 cup plain yogurt
A small handful of sliced almonds
1 lemon

To prepare your curry
Slice the chicken breasts lengthwise into 3/4 inch strips. Peel, halve, and finely slice the onions. Finely slice your chile. Peel and finely slice the ginger. Pick the cilantro leaves off of the stalks and set aside, finely chop the stalks.

To make your curry
Put a large casserole-type pan on medium to high heat and add butter and a couple lugs of oil (love that measure!). Add the onions, chile, ginger, and cilantro stalks and cook for 10 minutes until softened and golden. Add the curry paste and strips of chicken. Stir well to coat everything with the paste and season with salt and pepper.  Add the tomatoes and coconut milk. Bring to a boil, then turn the heat down and simmer for 15 minutes with the lid on. Take the lid off and cook for another 5 minutes, stirring occasionally.  When meat is tender and cooked, taste and add a bit more salt and pepper (season carefully!). 
To serve your curry
Serve with any fluffy rice recipe and with a few spoonfuls of yogurt dolloped on top (helps with the heat!). Sprinkle ove the almonds and cilantro leaves and serve with some lemon wedges for squeezing over. A little lemon-dressed green salad would round it off.

Thanks Jamie! 

Have a great weekend and cook something from scratch!

Steph Langdon, RD
something nutrishus counselling & coaching

Tuesday, May 21, 2013

Fresh Tastes

I was inspired this year to try to grow a few fresh herbs.  My husband and I enjoy a variety of flavours, but since this is my experimenting year, I decided to limit myself to four varieties (5 pots, but 2 are basil!).  We live in an apartment, so I don't have a backyard garden to work with, although I hope to enjoy some garden items from the farmer's market and/or family and friend's gardens.  

I often talk with clients about reducing the amount of salt that they use to flavour foods and trying out different herbs and spices.  We can often get great flavour combinations without the extra sodium - it just might take some practice (and perhaps a taste bud adjustment). 

While, I won't be growing them myself, I do enjoy the local flavours of Spring/Summer/Fall - I look forward to little garden potatoes, a variety of hot peppers, colourful carrots, and one of my favourites - corn on the cob.  Buying seasonal can help support local farmer's, reduce your carbon foot print, give some variety to your meal routine, and possibly help you stick to your food budget (depending on where you shop).

I am always looking for new food ideas and recipes.  When I recently picked up a copy of Sobey's Inspired magazine, I found quite a few ideas to try (such as chickpea burgers).  For each season, they provide information on how to select, prepare, and use seasonal produce items.  I know I've been enjoying fresh berries and asparagus lately.  

What Spring or Summer foods are you looking forward to?
Feel free to share what you've planted in your garden, recipes or how you enjoy seasonal items, etc.
Get inspired!
Steph Langdon, RD
something nutrishus counselling & coaching

Tuesday, May 14, 2013

Do You Have a Plan?

Many individuals are gearing up for the Saskatchewan Marathon on May 26 in Saskatoon (or other events across the province).  Since that's only 12 days away you should already know your nutrition plan or be fine tuning it.  As I've said before, don't experiment or try new foods/beverages on race day.

Depending on which distance you choose to run, you may need to focus on your hydration, carbohydrates, electrolytes or all three.  It's important to remember to taper your training leading up to the event and continue to include wholesome foods such as fruit, vegetables, legumes, whole grains, low fat milk alternatives and of course, everyone's favourite - WATER!

Don't just think about your nutrition when you wake up on race day.  You've put in the training time to work on your pace, your stride, injury prevention, etc.  Make sure you put in the time to get your gut used to taking in water and/or carbohydrate sources while you're on the go and determining what meets your needs and feels comfortable for you. 

Once you get into the longer distances you need to include enough carbohydrates to avoid "hitting the wall" or "bonking".  Your muscles and brain require carbohydrates and the longer and harder you run, the more you require.

Start your day with a carbohydrate rich breakfast (that you've practiced with!).  Then follow your plan during the race.  Burke et. al (2011) recommends no carbohydrate needed for less than 45 minutes, a small amount of carbohydrate (including a mouth rinse) for activities lasting 45-75 minutes and 30-60g of carbohydrate per hour for endurance activities lasting 1-2.5 hours.  You have many choices when it comes to food, beverage, or products in both liquid and solid form.  Go with what you know, what works for you, and what fits with your goal(s).

There are many sport products you may try or choose to use, but you can also rely on food and get the benefits of nutrients as well.  These 'sport foods' are often convenient, but not required.  The main thing is to avoid dehydration and provide your muscles with easily digested energy (carbohydrates) since your body has limited storage for carbohydrates (glycogen).  We all have different sweat rates, so it's important to focus on replacing your own losses, especially if the temperatures stay up.

What's your race day nutrition plan?

I like to start my morning with simple peanut butter and toast with a small piece of fruit or small glass of diluted juice (1/2 juice and 1/2 water).  During the race I focus on regular sips of water which I find very energizing and then I enjoy yogurt with berries or chocolate milk as a recovery (while continuing to sip on water!).

Plan well, run well!

Steph Langdon, RD
something nutrishus counselling & coaching

Friday, May 10, 2013

MMMarvelous Moms

Since I'm posting a muffin recipe today, I thought I'd add a 'mmmm' throwback to the days of food court mmmarvelous muffins.  I've been playing around with my husband's camera as I learn more about food photography and have also been enjoying some free time to try a few new recipes.  I have a cooking session with athletes coming up and always like to challenge them with unfamiliar foods.  We won't be making this recipe this time, but with Mother's Day on Sunday, I thought it might make a nice addition to your breakfast/brunch.  Rather than showering her with chocolate, shower her with whole grains, a variety of colours of vegetables and fruit and lean proteins (doesn't that sound delicious?!).  I'm thinking greek yogurt, with a variety of fresh berries and homemade muffins, scones, or granola - perhaps served with her favourite cup of coffee or tea.

May is also love your lentils month, so this recipe hits the spot!

Cranberry Lentil Muffins
Makes 12 muffins

2 cups (500ml) whole wheat flour
1 1/2 tsp baking powder
Dash salt
1/2 cup (125ml) margarine, unsalted, melted
3/4 cup (175ml) sugar
2 eggs
1 cup (250ml) lentil puree
3/4 cup (175ml) orange juice
Zest of whole orange
1 1/4 cups (300ml) whole cranberries, unsweetened, frozen

1. Preheat oven to 375F (190C). Prepare muffin tins with large muffin cup liners or lightly grease sides of tin.
2. In a medium bowl, stir together flour, baking powder and salt.
3. In a mixing bowl, blend together margarine, sugar, and eggs.  Add lentil puree, orange juice and zest.
4. Fold in dry ingredients until just blended and add cranberries.
5. Spoon mixture into prepared pan filling cups 3/4s of the way full.  Bake 20-25 minutes or until toothpick inserted in centre of muffins comes out clean.

Feel free to share you weekend meal plans and how you're going to celebrate the marvelous moms, mothers, grandmothers, mothers-in-law, etc. in your life...

Happy Mother's Day!

Steph Langdon, RD
something nutrishus counselling & coaching

Tuesday, May 7, 2013

Being Stephanie

I received Gretchen Rubin's The Happiness Project as a birthday gift and have been enjoying reading her goals and personal testaments.  One of her personal commandments is to "Be Gretchen" and that reminded me of a conversation I had years ago with a very inspiring person.  In that chat, we discussed the importance of being every part of who we are.  What does that mean?  For me that means, being:
- a wife/spouse/partner
- a daughter
- a sister
- a daughter-in-law
- a cousin
- a granddaughter
- an aunt (soon!)
- a dietitian
- a food lover
- a runner/active individual
- a yogi
- a cook
- a friend
- a dog lover
- a world traveller
- a craft lover
- a book worm
- an entrepreneur...

There are many roles that we fill each day and the important lesson I learned was that we have to remember to devote time to each role, rather than getting all wrapped up into one.  Spend time each day to fill those roles and be the best version of yourself.  Healthy eating and nutrition are a passion of mine because I try to take care of my well being, but that includes a work-life-balance, being active, attending social events, and curling up with a great book (for me anyways!).  In my upcoming blog posts I hope to help you become the best version of yourself and continue to nourish yourself so that you can do all of the things you love to do and fill all of the roles that make up your life.

Steph Langdon, RD
something nutrishus counselling & coaching