Thursday, November 17, 2011


Serves 4

1/2 cup coconut oil
2 tsp cumin seed
1 green chile pepper, seeded and diced
2 cloves garlic, chopped
2 tbsp ground turmeric
1 lbs chopped fresh spinach
1 tsp ground cumin
1 tsp ground coriander
1 tsp salt
1 tbsp ancient grain mustard

In a large skillet, melt coconut oil over medium-high heat, and cook and stir cumin seed, chile pepper, garlic, and turmeric until fragrant, about 2 minutes.

Stir in the chopped spinach a little at a time, adding the tougher parts first (the stems and thicker leaves). Continue to add greens, and cook and stir until all greens have been added and all are thoroughly wilted. Stir in the cumin, coriander, and salt.

A little at a time, ladle the wilted spinach into a blender, and blitz until there are no large pieces are left.

Add a generous tablespoon of mustard and blend to combine.

Cover until ready to serve.


Monday, November 7, 2011

Roasted Red Pepper Sauvignon Tofu

Serves 4

750 g firm tofu or large Portobello mushroom caps
5 cloves garlic, minced
½ tsp chili flakes
1 tbsp fresh thyme leaves (or 1 tsp dried)
salt and freshly ground black pepper
1 cup of red wine (Suggested: Cabernet Sauvignon)
¼ cup vegetable oil

Cut tofu (or Portobello caps) into cubes.

Place tofu in a sealable plastic bag and stand upright. (Stand it in a bowl, to keep it from flopping over.) Add garlic, chili flakes, thyme, and a generous pinch of salt and pepper. Pour in wine and oil. Seal the bag. Carefully shake the bag to distribute the seasoning and marinade.

Refrigerate overnight, turning at least once.

When ready to cook, preheat a pan, on stovetop, to medium heat. Simmer, in marinade, as you prefer your tofu, or if you are using Portobello mushrooms, simmer until mushroom cubes have a spongy texture.

Roasted Red Pepper Sauce

4 red bell peppers
2 cloves garlic, minced
¼ tsp smoked paprika
¼ cup vegetable broth

Set oven to broil and spread red peppers, whole, on a baking sheet. When oven is ready, set under broiler. Broil until the pepper skin begins to blister and turn black. Turn the pepper often, to achieve this all over. Remove from oven and place in an air-tight container. Let the peppers rest for 10 to 15 minutes, to build up the steam necessary to loosen the skins.

Skin and seed red peppers. Place peppers into a food processor or blender with garlic, smoked paprika and vegetable broth. Blend until smooth and salt to taste.

Refrigerate if making ahead.

Plate up tofu, with a spoonful of marinade, and drizzle with Roasted Red Pepper Sauce. Sprinkle with freshly ground black pepper. Serve with gently steamed asparagus and wild rice.


Thursday, November 3, 2011

Lip Service.

Winter is coming, and for a lot of people, that means chapped lips. Uncomfortable lips. But they don’t have to be. We’ve all purchased tubes and containers of lip chap and chap stick, but very few of us can ever manage to keep it until the end of the container.
I dare you to track them down. I can almost guarantee that you don’t have two of the same, unless you purchase them in bulk.

The truth is they’re what many of us consider a frivolity. Something we don’t put a lot of thought into until our lips are burning. For nine months a year, they never cross our mind, so we actually don’t make note of the ones we like and the ones we don’t.

Some are too oily.

Some aren’t moisturizing enough.

And we typically don’t remember until we stumble across the ones we don’t like all over again.

The solution is simple! Make your own. Preservative free and sweet smelling. A single batch will probably last you all winter, and they make great care package gifts.

First, a tip: before you moisturize, you should always exfoliate. It cuts down on the amount of moisturizer you need to use, as you’re not wasting efforts to revitalize dead skin cells. Lips are no different!

Easy Lip Exfoliant

• ¾ tsp sugar
• ½ tsp olive oil

Mix the two together until you get a granular paste. Moisten your lips with a damp washcloth. Apply the sugar paste directly to your lips and massage gently in a circular motion. Rinse off.

Try to exfoliate your lips once a week to limit the build-up of dead skin cells. The skin of your lips is especially delicate, exfoliating often will keep you from having to be unnecessarily rough with them.

Basic Lip Balm

• 5 drops colour base (recipe follows)
• 1 tbsp rosehip seed oil (alternatively, use apricot kernel oil)
• 1 tbsp calendula oil
• 5 tbsp sweet almond oil
• 1 drop liquid honey
• 1 tbsp beeswax pellets
• 2 vitamin E capsules
• 5 drops essential oil

Note: For a completely vegan recipe, substitute soy wax flakes, in the place of beeswax, and agave syrup in the place of honey. Your lip balm will take a little longer to set.
Step 1 Prepare the double boiler (one saucepan that fits inside another) by filling the bottom half with hot water and heating to a gentle simmer.

Step 2 Measure out the base oils, one by one, and pour them into the top half of the boiler.

Step 3 Add the honey, beeswax pellets, and colour base. Stir gently to mix the ingredients.

Step 4 As the beeswax is melting, prick open the vitamin E capsules and squeeze the contents into the oils.

Step 5 Once the beeswax has fully melted, remove from heat. Drop in the essential oil and stir to mix it in thoroughly.

Pour into small glass jars or ceramic pots, and let cool for half an hour, or until set. You will have enough for 5 small, ½ ounce jars. Do not store all in one jar. Lip balm will keep better in small jars.
The lip balm in ready to use.

I like to use old, cleaned out and sterilized, metal slider tins that I get my green tea mints in, to store my lip balm. They work perfectly, cut down on my personal waste, and definitely have a certain charm to them.

Some lip balm suggestions:

• Red colour base and rose essential oil, for ‘Honey and Rose Lip Balm’
• Yellow colour base and 2 drops aniseed, 3 drops lemon essential oil, for ‘Aniseed and Lemon Lip Balm’ (be sure to use the alternative apricot kernel oil)
• Omit the colour base and use 3 drops vanilla extract, 1 drop chamomile essential oil, 1 drop rose essential oil, for ‘Vanilla Dream Lip Balm’
• Omit the colour base and use lavender essential oil, for ‘Lavender Lips Lip Balm’

As always, once you feel comfortable with the method, feel free to experiment and create your own flavours!

To make your colour base:

Colour Ingredient
Yellow Turmeric
Orange Equal parts Turmeric and Paprika
Red/Mauve Alkanet Root
Pink Rosehip Granules
Purple Equal parts Alkanet Root and Blue Chamomile
Blue Blue Chamomile
Green Equal parts Blue Chamomile and Turmeric
Brown Cinnamon
Peach Paprika

To create your colour base, add one teaspoon of the desired ground ingredient to one tablespoon of sunflower oil in a small cup. Heat over boiling water, or in a microwave, until it bubbles. Remove from heat and pour into a dropper bottle. Your colour base is now ready to use.