In Search of Yummy-ness

A Canadian Food Blog

bliss bowl with fresh mushrooms


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An Interpretation of the Freshii Bliss Bowl

Homemade version of Bliss Bowl

I was trying to think of something healthy I could eat for lunch today, and since I had some leftover brown rice from last night I decided to try making a version of the Bliss Bowl from Freshii. Of course, it didn’t taste exactly the same as the dish from the restaurant, but it was still good. Oh, and I don’t order tomatoes or red onions in my Bliss Bowl, but you certainly could add those ingredients if you want to be more authentic.

Ingredients:

– 1 cup cooked brown rice

– 1 roasted bell pepper, chopped into bite-size pieces (I used a jarred version)

– 1/4 cup sautéed sliced button mushrooms (I used pickled mushrooms because it was all I had. It wasn’t great.)

– extra virgin olive oil (to drizzle)

– 1/2 an avocado, chopped into bite-size pieces (good luck with that…)

– crumbled chèvre goat’s cheese (to taste)

– balsamic vinegar (to drizzle)

– salt and pepper (optional)

Warm the rice in your serving bowl if using leftovers. Add the bell pepper, mushrooms, and a drizzle of olive oil. Heat in the microwave for about 10-15 seconds. Add the avocado and goat’s cheese, then drizzle with the balsamic vinegar. Be light-handed with the vinegar or it will overpower the other ingredients. If you choose to use pickled mushrooms, use less vinegar or your dish will be too acidic. Add salt and pepper if desired.

Enjoy!~

EDIT 09/04/13: I made it for lunch again today, this time with fresh mushrooms. So much better…

bliss bowl with fresh mushrooms

Kale Chips


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Kale Chips (Recipe)

Kale Chips

Kale seems to be really popular these days. It’s probably because this dark leafy green vegetable is full of vitamins and minerals. Honestly though, I don’t think it tastes very good. It has a strong flavour and a tough texture that I just don’t enjoy.

On the other hand, I could eat kale chips by the plateful! They are light and crispy, with a deep earthy flavour. I think they almost taste like roasted broccoli. I’ll have to try making these chips with baby kale instead, the flavour might be a bit milder. I think Loblaws is carrying organic baby kale now.

 

Ingredients:

– 1 small bunch of kale (even a small bunch may make enough chips for 2-3 batches)

– 1 tbsp olive oil (or olive oil spray)

– sea salt (to taste)

 

Instructions:

1. Preheat oven to 275 degrees F.

2. Wash leaves and remove the “spines” (stems) from the kale.

3. Spin the leaves in a salad spinner or pat gently with a towel to remove excess moisture.

Kale

4. Rip the kale into small, chip-sized, pieces.

5. Toss with a small amount of olive oil (or mist the chips with an olive oil spray).

6. Sprinkle with a very small amount of sea salt. Kale is naturally a bit salty, so if you add too much salt the chips will taste bitter.

7. Arrange the leaves in a single layer on a baking sheet.

Fresh Kale

8. Bake for 20 minutes or until the kale has become dark and crispy.

Making Kale Chips

9. Remove the chips from the oven. Drain on paper towel if needed

Kale Chips on Tray

10. Allow to cool, then eat immediately. I recommend that you do not store leftover kale chips in a plastic bag as they become soggy. I put my leftovers in a bowl and cover with a clean, dry, tea towel.

Enjoy!~

Patricia Muzzi Mood Food


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Mental Health Week: Mood Food – an interview with Chef Patricia Muzzi

Mood Food Culinary Studio Logo

In my last full post I talked about PC Cooking School classes and today I’d like to introduce you to someone I met there.

Patricia Muzzi is a personal chef and the founder of Mood Food Culinary.  What is mood food? In simple terms, it is how the foods we eat affect our brain.

Pretty neat right?  Check out our Q&A below and be sure to visit her website http://www.moodfoodculinary.com

Patricia Muzzi Mood FoodWhat does the term Mood Food mean? 
Patricia: Mood foods are foods that have an impact (either positive or negative) on the brain, which in turn affects our emotions, memory, concentration and mood.

Where did you come across the concept of Mood Food? 
Patricia: While researching the connection between food and mental health, for the purposes of completing a mid-term project at culinary school, I cam across a charitable organization in the UK called MIND that is dedicated to improving the quality of the lives of individuals suffering from mental illness. They called is the “MIND meal” but I started referring to it as Mood Food. Much of the research originating from the UK points to food as being a major factor that affects mental health.

When you first learned about the concept of Mood Food, were you surprised by anything? 
Patricia: I was only surprised to learn how much research has been available since the early 80’s and yet nutritional therapy seemed to take a back seat in treating or preventing mental health related issues.

How has eating Mood Foods affected your life? 
Patricia: I am very mindful of what I eat, so you can say I have a very intimate relationship with food. I know what foods have a positive or negative effect on me and what time of day to eat certain foods to get the effects I want. I have increased my energy levels, boosted my memory and metabolism as well as charged up my immune system. I am better equipped to handle stressful situations and rarely catch colds or the flu.

baked-ontario-apple-frittata-cups

Image Credit: Ontario Apple Growers Website
(with permission from Patricia Muzzi)

What are some examples of Mood Foods?
Patricia: My top ten mood foods would be…

1.  Salmon – preferably wild

2. Turkey – oven roasted

3. Mushrooms – dark earthy ones like cremini, portabella, oyster, or shiitake

4. Eggs

5. Leafy Greens – kale, spinach, rapini and arugula

6. Berries – wild blueberries, strawberries, raspberries and blackberries

7. Apples – preferably fresh and local

8. Figs – fresh or dried

9. Nuts – almonds, walnuts and Brazil nuts

10. Whole & Ancient Grains – spelt, flax, quinoa, whole wheat

On the flip side, are there any foods that can sabotage your mood?
Patricia: Absolutely! The general rule is that foods that have been altered from their natural state, or do not originate from the earth, contain additives/preservatives and other chemicals that affect the brain in a negative way thus sabotaging mood. So fast food, packaged items like candy, fruit chews, frozen pizzas, chocolate bars… cola/pop is a #1 example of something that is not even a real food ingredient. It doesn’t come from the earth and is loaded with harmful chemicals.

Is it difficult to incorporate Mood Foods into your diet? 
Patricia: It’s easier than incorporating junk food because the effects are that much more pleasurable and longer lasting.

Who can benefit from eating Mood Foods?
Patricia: Mood foods are important at every stage of human life, from the time we are a tiny fetus we rely on the food nurting foods our mothers consume. As babies, toddlers and preschoolers our brain development is so sensitive to nutrition. School-aged, tween and teens [have] hormones kicking in and we can benefit from food in order to reduce those hormonal fluctuations and moodiness. In our young adult and pre-child bearing years we can use the added energy and concentration from good nutrition to excel in what are termed the busy years. As we age gracefully into our senior years the proper foods keep up alert, happy, with lasting concentration and focus.

Where can people go to learn more about your work? 
Patricia: Please visit my website and follow me on twitter (“mood foodie”) or connect with me on LinkedIn.

Are you eager to try a Mood Food snack? Check out Patricia’s recipe for “Baked Ontario Apple Frittata Cups to Go!” at www.onapples.com. The recipe also contains additional information as to why the other ingredients such as eggs, walnuts, granola, apples and cinnamon are also good mood foods.

   
Disclaimer: This is not a sponsored post. The information presented is the opinion of the interviewed person. 
Baked Grapefruit with sugar


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Baked Grapefruit with Brown Sugar

Baked Grapefruit with sugarI love the combination of sweetness and acidity in this recipe. This is a great treat for breakfast or dessert!

How to make it: 
1. Pre-heat your oven to 350 degrees
2. Cut a pink grapefruit in half
3. Use a small knife to cut around the segments (so you can scoop them out of the skin later)
4. Sprinkle with brown sugar (you may also add honey over the sugar if you want it sweeter)
5. Bake until the sugar melts and becomes carmalized
6. CAREFUL! It will be really hot, so let it cool down a fair bit before eating.

Tips:
– Avoid the temptation to broil these. In my experience they just burn really quickly
– Grapefruits can become a little bitter when baked, you may need to add more sugar if it bothers you

Enjoy!~
Dressing the pita chips


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Easy Pita Chips (and Hummus)

Hummus and Pita Chips

Get Michael Smith’s hummus recipe here

Pita chips are super versatile and very easy to make. Yes, I know you can buy them in stores but I prefer to make my own because it’s cheaper!

In my opinion, nothing goes better with pita chips than hummus! I don’t have my own hummus recipe, so I used Michael Smith’s (see above for link).

How to make Pita Chips: 
1. Pre-heat your oven to 400 degrees
2. Cut the pitas into triangles (easiest way: cut the circle in half, then half again, then half once more)
3. Put the triangles into a bowl, drizzle with olive oil and season as desired (I just use sea salt usually)
4. Spread the triangles out on a sheet pan, bake for 6 minutes or until crunchy. I try not to overcook mine because I find they become hard instead of crunchy.
5. Let the chips cool the serve with hummus. Chips can be stored for a few days in a zip-top bag.

Hummus Mise En Place

Wash your chick peas

Hummus in food processor

Dressing the pita chips

Pita chips in oven

Enjoy!~


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Sautéed Red Bell Peppers

 

 
How to make it: 
1. Wash and cut 2 red bell peppers into strips (be sure to remove the pith and seeds!)
2. In a large skillet, heat olive oil over medium-high heat
3. Add the pepper strips, and saute for 6-7 minutes, or until the peppers soften and the skins char a little.
4. Season with salt and pepper (or a lemon pepper blend)
Enjoy!~