I love beets! They are nutritious, filling and delicious.
Beets have natural nitrates, which lower your blood pressure and improve blood flow. They also contain high level of antioxidants and their anti-inflammatory properties make them a powerful protector against cancer. The fibers in beets (and carrots) are beneficial for our digestive track (help to fight against colon cancer) and support our cardiovascular system.
Here is a recipe for a fast and easy marinated beets dish that packs in a lot of flavor. Perfect as a side dish and great addition to a salad. Portable and chilled, this beet dish is great for pot luck or picnic as well.
Ingredients: (serving 4)
4 beets, cubed
1/2 of an onion, cubed
1/4 cup of apple cider vinegar
1/4 cup of water
1 Tbsp brown sugar
1 Tbsp olive oil
2 cloves of garlic
Salt and pepper
Cook the beets (peeled) into a saucepan filled with water, and bring it to a boil in medium heat. Once the water is boiled, turn the heat to low and let the beats simmer for another 15 minutes. Note: avoid overcooking as they will be in the skillet later.
Remove the beets and cut them into cubes.
In a skillet, cook the cut onion and garlic in olive oil until they become translucent. Add the cut beets, then season with salt and pepper. Toss the mixture for ~3 minutes.
In a separate bowl, combine the vinegar, sugar, olive oil and water together, and whisk the mixture until the ingredients are properly mixed.
Place the cooked beets/onion/garlic into a sealable container, and pour the vinegar mixture over it.
Let it marinate in the refrigerator for ~1 hour, and it is ready!
Warm weather often triggers my craving for cold beverages. Recently, I’ve been drinking a lot of iced matcha milk teas. Matcha is a finely milled green tea powder. Traditionally served during the Japanese tea ceremony and in ancient Chinese culture, it is trending back…You see it added to many modern food products, such as matcha noodles or matcha ice cream.
To stay healthy (and save some pretty pennies), I decided to make my own vegan version of the matcha milk tea…here it is:
Soy milk, or your favorite milk substitute (1/2 cup)
Matcha powder (2 teaspoon)
Hot water, just boiled (1/3 cups)
Ice (1 cup)
Agave, or other sweeteners (1 tablespoon)
Mix the matcha powder with the hot water, stir until the matcha powder are fully dissolved.
Add the agave to the matcha mix. You can also use other sweeteners based on your preference.
In a blender, add soy milk, ice and then the matcha mix. Blend in high until smooth. Enjoy!
Nothing like a warm stew to sooth a sore throat when you are sick. Plus the fermented miso and kimchi is great for regulating your gut and boost your immune system (see my entry on fermented foods). I’ve been craving Korean soondubu jjigae, so I’ve decided to make my own vegan version. It takes about 15 minutes to make, and you can pretty much add any variety of veggie ingredients of your preference.
1 tablespoon olive oil
1/2 medium yellow onion, medium dice
1 medium zucchini, medium dice
1 cup, kimchi
1/4 cup, kimchi juice
2 cups, vegetable broth
1 tablespoon of miso paste
1 cup/package silken or soft tofu, cubed
1 cup of mushrooms, medium dice
2 teaspoon of sesame oil
1 cup of arugula (optional)
chili peppers (optional)
Heat the oil in a saucepan, then add the onion until it becomes translucent.
Then add the zucchini, mushrooms, kimchi, kimchi juice into the saucepan and stir for x3 minutes.
Add the vegetable broth, then miso paste, chili powder (optional) and tofu. Let the stew simmer in a closed lid x5 minutes.
Serve hot in a bowl, garnish it with arugula and sesame oil. Enjoy!
I’ve been enjoying Chrysanthemum tea lately. It has a refreshing and lightly fragrant taste, and it’s great hot or chilled. The Chrysanthemum flower has been cultivated in China since 1500 B.C. and been a staple in Chinese herbal medicine for over 2,000 years. Rich in beta-carotene, which your body converts to vitamin A (important for skin and immune health), Chrysanthemum flowers are also rich in potassium, calcium, iron, magnesium, and phosphorus.
Note, if you want a caffeine free tea option in a Chinese restaurant, ask for Chrysanthemum tea (aka Ju Hua cha) as many Chinese restaurants will carry them, especially if they have a large Chinese patron.
Reduces risk of coronary artery disease and decreases blood pressure. Clinical studies in China and Japan have shown it relieves symptoms of angina (aka chest pain from heart disease)
Immune boosting and helps to fight against allergies. Traditional Chinese medicine has used Chrysanthemum tea for its “cooling effect”, which helps against fever, sore throat and sinus congestion.
Steep a handful of chrysanthemum flowers in hot water at 90°c (194°F) to 95°c (203°F) for 2 to 4 minutes, or until the liquor turns light yellow.
You may try brewing this tea with a bit of rock sugar.
Winter can be hard for many, including those with seasonal affective disorder (SAD) and the lack outdoor time often prevents many from getting enough vitamin D. Vitamin D is essential for many functions of your body, including the immune system, bone health as well as for your mood and cognitive function. Vitamin D deficiency is linked to everything from depression, heart conditions, asthma, cognitive impairment, to cancer.
So what kind of vegetarian food can I eat to get Vitamin D?
You can also take supplements:
Cod liver oil– Vitamin D are generally in fatty fish and liver, so cod liver oil supplement is a good way to get Vitamin D. The amount can vary depending on the supplement. You can find 2 types of vitamin D supplements:
Ergocalciferol (vitamin D2)
Cholecalciferol (vitamin D3)- preferred. D3 is significantly more potent in raising and maintaining vitamin D concentrations and is converted by your body into the active form faster than vitamin D2.
How much Vitamin D suppelment shall I take?
This really varies based on your vitamin D level, which you can get it checked with your regular blood work. General recommendation for those with Vitamin D deficiency is to take ~8,000 IU’s of vitamin D a day in order to raise their serum levels above 40 ng/ml. For normal supplementation, Vitamin D council recommends for adult to take 5,000 IU of vitamin D.
Few months ago, I saw an article online about all the different things you can make on a waffle iron. This inspired me to do my own experiment….making okonomiyaki on a waffle iron! Okonomiyaki is a Japanese savory pancake with veggies- one of my favorite street food as a kid. You can find many okonomiyaki restaurants in Japan, where you get to pick the ingredients that goes into the batter….think of it as a variation from the hibachi restaurants.
Traditional okonomiyaki is packed with different types of shredded vegetables along with either seafood (often shrimp or octopus) or bacon. It is a great dish to make at home because you can use a variety of vegetables (i.e. kale, cabbage, squash, carrots, leeks, chives, etc).
You can also use the regular cast iron or nonstick pan instead of the waffle iron. Below is the recipe I used, but feel free to experiment with different vegetables….
Ingredients: (makes 1 okonomiyaki pancake)
1/2 cup of cabbage, shredded
1/4 cup of carrots, shredded
1 radicchio leaf, shredded
1/4 cup of all purpose flour
2 large eggs
2 scallions, thinly sliced
3 tablespoon of water or veggie stock
1 teaspoon of salt
Optional: mochi, 1 square
Seasoning to place on top of the okonomiyaki (you can use all/none of the below toppings)
nori flakes for seasoning (~1 tablespoon)
okonomiyaki sauce, or sub it with worcestershire sauce/teriyaki sauce
For a spicy option: add hot sauce of your choice
Alternative option: dip okonomiyaki in light soy or dumpling sauce
Prep the waffle iron. Set it to medium dark, with charred outside and soft inside.
Combine all the ingredients (except the mochi) in a large bowl and mix well.
Once the waffle iron is ready, spray some oil on the surface, then pour the batter on the waffle iron. If you are using a mochi, place the mochi square on to the waffle iron first, then pour the batter on and around the mochi (you will probably use less of the batter). If you are using the stove, then do the same thing, except you just need to flip the okonomiyaki to cook both sides evenly.
Cook until it is slightly browned on the surface.
Plate the okonomiyaki, and sprinkle on the seasoning(s) of your choice and serve hot!
There are days that figuring out what to eat for dinner can feel like a monumental task. And while I do find the act and art of cooking to be enjoyable and therapeutic, there are many days I lack motivation cooking for myself. I am lucky to live in an area with lots of healthy and organic food options to eat out, however, nothing beats a home cooked meal where you have control over food sanitation and quality of ingredients. I have been making a conscious effort to improve my health lately including exercising more frequently (the life of a psychotherapist is terribly sedentary) and eating at home more. After my own trial and error, getting creative, and finding what works for me, I’ve noticed a few strategies that have lead to success, particularly after a long day of work when I’m cranky.
Don’t let yourself get too hungry. Isn’t it annoying when mothers are right? My mom use to tell me this one. Eating a little snack before the days end can help curb a sense of urgency allowing for better meal planning including making conscious choices.
Master a few dishes. On my drive home from work, I refer to my cookbook. Basically the rotating meals I have mastered and are stored in my head. I’m a girl with particular preferences and when I’ve mastered something I like, I can eat it often without getting bored. The predictability of knowing what you’re going to make and knowing you’ve made it before with success can make dinner time less overwhelming.
Plan ahead. As a single gal at present, my planning ahead of purchasing ingredients can sometimes take the shape of “in the moment”. I do know this is not realistic nor preferable for everyone particularly those with families, etc. This tends to work for me as I pass a natural food co-op on my way home from work and get only what I need for a day or two. Having a list and staying focused on the ingredients needed for the meal is helpful.