Cabbage, Sausage and Beet Green Supper

What’s for dinner?

It’s the type of meal I wouldn’t normally make in the summer. To my defense, we have the air conditioning on and I am a little oblivious to the heat outside.

That aside, we visited the local farmers market on Saturday and picked up a bunch of wicked veggies so I knew they had to be used really quickly.  While I was staring at the freezer, I remembered last week a friend gave us a pack of sausages (fresh herb and garlic) from a local farm. I pulled that out of the freezer and stared at it all on the counter. Huh. What now.

I had half a cabbage that I was dying to use. Got it. Cabbage and sausage dinner. Something easy, one pot-ish. Yes. That’s what’s for dinner.

I have been juicing in the morning and bought a whackload of beets at the market to do so. I remembered that I had all the beet greens left. Awesome! Can you eat those? Why yes you can! I remembered someone telling me they were great in a salad or lightly sautéed, like spinach or chard. So I chopped it all up, along with the other veggies and came up with our meal. I’ll be serving it alongside garlic mash. I’ve been on a mash kick lately. Don’t you just LOVE garlic mash? *drool* Tonight’s dinner should help curb the craving for another week.

You’ll be surprised at how simple and flavourful this dish is. I added garlic, pepper and fresh sage for seasoning. Oh, and a little salt. There’s no stock in this dish so you don’t have to be overwhelmed with salt or liquid. Resist the urge to throw in a bunch of herbs and seasoning, this dish really doesn’t need it. If you wanted to reduce the carbs, you could omit the potato and replace with cauliflower. Also I didn’t cook this until everything was mush. I like to maintain a bit of crunch in the veggies, plus I feel it drains all the nutrients from them if you overcook. Let’s get wholesome up in here. Up in here, up in here.

Ingredients

 

  • 1-2 packages (4 in each) of your favourite sausage. Cut into 3/4-inch slices
  • 1 large onion, cut into big chunks
  • 1 medium head cabbage, chopped
  • 10-15 beet greens, roughly chopped
  • 2 garlic cloves, roughly chopped
  • 6 fresh sage leaves, finely chopped
  • 1 pound carrots, cut into 1/2-inch slices
  • 1/2 cup water
  • Freshly ground pepper
  • Salt to taste
  • Optional: 5 medium potatoes, cut into 3/4-inch cubes

Directions:

  • In a Dutch oven or big soup pot, cook sausage and onion over medium heat until the sausage is lightly browned and onion and garlic are tender.
  • Add the cabbage and water. Cover and cook on low for 10 minutes. Stir in the carrots, beet greens and potatoes (if using).
  • Cover and cook for 20 minutes or until the vegetables are tender to your liking.
  • Serve with a salad, or garlic mash if you don’t put the potatoes in.

Sprouting in three easy steps!

I have recently started contributing to a wicked awesome local online magazine called Rare Republic. They’re not only a magazine but a grassroots community dedicated to improving the condition of our food, its production, distribution, supply, and consumption for the entire community’s commercial and health benefit.

They asked if I could contribute a little something to the site and I of course, jumped at the opportunity. I love this community and what it stands for, so it was an honor to be asked to contribute, and with my new sprouting obsession, it was easy to do.

Check out my post here, and while you’re at it – peruse the site and join the community! Together we can be informed, stay connected and help find those answers and the solutions to some of the food issues that face us.

Happy sprouting!

Steph

Sweet Potato Breakfast Pancakes (cooked in coconut oil)

I don’t eat enough sweet potatoes. Do you?

I love ’em, but I definitely don’t eat enough of them. I picked one up at the grocery store the other night with the idea of having half as a side to dinner. I didn’t feel like taking the time to bake it, so I threw it in the handy-dandy microwave (never used to use one, until we moved to the new house) and voila! It was done in like 6 minutes.

After dinner I was heating up a cup of lemon balm tea before bed (recipe here), I popped open the microwave (it’s becoming a regular kitchen appliance now) and there’s the sweet potato still on the plate, fully cooked and now cooled. Oops.

Huh. So now what to do with it. I’ve already eaten dinner. Well, I guess I’ll throw it in a container and figure it out in the AM.

The next morning I decided I was going to attempt to go for another run, later in the day (I have to pump myself up for running, it’s not an activity I particularly like). So I started to plan out my meals for the day so I would have adequate energy for the workout (I was planning on having KD for lunch, as awful as that is).

I’m not one for sweet breakfasts. You’ll usually find me having yogurt and organic seed granola, or eggs and cheese. Mmmm… cheese. But today I wanted to try something different, and I had that damn sweet potato to use.

I love pancakes, but NEVER order them when I go out for breakfast, it’s only something I’ll have at home. So off I hopped to the kitchen to figure it out.

An hour later, and I was making breakfast. (Coffee went cold TWICE during that hour, another great use for the micro-ondes, reheating that cuppa!).

Here’s what you’ll need for these tasty, filling and nutritional pancakes.

  • 3/4 pound sweet potatoes
  • 1 1/2 cups whole-wheat flour
  • 3 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon (Add more to taste, I love cinnamon and the health benefits!)
  • 2 eggs, beaten
  • 1 1/2 cups milk
  • 1/4 cup butter, melted

Since I had the cooked and cooled sweet potato, the skin came right off. I didn’t have a hard time peeling it at all. I grabbed the hand blender and whipped it up. I didn’t want any chunks of potato in my pancakes.

'Mashed' with a hand blender to make it ultra smooth.

‘Mashed’ with a hand blender to make it ultra smooth.

In a medium bowl, I sifted together flour, baking powder, salt, cinnamon and nutmeg. I did not add ANY sugar to this recipe. It definitely doesn’t need more sugar. You could use all -purpose flour or peanut flour for this recipe too.

Dry ingredients

Next, in a separate medium bowl, I mixed mashed sweet potatoes, eggs, milk and butter.

Wet ingredients

WhiskingBlend sweet potato mixture into the flour mixture to form a batter. The mixture took a bit to combine and I used a whisk to bring it all together. Careful of splashing that milk around! I got it all over the counter.

Next, preheat a lightly greased griddle over medium-high heat. I used organic coconut oil. Man, that was the best decision of the day. The light coconut oil flavoured the pancakes beautifully and they were not greasy at all. Perfect combination! There are not many things I like to cook in coconut oil, but this one is being added to the list. Score.

Coconut oil for greasing

Coconut oil for greasing

Melted coconut oil

Melted coconut oil

Pancake batter

Pancake batter

The batter was a BIT thick the first time I tried to pour the pancake. I added a bit of extra milk after to thin it out. You basically just have to move the batter around in the pan with a spoon for spatula to get it to shape. Otherwise you’ll end up with a big blob.

In the pan!

In the pan!

Alrighty! We are making progress. My pancakes didn’t stick AT ALL. They moved around quite quickly in the pan. I waited until I saw the edges bubble then flipped. Just check the bottom of it to your desired doneness, and flip!

Flip!

Flip!

Now let’s see how they turned out! I put a small dab of butter and a bit of syrup. I loooove butter. The pancakes were crispy on the edges and cooked perfectly inside. They are definitely more dense than your regular box-pancake but I’m okay with that. I think the whole-wheat flour attributed to that.

The finished product

The finished product

I ate two for breakfast and cooked the rest of the batter. I stored them in a container, and popped them in the fridge. This morning (day after) I took one out, and put it in the toaster. It was perfectly warmed while still being crispy on the outside. I can’t wait to have another for lunch 🙂 Great on-the-go breakfast too!

As for my run later.. I had a really big salad for lunch with my fresh fenugreek sprouts (see post here). Ahh so tasty. I had a small sandwich later in the afternoon because I got hungry. Ended up going for a 3k run at 7pm. My shins were still really sore from my run two days ago, but I made it. I didn’t like it, but I made it. I felt I had enough energy, but probably should have eaten more during the day. Today is a rest day since I have softball tonight, that will warm my legs up! Hoping to hit the road again tomorrow, maybe I’ll try a lunch run. –

Thanks for reading! I hope you enjoy the pancake recipe. Do you have any fun sweet potato recipes you’d like to share? Post a comment!

Enjoy!

Post Series: Health Benefits of Sprouting Fenugreek Seeds

I am new to sprouting, and so far have been LOVING it! This past weekend, I have started sprouting alfalfa and fenugreek.  Oriental mustard is on it’s 2nd day (needs another day or two), and at this very moment I am soaking green kale seeds.  Since I’ve started, we’ve been able to enjoy sprouts in salads every day. I’m THRILLED! Not only are they incredibly tasty and quick to produce – the health benefits are crazy yo! You can read about some of the benefits in my last post, here.  (Scroll to the bottom to see photos of the fenugreek seeds in sprouting action!)

I thought I’d start a series of posts, detailing what I’m sprouting, showing pictures and the health benefits of each seed. Many of you probably didn’t know that you can sprout pretty much any grain or seed. The main thing you want to ensure though, is that is is organic and non-GMO. You can read about non-GMO here.

So what about the health benefits? Sprouts are much more nutritious than the dormant seed or bean from which they spring from. By “awakening” these seeds, we are actually eating all of the live potential energy of the sprout.

Because of the higher water content in sprouts as opposed to dry seeds and beans, we find a higher nutritional content. Sprouts contain absorb-able protein, and contain increased calcium, potassium, sodium, iron, as well as vitamins A, B1, B2, B3, and C.

Even though alfalfa was the first seed I sprouted, I don’t feel the need to write about it because we’re all probably familiar with it. It’s so common in grocery stores and health food places, I thought I’d go off the beaten path and spark your interest in something different. Want to learn more? Read on my friends!

I was intrigued by this seed because I recently started using the leaves in recipes. It’s a very potent smelling leaf, and the spice fenugreek, also called methi and menthulu, are the small, hard, yellowish brown, angular, protein-rich seeds harvested from the pods of the plant. The seeds have a bittersweet taste and are highly aromatic once ground. Because of those qualities, fenugreek has become a key ingredient in curry powder. Fenugreek seeds are also used in other spice blends, fish and vegetables dishes, dahl, breads, stews and preserves, such as pickles and chutneys.

Like cilantro, fenugreek is a plant whose leaves and seeds can be used in all sorts of ways. It is native to India and southern Europe, and for centuries has grown wild in those and other places. It’s also one of the oldest cultivated plants known to humans and, according to the Complete Spice Book, has been grown in the Nile Valley since 1000 BC.  If you buy the dried leaves for cooking, make sure you have it wrapped up tightly in a Ziploc or in a glass jar to avoid having your kitchen cupboard smelling like it. It will overpower other spices in your cupboards. Despite fenugreeks many uses, you are unlikely to find it at any mainstream grocery store. If you’re wanting to use the leaves, try a local Indian grocery store.

So, back to sprouting and the benefits of fenugreek. If you’re looking to sprout the seeds, I suggest buying organic, non-gmo seeds from Mumms or another online seed sprouting company. Do your research because organic non-gmo seeds are DEFINITELY the way to go.

Fenugreek is one of the oldest recorded medicinal herbs, highly esteemed by both east and west, and has been regarded as a treatment for just about every ailment known to man. Fenugreek has a beneficial action on cleansing the blood.

What are the benefit of these super cool seeds/sprouts?

  • Did you know that fenugreek is regarded as a sister herb to garlic? A traditional herb for colds and flu, fenugreek has the same properties. It is also attributed with being a blood cleanser and a lymphatic cleanser.
  • Another attribute of fenugreek is it’s apparent capacity to create a protective coating over inflamed areas of the stomach and bowel including peptic ulcers. Fenugreek is a practical herb for all mucus conditions of the body, particularly the lungs, by helping to clear congestion. It is a powerful antioxidant and it acts as a mucus solvent and throat cleanser, which also eases the urge to cough. Even drinking the water that seeds have soaked in and been rinsed with, helps to soften and dissolve, accumulated and hardened masses of cellular debris. Use fenugreek for head colds, influenza, catarrh, constipation, bronchial complaints, asthma, emphysema, pneumonia, pleurisy, tuberculosis, sore throat, laryngitis, hay fever and sinusitis.
  • Fenugreek has also been noted as increasing breast milk production in nursing mothers. On the other hand, pregnant women should not ingest fenugreek.
  • Fenugreek has had the reputation for enhancing libido. No wonder it has been called an aphrodisiac. I smiled, when I read in a herbal book, ‘Fenugreek, for making an old man into a young man’!. Some men use fenugreek for herniaerectile dysfunction (ED), and other male problems.
  • Fenugreek appears to slow absorption of sugars in the stomach and stimulate insulin. Both of these effects lower blood sugar in people with diabetes.
  • As a diaphoretic it is able to bring on a sweat and to help detox the body. This takes place through the pores of the skin. The pungent aroma of fenugreek may be smelt on the skin and in under-arm perspiration. This is evidence that the herb is working well: shower frequently! The body odour of fenugreek is nowhere near as offensive as a body reeking of garlic. After using the sprouts for a while, this fenugreek body aroma, does not seem to be so apparent, maybe, the sprouts have done a pretty good cleanse.
  • Fenugreek seeds are rich source of minerals, vitamins, and phytonutrients. 100 g seeds provide 323 calories.
  • The seeds are a very good source of soluble dietary fiber. Soaking the seeds in water makes their outer coat soft and mucilaginous. 100 g of seeds provide 24.6 g or over 65% of dietary fiber.
  • This prized spice is an excellent source of minerals like copper, potassium, calcium, iron, selenium, zinc, manganese, and magnesium. Potassium is an important component of cell and body fluids that helps control heart rate and blood pressure by countering action on sodium. Iron is essential for red blood cell production and as a co-factor for cytochrome-oxidases enzyme.
Raw hard seeds, right out of the package.

Raw hard seeds, right out of the package.

How much to seed to sprout?

  • I used 1/4 for the tray, and 1-2 tbsp for the jar method. You don’t want to over pack the jar because the seeds won’t aerate properly and become mushy and rot. Not good peeps. Keep enough room in the jar or a spread out layer in the try to allow the seeds to do their thang. Sprouted, fenugreek grows large vigorous, crunchy sprouts with an unusual maple flavour. Quite awesome on a salad. Try it for yourself and let me know what you think!
Seeds in the tray, see the tail starting?

Seeds in the tray, see the tail starting?

The final product! Yummers!

The final product! Yummers!

Storing your spouts:

  • Be sure to only store your sprouts when they are DRY. Let them air out after the last rinse before putting them in a seal-able container. You can keep them in the fridge for up to 4 days, if they last that long!
Store in an air tight container for 3-5 days

Store in an air tight container for 3-5 days

Sprouting Seeds

I have a new obsession! Sprouting seeds!

Jar method

Last Christmas I was given a seed sprouting kit and was over the moon about it. The seeds however, were not good quality and they did not turn out like I had expected. I can’t remember the brand or the seed type, but they weren’t that good taste wise, and only gave enough for one jar of sprouts. Total bummer.

Thing is, when you buy kits like that, you are not entirely sure how old the seeds are and if they are in fact, organic. So no fault of my beau for picking up the nifty kit, sadly you just never know the quality with the pre-made kits.

I didn’t throw away the jar that came with the kit..I packed it safely away because I knew sprouting was in my future. Sure enough, sprouting popped back up (heh, pun intended) when I volunteered at the Guelph Organic Conference this past February.  I was able to be A/V support for a seed sprouting workshop! Sweet. Lisa Mumm, (daughter of the owners of Mumms Sprouting Seeds) flew in from Saskatchewan to speak to us. What a treat. Lisa was kind enough to bring examples of sprouted seeds to show the group. I was really stunned at how easy it is! Although I had tried it before, she showed the tray method, had a display of fresh sprouts and really broke it down as to how easy it can be, on your own kitchen counter. I was not only armed with new information, I was inspired.

So why sprout anyway? Sprouting raw nuts, seeds, beans and grains is one of the quickest, easiest ways to pack a group of nutrients into your body in just one handful. Raw nuts and seeds especially already have so many good nutrients awaiting you, when you sprout them, the nutritional profile multiplies. The quality of the protein in the beans, nuts, seeds, or grains improves when it is sprouted.  Proteins change during the soaking and sprouting process, improving its nutritional value. The amino acid lysine, for example, which is needed to prevent cold sores and to maintain a healthy immune system increases significantly during the sprouting process.

Read more: http://www.care2.com/greenliving/10-reasons-to-eat-sprouts.html#ixzz2bmtvySKQ

According to this study from the International Journal of Applied Science, sprouts have the highest concentration of phytonutrients per calorie of any food. Phytonutrients play an active role in the amelioration of disease. Just 100 grams a day of sprouts may prevent cancer. See the research from the University of Ulster.

Variety PackTook me awhile, but eventually I dug out the jar from the boxes we had in the basement after we moved. I hopped online, went directly to http://www.sprouting.com and ordered the Variety Pack which came with a Starter kit and a whackload of different seeds.

Alfalfa Seeds

I started sprouting Alfalfa right away and we enjoyed it in a salad 3 days later. So delicious and sweet and MUCH better than the alfalfa you buy in the store. In fact I never buy store bought alfalfa because I don’t like the taste. Trust me, Mumms alfalfa seeds are the bomb. Hmm! I wonder if you could make a seed bomb from these babies? That would be a fun project.

Alfalfa

Alfalfa sprouts after 3 days

Fenugreek in the tray, after soaking and first rinse.

Fenugreek in the tray, after soaking and first rinse.

 Anyway, I am experimenting both ways with the seeds, both jar and tray. 

Today I started sprouting Fenugreek and Oriental Mustard. Fenugreek in the tray and mustard in the jar.

The mustard seeds are supposed to be hot, and I can’t wait to add them to a salad when they’re ready. I love me some spicy sprouts!  

I had a tray from growing seedlings this spring and so I just poked drain holes in it and after soaking the fenugreek, I spread them across the bottom. Don’t forget to wash all your containers thoroughly before using. Especially if you used your tray outside. You want to ensure it’s super clean and free from contaminants/dirt.

Oriental Mustard seeds after soaking and first rinse.

Oriental Mustard seeds after soaking and first rinse.

Next purchase will be the Baby Blanket. I wanted to try sprouting without it first to see how it goes, wish me luck! Basically the baby blanket is a felted grass material that holds moisture around the roots for more even growing conditions. It allows growing soil type sprouts without the mess of soil and without the difficulty of getting good safe organic soil. 

I couldn’t wait to share this experience with you, it’s so exciting to eat fresh sprouts that you are able to watch grow in your own kitchen in a matter of days. What a great kids project too! Not only is it fun, but the health benefits are insane. According to this study from the International Journal of Applied Science, sprouts have the highest concentration of phytonutrients per calorie of any food. Phytonutrients play an active role in the amelioration of disease. Just 100 grams a day of sprouts may prevent cancer. See the research from the University of Ulster.

Have you ever sprouted seeds? If so, what are your favourite brands and methods?

Raw food is a wonderful thing.. I plan to continue sprouting for the rest of the year. I look forward to learning about all the new ways I can use these lovely sprouts in my every day meals. Have you noticed any health benefits from eating sprouts?