Friday, May 28, 2010

Sticky Rice

So we had homemade sushi again for dinner last night. I got to eat my favorite roll...sweet potato, avocado, green onion, tamago (sweet egg omelet) and jalapeño havarti cheese (our newest addition...YUM!). :)

This time we had sticky rice left over...what did I do with it you ask?
Made Coconut sticky rice!!! It is SOOO easy and delicious! I am pretty sure you could do it with any plain leftover rice and it would be to die for!


1 cup of sticky rice
1 cup of coconut milk
1 tbsp of sugar
1 pinch of salt

Heat the coconut milk in a pot over medium heat. Stir constantly and let the coconut milk simmer. Boiled coconut milk will curdle so definitely no multi-tasking. ;) Add sugar and salt. Remove from heat. Pour 3/4 of the hot coconut milk over the hot sticky rice (I reheated mine in the microwave and it was perfect!). Let it sit for 5 minutes. The sticky rice will absorb all the coconut milk. The rice should be a little mushy. Spoon the rest of the coconut milk on top of the rice at serving time.
In Thailand they eat it with mango. We didn't have any on hand so we used banana! I am sure you could use any fruit on hand or just eat it straight up!

Diego is not a fan of coconut, which means more for me!!! I hope you enjoy this as much as I do!

Friday, May 21, 2010

My new Favorite Veggies!

I found this AMAZING simple recipe called Mediterranean vegetable tian from this book.

1 medium onion, sliced
1 medium zucchini, sliced
1 bunch of fresh basil, chopped
1 small eggplant, sliced
2 Italian tomatoes, halved (I used one medium sized tomato, sliced)
Olive oil

Place onions on the bottom of an au gratin dish. I don't have one of these so I used my clay cazuela from Mexico. I am pretty sure it would do fine in a dutch oven or other baking dish with a lid. Drizzle olive oil (~2.5 tbsp) over the onions and then sprinkle with salt and freshly ground pepper to taste. Cover with a layer of zucchini, again drizzle olive oil (~2.5 tbsp) and sprinkle salt and pepper to taste (repeat for every layer). Layer the chopped basil, then the slices of eggplant and finally the tomatoes. Cover with the lid and bake in the oven at 135C (275F) for 2 hours.
Sadly my photo is blurry (looked fine on my little screen...) but you can see the beautiful layers of sheer deliciousness! I used some leftover tarragon from this great slow cooker chicken recipe instead of basil the other day... INCREDIBLE! I am thinking of trying this with dill tomorrow!

Happy May 2-4 long weekend! :)

Wednesday, May 19, 2010

Amazing Yogurt and Goodbye number 5 Plastic!

So I jumped on the yogurt making band wagon like Sherrie at 22 Pleasant and Eco Yogini because we eat a lot of yogurt and unfortunately we only recycle number 1 and 2 plastic containers in Halifax. I followed Sherrie's method...but ended up getting tasty but slimy yogurt (eek!). So I did some reading and found that most recipes are not precise enough for me (you will see below some of the comments I read) and I really wanted to get to the bottom of why it was slimy! I found out that you need to heat the milk to at least 180F to denature the proteins so that is is thick and creamy and not at all slimy! Let's just say second time is a charm and it is really easy! :)

So here is what I did to get perfect delicious plain yogurt!


2 L milk (I used Organic homogenized but have read that you can use any type)
250 ml of starter (I used an organic probiotic yogurt, see this post to read about the benefits of probiotic!)

Heat the 2 L of milk in a medium sized saucepan to at least 180F. I used a thermometer but Sherrie said that she let hers boil and it turned out lovely (for milk to boil it must go above 180F) but most yogurt sites do not recommend boiling probably to reduce scorching, so this is up to you. Once it reaches the right temperature, remove from heat and let it cool to between 105-108F. If you don't have a thermometer, one post said that it is the right temperature if you can leave the tip of your finger in for 10 seconds without screaming! It should be hot but not scalding. Mix in the starter. This will take some mixing to get it nicely blended. Also, the milk forms a skin on top. You have 2 options...mix it in (this will take more mixing) or take it out and blend with a little salt until it is the consistency of whipped cream and spread onto toasted bread for a traditional Mexican treat! YUM! :)

Once your starter is mixed in, place the lid on your container of choice and wrap the whole thing in a couple of towels and place in the oven (off) with the oven light on. The oven light will keep the inside of the oven warm enough for the bacteria to work its magic! I used my enameled cast iron dutch oven because it holds heat wonderfully and it worked perfectly! Leave this for at least 15 hours. I usually start mine at around 5 or 6 pm so that it is ready the next morning when I get up. And this is what you get in the morning.
To get it nice and thick you need to strain our the whey (liquid that you get on top of your yogurt). This is where you can play to get your perfect consistency.
To strain the yogurt, I used my large strainer lined with a white towel (now my yogurt towel!) placed on top of a large bowl. Pour the yogurt in and watch the whey drain into the bowl (you can see a stream of whey in the photo above). I strain mine for a couple of hours. I usually mix it up a little after about an hour to get most of the whey out...I like mine really thick! This recipe makes about 1.25L of really thick yogurt, so depending how you like it will depend on how much you actually get. You can also use they whey for baking!

Don`t forget to reserve 250 ml of your lovely yogurt as started for the next batch! I have also read (but not yet tried) that you can freeze your starter. This would be especially handy if you are not going to make batches back to back. :)

Happy yogurt making! :)

Tuesday, May 11, 2010

Foods that Fight Cancer

This is my follow up to yesterday's introductory post about this book.
Here I will briefly summarize some of the more important information about benefits of the foods for preventing and fighting cancer :
  1. Seaweeds have properties that cause cancer cells to self destruct! Eating dried (nori in sushi) or rehydrated seaweed (like in seaweed salad or miso soup) or using it as a base in soups and broths is a great way to take advantage of their benefits.Wild wakame (typical in miso soup and seaweed salad). Image from
  2. Mushrooms are rich in anticancer molecules that slow tumor growth and the progress of cancer. Mushrooms of Asian origin (shiitake, enokitake and maitake) and oyter mushrooms have the most but even the white buttons have some! :) (I love them in mushroom risotto!)Cultivated enokitake mushrooms. Image from
  3. Flax seed contains Omega 3 fatty acids that we can convert into DHA and EPA forms. They also contain lignans, these are phytoestrogens that reduces the harmful effects of having high blood estrogen levels. To get all the benefits you must reduce your Omega 6 fatty acid intake (these come from grains) to achieve a balance of 1:1 of Omega 3:6. Also, you must grind the flax before consuming and only grind right before eating or else the Omega 3s will break down.Brown flax. Image from
  4. Herbs and Spices. Eat lots of Turmeric, Ginger, Chili pepper, Black pepper, Cloves, Mint, Thyme, Rosemary, Basil, Oreagno, Parsley, Coriander (Cilantro), Fennel and Anise. Fry turmeric in olive oil for 1-2 minutes to increase its potency by 10 times!My basil (top) and spearmint plants that I planted today.
  5. Always use olive or canola oil for cooking. Olive Oil image from
  6. Probiotics (who knew they were actually good for you and not just marketting from the yogurt companies!). Probiotics are good bacteria that can actually pass through the very acid conditions of your stomach to colonize your colon. They help your immune system, prevent carcinogenic substances from being taken up, reduce the amount of harmful bacteria and reduce the risk of and are use to treat digestive tract cancers. Eat them every couple of days since they only stay with us a short time!!! Good and Bad bacteria in your intestine. Image from
  7. Eat Cruciferous veggies (cabbage, cauliflower, broccoli, kale, etc.) 3 times per week! They are our front line defense against cancer! Kale Image from
  8. Eat lots of soy! Isoflavones are found exclusively in soy and are great in preventing breast cancer. However, if you have a history of breast cancer, you should actually avoid soy. Soy nuts (a good snack that also lowers your blood pressure!) Image from
  9. Tomatoes contain lycopene which interferes with prostate cancer! However, they need to be cooked and eaten with olive oil to get the full benefits! Image from
  10. Berries! The active substances found in large amounts in strawberries, blueberries, raspberries interfere with the formation of new blood vessels to a tumor. Other antioxidants found in blueberries and cranberries interfere with tumor development! No sacrifice to eat lots of these in my opinion! :) Mixed berries image from
  11. Citrus fruits contain limonene and studies have found that consumption of citrus reduces by half the chances of developing digestive tract cancers by interfering with cancer cell growth and reducing inflammation. Grapefruit image from
  12. Drink 3 cups of Japanese Green Tea (from leaves not bags!) per day. It contains one of the highest concentrations of anticancer molecules of all the foods. Catechins target a large number of processes associated with the development of cancer cells and should be on the top of any cancer prevention and treatment list! Japanese green tea image from
  13. Red Wine has high concentrations of resveratol (found int he skin of grapes) which is the only molecule of dietary origin that will act simultaneously on more than one crucial phase of tumor development!!! It also has cardiovascular benefits! However, consuming large amounts of alcohol will counteract any benefits. So keep it to one glass a day along with a healthy diet to get the maximum benefits!Glass of wine image from
  14. Last but definitely not least... Dark Chocolate (minimum 70% cocoa) can significantly slow down the growth of some cancers induced by carcinogenic substances! However, since chocolate is calorie packed it should be eaten in moderation and never with milk! Milk will actually prevent the absorption of the beneficial compounds. Your recommended daily intake... 2 squares a day.Dark Chocolate image from
I would have to say, all of these recommendations make complete sense and all are pretty appetizing. For those of you who know me, know that it took me over a year of training to actually like mushrooms and that I am not a fan of food that comes from the sea (for more than just environmental typically tastes bad!). But I am slowly learning to like them. It is all mind over taste buds and eventually, like mushrooms, I will actually begin to like them. While others, like chocolate and red wine I need to exert a lot of discipline to not exceed my daily dose! :)

Although this post has focused on cancer, these tips are really for healthy living in general. Combine these with some yoga and other physical activity and you are set in mind, body and soul!

Monday, May 10, 2010

Mother's Day...Sushi!

I am not a mother (yet...I need to finish my PhD first!) and my mother and grandmother live in Ontario. So I thought that the best way to celebrate Mother's Day this year would be to take care of myself. Something I know my mom would want me to do.
This book was recommended to me by a close friend who was diagnosed with cancer, was treated and so far the coast is clear. He was recommended this book from his friend with terminal cancer who was given 6 months to live 2 years ago. He continues to fight his battle in good health and spirits outside the hospital! Nothing short of a miracle! He owes it all to his radical change in diet and following much of the simple advice in the book. We have a lot of cancer in our family (both sides actually) so I bought this cookbook for myself and one for my mom. The book itself is half information about how cancer works and the benefits of the foods for preventing and fighting cancer written by leading cancer scientists from Quebec and the other half is delicious recipes with the food they talk about, written by top chefs, also from Quebec!
So we decided to take some of the advice (I already started a summary post for this that I will finish up tomorrow!) to heart and we made our very own SUSHI! We used all organic veggies (carrots, green onion, green pepper and sweet potato), avocado and we thought about using the banana to make a bananacado roll but decided against it after tasting the Tamago!
Tamago is a sweet egg omelet and I used this recipe to make it. It is typically made in a special square dish but these instructions are for those people who don't have us! We used fresh pastured eggs for our omelet! We decided to fold our omelet since that's what our Japanese friend did in the little square pan.
Here's a shot of my first roll, tamago, green pepper and carrot! YUM!
This one was my favorite roll, tamago, avocado, green onion and fried sweet potato! The BEST! We opted not to have any seafood since I went to the market late and none of the seafood left was sustainable...
Also, these little white dishes (sorry it's blurry) were found at a yard sale! Who would have thought that you could stop at a yard for a candy thermometer (odd item I know), find it and these little dishes to boot...? Not me but it definitely happened! :)

So we ate our very own delicious sustainable sushi, packed with all the benefits of the seaweed, veggies and soy sauce. Here's to you mom! Happy (belated) Mother's Day!
PS. In case you all thought I was awful for being late...I did call her yesterday! ;)

Sunday, May 9, 2010

New Urban Transport System!!!

I bet you thought this meant we were getting a new Bus system in Halifax! Wouldn't that be nice! What I am actually referring too, is our new scooters!!!

Diego and I got these Xootr Ultra Cruz kick scooters and we LOVE them! We bought them used off of Kijiji - Vancouver. They are awesome because they fold up nice and small so you can bring them wherever you go...or lock them up like a bike if you want too! I highly recommend them because of the large wheels, they are super efficient so the slightest down slope and you go without pushing! I have been using it to get around to most places in the last week and it is easier and faster to get ready than a bike and definitely easier to store!

Check out the video!