Tag Archives: food

Zucchini lasagna 

Today I found a bag of small beautiful zucchini for one dollar. Don’t ask me how it was done, this was a blessing and I don’t want to jinx it.

I had some staples cheese, tomato sauce, onion, spices and some turkey sausage so I thought… Zucchini lasagna. No pasta just thinly sliced zucchini as noodles. I put it in the oven for 45 minutes at 350° and it was so good. If you want to keep it vegetarian leave out the turkey and add mushrooms, peppers or corn.

Ingredients:

3 to 4 zucchinis, cut the tips off, slice longitudinally
Half a jar tomato sauce.
Three turkey sausages, casings removed.
One onion, diced
Spices: turmeric, Greek seasoning, garlic aoli granules, pinch hot chili flakes, S&P

Directions:

  1. Clean zucchini, cut off ends and slice longitudinally
  2. Diced onion and cook with turkey sausage under medium heat with turmeric, salt, Greek spices for ten minutes. Add tomato sauce & simmer.
  3. Coat bottom of the glass dish with tomato sauce or half a teaspoon olive oil. Lay slices of zucchini, layer the tomatoes sausage onion mixture, cheese and then another layer of zucchini the opposite way from before. Keep stacking and layering. Topped with tomato sauce and cheese on top.

Zucchini lasagna!!! It was so delicious 🤗👌🏼❤️‼️😁

xxSerena

Turkey muffins

With less than 8% fat, about 22g of protein in a serving of 100g, for my macros, turkey muffins were a perfect lunch idea.

When I made them yesterday I can’t begin to tell you how amazing the aroma was steaming out of the oven. I ate this over spinach and with roasted sweet potato.

Ingredients:

500g (1 package) extra lean ground turkey
1 red bell pepper chopped into tiny squares
1/2 red onion also chopped into tiny squares
1 egg
2 teaspoons sweet chili sauce for chicken
1 teaspoon soy sauce
1 tablespoon Maille Dijon mustard
1 teaspoon rice vinegar
1 teaspoon garlic pepper

Directions:

  1. Preheat oven to 375° before preparation
  2. Combine all ingredients in a large mixing bowl
  3. Drop turkey mixture into silicone molds
  4. Bake for 20 minutes. Turn oven off and let muffins set for an additional 20 minutes in warm oven.
  5. Serve with steamed vegetables, spinach, sweet potato or rice.


I can’t tell you how much I enjoyed these muffins! Finally, delicious turkey that was moist, flavorful  and a great lean protein that goes with other healthy options.

I will definitely be making these many more times again this year! How do you cook with ground turkey or chicken?

xxserena

Vegan meat and potato dinner

I made seitan from scratch the other day. I had watched the documentary called “Cowspiracy” and thought it was so motivating! 

So here’s my recipe for chunky potatoes with meat n onions; vegan style! 

Boil diced potatoes and add spinach: 


I wanted Asian flavours so I added Braggs amino acids (soya sauce), rice vinegar, sweet chili sauce and a splash of apple cider vinegar.


I cooked that together covered for about 10 minutes under low heat.


Then I fried my seitan, diced, with diced onions and some all of oil and water. 

The “meat” has a spicy flavor, good meaty consistency and goes well with the potatoes and onions and spinach.

It might not look like much but I’m proud of myself for making it and truly enjoying it! 


I made my meat from scratch! 

Have you ever tried seitan? Do you think you would like it? 

xxSerena 

What I learned from the documentary “Cowspiracy” 

I did not know that animal agriculture is responsible for more greenhouse emissions damage than all of transportation pollution. 

I didn’t know that livestock and their byproducts account for at least 32,000,000 tons of carbon dioxide per year, or 51% of all worldwide greenhouse gas emissions.

I had no idea that methane is 25 to 100 times more destructive than carbon dioxide on a 20 year timeframe. I also didn’t know methane has a global warming potential 86 times that of carbon dioxide!

I had no idea that cows produce 150,000,000,000 (billion) gallons of methane every single day!

Fracking uses up 70-140 billion gallon of water annually. But I had no idea that animal agriculture water consumption ranges from 34 to 76,000,000,000,000 (trillion) gallons annually!?!

Growing feed crops for livestock consumes 56% of water in the entire United States of America.

Californians use 1500 gallons of water per person per day. Close to half of that is associated with meat and dairy products. Not showers! Not watering your lawn or brushing your teeth! Eating meat and meat byproducts like milk, eggs and cheese. 

Sigh. 

Why isn’t this on the news?!?? 

Oprah try talking about it on her show. She got sued and had to take the Oprah Winfrey show to Texas for months. Remember that?

This is crazy but 2500 gallons of water are needed to produce 1 pound of beef. 1 pound! 

Livestock covers 45% of the earths total land. Cows! Cows cover 45% of the earths total land. 

Livestock operations on land… On earth… Have created more than 500 nitrogen flooded dead zones around the world in our oceans.

Did you know that a farm with 2500 dairy cows produces the same amount of waste as a city of 411,000 people?

Sigh. 

Seriously. I had no idea the beef, dairy, eggs and cheese industries were doing this much harm. 

Each day, a person who eats a vegan diet saves 1100 gallons of water, 45 pounds of green, 30 ft.² forest, 20 pounds of carbon dioxide equivalent and one animals life.

The leading cause of rain forest distraction is lifestock and feed crops.

That’s why being vegan is important! I thought vegans they were just a bunch of artsy hippie kooks who wanted to be different and took animal love to an extreme. Could I have been wrong? Could they have been two steps ahead… 10 steps ahead of us all along?

xxSerena 

How to make seitan and what is it? 

Seitan is a popular meat substitute that you can make easily in your own kitchen. Why would you want to? Because eating meat is taxing on the environment. 

It’s popular with vegans, delicious, and super high in protein. Basically seitan is vital wheat gluten. So it’s all gluten! And what is gluten? It’s flour with all the starch removed. Gluten free flour? It’s flour with only starch and all the protein removed.

It is very low in fat, about 1.9 g per 100 g serving. It is very high in protein, about 75 g out of 100 g serving.

So it has the same make up as a lean protein except meat protein has L lysine and seitan does not. So it’s not considered a complete protein. But no worries. You can get L lysine from a number of different sources, including plant-based sources. Mung bean sprouts and most fruits and vegetables have lots.

How do you make seitan? 

Ingredients: 

1 cup vital gluten flour

1 cup vegetable broth 

2 tablespoons Herbs and spices 

Directions: 

  1. Mix flour with broth. Add herbs. Knead for two minutes. Dough should be puffy and stringy.
  2. Pull apart into three equal sized pieces and flatten out into round patties.
  3. Bring to boil in vegetable broth and herbs. Turn heat down to lowest setting. Cover. Simmer for 45 minutes.
  4. Freeze unused cooled portions in broth for up to six months.
  5. Fry seitan in some oil with onions and use in a recipe as you would meat.

See the next blog on how to eat in a recipe! 

xxSerena 

Loving the vegetable pho soup 

It’s filling, gluten free, vegetarian and tastes fresh! It’s vegetable pho and it’s important that you find one that you like. 

Since good authentic pho isn’t easy to make, (often broth takes hours to make and the consistency of noodles can be finicky) I think it is important for you to find a good vegetable broth from a restaurant that you love!

I am so happy to say that I have found one. Other restaurants had broth with too much weird stuff in it, there was salad and cucumbers in my noodle soup, totally unacceptable!

But not this one.


And, did I mention that this restaurant is close to my house?

The broth was clear, delicious and fresh. Vegetables perfectly cooked. Very fresh. And a great selection. I got carrots, onion, broccoli, cabbage, Red peppers, celery … And the noodles were awesome.


Vegetables are nutrient dense foods, this soup filled me up. it was totally satisfying. And the best part? This huge bowl of soup has 300 to 400 cal in total!

What is your favorite dish to order in a Vietnamese restaurant?

xxSerena

Marinating organic chicken breasts meal prep

I finally found a pack of organic chicken breasts at Costco. 


I decided to divide the pack into three. Two chicken breasts per freezer ziplock bags. 

I washed them, dried them and marinated the first two in freshly dried basil, extra virgin olive oil and balsamic vinegar. 


Chicken breasts are versatile since you can eat them or cook them so many different ways. I will share with you the other two marinades in future blog posts.

For the basil, extra-virgin olive oil and balsamic vinegar marinade I decided to pan fry the breasts after marinating for eight hours.

Then I served over chopped greens and a quinoa kale mixture.


I made an extra serving for lunch at work the next day.


It was good. Next time I will add half an avocado and a extra drizzle of balsamic for more healthy fat and flavour. 

What’s your favourite marinade for chicken breasts? Look for future blogs to see how I marinated the other two servings! 

xxSerena 

3 Day Juice Cleanse: what, why and results!

After a two of decadent vacations in NYC and Montreal, fiancé and I both felt we needed to give our digestive systems a break.

So we had our fill of black-and-white cookies, donuts, ice cream, poutine, Burgers and fries after midnight, donairs, chips, milkshakes, the odd salad here and there, bottles of wine in the park and desserts galore.

But after it was all said and done, summer officially wrapped up, the leaves started turning yellow, we both decided on a three day juice cleanse each.

Perfect way to start the fall season!

I decided to try the three day juice cleanse at Freshii, because I’m Canadian, and there was a convenient location on the way to work.

Here are some things that I had going for me before the juice cleanse that I recommend:

1. I had a partner to do it with. This helps with morale, motivation and understanding for both of you! It’s a great advantage.

2. I did some research about different juice cleanses in my area.

3. I researched what others had gone through on their cleanses.

So I called the Freshii located on the way to work the day before I wanted to pick up my juices. So exciting!

This cleanse is comprised of four juices, which you drink about 2 to 3 hours apart, water in between and then finally a metaboost salad.

Day one:

  • I drank my juice is in the order that I was supposed to. She had each juice numbered. I didn’t like any of the juices so I drink them quickly, rinsed out the glass with filtered water, drink that quickly and just kept peeing the whole day!
  • After my third juice my head started throbbing, I was getting irritated, hungry, a little slow, and experienced a foggy brain.
  • I drank as much water as I could, went shopping with a supportive girlfriend, and ate my first metaboost salad while she ordered a delicious beef udon soup from the food court!
  • She felt bad, but I told her not to! I knew what I was getting into, and I agreed to do this!
  • I really enjoyed the salad. It had field greens, kale, edamame, mango, goat cheese, almonds, carrots and a balsamic vinegrette.
  • I went to sleep fully hydrated but kind of hungry, wondering what I had gotten myself into.
drink juices every 2 1/2 to 3 hours apart in this order: green energy, carrots zinger, mighty detox, then red power. Photography by Serena Alibhai
approximately 600 cal, spinach, kale and field greens, goat cheese, mango, almonds, carrots, edamame, balsamic vinaigrette
Yes I used ALL the dressing! Salad was very good. Also it satisfied my hunger! 


Day two: 

  • I didn’t wake up feeling hungry. That was odd I thought. I sipped some water and waited a little longer to drink my first juice.
  • I was peeing more today. A lot. Like every two hours for sure. Maybe every hour and a half.
  • I continue to supplement my juices with a cool filtered water immediately after.
  • And then the miracle happens. My eyes become clear. I feel happy. There is extra energy in my step. The words come easy. No more brain fog. No more headaches.
  • The juices are tasting better now. Not like day one, where they were gross.
  • I eat the salad that evening with vigor. I love it.
I didn’t enjoy the juices enough to sip. I gulped them down! 
After drinking each juice, I filled up each container with cold filtered water, gave it a swish and drank that too! 


Day three:

  • I was very impressed with the way my waist looked and felt this morning!
  • I’m dreaming about what I’m going to eat tomorrow. I’m imagining vegetables in a clear broth with rice noodles.
  • For the third night in a row, I’ve had very vivid dreams, complex storylines, a lot of color, vibrancy, and I wake up feeling refreshed. My dreams are interesting movies that I even remember after I wake up!
  • At night I dream about cheating. I dream about eating real food. But instead, I drink water.

Final conclusions and realizations: 

  • Again? Yes, I would do this again. My body felt lighter, clean, better than before.
  • Vivid dreams? First, two days after, explained that one of the symptoms of a juice cleanse is a detoxification of the penial gland, deep inside the brain. This results in vivid clear dreams.
  • Weight loss? I lost five pounds, and so did my fiancée, on a different juice cleanse. But I don’t expect to keep that weight loss. What I loved though: I kept two pounds off a week later.
  • Cost? Was it worth it? This juice cleanse cost $80 for three days. Totally worth it. Convenient. Simple. Worked for me.

Feel free to ask questions you guys!!

xxSerena

Easy classic chili recipe 

Everyone loves chili.

If you’re vegetarian or just want a break, just omit the meat and add chopped fresh peppers, portobello mushrooms, or … What else would go well in a steaming hot bowl of delicious and healthy chili? Leave a comment and let me know!

Note please, this recipe has beans in it so if you are a purist than stay away from this recipe. Don’t look!

Ingredients:

1-1.5 lbs ground beef
1 large chopped onion
1 pack chili seasoning mix
1 can passata or diced tomatoes
1 jar tomato sauce
2 cups of water
1 can white kidney beans
1 can red kidney beans
1 cup fresh mushrooms, quartered
1 can corn

Directions:

  1. Brown beef and onions together. Medium high heat.
  2. Add can and jar of tomato sauce, drained beans, seasoning pack, mushrooms, corn and water.
  3. Simmer for one hour, stirring every 10 to 15 minutes. Low heat. Covered.

And voila! This chilli can last the week in the fridge but it probably won’t last that long because it is so delicious. It will get better with time because the flavours will begin to combine and the chili will thicken. Great toppings for this is plain Greek yogurt, sour cream, cheese, chopped green onion or hot sauce.

Calories? This chili has about 250 calories per cup, loads of fibre from the beans and corn, about 22 grams of protein, about 9 grams of fat and about 23 grams of carbohydrate.

Brown beef and onions over medium/high heat for about 10-15 minutes until all beef is cooked. If you wish drain some fat after this step. All photography in this blog by @serenapeace (Instagram)
I used this seasoning packet but you don’t have to! Use a mixture of 1 teaspoon cumin powder, one teaspoon red chili powder, one teaspoon minced garlic and one teaspoon ginger if you like instead! If you want a smoky taste, you can also add liquid smoke or Worcestershire sauce (a teaspoon of each or more to taste!)
Love the simple directions to make chili on the back! Even though this packet said hot and spicy it wasn’t especially hot or spicy but added a great flavor to the chili!
I use one can of diced tomatoes and one jar of spaghetti sauce in my pot of chili. I add water to the jar/can and swish it around to get the last bits of tomato into the chili! Add more beans or different beans if you wish here! I also add one can of canned corn. Notice the face of a murderer in the background since I love to watch Dateline with Keith Morrison as I cook!!
MMMMmmm mushrooms. If you don’t like, add peppers. I like mushrooms!
Canned diced tomatoes work the best in chili for some reason.
First time using a flavor packet; I’m glad I did! Taste was awesome.
After half an hour of cooking. Still not ready but I couldn’t resist a taste at this point.

I topped mine with Greek yogurt but try sour cream or cheese if you wish!

 

 


The chili will thicken as it stands so it would also be delicious over rice or pasta.


Let me know how you like it!

xxSerena

Fat-burning cabbage vegetable kombu soup 

After a week of eating out, shovelling in the delicious savoury cooked delights that my city has to offer…

 

I decided I need a break.
When I’m serious about it, losing a few pounds and getting back to normal, I make either a mung bean lentil soup or a cabbage-based soup.

I decided to make a cabbage soup with a crown of broccoli, a chopped red onion, two strips of kombu, celery, carrots and some vegetable bouillon. 


I bought the seaweed in dried squares, added it into the soup like an herb bouquet, and then threw it out after it had been in the soup for a few hours.

Are used to to make my batch but I realize now that you only need one because it swells up and expands. The reason for the seaweed is that it adds great benefits to the broth.

The recipe is easy. I started with only a teaspoon of olive oil, chopped small red onion, 10 black peppercorns, about 10 fennel seeds and they cooked that for about 5 to 10 minutes. Then I added the chopped celery and carrot.


Then came the cabbage, broccoli and the water, of which I added enough to fill the pot, probably 8 to 10 cups.


Then I added the combo seaweed and one vegetable flavouring pack, in the form of a gel. 


I simmered the soup for 20 to 25 minutes and then added fresh herbs. I used thyme, sage, Italian parsley and some rosemary.


Drink as much soup as you can, exercise, sleep well, drink lots of water, go for massage and feel better!

xxSerena