New Year. New Toy.

Yup folks. The Magic Bullet. Finally! πŸ™‚

This thing is amazing!! Initially I wanted it to make my vast aray of yummy delicious health smoothies among other things……and there are so many other things you can do….excitement rising…

On top of the many possibilities, it’s not only so easy to use….it’s easy to clean too. Yes the infomercials are fully true!! 
Besides the smoothies, my first experiement was to make sorbet. Two different ones, because why not??

Berry Sorbet
Ingredients:
Frozen berries – about 1 cup
Honey –  to taste
Red Wine – enough to blend smoothly

Peach Sorbet
Ingredients:
Frozen peaches – about 1 cup
Honey –  to taste
Orange Juice – enough to blend smoothly

Blend. Mix. Freeze.

And there you go! A delicious and healthly treat πŸ™‚
Next I will be trying out soups, dressings, and let’s not forget drinks!

Let’s just say I’m not the only one excited about this…the gormet chef loves it too πŸ™‚

Until next time,

Your,
Natural Groove Gal

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Cooking and Crafts #1: Chili and Cornbread – Christmas VillageΒ 

Finally got to do one of these days with my girl Kat!  We’ve been talking about this for way too long. Here’s what we decided to do:
For the Cooking: Chili and Cornbread

For the Craft: Christmas Village

The Cornbread

Found a great recipe on Pinterest which utilized my cast iron skillet. The result below:

Here’s the recipe I followed on This Gal Cooks: Cast Iron Buttermilk Corn Bread

Sidenotes:

*I didn’t have buttermilk so I mixed 1 cup of milk with 1 Tbsp of apple cidar vinegar – Worked just fine!

*I baked it for exactly 20 minutes 

*Also my skillet is 12 inches instead of 10 so the bread came out a little thinner then it was suppose to but it still had a great texture and crunchy crust!

The Chili

Ingredients:
4 strips of Bacon
1 lb Ground Beef
2 Onions, chopped
2 cloves of Garlic, chopped
2 cans Diced Tomatoes
1 can Kidney Beans, drained
1 can Black Beans, drained
2-3 Tbsp Chili powder (depending on how much you like spice!)
2 tsp Paprika
1 Tbsp Apple cidar vinegar 
1/2 tall can dark Beer
Salt and Pepper to taste

Garnish:
Cheddar, shredded
Green onions, chopped

Directions:
1. Heat up large pot on medium high heat. Once hot throw the chopped bacon in, stirring occasionally until cooked. Remove bacon and set aside. Spoon out half the fat from the pot and turn heat to medium.
2. Add ground beef, stirring occasionally until just cooked. Add chopped onion and garlic, continue stirring.
3. Turn heat up and add diced tomato and beans, continue stirring until boiling, turn low to simmer.
4. Add the rest of the ingredients and stir well. Leave on simmer for 30-45 minutes.The longer you cook it the thicker it will get.
5. Serve immediately with garnish and cornbread πŸ™‚ Enjoy!

The Christmas Village

This idea stemmed from Kat receiving new pieces for her christmas village plus we both love decorating!! And why not do it with some good food and drink??

After dinner Kat and I went through all of her christmas decorations with the help of your two cats Oryx and Kitten. Oryx even got into the festive spirit by dressing up as Rudolph.

We started by placing the cobblestone down (one of the new additions) which fit perfectly on her wine rack width wise, just a little short length wise.

But she had something else that was a new addition to the village…snow!! Which we used to hide the lack of cobblestone on either side.

And the final night scene.

Another section we completed was the woodlands corner.

Tons of fun with many creative results! First cooking and crafts night = success!! πŸ™‚

Thanks to Julie, a fellow cooking gal, for her wonderful cornbread recipe. I will be checking out more of her recipes and you should too!

And thanks to one of my best girls Kat for being a creativity nut just like me!

Your,

Natural Groove Gal

Mind on Media #1: The Economic Shift of Breakfast

As we all settle into the new year I’ve decided to start a new blog series entitled Mind on Media. I read many articles in relation to food and nutrition and I usually have a few thoughts go through my head. I figure why not write and share my ideas, pose a question or two and hopefully I will read your ideas as well πŸ™‚

The Article:
Breakonomics: How our abandonment of breakfast cereal is shaking up the economy
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Published on December 31, 2015 in the National Post, on the front page of the financial section.

The Economic Shift of Breakfast

Cereal anyone?

The answer is most likely ‘no’ in most homes, so what are we eating now and why has it changed?

1) Convenience
This is one of the key words in our society today. Sitting down at the kitchen table with a bowl of cereal doesn’t quite fit the bill.

Now a days, both parents have to work, a student has full time classes as well as a job, and commute times to and from work have increased drastically.

Whatever anyone’s reason is, everything has got to be on-the-go, and a single serving. Whether it be a smoothie, a yogurt with package of grains and nuts or a breakfast bar/sandwich/wrap. You don’t even have to get out of your car as all of these options are available through most drive thrus.

Even at the grocery stores you can buy packages of single serving whatever. Bad? Not necessarily. Though you are better off health wise if you make these yourself. But even the homamade health guru has ways of producing convenience. Make ahead smoothie freezer bags (See: Hello Glow) or baking trays of breakfast bars (See: Love and Zest). Whether you’re health conscious or not, convenience is the key to getting some breakfast in you.

2) Health
As you’ve heard of many times before, breakfast is still the most important meal of the day. Let’s take a look:

Cereal = processed carbs = low protein, low fibre, high sugars and who knows what else.

Today many studies say you basically need the complete opposite of that: high protein, fibre and good fats; low in sugars and anything artifical. Foods such as eggs, whole grains, nuts, seeds and yogurt have become the foods of breakfast.

There is also a growing emphasis on the “fresh” aspect of food. People are wanting more foods that are real and natural (as we should be!). The packaged processed carbs that most cereal has to offer isn’t cutting it in our pantries anymore.

And that leads us to…

3) Economy
In order to stay in business, food companies are in the midst of changing not only the product itself but how the product is packaged. As stated in the article above: General Mills now does a variety of breakfast bars, individual wrapped of course. Kellogg offers frozen breakfast sandwiches, as does Nestle.

Even places like McDonalds and Tim Hortons have seen breakfast sandwich sales sky rocket over the past few years.

Food companies are also shifting their focus on labeling. More and more you see the positive health aspects on packaging (“contains whole grains” or “all natural ingredients”). There is also a focus in promoting what “bad foods” are not included (“no artificial flavours” or “no trans fats”).

The popularity of grocery stores that offer fresh and organic produce has increased over the ones who simply offer cheaper prices. To tie in the convenience aspect – an increasing amount of cities have organizations that deliver organic produce to your door every week (if you are in the Toronto area check out Mama Earth Organics)

So it would appear that breakfast has shifted on many levels. Will cereal eventually disappear from the shelves? What have you noticed in your area with this shift? Let me know your thoughts!

Also what do you/your family have for breakfast? Please share a favourite morning meal of yours by commenting with a picture, a recipe or a link πŸ™‚

Thanks for reading!

Your,
Natural Groove Gal

Butter Poached Salmon with Quinoa, Spinach and Tangy Chili Salsa

Time for dinner. I knew we had some salmon, but what to go with it? Salad? Ugh, nope I wanted something different.

Yup this is one of those meals that came together and ended with “Yup that’s a keeper!”

So I thought I’d start off the new year by sharing a great recipe that’s super easy to put together!

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Butter Poached Salmon with Quinoa, Spinach and Tangy Chili Salsa

Tangy Chili Salsa (recipe here)
1 cup Quinoa
1 cup Water
2 Salmon filets
2 Tbsp Butter
Handful of Spinach
Handful of Nuts (pecans, walnuts – optional)

1. Make Tangy Chili Sauce. Once all the ingredients are added (minus the balsamic vinegar which is added at the end) add quinoa and hot water. Stir and let simmer for 20-25 min.

2. About 10 min before the quinoa is done, heat up a sauce pan to a medium heat. Add butter. Cook salmon filets for on each side for 3-5 min depending on your preference. Take off heat.

3. Take quinoa mixture off heat and add spinach. Stir until wilted.

4. Spoon quinoa mixture onto plate and top with salmon filet.

Enjoy!!

Your,
Natural Groove Gal

Liebster Award!

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First off I would like to thank Karina for the nomination! We have the same passion for cooking and educating people about food and nutrition and I love reading her blog. You can find her blog “FOOD IS LIFE” here: https://karinateuma.wordpress.com

Here are my answers to Karina’s 11 questions:

1. What is your favourite pastime?

Wow, so many to choose from! I guess I would have to pick dance. I did about 10 years of training in ballet, jazz, modern and hip hop including being a graduate of an arts high school. Great experiences all around, which not only kept me fit and taught me about health but showed me how to come out of my shell.

2. If you were free as a bird and money was no object, what would you be doing right now?

I would alternate between travelling, running a food truck with my boyfriend and spending time at our new cottage!

3. What thing/s make you the most happy?

Spending time with loved ones, cooking and eating, relaxing on the couch and taking in the sun outside. Simplicity says it all πŸ™‚

4. What is your favourite genre of film?

I would have to go with comedy. I love to laugh and just let loose. But I also enjoy sci-fi action flicks and the occasional documentary.

5. What is/are your favourite food/s and drink/s?

I’m a huge sucker for a nice warm risotto. Lemon cheesecake (or any cheese for that matter!)
I love my rye and gingers. For non-alc – fresh squeezed juices, teas and of course water πŸ™‚

6. Have you travelled? If so, what was your favourite country?

Growing up my family and I travelled all over Canada and the U.S. I’ve also been to England, China/Hong Kong and I spent a year in Japan teaching English. Japan was absolutely amazing and I recommend it to anyone who asks. I always encourage those in their early twenties to get out there and experience all you can! Travelling is so great for that! But I also highly enjoy my own country. Canada has so much to offer, I would still love to take a cross country trip and soak it all in!

7. What makes you feel most proud?

My own accomplishments and seeing others happy with theirs. Everyone building their own lives the way they see fit πŸ™‚

8. If you were to be an animal, which animal would you be and why?

Hmmmmm, I think being a cat would be pretty sweet, sleep lots, outdoors, food and love….yup that sounds good. Also a monkey, jumping from tree to tree, nature being my playground πŸ™‚

9. Can you remember your childhood? If so, what is your favourite childhood memory?

That would be about 20 something years ago for me. And again there are so many to choose from and I recognize everyday how fortunate I am for that. If I had to pick one, I loved our annual camping trips to various provincial parks…campfires, lakes, hiking, seeing wildlife….all sprouted my love for the outdoors.

10. If you were to look into your future, what type of Grandma or Grandpa would you be? i.e. Young at heart, daredevil, laid back, etc

Haha! What a great question! If I had grandchildren I would probably be super laid back and play outdoors showing them how to apprciate what we have and how to have fun!

11. What is your greatest strength?

Patience and understanding. More so with others than myself lol. I have however learned to know where to put my energy. Good and bad happens all around us. Sometimes you just have to let it go…one of the hardest things…but I believe I am able to do this way better than I have before, which I consider a great accompishment πŸ™‚

Here are 10 Facts About Myself:

1. I find spending time outdoors is highly important to me.
2. I love cooking. Especially soups and dips πŸ™‚
3. I love cats. And goats…I would love to have a few goats one day!
4. I took gymnastics and dance for many years.
5. I’ve lived in 3 different countries (Japan, England and home sweet home – Canada!)
6. I am not a fan of sweet sugary desserts or ice cream.
7. I don’t plan on getting married or having children. I do love being an auntie though!
8. I have an appreciation for many different types of music – it all depends on the mood.
9. I love to dance….anywhere.
10. I am in the most amazing relationship with my boyfriend…my life partner and best friend.

And Here are My Nominations for the Liebster Award. Each and every one have great reads and deserve recognition πŸ™‚

– Greenmindvegheart: https://greenmindvegheart.wordpress.com

– Lorelai’s Beads and Things: https://lorelaibeads.wordpress.com

– Dancing in the Rain: https://dancingintheraindairy.wordpress.com

–Β Kujawski Fitness: https://kujawskifitness.wordpress.com

– Enigma: https://transcendthequo.wordpress.com

– Operation Food (and Drink): https://operationfood.wordpress.com

– Eat 2 Dance: https://eat2dance.com

– A Few of my Favorite Foods: https://afewofmyfavoritefoods.wordpress.com

– My Healthy CORE Life: https://myhealthycorelife.com

– The Next Minute: https://thenextminute.wordpress.com

My 10 questions for my nominees are:

1) Do you like the cook? Why or why not?
2) What is your favourite childhood memory?
3) Where have you travelled and where would you recommend?
4) If you were free as a bird and money was no opject, what would you be doing right now?
5) What do you and your friends do for fun?
6) What television show are you most addicted to right now and why?
7) What song(s) energize you when you need a lift?
8) What is one of the best restaurants you’ve been to? Describe in detail including exact location.
9) Do you have pets? Any pets you’d like to have?
10) Do you believe in karma? Why or why not?

My rules for the nominated bloggers are:

– Nominate 10 blogs with under 300 followers, then notify the bloggers via their Blogs, Facebook or other social media stating that they have been nominated.

– Thank the blogger, then post the link of the Blog that nominated you.

– Answer my 10 questions.

– Share 10 facts about yourself to your followers and readers.

– Make your own rules for your 10 nominated bloggers, or use my rules on them.

Enjoy!

Rachel
(a.k.a. your Natural Groove Gal)

Spring Deliciousness

It’s official. The Food and Drink SPRING edition is in. Woohoo!!!

Food.
Drink.
Spring!

The best combination of words, am I right?

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And just look at those BEAUTIFUL colours. I’m actually tingling all over with creative goosebumps… Finally something to get me out of this winter lull!

AND the fact that they pair every recipe in here with an alcoholic beverage is just the icing on the cake (or the rye in my ginger ale).

Stay tuned folks, Spring deliciousness is on it’s way!

Your Natural Groove Gal πŸ˜‰

**Check out the recipe I’ve used several times since this post: Tangy Chili Salsa **