Going Vegetarian (almost Vegan!)

So we have come up with the idea to go vegetarian (almost vegan) for one month to find out two things:

1. How this will change our bodies and how we feel.

2. Challenge ourselves to come up with new recipes and stick to a meal plan.

Obviously this will take some planning and persistence. We have given ourselves one day a week where we can venture beyond the restrictions (if we feel the need). Otherwise here is our restriction list:

Eliminiate: Meats (beef, pork, chicken, game etc.); Seafood (fish and shellfish) and some Dairy (cheese, milk, cream)

Limit: some Dairy (yogurt) and Eggs

Focus: Fruits, Vegetables, Nuts, Seeds, Legumes and Grains

We are both excited to try this out and I’m looking forward to writing about this to all of you! We have a BBQ with friends on February 17th so we have agreed we will start this experiment on February 18th.

***Please share with us some of your favourite vegetarian/vegan dishes!!***

I will update at the end of every week with examples of recipes we used 🙂

So stay tuned!

Your,
Natural Groove Gal

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Make Ahead Snack – Granola Bars

I initially wanted to make granola but stumbled upon this recipe this morning. Copy-cat Nature Valley Oat & Honey Bars!

This is a super simple recipe and only 5 ingredients…

Ingredients

• 2 1/2 cups of Quick or Rolled Oats

• 1/4 tsp Baking Soda

• 1/8 tsp Salt

• 1/4 cup Coconut Oil

• 1/3 cup Honey

• splash Vanilla (optional)

Directions

1. Heat oven to 350° F. Line 8-inch square pan with cooking parchment paper, leaving a few inches of overhang on 2 sides.

2. Place 2 cups of the oats in large bowl. Add remaining 1/2 cup oats to blender or food processor; pulse into a rough flour. Add oat flour to bowl of oats. Add baking soda and salt to bowl of oats; stir.

3. In a saucepan heat coconut oil until just melted. Stir in honey (and vanilla). Add to bowl of oats. Stir well to coat oats completely. Spread mixture evenly in pan; press down firmly and evenly.

4. Bake for 20 minutes. Oats should be golden and smell of honey. Cool on rack 10 minutes.

5. Remove from pan using parchment overhangs. Cut into 8 rectangles while still warm. Cool completely before wrapping. The bars will firm and crisp up as they cool.

That’s it! Super simple right? Thanks to Betty Crocker for this recipe. I modified it a bit – cutting out the white sugar. You can also throw in some additions such as nuts, seeds, chocolate chips, dried fruit… the list goes on!

Two batches of these covers us for about one week. 16 bars at a fraction of the price of the originals 🙂

Enjoy!

Your,

Natural Groove Gal

Roasted Parsnip and White Bean Soup

New Year starting off with a fantastic winter soup recipe to keep you warm during this extra cold and snowy January!

I decided I would make my own vegetable broth for this soup. A nice slow process to go with my “slow down and relax” theme of 2018…not everything should be rushed all the time. I am using cooking as a way to help myself do that.

Super simple process here. Chop up your standard veggies for broth (onion, carrots and celery aka ‘mirepoix’). And I mean chop coarsely no need to be fancy here. Leave those onion skins on too. More flavour and goodness. I threw in some peppercorns, fennel and fresh parsley but it’s not necessary.

Add water until veggies are well covered. Bring to a boil and then turn down super low and let simmer overnight, uncovered! Yes I said overnight, uncovered. You want the liquid to reduce leaving the flavours.

Et voila! This is after 12 hours. Time to strain.

After scooping out the large pieces I fine strained the spices out. This broth turned out darker than I thought but still a great veggie broth. I had enough for this recipe plus 3 more litres that went into the freezer for future use.

And now for the main attraction:

Roasted Garlic, Parsnip and White Bean Soup

Ingredients:

• 4-6 large cloves Garlic, skin intact, left whole

• 1lb Parsnips (about 4-5), cut into 1-inch pieces

• 1 Onion, cut into rough pieces

• 2 tbsp extra-virgin Olive Oil, plus more for drizzling

• 1 tbsp dried whole or fresh Rosemary

• Sea Salt and Ground pepper, to taste

• 1 can (approx 15oz or more) White Beans, drained and rinsed OR 2 cups cooked white beans

• 6 cups no salt added Vegetable Broth

• 1.5 tbsp lemon juice (about ½ – 1 lemon)

• Pumpkin seeds, to serve

Directions:

1. Preheat oven to 400ºF. On a large rimmed baking sheet, toss garlic, parsnips, onion, oil, rosemary, salt (to taste), and pepper. Roast for 45 to 55 minutes, until garlic and parsnips are tender and turning golden.

2. Once cool enough to handle, squeeze garlic from skins into a large pot along with roasted vegetables, beans, broth, and lemon juice and purée with an immersion blender. Alternatively add all ingredients into a blender (this may need to be done in 2 batches) and purée until smooth, adding more water or broth if too thick (depends on dryness of parsnips).

3. If you used a blender, transfer blended soup to a large pot. Heat over medium, stirring frequently so bottom doesn’t scorch. Season with additional salt, if desired. Serve hot with a sprinkle of pumpkin seeds and drizzle of olive oil.

Thank you to Yummy Beat for this wonderful recipe! We served it with warm bread and cheese. Certainly warmed us up for movie night on the couch 🙂

Your,

Natural Groove Gal

Vegan Zucchini Bread – moist and delicious!

Head over to Show Me The Yummy for this amazing vegan zucchini bread recipe. No dairy and loads of flavour! 

Using Chia seed “egg”, coconut oil and almond milk…it’s delicious and nutritious! Super moist and an instant favourite around here.

Love your food 🙂

Your, Natural Groove Gal 

New Year. New Toy.

Yup folks. The Magic Bullet. Finally! 🙂

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 🙂
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 🙂

Until next time,

Your,
Natural Groove Gal

Chicken n’ Shrimp in Veggie Sauce (yes, hidden veggies!!) with Kale Pesto Rice

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Ingredients:
2 Chicken Breasts
20 Shrimp (I used 1 frozen package)
200 g Pancetta, thinly sliced
1 cup Rice, cooked

For the Sauce:
4 -5 Tomatos, medium
3 Carrots, large
1 Onion, large
3-4 cloves Garlic
3 Tbsp Olive Oil
Salt & Pepper

For the Pesto:
Check out my blog Kale Walnut Pesto

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Preperation:
For the Sauce:
1. Preheat oven to 400F.
2. Chop all ingredients roughly and place in a roasting dish.
3. Drizzle olive oil all over and toss ingredients well.
4. Roast for 20-30 min. Remove from oven and set aside to cool.
5. Blend in a food processor until desired texture.

For the Dish:
1. Defrost shrimp in cold water.
2. Meanwhile heat saucepan on medium-high heat. Add pancetta and cook until just crispy. Remove and set aside.
3. Cut chicken into desired pieces. Add to saucepan and cook chicken, stirring occasionally.
4. Add shrimp when chicken is almost cooked. Add veggie sauce and sitr to combine. About 3 minutes.
5. Take cooked rice and pesto. Mix until just combined.

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Enjoy!!

Your,
Natural Groove Gal

Simple and Delicious Coleslaw

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Ingredients:
1/2 head of Cabbage
About 3-4 Carrots (or enough to equal the amount of cabbage)
1 cup Apple Cidar Vinegar
1 cup White vinegar
2 Tbsp Sugar
1 Tbsp Salt
Pepper – how ever much you like
1/2 cup Mayonnaise (if you like it really creamy add more)

Preperation:
1. Shread the cabbage and carrots and put in a mixing bowl
2. Add all other ingredients except mayonnaise and marinate for 30 minutes
2. Drain well. Add mayonnaise and toss

That’s it! Everyone will love the crunch and flavour…it’s the perfect side dish for that last summer bbq or cottage getaway.
And it’s super fast and super easy to make!

Your,
Natural Groove Gal