Monday, July 28, 2008

Summer eating……sane, sensible and quick salads

Take time when you select greens and vegetables for salads. Sundays are a good day to buy for a few days. If you prepare the ingredients ahead of time, you will have a ready meal when you walk in famished and ready to eat.

Lettuce, tomatoes, cucumber, carrot, radish, parsley and mint, are good basics. Wash and "dry" the lettuce in a spinner. Peel carrots and wash the rest of the vegetables. Place all in a dish with a lid.

Raisins, pecan nuts, cashew nuts and cut up dried fruit. Apricots, figs and dried apples are good. Use only two of each. Do not cut up tomatoes early. You can place them in a separate dish.

Salad dressing should be added when you eat. It is advisable to skip commercial dressings, full of preservatives and additives. I find the average person likes a tang on salad. Use olive oil with a dash of pepper and herb salt, dried onions and some dried basil and oregano. You can add lemon juice and this is a great dressing.

For a yogurt dressing, use one yogurt with a teaspoon of mustard, a little soya sauce and quarter teaspoon of curry powder. Add herbs and salt and pepper. This is good on pasta, baked potatoes and lovely to mix with boiled eggs.

My feeling with salad eaters is that we need new ideas constantly. I find that vegetables in season need one or two additions to make it more exciting. I bake potatoes with their skins. Then cut them up into slices and spice with onion salt and parsley. Place in the oven with a sprinkling of olive oil and sesame seeds and bake for ten minutes. Serve on the salad. Some pumpkin seeds can be sprinkled on before serving with two teaspoons of Parmesan cheese.

When you have guests and need a great vegetable dish, prepare this the day before. It is time consuming to prepare and when it is ready the final work is halved.
Take potatoes, yams, sweet potatoes, garlic cloves, onions, zucchinis, carrots, beets and pumpkin, cut into squares. It is a good idea to steam the cut up carrots, beets and potatoes, until a little soft.
Place all the vegetables in an oiled oven dish. You use olive oil and some coarse salt around the edges. Put the vegetables in neat rows, with the colors that look good next to each other. Cover and bake for 30 minutes. You will need to turn them over once or twice.
I use some rosemary on the potatoes, a cinnamon stick or sprinkle cinnamon on the yams and the zucchini do well with a little oregano. When they are soft, I remove the lid and sprinkle a little cheese mixed with olive oil on top and grill for two minutes. This is great with couscous, quinoa or on a bed of brown rice. To give the rice an interesting taste, mix in two tablespoons of wild rice with a cup of rice.

All of us want salads that are quick and easy to create. There is nothing that satisfies people more than a fresh plate of great looking vegetables when you walk in hungry. Have lots of carrots, lettuce, tomatoes, onions, tomatoes, cucumbers radishes and the odd vegetables in season. The idea is to prepare ahead.
Wash and dry the lettuces and all the vegetables. Store in containers in the fridge. Prepare a salad dressing in a large bottle. Take it all out, create and bingo, lunch is ready. You can toast good bread and add cut up cheddar cheese and it looks good. A great idea is when figs are in season, is to wash and cut them in half. Place in an oven dish, with a slice of goat's cheese on each. Sprinkle with olive oil and grill for two minutes. Serve with triangles of toasted health bread.

Have a fun week with easy, sane and nutritious eating.
Love and light, Rona

Sunday, July 27, 2008


Today, I would to chat about the fruits and vegetables we buy, prepare and store.

I feel very strongly about buying the products that are in season. This way we know that they are needed for us in the season they appear, they are grown in soil, in our area and they are fairly priced. Eating exotic products from all over the world does not make sense. These are fads and trends.

When winter is approaching, the grapefruit, oranges, guavas, mandarins and lemons are the Vitamin C we need. Start the day with a glass of boiled water and a squeeze of lemon juice. If the taste is not to your liking, add a dash of honey. Lemon water on an empty stomach helps to clear the throat, and aids digestion.

The choice of vegetables should be according to color and appeal. If you have kiddies in the house, go for carrots and cucumbers. They will be keener to eat items raw and in their hand than fancy cooked pumpkin and zucchini.

Encourage snack time to be raw vegetables. Peel some carrots in the morning and place in a glass dish with water. Add a few raw cucumbers and cut up celery to this when they have TV time. Slowly they will become accustomed to the natural foods and love them. A bowl of cottage cheese goes 'with vegetable snacks. Add Techina or Humus to the tray. Techina is sesame seeds and Humus is a chick pea dip.

When we cook or steam vegetables, take the trouble to do it properly. Most vegetables are cooked to death and are tasteless. The good part of it goes down the drain. Use a good pot and remember aluminum is out. If you cook broccoli and carrots in aluminum, you will see that the pot discolors. Stainless steel is better. Steam when possible.

Broccoli, peas, beans, Brussels spouts need a few minutes of steaming. Serve these with a light dressing or none at all. I use yogurt with a few herbs in it and for extra flavor a teaspoon of Parmesan cheese.

Kids love to dip, so give them the vegetables with home made tomato sauce. Just take three tomatoes and pour boiling water over them Leave to stand for a few minutes. Then remove the skins and blend the tomatoes with a teaspoon of olive oil, herb or vegetable salt, pepper, basil and parsley. This is ready to serve with the vegetables.

I feel we need to store vegetables carefully and if you take a few minutes to place them in appropriate containers in the fridge, they will not rot. You need to remove the leaves and stalks you will not be using and try to buy only for two to three days. I know it is not easy, as life is so hectic, but try to buy firm and fresh products.

A great way to add fresh items is to sprout dry lentils, chickpeas, sunflower and pumpkin seeds. Kids love to be in charge of these projects. All you need is to soak the washed seeds in a porridge plate.

Cover them with a towel and place in a dark cupboard. Then take them out each day and rinse them in a strainer. Put back with the towel and after three days you have great sprouts. They can be eaten in salads, in the school lunch box or with snack time vegetables.

When you cook vegetables or bake them, choose a yellow, a green and a good potato or sweet potato. Try to serve one or two vegetables with each meal and they are great with couscous, whole-wheat rice, quinoa and lentils. I will give ideas on these later.

Have a great day. Take time to think and sit in a quiet spot, with a lemon tea.

Make time for ten minutes for you. Meditate and feel blessed with health and love around you.
Love and light Rona

Friday, July 25, 2008

Friday is here again

Friday is the day of the week when you wish a little angel would arrive and say, "Let me give you a hand." It is a day of work, leisure and creating fun and good eats for the week end. I had a few bits of early morning shopping for vegetables and fruit, a challah and the newspapers.

A different day. The start of a week end. I visited a friend and we shared a great tea and meringue, then another visit to a friend who is house bound. He is a great guy and we enjoyed a chat about the sports, politics and the environment. Then off to lunch with friends who came back from the midnight sun visit at the North Pole.

What a super lunch, kasha and broccoli, with almonds and a salad of six fresh vegetables. I arrived home, and the humidity was a reason to relax and take some time off. Then I began a simple Friday meal for my family.

We had pasta, with a light olive oil and basil dressing. The cut up fresh spinach, fried with garlic, onions and spring onions was a quick three minute effort and I mixed it into the pasta. The protein part of the meal was almonds in the fresh lettuce, red peppers, tomatoes, red onions and radishes. This had an olive oil and balsamic dressing with pepper and herb salt in it.

For a humid night, I simply started the meal with a yogurt cold soup that takes two minutes to blend. Yogurt, with fresh cucumbers, a pickled cucumber, dill, salt and pepper. Serve with a few sprigs of mint. We ended the meal with a fruit salad and ice cream, after a break of an hour. The fruit was effortless. Cut up three or four fruits in season and add granadilla pips.

The secret of taking trouble to make the table look good should be natural and part of the cooking effort. When you sit down and everything, like glasses, serviettes, salt, pepper, salad dressing and a jug of mint and lemon water is on the table, it creates a relaxed atmosphere for everyone.,.

I have been a non meat and fish eater for over forty years and have enjoyed boundless energy, comfortable digestion and a great quality of pleasure cooking and creating meals. I have lectured for years on the benefits of good food and taking time to think of what you eat, how you buy the foods and create it in a spirit of feeling good about it all.

Cooking for people you love and care about is a privilege and pleasure. Make each day sane and simple, sensible and fun. Have a great week end.

I look forward to having you read my sight,
Love and light, Rona.