Curing Hangovers With Artichokes

Artichokes are one of those fancy vegetables that looks really pretty  but you have no idea what to do with it. I didn’t even know that this was an artichoke until about a year ago…(I always thought they came in those tiny little jars packed in oil).

But since going Flexi, I always am choosing the fresh over the packaged. So bundled little bulb looking things – bring it on!

I had to do some research about how to tackle these prickly little monsters, and let me tell you it ain’t easy! But the end product is soooooo worth it.

Steps to making artichokes edible

  1. Cut off all the prickly tips around the artichoke.
  2. Pry it open by pulling all the leaves back.
  3. Scoop out the furry scary hairy centre (this is the artichoke heart)
  4. Drizzle with lemon so it doesn’t go brown.
  5. Boil or steam for 30-40 min.

Artichokes are  a vegetable that should be included more often in everyone’s diet. They are a great source of fiber and aid in digestion. Artichokes are also high in the antioxidant silymarin, which is SO important for cleansing of the liver (think milk thistle). And you know me, I’m all about cleansing! Oh and by the way, cleansing of the liver = hangover cure. So try making these stuffed artichokes at your next dinner party and you will be curing the hangover before it even starts 🙂

Stuffed Artichokes

2-3 cooked artichokes

1 clove garlic, minced

1 small onion, diced

1 cup quinoa, cooked

1 1/2 cup spinach

1/3 cup walnuts, chopped

1 tbsp nutritional yeast

2 tbsp olive oil

2 tbsp tamari

1/4 cup bread crumbs (gluten free if you wish)

any left over white wine

Directions

– preheat oven to 375 degrees. Heat olive oil in a large pan. Add garlic and onion and sautee for 5 min.

– add all other ingredients and sautee (except bread crumbs and wine) until spinach is cooked.

– place artichokes in 9×9 baking pan, and add 1/4 cup water tot he bottom of pan. Divide quinoa mixture evenly among the artichokes, stuffing the centres and in between the leaves.

– sprinkle with bread crumbs and drizzle of white wine.

– bake for 30 min, then broil for 3 min.

Serve as an appetizer if artichokes are small, or a main.

Healthy Food Cook Off

Thanks for all the support from yesterday’s post everyone! I’m getting a lot of interest – I think juicing is going to become my full time job. But until then, I’ll stick to my job at NutriChem Pharmacy

I’m really lucky to be able to work in a place that values health and wellness as much as I do. Like myself, NutriChem is open to all types of healthy diets and lifestyles – we are just here to support you in the journey. My co-workers have similar values (and love of food) as me too, so we thought why not have a healthy food cook off! We are all interested in bettering our health and always trying the newest, wackiest cleanses. Have you ever heard of the N.A.S.T.Y diet? (no alcohol or sugar this year). Really, we’ve tried them all. So we decided to have a challenge of who could make a dish that was both nutritious and delicious.

Sheiglah's Vegetable Salad

Nora's Cucumber Salad

Sarah's Popcorn

All the food was amazing! It was great to taste all the different dishes and of course I made everyone go around and tell me why they think the dish is good for you. We gotta learn don’t we!

Tim's Turmeric Rice

Emma's Veggie Rice Wraps

Suki's Herbed Tomato & Cottage Cheese

Now I obviously know how easy it is to make healthy food taste good, but I was up for the challenge (quick fact, I’m probably the most competitive person you will ever meet). Keepin’ it flexi as always, I decided to make a plant-based version of the classic BLT. So let’s do a comparison shall we…

Classic BLT

– usually made on toasted refined white bread or bagel = insulin spiking glycemic index, absolutely no fiber and no minerals.

– bacon = saturated fat for days, artery clogging, why not just eat the salt off a spoon?

– egg mayonaise = makes you fat.

– tomato and lettuce = woo hoo, a sprinkle of measly lettuce and you are lucky if you get more than one slice of tomato

Flexi BLT

– made on homemade onion bread = raw, boots immune system, high in fiber.

– tempeh bacon = plant based, natural source of enzymes, high protein content.

– red pepper “mayo” spread = raw, high in vitamin C, made with good-for-you fat.

– lettuce and tomato = hydrating romaine and a thick juicy slice of tomato (yay lycopenes!).

Which one will you be eating?

Flexi BLT

2 slices of onion bread

2 strips of tempeh bacon (recipe to follow)

1/2 tbsp red pepper mayo (recipe to follow)

slices of tomato

romaine lettuce

Directions:

– assemble as you would a classic BLT!

Tempeh Bacon

block of organic tempeh

2 tbsp olive oil

2 tbsp tamari

Directions

– slice tempeh into strips

– in a pan over medium heat, add tempeh. Pour olive oil and tamari over tempeh.

– grill each side until crispy

Red Pepper Mayo    – adapted from Meghan Telpner

1/2 cup cashews, soaked

1/4 cup sunflower seeds

1/2 cup red pepper

2 tbsp lemon juice

1 tbsp olive oil

1 tbsp apple cider vinegar

sea salt to taste

Directions

– put all ingedients in a blender/food processor. Process until smooth.

Oh and by the way, I won!

Holy Juice Monkey!

Sorry folks, but I had a busy busy day yesterday juicing my brains out. For a second I thought I was at the Jersey Shore. It left me with no time for a recipe post, but I want to share something with you that’s really, really exciting – Stay Flexi With Lexi now has a new service to offer! Juice Cleanses!

"Juice me! Juice me!" I heard them scream

Doing a juice cleanse is a great way to detox your body and give your digestive system a break. Since you are only drinking liquids, all the nutrients are readily available for absorption with little digesting required (no breaking down if fatty cheeseburgers). Also the great thing about juicing is that the benefits of fruits and vegetables are endless. Vitamins, minerals, phytonutrients, antioxidants, fiber, protein, enzymes. Are you convinced yet?

I have my first three clients, so all I did yesterday was juice. Sun up to sun down my friends. I’m still finding veg pulp in my hair. Here is a sneak peak…

If you live in the Ottawa area and are interested in doing a Flexi Juice Cleanse let me know.

I have 1 day, 2 day, and 3 day juice cleanses available.

Super Bowl Sundae

I don’t usually do a lot of football watching, but I must admit I am a sucker for the Super Bowl. It’s probably because it’s an excuse for me to cook food. And lots of it.

This year I made Super Bowl Sundaes. Now the difference between my sundae and a sundae you would get at a restaurant watching the game, is that mine is actually good for you. Obviously. All of the ingredients are foods that your body can actually use as fuel. This is what the players should be eating before the big game. It’s jammed packed with good-for-you fats, plant proteins, antioxidants, and a touch of natural sweetness.

The base of this sundae is my homemade ice cream. Who knew that you could make ice cream without dairy? Or an ice cream maker? The creaminess of the coconut milk and the light hint of vanilla makes this ice cream just melt in your mouth. This recipe is SO good and even easier to make. You’ll never buy the real stuff again. This is the real stuff now, because it’s made with real food. Satisfaction guaranteed. Go Giants!

Coconut Ice Cream

1 can organic coconut milk

1/2 tbsp pure vanilla extract

1/4 cup raw agave syrup

1 tbsp vodka (or any other liquor – this helps the ice cream to stay creamy and not freeze solid)

1 banana, optional (if you want coconut banana ice cream)

Directions

– put all ingredients in a blender and mix until smooth

– pour 3/4 of mixture in popable ice cube trays and freeze. Put remaining 1/4 mixutre in the fridge

– once frozen, put everything back into the blender or food processor and process until smooth

* if using a blender, you may have to smoosh the mixture a couple times with a wooden spoon (if you have a Vitamix then you’re golden).

For sundaes, scoop ice cream into a bowl. Top with coconut syrup, banana, cacao nibs, crushed nuts, goji berries, etc.

I’ve Got The Blues-Berry Muffins

With all the excitement going on this week with launching my blog and some new work projects to look forward to, I was still feeling a bit blue – the boyfriend is away. So what better thing to make than a big ol’ batch of muffins to cheer me up. They are (what used to be) my guilty pleasure. No need for kleenex, sappy movies, and a carton of ice cream. Make me a dozen muffins and I’m happy as can be.

Muffins are one of those foods that makes everyone smile. They are given as gifts to the new neighbours next door (usually made by Brie Vandercamp), eaten at high tea while catching up with your grandmother, and who doesn’t love watching a baby eat a muffin? Total cuteness.

But the thing about muffins is that they make us happy for a reason. That is because most muffins nowadays are one of the worst artery clogging diabetic coma inducing foods out there. They loaded with saturated fats, processed sugar, and white starches. The worst! I don’t know where the connotation came from that “muffins are healthy” because in most cases, you are probably better off just eating a doughnut. (For reals! A Tim Hortons Apple Fritter has 300cal, 11g fat, 49g carbs whereas a whole wheat carrot muffin has 408cal, 20g fat, and 51g carbs…don’t even get me started on the sodium content).

So since going flexi, I had to find a way to still indulge in my guilty-pleasure muffins without feeling guilty. No problemo my friends. All you have to do is substitute with:

plant fats: coconut oil is an amazing source of medium-chain tryglycerides, which release energy slowly and aid in digestion; almond milk doesn’t have the acidic side effects that dairy milk does.

natural sugars: raw honey is a great unprocessed sweetener, with immune boosting properties; blueberries are super high in antioxidants which aids in disease prevention and brain health.

gluten-free flours: brown rice flour is similar to taste as white flours but much easier to digest; ground flax is an excellent source of omega 6 and helps you poop.

And voila! Now we have a muffin that not only satisfies our feelings, but our bodies too. Great with a hot cup of vanilla tea and the newest episode of Desperate Housewives.

Blueberry Muffins

makes 10-12 muffins

1 cup almond milk (or any other non-dairy milk)

1/3 cup coconut oil, melted

1/3 cup raw honey

1 tbsp apple cider vinegar

1 tsp vanilla extract

2 cups brown rice flour

¼ cup ground flax seed

1 1.2 tsp baking soda

1 tsp sea salt

1 ½ cup fresh blueberries

Directions

– Preheat oven to 350 degrees and grease a muffin pan with coconut oil.

– Mix all wet ingredients in a bowl.

– In a separate bowl, mix all dry ingredients.

– Combine wet mixture with dry mixture. Stir in the blueberries

– Scoop out mixture into muffin pan. Bake for 20 min.

* Let cool before eating. Since they are gluten free, they are a bit crumbly when hot.

This Is Why They Invented Onion Goggles

WARNING: DON”T WEAR MAKEUP WHEN MAKING THIS AND LEAVE THE HOUSE FOR THE DAY

When I was away doing my internship I really got intrigued by the idea of raw food. Not that I think I could ever live on a raw diet (I like cooked foods too much, too much time, I like food too much, too much time…), nor do I think anyone should necessarily, but the idea that you can take any staple dish and recreate it into a raw one was so fascinating to me. I’m talking about ANYTHING, you name it. Burritos, spaghetti and meatballs, bacon, cheesecake. I give total kudos to all raw chefs out there – you rawck my world.

When my mom came to visit me, we went to a raw restaurant for dinner where we were introduced to onion bread. Now my mom and I are big carb eaters, so the thought that we could eat bread that was raw and had no flours in it once again rawcked our world. We literally went out a bought a dehydrator the next day.

So apparently onion bread is famous in the raw community, but it’s my goal to make it famous in all communities. I really do think that I could live off of this stuff for the rest of my life. It’s like literally having your cake and eating it too, but with bread. Not only is it the most delicious thing one could ever eat, but it is loaded with omega 3 and 6 and like the name says, it is full of onions (detox party in my mouth). Now like I mentioned above, making this bread will make you cry (tears of joy obviously). So if you don’t have a pair of onion goggles, I suggest that you get some. Unfortunately I left mine back where I was doing my internship. But even lack of onion goggles will not stop me from making this stuff. It’s that good.

Famous Raw Onion Bread

1 cup sunflower seeds

1 cup ground flax

3 large onions

1/4 cup olive oil

3 tbsp tamari

Directions:

– in a food processor, process the sunflower seeds until fully ground. Transfer to large bowl

– using the grating blade of your processor, grate 2 of the onions. Transfer onions to the large bowl

– using the S blade of your processor, slice the remaining onion and transfer to the large bowl.

– add the ground flax, oil, and tamari. Mix everything really well.

– spread the mixture on your dehydrating sheets (should be 1/2″ – 3/4″ thick)

– dehydrate for 8-10 hours, flipping once.

*put parchment paper on top of your teflex sheets so you don’t ruin them with stinky onion. Nobody like raw cookies that taste like onions!

You don’t need a dehydrator to make this, you can bake it in the oven on a low, low temperature too. Obviously this doesn’t make it raw anymore, but it’s one step at a time. You know I like keepin’ it flexi around here.


//

Hey Chickie

A great go-to snack that is pretty much a staple in any plant-based diet is hummus. Good ‘ol hummus. Its nutty and buttery flavor goes so well with raw veggies, spread on crackers, or used as a condiment in a wrap for lunch. It used to be my “drunk munch” at the end of my night during my bar-hoping days. HOOOOMMMMUUUSSSS I used to say while shoving it into my mouth. But you get my point – you’re always in the mood for hummus.  The main ingredient that gives hummus its addictive rich texture is chickpeas (also known as garbanzo beans but who really calls it that anymore?).

Chickpeas are awesome. They are an excellent source of folate which is so important for proper circulation, and they are super high in protein and fiber. The saying goes the more you eat the more you toot…but not in my kitchen! I’m gonna share a little trick with you, shhh. When cooking chickpeas, or any other beans, throw in a piece of kombu (a type of seaweed) and/or any spices that you think will go well with the dish you plan to make. This helps break down the gassy sugars that are found in beans which makes them much more easily digested.

The protein and fiber from chickpeas are also great because they keep you feeling full and help stabilize blood sugar levels. And we all know no one wants wonky blood sugar levels these days! So that’s my spiel on chickpeas, and what better way to enjoy them then in a nice homemade hummus.

I happened to use sprouted chickpeas in this recipe because I was doing a 3-day raw challenge when I made it, but this recipe works using cooked ones too. I like to add excessive amounts of parsley and lemon to mine because of their detoxifying properties since detox is pretty much my middle name, but feel free to take it easy.

Chickpea Hummus

2 cups chickpeas

1/2 cup tahini

1/2 medium onion

1/2 cup olive oil

2 tbsp lemon juice

1/4 cup parsley, chopped

splash of tamari

pinch of sea salt

Directions

– throw everything into a blender or food processor and process until smooth.

This hummus goes amazing spread on a slice of my raw onion bread with some tomato slices and sprouts. Raw onion bread recipe is coming up tomorrow…

Key Lime Pie That’s Green Like Snot

I forgot to mention Jen in yesterday’s blog. She was my inspiration for my spicy balls!

When I was off doing my internship at Making Love In The Kitchen, I had the pleasure of being introduced to probably the most unattractive superfood there is – Irish Moss. This baby looks like snot, it smells like snot, it tastes a bit like snot. How is it not snot?

Irish Moss is a sea vegetable that acts as a thickening agent for soups, smoothies, pudding, and jams. I think it’s time we all say bye-bye to nasty whale blubber gelatin. A lot of food companies use the processed version known as carrageenan. Carrageenan is found in anything from lunch meats, to milk (including soy and nut milks), beer, and toothpaste. Let’s stick to the real thing shall we?

I shrieked a little when I first saw it, but once I found out about all the amazing things it can do for your body I was hooked.

  • It’s jam packed with minerals, B-vitamins, and taurine
  • It has superpowers for your thyroid (high in iodine)
  • It’s raw
  • Keeps you regular and aids in digestion
  • Has antibacterial and antiviral properties. You can use it topically for eczema, sunburns, or rashes.

All you have to do is soak it for a couple minutes (since it’s from the sea, it’s full of sand and tiny rocks sometimes), rinse it, and simmer it on the stove for 10 minutes. Do a big batch because it will stay good in the fridge for at least a month.

It may be ugly, but you can make some pretty beautiful things out of it. Like this fancy raw key lime pie.

Raw Key Lime Pie

Crust

1/2 cup almonds

1/2 cup cashews

1/4 cup shredded unsweetened coconut

1/4 cup dates

– put everything in a food processor and processor until mixutre is sticky enough to hold together

– press mixture into pie pan

Filling

3/4 cup lime juice

3 small avocados

1/2 cup coconut oil, melted

1/2 cup raw agave syrup

1/3 cup irish moss

– put all ingredients in a blender and mix until smooth

– poor mixture into pie crust and refrigerate for 30 minutes to settle

– garnish with lime wedges and gogi berries

Drinking the Kool Aid

So here we go…

If you know me, then you know that I have been talking about starting a healthy food blog for quite some time. I’ve always been into having an online personality (probably because I am too shy in person and there are so many things that I just have to say), I’m  always changing my rich, indulgent cravings into healthier alternatives, and I always take pictures of my meals before I eat them. Yep I’m one of “those” people.

So I’m starting this blog to show everyone that plant-based diets are cool. There’s no need to start a vegan diet tomorrow, cold-tofurkey. I for sure did not do that. All you have to do is add more whole foods and plants to your diet, and cut out the fatty, constipating (I’ll be talking about this lots) animal products and processed sugars. It gets easier the more you do it, and I’m here to help. Just remember: cucumbers are cool, not coca cola.

It’s taken me some time to grow into the person I am today when it comes to food and lifestyle. I’ve had my fair share of chicken wings and drinking games, but with every experience you learn what your body likes and doesn’t like. Call me Grandma Lex, but now I’d much prefer to spend a Friday night with my dehydrator and a movie. Homemade banana chips are my new Banana Jacks.

So now that putting spinach in your smoothie is the cool thing to do, I finally have the balls to get this thing started. And in the spirit of having balls…here is my first recipe:

Spicy Balls

1 cup pecans

1 cup dates

1/4 cup raisins

2 tsp cinnamon

1 tsp freshly grated nutmeg

1 tsp ginger

1 tsp pumpkin pie spice

1/2 tsp cloves

Directions:

– Put everything in a food processor and process until the mixture sticks together (test it out by squeezing some n your hands).

– Roll mixture into bite size balls, and refrigerate for half an hour.

* I find that these balls always taste better the next day after all the spices have had some time to make friends with each other.