A Valentine For My Brother, Christopher


To the outside world we all grow old. But not to brothers and sisters. We know each other as we always were. We know each other's hearts. We live outside the touch of time.

My brother is the original Peter Pan. A man with a magical heart. Incorruptible. My hero. I remember fondly the fresh air and wood smoke smell of his hand-me-down sweaters. 

My brother was a gold miner in the Yukon. A mining explosion caused a head injury. This can sometimes lead to poor choices, and a series of events that can impact his health. Recently he neglected his health and now he needs my help. He needs to learn a few new tricks that involve appetite, knives, and heat in the kitchen.

I am most proud that HEALTH COACH helped my brother when he found himself in trouble, with compromised health, and in need of guidance.

The best way to prepare food when you live alone, is to make a multiple serving amount and store it efficiently. I start the week by preparing a couple of containers of mixed greens and vegetable salad. I also have fresh herbs, beans (chickpeas are my favourite) - avocado, toasted nuts and seeds, sprouts, quinoa, torula yeast flakes, kelp, crispy fried onions, gomasio, marinated - grilled chicken, and a couple of jars of homemade salad dressing ready to use at mealtime. 

I also make a multiple serving pot of something hot that I love enough to eat several times in the same week like chili, soup, pasta sauce, or stew. Every experienced home cook survives the daily demand for healthy and tasty food by having a repertoire of personal favourites that they repeatedly depend on.

The following recipes are easy, one-bowl wonders full of health, colour and flavour and most of the ingredients will be familiar. It can be daunting to change the way you prepare food for yourself - I recommend that you master one recipe at a time to start - and soon you will be inventing your own favourite versions.


Taco Salad with Avocado Cilantro Dressing
2 hearts of romaine lettuce -
chopped into small bite-sized pieces
1 small bunch kale - ribs removed and chopped into 
small bite-sized pieces
3/4 c chopped purple cabbage
3/4 c chopped cherry tomato
3/4 c canned black beans - rinsed and drained
3 small corn tortillas - sliced into 1/4-inch by 2-inch strips 
2 small ears of corn - shucked and kernels cut off 
1/2 small red onion - chopped 
1/2 avocado - diced 
1 t olive oil

Avocado Lime-Cilantro Dressing
1+1/2 avocado - halved and pitted
1/3 c fresh lime juice (about 2 1/2 limes - juiced
2 T olive oil
1 T water
1/2 small jalapeño - seeded and ribs removed
1/3 c cilantro leaves 
1/2 t ground cumin
1/2 t chile powder
1/4 t salt

A Very Tasty Salad Dressing
2 parts extra virgin olive oil to 1 part vinegar; I recommend unpasteurized apple cider vinegar. Don't add salt to the dressing. Instead, sprinkle naturally harvested, fresh-ground salt to the greens when you toss them with the dressing.

Peel and finely dice a few shallots. With a mortar and pestle (or on a cutting board with a chef knife), bash an anchovy fillet and a peeled garlic clove into a paste. If it is large enough, use your mortar as as your mixing bowl. To the anchovy + garlic puree, add the diced shallots and some vinegar (maybe 4 or so tablespoons) and stir together. Set aside for 10 minutes. Whisk in a few teaspoons of creamy dijon mustard. Slowly whisk in olive oil (maybe 8 or so tablespoons). It should start to emulsify after about half of the olive oil is added. Taste. I like it nice and tangy but add more olive oil if you like it mellower. Store in a jar. It keeps for a week. 

A few things to play with: crank up the garlic and anchovy flavour; use lemon juice instead of vinegar; mix in chopped capers; use spring onions instead of shallots; add chopped mint to your salad; or whole parsley and celery leaves; lemon zest.

Other uses for the dressing: as a marinade for chicken or fish; on a sandwich; drizzled over pizza; or as a dip for vegetables.   Dash and Bella

Soup + Bread

Black Bean, Sweet Potato, 
and Red Quinoa Soup
1 c uncooked red quinoa - rinsed and drained
1/2 T coconut oil (or other oil)
3 garlic cloves - minced
2 c diced sweet onion (about 1/2 large)
jalapeño - seeded if preferred and diced
1 large sweet potato - peeled and chopped to 1/2-1 inch dice (2 + 1/2 - 3 c)
1 + 1/2 t ground cumin
1 t chili powder
1/2 t ground coriander
6 c vegetable broth
1 + 1/2 c cooked black beans or one - 15-oz can - rinsed and drained
fine grain sea salt and black pepper - to taste 
1/4 t cayenne pepper or red pepper flakes
2 handfuls spinach or kale leaves

Toppings: avocado, corn chips, cilantro, lime juice, tomatoes or salsa, and green onion

In a medium-sized pot, add quinoa along with 1+1/2 cups water. Bring to a boil, reduce heat to medium, and cover with tight fitting lid. Simmer covered for about 17 minutes or until the water is absorbed and quinoa is fluffy. Remove from heat, fluff with fork, and keep it covered until ready to use.

Meanwhile, heat oil in a large wok or pot. Add garlic and onion and sauté for a few minutes over medium heat. Season with salt and pepper. Now add in the jalapeno and sweet potato and sauté for 5-7 minutes more.

Stir in the cumin, chili powder, coriander, and broth. Bring to a boil and then reduce heat to medium and simmer for about 18-20 minutes uncovered, or until the potatoes are tender.

Just before serving, stir in the cooked quinoa, drained and rinsed black beans, cayenne, and optional spinach. Season with salt and pepper to taste, adding more spice if desired.

Garnish soup with cherry tomatoes, cilantro, green onion, corn chips, avocado, and/or cashew cream.   
Oh She Glows

Bacon Corn Bread
1 c bacon - diced
2 + 1/2 c whole grain flour
2 t baking powder
1 T sugar
1 t salt
4 large eggs
1/2 c butter - melted
1 c milk
1 tin (14+1/2 oz) whole corn kernels - drained
1/2 tin (7oz) cream style sweetcorn
1 c cheddar cheese - grated

Pre-heat the oven to 350°c and grease a standard size loaf pan. Fry the chopped bacon in a very hot pan until slightly crisp. Drain off any excess fat and set aside.

Combine all the dry ingredients into a large mixing bowl. Beat together the eggs, butter and milk and pour into the dry ingredients. Mix well. Fold in the corn and bacon and pour into the prepared loaf tin. Sprinkle the grated cheese over the loaf and place into the oven.

Bake for 60-75 minutes until the loaf is golden brown and a skewer inserted comes out clean. If the loaf is browning too fast, turn the heat down. Remove from the oven and allow to cool down for 5 minutes before removing from the tray. Yield: 1 loaf   Simply Delicious

Pimped Out Ramen
1 T olive oil
1 bunch bok choy - chopped
3 cloves garlic
1/2 onion - thinly sliced
6 c veggie broth
2-4 T tamari soy sauce
2 ramen packets - noodles only
2 T toasted sesame oil
1 T tahini (optional)
3 T miso
1/2 block extra-firm tofu - cut into small cubes 
1/2 c scallions
1 c frozen corn - thawed
1 c bean sprouts

Garnishes: cilantro, lime wedges, sesame seeds, and red pepper flakes 

In a large pot, heat the olive oil over medium-high heat. Add the bok choy and garlic and saute over medium-high heat until wilted. Remove to a plate and cover. Immediately add the onion slices. Saute until soft, about 1-2 minutes. Add broth and soy sauce. Bring to a rolling boil. Add the ramen packets and cook for 2 minutes, just enough to loosen the noodles. Remove from heat and toss in the tofu, basil, scallions. Allow to sit for 1 minutes, then scoop into four deep, round bowls. Add a bit of your garlicky bok choy on the side of each bowl, a mound of corn and bean sprouts. Top with a sprig of cilantro and garnish as you please. Serve immediately, while piping hot, with chopsticks for slurping.

Miso is a flavour and health-enhancing paste of fermented soybeans, rice, or barley. You'll find it in the refrigerated section of health food stores or Asian markets.   Cheeky Kitchen

Main Course

Honey Chipotle Chicken Bowls with Lime Quinoa 
honey chipotle chicken
1 pound boneless, skinless chicken breasts
1/4 t salt
1/4 t pepper
1/4 c olive oil
3 T adobo sauce - from a can of chipotles in adobo
2 T honey
1 T dijon mustard
1 T honey mustard
2 T chopped fresh cilantro
4 garlic cloves - minced

6 c spring greens
1/2 pint cherry tomatoes - halved
1/4 c torn fresh cilantro
4 green onions - sliced
1 avocado - sliced
1 lime - juiced
1 T olive oil
1/2 T honey

lime quinoa
1/2 c uncooked quinoa - rinsed
1 c chicken or vegetable stock, or even water
1 T coconut oil
1 lime - juiced and zest freshly grated
1/4 t salt
1/4 t pepper

Add the chicken breasts to a baking dish or ziplock bag and season with salt and pepper. In a bowl, whisk together the olive oil, adobo, honey, mustards, cilantro and garlic. Pour the marinade over the chicken, covering it evenly. Place it in the fridge and marinate for at least 2 hours, or even overnight.

When you're ready to make the meal, heat a large nonstick skillet over medium-high heat. Add a tiny bit of olive oil and add the chicken, then cover the skillet and cook until the chicken is deeply browned on both sides and cooked in the center, about 6 minutes per side.

Add the quinoa and stock (or water) to a saucepan over high heat and bring it to a boil. Once boiling, reduce the heat to low and cover the pot. Cook for about 15 minutes, or until all the liquid is absorbed. Stir in the coconut oil (or butter), lime juice, zest, salt and pepper.

To make the salads, add the greens in a large bowl and toss them with a sprinkle of salt and pepper. Add the chicken on top along with the quinoa, the tomatoes, cilantro, green onions and avocado. Drizzle the bowl with the lime juice, olive oil and honey.  How Sweet It Is

Easy Chicken Tamale Burrito Bowls
1+1/2 pounds chicken breast or thighs (I used a mix of both - you may also use pork, beef, or lentils for a vegetarian version)
2 c red enchilada sauce
2 T chili powder
2 t smoked paprika
1 t cumin
1 t kosher salt
1 t pepper
1/2 t cayenne
1/4 t garlic powder
1/4 t onion powder
1 onion
1 red pepper - sliced
1 orange pepper - sliced
1 1/2 c can black beans - drained and rinsed 
Homemade Red Enchilada Recipe

Cheesy Polenta
2 c chicken broth
2 c milk
1 c polenta (I use Bob's Red Mill)
4 ounces sharp white cheddar cheese - shredded, plus more for topping if desired
1/4 t salt
1/4 t pepper
2-4 T butter

1 avocado - mashed with a pinch of salt and pepper, or some guacamole
4 ounces queso fresco cheese or feta - crumbled
fresh cilantro - chopped
crushed tortilla chips 

Heat a very large skillet over medium- high heat and add the olive oil. When the skillet is hot, but not smoking (if it starts to smoke, turn heat down a bit and wait 5 minutes before adding the veggies) add the onions and red and orange peppers. Stir fry the peppers for 3-5 minutes, until they just begin to soften. Remove from the skillet and set aside. Keep warm by covering the plate with foil.

Add another tablespoon of oil to the skillet. Add the chicken and brown on both sides, about 3-4 minutes per side. Once the chicken is browned all over add the the enchilada sauce, chili powder, smoked paprika, cumin, salt, pepper, cayenne, garlic and onion powder, and black beans, and bring everything to a boil. Reduce the heat to a simmer and simmer the chicken in the sauce for 10-15 minutes or until cooked through and shreds easily.

Meanwhile, make the polenta. Pour the chicken broth and milk into a medium size saucepan and bring to a boil. Lower the heat to medium and slowly whisk in the polenta. Cook, stirring frequently, until the polenta is soft and thick, about 15 to 20 minutes. Keep warm and then just before serving, stir in the cheddar cheese and butter, season with salt and pepper. If the polenta seems a little thick you can add a tablespoon of butter or extra milk.

When the chicken is done cooking remove the chicken from the heat and shred the chicken with 2 forks right in the sauce. If your peppers have cooled off too much I would toss them with the chicken to get them warm again.

To assemble the bowls, add a nice serving of polenta to each bowl. Top with the saucy peppers and chicken. Finish the bowls with a dollop of mashed avocado, crumbled cheese, chopped cilantro, and crushed tortilla chips.   Half Baked Harvest

true that

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1 comment:

  1. Thank You for the valentine I hope that is not a picture of me hanging from the close line.I think I tried that one once


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