Monthly Archives: April 2013

Re-charge!

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Mudbath wallow in a hammock

To Re-charge: to revive or restore energy, stamina, enthusiasm, etc.
I have to say that it has been a long, hard winter so (immediately) after selling our home we booked a one-week vacation to Panama. We had never been there before and it hadn’t really been on our “must-see” list, but it was available last-minute at a good price so we thought we would try it. I was pleasantly surprised by the country of 3.5 million people. Unlike many vacation destinations, their economy has been growing by leaps and bounds since they became a republic. The entire country’s water system is filtered, so there is no problem eating raw fruit or vegetables or drinking the tap water. We had a truly relaxing time and I certainly managed to recharge my batteries. It is so important to do that once in a while and if you can get away to do so, then so much the better. I know that for me, if I am home there is never really a rest time, because there is always something to do, something that needs doing or something that comes up. Even if you don’t get to the chore, just the thought of it hangs around your neck like an albatross. If you can manage to get away I highly recommend that you do so, because you can then allow yourself to forget about all that “needs to be done” and……do nothing! Then you get to be a bit of a sloth. I know it sounds bad and self-indulgent but it is truly important to have a rest. Even if you can’t get away then try to do something completely different once in a while. Change up your schedule, give yourself a “Spa-Day” by doing a facial and pedicure, leave the baby at home with a caregiver and go into the countryside for a hike or just curl up with a good book and refuse to do a single chore!
In Panama we rented a car and went into the Anton valley, which is a gorgeous rain-foresty kind of valley. We went to the natural hot springs there and had a lovely mud bath followed by relaxing in a hammock while the mud dries and then bathing in the hot springs which are full of healing minerals. Heavenly! Cost? $2.25 per person! Unbelievable! (correct change only) My skin felt so wonderful afterwards. I also indulged in a therapeutic massage on the beach. With the ocean surf sounds and the breeze and my wonderful massage therapist who managed to get all the knots out of my shoulders for the first time in years, it just felt heavenly. Now I am all re-charged and ready to go!

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beach massage. Aaah, heavenly!

 

 

 

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Corotu tree at night time. Magical!

 

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A peacock just wandering around. They squawk really loudly!

 

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orchids grow abundantly in the tropical atmosphere

 

 

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An absolutely gargantuan Corotu tree (Enterolobium cyclocarpum)

 

 

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Gluten free veggie lasagna

Gluten Free Veggie Lasagna

Prep time 30 minutes, Baking time: 60 minutes, Makes 12 servings

This is a hearty, flavourful vegetarian lasagna. Believe me, even the meat-eaters in your family will be satisfied with this dish! Although the list of ingredients looks long, it comes together very quickly and you can use whatever veggies you have on hand, especially those that need to be used up.

Ingredients

12 oz. package rice lasagna

Sauce
1 Tablespoon avocado or other oil for sauteing
1 onion, chopped
8 oz. package mushrooms, roughly chopped
1 japanese eggplant, roughly chopped
1 yellow pepper, chopped
2 carrots, thinly sliced
2 zucchini, sliced
796 ml can of whole tomatoes
1 bouillon cube
1/2 head of cauliflower, finely chopped
1 teaspoon italian seasoning
1 bay leaf
2-3 cloves garlic, minced
salt and pepper to taste

Filling
8-10 oz. baby spinach leaves
800g of light ricotta cheese
1 egg
1/2 cup each shredded parmesan and asiago cheeses
salt, pepper and grated nutmeg to taste

topping

12 oz. package mozzarella cheese, shredded

Method

Saute all chopped veggies in avocado oil except cauliflower about 10 minutes, until well steamed.
Add the tin of tomatoes, the italian seasoning, bay leaf and bouillon cube and continue simmering for another 10 minutes or so. Then add the cauliflower and allow to heat to boiling, then switch off the heat. Taste and season to your preference.
Meanwhile, pack all the baby spinach leaves into a glass pot, cover and microwave 2 minutes to just wilt the spinach. Dump out onto a cutting board and chop coarsely. you don’t have to drain it.
Beat egg in a medium bowl, stir in ricotta, parmesan and asiago cheeses, then the chopped spinach, salt, pepper and nutmeg to taste, if desired.
Next assemble the lasagna:
Put about a third of the sauce on the bottom of a large 12″ X 15″ lasagna pan.
Next lay 3 2/3 uncooked lasagna noodles on top of the sauce. Make sure there is lots of space between noodles as they will really expand.
Layer 1/2 the spinach and cheese mixture, then another 1/3 of the sauce.
Repeat this layering process ending with the sauce.
Cover pan tightly with foil, put into a cold oven and bake 45 minutes at 350 degrees.
Remove foil and sprinkle the mozzarella cheese evenly over the lasagna and continue baking for a further 15-20 minutes, until lightly browned.
Let stand 10 minutes before cutting and serving.
Serve with a green salad, and love, of course.

 

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gather all the ingredients. It looks like an awful lot, but it comes together very quickly.

 

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saute all the chopped vegetables except the cauliflower (or broccoli, if using, as you don’t want these vegetables to be overcooked)

 

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chop the cauliflower quite finely and reserve until the last few minutes of cooking

 

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saute the veggies until quite steamed

 

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then add the tinned tomatoes, italian seasoning, bay leaf and bouillon cube

 

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and continue simmering until nice and saucy

 

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meanwhile pack all the baby spinach leaves into a glass pot with a cover

 

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cover and microwave 2 minutes, until wilted

 

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beat egg in a large bowl and whisk in the ricotta cheese

 

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now add the cauliflower to the sauce, heat to boiling, then remove from the heat.

 

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dump wilted spinach out onto a board and chop coarsely

 

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add chopped spinach, shredded parmesan and asiago cheeses to the egg and ricotta mixture and season with salt, pepper and nutmeg if using.

 

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the finished sauce should have a lot of liquid, which will get absorbed by the pasta

 

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Layer about 1/3 of the sauce in the bottom of a large lasagna pan

 

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then layer the uncooked noodles, leaving lots of space between them

 

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layer 1/2 of the ricotta/spinach mixture over the noodles, repeat the layers ending with sauce

 

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cover pan tightly with foil and bake at 350 for 45 minutes

 

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then layer the shredded mozzarella and bake an additional 15 minutes

 

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until nicely browned

 

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serve with a green salad – and love, of course.

 

Don’t throw out those dead daffodils!

20130409-141812.jpgDon’t throw out those dead daffodils! Or tulips for that matter. Did you receive potted tulips, daffodils, hyacinths or lilies for Easter and now the blooms have faded or dropped and the foliage is looking a little worse for wear? It seems such a shame to just throw them out when you can plant them outside and chances are, they’ll pop back up next Spring to give you a nice surprise.
Bulb planting time is usually in the Fall, but whenever I dry my potted bulbs to save them for Fall planting I usually forget and they lie around for years, unplanted, and finally die, so now I just plant them as soon as they look a bit dead. If there’s still quite a bit of green leaves left they will likely establish themselves in your garden or an outdoor planter quite well. Eventually the leaves will go yellow and die off, so just cut them back to the soil and wait and see what happens. I have had great success with daffodils, hyacinths and asiatic lilies but tulips are hit and miss. I don’t know if it’s because they freeze and die or if the squirrels dig them up to eat in the winter, but I suspect the latter. If you are planting them in an outdoor planter, mix in some pansies, ranunculus or other Spring flowering plants. They will keep blooming for a long time, if not all Summer, and after you have cut back the foliage from the bulbs you planted, the other plants will have room to grow and fill in the rest of your pot.

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Surprise! Look what popped up in my outdoor planter – daffodils!

 

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If you have sorry looking potted bulbs leftover from Easter, just plant them outside

 

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buy some ranunculus or other flower that’s growing outdoors at garden centres in early Spring

 

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pansies are very frost tolerant, should the weather turn cold suddenly

 

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leave any green leaves on the potted bulbs, shake off any excess soil and plant a few inches deeper than any other plants you are planting

 

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leave the foliage on while you’re planting as it’s easier to handle them

 

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then just cut the dead leaves and flowers off at the soil level

 

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fill in the rest of the pot with sunny ranunculus and happy pansies

 

 

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don’t forget to water the pot very well

 

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and please recycle all your used pots. (As of April 1, Halton region takes plant pots – finally!)

 

Spring Cleaning

20130409-153149.jpgIt’s that time of year again – Spring! Time to open the windows to get some fresh air into your home. Time to de-clutter your home and clean everything so it sparkles. Time to wash the windows to let the sunshine in. And, just like Spring cleaning your home is a chance to throw out or recycle the old, unused or broken items that no longer serve you, Spring cleaning your body is a time to shake up your system. You might like to do a dietary cleanse, which consists of taking herbs in a tea or capsule which act to detoxify your organs of elimination – liver, kidneys and bowels. Some people like to do a juice fast which consists of only drinking fluids for a couple of days. This also acts to detoxify your entire digestive system. You might also consider this a time to let go of unhealthy habits which don’t serve you, and pick up some healthy ones instead: Farmer’s markets will be opening soon so how about really trying to purchase your fruit and vegetables locally this summer. Or support a CSA (Community Supported Agriculture) farm. Or better yet, plant a vegetable garden – even if it’s just a large planter on a balcony. Take a cooking class at a health food store to learn how to cook fresh, healthy food instead of relying on processed ready-meals. Anything you do to make a positive change will help get you on the road to perfect health and vitality.

 

Perfect Health Update

20130402-214737.jpgWell, the 21-day perfect health meditation series ended last Sunday. However, at this point I am a full week behind. Why? Well, as is usual, life just got in the way. My Husband and I have been extremely busy for the last 3 weeks staging and getting our house ready for sale. We had originally thought to list the house in May, but due to a seller’s market, we thought we had better get a jump on things and list this week. Wow, what a huge amount of work it has been. Although I had already done a de-cluttering program in February called “Clear My Clutter” and a great deal of (my) life’s clutter had already been dealt with, there was still SO much to do. And therefore, SOMETHING had to give, and unfortunately, although I needed it desperately, it happened to be the meditation program. How disappointing and frustrating! However, luckily, the meditations are left on the site for at least a week, if not 10 days, so I still have lots of time to complete the program, which I have enjoyed tremendously. So, wish me luck – with the sale of the house, and the meditation program, and we’ll see what happens! And if for whatever reason, you have fallen behind in the program – join me and let’s finish it together!

 

Turkey Potpie with Spelt Biscuit Topping

Turkey Potpie with Spelt Biscuit Topping – makes 8 servings

Ingredients

1 Tablespoon oil
1 large onion, diced
2 carrots, peeled and diced
I large potato, peeled and diced
2 stalks celery, diced
1 teaspoon dried thyme
2 Tablespoons light spelt flour
1/2 chicken bouillon cube
1 1/4 cups water
2 Tablespoons milk (optional)
3/4 cup frozen peas
3 cups of leftover turkey, cut into meaty chunks
salt and pepper to taste

Biscuits

2 cups light spelt flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt and a few grinds of pepper
1/4 cup each of shredded old cheddar and parmesan cheeses
2 green onions, finely diced
1/4 cup butter
1 cup milk

Method

Heat the oil in a saute pan and add in the diced onion, carrot, celery and potato.
Saute over medium heat for about 10 minutes until they start to brown a bit.
Add in the dried thyme and flour and stir to blend.
Add in the bouillon cube, water and milk and bring to a simmering boil.
Continue simmering for about 10 minutes, until nicely thickened. Add more water if needed to have a thinnish gravy.
Turn off the heat, add the chopped, cooked turkey and the frozen peas and allow to heat through.
Pour into a large, deep pie dish, which has been placed on a foil-lined cookie sheet or pizza pan.
For the biscuit topping: Blend spelt flour with baking powder, salt, cheeses and green onions.
Cut in the butter until the mixture resembles coarse bread crumbs.
Add in the milk and stir briefly until you get a thick, spoonable batter.
Spoon lumps of this batter over the hot turkey filling in the pie dish.
Bake at 400 degrees for 40 minutes, until biscuits are golden brown and cooked through.
Serve with a green salad, with love, of course.

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Gather your ingredients

 

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dice the potatoes, onion, carrots and celery

 

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saute in oil over medium heat about 10 minutes

 

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add in the thyme and 2 Tablespoons of spelt flour

 

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mix and add water, milk (if using) and bouillon cube

 

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simmer about 10 minutes until nice and creamy

 

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add in the turkey, frozen peas and turn the heat off

 

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add more water, if needed, to make a thinnish gravy

 

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finely dice the green onions

 

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and add to the flour, baking powder, salt, pepper and cheeses in a bowl

 

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cut in the butter until coarse granules form

 

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add in the milk

 

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and stir until you get a lumpy consistency

 

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pour the turkey mixture into a large, deep pie dish

 

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spoon the biscuit mixture over the top. You can just glop it on

 

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Bake in a 400 degrees oven. Save yourself a lot of clean-up by baking your dish on a foil-lined pan

 

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serve with a green salad, and love, of course!

bake until golden brown