Chicken Noodle Soup - a healthy twist on an old fave!

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Soup that will soothe your soul! This recipe came about on a busy weekday when I was scrambling to find a quick, healthy and filling dinner. I settled on Chicken Noodle Soup, but instead of falling back on my traditional recipe, I tried coming up with a healthier take, and .. voila! A new delicious family fave was born! You know you’ve won when they say “it tastes like restaurant soup”, and they ask you to please make it this way every time

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This recipe is super simple and will win over even the pickiest eater. I’m sharing the basic recipe below, but feel free to add in a few more veggies (for example, I’d added mushroom and spinach into the mix as well).

Ingredients:

  • 2 lbs chicken legs & thighs (skinless)

  • 2 tbsp grated fresh garlic

  • 2 tbsp grated fresh ginger

  • 4  tbsp soy sauce, divided (I like to use ‘BRAGGS liquid aminos’ as a substitute)

  • 1 tsp fish sauce

  • 1 tsp chilli garlic sauce

  • 2 tbsp oil (any unflavoured)

  • 1 medium white onion chopped

  • 2 medium carrots peeled and grated

  • 1 ½ cups frozen corn

  • half bunch coriander, washed

  • 10 cups chicken stock

  • ⅓ packet of rice noodles, thick (around 200g)

  • Salt and Pepper to taste

  • 1-2 tsps Sriracha (optional)




Method:

Wash chicken and marinate in 2 tbsps soy sauce, fish sauce, garlic, ginger and chilli sauce. Let the chicken sit while you cut the onions and carrots and any other veggies you’d like to add. Heat a large stock pot on medium high heat and add oil. Once oil is heated, add in the chicken and let brown for 3-4 minutes per side. Chicken does not have to be cooked through.

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Remove chicken from the pot and set aside. In the same pot, add in onions and cook till onions start to soften then add in grated carrots. Mix well, add in chicken stock and bring to a boil. Once stock comes to a boil add the chicken back in, bunch of coriander, corn and rice noodles,  reduce heat to a simmer, cover and cook for 25-30 mins.

Remove  coriander and chicken from soup, take the meat off the bones, shred to whatever size you like and add back in to soup. Mix well and taste the soup, add in salt and pepper to taste and add in sriracha sauce to taste.

Serve soup with fresh coriander and extra sriracha.  Enjoy!





Cumin Lentil Soup

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Fall is just around the corner, and you can already feel the air getting a bit cooler. I was craving something warm but not too heavy and this soup hit the spot perfectly.  It’s simple to make and a yummy recipe that the whole family enjoys. I love the taste of the cumin and the little hints of ginger. 

I like topping my bowl with a splash of fresh lime juice and fresh coriander.

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Ingredients

  • 3 tbsp Olive Oil

  • 1 medium Onion, chopped

  • 2 Carrots, chopped

  • 1 large Zucchini, chopped

  • 2 cloves Garlic, minced

  • 1 inch Ginger, grated

  • 2 tbsp Cumin

  • Salt

  • Pepper

  • 1 ½ cups Red Lentils, (soaked in water, discard water and rinse before adding to soup.Around 10 mins)

  • 6 cups Chicken/Veggie stock

  • Lime wedges

  • Cilantro

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Method:

Heat a large saucepan on medium high heat, add in olive oil, onions and carrots. Cook onions and carrots for 3-4 minutes until they begin to soften. Add in minced garlic and ginger, stir well. Add in chopped zucchini and cumin, mix till well combined, cook for 4-5 minutes. Once the veggies are softened, add in salt, pepper and stock. Allow soup to come to a boil, add in rinsed lentils and mix well. Let soup come back to a boil and then bring down to a simmer and cover for 20-25 minutes. Taste soup and adjust salt and pepper to taste.

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Serve soup with lemon wedges and fresh cilantro.

 

Enjoy!

Summer Berry and Rhubarb Crisp

Summer Berry and Rhubarb Crisp

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This crisp just screams S-U-M-M-E-R!  Sweet & tart with a lovely crunchy nutty top-layer, you'll be making this over and over again. It's a healthy twist on the traditional crisp recipe and it's a great way to enjoy one of your favourite desserts while getting in some fruits, fibre and healthy fats with every bite! Feel free to switch up the berries and try different combinations. I can't wait for you to try this out! Your house will smell amazing and you'll have everyone running into the kitchen:)

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Topping:

  • 1 cup, Old Fashioned Oats

  • ½ cup, Unsweetened Shredded Coconut

  • 1/3 cup, Sliced Almonds

  • 1/3 cup, Coconut Sugar

  • 1/4 tsp, Sea Salt

  • 1/2 tsp, Cinnamon

  • 6 Tbsp, Coconut Oil

  • 2 Tbsp, Maple Syrup

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 Filling:

  • 4 cups, Fresh Berries (I used a mix of strawberries, raspberries and blueberries, you can try your own!)

  • 1 cup, Chopped Rhubarb

  • 1 Tbsp, Honey or Maple Syrup

  • 1 tsp, Lemon Juice

  • 1 tsp, Pure Vanilla Extract

  • 1/4 cup, Coconut Sugar

  • 2 Tbsp, Corn Starch

  • 1/4 tsp, Cinnamon

  • 1/4 tsp, Sea Salt
     

Instructions

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  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Lightly grease a 9-inch pie plate, or 9x9” baking dish, or 4-6 small ramekins

Make topping:

  1. In a medium bowl, combine oats, coconut, almonds, coconut sugar, cinnamon and salt.

  2. Add coconut oil and maple syrup and stir until combined. Set aside.

Make the Filling:

  1. In a small bowl mix together the coconut sugar, tapioca, cinnamon and salt. Set aside.

  2. Put the berries and rhubarb in a large bowl and add honey, lemon juice and vanilla, stir to combine.

  3. Add the dry mixture to the berries and stir until evenly combined.

  4. Pour the berry mixture into the prepared pie plate or ramekins.

  5. Evenly sprinkle the crumb topping over the filling.

  6. Bake in the preheated oven until the filling bubbles and topping is golden-brown, about 45 to 50 minutes for large baking dish or 25 -30 minutes for ramekins.

  7. Let cool on a wire rack. Serve warm or at room temperature, with any type of vanilla ice cream and Enjoy!!!

 

5 Ways to Reduce Waste This Ramadan

5 Ways to Reduce Waste This Ramadan

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Ramadan is an exciting time for Muslims worldwide. Not only is it a time to abstain from food and drink from sunrise to sunset, but it’s also a time to recharge and reassess our faith. We look forward to this time as it brings the community closer together to do positive and charitable work; we break fast together, we pray together and it’s truly the best time of year for Muslims. Unfortunately, amidst all these good deeds one area that is often overlooked during Ramadan is how our actions impact the environment. Ironically, we tend to produce more waste (plastics, disposable plates/cutlery, food) than when we’re eating freely. I’d like to share a few behavioural tweaks you can make this Ramadan (and Insh’Allah thereafter) that will have a sustaining impact on the environment.

1. Purchase a Reusable Water Bottle

The number of disposable water bottles you see during the month of Ramadan are quite frankly alarming. While staying hydrated is extremely important, it doesn’t need to come at the expense of the environment. Did you know that plastic requires up to 1000 years to begin composting in landfills?
While I personally like the Green’s your colour water bottle due to its size and the fact that it keeps my liquids cold for up to 36 hours, any repurposed mason jar as a water bottle will do.
 

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Rule of Thumb: Don’t leave home without your reusable water bottle! For example, when you’re heading out after Iftar to get to the mosque, take your reusable water bottle with you. I have seen a few of my local mosques put up signs saying they will not be providing plastic water bottles and to bring your own, as they are trying to be more environmentally conscious. Instead, these
mosques have water fountains for convenient refilling. Last year, our friends over at TorontoMuslims.com introduced a GreeningInitiative aimed at reducing disposable plastic water bottle usage during Ramadan. They distributed 10,000 reusable bottles across GTA mosques. I’ve contacted them about re-launching the campaign for 2018.

2. The Reusable Bag and Container System

Although we’re fasting for the majority of the day and cutting out at least one meal daily, it seems like grocery shopping actually increases during Ramadan. More groceries often means more waste, as our supermarkets seem to package everything- but it doesn’t have to.

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When going grocery shopping bring reusable bags instead of purchasing plastic bag at checkout. You can purchase yours directly from your local grocery store. In addition, use reusable produce bags. I live by these, but you can make your own. Alternatively, don’t use bags at all - you’ll be washing your produce when you get home anyways.
If you have a store that sells bulk items in your area go in and explore. You can find all your pantry items such as rice, lentils, spices and dates. Bring reusable bags and containers with you. I use old jam and sauce jars that I have saved and bring them with me. Weigh your jars before filling them and when you cash out, the cashier will take the difference. Here’s a quick “How To” guide provided by my local bulk store -

3. You Might Have to do Dishes and That’s Okay!

With Ramadan comes Iftar gatherings - whether it be chez vous, at your localm osque or at your bestie’s place. Often, people opt for disposable dinnerware because who wants to wash dishes after fasting for 16 hours? Remember, doing good for the Earth that Allah created for us will bring lots of reward (especially in Ramadan where rewards are multiplied).
If you’re hosting, don’t be afraid to accept help. Cleaning as a group after a meal
seems to bring the party to the kitchen and it’s where the most fun-filled conversations initiate.
 

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If you plan to attend Iftar at your local mosque, bring reusable plates and cutlery with you so you can politely refuse the disposable options. Suggest that your mosque use compostable options or have them encourage the community to bring their own.

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4. Avoid Food Waste


It is He Who has brought into being gardens, the cultivated and the wild, and date-
palms, and fields with produce of all kinds, and olives and pomegranates, similar (in kind) and variegated. Eat of their fruit in season, but give (the poor) their due on harvest day. And do not waste, for God does not love the wasteful.

I remember growing up Iftar meals seemed like there was enough food to feed us for the full month of fasting - soup, three different types of salads, rice dish, meat dish and lets not forget dessert. While I thought I could eat the world as I watched the countdown to Maghrib, in reality I felt full halfway through the soup. Let’s face it, our bodies can’t consume as much during Ramadan, but our appetites grow. Learn to strike the right balance. If you’re hosting, ask guests to bring reusable takeaway
containers. Send food to your neighbours – this will reduce waste and potentially even spread dawah. Also, accept that it’s okay to eat leftovers!

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If you have no choice but to dispose of food, remember to compost. Food should not go into landfills as it will generate methane gas which some argue is a bigger contributor to climate change than carbon dioxide.


5. Decorate Mindfully

Our generation is working hard to make Ramadan more festive, especially for our kids who look at other holidays and wish it were theirs. We should get excited and we should decorate, but we need to be mindful that we are not hurting our planet in the process. This is a good time to get creative. Try to get decorations that you can use every year, or use things that come from nature such a flowers and plants. Also use items made out of sustainable material such as lanterns made out of bamboo or
go to thrift stores for some unique decorative ideas. Choose items that can be composted or repurposed. Avoid balloons, disposables and plastics. This Ramadan let taking care of the environment be part of your spiritual journey.

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“The Earth is Green and Beautiful, and Allah has Appointed you Stewards Over It

-
Sahih Muslim

 

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Kenda Al Yakobi is a certified Holistic Nutrition Practitioner who advocates a healthy, environmentally conscious, waste-reduced lifestyle.

Through her blog “Simply Kenda”, she aims to educate readers on how they can create restaurant-style cooking from the comfort of their homes using organic, locally sourced, package free ingredients. Kenda also helps provide recommendations on DIY beauty care and how to look fashionable in pre-loved clothing.

Cauliflower Fried Rice

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Oh, Cauliflower Rice! Where have you been all my life?!? I don't know, maybe I'm just a bit late to the game, but I'm so glad I finally tried this delicious rice substitute! If you haven’t tried it yet, here's a super simple and flavourful way to prepare cauliflower rice and get a ton of veggies into your meal. You might even get lucky (like I did) and slip it by the kids without them realizing it isn't actually rice! 

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I chopped the cauliflower myself, but you can also just as easily pop it into a food processor to make small rice-sized pieces.  You can also find pre-cut bags of "cauliflower rice" in your produce section.

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As for the veggies, you can use whatever you have on hand (although the flavours of the combination in the recipe below works really well together). Serve it up with some Asian-style chicken, beef, shrimp or tofu. It keeps really well in the fridge for a few days.

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INGREDIENTS

  • 1 bag Cauliflower “rice” or 2/3 head of a large cauliflower, chopped into small “rice size” pieces

  • ½ large white onion, cut into thin slices

  • 2 large cloves garlic

  • 1½ tsps fresh ginger, grated

  • 2 carrots, chopped

  • ¾ cups cremini mushrooms, chopped

  • ½ cup frozen peas

  • ½ cup frozen corn

  • 1 cup broccoli, cut into florets

  • 3 tsps sesame oil

  • 3 tbsp soy sauce or soy alternative (Braggs Liquid Aminos)

  • 1 tsp oyster sauce

  • 1 tsp sriracha sauce

  • 1 egg, scrambled

  • 1 tsp sesame seeds

  • Pepper

  • 2-3 tbsp chopped coriander

METHOD

Heat Sesame oil in a large sauté pan on medium-high heat, add onions, garlic and ginger, mix till onions soften and become translucent 4-6 minutes. Add in chopped carrots and mushrooms and mix through.

Add in frozen peas and corn and mix all the veggies until they're well combined.

In a separate bowl, mix soy sauce, oyster sauce, and sriracha in a bowl and pour over vegetables. Mix well and make sure the sauce coats all the veggies. Add in cauliflower. Mix for another 5-7 minutes (until the cauliflower softens)

Crack the egg in a small bowl and whisk, make a little crater in the cauliflower rice mixture and drop the scrambled egg into the middle. Mix the egg in the middle (until it looks like scrambled eggs) and then mix that into the rest of the cauliflower rice mixture.

Cook for 2-3 more minutes, add pepper and taste to adjust any flavours you’d like. Finish off with a sprinkle of sesame seeds and chopped fresh coriander.

Enjoy!