Curry leaves are so underrated. Those little leaves have so much flavour, and to me they just take like authentic Indian cuisine. I buy a whole bunch and then freeze most for later use. Quinoa is like a sponge and when cooked in a coconut milk curry leaf and mustard seed laden sauce like this one it’s just packed with flavour. This is a lovely side dish or addition to a salad, I topped it with a few sesame salmon balls and it was total perfection.
Indian Style Quinoa and Peas is one of those really simple dishes that you can count on to amplify any meal, especially Indian influenced curries or tandoori meats. In food and in life the best things are the simple things. This morning my love gave me a sweet hug when I was making my coffee and all groggy and disheveled. It woke me right up and took me from morning ogre to morning mermaid.
Since moving to the city I’ve felt utterly nature deprived. It’s not that there aren’t parks and walking trails, it’s just that they are so manicured and full of people. There aren’t many wild places left, and that to me is what real nature is all about. Places where animals are allowed to roam free and trees can grow wherever they want. Where you can fish and hunt and set up camp and no one is there to tell you no. In Canada there are still many places like this, though you have to make a journey to find them. Yesterday we made it to a little nook in the woods, and while not totally wild it was still a closer cry to the calling in my heart that aches to just walk through trees and feel the sun on my face, unfiltered from city towers and highway smog.
There were buffalo rolling in dust piles and a coyote with a pheasant in it’s mouth. And of course there was a picnic, because no outing is complete without a nice meal in the grass. These shrimp and avocado lettuce wraps were the star of the show. They out do a sandwich any day and leave you feeling nourished but not weighed down. It’s so nice to just disconnect, even for one day a week. To just walk and breathe and witness the beauty all around us. The rest of the week can be for hustling and connecting but just one day devoted to simplicity is worth more than a whole week of busyness.
The almond satay sauce for these is super versatile and makes an amazing salad dressing or sauce for rice noodles or grilled chicken. You could also substitute the shrimp in this recipe for chicken or other seafood, they are mighty adaptable and make a great healthy lunch.
Holy case of the Mondays today. On top of the ‘kill all things’ stage of the whole 30, my little teething monster has been draining 60 calories of comfort a minute from me. I don’t understand how women with children under 3 get absolutely anything done. Murphy’s law is in full swing because as soon as I wrote that he is off on his own smashing remote controls. Do I care? Nope.
How do you cope with ineffective days? I feel like our society superimposes really high standards of productivity. But some days it feels pretty difficult to cross anything off the to-do list. I have to gently remind myself that raising a child is always on the top of that list, and that I must always work on that first.
About this salad, it’s beyond refreshing and packed with craving busting minerals. Often we get those mad cravings for sweets and quick fix foods because of mineral deficiencies. But you know what sucks? Boring salads. Boring vegetables. They give vegetables a bad rep. It’s my mission to never ever make a boring salad. Cruciferous vegetables are particularly detoxifying because they’re so high in I3C or indole-3-carbinols, which help to break down bad estrogen in the body and regulate hormones. Aside from that the fiber and vitamin C in this salad are cleansing and help me feel more vibrant and just plain happy during the first few days of the whole 30. I find that I always have a craving for crunchy foods and this Fennel Grapefruit Detox Salad more than satisfies. Save some of the fronds for garnish or adding to soups and what not, they really impart that lovely anise flavour.
I made these after work one day. I got home dying of heat and starving for a combination of comfort food and healthy raw veggies. My foray into the new Asian market that just opened up didn’t last long as my son took to throwing his first public temper tantrum (milestones!). But I did manage to sneak out with some rice noodles and a jar of tamarind. I didn’t plan on posting this recipe, but the end result was so beautiful and vibrant and it just oozed with the taste of summer times bounty so I had to share it. The beauty of these Summer Harvest Noodle Bowls is that you can just use whatever fruits and veggies are in season. Every bite is different and the fruitiness of the fresh strawberries goes amazingly well with the umami Thai inspired sunshine sauce.
For the month of August I’m doing this 30 day writing challenge with Andrea Balt and Tyler Greg Knotson called Write Yourself Alive. It’s super fun and engaging so far, the whole community is so supportive and encouraging. I thought I would share some of my writing on here too, just for kicks.
Write a letter to the person you thought you would be by now and explain why you’re better off where you are…
Hey you wild souled creature, hungry for adventure, thirsty for knowledge, lusting for true love and hungry for a different kind of life. I love you so much. Because you are a part of me, a part that I often revert to, dying to escape the mundane and run with the wolves. We’ve been on quite the journey. Just when you were planning your next escape to Africa, where you would’ve studied dance and eaten with your hands on dirt floors whatever was offered, an unthinkable thing happened. A choice erupted, you faced the stark reality that now you could be responsible for another being. Either that or you could prod through jungles, jump off cliffs, eat fried crickets and make love in the street.
That furious drive to go all places, to be wild and completely free will always be with you. Your heart yearns to understand the poor men pulling rickshaws without shoes on, why entire tribes worship a stalk of magical corn and how those with the simplest of lives often seem the most fulfilled.
You never fit in, you weren’t willing to give your life over to debt and the 9-5. You fought that confinement with all your might. With an unsavoury and selfish might at times. In your quest to be this nomadic gypsy queen, you realized something. In trying so hard to always be on the move, you were getting lost. Fear of settling, fear of stillness, a mind so fraught with questions and concern. Go go go, more more more. At times when stillness did come, you found a smothered sadness and a gaping unfillable hole. Maybe at first you tried to fill it with what you thought was love. You pretended for awhile that someone else could light your fire. But it didn’t go away, it lingered until stillness showed itself and that old familiar feeling crept up. Did it matter if you were in Thailand or Australia? No. You got quiet, you started to get to know yourself a little better, to sit with it, to find solace that you weren’t the only one with holes. One day it just clicked. An earth shattering understanding that you my dear, could only find what you were looking for within yourself.
That selflessness that you so admired in others, in the mamas lifting rocks to build castles for false kings just to feed their babies, the kind stranger on the train offering food and shelter only to find that he himself barely has such things. Your heart broke open deeper each time you witnessed these acts requiring no payment in return. And then you were given a choice. To give life, to nourish another, to give over your body, your space, your quiet, your freedom- to care for another.
It’s not like you didn’t have options. No one would’ve shamed you had you made the choice to keep your freedom. You didn’t have to do it. Its not like you had any money or even a spare bedroom in your tent. But you had courage, you had love enough to give and you chose. You chose selflessness, you chose undying unhindered boundless love, you chose to overcome obstacles. Now you see that your freedom doesn’t dwell on aircrafts and cheap hostels, it is within you. You’ve really surprised yourself. Did you know you would be a good mother? Never in a million years did you see yourself here. And hell, your no typical mom either.
Being present to marvel at the amazing discoveries of this new being. Learning how to be a mom is a lot like travelling. You don’t know what to expect. You can read every book and blog on the topic and you still won’t know much. We learn through the richness of experience and motherhood is no different.
Here you are little girl, a woman now, a mother, a lover, a giver, with no regrets and weepy eyes that over flow every time you think about the moment you met that wrinkly little star seed for the first time. You relive it over and over again, so that no matter what happens you never forget. I can’t say that for any waterfalls or meals eaten with my hands on dirt floors. I can say that motherhood has made me better than the person I thought I would be by now.
I have a quinoa salad for every season. But summer is my favourite, when there’s so much abundance all you really need is a simple dressing and whatever local vegetables you have on hand.
In my car I only have the radio, I wish this wasn’t the case but #firstworldproblem. Anyhow, I don’t normally listen to top 40 and I never even had it on the radio until moving back to the city recently. It’s weird, popular music isn’t necessarily any good for the most part but it is fucking catchy.
One song that I can’t get out of my head, and I don’t even know what it’s called is, I can’t feel my face when I’m with you, but I love it, but I love it.
What does this mean? Does anyone know? I love singing it, and its one top 40 song that doesn’t immediately make me switch the station, but I really don’t get it.
Maybe I just need to crank it, nosh some of this super summer quinoa salad and let my imagination dream of numb faced star crossed lovers whacking each other without sensation.
My friend Amanda says I’m 3 years behind on everything to do with pop culture. This is pretty accurate. I didn’t know who Nicki Minaj was until like, a week ago. I like her new song too, even though it probably isn’t all that new and is rather sexist, it’s catchy as hell.
Another pop culture phenomenon I didn’t know about was Game of Thrones. Dear God. I am so glad I never knew about this show until now. There is no way I would be able to have survived the pending mystery of whether or not Theon really killed Bram and his brother in Season 2. I know you guys are way beyond that now since it’s onto Season 6 but still, I would have died not being able to watch the very next episode right away.
One thing I am up on is this whole Cecil the lion thing. Okay, it’s absurd that people still kill animals for fun. Any animal. There’s a similar situation in BC where our premier is allowing permits to be doled out for up to 500 grizzly bears to be hunted per year. It’s the insanity of our culture at its best. In the midst of public outcry though, some very important points have been brought to light. My favourite being that if people cared half as much about GMO’s and bills being passed making Monsanto nearly unstoppable in their quest to not tell us what we’re eating, we’d have a lot more control over our food system. Or the fact that 90% of the animals we eat every single day are raised in inhumane, unnatural conditions. It’s speciesism at its finest, is it not?
What other poppy happenings have I missed?
What I do miss the most is living near a clean pristine river and swimming in the lake on a whim. City life is a huge adjustment, but I’m trying to embrace it. The benefits of pad thai at the drop of a hat and amazing markets are pretty sweet. But hey, who knows what’s next.
I’m a lover of freshly ground unique spices, the type that transport you to faraway lands. The ancient combinations of herbs, roots and seeds that grow together and have been used together for thousands of years. Raw Spice Bar specializes in these special blends that pair ancestral combinations with the modern twist of being delivered to your door step every month.
Delivery subscriptions are all the rage, from a new pair of panties every month to craft charcuterie, the options are endless. For foodies and anyone looking to try new recipes, raw spice bar provides 3 different spice blends freshly ground, high quality and 3 different recipes. This month the theme was Persian New Year, though I made this recipe up with their Mast-0-Khiar spice blend, I tried the one for braised lamb shanks with advieh, a spice blend of green cardamom, angelica and a few others. They were to die for and so easy to throw together.
Mast-O-Khiar is a spice blend made from dried mint, dill, rose petals and black peppercorns. Paired with tahini, lemon juice, olive oil and sea salt, it makes a unique Iranian inspired salad dressing that goes really well with earthy beets.
I recently got a spiralizer and have officially fallen in love. Almost every vegetable is spiralizable (new word) and beets are no exception. This time I roasted them (after spiralling) to bring out their natural sweetness. You could also eat them raw for a fresher, juicier variation. If you don’t have a spiralizer, fear not, you can cut the beets into chunks, roast them until tender and slice them thinly before dressing. Served alongside fresh greens, with a bit of plain yogurt or goat cheese this is a truly uniquely delightful flavour combo. I hope you love it as much as I do.
3 Beets, peeled and spiralized Or cut into chunks and roasted
4 Tbs extra virgin olive oil
2 Tbs lemon juice
2 Tbs raw tahini
1 Tbs mast-o-khiar spice blend (dry mint, dill, rose petals and black peppercorn)
1/4 tsp sea salt
fresh greens (optional)
plain yogurt or goat cheese (optional)
To roast the spiralled beets, set oven to 400 and spread on baking sheet, roast for 15-20 minutes until soft. For chunks of beets roasting time will be a bit longer, just until tender and then thinly slice.
Let the beets cool.
Combine olive oil, lemon juice, tahini, spices and salt until smooth and pour over the cooled beets, toss and serve alongside fresh greens with a drizzle of plain yogurt or a few chunks of goat cheese.
Hey I'm Chantelle, my alter ego would be a mermaid if I wasn't such a terrible swimmer. I love writing authentically and cooking in my pyjamas. My favourite pastimes include eating avocados, travelling the world and hanging out with a toddler.