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Creamy (No Mayo) Winter Slaw + Physical Activity

Salad, Lunch, DinnerLina Liwag3 Comments
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Coleslaw with all it's different variations is one of my favourite salads.  It's a powerhouse of nutrition, easy to make and inexpensive. I have several recipes in the blog.  One of these is an Asian inspired variety which you can check here. There's another one  that's  bright and  pretty with the addition of blood orange and a hint of lemongrass. I've got it here. And how about this summer variety of slaw, inspired by our trip to Hawaii in July. 

But on this new post I've decided to go monochromatic in my choice of ingredients...to be a little different and using what's available at the market this time of year.  The dressing is creamy as you may have already noticed on the title of the post. And the creaminess is not coming from a jar of mayo that's been commercially prepared but one that can be made in our own kitchen.  And the magic ingredient that helps create that "mayo-kind" of consistency and taste is hemp hearts.  Hemp hearts are shelled hemp seeds, bursting with proteins (10 g/3 T.), essential fats, vitamins and minerals (please check out this link).  What’s really great is that Canada is a big producer of hemp hearts...check this out.

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Creamy (No Mayo) Winter Slaw
Ingredients (Preferably Organic):

Salad:
4 cups shredded green cabbage
1 rutabaga, washed, peeled and julienned, approximately 2 cups
1 1/2 green apples, washed and julienned
1 cucumber, washed and julienned
1/4 cups coriander leaves, washed and chopped
3 Tbsp. black sesame seeds for topping, lightly toasted

Dressing:
1/2 cup hemp hearts
1/3 cup fresh lemon juice
1 Tbsp. unpasteurized apple cider vinegar
2 dates, pitted, chopped and soaked in 1/3 cup of water (save the water)
1 Tbsp.  (or more)wheat-free tamari or Braggs liquid aminos
1/2 - 1 clove steamed or roasted garlic (optional, see suggestions
 water from soaking the dates

Method:
Prep all the salad ingredients then place them in a big bowl.  Blend the dressing until creamy.  The salad can be assembled one hour before serving except for the topping so the vegetables can have enough time to soak into the delicious dressing.  

Suggestions:
1.  Other root vegetables like parsnip, celeriac or even jicama can be used to substitute rutabaga.  Kohlrabi was my first choice but I didn't find them at the market  this week.  
2. Steaming or roasting garlic tames down its strong taste and flavour.  This is just a personal preference so fresh can also be an option.

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 And now, I'd like to talk about something that's in a lot of people's minds at this time of year: PHYSICAL ACTIVITY.  Personally, I struggle with consistency in this particular area.  Can you relate?  I do very well in the warmer months but as October rolls in and the days get shorter, my tendency is to start making excuses and then I do it less and less. In Toronto, winter-like weather is basically half of the year.  Imagine  the repercussions on one's health and wellness not exercising regularly for that long? 

You see, I grew up  in rural Philippines at a time when functional exercise was the norm: walking a lot (sometimes too much), playing outside as we had no TV then, manually doing all chores  since we had no electricity in the 60 's.  Even water had to be pumped from a "hand pump well" at that time.  It may be hard to imagine this but laundry was done by hand.  There were 7 kids in our family...laundry day can really be a major exercise especially if you include all the beddings and cloth diapers!  Fast forward to  Canada and functional exercise has become almost nonexistent for me. So what to do? 

Thank God I'm married to someone who's my opposite. My husband loves to exercise and it has become second nature to him.  He inspires and  motivates me but like most people, I still have to work hard on my consistency. Here are some practicals that I've learned over time:

1)Create an intention, meditate and pray about it so that the when, where and how (and maybe even the why)  of exercising will become a reality. 
2) Do something you love.  You don't really need gym membership or expensive exercise machines that will not serve you.  My husband does it  efficiently at home. 
3. Find a friend, a mentor or a support system who will help make exercising more fun and the consistency more attainable. Workout together.  If your budget allows you, hire a trainer.
4) Be aware of your limitations and injuries. Don't run or spin if your knees are weak...there's other form of physical activity that makes sense to everyone. 
5) Form is more important than intensity especially if you're just  starting out. You may have noticed those guys at the gym who love to jerk the heavy weights so hard they actually look silly...injuries can happen any time.
6) Just move and have fun!  The technical aspects of exercising can come later.  The hardest part is doing it. 
 

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So this time around,   I became proactive.  I made my intention to beat the "exercise blues" that starts to hit me late Fall every year.  In addition to hot yoga, I have added HIIT into my weekly routine with the help of a friend.  I have ditched "body pump" due to a  recovering shoulder and neck injury.  I realized too that spinning hurt my knees and I don't really enjoy it as much.  So far so good...I even exercised through the Christmas holidays.  I'm hoping I'll be able to master this thing called consistency.  And currently, I've been fascinated with exercise and its role in increasing  the number of mitochondria in a cell.  I'll be reading more about it and hopefully share my findings next time.  Before I sign out, here's an awesome scripture to meditate on:

"...whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable--if anything is excellent or praiseworthy--think about such things."
Philippians 4:8

Warmly,

Lina

Veggie Rice Paper Rolls & Creamy Almond Dipping Sauce (A Perfect Dish to End the Summer)

Appetizers, Asian, Lunch, DinnerLina LiwagComment
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Ahh...Summer...we thought you would stay with us forever but it's time to say goodbye. We've had great weather and also enjoyed our local harvest.  But before embracing Fall with all its beautiful colours and bounty, I thought it would be fitting to post one of my favourite Summer dishes. 

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Veggie rice paper rolls or wraps are a regular in our family...it's everyone's favourite!  I started making them after realizing that the commercial ones out there did not have the ingredients that would really satisfy me or my loved ones.  Most of them have a lot of noodles with barely any vegetables.  And how about the sauces?  You may not even know what exactly is in there.  Mind you, it may seem intimidating to make a perfect roll to begin with...it kinda looks messy and even sticky.  However, think about it as if you were wrapping or rolling a burrito...with just a different and more delicate wrap.  It gets better over time.    

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Veggie Rice Paper Rolls & Creamy Almond Dipping Sauce

Filling: 
2 carrots
1/2 English cucumber
1/4 of a small purple cabbage
1/2 jicama
1 avocado
handful of sunflower sprouts
fresh mint or Thai basil

rice paper rolls or wraps
(I used 10 large rolls, 22cm in diameter)

Dipping Sauce:
1/3 c. raw almond butter 
1 clove garlic, minced
3 Tbsp. lime
3 Tbsp. unpasteurized apple cider vinegar
2 tsp. maple syrup
2 tsp. tamari or Bragg's liquid aminos
1/3 c. filtered water

 

22 cm rice paper roll

22 cm rice paper roll

Method: 

1.  Wash then cut all the vegetables into matchstick sizes and set them aside. The mint leaves can be used as whole, no need to cut them.   Cut the avocado and slice it into thin segments. 
2. Place all the ingredients of the dip into a blender and blend until well incorporated.
3. Put some water in a large dish and dip one rice roll at a time until it starts to become soft and pliable, about 30 seconds.  Do not leave it in the water too long or it will get too sticky.
4. Transfer it in a clean chopping board or a plate then place your fillings in the middle of the wrap leaving about  2" allowance on each side.  Fold the bottom of the wrap over the fillings then fold in the 2 sides and lastly, roll it like a burrito to finish off.  This is the "closed" style.  If using a large roll (22 cm. in diameter), they can be cut in half before serving (see first photo).
5. You can also try the "open-end" one: dip the roll in water, transfer it to the plate then fold it into half.  Place the fillings in the middle making sure to leave 2" allowance on the bottom.  Fold the bottom over the fillings and roll from right to left.  The fillings should be peeking out of the open end.  
6. If it gets messy, try again...it gets better with practice. There's plenty of rolls in a pack. 

Suggestions:
Be creative and use any vegetables, herbs or even fruits like mango...other kinds of sprouts, red peppers, zucchini, lettuce or spinach.  The rice paper rolls come in 16 cm. or 22 cm. size (where I shop anyway).  They can be found at Asian stores or even at Whole Foods Market. Hope you can try making them soon!

 "open-end style rolls

 "open-end style rolls

Happy Fall everyone!  I hope you enjoyed your summer!  I graduated 2 weeks ago as  heath coach from the Institute for Integrative Nutrition.  I am so excited that I have reached this point of my learning journey in holistic health.   

Sincerely,

Lina