Saturday, 15 March 2014

The New "Fast Food"

Before I became sick from the medication, my husband and I thoroughly enjoyed our "crap food nights".  Normally it was a Friday night, and sometimes even carried through till Saturday night.  It consisted of a choice of frozen chicken wings, frozen pizza, nachos or store-bought perogies.  If we were in a "healthier crap food night" kind of mood, then it was breaded chicken strips in a wraps with "some" veggies and cheese. 

Fast forward to the present and "post Sarah's medication disaster", and we have changed our diet drastically.  If I want to be free of medication and treat any underlying anxiety naturally, then it starts with making smart food choices...and understanding that healthy food choices doesn't mean cardboard or boring.  So after a long walk this afternoon with my husband, I came home famished.  And with no dinner plans, I decided to make my current favourite "crap food night" meal - though it's far from crap food.  It does, however, give me that "comfort food" satisfaction.  And knowing it is good for me just makes it better. 

First I start with cooking a pot of quinoa.  While that is cooking, I drain one can of low-sodium chickpeas and throw them in a pan with avocado oil (which can safely cook at a higher heat).  In a separate pan with avocado oil, I throw in some cauliflower (about the equivalent of one head, OR one bag of frozen cauliflower to make the meal even faster).  As the chickpeas begin to cook, I add some seasoning salt (we buy Spicy Herbamare which can normally be found in the health food section of your grocery store) and approximately 2-3 heaping tablespoons of Nutritional Yeast (I've mentioned this ingredient is PACKED with B vitamins and is an amazing supplement for those who don't eat dairy).  The Nutritional Yeast creates a coating around the chickpeas and as they cook they become crunchy (and extra delicious). 

As my cauliflower cooks, I add about 2 tablespoons of balsamic vinegar and stir.  Once the cauliflower begins to brown (cook at a low to medium heat so you don't overcook), I add about 2 cups worth of edamame, and continue to cook (you can use fresh or frozen as well). 

Now, in a bowl, you can make an AMAZING avocado dressing to add on top of your quinoa creation.  I use 1-2 avocados, and mash them well.  Then I add a good splash of lemon juice (or the juice of 1 lemon), some plain Greek yogurt (around 1/3 cup), some crushed garlic (or garlic powder), and salt and pepper to taste.  I also add a good amount of cayenne pepper to ours as we like our food spicy.  I modified a recipe I found awhile back on Pinterest to suit our liking.

Once everything is cooked the way you like it, it's time to serve!  I first plate the quinoa, then add the cooked cauliflower (which tastes AMAZING when browned) and edamame, then the chickpeas and then add some dressing (which has a thick consistency to it).  I throw on some raisins as well, but I am the only one in my home who likes to throw in some sweetness. 

It takes about 20 minutes to fully prepare, so it's not "super" fast food, but it is worth it!  This is by far my favourite comfort food nowadays.  You can play around with it and use a variety of vegetables, but we have found our favourites to be the combination of cauliflower and edemame (which you could bake on a baking sheet instead of pan frying...I've done it both ways and it's equally delicious).