Here is my latest grocery haul and I also show you what I have in my cupboard, along with my rescue cat Kemo. People like to see Kemo in my grocery hauls!
This is pretty easy as you basically cook up some veggies and put them inside a folded shredded hash brown layer. You can put whatever veggies you like in there.
Ingredients (use whatever veggies you like):
1 medium onion, chopped
1 green pepper, chopped
1 red pepper, chopped
1 cup/handful of spinach
1 tomato, chopped
Optional cheeze sauce. I didn’t use this.
5 medium potatoes (I use yellow-fleshed)
Optional spices – onion powder, garlic powder, seasoning salt (optional). Lots of options here.
Wash and shred potatoes using a grater. It’s a good workout! Put the shredded potatoes in a strainer and rinse under the tap, mixing the potatoes around as you rinse them. Squeeze out the excess water – I push with both hands while the strainer is in the sink to drain out excess water. Add any spices to the shredded potatoes and mix.
Turn on your 5-in-1 Cuisinart grill on the highest heat setting. For the removable plates use the grill side – the grill is the bumpy side and the griddle has the smooth side (pancakes). You can also use other devices such as George Foreman grill, waffle iron or bake in the oven on a Silpat sheet or parchment paper (bake at 450F for 20-30 minutes, I didn’t do this, you may have to flip them over if they are a cooked enough into a solid layer so that they get crispy on both sides. Check your parchment/silpat for max temp allowance). Cook the potatoes in the grill for about 15-20 minutes until they are a solid layer, don’t stick to the plates and are browning nicely (times may vary depending on your device).
Meanwhile, chop up your veggies (I used onions, green/red pepper) and fry in a non-stick pan with a little water or veggie broth. I like to dry fry my onions first before adding the other veggies and water, in order to bring out the natural sugars of the onions. If the water disappears over time, add a bit more water to the pan. You might want to add mushrooms or whatever other veggies you like. When the veggies get close to being soft toss in some spinach if you like and cook for a minute or two until the spinach shrinks down in size.
When the potatoes are done you should be able to lift the lid without anything sticking. Take the potatoes out with a spatula and carefully lay onto a plate. Then add the veggies to one side of the layer. I also add in some fresh chopped tomatoes. Top with cheeze sauce if you are using (I didn’t). Flip the half of the potatoes with no veggies over the half with the veggies to cover them as per photo below.
Eat with a side of ketchup and enjoy!
Making bread can be tricky. I’ve seen so many recipe variations out there that it can be overwhelming! Many recipes call for soakers, spongers, waiting days for dough to rise, punching the dough down multiple times, putting dough in the fridge and so many other possibilities. But I usually try to find something that is fairly quick and easy. All I can say is if you have any problems, try again and be willing to make variations in the recipe! Some of the instructions will come with caveats or possible modifications. Check back over time as I may try different things and make it better. I can’t predict what every variation might turn out like as I’ve only tried a few.
If you don’t have vital wheat gluten you can try it without. I need to try some more variations and see what works best, it’s supposed to help with the texture as whole wheat flour has a harder time developing gluten. I also read it’s not really necessary depending on how fine the flour particles are. So we’ll see.
1 tsp active dry yeast
1 tsp sugar (any sweetener should do)
1 cup warm water (~110 deg. F). I use warm water from my tap (filtered/softened well water).
2 cups of whole wheat flour (I use Speerville Organic). Before measuring stir up the flour to loosen as it can get compacted.
1 tsp salt (this is optional if you eat the bread with other things like jam, without salt the bread itself is a little bland if not toasted)
1/2 tbsp of vital wheat gluten, optional and depends on whole wheat flour used.
Put water in bowl and add yeast and sugar, stir a couple times to mix. Let sit for 10 minutes. Yeast should bloom, you’ll see it go across the top of the water. If it doesn’t the yeast might be dead or the water was too hot/cold.
Put the flour, vital wheat gluten (if using) and salt in a bowl, mix thoroughly with a spoon (I eventually dive in with my hands once a ball starts to form). Add the flour mixture slowly to the water/yeast mixture and mix until it starts to forms a ball. It will be a bit sticky (was for me in a humid climate). If you’ve added all the flour and it’s still really sticky add some more flour slowly as you mix with your hands. The flour/water ratio can vary depending on brand of flour. The dough should have a little stickiness but still be workable. Knead the dough for a few minutes. I did this is the bowl as I added flour. I aim for a play-dough like feel. Cover the bowl in a damp cloth and let the dough rise for an hour (or more if you have time). I found it stop rising after a certain point so it didn’t seem worth waiting any longer.
Take the dough out and lay on a 11×17″ baking tray lined with a silpat non-stick baking sheet. If you have parchment paper you can use that. Roll the dough out with your hands so that it forms a long thin baguette shape, almost touch the ends of baking tray. Score the baguette using a sharp knife – basically make 1/2 inch deep cuts that are roughly 6 inch long slices in the bread at a slight angle to the bread lengthwise, a few inches apart (see above photo, my scoring technique still needs work!)
When ready to bake the bread, preheat oven to 425F, covering the dough with the damp cloth again until ready to bake. Put an oven-safe baking dish with 1 cup of water on the bottom rack of the oven. The steam will create a good crust on the bread. When the oven is heated put the dough in the oven on the non-stick baking tray (I use silpat sheet). Bake for 20-30 minutes (depending on your oven) until a good crust is formed and when sticking a knife in the bread it should come out with no dough on it. When the bread looks cooked I turn off the oven and leave it in there to cool with the oven door open which can increase the crispiness. You can spray water on the dough halfway through baking as well which helps form a thick crust, which is the best part of this baguette! Toasting this makes it even better either in a toaster or in the oven.
You can double this recipe to make a loaf of crusty bread as well, if you have a loaf tin which I need to get now!
After the recent WHO declaration that red and processed meats cause cancer, people say to me: “Humans have been eating meat for thousands of years. So why can’t I have a burger once in awhile?” Well, other than that being an ‘appeal to tradition’ fallacy, I’m not that interested in what humans have done in the past. I’m interested in what is the healthiest diet for humans while minimizing the impact to animals and environment. And the diet that covers all three happens to be a 100% plant-based diet (vegan).
Okinawans live very long lives. They eat 96% plants and 4% animal products. “So hey Will, why are you oblivious to or ignoring this fact and why are you against eating animals? You know like say 5% of your diet.”
Well there are few reasons. In this video below by Dr. Greger there are people who live even longer than Okinawans. The Adventist vegetarians in California eat 100% plant-based. So going that final few yards to 100% seems to be worth it not just for health and other reasons as well.
Our biology doesn’t seem suited to eating animals. We have more amylase enzyme for digesting starches, weaker stomach acid for digesting flesh, longer intestines and more. The fact that we get so sick from eating animals makes perfect sense to me. Instinctively we don’t look at animals as prey that we want to hunt down and eat with our bare hands. Instead we go to the supermarket and get a shrink-wrapped product, take it home and cover it with barbecue sauce (from plants by the way). See this chart I recently posted: http://www.werone.co/images/05_Humans_Are_Frugivores_750.jpg
With 7+ billion people (and growing), eating even this smaller percentage of animals that would still be billions of animals (land and sea) every year being killed. Most land animals live horrible lives in confinement and then are killed after a few short months. Many sea animals are swept up in the nets and are pulled out of the water to suffocate. I’m happy knowing animals don’t have to suffer for my dinner plate.
Raising even this many animals requires insane amount of forests to be clearcut (for grass fed), water usage, waste and methane production. Lots of other animals are killed as they are seen as ‘competition’ eg. wolves, bears, coyotes, etc. More facts about animal agriculture can be found at www.cowspiracy.com/facts
On a practical note, it’s hard for most people to practice moderation. If you’re only going to eat a few percent of your daily calories from animals why not go 100%? I love the food I eat now and have no desire whatsoever to eat animals. I’m not depriving myself of anything. I think it’s easier to go 100% than say 95% as you keep all your unhealthy habits from being removed for good and it’s easy to let this expand to 10% and more.
I find it really interesting that when people find out that something is this unhealthy (like the red/processed meat causes cancer finding) to eat they just want to cut back, as opposed to say cutting our cigarettes and avoiding asbestos. Would those people let their kids have a few cigarettes and day and only spend a couple hours in an asbestos-laden school building? But for some reason it’s okay to do this with cancer-causing foods (not to mention heart disease and diabetes inducing as well). Those addictions and habits are strong!
So believe me when I say that I’ve given this a tremendous amount of thought on many levels. It all seems so clear and logical to me. I hope one day you will all agree with me.
Will Kriski, resident of Sackville, New Brunswick was tired of being overweight and having high blood pressure and high cholesterol as he hit his 40s. So after researching online and watching documentaries like Forks Over Knives and Engine 2 Diet on Netflix, he found a little known starch-based diet that allows you to eat a lot tasty, filling potatoes while losing weight and getting healthy!
Will discovered the problem is not with healthy carbohydrates (carbs) like potatoes that everyone fears these days, but it’s with all the added stuff like sour cream, bacon, butter and oils that are high in fat along with the unhealthy saturated fats and cholesterol. These products can pack on the pounds, raise blood pressure, raise cholesterol and cause all sorts of other health issues like diabetes and even cancer. It turns out that complex carbohydrates like potatoes are packed with nutrients and are extremely healthy but they’ve received a bad rap over the years as people shun healthy carbs for unhealthy fats and protein.
So Will started eating lots of PEI and New Brunswick potatoes in the form of baked fries and gravy or ketchup, mashed potatoes and gravy, scalloped potatoes, potato salad – all modified to be plant-based and low fat. Over a period of months he slowly and steadily lots over 35 pounds, and lowered his cholesterol and blood pressure so that he is now considered ‘heart attack proof’ (112 mg/dL or 2.89 mmol/L)
The amazing thing is that potatoes are super cheap as well. So you save lots of money on your grocery bill while eating lots of tasty, filling comfort foods like mashed potatoes, pasta, pizza, tacos, shepherd’s pie and so on.
Changing one’s diet can be daunting for some. But by making some small changes we can eat the same types of foods we are used to, just with some changes. Will still eats mashed potatoes, fries, burgers, pasta, pizza, tacos, burritos, and desserts, he just tweaks them to be much healthier. And since the food is much lower in calories he can eat a large volume of tasty food while still losing weight and gaining health.
After having such amazing success Will now spends his time spreading the message to as many others as he can. With health care costs in New Brunswick and elsewhere reaching unsustainable levels it’s time we start to educate people as to what they should be eating on a daily basis. Instead we opt for expensive unnecessary medications and surgery when most of the common, expensive problems are caused by diet.
Will says we need to set up seminars and programs in New Brunswick to teach people how to eat better. If you would like to work with Will to spread the word in New Brunswick please contact him.
1.5 cups of rolled oats
3 cups of water
1/2 defrosted frozen or fresh strawberries (any fruit will work here)
1/4 tsp of cinnamon (optional)
Coconut sugar, brown sugar or pure maple syrup to taste as you eat the oatmeal (optional)
Add the oats and water to large bowl. Microwave for 6.5 minutes. Let sit for a few minutes until the water is absorbed. Add your favourite fruit and optional sweetener to taste. Optionally cook on the stove top as per the instructions on the oatmeal package, or InstaPot, etc.
You could use my taco mix recipe as well but this one is a bit easier and quicker. I don’t often measure things, just dump in rice and beans from my refrigerated batches.
* 1 cup of salsa (I like extra chunky hot salsa)
* Burrito spice package or 2 tbsp chili powder and 1 tsp cumin (or less if preferred). Add a tsp of chipotle powder if you like.
* 1 onion, diced
* 1 can of cooked black beans, drained and rinsed (1.5 cups of cooked beans)
* 2 cups cooked rice (any rice, I even used basmati in this case)
* Handful of fresh cilantro (if you like it, some don’t)
* Optional 1 cup of chopped tomatoes (any kind). A recent addition I love. Makes it like a Mexican rice.
* 2 Ezekiel sprouted whole grain tortillas
* Optional guacamole but oh so good! I make myself or sometimes by Wholly Guacamole in individual packs called minis (2 oz each). I put half a mini in each burrito.
* 2 tbsp salsa or more as topping for each burrito (I don’t measure)
Put diced onions in skillet and dry fry on high heat until the onions start to brown. Then add a little water and stir (just a few tablespoons should do). You should see a nice brown liquid, this makes the onions taste sweeter. Lower to medium heat then onions are soft add the the rest of the ingredients. Cook for about 10 minutes until everything is hot. I like to steam a couple tortillas to soften them and make them easier to wrap without breaking. You can also use the microwave covering the tortilla in damp paper towels above and below the tortilla before heating. Put some of the mixture on a tortilla and wrap.
Optionally grill the wraps to make crispy – I use my Cuisinart 5-1 indoor grill which is amazing. I grilled for about 5 minutes being sure not to burn them. Cut each burrito in half and top with salsa as you eat them.
I started growing some of my own food last year after starting to eat a starch-based diet over 2 years ago. It seemed like a natural progression as I was eating more vegetables and doing a lot more cooking. It can be intimidating but it’s pretty easy to get started. One of the biggest things I feared was having to weed all the time but I’ve hardly had to do that. The trick is to keep the soil covered with a mulch (wood chips, leaves, etc) so that weeds can’t grow as easily. I just take a look at the garden every few days and pull any really small weeds if any but have barely established themselves so it’s a breeze with just my fingers.
I started out with a Palram 6’x8′ greenhouse (I’m not handy so I need something I can just put together) and used containers to grow basil, oregano, tomatoes, peppers and cucumbers. They did pretty well I must say. You can grow a lot in containers if you don’t have the room – just put some potting mix in a container and get some seeds and you’re good to go.
This year I bought two 4’x8′ Gronomics cedar raised beds so that I now have a 4′ x 16′ cedar raised bed. There’s no nailing or hammering it all fits together in minutes thanks to the dovetail joints. That’s great because I don’t have the skills, tools or temperament to built these from scratch! Raised beds are great because you don’t have to dig up the grass and deal with the builder quality topsoil (and rocks) that they put in there! You just lay down some cardboard to kill off the grass and lay the beds and soil on top of that.
In spring I planted onions (from onion sets), garlic (separated cloves from the bulb), Yukon Gold potatoes (from seed potatoes), tomatoes (from a transplant), red russian kale (from transplant), cucumbers (from transplants), green peppers (from transplants I started from seed in the greenhouse).
I’ve made a lot of mistakes already but am learning, asking questions, reading and watching YouTube videos. I recently read Square Foot Gardening by Mel Bartholomew and plan to do that next year. It’s a very organized way to lay out the vegetable garden and helps you to space the vegetables properly.
After a lot of studying of gardening I have come to realize that I always try to seek out the simplest and most cost effective solution. So many gardeners (even for organic) use animal manures, blood meal, bone meal, rock dust, epsom salt, fertilizers, pesticides, the list goes on and on. So I’m going to try to replicate nature as much as possible using permaculture techniques. There’s a book about natural farming called One Straw Revolution and many refer to this idea as a ‘no work’ garden. Keep the soil covered with a layer of leaf mulch to keep weeds down and the leaves break down and feed the soil with everything it needs. Keep the plants healthy to avoid diseases and pests and let other predatory pests handle things. Pick off any visible pests that I come across.
I originally used topsoil and some mushroom compost (to avoid animal products) but now have realized I should’ve used something more like Mel’s Mix (1/3 peat moss/coco fiber), 1/3 vermiculite and 1/3 compost). So I’m going to amend the garden this fall with my own compost and leaves and try to stick to just using that each year. I’ve watched videos where people did soil tests and they had all the nutrients they needed from this approach (just like nature). Also I’m going to ‘crop and drop’ which is where you let things you prune fall to the ground and naturally decay, as well as pulling weeds and leaving them on the soil (that haven’t gone to seed).
So I encourage you to get started no matter where you are, in a condo or in a small house with no yard. You can do indoor containers such as herbs, outdoor containers on a balcony or deck, a greenhouse or even the raised beds I mentioned. It’s such an amazing feeling when you see the little sprouts coming out of the ground! Let me know if you garden or are planning to start!
I used to cook rice using the package instructions. The bottom part always came out mushy. Then I found out you can cook rice like pasta and it’s perfect every time! Of course if you have a rice cooker or Instant Pot you can just use that!
Bring a pot of water to a boil then add the rice (I rarely measure but at least 2 cups so I have extra). Turn down to medium heat so it doesn’t boil over. For brown rice set your timer for 60 minutes, for white basmati set it to 10 minutes. For other rice you’ll have to make a judgment call, like brown basmati will take a little longer than white so do a few taste tests while it’s cooking. Once the time is up, drain the water and cover the pot to steam for 5 minutes. This is optional but it tends to help keep the rice separated nicely.
Here’s a video I did which demonstrates the process: