Monthly Archives: April 2013

kale in my kitchen!

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kale
 
I have been following Kris Carr and her wellness revolution since 2008 and although the ‘crazy sexy kale’  is the ‘supreme king of the leafies’ as Kris says, I was not able to find it on the island until a friend showed up with a lovely bunch of kale and a grin on my doorstep yesterday!
 
I instantaneously searched for kale recipes in Kris’ ‘Crazy Sexy Kitchen’, an incredible selection of 150 plant-empowered recipes and paused at the truly enticing Warm Kale and Quinoa Salad. Needless to say, that I cooked this for lunch and I must say that it is a delish recipe!  Thank you Kris Carr and Chef Chad Sarno! I am delighted to share this recipe with you exactly as it appears in ‘Crazy Sexy Kitchen’…
 
kaleQuinoa
 
serves 4-5
Ingredients:
2 cups quinoa
3 cups water
2 cups chopped or shredded kale
3 tbsps pine nuts, raw or toasted, or slivered almonds
3 tbsps currants, raisins or dried cranberries
2 tbsps lemon juice
1 tbsp olive il
sea salt to taste
freshly ground black pepper to taste
 
In a small pot on medium heat, add quinoa and water, and bring to a simmer. Reduce heat to low, cover and continue to cook for 10-12 minutes. Remove from heat and fluff with fork.
 
Add the shredded kale on top of the quinoa and cover for a few minutes to allow the kale to steam.
 
Add pine nuts, currants, lemon juice, olive oil, salt and pepper. Mix all ingredients thoroughly and serve warm or cold.
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a birthday run

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bday
On Sunday, April 21- my birthday- I woke up with a whopping smile as flashbacks of the most awesome surprise birthday party came to mind. In my adamancy to celebrate my birthday this year, my dearest of friends chose to celebrate ME instead in the most remarkable way which touched my heart and soul. A culinary theme, the most genuine smiles and the warmest hugs were there to greet me. I felt blessed, grateful and extremely happy to have such special friends in my life. Hence, the enduring smile on the day of my birthday.
 
What’s more, I was thrilled at the idea of spending the morning of my birthday running the 12 km Klirou-Atovrisi Challenge, organized by Dro.Me.A. Racing, in the picturesque village of Klirou! My dad joined in as a race marshal while my fellow runner and friend of heart, Maria, surprised me by coming along and dedicating this run to me. I couldn’t be a happier birthday girl!
FTIMK
 
We started running through a 7km-hilly terrain, which was incredibly challenging, especially since I hadn’t done a lot of hill training in the previous weeks. Yet, the stunning scenery in the woods amidst pine trees and gorgeous wild flowers, coupled with the cool breeze and magnificent energy of fellow runners made it so enjoyable.
naturenature4
 
The last 5kms were flat and I felt like I was on a fluffy cloud, in a tranquil yet elated state of being- physically, mentally and spiritually. A real bliss indeed…
FTIMahiSolomou4
 
I completed the race and was greeted by two cyclist friends, and role models in fitness and wellness. They are both what I call ‘warriors of life’ as they have such a holistic approach to life which has inspired me for years. Many smiles and photos later, I finally exhaled and picked up the microphone, as there was more to this race, larger than my birthday…
 
This race was supported by Fit to Inspire (FTI), an inspirational community spanning across different countries, that fosters fitness, wellbeing, friendship and laughter amongst women (and not only!) around the world, whatever shape they are in. Founded by Rebeca Plantier, a dear college friend who never ceases to inspire me, amaze me and impress me, FTI believes that fitness and wellbeing should be accessible to all women, no matter what their fitness level, and embraces the concept of inspiring one another and exercising together to achieve a healthier lifestyle.
 
‘How many people finished this race with a smile?’ my voice echoed while cheerful yeay’s followed. ‘And how many of you think that you have inspired at least one person today through your running or love for sports?’ I went on, only to hear even more cheers. ‘Stay tuned with FTI and connect with an international community of fellow runners, exchange health, fitness, dietary information, and inspiring stories!’ I wrapped up, while I made a mental toast to running and great friends who add a touch of spice to my life!

vetch soup anyone?!

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louvana
To me, spring cleaning of the body means lots of fruits, vegetables, juices and soups! When it comes to soups, I tend to read countless recipes, test a few, making ammendments based on personal taste and intuition, and after a few weeks of been tried and tested a few times, they officially enter Mahi’s Recipe Collection!
 
Here’s a delish Cyprus vetch soup (known to Greeks as ‘fava’ or ‘louvana’):
louvana2
 
Ingredients:
– 1 large onion, finely chopped
– 2 carrots, grated coarsely
– 2 medium zucchini, grated coarsely
– 1 cup vetch (fava)
– 1/2 cup fresh spinach
– 6 cups water
– 2 tbsps olive oil
– herbal salt
 
Preparation:
Add water in a pan together with all vegetables (except for the spinach) and the salt. When the water boils, turn down the heat and allow to cook for about 45 minutes- 1 hour.  When the fava is ready, put in a blender for 1-2 minutes. Return to the pan on very low heat and add the spinach- cut coarsely. Allow to cook for 3-4 minutes, add the olive oil and more herbal salt as needed.
 
Notes:
this soup is super healthy and nutritional- it is high in carbs (63%) and vegetable protein (20%).

a little spring cleaning

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Spring-Blossom-Sunshine
 
Spring cleaning applies to so much more than just wardrobes and cabinets. Spring cleaning of the body and mind tend to come naturally in the spring. 
 
Outdoor sports become more enjoyable in glorious weather, with nature decked in all colors and I keep getting the impression that nature is smiling back at me.
 
Spring also tends to unsurface the need to detox. While I normally detox with fruits and vegetables, I came across an awesome detox plan a few weeks ago, and after sipping on it for 5 days, the results were amazing so I wanted to share this with you.
This drink will help you get rid of toxins, boost your energy, and act as an anti-inflamatory agent- not to mention that it will help you lose an inch or two!
 
detox
 
Ingredients:

  • 1 Tbsp Turmeric
  • 1Tbsp Ginger
  • 1/2-1 tsp Cayenne
  • 5 Tbsp lemon juice
  • optional Stevia to taste, or maple syrup.
  • 32 oz. warm water

Preparation

  1. Boil 32 ounces of water in a tea kettle, once it boils remove it from heat and set it aside.
  2. Add spices and lemon juice to a pitcher or container that holds at least 32 ounces of water.  Once the water has cooled a bit( you don’t want to add boiling water into the mixture, this will breakdown some of the benefits of the lemon) add it to the pitcher.  Give the mixture a good stir and sip on it throughout the day.  As the potion sits the spices will fall to the bottom, you can stir it each time your pour yourself more, and always add some more warm water if it gets too spicy for you.  Add stevia or maple syrup to sweeten it if necessary.
Below is an explanation of the health benefits of all ingredients based on  The Encyclopedia of Healing Foods by Michael Murray M.D.

Turmeric-The major health benefits of Turmeric start with it being a strong anti-inflammatory spice.  Turmeric has been used in Chinese and Indian systems of medicine for centuries and is now becoming popular in the Western world to treat various  symptoms.

Ginger- Ginger has been used in herbal medicine to help promote the elimination of intestinal gas, and intestinal spasmolytic, which helps relax and soothe the intestinal tract. Adding this spice to this drink will help your body eliminate waste naturally, and get rid of excess bloat.

Cayenne- Cayanne gets its heat from the high concentration of capsaicin.  Capsaicin is recognized as an effective pain reliever, as a digestive and anti-ulcer aid and also produces cardiovascular benefits. Adding cayenne pepper, even in small amounts can help reduce symptoms of indigestion. . Cayenne pepper is known as increasing the body’s ability to burn fat, and who doesn’t want to burn more fat?

Lemon-Lemons are a great source of vitamin C and B6 as well as potassium, folic acid, flanoids, and phytochemical limonene.  Lemon can help aid in weight loss because of its benefits as a digestive aid, and it helps cleanse the liver. Lemons are also a great way to help your body fight infections and promote immunity.

 

 

what’s in a crisis?

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For weeks, Cyprus has been lamenting the loss of money from their bank accounts due to one of the worst financial crisis which has ever hit the island. And I ponder: Is this ALL that Cypriots have lost? Because right now, it seems that we view money as the Alpha and the Omega of life. There are countless beautiful ingredients which make up every single Cypriot, yet for years, many of us have lost the true essence of life. Let us focus on our true magnificence, our values, ethics, beliefs and all else that will make us survive this crisis. Because this crisis is NOT just about money. It is about Re-Thinking life. And if you still feel like you’ve lost everything, then watch this video… start dreaming and believing….
Emmanuel Kelly

Red lentil bowls

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lentil_stew
 
The Greek Orthodox Easter is in about a month’s time, and numerous people tend to fast for 50 days prior to Easter week. When fasting, one abstains from all animal produce- from meat to eggs and dairy products. Which is why I went for Laura Calder‘s red lentil bowl recipe, featured in my ‘A squirrel in my kitchen’ e-cookbook (http://www.amazon.com/dp/B00AYXN500), and as with all recipes which I share from that book, you’ll see that it comes along with a story. Have a delicious reading!
 
RED LENTIL BOWLS
Ingredients
2 tbsp olive oil
2 garlic cloves, minced
2 small pepperoncini, chopped
2 tsp cumin powder
1 tsp curry
1 tsp powdered coriander
1/4 tsp turmeric
1 cup red lentils
1 envelope chicken stock powder
4 cups/1-liter water
1 small tin chopped tomatoes
1 lemon, for squeezing
cooked spinach, for serving
salt and pepper
 
Preparation
Heat the oil in a large saucepan.  Add the garlic, hot peppers and spices, and cook, stirring, until the garlic is golden, about a minute.  Add the lentils, sprinkle over the stock powder, pour over the water, cover and cook until the lentils soften to purée, about 20 minutes.  Stir through the tomatoes to heat through. (This is where you can stir in some cooked rice, too, if you like). Season with salt and pepper.  Serve hot in shallow bowls with a generous helping of cooked spinach on top and pass lemon wedges for squeezing. Makes four servings.From the kitchen of Laura Calder (TV Host and Food Writer) in Toronto, Canada
 About Laura
 
I met Laura in Paris, through our très chère mutual friend, Rebeca! As we strolled down the Seine one day, we philosophized life and talked about her next ventures as she was bidding adieu to Paris, where she mainly worked on cookbooks and, basically lived and breathed French food for a decade! I don’t know whether it was the Parisian air or my intuition, but I felt right at that moment that great success was right around the corner for this very talented lady. In 2005, Laura went back to her homeland, Canada to shoot the Food Network television series French Food at Home, which has been the main focus of her work life for the past three years (she’s done 78 episodes in all.) Laura is also the author of several cook books and has just finished a new book, called French Taste: elegant everyday eating.   To read more about this truly inspiring lady, you may visit her website on www.lauracalder.com
 
Tips from Laura: I LOVE this dish (it’s one of my top five recipes). Since it’s vegetarian, anyone can eat it, and it has the convenience of taking only half an hour to cook. To make it a little more substantial, I often stir in a couple of cups of cooked rice to the finished lentils. This is very delicious and very beautiful:  a bowl of red-orange with a vibrant splash of green set on top.  It’s nice too that you can make it basically anywhere in the world you live. Don’t forget a squeeze of lemon juice at the end – it’s important.
 
This recipe appears in Laura Calder’s book ‘Dinner Chez Moi’. The author has given her permission to use it in this e-cookbook as well.

quinoa soup with veggies

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Quinoa_soup
 
 
Spring may be in full glory on my little island, yet today it feels more like the fall. ‘It’s a day for soup!’  I thought, and I instantly searched my fridge to see what vegetables I had.  15 minutes later, with a hearty appetite and a little imagination I prepared a delish quinoa soup! It wasn’t long before a tangy aroma filled my kitchen:)
Here’ s a step by step to this easy, super-healthy, nutritional and asolutely yummy recipe:
 
Servings: 2
– add 3 cups of water in a pot and allow to boil
– sprinkle with herbal salt and dry parsley
– add: 1 finely chopped onion, 1 grated medium potato, 1/2 cup grated pumpkin (or any other vegetables to your liking)
– add 1/2 cup of quinoa
 
15 minutes later, your soup is ready!
Kali orexi (bon appétit)