Finally! Something I've been wanting to post for awhile: healthy fridge inspiration from some of the most nutritionally-minded people I know! I was inspired by the good people at Well+GoodNYC
, who present a celebrity Refrigerator Lookbook every few weeks. I thought it might be fun to include something on the blog to show that regular [albeit awesome] folks can have well-balanced, whole foods-centric fridges, too -- without the personal trainer, personal chef, personal shopper, etc. Use these posts as inspiration to find some great local food in your area and stock your own kitchen with these wholesome, home-cooked treats.
First up this week is Meg [residing in beautiful Toronto]. She is a yoga teacher, nutrition aficionado, local-, ethical-, and sustainable-food advocate, and all-around amazing human being. (Check out her website - Lalita Yoga - here!) I asked her to snap some shots of her household goodies to share with the blogosphere. Enjoy the foodnography [and the great almond milk + tahini dressing recipes]!
Can you give me a brief description of the main things on each shelf?
Top shelf is where I keep most of my leftovers, homemade condiments and quick snacks, and store bought add-ons. In this picture, that's carrots (cut up & stored in the small tupperware with a blue lid) & roasted red pepper hummus, leftover lentil coconut curry (in the medium tupperware with the blue lid), pickled beets (my favourite!!) and then for condiments I have homemade lick-the-bowl dressing (more about that later), tahini, organic natural peanut butter, pure local maple syrup, Earth Balance, organic sour cream (for my husband when we have Mexican night!), vegenaise, leftover coconut milk, and locally made small farms-sourced apple butter, onion chutney, and walnut/mushroom pate. The thing I'm most proud of on this shelf is in the clear container with the black lid - that is my own homemade cashew sour cream. It's vegan, and you can turn it into pretty much whatever you want (add it to burritos, let it thicken & spread it like cream cheese, stir in herbs to make tzatziki, or thin it out & add garlic for a yummy alfredo sauce) - it's amazing!!
On the second shelf is where I keep my week's prepped foods. This week I also picked up some gardein vegan meats to try out for fun - their garden burgers & their chick'n strips. Both were really good! My husband is not vegan but since I do most of the cooking, I like to offer him meaty alternatives sometimes, so he doesn't feel like he's missing out by eating vegan dinners.
We also try to keep plenty of fresh water in the fridge. I have the Brita Jug, which is just plain water, and I have some cute 1L bottles from Ikea that I will sometimes fill with water and flavour with mint or lemon when I bring fresh herbs home from the market. I think we all should always have good tasting water on hand!
On the bottom shelf I keep the more traditional protein
staples, and our bread: in the back there is a loaf of rye bread & whole wheat hamburger buns (we usually try to avoid wheat but we are treating ourselves to the veggie burgers this week). We also have farmer's market eggs for my hubby, several different kinds of tofu (I love to scramble firm tofu for brunch, and blend soft tofu with spinach & artichoke to make an amazing spin dip). I also buy yummy samosas from the farmer's market sometimes if I'm planning to make curry - his are chicken, and mine are tofu & spinach. They are homemade, baked, and so good! Right now I've also got a roll of phyllo pastry defrosting that I have to figure out what to do with...
I am all about prepping food for the week! What's in the Tupperware containers? What's your system?
The glass tupperwares with the red lids are my babies. They are my pride and joy, and where I store all my go-to healthy prepped foods for the week. This week I've got: kidney beans, black beans, chickpeas, brown basmati rice (I mixed in a bit of thai purple rice which made it all go purple, so fun!), quinoa, green lentils, cut up mushrooms, cubed & roasted beets, roasted butternut squash (cut into chunks), and cubed & roasted sweet potatoes (soooo yummy). I try to spend some time each week (usually on Sunday morning/afternoon) prepping foods to store for the week. We tend to have relatively lazy Sundays anyway, and I find having a pot of beans or rice simmering on the back of the stove, and a tray of roasting veggies in the oven while we're cooking & eating brunch doesn't hurt anyone, and it helps us eat healthy all week! I use the contents of these tupperwares to make meals throughout the week - lunches are usually a combination of beans, rice, quinoa, kale, and roasted & fresh veggies mixed with my lick-the-bowl dressing for a really quick, very satisfying lunch. Lately I have started making baked tempeh triangles from YOUR recipe, Amy, to crumble on top of or eat alongside a salad, and they are soooo addictive. YUM!
Where do you do your shopping?
I shop at the St. Lawrence Market & Farmer's Market on Saturday mornings. I love shopping at the farmer's market - I get to know all the farmers and artisans, and they know me too! I try to mainly buy local produce, and its so reasonably priced here, and I can ask as many questions as I want about how it's grown! I shop on the regular side of the market for my bulk food items (dried lentils, beans, etc) and my bread. I'm excited for the warmer weather so I can start biking around again on the weekend to check out all the farmer's markets in Toronto - there is one in almost every neighborhood, and they are so fun to explore!
What's your favourite thing in the fridge right now?
That's definitely my lick-the-bowl dressing. I got the idea from Urban Herbivore, a vegan restaurant in Kensington Market (and they just added a location in the food court of the Eaton Centre, which is near my house & makes me sooo happy!) - they have a tahini based dressing that is creamy, tangy, and richly delicious. For my dressing, I combine about 3 parts tahini with 1 part of each: olive oil, balsamic vinegar, tamari (or soy sauce), and mustard (I like to use a really tangy & spicy mustard - right now I've been different Kozlik's mustards, like their sweet & smokey or their horseradish mustard... they are the best!). Change up your proportions to suit your taste - I like my dressing to have a lot of kick so I use a lot of mustard, and I like the deep sweetness of the balsamic, so I go heavier on that too. Mix up everything together, thin out with water as needed, and keep in a tupperware for up to a week. I guarantee you'll lick the bowl when you make it! The dressing will thicken up as it sits, so just scoop out what you need into a little bowl, thin it as much as you want with water, and mix with your favourite grains, legumes, and veggies.
What are your plans for the fresh produce?
My fresh produce is mostly in the drawers of the fridge, and usually consists of bell peppers (my FAVOURITE vegetable), kale (a close second!), mushrooms, and then whatever I see that looks good at the farmer's market that week. That can be anything from zucchini, beets, eggplant, leeks, and asparagus, to collard greens, bok choy, garlic scapes, or carrots in a rainbow of colours. I use my veggies in a variety of ways: cut them up to snack on (I dip them in the hummus), use them in curries, stir fries, on pizzas, or in salads/grain bowls. I try to add lots of veggies to every meal, and try to make veggies the majority of my snack food too.
What's in the clear jug on the door? Did you make it yourself?
That is homemade almond milk! Yes I did make it myself - it's so easy! I started making my own almond milk when I learned that most store-bought non-dairy milks have carregeenan in them to thicken them up, which is actually a carcinogen! Plus it's way easier to walk home with a bag full of groceries that contains a 1/2 cup of almonds, instead of a huge heavy carton of milk :)
To make it, all you need to do is soak a 1/2 cup of almonds (put them in a bowl & cover them with an inch of water) overnight or during the day. Drain & rinse the almonds, then add them to your blender with 2 cups of water. Blend it up really well, and then strain it into a bowl (I was using a dishcloth to strain it, but I just invested $14 in a nut milk bag which makes it way easier!). Give the dishcloth/nut milk bag a really good squeeze, almost like you're milking it! Once you've squeezed all the milk out of the almond pulp, dump the pulp back into the blender, and add 2 more cups of water. Blend up again, and repeat the straining process. You'll now have about 4 cups (1 litre) of milk, and as a bonus you can keep the almond pulp to add to your morning oatmeal, or to muffins - whatever you like! If you want to sweeten or flavour your milk at all, throw it back in the blender and add a tsp of the sweetener of your choice (or more if you prefer) - I like to use maple syrup when I sweeten mine. You could also play around with adding cocoa powder, or a few strawberries, to flavour the milk if you like. I tend to just keep mine unsweetened, so I just funnel it from the bowl into a bottle with an air tight lid, give it a good shake, and keep it in the fridge for up to a week. The whole process (besides soaking the almonds) takes only about ten minutes!
Thank you so much for being the first of our fridge features, Meg!
What's happening in your fridge this week, all?
Stay tuned for our next fridge feature from a cleanse enthusiast! Interested in having your kitchen featured? Send me a note amy [at] fromthegroundupwellness.com.