Isn’t it crazy how smells can evoke certain memories? I still remember the perfume my best friend and I were both obsessed with back in high school and every time I smell it, I think of her (“Body” by Victoria Secrets in case your wondering!). I also remember the smell of the gum my husband used to chew when we first began dating and all the sweet, romantic memories that comes with that smell. Well, I went to the farmers market today and saw a booth by the “Cucumber Man”. How could I pass up a booth with a name that cute?! I got home and began cutting this cucumber and instantly, memories of my childhood flooded my memory. My family is from England and every weekend, cheese, tomato and cucumber sandwiches were a staple in our home. Very “British” right?! Yes, “cups of tea” were there as well! Cucumbers with anything seemed to be popular in our home. I remember my brother wouldn’t eat his ham sandwiches without them, no salad would be put in front of us without cucumbers and somehow they always made it onto our pizza (weird, right?!).
The “Cucumber Man’s” cucumbers were just bursting with flavor, freshness and that beautiful “cucumber” smell you only get from organic, fresh, home grown cucumbers. Its so scary thinking of where our food comes from these days. I am currently taking a class in Eco-Nutrition at CSNN and we read a book called “The End of Food”. Yes, sometimes, documentaries and books of this nature are a bit over-the-top, however, it still gets you thinking of where your food comes from, how far did it travel to get to the grocery store, what chemicals were used, why can’t our government approve “GMO” food labelling (WAY TO GO VERMONT!), etc.
The GMO debate is a big one, but I think we should at least be informed of whats in our food and allowed to make our own choices about what we put into our bodies. If its not labeled, how will the general public know whats in it?! If something has been genetically modified, I want to know! There have been no tests on humans since GMOs began so we are basically the human guinea pigs of this world-wide, real life experiment. Its sad really, that the good ‘ol family farm is slowly losing to the big corporations that use genetically modified seeds with tons of chemicals in order to make higher yields, and yet that vegetable has less flavour and nutrients due to the chemicals. Man, I could go on about this forever (I just had to delete an entire paragraph ha ha). My last word on this will be to just start looking into where your food comes from, support restaurants that buy locally, get to know your local farmers at farmers markets (if possible), ask questions, and seek out information on whether the big companies you buy from use GMO seeds (more than likely if its not organic, they do!). I’ve got a “biking and bee” tour set up this summer as well as an organic egg farm tour! Can’t wait to blog about those!
We watched a really informative and eye-opening documentary for school: Seeds of Death. Sounds a bit out there and dramatic, but so much of the information was an eye-opener for me; I encourage you to watch it if you can! Here are a few great apps I have on my phone that are helpful in determining the standards of certain companies while shopping: “Good Guide”, “nonGMO” and “Buycott”. Some interesting websites to check out as well:
Sometimes I hate living in this cold place called Canada, but then there are times like this that I am so grateful I moved here and opened my eyes to healthier living.
And I digress.
Back to the market! Not only did I rack up on fresh, local (mostly!), organic veggies from the market, but ironically, one of my best friends living in NYC had just sent me a photo of her lunch: a summer cucumber-mango salad. I knew I had to give it a try….plus an Anise touch!
If you’re a pasta-lover like me, then you’ll love this with soba noodles! I’ve made this salad with soba noodles instead of quinoa before and it was ah-may-ZING! However, I was out of soba noodles and the quinoa does provide complete protein that you would normally only get with animal protein. Give it a try and let me know which way you like it!
P.S. My news…
This was never a message I wanted to send to my readers. I’m actually procrastinating writing this part of the blog post. Sadly, this might have to be my last blog post until I am finished with school. Health is so much more than nutrition: its taking care of our mental health as well. Its learning when to say no and taking time for ourselves. My stress has gone up significantly the last couple of weeks due to school and its only going to get more intense until I graduate in July. I have learned to stop committing to so much so that I don’t feel overwhelmed and can still give 100% to my education, which is the most important thing right now. Well, not committing also means not committing to taking a break haha. I’m not going to say that this will be my last post until I graduate, but it very well might be. I love blogging and sharing my thoughts and recipes with my readers; and the photography is a great way for me to break away from studying for a few hours. However, realistically, I need to concentrate on school and my health first. I want to get the very most out of my education at CSNN and I feel as though I may be spreading myself too thin. If this is my last blog post until I graduate, I can’t wait to come back at the end of July with new recipes and nutrition tips as I will officially be an R.H.N!!!! Please don’t forget to take care of yourselves as well: nutritionally, physically and mentally. All my best,
- 2/3 cup quinoa, rinsed thoroughly in a sieve or 1 package of soba noodles
- 1/2 a cucumber, cut into chunks
- 1/2 a mango, sliced and cut into bit-size pieces
- 1 avocado, cut into chunks
- 3 radishes, sliced thin or cut on a mandolin
- micro greens or pea shoots to garnish
- 4 Tablespoons fresh lime juice (approximately 5 limes)
- 2 ½ Tablespoons sesame oil
- 1 Tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
- 1 ½ Tablespoon fresh ginger, minced thoroughly
- 1 Tablespoon soy sauce or tamari
- 3 teaspoons honey
- 3 Tablespoons chiffonade fresh mint
- Prepare quinoa: In a small saucepan, bring 1 1/3 cup of pure water to a boil with a pinch of salt. Add quinoa, reduce to low heat, and cover. Let cook for 15 minutes then check the quinoa. If the water is absorbed, taste to make sure it is cooked through. If not, add a bit more water and continue cooking until it reaches desired consistency, although 15 minutes should do the trick. After water is evaporated, let it sit with the lid on for 5 minutes. Fluff with a fork and set aside.
- *If using soba noodles, cook the soba noodles according to package instructions, rinse in cool water, and set aside.
- While the quinoa or soba noodles are cooking, prep your vegetables and make your dressing. In a jar with a tight fitting lid, combine lime juice, sesame oil, extra virgin olive oil, ginger, soy sauce and honey. Stir in mint and set aside.
- Once the quinoa or soba noodles have cooled, add cucumber, mango, avocado, and radish. Toss with some of the dressing and garnish with micro-greens or pea shoots.