October was a bit of a mess, nutrition-wise, and boy did we feel it. We certainly ate well, but between my birthday, Thanksgiving, our pumpkin beer sampling mission, and Halloween, let’s just say that there were a few choices we could have made differently. And with a trip to Vegas coming up at the end of the month, just ahead of the holidays, it could have been an insulin-flamed dive further into poor choices without some intervention.
There will still be beer and chocolate and all that good stuff, but we’re also trying to get back to a Nordic, anti-inflammatory way of eating that always makes us feel energized and satisfied. I spent a lot of time in the kitchen this weekend – check it out!
Miso-Ginger Mussels with Mushrooms, Kale, and Siracha
Check out the size of these babies from SaltSpring Island Mussels. Adding a tablespoon of white miso paste to the broth brings out the nuances of their natural flavour: earthy, sweet and just a tad salty, like the sea. I hate when mussel broths get so elaborate that the flavour of the mighty mussel itself becomes secondary. I also added grated ginger, garlic, onion, and a variety of mushrooms.
No Sugar, No Oil Added Banana Bread. I love love love finding a new blog full of style and recipes that instantly inspire me, which is exactly what The Sweet Beet turned out to be!
I recommend at least doubling the cinnamon. I did, and some of my taste-testers couldn’t even tell there was cinnamon in it. This is one of those simple, efficient base recipes that makes my brain start firing off variations while still chewing. Next time, I think I will try adding golden raisins and unsweetened coconut. Since it was my Mum’s birthday yesterday, I brought her the extra loaf. My stepdad Jim’s recommendation for next time is to add cloves, which inspired me to fantasize about a sugar free, oil free pumpkin version. It has great flavour, but it could have been spicier and what better to put with spices than pumpkin? Or are you totally sick of pumpkin to the point of almost being willing to accept Christmas music? I know, the fall pumpkin obsession has been a bit ridick, especially on the food blog corner of the web. But what if I put pieces of 90% cocoa dark chocolate in it? See, you still love me. Thankfully, having farmers in the family means I left with lots of eggs and a sweet pie pumpkin to make all my dreams come true.
Moroccan Spiced Lentil Veggie Stoup
I was having coffee and banana bread at the farm while Mr. ST finished the cooking process on this one, so unless you want a photo of the finished product in a giant plastic container in my fridge, this is as blog-worthy as it got Lentils, mushrooms, sweet potato, red pepper, carrots, kale, and fresh fenugreek leaves that were randomly available at The Rootcellar this week! The main flavours came from healthy tablespoons of turmeric, cinnamon, curry powder, and cumin as well as the juice of a big lemon. Also, I can’t say enough about Pacific Foods organic broth. Short of making your own, it is a fantastic alternative. I used the mushroom broth because we are funghi freaks. This is lunch for the week ahead!
And finally, Whistler Brewing Company’s Chesnut Ale.
I almost hate to say it, but it must be said: This beer is better than the Granville Island Winter Ale so many of us covet from November – February every year. Like the Winter Ale, it has vanilla overtones, but the added nutty and toasty elements in this beer really add to its charm and my inability to drink it as slowly as I should. It took me right back to when we visited the brewery during our trip to Whistler back in August….
The brewery is located at Function Junction, off Highway 99. We stopped in after our train-wreck art adventure in the woods!
Whistler Brewing has consistently impressed me this year. Flavoured beer is getting a big gimmicky at this point, but we admire when a craft brewery puts thought into making the flavouring a true elevation of a beer style’s thisness (if you’re willing to get all philosophical about it). I spent my summer following up my Saturday long runs with a dip at Thetis Lake and their Pineapple Express Wheat Ale. Refreshing rainy fall runs, followed by inhumanely hot showers, meet your new friend.
Nothing puts me more at ease than a weekend in my runners, in the kitchen, and snuggling on the couch with Mr. ST. Nourishment for the mind, body, and spirit!
PS – Do you have a favourite seasonal beer yet?