Stephen’s Kale & Garbanzo Salad with Portabellini Mushrooms & Grape Tomatoes

Kale and Garbanzo salad (raw)

Looking for a delicious and super nutritious dish that’s easy to prepare and won’t leave you feeling hungry? My kale and garbanzo salad with portabellini mushrooms and grape tomatoes will surely please the palate and satisfy the stomach.

Kale and Garbanzo SaladIngredients

  • 1 (15 oz.) can garbanzo beans, drained
  • 3 large portabellini mushrooms, roughly chopped
  • 8-10 grape tomatoes
  • 4-5 cups kale (chopped fresh)
  • ½ cup dry white wine
  • 1 lemon, zested and juiced
  • 1 onion, diced
  • 2 garlic cloves, dices
  • ½ cup chopped basil leaves
  • ½ tsp. paprika
  • Olive oil to saute
  • Salt & pepper to taste

Method

  1. In a large skillet, sauté onion & garlic in olive oil over medium heat for five minutes or until onions soften.
  2. Add kale, mushrooms, and garbanzo beans along with paprika, salt and pepper, and sauté for an additional five minutes.
  3. Add grape tomatoes, white wine and lemon juice and deglaze the pan, allowing ingredients to simmer and liquid to be fully absorbed.
  4. Scatter chopped basil leaves, lemon zest, and adjust salt & pepper if necessary.
  5. Enjoy warm.

Kale and Garbanzo Salad (plated)

The creamy protein and fibre rich garbanzo beans work well with hearty, meat-like chunks of portabellini mushrooms to provide a satisfying bite. Add a few leaves of the world’s most nutrient-dense food on earth (read more about this here) with a few grape tomatoes for colour and taste and you’ve got a killer combo. The finishing touch of lemon juice and zest brightens the dish, increasing the intensity of flavours, and add a necessary tang to round out all the goodness colliding in this one salad. Your body and taste buds will thank you for it.

One love,

SC

Advertisements

FREE Smoothies + Grand Opening of Toss & Roll Salad Bar New Location

A few months ago I published a post on my experience at Toss and Roll, one of Kingston’s hottest and most recently opened salad bars. Since then I’ve received a number of great reviews from friends and colleagues who have eaten there, but the main concern was the location; it didn’t offer much seating capacity, and the limited al fresco set-up meant it only allowed for casual lunch meet ups. But that’s all about to change.

As was expected, things kicked off and the demand for more space, longer opening hours, and a more central location became pertinent. Just under nine months in, Toss and Roll will be relocating to 75 Hope Road (beside the recently opened Opa! Greek Restaurant) and will extend their hours to 7:00 a.m. to 6:00 p.m. Mondays through Saturdays. The redesigned menu will feature a variety of new dishes including a breakfast fare, assorted teas and smoothies, along with long-standing crowd favourites. 

Toss and Roll New Location2 Toss and Roll New Location3

Of course, fitness junkies and owners Keisha and Jermaine Bailey have managed to keep the menu quite clean and lean with fresh fruits and veggies, whole wheat offerings, and lean meats.

Come and check out their grand opening tomorrow Saturday, January 25 and enjoy discounts and free smoothies.

Toss and Roll Grand Opening

Eat right, live better.

SC

Mango-Cucumber Salad w HoneyKist® Habanero Gourmet Honey Vinaigrette

Mango-Cucumber Salad

Ingredients:

  • 2 full-sized east-indian mangoes (or your favourite kind), peeled, pitted and cut into 1 in. cubes
  • 1 lb. cucumbers
  • 1 tbsp. red wine vinegar
  • 2 tbsps. HoneyKist®  Habenero-flavoured honey
  • 1 tbsp. smoked black sesame seeds
  • 1 tbsp. sliced almonds

cubed mangoes

Method:

  1. Peel cucumber in alternating stripes lengthwise. Cut in half lengthwise and slice into ¼ pieces.
  2. In a salad bowl combine cucumbers and mango.
  3. In a small bowl, whisk honey and red wine vinegar to form a light vinaigrette. Drizzle over mango and cucumbers.
  4. Top with almond slices and sesame seeds.

cucumber and honey

This medley of bold Caribbean flavours and contrasting textures will surely leave your tastebuds in awe. Sun-ripened, naturally sweet east indian mangoes paired with refreshing, half moons of crisp cucumber slices drizzled with a light vinaigrette of tangy red wine vinegar and sweet and spicy habanero-infused honey really wakes up the tongue. For even more flavour and texture contrasts, this salad is finished to perfection with crunchy almond slices and smoked black sesame seeds. A-MAZE-BALLS!

Give it a try and let me know what you think.

Eat healthy,

SC.

mango-cucumber salad plated

Interview with Jermaine and Keisha Bailey, Owners, Toss and Roll

Toss and Roll is one of Kingston’s newest food spots. The days-old eatery is owned and operated by Keisha Bailey and hubby Jermaine Bailey at 2 Trafalgar Road, Kingston 5. (Read my post on Lunch at Toss and Roll). Patrons can come in between 11:00 a.m. and 4:00 p.m. to enjoy the freshest wraps, sandwiches, and salads, all hand-cut and assembled on spot. Delivery options are also available: call 876-879-3310.

Toss and Roll comes at the perfect time when Jamaica has joined the health and fitness movement and has embraced the eat clean, eat local concept. Let’s get to know a little more about Keisha & Jermaine’s vision to provide Kingstonians with a better, healthier alternative to lunch.

Name: Jermaine Bailey, Keisha Bailey
Age: 30, 28
Occupation: MBA student at UWI, Risk Manager at JMMB

1. Where did you get the idea to open up Toss & Roll?

  • The concept for Toss & Roll started with my sister in law Shanna-Lee Bennett who wanted to provide healthier breakfast options to a few corporate companies in new Kingston and Liguanea. My wife Keisha and I would assist her with sales and also give advice on strategy for her business. Shanna-Lee recently migrated but she’s still a part of our operations giving advice on menu planning and new items we plan to add in the future.
  • Also we wanted to provide meal options that were healthy but not necessarily vegetarian. We wanted to get away from the traditional beans and ‘ital stew’ and just provide low calorie, low fat and high protein meals to our customers. We are very big on freshness and so we prepare our ingredients daily to ensure our customers get the freshest healthiest meal possible.

2. Was the process from concept to realisation a difficult one? 

  • Getting Toss & Roll off the ground was a very tedious process. Finding the right location was a key part of our strategy and this took quite some time. Eventually we found the Small Business Association of Jamaica and with their mandate to help provide facilities for start-ups and small businesses to succeed we felt that this location would be the perfect fit for us.
  • Staffing was another important part of getting the business running so we spent months scouting around for the right customer focused persons who would delight our customers on each visit.
  • Getting the right supply of fresh vegetables and protein was also important. So from early on we sought to find key suppliers who would give us the wholesome ingredients we want to serve our customers. Our vegetables are fresh from the farm without any preservatives and hand cut daily right in our store. Our meats are also freshly done and we stay far away from using preservative and MSG etc.

3. What is your relationship with food like?

  • We are food lovers….we are very meticulous about what is served to us and so we ensure that only the freshest, most wholesome ingredients are used for items on our menu
  • My sister-in-law Shanna-Lee is even more particular about the standard of the meals we serve and so we have a dedicated team working to ensure our customers are always satisfied

4. What are your views on veganism?

  • Veganism is a healthy lifestyle also and we enjoy vegan food. We however want to position ourselves as a salad bar serving meals that are fresh and healthy…not necessarily vegetarian or vegan. Our ingredients used in our meals are packed with a wide range of vitamins and have a wide range of health benefits.

5. Where do you see Toss and Roll in the next 2 years?

  • Our plan is to encourage healthier eating habits among our customers and the wider Jamaica. In order to achieve this initiative we want to have more store locations opened some time in the medium term.
jermaine&keisha3

Jermaine & Keisha Bailey, Owners, Toss & Roll

Check out Toss and Roll on Facebook and Instagram.

(Re)gaining Control – Be the Boss of your Palate and Ultimately your Health

okra pumpkin eggplant

Okra, Pumpkin, and Eggplant, chopped and awaiting their fate. #eatclean

There’s an old adage that food is the language of love. Whilst this may be true, there’s an even greater truth to be had: food in itself is a language; and one that needs to be understood and appreciated in order to partake in the conversation.

Let’s skip back to as recent as a few years ago when I really didn’t think twice before chowing down a combo from the country’s most popular fast food chains. You know, jumbo fries, soda, mayonnaise and all. Oh yea, and extra bacon. Gotta. Have. Bacon. Why did I do it? Well, apart from the convenience and (then) affordability, it’s really what I felt for. Yup, some call it cravings, but now in retrospect I call it ignorance. Ignorance of an undiversified, uneducated, and undisputedly limited palette. You see, by limiting – however involuntarily it may seem – your palette’s exposure to foods, we are really doing our body – and health – an injustice: we limit our body’s ability to develop the language to communicate with our mind properly. I find (as Jamaicans?) we are very (too) conservative in our meal choices. We get way too squeamish, way too easy, way too often. I have one bit of advice for people like this: don’t bash it till you’ve tried it at least once. You might just discover your newest favourite dish or ingredient. Trust me on this.

Even though everyone will have a different take on the language of food, there are some key things that remain across board. Along my journey to explore the depths and heights of my palette while eating healthily, I’ve learnt a few things:

  1. Eat with an open mouth and open mind. Remember, bash not till you’ve had it at least once. Your immune system is mostly likely stronger than you think. 🙂 I am not saying to go about shoving every ill into your mouth, but if the only thing stopping you from trying it is a fear of going against the conventionality of your current diet, then by all means stuff your face with that curried turtle (Tobago) or those crunchy, nutty fried ants (Colombia). #yum 
  2. Try to discover, and possibly incorporate into your own food preparations, at least one new ingredient every month. This could range from as simple as a newly discovered spice (for example annatto seeds) or as bold as a new meat (like the abovementioned turtle.)
  3. Cook for loved ones. And aspire to inspire them with your new-found healthy takes on common dishes. NB. You might want to take it slow as not all will be as receptive as you’d hope. Don’t take it too serious though. They’ll warm up. Cooking for loved ones is more than proving your culinary prowess; it’s an opportunity to get a first hand experience at the remarkable power of food to bring people together, inspire collaboration, and form the beginning of many indelible moments.
  4. Discern the difference between eating to stay alive, and eating to, well, enjoy life. And to be healthy of course. If we slow down a bit and be mindful of what we put in our mouths we would probably be a little more cautious of the harms that are masked behind convenient, tasty, and cheap. There are many times when I’ve had to spend a few extra dollars because I chose water instead of liquid sugar (aka soda) – something I am yet to fully understand the economics behind. Or when I’ve had to pay the same price even when I didn’t take those fries or soda. Or the fact that salads almost always are the most expensive items on a menu, quantity to cost ratio respected.
  5. Become fascinated with everything food; it’s journey from farm to plate; everything in between and thereafter. Stay hungry for more knowledge. Lose yourself in the warm embrace of your kitchen (or in a good restaurant, depending on the day). Thirst for more. And more. And when you’ve think you’ve had enough, travel. You can’t possibly try every thing in your lifetime so there’s always a stone left unturned.
  6. Do you. Understand how the body, your body, responds to what it is fed. Now I am much less tolerant to carb-loaded meals and sugary drinks. I respect vegans, and as much as I’ve upped the vegetable ratio in my meals, there is no way I am prepared to give up meat. Not because I can’t, but because I don’t want to. Quite frankly there isn’t any reason to. But let’s not get too deep into this matter; that’s for another post.
  7. Get into a fitness/workout routine. I know, I know…this may sound easier said than done, and  I know most of you will immediately think you don’t have the time, or resources. But trust me, you don’t have to break the bank and join a top-notch gym, or wake up 2 hours earlier than normal to get a “proper” workout done. All you need to do is do something, and do it at your own pace. Oh yea, and try to stay committed. This may mean waking up half hour earlier to go jogging, walking to work instead, taking (an extra trip up and down) the stairs, bruk out, eh hem, eh dance to your favourite songs; whatever it takes to get your heart rate going. Now the fun part is that after you’ve started this, and if you’re any good to yourself, you will automatically begin to eat more consciously. Why? Well, for the simple fact for not  undoing the hours (minutes?) of gyrating or jogging that you gave so much willpower and time to. It’s like a chain reaction on your way to healthier, better, you.

Setting the honesty gauge to 100%, there are times when I crave the unhealthiest of things – things that have brought me pleasure in my past soda-drinking, white rice-eating life. But now I understand what those foods are, and what they do, and that maybe, just maybe, there something in that pile of loaded potato skins that my body needs.

Understanding your body and eating healthy isn’t just for those who want to lose weight or want to be part of a fitness fad. It’s much more. Think of it as another level evolutionary sophistication: knowing that you are now able to crave something else other than “comfort food”. Or better yet, that you are able to make an actual meal other than dunking something in the deep fryer.

What are some of the benefits I’ve seen personally? Well, for starters, 30+ pounds lighter; three official 5K runs averaging 30 minutes (pretty good for a one who had no prior engagement with physical activity yet alone running) with another 3 in mind before summer comes around; a renewed sense of health and fitness including my new addiction to running (we’ll get back to this later); a wealth of knowledge on food and it’s powerful ability to shape your life’s path; free products courtesy of my food blog; new and exciting friendships; and countless unforgettable moments, just to name a few.

Remember, you are what you eat.

One love,

SC.

fruit salad

ShakeItUp – Post-Workout Recovery Shake

Shake it Up! - Post-Workout Recovery Shake

My recent (i.e. little-under-a-year) fitness lifestyle has seen me more days in the gym (straining to) lift weights, trying to beat my personal best on the treadmill, or, more often than not, hopping cluelessly from one machine to the next trying to see which muscle to tear that day. The point is, by time I get home I am pretty exhausted, and in good fitness style, it is recommended that you eat within an hour of your workout routine. For me the quickest and easiest (and possibly tastiest) way to replenish the lost vitamins and nutrients – without gorging yourself that is – is with a hearty homemade smoothie or shake.

bananasBananas provide natural sweetness and creaminess to the shake, and are a good source of a host of nutrients: potassium, vitamin B6, vitamin C. They are also high in dietary fibre and low in sodium. It’s a fact that bananas are one of the most popular go-to foods when fuel is needed.

blueberriesBlueberries are a bold addition to any shake, other than turning it a rich mauvish colour. They are noted for their brain-boosting antioxidant power, high dietary fiber content, and ability help stabilize blood sugar levels. The low-calorie, immune-boosting berries also promote a healthy metabolism and recent studies have shown to help reduce belly fat. Personally blueberries are a fave, and I recently discovered that I can source them affordably at Loshusan Supermarket at Barbican Centre (see location details here.)

oatmeal rawOatmeal is star health food, known mainly for its cholesterol lowering and energy-boosting abilities.  Oatmeal also contains high levels calcium, potassium and magnesium, coupled with Vitamin B-complex. All these vitamins and minerals are very essential for the nervous system. Especially due to its high fibre and protein content, adding oatmeal to the shake provides an extended sensation of fullness, which is an added bonus for all those watching their waist (weight).

flax seeds

flax seeds

Being the number one source of omega-3s makes flax seeds a no-brainer for its anti-inflammatory and antioxidant benefits. They are also a good source of protein, fiber and B-complex vitamins, and possess notable cardiovascular benefits. Sunflower seeds also add a good crunchy texture to the shake, along with key nutrients: magnesium, vitamin E, B vitamins, protein and carbohydrates.

sunflower seeds

sunflower seeds

This is just one of the many shakes I’ve whipped up in the past. You can essentially make a shake from just about any ingredient that can be blended. What would be your ideal post-workout shake?

Shake it up!

 

One love,

SC.