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Making Email Your Friend Again

What is your relationship like with your email? Do you check and check it throughout the day whenever you are bored or have a break? Do you check it every time you get a notification of a new message? Do you get stressed seeing how many unread messages are in your inbox? Many of us fall into at least some of these categories and none of them are helpful to your health. You deserve better… let’s do something about it.

What’s the Problem?

Though this is a topic worthy of a fuller discussion another day, it is important to know that multitasking is a myth. Our brains can, at best, do one mechanical (ingrained) task and one task that requires thinking at a time. When we are trying to work on a thinking task, any distraction pulls our attention out of this work and has us search out what it is to assess what to do with it. For general, background noise, some of us can get good at tuning things out, but the more attention that is required to work on the thinking task at hand, the more disruptive the interruption can be. It may take a bit of time to get back into focus and get work started again. Multiply this by repeated distractions and work can become quite untenable.

The dings, pop up messages and whatnot of email notifications are there to tell us that we have something new to look at and deal with in our inbox. And if decades of psychology have taught us anything, it is that we really like new things, and the unknown potential of what that new email could be can be quite irresistible. So, the fact that we are trying to get stuff done on a task that requires focussed attention and that there is the potential for an email to arrive at any time and notify us, which is super addictively stimulating, this is just a problem waiting to happen. Not only will every email notification break your flow of work, but the mere knowledge that there is a chance for an exciting distraction can also be enough to make it hard to stay on task. You might find that you start looking to see if something new is waiting for you.

What research is uncovering

The detrimental effects that this kind of repeated distraction is not mere conjecture or pop psychology babble. There is a growing body of research that points in the direction that when we have poor boundaries around when we check email, we can get more stressed and even start to exhibit inattention symptoms similar to ADHD. Comparing one group that was allowed to check their email as often as they wanted to one that only checked it three times per day, psychologists  Kostadin Kushlev and Elizabeth Dunn found that the group with no limits was significantly more stressed than the other.

There has been much more researched and written about this, but the point is clear: when we leave ourselves open to doing everything, we end up doing nothing. Our work productivity then looks more like a car spinning its wheels, which adds to frustration and stress.

What to do about it

The solution is pretty easy to say but may be harder to do: set limits on checking your email. Like any habit, if you are used to checking your email often it might take some time to get used to doing it differently. It is not overblown to refer to these behaviours as “addictions”. Like with all substance use and behavioural addictions, one will go through a period of withdrawal when they remove the object of addiction. So, be patient and easy on yourself. Your new habits of good boundaries and increased focus will start to feel more natural.

Here are a few tips to help you forge a healthier relationship with your email:

Set fixed times to check your email.

Instead of the take-it-as-it-comes approach, decide when you will make some time to dedicate to going through your email inbox. One recommendation is that if you are not willing to spend fifteen minutes processing and replying to email, then you should not do it at all. Try checking in the morning, at lunch and in the late afternoon or evening for a week and see how that experiment feels. You can check your email more or less frequently than that, but the point is to only do it at fixed times and for a predetermined duration. In other words, turn it into a task, not a distraction.

Turn off your email notifications.

Once you have a routine for when to check your mail, you need to turn off the tap of notifications. If you go into the settings on your smartphone, tablet or computer, you will find options to do this. You may even want to turn off the badge that shows the number of unread emails to further reduce any distractions and stress. Don’t worry, your email will be there when you check it. You are not stopping checking your email, you are just delaying the gratification of checking it willy-nilly and giving yourself dedicated time to spend on it.

Set up a mindful work environment to keep your focus.

I wrote much more thoroughly about this in a previous post, but the gist of it is to create a working space that is conducive to keeping you focused on the task you want to complete. If you set up a dedicated workspace that you only use for such tasks, you will also have the additional benefit of having your mind behaviourally get used to “shifting gears” to get ready to do that particular task you do in this space. This environmental and behavioural cue will make it easier to get and stay into the working mode you want to get things done.

Our technology has made it too easy for us to access pretty much any information we want anytime we want. This extreme freedom has led us to believe that we should be able to have access to everything, anytime, anywhere. This just is not healthy and our poor minds just can’t do it. Thinking that we can or should just leads to overload and stress and ultimately leaves us disengaged from the world around us and the other people we share it with.

Everything that was just said about email equally applies to texting and social media. Feel free to experiment with some new, healthier boundaries with your technology and see how you feel.

Now, turn off your device and go outside for a walk…

by Kurt Frost

A Mindful Work Set-up to Get More Done With Less Stress

Getting work done can be a challenge. Maybe you are working on an important project. Your bookkeeping might be piling up or taxes need to be completed. You might even just want to catch up on your email or have some reading you want to get done. All of these tasks need your focused attention to complete.  Without a plan, monkey mind will creep in and you may “wake up” to your behaviour in 45 min wondering how you got onto searching through Amazon or getting up for yet another snack.

Lucky for you, there are some straightforward ways to organize your environment, technology and yourself to supercharge your working focus. Nothing is foolproof – you can always undermine your work if you are not disciplined – but this mindful workflow may help you get some more traction in getting more of what you want to be done each day.

Focussed work starts with good boundaries

If you want to really focus on a task, commit to doing it in as many ways as you can.

  • Schedule time on your calendar for this task and make sure you don’t have other tasks or appointments that will conflict with your mindful work session.
  • Make your personal commitment to work a public commitment by telling work colleagues and family that you are going to be working. Let them know for how long you will be unavailable and to not disturb you during this time.

Make your working environment match your mindful work intention

We tend to resonate with our environment. I mean this in a very practical sense. If you are in a scattered, chaotic environment, you will struggle to not be distracted. Conversely, a simple, quiet environment removes external distractions and allows the mind to focus more on the task at hand. (This is the same recommendation, by the way, that is made to set up an area to meditate in.) Keep these ideas in mind when setting up an area to work in:

  • Find a quiet room or area away from visual distractions and interruptions from others.
  • If possible, close the door or use headphones or earmuffs to block outside noise.
  • If you have that door, put a do not disturb sign on it.
  • Unplug or mute your phone.

Set up your mindful workspace

Now that you have a mindful environment to work in, you need to do the same for your immediate workspace:

  • Arrange all of the tools you will need for the job around you…and NOTHING more.
  • Prepare your workspace ahead of time, like the night before, so you can get started working immediately.
  • If this task is one that you do on a regular basis, consider making a project kit or workflow to be ready for each time you work on that specific project. This means putting all of the tools for that project in one place, like a box or a drawer (even if you have to buy a duplicate item to have on hand, like a pen or scissors). This will save you spending precious work time searching for all of your stuff when you want to get started.
  • Make any final washroom trips, get a glass of water or drink of your choice and grab anything else that you need to work.

Mindful-ize your tech

If technology is involved in your work, get your laptop or smartphone into a state so it can be helpful to your mindful work and not be a distraction waiting to happen.

  • Put your device into do not disturb mode or turn off notifications. You don’t need new emails, texts or social media posts vying for your attention.
  • Close any programs that are not needed for the task at hand. You do not need visual temptations or unforeseen distractions. (There are many apps available that turn off access to specific websites or apps that you might want to look into.)

(For more info about how to mindfully use your smartphone, check out this previous blog post.)

There are always more things to help keep you focussed

  • Set a timer 20 or 30 minutes and then stretch your legs for a few minutes before starting another working block. You can set the timer for longer than that, but do not have work sessions for longer than 50 minutes, as it is hard for adults to generally focus for longer than that.
  • Place a blank notepad with a pen beside you to write down any thoughts or ideas that come to you while you are working. This is an important tool because instead of diverging from your work to look into that thought or using up precious mental real estate trying to remember it, you can just jot down a quick reminder on the notepad and then return to work confident that you have captured it for later.
  • Play non-distracting music to help you stay in the groove. Generally, it is recommended to stick to instrumental music, without a catchy melody, so you don’t have new, exciting info for your mind to attend to. Alternately, you can stream white noise or a brainwave focusing “binaural beats”.

Not all tasks need the same level of focus and mindful support. Take from these suggestions the ones that you think will help you most and try them out. Add your own focussing tools to really make this mindful workflow your own. Most of all, make mindful working a priority for yourself. There are always important things that you want to get done. If you don’t make the time to do them and give yourself the supports to help you follow them through to the end, your mind will just slip off to the next shiny object and another opportunity will be lost. You deserve better than that. So, make mindfulness part of your workflow and add a little more satisfaction to your day.

by Kurt Frost

Kitchari – An Ayurvedic Cleanse Staple

Kitchari literally means a mix or a mess, so this dish is a mess of rice, usually Basmati, and beans, usually mung beans.  Mung beans are the easiest bean to digest.  The spices are traditional Indian ingredients, but there is no reason why you can’t experiment with others.   It’s a very grounding dish and is great to enjoy after a cleanse or to eat as a cleansing food.  If you’re eating this dish specifically to give your digestion a break, limit or omit spicy ingredients like red pepper flakes or cayenne.

There are thousands of variations of kitchari in Indian kitchens (like masala chai – everyone’s tea is different). This Sugar Ridge version, with amped up ginger and cardamom gives the dish a depth of savory.

Ingredients

1 cup mung beans, soaked
1 cup basmati rice, washed
1 large onion, sliced
2-3 cloves garlic, minced
1 tbsp minced fresh ginger root
1 tsp ground cumin (or use whole seeds)
1 tsp cardamom
1 tsp cinnamon
¼ tsp ground cloves
2 tsp black mustard seeds (optional)
1 tsp fenugreek seeds
1 tbsp coconut oil
2  cups water
1 can tomatoes with their juice
1/2 cup chopped fresh cilantro (a handful if you don’t want to measure)
¼ cup fresh mint chopped (about 8 – 10 leaves)
Bragg’s Liquid Aminos or sea salt to taste
3 to 6 cups veggies:  potato, squash, green beans, snow peas, cauliflower, etc.

Instructions

Rinse the mung beans and rice together under running water until the water runs clear.  You can soak them together overnight if you want, or for a few hours before you cook this.  Soaking helps the grains to come alive a bit and reduces the amount of time needed to cook. 

Drain and discard the soaking water.

In a large pot with a lid, heat the coconut oil over medium heat. Add your choice of seeds and toast until the mustard seeds pop. Add the other spices and cook for about 30 seconds, stirring constantly. Add the beans and rice and stir until they are coated with the spice mixture.

Add the water and tomatoes, with their juice, to the pot and bring to a boil. Break up the tomatoes as you add them into the pot.  Lower the heat to simmer and cover. Cook until the beans and rice are soft, but not mushy, 20 – 30 minutes.

During the cooking process add whatever veggies you want to the pot and allow just enough time to cook based on the size and density of what you add.  Small pieces of potato need about 15 – 20 minutes while green beans need 3 – 5 minutes to cook through.  Serve warm with chopped cilantro & mint and either Bragg’s Liquid Aminos or sea salt, to taste.

3 Tips to Use Your Smartphone More Mindfully

By Kurt Frost

Our smartphones are often seen as a distraction or a necessary evil to keep in touch with our larger world or as a fun escape. Rarely do we treat these devices as mindfulness tools. This is exactly what yours can be if you take some time to consider how you can use it with your health and well being in mind. With some tweaks to the layout, settings and apps you download, along with some mindful re-commitment to your working relationship with it, your smartphone can be a great asset to keeping your focused and calm. We could all use a little more of that!

Below are a few tips to get you started on the path to mindful smartphone mastery. I will post more going forward, so keep checking back.

Decide what you want to use your phone for.

Though your smartphone is really just a mini computer, you really shouldn’t try to use it for all of your tasks. Some things are much better done on a tablet or laptop. Instead of using it as an everything device, think about what activities your smartphone can uniquely do the best for you.

If social media is a black hole you can get sucked into repeatedly throughout the day, consider only accessing those sites via your laptop. You can always add these apps back again later if you decide you cannot live without them. Just don’t sell short any opportunity to make your smartphone more mindfully in line with the things that matter most to you throughout the day.

Liberally use do not disturb to keep your focus.

If you always keep your ringer and notifications on, then you are basically telling your smartphone, and everyone else, that you are available all of the time, at a second’s notice. This contributes to feeling more stressed. Turn on the do not disturb mode on your device when you are having important conversations with others or doing deep work.

If you want to make a more radical, mindful move, try keeping your smartphone in do not disturb as a default and then mindfully check it throughout the day for messages and notifications. You can always turn it off if you are waiting for an important call, but the point is that you can choose how to consume the information from your smartphone and not be at its mercy when it has something new to give you.

Use reminders to keep yourself on track.

Every smartphone has some version of a reminders app. Add several reminders to the beginning, end and throughout your day to gently bring your attention back to where you want it. For example, you can add a reminder to do a short meditation in the morning or evening or to stop for a few deep breaths during a chronically stressful part of your day. Don’t rely on your brain to keep track of all of this for you. It will only add to your busyness and stress.

For more enhanced features, like being able to easily set hourly reminders or get mindful messages randomly sent to you throughout the day, there are multitudes of other apps you can download.

If you liked these tips, please email and let me know. If you have any questions or specific things you would like to know more about using your smartphone more mindfully, send that off to me too.

You may also wish to add your email using the link below to sign up for the newsletter for the Mindful Smartphone series. In it, I will not only post the latest blog posts but occasionally share new content and updates on my work to help you use your technology more mindfully.

 

Teriyaki Gravy

I think this is the most requested recipe at Sugar Ridge!  Easy to modify with any seed or nut butter with each having a unique flavour.  Thanks again to Caroline Dupont!

Ingredients

1 1/2 tbsp tamari

1 tbsp lemon juice

1 tbsp maple syrup

3 tbsp almond butter, or peanut butter, or substitute any seed butter (tahini is great)

3/4 cups water (less if you want the sauce thicker)

1 tsp garlic – depends how strong your garlic is and how much you like it

1 tsp ginger peeled and chopped

Optional hot sauce (we never use it in case someone wants it mild). You can always add hot sauce but you can’t take it away!

Process all ingredients together in a blender until smooth.  Heat gently and pour directly over dish.  You can make this thicker like a gravy by using less water, or serve it thinner over a rice bowl.  Freeze leftover sauce and re-heat when you need it.

Serve with rice noodle bowls or thicken and serve with grilled tofu.

Puff Ball Mushroom Soup with Tarragon

If you can find a puffball (Big – I mean huge – white round fungus that is found in Sept/Oct at Sugar Ridge) then use this in addition, or instead of whatever other mushrooms you have.

Ingredients

  • 4 -5 Onions, sliced
  • 8 cups sliced Brown Cremini Mushrooms (or whatever you have – older mushrooms have more flavour so check the reduced rack at the grocery store)
  • 3-6 cloves Garlic, minced (as much as you like)
  • 1 – 2 tbsp. Dried Tarragon
  • 1 tbsp. soy sauce
  • 2 – 4 cups water
  • 1 cup Almond milk (soy or rice are fine too)
  • 4 bouillon cubes (use organic veggie, or mushroom flavours)

 Preparation

  1. In a soup pot, slowly fry the onions and garlic in water to caramelize them.  They will become translucent, then brown, then almost liquid.  Basically liquid, sweet goo – yumm!
  2. Add the sliced mushrooms and fry until soft.
  3. Add the water to just cover the mushrooms, bouillon cubes, Bragg’s or soy sauce, & tarragon. Simmer for about 20 minutes. Use homemade veggie broth in place of the bouillon if you want.
  4. Puree using a hand blender in the pot, or use a blender, mixing small batches at a time and transferring to another pot.
  5. A variation in texture is to blend half the soup and leave half chunky.
  6. If the soup is too thick, add milk to thin it a bit. This soup wants to be thick though so don’t overdo it!
  7. Salt & pepper to taste. Serve with crusty bread & not so crusty friends.

A Taste of Turkey ~ Muhammara Dip

With Liz on retreat in Turkey at the moment, we thought why not share this recipe for Muhammara Dip!  This is a sweet and spicy taste of Turkey, and is quickly becoming the latest substitute for hummus.

Ingredients

3/4 cup pomegranate juice
3 red bell peppers, washed
3 Tbsp bread crumbs – panko is best
1/2 tsp ground cumin
1/2 tsp sea salt
1/4 tsp red pepper flakes (more if you like it hot)
1 clove garlic,  minced
1/2 cup raw walnuts, loosely chopped (use a seed if you need nut free)
1 Tbsp olive oil – optional
2 Tbsp lemon juice

Instructions

  1. Heat the pomegranate juice in a small saucepan over a medium heat until it reaches a low boil. Then reduce heat to a steady simmer (low/medium low) and cook for 20-30 minutes or until reduced by half. Set aside to cool.  Voila:  pomegranate molasses!
  2. While the juice is reducing, heat oven to 450 degrees F and place whole bell peppers directly on a baking sheet. Roast for 20-25 minutes or until blackened on the outside. Cover with foil to let steam and cool for 10 minutes.  When cool enough to handle, peel away the core, seeds, and skins and set aside, keeping the red pepper flesh.
  3. In a food processor, combine all the ingredients except the roasted pepper flesh.  Use a pulse setting instead of blend so that you can choose the degree of puree you want and either leave more texture or try it very smooth.
  4. Then add the flesh of the roasted peppers and pulse a few more times to combine.  Taste and adjust flavor as you like; adding more lemon for acidity, garlic for “zing,” chili flakes for spicy heat, pomegranate molasses for sweetness / depth of flavor, sea salt for saltiness, or cumin for smokiness.
  5. Serve with fresh pita, crackers, or vegetables of choice! This tastes best when fresh but it can be stored in the refrigerator up to 3 days in a sealed container.   This is nice served warm but at the very least room temperature.

Protein Ponderings

Sugar Ridge has been serving guests plant-based meals for 10 years now.  Over the years I’ve been routinely asked 2 questions.   “How do you get enough protein” and “Why don’t you serve meat here”? So I thought I’d address them here.

Most people don’t have the opportunity to experience their body on a meatless diet.  If you don’t know what you don’t know, why would you change?  Most guests leave saying they would like to eat more vegetarian food if only they knew how to prepare it.   The experience of one’s own body thriving, feeling increased vitality in just a couple days speaks for itself.  People leave Sugar Ridge knowing they can thrive without meat.  The experience is education enough. 

Side Effects of Eating Meat

I don’t want this to turn into a rant so I’ll suggest that you look into a few facts that in general, we try to avoid and which, in my opinion, if everyone cared about, there would be an end to suffering when it comes to food.  In no particular order these are other reasons we don’t serve meat:

  • lack of arable land – deforestation to graze cattle, loss of rainforest
  • lack of fresh uncontaminated water – most available fresh water feeds domestic livestock
  • starving people – grains used to feed livestock could feed far more people than the flesh of those animals
  • obesity epidemic – unhealthy foods are cheap
  • many diseases directly affected by meat consumption include diabetes, heart disease, kidney disease, osteoporosis, arthritis
  • animal cruelty – no animal destined for slaughter is happy with the process
  • dairy isn’t meant for human consumption and contributes to illness, including osteoporosis
  • global warming – according to the UN the livestock industry creates 55% of greenhouse gases (methane from livestock is worse than CO2)
  • the meat industry is not sustainable – we’re running out of land as the human population grows
  • low nutrient quality of food – factory farming depletes the soil, GMO’s – we still don’t know long term effects
  • focus on macronutrients (protein, fat & carbs) leaves the body hungry for missing micronutrients, so we keep eating

My focus here at Sugar Ridge is mindfulness and food has always been a big part of that whether guests know it or not.  The present moment is the one in which we have power to influence our health, wellness and the wellbeing of the planet.  The decisions made in the present moment affect our future individually and as a species collectively.  The decision to eat meat or not is one of those opportunities.  So much suffering is attributed to the meat and dairy industries.  And not just the suffering of the animals involved, but the human suffering as diseases become normal, lifespan is now decreasing, forests are destroyed, people are displaced, and water is contaminated. 

The main reason we don’t serve meat is that I refuse to participate in the harm of your body, the harm of animals and the harm of the planet through global warming.

The Protein Myth

The protein answer is pretty easy and it’s really just about education.  Most people are misinformed about nutrition in general and get their dietary education from the media, from the plethora of food commercials, from good intentioned (but uneducated about nutrition) health professionals and a lot from powerful food lobby groups.  It’s easy to see how people get misinformed when everywhere they turn they’re told to eat more protein, carbs are bad and fat is good (or bad) depending on the day.  Just think about who’s paying for that ad.  The protein myth is one that can be dispelled quite easily. 

Protein is one of the three macronutrients needed by our bodies. The other two are carbohydrates and fats. Our bodies need each of these for proper cell functioning.  Metabolic processes happen with the aid of enzymes and every enzyme is made of protein strands.  The body itself is made of proteins.  The paradox of protein is that it is not only essential in your diet but too much threatens your health and is linked to serious illnesses like cancer, heart disease and diabetes.  It’s virtually unheard of for healthy people who have access to food in general to have a protein deficiency.  On the other hand, many people need to reduce protein under doctor’s orders.

The myth part of the protein craze stems from the fact that animal protein is called complete, whereas most vegetable proteins, but not all, are called incomplete.  Protein is made up of various amino acids and every plant has many amino acids but few have all of them in the proportions we need to thrive.  Thus they are called incomplete proteins.  Animal flesh, dairy and eggs are complete proteins because they contain all of the amino acids.  But that doesn’t mean you will have a protein deficiency by not eating meat or dairy.          

When you eat protein-containing foods, the digestion process breaks down protein into amino acids to make them available for use by your body. Nine of the 20 amino acids are essential because our bodies cannot make them on their own. This means we must get them from our diets. We don’t need to consume protein; we need to consume amino acids. 

Vegetables have protein too!

Complete proteins in the vegetable world include quinoa, hemp seeds, soy products, carrots, brussel sprouts, cabbage, cucumbers, kale, okra, peas, cauliflower, corn, eggplant, potatoes, summer squash, sweet potatoes, tomatoes, and bananas.  

We do not need all essential amino acids from one food or meal because our bodies are able to store amino acids for future use.  Food combining used to be popular but now it is understood that you don’t have to consume all amino acids in the same meal or even in the same day.  Although all vegetable foods have protein, some have more than others.  You can divide the vegetable world into seeds, nuts, legumes and grains with the combination of any two providing all essential amino acids.  We naturally combine these foods because they taste great together, so it really takes no effort to get all amino acids.  For example, a peanut butter sandwich, rice and beans, hummus with pita bread, lentils with rice or quinoa, a wrap with tempeh and so on contain all essential amino acids.  Note this doesn’t take into account the protein in vegetables and fruits. If you eat a variety of whole foods throughout the day, you get enough protein.

A vegan diet has plenty of protein, as well as minerals and vitamins and micronutrients that a healthy body needs.  Animals that are killed to be consumed by people have plant-based diets, getting all their protein from the plants they eat.   Cows are huge just eating grass (it’s also where they get their calcium).  Every plant has some protein in it.  All protein ultimately comes from plants, either by consuming an animal that consumed the plant, or consuming the plant itself.  Eating the plant is easier on your digestion.

Protein and Disease

According to the World Health Organization most North Americans consume more than double the recommended dietary intake of protein.  The WHO suggests we should have 4.5 % of our calories from protein.  You probably don’t need as much protein as you think, and you’re more than likely getting enough, even if you follow a vegetarian or vegan diet or even a raw vegan diet.

Many diets that have been popular over the last few years have had a focus on high protein and low carbs.  These diets actually promote weight gain over time.  Animal flesh is denser than plant foods, has no fibre, and has a much higher caloric count by volume, taking up much less space in your stomach than an equivalent amount of calories from plant matter which has a lot of fibre.  So, you tend to eat more calories since you don’t feel full, and you can miss out on micronutrients which your body needs, leaving you still feeling hungry despite the calories you’ve consumed.   

People who consume animal products with every meal are taking in approximately 5 times the recommended amount of daily protein.

I encourage you to do your own research and don’t take my word for it.  I am intentionally leaving out references so that you will go find your own.  The truth is out there!  I know I was surprised, angry and disappointed the more I learned.  The science is there.  Match what you find to your own body and eat so that you thrive.  The same diet isn’t right for everyone.  Find yours and don’t be fanatical about it or it causes more stress which will undo all the good that the diet does.  Plant-based eating can include meat, just not much.  If you want to transition to eating a more plant-based diet think about the starch, fat and veggie side of a meal and build around that.

Mushroom Stroganoff

This is an old recipe that Liz has had for years and slipped it into the cookbook on a whim, but we’ve been getting a lot of wonderful feedback on this recipe! Try it for yourself and let us know your thoughts. 

Mushroom Stroganoff

This was one of those comfort foods I used to love as a kid.  My mom would make a huge pot of it (with beef and sour cream back then) and we’d eat it for a couple days.  Now I make it with mushrooms in place of the meat but same old goodness and hug for the tummy.  My mom would serve it over egg noodles but any wider noodle like linguini or fettuccini are fine too.

Ingredients:

  • 1 12-ounce package fettuccini or linguini
  • 2/3 cup water
  • 1 large chopped onion
  • 2-3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 6 cups fresh mushrooms – use a variety (cremini, oyster, shitake, button) and if they’re small enough leave them whole
  • dash of cayenne
  • 3 tablespoons white wine
  • 3 tablespoons soy sauce
  • 1 cup soy or nut milk
  • 1 cup vegetable broth
  • 2 tablespoons cornstarch mixed in 1 cup cold water
  • fresh ground pepper
  • fresh tarragon (or dried if you don’t have any available)

Instructions:

  • Place the water, onions and garlic in a large pan and cook for 2-3 minutes.
  • Add mushrooms and cook until they soften.
  • Add all remaining ingredients, except for the cornstarch mixture. Mix well and cover.
  • Cook over low heat for 20 minutes, stirring occasionally.  Remove lid if too much liquid is accumulating from the mushrooms.
  • While this simmers, cook the pasta according to directions on package.
  • Slowly add cornstarch mixture to pan, stirring as you add it and stop when sauce is thickened to your desire.  Discard any excess cornstarch mixture.
  • Ideally the pasta is ready when the sauce is finishing.  After draining the pasta transfer it back into the pot and spoon some of the sauce into the pasta coating it well so it doesn’t get sticky.  Serve immediately with mushroom mixture over fettuccini.
  • Garnish with tarragon.

 

Lemon Tahini Dressing

This salad dressing is super easy to make and a guest favourite.  Its lemony, sweet and tangy flavour is great on any salad.

2 tablespoons tahini
2 tablespoons maple syrup
1 tablespoon lemon juice
2 tablespoon apple cider vinegar

Mix ingredients and drizzle – or use as a veggie dip.

 

 

 

 

Chef’s Tip: Our awesome cook, Sam, did a ingenious variation of this recipe.  She removed the vinegar, added water instead, along with some icing sugar and made a drizzle that we used on cookies. Delicious!