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Tajin Mango & Watermelon Salad


Salut!

Yes my loverlies, I have finally returned. Just in time for Tasty Tuesday!
It has been very rough this summer and I had to step back from everything, unfortunately, that included blogging. As we are in August and summer will soon be drawing to a close, I wanted to post something delectable, simple, and perhaps new for your taste buds!
Tajin was something I discovered recently in town.

I went to Oui Mango after running errands in the Alexis Nihon mall in the downtown core here in Montreal.
Here's an article link that talks more about these wonderful people who are working hard to share something delicious from another culture with all of us:
https://montreal.eater.com/2019/6/27/18761356/oui-mango-montreal-restaurant-opening-pizza-new-yorkaise-bibiko-minowis

When I am out and about, I have few pickings in the gluten free realm, especially when I am pressed for time and want something healthy but flavourful.  I had never heard of this before and the Chef in me went bonkers after my first bite. I took it in the traditional way, which uses three simple ingredients.
Fruit, Tajin seasoning and lime.
I watched it being prepared and realized I could re-create it with ease.
I don't live in town anymore and traveling for a zesty, spiced mango kick for 2 hours is not gonna happen.
I found the Tajin at our local Asian market where they have a well stocked section of products from Cuba, Mexico, and more.
It was $2.99 for the little shaker bottle. Coupled with a few mangoes and limes, I had a mini-tajin mango feast in the making for less than $10, to share, and scarf down.
As I was making the recipe and realized that I could totes throw in some watermelon I had in the fridge, to the mix.
Success!
I did a simple pic layout down below for you to see how to best cut the fruit. For those more skilled in the kitchen this may seem utterly ridiculous but not everyone is sure of themselves in culinary settings. I prefer to give too much info than not.

Enough blabbing, you came for fruity goodness and I shall deliver!

TAJIN MANGO & WATERMELON SALAD:

Ingredients:

1 Cup cubed cut fresh watermelon
1 /12 Cups cubed fresh mango
1 tsp Tajin spice mix (I add more but start with kess and add as you go after the lime juice because it can be a bit intense for some)
Juice of 1/2 lime fresh squeezed.

Method:

-In a bowl combine the fruit and sprinkle with the Tajin seasoning. Stir gently.

-Sprinkle fresh lime juice over top, mix gently. Add more Tajin seasoning if you like.

-Serve immediately or chill in fridge for 1 hour.
I had to taste test as I went along because what kind of a monster doesn’t do that before posting a recipe?!?
Feel free to omit either of the fruits, if you are allergic or don't like one of them.


Super refreshing and has a nice tart, limey, salty, sweet kick! You’re going to love it and so will those you serve it to.
On a little side note, my son prefers watermelon minus the tajin but liked the mango. My mother tried both and said they were good but watermelon was not as good as the mango. I enjoy both but choose which combo or single flavour floats your boat!

There will be some more gluten-free noms coming, so keep checking back! Perfect bites to sink your teeth into for the school year and upcoming fall season, here’s a sneak peek!
I love to hear from yah so leave your questions or comments down below.

Take care, be well, love freely.

Chef Kiki

My 2019 Organic & Heirloom Garden Adventures!


Heloodles sweetpea's!

I am back with wonderful and fun-filled gardening adventures! This May 2019 marks 1 full year out of the toxic black mold environment and I am so happy to announce that I am doing great!!! Not 100% but man am I healing and growing, in leaps and bounds! I feel so very blessed and grateful.
An unfortunate side effect of the mold poisoning, was that I had been truly ill with constant autoimmune response, and thus unable to garden since summer 2016. I tried in 2017 but had no energy and was in such debilitating pain all the time, that it made the rigours of planting and harvesting unlikely.

Well, this year there's nothing holding me back from getting my green thumb on!


Where we moved to there's a lot of backyard space and my landlord is super chill with my gardening, as long as I don't dig up his terrain. This worked out perfectly, as I have been wanting to use felt pots for my "raised bed" garden. I discovered Smart Pots and Vivosun pots, which are fabric containers that allow you to garden in a very affordable manner and frugally. Double win!
For those of you wanting more of a visual, there are pics, a write-up, links, and video of these pots in use, that will be posted in the 2nd part of this 2019 gardening post.
Will link it here when it's up:

Here's what I have been up to for seed & seed starting part 1:
I am over the moon with all the varieties and cool produce I may be enjoying. This is a small portion of the seeds that I finally received, and am trying out. Out of all the seeds I got only the Scotch Bonnet hot peppers were not organic. I have a friend who has callaloo seeds and we have planned an exchange for some of my mango pick-a-peppa jelly.
Oh! yeah! It's all coming together hehhehheh.

I believe in all, I have planted, started, or am about to plant, 30+ varieties of fruit, veg, and herbs.



Admittedly, I went a little bit crazy on the variety of plants I have chosen to take on but as I was out of commission for the last 3 year's,  I want to go all out and have a blasty blast!
I purchased some organic seeds on-line, from our local greenhouses and specialty garden stores. I managed to score some unique varieties for my neck of the woods, along with cool heirloom seeds and some trusty standbys.
I wanted green tomatoes for fried green tomatoes and chutneys.
Red celery, this is supposed to taste sweeter than green varieties.
These watermelon radishes are going to get the pickling and fermenting treatment.
I will finally have organic watermelon with seeds, as nature intended, and as Dr. Sebi says is alkaline/best for us humans.
These red florence onions are a variety from France. Gonna be great in soups and stews!
I chose an heirloom and organic rainbow carrot mix, they have sprouted and I am hoping for happy tubers.
I also got this super cool Save the Bee's seed packet from my grocery store, that had them to give out for free. I had read last year that Veseys Seeds had partnered with Cheerios, to provide free sunflower seed packets to help people plant pollinator friendly plants.
I found out about them too late, however, this year I saw them on the counter near the checkout at the grocers and asked for my free seeds.
It was kinda cute watching the staff and managers scratch their heads in confusion.
They literally had no clue what they were, how they got there, and had difficulty with the whole FREE concept. After about 10 minutes, I left with my trusty seed packet in tow, quite happy.
Some people felt that Cherrios was being rather hypocritical, as their GMO products with insecticides are doing more harm than good to ravaged bee colonies, along with some of previous year's packets containing species considered invasive in some parts of the U.S.
Here in Canada I got sunflower seeds, do not eat cheerios as they are gluten full, stick to my organic cereal brands, and am planting non-invasive support plants to help bees and protect my plants from predation. You decide for yourself what you need.

I am thrilled to report that those sunflower seeds have germinated and are growing stupendously. I have big plans for those tall, pretty suckers.
Can't wait- but I will.
We found this great place not too far from me, called La Shop Agriculture, that specializes in locally grown, produced and sourced products for your garden. I will do a whole blog post on them another day, as I adore them and want to showcase their awesomeness in a post that will be all their own.
Unfortunately, it has been really rough,  weather-wise here in Quebec; and it's caused delays for all of us in the green growing community. Our last frost was supposed to be April 25th and here we are May 10th and still getting frost advisories.
Wah Wah Wah...

                           And May apparently...

Decided that I will work smarter, not harder, and achieve some gardening baby steps while I wait for sunshine, lollipops and rainbows.
Here are my beautiful seedlings that I started and I know it sounds garden dorky but I am one proud green sprout Momma!



I will have more coming up and am excited about sharing some recipes and loads of growing tips and tricks. For now I leave it here and am going to snuggle in with my cozy blankets and a good book on this wet, cold and rainy.

God bless all you gardner's out there and remember to do your part to help encourage and protect our pollinating bee colonies!

Take care, be well, live freely.

Chef Kiki

Gearing up for Spring & Moving Forward


Hello Lovelies,

It is already April can you believe it? I found March was still really cold here, we didn't start seeing the sidewalks again until the last week of the month, as we had had so much ice and snow this winter.
This is an actual pic of an area in town from the beginning of March! Yikes!!!
I was quiet the last 3 months as I accidentally got glutened several times. Definitely was not feeling well, nor was I a happy camper.
As my immune system weakened, I got super sick,  was feeling truly awful, even ended up missing work, and so I decided it would be best to do another detox fast during my week's vacay.
I managed 7 days fasting; had intended to do 10, but there were some factors in having to cut my fast short but that's a story for another day.
I have 3 specialist appointments this month for the mold and my thyroid, so am still taking things slowly. I don't really have much of a say in the matter, my health dictates the rules and I listen.
I will say that I am healing and growing in wonderful places in my life and I am very grateful to God for how far I have come. My life is looking so very different from the same time last year, I know there is still further to go but it is important to recognize and celebrate the positive health milestones.

2018 was a very difficult, turbulent, sickly, painful, loss-filled, and intense year.
2019 is all about the next stages, re-focusing, being kinder and gentler with myself, honouring where I am at and respecting where I want/need to go.
As I gain strength and renewed purpose, I find myself needing to lean on God's word and wisdom all the more. Preparing for the next chapter in my life is something that I am feeling excited about and have been slowly working on getting my ducks in a row, so to speak.
After church recently, I enjoyed a lovely girl's day out with a dear friend. We found ourselves at Winner's/Homesense, somehow we managed to do Urban Barn and Marshall's within 2.5 hours, after dawdling over a scrumptious lunch.
Little side note, what a wonder to be able to make plans, be well enough to stick to them and follow through with the whole day.
It is a testament to God's goodness and Grace, that I have come so far in such a short time. Around this time last year I was almost taken to emergency in an ambulance. I was at the emergency clinic repeatedly, having numerouas blood tests, I was on so many meds, was in horrendous pain, and fighting for my life, thanks to mycotoxin poisoning. Less than a year later, out of the toxic mold environment, and I am beginning to thrive!
Taking time out and being able to enjoy moments with friends and family is huge, and I do not take any of it for granted.
Okay, back to girlie time, so, I bee-lined for the garden and kitchen sections, and got some pots for my herbs. I landed two pots that really work with the minimalist vibe I am aiming for when I move, and they were not expensive. (Will take pics and post another day.)
Normally, I prefer to use what I have, however, when we quickly had to vacate the previous mold infested rental, much of my clay pots and containers were damaged and I was told by my specialist that it is better to leave behind as much as possible, to avoid contamination in the new abode.
Kind of left me feeling like this pic below when I considered trying to save some of the stuff I thought was too important to be without.
No touchie!
Having been in the planning stages of prepping for my new home, during the worst of winter these past 3 months, Pinterest has been my trusty companion. These are the kind of pics that have been inspiring me to declutter, decrease my belongings, and simplify in a charming and unfussy way.
I adore the clean lines, the warm wood tones against soft whites, grounding black and metallic elements, with pops of green from plants.

Baskets and potted plants, cleared counters and spaces, nothing trailing about.
             Gather, why thank you, I believe I will.
       I find the organization to be super sexy!
                            Clean, clean, clean!!!
And of course, I need a wee bit of pink. My bubble gum, bubble filled heart, overfloweth with pinky joy!
The wood with sunlight and these tall plants is calling me.
 Yeah, I am on a wood and simplicity kick.

Another thing I likey is that I have been seeing so many minimalist idea's to incorporate flowers and plants, in a way that uses a lot of what you have at home. I have a bit of a thing for Mason jars and will admit to those being my favourite's whenever I am scrolling through decor idea's.

I borrowed Marie Kondo's  The Life Changing Magic of Tidying Up, from our Library, which I discovered is literally down the street from my house! The library being so near has been a God-send during these recovery and blustery cold months. Books,  books, books galore!!!
I am taken by the whole simplify, detox, declutter, and Marie Kondo method movement.



I have yet to watch her on Netflix but that will be step 2. I have decided to really take my time and read this book very slowly, while writing down the goals and answering the questions honestly, that are in this little gem of a book. It is important to eliminate the clutter and sorrow-filled things that we stubbornly cling to. I came across a quote about needing to empty our hands to make room for the blessings that God wants to fill them with.
Jesus, take the wheel and let's clear house!



I have some happy news, I am taking a small course on-line this month! Yay me!!! I know it may seem like a small thing but believe me, it's a big deal. Mold had caused serious cognitive issues and I was legitimately frightened and noticeably concerned that I may not be able to continue with my education, let alone take any simple courses. This is a big step forward in my healing journey and my life as a whole. I feel like a bit of a serious, womanly, get her did, bad-ass!

I have been slowly but surely continuing work on my cookbook, and this course is going to help with the goal of completing it. So grateful to God for bringing me to this next chapter, I know he is guiding me at every stage.
Whenever I am unsure or seem to be floundering, something shows up at the perfect moment and works for my good. I am trusting Him and it is manifesting in the most wonderful and unexpected ways. This is God's gift for my life and I am moving my wounded heart into a healing and growing one.
April promises to be a busy month, for now I am goaling it up while remembering to self-care as needed.


April Goal's:
-Continuing my walk with Jesus
-Working on my book.
-Beginning and completing a new, short-term course.
-Making a gift for a colleague's baby shower.
-Attending all my doctors appointments and doing specialized tests, while respecting my doctor's order's.
-Stepping away from what is not healthy for me, respecting my new reality with regards to my health, and embracing the positives.
-Continuing to clear out clutter.
-Focused on self-care.
-Starting my seeds with my homemade organic fertilizer. Hey, it's April, gotta think about gardening fun!

Thanks for reading, let me know what your goals are, in the comments below. I love to hear from yah!

God bless!