I’m always conflicted as I set the clocks back for yet another winter. On one hand I have the opportunity to wake up a little earlier and attempt to set my inner clock to a reasonable cycle – like getting up before noon. On the other hand farewell to my precious dusk dinners, now we can look forward to waning sunlight that much earlier.

So, here I sit, desperately trying to to cling to the first option. Having laboured – in the best possible way – through an intense aerial yoga training course yesterday with eight more hours to come today, I somehow managed to spring (maybe more like rolled), out of bed at 7:30am. Alright, I know that is actually 8:30am, but either way it’s still super early for me.

I made this little number a couple of days ago for Johnny and I. I thought I might have a hard sell on my hands – it’s healthy, bread free and packed with vegetables. To my surprise, he loved it! He said that he and his friend Nathan were just talking about cleaning up their act and this was perfect. I love it when everybody wins.

As I relish in my jasmine tea and slowly lumber along getting ready for another long day of glorious body punishment, these leftovers sit in my fridge relinquishing me from any obligation of cooking dinner tonight – did I mention these are even better the next day? Who knew waking up early could feel so good (You probably did, but this is all new for me).

Plus, how could you not want to wake up when this is what’s waiting:

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SPICY BASIL & GARLIC LETTUCE WRAPS

serves 3-4

This recipe is so fresh and crisp while being quite filling. It’s also a great way to clear out your veg drawer. You can sub in whatever you have kicking around: broccoli, cauliflower, sprouts, radishes, squash, cucumber, celery, fennel… the list is endless.

You also have the option to use all tofu or veggie ground round if you want to make it vegan, or add more meat if tofu isn’t your thing. Use ground beef, chicken, pork, turkey – or finely dice up any cutlets you have on hand like pork loin or chicken.

If you are looking for gluten free, remember to read the soy sauce label – some contain gluten – or switch to tamari.

Get a nice, fresh head of lettuce with sturdy leaves and make sure after you wash it you allow it to fully dry on tea towels so you don’t get a wet wrap. You can also use Boston Bibb, leaf lettuce or even romaine and fashion them like a taco.

Don’t be discouraged – it may look like a lot of ingredients – I assure you it’s super easy and fast (and even kinda fun). Chop up all your ingredients and have them “mise en place” style – or everything in its place – ready to stir fry.

 

150g firm tofu, cut into small cubes

3 cups diced mushrooms, cut into fairly small pieces

350g minced or ground meat

2 tsp Chinese five spice powder

1/2 tsp kosher salt

4 tbsp sesame oil

1 pepper, diced (any colour)

4 garlic cloves, thinly sliced

3″ piece of ginger root, peeled and minced or grated

1-4 thai chilis, thinly sliced

4 green onions, sliced

1 cup grated carrot

1 lime, juiced

3 tbsp soy sauce

2 tbsp sugar

1 bunch cilantro, chopped

1 bunch basil, chopped

1 head ice burg lettuce, leaves separated

optional: chili sauce

optional: hoisin sauce

 

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Combine your tofu, 1 tsp five spice powder and 1 tbsp oil in a small bowl and set aside.

In a separate bowl, mix your meat, the rest of the five spice, salt and 1 tbsp oil. Set aside.

Heat a wok or large heavy bottom skillet on high and add the rest of the oil. Add the meat and sauté until it just begins to change colour, about 3-4 minutes. Add the mushrooms and tofu. Toss about for another few minutes until everything begins to brown. Add a few tbsp water and scrape up the brown bits on the bottom of the pan.

Add the peppers, ginger, garlic and chilis. Sauté a couple minutes until the peppers soften. Add the carrots, onions, lime juice, soy sauce and sugar. Bring to a boil and mix until most of the liquid cooks off. Turn off the heat and add the herbs.

lettuce-wrap

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To serve: Scoop a few tbsp of the mixture into the centre of a lettuce leaf – chose ones that are cup-like in shape. Top with sauces, fold into a cute little parcel and crunch away!

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One more cute morning shot. It’s shameless, I know.

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