Monthly Archives: February 2016

Yummy Breakfast Bowl

I’ve been wanting to write a post about bowls for some time. You know bowls … a big bowl of plant-based foods. The bowl concept has been around for a long time and was once the perview of hippies and crack-pot vegetarians. These days anyone who is a vegetarian or vegan or is trying to diminish their meat intake is getting into bowls. You can find them all over Pinterest and food blogs. But just because folks are creating them, photographing them and posting them on social media doesn’t mean they aren’t, when it comes right down to it, simple and easy and delicious and economical. You don’t need any fancy equipment or need to know any fancy cooking techniques. All you need to know is that a bowl generally consists of four elements:

  • a grain

  • a green

  • a bean/plant protein

  • a sauce

Knowing this, the world of bowls is wide open to you! To help get you started, and to get a quick post about bowls sent off (I intend to go more in depth at another time), here’s a bowl I made for my brunch today.

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This is a Mexican inspired bowl. Here’s how I made it:

  • 2 small potatoes, peeled (or not), cut in large dice (this would be the “grain” portion of the bowl)

  • 1 tsp coconut oil, melted

  • 2 large handfuls of spinach (this would be the “green” portion of the bowl)

  • 1 can of your favourite black beans (I used Rosarita Premium Seasoned Whole Black Beans – purchased in the States – I haven’t been able to find them in Vancouver) (this would be the “bean/plant protein” portion of the bowl)

  • 1 tomato, diced

  • 1/2 cup of your favourite salsa (I used Herdez) (this would be the “sauce” portion of the bowl)

  • 1/2 to 1 whole avocado, diced

  • sprinkle of salt (I used Chipotle salt from the Salt Dispensary) – optional

Toss the potatoes in the coconut oil, then roast in a 395 degree oven for 5 minutes or so, toss, roast for a further 5 minutes or so. Turn off the oven. Sprinkle the spinach over the potatoes right on the pan, put a cover on and return to the oven for 5 minutes to allow the spinach to wilt a bit. Heat the black beans in a pot on the stove until warmed through. Assemble the bowl by arranging the potato/spinach mixture on one side, a large scoop of beans beside, the tomatoes beside, the salsa beside, the avocado beside, so that everything is in the bowl, but in their separate piles. Sprinkle on the salt if using. I like to eat my bowls by stirring everything gently together, but some folks are extremely opposed to this kind of food touching business (cough-Susan-cough) so just eat it any way you like!

PS – You might notice there is no avocado in the bowl in the photo. I, sadly, was out of avocado when I made this, but would definitely have used avocado if I’d had one available so make sure you do!

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Valentine’s Day 2016 – Pizza and Roasted Vegetable Hearts

Happy Valentine’s Day to you!

“Tom” and I created another lovely Valentine’s Day supper to share with each other. This year we decided to stay with the heart theme dominated by red and white. We made heart shaped Margherita pizza with roasted heart shaped beets and potatoes.

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Margherita Pizza

individual pizza shells (store bought or make your own)

spicy tomato sauce such as Arribiata or Marinara (store bought or make your own)

cheezy cashew sauce *

vegan pesto **

1 or 2 tomatoes

3 large leaves fresh basil, chiffonaded

If making this for Valentine’s Day, cut the pizza shells into heart shapes. Otherwise, leave as is. Spread a bit of spicy tomato sauce onto the pizza shells. Put dollops of cashew sauce all over the pizza, then dollops of pesto in between the cashew sauce. Arrange thinly sliced tomatoes (I used 3 slices for each individual pizza). Bake at 400 degrees for about 15 minutes. After removing from the oven, add a few strips of fresh basil to each pizza.

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Before baking, all ready to go in the oven.

*  Cheezy Cashew Sauce

1/2 cup raw cashews, soaked for a few hours

3/4 tsp garlic powder

1 clove garlic, minced

juice of 1/2 lemon

1/4 cup water (or more)

1/8 tsp salt

a few grinds of black pepper

dash of cayenne

1/8 tsp dried basil

1/8 tsp dried oregano

1 tsp nutritional yeast

Put everything in a blender and blend for 5 minutes, scraping down the sides as needed and adding a bit more water as needed. The consistency needs to be thickish so be careful about the addition of water.

** Pesto

1 avocado

1/4 cup vegetable broth

7 fresh basil leaves (approx.)

2 cloves garlic, minced

1/8 tsp salt

2 tsp white wine vinegar

Put everything in a mini food processor or blender and blend until well combined.

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After baking, with a little bit of fresh basil added on top.

 

Roasted Heart Shaped Vegetables

2 beets, peeled

2 largish, round potatoes, peeled

1 tsp vegetable oil

Cut the beets and potatoes into slices, about 1/4 inch thick. Cut the slices into heart shapes with a heart shaped cookie cutter. Toss the vegies in the oil, arrange on a baking sheet. Bake at 400 degrees for 10 minutes, then flip the hearts and bake for another 5 minutes until lightly browned on each side.

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Check out these lovely striped beet hearts cut from Chioggia beets.

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Oh, and we ended our meal with more hearts … watermelon hearts! And chocolate of course!

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Healing Foods to Start Your Day – Porridge and a Smoothie

I’m just coming out the other end of emergency surgery, a short stay in hospital, and some recovery time at home. Although I still have a few weeks before being able to resume my normal activity level, I’m recovering and healing nicely and look forward to being back at work soon. This experience has left me even more convinced of the importance of food and diet in good health and in the promotion of healing. I mean, look at what I was served in hospital:

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This is “Tofu Adobo” and “California Vegetables” and white rice with Cranberry Cocktail to wash it all down.

Thank goodness they sent me home shortly after my surgery and thank goodness I had “Tom” around to bring me in some decent food while I was in hospital. I don’t really understand why hospitals cannot do a better job in their food selections and preparations. The two breakfast items I am featuring today would not be difficult to provide in a hospital. Yes, it would be a little more expensive to make, but the benefits to the patients would far outweigh those costs. In fact, spending a bit more thought, time, energy and money on decent food in hospitals would improve patients’ health and so lessen their time in hospital. And that, in turn, would bring down costs.

Anyway, when I got home from hospital, I wasn’t up to much for the first few days, but cooking up a pot of porridge or blending up a smoothie was easy enough. These two meals are so full of healthy goodness I could almost feel the healing happening in my body! Here’s what I  made:

Super Foods Smoothie

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1 banana, coarsely chopped

1/2 orange, peeled and coarsely chopped

1/2 apple, peeled or not depending on the power of your blender, coarsely chopped

handful of spinach

1 large Romaine (or other) lettuce leaf, torn into pieces

2 or 3 small inside stalks kale, stalks removed, torn into pieces

1 tbsp. chia seeds

1 tbsp. hemp hearts

1/2 tsp chlorella powder

1/2 tsp vegetable based B-Complex powder

1 tbsp. Saskatoon berry syrup (or other kind of sweetener) – I add this to mask the flavour of the chlorella powder

1/2 cup water

1/2 cup or more almond milk

Throw everything into a blender and blend until smooth. Serves one.

Berry Delicious Porridge

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2/3 cup water

1/3 cup organic large flake rolled oats

5 or 6 strawberries (I use frozen strawberries … organic strawberries that were picked in the summer then frozen)

1/4 cup (maybe a bit less) Saskatoon berries (or blueberries) (again, picked in the summer and then frozen)

1/2 apple, peeled, diced

1 tbsp. chia seeds

1 tbsp. hemp hearts

1 tbsp. maple syrup

a few walnuts, broken into pieces

almond milk

Bring the water to a boil, then add the oats, berries, apple, seeds and syrup. Let simmer gently until thick. Spoon into a bowl, sprinkle on the walnuts and add as much milk as you like. Mmmmmm!

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