Tag Archives: Breakfast

Savoury Brunch Dishes

This is a quick post to help me get back into blogging. I haven’t been able to find the time to write a post for this blog, but now that summer’s here, I may have more success. While waiting for a more substantial post, here’s one with a few of my favourite quick weekend brunch creations …

This one is my usual weekend breakfast bowl (https://mostlyveganfun.wordpress.com/2016/02/27/yummy-breakfast-bowl/), but I substituted some leftover roast vegetables and some steamed broccoli for the usual steamed spinach.

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And this one, I whipped up this morning … I heated some leftover Gujarati Potatoes from yesterday’s breakfast (http://www.veganricha.com/2017/06/gujarati-potatoes-bateta-nu-shaak.html), with some leftover Pumpkin and Mushroom Curry from last night’s dinner out at Kaya Malay Bistro (http://www.kayamalay.com/), then I added a peeled, chopped up fresh tomato and 4 leaves of fresh spinach from my CSA box.

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And this I made recently – a BLT sandwich. I made vegan bacon from tofu. I also like to use marinated baked tofu in this sandwich with a homemade spicy cashew mayonnaise, long, thin slices of cucumber, and crunchy leaves of Romaine lettuce.

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That’s it for now! Talk to you soon!

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Smoothie Bowl!

Happy Thanksgiving!

This Thanksgiving weekend, my family celebrated on Friday. This was a work day for me, so other members of the family stepped up and did all the food prep. I didn’t have to do anything except show up! So, I don’t have any Thanksgiving feast recipes to share today. Instead, I thought I would share my discovery of Smoothie Bowls. I’m thankful for Angela Liddon and her new cookbook (see below). I’m thankful for wonder, imagination and creativity.

Check out this new vegan cookbook!

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I took this book out of the library and have had a wonderful time reading it – yes, cover to cover! – and have earmarked a few recipes to try out. I’ll have to return the book to the library before I can really give it the good attention it warrants, but that’s okay because … I just bought it!

The first recipe I tried was a Smoothie Bowl! What? A Smoothie Bowl? What the heck is that? That’s what went through my mind when I first encountered the smoothie bowl recipes! I’m actually quite an accomplished smoothie maker, if I do say so myself, and I didn’t see the point of a smoothie bowl! But then I looked at the pictures, reread the recipes (there are 3 or so recipes for smoothie bowls as well as several recipes for smoothies) and thought, “Well, I have a smoothie every day for breakfast, maybe I’ll just change it up a bit, put my smoothie in a bowl, add a few toppings, and see what happens.” So I did! I actually made my usual smoothie but decreased the liquid and made sure I added chia seeds to make a thick, spoonable smoothie. And now I’m sold on Smoothie Bowls because this bowl kept me full until lunch time! I used to be hungry and ready for a snack by recess, about 2 1/2 hours into my work day, but when I start my day with a Smoothie Bowl, I’m good for another 2 hours!  Folks in the know tell me the feeling of fullness comes from chewing my food – “oral-sensory stimulation” or tricking the brain into thinking I’m eating.

http://www.prevention.com/weight-loss/weight-loss-tips/how-more-chewing-leads-eating-less

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Here’s how I did it:

1 banana

1/2 apple or 5 large strawberries or equivalent amount of fruit

1 tbsp chia seeds

1/2 cup almond milk

a chunk of cucumber, diced (about 2 tbsps)

4 cm piece of celery, diced

handful of spinach

2 large lettuce leaves

1 cm piece of ginger, peeled and diced

very thin slice of lemon, peel and flesh, diced

1/8 tsp turmeric

less than 1/8 tsp cayenne

1 tbsp hemp hearts

2 tbsps granola

1-2 tbsps nuts

Put the fruit, chia seeds and milk in a blender (I use an immersion blender in a tall, narrow container). Blend for a few seconds until combined. Add the rest of the ingredients, blending after each addition if necessary. Pour into a bowl and let sit for a bit. (I usually make the smoothie bowl up to this point, go for a walk, then finish making it and eat it when I get back). Sprinkle on the hemp hearts, granola and nuts. Sit down and enjoy eating your smoothie with a spoon!

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This Smoothie Bowl gets its colour from strawberries.

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The fruit in this Smoothie Bowl was light coloured so the green colour from the leafy greens really stands out.

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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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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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The Most Amazing Smoothie!

After years of having, basically, the same smoothie every morning, I’ve really broken out of my smoothie rut this year. With the help of sessions with Feed Life and Jiivala and information from the blog Nutrition Stripped, I’ve been experimenting with different kinds of greens, assorted seeds, super foods and antioxidants. Spinach is my favourite leafy green to put in my smoothie because it doesn’t have a flavour when it’s all blended up. Some nutrition experts recommend changing up your greens as sticking to one kind can cause a build up of toxins (alkaloid buildup) in your body. So, I try to rotate my leaves – baby kale is pretty good, fresh Romaine lettuce is good, arugula is interesting. I’ve even thrown leftover salad into the blender! (Tastes pretty good as long as there are no green onions in the salad)! A new addition to my smoothies is turmeric which has anti-inflammatory effects. Cayenne, also new, stimulates circulation and boosts the immune system. I throw some ginger in for it’s anti-inflammatory contribution and because it is good for the digestion. Lemons in a smoothie give a vitamin C boost and they are antibacterial and immune boosting.

So, here’s what I’ve been blending up recently:

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Nestled in my basil patch!

(I’ve been dying to post this picture! Look at all the fancy labels I made!)

What we’ve got here is …

a big handful of spinach

3 leaves of Romaine lettuce, chopped up a bit

1 stalk of celery, chopped

2 small English cucumbers, chopped

2 kinds of fruit (In this picture, it’s mango and apple, but try blueberries, peach, strawberries, whatever you like. Hold off on the banana though unless you’re going to drink it all right away. Banana in a smoothie, left to sit for a bit takes on a flavour I’m not partial too.)

1 tbsp. chia seeds (or ground flax seeds or hemp hearts)

1 slice of lemon, peel and all

thumb sized piece of ginger, peeled and chopped up

1/8 tsp turmeric

1/8 tsp cayenne

water

Put all the ingredients in a blender. (I use an immersion blender with a tall narrow container as pictured in the photo). Pour water in until the ingredients are covered. Blend until smooth. In a high powered blender you can get really smooth. With my immersion blender, it gets pretty smooth, but there is still a bit of texture. This makes two servings. One for you and one for a friend. Or one for you now and another for you later!

Here’s what my amazing smoothie looks like after blending:

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Beautiful green smoothie sitting in my herb garden!

The taste is eye opening and energizing and delicious. I really like the hit of ginger and cayenne. I’ve tried this smoothie out on a few people and it’s been well received by most. My six year old niece hates it, doesn’t even like the smell! “Tom” is not into it either. But two family members and two friends have given it one, if not two, thumbs up.

Here’s the same smoothie, but with blueberries. I think it has a deep purple colour, but “Tom” says it looks like sludge!

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Blueberry smoothie in a blueberry bush!

And here’s the same smoothie made with strawberries and beet leaves. I call it Ruby Beauty!

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Snuggled in amongst the leaves and petals of a red geranium!

Try it. Let me know what you think.

A note about the font: This post was written in large, black, bold font for easier access by people with vision impairments.

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Almond Milk

It occurred to me recently that making almond milk, something I’ve been making from scratch for several months, might be something that is worthy of a blog post. It’s another one of those recipes or procedures that I take for granted, that I assume everyone knows how to do. Then I realized how ridiculous that assumption was – I was taught how to make almond milk by someone, so maybe there are folks out there who would appreciate being taught by me. What do you think?

I used to buy my almond milk from the grocery store – organic, plain, unsweetened – until Colin Medhurst at Feed Life told me about carrageenan. Carrageenan is a natural ingredient derived from seaweed and is used by food manufacturers to make food products thicker and/or to prevent separation. The only problem is the consumption of carrageenan can cause inflammation in the digestive system. And guess where you can find carrageenan on the ingredient list? Almond milk! Okay, not all almond milk has carrageenan, but some does including the brand I was buying! I also learned from that Feed Life Nutrient Dense Eating workshop that it’s important to make sure the almonds I buy are sourced from Europe. Why? Because almonds from the USA, even organic ones, are irradiated before export to Canada! Can you believe it?!

So, armed with this new information about commercially prepared almond milk and almonds, I decided to begin making my own almond milk. It’s actually really easy. You don’t need a high powered blender (which is good because I don’t have one), it doesn’t take very long, the ingredient list is minimal, and the homemade almond milk tastes so much better – fresh, tasty, almondy.

So here’s how it’s done:

1.  Soak 1 cup of raw, organic almonds in water overnight.

2.  Drain the almonds, then put in fresh water.

3.  Peel the almonds. This is kind of fun! Just hold an almond by the fat end and pinch and the naked almond slips right out of it’s skin! The almonds must be wet and freshly soaked in order for the peeling to be quick and easy. If you drain the water and don’t peel the almonds right away, the skin is not so easy to slip off.

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4.  Put the peeled almonds in a blender and add 4 cups of water.

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5.  Put the lid on and blend for 5 minutes.

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6.  That’s it! Keep the almond milk in the fridge and use within one week.

7.  If you want, you can add vanilla (1/4 tsp vanilla powder) and dates (2 pitted Medjool dates) before you blend to give you a sweeter almond milk. This is great if you only use the milk for smoothies or for pouring on your breakfast cereal or in baking. If you use your milk for making savoury sauces, then leave the dates and vanilla out.

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How do you use your almond milk? I use mine in smoothies and on porridge as featured here or like this:

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This is a delicious and nutritious seven grain porridge from Galloways (which has, sadly, gone out of business in the Lower Mainland), topped with blueberries picked seconds before from the blueberry bush in our back yard. Yum!

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A note about the font: This post was written in large, black, bold font for easier access by people with vision impairments.

 

 

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Try This Smoothie

Last week I went to a Nutrient Dense Eating workshop put on by Feedlife. I’m always looking for opportunities to learn more about a plants based diet and for opportunities to convince friends and family to explore plants based eating. One of the dishes prepared by Eden Elizabeth and Colin Medhurst at Feedlife was a Mega Nutrient Smoothie. This one had some things that I’ve put in smoothies before (cucumber, kale, apple) and some things I haven’t tried in smoothies before (ginger, lemon peel, celery). Putting lemon peel in as well as the flesh and juice of the lemon was emphasized because many of the important nutrients in fruits and vegetables lie just under the skin/peel. Also, I found out that combining cucumber and celery  makes a complete protein.

Here’s the smoothie recipe I created this week, based on what I learned at Feedlife:

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1/3 of an English cucumber, coarsely chopped (leave unpeeled if organic)

1/2 stalk of celery, coarsely chopped

small slice lemon, including peel, pith, flesh and juice, coarsely chopped

1 thumb ginger, coarsely chopped (unpeeled if organic)

leaves from 1 stalk of kale, coarsely chopped

1/2 apple, unpeeled, coarsely chopped

1 banana, chunked

1 tbsp. chia seeds

1/2 cup water

1/2 – 3/4 cup almond milk

Throw everything into a blender and blend until smooth. Pour into a glass and serve. When consuming this smoothie, sip it slowly. Think about how long it would take you to eat all the ingredients and take that long to drink your smoothie.

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Another Smoothie

This morning, when I went to make my usual smoothie, I discovered we were out of two of the main ingredients (banana and spinach). So I improvised and here is what I came up with:

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1 tbsp. chia seeds

1/2 cup water

1 orange, peeled and chopped

1/3 of an English cucumber, peeled and chopped

a handful of frozen pineapple chunks

1 large leaf of lettuce, ripped into pieces

1/2 cup carrot juice

1/2 cup almond milk

Throw everything into a blender and blend until smooth. I use an immersion blender so I had to pause and remove the orange pulp from the blades before finishing the blending into a smooth smoothie.

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Just thought I’d share!

 

 

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Quinoa Porridge

Soft Food Only, No Crunchy or Crispy Food!

These are the instructions given me by my periodontist after having dental surgery. Not, actually, that difficult to follow – steamed vegetables, rice and other cooked grains, noodles, lettuce salads, smoothies, soft fruit … The potato chip ban is a little hard to take, but I can have french fries as long as they’re not too crispy-crunchy. This is what I made for breakfast today in order to satisfy the soft food only criteria, and in order to consume something filling before I had to use the nasty tasting post-surgery mouth rinse (no food or drink for 2 hours after using):

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Quinoa Porridge

(thanks to my friend Sh. for his highly recommended use of quinoa for breakfast)

1/3 cup quinoa flakes

2/3 cup water

1/3 cup milk (I used almond milk)

dried fruit *

Mix the quinoa flakes, water and milk together in a pot. Add the dried fruit.  Bring to a boil, turn down heat to low and cook and stir until liquids are absorbed – this takes only a couple of minutes.

* I used a small handful of dehydrated blueberries and a small handful of dehydrated strawberries – organic berries I obtained in the summer and dehydrated in my dehydrator, then packed in freezer bags and froze. When the strawberries are rehydrated in the porridge, the taste is wonderful. Mmmmmm!

I also chopped up half a banana and added to the top of the bowl of porridge with a bit more almond milk.

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