I may have returned back to work full-time but slowly rekindling my interest in eating and blogging. Post-op, I found I had very little appetite but once I had enough energy, I was pretty excited about what I wanted to experiment with: juicing. With a tender digestive system (I always found this an all-too-common description amongst HLBs, albeit completely relevant in my case after a surgery), I knew I needed lots of nutrition without fibre overload. Green juice to the rescue.
I inherited my grandmother’s old juicer and must admit that I have only made homemade juice a handful of times. These past few weeks the old juicer was a real trooper. I also learned it was incredibly hard for me to juice kale and greens, although perhaps the hardest part was juicing the stem because once I stopped that, it went much smoother. I also found it easier to juice a lot at once so that I only had to clean the juicer once. With a quick shake, the juice lasts a few days in the fridge.
I played around with a few juices from Superfood Juices and my favourite was this green juice with kale, cucumber, celery and green apple. Yes, I even included the celery since it was not too much and it added a savoury hit to the juice. Beautifully balanced, light and not too sweet. It was lovely.
The juices in Superfood Juices are unique, yet approachable. Fruits and vegetables themselves are superfoods and this book aimed to include extra “superfoods” as well, such as coconut water, maca, cacao powder, acai berry powder, and also (more unusual) sea buckthorn berry juice, mangosteen juice, aronia berry juice and noni juice. This specific green juice also called for spirulina which I omitted without problems. There are suggestions for substitutions (like swapping unsweetened cranberry juice for aronia berry juice) but they are usually highlights to a recipe and could easily be omitted.
The recipes are enticing: honeydew mint chia fresca, mandarin ginger kombucha spritzer, kale martini, warm spiced fresh cider, carrot maca juice, but also seemingly impossible combinations like carrot ginger ice cream or chocolate-mint noni soft serve. A few more down-to-earth options are present too: strawberry rhubarb juice, cantaloupe ginger juice and celery greens juice.
Thankfully, the publisher allowed me to giveaway the cookbook to a reader living in the continental United States. To be entered in the random draw for the book, please leave a comment below telling me about your favourite juice flavour combination. The winner will be selected at random on May 20, 2015. Good luck!
Recipes from Superfood Juices spotted elsewhere:
Spectrum Juice (Carrot, Beet, Apple, Kale, Lime)
Long time no chat. I feel like I have been revived back to life. Those past few weeks seemingly lost into the neverlands. Of course it was all in the name of recovery, but I am at a loss for words as to how I spent my days. I certainly wasn’t at work. There was barely any blogging. I aimed for a short walk a day, usually to the nearby grocery store although sometimes just around the block. And eventually I started feeding myself.
At risk of sharing TMI, bear with me. While most suggestions after bowel surgery is to eat a high fibre diet, I found I needed to scale back my typical fibre rich meals. This was one meal that was very easy to make and worked well. I figured the sauerkraut would be good for adding probiotics after a long stretch of antibiotics but I also really liked this with some smoked tofu. I told Rob the smoked tofu reminded me of cheese although he denied it vehemently. He agreed it looked like cheese but it did not taste like it.
Avocado toast is definitely the sandwich du jour, but it wasn’t until we travelled through Guatemala and Honduras that I truly appreciated its versatility. There was a stretch where I had avocado toast (with refried beans and fried plantains) for both breakfast and dinner. It was just too good. Here is Rob’s play with refried for one of our snacks. Enjoy!
Have you ever had a rough recovery from surgery?
Lest you think I have bounced back from my surgery in record and couldn’t wait to go back into the kitchen, I am working on some sharing some special meals prior to our trip. Truthfully, my appetite has taken a while to bounce back and we suspect my standard vegan diet contained too much fibre for my (at-the-moment) delicate gut.
As we move towards spring produce, this quick and easy stir fry with mushrooms, cabbage, sauerkraut and soy curls is delightful with a hit of fresh dill. The recipe is from The Great Vegan Protein Book and was originally called “Cabbage-n-Kraut with Seitan” but I alternated the main protein source, swapping seitan for soy curls. After a taste test form Rob, he told me I had just made a vegan version of the national Polish dish, Bigos, traditionally known as a Hunter’s Stew with different kinds of meat simmered with cabbage, sauerkraut and mushrooms with a touch of tomato. Score!
For those concerned with protein sources as a vegan, The Great Vegan Protein Book helps by tackling that question directly. Main vegan protein sources, legumes/beans, whole grains, nuts/seeds, tofu/tempeh and seitan are highlighted in the recipes. Ingredients less often thought as protein-dense, such as nutritional yeast and including vegetables such as mushrooms, broccoli and Brussels sprouts, are also highlighted making recipes that are quite diverse. There are also snacks and desserts, including a No-Bake Choco Cashew Cheesecake with 9 g protein per serving.
All recipes include the protein content of each dish, although no other nutritional information like total calories which is a shame. Certainly the dishes featuring tofu, tempeh and seitan contain the most protein. Examples include Tempeh Banh Mi (41 g protein/serving), Higher Protein Sausage (86 g protein/sausage), Sesame Seitan Super Salad (55 g protein/serving), Pecan-Crusted Seitan Cutlets with Brussels Sprouts (51 g protein/serving), Braciola (68 g protein/serving) and Homestyle Potpie (47 g protein/serving). There is also a Beans and Greens Bowl with 23 g protein/serving and the BBQ Lentils with 12 g protein/serving.
Personally, I like to plan my meals around some sort of vegan protein. Once you figure that out, the rest of a balanced meal naturally takes place. Beans will contain protein and carbohydrates, tofu and nuts contains protein and fat, etc. Rounded out with some vegetables, this is how I try to craft my eats. This book is welcome to my cookbook collection with its varied and balanced meals.
Thankfully, the publisher allowed me to giveaway the cookbook to a reader living in the United States or Canada. To be entered in the random draw for the book, please leave a comment below telling me about your favourite vegan protein and how you like to cook it. The winner will be selected at random on May 1, 2015. Good luck!
Recipes from The Great Vegan Protein Book shared elsewhere:
Apple Breakfast Farro Burrito (with a giveaway, too)
Unicorn Tacos (with a giveaway, too)
High protein seitan recipes shared here previously:
Long time no chat. A quick turn of events had me in the operating room over a week ago and recently returned home. I was incredibly grateful to be back in Canada when this happened and could only imagine what would have happened in Guatemala with my nearly non-existent Spanish.
In any case, after a surgery, it is normal to progress your diet from clear/full fluids before resuming your regular diet. My mom threw together this soup, not once, but twice, for me to nosh on while in the hospital and once I returned home.
Super creamy from the blended carrots, the ginger is a natural pairing (and possibly helps reduce nausea and vomiting). The addition of the lemon rind (without juice) kept this light and not too acidic (which has been a problem for my belly since surgery). But perhaps most of all, I hope you can see how brightly coloured this soup is. More yellow than orange, it was positively vibrant. It reminded me of Nigella’s happiness soup but this one tasted better. And had no turmeric. I wonder if the nutritional yeast helped to make it more yellow.
As well, thank you for all the positive feedback on the wedding photos. Our photographer had another teaser this week. I cannot wait to see the find photo album.
…we are not human beings having a spiritual experience; we are spiritual beings having a human experience ~ pierre teilhard de chardin . . chasing the setting sun and exploring the back roads of Honduras was such an incredible moment…pinch me i must be dreaming . . #wedding #chasinglight #makeportraits #nikon #explore #seekadventure #travel #mylife
Carrot soups shared here previously:
Long time no write!
My longest blog hiatus is definitely worthy of a wedding and honeymoon. I know a few were interested in photos and here are a few teasers from our fabulous photographer, Gabe McClintock.
After a partial whirlwind through Honduras and Guatemala following our wedding, we returned to Toronto earlier this week. I was hoping to bring a bit of spring and summer back with me, but Toronto is still fairly cold with (freezing) rain this week. Channeling my continuance of all things avocado (albeit of the Mexican variety), I could not resist them at the grocer. I still managed to stock up with lots of vegetables and then threw together this quick and easy salad.
Consider it a chunky avocado dressing, or an avocado scramble salad, the flavours are bright and flexible. The different veggies conferred different textures while enveloped by the creamy lime avocado mash with a hint of cheeziness from the nooch. The black beans help to make this a filling complete meal salad. It was excellent and I recommend eating it at once as the leftovers were not as vibrant. Alternatively, sprinkle with a touch more lime juice when reserving. While not necessary, I added the salad on top of leafy greens. I have a bad habit of being leafy greens and then not eating them. Here’s to eating more greens. And warmer weather.
What are you wishing for lately?
I must admit that I was drawn to making this because it had the word “summer” in its title. With frozen corn, canned tomatoes and fresh produce available even now (zucchini, spinach, red bell peppers and cilantro), you could almost imagine was made in the summer. This is probably one of most colourful curries, due in part, to all the rainbow of colours from the vegetables.
Rob and I (very briefly) considered taking our bikes out this weekend (we skipped right over snowshoeing) but while the temperatures are nice, the roads are littered with salt, sand and even some small snowbanks.
I am kind of hoping that once we return from our trip, spring will be here for real. Especially since I am already planning/imaging what I want to plant in my garden pots for the summer. I have missed my forest of fresh herbs.
Love does not consist of gazing at each other, but in looking outward together in the same direction.
~Antoine de Saint-Exupery
Even when you think everything is ready to go for the wedding, little things keep popping up. Rob needs to buy a belt; maybe I should get my nails done before we leave; we should pick some readings for the ceremony; we each need to write our vows. So while I have been silent on the blog, life has been anything but.
Rob and I want a short and sweet ceremony. We didn’t even discuss readings until I sat down to write my own vows. I was inspired by some absolutely fabulous quotes. So much so that I wanted them a part of my ceremony. So now we have readings.
I kind of want to tell you all about our choices (I am that excited about them) but I don’t want to ruin the surprise for my guests who also read my blog. So, you will have to wait (sorry for the tease). If you want some vegan wedding porn, this one looked super cute (eco friendly on a farm!).
Otherwise, as we try to eat the remainder of our perishables before we leave, this is a perfect way to chow down. I consider these as almost non-recipes since it is basically roasted vegetables, beans, rice and a sauce. Here I returned to our staples, sweet potatoes, broccoli, chickpeas and brown rice. We love steamed broccoli but since I was roasting the sweet potatoes, in went the broccoli as well. The sauce is a lovely pantry-friendly creation (ignoring the ginger and garlic) with a heavy dose of miso and toasted sesame oil with a tahini base (although certainly not overpowering). Humble or not, this is a great meal to have on hand.
Miso and/or tahini dishes shared here previously:
I am sharing this with Bookmarked Recipes.
You guys are too kind. Based on the responses from my last post (and my post earlier this year about non-recipes), here’s to sharing some of my simpler eats. I will share my blog sabbatical during my honeymoon and hopefully come back rejuvenated. This is actually an easy recipe to share and I could not wait to share it with you.
I have made this two weeks in a row. Its first debut was when my parents came down last weekend and I threw it together for a late Sunday meal. Everyone devoured it, returning for seconds soon after polishing off their first bowl. After one bite, my Mom declared she loved it and proclaimed I could serve it for her anytime. Big win! YEAH!
While there have been glimmers of sun before and after work, I decided to continue to deliciousness into this week. It is rather a humble bowl of vegan goodness (brown rice, pan-fried tofu and kale) but the star of the bowl is the glorious peanut sauce. Sweet, spicy and saucy with a hint of curry powder. Mix it all up for a delicious meal.
Our veg staple in the fridge is broccoli and our protein of choice are chickpeas, which I contemplated for my second iteration. Worried it would be a tad repetitive (broccoli + chickpeas + peanut sauce is a common occurrence on this blog), I stuck with kale and tofu. To be honest, I don’t think I have ever made simple steamed kale and I was surprised how sweet it was. It was also ridiculously easy to make, so I definitely consider this meal a kitchen success.
What is your go-to simple meal?
Peanut sauces and dressings spotted here previously:
With less interest in writing on my blog, I wonder whether it has become boring. Have I reached a point where things are so similar they are not worth sharing? With a new set of colleagues since moving back to Toronto, I receive curious questions about what I eat, so even the most humble meals may still be blog-worthy. However, in this case, I dare you to tell me you’ve tried something like this. Sweet and tart pomegranate arils. Smoky onion tofu bits. Crisp and cooling cucumber on a bed of baby arugula drizzled with an apple-infused creamy dressing.
I was inspired by a sandwich in Vegan Sandwiches Save the Day! but opted for a salad version instead. A winter salad which will propel us into the springtime salads. Those plants will be growing soon enough, right? They are covered by a foot of snow, but I hope it is only melting form here on out. In all honesty, Rob and I are winding down in the kitchen, working on last minute details before the wedding. Can you believe it was 2 weeks before my wedding before I thought to ask my Dad to walk me down the aisle? Oh dear, eh? (He said YES! hahaha)
What kind of unusual combinations have you cobbled together in a salad?
I have been lucky to be able to cook from so many fabulous cookbooks. I always try to share my favourite recipe for you to try as well, but sometimes there are so many good recipes. This dish was simplified, slightly from the Buddha Parcels in Keep It Vegan (as reviewed originally here).
Instead of making parcels (cute but not too practical), I put all the vegetables in a big glass tray and roasted them with a sheet of aluminum foil overtop. The sauce from toasted sesame oil and sriracha was spot on perfect, and I wonder whether the vinegar was the best part. Not that I tasted it, but it was a lovely marinade.
I used sweet potatoes and sweet red bell peppers and it complemented the spicy sauce. Because of the lid, the kale gets steamed from the juicy vegetables. Not that kale chips would be bad, because I think they were fabulous on this roasted vegetable and kale chip pizza.
There is a nice (albeit small) side of cardamom-lemon infused rice in the cookbook, but I ended up tossing the vegetables with chickpeas and brown rice. Enjoy it with your favourite protein.
I am sharing this with Shaheen’s Eat Your Greens.
Oddly enough, these last few months have been the hardest for me to blog. My new normal is scrambling the night before to cobble together a post. The recipes and photos are ready to go but I just don’t know what to say.
It isn’t that I am getting bored with my eats (I am most certainly not) but they are certainly fitting a similar theme each week. What can I say? I know what I like and I like to eat it.
Here, I took Gabby’s recipe which took an Indian-spiced tomato sauce with some (leftover, in my case) roasted spaghetti squash and cooked chickpeas. It did not disappoint in the slightest. Something a bit different than my bean-centric curries, loaded with strands of spaghetti squash. Totally a winner.
What are your oft-repeated meals?
I am sharing this with Bookmarked Recipes.
As I told you earlier, this weekend Rob and I completed the pool portion of our PADI scuba certification. Amidst Toronto’s cold, donning bathing suits in an 86F pool (and all the scuba gear) was a pleasant adventure, as we each described our plans for wanting to learn how to scuba dive. Some of the participants were going to head to Grenada for an ecological mission, others to Indonesia and Thailand but the majority, like us, were preparing for Caribbean destinations in a few short weeks.
The interesting thing about PADI certification, is that while yes, you learn how to scuba dive, the majority of the training is how to work your way through different challenges and how not to inflict harm on yourself. Lung overexpansion injuries, decompression syndrome, and contaminated air, it was actually kind of neat and definitely not anything we learned in medical school. If anything, Rob and I will probably be very happy spending more time in shallow waters than using more air in deeper depths. But we’ll see what it is like when we get there.
If you are at all interested in water ecology and environments, I highly recommend this excellent article all about jellyfish. Fascinating look at how they are taking over the waters.
However, I am willing to bet you are here for some good food. This is a basically a noodle topped with stir-fried veggies (broccoli, mushrooms, and even some edamame) and fried tofu then doused in a miso-ginger sauce. I used kelp noodles here but soba would work equally well. I also think this would work great with a quinoa or brown rice base, too, but it is nice to mix things up. Enjoy!
How are you keeping warm during this blast of cold? My thoughts are still with those digging out in Atlantic Canada (see the impressive photos here).
This is my submission to this month’s Pasta Please.
One can never have too many soup recipes, especially during the heart of this very cold winter.
However, this isn’t your standard red lentil soup. Have I ever shared a standard recipe? Probably not.
The red lentils are infused with coriander and star anise, spiked with orange juice and a touch of fresh ginger gives you a bit of a bite. This split pea soup has also has ginger and coriander, but the orange and star anise were a refreshing twist. Flavours that seemed a tad unusual but worked very well.
Red lentil soups shared here previously:
I am sharing this with Souper Sundays.
Desperate times call for desperate measures.
This weekend was a doozy of a cold fest. With the long weekend, I briefly contemplated using the snow in my favour by breaking out the snowshoes… until I realized just how cold it was. With temperatures near -40C with the wind, Rob and I opted to stay inside most the weekend.
We actually had a plan. We needed to study.
We are working to becoming PADI scuba certified. Since our wedding in one of the best places to go scuba diving, we decided to capitalize on the uniqueness of the location. 5 hours of videos, 300 pages of a manual and multiple questions, we spent the majority of the weekend tucked away reading. Next weekend, we will attempt our pool portion of the training. Sadly, outdoor dives here will not resume until June, so we won’t be certified before we go, but it will make it much easier to go scuba diving.
Around this time of year, it is probably a good idea for us to go through our pantries and cold rooms. Please tell me I am not the only one with winter squashes that always seem to linger throughout the winter. No better time to use the winter squash along with a new variety of bean. Especially in curry form.
Susan gifted me these black chickpeas awhile back and I will admit, I prefer regular chickpeas. However, this curry was spectacular. There were a multitude of spices, added at different times to the curry, which created a rather optimally spiced dish. The fennel and panch phoran make this Bengali-inspired and a bit different from our typical curries. The black chickpeas made for a beautiful visual contrast but regular chickpeas could work, too.
How did you stay warm this weekend? Any scuba divers with beginner tips? :)
Happy Valentine’s Day!
While the blogosphere blows up with desserts, here is a fun way to add even more chocolate to your meals. Cocoa jerk tofu tacos. No stranger to brightly flavoured jerk foods (e.g. Jamaican Jerk Plantain Soup and the ever classic Jamaican Jerk Tempeh Wraps), I have never seen it with the addition of chocolate.
The recipe is courtesy of Superfoods for Life, Cocoa which is a vegan cookbook devoted to adding more chocolate to your meals. The book explains the health benefits of chocolate and shows you ways to incorporate it into your breakfast, lunch and dinner, including desserts (obviously). Sweet and savoury.
This has been my favourite recipe so far, and I probably would not have tried it had Sayward not raved about it. The perfect balance of tangy, spicy (not too spicy) with flavourful spices (allspice, oregano, cinnamon) and the raw cocoa powder merely lent a deeper flavour. This did not taste like chocolate. It was also really simple to put together, with a quick marinade mixed in a baking dish which was then baked altogether. I served it as tacos with a spoonful of mashed avocado but Matt also recommends eating it with a side of rice, beans and/or plantains. Rob doesn’t like onions too much, so if you are like him, reduce or replace the onions with more bell peppers.
It took me awhile to review this cookbook because I quickly realized it is hard to eat chocolate so often. Even with the savoury meals, sometimes I got tired with my leftovers prematurely so I had to space them out. I will also admit was not that adventurous to try all of Matt’s suggestions yet (bana ghanoush with cocoa powder, cocoa coleslaw, choco-spinach lasagna). However, it just goes to show you how novel some of these recipes truly are.
I wish the cookbook was organized more intuitively for finding the recipes, but I cannot determine the method to their madness. I think they are organized based on health benefits (ie, preventing stroke, diabetes, etc). The chapters are labelled as such: Heart-Healthy Cacao: Little Bean, Lots of Benefits and Cacao on the Brain: From Stroke Prevention to Cognitive Function.
Here is a sample of the recipes shared elsewhere:
Thankfully, the publisher allowed me to giveaway the cookbook to a reader living in the United States or Canada. To be entered in the random draw for the book, please leave a comment below telling me about your favourite unusual way to enjoy chocolate. The winner will be selected at random on February 22, 2015. Good luck!
PS. I am sharing this with Vegetable Palette.