ROASTED CAULIFLOWER & ZA'ATAR SALAD

If I'm going away somewhere where I know the food will be undeniably resistible, I let all my rules and guards down and really dive in. In Canada, and North America really, we create a lot of restrictions for ourselves, especially when it comes to food. We have so much available to us, at our fingertips. So much selection, so much curating. I'm always reminded of this when I travel.

It's by no means a bad thing, don't get me wrong. It feels sooo good to put "clean" and healthy food into your body. It feels good to drink smoothies, eat giant salads and whole grain or gluten free baked goods and breads. It's all part of a routine. Truly, we're spoiled when it comes to our diets. We can eat any kind and any culture of food we want whenever we want. However, that's not the case for so many countries and areas of the world. They eat what's available to them, seasonally. They import very little and live off of what they have always lived off of.

In Italy, we literally ate gelato, croissant and pasta everyday for two weeks. When we weren't drinking wine we were shooting back espresso or cooling down with a spritz. It was heavenly. But when I got home I won't lie, I was dying for a smoothie and a wholesome salad.

When I return home, I'm reminded of these rules and quickly resort back to them. But I always carry a new flavour, a new ingredient or a new perspective with me that changes the way I look at and consume food, and for that I am grateful. 

So here's a super jammed salad, that I ate for days and relished in post Italy. If you can't find za'atar head to Mid East on Agricola, they have tons of selection including one they make in house!

Roasted Cauliflower with Za’atar & Yogurt Chickpeas
Serves 2 very hungry/4 average hungry

1 head of cauliflower
1 good drizzle of olive oil
1/2 tsp sea salt
1/2 large cucumber, seeded
1 avocado
1 x 400 g /14 oz tin chickpeas (or 200 g cooked)
50 ml / ¼ cup natural yogurt
1 tbsp tahini
1-2 tbsp za’atar spice blend
1 handful parsley
1 handful spinach
seeds from ½ pomegranate or golden raisins
1/2 cup quinoa

Put your quinoa on. I like to add salt and za'atar to the water before boiling , about 1 tbsp, and set aside once cooked. Preheat the oven to 220°C / 450°F. Divide the cauliflower into florets and place on a baking sheet. Drizzle with olive oil and salt and toss until all is combined. Roast for 20-25 minutes, until soft and golden and with slightly crispy edges. I sprinkle with some za'atar after about 10 minutes.
Meanwhile, prepare the other vegetables. Cut up cucumber and avocado as desired. Rinse the chickpeas thoroughly. Pour them into a bowl and mix with yogurt and tahini until all is mixed.
Remove the cauliflower from the oven and sprinkle generously with za’atar.
Add all salad ingredients to a large bowl and toss carefully to combine. Drizzle with olive oil, salt and pepper. Make space in the side and add the yogurt chickpeas. Top with pomegranate seeds or raisins and a big sprinkle of za’atar. Enjoy!

MILLET <3

With the cool fall air coming in I'm back to reaching for hot breakfasts. Smoothies and yogurt granola bowls are never as appealing to me in the colder weather.

As much as I love oats, sometimes you need a little change. Whether it be steel cut oats or quinoa, any hot creamy grain usually does the trick for me.

 Millet is an ancient grain mostly grown in developing countries like India and Nigeria. It is naturally gluten-free and full of vitamin B's, however, like most grains, it should be eaten in moderation. It makes for a great porridge. I would definitely recommend buying the organic millet from The Grainery on Agricola.

I don't know how NS is still yielding local peaches? I'm not going to question it. These super sweet perfectly ripe babies paired so nicely with the coconut and banana.

Millet Coconut Porridge
makes 2 cups 

1/2 cup uncooked millet
1/4 tsp salt
1 cup water
3/4 cup coconut milk
1/2 cup diced banana
1/2 tsp nutmeg
2 tbsp maple syrup

Rinse millet well and toast in a small pot over low heat until it starts to pop and turns golden brown. Stir continuously to prevent burning. Add salt and water and bring to a boil, cover, turn down and simmer for 15 minutes, until water is mostly absorbed.

Stir in coconut milk, banana, nutmeg and maple syrup. Cook for another 5-7 minutes, until desired consistency is reached. Serve with garnish of choice (toasted almonds are always good, hemp hearts, ground flax, toasted coconut, yogurt etc etc, the world is your oyster)

mmm feel the warmth inside.

 

HAPPY THANKSGIVING

I was truly much happier than I appear in this photo. Unfortunately it's all I got!
Happy Thanksgiving guys!
I made pie, and an entire feast with my sister and mom! 
Thanksgiving has always been one of my favourite holidays. There's no expectations, no pressure of gifts and card exchanging, everyone just comes together to eat good food. What more could you ask for?
Recipe for apple pie can be found here!

VEGAN SPELT SUMMER BERRY GALETTE

My dear Nana bought me a flat of fresh NS blueberries and I celebrated by making a galette and eating it for breakfast all week.

I've really fallen hard for spelt flour. There is something so wholesome and satisfying about it. It has a settle bite to it, a nuttiness. I've been replacing all white flour in my baked goods lately with spelt. You might find your dough is a little sticky- if that's the case just add a little more spelt until it resembles your usual pastry crust. It is definitely a little more crumbly then white flour and harder to work with, but lighter on the belly!

For the dough:
1/4 cup ice water
1 cup spelt flour
1/4 tsp salt
1 tbsp organic cane sugar or coconut sugar
6 tbsp cold coconut oil, chopped up (refrigerate for at least an hour beforehand)

For the filling:
2 cups of berries of your choice
1/2 of a lemon
3 tbsp organic cane sugar (use less if your berries are very sweet, mine were a little on the sour side!)
3 tbsp almond milk + 1/2 tbsp lemon juice (DF buttermilk of sorts)

  • Mix flour, salt and sugar until well combined. Work the coconut oil into the flour with your fingertips for a minute or two until the coconut pieces are the size of small peas and you have a  mealy texture to your flour.
  • Pour half your ice water on the flour, mix with your hands until combined and use your discretion for the other half of the water. If your dough is ultra sticky, add more spelt, if it's dry add the rest of the ice water, as simple as that! Form into a ball, wrap with plastic, press into a disc shape and refrigerate for an hour, at least. 
  • Preheat oven to 375F. When the dough is chilled, remove from fridge and roll out on a lightly floured surface to about 1/4 of an inch thick. Transfer to a parchment lined round baking sheet.
  • Arrange your berries however you choose, filling as much space as you can. Leave about 1/2 inch rim of dough around the outside untouched. Fold over these edges and pinch to seal overlapping bits.
  • Mix together your 'buttermilk' and let it sit for 5 minutes or so before brushing onto the crust. Squeeze the lemon over the berries and add a little zest if your feeling it. Sprinkle all the sugar over berries and crust.
  • lace in the oven and bake until the edges are golden brown. Serve warm or at room temperature. Dessert, breakfast, ice cream, coconut whipped cream. It all works!

Enjoy!

KITCHARI & CHAPATI

Kitchari!
An ancient Ayurvedic dish that is easily digestible and cleansing with its simple combination of mung beans, rice, salt and turmeric.

This dish is full of flavour and so comforting. When we were travelling in India and kitchari was on the menu my day was made. It was so soothing on an upset stomach (which was constant) yet filling and nourishing. I once ate kitchari for 5 days straight while in Rishikesh suffering from ongoing stomach issues and a cold. We were doing an intense yoga course and this was the only thing I could put in my body every evening that would hold me over and not upset my stomach further.

Dressing appropriately and using any excuse to pull out my spice case and spices that I dragged across the world. Can you blame me? 

Mung beans are a part of the legume family. They're full of protein, iron and fibre and packed with vitamins and minerals! Super bean.

The list of ingredients may seem daunting, and maybe it is a little daunting. But once you accumulate all of these spices you will be more enticed to start using them in your everyday cooking. And you'll find yourself making more Indian food, which is always a bonus for yourself and those around you.
Cardamom for example, I've been putting in everything from my yogurt to my coffee to all my baked goods (cinnamon rolls!? works wonders)! And you can buy all these spices in bulk at the Indian Grocer on Robie for much less than you would pay for them at Sobeys or Superstore. 

Mung Bean Kitchari
serves 6

2 tbsp coconut oil
1 tbsp black mustard seeds
1 large onion, finely diced
1 tsp salt
2 tbsp grated ginger
4 cloves garlic, minced
2 tbsp ground (toasted, preferably) cumin
3 tbsp ground (toasted, again if possible) coriander
2 tsp turmeric
1/2 tsp chili flakes
2 tsp cinnamon
2 tsp ground fennel
1/2 tsp ground cardamom
1 tsp ground black pepper
1+1/2 cups long grain brown rice
1+1/2 cup mung beans
7 cups vegetable stock or water or a combination of the two

4 cups chopped kale or spinach
2 large tomatoes diced
1 cup peas (fresh LOCAL peas are available right now and they're to die for. But de-thawed frozen peas will do the job as well)
1 cup chopped scallions
1 cup diced carrots
plain yogurt or coconut milk and fresh cilantro for garnish

RINSE your rice and beans in cold water until it runs clear.

In a large pot, heat oil until melted. Add mustard seeds and cook over medium high heat until they begin to crackle and pop. Add your onion and salt and cook until soft and translucent, stirring often. Add garlic and ginger and all remaining spices. If the pan is too dry add another tablespoon of coconut oil. Cook over low heat for 2 minutes.

Add your rice and beans to the spice mixture and pour in stock/water. Bring to a boil, turn down and simmer until rice and beans are soft. Add your carrots after 15 minutes of simmering and continue to let simmer until the beans and rice are completely cooked and carrots are soft. Test test test as you go.

When they are cooked stir in your kale or spinach, tomatoes and peas and cook for 5 more minutes. Remove from heat and stir in scallions. Serve hot topped with plain yogurt or coconut milk and fresh cilantro!
Chapati on the side, always.

Chapati
Makes 6-8 pieces

3 tbsp butter (use coconut oil to keep it vegan)
1 cup very finely chopped onion
1 tbsp of your choice of spice: whole anise seed, cumin or mustard seeds
1/2 cup warm water
1 tsp salt
1+1/2-2 cups stone ground whole wheat or spelt flour

In a heavy fry pan, melt the butter on medium heat and add your onions and spice. Saute until the onions are translucent, about 10 minutes.

Transfer to a bowl and add water, salt and flour. Knead on a dry surface for about 2 minutes. The dough will be sticky and not too dry. Add a little flour if necessary.

Portion the dough into 6-8 small balls. Use a rolling pin to roll out the dough into very thin rounds (so that you can almost see through them when you pick them up).

Preheat a dry heavy skillet, preferably cast iron, to medium-high heat. The pan should be so hot it's almost smoking when you lay your first chapati in to cook. Don't use any oil, just the dry pan! The trick is keeping these moist by cooking each side hot and fast, no longer than 30 seconds per side. Remove from heat, I like to paint on melted coconut oil or ghee or butter to the top of each chapati with a pastry brush, then stack and cover with a tea towel as you go.

These are totally great to eat days afterward, just keep wrapped in cloth and sealed in a container.
You can even put a little peanut butter on them if your looking for a snack in days to come! It works, I swear.

GOOD LUCK AND EAT UP!

GREEN GODDESS SUPER SMOOTHIE BOWL

Mmmm July brings so many wonderful things from sunshine to some of the best locally grown produce to long bright days and a general increase in smiles across peoples faces in the maritimes. In ways I wish it would last forever, but I also learn to appreciate the time we have with summer more since we know it will come to an end before we know it. 
I've been overindulging in local strawberries since they've hit the markets here in Halifax. I figure I better take advantage of them while I can. They've been playing a vital roll in my breakfasts and salads these days.

I present to you the ultimate smoothie bowl. I get really carried away with my smoothies these days...putting everything from the fridge into one giant bowl, often to large to consume all at once, serving as my breakfast and usually lasting through lunch! Which I'm perfectly fine with.

Green Goddess Super Smoothie Bowl
serves 1 hungry person or two as a snack

1-2 whole frozen banana
1/2 cup frozen papaya (dissected by me and frozen in advance)
handful of fresh strawberries
2 handfuls of fresh local spinach (or 3 if your feeling crazy)
1/2 inch knob of fresh ginger
1/2 a whole mango (or 1/3 cup frozen)
1/2 avocado
2 tbsp chia seeds
1 tbsp flax
1/4 cup coconut milk
1/4-1/2 cup of cashew milk (or almond or nut milk of choice)

Blend and enjoy friends. Top with granola, fresh fruit, seeds, nuts, whatever your heart yearns for.

Cinnamon Granola
makes about 9 cups

5 cups rolled oats
1/2 quinoa puffs (or more oats)
1/2 cup almonds, chopped
1/3 cup pumpkin seeds
1/2 cup unsweetened shredded coconut
1/4 cup raisins
1 tbsp ground cinnamon
1/2 tsp sea salt
1/4 tsp ground nutmeg
1/3 to 1/2 cup maple syrup
1/4 heading cup medjool dates, pitted
2 tbsp melted coconut oil
2 tbsp water
2 tsp pure vanilla

Preheat oven to 300F

Mix all your dry ingredients. Except raisins.

Blend dates, maple syrup, coconut oil, water and vanilla. Mix your wet with your dry until well coated and spread evenly/thinly on parchment lined pans. Set your timer for 30 minutes and toss every 10 to make sure the granola gets cooked evenly. After the 20 minute mark throw your raisins in to prevent burning. Let cool completely before breaking up clusters and store in an air tight container for up to two weeks!

 

 

WILD RICE SALAD WITH HALLOUMI & MISO DRESSING

I had one of those weekends, where you go out a little too much and eat a little too much. It was needed, no doubt, no regrets. But come Sunday, after Sal's pizza on Friday and Ace Burger on Saturday, some wine and cider here and there, I was feeling seriously veggie deprived. So I did a new play on a buddha bowl, and it nourished me, as always!

This dish holds up so well over a few days, the longer it marinates the better it gets, really. It can be consumed hot or cold, tastes heavenly both ways. These are the dishes I live for.
I also found halloumi at Sobeys and was extremely excited. I decided to throw it in, even though it totally doesn't relate to the other Asian-y ingredients, but it worked. And I would recommend it! Halloumi makes anything taste better though, doesn't it?

WILD RICE SALAD WITH HALLOUMI & MISO DRESSING
serves 3-4 (or 1 for 3-4 days)
adapted from
The Sprouted Kitchen

1/2 cup wild rice (or any rice you have on hand)

1 block the firmest tofu you can find, organic is always the way to go with tofu I find
4 tsp coconut oil
2 tsp soy sauce or tamari
fresh ground pepper

1/2 cup halloumi, cubed
1 cup of shredded carrots & red cabbage
2 cup broccolini (or broccoli)
1 cup kale, shredded
3 tbsp sesame seeds, toasted is always better
handful of cilantro
1/4 avocado, cubed 

Miso Dressing

2 tbsp miso
2 tbsp agave or honey or maple syrup or brown rice syrup
2 tbsp sesame oil
2 1/2 tbsp rice vinegar
1 inch cube of ginger minced
Juice of half an orange 

Cook your rice according to instructions on the bag. 

Whisk all your ingredients for the miso dressing and set aside. If you don't have an orange on hand you can use about 1/4 cup of bottled orange juice, but freshly squeezed orange really makes the world of a difference.

Press your tofu for at least 15 minutes ahead of time. Wrap it in some paper towel and place it in a bowl with something heavy atop (I put my dinner plates on top). Let the liquid drain as long as possible. Then cut tofu into cubes.

Warm up oil, preferably over a heavy pan or cast iron that has enough surface area to hold all the tofu without overlap, on medium-high heat. Add the tofu and sauté for about 5 minutes. Sprinkle your soy sauce on and fresh ground pepper and continue to stir for another few minutes, until you have a nice crust and your tofu is golden brown.

Transfer to a large bowl where you will start your salad and turn the pan to medium heat. Add another tsp of coconut oil and sauté the halloumi, stirring almost constantly. You will notice your halloumi will start melting, and once it starts losing it's shape it's time to take it off! Add it to your large bowl.

Take two more tsp of coconut oil with pan at medium heat. Add your carrot, cabbage and broccolini. Sauté for about 5 minutes until your broccolini turns a vibrant green then add your kale. Sauté for another 2 minutes or so, until kale is wilted.

Toss all your veggies in with your tofu and halloumi and add cooked rice. Toss with miso dressing, sesame seeds, and cilantro. Top with avocado for serving. 
Add dressing as you like, I had a little left over and added it to the salad in following days when re-heating over the stovetop.
and Voila! Enjoy.

*avoid adding any salt. It's tempting, but with the soy sauce and miso you really don't need it!



 

SPELT EARL GREY BANANA BREAD

Banana bread is one of my favourite things. I'm always looking for new takes on it. You can really add anything to it- fruit, dried fruit, nuts, spices, chocolate! That's what's so great about it, no?

I took this recipe from my Hollyhock cookbook. For those of you not familiar, Hollyhock is a magical, and I mean magical, educational retreat located on Cortes Island, BC. It's placed amongst the oceanfront with gardens galore and a restaurant that is to die for. The food is so clean and fresh from their daily baked breads to their hearty soups and salads. Their use of local ingredients is commendable using vegetables and herbs from their gardens and fresh seafood from right outside their door. It was one of the most memorable eating experiences I've ever had. Individuals who are staying at Hollyhock whether it be for yoga, educational programs or a multitude of services the institute offers get to eat the food everyday! Lucky, right? 
I highly recommend this cookbook, it's full of amazing veg and seafood recipes that I use on that daily and are extremely accessible.

For this recipe I decided to use my bundt pan for the very first time. You can totally just do a full loaf if you rather sliced banana bread, or you can do muffins and reduce the baking time. Up to you! I also added dark chocolate, a must to my banana breads. But again, optional.

Earl Grey Banana Bread with Hemp Hearts
Makes 1 loaf, 12 muffins or 1 small loaf and 1/2 dozen muffins

2 cups whole grain spelt flour (you can use regular flour, whole wheat or a combination of the two if you don't have spelt)
1/2 cup cane sugar
3/4 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp salt
1 tsp nutmeg
1/2 cup hemp hearts (optional)
1/3 cup coconut oil in liquid state (or butter) 
1 tbsp loose Earl Grey tea
2 eggs, lightly beaten
1/3 cup plain yogurt
1 tsp vanilla
1 1/2 cups mashed banana (as ripe as you can gettem' guys, the riper the sweeter the bread and the less sugar you have to use!)
1/2 cup dark chocolate, chopped

Preheat your oven to 350 and grease your pan(s).

In a large bowl combine your dry ingredients. 
Heat coconut oil or butter with tea until melted. Set aside and allow to cool for 5 minutes. In another bowl combine your eggs, yogurt, vanilla and banana. Stir in cooled oil/butter with tea leaves.
Fold the wet ingredients into the dry and be sure not to over mix! Add your chocolate and fold until JUST combined.
Pour your batter into the loaf pan and bake for about 50 minutes or until a toothpick comes out clean.
If using muffin or bundt pans bake for about 25-30 minutes. Until the tops are slightly browned and firm and toothpick comes out clean. I baked both my small loaf and bundt's for 28 minutes.

*To make vegan simply substitute eggs for two flax eggs (2 tbsp flax meal and 6 tbsp water) and your yogurt for plain coconut or soy yogurt*