Golden polenta fries

 

I know what’ you’re thinking. You’re thinking that fries have taken over my kitchen blog. And you are absolutely right! I’ve been craving these little golden gems like crazy these days so I’ve been experimenting with different kinds of fries. Monday was all about sweet potato fries (you can read the post here) but today, the spotlight is on polenta fries. Yes, you read that correctly, polenta made into fries. Divine!

One of the reasons fries have my heart is because they can be a very nourishing side dish or  snack and they’re fun to eat, whether you’re a toddler or a grown up. Everyone loves fries. You can dress’em up any way you like, whether you’re the typical ketchup dipper or you wanna go fancy and dip them in guacamole or a spicy roasted red pepper sauce. We served them with the lather for dinner last night.

Actually, I shouldn’t say “we”, I should say my husband. Yup, that’s right, my husband made these for me for my birthday yesterday. He served them as an appetizer and if he hadn’t told me there was a main course coming after (fried tofu with sweet & spicy Asian inspired sauce over jasmine rice! That’ll be Friday’s post), I would have eaten the entire plate myself. Full disclosure, I did sneak the leftover fries with the red pepper sauce in my lunch bag because these fries were the bomb and make amazing leftovers!

The making of polenta fries is quite simple actually, although it does require a few steps. But please don’t shy away from this recipe just because of the multiple steps. They are totally worth it! And they don’t take much active time at all to make. Most of it is resting time where you can do other things. Time is precious my friends, remember Monday’s post!

The first step for these polenta fries is to actually cook the polenta, which takes no time at all. For these fries, my husband used a medium grain cornmeal. It’s the cornmeal I always have on hand because I find it gives just enough texture without being too grainy.

Once the polenta is cooked, just transfer it to a baking dish, covered in parchment paper, and spread it evenly. I recommended a 9X13 inch baking dish so the fries are long and lean. If you want chubbier fries, you can use a 9X9 baking dish instead but you’ll need to adjust your baking time and add a few extra minutes. After it’s cooked, the polenta needs to set in the refrigerator. If you can let them rest in the refrigerator for at least 30 minutes, that’s ideal.

Once the polenta is cool and set, cut into fry-like shape and pop them in the oven for 30 minutes (15 minutes each side – I also like to broil them for the last 1 min of each side to give the fries that golden crispy texture). Your polenta fries will come out of the oven.

Now before I give you the recipe for these beautifully golden and crispy fries, you know I’m going to share another mindfulness concept with you guys. And it actually has everything to do with an important step of making these fries: the resting time.

 

Just like polenta needs time to set to become beautiful fries, you also need time to “set” to become the best possible you. What I mean by that is this: you most likely lead a very busy life: you juggle a job, and maybe even 2 or 3 jobs; you take care of your children, a spouse, an elderly parent or your in-laws, maybe you foster animals; you take care of your home, do the laundry, dishes, meal prep, lunches for the next day; you try to keep everybody fed and clothes and clean and functioning. Everything you are, everything you have, everything you do, you give freely to everyone around you. But what about you? When do you have time for you? Where is the “setting” time for yourself in your day?

To continue reading on time “setting” for yourself, please join me here.

If you want to get to the recipe first before reading the mindfulness post, just scroll on down my friend.

Hope you guys enjoy these fries.

Don’t forget to click on the recipe title and leave me a comment at the bottom of the post to let me know what you served these delicious polenta fries with.

xx

 

Golden polenta fries
Prep time:
Cook time:
Total time:
Serves: 4 portions
Versatile, these polenta fries make a great side dish or snack.
Ingredients
  • 3 Cups of water
  • 1 vegetable broth cube
  • 1 tsp dry oregano
  • 1/2 tsp dry rosemary
  • 1/2 tsp dry sage
  • 1/4 Cup nutritional yeast
  • 1 Cup medium size cornmeal
  • 2 Tbs vegan butter (I use Earth Balance)
Instructions
  1. Preheat the oven at 425 degrees.
  2. Line a 9X13 baking dish with parchment paper.
  3. In a large pot, bring the water to a boil.
  4. Add the vegetable broth cube and herbs. Stir.
  5. Whisk in the cornmeal, nutritional yeast and vegan butter.
  6. Reduce the heat to medium.
  7. Stir occasionally with a wooden spoon so the polenta doesn’t clump up.
  8. The polenta will be ready when it starts pulling from the sides, after about 15 minutes of cooking.
  9. Pour the polenta in the baking dish and spread evenly. Set aside.
  10. When cool enough, put in the fridge for 30 minutes, to set.
  11. Once the polenta has set, cut into stick shapes.
  12. Spray a baking sheet with oil and arrange the fries so they’re not too crowded on the sheet.
  13. Bake for 15 minutes on each side, with the last minute on broil.
  14. Serve with your choice of dipping sauce.

 

tangy & crispy sweet potato fries

 

A post on fries on a Monday? Yes, absolutely! Because not only is it my birthday today so I’m totally allowing myself to enjoy in all the foods I love eating but, these fries are actually good for you as they are not deep fried in not-so-good-for-you vegetable oil but instead, are lovingly baked in the oven and tossed in delicious spices. Yes my friends, this is how we do fries in our house… because we love them so much and we want to eat them often without all the bad stuff, or guilt, but mainly because we don’t want the bad stuff.

Now I don’t know if I’ve shared this with you guys before, but my husband is not a fan of sweet potatoes. Actually, he down right doesn’t like them. I know. You don’t need to say it. It’s pure craziness! Who doesn’t love sweet potatoes…well, that would be my husband. But since my son and I absolutely love them, I have to find a way to sneak these little gems in our food somehow. My previous post was exactly that: hiding sweet potatoes in a curry. But these fries, these fries, he will devour!

The secret: their crispiness. Sweet potatoes fries tend to be limpy and mushy. That doesn’t make for a very appetizing fry. You want a fry that’s crispy and can be dipped in whatever condiment of your choosing without folding in half. Now to get that crispiness out of a sweet potato, here are my two golden rules:

  1. toss the evenly cut fries in some corn startch
  2. crank up the heat in the oven

Now I know you may frown at the idea of adding corn starch to your fries but it is essential for crispiness. You can also use potato starch if you prefer. Adding a starchy coating will allow less moisture on the exterior of the fries hence more crispy fries.

You also want to roast your fries instead of baking them, again in the name of a crispy exterior. That’s why I crank up my oven to 425°.

There are other tricks out there that are used to make crispy sweet potato fries, like soaking them for 20 minutes or double soaking them or leaving them in the oven for 30 minutes after baking time. While all these methods are good and valid and will give you crispier fries, I find them too time consuming for me. Yes I want crispy fries, but no I don’t want to soak them twice and wait an extra 40 minutes before putting them in the oven for 30 minutes or waiting an extra 30 minutes after they’ve finished baking for 30 minutes. It boils down to a choice: what do I choose to do with my time…

 

Too often, people forget that time is a commodity, just like money. If you’ve heard it once, you’ve heard it a thousand times: time is money. But as often as we’ve heard it, few of us have actually internalized it and applied the concept to our lives. Time is as important as money with this singular difference: you can never get time back. Whatever time has passed, it’s gone. You’ll never get that hour, day or week back. So what you choose to do with your time is as precious if not more, then what you choose to do with your money.

If you spend $100 on something you don’t like, you can simply return it. We’ve all done it. We get carried away in the store, seduced by an attractive bargain or influenced by a really good sales pitch. And then we come home and realize we actually don’t want/need this and it’s a total waste of our money so we return it. But if you spend 1 hour of your time doing something that has no value to you, you can’t get that hour back. It’s gone. There’s no time store to get more time.

So as careful as you are with your money and you spend it wisely on things that you and your family will need or want, spend your time wisely on things that either make you better, happier or wealthier.

Now what does that mean. It means this: if it makes you happy to spend time in the kitchen, trying out different methods on how to make crispy sweet potato fries, then by all means do it, because you are in a positive mindset and you will gain something from your time: a sense of accomplishment, a learning experience that bettered your kitchen skills and an opportunity to be of service to your family (feeding them delicious fries). Now that is time very well spent!

But if standing in a kitchen trying to figure out which methods works best to make sweet potato fries is of no appeal to you then use this quick & easy recipe and spend your time doing something that will bring you one of those three things: make you better, happier or wealthier. So pop these starch coated fries in the oven and sit down to read a book on self improvement or exercise to a Zumba video on youtube if that’s something you fancy, spend time with your family/friends/pet, or work on that project you’ve been putting aside but that could bring in extra money for you.

However it is that you choose to spend your time, always remember the three golden rule: better, happier, wealthier.

Now on to those fries!

Don’t forget to leave me a comment in the comment section by clicking on the title and going to the bottom of the post. Let me know how you like to spend your time and how it fits into the three golden rules.

xx

tangy & crispy sweet potato fries
Prep time:
Cook time:
Total time:
Serves: 4 portions
Ingredients
  • 4 whole sweet potatoes
  • 4 Tbs cornstarch
  • 2 Tbs olive oil
  • 1 Tbs sumac
  • 1 tsp garlic powder
  • 3/4 tsp salt
  • 1/2 tsp black pepper
Instructions
  1. Crank up the oven to 425 degrees.
  2. Peel the potatoes then cut in half, lengthwise, then in 1/4 inch wide sticks.
  3. In a plastic bag, add the cornstarch.
  4. Add the fries to the bag and give a good shake until all the pieces are well coated.
  5. Shake off any extra cornstarch as you transfer the fries to a mixing bowl.
  6. Add the olive oil and the spices.
  7. Give a gentle stir with a wooden spoon to coat all the fries.
  8. Cover a large baking sheet with parchment paper and spread the fries evenly. Do not overcrowd the pan.
  9. Bake for 15 minutes then flip the fries and bake for another 15 minutes.
  10. Remove from oven and allow to cool for 5 minutes.
  11. Enjoy with your favourite condiment or as is!

 

Sweet & Spicy Curry

There is something so grounding and soul satisfying about eating a curry or any Indian dish for that matter . Maybe it’s the abundant use of earthy spices. Maybe it’s the time and care it takes to make Indian dishes. Maybe it’s the complexity of the flavour. Maybe it’s because the cuisine dates back over 8,000 years and marries British and Portuguese influences. But whatever the reason may be, Indian cuisine is absolutely delicious and nourishing! At least that’s how we feel about it in my house…

I was inspired to make this dish by looking at the ingredients I already had on hand. This is my new starting point when meal prepping for the week. I used to spend time drafting a menu, starting off with what I wanted to cook/bake first, then making my grocery list, detailing all the ingredients I needed to buy and lastly looking in my cupboards and fridge to see what I already had on hand.

Lately, I’ve decided to reverse the process as my cupboards are bursting at the seams with unused ingredients and my fridge is always way too full for my liking. So now, I search for inspiration in my own kitchen and go from there. I can’t tell you how much time and money I’ve saved by proceeding this way. And how much more fun the whole process has been…

I’ve made it into a challenge with myself: what can I come up with that is nourishing, easy to make and delicious. My son and husband are the critics to this challenge. Luckily for me, they are easy critics! Hahahaha

So I looked into my cupboard and found a can of full fat coconut milk (love that stuff!), a can of chickpea and a bag of couscous. Then I walked over to my spice rack and the indian curry powder caught my eye. I was on to something…

A quick look into my fridge and I grabbed sweet potatoes (not a surprising find there, I always have those on hand), fresh ginger, onions and fresh cilantro. Done. These ingredients were going to turn into a delectable sweet and spicy indian chickpea curry. And no need to go to the grocery store. Even better. And this could all be put together in no time. Gold.

The key ingredient in this dish are the sweet potatoes which bring  sweetness to balance out the spiciness of the curry and texture to balance out the creaminess of the coconut milk. This dish was a huge hit in my family as I’m sure it will be in yours.

Now before we move on to the curry recipe, I wanted to dig a bit deeper into the anchor concept I presented to you guys in my previous post (if you haven’t read it yet, you can read it here).

After publishing the post, a friend of mine called me to asked how she could define her own anchor. She’s already eating a plant based diet, but she wanted to define her anchor for something else that is going on in her life. She liked the concept and felt it could really help her with what she wanted to accomplish.

She knew relying on willpower wouldn’t be enough. She knew she needed something stronger to keep her grounded and focused. She knew she needed an anchor. She just didn’t know how to define it.

It got me thinking that maybe some of you feel the same way and you also need guidance onto how to define your own personal anchor.

So what is a personal anchor: it’s something that holds a special power because of it’s importance to you. Something that goes above and beyond the simple will or want to do something or achieve something. A personal anchor is powerful because it comes from you and is rooted in you.

So how do you define your personal anchor?

Here are the steps I’ve taken to identify my own personal anchors (you can have more then one anchor. ) Know that anchors can change over time and it’s ok to revisit them every once in a while. Know also that identifying them requires inner work that will demand some soul searching on your part so it’s best to follow these steps when you have some quiet time set aside and you can focus and be connected to yourself.

  1. Prepare your work place and have pen and paper on hand.
  2. Take a few minutes to breath deeply in through your nose and out through your mouth.
  3. Close your eyes as you breath to really connect to yourself.
  4. Once you feel connected, open your eyes and start writing.
  5. Don’t over think this and just let your pen write
  6. Start by writing what you love about yourself. Write as much as you want. If you feel you have nothing to write, start small like you love your eyes, your nails, the colour of your hair, the way you smile… The point is for you to feel love for yourself.
  7. Then write what you value most in your life like your children, your dog/cat, your comfortable home, your friends
  8. Lastly, write down what you want to achieve.

Write as much as you want. Don’t stop yourself. Let your inner voice guide your writing.

Once you’re done. Set the pen down and close your eyes for a few minutes. Pat yourself on the back for going through with this exercise. When you’re ready to open your eyes, read through everything you wrote and combine your thoughts.

Here’s an example from my anchor work:

  • what I Iove about myself: I’m compassionate
  • what I value most in my life: my family
  • what I want to achieve: eat less sugar (quite difficult when you’re job is partly food blogging!)
  • The resulting anchor: my family and the compassion I choose to show myself.

So when I am faced with a challenge: like a decadent carrot cake I just baked. I simply remind myself that I decided to quit sugar for myself, because I love myself, and for my family, because I love my family and I want to be healthy to enjoy my life with them. Love is at the basis of my anchor. Love for myself and love for my family. And when I remember my anchor, I feel that love and it is at the base of what allows me to achieve what I set out to do.

Try the exercise and let me know how it’s help you identify your personal anchor. Just click on the title of this post and write your comment at the bottom post, in the comment section.

And now that your soul is nourished, let’s nourish your belly. On to the recipe…

Sweet & Spicy Curry
Prep time:
Cook time:
Total time:
Serves: 4 portions
You can control the heat of this recipe by adjusting the amount of curry powder you add to the coconut milk. My husband can handle a lot of heat but my son and I, not so much. So I’ve kept this on the milder side.
Ingredients
  • 1 can (398 ml) of full fat coconut milk
  • 1 can (398 ml) chickpeas
  • 1/2 cup of water
  • 1/2 red onion
  • 1 tsp coconut oil
  • 1 inch fresh ginger
  • 2 Tbs indian curry powder
  • 3 medium size sweet potatoes
  • 1/4 cup fresh cilantro
  • 2 Cups of water
  • 1 1/2 Cup couscous
  • Salt and pepper to taste
Instructions
  1. Peel and cube the sweet potatoes, dice the onion, finely chop the ginger and cilantro.
  2. In a large pot, add the the sweet potatoes and cover with water. Bring to a boil and cook 10 minutes.
  3. Strain the potatoes and set aside.
  4. In the meantime, melt the coconut oil in a deep sauce pan over medium high heat.
  5. Add the diced onion and cook for 3 minutes.
  6. Reduce the heat to low and add the curry spices.
  7. Stir for 1 minute. Be careful not to burn the spices.
  8. Add 1/2 cup of water and stir.
  9. Add the coconut milk and chopped ginger pieces.
  10. Reduce the heat to a simmer.
  11. Add the sweet potatoes.
  12. With a potato masher mash some of the sweet potatoes in the coconut milk but leave some pieces whole.
  13. Add the chickpeas and cilantro and stir. Remove from heat.
  14. Allow flavours to marry for another 10-15 mins.
  15. While the flavours marry, in the same pot you cooked the sweet potatoes in, add 2 cups of water and a pinch of salt and bring to a boil.
  16. Add the couscous and remove from heat. Allow to cook for 5 minutes. Fluff with a fork.
  17. Serve the curry over the couscous.

 

Potage à la kale & dill

 

Some of you may look at the picture of  this potage à la kale and dill and you start reading, you may think to yourself : “wait a minute, another soup recipe?” Yes, my friends, it is. And there are two very simple explanations for that:

a) I love soup… I mean, I love soup now. I used to hate soup growing up. Cant’ remember why, but I did. Needless to say, I don’t feel that way anymore. Not only do I love eating soup, I just as much enjoy making it, especially when it’s a quick and easy recipe like this one.

b) I live in Montreal. It’s winter. It’s humid cold (you know that type of cold that just gets into your bones through whatever and no matter how many layers of clothes you’re wearing. Yah, Montreal has that kind of cold). Soup warms you up. Period.

And today was particularly cold, although beautiful and sunny, so I thought it would be perfectly fitting to share this soup recipe with you, so you too can feel all warmed up from the inside out. This soup will not only warm you up, but will nourish every cell in your body with killer good-for-you-ingredients like kale, dill and russet potatoes.

Potatoes act as a great replacement for the typical cream in “cream” soups. It offers the same mouthfeel and velvety texture as cream. The key is to blend the soup very well. You don’t need an expensive blender (although that does help and saves a lot of time), most often, any blender will do. I often opt for my hand blender. It’s convenient and handy. But it does take me a bit more time to reach that smooth, velvety consistency I am looking for in a soup like this one.

But once all those delicious potatoes are pureed and blended with the other ingredients, it’s magic. This is plant power at it’s best my friends!

Speaking of plants and their incredible power, I bumped into an old acquaintance of mine the other day and as we were catching up on the important events of the past year or two of our lives, she asked me how I was able to “stay” vegan and not be tempted by my old food favourites like bakery style donuts, lasagna and California sushi roll.

It’s simple I answered: I have an anchor.

She looked confused. I don’t blame her. That wasn’t really a complete answer. An anchor. What does an anchor have to do with Italian baked pasta or fried pastries anyways? Well, actually, it has everything to do with it.

What I mean by “an anchor’ is something that is profoundly important to you, something that you value to your core, a belief, a love, a passion, a promise, that is embedded deep into your heart. So that whatever else is presented or offered to you and is in conflict with that anchor, that love, that passion, that promise, has no impact on you. Like the anchor of a boat. Once a boat’s anchor has been released to the bottom of the sea, the boat will not move. It will not falter. It will not waiver.

Before I decided to transition to a vegan diet, I knew I needed to define my anchor. I needed to identify why I wanted to adopted a plant based lifestyle, what is of the outmost importance to me in that regards and what would guide my decisions and be my rock in times of temptations. I don’t have those temptations anymore but I won’t sit here and tell you I didn’t have them at the beginning, because I did. I’m humane and it’s ok to feel those temptations. But I didn’t waiver. I didn’t falter. Because I had my anchor. Because I had taken the time to identify that anchor at the beginning of my journey. And that is what I encourage everyone wanting to embark on a journey, on any journey, on any path that is different then the current path: find your anchor. Find what speaks to you, find the true motivation for doing what you are setting out to do, find that Loce that will keep you grounded and steady.

Often times people mistaken “willpower” with “anchor”. I’ve often heard: “I don’t have the willpower to be vegan, I love (insert non vegan food here) too much” or “I tried the vegan diet but it was too complicated”. Nuclear science is complicated, quantum physics is complicated, eating a plant based diet is not complicated. But you do need your anchor from which you will source your motivation when it lacks and your willpower to say no to bakery style donuts (or whatever is offered to you that is not aligned with the path you have now chosen to follow) when offered to you.

Willpower without an anchor is not strong enough.

So that’s what I answered my friend: I am “still” on a plant based diet because I have an anchor…and because I make delicious soup like this one!

I hope you guys enjoy this soup and leave me a comment to let me know what your anchor is.

xx

Potage à la kale & dill
Prep time:
Cook time:
Total time:
Serves: 6-8 portions
This kale and dill soup is velvety and creamy. It’s also very versatile. If you don’t have any kale on hand, you can easily use collard greens or any other leafy green.
Ingredients
  • 6 cups of water
  • 2 cubes of vegetable broth
  • 2 1/2 tsp cumin, ground
  • 1 1/2 tsp coriander, ground
  • 1 tsp coconut oil
  • 3 large russet potatoes
  • 6 cups of kale
  • 1 medium red onion
  • 2 garlic clove
  • 1/4 Cup fresh dill
  • Salt & pepper to taste
Instructions
  1. Peel the potatoes, remove the ribs from the kale and chop roughly, dice the onion, mince the garlic, chop the dill.
  2. In a large pot, melt the coconut oil on medium high heat.
  3. Add the onion and garlic. Cook for 3 minutes.
  4. Add the water, vegetable broth cubes, cumin and coriander.
  5. Bring to a boil.
  6. Add the potatoes and cook for 10 minutes.
  7. Add the kale and cook for another 8 minutes.
  8. Remove the pot from the heat and add the dill.
  9. Allow to cool for 10 minutes.
  10. With a blender or handheld blender, blend the soup until smooth and velvety.
  11. Adjust salt and pepper to taste.

 

 

Simply Pho Soup

 

Do you have certain food cravings that are stronger then others and just hit you out of nowhere? I have that for Asian food. Especially for Asian soups. It doesn’t hit often but when it does, I have to have it now!

It used to be that I reached for the phone and ordered from our favourite Chinese or Vietnamese take out restaurant but since we moved further out west, I can no longer reach out to these places for help to quench my cravings: they don’t deliver this far out and if we did venture out ourselves to pick it up, well, let’s just say that by the time we got back home and started eating, the craving would have certainly passed!

So I did what any other motivated foodie would do, I learned how to make some of my favourite Asian dishes and on top of that list was Pho (pronounced fa). Pho is a bowl of noodle soup, generally thin rice noodles, in a rich aromatic broth, topped with bean sprouts, lime, Thai basil, cilantro and your choice of vegetable mix, tofu or meat. You can add spicy chilli sauce, hoisin sauce or tamari sauce to finish off the dish… It’s simple yet absolutely delicious and soul satisfying!

The beauty of making such a simple dish is that it can be adapted to suit the cravings of that moment or, what’s in your fridge. Unless I set out to make a traditional dish for a specific reason, I never let the constraints of what my food should be like, define what it actually turns out to be. You get me? So I make my Pho to suit my craving for that day and add ingredients that you probably wouldn’t find in a traditional Pho, like the one I made for dinner the other night, with caramelized onions and mushrooms.

What I also love about this soup is how easily it can be put together. The broth is what requires the most time but since I didn’t have much time the other night, and like I said, I don’t let tradition dictate the outcome, I made a miso base broth and it was glorious. Miso is a paste that comes from fermented soybeans. It brings an amazing umami flavour to any dish and the health benefits are endless (it provides probiotics, helps improve digestion, levels out blood pressure, provides copper, vitamin K, manganese…)

When combining caramelized onions and mushrooms with rice noodles simmering in a miso broth and top it with fresh basil, bean sprouts and a squirt of lime, trust me you’re in for one deliciously filling meal! Even my toddler loved it. I put a little less broth in his bowl and cut up the noodles. Let’s just say he had a great time eating it and mommy had a not so great time cleaning everything up!

This soup is also a great meal for entertaining a group of friends. I make a large batch of the broth and let the noodles sit in it in the center of the table. I spread a few different toppings on the table: cubed tofu, edamames, mixed vegetables, caramelized onions, sautéed mushrooms, basil, cilantro, lime wedges, bean sprouts, spicy chilli sauce, hoisin and tamari sauce. That way, everyone can create his or her own soup and since it’s all gluten free, it will suit everyone’s dietary restrictions.

On a side note, I mentioned to you guys the other day that I started reading the book “May cause Miracles” by the amazingly talented Gabrielle Bernstein. Well I just started reading chapter 3 and it’s all about body image. Up until now, I was very comfortable with the assigned exercises. I can even say that I did them wilfully and with ease. I can’t say the same now… This chapter is really hitting home for me and I’m struggling. I want to share this experience with you guys, as I believe it can be of help to others, but I understand some of you may only want my recipes (which is totally cool!) so I’ll be creating a separate page on my blog. My new page will be up tomorrow so you can start reading about my journey…

 

Simply Pho
Prep time:
Cook time:
Total time:
Serves: 4 portions
This soup is easy to put together and can easily be adapted to suit your cravings of the moment. Just let your imagination leas the way.
Ingredients
  • 6 Cups of water
  • 6 Tbs miso paste (I use red miso paste but white works well also)
  • 1/2 package of vermicelli rice noodles (about 200 grams)
  • 1 tsp coconut oil
  • 1 medium red onion
  • 2 Cups mushrooms, sliced
  • 1/2 lime
  • Optional toppings: bean sprouts, basil, cilantro
Instructions
  1. In a sauce pan, melt the coconut oil on medium high heat.
  2. Add the onions and cook for 3 minutes.
  3. Add the mushrooms and cook another 5 minutes.
  4. Set aside.
  5. In a large pot, bring the water to a boil.
  6. Add the miso paste and whisk.
  7. Add the vermicelli rice noodles and allow to cook for 3-5 minutes.
  8. Juice the lime into the broth.
  9. Separate the broth and noodles between 4 bowls and top with onions and mushrooms.
  10. Top with your favourite toppings and enjoy.

 

P.S. As you guys may have noticed, some adds have been added to my blog and you will now find some affiliated links. I now participate in the Amazon Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for me to earn fees by linking to Amazon and affiliated sites. Please rest assured that the products I link to, are all products I personally use and love.

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Banana Pancakes

 

Like many things we cherish, this banana pancake recipe came out of necessity. Let me explain…We always have a mountain of fruits at home but the one fruit that trumps all others in terms of quantity and eating frequency is bananas. Mainly because it’s my son’s favourite and most prized fruit.

His entire face literally lights up as he sees me pull one out of the banana basket. It’s often the first thing he eats in the morning. I sometimes feel guilty for giving him the same fruit every morning so every now and then, I’ll cut up some clementines, grapes or whatever other fruit I have on hand.

The bowl of fruit is usually met with a blank stare. He diligently eats the non-banana fruit but gazes over at the banana basket and points at it with a “nana”… My heart melts and so it’s bananas again the following morning.  My husband and I are just as crazy for bananas, but in their frozen form for smoothies and nice cream.

Suffice to say, bananas are a big thing in my family and none go to waste: half are eaten by our son and the other half is frozen for later delicacies. But last week, two bananas unexplainably fell out of the banana basket and went into hiding behind the coffee machine. I didn’t notice them until Sunday morning!

Needless to say, the bananas had well passed their prime but since no food ever goes to waste in our house (it’s one of my worst pet peeves!), I had to come up with something good to make with them, and quickly, before my son realized the treasure I was holding. So I took out my small blender and the recipe for these pancakes was born.

These pancakes are probably the easiest and quickest pancakes I’ve ever made. Even with the 10 minutes resting time in the fridge before cooking them in the pan. And if you’re really pressed for time, you can skip that part. I find the resting time n the fridge gives the pancakes some added oomph (read fluffiness) but is in no way necessary, taste wise.

And of course, like all things banana, they were a huge hit in my family! I actually forgot to take out the maple syrup but no one said anything and we ate them as is. Ok, honestly, we ate them with our fingers like cookies… don’t judge, I’m sure you’ve done it too, and if not, it’s a must try!

I hope your family enjoys them as much as we have. Leave me a comment and let me know what recipe you’ve come up with out of necessity?

xx

Banana Pancakes
Prep time:
Cook time:
Total time:
Serves: 4 portions
These pancakes are fluffy and filling. They are already sweet from the bananas and agave nectar so you won’t even need to take out the maple syrup… unless you really want to and that’s totally cool too!
Ingredients
  • 2 medium bananas
  • 2 Cups gluten-free flour (I use Bob’s Red Mill GF flour mix)
  • 2 Tbs agave nectar
  • 1 1/2 Tbs baking powder
  • 1/8 tsp salt
  • 2 Tbs melted vegan butter (I use Earth Balance)
  • 1 tsp vanilla
  • 1 Cup mylk alternative (I used almond milk)
Instructions
  1. Put all the ingredients in the blender, starting with the wet ingredients, and blend until smooth consistency.
  2. Put in the fridge for 10 mins to rest.
  3. Add cooking spray to a pan and set over medium high heat.
  4. Take out the pancake mix and scoop 1/4 Cup batter at a time in a hot pan.
  5. Reduce the heat to medium low and cook for 2-3 minutes on each side.
  6. Repeat for the remainder of the batter.

P.S. As you guys may have noticed, some adds have been added to my blog and you will now find some affiliated links. I now participate in the Amazon Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for me to earn fees by linking to Amazon and affiliated sites. Please rest assured that the products I link to, are all products I personally use and love.

healing soup

 

The title of this post, “healing soup” couldn’t be more fitting: last week, the day before my husband’s birthday to be exact, our son Adriano and I caught a horrible virus that lasted 48 hours. Nothing more, nothing less, just 48 hours… but it felt like a long and horrible 48 hours let me I tell you! Funny enough, when the 48 hours was up, we were all back to normal, as if nothing had happened… except that my husband caught the bug 24 hours after us… as a nice birthday gift!

Even though we were all good a few days later, our stomachs were left a little fragile. So I raided my fridge to find ingredients to make a soup. Nothing, makes me feel better, then a warm bowl of thick soup that I can drink out of a cup. Some kids have fond memories of chicken noodle soup as a loving homemade remedy for whatever ill spell they were under, but me, it’s a dense vegetable soup or a potage as my mom called it. A potage is a French word for thick soup usually made with cream. But my mom didn’t use cream (even back then she knew dairy was a big no-no for soar stomachs – don’t you just miss that old school common sense some times!) She used whatever vegetables she had on hand and added loads of potatoes to thicken the soup. So that’s exactly what I did…

I found some carrots, turnips and a piece of parsnip. I also found some celery, leeks and onions. I was happy to still have some fresh ginger and thyme left to give my soup an additional boost of healing benefits. Sweet potatoes were going to be my thickening agent (I always have some type of potatoes on hand, luckily this time, it was sweet potato, which is my favourite!)

I’ll be honest, at the time of getting the ingredients together, I had no intention on posting this as a recipe or let alone take a pretty picture of it, simply because I wasn’t sure how this would turn out and I don’t want to share with you guys something I’m not 100% in love with. But by the time the soup was done and ready to eat, it tasted so darn good that I changed my mind. I felt like someone else could and should totally benefit from the heart warming, belly soothing and overall healing benefits of this soup. The texture is creamy, almost velvety, and it offers just enough sweetness from the carrots and sweet potatoes and zing from the ginger and parsnips. Luckily, the ingredients were easy to remember and jot down.

Speaking of jotting down, a few days before this horrible virus visited our home, I started reading the book “May Cause Miracles” by Gabrielle Bernstein. Have any of you read the book? It’s amazing! It is a 40-day guide were Gabby (dropping her name like I know her – I don’t – I’m just in love with her work so I kinda feel like I know her somehow!) literally holds your hand and guides you through a day by day journey into your better Self. Not bad, euh! Every day, different exercises are proposed be it meditation, writing, praying, repeating mantras… I’ll be able to share with you guys the impact all of this has had on me once I’m done the 40-day journey (I’m on day 14) but what I can tell you as of now is that this immense feeling of release and ease has washed over me. I never realized just how much I worry about so many things. Even tiny, little, insignificant things. Especially insignificant things! The release is addictive… I’ll keep you guys posted on my progress.

In the meantime, please enjoy this soup with your family and let me know what fond memories you have of your favourite homemade childhood food remedies.

xx

healing soup
Prep time:
Cook time:
Total time:
Serves: 10 portions
This soup is very easy to make and can be served hot or cold. Makes for great leftover lunches.
Ingredients
  • 2 medium carrots
  • 1 medium parsnip
  • 1 small turnip
  • 2 large sweet potatoes
  • 1 leek
  • 4 celery branches (keep the leafs – they’re going in the soup too!)
  • 1 medium yellow onion
  • 1 Tbs coconut oil
  • 1″ piece of fresh ginger, skin removed
  • 2 tsp fresh thyme
  • 6 Cups of water
  • 2 vegetable broth cubes
  • Salt and pepper to taste
Instructions
  1. Peel and coarsely chop the vegetables, including the ginger. Set aside.
  2. In a large pot, melt the coconut oil over medium high heat.
  3. Add the onion and cook for 2 minutes.
  4. Add the remaining vegetables and stir.
  5. Add the water, ginger and fresh thyme.
  6. Bring to a boil.
  7. Add the vegetable broth cubes and stir.
  8. Bring the soup down to strong simmer and allow the vegetables to cook for at least 25 minutes.
  9. Once cooked, set aside and allow to cool for 10 mins.
  10. With a handheld blender, blend the soup until you reach a velvety thick consistency.
  11. Adjust salt and pepper to taste.
  12. Enjoy

 

P.S. As you guys may have noticed, some adds have been added to my blog and you will now find some affiliated links. I now participate in the Amazon Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for me to earn fees by linking to Amazon and affiliated sites. Please rest assured that the products I link to, are all products I personally use and love.

 

Jerk spiced stuffed peppers

 

I’m calling on all my spicy food lovers out there. These stuffed peppers are for you! They are spicy, without stripping your taste buds, chewy, and loaded with good for your soul ingredients such a farro, mushrooms and collard greens.

Now, here’s a few fun facts about me and where these peppers get their inspiration…

My husband Chris and I started dating around the time of my birthday, which is in early December. Around that time, is also when I do a retrospect of my year. I look at what I’ve accomplished, what I’ve failed at, what goals I get to scratch off my list and what goals still need to be crushed. I look at the good and the bad and reflect on it. I also make a list of 3 (yes, 3, which sounds like a fair number: not too many, not too few) resolutions for the year to come (why wait until January 1st!). I also write down the steps I think I need to take to get to where I wanna go. It’s also a time where I reflect on how I feel about my life in general and what needs to be changed, added or deleted!

One of the things I knew needed to be added to my resolution list was taking more time for myself. Even though I didn’t feel burned out, I knew I couldn’t keep up this pace. So I decided this new resolution was going to start off with a bang. It was going to start with a beach vacation. Now this may not seem like such a bang for some, but this was going to be my first real vacation in over 5 years! Since I traveled quite extensively for work, and I never really took time off of work, a beach vacation sounded like an extravagant luxury for me. And I was going to go for it…

Needless to say, when I told Chris about my resolution to take a relaxing beach vacation, he suggested we go together to his favourite place: Jamaica. Jamaica was the last place I had vacationed, 5 years earlier, so I thought it was a great idea to pick up where I left off.

Jamaica did not disappoint! It was everything I needed it to be and then some. And the food…the food was simply scrumptious! Our favourite thing to eat came from this food cart that was pushed around the resort, from 11am to 11pm with the most amazing jerk spiced food ever! The sauce was dark and thick and spicy. But not the kind of spicy where you can’t feel your tongue or taste buds for days. The kind of spicy that made your mouth water with delight. Yes, it was that good! Chris and I would eagerly wait by the beach for the food cart to roll around and would unapolagicoly pounce on it as it made it’s way to us. We would take our paper plates back to our beach chairs and devour what ever was on it, licking our fingers between every bite… My mouth is watering at the recollection as I’m writing this.

So that’s where these peppers come from! They come from the recollection of that food cart and it’s jerk sauce.

If you’ve been to Jamaica, I hope these peppers bring back some wonderful memories. If you haven’t been, close your eyes as you eat these and picture yourself on a beach with some soft reggae music playing in the background. Trust me, you’ll almost feel like you are there!

I hope you enjoy these as much as I enjoyed making them.

Leave me a comment to tell me what recipe you make that’s inspired by your travels or what tradition you have around your birthday.

xx

Jerk spiced stuffed peppers
Prep time:
Cook time:
Total time:
Serves: 8 portions
The level of spiciness of this recipe will depend on how much of the jerk spice sauce you put in it. Start with 1 Tbs and work your way from there. If you think you and your family can handle a little more heat, add another tablespoon and enjoy! This recipe will makes extra and keeps well in the fridge.
Ingredients
  • For the jerk sauce
  • 1/2 Cup ground allspice berries
  • 1/4 Cup packed brown sugar
  • 8 garlic cloves
  • 2 to 4 Scotch bonnet peppers, seeded and cored
  • 2 Tbs thyme, ground
  • 10 green onions
  • 1 Tbs ginger, fresh
  • 1 Tbs cinnamon, ground
  • 1/2 Tbs nutmeg, ground
  • 1 tsp black pepper
  • 2 Tbs red palm oil
  • 1 Tbs lemon juice
  • 1 Tbs coconut seasoning (similar to soy sauce)
  • For the stuffed peppers
  • 4 peppers, seeded and cut in half, length wise
  • 1 Cup farro
  • 2 1/2 Cups water
  • 1/4 tsp sea salt
  • 6 collard green stalks, ribs removed and chopped
  • 1 Cup mushrooms, sliced
  • 1 large onion
  • 1 tsp olive oil
  • Chive for presentation
Instructions
  1. For the jerk spice mix, add everything to a food processor and blend until smooth. Set aside.
  2. For the stuffed peppers.
  3. Preheat the oven at 400 degrees.
  4. In a medium size pot, bring 21/2 cups of water to a boil. Add the salt and farro.
  5. Reduce to medium heat and cook for 25-30 minutes. (make your jerk spice mix during this time).
  6. In a sauce pan over medium heat, add the olive oil and onions. Stir and cook for 3 minutes.
  7. Add the mushrooms and cook for another 3 minutes.
  8. Add the chopped collard greens and cook for another 3 minutes.
  9. Transfer the vegetable mixture to a mixing bowl and set aside.
  10. Oil the bottom of an iron skillet or oven safe dish and place the pepper halves.
  11. When the farro is cooked, add to the vegetable mix and stir to combine.
  12. Add 1 Tbs of jerk sauce and adjust to taste.
  13. Spoon the mixture evenly between the peppers.
  14. Place the skillet in the oven and cook for 30 minutes.
  15. Allow to cool at least 5 minutes and decorate with a little chive.

 

 

Chocolate Chip Banana Donuts

There’s something that just feels so naughty yet so right about eating a donut, especially, for breakfast. I personally consider donuts to be high up there on the comfort food/I’m-going-to-treat-myself-because-I-totally-deserve-it pyramid. But here’s the thing, I don’t just want to eat a donut once in a while. I want be able to eat donuts often, and for breakfast! That being said, and although I’m a firm believer of the 80-20 rule (eat really good-for-you food 80% of the time and indulge 20% of the time), I can’t eat a regular donut every morning. That’s way beyond the 20% of indulgence, even according to my standards. Bakery style donuts are heaven in your mouth but they are literally the not-so-good-for-you kind of calorie/fat/sugar bombs. And although they taste amazing, they leave me feeling slightly lethargic. Like, I need to take a nap after this, kind of lethargic. Not something I can afford to do on a Tuesday morning, with a to-do list that looks like Santa Clause’ gift list!

So what to do… make a healthy donut!

So this is what I set out to do. I wanted my donut to resemble the texture and softness of a real donut but I also wanted it to have a little more consistency, not like when you bite into those air-like fluffy donuts, so I don’t have to eat 5 of them to feel like I had a decent breakfast. It also had to be something I was ok giving my 15 month old because he is now at a stage were he wants to eat everything me and my husband eat. And I mean EVERYTHING…

So with a few trials and errors, I think I finally nailed it. This donut is nutrient packed with bananas, oatmeal, high protein pea mylk and almond butter. And I can personally attest to the fact that you don’t need to eat many to be satisfied. I ate 2 and was happily full. No lethargy, no guilt. And this is definitely something you’ll feel good about feeding the entire family. My son had one for breakfast, along with a glass of almond mylk.

 

Now before we continue on with the recipe, I want to come back to something I wrote at the beginning of this post that I want to clarify a bit: the “I’m-going-to-treat-myself-because-I-totally-deserve-it pyramid”. A few blog posts back, I talked about rewarding yourself with food and how I wasn’t against it at all. Truthfully, that is how I personally reward myself, because food is such an integral part of my life. A passion, really. But here’s something important to take into consideration: I don’t use food to fill a void. I don’t use food as a coping mechanism because I don’t want to deal with certain things/people/emotions/situations in my life. I reward myself with food because I love food, I love cooking food, I love sharing food with others and I get great pleasure from the experience of it all. I don’t indulge to numb some deep hidden pain or forget about what’s going on inside or outside. Rewarding yourself should come out of self-love. To offer yourself something you enjoy and that is good for you. For some, it’s taking the time to sit down with a cup of tea and read a book, for others, it’s going to the spa for a massage, others will choose to do a yoga class or take a bubble bath surrounded by candles and essential oil diffusers. Me, I choose to go to my favourite restaurant with my loved ones or have friends over and share a meal. It’s as much about the experience as it is about the food, which makes it feel so rewarding. And it all comes from self-love, not self-sabotage.

I hope you guys enjoy baking and sharing these donuts with your family and loved ones. Leave me a comment and let me know how you like to reward yourself.

xx

 

Chocolate Chip Banana Oatmeal Donuts for breakfast
Prep time:
Cook time:
Total time:
Serves: 12 large donuts
Ingredients
  • 2 Tbs chia seeds, ground
  • 6 Tbs water
  • 1 Cup whole wheat pastry flour
  • 1/2 Cup spelt flour
  • 1/2 Cup large rolled oats
  • 1/4 Cup agave nectar
  • 1 1/2 tsp baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp baking soda
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 1 Cup bananas, mashed
  • 2/3 Cup mylk alternative (I used pea mylk)
  • 2 Tbs coconut oil
  • 2 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1/4 cup creamy almond butter
  • 1/2 cup vegan chocolate chips
Instructions
  1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees.
  2. Grease a donut pan and set aside.
  3. In a small bowl, combine the ground chia seeds and water and set aside. Allow to set for at least 5 minutes.
  4. In a medium size bowl, add the mashed bananas, agave nectar, mylk, oil, vanilla extract and almond butter. Whisk to combine.
  5. In a separate bowl, combine the flours, oats, baking powder, baking soda and salt.
  6. Add the wet ingredients to the dry and stir with a wooden spoon to combine.
  7. Add in the chocolate chips after batter has been mixed.
  8. Spoon batter into donut pan.
  9. Bake for 10 minutes or until golden.
  10. Allow to cool on a wire rack for 5 minutes.

 

Soul satisfying cornbread

 

I love cornbread. I actually love all things soul food, many of which are already vegan or can be made vegan: collard greens, grits, black eye peas, sweet potato pie… The first time I made cornbread was years ago, when I was having friends over on a Sunday afternoon to watch some football. I was obviously making chili and I wanted something to serve it with, something hearty enough that could be dunked into the chili. I searched online for a recipe that would inspire me and found cornbread. Chive cornbread to be exact.

I’ll be honest, that first try at cornbread was not good at all. Actually, it was pretty bad. My friends ate it, bless their hearts, they are good friends, but I knew I could do much better. It wasn’t until almost a year later that I tried my hand at cornbread again.

Again, having friends over, this time, my husband’s friends. I was cooking a full on soul food meal with collards greens, mac n’ cheeze, peach cobbler…the works! Cornbread included. But this time, I did a few recipe trials beforehand… And I found what the problem: it was way too sweet and way overcooked! I tweaked the recipe I had originally found and it ended up exactly how I wanted it: moist, a little sweet, soft but hearty enough to be dunked in whatever it was served with!

This is that recipe. The good one…


I’ve made it a bunch of times since then, serving it with soup, alongside a big bowl of salad or even for breakfast with strawberry jam and even apricot jam when I’m feeling fancy. I promise this bread won’t disappoint. And this recipe is gluten free, as I wanted to share some with my mom.

The main ingredient in cornbread is cornmeal. Personally, I like my cornbread with some texture. A bit gritty. I don’t like it to be as smooth as say, a slice of white bread. So I choose coarser cornmeal or as some brands advertise, medium coarse. If you google “how to make cornbread” you’ll see there is quite a debate on the best way to make it, if you should add sugar vs no sugar in the bread, what type of cornmeal to use, if flour should or should not be used… To me, this recipe is the type of cornbread I like and I hope you like it as well. It’s got a little sugar for sweetness and a little flour for smoothness.

And that goes for more then just cornbread. It goes for everything you do in your life and every decision you take. No matter what others say the recipe for the perfect “cornbread” is or should be, remember to follow your own palate, follow your own inner voice, just follow you…

Hope you guys enjoy this recipe. Leave me a comment and let me know what you enjoy cornbread with!

xx

Soul satisfying cornbread
Prep time:
Cook time:
Total time:
Serves: 10 portions
This cornbread is moist and chewy but dense enough to be dunked in soup or chili.
Ingredients
  • 1/4 Cup + 1 Tbs vegan butter (I use Earth Balance)
  • 1 1/4 Cup milk alternative (I use Ripple pea mylk)
  • 1 1/2 Cup cornmeal
  • 1 Cup gluten free all purpose flour (I use Bob’s Red Mill)
  • 1/4 Cup raw sugar
  • 1 1/2 Tbs baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp salt
Instructions
  1. Preheat the oven at 400 degrees.
  2. Melt the 1/4 cup of butter in the microwave.
  3. Add all the dry ingredients in a mixing bowl. Whisk to combine
  4. Add the melted butter and the mylk. Stir with a wooden spoon to combine.
  5. In an iron skillet or heavy bottom skillet that is oven safe, melt the remaining 1 Tbs of butter on the stove top on high heat.
  6. Once the butter is melted, spread around to coat all the skillet and pour the cornbread mixture.
  7. Bake in the oven for 20 mins or until a toothpick is inserted and comes out clean.
  8. Let rest for at least 10 mins before serving.