Tag Archives: nutritious food

Roasted Tomato Soup

roasted tomato and red pepper soup

This delicious tomato soup was inspired by last week’s Harvest Moon and all the vine ripened tomatoes gathered from my mom’s generous vegetable garden.  In mid September, we had a couple of good frosts so I had a number of tomatoes just begging to be transformed into a delicious and comforting meal.

For us folks living in the northern hemisphere, the autumnal equinox (or beginning of Fall) arrived this past Sunday afternoon.  Feeling a “little under the weather” (the cold and flu season is now upon us), the girls and I said goodbye to the end of the summer in our comfy pjs and welcomed the Fall with a warm bowl of soup.

Originally, my intention was to add some coconut milk to the roasted veggies and broth, but instead I opted for hulled millet to make each bowl uber-nutritious and filling.  When cooked and blended, millet can be creamy in texture. This makes it one of the most versatile grains.

As well, hulled millet is packed with fiber, B vitamins, essential amino acids and protein (that’s right – protein!), but don’t get too bogged down with the nutrients in foods.  Adding any whole grains to your diet will assist your body in creating or maintaining a healthy environment.  When choosing and consuming foods, just remember “whole” and try to vary it up.

This is my Harvest Moon Soup. 🙂  Easy and so comforting.

ROASTED TOMATO SOUP

  • 4 very ripe medium-sized tomatoes
  • 4 garlic cloves, unpeeled
  • 1 yellow onion
  • 1 red pepper
  • 1 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
  • 2 cups vegan and gluten-free broth
  • 1/2 cup hulled millet, rinsed
  • sea salt and ground pepper
  • dried basil or parsley

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.

Cut tomatoes, onion, and red pepper into wedges.  Toss cut veggies, including the unpeeled garlic (nothing like roasted garlic!), with olive oil and a pinch of sea salt and ground pepper.

Roast veggies on a baking sheet for about 45 minutes until lightly browned and tender. Once roasted and a little cooled, squeeze garlic cloves to release the peel. Transfer roasted veggies and peeled garlic to a soup pot.  Add soup stock and hulled millet; bring to a boil. Turn heat to medium, add salt, pepper, and dried basil to taste.  Simmer for about 10-15 minutes. If you want a creamier soup with little or no texture, simmer the soup longer (about 30-40 minutes) until the millet is very soft.

Using an immersion blender, blend together all the ingredients. You may also cool the soup and transfer to a food processor for blending.

Serve soup topped with diced basil or parsley.

Buckwheat Banana Pancakes

pancakes

When my husband and I first decided our kitchen was to be a gluten-free zone, we stayed clear away from buckwheat and buckwheat flour because of its name.  We naturally assumed that buckwheat was some form of wheat.  After some reading and research, we eventually learned that buckwheat is in fact gluten-free and that it is not a grain, but a seed from a plant closely related to the rhubarb family.

I love buckwheat flour for its taste and nutritional value.  Containing 8 amino acids, buckwheat is very high in protein.  In his book Whole Foods to Thrive,  Brendan Brazier writes that buckwheat includes “high amounts of the often-elusive tryptophan”.  Tryptophan, one of the ten amino acids, helps “enhance mood and mental clarity”.  On this dreary cool spring morning,  we could all use a little extra tryptophan!  Buckwheat is also high in fiber and it gives baked goods a unique nutty flavour.

Our pancakes this morning were adapted from Brazier’s above mentioned book.  The original recipe calls for hemp flour and barley flakes.  I had neither in the house, so I substituted quinoa flour and quinoa flakes.

BUCKWHEAT BANANA PANCAKES (adapted from “Whole Foods to Thrive”)

  • 1 cup buckwheat flour
  • 1/4 cup ground flaxseed
  • 1/4 quinoa flour
  • 2 tsp gluten-free baking powder
  • 1 tsp cinnamon
  • 1/2 tsp nutmeg
  • 1 banana
  • 2 cups water
  • 1/2 cup quinoa flakes

In a large bowl, mix the flours, flaxseed, baking powder, cinnamon and nutmeg.  In a food processor or blender, process the banana and water while slowly adding the dry ingredients until a smooth mixture is reached.  Transfer mixture to the large bowl and stir in the quinoa flakes.

Lightly oil a frying pan with coconut oil and heat over medium heat.  Pour scoopfuls of batter in heated pan.  Once bubbles appear (a few minutes), flip pancake over and fry for another few minutes.

Serve with some fresh fruit and a helping of maple syrup. 🙂

Kale Salad With a Kick

kalesalad1

I finished day 3 of Natasha Kyssa’s “SimplyRaw Detox” with this beautiful and slightly spicy kale salad.  By far, this has to be the best kale salad I have ever tasted.

The recipe is from Brendan Brazier’s “Whole Foods to Thrive”.  Early this morning over a warm cup of Fire Water, I earmarked several pages of this book.  It never really dawned on me until today of the large number of raw recipes Brendan actually has in this book.  This kale salad recipe popped out as it contains a good pinch of cayenne pepper, just like my early morning Fire Water.

This salad was my dinner tonight, so I gave it a little extra by adding a handful of sunflower sprouts and a handful of raw pumpkin seeds.

QUICK KALE AND AVOCADO SALAD

  • 1 head of kale, shredded
  • 1 tomato, diced
  • 1 avocado, chopped
  • handful of sprouts
  • handful of raw seeds or nuts
  • 3 tablespoons flaxseed oil
  • 2 green onions, finely diced
  • 1 lemon, juiced
  • 1 teaspoon sea salt
  • a good pinch of cayenne pepper

In a large bowl, using a fork, mix together the oil, lemon juice, salt and cayenne pepper.  Toss in chopped avocado and chopped tomato and mix.  Add kale and green onions and toss.  You may want to use your clean hands to help “wilt” the kale and soften the avocado to a creamier texture.  Once kale has been coated, toss in sprouts and seeds.  Serve immediately.

Ally’s Vegan Chilli

“The snow is snowing and the wind is blowing but I can weather the storm!  What do I care how much it may storm? For I’ve got my love to keep me warm.”

Actually, my love happened to be away with work.  Somewhere very warm I may add.   At home, the girls and I worked feverishly throughout the day keeping the snow from piling on our walkway and driveway.  I think we shoveled snow at least 4 times yesterday before a very kind neighbour came along with his handy, dandy snow blower.

But, we had chilli to keep us warm.  It was a real treat to sit down to a bowl of Ally’s Chilli at the end of a hardworking afternoon!  Ally’s chilli is the perfect blend of spices to keep you toasty.

chilli_edited-2

This recipe comes from one of my favourite bloggers.  Ally is “an Aussie mamma” who writes passionately about vegan parenting and animal rights.  Her blog’s name is Made of Stars and it is truly brilliant!

I am thrilled that Ally shared her and her mom’s chilli recipe with me.  This recipe is simple (a perfect dish for a busy weekday) and it is 100% kid-approved – my 2 girls gave it a 2 thumbs up in between heaping spoonfuls!  Ally said that this chilli has become a staple in her house.  It will now be a staple in our house, too!

We ate a bowl of this alone for dinner.  (Well, my 9-year-old daughter actually ate 2 big bowls!) There was no need for anything else at our dinner table.

Ally’s Vegan Chilli

  • onion, chopped
  • filtered water (3 tbsp. approx.) for sauteing
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 medium-sized zucchini squash, chopped (optional – I just had one staring at me from the fridge)
  • 1 teaspoon cumin
  • 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1 teaspoon ground coriander
  • 1/2 teaspoon cayenne
  • VitoBio Organic diced tomatoes* (796 mL/28 fl.oz)
  • Eden Foods no salt added kidney beans* (398 mL/14 fl. oz), rinsed
  • Eden Foods no salt added black beans* (398 mL/14 fl.oz), rinsed
  • frozen corn (optional)
  • salt and freshly ground pepper
  • 1 cup quinoa, rinsed (optional – I added this in to free up a jar in my pantry)
  • dash of dried chilli flakes (I added this to my bowl only, not to the pot)

Saute the onion in some water.  ( That’s right! This works just fine! No need to saute in oil and add extra fat to our diets!).  When onions have softened, add garlic and chopped zucchini.  Continue to saute for about 3 minutes then add the spices.

Add the can of tomatoes and salt and pepper. If you prefer, you can use an immersion blender and blend the tomatoes for a smoother consistency.  You can see from my photo that we like chunky tomatoes in our chilli so we did not puree them.   Add the beans.  Bring the pot up to boiling, then add quinoa, if you so desire.  Cover and reduce heat to a low simmer for about 10 minutes.

*When it was time to make this dish, I turned to my well stocked pantry.  Yesterday, was not the day to sit around and wait for beans to soften in a pot.  So,  I used Eden Foods no salt added kidney beans and Eden Foods no salt added black beans.  Eden Foods do not line their cans with BPA.  They are actually the only canned bean that is BPA free.   I also used VitaBio Organic diced tomatoes (also contains no BPA or GMOs).  Having these foods in my pantry, makes following a healthy diet easier.

Chloe’s Avocado Pesto Pasta

Today I started my second course of Plant-Based Nutrition, “Diseases of Affluence”, at eCornell.  I just can’t get enough of Dr. Campbell’s lectures and the course readings.  Despite our beautiful, crisp day,  I was at my desk and on my computer for a good part of it.

By the time I emerged from the office, it was apparent that I really needed to make something for dinner that was not going to take a lot of prep.  My two girls had homework assignments and sports activities planned for the evening, so I had to think of something quick.  Staring at me from my fruit bowl, were to 2 gorgeous looking avocados.

It was time to make Chloe’s Avocado Pesto Pasta!  This recipe has been bookmarked since Christmas morning when I unwrapped “Chloe’s Kitchen” by Chloe Coscarelli.

pestonoodles

So rich and creamy, this dish is absolutely delicious!  My kids loved it so much that when I announced I had a little pesto left over, they were quick to suggest it as a spread for tomorrow’s sandwich. ..That’s if Dad doesn’t decide on a midnight snack!  😉

Here is the recipe – http://chefchloe.com/entrees/avocado-pesto-pasta.html .   I made two substitutions.  I did not have pine nuts, but I did have some raw sunflower seeds.  So, I threw them in the food processor with the other ingredients.  I also changed up the noodles and served this pesto with gluten-free, brown rice penne pasta.  My pasta dish was then garnished with some of my sun-dried tomatoes I had made earlier in the Fall.

No need to shy away from avocados.  Yes, they are high in fat, but the fat is a healthy kind – the kind your body needs.  According to Joel Fuhrman, M.D., in his book “Eat to Live”, “If the fats you consume are healthy fats found in raw seeds, nuts, and avocados, and if your diet is rich in unrefined foods, you needn’t worry so much about the fat – unless you are overweight”.

Creamy (No Dairy) Celery Root Salad with Candied Walnuts and Hemp Seeds

celeryroot

I always chuckle when I toss this knobby, slightly hairy, root vegetable into my grocery cart.  I just love the reaction I get when I place it on the cashier’s belt while waiting in line at the check-out.

celeryroot1

Celery root, also known as celeriac, is one ugly looking vegetable.  But don’t judge it by its cover!  It’s flavour is unique – a taste of celery and parsley combined.  With the texture of a turnip, celery root can be enjoyed in soups or stews.  But, our favourite way of eating this highly nutritious vegetable is raw.

Traditionally, our family has eaten celery root grated and tossed with yogurt and sour cream.  In a mean craving for the same delicious salad,  I decided to replicate an old family recipe by replacing the dairy with my own cashew cream.  The result was heavenly! Just like Oma’s!

CREAMY (NO DAIRY) CELERY ROOT SALAD

dressing:

  • 1/2 cup raw cashews (soak in water in fridge overnight, then drain and rinse well)
  • 1/2 cup water
  • 1/2 teaspoon sea salt
  • 1/4 cup lemon juice (I used Santa Cruz organic lemon juice)
  • 2 tablespoons Dijon mustard
  • freshly ground pepper

Puree cashews, water and sea salt in a food processor.  Add remaining ingredients and process until dressing is smooth.  Transfer dressing to a large glass bowl.

salad:

Celery root must be peeled and rinsed well prior to eating.  It also tends to darken quickly once peeled, so its best to toss it with some lemon juice (if you are still preparing your dressing). 

Once grated, transfer the celery root immediately to your glass bowl and toss it with the dressing to prevent discolouration.  Toss salad with walnuts and hemp seeds prior to serving.

Bon appetit!

Garlic Beets

beets

My family moved to the Ottawa Valley just over 6 years ago.  On my first Christmas here, my husband gave me a wonderful little cookbook recommended to him by the owner of our local bookstore.  Titled “The Green Door Restaurant: Vegetarian Cookbook”, this soft cover book is now a bit tattered and stained as it’s my “go to book” for quick, delicious vegan recipes.   This recipe comes from this book.  I brought Garlic Beets to our family Christmas dinner last night.

GARLIC BEETS

  • 5-6 medium-sized beets
  • 2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • 2 tablespoons umeboshi vinegar (also known as ume plum vinegar)*

Cook beets until tender.  (I used a pressure cooker) and let cool on a large dinner plate or pan.  Peel the beets.  Slice or chop the beets in small chunks and place in a serving bowl.  In a separate bowl, mix the minced garlic, olive oil and umeboshi vinegar.  Pour over beets, mix and serve.

Umeboshi vinegar, made from pickled Japanese ume fruit, livens up salad recipes due to its fruity and very salty taste.  Ume plums (more like red apricots) have a number of medicinal qualities.  One being a hangover remedy!  Umeboshi vinegar can be found in natural health food stores or in the health food section of some grocery stores.  If you do not have this vinegar in your pantry, but are dying to make this salad, you can substitute the umeboshi vinegar for red wine vinegar.  However, I do recommend that you give umeboshi vinegar a try.   To learn more about umeboshi or ume plum vinegar, check out this site – http://www.thekitchn.com/product-spolight-umeboshi-vinegar-168623 .

Candied Pumpkin Seeds and Walnuts

This year I struggled with finding something for the men on my Christmas list.  I was tired of wrapping up gloves, ties, motor oil, and aftershave.

I recall back in October, I made a dehydrator full of candied pumpkin seeds.  I really had to stop my husband from devouring them in one sitting. So, this weekend I decided to fill my dehydrator with candied pumpkin seeds and walnut pieces.  The men on my list will each receive a jar full of these crunchy and heavenly sweet snacks.  A healthy gift of good protein, antioxidants, zinc and Omega 3s.

One of my favourite raw food books is “Raw Food Real World” by Mathew Kenney and Sarma Melngailis.  (This book is signed by Sarma herself, having met her at The Seed in NYC last Spring! You see, I don’t get all giddy and star struck over rock stars. Rather, I find myself adolescent-like when I meet vegan chefs!)  I followed Mathew and Sarma’s recipes for candied pumpkin seeds and candied walnuts with a couple of minor alterations.

seeds

CANDIED PUMPKIN SEEDS

  • 2 cups pumpkin seeds, preferably soaked for 4 hours or more, drained and rinsed well
  • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1/4 maple syrup powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon sea salt

Toss all ingredients very well in a medium bowl.  Spread on a dehydrator tray and dehydrate at 112 degrees Fahrenheit for approximately 24 hours, or until dry and crisp.

If you are using an oven instead of a dehydrator, bake at 250 degrees Fahrenheit for about an hour and a half until dry and crisp.  * Check seeds and walnuts often, as time may vary.

walnuts

CANDIED WALNUTS – follow recipe above

Fill glass jars or containers with candied pumpkin seeds or candied walnuts or a mixture of both.  Reserve a wee bit for yourself, as these nuts and seeds are awesome thrown in a mixed green salad.

Shanghai-Style Noodle Soup

As many of you are aware, I absolutely LOVE to travel.  This is one reason why I have chosen to eat so well.  There are just too many spectacular places on this earth to encounter in one lifetime.  I do not have the time to get sick.  I want to remain healthy and energetic for as long as I can so that I can experience all the wonders of this beautiful world.

Last Thursday I had the opportunity to accompany my husband to Shanghai for the weekend.  Yes, the weekend.  I know it’s a long flight (14 hours) and my time there not as long as I would like, but I gladly accepted the offer.  Seeing the world in short spurts will suffice for now.

During my short stay, I fell in love with Chinese Noodle Soup.  Actually, I became addicted to this meal and had it for breakfast and dinner on all 3 days.  When I returned home, I was to sure to stop by the grocery store for its ingredients.  I wanted to share this simple, warming, and aromatic dish with my children.  Their reaction – “Mom you should make this more often!!”.  I think I might just do that.

menoodles

SHANGHAI-STYLE NOODLE SOUP

  • 2 tablespoons sesame oil
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 tablespoon ginger, minced
  • 4 cups gluten-free, organic vegetable broth
  • 300 g dried mixed mushrooms*, soaked in 2 cups of broth for 5 minutes
  • 454 g organic tofu, cubed and stir-fried in sesame oil until lightly browned
  • 198 g stir-fry rice noodles, soaked in boiling water for approximately 4 minutes then drained
  • 2 cups baby bok choy, chopped
  • 250 g fresh bean sprouts
  • gluten-free soya sauce (I used Bragg’s liquid soy seasoning), if desired

Heat sesame oil over medium heat.  Stirring constantly, cook garlic and ginger for about 2 minutes.  Add vegetable broth, mushrooms, tofu, and bok choy.  Heat to boiling, then let simmer for 5 minutes.

In a large soup bowl, add cooked rice noodles.  Ladle broth and vegetables into bowl over noodles.  Add a handful of bean sprouts to bowl and stir soup.

Add a dash or two of soya sauce if desired.

* China is the world’s largest edible mushroom producer.  A bowl of noodle soup in Shanghai contains such a vast array of mixed mushrooms (shitake, tree oyster, chanterelle, and black trumpets, just to name a few – some of which I had never had the pleasure of tasting until this visit.  Try not to settle for white button mushrooms.  I found a wonderful bag of locally grown assorted dried mushrooms in a nearby natural food store.  What a wonderful flavour it brought to this soup!

Mushrooms are high in fiber, high in protein and contain B vitamins. They are considered the “meat” of the vegetable world.  I think I may become a mycophagist! 😉

shanghainoodlesoup

shanghai

It’s a perfect time for MACA-ROONS!

maca-roons

‘Tis the season for energy food!

Need a little treat that will increase your stamina and fight your fatigue?  Having a hard time fighting colds and dealing with the stress of the holiday season?  These tasty, fudge-like morsels contain maca root powder,  a highly nutrient dense whole food.  Maca, also known as “Peruvian Ginseng”,  is a herbaceous plant found high in the Andes of Peru.

This root has been used to make medicine for centuries.  Not only does it help build strength, maca root has been known to aid women with hormonal balance – an ideal food choice for those suffering from PMS or menopausal symptoms.  It has also been used to help anemic patients.

You can add maca root powder to your smoothies, soups, or baking.  I replaced 1/4 cup of protein powder in my favourite raw macaroon recipe (I apologize, as I’m not sure of this recipe’s source) with a 1/4 cup of maca powder.  The result was heavenly!

Super easy – here is the recipe!

CHOCOLATE MACA-ROONS

  • 3 cups of dried coconut
  • 1/4 cup maca root powder*
  • 1/2 cup raw chocolate protein powder* (I like Sun Warrior and Garden of Life)
  • 3/4 cup raw cacao powder*
  • 1 tablespoon vanilla
  • 1 cup maple syrup
  • 1/2 teaspoon sea salt

Mix all ingredients together in one large bowl.  If you prefer to make raw macaroons, drop dough in large spoonfuls onto your dehydrator tray and “bake” at 112 degrees F for 4 hours.  I have found 4 hours to be the perfect amount of time for a macaroon that is slightly crunchy on the outside, but  moist on the inside.

If you do not own a dehydrator, try baking them at a low temperature in your oven.  I baked a tray at 200 degrees F for 35 minutes and they were similar in texture to my dehydrated macaroons.

I have been making these macaroons at least once a month for the past year.  We have taken them to work, sports activities, and to parties.  My kids even made them for their teachers last year as an end of the year gift.  They are absolutely delicious and, best of all, guilt-free!  Enjoy!

You can find maca root powder, raw protein powder, and cacao powder in most health food stores.