All posts by Darlene & Ken

About Darlene & Ken

Experiencing life off the grid, building a home, and trying to live sustainably.

September Cooking Class – Baked Beans, Broccoli Salad & Pumpkin Pudding

September 23, 2018

Another great class! This one focused on whole plant based food, easy on the budget, simple to prepare, totally nutritious and absolutely delicious.

As always, the class started with a green smoothie. This one was mango kale. If you are new to green smoothies, or introducing them to your kids, start with a bit less kale and gradually increase the amount. Thanks Cecile for the suggestion to add a pinch of black pepper to the smoothie to boast the turmeric absorption.  I have added this my recipe.

 

 

 

Green Smoothie
• 2 cups water
• 2 cups kale
• 1 orange, peeled
• ¼ tsp turmeric
• ½ inch piece ginger root
• Pinch of black pepper
• 2 cups frozen mango

Place ingredients in a blender in the order given. Blend until smooth.

 

 

Baked Pinto Beans

This is my whole food plant based adaptation of a family favorite from my sister-in-law Pat.

Be sure to chop the carrots and onions very fine (a food processor works great) as they are designed to provide a nice texture to the dish as well as sneaking in a bit more veg. If you don’t have a food processor, feel free to skip the carrots.

You can also substitute any other bean you like for the pinto beans.

Serve with steamed greens, a grain (rice, quinoa, barley, buckwheat), baked potato or a whole grain bun. For the class, we served this with Silver Hills Sprouted bread topped with smashed avocado.

These beans freeze really well. I like to freeze them in 2 cup portions. That way I can keep a constant supply in the fridge to easily add beans to any meal. And these beans are great for breakfast too.

• 4 cups dry pinto beans
• 1 tsp salt (optional)
• 1 large onion, diced
• 1 or 2 carrots, chopped fine
• 4 cloves garlic, minced
• ¼ tsp pepper
• ¼ cup molasses
• ½ cup tomato paste
• 1 tbsp vegan Worcestershire sauce
• ½ cup maple syrup
• ½ cup vinegar
• 1 tsp Dijon mustard
• ¼ tsp cayenne
• ½ tsp salt
• Couple shakes liquid smoke (optional)
• 3 cups water

SLOW COOKER METHOD:
1. Cover beans with plenty of water (about 12 cups) and let soak overnight. Drain and rinse. Place in slow cooker with salt, if using. Cover beans with water (about 6 cups) and cook on high 3 to 4 hours, or until just tender. Drain.
2. Place the beans in the slow cooker with the remaining ingredients. If necessary, add more water so that the liquid covers the beans. Cook an additional 3 hours on high. Add more water if it becomes too dry. Adjust seasonings to taste. (note, you can cook the beans one day and do the next step another.)
OVEN METHOD:
1. Cover beans with plenty of water (about 12 cups) and let soak overnight. Drain and rinse. Place in in a large pot with salt, if using. Cover beans with water (about 6 cups). Bring to a boil and simmer on stovetop until just tender, about 1 hour. Drain.
2. Place the beans in a large oven safe pan. Add remaining ingredients. If necessary, add more water so that the liquid covers the beans. Cook an additional 1 to 2 hours 300F. Check the beans every half hour and add more water if it becomes too dry. Adjust seasonings to taste. (note, you can cook the beans one day and do the next step another.)
USING CANNED BEANS:
Skip step one above. Use about 12 cups cooked beans in the recipe. Drain and rinse beans.

Sweet Chilli Broccoli Salad
This is a great side for any meal. To make it into a whole meal, add 1 can of drained chickpeas. This dressing is also good on a cabbage salad for a change from the usual coleslaw dressings. And the salad keeps well in the fridge so it can be made ahead of time and leftovers taste even better the next day.  A great way to add more cruciferous veggies to your diet.

The recipe is from The PlantPure Kitchen by Kim Campbell.

Sauce:
• ¼ cup lemon juice
• ¼ cup water
• 3 tbsp low sodium soy sauce (or 2 tbsp regular plus 1 tbsp water)
• 3 tbsp maple syrup
• 1 tbsp tahini
• ½ to 2 tsp sriracha (optional)
• 2 garlic cloves, peeled

Salad:
• 1 head broccoli, cut into small florets
• 1 red pepper, seeded and diced
• 2 carrots, peeled and shredded
• ¼ cup red or green onion, chopped

Combine sauce ingredients in a blender and blend until smooth. Toss salad ingredients together in a large bowl. Add the sauce, toss and serve.

Steamed Greens

Greens are one of the most important part of your diet, so be sure to have 2 servings everyday, either in a green smoothie, mixed into a main dish, or served alone cooked. This simple to make dish is one of my favorites and is great with kale, chard, spinach or beet greens. For this class, we used kale. I like to shred the kale very fine before cooking.

  • 8 cups kale, destemmed and finely chopped
  • 2 tbsp Dijon mustard
  • 1 tsp maple syrup
  • pinch of salt

Bring about 8 cups of water to a boil in a large pot. Add kale and cook about 5 minutes, or until bright green and tender. Drain and squeeze out excess moisture. Add mustard, maple syrup and a pinch of salt. Toss well and serve.

Pumpkin Chia Pudding

If you are looking for a great whole food alternative to pumpkin pie this fall, this is a great recipe. This pumpkin pudding is easy to prepare and tastes great.

The recipe is adapted from Forks Over Knives. I removed the chili powder and black pepper, reduced the cloves and increased the maple syrup. For the class, we served the pudding in small glass cups layered with granola, topped with a maple glazed pecan and served with Vanilla Nice Cream (recipe below). Any leftovers are great mixed with your morning overnight oats.

• ¼ cup chia seeds
• 2 cups almond milk or plant-based milk of your choice
• 2 cups pumpkin purée
• 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
• ½ teaspoon ground ginger
• ¼ teaspoon ground nutmeg
• 1/8 teaspoon ground cloves
• 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
• ¼ cup maple syrup, or more to taste (or substitute date paste)

1. Mix the chia seeds and almond milk in a jar or bowl, and let the mixture set for 5 minutes. Whisk or stir the mixture vigorously to evenly disperse the chia seeds. Cover the jar, and transfer to the refrigerator to chill for at least 4 hours, or overnight.
2. In a small bowl, whisk together the cinnamon, ginger, nutmeg and cloves.
3. Remove the chia pudding from the refrigerator, and stir in the pumpkin purée, dry spice mixture, vanilla extract, and maple syrup. Serve garnished with coconut flakes. If desire, serve with whipped coconut cream or vanilla nice cream.

Vanilla Nice Cream

  • 1/2 cup plant based milk (I used Cashew)
  • 2 tsp vanilla extract
  • 5 frozen bananas

Place milk and vanilla extract in a high speed blender or food processor. Pulse to combine then on high speed (or frozen dessert setting) add bananas slowly. Push down to combine well, if necessary. Store in freezer for 2 to 3 hours before serving to harden slightly. (If left longer it may freeze too solid to scoop out. If so, take out of the freezer and store in fridge for 1 hour before serving. ) Note, letting the bananas thaw slightly will help your blender to process this to a smooth texture. If necessary, add a bit extra milk to process.

 

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Whole Food Plant Based PotLuck – Tex Mex Casserole and Coleslaw

September 22, 2018

I attended my very first whole food plant based potluck on Saturday. It was an awesome experience to see all that great food spread out on the tables and I could every bit of it. The selection was awe inspiring and I had to limit myself to a tablespoon of each in order to taste them all. About 40 people attended the potluck, which amazed me as well. I can’t wait until the next one. Thank you Plant Based Living Winnipeg for organizing.

 

 

I attended the potluck with my two Workaway guests, Vanessa from Germany and Heather from the UK. Both are vegans and very impressed with this vegan experience of Canada.

 

We took three dishes, a Tex Mex Casserole, a coleslaw and a simple plate of garden fresh tomatoes and cucumbers.

Tex Mex Casserole

This my whole food adaptation of a recipe from the Oh She Glows Cookbook by Angela Liddon. I eliminated the oil and substituted cashew cheese for the Daiya. I also do this casserole up in a frying pan and skip placing it in an oven to bake at the end but you can prepare as described below and then reheat in a 350F oven if you like.

Spice blend:
o 1 tbsp chilli powder
o 1 ½ tsp ground cumin
o 1 tsp smoked sweet paprika (or ½ tsp regular paprika)
o ¼ tsp cayenne pepper
o 1 ¼ tsp salt
o ¼ tsp ground coriander

Casserole:

o 1 onion, diced
o 3 cloves garlic, minced
o 1 orange bell pepper, diced
o 1 red bell pepper, diced
o 1 jalapeño, diced fine (optional)
o ½ cup corn kernals
o 1 – 28 oz can crushed tomatoes
o 2 cups finely chopped kale leaves or spinach
o 2 cups cooked black beans (if using canned, rinsed and drained)
o 3 cups cooked rice (brown rice or a brown and wild rice mix)
o ½ cup cashew cheese sauce (optional)

Combine spice mix and set aside.

In a large pan, sauté onion, peppers and until softened. Add a tablespoon or two of water if necessary to prevent sticking. Stir in spice mix, corn, tomatoes, kale, beans and rice. Sauté until heated through. Stir in cashew cheese. Season with salt and pepper to taste.
Serve with optional toppings (chopped avocado, salsa, green onions, cashew cheese).

Cole Slaw

This recipe is from The PlantPure Nation Cookbook by Kim Campbell

• 6 cups shredded green cabbage
• 1 carrot shredded
• ½ cup green onions, sliced
• 1 red pepper, sliced thin
• ½ cup cashew mayo (see recipe below)
• ¼ tsp smoked paprika
• ½ tsp black pepper
• 1 tsp celery seed
• 1 tsp onion powder
• ¼ tsp sea salt
• 2 tbsp white vinegar
• 2 tbsp agave
In a large bowl, combine cabbage, carrot, onion and red pepper. In a small bowl combine mayo with remaining ingredients. Mix well and pour over cabbage mixture. Combine well.

 

Cashew Mayo

  • 1 cup raw cashews, soaked 2 to 3 hours
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 2 tbsp lemon juice
  • 1 tbsp white vinegar
  • 2 tbsp apple cider vinegar
  • 1 tbsp Dijon mustard
  • 1 tbsp agave nectar
  • 1/2 cup water

Drain soaked cashews and place in blender with remaining ingredients. Blend until smooth. Taste and adjust spice to your liking – more lemon juice, etc.

 

 

 

 

VegFest 2018 – Energy Balls

September 15, 2018

Katherine and I with Dr. Caldwell Esseltyn

This weekend was the second annual VegFest in Winnipeg, and the first time I have attended one. It was fabulous. There was about 75 vendor tables with a fabulous array of all things vegan, from food to clothes. They also had a great lineup of speakers, including Dr. Caldwell Esseltyn and his wife Anne Esseltyn.  Dr. Esseltyn is the author of the book Prevent and Reverse Heart Disease and his wife wrote the companion cook book. He is also co-author of Forks Over Knives. It was a great honor to have them both speaking in Winnipeg.

Our VegFest Team

Our meditation group had a table promoting meditation and our cooking classes. We handed out sample of energy balls to those stopping at our table. The recipes are below.

Energy ball handouts

While most energy balls are a mixture of dates and nuts, these little gems are a bit different. They are apricot based and nut free, using sunflower seeds instead of nuts. They are great for school lunches as peanut butter and nuts are not sometimes not allowed.

Apricot Coconut Sun Balls

• 1 cup dried apricots
• ½ cup Medjool dates (pitted)
• 1 cup sunflower seeds (raw, unsalted)
• ½ cup shredded unsweetened coconut
• ½ tsp vanilla extract

Place sunflower seeds in food processor and process for a few seconds until chopped. Add remaining ingredients and process until desired consistency. The dough should stick together when pressed with your fingers. (If your dried fruit is too dry, add a tablespoon of water when processing) Form into balls and freeze. Makes approximately 20 – 1 tablespoon size balls.

recipe from Happy Healthy Mama

The next two recipes are really tasty, and you would never guess that the main ingredient was beans. They were both a big hit at VegFest.

Black Bean Almond Chocolate Energy Balls

• ½ cup almonds (natural)
• 1 – 15 oz can black beans or 1 ½ cup, rinsed and drained
• 1 cup Medjool dates, pitted
• ¾ cup peanut butter
• ¼ cup cocoa powder, unsweetened

Place almonds in food processor and process until a fine crumb forms. Add black beans and dates, process until incorporated. Add peanut butter and process until incorporated. Add cocoa powder and process until incorporated. (if your food processor gets bogged down, dump the mixture into a mixing bowl and mix cocoa powder in by hand.) Make approximately 30 – 1 tablespoon size balls. Freeze.
(Adapted from Happy Healthy Mamma  I substituted dates for honey)

Chickpea Almond Chocolate Chip Energy Balls
• 1 ½ cup almonds (natural)
• 1 – 15 oz can (or 1 ½ cups) chickpeas, rinsed and drained
• 1 cup Medjool dates, pitted
• ½ tsp almond extract
• ¼ to ½ cup mini dark chocolate chips

Place almonds in a food processor and process until they are very fine. Add chickpeas and process until completely broken down. Add dates and almond extract, process until incorporated. Remove dough from food processor and, if using, add chocolate chips. Stir until well incorporated. Makes about 30 – 1 tablespoon size balls. Freeze.

(Adapted from Happy Healthy Mamma )

These chocolate cherry bites are a long time favorite of mine and I like to include them in my Christmas ‘baking’. When we made them for VegFest they turned out a bit sticky, so we rolled them in cocoa powder and they were perfect. And they were Anne Esseltyn’s favorite.

Dark Chocolate Cherry Bites
• 1 cup whole raw almonds
• 129 grams pitted Medjool dates (about 8 large)
• ½ cup dried cherries
• 3 tbsp small dark chocolate chips, or cocoa nibs
• ¼ cup pecans
• 1 tsp dried orange rind

In food processor, process almonds until finely chopped. Remove 1/3 cup and set aside.
To the remaining almonds in the food processor, add dates and process until chopped and sticky. Add cherries and process until cherries are chopped slightly.
Add chocolate chips, orange rind and pecans and process until they are just chopped up. Add reserved 1/3 cup almonds and process just until blended.
Roll into small balls and freeze.

 

June 2018 Cooking Class – Burger Time

June 10, 2018

Burger and a salad

Just in time for summer, June’s cooking class focused on summer favorites – burgers, Caesar Salad and a cool frozen dessert. This month we continued our talk on the importance of fibre in our diet, and the great source of fibre and protein found in beans.

Our smoothie of the month was ‘berry delicious’, a combination of kale, banana, mango, orange and blueberries with added nutritional value from turmeric, ginger and flax.

Green Smoothie

• 2 cups greens (we used kale)
• 2 cups water
• ¼ tsp turmeric
• 1 inch piece ginger
• 1 tbsp ground flax
• 2 cups fresh or frozen fruit (we used a combination of banana, mango, blueberries, and an orange)

Place all ingredients in a blender in the order listed. Blend until smooth.

Making Burgers

Summer is burger time, but burgers also make great fast meals any time of the year. This is a great burger as it holds together well, but it is important to let it sit to thicken up. It best if you make the burger mix and let it sit for at least 1/2 hour before forming the burgers. However, in a pinch you can make them up right away, just be gentle when cooking. I prefer to bake the burgers then freeze them for later use. However, in class we make the burgers and fried them up immediately. They were a bit more fragile but still delicious. If you plan to throw these on the barbecue, I recommend baking ahead of time, then warming on the grill. We made our burgers with grated beets which gave them a real ‘meaty’ look; however, they are also great make with grated carrot.

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Grillable Veggie Burgers
• 1 cup cooked brown rice (I use short grain rice, or substitute couscous, millet or quinoa)
• 1 cup raw walnuts (or substitute sunflower seeds, bread crumbs or oatmeal)
• 1/2 white onion (about 3/4 cup), finely diced
• 1 beet or carrot, grated fine
• 1 pepper (red, yellow, orange, green or poblano), diced fine
• 1 to 2 cups mushrooms, diced fine
• 1 1/2 cups (227 g) cooked chickpeas, rinsed and drained
• 2 tbsp ground flax soaked in 6 tbsp water
• 1 cup oatmeal (old fashioned, large flake)
• 4-5 Tbsp vegan BBQ sauce
• 2 tbsp nutritional yeast
• 1 Tbsp each chili powder and smoked paprika
• 1 tsp garlic powder, onion powder, cumin and salt
• 1/2 tsp black pepper

Grating beets

Chop walnuts fine in a food processor, coffee mill or by hand.
In a skillet, over medium heat, sauté onion, beets, pepper, and mushroom for 3-4 minutes or until tender, adding small amounts of water or broth to keep it from sticking to the pan. Remove from heat and set aside.
In a food processor, place chickpeas and process until slightly mashed but not a mushy puree. Alternatively you can mash with a fork.
In a large bowl, add the ground flax and water and let soak for 5 minutes. Once soaked, add cooked rice, chopped walnuts, sautéed veggies, mashed chickpeas, oatmeal, BBQ sauce, nutritional yeast, seasonings. Mix thoroughly with a wooden spoon for 1-2 minutes, or until a moldable dough forms.
If too dry, add extra 1-2 Tbsp BBQ sauce. If too wet, add more oatmeal. Taste and adjust seasonings as needed.
Let sit in fridge for several hours or overnight. Form into patties using wet hands. (I use 1/3 cup mixture per patty – will make about 14 or 15 burgers). This is important to make sure the burgers hold together well for grilling. (for best grilling results, bake at 350 for 20 minutes then freeze for later grilling)
If grilling, heat the grill at this time and brush the grill surface with oil to ease cooking. Otherwise, cook in a skillet or bake (20 minutes at 350F).
Remove burgers from heat and allow to cool slightly before serving.

An all time favorite at our house is Caesar Salad with this creamy picante dressing.

Caesar Salad Dressing
• ½ cup raw cashews
• ¼ cup water
• Juice of 1 lemon
• 1 tsp Dijon mustard
• 2 cloves garlic
• ½ tsp garlic powder
• 1 ½ tsp vegan Worcestershire sauce
• ¼ cup nutritional yeast
• ½ tsp black pepper
• 1 tbsp miso (or ½ tsp salt)

Soak cashews for 2 or more hours. Drain cashews and place in blender with all other ingredients. Taste and adjust seasonings to taste.

Nothing says summer like ice cream. This creamy frozen dessert is a favorite, and is my take off on a traditional Indian Mango Lassi beverage. Since I always keep coconut milk and frozen banana and mangos in stock, I can whip this one up quickly. You can substitute any frozen fruit you like for the mango – blueberry, strawberry, etc.

Mango Lassi
• 1 can full fat coconut cream
• 1 frozen banana
• 2 cups frozen mango
• 1 tbsp finely grated ginger
• ¼ tsp turmeric
Place coconut cream in a blender or food processor. Add ginger and frozen fruit. Blend until smooth. Keep in a freezer until ready to serve. Best if made 2 to 3 hours before serving. If frozen hard, let sit in the fridge for ½ hour before serving.
Substitute other fruit for the mango (blueberry, raspberry, cherry, peaches, etc) or other seasonings for the ginger (cinnamon, nutmeg). For a sweeter dessert, add an extra banana or some date paste.

Thanks to James for the great pictures. And thanks to my granddaughter Katie who was a great assistant.

 

 

May 2018 Cooking Class – Beans, Greens and Berries

May 2018

I know I am terrible late in posting the recipes for the May class, but its garden season. Now that the garden is in, I have time to catch up on my posts.

May cooking class meal

May’s class focused on beans, greens and berries, three important foods that you should try to add to your daily diet. They offer great fibre, protein, vitamins, minerals, antioxidants and phytonutrients. All that wonderful fibre is great for feeding those lovely probiotic bacteria in your gut. Happy guts, happy life!

Berry Banana Green Smoothie

As usual, we started the class with my favorite – the green smoothie. I used to love my smoothies green, real green. However, smoothies are a great way to add berries as well as greens to your diet. So now, most of my smoothies are more muddy colored than green. But they still taste delicious. This months smoothie was a mixture of kale, bananas and blueberries with the addition of an orange and some ginger and turmeric. When I can find it, I buy fresh turmeric, chop it up and freeze it for use in smoothies and salad dressings. However, ground turmeric works just as well, just don’t add too much.

Berry Banana Green Smoothie
• 2 cup water
• 2 cups leafy greens (kale, spinach, parsley, cilantro, etc)
• 1 orange, peeled and quartered
• ¼ tsp ground turmeric or ½ inch fresh turmeric root
• ½ inch fresh ginger root
• 3 fresh or frozen bananas
• 1 cup fresh or frozen blueberries, raspberries or mixed berries

Put all ingredients in a blender in the order given. Blend until smooth.

One Pot Mexican Quinoa

Our main dish this class was a bean and quinoa dish that only requires one pot to make it in as the quinoa cooks right in the pot. Fast, simple and delicious. While most quinoa that you buy has been prewashed, its always a good idea to rinse your quinoa before cooking to make sure all the bitter soponins on the seed have been washed off. The saponins are the plants natural defence mechanism, to keep the birds from eating all the delicious seed.

One Pot Mexican Quinoa
• 1 onion, diced
• ½ jalepeno, chopped fine
• 1 pepper, diced (your choice, red, yellow orange or green)
• 1 carrot, diced fine
• 2 cloves garlic, minced
• 1 cup corn, fresh or frozen
• 1 can beans, drained and rinsed (your choice black, pinto, kidney or mixed beans)
• 1 cup tomatoes, tomato sauce or salsa
• ¾ cup quinoa, rinsed
• 1 tsp chilli powder
• ½ tsp cumin
• ½ tsp salt
• 1 cup vegetable broth

In saucepan, sauté onion, jalepeno, pepper, carrot and garlic with a small amount of water or broth until onion is softened. Add corn, beans, tomato and spices. Add quinoa and broth and simmer for 20 minutes or until quinoa is cooked. Adjust seasonings to taste. Serve with diced avocado and tomatoes.

Chop Salad with Vegan Ranch Dressing

Our salad dressing for this month is a creamy Ranch type dressing. It goes great on the chopped salad below, but also good on any salad. The recipe is from Dr. Michael Greger’s How Not To Die Cookbook. The recipe uses Dr. Greger’s Savory Spice Blend, a favorite in many of his recipes. I’ve included the recipe for the spice blend as well, as it is good in almost any recipe you are making. However, if you don’t want to make a whole batch just use a couple of teaspoons of nutritional yeast.

Chopped Vegetable Salad
• 1 head romaine lettuce, chopped into bite sized bits
• 2 radishes, chopped
• 1 ripe tomato, chopped
• 1 cup chopped cucumber
• ½ small red or orange bell pepper, chopped
• ½ cup chopped celery
• 1 ½ cup cooked cannellini beans, cooked and rinsed

• Ranch Dressing (recipe following)

In a large bowl, combine all veggie ingredients. Add Ranch Dressing and toss until well coated.

Ranch Dressing
• ½ cup raw cashews, soaked for 2 or more hours
• 2 cloves garlic
• ½ cup almond milk, unsweetened and unflavoured
• 3 tbsp rice vinegar
• 2 tbsp lemon juice
• 1 tsp onion powder
• 2 tsp savory spice blend (recipe below)
• 1 tbsp white miso paste
• 1 tsp date paste
• 1 tbsp fresh parsley, or 1 tsp dried
• 1 tsp fresh dill or ¼ tsp dried

In a high speed blender, combine all ingredients except parsley and dill. Blend until smooth. Add parsley and dill and pulse just until mixed in. Transfer to a glass jar and let sit at least 1 hour to let flavors develop. Stir or shake before using.

Savory Spice Blend
• 2 tbsp nutritional yeast
• 1 tbsp onion powder
• 1 tbsp dried parlsey
• 1 tbsp dried basil
• 2 tsp dried thyme
• 2 tsp garlic powder
• 2 tsp dry mustard powder
• 2 tsp paprika
• ½ tsp ground turmeric
• ½ tsp celery seeds
Combine all ingredients in a spice grinder, coffee grinder or blender. Blend until pulverized. Store in a tightly sealed container.

BlueBerry Cobbler

And of course, no class would be complete without a dessert. My criteria for a great dessert is that it should be nutritious enough so that you can eat the leftovers for breakfast without any guilt. The blueberry cobbler fits the bill perfectly. It is chock full of blueberries and has only a small amount of sweetener added and no oil. The original recipe, from Kim Campbell’s PlantPure Kitchen, uses whole wheat flour, but I prefer to use oat flour instead. I make my own oat flour by blending old fashioned slow cook oats in a blender until smooth. (use certified only oats for a gluten free dessert)

Berry Cobbler
• 6 cups blueberries, fresh or frozen (or mixed berries)
• 1 tbsp brown sugar
• ¼ cup water
• 2 tsp lemon juice
• 2 ½ tbsp cornstarch or arrowroot powder
• 1 ½ cups old fashioned oatmeal (blended in blender until fine)
• 2 tsp baking powder
• ¼ tsp salt
• ¼ tsp nutmeg
• ½ cup unsweetened plant milk
• 2 tbsp maple syrup

Preheat oven to 400F

Blueberry Filling cooking

In medium saucepan, combine berries, brown sugar, water, lemon juice, and cornstarch. Cook over medium heat until bubbling and thickened. Spread berry mixture evenly in an 8 inch square baking pan.
In medium mixing bowl, mix oat flour, baking powder, salt, and nutmeg. Add milk and maple syrup and stir until combined. Drop dough mixture by the tablespoon over the berry mixture. You should be able to cover most of the berries.
Bake for 25 minutes, until lightly browned. Serve warm.

 

Hope you enjoy the recipes. Thanks James for the great photos.

Where Do You Get Your Fibre? Baked Bean Recipe

April 5, 2018

Pretty much the first question you get asked when someone finds out you don’t eat animal products is, “Where do you get your protein?” However, protein is easy to get. All plants contain protein. Our body requires about 6% to 10% of our calories to come from protein. Even fruit averages 5.5% to 10% protein by calories, and beans are about 25% protein. Leafy greens are 35% to 51% protein. So if you are eating a whole food plant based diet (ie large amounts of calories not coming from refined oil and sugar), protein is not an issue. In fact, protein deficiency is seldom seen without a calorie deficiency.  The real question we should all be asking is “Where do you get your fibre?

The diet of almost all North Americans is deficient in fibre. Why is fibre so important? Until relatively recently, it was thought fibre was for regulating bowel functions. Consuming lots of fibre rich foods made you feel full without added calories and made sure waste was efficiently expelled out our body. But recent research shows that fibre is important for so many more reasons, including boosting our immune system,  feeding the cells that line our intestinal walls, and feeding our good gut bacteria. As well, recent research shows that beans have a modulating effect on blood sugar. Watch this short 3 minute video on Beans and the Second-Meal Effect.

Much is made these days of probiotics – which supply a host of good bacteria to our gut. But what happens if we fail to feed those good bacteria? They starve and die. Of course, you could continue to ingest more probiotics, but a far better solution would be to feed your good bacteria and let them multiply on their own. What do those good bacteria eat – fibre.

Where do we get fibre? Animal products – flesh, milk, cheese, eggs, etc. – contain no fibre. However plants – whole grains, vegetables, fruits, nuts, seeds and legumes are great sources of fibre. Stay away from the refined/processed foods plant fragments like white flour and white rice – which have been processed to remove the fibre component.

Beans Beans – Navy, chickpeas, kidney, black eyed peas, chili, pinto and black

One exceptionally good source of fibre is beans.  Beans are undervalued in the modern North American diet. Often considered “peasant food”, beans are infrequently consumed. However, beans are superfoods, loaded with protein, iron, zinc, folate, potassium and fibre.

Being a long time plant based eater, I thought I consumed a lot of legumes – beans, chickpeas, lentils, dried yellow or green peas.  However, I was only consuming an average of five servings a week.  Since making use of Dr. Greger’s Daily Dozen recommendations, I have been striving to eat three servings per day. At first, this seemed like an impossible task. However, one serving of beans is only a half a cup. With a bit of planning, this is not as difficult as it seems. Most days I am able to get my three servings in. The secret is staying mindful of what you are eating. I keep a good stock of frozen cooked beans and lentils; and in addition to great main dish legume meals they can be added to pretty much anything you are cooking.  Add chickpeas or lentils to your rice stir fry, add beans to your soup, serve seasoned beans as a side to any plate or add hummus to a wrap. Think outside the box, many cultures eat legumes for breakfast and baked beans (recipe below) is becoming a breakfast favorite for me. I made a great Yellow Split Pea Dahl that I plan to use for a spicy start to my day. I will share that recipe with you soon.

One of the biggest reasons people give me for not eating more beans is gas. However, I am finding that the little ditty “Beans, Beans, the musical fruit. The more you eat the more you toot.” should actually be changed to “..the more you eat the less you toot!” The gas is caused by bacteria in our gut consuming undigested bean sugars, producing gas. The sugar is undigested because most of us lack the enzyme to digest it. But, our bodies are truly miraculous creations and incredibly efficient. If we don’t eat a particular food, it does not bother making the enzymes to digest it. However, when we start consuming the food regularly, the body will adapt and produce enzymes required to digest it. So if bean induced flatulence is an issue for you, have faith and stay the course. Eat small portions often (several times a day) and if necessary, use digestive enzymes (alpha-galactosidase).  Have confidence – this too shall pass. LOL Besides, intestinal gas is normal and healthy, even if it is occasionally embarrassing.

Below are some of my favorite bean recipes.  I will post a few more new ones in the upcoming weeks.

Baked Beans

Baked beans at the ready in Jars

This is an adaptation of a traditional homemade port and bean recipe from Diane Bachewich in the Sandy Lake Cookbook. I have included two versions – one quite similar to the original but veganized; and the other – a whole food plant based version using dates and tomato paste instead of sugar and ketchup. Either way this recipe is one of my favorites. Its great served with baked or scalloped potatoes and a large salad; as a bean side to any meal, or for breakfast along with whole grain toast or roasted potatoes.

This recipe makes about 12 cups  of baked beans, enough to feed a crowd. I like to pack it into 2 cup containers and freeze them. Then I can keep a container in the fridge all the time for a quick bean add on to any meal.

Version 1:

  • 3 cups dried small white beans
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 2 tbsp molasses
  • 2 tsp mustard
  • 1/4 cup brown sugar
  • 1/4 cup ketchup

Version 2:

  • 3 cups dried small white beans
  • 1/2 cup dates
  • 1 tbsp miso
  • 2 tbsp molasses
  • 2 tsp mustard
  • 1/4 cup tomato paste
  • 2 tbsp vinegar
  • 1 tbsp Worcestershire sauce
  • 1/4 cup tahini

Soak the beans in plenty of water overnight.  (for version 2, soak the dates in water as well.)

In the morning, drain the beans, add fresh water and boil for about 1 hour or until tender.  Drain the beans. (Version 2 – Do not drain the dates. Place soaked dates and soaking water in a blender and blend until pureed. Add remaining ingredients and blend until well combined)

Place the drained beans in a large oven safe pot or roaster. Add remaining ingredients and enough fresh water to cover the beans. Mix well and bake at 350F for about 1 hour. If the beans are still very runny, continue to bake until the right consistency is reached.  Taste and adjust seasonings to your liking.

More Recipes

13 Bean Soup Mix

Soups  are a great way to add beans, lentils or chickpeas to your diet. Check out this post on Soups for my favorite recipes.

 

 

 

 

 

Astrid licking the spatula with hummus

Hummus is another delicious way to add legumes to your diet. 1/4 cup of hummus is one serving of beans. Add hummus to a wrap or sandwich or try it as a topping on potatoes instead of butter and sour cream. The recipe for my all time favorite hummus is a sweet and spicy Sweet Potato Hummus can be found at this link. My grandkids love hummus and like to dip pretzels or veggies into it.

 

 

 

One Pan Mexican Quinoa

Main Bean Dishes – these are some of my favorite fast and easy one dish beany meals:

White Beans:

Small white beans, also called navy beans (so called because they were used aboard ships) are one of my favorite beans. They are versalite and great for bean dishes like baked beans but also for creamy sauces.  I often make cashew sauces using half cashews and half cooked white beans. Or substitute some of the cashews in a creamy oil free salad dressing with cooked white beans. Or try adding mashed white beans to mashed potatoes for a boost of nutrition including fibre. You won’t even know they are in their! Or try my Creamy White Bean Soup.

 

Crispy Quinoa Patties with Roasted Red Pepper Dipping Sauce

February 14, 2018

After visiting my grandkids last month, I’ve been thinking about healthy meals that are also toddler friendly. Quinoa is a perfect food for toddlers – a good source of good quality protein, delicious nutty flavor, and easily digested even if not chewed completely.  However, on its own, it can be a bit messy to manage by little hands.  These quinoa patties fit the bill perfectly. Delicious, nutritious and a finger food.  Perfect for adults too.

After serving Barbecued Beans with quinoa yesterday, I wondered what to do with the leftover quinoa. Then I remember this recipe from the Oh She Glows website. I used it for a cooking class back in September 2014, before this blog began.

You want your patties to be nice and firm, so they stick together well, so be sure to chop your veggies very fine – onions and kale – and grate the sweet potato with a small holed box grater. Chop your kale first thing, so it can stand about 40 minutes before cooking. (check out this video by Dr. Greger on sulfuraphane for an explanation) You can roast your red peppers for the dip while you let the kale sit.

The original recipe was already oil-free except for the oil packed sun-dried tomatoes. I substituted them with dried sun-dried tomatoes and pulverized them in the blender along with the rolled oats.  If using oil packed sun-dried tomatoes, drain and chop them fine.

The recipe calls for 3 tablespoons of flour, for binding. Since I cooked my quinoa yesterday, it was flaky and dry today and I did not need any of the flour to bind the patties. However, if your quinoa is on the moister side, you may need a tablespoon or two.

The recipe calls for fresh basil, which of course I don’t have in February. I used 1 tablespoon of dried (from my garden) and it provided a wonderful basil flavor. However, if you are not a fan of basil, you might want to reduce the basil by half.

For little dinner guests, I would suggest omitting the red pepper flakes. The recipe makes 12 –  1/4 cup patties.  For toddlers, make them half or even smaller for bite size portions. (watch the cooking time for smaller patties) If you want to use them for burgers, make them 1/2 cup size.

If you cook up 1 cup of quinoa, you should get enough cooked quinoa to make a double batch. These patties freeze wonderfully and the left overs are great for quick easy meals or snacks. As a bonus, the patties firm up even more after being frozen. If you are new to cooking quinoa, directions are below the recipe.

The patties are great with this simple roasted red pepper dip, but they are also good with ketchup. Served with a simple salad or raw veggie sticks for the little ones, this is a satisfying meal.

Crispy Quinoa Patties

• 1 1/2 cups cooked quinoa
• 2 tablespoons ground flax + 6 tablespoons water
• 1 cup destemmed and finely chopped kale
• 1/2 cup finely grated sweet potato
• 2 tablespoons finely diced onion
• 1 clove garlic, minced
• 1/4 cup fresh basil leaves, finely chopped
• 2 tablespoon runny tahini paste
• 1 1/2 teaspoons dried oregano
• 1 1/2 teaspoons red or white wine vinegar
• 1/2 cup rolled oats(use certified gluten-free if necessary)
• 1/4 cup sun-dried tomatoes (dried, not oil packed)
• 1/4 cup sunflower seeds
• 1/2 teaspoon fine grain sea salt, or to taste
• 3 tablespoons gluten-free all-purpose flour or regular flour (only if necessary)
• red pepper flakes, to taste

Preheat oven to 400°F. Line a large baking sheet with parchment paper.
Chop the kale into very small pieces and set aside for about 40 minutes.

Mix the ground flax and water in a large bowl and set aside for 5 minutes or so to thicken.

Add the quinoa, kale, sweet potato, onion, garlic, basil, tahini, oregano and vinegar to the flax mixture and stir well. Add red pepper flakes if using (I used 1 tablespoon) Put the rolled oats in a blender along with the sun-dried tomatoes and salt. Blend until oats are ground to a flour. Add the sunflower seeds and pulse a few times to chop them but not pulverize them. Add to the quinoa mixture and stir well. If the mixture is too moist, add the flour, one tablespoon at a time until the mixture is firmed up and holds together. Using a ¼ cup measuring cup, scoop out ¼ cup of mixture and shape mixture into patties with wet hands. Pack tightly so they hold together better. Place on baking sheet.
Bake for 15 minutes, then carefully flip cakes, and bake for another 8-10 minutes until golden and firm. Cool for 5 minutes on the sheet. Enjoy immediately or for firm patties, freeze and reheat in a skillet.

To cook quinoa, rinse 1 cup uncooked quinoa in a fine mesh strainer. Place quinoa in a medium pot and cover with 1 1/2 cups water. Bring to a low boil, reduce heat to medium-low, and then cover with a tight fitting lid. Simmer covered for 14-17 minutes until most of the water is absorbed and the quinoa is light and fluffy. Remove from heat, fluff with a fork, and then place lid back on to steam for another 4-5 minutes. Note that this makes almost 3 cups of cooked quinoa and you only need 1 1/2 cups for this recipe, so you will have leftover quinoa.

Roasted Red Pepper Dipping Sauce

I have never had much luck roasting peppers over an open flame as most sites demonstrate. Instead, I use an easier method I learned from an Italian friend, Sara. Place your whole red peppers in a covered baking pan and roast for about 45 minutes at 350F or until tender. Leave the lid on and let them cool until they are cool enough to remove stems and seeds. You can peel the skin off as well. Be sure to save the liquid from the pan and use it for soups or stock.

For this recipe, you could use jarred roasted red peppers but I roasted two large red peppers instead. After roasting, I removed the stem and seeds but did not peel. I threw the flesh and liquid into the blender along with the almonds, garlic, vinegar and salt.

I am not sure where I got this recipe from, but its delicious and super easy.

Roasted Red Pepper Dipping Sauce
• 1 ½ cups roasted red peppers, drained
• ½ cup whole almonds
• 1 clove garlic
• 2 tsp. red wine vinegar (more to taste)

Purée all ingredients in food processor until smooth.  Taste and add a pinch of salt and a bit more vinegar to taste.