Asparagus, Fennel & Spinach Soup + Topping!

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In our house, soup is rarely served without some kind of topping. It’s almost like a yin and yang thing, we start talking about soup and the conversation automatically moves on to topping suggestions. I guess it’s a pretty natural thing since we eat a lot of soup and prefer it to be a more complete meal, instead of just a starter. The toppings does not only add a different texture and flavor to the soup, but also some more stomach filling proteins. To be honest, I think we spend more time working on the toppings then on the actual soup on most occasions. It’s the same principle as we have with oatmeal toppings. They are just essential.

Here are a few of our favorite soup + topping combinations from earlier blog posts: Sweet potato and red lentil soup with aubergine and kale topping, Carrot and tomato soup with corn ceviche topping, Spinach and kale soup with tahini dressed chickpea topping.

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We found a huge bunch over-priced asparagus in the market the other day and for some reason decided that it was a good idea to spend our last money this month on asparagus instead of a new set of clothes for Isac. So we walked home and made soup. We went for a smooth and quite mildly flavored soup and allowed the toppings to have more punch in flavor and texture. We only chose green-ish ingredients for the topping. Yup, there we go again, choosing ingredients by color. But it actually turned out fantastic. It’s got a lot of crunch from the pumpkin seeds, flavor from parsley and the asparagus tips, richness from the lentils and sting from the chili. I ate the leftovers without the soup straight from the fridge. I’ve spent most of this post talking about the topping, but the soup is pretty good too. Quick, simple, delicious and with a clear taste of spring. If you don’t have any fennel at home, you could add a few potatoes instead, or other spring vegetables of choice.

We also made a quick cashew cream to go with the soup. We often just add a few dollops yogurt into our soup but cashew cream is a nice and rich vegan alternative. If you just remember to pre-soak the cashew nuts, the cream is done in no-time. As a side note, I just tried adding some cashew cream on top of my latest smoothie and it wasn’t bad at all.

So, go make your vegetable market guy happy and buy a bunch of asparagus. Make soup, whip up a cashew cream. And for goodness sake, don’t forget about the topping!

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Asparagus, Fennel & Spinach Soup (Vegan)
Makes 4 smaller servings or 2 very large

We keep a jar of toasted pumpkin seeds in our kitchen and almost always have some cooked lentils ready in our fridge. It’s a good tip as it makes it a lot easier to create small quick meals like this.

1 pound / 450 g green asparagus
2 tbsp coconut oil or butter
6 thin spring onions or 1 yellow onion
2 cloves garlic

1 small fennel bulb (or 1/2 large)
1 large handful spinach

2 cups water or vegetable stock
1 tbsp apple cider vinegar or lemon
salt & black pepper

Lentil & Pepita Topping
The reserved raw tips from the asparagus
1 cup cooked puy lentils (1/2 cup uncooked, boiled in water for 18 minutes)
1/2 cup dry-toasted and salted pumpkin seeds / pepitas
1 large bunch flat leaf parsley
1/2 green chili, finely chopped (optional)
1 tbsp olive oil

Cashew Cream
1/2 cup cashew nuts
1/2 cup filtered water
2 tsp lemon juice
1/2 tsp sea salt

Trim the tough end off the asparagus. Cut in diagonal pieces, 1/2 inch / 1 cm thick. Save the asparagus tips for the topping. Heat oil in a large saucepan. Finely chop onion, garlic and fennel and add to the the pan and sauté for about 5 minutes or until soft. Add the asparagus, stir around and let fry on low/medium heat for a minute, then add spinach, water/stock, apple cider vinegar and season with salt and pepper. Bring to a boil and let simmer for 10-15 minutes. Meanwhile prepare the topping. Carefully pour the soup into a blender or use a hand blender to mix until smooth. Taste the soup, add more water or salt and pepper if needed.

Preparing the topping: Finely chop the asparagus tips and the parsley and place in a bowl together with the boiled lentils and the toasted pumpkin seeds. Add chili if your prefer it a little spicy. Pour over some olive oil and stir around until it’s all mixed well.

Preparing the cashew cream: Cover the cashew nuts in water and let soak for at least 3 hours or overnight. Drain, rinse and place them in a blender. Add the filtered water, lemon juice and salt and mix until completely smooth. Taste and add more salt or lemon if needed. Or water if you prefer it runnier.

Serve the soup with a generous portion of lentil topping on top and a few drizzles of cashew cream or yogurt. Enjoy!

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PS. If you want some more inspiration on what to do with asparagus, check out this Spring Buckwheat Salad from last year and this Grilled Asparagus with Quinoa from two years ago.

 

Green Kitchen Stories

T-fal A857S3 Specialty Nonstick 8-Inch 9.5-Inch 11-Inch Fry Pan Cookware Set, 3-Piece, Gray Review

T-fal A857S3 Specialty Nonstick 8-Inch 9.5-Inch 11-Inch Fry Pan Cookware Set, 3-Piece, Gray

  • Non-stick interior for easy cooking and easy clean up.
  • Non-stick exterior which makes it fast and easy to clean. Dishwasher safe.
  • Even heat base delivers even heat distribution for reliable cooking results.
T-fal A857S394 Specialty Nonstick 3-Piece 8-Inch, 9.5-Inch, and 11-Inch Fry Pan /Saute Pan Dishwasher Safe Cookware Set, Black

List Price: $ 29.99 Price: $ 20.57


Cuisinart 722-36H Chef's Classic Stainless 14-Inch Open Skillet with Helper Handle

  • 18/10 mirror-finish stainless steel. Classic looks, professional performance. Cooking surface does not discolor, react with food, or alter flavors.
  • Solid stainless steel riveted handles stay cool on the stovetop. Safe and comfortable handling.
  • Aluminum encapsulated base heats quickly and spreads heat evenly. Eliminates hot spots.
  • Eliminates drips and spills while pouring
  • Oven safe to 550 F. Cook on stovetop, in oven or under broiler. Freezer safe for easy storage.
12-inch open skillet with helper handle Bringing the Good Life Home Inspired by the great French kitchens, Cuisinart began making professional cookware over 30 years ago. Constructed of the finest materials available, to perfectly perform all of the classic cooking techniques. Designed to last a lifetime, Cuisinart cookware makes family meals memorable and entertaining a pleasure. Savor the good life right at home, with family and friends. Cuisinart makes it absolutely delicious. Cuisi

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Gourmet Chia Seed Pudding (from scratch!)

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Your comments on my Kitchen Quirks story were quite hilarious. They also led to even more funny stories here at home and among our friends and family.

I got a text from a friend shortly after posting.

“I’m reading your kitchen quirks post aloud to my husband (because he is absolutely nuts about the dishwasher just like Eric is). I finish reading it to him and he goes, “Ugh, I wonder what some of Eric’s tricks are? Did he write specifics?”

There are many inquiring minds as to what Eric’s dishwashing tricks are, it seems. Eric is in the process of penning an e-guide for dishwasher enthusiasts. Ok not really, but I told him he can’t keep his secrets all to himself for ever! Plus, I need others to know what I’m going through.

When we were talking about the blog post, Eric decided to mention another one of my kitchen quirks. You know, aside from general “chaos”. Apparently, I have this annoying little habit of leaving kitchen cupboards/cabinets and drawers open while I’m baking or cooking. I’ve been doing it for years. Basically, since I started cooking.

In my eyes, leaving the drawers and cupboards open is efficient. I do it because I know I’ll probably go back to that cupboard later on in the cooking process so I see no need to close it every single time. See it’s not lazy; it’s practical! I’m all about efficiency.

One morning about 4 years ago when we were living in our previous house, I headed downstairs to the kitchen for breakfast. Eric was still upstairs getting ready for work. As I approached the kitchen I immediately noticed something was wrong…very wrong.

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Every single cupboard and drawer in the entire kitchen was wide open. Just picture your own kitchen with every cupboard door open and every drawer open. It’s freaky stuff, right?

I stopped dead in my tracks at the edge of the kitchen.

“OH… MY… GOD…”

I was absolutely horrified. Of course, I immediately assumed there was some kind of weird Poltergeist shit going on. Or some evil force taking over my kitchen. Or both.

I turned on my heels and BOOKED it upstairs. There’s no way I was going to wait around for the drawers to start spontaneously slamming or something!!

Eric started laughing uncontrollably. He then confessed that he opened every cupboard and drawer before bed to play a trick on me. What kind of sick person does that?

So it’s been 4 years since his prank and I’m long overdue for retaliation. I’m thinking it’s going to have something to do with his beloved dishwasher. I’m open to your suggestions, as always.

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Gourmet Chia Seed Pudding (From Scratch!)

Vegan, gluten-free, no bake/raw, oil-free, refined sugar-free, soy-free

Creamy, rich, and thick chia seed pudding made from scratch! If you want to make the speedy version using store-bought almond milk and liquid sweetener, see the tip below. This is a large batch (3 cups or so), but I discovered that chia seed pudding freezes well and it thaws beautifully in the fridge. So there’s never fear of any going to waste. I like to freeze it in individual servings in freezer-safe zip bags or small glass containers, so I always have a healthy snack on hand. if you aren’t down with the tapioca-like texture of chia seed pudding, feel free to blend this pudding in your blender until smooth.

Yield
3-3.5 cups (serves 4-6)
Soak time
overnight + 2-3 hours
Prep Time
10 Minutes
Cook time
0 Minutes
Total Time
10 Minutes

Ingredients:

  • 1 cup raw almonds, soaked overnight
  • 3 cups filtered water
  • 1 vanilla bean, chopped into a few pieces (optional, but recommended)
  • 1/2 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
  • Small pinch Himalayan pink sea salt or fine grain sea salt
  • 3-4 tablespoons pure maple syrup or 1/3 cup packed pitted Medjool dates, or to taste
  • 1/2 cup chia seeds

Directions:

  1. Place almonds in a bowl and cover with a couple inches of water. Soak overnight or for 8 hours. If you are in a rush, soaking for 1-2 hours works in a pinch. Drain and rinse almonds after soaking.
  2. Place almonds in a high speed blender along with the 3 cups filtered water, chopped vanilla bean (if using), vanilla extract, and salt. Blend on the highest speed, for about 1 minute until the almonds and vanilla bean are pulverized.
  3. Place a nut milk bag (this is the new one that I use and love) over top of a large bowl and pour the almond milk into the bag. (You can also use cheesecloth placed over a fine mesh sieve, however a nut milk bag yields the smoothest result and is faster.) Squeeze the bag and press out all the milk. The pulp will remain in the bag/cloth (you should have about 1 cup of pulp).
  4. If using dates as your sweetener: Note: I only recommend using dates if your blender can pulverize them super smooth, otherwise use liquid sweetener. Rinse out the blender. Carefully pour the almond milk back into the blender and add the pitted dates. Blend on the highest speed until the dates are pulverized and the milk is super smooth. Add milk back into the bowl.
  5. Whisk in the chia seeds (and the maple syrup, only if not using the dates). Place in the fridge for 2-3 hours, until thickened and cold. Give the mixture a good stir every once in a while to redistribute the chia seeds.
  6. I served this with granola (here is a recipe) and Banana-Mango-Lime soft serve (1 large frozen banana, 3/4 cup frozen mango chunks, squeeze lime processed in food processor until soft serve consistency). Chia seed pudding will keep in the fridge for up to 3-4 days. It freezes well too, just thaw in the fridge before ready to enjoy.

Tips: 1) For a quicker version, simply use 3 cups of store-bought unsweetened almond milk, 1/2 cup chia seeds, and 2-3 tablespoons of pure maple syrup. Whisk everything in a mason jar and chill in the fridge for 2 1/2-3 hours. 2)  Ideas for using leftover pulp: Spread it onto a baking sheet and dry it out by baking it at 300F for 25-30 minutes until lightly golden in some spots. Cool completely. Grind it in a food processor until a coarse flour forms. You can use the toasted pulp in granola recipes or any other baked goods you see fit.

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Oh She Glows

Golden Sauerkraut – Wild Fermentation

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Before we start this post, we want to introduce a new little feature here on the blog. We call it Homemade Whole Food Staples. Unknowingly, we actually already started it a few weeks ago, with our post about homemade nut butter. Some of you got in touch and told us that this was the first time you’ve made nut butter at home, so we realised that this could be a good opportunity for us (and you) to learn more about classic methods, recipes and pantry staples that are popular in whole food kitchens. There is nothing wrong with cutting a few corners and buying jars and cans of staples from the store, but if you want to save some money, learn what really is in those jars and get a better hum about the kitchen basics, you might find this new feature interesting. Our hope is that we can show how recipes that many find too intimidating to try at home, really isn’t complicated at all.

We are discussing sharing how to make your own vegetable stock, the ultimate pomodoro passata, mastering a sourdough and how to make homemade coconut yogurt. But we are also really interested to hear what you want us to try/share. Leave us a comment and let us know if there is something specific that you are curious to learn more about.

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Today we are talking fermented vegetables. It’s one of the healthiest thing you can eat but the whole idea of food that needs 3 weeks before its ready, scares most people from even trying to prepare it. Right? But please folks, stay with us on this one. Not only are fermented/cultured vegetables on most top-lists of trendy food 2015, but a large spoonful of homemade Sauerkraut is also TRULY delicious on top of a salad or inside a sandwich. Furthermore, the natural occurring probiotics in fermented food are great for your stomach and body. The whole 3-weeks-to-prepare-issue is more like 20 minutes of active work and then 3 weeks of waiting. Best of all, we are going to show you the most natural way of doing it, without any starters at all. It’s called wild fermentation, only 2 ingredients are needed and the method has been around for hundreds of years. But you can also add a bunch of different flavourings to it, like caraway seeds, ginger, garlic, beetroot, chilli, fennel or turmeric. Does this project still sound impossible?

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Here in Scandinavia, we have quite the tradition of pickling, preserving and fermenting. But weirdly enough, Luise’s and my interest for fermented vegetables actually sparked during our recent trip to Australia. Almost all the cafes we frequented had at least one salad or bowl that was topped with fermented vegetables or sauerkraut. And the health food stores there have whole isles with different brands of organic raw fermented/cultured vegetables. It didn’t take long until we were hooked. The flavours were just so fresh and the acidity added a real kick to whatever we paired it with. And in a strike of unbelievable luck, we met Vivianne on our potluck picnic in Sydney, she is one of the founders of Raw Sisterhood, a Bondi based company that makes incredibly tasty fermented vegetables, raw crackers and raw granola. She promised to teach us some of their secrets and now we get to share one of their recipes here. We made the first batch together in her house and we have continued making it now when we are home. They call this version Golden Goodness and it’s basically wild fermented cabbage and carrots flavoured with turmeric and garlic

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Before we get on to the recipe, we wanted to let Brenda and Viv from Raw Sisterhood explain the magic behind Wild Fermentation and healthy bacterias:

Why wild fermentation: Wild fermentation is a natural process in which we provide the perfect environment for nature to do its thing, so no starter is needed.  All fresh fruits and vegetables contain enzymes and bacteria (lacto bacilli) which allows them to break down (ripen). As fruits and veggies ripen they go through an enzymatic process, essentially they digest themselves.  When foods go off or rot, they have been exposed to oxygen. In a wild ferment, we allow the vegetables to digest themselves, in an oxygen free environment.  The lacto bacilli in the vegetables, eats the naturally occurring sugars and then produces lactic acid and more lacto bacilli….and the cycle continues. 

Why eat healthy bacteria: Lactic acids can kill many strains of parasite and many other pathogens in the body purifying the intestines. Fermented veggies increase the healthy flora in the intestinal tract by creating the type of environment for them to flourish in. Increases nutrient values in the vegetables especially vitamin C. The high fiber content in cultured vegetables help to clean the digestive system, removing undigested food and unwanted toxins. Fermented foods also facilitate the break down and assimilation of proteins.

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Golden Sauerkraut – Wild Fermented Cabbage, Carrot & Turmeric
Makes about 2 huge jars.
You can easily half this recipe if you prefer. Be sure to sterilise your jars before your start.

2 green cabbages (3 kg) Save some of the outer layers of the cabbage for packaging on the top
800 g / 7 cups carrots (6 medium size carrots) or beetroot
15 g / 1,5 tbsp grated ginger
15 g / 1,5 tbsp minced garlic
15 g / 1 tbsp fresh grated turmeric (optional)
30 g / 3 tbsp ground turmeric
5 g / 1 tbsp caraway seeds
5 g / 1 tbsp fennel seeds
2 tbsp / 30 g himalayan sea salt (optional, you can do it without salt, but it speeds up the process)

Wash the cabbage and scrub the carrots, then finely slice the cabbage and grate the carrots. Or use a food processor with a fine slicer attachment for the cabbage and rough grating attachment for the carrots. Place all ingredients in large mixing bowl. Use your hands (you might want to wear rubber gloves to prevent your hands to get stained by the turmeric) to mix and massage until it starts to get soft and juicy. The vegetables should release quite a lot of juice, if not, just add some more salt. Use a spoon or a tong to spoon the mixture into 2 large clean jars. Pack it really tight to leave out all air, keep packing until the jar is full of veggies and the veggies are covered in juice (important). Leave some space at the top to place a whole folded cabbage leave on top, this is to prevent any oxidation. Close with an air-tight lid. During the fermentation process the veggies will expand and the liquid will try to come out, we put our jars in a bowl or a plastic bag for any juice that might drip from the sides. Leave the jars to ferment in room temperature for 2-4 weeks (depending on room temperature), 3 weeks is usually perfect. When ready, it should be softly textured but not mushy and have a fresh, spicy and acidic flavour. Discard the cabbage leave at the top and store the jars in the fridge. We usually divide the fermented vegetables in smaller jars and hand out to friends and family or keep it in the fridge.

Tip:
• If your veggies are stinky and leaky, then place the jars in a bowl and place everything in a plastic bag and close it. Then place in a cupboard and drain the water after about 3 days.
• If the top is discolored or has a bit mould, don’t be alarmed just remove it and wipe around or just change the jars.
• Use organic vegetables for fermenting and don’t wash or scrub to much, it can destroy the natural enzymes on the vegetables.

Green Kitchen Stories

Zojirushi BB-PAC20 Home Bakery Virtuoso Breadmaker with Gluten Free Menu setting Review

Zojirushi BB-PAC20 Home Bakery Virtuoso Breadmaker with Gluten Free Menu setting

  • Bakes a large traditional rectangular shaped 2-pound loaf; Gluten Free and Custom Menu settings will accommodate gluten free and organic baking ingredients
  • Bakes a large traditional rectangular shaped 2-pound loaf
  • Dual kneading blades to knead the dough thoroughly
  • Quick baking cycle prepares breads in about 2-hour
  • Includes a measuring cup and measuring spoon
Zojirushi Home Bakery Virtuoso Breadmaker BB-PAC20BA Get performance like you've never seen from a breadmaker. A revolutionary heating element built into our Home Bakery Virtuoso Breadmaker changes the way you can bake bread at home. With perfectly browned crust every time, anyone can be a master baker. From novice to expert, now any home baker can take advantage of our most technologically advanced breadmaker, loaded with menu settings and options for the ultimate in versatility. For a

List Price: $ 325.00 Price: $ 325.00

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My Cookbook + a Bonus Pack of Recipes

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Dear friends!

It’s hard to believe that in just a few short weeks my cookbook, My New Roots: Inspired Plant Based Recipes for Every Season will be landing in stores, your homes and hands. Bah! Pretty exciting stuff. I know the wait has been long, but we’re nearly there. Your support and unabashed enthusiasm for this project has filled me up and fueled me these past months while I waited with knots in my stomach just to see it, and I can say with great relief and pride that I am thrilled with how it’s turned out. Now I have my fingers crossed (and toes and arms and legs and eyes) that you feel the same way.

Here is a trailer for the book – and clips from the year that I made it.

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So to tell you a little more without giving too much away…
The book opens with the techniques and processes I use in my kitchen every day, which form the foundation of all plant-based cooking: how to cook beans and grains and how to make nut and seed butters are just a few examples. With detailed yet easy to follow, step-by-step instructions, you’ll master these simple methods in no time and be well-equipped to cook the recipes from the book as well as have the confidence to be creative on your own.

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The recipes follow, with 100 all-new, never-before-seen recipes with a couple of your favourites from the blog, just because I thought you’d appreciate them in print. Some of my favourite recipes are Savoury Spring Hand Pies, Raw Cashew Yogurt with Maple and Blackberry, Grain-Free Hemp Tabbouleh, Sparkling Mint Melonade, Apricot Rhubarb Clafoutis, Sunflower Sesame Seed Brittle, Trippy Tie-Dye Soup, Vanilla Rose Apple Cider, Chunky Banana Bread Granola, and Raw Mint Chip Ice Cream Sandwiches. All of the recipes are vegetarian, most of them vegan, and many of them gluten-free. I have some stellar raw recipes that go beyond just salad, hearty breakfasts, meals to take to school, the office, and road trips. Beautiful drinks to quench your thirst, soups and dips and sandwiches. Simple family fare, and meals to impress your best guests.

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The book is laid out in seasons, five in fact, which you will learn more about once you read it. I wrote the recipes and photographed in “real time”, as the weeks rolled through the year, inspired by what was around me, growing in the garden, available at the market, and the dishes reflect this. When I look through the pages, the photographs pull me back to the places I was, the slant of daylight, temperature of the air, who I was with in the kitchen. It is, very much like the blog, a diary of sorts: a collection of more than just food, but moods and memories.

As we are counting down to the book’s launch, I’ve put together a bonus pack of six exclusive recipes not in the cookbook (plus two that are, for fun) for all of you who want to preorder to the book, and also for those that already have. It’s easy: pre-order the book from your retailer of choice, here, and then go to this page, insert your purchase order (PO number), personal information and you can download the Bonus Pack PDF immediately. No matter where you live in the world or where you are buying / have bought the book, you can get the bonus pack!

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This book represents so many things for me. After eight and half years (!!!) of blogging, it seems like the natural next step to become three-dimensional, to enter the world as a published author. I am very proud of my journey, and this book is a culmination of that. I truly never imagined that I would be sitting here, cradling this collection of recipes from my heart, holding it out for you to take. But it feels right. And now is the time. Thank you for making this possible and for taking this journey with me.

Now let’s go cook.

In love and gratitude,
Sarah B.

 #MNRcookbook

PREORDER and BONUS PACK QUESTIONS ANSWERED
1. You can download the bonus pack from anywhere in the world that you ordered the book from. Here is the link: http://app.snapapp.com/MyNewRoots

2. You can download the bonus pack anytime. That means  if you ordered the book five weeks ago, or five minutes ago. There is no time limit, the offer will not expire until the book is officially released on March 31st. Here is the link: http://app.snapapp.com/MyNewRoots

3. If you live in Australia or New Zealand you can order the book from here:
https://www.dymocks.com.au/
http://www.bookworld.com.au/
http://www.booktopia.com.au/
http://www.readings.com.au/

4. If you are in any other country not listed, check your country’s online book vendors and you will also be able to download the bonus pack.

5. The bonus pack is a PDF (a digital file). It is NOT an extra book that will be sent to you in the mail. If you want a hard copy of the recipes, simply download the bonus pack and print the document.


My New Roots

Salted Almond Butter Freezer Fudge + Everyday Detox Cookbook

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My friend and fellow blogger, Megan Gilmore, from the popular blog Detoxinista just launched her first cookbook this week, Everyday Detox: 100 Easy Recipes to Remove Toxins, Promote Gut Health, and Lose Weight Naturally. I was lucky to be able to review this cookbook before it went to print and I’ve been eagerly anticipating the hard copy on my doorstep. Just like on her blog, the recipes in her debut cookbook are unfussy, whole foods based, and feature short ingredient lists. I’ve been a fan of Megan’s for years and I’ve always admired her ability to take a handful of simple, whole foods ingredients and turn them into something practical for everyday life. While Megan doesn’t ascribe to any particular dietary label, she creates many vegan, paleo, vegetarian, and gluten-free recipes. About 75% of the recipes in Everyday Detox are vegan or can be made vegan by swapping out the sweetener or leaving out the cheese. All of the recipes are gluten-free. There are around 50 gorgeous photos shot by Nicole Franzen.

The book’s chapters include: 1) An easy approach to detoxing; 2) stocking your detox-friendly kitchen; 3) liquid nourishment; 4) morning favorites; 5) salads, dressings & sides; 6) soups, sandwiches & wraps; 7) casseroles & comfort foods; 8) sweet treats; and 9) back to basics.                                                                                                                                                       

Detox-based cookbooks tend to make me think of hard-core fad diets and cleanses, but thankfully Megan’s approach is much less drastic. She encourages you to practice daily healthy habits and believes in eating whole foods (ie., unprocessed, refined-sugar free, chemical additive free) on a day to day basis – making a lifestyle change – rather than teetering on the extremes and cyclic nature of dieting. Megan doesn’t believe in calorie counting because she says it “doesn’t take into account the quality of foods we’re consuming nor the body’s ability to digest natural foods versus processed ones.” Instead of looking at the calorie count on a label, she says to ask yourself a few questions: Where does the food come from? Is it in its natural state? How many ingredients does it contain and do you recognize those ingredients? Better yet, she says, select foods with no label at all. I love that last tip. The recipes in Everyday Detox are also based on the principles of food-combining and how food-combining can impact digestion (which is something I admit that I’m not overly motivated to follow), but whether you want to learn more about food-combining or not, the recipes can be enjoyed simply because they are healthful and delicious.

Today, I’m happy to share a recipe from her cookbook for all of the almond butter lovers out there! I couldn’t help myself and added a homemade chocolate topping and Maldon sea salt flakes. It was a hit with our friends!

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Salted Almond Butter Freezer Fudge

Vegan, gluten-free, grain-free, no bake/raw, refined sugar-free, soy-free

This almond butter fudge is lightly adapted and shared with permission from Everyday Detox (2015) by Megan Gilmore. I also threw on a homemade chocolate coating for a snappy burst of chocolate in each piece, and a garnish of flaked sea salt. Be sure to keep this fudge in the freezer because it melts at room temperature.

Yield
21 pieces
Freeze time
1.5 hours
Prep Time
15 Minutes
Cook time
0 Minutes
Total Time
15 Minutes

Ingredients:

For the freezer fudge (lightly adapted from Everyday Detox):
  • 1 1/2 cups raw smooth almond butter
  • 1/4 cup + 2 tablespoons virgin coconut oil
  • 1/4 cup pure maple syrup
  • 1/4-1/2 teaspoon pink Himalayan sea salt or other fine sea salt, to taste
For the chocolate topping:
  • 3 tablespoons virgin coconut oil
  • 1.5 tablespoons pure maple syrup
  • 3 tablespoons unsweetened cocoa powder
  • Pinch of pink Himalayan sea salt or other fine sea salt
  • Maldon sea salt or other flaked sea salt, for garnish (optional)

Directions:

  1. Lightly grease a standard size loaf pan (9″x5″) and line with a piece of parchment paper cut to fit the length of the pan.
  2. For the fudge: Spoon the almond butter into a large mixing bowl.
  3. In a small pot, add the coconut oil, maple syrup, and salt (only the fudge ingredients here). Heat over low, until the oil is melted. Slowly pour the wet mixture into the bowl with the almond butter, stirring as you go. Stir until completely smooth and combined. It’ll be quite runny at this stage.
  4. With a spatula, spoon the almond butter mixture into the prepared pan. Smooth out. Place the pan, uncovered, on a flat surface in the freezer. Freeze for around 1 hour, or until the fudge is solid.
  5. For the chocolate topping: In a small pot, add the oil and melt the oil over low heat. Remove from heat and whisk in the maple syrup, cocoa powder, and salt until smooth. I like to place the chocolate sauce in the fridge for several minutes until thickened slightly.
  6. Slice the frozen slab of fudge into about 21 (1-inch) squares and place on a large plate lined with parchment paper, about a half-inch between each piece. Spoon the chocolate sauce on top of each square (a scant 1 teaspoon per square). Place back in the freezer until the chocolate is solid. Sprinkle on some flaked sea salt, if desired.
  7. Break apart the squares of fudge (if the chocolate pooled at the bottom) and enjoy immediately. Return leftovers to the freezer.

almondbutterfreezerfudge-8997

I also tried out the Strawberry Basil Blast smoothie a few times. I change it up a bit using half the avocado and lemon juice. It’s also good without the fresh basil (I don’t always have it handy because I love to kill me a basil plant), but I do recommend trying the basil version first. I’ve made a cherry-basil combo in the past and it really is awesome in a smoothie! This smoothie will be on heavy rotation throughout the summer.

strawberrysmoothie-9020

Some other recipes on my must-try list include: Raw Falafel Wraps, Enchilada Stuffed Cabbage Rolls, and “Beef” and Broccoli.

Thanks to Megan for letting me share this almond butter fudge recipe today. Be sure to check out Everyday Detox which is hot off the press this week!

Oh She Glows

T-fal E93808 Professional Total Nonstick Oven Safe Thermo-Spot Heat Indicator Fry Pan / Saute Pan Dishwasher Safe Cookware, 12-Inch, Black Review

T-fal E93808 Professional Total Nonstick Oven Safe Thermo-Spot Heat Indicator Fry Pan / Saute Pan Dishwasher Safe Cookware, 12-Inch, Black

  • Prometal Pro nonstick interior is exceptionally durable and scratch resistant, safe for use with metal utensil
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T-fal E9380884 Professional Total Nonstick Oven Safe Thermo-Spot Heat Indicator 12.5-Inch Fry Pan / Saute Pan Dishwasher Safe Cookware, Black

List Price: $ 59.99 Price: $ 30.00

Winter Rainbow Panzanella

panzanela

Dear colour. I miss you. Please come back soon.
Your pal,
Sarah B

I’ve joked before about the oh-so dark, single-toned, and super grey city Copenhagen becomes in the winter. After months upon months of this, I feel as if my eyes have turned into little slits, and only capable of seeing in black and white. Needing some kind of sign that I wasn’t turning into a subterranean mammal, I cycled down to the central market of Copenhagen last week to find some inspiration in the form of light and colour. I was pretty shocked when I arrived to see a plethora of vibrant veggies, all lined up and waiting for me take them home. I guess I’d gotten into such a routine with my shopping that I had failed to remember that winter does in fact offer a lot of brightly hued food, and that I am, undoubtedly, a human.

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Excited and hungry, I hurried home with a whack-load of produce and a plan brewing in my brain. Oh the colours! Oh the possibilities! Oh what a nerd I am! With some stale sourdough rye sitting on the counter and a knob of ginger in the fridge, a hearty, satisfying salad began to take shape in my mind, a rainbow swathe of vegetables stretched out before me like a beacon in a stubborn steel grey sky.

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Super Cool Kohlrabi
Kohlrabi is a mysterious and intimidating vegetable, don’t you agree? I’ve gotten a lot of questions about this prehistoric looking creature, as many of you out there seem to be quite scared of even taking it home!

Well fear not. Kohlrabi is not going to take off a finger or worse if you approach it with a knife. It is a rather gentle and yielding brassica, a cross between a cabbage and a turnip that can be enjoyed cooked or raw. Its pleasantly crisp texture is perfect julienned in salads, but it’s also a tender treat roasted in the oven in slices or batons. The flavour is somewhere near to broccoli but a tad milder and sweeter. I really like it in soups as well, blended up with white beans or chickpeas. The leaves are also edible and very delicious in salad or stir-fried with garlic like collards or Swiss chard.

Key nutrients in kohlrabi include vitamin C, for fighting infection, vitamin E for preventing arterial plaque build-up, and a range of B-vitamins for combating stress. The potassium in kohlrabi helps the body maintain proper fluid balance, while the calcium manages the acid/alkaline balance of our blood. Other minerals in kohlrabi include iron, magnesium and zinc.

When buying kohlrabi, look for bulbs that are firm, smooth and free of holes or cracks. Typically this part of the vegetable is pale green, but you can also find purple varieties like the one pictured above. The younger ones can be eaten with the skin on, but as their season (late fall to early spring) stretches, you’ll find peeling the more mature bulbs is a tastier choice. The leaves should be taut and unblemished. To prolong the kohlrabi’s shelf life, remove the leaves and wrap them in a damp towel, place them in a plastic bag in the fridge for up four days. The root bulb can be stored separately in the crisper as well, and will keep well for couple weeks.

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To the panzanella! Traditionally, this is a salad made with stale white bread and tomatoes, a popular dish in Tuscany. My version is a far, Nordic cry from the classic, but it’s a meal in itself and a very satisfying one at that, since there is just so. much. going. on.

The key to building this dish, or any dish for that matter is layers and balance; flavours, textures and of course, colours. Taking into consideration that the base of this dish would be hearty winter greens I knew that I needed something creamy and yielding, like roast veggies, and something dense and crusty, like the Garlic Sourdough Rye Bread Croutons to contrast and compliment. From a flavour perspective, especially in salads, balancing tastes is very important for success. Because the roast vegetables are so sweet, it’s important to have an acidic hit to add brightness. I made some very tasty Ginger-Pickled Carrots in advance, but capers would also be a nice touch if you are pressed for time. The point is to step back and look at your dish as a whole, then adjust all the levels of salt, sugar, and acid as needed tipping the scales until everything is just right.

And just a special note about these croutons, because they are so darn delish. I first came up with these in the good ol’ days when I was cooking at a very small café here in Copenhagen, inventing new dishes every day and being creative with what I had available. The odd time we had any leftover rye bread, I would make these garlic croutons, few of which actually made it onto any finished dishes because I would typically eat them all up before service with my kitchen mates. They are addictive. The kind of thing you wouldn’t necessarily think of as a terrific little snack, but wow, are they ever hard to stop eating! There is a high amount of garlic-to-bread ratio, but because Danish rye is so rich and flavourful, you’ll need that amount of garlic to be heard. If you’re using a lighter bread, a spelt loaf for instance, you can scale back just a touch unless you really love your garlic and/or not planning on making out with anyone for a couple days.

This dish may seem component-heavy, but most of these elements can be made in advance so the whole thing comes together when you’re ready. The only thing you need to do before serving in fact, is massaging the kale and kohlrabi leaves.

Now excuse me as I dive face first into this bowl of rainbow ecstasy! Okay, good-byyyyyyeeee!

panzanela3

*   *   *   *   *   *

Hey guys! I have some very exciting news…I’m going on tour with my cookbook! Although we are still working out some of the hard details, I wanted to let you know when and where I’ll be so you can make a note of it. It would be so rad to meet you, and I hope that you can come out and celebrate! I will update this page and post the events on my Events page and Facebook as they are finalized. Looking forward to it, more than you know!

My New Roots - Inspired Plant-Based Recipes for Every SeasonTORONTO
April 9 – 14

VANCOUVER
April 15 – 17

LOS ANGELES
April 18 – 20

NEW YORK
April 22 + 23

I hope that everyone who has pre-ordered the book is enjoying the Bonus Pack of recipes! Thanks for all of your very positive feedback so far. There is still time to get yours if you’re interested…click here!


My New Roots

Berries and Peaches with Mint Syrup

Berries and Peaches with Mint Syrup | A Couple CooksBerries and Peaches with Mint Syrup | A Couple CooksBerries and Peaches with Mint Syrup | A Couple CooksBerries and Peaches with Mint Syrup | A Couple CooksBerries and Peaches with Mint Syrup | A Couple CooksWhy should we all use our creative power…? Because there is nothing that makes people so generous, joyful, lively, bold and compassionate, so indifferent to fighting and the accumulation of objects and money. ~Brenda Ueland

Some people ooze creativity, but I would contend after my 33 years on this earth that we are all born with a creative spirit. Maybe it’s not easily visible in some people, but instead of singing or dancing perhaps it’s creative problem solving skills. Or, I’ve met engineers who are closet painters or sculptors. And I’ve learned from teaching cooking that once people have the tools of how to create a meal, they are creative and inventive beyond what they thought possible.

I identify as a creative: I was a writer and played classical piano and French horn throughout my childhood, then ended up majoring in music and journalism in college. Since I chose a career in the business world (I’m part owner of a technical writing firm), I’ve had to determine how to balance an intense creative passion with a demanding career. How’s that for a challenge? I’d imagine many of you reading this have had similar experiences. Cooking became that creative outlet for me, and along with that this blog.

Many times, the stress of running two businesses while trying to be a loving boss / wife / daughter / friend / sister / aunt / niece / etc. has left me on less than a full tank. A few weeks ago, I was thrilled to be approached by a dear friend to try out a book called The Artist’s Way that focuses on creative renewal. One of the challenges in the book was to take an “artist’s date” each week, where you do something to indulge your inner artist. For me, it was playing a Chopin waltz I hadn’t touched in years. It felt so good, I cried (ha!). Creative healing central, here. If any of you readers are creatives or wanting to tap into more creative potential, I’d highly recommend the book.

And now, the food. To me, a simple recipe that highlights interesting flavors with minimal effort is #1 in creativity in my book (at least, in the home cooking realm!). A dear friend made this for a picnic and I couldn’t get over the simple beauty of vibrant, ripe fruit against the minty sweetness of a light drizzle of syrup. Our variation with this local fruit from our farmer’s market was beyond stellar. Like eating the best kind of candy possible.  And if you struggle with work / life balance as I do, it’s also a super simple dessert for a summer evening. Whip up a bit of the syrup (which mainly involves hands off wait time) and store it in the refrigerator for the next occasion.

We’d love to hear in the comments below if any of you have thoughts on creativity, creative renewal, work / life balance, etc. Hope your summer is going well! 

Mint Syrup
 
by:
Serves: 1½ cups

What You Need
  • Large handful of mint stems
  • 1 cup water
  • 2 cups sugar

What To Do
  1. Remove the leaves from the mint and reserve for a garnish. Roughly cut the mint stems so they fit in a medium saucepan. In the saucepan, add 1 cup water and 2 cups sugar Bring to a simmer and simmer for a few minutes until thickened.
  2. Remove from the heat and cool for about 1 hour while the mint seeps. When cool, strain into an airtight container. (Makes 1½ cups syrup; store in the refrigerator for up to 6 months.)

Berries and Peaches with Mint Syrup
 
by:
Serves: 4

What You Need
  • ½ pint blackberries
  • ½ pint raspberries
  • 2 peaches
  • Mint leaves
  • Mint syrup (above)

What To Do
  1. Slice the peaches. Place the berries and peaches on a plate and drizzle syrup over fruit. Garnish with mint leaves.

 

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