Category: Autumn

Big Comfy Sweet Potato

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Comfort food is different for all of us. For some, it’s a big bowl of macaroni and cheese, for others, it’s ice cream and chocolate sauce. Me? Sweet potatoes. For real. There is something so soothing and grounding about digging into one fresh out of the oven, loading it up with ghee, salt and cracked black pepper. It’s a simple dinner that saw me through my student years when I was living on a budget, held my hand when I dropped everything and moved across the world to Copenhagen, and continues to show me the love even now. Sweet potatoes are kind of like that favourite, threadbare white t-shirt, or the song I could listen to a thousand times without ever getting sick of it. Total comfort.

Well, this time I dressed up that white t-shirt with a cornucopia of yumminess: black beans, avocado, sprouts and my Red Blanket Sauce that will knock your woolen socks off. It’s the Big Comfy Sweet Potato and it’s simple, delicious and I reckon just the kind of thing that will make you feel pretty comfy too.

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The toppings for the Big Comfy Sweet Potato are up to you. I was digging the cilantro, sprouts and green onion, but you could put all manner of delights into this one, depending on the season and what is available to you. Cherry tomatoes would be great, freshly shucked corn, bell peppers too. These are the perfect clean-out-the-fridge kind of dinner, because as long as you got your sweet potato, you have a blank canvas that will only get better with a little help from some other veggies buddies.    

But if you really don’t have anything else on hand, the Red Blanket Sauce is killer. Just a plain sweet potato swaddled in this stuff is a proper meal. Super creamy and rich, and delicious draped across so many things – rice, lentils, roast veg – you name it. I tried to do a riff off of mole sauce, but I can’t claim to know anything about authentic Mexican cooking, so I’m going to avoid the comparison. What I do know, is that it tastes like a thousand layers of spice, herbs, sweet, savoury, tangy, bold, and chocolate-y without being chocolate-y…know what I mean? Guh. I want more.

Comfy Digestion with the Sweetest of Potatoes
Many people think that sweet potatoes are just regular potatoes that are orange, but they are in fact a completely different vegetable.
Compared to regular potatoes, sweet potatoes have oodles more vitamin A (in the form of beta-carotene), vitamin C and even more fiber. This means that sweet potatoes are excellent for your digestion. Sweet potatoes are composed mainly of starch, which is very easy to break down and is soothing for the stomach and intestines too. This makes them an ideal healing choice for those suffering from the pain and inflammation associated with stomach ulcers and irritable bowel syndrome. The roughage of sweet potatoes even prevents constipation. Comfy stuff!

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Speaking of easy and delicious, if any of you are still in the mood for a simple cleanse, check out my article in the February issue Oprah magazine! I wrote a 4-day detox plan with tasty recipes that are all really easy to make using basic ingredients . If January has passed you by without a little clean-up, now is your chance. The program is also available online, here. I hope you enjoy!

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Gold Rush Soup & Chickpea Croutons

   156 Comments

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Wowzers ya’ll! I was seriously astounded by the response from the last post – I had no idea that my “everyday meal” would cause such a stir and ignite so much inspiration! I am thrilled to hear your feedback about the Abundance Bowl and to learn that you are all pretty pumped about healthy, simple meals. Gosh, I should post about that stuff more often. Oh wait! That is exactly what I am going to do today.

So, I have this technique of making soup that takes major shortcuts in the kitchen – I call it “oven soup”. Why? Because most of the work is done in the oven by roasting the main ingredients together, then throwing them into a blender with hot water or broth and spices. Ta-daa! No need to dirty even a single pot! I like this method because it’s really simple and most of the cooking time is completely unattended. All you need to do is prep the veggies, pop them in a hot oven and walk away until everything is ready to blend. I boil water in the kettle and use a high-quality bullion instead of stock more often than not, to keep things even easier.

I have been making this soup for years now. It’s really easy, inexpensive and features two of my all-time favourite foods: butternut squash and turmeric. Roasting the squash, onions and garlic caramelizes their natural sugars, and deepens the flavours substantially – much tastier than just boiling them! The turmeric adds a peppery citrus flavour that goes really well with the herbs, if you decide to use them.

And then there are the Smoky Chickpea Croutons. These make a stupendous snack on their own, but are also delicious atop this golden soup. Got a salad that needs snazzing up? What about an Abundance Bowl? You can toss these on anything. I’d even suggest keeping a jar near your desk or in the car to grab a handful when those afternoon cravings hit. They are a healthy, high-fiber, protein-rich snack that is way better than anything you’d get out of a vending machine.

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Turmeric: The Golden Child
Let’s make a New Years resolution together: eat more turmeric! Why? Because this humble little rhizome is a super food with serious superpowers.

Turmeric is a rhizome that comes from the Curcuma longa plant, with brown skin and shockingly bright orange flesh. It’s this pigment that gives curry powder its distinctive hue, and ballpark mustard that famous yellow glow. Curcumin, the primary ingredient in turmeric that is responsible for its golden colour, has important antioxidant, anti-inflammatory, and healing properties. It protects the liver form toxins and congestion, lowers cholesterol, reduces menstrual pain, and even helps soothe an upset tummy by aiding digestion and ridding the system of gas and distention.

Turmeric also speeds up the healing of wounds, both on the inside and out! To make an effective pain killer and cut healer, simply mix one teaspoon of ground turmeric powder with enough ghee, olive oil or coconut oil to make a paste and spread over the cut. Adding grated ginger to the paste will help decrease pain and increase its ability to heal. Turmeric is wonderful on burns as well, which I know from my days working in a professional kitchen! Mix one teaspoon ground turmeric powder with one teaspoon fresh aloe vera gel, apply to the burnt area and keep open to the air. Reapply as needed.

The flavour of turmeric is relatively mild – warm, slightly bitter and peppery with notes of orange and ginger. I find that it is delicious in everything from savoury stews and dressings, to sweet smoothies and raw desserts! Seriously. The fresh root is much more delicious than the dried version, simply because it has more depth and character. Finding fresh turmeric may be difficult however if you do not live near an ethnic market, but the dried powder is widely available. If possible, get your hands on freshly ground turmeric that hasn’t been sitting on your grocery store’s shelf for months on end.

To store fresh turmeric, wrap tightly in plastic wrap and keep for one week in the refrigerator. To store dried turmeric, keep powder in a tightly sealed glass container away from heat and light – not right next to the stove for example. This will preserve the flavour and medicinal qualities, which I know you’re interested in now!

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Again, I just want to say a big THANK YOU for your positive feedback. Besides eating more turmeric, another one of my New Year’s resolutions is to connect with you, the readers, more often. I really like hearing what you have to say and appreciate your thoughts, advice and inquiries. As soon as this cookbook is written (I hand it in March 1st!!!), I am going to send out my question to you: What do you want to learn about together? So, in the meantime, give that some thought. I look forward to that day very much.

With a golden turmeric embrace,
Sarah B.

The Winter Abundance Bowl

   215 Comments

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Happy New Year, dear friends! As completely amazing as 2013 was, I am excited to start fresh and begin a new chapter. There sure is a lot in the works for the coming 12 months and I look forward to sharing it all with you!

But first off, let’s embrace the new year with something simple. Something delicious, yet realistic and achievable. So many of you have asked me if there is going to be another “action plan” or detox coming up this month to help purge the garbage we’ve undoubtedly filled ourselves with in December, and ring in the new year with a clean body and mind. I’ve also been asked countless times what my “go-to” meals are, and what I eat on a daily basis. Surely I’m not whipping up Butternut Squash Lasagna and Wild Mushroom Lentil Burgers every weeknight with a newborn baby, right? Right. I suppose I’ve just never blogged about my regular meals before because they really aren’t very “sexy”. They are real. And even though my simple dishes are a far cry from the fancy stuff I try to post here to entice the non-converted to plant-based foods, what the heck, I still think that they are special enough, and I am so grateful every time I sit down to eat. I call them, Abundance Bowls.

I can’t even remember the first time I made an Abundance Bowl, but it was many, many years ago for sure. When I discovered that you could cook almost an entire meal in one pot, I got very excited and began creating all kinds of seasonal combinations. It’s the kind of healthy, hearty dish that is just so do-able for every kind of person, especially those that are hungry and busy and still care about what they put in their mouths (isn’t that all of us?). Indeed. And even if you’ve never tackled a dish from My New Roots due to lack of kitchen confidence, I assure you, you can do this!

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And why are they called Abundance Bowls? Well, I guess because when I hold this meal in my hands I feel pretty darn lucky. Looking down at a bowl so colourful, tasty, full of appealing textures and overflowing with life, I wonder what more I could ask for? Abundance to me doesn’t mean extravagance – it simply means feeling thankful for all the things that I am fortunate enough to have. I hope when you tuck in to this meal you’ll feel the same way.

And in the spirit of making a fresh start, I am going to create and share an Abundance Bowl for every season this year, starting now. Each one will be simple to make, seasonally inspired, and feature a tasty addition that you can use in something beyond the bowl itself. For example, this Winter Abundance Bowl includes a luscious Garlic-Ginger Pumpkin Seed Sauce that can be used to dress all matter of tasty things, like salads, roast veggies, and cooked whole grains. It’s easy to blend up with very simple ingredients, yet elevates the rather basic quality of the meal into something special. Plus, is there anyone out there who doesn’t love drenching food in sauce?! Sheesh, call me if you find ‘em.

Like I said, the beauty of making this meal is its simplicity. Did you know that you could cook all these things in one single pot? It’s like a miracle. The rice and lentils are boiled together and right before they are done, you can toss in the veggies to steam on top. While all that is going on, whip up the sauce, then shred the cabbage and toss it in citrus, olive oil, and a little salt. This raw portion adds enzymes to the dish, which help with digestion, and gives the bowl a delicious crunch. If you’re not into cabbage, toss in some massaged kale or spinach.

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Here’s to a year of inspired health, playing in the kitchen, and total abundance. Thank you for the last 365 days of magic! Looking forward to another trip around the sun with you all.

With love and a full belly,
Sarah B.