Category: Condiment

Early Summer Abundance Bowl

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Early Summer Abundance Bowl

Keep it simple. Use what you have. Make it work.

I’ve been staring at these three ideas for the past few hours. In between breastfeeding my baby, laundry, trying to make food for myself, emails, brushing my teeth and changing a couple diapers, I’ve been back and forth to my computer unsuccessfully getting any further with this post.

Then I read it again and realized that the advice that I was trying to give all of you out there was precisely what I needed to hear myself.

My days are so different than they used to be. Instead of being able to play in the kitchen from dawn until way past dusk, I’m playing with my sweet baby. Instead of making food for all of you to recreate I’m making food for us. Unremarkable, perhaps, but there is a turning inwards, a quiet and simplicity that I’m cultivating, or at least trying to. It isn’t glamorous and most of it isn’t worth blogging, but it’s real life. And I am very grateful for it.

Early Summer Abundance Bowl

Needless to say, meals have been simple and Abundance Bowls have been abundant. I’ve been cooking grains and beans in bulk to use for later, then tossing whatever fresh veggies I have on hand into the mix. If I can bend time and squeak out five or ten minutes worth of creativity, a sauce happens, or maybe a quick pickled condiment. All of a sudden, a pretty boss bowl of tasty, healthy food sits before me and I feel like the luckiest person in the world, living in true abundance. That is what the Abundance Bowl is all about. Keeping it simple. Using what you have. Making it work. And I guess feeling that kind of overwhelming gratitude doesn’t hurt either.

Early Summer Abundance Bowl

Here we are in the first breaths of true summer. My little family and I are back in Canada for the next little while and it feels amazing to be home. The sun is bright and the river is crisp, gardens everywhere are bursting with fresh food. The Early Summer Abundance bowl celebrates all of it, along with the feeling of luckiness that always pervades my thinking this time of year, as we begin to reap the benefits of the season.

I chose freekeh in this edition, a roasted, immature wheat that tastes deep and rich and is the perfect counterpoint to sweet, young beetroots, earthy radishes and vibrant sprouts. The grain is harvested while still young and soft, then roasted or sun-dried. The health bonus of harvesting immature wheat is that it retains more of its nutrients and proteins than its fully-grown counterparts. It even claims to have fewer carbohydrates than regular wheat because it’s young. It surprisingly has more dietary fiber content than brown rice, plus more calcium, iron, and potassium content.

You can find freekeh at Middle Eastern grocery stores and increasingly at natural and gourmet food shops. Sometimes it is referred to and sold as “Green Wheat”. If you have never tried freekeh before, get ready to freak out. It’s seriously amazing stuff! It cooks up like any other grain, keeps very well in the fridge and can be enjoyed hot or cold. I love it in salads, especially with lots of garlic, olive oil and lemon to balance the smoky flavour.

As I was after a sort of Middle Eastern flavour profile, I chose to make a harissa-spiked chutney with spring onion and dates, which is altogether scrumptious. Leftovers of this are excellent smeared on toast with poached eggs for breakfast, accompanying roast veggies or in an avocado sandwich. The colour isn’t very sexy, but the flavour is oh-my-goodness delicious. And to really take this Abundance Bowl to the next level, I may have put a little seared halloumi cheese in there. Maybe. Oh I totally did.

Early Summer Abundance Bowl

 

As for those of you asking about the Potluck Picnic in Toronto, I have made the difficult decision to skip it this year. There are so many things going on in my life (all positive!) but in the name of keeping things simple and quiet, I am honoring the commitment I made to myself to focus my energy on my family at this time. I so much appreciate your enthusiasm, and also your understanding. And of course I look forward to resuming the event next summer!

Show me your Abundance Bowls on Instagram: #earlysummerabundancebowl

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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The Winter Abundance Bowl

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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.