Category: Condiment

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.

 

Infused Syrup Gift Jars

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I do it to myself every single year. The holidays roll around and I find myself in a complete frenzy – not buying gifts, but making them. All of them. Like I am some kind of spectacular, one-woman craft factory. Hand-dipped beeswax candles, beaded earrings, woolen mittens, porcelain teacups, or how about personalized lino block monogram stationery? And every year I curse myself for being unable to achieve a true likeness in the watercolour painting I did of your cat.

Well, this year that’s all about to change. If there is one thing I’ve learned in the first four weeks of motherhood, it’s that I am not only unable to maintain spectacular, one-woman craft factory status, but that I am lucky to take a shower on a regular basis. I surrender.

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A few weeks back, before baby, I had a dear friend and fellow foodie over for dinner. She brought with her a small jar of mysterious, yet delicious-looking matter that turned out to be dried apricots and spices in a lime syrup that tasted amazing on, oh, just about everything that came out of my kitchen. Needless to say, I copied her. And then the wheels of the craft factory got to turning and I whipped up a second batch with honey, nuts, and a whack-load of holiday spices that I dig. It came together so quickly and effortlessly, that I realized this would be a perfect gift to give this holiday season – inexpensive, simple ingredients, and best of all, totally achievable to make with a baby on the hip (or in the blink of an eye that he’s napping for). Hoorah!

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So far I’ve tested this versatile delight on salads, cooked whole grains, grilled cheese (to die for), savoury crepes, and roasted veggies. It’s kind of like the exclamation mark that every dish deserves. And as a die-hard fan of anything with the salty-sweet balance, I am looking forward to all the semi-bland meals I can punctuate with these incredibly simple little syrups. If you’re looking for some sweet-on-sweet action, the adventurer in you would surely love either one of these delicacies drizzled on oats, yogurt, pancakes, French toast, or ice cream too.

There aren’t really “recipes” for these jars of goodness, just guidelines. If you don’t like a certain ingredient, omit it and maybe find one that suits your tastes and if you are really a fan of something in particular, add lots. Be intuitive, be creative, and enjoy the process of crafting something special for someone you love.

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Infused Syrup Gift Jars

Maple + Apricot
pure maple syrup
dried apricots (please ensure they are sulfite-free – they should be dark brown in colour)
pink peppercorns
rosemary sprig
star anise

Directions:
1. Roughly chop apricots into small chunks and place in a jar. Add all other ingredients in the amount you desire.
2. Cover with maple syrup. Store in the fridge.

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Honey + Nuts
raw liquid honey
walnuts (lightly toasted, if desired)
pistachios (lightly toasted, if desired)
orange peel
fennel seeds
cloves

Directions:
1. Roughly chop nuts into chunks and place in a jar, keeping some of them whole. Add all other ingredients in the amount you desire.
2. Cover with honey. Store in the fridge.

 

Here are a few more ideas for MNR holiday edible gifts. Out of all the crafting I do, these are my favourite things to give any time of year.

Superfood Haute Chocolate Mix
Holiday Granola
Simple Gourmet Granola
Orange Cranberry Hazelnut Cantuccini
Zata’ar Spice Blend
Chai Tea Spice Blend
Detox Tea Blend

Keep in the fridge until giving:
Superfood Nut Butter Cups
Chocolate Fudge
Hazelnut Butter
Raw Salted Caramel Apple Dip
Fig Lavender Walnut Jam
Chlorella Cream
Green Giant Cilantro Pesto
Energy Orbs

And because I’ve been receiving emails from readers about what to serve at a healthy holiday feast, I’ve rounded up my favourites from the last year that would combine to make a great meal. Don’t forget to check out my past post about this topic, with a few complete menu plans: Holiday Menus

The Life Changing Loaf of Bread
Beet & Black Lentil Borscht
Crispy Cornmeal Sweet Potato Fries
Blood Orange Braised Cabbage on Barley
Spaghetti Squash Baby Cakes with Crispy Sage
Cinnamon Wreath

I wish you all the very best this year from me and my very new family! Have a safe, healthy and happy holiday everyone.

Love, light, and gratitude,
Sarah B.