Category: Lunch

Recipes and Tips for Healthy Travel II

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First of all, wow. I won the Saveur award! Because of you! Seriously friends, I cannot thank you enough for voting, and for supporting what I do. This achievement means more than you know and I feel more motivated than ever to keep on going. I love this blog and knowing you do too makes every post all the more worthwhile. From the bottom of my heart, thank you.

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So, I am writing this from 30,000 feet in the air, somewhere high over the Middle East. The digital map on the screen in front of me revealing the names of cities I’ve never even heard of. It feels good to be traveling again in totally unfamiliar territory. We are off to Bali, my family and I. For six weeks we will be living there, tucked away in a rice field somewhere, completely away from the life we know in Copenhagen. We have never been to Asia before, and feeling excited for the adventures that lay ahead. It’s been a dream of mine to visit Bali since I was about 18, and I am sure that my high school self never would have believed that my first time going would be with my husband and baby.

This trip is not an epic one in distance per se, like the 38-hour schlep last year to Kauai, but throw a breastfeeding 5-month-old in the mix and suddenly I’ve got calorie and nutrient requirements totally un-fulfillable by miniature airplane meals. So what am I bringing along this time? Here’s my list:

- Black Bean Quinoa Salad with Cumin-Roasted Carrots (recipe below)
- Curried Hummus (recipe below)
- mung bean and lentil sprouts
- cucumber sticks
- dried figs
- apples
- Chunky Chocolate Buckwheat Granola (recipe here)
- Crispy Seed Flatbread (recipe coming!)

In all the years I’ve been traveling, I’ve learned quite a few things about which foods work on the road and those that turn into an unpalatable mess after a few hours outside of the fridge. I’ve also figured out which foods fuel the body in the proper way; nothing too heavy, as I’m sitting for most of the trip after all, and sticking to high protein and carbohydrate-rich foods definitely seem to be best for me. Including fruits and veggies with a high water content is also important, as nothing is more dehydrating than flying. Cucumbers and apples are always high on my list.

On today’s menu, I’ve got a pretty wide selection of plant-based delights, all quite simple, but that require a bit of planning ahead. The Black Bean and Quinoa Salad with Cumin-Roasted Carrots is delicious, filling, and travels very well. One thing I cannot stand about plane food is the singular texture (i.e: mush), so that is why my meals always cover the bases with lots of different consistencies: creamy beans, tender carrots, crunchy cabbage, and crispy toasted seeds. I don’t want my mouth getting bored halfway through my dinner, after all. If you are not a fan of cabbage, or you tend to become rather, ahem, windy, form eating it (soooo not awesome on a plane), choose a sturdy leaf that doesn’t cramp your style. Kale would be a good choice, or perhaps romaine. Do not choose a wimpy lettuce that’s going to wilt and goop up the rest of the dish – that would be ever so sad.

Although it’s great for a plane ride or road trip, this salad is tasty enough to make the small journey from your kitchen to the dining room table too. If you are going to make it for traveling though, I would suggest keeping the cabbage (or greens) on top of the salad, instead of mixing it in right away. This will help keep the cabbage crisp until you are ready to eat.

The Cripsy Seed Flatbreads are actually amazing, but I want to perfect the recipe just a little more before putting it out, so you’ll have to wait just a bit. Deal? Thanks.

I also made a really simple hummus for the trip, because dipping is fun no matter what altitude you’re at. I have been on a bit of a curry kick lately, so curried hummus is was – but feel free to toss in any spice mix you have, or just kick it classic style it with cumin. I do remember saying that curry was a no-no in my previous travel post, but I kept things pretty mild since I knew I’d be on a plane rubbing shoulders with unappreciative co-passengers.

My biggest piece of advice for getting any dip through security is to keep things thick. If your hummus is runny at all, or resembles “paste” they may confiscate it (and be prepared to throw out your container too if this happens). It can help to actually put the veggie sticks into the Tupperware with the dip itself, so the discerning agents can get a handle on the fact that you’re just an über-prepared foodie.

Prepare the salad and hummus well in advance of leaving for your trip – the day before is ideal. You need to make sure all the ingredients are cool before you make both dishes, so that they will keep for many hours outside of the fridge. If they are warm when you leave, they may spoil en route.

If you want lots more travel tips, check out my post from last year which discuses everything from avoiding jet-lag to how to make a thoughtful homecoming for yourself. Happy trails!

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Although my time in Bali is most definitely a holiday, I’ll still be blogging (can’t help myself!) and on Instagram, where you can follow my culinary adventures. Good grief, I cannot wait to EAT! I hope the island is prepared for me and my hollow leg.

If any of you have been to Bali, I’m totally up for advice, tips, recommendations on stuff to do, where to eat, etc. Let me know in the comments, and thank you in advance!

Until the next post, here’s to flying high with happy meals.

Much love and gratitude,
Sarah B

…and because I know someone will ask, my bamboo travel utensil set is made by To-Go Ware.

The Spring Abundance Bowl

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Hey guys, it’s spring.

I go for a walk in the forest everyday with my little babe. Even though he’s too young to even know he has feet, I still take time to point out the buds growing on branches, cherry blossoms opening, and explain how the earth is waking up from its wintry slumber. I think that this year, more than ever, I’ve relished the unfolding of this season because I am seeing it for the first time in so many ways. It’s pretty cool stuff.

I’ve been looking forward to this post for a very long time now. Since I wrote about eating simply and not trying to impress everyone all the time, the idea of Abundance Bowls has really got me jazzed. And you too, as I take it. It seems like we are all hungry for realistic eating these days, and to me that means fast, fresh, and flexible. This Abundance Bowl, like the last one I posted, is just that, taking advantage of seasonal produce and the fresh flavours of now. Living in the moment, and eating in the moment go hand in hand after all.

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Pretty Peas
I think peas are a rather underestimated vegetable, considering they are veritable storehouses of essential vitamins and minerals. That’s right. A measly ½-cup serving provides more than 20 percent of the RDA for vitamin C, vitamin K and manganese! True! Peas are a also good source of iron, folate, vitamin B1, phosphorous, magnesium, potassium, and copper. You’ll be getting a serious dose of soluble fiber too, which helps lower cholesterol and control blood sugar.

Peas offer up some heart-healthy vegetarian protein, providing a whopping 9 grams per cup. They are not a complete protein however, so make sure to combine them with a whole grain, like quinoa as I’ve done here, to ensure you are getting the complete essential amino acid profile.

If I can find fresh peas in their pods, I like to shell them and eat them raw. If you prefer to steam them, do so right in the pot of quinoa. Simply place them on top of the quinoa about 3-4 minutes before it’s finished steaming, cover again with the lid until they are tender. So easy! If you can only find frozen peas, place them in the pot of quinoa about halfway through cooking the quinoa so that they thaw and cook – this shouldn’t take more than 8-10 minutes. Frozen peas contain about 10-15% fewer vitamins than their fresh counterparts, which isn’t too bad for such a convenient food! If frozen peas are all that is available to you, use them anyway – they are still super good for you.

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If the last Abundance Bowl proved anything to me, it’s that you people really love sauce. For reals. Well, here’s a simple one I’ve been digging lately: a garlicky-dilly-creamy yogurt sauce that compliments peas and asparagus like nobody’s business. I’ve also been drizzling it over crisp greens, sprouts, various grains and open-faced sandwiches. If you’re not into dairy yogurt, soak some cashews and blend them up instead, the results will still be delectable.

The other accoutrement in this sublime springtime bowl of mine, is Quick Pickled Radishes. I think it’s essential to have an acidic hit in all recipes, whether it’s a squeeze of fresh lemon juice or a handful of brine-y capers, so these zesty pink medallions definitely fit the bill. I love the spiciness of radishes, but find that they can be slightly overwhelming raw. When pickled, they still have bite, but it’s more vinegar-y than earthy. These are delicious on sandwiches with creamy avocado, with eggs in the morning, tucked into tacos and folded into salads. I like to pile them up on the side of whatever I’m eating and ceremoniously add them to each bite. The very easy recipe below makes more than you’ll need for four servings of The Spring Abundance Bowl, so enjoy discovering the yumminess they bring to all sorts of meals.

And if you don’t have a particular ingredient on hand, or if you’re just not into one of them, improvise! Think of the recipe here as a guideline and put your own spin on it.

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I hope you’re all enjoying the warmer weather, longer days and brighter light as much as I am. Gosh, it’s good to see green all around again, in the forest, in the field and on the table. Let’s celebrate the abundance of spring and be grateful for everything that lies ahead! We made it! Wahoooooo!

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Show me your bowls on Instagram: #springabundancebowl

Genius Chickpea Tofu

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As someone who eats a predominantly plant-based diet, you can imagine that I’ve enjoyed a long history of consuming soy-based foods. When I became a vegetarian at 16 and vegan thereafter, there wasn’t the variety of plant-based protein foods readily available as there are these days, nor was I educated about alternatives to meat back then. Soy became my answer and my replacement for everything from dairy to eggs to chicken nuggets (eew). Before I knew it, I was eating some form of soy up to three or four times a day, when things started to get weird. Without going into too much detail I’ll just say that my PMS and menstrual issues became incredibly, ahem, challenging. I didn’t even like being around me. Period.
Ha.

Once I started studying holistic nutrition, I began to think that perhaps my issues lay in the hands of the health food industry’s little darling. Yes, soy. Seeing as I was really grooving on being a human guinea pig while studying, I decided to give up the soy for other foods, such as hemp, chia, nuts, seeds, leafy green, other legumes just to see what would happen. Call it a coincidence, but after a couple months, my symptoms started to clear up and I returned to my regular, only slightly neurotic self, every 28 days. Did I miss tofu? Actually, yes. And I still do from time to time, which is why I’m pretty darn excited to share this recipe with you today. A recipe for tofu, made from chickpeas.

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But first, let’s discuss soy. I’ve gotten a lot of emails and inquiries from many of you regarding this topic, because soy and soy foods are drowning in controversy these days. What is all the fuss about? Well, there are two schools of thought: one being that soy is a highly valuable source of plant-based protein because it is complete (meaning that it contains all essential amino acids). The other school of thought is that soy is “bad”, or even harmful for you if it is not fermented.

This brings up a good point, and it’s great to hear that more people are turning toward fermented foods, especially legumes and grains. But the idea that unfermented soy is downright dangerous to eat is blowing things a little out of proportion if you ask me. If we are going down that road, then we also have to say that all legumes, grains, nuts and seeds are harmful if not fermented. The process of fermentation neutralizes some of the naturally occurring phytic acid (a compound that binds to minerals in the digestive tract making them difficult to absorb), while breaking down some the hard-to-digest proteins. Soy actually contains less phytic acid than some of its vegetable counterparts, like flax, sesame, Brazil nuts, and pinto beans. This is why soaking legumes, grains, nuts and seeds before eating them is important for better digestion, nutrient assimilation, and therefore overall health. That is a statement I can get behind.

Fermented soy foods include tempeh, miso, and naturally brewed soy sauces, like tamari. I for one have been eating fermented soy foods exclusively for the past few years just because I feel better eating that way. I also choose non-GMO and organic soy because I support those agricultural practices.

In conclusion, I will say that eating any food in balance is okay, as long as it is minimally processed. That definitely excludes tofu chicken nuggets, soy cheese, soy eggs, and even most soymilk (always check the ingredient list – some brands are good and some contain a laundry list of un-pronounceables). My rule of thumb with any food, is that if you can’t make it at home, don’t eat it. Although tofu and tempeh are bit of an ordeal to make yourself, I’ve done it and it is possible. Tofu chicken nuggets? Good luck with that one.

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Okay, onto the Chickpea Tofu! Although this stuff is pretty genius, I am not the genius who came up with it. It’s a traditional food originally from Burma, and often referred to as Burmese tofu or Shan tofu (here’s the original recipe I followed). It is easy to make with just a few basic ingredients and is a tasty, soy-free alternative to regular tofu that I think will be on the regular rotation in my kitchen.

I think the really surprising thing about Chickpea Tofu is its texture. It is lusciously creamy and silky, not unlike silken tofu in fact. It is delicate yet firm, and kind of melts in your mouth. I’ve found it works really well fresh in salads (a traditional way of serving it), and in soups. This way you can really enjoy its unique consistency. I liked the it in a simple miso-ginger broth with a few rice noodles swirling around too. I’ve even seen recipes online for “egg salad” sandwiches and coconut curries. Yum!

The downside of Chickpea Tofu is that it doesn’t do all the things that tofu can do. It doesn’t fry very well (deep fried however, I’m sure would be ah-mazing), nor can you really bake it to crisp up as I had hoped. But, I am pretty new at this game and looking forward to trying out more recipes with it. If anyone out there really knows how else to work with Chickpea Tofu, please clue me in down below in the comments section! I am so curious to learn more.

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Some thoughts on the recipe…
You can purchase chickpea flour at most health food stores, but it is also available (and tends to be much cheaper) at ethnic grocery stores. Chickpea four is also called garbanzo bean flour, gram flour, and cici flour. It also falls under the name besan, an Indian flour made from both chickpeas and yellow split peas. This will work just fine for the recipe.

I think making a half batch of this would be a good idea. This made so much tofu that I had to freeze the majority of it, and I have no idea what it will be like after thawing.

I used turmeric in my recipe, which is a traditional ingredient for colour. This is optional but gives the tofu a lovely golden hue. I also added garlic powder – a decidedly untraditional ingredient but I am really happy that I did because it gave the tofu a mellow garlicky flavour, which I love. This is also optional.


The salad in the top photo was a very quick dish I threw together to enjoy the tofu with, and it turned out so well I thought I should share it with you. I took the dressing from this recipe and combined it with shredded purple cabbage, spring onion, and plenty of cilantro. Later in the evening for dinner, I tossed the leftovers together with brown rice pad thai noodles, and it went over very well with the husband. He said it tasted better than junk food, which, coming from him, is the biggest compliment ever.

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In other news, I am thrilled to mention that I’ve been nominated again this year for the Saveur Best Food Blog Awards! Super cool. And congrats to the other nominees in my category of “Special Diets” – what an honor to be in your company! If you’ve been enjoying My New Roots in the past year, show some love and vote for me (scroll down to the bottom of the page to the last category). Thank you a ton for your support. I’m still wild about writing this blog and it feels good knowing you’re wild about reading it.

Hugs and Chickpea Tofu,
Sarah B.