Category: Main Dish

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

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