Category: Uncategorized

Cream of Broccoli and Cashew Soup

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Cream of Broccoli and Cashew Soup // My New Roots
 
Have you ever convinced yourself that something is delicious so you can actually handle eating it? Let me count out a few of my least favourite-tasting healthy things that I consume with disdain: spirulina, chlorella, most sea vegetables, flax seed oil, and wheatgrass juice. I have also been like this with broccoli, probably my entire life. Especially after studying nutrition and learning just how incredibly good this veggie is for us, I’ve really forced myself to eat more of it, regardless of how yucky it tastes to me.

The challenge lives on. Although I have found suitable homes for most of the aforementioned foods in smoothies (thank goodness for smoothies), broccoli just doesn’t work all that well blended up with banana. Call me crazy.

My first introduction to broccoli was cream of broccoli soup, of the canned variety: salty white mire with infinitesimal flecks of green, which I suppose was supposed to make whoever is eating feel a little healthier. But the broccoli? Is it even in there? All I remember is a hot bowl of thick, sulfur-flavoured cream, and the only indication of broccoli being the putrid fart-y stench. My five-year-old self was put off to say the least, and broccoli quickly made it to the top of my ick list.

Although I’ve made it a habit to cover up the taste of broccoli more often than letting its true flavour shine through, this soup is different. First of all, it’s mostly broccoli. And it’s scrumptious. It doesn’t hide underneath crazy cheese sauce or dressing because it doesn’t need to! It’s earthy and delightful. It’s shockingly green and decidedly not fart-y because the broccoli isn’t overcooked. It’s rich and creamy with a hint of spice that you can dial up or down depending on whom you’re cooking for.

I used cashews to deliver that unctuous richness, and nutritional yeast to mimic the cheese-y taste of dairy. Not only does this really take the soup to a whole other level, swirling that velvety cream through the bowl of green creates a beguilingly beautiful result. I mean, just look at it. This is satisfying and stick-to-your-ribs kind of fare, which is perfect as the autumn wind begins to blow. I am proud of this soup. It marks a grown-up kind of shift in my palette and my diet. A soup to celebrate not just health, but deliciousness.

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How to make Broccoli not a bummer
Brassica vegetables! Repulsing children since the beginning of time!

Okay, why do kids hate this group of veggies so darn much? Even adults tend to shy away from them in many cases. I believe sulfur is to blame – that uber-healthy, yet stinky and gas-producing compound naturally found in broccoli, cauliflower, Brussels sprouts, kale and the like.

There is a very important trick to remember when cooking these beauties up, and that is to not cook them very much at all! Broccoli contains good amounts of chlorophyll, the “life blood” of plants, which actually helps counteract the sulfuric taste, smell and wind-making properties. Chlorophyll, however, is very sensitive to heat and once it’s gone, that rotten egg scent which would otherwise be neutralized, will likely spoil all hope of your munchkins munching the veg. Five minutes is all it takes to lightly cook most brassicas, while maintaining their high levels of chlorophyll and vitamin C. This will also reduce gas, and that makes everyone happy.

Steaming is the healthiest way to enjoy broccoli, especially if you consume the steaming water as well. In this case of this soup, the water in which the broccoli is cooked, gets blended up into the final dish, making this a mineral-rich soup where very little nutrition is lost.

If you are going to cook the stems of broccoli (waste not want not!), steam them 2-3 minutes before adding the florets, as they take a little longer. Remember that the broccoli leaves are completely edible as well and loaded with nutrients.

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By the way, thank you all SO much for an absolutely fabulous time in Amsterdam! The cooking classes, lectures, cookbook event, and Restaurant De Kas dinner were tons of fun for me and I hope you enjoyed them as much as I did. I have plenty of beautiful photos so stay tuned to Facebook where I will share them very soon!

With gratitude and broccoli,
Sarah B

Show me your soup on Instagram: #MNRbroccolisoup

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.

Flavour Bomb Greens n’ Noodles

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I had my first harvest today. After several months of extremely hard work I cycled out to our garden with a pair of scissors, an empty basket, and some very excited taste buds.

Having zero access to a plot of land for many years now, it’s indescribably gratifying to get my hands down in the earth, plant seeds and watch miracles happen (well, they seem like miracles to me). To be able to bike past the market, just to sit in my strawberry patch, basking in the sweet, sweet glory of a perfectly ripe jewel that I’ve had a hand in growing is nothing short of awesome. Total connection.

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So, what is Sarah B. growing? Well, lots of root veggies, as Danish temperatures lends itself to produce that can hide underground for months on end (who can blame them?), but peas and beans will tolerate the cool and wet weather pretty well. I got some pretty groovy winter squashes in there, a good mix of herbs and edible flowers, and some fruit trees. Most of these treats I’ll have to wait a few more months for, so for the moment my pride and joy are the greens. Greens, greens, everywhere! And pretty ones too, with pink and purple stems.

In honor of the first harvest, I dedicate this post to greens. We could all stand to eat more of them, but they are not always the sexiest, nor the most sought-after veggie on many people’s list. In fact, I find that most folks are downright scared of green things. How the heck did this happen? With a few simple tricks, greens are downright tasty. I’ll show you how.

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Why Green is Gold
Leafy greens are among the most nutrient-dense foods on the planet. The greener they are, the more nutritious and healing they are. Loaded with vitamin A and C, calcium, iron, magnesium, potassium and folic acid (the name derived from the word foliage), greens are also extremely low in calories for the nourishing punch they pack.

Including greens in your diet on a daily basis (it’s okay if that feels overwhelming – baby steps) is your ticket to greater health via their uncompromising ability to improve immune response and prevent disease. Leafy greens are also excellent brain-boosters, blood cleansers and cancer-fighters.

The happy news is greens are fairly abundant all year ‘round. They are very simple to grow (as I have now witnessed), but even if you don’t have a foot of soil to plant in, one can always find a green leaf at the grocery store during any season. And greens are extremely versatile: use them the obvious way like raw salad as I have done here, or add them to a soup or stir-fry (cooking them causes serious shrinkage so they are easy to hide!), blend them into a juice (I find spinach is a winner in this application), or juice them. One of my favorite ways to eat greens is to replace a wrap or piece of bread with a giant leaf and just roll up whatever I am munching on. This was a trick I learned some years ago and it really works – even with kids! The trick is making the flavours really sing until you can groove on the natural “green” taste, which I promise you will learn to love.

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With all these glorious fresh greens ready to enjoy from my garden now, I thought I better come up with a killer way to eat them day after day. I have been craving something with big taste, something with ka-pow! And my totally boss mix of flavours fits the bill for sure.

The cool thing about this meal is the customizing aspect to it, one I would imagine would greatly appeal to children, or anyone unenthused by leafy greens. Once the intoxicatingly vibrant dressing of lime juice, garlic, ginger, chili, tamari and honey wraps itself around each ribbon of green, these once humble leaves become shockingly addictive. Then each person is free to liberally add in their favorites: toasted sesame, cashew, and coconut, more chili, and spring onion, cilantro and mint. Please inform everyone at the table that more is better! Pile on the toppings because they are all super healthy, and along with massive flavour, they bring on major nutritional bonus points.

And if you want to stop at just the greens, by all means do so – I added the noodles for a more filling and complete lunch. Take it to the next level with some marinated, stir-fried tempeh, avocado, sprouts, beans or lentils. The point is, we are making greens taste good and you can do just about anything with that.

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I want to end this post with a huge thank-you to all of you who wrote a comment in the last post, on Facebook or sent an email. I have been so overwhelmed with your unbelievable outpouring of love and excitement for my pregnancy, and it means more than you know. I feel as if I have this giant extended family out there, made up of gorgeous people whom I have never even met, but wow, how I can feel you. And undoubtedly, so can this little sprout.

big love, Sarah B

oh – and because you’ll ask, I buy my seeds from here.

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And don’t forget to check out my recipes in The Guardian, in print and online.

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