Category: Vegan

5-Ingredient Magical Fudgesicles

   71 Comments

fudgesicle
Fudgesicles were a mainstay in the freezer of my childhood, and my go-to sugar fix if the cookie jar was empty. Since we’ve been blessed here in Copenhagen with a warm spring and early start to the summer season, day after day of blue skies and sundresses has jumpstarted my summer food fantasies. I felt like revisiting the frosty, chocolate-y pops that were such a relief in the sweltering heat, but this time, with a healthy plan of attack.

In my cookbook, I made a killer ice cream from avocados and cashews. Knowing how creamy and delicious this combination was, I wanted to recreate a similar base, with dates as the sweetener and raw cacao powder as the chocolate element.

So, I made a couple versions of these fudgesicles, since I wanted to eat more be thorough. The first experiment was with just cashews and avocado. The results were pretty delicious but pretty expensive, and a few of my taste-testers found the ice cream bars a little dry in the mouth. For the second version I scaled way back on the cashews and used coconut milk to enhance juiciness while maintaining creaminess. I also upped the cacao. Because chocolate. It was a perfectly balanced combination, and the version I am presenting you with today. The magical version.

These are so lusciously creamy, sinfully rich-tasting – the kind of thing you put in your mouth and kind of can’t believe what’s happening. Vegan, almost raw, and full of whole food ingredients, they are also downright filling! They make a fabulous mid-morning or afternoon pick-me-up, especially with the raw cacao component, a deliciously effective, energy-boosting food. Dress them up with your favourite add-ins, or keep it simple and enjoy them as the five-ingredient bliss bars that they are.

fudgesicle2

Cashew News!
I was snacking on some cashews the other day (as one does) and offered some to a friend of mine, who declined. Her reason? Cashews are “so fattening”. Wait a minute, what? who started this ugly rumour?!

Maybe this is news to you too, but cashews are actually one of the lowest-fat nuts out there. Weighing in at only 67% fat, next to almonds at 76%, hazelnuts at 86%, and macadamia nuts at 93%, cashews rank pretty low on the scale – and let’s keep in mind that 66% of the fat in cashews is the heart-healthy, monounsaturated variety. Rejoice!

fudgesicle4

And while we are clearing up misconceptions, cashews are not technically nuts, but seeds that adhere to the bottom of the cashew apple, an edible fruit native to South America. Cashew trees are in the same botanical family as mango and pistachio. The multi-step process to make cashews edible is quite involved, and typically includes steaming the whole seed pod, removing the outer shell, drying, and skinning. The inner shell layer of the cashew nut contains a caustic resin that can cause significant skin rashes, and is toxic if ingested.

The “raw” cashews that you purchase at a grocery store health food shop are not typically raw, just not roasted. Because of the steaming step in conventional cashew processing, cashews cannot be considered a “truly raw” product. “Truly raw” cashews are available on specialty websites and in some health food stores, but at a premium since separating the cashews from their shell without the nut coming into contact with the resin is time consuming and must be done by hand.

Cashews are an excellent source of the mineral copper. Copper helps our body utilize iron, eliminate free radicals, and build bone and connective tissue. It is also an essential component of a wide range of enzymes, such as superoxide dismutase (SOD) which aids energy production and antioxidant defence. One-third of a cup of cashews delivers over 100% of your recommended daily intake of copper.

fudgesicle3

A high-speed blender is recommended for this recipe, but if you don’t have one make sure you blend until the mixture is as smooth as possible. You can add water to thin the mixture if it is too thick to blend, but keep in mind the more water you add, the less creamy the bars will be – more crystalline. No matter what, they will taste amazing. Because they’re magic.

The fudgesicle recipe below is unreasonably delicious as-is, but it can act also as a base for you to flavour as you like! You can add toppings after removing the fudgesicles from their mold too. This involves melted raw or regular chocolate and your creative spirit! Dip or drizzle the chocolate over the frozen bar, and sprinkle away. MAGIC WANDS. This would make a very popular activity at a kid’s birthday party. Or my birthday party. Stop looking at me like that.

I’ve included some options for both flavourings and toppings to inspire you, but these are merely suggestions. I know all of you super enthusiastic foodies out there will come up with some stellar combos. Let me know in the comments if you do!

fudgesicle7


*   *   *   *   *   *

In other very magical news, my latest Cody app video series is now online! This one is all about my favourite subject: SNACKS!!! Super-Charged Snacks to be exact. And every recipe is brand-new, incredibly delicious, and of course über healthy. If you haven’t seen the Protein-Rich Cacao Brownie video on my Facebook page yet, go have a look! You can preview all of the recipes here and purchase the plan too (it’s on sale!).

energycookiesBLOG2

Thank you so much for your ongoing support of My New Roots!

Big love and gratitude,
Sarah B.

Sanity-Saving One Pot Pasta

   88 Comments

pasta1

Life is beautifully full these days. Between caring for an energetic toddler and running my own business while attempting to carve out some time to cook, have a social life, exercise, pursue creative things and do laundry? It’s full-on. And wonderful. And then there are days when I feel that I may just lose it.

We were sitting down to dinner the other night, to a very simple meal that I had thrown together in a mad dash. My husband took a few bites, looked up and said: “This is really, really good.”
“Really?” I asked in disbelief. “I actually cooked the whole thing in 10 minutes and in the same pot” (a triumph for me – I’m a bit of a tornado in the kitchen).
“This is the kind of thing you should blog, Sarah. People like simple things.”

Not that I had forgotten this fact, but I also feel the need to like, blow your minds most of the time. Or at least attempt to, ya know? This was not a blow-your-mind kind of dinner. It was made on a busy weeknight from stuff we had in the fridge and pantry, while a hangry 2-year-old clung to my bare legs since he had already pulled my pants off. If this situation sounds familiar, this dinner will be your new go-to. It’s simple, fast, easy, and most importantly, very delicious. Just because you’re going insane doesn’t mean that you’ve lost all sense of taste. In fact, saving one’s sanity often hinges on proximity to good food, as evidenced by post break-up ice cream binges, and bad-day-at-work pizza parties. I get it.

pasta3

Legume-based pastas have been popping up in regular grocery stores all over Copenhagen lately, and I am loving them! They are made from just legumes (red lentils, green peas, adzuki beans etc.), they cook in about 6 minutes and contain unbelievably high amounts of protein and fiber, thanks to the only ingredient being, well, legumes. Although I have some “rules” in my diet which exclude most things that I couldn’t recreate in my own kitchen, these pastas are a serious life-saver when I don’t have a ton of time to make dinner, and a seriously great alternative to wheat pasta. I will compromise a little when my sanity is on the line, won’t you?

pasta4

The brilliance of this dish, besides the fact that it is so fast to make, is that it’s cooked in just one pot! Although it differs from the one-pot pastas I’ve seen online where everything is cooked together from the beginning, my version requires a little bit of timing on your part, adding the asparagus and peas about three minutes before the pasta is cooked. Theoretically, you could toss everything together in the same pot from the get-go, but this produces overcooked veggies, and no one really digs that.

You can use any legume-based pasta you like this, in any shape that appeals to you. And, you can really pick any seasonal veggies that cook in the same amount of time or slightly less than the pasta. It’s great with broccoli, sweet potato, green beans, zucchini or snap peas. I even enjoy this dish cold – so it’s the perfect make-and-take meal for a picnic dinner.

If you are not vegan, this is delicious with some grated Pecorino Romano grated in, or crumbled feta.

pasta2

 

Show me your pasta on Instagram: #MNRsanitypasta

Sensational Sweet and Spicy Sambols

   49 Comments

sambol

Being someone who loves a meal with many elements, Sri Lankan food was pretty much my dream come true. Every meal is served with plenty of sides: sauces, chutneys, relishes, and pickles, to make each bite unique and surprising. Sambol is the word for this seemingly endless collection of condiments, and I lost count trying to sample them all in a week.

I believe I mentioned in my previous post about Sri Lanka, how spicy the food is there. Like, blow-your-head-off spicy. And as if the curries themselves weren’t hot enough, the chili-based sambols on the side will certainly commit your taste buds to perplexing levels of pain.

sambol9

Pol sambol is the ubiquitous, fiery condiment served at breakfast, lunch, and dinner. It is probably one of the simplest dishes to make, consisting mainly of chili, shredded coconut, chili, lime, and chili – did I mention the chili? Yea. This mix ranges from very spicy to volcanically hot depending on whose table you’re sitting at.

On the second day of the trip, my tongue seeking refuge in something, dare I say it, borderline bland, I discovered one of the most delicious things I have ever tasted – and it wasn’t bland to say the least, just not sweat-inducing. Seeni sambol, a fragrant, Sri Lankan caramelized onion jam, turned out to be incredible on everything from hoppers to curries, and could turn a pretty plain bowl of red rice into something remarkably special. I became totally obsessed with this sambol and it was the very first thing I attempted to make when I came home. I really cannot tell you enough how awesome this stuff is. Do yourself a favour and make a batch soon!

sambol2

The most memorable experience I had in Sri Lanka was learning to cook traditional recipes with two women in the local village. It was likely one of the most eye-opening culinary experiences I’ve ever had – not only learning from such passionate and experienced cooks, but seeing their traditional kitchen, tools, and techniques really inspired me.

sambol6

Take their stove, for example. A large clay bench with large mounds molded into it held the earthenware pots in place, and the heat underneath was adjusted by adding more sticks to the fire, or taking them away. Genius. Above the stove was a large wooden wrack to hang beans, seeds, and herbs for fast drying, which I thought was a brilliant way to take advantage of the residual heat. Ingredients were prepped on the floor, since it’s cooler down there, and also nice to sit while you’re working. The knife to cut veggies was actually attached to a stool, and instead of holding the blade, you hold the vegetables and basically drop them on top, slicing them in the air to fall onto a grass mat. The sambol was made by grinding all the ingredients together on a huge flat stone designed specifically for this task, and as such took all of ten seconds to prepare. Spoons were made from dried coconut shells. The plates were made of woven grass, topped with fresh lotus leaves from the nearby creek. The leaves protected the plates from the saucy curries, and when you were finished your meal, you’d discard the leaf into the compost, so that there was literally nothing to wash! I mean.

This day made me take a long hard look at how much stuff I use in the kitchen. Water, electricity, appliances – these women were literally using nothing but things from the earth around them and it made me wonder how we’ve come so far from that connection. Cooking has become so overblown, and it was this experience that reminded me to cook simpler and eat simpler. Get closer to the earth. I don’t have some grand solution, but it’s food for thought.

sambol8

I’ll share a few notes on the recipes…
You will likely think I’ve lost my mind when you begin the task of slicing two pounds of onions (#worthit), but I promise you it is the correct amount, and you’ll see that it cooks down to nearly nothing. I tried half this amount my first time and it just simply wasn’t enough. If you’re going to go for this, you may as well make a batch that will last you at least a few meals, right? Fresh curry leaves are a definite preference for this recipe, but I’ve never been able to find them here in Copenhagen so I used dried. They’re not great, but better than nothing. If you don’t want to gnaw on whole spices or curry leaves you can remove them after the seeni sambol is cooked, but it can be a bit of a treasure hunt situation, just sayin’. Once I’ve smashed the cardamom pods, I like to remove the outer skin and just add the inner seeds to the spics mix. I tend to leaves the cloves and curry leaves in since I like those bursts of flavour.

The pol sambol recipe I’ve written here is admittedly, a wimp’s version. I’ll admit that I can only tolerate spice until it begins to overwhelm the other flavours in the food, so mine is strong but still edible on its own. I invite you to go with your instincts on this one and dial up the heat to suit your tastes. If you can find freshly grated coconut (or a fresh coconut that you can grate yourself) by all means use that instead of the desiccated variety! Some versions of pol sambol include curry leaves, but because I only had dried I left them out. If you can find fresh ones, add about a sprig for this recipe, and crush them well before incorporating.

As far as serving these two sensational sambols go, they are pretty much great with All. The. Things. Rice dishes, curries, stews, soups, wraps, sandwiches, salads…I mean it! Once you taste them I’m confident you’ll find infinite uses for them. The first photo is of steamed brown rice and the Kale Mallung recipe that I wrote from the last Sri Lankan post – still a major fav around here. I love this meal for breakfast with a poached egg, lots of seeni sambol and, ahem, lightly sprinkled with the pol sambol.

sambol3




sambol7

 

A huge thanks to Cinnamon Hotels and Resorts  and Sri Lankan Airlines for making this incredible trip possible!

Show me your sambols on Instagram#MNRsambol