Well, almost. And I am too excited to wait another day (by the sounds of it, you are too) so I’m making it possible for you to reserve your copy this minute! My New Roots – Inspired Plant-Based Recipes for Every Season (Clarkson Potter, NY-2015 and Appetite, YVR-2015) will officially be released March 31, 2015, but you can purchase it now (like, right nowright now), have a *few* sleeps and it will be on your doorstep. Ka-BAM!
So what is this thing all about? The book includes over 100 plant-based and seasonal recipes, almost all of which are entirely new (I had a to keep a few blog classics in there for good measure, you know?). Most of the recipes are also vegan, many are gluten-free and some are 100% raw. I tried to include a range of dishes from the very easy, to those that are more fun food “projects” that require fermentation and such. There are fancy things to impress your best guests, and tasty basics for weeknight family-style meals. I also created a lot of make-ahead dishes and snacks because, let’s face it: even I don’t have time to cook every single day!
There is an entire section of the book dedicated solely to essential techniques – the kitchen processes I use on a daily basis and that form the foundation of so many recipes here on the blog and in the book. I thought it was important to clearly explain and really emphasize that knowing exactly how to cook beans, make nut butter, grow sprouts etc, can open up your culinary world and make a confident cook out of just about anyone who can boil water.
There is a pantry section, listing the most important things to always have on hand to make healthy staples, and a little info on why I dig them.
All the photographs were taken by me (!!!) which everyone thought would be downright insane / impossible, but I did it anyway. ‘Cause I’m a nutcase. And I didn’t want to have to share all that amazing food with a photographer (sort of kidding?).
Most importantly, the book emphasizes deliciousness. Foods that inspire you to jump out of bed in the morning so you can enjoy a breakfast that tastes incredible and is also good for you. Meals so yummy, your friends and family will be begging for more. And desserts so deceptively indulgent, that will keep you on track towards a more balanced, energized life, always.
I am so darn proud to share this book with the world. My heart on paper, all bound together for you to cook from for many years to come. I could not have done this without you, your support and enthusiasm for My New Roots over all of these years. YOU made this possible! Thank you for encouraging me to tackle this dream of mine, and help it come true. Really, thank you.
Can’t wait to see the unfolding of this project from here on out! I promise to keep you in the loop as it moves forward. And did I mention you can pre-order it NOW?!?
My New Roots – Inspired Plant-Based Recipes for Every Season is available for pre-order at the following online locations: Amazon Barnes & Noble Indie Bound
I get some pretty interesting recipe requests from you, my readers, and although I receive far more than I could ever fulfill, I do like to rise to the occasion. I am especially inclined to answer the call if more than one person asks for the same thing: gluten-free vegan lasagna, healthycookies, and easybreakfasts are just a few of the cravings I’ve tried to satisfy.
It seems that over the past year, bubble tea has become a popular item for health-ifying, and I’ve gotten several emails about this very thing. How can we take a pretty sugar-laden, artificially-coloured-and-flavoured beverage and turn it into something beneficial, light, and refreshing? Here I am to the rescue!
But can I make a confession? I’ve never actually tried it before. Most of the time I do my research in order to gear up before making something out of my wheelhouse, but this time it was just too much to swallow. I actually did go to a teashop though, with my best intentions to sample a bevy of bubbles. I walked in, saw all the crazy colours, dubious “juices” and syrups, pulled a 180 and headed straight to the health food store instead. I did leave with bubble tea straws, of course. That much I know is essential.
So, that all said, if I get this totally wrong, I do apologize. This is my version and I quite like it. Sarah B’s bubble tea is not pretending to by anything other than what it is – a bubble tea all its own.
Tapioca Pearls of Wisdom
What makes those darn bubbles anyway? It’s tapioca, in fact. Tapioca is the dried starch from the root of the cassava plant, a tuber native to South America. It has a naturally sweet taste, which is why it is so often used in candies and desserts, most familiar of them being tapioca pudding. Tapioca also the amazing ability to absorb and thicken liquid. Being naturally gluten-free, it is has become a popular gelling agent to use in foods, as opposed to fillers containing wheat. You can use tapioca flour / starch / powder in place of arrowroot or cornstarch in most recipes.
Tapioca is a staple food in many countries throughout the world due to its high concentration of carbohydrates, low levels of fat and dietary cholesterol, and its vitamin and mineral balance. Key nutrients in tapioca include calcium to support bone health, magnesium to help control inflammation, phosphorus for protein synthesis, and vitamin A for glowing skin.
You can find tapioca at most health food stores where it is often sold in powder, flaked, or pearled form. For bubble tea, look for large pearls instead of the small ones that are typically used to make tapioca pudding. Make sure that the only ingredient in the pearls is tapioca starch, and organic if possible. Many “novelty” pearls contain food coulouring and flavouring agents, and it’s best to avoid those for obvious reasons. Natural peals are pure white and are almost completely flavourless, except for a hint of sweetness.
Peaches and plums have just come into season, so I’ve decided to use those as the fruit base for my teas. You can use whatever is available where you are of course, and match the brewed tea flavours accordingly. I chose chamomile to pair up with the peach and green tea to go with the plum. These were really delicious combinations, but are by no means the only options. Rooibos would be tasty with peaches too, and maybe jasmine with plums? I’m just guessing here – get creative!
Sarah B’s Peach and Plum Bubble Tea Serves 4-6
½ cup large pearl tapioca
6 cups water, divided
2 – 3 Tbsp. maple syrup or raw honey (to your taste)
2 tsp. freshly squeezed lemon juice
1 Tbsp. dried chamomile flowers (or 2 chamomile tea bags)
1 Tbsp. loose leaf green tea (or 2 green tea bags)
milk of your choice for serving (optional)
1. Bring 3 cups / 750ml water to a roiling boil, add the tapioca pearls and stir. Reduce the heat to simmer and let cook for 25-30 minutes, then turn off the heat and let sit covered, for another 30 minutes until the pearls are translucent (if a few of them have slightly white centers, this is okay, but test one to make sure that it isn’t powdery in the middle).
2. While the pearls are cooking, add 3 cups / 750 ml of cold water to a large glass jar or container. Stir in the liquid sweetener of your choice to dissolve. Once the pearls have cooked, drain them from the cooking liquid, rinse them well, and add them to the jar of cold sweetened water. Let sit in the fridge until ready to use. If the water does not entirely cover the pearls, add just enough water to do so.
3. Brew the tea. Bring enough water for 4 cups of tea to the boil. Let cool slightly and pour over tea bags (I used two different tea pots for the two different flavours). Let steep for at least 10 minutes. Remove tea bags and discard.
4. Peel the peaches and plums. Add peaches and 1 teaspoon lemon juice to a blender and blend on high until totally creamy and smooth. Repeat with plums and remaining lemon juice. Set aside.
5. To serve the tea, place desired amount of tapioca pearls in each glass, fill 3 glasses about half full with chamomile and the others with green tea. Spoon peach purée into the chamomile glasses and plum purée into the green tea glasses. Add a squirt of milk if desired. Stir with a large straw, sweeten to taste and enjoy.
*Note: unused pearls will keep in the fridge in their water bath for a couple of days*
So what else do you want to know about? What other kooky experiments will you have me diving into? Bring ‘em on! If you are so inclined to send me an email, type “recipe request” as the subject line and I’ll squirrel it away for a time when I’m a bit stumped for what to make next. And you never know, I may just answer your call.
Hope you are all having a gorgeous summer! Sorry for the radio silence on my end – I’ve been giving the cookbook so much attention, it’s hard to keep the blog up to speed. I promise it will be worth the wait though. Good golly am I excited!!!
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Show me your bubble tea on Instagram: #MNRbubbletea
The funny thing about writing a blog, is that I never know how popular my recipes will be. Often, I think I have a real zinger and no one really seems to appreciate it on the same level as I do. Then I post something rather simple and everyone goes nuts about it. Curious.
You can imagine then, that when I posted The Life Changing Loaf of Bread, how incredibly shocked I was at the response. Although I was pretty confident that I had a winning recipe, I never expected the explosive reaction that it got. After checking up on it today, the post has over 1,200 comments. WHAT?! That is insane. And thank you. I’m so glad it changed your life too.
In the spirit of recipes that shake up our routine, I thought I would introduce you to the very same one all over again. That’s right. The same recipe with a new method to make the most life-changing crackers you have ever tasted.
The story goes like this: it was the night before a long trip, and I knew that I needed to make some food to take with me on the journey. I didn’t have a lot on hand, nor did I have a lot of time. Searching through the cupboards I realized I had almost everything to make The Life Changing Loaf of Bread, but because I was traveling with it, I wanted it to be a little more transportation-friendly (nothing like biting into an entire loaf of bread on an airplane to make you look like a total kook). A light bulb moment: what if I made the dough and just flattened it out like a cracker? It was just crazy enough to work! Crispy, crunchy, flaky, seedy, and so tasty, this crispbread that is my new go-to for every meal of the day, and snacking in between.
The wonderful thing about the Life Changing Cracker recipe is that you can customize the flavours by adding different gourmet ingredients. You can take them to sweet or savoury town. You can throw in some superfoods if you like, or just stick to the plain, yet delicious base recipe. I love dividing up the dough and creating multiple kinds of crackers all in the same batch. I made two different versions last time: Rosemary, Garlic & Smoked Sea Salt, and Fig, Anise & Black Pepper. Both were totally delicious and worked well with dips, spreads, and cheese. I also really enjoyed them on their own, totally unadorned. Because I loved these combos so much, I’ll give you the recipes for them below – just remember that they are for half a batch of dough respectively.
The Life Changing Crackers can be made into any shape you like too, so get creative. Use cookie cutters, biscuit cutters, pasta or pastry cutters if you have them. A simple knife works too. And if you like things rustic bake the whole tray until crisp, then break them up in free form pieces before storing them.
And to remind you of why this recipe is so awesome and life changing, I repeat: The Life-Changing Crackers are made with whole grain oats (choose gluten-free if necessary), and seeds. They are high in protein and high in fiber. They are completely vegan. Everything gets soaked for optimal nutrition and digestion. They are easy to make, require no special equipment and are pretty darn hard to mess up. Even if you have never made the Life Changing Loaf of Bread before, you’ll be a pro at making these crackers.
The Life-Changing Crackers Makes 2 baking sheets of crispbread
1 cup / 135g sunflower seeds
½ cup / 90g flax seeds
1/3 cup / 50g pumpkin seeds
¼ cup /40g sesame seeds
1 ½ cups / 150g rolled oats
2 Tbsp. chia seeds
4 Tbsp. psyllium seed husks (3 Tbsp. if using psyllium husk powder)
1 ½ tsp. fine grain sea salt
1 Tbsp. maple syrup (for sugar-free diets, use a pinch of stevia)
3 Tbsp. melted coconut oil or ghee
1 ½ cups / 350ml water
Rosemary, Garlic and Smoked Salt Half batch:
2 Tbsp. chopped fresh rosemary
¼ – ½ tsp. garlic powder (depending on how strong you like it)
smoked sea salt, to taste
Fig, Anise and Black Pepper Half batch:
3 large dried figs (approx. 70g)
1 tsp. anise seed
1 tsp. cracked black pepper
1. In a large bowl combine all dry ingredients, stirring well. Whisk maple syrup, oil and water together in a measuring cup. Add this to the dry ingredients and mix very well until everything is completely soaked and dough becomes very thick (if the dough is too thick to stir, add one or two teaspoons of water until the dough is manageable). Divide the dough roughly in half, and set aside one half.
2. Place one half of the dough back into the bowl and add any flavouring you like. Gather into a ball and place it between two sheets of baking paper. Using a rolling pin, firmly roll out into a thin sheet. Remove top layer of baking paper and using the tip of a knife, score the dough into shapes you like (I chose large rectangles but it’s up to you). Repeat with remaining half of dough. Let sit out on the counter for at least 2 hours, or all day or overnight.
3. Preheat oven to 350°F / 175°C. Using the baking paper, slide the dough onto a cookie sheet and bake for 20 minutes. Remove cookie sheet from oven, flip the whole cracker over (if it breaks a bit, don’t worry!) and peel the baking paper off of the back. Return to oven to bake for another 10 minutes, until fully dry, crisp, and golden around the edges.
4. Let cool completely, then break crackers along their scored lines and store in an airtight container for up to 3 weeks.
Show me your crackers on Instagram: #lifechangingcrackers