Category Archives: Cheap

Recipe: Gramma’s Raspberry Birds Nest Cookies

Gramma's Birds Nest Cookies | IPOM

Holla everyone! I am super excited today to share with you one of my all time favorite cookie recipes over at a super special holiday cookie exchange at Keepin’ it Kind. This cookie combines the wonderful nutty taste of walnuts with sweet raspberry jam to make a cookie as sweet to the tongue as it is darling to the eyes. I grew up eating these every Christmas and am so thrilled to know they are just as good or perhaps even better in this new vegan version (I am sure Gramma won’t mind too much).

kristy

If you haven’t met the beautiful & talented Kristy yet, while it is high time you correct this!

This girl is as creative as she is lovely and her recipes & photography are always mouth-watering.

Her story of choosing a purely plant-based diet as a way of life is a fabulous and inspiring read, and the coupling of her & her husbands talents together make me smile every time I visit her blog.

So head over to read my cookie post on her blog today and see just how much it means to me to have been invited to join this wonderful holiday baking exchange! And enjoy a peruse through the rest of the recipes too while you are at it πŸ™‚

Gramma's Birds Nest Cookies | IPOM

Head on over to Keepin’ it Kind to find this super nostalgic recipe, and enjoy the rest of the amazing offerings while you are there! I can’t wait to see what comes up next!

  • Got a favorite holiday cookie to share?

Let us know, and thank you for joining us!

Yours in Less,

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30 Comments

Filed under Cheap, Cooking, Desserts, Food, Recipes, Rich & Simple, Sweet Treats, Vegan

Recipe: Not So Fast Easy Red Lentil & Vegetable Soup

Life is what happens while you are busy making other plans.

~ John Lennon

So it happened again (so many high fives)!

A group of folks got together to spend just under two hours with a group of kids from our fair city’s toughest neighborhood to cook together. To cook real food ~ food that needs no more than a few basic skills to make, skills like peeling, chopping, stirring, boiling, cutting, slicing, and best of all, caring.

There is nothing that could make me any happier, or more grateful to know that no matter where you find them, kids are always just kids. They need us. They need us to teach them how to live well, and that no matter what, they are worthy of every bit of our love and our attention. Each and every single one of them.

Just two nights ago we gathered in a small community center kitchen in Vancouver’s Eastside and cooked 4 healthy & nutritious dishes, one of them being this hearty, delicious soup.

We planned for 8, thought we had 6, and ended up with 12 (by the end of the night we had 9). Having such an immense amount of interest has been just incredibly encouraging, knowing kids are eager to learn how to have fun in the kitchen. And they are hungry for good food if it’s there.

This is the first of 3 classes we will be putting on, trying to reach as many youth & families as we can in the process. I’ll be posting the recipes from our classes one by one over the course of the next few weeks, starting with today’s soup, as we are repeating this menu for the next 2 classes coming up, and in the New Year we plan to offer another round with a new menu.

So stay tuned for more great recipes, stories, photos, and full hearts! If you’d like to support us, we’d love your help. A little or a lot, it doesn’t take much to fill a little tummy. You can donate here, and read up on Not So Fast here if you are new to IPOM and my story, thanks to all of you have been with me since the start!

The Less:

Less complicated, fussy food means more pleasure in doing simple things. Less heavy, meat based soups and stews means more high-fiber, easy digesting. Less cost for good food means more to go around, so everyone can come and sit at the table.

The More:

More simple recipes means more confidence and fun in the kitchen. More warm filling soups means more warm, happy bellies. More skills where it matters means more focus on priorities, because eating well should be easy & accessible for all.

I thought I’d share what the recipes looked like for the class Tuesday night (spelling error and all). Part of our goal in arming kids with knowledge is providing tools when we can as well, so we sent each participant home with a folder full of recipes for each dish we made. It’s a little thing, but you just never know πŸ™‚

I think my heart is so full it might last quite a while. And I can’t wait to do it all over again, surrounded by literally the best team of friends & volunteers any girl could wish for (so much love & gratitude for you all). Stay tuned for my next post and I’ll share the rest of what we all cooked, how we cooked it, and the laughs and smiles we had all along the way.

To make a donation in support of our efforts, however big or small (hint: there is no small!) you can do that here, your money goes a long way! Best to all for a super wonderful week, and thank you for joining me, I am one super-inspired happy camper.

Yours in Less,

59 Comments

Filed under Cheap, Children, Cooking, Feeding, Food, Food Insecurity, Gluten Free, Going Without, Inspiration, Non-Profit Organization, Not So Fast, Photography, Recipes, Rich & Simple, Soup, Vegan, Vegetables, Vegetarian

Recipe: Luscious Homemade Tahini Goddess Dressing

A good dressing can make vegetables sing.

Nothing is worth more than this day.

~ Goethe

Some days you just want a salad, right?

You know, those crisp fresh vegetables full of hydrating water and loaded with vitamins & enzymes?

I don’t know about you guys (I have my suspicions though) but I am always pretty thrilled to have a homemade salad dressing hanging out in the fridge that makes it easy to wash a few raw vegetables and dress them to perfection.

This recipe is made in honor of a very popular bottled salad dressing. Anyone out there familiar with a store-bought version of the ever popular Goddess dressing?

I’ve never been a fan of bottled anything – so one day a few weeks back I decided to make my own version of a popular favorite. Here is the result! I’ve got a secret…it’s better (IMO) than anything you can buy in a bottle!

Whatever you fight, you strengthen, and what you resist, persists.

Β  ~ Eckhart Tolle

Utilizing tahini in salad dressings has always been a popular trick with vegans. This paste made of hulled sesame seeds is satisfying and filling, not to mention full of calcium and protein – two things vegans (and all folks really) need.

Here I added soy sauce, dried parsley, oil, vinegar, lemon juice, and granulated garlic – all easy things you probably have in your pantry already. It keeps well, eats well, and can easily be tailored to your tastes and preferences.

Boom.

Thick & satisfying, this dressing is just as home on top of hot brown rice & steamed broccoli as it is on crunchy romaine leaves or as a dip for whole raw carrots.

The primary cause of unhappiness is never the situation but your thoughts about it.

~ Eckhart Tolle

The Less:

Less bottled and packaged shelf stable groceries means more tasty, waste-free staples. More control over ingredients means fewer extras added so food can sit longer. Less sugar and sweets at dinner means you can add those later in the day, so spreading the love is still tasty and makes sense.

The More:

More high calcium sesame means more satisfaction in flavor and texture. More heft in your dressing means more freshness to go under it. More use for those pantry staples adds more depth to your kitchen, so whipping this one up year round is a snap.

Luscious Homemade Tahini Goddess Dressing:

  • 1/2 cup roasted sesame tahini (you can use raw but the end result will be different)
  • (1/2-1 cup) water (depending on desired thickness)
  • 1/2) cup good olive oil
  • (5-6) tbsp fresh lemon juice (can substitute bottled lemon juice too)
  • (2-3) tbsp apple cider vinegar (to taste based on the lemon juice)
  • (2) tbsp Braggs or soy sauce
  • (2) tbsp dried or fresh parsley
  • (1/4) tsp granulated garlic or garlic powder

Combine all ingredients in a blender (or in a bowl for use with a hand blender) and blend until creamy and emulsified.

Taste to correct seasonings (use the lesser amount of water, lemon, and vinegar and add as desired).

Transfer dressing to a clean jar and refrigerate. This should keep well for up to a week, and perhaps longer if you use bottled lemon juice. It will thicken in the fridge a little and makes fabulous dip.

A little goes a long way and this dressing is jam-packed with flavor!

Veggie salads are a great way to load up on fiber and roughage, not to mention a fabulous vehicle for a great dressing like this!

Enjoy poured on hot cooked grains, and steamed vegetables of all kinds. This would also make a great dip for roasted potato wedges and even as a mayo substitute in veggie sandwiches or on burgers.

Use it to you heart’s content!

The most powerful weapon on earth is the human soul on fire.

~ Ferdinand Foch

Greatness lies not in being strong, but in the right use of strength.

~ Henry Ward Beecher

Thanks to all of you who let me know how much you enjoyed the super nutritious quinoa breakfast from my last post..and if you liked that one, you might just like this quinoa breakfast too (you know, just in case) πŸ™‚

Wishing you all a super swell weekend – we’ve got a typical weekend planned packed with soccer games & a special get together with good friends. For those of you curious, Not So Fast will kick off our first sponsored cooking class on November 13th…cooking up the good stuff and sending kids home with warm home cooked food.

We’re getting there with our website and taking time to do things right. I’m hoping you will all be pleased with the results!

Until then, stay tuned for more great food and stories. I sure enjoy yours.

  • Are you a fan of Goddess dressing?
  • Got a favorite tahini-based dressing to share with us?

The last time I asked for recipes I got tipped to a fabulous chickpea farinata recipe – I’m happy to report I’ve made it more than once (it’s amazing) and I’ll be sharing it soon with a little something extra tasty and special.

Until then, wishing you all the very best, and be well. Me and my armpit are going to be just fine (story in my next post).

Yours in Less,

53 Comments

Filed under Cheap, Cooking, Gluten Free, Health, Nut Recipes, Recipes, Rich & Simple, Salads, Vegan, Vegetables, Vegetarian

How To: Grow Super Nutritious Sprouts at Home

Home grown sprouts are all yours!

Magic is believing in yourself, if you can do that, you can make anything happen.

~ Wolfgang Von Goethe

Want to see magic happen?

I’ve got just the thing. Did anyone try this salad from my last post? I was thrilled to hear that a few of you did, some of you plan to, and those of you who were waiting for the how-to on growing sprouts?

It’s here! Look no further.

Sprouting legumes is just about the safest and easiest darned thing you can do. It’s a bit like bread…set it up, leave it to sit in the right conditions, and watch live magic happen right before your eyes.

Those dried peas in your cupboard you are not sure what to do with? Sprout them. There are many things to sprout but none are as easy (IMHO) as dried peas & beans.

So let’s get started!

Every day may not be good, but there is something good in every day.

~ Author Unknown

There is a real magic in enthusiasm. It spells the difference between mediocrity and accomplishment.

~ Unknown

Β There are just a few things you will need to sprout beans at home.

Starting with dried beans (of course). Of course if any of you are accomplished at growing alfalfa or other seeds, I’d love to hear from you!

My favorites beans for sprouting are:

  • Mung Beans
  • Garbanzos
  • Green Lentils
  • Green Peas (whole dried ones are hard to find strangely but oh, so good and kids LOVE them).

These are all (except for the peas) easily acquired, and cost very little. Given the cost for the average amount you will work with, you will see just how far they actually go.

How’s that for further proof that eating well needn’t be expensive, and this, dear readers, is one of the best examples around! Not to mention delicious too πŸ™‚

Wheresoever you go, go with all your heart.

~ Kongzi

The Less:

Less store-bought sprouted foods means more health for less cost. Less cooked beans and legumes means more of their vital live energy is in tact. Less high cost sources of protein means more money that goes farther, and less heavy bulky foods means more lightness and well-being too.

The More:

More living plant-based energy & live enzymes means more good feelings and good moods. More light crunchy textures means more satisfaction when eating them. More home-grown how-toΒ  means more skills where it matters, so good eating and good sense are easy, cheap, and pure amazing πŸ™‚

Once you have your beans, you will need just three more things:

  1. a clean jar
  2. an elastic band
  3. a small piece of cheesecloth

Plus, of course, lots of clean water for soaking and rinsing, light through the kitchen window, a little air circulation, and your care and attention just twice a day.

Not bad hey?

But more on that later.

Super Nutritious Sprouts at Home for Pennies:

  • (1/4-1/2 cup dried beans (mung beans are great to start with!)
  • (1) clean mason jar (1 liter size if you can but small ones work too for smaller amounts)
  • (1) piece of cheese cloth or plastic mesh, cut into a square the size of the jar opening
  • (1) elastic band to secure the cheesecloth to the top of the jar
  • Plenty of cold water for soaking & rinsing

Start by putting up the beans of your choice to soak for 8-16 hours in the jar you will use for sprouting (like most things they can languish for a while so don’t worry if you soak them too long). Use cold clean water to do this as the beans are going to absorb that water. You can leave the jar open on the counter and there is no need to cover it.

The soaking process starts the ‘waking’ process for the dried beans which are by nature designed to keep for long periods of time on their dry (dormant) state. This is a (very) beautiful thing, as they can really keep almost indefinitely in a sealed container if kept dry.

Once soaked, the fun really starts.

Using your piece of cheese cloth (no more than 2 layers as the water needs to drain easily, but you don’t want anything falling through the holes), secure it to the top of the jar and drain the soaking liquid.

Next, you rinse (get acquainted with rinsing).

Simply set the jar in the sink and run cold water through the beans several times, turning the upside down to drain the water between rinses. Here you will see whether you have the cheesecloth too layered as the water will drain slowly.

After a few clean rinses, your soaked and rinsed little bundles of life are ready to grow. Simply set the cheesecloth covered jar upside down, and on an angle, and rest it in your dish rack.

Sprouts need a few things to grow well: air & light (in addition to clean water). As most sinks are by a kitchen window, light is normally not an issue. If your kitchen has no window by the sink, you might consider propping the jar (in the dish rack or in a bowl on its side near a window in between rinses). The air comes from the holes in the cheesecloth

For the next two days, morning and night, repeat the rinsing process, taking care to rinse the beans in their entirety at least twice. After each time, set them to rest in your dish rack.

After two full days…you should have this….

Life in the form of a little sprout. Don’t they just make you smile?

Once ready, and you have little tails on your sprouts, rinse them a final time and transfer to a container and store in the fridge. These guys will keep well in the fridge (for up to a week).

If you try to sprout chickpeas, I might suggest rinsing 3 -4 times a day as they are larger and can dry out faster than the smaller varieties (this is not good for growing sprouts just like it’s not good for us). So keep them (and yourself!) fresh by watering them carefully and keeping them hydrated. Chickpeas might also take an extra day to sprout.

Enjoy sprouted beans in salads, tucked into avocado sandwiches, or as a snack for hungry kids who get home from school. I’ve yet to meet anyone who doesn’t have a palate for mung beans when sprouted (pictured in this post).

Logic only gives man what he needs… Magic gives him what he wants.

~ Tom Robbins

If we are to have magical bodies, we must have magical minds.

~ Dr Wayne Dyer

I could really go on about sprouts, as I grew up eating them. My mom always had a jar of alfalfa sprouts growing in our sink as kids in the winter time. Sprouts are believed to contain a much higher level of enzymes, making them much more digestible than their cooked counterparts.

After all, sprouts are vital foods that contain enough life force to grow into a plant.

But I’ll let you be the judge of that πŸ˜‰

Thank you to all of you wished me well after my little vehicle mishap last week..I’m driving a giant courtesy car this week which is demanding my full attention πŸ™‚ You all made my weekend wonderful!

Looking forward to getting my little car back on the road, all shiny & new!

  • Are any of you home sprouters?
  • Anything special you are looking forward to right now?

Let us know, and wishing everyone a wonderful week!

Yours in Less,

48 Comments

Filed under Cheap, Food, Gluten Free, Raw, Recipes, Rich & Simple, Salads, Snacks, Vegan, Vegetables, Vegetarian

Recipe: Crisp Brussels Sprout Salad w/ Apple Dijon Dressing

The tastiest, craziest, & most delicious salad. Ever.

Be Bold, be bold, and everywhere be bold.

~ Edmund Spenser

I’ve got to come out with it.

I know it’s hard when this happens, but really, I’ve got to be honest. I’ve had a challenging week.

I’m not sharing this to illicit sympathy (well, not intentionally), but in truth, I’d be lying if I tried to pretend life was all roses all the time. Of course this week has also brought it’s fair share of amazing as well.

So what to do?

Roll with it. Carry on. Be bold. Stay strong. And don’t stop (never stop).

Keep carrying on. Positively!

So really, that fender bender that will see my insurance rates go up for the next few years? I am choosing to see the positive: while my vehicle is in the body shop, I can finally have the rest of the knicks and scrapes repaired along with that crack in the wind shield that gets longer by the week….no one was hurt. Accidents happen.

It takes courage to grow up and become who you really are.

~ E.E. Cumming

My usual style is to beat myself up hard over stuff like this. After all, driving is serious business and there is nothing like a split second to change the course of your day, or if it is really not your day (and heaven forbid) your life.

As shaken as I was for the rest of that day, I know that practicing forgiveness for mistakes is as much a part of the lesson as the mistake itself.

So drive safely folks. Don’t text (I wasn’t on or near my phone when this happened). Don’t look down. Take a few extra seconds to think. And if you fail, forgive. It’s the least you can do.

And then make this salad. It will make you an instant hero, no matter what your week, or your day, has looked like. Even if you don’t like brussels sprouts, this raw combo will blow you away (and anyone else at your table too).

The only real mistake is the one from which we learn nothing.

~ John Powell

The Less:

Less conventional cooked brussels sprouts means a chance to finally enjoy them. Less boredom in the salad department means more excitement and life in your salad bowl. Less cooked heavy meals means more lightness, crunch, and flavor, not to mention good health and well-being too.

The More:

More cruciferous green veggies & home-grown sprouts means more delicious, disease-fighting frugality. More high-fiber substance means more filling up on the right foods. More crisp crunchy textures means more chewing for good digestion, so eating and mindfulness are a no-brainer.

Crisp Brussels Sprout Salad w/ Apple Dijon Dressing:

  • (15) large brussels sprouts, washed
  • (1) cup fresh sprouted legumes (my fave to grow at home are mung bean or green peas)
  • (1/2) cup dried cranberries
  • (1/3) cup toasted whole pecans, crumbled
  • (1/2) cup Apple Dijon Dressing
  • Freshly ground pepper to taste

Apple Dijon Dressing:

  • (1/4) cup apple juice (or water will do in a pinch)
  • (1/2) cup apple cider vinegar
  • (1/2) cup good olive oil
  • (3) tbsp smooth Dijon mustard
  • (3) tbsp honey or plant-based sweetener
  • (1/2) tsp good sea salt

First, make the dressing by combining all the ingredients in a blender (or large bowl if you are using a hand blender). Blend all until a silky texture is created, just about 20-30 seconds. Transfer to a clean container or jar.

To make the salad, start by toasting the pecans either in a 350 degree oven for 5-10 minutes or on the stove top in a dry pan for 5 minutes or so, being very careful not to burn them. Set the pecans aside.

To shred the brussels sprouts, make sure they are clean by running them quickly under cold water. With a sharp serrated knife, start with the top end of each sprout (they are cut individually) and slice the sprout in rounds as thinly as you can until you reach the thicker stem end. Use this method until all of the sprouts are shredded.

Next, add them to a large bowl and separate the rounds with your hands to free the pieces and create a slaw like mixture.

When ready to serve, combine all of the ingredients in the bowl except the pecans, and toss with the dressing, adding it to taste.

This is a nice light dressing which will pool somewhat on the bottom of the bowl once the salad is served. Don’t waste this! I suggest a few baked or steamed whole sweet potatoes to serve alongside this to soak up this delicious dressing πŸ™‚

When ready to serve, crumble the toasted pecans over top of the salad or onto individual portions and serve right away.

Freedom lies in being bold.

~ Robert Frost

Your time is limited, so don’t waste it living someone else’s life.

~ Steve Jobs

This salad tastes incredible the next day too and is wonderful served on top of cooked grains and/or other steamed vegetables.

In my next post I’ll take you through the home sprouting process step by step – sprouting legumes is really one of those easy and cheap things that brings amazing results to anyone looking for simple raw nutrition for literally pennies!

These gorgeous mung beans provide at least a few days worth of enzymes, protein, and vitality and they only took 2 days to grow right here in my sink πŸ™‚

If you are ashamed to stand by your colors, you had better seek another flag.

~ Author Unknown

So folks, I hope you are having a fabulous October so far – it is hard to believe we are almost half way!

I am looking forward to the upcoming Vegan Potluck hosted by Annie and Somer, as well as continuing to take in all the delicious recipes coming through Vegan MoFo (October is the Vegan Month of Food)…and a special thanks to Kristy at Keepin’ it Kind for her gorgeous version of this chickpea flatbread!

I am also excited to get my car fixed up. Turns out there IS an up side to everything, it just depends in which light you look at it. So whether life is actually roses all the time or not, those colored glasses we always hear so much about?

I’m keeping mine close. It’s the only way.

  • Have you tried brussels sprouts raw before?

If not, this is so worth a try!

It has been immediately added to our regular rotation, and even got a huge thumbs up from both the teenager and the husband. Now, that’s a win worth celebrating!

Wishing you all a safe and happy week!

Yours in Less,

87 Comments

Filed under Cheap, Cooking, Food, Gluten Free, Photography, Raw, Recipes, Rich & Simple, Salads, Savory, Uncategorized, Vegan, Vegetables, Vegetarian

Recipe: Easy Crusty Home Baked Bread (Baked Beans on Toast – Part Two)

Bountiful. Beautiful. Home Baked Bread.

IPOM Crusty Bread (1)

If thou tastest a crust of bread, thou tastest all the stars and all the heavens.

~ Robert Browning

Baking beautiful bread?

Bread. Beauty. Bounty (alliteration today is brought to you by Cara). Today is the day!

I’ve been excited about this one for weeks, that is ever since I discovered it (I haven’t stopped baking beautiful bread since that day).

This was a recipe I randomly & luckily stumbled upon, and I am not sure through which medium it actually came to me (I am thinking Pinterest) – however, it must be noted it was this amazing blog post that got me going.

Insert major gratitude here.

Over the years, I’ve certainly tried all manner of bread recipes. Yeast and flour and I have never really gotten each other, and it could be that the precise nature of all things baking just does not come naturally for me.

I am happy to say that I’ve finally found the one recipe that has made me a bread baker. The day has come, and now, if you want it, it is yours for the taking too!

Good bread is the most fundamentally satisfying of all foods; and good bread with fresh butter, the greatest of feasts.

~ James Beard

Not only must we be good, but we must be good for something.

~ Henry David Thoreau

It is true that not all good folks enjoy bread freely these days. With the rise in sensitivities to gluten, more and more people every day are avoiding the stuff.

Wheat being one of the oldest crops known to man-kind, it always seems crazy to me that evolution would take us down this road. Especially considering wheat’s status as the ‘staff of life’ and the fact it is an age-old source of sustenance that has been relied upon since the dawn of human existence.

Wheat berries are cheap, they can be grown all over the world, and in their whole form are full of sound vitamins, minerals, and other healthy nutritious properties.

Used in their most natural form, whole wheat berries can be made into all manner of salads, added to stews, or famously sprouted for making raw breads or used to make rejuvelac and to grow wheatgrass.

However, when wheat berries are milled, bleached, bagged, and left in giant storehouses to spoil & turn rancid, it’s no wonder that our bodies are struggling to recognize wheat for the simple, life-giving grain that it is.

Change your thoughts and you can change the world.

~ Norman Vincent Peale

So if you are sensitive to wheat & gluten, but can still eat it from time to time, do source out organic freshly milled flour if possible. You might just notice a difference in how you feel after eating it (or you might not).

Whole wheat, all-purpose, or white, the most important thing to know is that it is fresh.

Just like roasted coffee should be ground right before use, or nuts & oils can go rancid if left for long periods of time at the wrong temperature, all milled flours are susceptible to the same conditions, so use it fresh.

Like all of your food (if you can).

There are people in the world so hungry, that God cannot appear to them except in the form of bread.

Β  ~ Mahatma Gandhi

The Less:

Less store-bought, packaged bread products means less cost, waste, and potential preservatives. Less reliance on commercial food supply lines means more control of your health, your home & your pocketbook. Less complicated recipes to produce authentic foods means more likelihood you’ll do it, because everyone deserves to be a baker (if desired).

The More:

More fresh-baked bread from freshly milled flour means (hopefully) fewer reasons for healthy bodies to reject it. More novice friendly methods means more confidence you can do it, so you can turn pro starting right now. More homemade comfort food on the table means more enjoyment all around, and isn’t that what we are all seeking after all?

Easy Crusty Home Baked Bread:

  • (3) cups all-purpose flour
  • (1/2) tsp active dry yeast
  • (1 3/4) tsp salt
  • (1.5 – 1.75 cups) cold water from the tap
  • Whatever additions your heart desires: fresh or dried herbs like rosemary, grated cheddar cheese, dried fruits, nuts & seeds, the ideas are endless!
  • One oven proof casserole with lid, preferably ceramic or cast iron (though I read you can use any oven proof dish and cover it with foil, I have an Emile Henry clay casserole I got for my wedding years ago)

In a large mixing bowl, whisk together all the ingredients except for the water. Next, add the water (in bits or all at once) and mix thoroughly with a wooden spoon or tough plastic spatula.

Once mixed, the dough should be sticky, like the picture shown below.

Feel free to play with the amounts of water used as I have used anywhere from 1.5 cups (the original recipe amount) to almost 2 cups. A good friend of mine uses a bread recipe very similar to this and suggested to add more water particularly if I play with other flours – ie. a mix of white & whole wheat.

Once the dough is well mixed, cover the bowl with plastic wrap and leave to proof on the kitchen counter for anywhere from 12 – 20 hours.

Seriously, this is (just one) of the beautiful things about this recipe.

You can start the dough at anytime and get to the baking when it works for you. I have baked after 12 hours proofing and I have baked after 22 hours proofing. All delicious, all the time.

Proofed Dough, ready to bake.

When you are ready to bake (and have a free hour and a half), turn on the oven and heat it to 450 degrees. Once the temperature is reached, put your oven proof dish in the oven and heat it for 30 minutes.

Just before the heating time for the dish is ready, flour a work surface with a very generous handful of flour. With your hands, pull the proofed dough out of the bowl and set it atop the floured surface.

Shape the dough into a roundish loaf and evenly coat it with the flour. Don’t worry about any inconsistencies with the shape of the dough – it will all sort itself out in the baking process.

This is a no knead recipe. Yes, that is right, no kneading!

So. Very. Awesome.

Remove the hot pot -careful it will be HOT! – and place the dough carefully into the dish. No oil or anything required.

Place the lid on top (or foil if this is your method – use good oven mits!) and place the dish into the hot oven still set to 450 degrees.

Bake for 30-35 minutes, keeping the oven hot by not peeking (I love having a hot and heavy lid that prevents me from peeking).

I have done both times and prefer the 35 minute time, the crust gets (just a little) crustier that way, but feel free to play with a time that works for you.

After 30-35 minutes, carefully remove the dish from the oven, and voila! Hot, beautiful, glorious bread. Remove onto a wire cooling rack and allow to cool before slicing.

For best keeping, do not store in a plastic bag until the loaf has cooled completely as this will diminish the crust on the loaf. A paper bag or on the counter is great right after it is made.

Though if you make this in time for a family meal I can almost guarantee leftovers will not be an issue.

Serve with soup, salad, curry, pasta, or make into crusty bread sandwiches with tofu steaks, cheese, lettuce, and ripe red tomatoes.

My personal favorite? Fresh out of the oven with butter. A bowl of hearty warm beans. And not a whole lot more (or less) πŸ™‚

The history of the world is the record of a man in quest for his daily bread and butter.

~ Hendrick Willem Van Loon

Whatever makes up your daily bread, doing so with reverence and appreciation of all things past can give us a better understanding of how it is we got where we are today. Things don’t always get better with time (but thankfully many things do).

In our modern world full of processed, packaged, ‘middle grocery aisle’ foods, fresh foods from fresh ingredients are still best. It’s been that way for thousands of years. Funny how some things never change.

Fresh is still best.

Unless someone like you cares a whole awful lot, nothing is going to get better. It’s not.

~ Dr. Seuss

If you can’t feed a hundred people, then feed just one.

~ Mother Teresa

This recipe is cheap, easy, and simple in a world with so many options when it comes to tackling what (can be) one of the hardest foods to master in the kitchen.

Suitable for kitchen novices and experienced cooks alike, I’ve got full faith that anyone can be just hours away from blatant, breathtaking, bread-baking brilliance!

  • Are you a bread baker?
  • What is your favorite bread recipe?

We’re coming off a gorgeous holiday weekend here in beautiful Whistler (thanks to all for the truly fabulous company) – here’s to wishing all of my Canadian readers a very Happy Thanksgiving!

Next up, I’ve got the best brussels sprout salad you’ve ever had.

So stay tuned. It will be worth it, that I can promise you.

Yours in Less,

66 Comments

Filed under Cheap, Cooking, Food, Health, Photography, Recipes, Rich & Simple, Vegan, Vegetarian

Recipe: Homemade Baked Beans On Toast – Part One

The ultimate in affordable (vegetarian) comfort food.

Play is the highest form of research.

~ Albert Einstein

Do you ever just need a little comfort food?

I think it is safe to say we all need a little comfort in the form of our favorite foods here and there. Growing up, one of my most favorite snack foods was just this – comforting – not to mention dirt cheap and easy to make.

After all, what is easier than opening up a can of beans and heating them up? Toss a few pieces of bread in the toaster and slather on the butter….just thinking of it brings me right back to 4th grade heaven.

My 30 something year old self now knows that while the old canned standbys are still good in a pinch, there is nothing better than a warm bowl of home cooked beans and a fresh piece of bread hot out of the oven. Especially when they are this cheap, and this easy.

All you need is (just a little) love. And (just a little) time.

The future belongs to those who believe in the beauty of their dreams.

~ Eleanor Roosevelt

Having just celebrated another birthday, I find myself of late quite keenly aware of the fleeting nature of our lives.

As I think back to my days as young child I can tell you my defining moments just as easily as I can tell you what my favorite things to eat were. Most often, and particularly at the beginning of each new school year, I think back to me and my siblings, convening after a long day at school to watch TV and eat food we could make on our own.

Hot beans in a bowl. With toast. Childhood comfort food. Three’s Company. Let’s do it!

Men do not quit playing because they grow old; they grow old because they quit playing.

~ Oliver Wendell Holmes Jr.

The Less:

Less canned food in your pantry means more room for cheaper dry goods to nourish you. Less waste and added preservatives means cleaner eating and a lighter conscience. Less sugar heavy baked beans means more naturally sweetened heartiness, and a whole lot more nourishment too.

The More:

More high fiber protein foods means easier work of digestion. More hearty, filling comfort means more warmth and goodness in your day. More cheap easy recipes means more ways to spread your money farther, because good health doesn’t have to come at a high cost.

Homemade Baked Beans:

  • (2) cups dry white Navy beans, soaked in cold water
  • (1/3- 1/2 cup) good olive oil
  • (2) medium – large yellow onions, chopped
  • (2) tsp salt
  • (1) small can tomato paste (about 1/2 cup)
  • (3) tbsp honey, brown sugar, or other plant-based sweetener
  • (8) cups cold water for cooking
  • Lots of love of and plenty of time

Start by soaking your beans in plenty of cold of water for anywhere from 8 – 20 hours (8 is about the minimum to soak thoroughly and don’t worry if you ill time the soaking – they can sit there for a while). When ready to cook, drain the beans and rinse in the colander under more fresh cold water.

Next, heat the oil in a large soup pot and add the chopped onion and salt. Cook the onion for about 10 minutes on medium-high heat, being careful not to burn them. Stir here and there, after 10 minutes the onions should be soft and translucent.

Next, add the tomato paste, beans, and 4 cups of cold cooking water. Stir well to dissolve the paste and bring to a boil over high heat with the lid on. Once the boil is reached, stir again and reduce the heat to medium, to keep the simmer at a jolly roll (not boiling but cooking nicely).

Now, kick up your feet, and get settled in. Read a book , or finish that knitting project you started. Maybe write some notes to your family to tell them you love them. Or not. But do enjoy this nice time at home.

Cook the beans withe the lid ajar for 1.5 hours, stirring here and there and adding the remaining 4 cups of water in increments as the sauce reduces. After the first hour, add whatever water is left, and the honey or sweetener, and cook for 30 minutes until the mixture is deliciously saucy.

From here, you can let the beans hang out until you are ready to bake them (you can even sneak in a bowl to eat at this point).

To bake, transfer the beans to a casserole and bake, covered either with the casserole lid or with foil. Bake at 350 degrees for 2 hours. Remove from the oven and serve hot with fresh bread or toast.

These beans will keep extremely well, and should be good to eat up to a week after they are made. A little goes a long way here as these guys are hearty and filling, so pile them into a container for those moments during the week when you need a little comfort.

Paired up with the bread recipe lined up for the next post, you’ll wonder if there could possibly be anything simpler or more nostalgic (especially if you grew up in my family).

You don’t have to cook fancy or complicated masterpieces – just good food from fresh ingredients.

~ Julia Child

I was pleased to see that 25 years later, kids still love this food as a filler up after soccer practice or after a long tough day as a teenager (because let’s face it, that is exhausting work for those of you who may recall).

Go confidently in the direction of your dreams. Live the life you imagined.

~ Henry David Thoreau

Next I’ll share with you the bread recipe that has literally changed my life since I discovered it. Turns out, it’s never too late to be a baker, even if you’ve never even made bread before! Stay tuned, I am really excited about this one!

Here’s to a super fab October…wishing you all the very best as always!

  • Did you have a favorite childhood comfort food?
  • Got an updated version to share with us?

Let us know! Looking forward to hearing from you all as always, and for all my vegan-minded blog friends taking part in Vegan MoFo, wishing you all the best for a month of blogging inspiration, and those of you interested, check out the link here!

Yours in Less,

87 Comments

Filed under Cheap, Cooking, Family, Food, Gluten Free, Photography, Recipes, Rich & Simple, Savory, Snacks, Vegan, Vegetarian

Taking Cues from Country Folk & Removing My Shoes

Start by removing all pretense, then your shoes.

Earth provides enough to satisfy every man’s need, but not every man’s greed.

~ Mahatma Gandhi

I went, I saw, I ate, I reveled. I went home.

Freshly back from a visit to the country, my senses are still reeling from the sights and sounds of water, birds, soft grass, good clean food, laughter and plenty of pure unadulterated stillness.

A typical weekend visit to the family home means (weather permitting) farmer’s market visits, long runs in the quiet breezy air, and plenty of ocean-side time to the sounds of lapping water and the odd speed boat off in the far salty distance.

There, my phone doesn’t work, and neither do I.

This time of year, there is bounty in the gardens. Meals come from the yard and ingredients are picked not days, and not hours, but just minutes before preparing (and eating of course!).

Back home during the growing season, planning meals is as much about what is ready as it is about what your appetite tells you (actually quite a bit more).

Peas come and go for three weeks only, the strawberries show their bright faces only long enough to remember their soft red cheeks, and (thankfully) the kale grows for many prosperous and green months on end.

It’s a different (and refreshing) way to look at food.

I hope you’ll humor me as we walk through the garden and take (just a few) extra moments of island time.

Tension is who you think you should be. Relaxation is who you are.

~ Chinese Proverb

I always start by removing my shoes. The grass feels better that way, and somehow, everything seems just that much more beautiful. And real. Something about dirt in my toes.

Sometimes there isn’t an entire pints worth of strawberries left to pick and you have to enjoy what there is (these were the last ones saved for my daughter to pick).

This simple example (to me) embodies the ‘less is more’ lifestyle with crystal clarity – enjoying what there is when it is and making it last.

I won’t try to deny these strawberries were most thoroughly enjoyed. Yes, all 5 of them.

Whenever you are sincerely pleased, you are nourished.

~ Ralph Waldo Emerson

A quick (slightly disappointing) visit to the local grocery store offers a stark contrast to the bounty that is seen on display at the Farmer’s Market.

There at the market you can meet the guys who make your white chocolate scones and work through the night to make your loaf of daily bread.

Eat food. Not too much. Mostly plants.

~ Michael Pollan

It brings a new appreciation for where your food comes from – to see the hands that create the food for your nourishment and to lay eyes on the mouths that smile from a life of honest work.

For those of us who are blessed to live where produce grows in abundance, it seems an easy choice to buy (and eat) local.

Here in the city if I miss the Farmer’s Market, I’ve got a great grocery store in just about every neighborhood I can hit up as I need.

In many smaller communities this often isn’t the case. So more and more communities are relying on themselves, and on each other.

There are many communities across the globe who don’t have this…..yet.

After a visit like this, I return feeling more resolved than ever to work towards ways to bring food security to everyday people. Like me, (maybe) you, and (maybe) our neighbors.

There is just too much capability for abundance not to.

It is not always the same thing to be a good man and a good citizen.

~ Aristotle

It seems so easy.

1. Grow food.

You need soil. You need seeds. Add a little sunshine and diligent watering and watch it grow.

I didn’t get my veggie garden in this year, as I mentioned there is just so much abundance all around me, there is no urgent reason not to support those who are working hard to produce amazing food for the region right now. It’s on the list, but for now I am happy to support those who are already in the game.

2. Cook it.

Prepare your meals with love. Plan around what there is. Use what you have, and what you can reasonably afford.

Maybe even tuck (just a little) away for someone else. Who knows? It’s all up to you, and to us as a whole, if we decide.

3. Eat it.

Eat with mindfulness if you can. Chew with gratitude. Swallow with awareness, and look your meal-mates in the eye. Talk with one another. Fully be. Wherever it is you may be.

4. Be nourished.

Being nourished is about so much more than just good food. Start with a helping of healthy, homemade vegetables & proteins, add a generous sprinkle of gratitude & and a moderate side of humility, and enjoy the fruits of your (or someone else’s) labor. After all, it is surely delicious. Isn’t it?

These are the simple things we can do.

From what we get, we can make a living; what we give, however, makes a life.

~ Arthur Ashe

I want to take a moment to thank all of the supporters of this blog. Having such a supportive group of readers has made this whole project take on a completely new life. This isn’t just my project anymore – I really feel that it’s ours.

I have been touched to receive notes from a few of you looking to connect about health topics ranging from the importance of fitness to a holistic lifestyle (so true – link to Susan’s site here) – to the importance of maintaining a healthy diet and lifestyle for those living with terminal illnesses such as cancer (link to Jillian’s blog here).

All of you have such amazing stories to tell and I am happy to do what I can to bring awareness to wellness initiatives everywhere.

But for now, let’s eat, and take off our shoes.

We all have things we do to escape and break what can seem like difficult patterns or routines we are stuck in – or simply just to get away. I’d love to hear what you do to step away.

  • Are you a garden lover?
  • Where do you take your shoes off and really relax?

For now, let’s eat well, and enjoy!

Service to others is the rent you pay for your room here on earth.

~ Muhammad Ali

Next up I’ve got a super delicious chickpea salad in the wings – you’ll want to catch this one it is that delicious! Wishing you all a super fabulous week!

Yours in Less,

68 Comments

Filed under Cheap, Cooking, Family, Food, Happiness, Inspiration, Lifestyle, Rejuvenation, Salads, Travel, Vegan, Vegetables, Vegetarian

Recipe: Feisty Fried Cumin Hummus

There is nothing like a quiet weekend at home.

Lost time is never found again.

~ Benjamin Franklin

Howdy fine blogging readers and buds!

The weekend is soon upon us (yay!) and we are looking forward to spending a quiet weekend here at home. The teenager is gone on a camping trip, and the little one is done school for the year. Time to stop. And enjoy.

Sometimes nothing beats the promise of a few days around the house, enjoying the hard work it takes to make your house a true home.

I’ve shared with you all about my recent attempts to free up some space and remove a portion of mental clutter by clearing out closet space, or the basement, or just our minds. This weekend I am looking forward to seizing the opportunity to enjoy that extra space.

I can feel the relaxation already…can you? πŸ˜‰

Today I am excited to share with you quite possibly the best hummus I have ever had – yup, it’s that good.

Now, if you like cumin, this recipe will seriously hit the spot. If you don’t (or just aren’t sure), this is almost guaranteed to turn you onto it (IMO). It’s that seriously serious about it’s flavor. And it’s just that feisty too.

Packed with the goodness and flavor punch of fresh lemon, garlic, and parsley, this intensely flavorful dip will have you wondering how you ever made it any other way!

I find the harder I work, the more luck I seem to have.

~ Thomas Jefferson

The Less:

Less over salted processed dips means less bad sodium without sacrificing taste. Less high cost and high fat snack foods means less guilt and more enjoyment. Less repetition in your recipes means there is always something new, so you can re-work the classics to be fresh every time.

The More:

More intensity in flavorings means more satisfaction from fewer bites. More freshly made snack foods means more healthy ways to get cooking. More pure clean ingredients means more accessible nutrition, so your body can make quick work of every morsel.

Feisty Fried Cumin Hummus:

~ Recipe can easily be halved for a single serving

  • (2.5) tsp cumin seeds
  • (2) tbsp olive oil
  • (4) cups cooked chickpeas (2 398ml can if using canned)
  • (4) tbsp sesame tahini
  • (6-8) tbsp freshly squeezed lemon juice
  • (2) medium cloves fresh garlic, peeled
  • (2) tsp good sea salt
  • (1/2) cup good olive oil
  • (1/2) cup fresh parsley (not packed)
  • up to (1/2) cup of cold water

Ready to make delicious?

Start with the cumin seeds and 2 tbsp. of olive oil. In a medium frying pan, heat the olive oil on medium heat until hot. Add the cumin seeds whole and cook, stirring pretty much constantly, for 1 minute. The seeds should turn a dark brown and become beautifully fragrant – just be careful not to burn them!

It is best to stay fully present (as in, in the moment, hard sometimes) while doing this step, or you could end up with a smoke-filled kitchen (unless you like that sort of thing).

Remove the seeds to a bowl and allow the hot oil from the pan to follow. Set aside.

In a blender or food processor, combine 2 teaspoons of the cumin seeds with all the remaining ingredients except the water – reserving the last half teaspoon or so of seeds for garnish. Blend on high until well mixed and smooth (and crazy good).

If using a blender, add the additional water as the blender runs and agitate the mixture with a spatula (careful of those blades!). Use only enough water to get the mixture churning nicely and to facilitate better blending.

For those using a food processor, feel free to add enough water to reach desired consistency.

Taste to adjust seasonings and remove into a container or serving dish. This hummus is best served a little colder or after sitting in the fridge for (just a little) while.

Before serving or storing, garnish the top with the remaining fried seeds and a nice splash or drizzle of additional oil.

Perfection!

I actually think this is my favorite hummus version ever.

It is full of protein, calcium, and loaded with healthy fats and fresh ingredients. Keep this stored in your fridge for up to a week and use it as you wish .

On fresh crusty bread, crackers, or with any fresh crisp vegetable.

Teachers open the door – you enter by yourself.

~ Chinese Proverb

There is nothing as wonderful as a fresh bowl of crunchy romaine hearts.

Ready to scoop up your favorite dip.

Summer time calls for easy living. With ovens off and back doors flung wide open.

Grab a few fixings and head outside. This weekend I’ll be enjoying this house I call a home.

I’ll be digging into this delicious dip right here. All alone. And I can’t wait.

I make like I like alone time, but guaranteed it won’t last long.

Whether filled with friends or family, this house always seems full. Full of energy, full of good folk, and (thankfully) full of good food. Not too much though……just enough. I am a lucky girl.

There is more to life than increasing its speed.

~ Ghandi

A crust eaten in peace is better than a banquet partaken in anxiety.

~ Aesop

The first hummus recipe I ever posted here at IPOM was (just a little) bad-ass, but add this super feisty version and I wonder kind of match we’ll have on our hands?

  • What’s your favorite hummus version?
  • How are you spending your upcoming weekend?

Let us know readers! It is always such a pleasure to hear from you all πŸ™‚

I’ll be doing some major blogging catch up this weekend as I relax on my couch, and I can’t wait!

Yours in Less,

79 Comments

Filed under Cheap, Cooking, Food, Gluten Free, Photography, Recipes, Rich & Simple, Savory, Snacks, Vegan, Vegetables, Vegetarian

Recipe: Hearty French Lentils

More Hearty. More Simple. More Good.

It’s really that easy.

But is it? I am telling you this girl thinks so!

In the midst of a busy life, many of us can too easily succumb to feelings of pressure ( I know I can).

Pressure to perform. Pressure to please. Pressure to be who we want to be. Maybe even pressure to be what we think others want us to be. Staying cool and calm amongst all these pressures can be tough. But it’s the only way to win (in my very humble opinion).

Staying grounded starts with good nutrition. If we are fed well, our brains work and our bodies work. We can see things for what they really are.

We are all alike, on the inside.

~ Mark Twain

I’ve said this before and I’ll say it again. Being well fed need not be complicated.

Mixing together compatible ingredients that taste great, feed our bodies, and can be pulled together easily with (just a little) know how, is really all it takes.

The trick is to just keep it real . This recipe is the perfect start.

French lentils make beautiful firm mouthfuls out of this dish, but any green or brown lentil will do, though cooking time will vary.

It’s not what you look at that matters, it’s what you see.

~ Henry David Thoreau

The Less:

Less pressure to be fancy means more simple hearty foods. Less hard to find ingredients means more easily at hand meals. Less cooked, canned, and processed protein means good fuel is cheaper, cleaner, and more healthful. And when it’s this easy to cook, why not?

The More:

More hearty warm comfort food means more comfort for the soul. More easy ways to fill up means more reasons to make it habit. More simple herbs and spices means creating variety is easy, so making delicious out of (just a little) quickly becomes second nature.

Hearty French Lentils:

  • (2) tbsp good olive oil
  • (1) large onion, chopped medium (2 cups chopped)
  • (1 – 1.5) tsp salt, or to taste
  • (2) tsp ground cumin
  • (3-4) carrots, peeled and cubed
  • (2)Β  Tbsp garlic, minced (about 3-4 good-sized cloves)
  • (3) bay leaves
  • (2) tbsp tomato paste
  • (1) cup Puy or French lentils
  • (3-4) cups water (I used 3)

Start by putting up the olive oil to heat in a medium pot on medium high. When hot, add the chopped onion and salt, and cook, stirring for 5-8 minutes or so until the onions are translucent.

Add the carrots, cumin and garlic, and cook a further 5 minutes, stirring often, being careful not to let the garlic burn.

Once all the veggies are glistening and the cumin is smelling fragrant and delicious, add the water, lentils, tomato paste, and bay leaves and stir to incorporate.

Bring to a boil on high.

Once boiling, turn heat to medium low (not low) and cook with the lid on for 20 minutes, stirring once or twice from the bottom up. After the first 20 minutes, remove the lid and rest on the side of the pot so a little air can escape. Cook another 20 minutes (total of 40 minutes) stirring here and there.

Serve piping hot with crusty fresh bread, and top with your choice of olive oil, black pepper, fresh herbs, chopped chives or scallions, fresh tomato, or slices of red onion.

You really can’t go wrong.

This dish will keep for up to 5-6 days in your fridge (it gets better the longer it languishes) and freezes well too. So double it up if you want leftovers. Seriously!

It could be because I grew up eating lentils, but I don’t know of a greater comfort food than this. There are endless variations to the uses for them, limited only by what is in season, or what you have on hand.

They are cheap. They keep forever. They are for real.

Not all those who wander are lost.

~ J.R.R. Tolkien

This dish will make a special appearance at an even more special event this weekend, stay tuned for that – I’ll be sharing!

Let’s just say it all started with Chris & Carla πŸ˜‰ Read up about that here (you’ll be glad you did).

  • What is your ultimate easy comfort food?
  • Got a favorite way with lentils?

I’d love to hear how you keep it real from day-to-day.

Even with all the pressures we face, staying cool and calm is always helped by (just a little) of the right fuel at the right times.

And it needn’t ever be expensive or complicated (unless you want it to be).

I hope you’ll try this one!

On a small side note – apologies to all of my beloved blogging buds for falling behind (just a little) in my comments and visits this week, I’ve got a fairly big project on the go that is demanding my attention, one that I will be sharing with you all shortly! I’ll look forward to getting back in the groove with you all in good time πŸ™‚

Yours in Less,

93 Comments

Filed under Cheap, Cooking, Food, Gluten Free, Recipes, Rich & Simple, Savory, Soup, Vegan, Vegetables, Vegetarian