Category Archives: Cooking

Recipe: Roasted Yam & Edamame Salad

Roasted Yam & Edamame Salad | In Pursuit Of MoreRoasted Yam & Edamame Salad | In Pursuit Of More

Happy Monday everyone! I hope everyone had a great few days! We just wrapped up a super weekend filled with kids parties and an end to an entire (wonderfully bizarre) week of parrot sitting. Yes, you did read that right! For those of you who follow me on Instagram, you may have seen little Ella perched on my tea-cup or nestled inside my shirt – she belongs to great friends who were vacationing in Mexico and we had a lovely time together indeed πŸ™‚

Today’s recipe comes courtesy of one of my favorite ways to create recipes – using color as my inspiration. I can often be found daydreaming about new ideas, whether for the garden, for an outfit, or most likely scheming up a new food combination based on colors that go beautifully together.

With this time of year being what it is, and the darkness that fills our mornings & evenings, a little pop of color in your salad bowl is a wonderful way to bring a smile to your face and a beautiful vision to your eyes. You know what they say about first impressions right? Well this dish aims to please with its bright pop of orange & green right up front.

Roasted Yam & Edamame Salad | In Pursuit Of More

The Less:

Less processed soy bean products means protein that is sincere in its simplicity. Fewer processed foods (even plant-based) means less work for the body to break down. Less heavy grain-based meals means you can lighten up safely, with loads of colorful vegetables & fiber.

The More:

More fresh green edamame means more soy protein in its purest state. More bright orange veggies means more beta-carotene for your eyes and immune system. More high fiber & protein combos means clean, healthy fuel without heaviness. So lightness comes to you with out a heavy cost.

Roasted Yam & Edamame Salad | In Pursuit Of More

Roasted Yam & Edamame Salad:

  • (1) extra large orange yam, or 2 small, peeled & chopped (4 cups chopped)
  • (2) tbsp olive oil for roasting
  • (1/2) tsp sea salt
  • (1.5) cups shelled edamame (fresh soybeans found in the freezer section)
  • (2) stalks celery hearts, or 1 large stalk of celery, minced
  • (2) green onions, minced
  • (1/4) cup cilantro, minced
  • (1/2) tsp salt, or to taste
  • (1/4) cup marinated kale vinaigrette dressing

Heat your oven to 400 degrees and lightly oil a flat baking tray. Prepare the sweet potatoes by peeling & chopping into a 1-2 inch dice. Toss with olive oil & salt for roasting, and put in the pre-heated oven. Bake for 20 minutes, and then flip them to prevent sticking and promote even roasting & browning. After tossing, roast for a further 15-20 minutes, until soft & browned. Remove from heat and add to a mixing bowl.

While the yams cook, put up the frozen edamame in a small saucepan with enough cold water to cover. Bring the water to a boil, and once boiling, turn the heat down to medium high and cook, covered for 4-5 minutes. Remove from the heat and drain.

Roasted Yam & Edamame Salad | In Pursuit Of MoreRoasted Yam & Edamame Salad | In Pursuit Of More

While the beans cool & the yams cook, prepare the celery, green onions & cilantro and set aside. Prepare the dressing in your blender & set aside (this recipe will make enough for a batch or two of marinated kale so be sure to pick up a few bunches of green kale too!).

Once the yams are cooked, allow them to cool for 3-4 minutes before adding 2 tablespoons of the dressing to them while still warm (but not hot). Toss very gently to incorporate and coat the warm yams. After a few minutes, combine all of the ingredients, using less or more dressing as desired. Season to taste with salt & pepper and serve right away.

Roasted Yam & Edamame Salad | In Pursuit Of MoreRoasted Yam & Edamame Salad | In Pursuit Of More

Serve this dish on its own with a bed of fresh greens, or keep it in the fridge to toss with warm grains such as brown rice or quinoa. Full of protein, natural carbs from the yams, as well as vitamins & minerals, this dish is one stop shop for great nutrition and clean sustenance. I also recommend mixing leftovers into your marinated kale – a great combo as well and this dressing is a classic with the lemon & fresh ginger.

Roasted Yam & Edamame Salad | In Pursuit Of More

Now that we are half way through this first month of the year, how is everyone feeling about the year so far? I just wrapped up reading The Happiness Project by Gretchen Rubin and highly recommend it for anyone looking for encouragement on finding day-to-day happiness.

As for me, I’ve been plugging away at the ‘little things’ and feel encouraged at getting (just a little) done each day. Life is always a journey, and never really a destination after all πŸ˜‰

  • Are you a fresh soybean (edamame) fan?
  • How do you dream up your recipes? What inspires your food choices?

Hint: my youngest daughter loves them plain, with a sprinkle of crushed sea salt. Sometimes simple really is best!Β  More news on the blog move coming up soon – thanks for all the support guys!

Yours in Less,

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

Recipe: Coconut Chocolate Ganache Spread

Coconut Chocolate Ganache | IPOM

Holla from the beautiful hills of Whistler everybody!

I hope you all enjoyed a wonderful time with family and friends over Christmas for those who celebrate. We’ve gotten cozy here in the crisp air of Whistler where we are grateful to connect and catch up with great friends over great food and clean mountain air. It’s pretty spectacular to see the snow at Christmas time, and I for one am always happy to have a break from the rain soaked streets of mild Vancouver πŸ™‚

Gearing up for Christmas always presents a lot of prep work, and this year was certainly no exception.

Our traditional family breakfast is always the same: fresh crepes stuffed with chocolate and fruit. Always easy, always good. This year I was thrilled to use this recipe in our crepes (the other half was made with classic Nutella). Smooth, rich, creamy, and 100% amazing. Not to mention ridiculously easy to prepare. It’s almost too good to be true!

Almost as good as this view from our walk home yesterday.

Whistler | IPOM

The Less:

Less milk dependent dessert options means more flexibility for those craving it. Fewer ingredients in recipes means easy work of making them. Less chemically laden processed chocolate products means more clean, whole ingredients, so enjoying delicious foods doesn’t mean you can’t pronounce what is in them.

The More:

More clean eating rich desserts means more enjoyment from less volume of them. More full fat plant-based desserts means more taste and less overdoing it. More two ingredient recipes means more two minute inspiration, so whipping up a rich tasty treat is never taxing.

Coconut Chocolate Ganache | IPOM

Coconut Chocolate Ganache Spread:

  • (1) 398 ml can of coconut milk (with the cream separated from the liquid)
  • (115-130) grams of dark chocolate

Put up a double boiler onto the stove by boiling a small pan of water with a stainless bowl resting over top. Bring the water to a boil.

Open the can of coconut milk (without shaking the can!) and using a spoon, scoop out the cream from the top of the can, reserving the liquid to use in smoothie or salad dressing.

Combine the chocolate and the coconut cream together in the bowl over the boiling water and stir as the two melt together over the heat. Feel free to turn the heat down a little to maintain just a roiling boil. Stir the two together and using a spatula, ensure any chocolate that gathers on the sides of the bowl gets re-incorporated into the mix.

Coconut Chocolate Ganache | IPOM

Once the two are nicely combined and have formed a silky smooth sauce, remove from the heat and pour into a clean jar or serving vessel. Served warm, you can treat this like a thick sauce, but to keep it, simply store it in the fridge where it will form a thick spread that can be used as an icing, or to fill crepes, or even on toast.

In my next post I’ll share the hazelnut & chocolate Christmas cookies I made, taking inspirations from this recipe.

Coconut Chocolate Ganache | IPOM

It’s always a good time to set up camp in the kitchen for a fun time of exploration – I was so happy to discover this amazing combo (and I am certain I am not the first to do this).

  • Have you experimented with coconut cream & chocolate before?
  • What would you use this for/on?

Me? I am finding ways to use this on just about anything – it is especially good with fresh banana for an easy, sweet pick me up πŸ™‚ I’d love to hear your ideas! Wishing you all a wonderful remainder to your holiday week!

Yours in Less,

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

Recipe: Classic Vegan Shepherd’s Pie

Classic Vegan Shepherd's Pie | IPOM

Hey all! What a week! Here I am coming up for a little air and breathing deeply at the thought of a quiet weekend at home – I feel I’ve been a little MIA here the past few days – we’ve just finished up a whirlwind week of kids Christmas concerts, choirs, and gifts for teachers and friends, not to mention craziness at work & the rest of the prep for Christmas……it is now officially time to breathe.

I won’t go into details, but after my last post exactly a week ago today, I was pretty rattled and blogging really was the furthest thing from my mind (it was always lurking back there though). With the husband being a little under the weather, we battened down the hatches and stuck around the house in our free moments (which there were very few of).

It may be cold & dark outside, but tonight it’s warm & bright in the house. The kids are home for two weeks now, and we get to be together. No soccer, no school, no running around. Just us. How truly blessed we are!

Classic Vegan Shepherd's Pie | IPOM

With all the goodness time at home with family brings, comes the memories of favorite times spent around the table with family as kids. Nostalgic meals that bring us back to the safe places where we store and guard our coziest childhood memories, and still perhaps recall the tastes and smells of the food we ate, and maybe even the stories we told.

This recipe is that for me. Growing up, we ate Shepherd’s Pie with lentils often, and always with straight mashed potatoes and maybe even ketchup (for us kids). I’ve been meaning to bring this back over the years and must thank my good friend Danielle for the push (a huge yes to the soaked walnuts and coconut butter!) and also to the Moosewood Cookbook, as I borrowed the very best parts of Mollie’s infamous lentil mushroom burger for this as well.

The result is a perfect comfort food to share with loved ones at any time, but particularly wonderful on a cold dark night like tonight, the darkest night of the year. Thanks to my mom for the original inspiration behind this truly delicious & ultra classic recipe!

Classic Vegan Shepherd's Pie | IPOM

The Less:

Less meat based main dishes means less heavy, hard to break down proteins. Less time to digest means more lightness and less time in your tummy. Less wheat and grain based main courses means filling up on lean plant fuel, so easy satisfaction comes light, healthy, and heavenly.

The More:

More plant-based eating means more ways to stretch your dollars. More healthy legumes and vegetables means more fiber & friendly digestion. More mushrooms, garlic, and walnuts means rich satisfying flavor, so missing out on anything while eating healthy is next to impossible.

Classic Vegan Shepherd's Pie | IPOM

Classic Vegan Shepherd’s Pie:

The Proteins:

  • (1) cup raw walnuts, soaked for 4-6 hours minimum or overnight
  • (1) cup dry green lentils
  • (3) cups water for cooking lentils
  • (1) tsp salt
  • (1) tbsp prepared Dijon mustard

The Vegetables:

  • (2) tbsp olive oil
  • (1/2) tsp salt
  • (1) large onion, chopped finely
  • (10) large white button mushrooms, chopped finely (about 5 cups total)
  • (2) cloves fresh garlic, minced
  • (2) cups green kale, washed & chopped finely
  • (2) medium-large carrots, peeled & diced
  • (1) tsp salt (to taste – this is optional but I recommend it)*

The Topping:

  • (4) yellow fleshed medium potatoes, peeled & chopped (4-5 cups)
  • (1/4) cup raw cashews
  • (1/2) cup cold water
  • (1-2) tbsp coconut butter (or any butter)
  • (1/2) tsp salt (optional)
  • olive oil for the top while cooking
  • chopped fresh parsley or chives to garnish

To prepare, start by soaking the walnuts in advance in enough water to cover (you can do this either the night before or the morning of). To prepare for the pie, drain, rinse & chop the walnuts with a sharp knife to a coarse chop and set aside in a bowl.

Next, combine the lentils and 3 cups of cold water for cooking in a medium sauce pan and bring to a boil. Turn the heat down, and cook, partially covered for 30-40 minutes until the lentils are soft. Most of the water should get used up in the cooking but feel free to drain if needed once the lentils are soft, and also if the water is gone before the cooking is finished feel free to add as required. Set the cooked (and drained if needed) lentils in a bowl and mix with salt. Mash a little with your hands or a spoon and set aside to cool.

Prepare the vegetables for cooking and when ready, heat a large pan with olive oil on medium heat. Add the onion and salt, and cook for 6-8 minutes or until soft. Add the chopped mushrooms and cook a further 10 -12 minutes, until all of the water is completely evaporated and the mushrooms are starting to turn a rich brown. Add the garlic and cook 2 more minutes until everything is mixed together (it will smell amazing). Remove this mixture from the pan and set aside in a large mixing bowl.

Classic Vegan Shepherd's Pie | IPOM

Using the same pan, add another bit of oil and re-heat on medium. Add the chopped carrots and cook for 3 minutes, stirring to coat well and cook evenly. Add the chopped kale and cook for 2-3 minutes further, until the kale is bright green and just softening. Remove from heat and add to the onion/mushroom/garlic mixture.

Next, combine the peeled & chopped potatoes in a small pot with a few inches of water. Bring the water to a boil with the lid on, and once boiling, turn the heat to medium and cook for 8-10 minutes with the lid on, until the potatoes are soft.

While the potatoes cook, combine the cashews & water in a blender and blend until smooth – you should have a creamy sauce with no lumps. Drain the cooked potatoes and mash them lightly with a fork, add the coconut butter, cashew cream, and optional salt and mix all well until you have light and fluffy mashed potatoes. Season to taste and set aside.

Classic Vegan Shepherd's Pie | IPOM

Next, combine the cooked lentils, cooked vegetables, chopped walnuts and Dijon mustard together in the large mixing bowl and mix with your hands until perfectly combined.

*Check for salt and add an additional teaspoon if you like.

When ready to cook, heat the oven to 350 degrees. Oil a standard glass pie plate (my mom used to serve hers in a cast iron fry-pan) and spread the entire filling mixture on the bottom. Spread to make it even and condensed.

Next, spread the mashed potatoes over top of the filling. Use a fork to make ‘waves’ on the top (or however you like it!) and top with a generous swirl or two of olive oil. Bake the pie uncovered in the oven for 40 minutes, until a nice golden crispy crust forms on the potatoes. Remove from the oven and serve hot, with or without chopped fresh parsley or chives as a garnish. Leftovers keep very well, and are also great cold (I speak from experience here!)

Classic Vegan Shepherd's Pie | IPOM

Memories are made of meals like this. Warm, healthy soul food to feed your heart and your soul. I’m so delighted to head into the new year with a warm belly and an even warmer heart. Thanks to all of you for your part in this!

Wishing you all the warmest, safest, and healthiest of holidays! Merry Christmas to all πŸ™‚

Yours in Less (with hugs),

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

Recipe: Honey Crisp, Kale & Persimmon Salad

What do you get when you cross shredded raw winter greens with delicious crispy apple and sweet orange persimmon?

Well the answer is simple. Your newest favorite winter salad!

This fresh & nutritious bowl of delicious has become mighty popular in the meal rotation these days, as there is usually a few kale leaves & brussels to be found lingering in my crisper along with two of my favorite winter fruits that are always in my fruit bowl this time of year.

Toss in a handful of toasted pumpkin seeds and drizzle with that luscious pink hued dressing, and this salad is a winter dream come true.

If you are new to persimmons, it is never too late, and you can thank me later for introducing you to this naturally sweet gem of a fruit. My favorite variety by far is the common Fuyu variety, which is flat and stays firm when ripe. The entire fruit is edible, including the skin, and there are no seeds inside – only the sweet flesh. YUM.

The Less:

Fewer cooked foods in your diet means more living enzymes and untarnished nutrition. Less lettuce based salads means eating local through the winter is always possible (especially if you live in BC). Less obvious ingredients means a surprise in your salad bowl, so trying new ways to eat fresh foods becomes common.

The More:

More high fiber raw salads means more great help for your digestion. More enzymes & pectin from fresh apples means easy filling and breakdown in your tummy. More satisfying sweet fruits throughout the day means less cravings for sweets elsewhere, so natural sweetness is all you need.

Honey Crisp, Kale & Persimmon Salad:

  • (1) cup shaved raw Brussels sprouts
  • (1) cup shredded raw green kale
  • (1/2) large Honey Crisp apple, skin on & chopped to one inch dice
  • (1) Fuyu persimmon, skin on and sliced and chopped to uniform size
  • (1/4) cup lightly toasted pumpkin seeds (pepitas)
  • (1/4-1/3) cup Incredible Cranberry Orange Dressing

Start by toasting the pumpkin seeds in a hot oven (350 degrees) for 3-4 minutes until fragrant and turning brown (careful not to burn them!). Set aside to cool while you prepare the remaining ingredients.

Combine all of the prepared vegetables in a mixing bowl and toss gently, reserving some persimmon pieces for the top. Add the dressing and gently mix until the ingredients are well coated. Top with remaining persimmons & serve immediately.

This is easily one of the yummiest salads I’ve enjoyed in a while and I simply can’t get enough of raw winter vegetables like kale and Brussels sprouts. Both are just so nutritious and fill me up in a wonderful way that makes me feel good all day! Add together with the amazing qualities of the Honeycrisp apples (so good if you have not tried this apple variety), and the sweet and satisfying persimmon, you can’t go wrong!

  • What is your favorite way to eat persimmon?
  • What is your favorite apple variety?

Wishing you all the very best as we soldier on into the first official Holiday weekend. It is a hectic time of the year indeed and it’s easy to get stressed! Breathe deeply, be mindful, and enjoy... πŸ™‚

Yours in Less,

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Filed under Cooking, Dressings, Food, Gluten Free, Recipes, Rich & Simple, Salads, Savory, Vegan, Vegetables, Vegetarian

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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Recipe: Bright & Lively Beet Borscht

Bright bowls of yum for these cold dark days of winter.

It’s definitely here. As winter creeps upon us and chills our insides, it is important to stay warm from the inside out.

This is the time of year that I reach for thick leggings versus pants, as I need extra layers of warmth like I need extra heat in my belly. This borscht recipe is one of my all time favorite ways to seek comfort, and I’ve been making it for the family ever since I’ve been lucky enough to have one (it’s been a few years).

A frugal favorite that is loaded with healthy veggies, this recipe stands the test of time by a mile.

Some might argue what actually makes borscht its authentic Ukrainian self (if that is actually its true origin). The cabbage? The beets? The dill?

In fact, I can never really decide what is even the best part of this soup. At the end of the day the combo of comforting soft potato, sweet and tender green cabbage, roasted sweet beets, zingy tomato, chopped carrots, and fresh dill make me swoon. Not to mention the sight of such a combination is about the most beautiful thing I’ve ever seen.

An elderly Ukrainian friend (who we bought our house from) once shared her recipe with me and that is where I learned the best trick ever to making a great borscht: not too much beet, and what you do add, make sure they are sweet. So we roast them. Of course!

The Less:

Less heavy dairy based soups means more light, satisfying texture. Fewer beans means less starch and potential bloating and indigestion. Fewer meat-based hearty soups and stews means more fiber-loaded fueling, so warm and cozy comes at a comfortable cost.

The More:

More vegetable-based main courses means more fiber, vitamins, and fun. More beets in your diet means more sweetness and needed iron. More lively bright foods means more mood enhancing meal times, because what fun is eating without color?

Bright & Lively Beet Borscht:

  • (2) small-medium red beets for roasting, or one larger one
  • (3) tbsp olive oil
  • (1) tbsp salt
  • (2) cups yellow onion, chopped small (2 small or one large)
  • (3-4) medium carrots, peeled or unpeeled & chopped small (2 cups chopped)
  • (3) medium yellow fleshed potatoes, peeled and chopped small (3 cups chopped)
  • (3) cups canned tomatoes (1 796 ml can)
  • (4-5) cups water
  • (4+) cups chopped green or savoy cabbage, washed & chopped small
  • (4) tbsp honey
  • (1) tsp salt
  • (1/2) tsp black pepper, or to taste
  • (2-3) tbsp apple cider vinegar
  • (1) bunch fresh dill, or (2) tbsp dried dill

To start, heat the oven to 350 degrees. To roast beets, simply wrap them in foil one layer thick (no washing required) and prick them with a fork several times. Put the in the heated oven for 45-60 minutes or until tender when pushed. This step can be done days in advance of making this soup and the beets will keep well in the foil or in a container for up to a week or more.

Once the beets are done, put them in a bowl in the sink, unwrap each as you go and one by one with cold water running, rub the skins off the beets with your hands. They will simply slide right off under the water! Chop the beets into a 1/2 to on 1 inch dice and set aside.


To prepare the vegetables, peel and chop each veggie before starting, taking care to chop into a small dice, about 1/2 inch if possible, or bigger as your patience, skill, and desire dictates.

Heat the olive oil on medium heat in a large soup pot. Add the onions and (3) tbsp salt and cook the onions until soft, about 6-8 minutes. Add the potatoes and carrots and cook, stirring, for a further 5 minutes.

Add the tomatoes & (4) cups water and turn the heat to high. Bring the water to a boil and turn the heat down. Simmer the soup for 8-10 minutes, or until all the vegetables are just tender. Add the cabbage and cook a further 6-8 minutes, until all of the veggies are soft and starting to meld together.

To finish, add the chopped beets, honey, black pepper &Β remaining salt to taste. Stir and cook a few more minutes on medium heat until well blended and tasting amazing.

Next, using a blender, blend up to half of the soup to a smooth consistency (feel free to add up to a cup more of extra water to get the blending going), leaving the rest in its chunky form. Pour the blended soup into the pot and stir all to combine.

Stir in the chopped dill & cider vinegar at the end and taste to correct seasonings, reserving some to sprinkle on each bowl.

To serve, scoop into bowls and garnish with dill and more freshly ground black pepper & a small drop or two of cider vinegar. To me, the zing of the vinegar adds the most wonderful flavor boosting acidity and I highly recommend trying it this way.

That is one thing I did not learn from my Ukrainian friend, but I am sure I picked up that little tidbit somewhere or from someone along the way πŸ˜‰

Enjoy this super cozy and super nutritious soup on a cold night when you need a little love in your tummy. Snuggle up with a hot bowl and enjoy, these cold nights won’t last forever, and we want to remember them fondly when we are picnicking in the grass next summer πŸ™‚

  • What is your favorite winter soup?
  • Got a borscht recipe to share?

Wishing you a most wonderful few days, we are busy preparing as the next Not So Fast class is going full steam ahead in just two days, we’ll be cozying up with the kids and that rocking red lentil soup. Just when you thought we couldn’t get any warmer….

Yours in Less,

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

Recipe: Wild Rice & Roasted Butternut Squash Salad

Veggies, nuts, grains, & dressing makes me a happy eater.

You’ll have to forgive me, or rather, let me re-phrase that, I hope you’ll all forgive me. I am having a salad moment (or three or seven).

Ask my kids at any given moment what mom eats, the answer is always the same. Salad. But don’t you worry, because that is where the sameness ends, because when it comes to salads, the chances for finding new and satisfying combos are as limited as your (or my) imagination.

Green Salad. Greek Salad. Bean Salad. Wheat Salad. There are endless grain, bean, nut, veggie, and dressing combos out there and honestly, I do live on salads pretty much 365 days of the year. Today’s salad can (like my last post) be served warm, cold or room temperature, and tastes great days after preparation.

Here, wild rice is cooked and tossed with roasted cubes of butternut squash & more of those wonderful white cannellini beans to make a nutritious and filling meal. Toss it all up with a few herbs & flavoring and you are set.

The Less:

Less every day grains means a new food to discover. Fewer bread-based lunch ideas means more heart for less heft. Less boring, basic salad dishes means less boredom in your tupperware, so packing a flavor-filled lunch or meal-on-the-go is a joy.

The More:

More tasty alternative grains means more variety and spice in your diet (and life). More plant-based hearty proteins means more easy & affordable flavor. More clean simple cooking means more energy to focus elsewhere, so your fuel is ready to fill you as needed.

Wild Rice & Roasted Butternut Squash Salad:

  • (1/2) cup dry wild rice
  • (1.5) cups water for cooking
  • (1) cup cooked cannellini beans (white kidneys)
  • (4) cups peeled & chopped butternut squash
  • (2) tbsp olive oil for roasting squash
  • (1/2) tsp salt for roasting squash
  • (3) tbsp mixed chopped herbs: fresh parsley, chives & thyme
  • (1) tsp salt
  • (2) tbsp olive oil
  • (2) tbsp balsamic vinegar

Start by combining the rice and water in a small- medium saucepan. Put the rice up to boil with the lid on and once boiling, turn the heat down and cook, covered for 45-50 minutes, or until most of the water is absorbed.

Heat the oven to 400 degrees. If you are using a large butternut squash, you might get the right amount of squash simply from the top part (I call it the snout). Simply chop the top piece off the squash and peel it with a veggie peeler. Cube the squash with a sharp knife into 1-1.5 inch cubes.

Toss the squash in a bowl with the salt and oil for roasting, and lay it flat on a rimmed cookie sheet. Roast at 400 degrees for 30-35 minutes, scraping and turning with a flipper at about the 20 minute mark.

While the rice and squash do their magic thing, prepare the beans and chopped herbs and set aside. Once the rice is cooked, drain it in a colander and let sit for a minute or two to cool and drain (it’s okay if the water isn’t all absorbed, the rice should be chewy but cooked). Once the squash is nicely browned and soft-ish remove from the oven and allow to cool.

Combine the rice with the herbs and beans. Add the squash once it cools for 10 minutes or so and toss with the oil, salt & vinegar. Adjust seasonings to taste and enjoy!

This salad will keep well in the fridge for well up to a week and also heats up beautifully. I enjoyed it served over chopped romaine hearts with an avocado lovingly piled on top.

It was all my co-workers could do to not attack my lunch bowl, but I did promise I would post the recipe soon.

Just in case anyone ever doubts my word πŸ™‚

I know folks all over the US are celebrating Thanksgiving today, and judging by the posts I have seen from those whose blogs I follow, it feels good to read the words of gratitude, love & thanks from all of you who are part of this lovely community of bloggers.

Wishing all of my south of the border friends & readers a wonderful holiday weekend!

  • Are you a fan of wild rice?
  • What are your thoughts on Thanksgiving this year?

With love & thanks & many continued blessings.

Yours in Less,

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

Recipe: Thyme Roasted Brussels Sprouts & Cannellini Beans

Brussels Sprouts that are far from boring.

Unless of course you like them that way (I do, but that is another story).

I recall a recent convo I had with a girlfriend who was looking forward to making this raw Brussels sprout salad I posted a while back after our Canadian Thanksgiving last month.Β  The salad was to be enjoyed by the whole family, just not her dad, who prefers his sprouts on the ‘plain’ side. Read: just steamed or boiled, as is, & with no flavoring at all. And while I love these little beauties all ways (steamed they are delicious), I think the best part about them is how well they go with so many other foods.

So if you aren’t my girlfriend’s dad (who also happens to be my boss), you might just like love this take on sprouts. Here, they are roasted to sweetness and tossed warm with a few of my favorite ingredients for a sophisticated, somewhat Mediterranean style side dish.

Roasting Brussels sprouts is certainly not new to the food world, and I recall my first experience with them 15 years ago at an old job. I worked in a gourmet deli where I passed the kitchen at least 20 times a day. Which meant at least as many roasted sprouts that were destined for the deli case ended up in my mouth as I went by.

For this dish, I soaked and cooked my own Cannellini beans, but you can find these babies canned in any grocery store and make throwing this dish together that much easier.

The Less:

Less boring, boiled Brussels sprouts means folks might actually learn to love them. Less buttery, starchy side dishes means more fiber, and easy roughage. Less traditional takes on our old favorites means more exciting flavors at the table, so dinner together gets a whole lot more appealing for all.

The More:

More cabbage family veggies means more easy on the tummy digesting. More plant-based proteins means less tax on the tummy. More tasty takes on veggies means more ways to get folks excited, so meal time is always a cause to celebrate.

Thyme Roasted Brussels Sprouts & Cannellini Beans:

  • (15) medium – large Brussels sprouts
  • (3) tbsp olive oil for roasting sprouts
  • (1/2) tsp salt for roasting sprouts
  • (1-1.5) cups cooked Cannellini beans (white kidney beans)
  • (1/2) cup soft sun-dried tomatoes (either oil-packed or soft as is)
  • (1/2) cup feta cheese, cubed (vegans: sub 1/4 cup capers for a salty finish)
  • (1/2) tsp fresh thyme leaves, chopped (2-3 sprigs)
  • (2-3) tbsp olive oil for finish
  • black pepper to taste

Start by rinsing the fresh sprouts under cold water and draining well in a colander. Heat the oven to 400 degrees. Oil a flat rimmed cookie sheet with (1) tbsp of the olive oil for roasting and begin to prepare the sprouts. Using a large bowl, trim the butt end of each sprout off and cut them in halves. Peel any rough outer leaves off and discard, along with the butt ends.

Once the sprouts are all halved, toss them with other 2 tablespoons of oil and the salt. You can either add the thyme now to the sprouts or add it after roasting for a slightly different flavor, I have tried them both ways and they are both fantastic. Lay the oil tossed sprouts onto the oiled flat pan and put into the oven once it reaches temperature.

Allow the sprouts to cook for 15-20 minutes before opening the oven to toss them gently and make sure they aren’t sticking to the pan. Once tossed, leave them to cook further for 10-15 more minutes, until soft and showing some brown/blackish spots. Remove from the oven to cool.

While the sprouts cook, prepare the beans, feta (or capers), and tomatoes in a mixing bowl. Slice the tomatoes lengthwise vs. chopping as they look (just a little) prettier (of course totally your call!). Throw in your chopped thyme.

When ready to serve, toss the warm, hot, or room temperature sprouts gently with the rest of the ingredients (I use my hands to make sure I don’t break the feta pieces) and finish with olive oil and freshly ground black pepper.

Serve as is with a feast, or as a feast unto itself. I enjoyed this delicious & satisfying combo many times this week and ate it cold, warm, and all things in between.

Re-heated quickly on the stove this combo made a wonderful lunch accompanied by a bit of roasted squash (my next post) and a splash of good balsamic vinegar.

Last week we cooked with a bunch of kids in need (who isn’t a kid in need though, right?), and I said I’d post some more info on that. There will be more to come, and if you are interested in more photos & info, visit us on Facebook here.

For those of you who so generously donated, I salute you, and thank you sincerely! My heart is giant as a result of your generosity and knowing there are kind-hearted supporters (and true friends – xx) out there from all parts of this beautiful world is nothing short incredible & immensely encouraging. We go back to do it all over again in less than two weeks!

  • What is your favorite way to enjoy Brussels sprouts?
  • Are you preparing for Thanksgiving? If so, how?

Wishing everyone a super-charged, super-fantastic week!

Yours in Less,

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Filed under Cooking, Food, Gluten Free, Recipes, Rich & Simple, Salads, Savory, Vegetables, Vegetarian

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: Authentic Italian Chickpea Flat Bread

Healthy, delicious, vegan, gluten-free & Italian.

Need I say more? I mean, really? With so many wonderful things all packaged up into one, it might seem almost too good to be true. If I told you also, just how mind-bogglingly easy this recipe was, well you might just freak right out. Don’t do that. Instead, read on to find the recipe that could literally help you simplify your life, be healthier, all the while impressing your friends and family as well. Lofty promises I know.

I first posted a chickpea flat bread recipe back in September, fresh off our glorious family holiday in France. That recipe, as well as today’s, came directly from our time in a comfortable Provencal apartment, when on the last day there I chilled alone on the terrace with a (1/2) bottle of rose and a few of the apartment owner’s cookbooks (a most wonderful and sophisticated Australian woman).

A few hundred iphone shots later (not even kidding you) and I had what might be the best collection of authentic French and Italian recipes ever. Not to mention a never to be forgotten few quiet moments to myself in paradise.

And now I am so excited to share some of that paradise with all of you, with my surroundings slightly different of course, but you all know what I mean! Chickpea flour is fairly inexpensive and can be found in most any Asian, Indian, or health food store. So do seek it out, it will be well worth your while!

The Less:

Less wheat flour based diet staples less irritants for those sensitive. Less grains in the diet can mean less trouble for the stomach, digestion, and comfy body weight. Fewer ingredients in your food means more control of what you are eating, so sourcing ingredients of quality stays paramount.

The More:

More simple recipes to prepare means more reasons to make them. More old world foods means more old world wisdom. More alternatives to bread means more ways to feel satiated, without paying a price in equilibrium.

Authentic Italian Chickpea Flat Bread:

  • (2.5) cups chick-pea flour (also called gram or garbanzo flour)
  • (3.5) cups fresh cold water
  • (1 tsp) salt & black pepper, or to taste
  • (1/4) cup extra virgin olive oil

First, prepare to be blown away in a few hours, as this recipe calls for the mixed batter to sit a little while. I’ve made this recipe now several times and have had great success with mixing it up mid-day on a weekend for cooking in time for dinner.

In a large mixing bowl, pour in the flour. Add the water gradually as you whisk the flour to keep any lumps from forming. Once all the water has been added, mix until completely smooth and add salt and pepper as desired (just not too much salt and this recipe doesn’t need much).

Let the mixture stand on the counter for 3 hours or so. When ready to bake, heat the oven to 350 degrees. Gently skim off any froth that forms on the surface of the mixture with a slotted spoon. Prepare a large rimmed cookie sheet by pouring the olive oil onto the bottom (if you can, do not be shy or skimpy here with the olive oil, it is wonderful in this recipe).

Once the oven is hot, pour in the batter, making a layer about (1/4) inch deep. Careful, this is going to move a lot when you pick it up! Bake at 350 for 30 minutes, until golden. Remove from the oven when done and let cool a little before cutting & serving.

Now the original recipe (to which I have made no changes to) calls for the ‘cake’ (called chick pea cake or ‘Torta Di Ceci’) to be served piping hot. It is of course, completely delicious straight out of the oven, plain or with (just a little) grated Parmesan on top.

Personally, I think it is divine smothered in the Broccoli Pesto from my last post, but it would be equally good with my favorite Kale Pesto or a tomato based chutney or even a good sharp cheese (I’d be lying if I said it wasn’t ridiculous with Gruyere). The trick here is not to double up on the beans – for balance I would avoid hummus or any other bean related dip with this one, bit that might just be me πŸ™‚

This recipe makes a generous amount, and the good great news is it keeps incredibly well. Just cut and store in the fridge until needed. To heat, simply broil the amount you want until hot and brown. Perfect.

In addition to being amazing freshly baked, I was thrilled to learn that the textural integrity of this cake is still amazing with left overs. It is a heavenly and welcome substitute for pasta or beans in soup too and won’t dissolve or disintegrate when added to liquid and cooked. Simply cube and add to whatever liquid based sustenance you happen to have on hand.

My sustenance this weekend was just this. Hot, cozy tomato soup with cubed chickpea flat bread and a nice sprinkle of olive oil and black pepper. Perfect for a rainy winter weekend πŸ™‚

  • Have you cooked with chick pea flour before?
  • Have you tried the broccoli pesto yet?

Now you can do both at once!

Yours in Less,

92 Comments

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