Category Archives: Food

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 🙂

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 😉

  • 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!  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: Healing Fresh Ginger Tea

Healing Ginger Tea | IPOMHealing Ginger Tea | IPOM

Happy New Year everyone! It’s been one of those weeks full of craziness over here as the kids have been home from school and a few girls and I were preparing to throw a baby shower for our favorite person in the world.

Yesterday we gathered 20 girls together to wish our beloved best friend well in her motherhood journey. There really is something very special about spending time with a close group of inspirational women, and it is something that as I get older I have wanted to do more. It’s okay to be real, and to get real in those situations, and yesterday we were (roller coaster of wild emotions and all). Thanks ladies, my heart is full today and I can’t wait to see what’s next! 🙂

Given the time of year, today’s recipe is all about warmth, digestion, and healing. This age-old remedy for good health has been around for ages, and for good reason. When we were kids, this was what we were given when sick, livened up with fresh lemon juice, cayenne pepper & honey. Ginger is spicy & warming and does wonders for settling a tired tummy that could use a little rest from perhaps (just a little) holiday over eating.

I’ve been nursing a pot of this on the stove for a few days now and have to thank a friend for reminding me just how amazing this drink is…so thankful. Between this and the high from being around so many cool ladies yesterday – I think I’m set for a great week to come!

Healing Ginger Tea | IPOMHealing Ginger Tea | IPOM

The Less:

Less burden on the tummy means it can feel nourished with little food. Fewer bagged teas means less cost, waste, and more freshness. Less caffeinated & sugary drinks means health is just a cup away, so warming up & wellness come together at less cost.

The More:

More spicy, healing ginger means more warmth & aid to your guts. More aid to your guts means happy tummies all the time. More fresh ways to warm up means less reason to seek them outside, so keeping a pot on the stove makes sense all year round.

Healing Ginger Tea | IPOMHealing Ginger Tea | IPOM

Healing Fresh Ginger Tea:

  • (2) large pieces of fresh ginger, peeled, and cut into thumb sized pieces
  • (6-8) cups fresh water for boiling
  • Optional additions: fresh mint in summer, a cinnamon stick in winter, honey, fresh lemon juice, cayenne powder

Clean up your ginger and slice it into small thumb sized pieces. Combine the ginger in a medium sauce pan and fill with 6-8 cups of fresh water. Bring the water to a boil, and turn the heat down to medium and simmer the mixture at a gentle rolling boil for 20-30 minutes.

For cinnamon ginger tea, add a half or a whole cinnamon stick to the pot in the beginning. For mint ginger tea, add fresh mint to the pot for 5 minutes at the end.

Once ready, ladle into warm tea cups and add fresh lemon juice or honey, or both. To help ward off a cold, add a pinch or two of cayenne pepper to each cup. Enjoy by the fire with your favorite book or magazine (not required but highly recommended).

You can keep this going by adding more water to the ginger as you run low and re-boiling again. Simply leave the pot on the stove and add water and re-heat as desired. It really is the never ending ginger tea!

Healing Ginger Tea | IPOM

Healing Ginger Tea | IPOM

Healing Ginger Tea | IPOM

Wishing you all a wonderful, healthy, and feel good week – I am so excited for this year I can’t even tell you. Well, maybe I could 😉

  • Are you taking any measures to restore well-being after holiday over indulgences? If so, what are they?

I’d love to know..for now I am off to make a green smoothie…

Yours in less,

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Filed under Food, Gluten Free, Health, Recipes, Rejuvenation, Rich & Simple, Sweet Treats, Vegan, Vegetarian, Victory

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 🙂

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 🙂 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 🙂

Yours in Less (with hugs),

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

Recipe: Roasted Cashew & Red Pepper Spread

Roasted Cashew & Red Pepper Spread | IPOM

So it is totally worth saying that I am having a cashew moment of late. And of course, here is another cashew recipe!

I’m not sure if it is all my vegan readers and blogging friends that are re-igniting my fondness for creating yummy goodies from this nut, but either way, I’m happy to be here, enjoying the fun that comes with working with this great transitional ingredient for those looking to wean (just a little or a lot) of dairy from their diets.

Yup, cashews. They are pretty rad.

As many of you already know, the cashew is a very natural stand in for recipes requiring the richness, texture, and taste of dairy. For anyone wanting to reduce or eliminate milk and milk products from their diet, this is such a wonderful ingredient to cozy up and get familiar with.

Roasted Cashew & Red Pepper Spread | IPOM

Cashews can just be used in so many ways (but you guys know that already, right?)! To make cream, cheese sauce, dinner, as a topping for a healthy salad, as salad dressing, and today in a luscious spread for everything from burgers to sandwiches to pizza.

Cashews are not cheap as far as nuts go (not too many nuts are anymore), but pound for pound they might not actually be all that far off the price of good organic dairy. So while moderation is always key for any rich food (plant-based or not), it is prudent to also keep that in mind when adopting cashews for use as a dairy substitute in the kitchen.

Less is usually more, and that is certainly the case for this rich and flavorful spread, but the beauty part here is this dip is largely made of peppers. Roasted to perfection first, of course!

Roasted Cashew & Red Pepper Spread | IPOM

The Less:

Less dairy and egg-based spreads means less cholesterol and reliance on animal fats for fuel. Fewer ingredients in your food means easier work of collecting and knowing them. Less pre-made and pre-packaged sauces and spreads means less waste, cost, and (potential) bad karma, so serving up appies and spreads comes cheap & healthy.

The More:

More red peppers in your food means more color and fresh vitamins. More cashews in place of dairy means more plant based alternatives. More reasons to eat plant-based means you’ll never miss your old favorites, even if you still think you might 🙂

Roasted Cashew & Red Pepper Spread | IPOM

Roasted Cashew & Red Pepper Spread:

  • (1/3) cup cashews, roasted
  • (2) red peppers, roasted, peeled & seeded
  • (2) tsp fresh lemon juice
  • (1/4) cup fresh parsley
  • (1/3) cup olive oil
  • (1/2) tsp salt
  • (1) small clove garlic (optional)

Start by roasting the peppers. To prepare, wash & slice the peppers each in halves lengthwise and place (seed side down) on a flat cookie sheet (no need for oil). Turn the oven on to broil and broil the peppers until black and blistered (and smelling wonderful) – about 15 minutes or so. Once ready, carefully remove the pan from the heat and set aside.

Next, turn the already hot oven to 350 degrees. Spread the cashews on a flat baking tray and place in the oven. Roast to a light brown color and until just fragrant and remove from the oven to cool, about 8-10 minutes.

Prepare the lemon juice, parsley, salt, oil & garlic (if using) and add to the blender along with the still-warm cashews.

To prepare the roasted and cooled peppers for blending, wait until they are cool enough to handle with your hands, then simply remove the skins, stems, and the seeds with your hands and add the pepper flesh to the blender. Blend all of the ingredients together until perfectly smooth. Transfer to a clean jar or container and allow to cool before serving. Kept in the fridge, this delicious spread will keep for well up to a week.

Roasted Cashew & Red Pepper Spread | IPOM

Use this beauty as a substitute for mayonnaise in sandwiches and in burgers, or as a dip for raw celery or Belgian endive leaves.

There are numerous uses for this dip, and I enjoyed it several times slathered over the latest version of chickpea flat bread I’ve been making – topped with chopped fresh tomatoes and thyme roasted red onions. Pretty darned awesome any day of the week if you ask me, and even the teenager was pretty impressed. Win!

Roasted Cashew & Red Pepper Spread | IPOM

As a quick update on my week, we cooked tons of vegan food last night with another enthusiastic group of kids, and afterwards enjoyed a much needed drink and celebration as we look to our plans for the New Year!  The NSF website is being built as we speak and I’ll be hoping to share a little project we’ve been working on this year rather soon.

For now, I’m doing a little dance as we get closer to Christmas, and am looking forward to a lighter load under the tree (that will be lit up tonight!) this year (don’t tell anyone but I’ve yet to buy a present).

  • Are any of you planning a less is more Christmas?
  • What is your favorite part of the Holiday season?

I’d love to hear your thoughts on this topic as we get closer to the big day. Thanks for being you (all of you), and I’m looking forward to getting caught up on my blog reading this week, I am hoping each and every one of you is well 🙂

Yours in Less,

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

Cooking Classes & Kids: Why We Love Them Both

Holla folks!

I just wanted to write a quick note to let you all know what’s been happening around here of late, as it has been (just a little) busy juggling work & family & blogging & Not So Fast all at once, and it is all so worth it.

NSF-CookingClass_013

As we gear up for another holiday season, there are so many things that can take up our time & precious mental space.

Of course, there are the basic things: family needs, school matters, home meals, laundry. There is vacuuming to do (thankfully my wonderful husband does that), and Christmas decorations to hang. I am loving Instagram these days as people share photos of their Christmas trees and (my fave) their favorite childhood decorations.

As  you all know we only get one chance at childhood, and I personally will never forget that (rather sad) day when I realized it was all over (my childhood, and yes it happened just like that), and that all that time I spent in my youth wishing I was ‘grown up’ could have been better spent being the age that I was. Young.

This is partly why I am so passionate about working with youth.

NSF-CookingClass_035

As I prepare to bring out my own childhood decorations (we just got the tree last night), I am reminded that each of us gets a chance everyday to create our own special memories, or if you are a parent or a mentor or teacher to children in any way, we get the chance to create memories for our children, either good or bad.

Kids do what we do, and kids learn directly from what we (as a collective) teach them.

Not So Fast Cooking Classes

Tonight me and our faithful group of NSF volunteers prepare to meet out third group of kids at a community center in Vancouver’s poorest neighborhood.

We cook with them and send them home with warm healthy food. We share some laughs and pass on some basic skills, and hopefully, we create some of those good memories we all hope to carry with us through life.

It’s really the least we can do and I can’t think of anything else I’d rather be doing.

Not So Fast Cooking Classes

Thank you to all of you who have so generously contributed to our cause, as your support has been wonderful and we can’t thank you enough!

If you’d like to follow Not So Fast on Instagram, you can find us under @wearenotsofast (also our Twitter handle). And for those of you also interested in following me on Instagram, you can find me at @shiramcd.

I’m off to make memories, hang some decorations, and share a few laughs with some pretty inspirational peeps. I’ll be back with another delicious recipe very shortly, I promise! Thanks to all of you for following along 🙂

Yours in Less,

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Filed under Children, Feeding, Food, Food Insecurity, Happiness, Inspiration, Non-Profit Organization, Not So Fast, Success

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... 🙂

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 🙂

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

Recipe: Incredible Cranberry Orange Dressing

Honey Crisp, Kale & Persimmon Salad | IPOM

No need to worry about color & flavor with this one.

Happy December everyone! Phew!

I’ve got to tell you it’s been a busy few weeks here and it’s about to get even crazier. Anyone else got a super-packed month (ha ha that is kind of trick question)? Honestly it feels like summer just ended and here we are writing out Christmas lists and watching as our evening and weekend calendars get loaded up with social engagements and festive outings.

Wow. Allow me to just marvel for a moment and catch my breath.                                           

That’s better 🙂

In the craziness, I missed that my last post was indeed the 100th post for IPOM, and now I am excited to get started with the next 100, starting with this truly beautiful and shockingly delicious salad dressing! Here goes #101..

I was recently introduced to this after stumbling across the original Oh She Glows recipe randomly (I can’t even recall where I was tipped off!). I’ve got to hand major props to Angela at OSG for this one, as I am head over heels in love with this amazing creation.

Honestly, what could be more wonderful than bright cranberries to brighten our dinner plates and bring zest and zing to a bowl of fresh winter greens? The combination here of sweet and sour is nothing short of wonderful and I can tell you I’ve now made it no less that 10 times since I discovered it.

I even substituted blueberries in place of the cranberries for a purple color and deeper, sweeter flavor. So there. It’s amazing and versatile. Enough said.

Cranberry Orange Dressing | IPOM

The Less:

Less heavily oiled dressings means lighter textures and fewer calories. Less bland boring salad dressings means more ways to bring veggies to life. Less heavy meals around the holidays means more enjoyment when they do happen, so eating light when we can makes a big difference in how we feel.

The More:

More tangy, bright foods means more happiness on your tongue. More cranberries & summer fruits means more vitamin C and sunshine. More flavorful salads means more reasons to enjoy them, so staying healthy through the winter months is delicious & natural.

Incredible Cranberry Orange Dressing:

~ Adapted from Oh She Glows

  • (1) cup frozen or fresh cranberries (can also use blueberries for variation)
  • (1/4) cup maple syrup
  • (1/4) cup apple cider vinegar
  • (1/2) cup orange juice
  • (1/4) cup good olive oil
  • (1) tbsp Dijon mustard
  • (1/2) tsp salt

In a medium saucepan, combine the cranberries, maple syrup, and cider vinegar and heat over medium heat for 5-7 minutes until the cranberries are soft (careful not to boil this mixture as the vinegar liquid will condense and evaporate). The house will smell like you are pickling so be prepared, it will be worth it!

Allow the cranberry mixture to cool a little while you add the remaining ingredients to the blender. Add the cranberry mixture to the blender when a little cool and blend all until you get a silky and beautiful emulsion of goodness (YUM).

Transfer the mixture to a jar and refrigerate to cool – this will keep in the fridge for a good while, but this will not be a problem!

Cranberry Orange Dressing

I’ll share with you in an upcoming post my current favorite salad. I’ve enjoyed it many times since I stumbled upon this dressing and it so good I’ve got share it.

Yes, it does involve kale & brussels sprouts, naturally, and you’ll see what else is making my meals just that much for lively and fun.

Coming up, I’ll be sharing a holiday cookie for a festive cookie swap I was so graciously invited to join by the wonderful Kristy (heart) – so stay tuned, it’s a recipe close to my heart and I can’t wait to share it with you all!

  • What’s your favorite salad these days?
  • Got a favorite homemade dressing you are loving?

I think it is so great to have healthy & enticing light options this time of year when many of us may be worried about heavier foods and the effects of the celebrating and Christmas parties. I’d love to hear how you plan to spend the month!

Yours in Less,

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

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 & 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 😉

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 🙂

  • 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