Tag Archives: Gluten-Free Recipes

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),

Email Handwritten Signature

37 Comments

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

52 Comments

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,

79 Comments

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: 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

Recipe: Single Serve Quinoa, Apple, & Almond Butter Breakfast Bowl

A warm breakfast for those cool autumn mornings.

In between goals is a thing called life, that has to be lived and enjoyed.

~ Sid Caesar

Want to get in your apple a day?

Here is a warm way to start your winter mornings that makes getting your apple a day a (delicious) cinch.

A nice warm bowl of protein and fibre-filled fuel is a great way to start a big day, especially if you’ve got a lot on the go (anyone out there?!).

Because as much as I love to scheme about food and think about recipes, there is a big big life out there to lead with lots of daily responsibilities, so fueling up early can help on those days when the to-do list is long.

The weak can never forgive. Forgiveness is the attribute of the strong.

~ Mahatma Gandhi

Because, as we know, life is about so much more than just food.

On that note I’ve got to say – for those of you who read, paused, thought, commented, and emailed me or shared your own stories on my last post, I not only thank you, but I salute you all.

To recognize & face difficult parts of ourselves is indeed a difficult thing to do, and in understanding that weakness is an affliction no one is ever spared from, it was important that I honored the real reason I am here.

So thank you to all of you, for making that (small) part of me welcome, and for your kind words of support, and in turn for your bravery and honesty in sharing your stories with me and everyone else. Really, as a co-worker of mine says…mad mad love (I can’t quite pull that off but have always wished I could and you get the idea). πŸ™‚ πŸ™‚ πŸ™‚

What you do speaks so loudly that I cannot hear what you say.

~ Ralph Waldo Emerson

A few posts back I brought up this NYT article about how our consumption of quinoa has affected the people of Bolivia.

I was glad to see that many of you are aware of this and already approach this grain with (just a little) more reverence than maybe some other foods, and perhaps try (just a little) harder not to waste any when you cook with it.

This is a good thing!

If you haven’t read the article yet, I encourage you to have a read, and then make this hearty breakfast for one (or two depending on what you enjoy it with).

Never leave that till tomorrow which you can do today.

~ Benjamin Franklin

The Less:

Less traditional cooked cereals means less gluten-loaded cooked grains. Less boxed and sugared breakfasts means less waste and empty calories. Less waste when you are cooking means not a single morsel gets left behind, so wasting precious food becomes history.

The More:

More warm food in the morning means you’ll be cozy all day long. More high fiber breakfast food means better digestion overall. More unprocessed whole foods means better for the body to break down, and more ways to portion wisely means food never goes to waste.

Single Serve Quinoa, Apple, & Almond Butter Bowl:

  • (1/3) cup quinoa
  • (2/3) cup water
  • (1) apple, peeled, seeded and chopped
  • (1) tsp maple syrup or honey
  • (1) tbsp almond butter
  • (1) tsp coconut butter (optional)
  • a pinch of sea salt
  • fruit or berries for the top
  • (1-2) tbsp of toasted nuts or seeds of choice (here we have toasted walnuts)

To cook, start by peeling and seeding your apple. I like to use the ones that are maybe (just a little) past the crunchy stage where I eat them as is, as I hate to waste apples, especially this time of year when they are just so darned good.

Put up to boil in a small pot the quinoa, apple, and cold water. Once the boil is reached, turn the heat to low (do not remove the lid) and cook, covered, for 20 minutes, or until the water is absorbed.

While the quinoa cooks, combine together the almond butter, coconut butter, and honey in a small mixing bowl. If you are toasting nuts from scratch, heat a dry skillet and toast the nuts lightly until fragrant. Remove from heat and allow to cool.

Once the quinoa is ready, scrape the cooked apple/quinoa mixture directly into the bowl with the coconut/almond/honey mixture. Sprinkle in a pinch of salt and stir all to combine.

Transfer the mixture to a clean serving bowl and top with choice of nuts, and perhaps some frozen blueberries for a hit of summer on a dark morning.

These frozen beauties made for a lovely contrast to the warmth of the cooked grain. You can also add a small spoon of thick plain yoghurt if you like, or milk if that is your preference.

Perfect to warm those bones on a chilly day.

All the statistics in the world can’t measure the warmth of a smile.

~ Chris Hart

Do one thing every day that scares you.

~ Eleanor Roosevelt

I’m wishing you all (just a little) extra strength this week – to do one thing a day that scares you, and just to be kind to yourself and to others.

Whether that means cooking yourself a nice healthy breakfast, or singing your favorite song out loud in the streets, it’s never the wrong time to make a change, and to try something new. Maybe even something scary! Whatever that means to you πŸ™‚

  • What’s your favorite fall breakfast food?

We’re busy here working on stuff as always..from family & work stuff to planning our next NSF cooking class (we are set for November 13th) to the Vegan Potluck event coming up – this fall is proving to be a busy one!

Yours in Less,

72 Comments

Filed under Cooking, Food, Gluten Free, Recipes, Rich & Simple, Sweet Treats, Vegan, 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: Vegan Harvest Chickpea Salad

A salad to make weekday lunches sparkle & shine!

I just wish people would realize that anything’s possible if you try; dreams are made possible if you try.

~ Terry Fox

Good day everyone!

I’ve got a goodie to share today, and this one has been tucked away in the ‘fave salad’ category for many years now.

One of the best things for us folks who love to prepare food is enjoying something in an unfamiliar place prepared by someone else and enjoying it so much we promptly head home to re-create it.

Sound familiar?!

Well this salad came about after a work trip many many years ago, and it was in Calgary that I first enjoyed this combo as part of a quick healthy lunch.

It has pine nuts in it, which truthfully I don’t use very much and haven’t featured on IPOM before, as they are very expensive. They are, however, a nice treat and combined with the rest of the ingredients here taste rather unreal! Of course, you could also sub in lightly roasted cashew or almond pieces if pine nuts are not on hand.

So without further ado, let’s get to this beautiful salad featuring Farmer’s Market chard & yellow zucchini.

It’s totally vegan & gluten-free too! A rather nice perk, I would say πŸ™‚

A single leaf alone provides no shade.

~ Chuck Page

It always seems I am reminded of this recipe at the end of summer when I stumble across fresh yellow zucchini squash.

This time of year they are abundant and cheap, not to mention firm, sweet, and delicious. Of course, you can sub in green for the recipe too, you’ll just miss that sunny hit of yellow in your bowl!

The chard used here adds a nice variety and provides a use for this green in its raw form that can be (for some) rather obscure in its applications.

Of course you can also sub other greens such a raw kale here too, but the case for color remains the same – just looking at the colors in this dish brings a smile to my face!

Sometimes your joy is the source of your smile, but sometimes your smile can be the source of your joy.

Β  ~ Thich Nhat Hanh

The beauty here is depending on what you’ve got, this can be made year round & keeps well for 4-5 days in the fridge.

It makes for a truly satisfying & light lunch on the go during the work or school week.

It takes as much energy to wish as it does to plan.

~ Eleanor Roosevelt

The Less:

Less prepared foods at lunchtime means more freshness in your tupperware. Less pre-bottled dressings means less waste, cost, and preservatives. Less reliance on traditional lunch foods means packing a brown bag becomes exciting & weekday lunches become something to relish.

The More:

More high fibre chickpeas means easy filling up on the good stuff. More colorful veggies means a feast for the eyes. More variety & raw greens means more fresh vital energy, so you’ll never miss the standard old heavy stuff.

Vegan Harvest Chickpea Salad:

  • (3) cups cooked chickpeas or garbanzos
  • (2) medium yellow zucchini, chopped into one inch pieces
  • (4-6) cups chopped Red Chard
  • (1/2) cup sun-dried tomatoes, chopped
  • (4) tbsp pine nuts
  • (2) tsp dried basil
  • (1/4) cup good olive oil
  • (3) tbsp red wine vinegar
  • (2) tsp salt, or to taste

Start by washing and preparing the vegetables.

On the stove, put up a shallow pan filled with an inch of water and turn on the heat to high. Chop the zucchini into one inch pieces and add t the pin with the lid propped just barely on.

Once the water reaches boil, turn it down to simmer and cook for no longer than 3 minutes (set the timer!), just until the zucchini is soft-‘ish’ – be careful to not to overcook! Drain the zucchini pieces and set aside to cool.

In a large mixing bowl combine the olive oil, salt, and wine vinegar & mix together with a fork or whisk. Add the cooked chickpeas, sun-dried tomatoes, pine nuts, and basil. Stir all gently to combine.

Add the zucchini and raw chopped chard to the mixture and stir gently to incorporate, taking care not to crush the chard leaves or the zucchini. Taste for seasonings, and transfer to a clean serving bowl and serve!

If you are making this for lunches, store covered with wrap or foil or in a to go container. Last week I packed up my containers in advance and just grabbed them in the morning when I left the house.

Feel free to add freshly ground pepper or crumbled feta to this if you like.

It is also totally wonderful just on its own and truthfully a wonderful break from heavier cheeses and nuts.

As much as I normally try to avoid using pine nuts due to their high cost, I was lucky to find a very reasonable source here in Vancouver recently, and this recipe benefits immensely from their taste and light texture. Of course the substitutes I mentioned above would add their own brand of delicious too πŸ™‚

If you choose to cook your chickpeas from scratch, simply put up 2 cups of dry beans to soak in 6-8 cups of cold water for 8-12 hours. Before cooking drain & rinse the soaked beans in more cold water and put up to boil in plenty of salted cold water (about 1 teaspoon salt added to the water). Simply Bring to a boil and simmer for 1 – 1.5 hours or until soft.

If you’ve got the time, this is a wonderful cost saver, not to mention the added benefit of having no cans to open & recycle.

Happiness is when what you think, what you say, and what you do are in harmony.

~ Mahatma Gandhi

Wherever there is a human being, there is an opportunity for kindness.

~ Seneca

I hope you might enjoy this celebratory combo as we continue to ring in this beautiful fall season we are having here in this part of the world!

  • Do you have a chard recipe to share with us?
  • Do you ever cook beans from scratch?

I’ve certainly posed this question about beans before and am always interested to know who is cooking their own. It is so easy but can be tough to fit in (and to look that far ahead) at the same time.

I became re-inspired about cooking my beans from scratch as much as possible after reading (and trying) a few recipes I brought home with me from my holiday, and after getting to it have been reminded of the taste & texture of freshly cooked beans, especially chickpeas – it is heaven in comparison!

Wishing you all a fabulous sparkly week as always filled with good food, good friends & loved ones!

Yours in Less,

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

Recipe: Chickpea Cauliflower Salad with Basil Dijon Dressing

A summer salad worthy of our attention.

To live is to love. There is no life without love.

~ Anonymous

On any given day our lives can change. They can change for the better, and they can also change in a way that forces growth (aka something not so wonderful happens).

Many of us are here in the blog world because we seek something extra in this life. When I started IPOM I can honestly tell you I didn’t realize the sheer depth of the people & passion I would find here (but I surely did suspect & believe it existed). Friends from all over the world who are sharing tidbits of their lives with others.

Whether it is food, art, adventure, or just a few thoughts here and there, I’ve been so pleased to find such endless inspiration as a result of sharing my own passions. With friends, life is always made easier. And with passion, life becomes rich. When there is love and passion in life, there is nothing that can’t be overcome (IMO, of course).

Where there is love there is life.

~ Mahatma Gandhi

This gorgeous salad is as simple as simple can be. Combine chickpeas with a few chopped fresh veggies and drown them in what is possibly the most delicious dressing on the planet.

This basil dressing is a variation on the dressing I shared at the Healthy Diva here, and features a little more basil this time to honor the bountiful basil plants that are gracing many a patio garden and planter at this time of year.

Basil makes everything it touches taste utterly sophisticated, and once you try this dressing, you’ll want to try it on everything from pasta salad to fresh greens to simple garden tomato salads. I highly encourage this, as we’ve been at it all week.

If you judge people, you have no time to love them.

~ Mother Teresa

The Less:

Less heavy grain-based foods in summer means meals are as light as the summer nights. Less canned prepared bean salad means less preservatives and calories. Less bottled and preserved salad dressings means more flavor and real nutrition, without the added bottles, empty calories, and added cost.

The More:

More tasty veggie salads means more tasty easy meals. More homemade dressings means more inspiring reasons to eat salads. More high fiber vegetables and beans more movement in general, so lightness and health are yours all summer long.

Chickpea Cauliflower Salad with Basil Dijon Dressing:

  • (2) cups cooked chickpeas (one 398ml can)
  • (1) red pepper, diced
  • (1) head cauliflower
  • (1) bunch green onions, chopped (greens only)
  • (1) clove garlic, minced
  • (1) 398ml can artichoke hearts, quartered

Basil Vinaigrette:

  • (1) entire bunch basil
  • (1) cup good olive oil
  • (1/2) cup red wine vinegar
  • (4) tbsp Dijon mustard
  • (3) tbsp sugar (brown or white)
  • (1) tbsp salt
  • (1) clove garlic
  • (1/2) cup water

Start by cleaning and chopping the cauliflower into medium florets. Put up to steam in a little water, and cook 3-4 minutes until just soft. Remove from heat and rinse with cold water or in an ice water bath to cool. Set aside to drain in a colander until ready to use.

Combine all ingredients for the dressing in a blender (or in a large bowl with a hand blender) and blend until very well combined. Transfer to a clean jar.

Combine chickpeas, chopped red pepper, green onions, and minced garlic in a bowl. Add the cauliflower by hand, breaking into small pieces as you go with your hands.*

*When using cauliflower in smaller one inch pieces I prefer to break them organically with my hands versus cutting them with a knife. The presentation is more beautiful and natural, and it gives me a chance to connect with it – corny, yes, but awesome? YES.

Pour (1/3) to (1/2) cup of the vinaigrette into the bowl and mix gently with a large spoon to combine. If you are too vigorous with the mixing you can break the cauliflower pieces. Add more dressing as desired and save the remainder for later – there are so many uses for it – and this recipe makes a generous amount.

Serve in a lovely clean bowl garnished with quartered artichoke hearts. Set aside as many or as few artichoke hearts as you like and add to each serving on top or to the bowl. This fiber and flavor filled salad will keep in the fridge for up to a week and will get better with age. We enjoyed it several days later with some hot whole wheat pasta added. Amazing!

I have found the paradox, that if you love until it hurts, there can be no more hurt, only more love.

~ Mother Teresa

We love the things we love for what they are.

~ Robert Frost

This salad made us very happy this week. The green onions were given to me by a good friend, picked just for me from his small patio garden which (I think) is making both him and his wife very happy this summer. Thanks Charlie and Becky for the gift of home-grown green onions!

  • What salads are you loving right now?
  • Got a favorite way with basil or chickpeas?

Feel free to let us know below!

Beautiful things bring happiness. I hope you find happiness in (just a little) beauty today, and with any luck, everyday.

Update: this recipe has been shared on Healthy Vegan Fridays hosted by Gabby at the Veggie Nook and 2 other fabulous bloggers πŸ™‚

Yours in Less,

73 Comments

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

Simple Living Recipe: Roasted Cauliflower & Kale Pesto

More simply delicious. More simply easy.

How many things there are which I do not want.

~ Socrates

I definitely suspect know that I have a thing for vegetables. Most kids would travel to the big city (Toronto) to visit relatives and enjoy the spoiling that inevitably unfolds when in the company of doting extended family. Not this girl.

I can only imagine the shock and bewilderment when I arrived at my aunt’s house in Toronto (at the ripe old age of 12) – and upon being asked which of my favorite foods I would like to stock the house with, I promptly jotted down a list of my favorite vegetables. For steaming. It’s true.

Things really haven’t changed much.

Time is what we want the most, but what we use the worst.

~ William Penn

Always start with the freshest greens you can find.

If you’ve been reading IPOM for a while, then you might already be familiar with my favorite pesto of all time – the IPOM Killer Kale Pesto posted here .

It is insanely good either fully vegan or with added cheese, and it makes a wonderful addition to almost anything (including the delicious spelt pasta pictured here).

Case in point this recipe for roasted cauliflower.

Roasting cauliflower produces a taste and texture experience that is (IMO) out of this world, or rather ‘totally out of bounds’ as a few of my besties have been known to say (but not about cauliflower).

It is easy to cook, cauliflower is quite cheap, and guess what: it’s totally good for you too.

The years teach much the days never know.

~ Ralph Waldo Emerson

The Less:

Less fried or deep-fried foods means less troubling gas or potential indigestion. Less grain based or overly starchy side dishes mean more vegetables to compliment meals and make easy work of food combining. Less regular ways to prepare old ‘standbys’ means more variety to add to your tables, so even one or two ingredients tastes like a party on your tongue.

The More:

More ways to eat veggies more easy filling meals. More cruciferous greens and plant foods means more anti-cancer and disease fighting properties. More fiber, roughage, and water based foods means ‘using it and losing it’ is effortless. Because digestion needn’t ever be that taxing.

Roasted Cauliflower & Kale Pesto:

  • (1) large Cauliflower
  • (3-4) tbsp good olive oil (or a few good glugs – I learned that term here and love it)
  • a few pinches of salt
  • (1 – 2) tsp fried cumin seeds (optional)
  • (1) recipe Killer Kale Pesto

Start by heating your oven to an aggressive 400 degrees. This is by far the best roasting temperature and can be used to roast all veggies from sweet potatoes, to tomatoes to zucchini & eggplant.

While the oven heats, trim and wash your cauliflower. Remove any of the leaves that are still on and discard or compost. On a cutting board, turn the whole head of the cauliflower upside down and slice into ‘steaks’ just under an inch thick, starting from the base of the head. Cut them as thinly as you can while still having them hold together is the key here.

You should end up with several ‘steaks’ and a few other smaller pieces that will not hold together with the rest. It’s all good, and the strays will be just as delicious as the larger ones. Sometimes even more so.

Generously oil with the olive oil a flat baking tray and set the cauliflower pieces down on the oiled side. Once they are all on and oiled on one side, turn them over to ensure each side gets coated (just a little).

Sprinkle the pieces lightly with a little salt if desired and put up to roast. Cook for 20 minutes and then flip to the other side and cook for another 20 minutes. Remove from the oven and allow to cool on the tray before serving.

Before serving, feel free to sprinkle with fried cumin seeds and serve however you wish. This version with Kale Pesto was so amazing that I just had to share it with you all!

This kept also incredibly well and the leftovers made for a wonderful midday meal while I was out and about.

Serve warm or at room temperature alongside a green salad, a protein dish, or (my choice) on its own.

It is quite filling and the nuts & oil in the pesto provide more than adequate sustenance and calories to make a light & satisfying meal for most (just not my overly manly husband – bless his heart).

So whether you are old pals with cauliflower or just getting to know it, this is a most enjoyable (and completely delicious) way to serve it to even the most newbie vegetable eater.

Leftover kale pesto can find it’s way into the rest of your meals long after you devour this cauliflower. Or you can just make it again too!

And it’s so easy, there really is no good reason not to.*

*Unless there is.

Realize deeply that the present moment is all you will ever have.

~ Eckhart Tolle

Who is rich?Β  He who rejoices in his portion.

~The Talmud

I hope whatever you do that you will do so with joy (as much as we can muster which at times is hard), and with gratitude and also with pleasure.

We don’t have long in this life but we do have right now.

I’ll be taking the weekend to visit some family with my youngest daughter before we run out of time this summer. Now that summer is finally here, it’s time to enjoy it while it lasts, and with that I am off yet again to visit the islands this time.

  • Have you always loved veggies?
  • What is your favorite way to eat cauliflower?
  • Did anyone enjoy the coconut quinoa this week?

Wishing you all a most fabulous weekend (thank you all for reading!) with whomever you choose to spend it with. Be it friends, family, or just yourself. Enjoy!

Yours in Less,

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