Tag Archives: Recipe

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

Bountiful. Beautiful. Home Baked Bread.

IPOM Crusty Bread (1)

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

~ Robert Browning

Baking beautiful bread?

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

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

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

Insert major gratitude here.

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

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

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

~ James Beard

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

~ Henry David Thoreau

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

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

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

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

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

Change your thoughts and you can change the world.

~ Norman Vincent Peale

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

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

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

Like all of your food (if you can).

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

Β  ~ Mahatma Gandhi

The Less:

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

The More:

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

Easy Crusty Home Baked Bread:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Proofed Dough, ready to bake.

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

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

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

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

So. Very. Awesome.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

~ Hendrick Willem Van Loon

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

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

Fresh is still best.

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

~ Dr. Seuss

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

~ Mother Teresa

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

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

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

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

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

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

Yours in Less,

66 Comments

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

Recipe: Super Powered Super Protein Quinoa Salad

Imagine a world where we always felt super strong!

He who stands for nothing will fall for anything.

Β  ~ Alexander Hamilton

Anyone up for a super powered, super nutritious, and super delicious recipe to help us stay strong?

There are few foods that fit the bill quite like quinoa does, as this amazing super food boasts some truly impressive nutritional qualities.

Quinoa is often referred to as a grain, but from everything I’ve read, is actually the seed of a plant. This could explain it’s super packed punch of pure complete protein, and it’s super light texture and taste.

And of course, if you are one of those folks who has yet to try it, you are most surely in for a treat as I’ve yet to meet a vegetarian, vegan, meat eater, or otherwise that doesn’t appreciate it.

It just makes you feel that good.

It is easier to build strong children than to repair broken men.

Β  ~ Frederick Douglass

When it comes to quinoa, it really is all that and more.

Just ask the Bolivians, who have been eating it (where it originates) for centuries.

With the sudden rise in popularity of quinoa in North America and across the globe, it has been written (this New York Times article from last year is a great read) that the effects of this new demand for this amazing food have had some very interesting ripple effects on the diet of some of the people of its homeland.

It is for this reason I try to take (just a little) extra care not to burn quinoa when I cook it, and not to leave any languishing in the pot at the end of cooking (if at all possible). Of course, in a perfect world, we would do this with anything we cook or bring into the house, as food waste of all forms is really never a good thing, and especially when it’s this precious (because it really is).

And have I mentioned delicious? No need to worry about those leftovers going to waste, especially with delicious combinations like this.

So without further ado, here is a wonderful way to enjoy this amazing food, packed full of energy and added super power from sweet corn, whole roasted almonds, veggies, and your unadulterated love & affection.

With the new day comes new strength and new thoughts.

~ Eleanor Roosevelt

The Less:

Less gluten based sustenance can mean lighter fare to keep you going. Less weight in your tummy means lighter movements throughout the day. Less prepared foods and packaged salads means more hand-made love in your house, so no matter where you eat this, you’re home.

The More:

More plant-based, clean protein means more pure energy to burn through the day. More high fiber, high frequency flavors means you’ll never waste a single bite. More color, love & homemade goodness means you’ll never skip a beat, with super powered super foods to get you primed for whatever comes your way.

Super-Powered Super-Protein Quinoa Salad:

  • (1) cup dry quinoa
  • (1 – 3/4) cups cold water

Veggies & Nuts:

  • (3/4- 1) cup whole almonds
  • (3/4) cup sun-dried tomatoes, chopped into one inch pieces
  • (2) cobs fresh corn on the cob, peeled and broken in half
  • (1) yellow, orange, or red bell pepper, chopped
  • (2) tbsp chopped fresh cilantro, chopped (or parsley)

Dressing:

  • (1) tsp salt
  • (2) tbsp apple cider vinegar
  • (3) tbsp olive oil
  • (1) tbsp cumin seeds
  • (1) additional tbsp olive oil for frying cumin seeds

Start by putting up your quinoa to cook. Combine the quinoa and water in a saucepan with a lid and bring to a boil. Once boiling, turn the heat to low (without removing the lid) and cook, covered for 25 minutes. Once cooked, remove the lid and fluff the quinoa with a fork. After a few minutes, place it in a mixing bowl to cool. Make sure to give it a good stir with a fork – this will continue to fluff it up and will also help to release the cooking steam.

While the quinoa cooks, heat the oven to 350 degrees.

Place the whole almonds onto a cookie sheet and place in the oven (yes, even while it is heating up!) and allow the almonds to roast until turning a deep brown and smelling fragrant (about 10 minutes). Once roasted, remove the almonds from the oven and let cool.

Next, put up a pot of water to boil and add the two peeled cobs of fresh corn.

Cook, covered on a medium boil, until the corn is tender, about 6-8 minutes. Drain the corn when ready and place in a bowl of ice water to allow to cool while you prepare the rest of the vegetables.

Chop the colored bell pepper, sun-dried tomatoes, and cilantro and set aside. In a large mixing bowl, combine the oil, vinegar & salt and set aside.

By this time, you should have a pot of quinoa either cooked, almost cooked or cooled, corn cooling, and almonds cooling.

Now time to fry (or dry toast if desired) your delicious cumin seeds.

If you like, you can also sub in dried powdered cumin in this recipe, using a teaspoon to start and adding as you wish to taste. I’ve become so fond of whole cumin seeds of late that I simply couldn’t resist throwing them into the mix here..you won’t regret this extra step!

To fry whole cumin seeds, heat the olive oil for frying (1 tbsp or less) in a frying pan on medium high heat. Once the oil is ready (about 1 minute), add the cumin seeds and cook, stirring, on medium high for one minute or until the seeds are fragrant and darkening a little (if they start to smoke and turn black they are burning).

Remove the seeds and their cooking oil into the mixing bowl with the oil/vinegar/salt mix and allow to cool.

Next up is the corn. In this house, it is common to cook up several cobs of corn to have in the fridge cooked and ready to go. When removed from the cob, fresh local corn is simply delicious added to all manner of salads and veggie dishes.

Once you have cooked the corn halves and allowed them to cool, simply hold the half cob of corn up on the stub end with one hand and cut the kernels off with a sharp knife with your other hand.

The sweet corn that falls off the cob is nothing short of heavenly, and once you get the hang of this, you’ll wonder how you ever got by without this.

Once the quinoa is cool enough to touch, add it to the mixing bowl with the oil & vinegar & spices. Stir to combine and add the corn, vegetables, cilantro and whole roasted almonds.

Stir everything until well mixed and beautiful. Taste to correct salt and add pepper if desired.

Serve this beautiful mixture still a little warm, cool, or cold from the fridge for lunch or dinner, with or without added feta cheeseΒ  (it really doesn’t need it here).

This can also be served a top a bed of dressed greens and cold steamed vegetables like I had several times this week.

Perfection right to the last bite.

We acquire the strength we have overcome.

Β  ~ Ralph Waldo Emerson

The beauty of this food is that it never feels heavy. If the goal is satisfaction, it is well within reach here.

If your goals are even higher, you can bet that when the fuel is this powerful, there’s just no limit to what you can do.

Mastering others is strength. Mastering oneself makes you fearless.

~ Lao Tzu

Strength is not something you have, it’s something you find.

~ Emma Smith

So whatever your dragon is today, face it knowing you are already armed with all you could ever need. Personal strength really does come from so many places, and good food is a great place to start.

  • What is your favorite super food?
  • Got a super power or source of strength to share with us?

I know you gifted & passionate folk must have more than a few tricks up your sleeves!

With so much raw talent amongst you all, there really couldn’t be any other way…and I for one would love to hear all about it!

Yours in Less,

68 Comments

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

Recipe: Superfood Chocolate Chip Cookies & Guest Posting!

Ready for a 2 Post Friday?

Why fit in when you were born to stand out?

~ Dr. Seuss

Welcome to a special 2 Post Friday here at IPOM! Holla! *So much fun*

Another link at the end of this post too!

Today I’ve got a guest post up at Cara’s amazing blog, Fork and Beans.

If you’ve never had a chance to visit her before now, I highly suggest you do after I tempt you with these delicious cookies (the link is up at the end of the post too!).

Today’s recipe, here at IPOM, is Carla’s favorite homemade cookie recipe, the one given to her on her wedding day in a family cookbook.

This version is slightly updated and it incorporates a few of our latest favorite super foods.

It is super. For reals.

I’ve also got to thank you readers for your responses and messages regarding the last post about Chris and Carla – if you liked what you read then be sure to keep up with us as we share more and more…it is only just beginning!

Now for the cookies…

Cocoa nibs are a nutritional wonder finding their way into yummy treats all over the blogosphere. You can enjoy them in granola, or these raw cookies.

But today – they team up with chocolate chips for an extra hit of rich sweet goodness!

Look for cocoa nibs online or in most health food stores these days. They aren’t cheap, but a little goes a long way.

Hemp hearts are one of my all time favorites.

Grown here in Canada (you’ve got to love local), they are loaded with healthy fats and protein that fill you up and keep on giving well into the end of your day.

I am a giant fan of enjoying them in the morning, they provide fuel for an evening run or workout that is amazing, and did I mention just a few tablespoons keep you satisfied for hours too? Pretty killer.

The Less:

Less hydrogenated fats and oil mean less hard to identify compounds for your body. Less store bought treats means less packaging, waste, and preservatives. Less reliance on outside sources for snacks and goodies means more ways to make life simply delicious. Especially when it is this super-charged.

The More:

More superfood ingredients means more super-charged nutrition. More pure easy ingredients means more goodness that’s easily at hand. More homemade chocolatey treats means more tasty ways to share blessings, so you can spread thankfulness for today πŸ™‚

Superfood Chocolate Chip Cookies:

Cream Together:

  • (1/2) cup brown sugar
  • (1) cup butter (at room temperature)

Wet:

  • (2) eggs
  • (2) tsp vanilla extract
  • (2) tbsp milk

Dry:

  • (1) cup whole wheat flour
  • (1) cup white flour
  • (1) tsp baking soda
  • (1) tsp baking powder
  • (1) tsp salt
  • (1/2) tsp salt
  • (2) cups oatmeal
  • (1) cup shredded coconut
  • (1) cup hemp hearts (sub 1 more cup coconut of you don’t have these)
  • (2) cups chocolate chips
  • (1) cup cocoa nibs (sub 1 more cup chocolate chips if you don’t have these)

Start by heating the oven to 350 degrees.

Cream together the butter and brown sugar in a large mixing bowl. Add the wet ingredients and stir to combine.

Combine the dry ingredients in another mixing bowl and add to the wet ingredient bowl in batches, stirring in between to incorporate. Get in there with your hands!

Shape your cookies and set on a flat un-oiled cookie sheet. No need to press these down as they will make a lovely ‘cake-like’ cookie (like my mom used to make).

Bake for 8 minutes. Once ready, remove from the oven and let sit on the hot dry another 5 minutes before removing to cool on a wire rack.

Pack up in your favorite tin and share, share, share!

This recipe does make a rather large batch of cookies. Of course, you could halve the recipe though I am sure the large batch size is for a reason ~ for sharing!

After all, who in your life could use a little thank you? Got a friend, co-worker, neighbour that likes cookies? I bet you do! Accountant, boss, arch enemy? No one could say no to a home baked cookie.*

*(unless you could)

There is no delight in owning anything unshared.

~ Seneca

We make a living by what we get. We make a life by what we give.

~ Winston S. Churchill

The world is what YOU think of it, so think of it DIFFERENTLY and your life will change.

~ Paul Arden, Whatever You Think, Think the Opposite

Consider this the official invite..

I’ll be busy planning an extra special dinner with some very special friends next weekend. I’ll be sure to update you all very soon on that one!

  • What is your favorite cookie recipe?
  • Anyone in your life that could use a little thank you?

I am so happy to share Carla’s favorite way to perk the office up with you today, we are always thankful for home baked treats!

Let us know your thoughts, and as always giant thanks to all for reading!

Make sure to come see us at Fork and Beans and meet Cara, you’ll be so happy you did, and thanks again to Cara for hosting me today!

Yours in Less,

51 Comments

Filed under Cooking, Food, Oatmeal, Recipes, Rich & Simple, Snacks, Sweet Treats, Vegetarian

3 Recipes for Simple Living (and to pair with a mean curry)

Easy. Simple. Good!

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

~Mahatma Gandhi

I desperately want to tell you that the recipes I am about to share are very complicated. I want to tell you that you must be a culinary wizard to make them, and that you also must have deep pockets to be able to afford them.

But all of that would (of course) be a lie, because none of this is true (and I didn’t really want to tell you those things!).

Given that most of the world subsists on inexpensive healthy staples like rice, beans, and veggies, it is easy to see why it’s not so bad when they taste this darned good!

Hope is not what we find in evidence, it’s what we become in action.

~ Frances Moore LappΓ©

The 3 recipes included in today’s post are the perfect base or accent to any curry dish. Or really anything you fancy to go with it, for that matter.

Whether you pair it with the Paneer curry from the last post, this IPOM Red Lentil Curry, or any one of your favorite recipes, a few easy breezy steps and you are good to go!

Rice is naturally gluten-free, and there are so many varieties to try. Brown, black, red, white. When lightly toasted over heat (with oil) prior to boiling, it makes the final product light and fluffy – pilaf style. Rice that won’t stick together!

A simple rice dish paired with a crisp light raw salad, and your favorite condiment makes for tasty filling eating for pennies (unless you want to drop coin on something luxurious to top it with – totally your call!)

The search for truth is more precious than its possession.

~ Albert Einstein

Cumin Spiced Rice with Peas:

  • (1-2) tbsp butter, ghee, or vegetable oil
  • (1) tbsp cumin seeds
  • (1) cup white basmati rice
  • (1.75) cups cold water
  • (1) cup frozen green peas
  • (1/2) tsp salt
  • pepper to taste

Heat a medium saucepan to medium heat and add butter, ghee, or oil. Once the butter is melted or the oil is hot, add the cumin seeds and cook, stirring the entire time, for about 1 minute. Be careful not to burn these by having them on too high heat!

*Note: if using this cooking method with other rices (most notably brown rice), the end result will be heavier. White basmati rice is ideal for this cooking style as it is naturally absorbent and fluffy – thus making it a light foil for heavier foods to go with it. If you do try it with brown rice, try using the lower amount of butter or oil.

Add the dry rice and cook, on the heat, stirring for about 5 minutes. The rice kernels will start to turn opaque and white. Be careful not to burn the rice by stirring pretty much every 10-15 seconds or so.

After 5 minutes, or the rice is consistently turning color (it will look flecky), add the cold water. Cover and bring to a boil on high. Once the water boils, turn the heat to low (without removing the lid), and cook, covered, for 20 minutes.

During the last 7-8 minutes of the rice cooking time, add the peas and allow them to cook atop the rice as it cooks (do not stir). Simply open the lid quickly (have the peas pre-measured!) and pop them in as quickly as possible.

After 20 minutes is up, turn the heat off and let the rice sit in the covered pan for 3-4 minutes. Once ready, fluff the rice and peas together with a fork and add the salt. Voila!

Ready to serve straight from the pot or transfer to a serving bowl and take to the table! πŸ™‚

Brussels sprouts have been a long time fave of mine.

They are cheap, available (pretty much) year-round and boast the same health benefits as their other cruciferous family members (broccoli, cauliflower, cabbage and yes, KALE!). They are pretty much a superfood in every sense of the word, and I adore them for their underdog status as one of the most ‘disliked’ vegetables out there.

The truth is (IMO), they taste great roasted, steamed, and here, completely raw!

If you’ve never tried them this way, I highly suggest you do – this salad is light and delicious while providing a gorgeous fresh contrast to your cooked dishes. I also love this little number wrapped in my fresh tacos with a little avocado and salsa too….but that is another post entirely!

Shaved Brussels Sprouts Salad:

  • (6-8) good sized fresh brussels sprouts
  • (2-3) tbsp good quality olive oil
  • (1-2) tbsp apple cider vinegar (can sub regular vinegar just reduce to 1 tbsp to start)
  • (1) tsp fresh finely grated ginger
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • fresh cilantro leaves for the top

Start by buying the freshest brussels sprouts you can find. These guys are basically baby cabbages, and I almost prefer eating these in a salad over cabbage – they take up so much less space in the fridge too!

Wash the sprouts and peal and discard any rough outer leaves. Starting at the top of the sprout, with the stem end down, use a sharp knife to shred/slice the brussels sprouts as thinly as possible, one by one, into rounds as thin as possible. Separate the ‘slices’ with your hands and to a bowl.

Toss with olive oil, vinegar, and ginger until well mixed – massage gently with your bare hands to ensure the shaved sprouts soften up a little. Taste to add salt.

Serve in a lovely dish garnished with cilantro leaves and optional black pepper. You might be surprised who eats this and likes it! It is a pretty good disguise for this much maligned little wonder πŸ™‚

Can you tell I am a big fan of the sprout? Love’em….

The past has no power over the present moment.

~ Eckhart Tolle

A word (or two) about condiments:

Having good condiments in the house can become a bit of a fun hobby. Anyone out there a bit of a condiment collector?

It’s easy to do and there are just too many ways to liven up simple healthy food that it is mind-boggling (including this chutney I cannot wait to make). Really!

When I eat spicy Indian food, I always order a round of cooling Raita (Indian Yoghurt Dip). If you eat yoghurt, chances are you could have a regular stock of plain yoghurt in the house on a regular basis.

Here is a 2 second condiment that can make a good meal (just a little) better. There are many ways to make a Raita, but here are a few suggestions to get you started!

Cucumber Raita:

  • (1) cup plain yoghurt (pictured here is super thick Mediteranean style)
  • (1/4) cup grated or finely chopped peeled cucumber
  • pinch or two of Garam Masala spice mix, or ground cumin (about 1/4 tsp)
  • salt to taste

Mix all together in a bowl until just mixed. Do not over mix if you can help it!

That’s it! Serve immediately and make it as needed – Raita will keep but only for a day or so in the fridge, so small batches are best πŸ™‚

Enjoy this meal with friends, family, or anyone you want to share it with..

with or without broiled naan bread.

Who says food has to be complicated or expensive to be good?

Simple pleasures are the last healthy refuge in a complex world.

~ Oscar Wilde

Manifest plainness, embrace simplicity, reduce selfishness, have few desires.

~ Lao Tzu

I know it is (perhaps) (just a little) corny, but when I think of sharing food, I often picture the world sitting around the table with me.

I picture wide smiles and hear happy sounds. This is why I cook food, and it brings so much joy to share it!

Live simply so that others may simply live.

~ Mahatma Gandhi

Living with (just a little) less can be easy. Especially when it is this good!

I hope you’ll enjoy these ideas or use them as a launching pad to devise your own creations with these basic universal staples, and I’d love to hear your suggestions or favorite takes on the above.

This notion of sharing simple food is deep in the spirit of Not So Fast…the idea that there is enough food for all.

In the next week, I’ll tell you the story (and the results) of Carla and Chris’s 40 day trial of ‘going without’. I’ll tell you what they did, how they did it, and what it will mean to others (and yes they ate like kings the entire time!).

I can’t wait to share this with you all!

  • What is you favorite cheap staple or go to budget meal?
  • Do you have a favorite easy & frugal dish that is too good not to share?

I’d love your suggestions and they might just come in super handy in the future – so do let us know!

Only a life lived for others is a life worth while.

~ Albert Einstein

You know how much I adore your feedback and stories.

I wish you all could come and have a seat around my table……but for now I’ll be happy to receive your comments..…..even if I can’t see all your lovely smiles! πŸ™‚

Yours in Less,

91 Comments

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

Recipe: Saucy Spiced Paneer & Tomato Curry

You’ve got to move when the inspiration hits!

Never leave that till tomorrow which you can do today.

– Benjamin Franklin

I must admit, weekends at our house are pretty darned nice.

After a busy week (which usually doesn’t feel long at all), we all hunker down to enjoy some quality home time together, and this weekend was no exception.

I had plenty of time to catch up with my new computer – (and this is the first post I have written on it – yay!) – and with the newer, cleaner, faster and more efficient tool came a rush of energy to tackle a few big things.

So I cleaned the cupboards. Yes, the full treatment! Spices, bulk food, you name it. It was a whole day after which me and the girls trekked to the store to re-stock the ‘must-haves’ we were low on, and headed home to make dinner.

And it was Indian night by request!

If the facts don’t fit the theory, change the facts.

– Albert Einstein

I have mentioned before that Indian food is a family favorite, and a good dinner out to us is treating at an authentic Indian restaurant.

Hands down, our favorite dish is called ‘Malai Kofta’ – otherwise known as Indian cheese (paneer) cooked in cream sauce with an added bit of (delectable) taste and texture in a generous addition of ground cashews. Yum.

Whatever you do, you should do it with feeling.

~ Yogi Berra

This recipe was from an early attempt I made (about 3-4 years ago) that was not far from the real thing. In last night’s version, I made a few changes, attempting to ‘lighten it’ ever so slightly by subbing what was entirely full cream for mostly milk.

To my strict vegan readers, I know this might be not easily veganized, but I am sure there are plenty of you who could share your own fabulous vegan Indian dishes with all of us (and don’t be shy, Richa at Hobby and More, that was for you!).

Make no mistake, this dish is a treat. It’s full of delicious rich ingredients that are to be eaten sparingly (ideally). It’s nice to treat the family to a meal like this, and we enjoy every last bite.

I hope you will too!

Never leave that till tomorrow which you can do today.

~Benjamin Franklin

The Less:

Less store-bought jarred spice mixes means more real fresh ingredients, less waste and more cash left over. Less super heavy cream means (just a little) fewer calories, and less wondering if you can cook Indian means knowing that yes, in fact, you can.

The More:

More home cooked, yummy foods means more reasons to stay in together. More spice and variety means you can break free of flavor doldrums. More fresh rich ingredients, means taking pleasure is more satisfying, even if you need just a little.

Saucy Spiced Paneer & Tomato Curry:

  • ( 2) medium-large onions, or 3 smaller onions, peeled and quartered
  • (3) tbsp butter, ghee, or canola oil
  • (2) tsp salt

Spices:

  • (2) tbsp chopped fresh ginger
  • (2) tbsp fresh garlic, chopped
  • (2) tsp cumin ground
  • (2) tsp ground coriander
  • (1) tsp chili powder or cayenne

Sauce:

  • (1) 398 ml can chopped tomatoes
  • (3) tsp sugar
  • (1/2 – 1) cup ground cashews, raw (grind to medium fine)
  • (1) cup heavy cream
  • (2) cups homogenized milk

Finish:

  • (2) tsp Garam Masala spice mixture (available in most grocery store spice sections and they vary greatly)
  • (1) pound Paneer, cubed to one inch cubes (available in specialty grocery stores, and adventurous folks – you can make your own!)
  • (1) tsp vinegar (optional)

Heat oil in a large saucepan at medium-high until hot. Add the chopped onions and salt and turn to medium heat. Cover and cook, checking every 5 minutes to stir, for 20 minutes.

Prepare the rest of the ingredients while the onions cook.

Once the onions are soft and quite brown, add the ginger, garlic, cumin, coriander, and cayenne, and cook, on medium heat for 5 minutes until fragrant. Make sure to actively stir the mixture to prevent burning of the delicate (and delicious spices)!

Add the tomatoes and sugar, and continue to cook until well incorporated, about another 5 minutes.

Using a hand blender, or a blender, puree this mixture until blended through. Return to the stove and turn heat to medium-low. Bring the mixture back to temperature (about 5 minutes) and add the cream, milk, garam masala spice, paneer cubes, and ground cashews.

Simmer for 15 minutes or so, uncovered on medium-low. Stir frequently to keep it from sticking or burning on the bottom – this is very important!

At the end, season again to taste, and add vinegar if you like – I find it adds a little zing to the creamy base and livens the flavors very nicely.

Serve hot with rice or naan – and enjoy every yummy morsel! πŸ™‚

This dish pairs excellently with any rice dish, broiled naan bread, and perhaps some animal protein such as tandoori chicken like my husband enjoys (but me and the girls pass on).

In my next post, I’ll share with you the yummy recipe for cumin rice with peas that we ate with this last night, as well as the refreshing shredded brussels sprout salad too πŸ™‚

Both of those are vegan (or vegan adaptable), and contrasted beautifully with this dish.

Live your beliefs and you can turn the world around.

~ Henry David Thoreau

Fortune favors the brave.

~ Virgil

If you only look at what is, you might never attain what could be.

~ Anonymous

So whether you are an experienced cook with the amazing world of Indian flavors or not, this dish gets a thumbs up in this house, and that is usually enough to make me smile into the next day for sure.

This post is also a little deviance from the smoothies and juices I’ve been sharing – and a delicious way to tuck into something rich and soothing!

No matter what happens, it is within my power to turn it to my advantage.

– Epictetus

Fresh shredded brussels sprout salad made a perfect side – my next post!

I made another change this week that I’ll keep under my hat a few more days. I want to see if I can make it stick. It’s (relatively) small, but if I can do this, will be HUGE to me. I’ll keep you all posted πŸ˜‰

  • Are you familiar with paneer?
  • If so, have you ever made it?
  • What is your favorite Indian dish (assuming you like it of course)

Let us know, will you?

Stay tuned for the accompaniments in my next post (they are yummy, and easy!) and have a great start to the week friends, and (as always) a giant thanks for reading and for your comments!

Yours in Less,

79 Comments

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

Recipe: Squeaky Clean Spinach & Stone-fruit Smoothie

It’s another gloriously fine day!

There is no man living that can not do more than he thinks he can.

~ Henry Ford

Welcome to today at IPOM fine readers!

What a fabulously fun few days it has been! Yesterday I was surprised, delighted, and humbled by none other than WordPress (thank you WordPress!) – for including IPOM as one of ‘7 Food Blogs To Read This Summer’ on the WP newsletter!

Wow! What a wonderful honor (and in some seriously good company too!), and for this I am so grateful!

To all of you who have supported this little blog and its mission from the start, and for those who are just joining us, thank you for being here.

It is such an honor and a pleasure and I enjoy each and every interaction with you, whether it is here, or on any number of your amazing blogs in this community (of which I am grateful to follow many a winner).

We can only be said to be alive in those moments when our hearts are conscious of our treasures.

~ Thornton Wilde

Today’s post is another fresh and simple way to kick-start either a bright new morning, a stodgy, slumpy afternoon, or even as a great way to try the concept of ‘fasting’ if you are new to it. (Trading heavy solid foods for a quickie smoothie is a great way to try it).

Blended foods are gentle on the stomach, and when filled with pure, unadulterated whole foods, are easily digested and assimilated too.

The Less:

Less additions to your fruit smoothie means easy simple ingredients that won’t break the bank. Less chewing and cooked foods means more raw nutrition that is easy to break down. Less challenging ingredients means you can find these foods anywhere, so eating this good is easy and accessible too.

The More:

More fresh spinach means more calcium, fiber, and chlorophyll. More fresh uncooked fruits means more fresh sun-kissed goodness. More blended raw foods means more clean gentle nourishment, so eating can be peaceful and healing when you need it.

Not just for Popeye!

Squeaky Clean Spinach & Stone-fruit Smoothie:

  • (2) fresh nectarines (can sub peaches or apricots, if using apricots up to 3-4)
  • (1) heaping cup frozen peaches
  • (1) large handful packed fresh spinach leaves
  • (1) banana
  • (1-1.5) cup mango juice (can also sub apricot, peach, or other yellow tropical combo)
  • (1) cup ice cubes (optional)

Combine all ingredients in a blender and blend on high until super smooth – about 1 minute minimum.

Depending on the strength of your blender, the time it takes to properly blend really varies.

Just make sure there are no chunks and if using ice, to give it a little extra time, or extra juice, or both.

We become that which we love.

~ Saint Bridget

It is said that in order to achieve a dream, that you should pursue what you love. I believe this to be true. I have referenced in the blog before that there is great power in just starting, and with this, there is also great relevance in the notion of starting as you mean to go on.

So while we can’t wait for things to be perfect before we start something new (because they never are), it is important to start as we mean to go on.

Because there is no substitute for authenticity, and it will always shine through any imperfection πŸ™‚

Let us be grateful to people who make us happy; they are the charming gardeners who make our souls blossom.

~ Marcel Proust

Everyday is a day for new things. This smoothie was my new thing this week, as it is wonderful – and an easy way to start the day as you mean to go on!

I adore the summery taste of stone fruits and spinach is a wonderful mild green that is easily blended into these fruits with such big taste and character.

So if you think you don’t like green smoothies – you might just be surprised with this one (or not)!

There’s a wall between you and what you want and you got to leap it.

~ Bob Dylan

In the ‘coming soon’ section…

IPOM started 6 months ago to engage and connect with a bigger group of people in the celebration of good food (Holla! You guys are amazing!)

Many of you also likely know there is a bigger picture here as well.

Not So Fast, which is a new non-profit organization founded (by wee little me) last year, is just about to spread its wings a little.

We’ll be launching our new identity in the coming weeks, and sharing a story or two about (amazing) regular people (like you and me) who are making a difference in their community, by showing us that ‘living with less’, even for a short time, can make a giant impact!

We hope you’ll stay tuned while we roll this out, and I promise to keep you hungry for more great food ideas and recipes, and am (as always) looking forward to all of yours!

  • What is your favorite smoothie combo?
  • Are you a Green Smoothie novice?
  • Have you started anything new this week?

Do share – your comments and thoughts are always so enjoyed!

And of course, I am wishing you all a fabulous week…..I know I said it was last week (I ran out of time!) but after I publish this, I am turning my computer over to the pros, it’s finally time for a brand new computer!

Now, that’s my new thing. What’s yours? πŸ˜‰

Yours in Less,

82 Comments

Filed under Cheap, Cooking, Desserts, Food, Gluten Free, Health, Non-Profit Organization, Not So Fast, Photography, Raw, Recipes, Rich & Simple, Sweet Treats, Vegan, Vegetarian