Sweet Potato Daal

Listen up because this is the best lentil side dish I’ve ever made. How on earth can lentils taste this good! Daal actually means lentil but it can also mean a thick lentil stew often prepared in Indian cuisine. The way Daal is prepared makes it seem like a hybrid between a lentil soup and a lentil stew. But stew is definitely the right word, it’s great for cold fall days when you need something substantial but light.

With the right balance of spices, a hint of coconut oil and a low and slow cooking method, you can be on your way to eating creamy lentils in no time! I think the key here is to make sure to toast the spices, if you skip this step, it could end up tasting more along the lines of cardboard than a Bombay dream.

There are many different kinds of Daal ( or lentils), there’s red, green, brown and black. I find red takes less time to soak (only 30 minutes), so if you want your Daal sooner than later, it’s best to choose the red variety. Most Daal recipes call for butter, but I decided to substitute it out for coconut oil. I also added sweet potatoes which provided a sweet flavour and went quite well with the spices.

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1 cup red lentils

2 cups water

1 white onion, diced

4 cloves garlic, sliced

1 1/2 inch piece of ginger, peeled and finely minced

4 vine tomatoes (or 2 medium tomatoes), chopped

1 medium sweet potato, peeled and cubed

1 tbsp coconut oil

1/2 tsp mustard seeds

1/2 tsp cumin seeds

1/2 tsp turmeric powder

1/2 tsp chili powder

1/4 tsp chili flakes (optional)

Salt and pepper to season

Soak lentils in water for 30 minutes, then rinse and drain. Bring water, lentils, onion, garlic, ginger, tomatoes to a boil, then cover and reduce to low, cook for 30-40 minutes. Refrain from adding salt at this stage because it will prevent lentils from getting tender and soft. Halfway through cooking, add sweet potatoes. Heat a non-stick skillet to med-low, add in 1 tbsp of oil. Once oil is well heated, add in mustard seeds and cumin seeds, cover skillet with lid and let them splutter for 30 seconds. Shake skillet to prevent burning. Remove from heat immediately. Once lentil/tomato mixture is cooked, whisk mixture vigorously to release starch, add in mustard/cumin oil, seeds and all. Add in turmeric powder, chili powder and chili flakes, add in an additional teaspoon of coconut oil if desired (for extra creaminess!). Salt and pepper to season. Chop up cilantro and garnish. Serve with rice as a main dish or serve as a side dish. Makes 4 main portions.

 

Japanese Seasoned Rice Balls

You guys this is kind of silly…but this next post is the REASON we started blogging in the first place. It was three years ago and Jenn and I were surfing the net and found a bento box blog. We then proceeded to look at a billion more bento box blogs, yeah we were kind of obsessed. They were just so adorable and little and there were pandas…

Onigiri is like the sandwich of Japan. They’re cute little packages made of sticky rice and filled with various things like meat, veg or even pickled plums! They’re usually shaped as a ball or triangle and sometimes sprinkled with sesame seeds or wrapped in seaweed.

For the rice the best kind to use is sushi rice. Just cook it based on the instructions and put it onto a cutting board or into bowl, until it gets to room temperature.

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Add salt, vinegar, and sugar if desired, like regular sushi rice, (we only used salt). You could also add sesame seeds if you like!

We chose to stuff our onigiri with chicken salad made with leftover chicken, veggies, mayo, smoked chipotle powder, garlic, lemon juice and tamari (soy sauce).

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Filling options:
Mashed yams w/ soy sauce
Sauteed shrimp
Umeboshi plum (traditional)
Leftover chicken
Peanut Satay chicken
Salmon
Tuna salad
Guacamole and cukes

Once you have the fillings and your rice, you can commence the assembly:
Wet your hands, take a 1/4 cup of rice and form into a patty, add 1 tsp of filling in the middle, fold patty in half like a pierogi, then shape into a ball.

We topped ours with sesame seeds and a japanese chili pepper seasoning!

Makes at least 12 balls.

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“Cream” of Mushroom Soup

Guys, I was obsessed with Campbell’s Cream of Mushroom soup when I was little. Jac always got Tomato soup with pasta for lunch and I got that creamy bowl of mushroom goodness. I also used to eat mushrooms raw…and I put onions on my chocolate ice cream, but let’s save that story for another time…

Jac and I came across these awesome recipes by a youtube channel called River Cottage. It looks like it’s associated with Jamie Oliver’s Fifteen. They have really great, rustic recipes and we came across one for mushroom soup. We HAD to try it. Or at least I HAD to try it. It turned out AWESOME. The whole house smelled amazing! It’s crazy how much flavour comes off of mushrooms. I guess that’s why there is mushroom broth. It’s a powerhouse of flavour! We replaced the leeks with just regular onions and the cream with full fat coconut milk. It was creamy and delicious and dare I say…better than Campbell’s.

750g of mushrooms (either mixed or just white, whatever you got!)

1 cooking onion

3 sprigs of thyme

1 tbsp coconut oil

1 clove of garlic, chopped

1 tablespoon arrowroot starch (optional)

1.2 litres of veggie or mushroom stock (we used 1 tetra pak)

100 ml full fat coconut milk

1/2 tsp nutmeg

Salt and pepper

So to start you are going to melt the coconut oil in a very large frying pan or wok. Add the onions and thyme leaves and cook for about 10 minutes (or until soft). Add in the mushrooms and a sprinkle of salt. Stir around for a few minutes, add the garlic and cook down until soft. Pour in veggie stock and bring to a boil. Simmer uncovered for 20 minutes. Transfer soup into a large bowl and puree with an immersion blender or blend in actual blender. Transfer back to pan. Add in coconut milk and nutmeg. If you feel like it needs to be thicker, add in arrowroot. Salt and pepper to taste. Serve with a sprinkling of herbs and cashews. Yum!

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Chocolate-Peanut Butter Banana Pudding

These were kind of made by fluke. We originally set out to make whipped coconut cream that was sturdy enough to stand on its own. But since we didn’t have an electric beater, I beat it by hand with a whisk. It worked! We didn’t have the stiff peaks we wanted, but the billowy cream was perfect for puddings!

1 can full fat coconut milk (whipped with whisk to best of ability)
3 tbsp coconut sugar
1/4 cup natural peanut butter
1/4 cup melted dark chocolate
Dash of vanilla extract
Dash of  sea salt
Bananas and chocolate chips for decoration

Whip coconut milk (we used Thai Kitchen and believe it to be the best brand to use to make whipped cream, all the others seemed a little pulpy). Take out 4 ramekins or small containers. Fill each to the rim with pudding mixture. Place in fridge to cool and set (overnight preferably but a few hours would do fine too.) We decorated ours to look like mice (originally they were supposed to be bears but just ended up looking more mousy, we added tails made out of chocolate chips and peanuts!)

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Oh lord…look at these adorkable puddings!

4-Ingredient Halva Cookies

These cookies are so fast and easy. Ready in 1,2,3…4! It’s a bit like a cross between a cookie and a macaroon. We’ve made a chocolate chip version as well. The base of nut flour+coconut is so flexible, the combinations are endless! You could also sub in cocoa powder for some of the nut/seed flour. I make these cookies when I want a sweet treat in a pinch.

We fell in love with halva during our trip to Israel a few summers ago. We even had it for breakfast! Halva is like a nougat made from ground sesame seeds (tahini) and sugar syrup or honey. The most popular flavours are chocolate and vanilla of course, but I’ve seen pistachio halva and lemon halva. I encourage you to get creative with this basic recipe and give it a personal twist!

What you’ll need:

1/2 cup ground sesame seeds

1/2 cup unsweetened finely shredded coconut

4 tbsp honey

2 tbsp tahini (sesame butter)

Mix all ingredients together. Form dough into flat cookie shapes. Bake at 350F for exactly 10 minutes. Makes 12.

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Sunshine cookie day

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Superfood Clusters

All of our baking has been in the freezer lately! Treats come together so quickly when you don’t have to bake them. Keep these on hand if you ever feel like you’re super level is too low. Each cluster contains 100% of your recommended intake of super, guaranteed.
For the coating:

6 tbsp almond butter
3 tbsp coconut oil, melted
10 drops vanilla stevia
1/4 cup cocoa powder

Combine in a bowl, set aside.

1/4 cup each of:

Raw almonds
Raw cashews
Sacha Inchi seeds
Goji berries
Hemp seeds
Dried cranberries (juice sweetened)
Coconut shreds (I dusted mine with spirulina, didn’t really stick though)

Add nuts and fruit into chocolate mixture and stir until fully-coated. Scoop out onto parchment paper in cluster shapes. Freeze for about 2 hours. Eat. Feel super.

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Take a bite!

 

 

PBH Breakfast Cookies

My favourite sandwich when I was little was a peanut butter and honey sandwich on multigrain bread. PB+H always takes me back to my childhood and these cookies are no exception. These are great to have in the morning as a snack-on-the-go. They come together in a snap and really fill you up! I added quinoa flakes just to shake up the texture a bit, you can just use straight oats though.

1 cup oats

1 cup quinoa flakes

1 banana, mashed

1/4 cup honey

1/2 tsp vanilla extract

1/3 cup natural peanut butter

Dash of sea salt

It’s as easy as it looks! Mix everything together and form into cookie shapes on a parchment lined baking sheet. Bake for 15 minutes at 350F. You’re done!

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Oil-free, soft and chewy cookies!