As winter seems to drag on and on this year with each new snowfall, I've been feeling the need to get warmer and cozier and to slow down. This Slow Cooker Butter Chickpea dish is a meal I've been turning to a lot over the last few months because it warms me up and is quick and easy to make for those nights where I just don't have the energy for cooking. The tiredness has been growing day by day as my due date is slowly approaching. I know this is a meal that I will be making a lot once the baby is born as cooking will be the last thing on my mind.
A few notes on some of the healing properties of this dish:
Ginger is an antispasmodic and can help calm and relax the body. It is antiviral, antibacterial and anti parasitic. It reduces inflammation and increases circulation. It has more than 60 trace minerals and helps enhance the body's production of vitamin B12, an extremely important vitamin for stress reduction and fertility. It is helpful at curbing nausea if you are in your first trimester.
Garlic is a sulfer containing plant from the onion family which helps support the detoxification activities of the liver, and detoxifying the liver helps to balance hormones. Garlic's active ingredient, allicin, is an antibiotic that has been shown to help with viruses and staph and strep bacteria. Use it as part of any healing diet. Garlic contains antioxidants (especially vitamins C and A and selenium) that boost the immune system and protect us against allergens and pollutants.
Cilantro has good quantities of calcium, phosphorous, potassium, sodium, magnesium and beta carotene. It has beneficial stomach properties and eases digestive problems such as nausea and vomiting. It can be helpful with fevers, purifies the blood and strengthens the heart. It has been called the ‘poor mans chelator’, which means that it has a talent for drawing out heavy metals from the body and helping to excrete them.
Slow Cooker Butter Chickpea
-1Tbsp olive oil
-1 medium size onion, diced
-4 garlic cloves, minced
-1 can coconut milk
-2 cups crushed tomatoes
-1Tbsp garam masala
-1Tbsp curry powder
-1Tbsp freshly grated ginger
-2tsp chili powder
-1/2tsp black pepper
-2 28oz cans chickpeas, rinsed and drained
-handful chopped cilantro, for garnish
-wholegrain pita bread, naan bread or brown rice for serving
1.Place all ingredients except cilantro in your crockpot. Cook according to your crockpot instructions (about 4-5hrs on low heat).
2.Serve butter chickpeas with fresh cilantro and warmed pita or naan bread.
Love and light, xo
When I was a kid my parents owned a restaurant and my favourite thing to eat there was the caesar salad my dad made. Growing up caesar salad was always one of those foods I would get excited about. Especially when it was sided with a baked potato loaded with sour cream and lots of cheese.
Now obviously being a "mostly vegan" eater I don't partake in those dairy laden foods too often anymore, but I still love caesar salad. It's hard to find a good one that is vegan, not topped with bacon and not made with anchovies.
But my friends, I have made one that will blow your socks off. The dressing is creamy, the toppings are filling and the flavour is salty and delicious.
I've made a few different vegan caesar salads that I love from food blogs that I love, and have taken my favourite parts of each, thrown them all together and added my own twist. I cannot wait for you to try it!
This is a staple meal in our house. Yes, a meal. Salads can be so much more than a side dish, as you will see from the recipe below.
One of the key ingredients in the salad is tempeh. Tempeh is made from fermented soybeans which are made into a patty, similar to a burger. Sometimes you can buy them with added spices, but often you can just purchase a plain tempeh patty. Many people wonder if the taste is similar to tofu, as they are both made from soy. The answer is a big NO! Tofu is very bland whereas tempeh has quite a nutty flavour. The textures are different too, with tempeh being much firmer and more nut like.
Tempeh is also different from tofu because it is fermented, and therefore really good for digestive health. If you want to learn more about fermented foods and digestion check out my recipe for kimchi. The one thing that is similar about tempeh and tofu though, is that you need to buy both organic as non-organic soy is GMO.
The best way to eat tempeh is to saute it with a bit of olive oil, and if the flavours of the dish are right, tamari. This is how we eat it in my house. I add it to salads, yoga bowls, chilli and in veggie burgers.
Tempeh can be pretty hard to find if you live in a smaller town. I can get it at my natural health food store where I live, but it only comes frozen. When I was in Indonesia I ate tempeh most days as it is a staple dish to vegetarians and vegans who live there.
If you haven't tried it before please don't be scared by its' appearance. I promise it will become your new best friend and you will find yourself incorporating it into many different meals!
Best Ever Vegan Caesar Salad
Vegan, Refined Sugar Free
-2Tbsp. nutritional yeast
-1Tbsp. organic tamari
-1/4cup of lemon juice
-1/4cup of olive oil
-3 cloves of garlic
-2Tbsp. dijon mustard
-3 cups of cooked chickpeas
-2Tbsp. organic virgin coconut oil (or other high heat oil)
-1tsp. sea salt
-1tsp. chilli powder
-1/2tsp. smoked paprika
-1/4tsp. garlic powder
Cashew Parmesan "Cheese":
-1/2cup raw cashews
-3/4tsp. sea salt
-1/4tsp. garlic powder
-2Tbsp. nutritional yeast
-225g package of organic tempeh (thawed if frozen)
-1Tbsp. olive oil
-1-2Tbsp. organic tamari
-1 head of romaine lettuce
-1-2 handfuls of kale
1. Preheat oven to 400F. Rinse chickpeas if they are canned. In a bowl mix the chickpeas with the coconut oil and all spices (I like to use my hands for this). Spread them out on a parchment lined baking sheet. Bake in oven for 30-35minutes, until the chickpeas start to split and get hard (they will also harden up as they cool).
2. Heat a medium skillet and add 1Tbsp. olive oil. Chop tempeh into small cubes and add to pan. Saute until tempeh starts to brown. Add the tamari and cook until tamari has absorbed. Turn off heat and set aside to cool.
3. To make the dressing put all ingredients in a blender, adding a bit of water if the mixture is too thick. Taste and adjust seasoning.
4. To make the cashew parmesan cheese, place all ingredients in a food processor (i use a mini one for this) and pulse until it becomes a fine crumb.
5. Wash lettuce and kale, remove kale ribs and chop all leaves into bite sized pieces.
6. Arrange salad. Lettuce and kale, tempeh, croutons, dressing and parmesan. Enjoy!
Love and light xo,
Happy Spring! It's been so beautiful here in the Okanagan this last week that I was actually in my flip flops today. It seems a bit crazy with it only being the end of March but I am dying for it to be summer already. I don't know about you but with each passing year I find I dislike winter more and more and dream about the warmer months as soon as January 1st hits (I know I know, the winter is SO mild here in comparison to other places but I'm allowed to whine a little, right?!).
It's about this time each year that I start to get the itch to detox- my body, my mind, my home, my everything. I'm not going to lie I'm a bit of a detox fanatic- but I can never make it through a major cleanse without cheating or going off the rails and eating everything I'm avoiding. I've found that A: I try to quit everything cold turkey and find there's nothing left to eat and I'm starving and B: Juice cleanses don't work! Not for me anyway. I so badly want to make it through one but I have such a strong gag reflex and vegetable juice is a major gag for me. So this year I've decided to be a bit kinder to myself, go slowly and listen to my body. Duh, why have I never thought of this before? I guess it takes having a baby to step back and say hey, it's ok that you snuck some chocolate and missed working out for an entire week (or two)! You will survive.
One thing I usually always want to do more of in the spring to help me cleanse is yoga. I adore yoga. I love yoga. I live for yoga. For someone that is a bit high strung it really calms me down, brings me back to earth and reconnects me with my body, my mind and my spirit as well as with the planet and the people around me. Yoga simultaneously shows me my strengths and my weaknesses and more than ever before it humbles me. Lately I've been doing a lot of yoga videos as it is a lot easier these days to do a bit of yoga at home while Harlow naps then make a big trek to the studio and try to arrange it around nursing and nap times. The people I've been learning from are so inspiring and they are really pushing me to try new things I didn't know my body could even do-and humbling me when I fall on my face!
Normally I would be talking about nutrition but exercise is just as important as a healthy diet. So my post for today is on the benefits of yoga. Most people are aware of some of the benefits of yoga such as increased flexibility and joint mobility, improved cardiovascular health and weight reduction. But there is more my friends! Yoga is wonderful at protecting your spine and improving posture. With all the compression and release of different muscles and organs in the various twisting and bending poses, your body gets a beautiful yoga massage which helps drain the lymphatic system (boosting your immunity and helping prevent sickness). Yoga is great for improving balance and co-ordination, and reducing blood pressure and tension. Yoga is not only good for the body but also for the mind. Serotonin release increases which improves the mood and can help combat depression. Do it long enough and you may start to notice an increase in self-esteem as you master all those tricky poses you thought you would never get. If you let it, yoga can help give you inner strength and awareness of your thoughts as well as your body. Try tuning out for an hour and tuning into what your body is telling you. You will most definitely learn something new about yourself if you give yourself the chance to stop talking, be quiet and just listen! Beware though-practicing yoga tends to help bring peace of mind, better sleep and the urge to be kinder to others and more connected to oneself, the people around you and Mother Nature!
So that brings me to my yoga bowl. We eat a lot of "bowl" meals in our house. Oatmeal bowl, burrito bowl, protein bowl, yoga bowl, etc. etc. My husband and I each have our own designated large pottery bowls that we load up on a regular basis with healthy, yummy foods. I suggest you get yourself a big, beautiful bowl too as it makes the eating experience that much more pleasurable. The yoga bowl I've created is something that I love to eat/crave after I've finished a hard workout or hot yoga class and want to eat a big bowl of nourishing food. It's also completely vegan, gluten free and sugar free as well. Three "things" that I am completely avoiding these days as the dairy bothers my daughter's skin through my breastmilk, the gluten quite possibly bothers my digestive system (more on that once I've fully cleansed it from my system) and the sugar-well the sugar is just not good for you as we all know and I overindulged a bit too much during Easter... Onto the recipe!
Vegan, Gluten Free, Sugar Free
For the bowl:
1 bunch curly kale
2tsp olive oil
2tsp apple cider vinegar
1.5cups brown rice
3 cups water
For the tofu:
350g organic super firm tofu
1Tbsp chili paste
3Tbsp gluten-free tamari
1Tbsp sesame oil
1/2Tbsp apple cider vinegar
1/2Tbsp grated fresh ginger
For the dressing:
1/2c. orange juice
1Tbsp+1tsp freshly grated ginger
1Tbsp sesame oil
1Tbsp+2tsp gluten-free tamari
2tsp apple cider vinegar
4tsp gluten-free miso paste
1/4c. filtered water
1.Cut your tofu in half long ways, and then again with each piece. Cut into triangles (or any shape you prefer!). The goal is to get the tofu nice and thin for maximum absorption. Whisk the rest of the tofu ingredients in a small bowl. Place tofu in an even layer in a shallow dish and pour the mix on top to coat all tofu pieces. Refrigerate for a couple of hours (I did 4).
2.Preheat oven to 475 degrees. Place tofu on a lined baking sheet and place in oven for 25 minutes, flipping halfway through, until tofu is nicely browned.
3.While tofu is cooking, place your water and rice in a medium pot. Bring to a boil then reduce heat and simmer, covered, until water is absorbed and rice is cooked.
4.Remove the stems from the kale and chop the leaves, discarding the stems. Place in a bowl with the oil, vinegar and salt. Massage until kale starts to become tender.
5.Grate carrots and beets.
6.Make dressing. Place all ingredients and blend until smooth.
7.Assemble bowl. Rice, kale, tofu, carrots, beets, avocado, pumpkin seeds, sunflower seeds, sesame seeds. Drizzle dressing on top. Enjoy!
"There is purpose and value in each day of your life, in each season of your life. Nurture your times of action, of creating, of doing, and value your quieter times of going within. The more you study nature, the more you will learn about yourself. Nurture and trust the seasons of your soul."
from the book "Journey to the Heart, Daily Meditations on the Path to Freeing Your Soul"
Love and light,