Sometimes I just don’t want porridge and sometimes there’s no time for a scramble. Sometimes I want something that I can just grab from the fridge, dress up and take with me so I don’t feel hunger pangs when I’m eying the muffins at the coffee shop.
It just so happens that I have the perfect recipe for such times. It takes a wee bit of advanced planning, so if that’s not your thing then I apologize. But when you’re lying in bed thinking about what you’re going to do for breakfast (I know I can’t be the only one who does that), and ‘bircher!’ pops into your head – it will only take a very quick visit to the kitchen to pop your oats in the fridge and you can run back to you warm bed knowing that in the morning you’ll be eating a crazy delicious breakfast.
If you want to hear about all the great benefits of bircher, head over to Sarah’s blog who explains it all very well (and who also, clearly, inspired me to start making my bircher breakfasts again!)
Chai Chia Bicher
Serves 1 hungry human
- 2/3 cup whole oats
- 1 tbsp chia seeds
- 1 tbsp flax seeds
- pinch of: cinnamon, ginger, nutmeg, cardamom, cloves
- 1 tbsp raisins (optional, but I find if I add raisins for the soaking process, the sweetness from them is all I need. If you don’t like raisins, then maybe add a splash of your favourite sweet stuff (maple syrup, agave, honey), but also it tastes fine without!
- 1 cup liquid (I’ve been using rice milk. You can use any type of milk or even water!)
Combine all the ingredients in a bowl, stir and place in fridge overnight. If taking ‘on the go’ then soak in a mason jar with the lid off and just put the lid on in the morning!
I like to sprinkle some coconut, extra cinnamon and fresh fruit on mine. Dress it up, and enjoy the long lasting benefits of soaked oats!
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The sun is shining. The first day of summer is near and I’m craving fresh colorful vegetables. Thankfully our very first CSA box arrived yesterday and almost everything I needed to cure those cravings!
First up, this creamy kale and carrot salad. Usually I like to blend, roast or saute kale rather than just crunch it raw. But I’m probably the last person to discover that if you massage the leaves gently with some oil (or in this case, avocado dressing), the bitterness disappears and it tastes delicious.
For the dressing:
I didn’t use any oil. If you like using oil, I’d add about 2 tbsp olive oil.
- Juice of a large lemon
- 2 tbsp avocado
- 1 tbsp apple cider vinegar
- 1 clove garlic
For the salad:
- Enough kale for one person
- Small handful of lettuce/arugula
- 1 small carrot, sliced very thinly
- 1/2 – 1 cup of chickpeas (cooked from dry, or rinsed from a can)
- 1/2 an avocado, cubed
- 1/2 a tomato, chopped (optional…I added mine for more color)
- Small handful of chopped, toasted almonds
Blend the dressing together in a processer or with a hand held blender.
Put the kale in a small salad bowl and pour some of the dressing over it. Using you hands, gently massage the dressing into the leaves. Add the rest of the salad ingredients and pour any remaining dressing over top. Give it a stir and voila. Amazing.
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Sometimes we just don’t want oats for breakfast.
After trying many of the tofu scrambles that Seattle has to offer, Ivan and I felt ready to make Sunday brunch a stay-at-home thing by making a tofu scramble to trump all scrambles.
This is it. This does it. This, paired with some miso gravy, homefries and chipotle adobo sauce is possibly the most satisfying ‘big breakfast’ that I can imagine. We also served this with some tempeh bacon which is very unneccessary and we probably wouldn’t do so again.
Seasonal Tofu Scramble with Homefries (serves 3 very hungry people)
- 4 medium sized Potatoes
- small bunch of asparagus (or other seasonal roasting vegetable)
- block of firm or extra firm tofu
- 1/2 onion, chopped
- 1 clove garlic, chopped
- 2 large portobello mushrooms (or any other seasonal vegetable)
- 2 spring/green onions, chopped
- 2 small tomatos, chopped
- pinches of turmeric, smoked paprika, cumin, oregano, cayenne (if you like it spicy), and nutritional yeast (optional but tastes amazing)
- salt & pepper to taste
- a handful or 2 of dark leafy greens (we used baby spinach)
Turn the oven on to 180C or 350F. Chop up your potatoes nice and bite sized. Put them in a roasting dish and drizzle 1 tsp of oil over them. (If you’re using any other good roasting vegetables then I’d throw them in the dish too. We used asparagus. I imagine that cauliflower, eggplant, or broccoli would also taste amazing. Go wild). The potatoes take about 30 minutes, so you could start making everything else just as you pop them in the oven.
- Start with a block of firm or extra firm tofu. Place it on a plate and put another plate on top of it. Now put something really heavy on top (like a huge book) and let all the water drain out while you prep the rest of the stuff.
- In a pan, saute the onion, garlic and any other vegetables that you want cooked really well (We used portobello mushrooms). Add a tsp of water if the onion sticks. Keep stirring til everything is well cooked.
- Back to the tofu: Take the plate and book off the tofu and squeeze out any excess water. It’s ok if it breaks cause you’re about to crumble it.
- In a bowl, crumble the drained tofu, add some chopped green/spring onion and chopped tomatoes. Now add the spices and mix it all together.
- Throw it in the pan and cook through until the tomatoes are cooked to your liking. Just before it’s done, throw in the leafy greens and cook til they’ve wilted.
On a plate assemble scramble, salted homefries and asparagus and drizzle with miso gravy (below). Add a few splashes of chipotle adobo sauce and savor each bite cause it will blow.your.mind.
Miso Gravy (for 2-3 people)
This sauce is possibly our second favourite thing right now (behind the chipotles in adobo). And it’s so simple!
- 2 tbsp mellow white miso paste
- 1 tbsp tahini
- 3 tbsp water (+ more to reach desired consistency)
- 1 clove of garlic (optional)
In a small bowl (or blender, if you’re using the garlic) combine miso paste with tahini. Add three tablespoons of water and mix/pulse til combined. If using garlic, add garlic and keep pulsing til blended. Add more water to reach your desired consistency (gravy-like perhaps?).
And that’s it! Pour over anything. (Tofu scrambles, hippie bowls, stir frys etc).
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I’ve been stressing out about the lack of ‘dark leafy greens’ in our diet here in Mexico. The vegetables here that look the best are avocados and limes…consistently. Anything else is hit and miss. So you can imagine my delight when Ivan woke me this morning with a bunch of leafy greens that he’d found on his morning walk with Mika. Yeah, not your usual thing to be delighted by upon waking, but these are not usual circumstances.
Naturally I was stoked. I wasn’t going to risk them going bad in this crazy heat, so I decided to use them up for lunch, pronto. After a bit of searching around for inspiration, I used what we had and came up with this. Perfectly spicy, crunchy, fresh and warm. I suppose you could call this a salad. I’m not sure what the technical term for salad is, but this definitely isn’t a stew or a soup, so salad will do.
You could really use any combination of greens and vegetables in this. I feel like some big juicy mushrooms would be amazing, as would some dry roasted chopped peanuts or some mung beans. You could also use spinach or kale instead of whatever it was that we used (I think it was silverbeet of some kind).
Spicy Buckwheat + Garlicky Greens
- Buckwheat soba noodles, cooked according to the package
- Large bunch of dark greens (I have no idea what ours were called. Something from the silverbeet family maybe)
- 3 cloves of garlic, chopped tiny
- Block of tofu (we can only get Silken here, but firm would be nicer probably)
- Bunch of asparagus, blanched to perfection
- 2 handfuls of cherry tomatoes, halved
- Half a large cucumber, peeled and sliced/chopped
- 1/4 cup of chopped cilantro
For the dressing, mix the following together vigorously:
- 2 tbsp tahini
- juice of a lemon
- pinch of salt
- 1/4 tsp cayenne pepper
- 3 tbsp warm water
So to cook the greens, wash the leaves and shake them dry in a colander. Heat up some water in a pan (like about 1cm of water). When it’s boiling, throw the greens in and toss around until they have all wilted down (about 1 minute). Remove and squeeze moisture from them and chop up small on a chopping board.
Now reheat the pan and add a tiny splash of oil. Throw in the garlic and stir so it doesn’t brown. Add the chopped spinach and mix it all around til it’s nice and cooked and garlicky. You can throw the tofu in the pan now too – mix it all together til it’s hot and good.
In a large bowl, combine the cooked buckwheat noodles, the garlicky greens with the tofu, the cherry tomatoes, the cucumber, the cilantro and the blanched asparagus.
Pour the dressing overtop and mix it up!
We served some to baby before the dressing was added. We added more cayenne pepper on our own plates and it was amazing. I’d love to know if you try this!
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I have to be super honest and tell you that I never set out to post this recipe. I threw it together and didn’t add any fancy dressing (cause I never do) and so I just assumed it would taste fresh and crunchy but kinda not ‘blog about it’ delicious. But somehow this salad was like ‘woah’ in my mouth and so I had to snap a picture. Later when Ivan came home I threw one together for him and waited for the reaction. Same thing! He loved it. So therefore, I had to share.
So I’m pretty sure anything goes here. But if you want guaranteed woah-ness in your mouth then I suggest you make sure you don’t skip on the main ingredients:
Proportions and measurements will vary depending on your taste and how many you are preparing for. Use your own judgement!
- Cooked quinoa (any color, I used red)
- Cherry tomatoes (halved)
- Red onion, chopped tiny
- Red lettuce (or spinach)
- Yams or sweet potato, cut into cubes and roasted
- Red bell pepper, chopped
- Bean mix (I used pinto, black and kidney)
- Goats cheese (a teeny tiny bit)
- A squeeze of lemon
This is so easy if you have some left over quinoa in the fridge. Just throw the yams/sweet potatoes into the oven to roast and start preparing everything else. By the time you’ve finished getting everything together, the yams will be ready and voila! Mash the avocado a bit before you put it in, and give the lemon a good squeeze over everything. I think it must be the combination of the red onion for bite, the avocado and goats cheese for creaminess and the yams for sweetness that makes this taste so good! I also meant to add roasted kale for crunch but I forgot about it.
Let me know if you make any variations of this!
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We’re in Seattle and we’re living across the road from the supermarket. I can actually see into the vegetable section from our balcony. And so I’ve suddenly gone from zero variety in my food options to endless variety and holy moly it’s overwhelming. I think I needed a few days just to let it all sink in. I gradually purchased items that I knew I was missing in Mexico – red lentils, kale, mushrooms, yams, sweet potatoes, quinoa, spelt flour, maple syrup, wild rice – until now it looks like I have a food hoarding problem. The fun part now is using up all the wonderful things I’ve bought. These muffins are a result of that!
I was inspired by these muffins using carrot juice as the only sweetener. I wanted to make mine a bit more ‘carrot cake’ like though, so I added coconut and walnuts and I think next time I might add raisins too.
These muffins aren’t sweet like you’ll be used to. They’re kind of like pancake sweet – so if you’re the kind of person who can eat pancakes on their own then you’ll gobble these up. If you’re not, and you’re more like Ivan, then you will drizzle these with maple syrup and eat them with a fork and exclaim ‘Mmmm damn these are good’ as you reach for your 2nd and 3rd muffin.
If you want to add some sweetness in the muffin I’d suggest adding 1/4 cup maple syrup or honey to the mixture.
Carrot & Coconut Muffins
- 2 tbsp chia seeds + 6 tbsp water
- 1.5 cups spelt flour
- 1 cup rolled oats
- 1/4 cup coconut
- 1/4 cup chopped walnuts
- 1 tsp cinnamon
- 1 tsp baking powder
- 1 tsp baking soda
- 1 1/4 cups pure carrot juice
- 3 tbsp oil
Turn oven on to 200 degrees F.
Mix the chia seeds and water in a bowl and set aside.
Combine the flour, oats, coconut, walnuts, cinnamon, baking powder and baking soda in a bowl.
Mix the carrot juice and oil together. Check to see if the chia seeds are gloopy. Add them to the juice and oil. Whisk well.
Add the wet to the dry and stir til combined. This is where I might add some raisins, some grated carrot or some maple syrup.
Fill a greased muffin tray with the mixture. Mine made 12 average sized muffins.
Eat with soup. As a snack. In the morning. As a dessert with maple syrup…
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Have you been following the Food Matters Project? I’m not entirely sure if there are any rules to it, but I saw recently they made a tomato curry soup and with our recent trip to the asian food store I was inspired to use one of our cans of coconut milk and test it out.
We have a lot of red peppers at the moment because when I see them in the store I buy lots – sometimes it can be weeks before I see them again. So this curry turned into a real hearty vegetable curry with my favourite outstanding flavours being the tomato and the red pepper (and obviously the coconut milk!).
It’s not so much a soup…rather a stew – but you can adjust the amount of coconut milk and stock to your liking. I ate this over some quinoa, Ivan ate it with some brown rice and then we had it again for dinner without the added grains and it was like a chunky soup. It’s really really tasty.
Red Pepper & Tomato Curry (soup or stew)
Serves 5 pretty hungry people and one hungry little baby.
- One large onion, chopped
- 3 cloves garlic, chopped
- 1 tbsp chopped ginger
- 2 tbsp curry powder
- 1 tsp ground cumin
- 1/4 tsp garam masala
- 1 potato (or sweet potato) chopped
- 1 carrot, chopped
- 2 red bell peppers (capsicums), chopped
- 4 peeled and chopped tomatoes + 1/4 cup tomato puree (OR 1-2 cans of tomatos with their juice)
- 1 can coconut milk
- 2-3 cups home-made vegetable stock or water
- 1/2 head of cauliflower, chopped
- 2 handfuls spinach
Heat a large pot and throw in the onion, garlic and ginger. Stir quickly so it doesn’t burn and keep stirring until they turn soft. If it starts to burn, add a little water or turn the heat down slightly.
All the spices and stir to coat everything.
Now add the potato, carrot and bell peppers and cook til they’re a bit softer.
Add the tomatoes + puree or canned tomatoes + juice, the coconut milk and stock or water. Cook for around 15 minutes and then add cauliflower. Simmer for another 15 minutes or so and then add the spinach. Stir until the spinach has wilted and then serve on quinoa, brown rice or on its own!
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If you’re anything like me, the idea of making your own stock/broth is either
a) too complicated
b) not worth it or
I’d like to dedicate this post to my mum, who’s reaction when I asked her why she doesn’t make her own stock was a sigh that encompassed all of the above.
I was like that, once. But then we arrived in Obregon and I realised that if I wanted to make soups or meals with added broth, I had the option of chicken stock cubes or chicken stock powder. And I knew that I wouldn’t purchase and consume such things with Flavour Enhancers (Monosodium Glutamate, Disodium 5′-ribonucleotides), Yeast Extract, Glucose Syrup Solids, Chicken Fat, Potato Starch, Sugar, Chicken Extract listed in the ingredients list and wheat flour as the main ingredient! (Yeah, check your labels people!). There had to be a better way.
I assumed that making my own stock would be time consuming and finicky. Turns out I was wrong.
If you a) want to eat healthier b) want to know exactly what you’re eating c) want to save money or d) all of the above, then I urge you to try making your own stock. I make it once a week and keep it in the fridge or freezer, depending on the week’s meal plan. I’ve been doing this for the last 4 months and it’s as easy as throwing some veggies in a pot – really.
Super Easy Vegetable Stock
Makes around 2 litres, add more or less veggies or water depending on what you need.
You can really use any mix of vegetables that you have lying around. This is where you can use up the slightly shriveled carrots or celery or anything else that might be nearing compost time! Of course you can use fresh vegetables too – I usually use a mix of whatever I have. Keep the tops, bottoms and peels on and cut roughly. The only thing I’d suggest is scrubbing everything gently, as you don’t want dirt in your broth. My usual ‘recipe’ is as follows:
- 2-6 stalks of celery (leaves and all)
- 2-3 carrots
- 1 big onion
- 2 cloves garlic
- handful of mushrooms
- 1 potato
- 1 -2 tbsp low sodium soy sauce/tamari (optional)
- large handful fresh herbs (I usually use parsley if I have it. It’s not essential.)
Rinse, chop roughly and leave skins/peels on everything.
Heat a big pot without oil and test for heat (splash a few drops of water in, if it sizzles, it’s hot). When it’s hot, dump all the ingredients except the soy sauce and herbs. Use a big spoon or spatula to stir the veggies around so they don’t burn. Keep stirring until they start to brown slightly. It’ll smell amazing!
Now add about 8 cups of water. Bring to a boil, then simmer – add soy sauce and herbs and leave simmering (with a lid on) for about 45 minutes. Stir occasionally, and be prepared for people to ask ‘mmmm what’s cooking?’ because your house will smell glorious. I don’t usually add salt (except for the soy sauce) so that I can control how much salt goes into each dish I make. If you’d rather salt your broth, then that’s cool.
After 45 minutes, you can strain the broth into a bowl and leave on the counter until it’s cooled completely. Store it in the fridge if you’re using it within the week, or pour into a ziplock bag and freeze it.
And there you have it: Save money, be healthy and get immense satisfaction.
Some fun tips/extra stuff:
- To save even more money, during the week you can put vegetable scraps and ends in a ziplock bag in the fridge. When the bag gets full, make stock!
- Use vegetable stock as a substitute for oil in cooking. Just add a tsp or 2 instead of oil!
- Use vegetable stock instead of water when cooking rice or quinoa.
- Mika loves vege stock as a soup. I sometimes throw in some cooked veggies and she gobbles it up.
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Perhaps you are thinking ‘Urgh. Bean burgers?’ And I will answer your question with another question ‘Have you tried them?’ and if the answer is no, then please try these and if the answer is yes, then still please try these. They are such a crowd-pleaser and Ivan gobbles them up as though they were quarter-pounders with bacon and he can hardly even tell the difference, I swear.
Many of the bean burger recipes I’ve seen have either egg, nuts or breadcrumbs in them, all of which we aren’t so keen on (we don’t mind breadcrumbs, but they don’t sell them here without sugar, so we’d literally have to make bread and then make breadcrumbs and seriously I cannot be bothered). So we’ve crafted a recipe that uses all the ingredients we have on hand, which pretty much makes them accessible to anyone.
We serve them on these bread rolls, which I’ve recently started making without the 2 tbsp of oil and I can not taste the difference. So there you have it.
Plant-Strong Bean Burgers (OK, they’re vegan, oil-free, nut-free and potentially gluten-free)
Makes 6 patties
- 1 cup black beans (we’ve used bayo beans before too, which work great)
- 1 cup grated carrot or chopped red bell pepper (we use whatever we have)
- 1/4 cup sweet corn kernels (fresh/frozen/canned)
- 1/4 cup rolled oats (maybe more if it’s too mushy)
- 1/2 red onion
- 2 cloves garlic
- 2 tsp cumin
- 1/2 tsp chili
- 1/2 tsp coriander
- 1 tsp salt
- 2 tbsp water (maybe more/less depending on how mushy it is)
Gradually add everything to a food processor/blender or take turns processing it with a handheld blender (this is what we do because we currently do not have a processor).
If it gets clumpy, drizzle water into it until it’s smooth enough to blend.
Heat a pan or grill til it’s really hot. (Test it by splashing some water on it, if it sizzles, it’s ready). Shape the burger mix into patties and place on the pan/grill. Cook on a low heat until both sides are browned and crispy.
Serve either on their own with salad, or place between a wholewheat bun.
Make mini buns and mini patties for your mini human! (Just omit the chili, or use less)
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Morning routines are often carried out in silence around here. While baby chit chats away, Ivan or I silently turn on the stove with eyes half open, pour out some oats and boil some water for tea or coffee. Then, once baby is happily slurping her breakfast oatmeal down and we’ve finished a few bites, we can gradually start to communicate again. The magic of oatmeal. It almost always varies day to day depending on what we have in the house, so I’ve included some of our favourite variations below:
Good Morning Oats
1/3 cup organic rolled oats (or steel cut oats for a longer cook-time) per person
1 cup water per person
Toppings (any combination of the following)
- Non-dairy milk (homemade nut or oat milk is a favourite around here)
- Chia seeds
- Flax seeds
- Homemade applesauce
- Banana (mashed or sliced)
- Crushed walnuts
- Frozen berries
- Sliced mango (for baby)
Heat oats with water gradually in a pot/pan until it’s the consistency you like (some people like it mushier than others). Top with anything you like! (My favourite is almond milk, cinnamon, chia seeds and some frozen berries)
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