Monday, March 16, 2015

4 Ingredient Beet Radish Salad (vegan, paleo)

I've noticed that I have a tendency to fall off the face of the Earth in the winter. Spring is upon us now, and after some careful consideration, I've decided to bring some changes to my blog. When first starting out, the majority of my readership appreciated my vegan posts and so I felt compelled to post vegan recipes. However, I've made changes to my diet that make it difficult for me to keep this blog running on vegan posts.

I've had to increase my meat consumption over the winter. It started out when I was doing a candida cleanse. It was easier for me to cook meat without all the restricted ingredients. Of course, the cleanse itself was making me feel better, but then I started to notice that I wasn't losing weight as readily as before. As a fairly lean person, I struggle to keep on weight, and my past attempts to put on muscle hadn't been very successful. Recently, with my increased meat consumption, I'm finally seeing more muscle.

In order for me to gain muscle, it takes me an amount of protein I wouldn't normally recommend to someone else my size. I know it's possible to get high amounts of protein on vegan days, but I've also noticed that I don't digest grains and legumes as well as the average person. That's not to say I'm entirely cutting those foods out, but I haven't been coming up with new vegan meals. I spent all winter feeling a resistance to posting meat posts because of my vegan readers, but in order to keep my blog going, I will need to make changes. Of course, the odd vegan post will still come up (such as this one!), but essentially, my blog is getting an "attitude makeover".

And now, for the reason you're actually on this post today. I make this salad when I need a way to incorporate raw beets into my diet. I'm not the biggest fan of beets, but this salad is one way I'll actually somewhat enjoy them. Beets and radishes are liver cleansing, and I know that my liver can always take a bit of extra help. If you haven't worked with beets before, I will warn you that your hands will be a funky colour by the time you're done cutting everything.

4 Ingredient Beet Radish Salad (vegan, paleo)

1 large beet or 2-3 small beets, peeled
1 large watermelon radish (aka pink radish) or 2 small watermelon radishes, peeled
1 lime, zested and juiced
1/2-1 tsp chili power (or to taste)

Peel and chop the beets and radishes. Zest the lime and then juice it. Add the chili powder and mix well. Will store in an airtight container in the fridge for 3-5 days.

Monday, December 15, 2014

Acorn Squash Wedges (vegan, paleo)

Happy December! Thankfully, this year hasn't been too too cold just yet, unlike last year. I am trying to eat more seasonably, though, so I've been eating quite a few root vegetables this winter. I had actually never tried making acorn squash until yesterday, but I figured I really should. It turns out that acorn squash is one of the easiest winter squashes to cut.

I won't try to take credit for this recipe because there are all kinds of variations on these online. I just figured I'd make this a little more allergy friendly. Make sure you have a sharp knife before starting.

Acorn Squash Wedges (vegan, paleo)

2 acorn squashes
2 tbsp coconut oil
1-2 tbsp coconut sugar
Salt, pepper, and chili powder to taste

Preheat oven to 400F (or preheat it when you're done cutting the first squash).

Cut the squash into wedges. To do that, I took a really sharp knife and stuck the point into one of the ridges at a 90 degree angle from the counter, then pulled the knife down, sort of like a lever, to be parallel to the counter. Once the squash was almost cut in half, I stuck my thumbs in and pulled the halves apart. To cut each half into wedges, I reinserted the pointy part of the knife and slid the knife downwards. I got about 4-5 wedges out of each half.

Place the wedges into an oven-safe pan. Spread the oil and coconut sugar evenly between the wedges, then add salt, pepper, and chili powder.

Cook for 20 minutes. If sauce starts to accumulate at the bottom of the pan, pour it back onto the wedges, then cook for another 20 minutes.

Friday, November 21, 2014

Ginger Carrot Butternut Squash Soup (vegan, paleo)

I feel like I've barely taken my face out of my books recently. I remember when I was younger and my mother told me that cooking was an enjoyable break from her work, and I thought she was strange. I definitely understand the feeling now. As much as I enjoy what I study, it's nice to see some colour, instead of black words on a white page. I have a tendency to buy pre-cut butternut squash, but this time, I actually peeled and cut a whole butternut squash.

I'm sad to say that we now have snow. I suppose I should expect it, but I never seem to get used to it. The weather's been making me crave warming foods. A hot soup really helps, but I wanted that extra little bit of warmth, so I thought ginger was in order. No regrets.

Ginger Carrot Butternut Squash Soup (vegan, paleo)

1 small squash, chopped (Check my butternut squash recipe for help on chopping it)
4 large carrots, peeled and roughly chopped
1 onion, chopped
3 inches gingeroot, peeled and grated
1 clove garlic, pressed
4-6 cups veggie broth (just enough to cover the rest)
Salt and pepper to taste
A bit of oil for frying

Heat a bit of oil over medium heat in a large soup pot. Add the ginger and toss around for a minute or so, until the ginger starts to brown a bit. Add the onion and garlic and toss around until the onion is translucent. Add the carrots and squash and toss around for about a minute.

Pour in the broth. If you like your soup thick, add in just enough broth to cover the veggies. If you want a thinner soup, you can add an extra cup or so. Boil for about half an hour, or until the carrots and butternut squash are soft, then remove from heat.

With an immersion blender, puree the soup. Add salt and pepper to taste. Optionally, you can add a bit of coconut milk to make the soup extra creamy.

Thursday, November 6, 2014

Stove Top Flatbread (vegan, refined sugar free)

The most frustrating thing I found when I first moved in to my current place, back in May, is that the oven is so small that none of my nice stoneware pans fit in there. The only thing that seems to fit is those disposable grocery store aluminum pans, but in nutrition school, we've been taught that it's unhealthy to cook on aluminum.

I love to eat bread. I get tons of bread cravings, but when that happens, I try to make my own bread as much as possible. However, when I don't want to take the time to let a loaf of yeast bread rise, I usually opt for flatbread. Thanks to my tiny oven, this has been a bit more difficult to manage.

On Monday, I decided I'd had enough of letting this tiny oven run my life (well, so to speak). I decided I was going to make bread on my stove top, but I couldn't really find a recipe I liked. I've recently noticed that I've become so familiar with the vegan/gluten free chemistry that I can invent recipes and get them right on the first try. My only complaint the first time I made this flatbread is that it didn't look pretty enough to photograph, so I made it again on Wednesday and made sure to "roll" it out in a slightly more attractive manner.

Stove Top Flatbread (vegan, refined sugar free)

1/2 cup brown rice flour
2 tbsp tapioca starch
1 tbsp potato starch
3/4 tsp xanthan gum
1/2 tsp baking soda
sprinkle of salt
3-5 tbsp water (start with 3 and add more, 1 tbsp at a time until everything sticks together)
1/2 tsp apple cider vinegar or lemon juice
1 tbsp maple syrup, honey, or agave (optional)
Oil for cooking

Mix the dry ingredients together. Add in the wet ingredients and mix well. You may need to go in with your hands.

Spread a bit of oil in a frying pan. Spread the dough in the pan until it's about 1/4 inch thick, or just over 1/2 cm.

Once the dough is shaped how you like it, turn on the heat to medium low. Check the bottom every few minutes. When it looks nice and golden brown, flip the bread and continue cooking until the other side is also nicely coloured.

This recipe makes one medium flatbread so multiply as needed, or split the dough into two smaller breads.