Blog

I'm back, and I have COLD BREW COFFEE CONCENTRATE

Hey guys,

||| It has been awhile! I just want to thank all of you that have reached out to me via email etc. checking in to see how I'm doing, if I am still practicing macrobiotics, teaching yoga, and if I am still blogging. While I haven't updated this space in a while, rest assured I am still here, cooking up my veggies, eating my grains, and other tasty eats, and enjoying life. I kind of unplugged this past year and a bit, taking some time away from posting, hibernating and cocooning for awhile, trying to recuperate, reassess, ponder life, and reconnect to my inspiration. I will do another post about all that and my current favourite eats soon. Stay tuned! In case you didn't know though, I have mostly been sharing my eats via instagram! If you'd like to follow along, I'd be so honoured. You can find me there @thedaintypig . |||

Today's post is a little step away from Macrobiotics, to discuss my most favourite method of brewing coffee! And when I say most favourite, I mean that thanks to my enthusiasm for coffee and the generosity of others, I have ended up with an obscenely large collection of coffee brewing devices in my home, including: two different Moka pots (the little Italian stovetop espresso makers), a French Press, Hario V60 Pour Over, Chemex, and an Aeropress, and I have tried them all. We have had little "flings" with each of them, and yet - the method I am sharing today is our consistent favourite. (Though aeropress comes in second place, for taste, and is #1 amazing for camping!).

I wasn't always a big coffee drinker: during University I would drink coffee here and there, but I was never one to make a pot of coffee everyday. Somewhere along the way though, after T & I returned from Japan around 2011, I began making coffee more frequently. It was partly getting up super early for practice, and partly just that I genuinely love the taste, that led to me becoming a coffee enthusiast. It might sound silly to say that I drink coffee because I just love the taste, because duh, but I really enjoy the bitter quality, and when I am out working in cafes and needing a little something, coffee often seems the most appealing. I find so many other drinks to be too sweet (I'd rather have sweet alongside a coffee than in my coffee) or complicated, and I have mega high standards for tea (I have yet to have matcha anywhere in Canada that even comes close to regular ol' matcha in Japan), so usually the best bet is coffee. Here in Victoria, there are plenty of good coffee shops, with organic, fairly traded, and locally roasted options galore.

So, here's what I make at home: COLD BREW COFFEE CONCENTRATE. I first heard about cold brew coffee in 2007 when I was reading Paul Pritchford's book "Healing with Whole Foods." He mentioned a method of making coffee that was much less acid forming - this grabbed my attention, being the healthy food research nerd that I am. There is a way to make coffee much easier on the body? Hello - sign me up! My stomach can be very sensitive, and often times regular brew coffee feels much too strong. At that point in time, when I was reading Pritchford's book, I was not making coffee regularly and you could not yet buy cold brew at cafes, but I made a mental note of it. Fast forward a few years, and I finally tried it at home. Through many many different trials of changing the measurements, changing the brewing time, filtering vs. non filtering, I managed to find the most perfect recipe. I make this once every week or two (depending on how much coffee T needs to fuel him through school), and ironically enough, I now use two of my other coffee devices to make the process much easier.

Dainty Pig Style Cold Brew Coffee Concentrate

cold brew 08.JPG

What you'll need

  • 8 cups of filtered water
  • 2 cups of whole coffee beans, (organic and fairly traded please) ground* (I recommend and prefer darker roasts)
  • large enough glass jar or pitcher to hold the above amount of water + coffee
  • a 1L jar and a little extra jar (maybe 250 ml more) to store the final coffee concentrate
  • FIRST STAGE FILTERING: french press (ideal)**
  • SECOND STAGE FILTERING: a hario pour over or a chemex with paper filters**

* See directions below first for what coarseness to grind your beans

** If you do not have a french press, do not worry! You can just do the second stage filtering, but it may take awhile longer as it'll be a bit sludgier, and you may need to change the paper filter halfway through

*** If you don't have a pour over or a chemex, no worries! For years I used a metal sieve, and lined it awkwardly with basket shaped filters. I would prop up the sieve using two jars, one on each end, over top of a large bowl, and filter the coffee this way.

Directions

  1. Grind your coffee: as you will understand once you've finished reading the steps, after the cold brew "steeps" I run it through a Hario pour over, so I grind my coffee for a pour over setting. If you are using a chemex, grind for a chemex. You can also grind it more coarse if you won't be using either. Feel free to play around to see what you like! 
  2. Add your ground coffee to the large pitcher or glass jar (a funnel helps!).
  3. Pour in the 8 cups of water, and stir. Let it bloom for awhile (where it kind of puffs up), then cover the jar (I just use a little ceramic dish as a lid - use whatever you like!).
  4. Leave out on the countertop to "steep" for 24 hours. This is the length of time that I have discovered is most delicious for the darker roasted beans, ground to the consistency for pour over. Depending on your beans and grind, I would say anywhere between 16 - 24 hours would work with this method. I leave my big ol' jar of coffee steeping at the back of my counter, out of the sun. If it were to get exceedingly hot out, I might consider putting it in the fridge to steep.
  5. Then, after it has steeped, get ready to use allllllll your coffee devices, ha! First, using large spoon, I scoop out any of the grounds that are floating at the top - the more you can get out the better. Usually most of them are hanging out at the top, so I can get most of them out this way.
  6. Then, do STAGE ONE FILTERING: I pour the liquid into my french press (usually I have to do this step twice as there is a large volume of liquid). Press it!
  7. Then, do STAGE TWO FILTERING: I pour the pressed liquid from the french press, through a paper filter lined Hario V60 pour over. I usually put the pour over on top of the large 1L mason jar I plan to store the concentrate in. (Pro tip: I run some cool water through the paper filter first, before the coffee, and dump it out, to remove any papery taste). 
  8. As I mentioned, I usually have to do stage one and stage two filtering twice due to large volume! Dump out the sludge the bottom of the french press after the first round, and pour the rest of the original liquid in, press again, and then pour that throught the Hario as well. 
  9. There you have it, beautiful coffee concentrate! This will last in the fridge a couple of weeks, and you don't need much at a time - see below.
 Final product: a big ol' jar of coffee concentrate, ready to caffeinate you as soon as your kettle is done.

Final product: a big ol' jar of coffee concentrate, ready to caffeinate you as soon as your kettle is done.

Now Let's make Coffee with the concentrate!

It is MEGA simple.

Mine and T's preferred ratio is:

  • 1/3 coffee concentrate (you might like even less, like 1/4)
  •    ---TO---
  • 2/3 boiling water for HOT COFFEE
  •    ---OR---
  • 2/3 cold almond milk or cold water for ICED COFFEE or an ICED LATTE

There you have it! Now in the morning you can just turn the kettle on and moments later enjoy a delicious cup of hot coffee, or on a hot sunny day throw some ice in a glass, and have an iced coffee ready in moments.

Benefits to making coffee this way

Here are some things that both T and I have noticed after making coffee this way for a long time now:

  • You can really taste the subtley of the beans this way - unique flavour is much more pronounced. 
  • The taste is VERY SMOOTH! In fact, all other coffee tastes burnt now (and no, I'm not talking about old diner style coffee that has been on the warmer for hours, I mean even high quality coffee, brewed in ways that we used to enjoy, tastes less flavourful now, and just burnt).
  • The coffee "jolt" is much less severe this way, but the good kind of coffee buzz is still there: I find that I get that happy little rush of creativity and flow (hello, YIN energy), but that it is more steady and slow burning / less cray cray. I've got a fair amount of vata in my constitution (ayurvedic speak), so I have to watch consumption of things that make me even more "airy" and I don't seem to get nearly as spacey or jittery with cold brew compared to when I drink regular drip coffee.
  • You can add some of this concentrate to a smoothie with frozen bananas, almond milk, cocoa powder, cinnamon and maple syrup or honey for the best.damn.milkshake.ever
  • My belly never hurts drinking this coffee, even if I have enjoyed too much of it
  • TIP: any extras you can freeze in ice cube trays to throw in a blended drink, or to use as coffee ice cubes in iced coffee!
  • The little bit of extra work in preparation that you do once a week, more than makes up for the DAILY TIME SAVING - seriously, it is as easy as making tea, once you have the concentrate brewed

Troubleshooting

Coffee Tastes Weak or Watery

  • Steep it longer
  • Grind your beans a little finer
  • Add more concentrate to water ratio when you make your cup of coffee
  • Make sure you haven't left it in your fridge for ages - two weeks max, but tastes best the first week

Coffee is Sludgy

  • Use both the First and Second Stage filtering suggestions, if you weren't already
  • Try changing your paper filter halfway through, or doing two rounds of filtering with paper
  • Grind your beans a little coarser (if there is super fine sediment, and your paper filter isn't catching it)

Just isn't Tasting Amazing

  • Trust that you will find a delicious brew, and be willing to experiment with:
    • different roasts of beans. In general, I [personally really do not like more acidy sour tasting roasts, so whichever method of brewing I am doing, that won't change (though an acidy bean brewed this way is still much nicer than brewed another way, for my tastebuds). I feel like darker or med-dark really suits this brewing method
    • different lengths of steeping
    • different coarseness of beans
  • It takes a little time to get it right, so write down what you are doing each time, so once you find that perfect brew you know how many hours and what kind of beans, coarsness etc.

A large part of my inspiration for this post was thanks to my lovely and inspiring plant based soul-sister Juliette! Her and I click on every possible level, and I am so grateful that our paths have crossed. I'm sure we have been friends for many lifetimes. At the end of 2016, her and her family downsized their life, left Victoria, and are currently traveling North America in an RV, while homeschooling, and home-cooking whole food meals. They are exploring and adventuring, and blogging about it all (see their RV travel blog here!). Recently Juliette was inspired to make an upgraded cold brew elixir with adaptogenic herbs and more, and used my recipe here for the first step. Please check out Juliette's food and nutrition blog for our cold brew collaboration (I'll link to the direct post once it is up) as well as lots of other amazing recipes and clean living tips. There really isn't anything that Juliette doesn't do - she's kinda my hero. <3 I have a feeling there will be plenty more collaborations to come!

THANKS FOR READING - I VALUE YOU ALL SO MUCH <3

You will be seeing regular posts here again, as I have found my way back to my inspiration once more, and am currently one happy little dainty pig, ready and excited to connect.

And please tell me: what is your favourite way to brew coffee?

Carrot Cake with Cashew Frosting - Whole Grain, Macrobiotic, Vegan & Gluten Free

Carrot Cake with Cashew Frosting

Oh my goodness.

WAY back when this year, I made a delicious treat for Easter. It was a super dense, hearty carrot cake, made with a variety of healthier baking ingredients. I topped it off with a delicious lemony cashew frosting. This recipe will create a cake that is almost like baked oatmeal, so please expect a super dense, hearty cake - not a fluffy, light, blood sugar crashing kind of treat.

If you want to have a super duper healthy "I can eat this for breakfast" kind of cake, or simply a healthier way to indulge, please give the following recipe a shot and let me know what you think. Personally, I was mega pleased with it, and I had to stop myself from just spooning the icing directly into my mouth.
 

Carrot Cake

Ingredients

DRY

  • 2 cups regular rolled oats
  • 1 cup gf oat flour (can sub any other flour!)
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • 1/2 tsp nutmeg
  • 2 tsp cinnamon
  • 1/2 tsp cloves
  • pinch sea salt
  • sprinkle of cardamon

WET

  • 1 - 398 ml can pumpkin puree

  • 1/4 cup shredded coconut (can leave out if you want, but I'd replace with some sunflower seeds perhaps)

  • 1 small container of applesauce (about 1/4 cup)

  • 1/4 cup almond milk (or other milk)

  • 1/4 cup oil of choice (I used avocado, but you could use any veggie oil)

  • 2 medium carrots grated

  • 1/4 cup maple syrup (makes a very minimally sweet cake! you could double or triple this amount if you'd like it to be more sweet).

  • 2 tsp vanilla

  • Optional: 1/4 cup raisins, grated or diced apple

Instructions

  1. Set oven to 350F.
  2. Mix dry ingredients together in one bowl.
  3. Mix wet ingredients together in a separate bowl. I whisked it all together with a fork.
  4. Grease a pyrex dish ( I used an 11x7 one, greased with coconut oil).
  5. Add dry to wet, and mix together. Pour into pyrex, and smooth with a spoon.
  6. Bake for 75 mins.
  7. Cake will firm up more once cooled. The consistency of this cake will be a LOT like baked oatmeal.

Lemon Cashew Icing

Ingredients

  • 1.5 cups soaked cashews, drained and rinsed (soak for a couple of hours on counter)

  • Juice of 1 whole lemon.

  • 2 tbsp melted coconut oil

  • 3 tbsp maple syrup

  • splash of vanilla

  • a bit of water to thin if necessary

Directions

  1. Blend all ingredients until smooth and creamy... it seems to get creamier the longer you blend it. You can add a splash more of water or maple syrup if you like, or try adding in a couple of soaked dates instead of maple syrup.
  2. Place frosting in fridge and let firm up a bit while cake is cooling.
  3. Once cake is completely cool, slather it in the icing, and keep in the fridge until serving!
  4. I decorated mine with some veggies and lemon zest :)

I personally think the cake tasted even better on the second and third days. Happy Eating!

Macro Monday: Checking in / Markets / Grocery budget chats.

Hi there friends,

It's been awhile since the last Macro Monday! But now it's June, and June is a lovely month. So Happy Macro Monday!

I've been feeling more inspired by cooking again lately, and am working on a few recipes I'd like to share with you soon.

One of these is a vegan lentil bolgonese sauce. I have a bit more tweaking to do, and then I'll send it your way.  

And another recipe in the works for you is the lovely vegan wholegrain carrot cake I made at Easter. It had a lemon cashew icing, and was delicious. If you follow me on instagram (here's the link!), you may have already seen it. This carrot cake was super healthy, hearty, and very much like what I imagine baked oatmeal would be like. I enjoyed the leftovers for breakfast.

Other than that, I have been doing some gardening, and have already enjoyed eating kale and komatsuna from my little container / pot garden on my balcony. The weather has been fantastic, and T & I have been spending as much time as possible outside. 

GROCERY COST / BUDGET CHAT

I have been doing the larger part of my produce shopping at my local market again, now that it's open at full capacity. This has gotten me thinking a lot about grocery budgets. If you've seen my instagram posts, you'll know that I love sharing pics of my weekly grocery haul. Sometimes I just get a few things, but usually I get a large full basket full of a variety of produce, and while the berries are in season, lots of berries. I try to make this my only produce shop for the week, and this usually works just fine for T & I.

In my experience, at least here in Victoria, despite what many people think, this is much friendlier to our grocery budget, than if I were to buy the equivalent organic things at most grocery stores. And sometimes, I feel like it's even better priced than some of the conventional produce. I know that Vancouver Island has an amazing growing season, but I just can't get over how fairly priced the local and organic veggies are.

In case you're interested, I'll list a few items I regularly buy, with the market price listed first (M), and then a common grocery store (GS) price after:

DAIKON - $2 - 4 M // $5-10 GS (side note: perhaps cheaper in china town).
KALE - $2 -3 M // $3-5 GS
SPROUTS - 2 packages for $5 M // $3-5 per package GS
STRAWBERRIES  - $4-6 M // $5-7 GS (on sale perhaps you can get them for $4).
Fresh BASIL -  $3 giant bunch M // $3-5 GS for a smaller container
Mixed SALAD GREENS - $3-5 M // $4-7 GS 

Here's my giant basket-full of veggies from this weekend:

In case you're wondering, all these vegetables are local (duh), and organic. The quality of these vegtables are MUCH higher than anything I can find at the grocery store. The daikon alone is about half the price of what a similarly sized organic daikon would be at any store, and it is of such higher quality I can barely even compare the two. (most daikon I find at stores is either limp, spongy, or worse yet often moldy!).

This Saturday I packed my basket full of: komatsuna, broccoli, daikon, sprouts, green onions, radishes, collards, salad turnips, the most beautiful green leaf lettuce, basil, mixed kale, baby summer squash and the most tasty little strawberries. The hummus I bought from a local shop on the way home so I haven't included in the price. The total for all these vegetables was $37 CAD. Now, I'm definitely no financial wizard, and perhaps I'm crazy, but this seems like a STEAL of a DEAL! Also considering both the turnips and daikon are sold with their beautiful tops - you can eat these like any other leafy green. I'm all about the 2 for 1 veggies.  I am fairly confident that had I chosen to buy all of these things at a health foods store, I would have paid much closer to, if not more, than $50 CAD. And perhaps more like $40 - 45 for the organic versions purchased at a conventional grocery store.  

I would say this is likely the average amount of produce I buy weekly at the market (some weeks more, some weeks less), but when the berries really start to roll out, my weekly produce price will increase as berries are my fav and are our ultimate summer treat and I will be adding those along to my regular veggie haul.

How much do you spend per week on produce? What do you think - especially fellow Canadians - does $37 seem like a reasonable price, expensive price, or good price for this basket full of organic produce? I'm honestly curious here and welcome your opinions. If you think I can do better, I'd love to know how! (other than growing all the veggies yourself, as I'm doing the best I can at the moment with my balcony garden). 

It makes you think and realize - if you stick to eating veggies, and then items from the bulk bins (whole grains, dried beans, nuts and seeds), with the occasional detour for things like tempeh, tofu, fish, high quality bread, oils, etc., healthy groceries can definitely be affordable.

And one more thing: I understand if organic produce is not importance to you, but it is to me for a few reasons. Firstly, TASTE! Not always, but most often, organic versions are tastier. Seriously. Especially local and organic veggies - so much PRANA! Secondly, the nutritional content issue. Most organic versions of food are higher in vitamins and minerals. Usually, they are grown in better soil yielding more nutritious crops. More nutrition bang per bite. And lastly, obviously, the potential chemicals used in conventional crops are a bit scary. I know that many big organic chains use "organic" pesticides that are supposedly better (they may or may not be), but in my own experience, I have never had organic strawberries that tasted like chemicals, but I have had regular ol' strawberries that do. And ditto that for grapes and all other berries. YICK. 

I'm not completely rigid over organic - I do tend to follow the dirty dozen / clean fifteen guidelines whenever buying 100% organic produce is not possible. And I will try to choose local foods with equal importance as organic because I believe it is the most responsible thing to do environmentally speaking, but I also understand reality and budgets, and I do realize that often organic foods can be more money.

That is why I'm SO EXCITED when it's market season, because my grocery bills usually drop! 

So to wrap up please, tell me about your healthy, perhaps organic, grocery budget tips and tricks!

Check back soon for those recipes <3 <3 <3 

And I'll leave you with a beautiful article written by Phiya Kushi that I found to be extremely inspiring.
 

Hiya! Updates + It's almost Spring.

Hi Guys,

I've been laying low these past few months, busy with work and other things, and have been feeling like I've been in a bit of a funk.

When I stop to think about why I have been feeling this way, a few things instantly jump out:

1. My sleep schedule has been alllllllllll over the place. Late nights / late mornings combined with feeble attempts to get back to my beloved early bedtime. This does not work well for me. Some of this has been out of my control (noise disturbances etc.), and some of it has been my doing - such as just giving in, and staying up late even though I know it's not good for me.

2. Of course, having an erratic sleep schedule has led to me having an erratic eating schedule. This too, does not work well for me. I like to eat at the same time, every day. Call me boring. I don't care. Eating at random hours feels way too cray cray for this little guy (me).

3. Erratic eating schedules also lead to erratic eating choices. Poor sleep + inconsistent meals times = plenty of snacky snack snacks.  I would say that I'm always fairly consistent in eating vegetables and high quality natural foods, but I have definitely been eating a bit "wider" on the Macrobiotic spectrum these days, mostly because I've been eating out more than usual, and I've been feeling very carefree. Hello red wine! yee-haw! This for sure can be good every once in while. But, my body is telling me that it needs a little re-centering.

4. It also makes sense that if I haven't been getting proper sleep, and proper fuel, that I might also overlook the self-care routines and practices that make me feel so good. No matter how erratic my days are, I am always good at taking a few moments to sit in the sun and enjoy a cup of tea. But self-care goes beyond this. It means finding the right balance between social obligations and alone time. It means being consistent in the practices that improve your life. It includes processing emotions and feelings, and taking time to breathe, and to meditate [if you don't meditate, then contemplate ;) ]. And sometimes, self-care means a hot bath and a green sea monster face mask.

Self-care, self-love, and creating a happy and healthy life require diligence and maintenance.

I always appreciate these down phases and feel-like-i'm-in-a-funk periods because they remind me that a good life doesn't just happen to you ... you have to create it! Each person is different, and will require different things to live a big life.

I wouldn't say that it's unusual to feel in a funk in January / February. These are generally considered to be two of the hardest months of the year. But, Spring is in the air (at least over here!) and I'm already feeling my energy shift.

Spring energy is upwards moving. It is invigorating, and motivating, and I'm definitely tapping into that. Think about the colour green. Fresh new buds and sprouts. Right now, there are a billion cherry blossoms and magnolias. Every single time I step outside, I am instantly grateful for this.


So, I know what I need to do to shift back into feeling lovely and balanced! It's always about the simple things for me. Consistent sleeping schedule, regular meals, and lots of cooking at home. In fact, I am already dreaming of the beautiful produce that will soon be in abundance at the market!

So friends, please share: if you're feeling off, what do you do to shift yourself back into balance?

Much love and pink cherry blossoms,
Jess

Vegan Ramen with Brown Rice Noodles

Oh mama.

First, just to clear the air - I have never actually had a bowl of real ramen. Yes, I've had the packaged instant ramen noodles back in the day. Does anyone else remember that terrifying phase in the 90s where kids just ate crunchy ramen noodles out the bag at lunchtime? Though I was sad at the time, looking back now, I am so glad my mom wouldn't let us do that. And I've had some fish or veggie ramen out at restaurants before, and they've been wonderful. But I have never had a bowl of delicious, high quality ramen out a good Japanese place or ramen shop - here in Canada, or when I was in Japan.

But don't worry. My guy T, who has indeed tried and loved many a real ramen in his day, loves this version just as much. So do I. I bet you will too.

It's super quick to make, very warming and satisfying on a cool winter evening, you can use up all the odds and ends kind of veggies in your fridge, and really let's be honest: eating squiggly noodles is just fun.

Vegan Ramen (with Brown Rice & Millet Noodles)

for two.

Ingredients

  • 2 packages of brown rice ramen noodles. I use this one here, by lotus foods. FYI - they have it at Costco - a 10 pack for around $10 <3
  • 4 - 6 cups of water, or soup stock (we like a lot of broth with our noodles, so we use 6 cups)
  • Veggies of choice. We love: thinly sliced daikon or turnips, carrots, mushrooms of any kind, broccoli, greens - especially cabbage, and green onions.
  • Protein of choice: chickpeas, or some tofu are delicious. Sauteed tempeh would also be mega-yum.
  • lemon juice or vinegar.
  • 3 tsp miso paste of choice (we rotate through mugi miso, a millet miso I picked up, and brown rice miso) OR 1 tbsp shoyu.
  • some spice, if you like it hot: chili pepper flakes, a dash of cayenne, some grated fresh ginger
  • dash of nori flakes or other seaweed flakes.

Directions

  1. Heat up a dash of toasted sesame oil in a large saucepan.
  2. Saute your veggies, starting with the green onions (you can add a pinch of salt), and then add the rest one at at time, starting with the thicker or longer cooking veggies first. Leave out the greens to add in later (unless you're using cabbage, if so, throw them in now).
  3. If using tofu, add it in now and saute for a richer flavour. You can also throw it in later.
  4. Add in soup stock / water.
  5. Bring to boil, and let simmer with the lid on until veggies are fairly tender. If you slice your veggies thinly, then probably around 10 - 15 minutes.
  6. Somewhere along the way, add in a squeeze of lemon, or a dash of brown rice vinegar, and any spices you desire. If using shoyu rather than miso, add the shoyu in now.
  7. Add in sliced greens, and the ramen noodles, and let simmer for about 4 minutes (as per package instructions).
  8. If using Miso, after you put the noodles in, stir your miso with a bit of water or some stock, and add to the pot. let simmer on low (not boiling) for about 4 minutes.
  9. I usually throw in some seaweed flakes near the end, after the noodles are added.
  10.  Enjoy! I like mine with a fresh squeeze of lemon or lime.

MTF: Macrobiotic Friendly Vegan Gingerbread Cookies

Happy MACRO TREAT FRIDAY (MTF). It's been awhile since I posted a sweet treat, and Christmas is almost here, so a cookie recipe seems appropriate.

I wasn't sure if I should call these gingersnaps, ginger molasses cookies, or gingerbread...so let's mix it all up and call 'em gingerbread cookies.

Delicious, whatever you call 'em.

Macro Gingerbread Cookies

Wholegrain. One bowl. Super Simple. Very light on the oil. Lightly sweetened with maple.
Makes about 16 small gingerbread cookies.

See other possibilities at the end of the post.

Ingredients

  • 1 cup sprouted whole spelt flour (+ 2 TBSP if dough is a bit too sticky)
  • 1/4 tsp each cloves & nutmeg
  • 1/2 tsp cinnamon
  • 1-2 tsp of FRESH grated ginger
  • 1 tsp pure vanilla extract
  • 1 TBSP olive oil or other vegetable oil of choice.
  • 4 TBSP maple syrup or brown rice syrup.
  • 2 tsp blackstrap molasses (for flavour)
  • 4 TBSP water
  • Maple sugar for rolling (optional)

Directions

  1. Preheat oven to 375F. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.
  2. Mix flour and spices together in a large bowl.
  3. Grate ginger. Add to bowl.
  4. Add to the flour: oil, maple syrup, blackstrap molasses and water.
  5. Mix together with a fork.
  6. Wet hands (this is key!!) and roll into small balls, about 1/2 ". If dough is just too sticky after trying with wet hands, don't be shy to sprinkle in a bit more flour.
  7. If desired, roll in maple sugar. Place on parchment paper.
  8. Bake until lightly browned on bottoms, about 12 minutes.
  9. Let sit for 5 minutes and then move to a wire rack.
  10. Let cool completely, and enjoy! Store in an airtight container.

NOTES:

* If you wanted to roll these out and cut out gingerbread men, I'm sure this recipe would work. You might want to let the dough cool in the fridge for a bit first, and I'd roll it out between 2 sheets of parchment paper. Because it'll be thinner, it will take less time to bake. :)

*Also, if you like bigger gingerbread molasses cookies, then I'd recommend making 8 larger balls instead of about 16, and let cook for the same amount of time for really chewy cookies, and a few minutes longer for a bit crispier ones.

* I like them just as much without the maple sugar, as with <3

* And, for your viewing pleasure, here's a video of my class and I making these cookies together, during a Macrobiotic Sweets Class I taught earlier this December, where we made these cookies! I have been so honoured to teach a few Macrobiotic nutrition classes per month at the lovely Templed Mind Studio here in Victoria, and this clip gives you a sneak peek into their delightful studio.


Happy Holiday Baking!!

 

Macro Monday: October & November Catch-up.

Hi Friends,

It's been awhile! October was a delightful and busy month, and time seems to have gotten away from me! It's the last week of November - wow!

October started off with a bang! I went to Seattle to attend some Macrobiotic classes with Warren Kramer, set up by the lovely Teresa who blogs at Sweetveg and Littleveg.

Short version of all of this: AMAZING!
There were just so so SO many good things about it:

#1 - I got to meet Teresa, which was purely delightful. She is just as sweet and caring as you would imagine when reading her blog posts. She organized an amazing weekend, and I'm beyond thrilled that I was able to attend. Thank you Teresa! :)

#2 - MACROBIOTIC CLASSES. Can you believe that I have been doing the whole Macro thing solo for over 6 years!? This is the first time I've taken a cooking class or attended a weekend workshop with multiple classes in all this time. It was SO wonderful to be around other people who use the words "yin" and "yang" regularly - ha! And who also appreciate things like the perfect kabocha, brown rice, and all kinds of things Macrobiotic. It was definitely worth it for me, times like a million!

# 3 - Learning! Warren Kramer is a wonderful, wonderful teacher! I feel super lucky to have been able to attend some classes with him. I definitely tucked away more than a few new-to-me pieces of information. So grateful for all of this!

#4 - FOOD. Can you say full-on multiple course Macrobiotic meals that I didn't have to make...just there for me to enjoy? Heaven, I tell ya'. Here are a couple of photos of one of the meals that I was so lucky to enjoy:

#5 - Seattle. What a great city. In a very non-Macrobiotic fashion, T and I did a coffee tour of the city after the weekend's Macrobiotic classes. ;) So many cute and fun cafes. Amazing coffee. Like, some of the best I've ever had anywhere. And it's a great city full of good veggie eating options - I might do a post later about some of my favourite veggie meals I enjoyed there. We took the ol' city bus and/or walked everywhere, which worked out perfectly. We stayed in a sweet little 1 bedroom suite we found on Airbnb. We just took the ferry from downtown Victoria, straight to downtown Seattle. We booked in advance, so it was only $120 return for each of us. Super easy, and super fun.

Also, in the past few months I have continued to teach a few Macrobiotic classes, which were great fun - thanks to everyone for attending! I will be doing another two before Christmas. Next on is Monday December 1st and is on sweets <3

Also, since October in particular was quite rainy, we have been spending a bit more time inside. T and I have been going through our stuff once again - we are continually trying to downsize. We share a 470 square foot suite, and we both work from home...and we both love it! It just forces us to be on a continual minimizing mission. It feels so liberating to sell or donate stuff you don't need or use anymore.

I'm working on a post for the vegan ramen that T and I have been making fairly frequently. It's super delicious, cozy and makes a great quick meal on a rainy/snowy day. Check back later this week for the recipe - I'll have it up by Friday <3

Also, I have gotten back into reading again - any book recommendations? I enjoy reading all kinds of books :)

Hope the past weeks have been wonderful for all of you.
xoxo jess

 

MacroTreatFriday (MTF): Pumpkiney, pumpkin, pumpkin!

Hi there sweet friends,

If you read anything related to food, no doubt you've been swarmed lately with pumpkin everything. Drinks, treats, soups, casseroles, you name it. I can't really say I'm that sad about it. I do love pumpkin in cooking and in baking. I use pumpkin year round, but there is something extra lovely about it, at this time of year.

So, without further ado, this Macro Treat Friday post is a Dainty Pig round-up of all things to do with pumpkin, that I have posted on the blog over the years.

MTF: Dainty Pig Macrobiotic Pumpkin Recipe Round-up

Get your oven mitts out, crank up the music, and put your apron on :)

ALL of these treats are vegan, whole-food based and use natural ingredients. Most are gluten free friendly, and are in tune with Macrobiotic principles.

 

Dainty Pig Pumpkin Pie

RECIPE HERE

Crustless 10 Minute Macro Pumpkin Pie

pumpkinpie2.jpg

RECIPE HERE

Chocolate Chip & Pecan Pumpkin Oat Cookies

RECIPE HERE

Baked Oatmeal Pumpkin Muffins

RECIPE HERE

Pumpkin Pudding / Custard

RECIPE HERE

Easiest Pumpkin Spice Cookies Ever

RECIPE HERE

Pumpkin Oatmeal Chocolate Chip Cookies

RECIPE HERE

Pumpkin Oatmeal Carrot Cake

RECIPE HERE

And, I also have a whole bunch of tips and tricks for selecting winter squash, the differences in the types, how to perfectly bake squash every time, and some recipes using all kinds of winter squash in your meals.

Winter Squash How-To Guide

CLICK HERE for TIPS & WINTER SQUASH RECIPES

 

Also, I am super happy to announce that I'll be teaching another class next week, Friday the 26th, at Templed Mind, on Macrobiotic Sweets - finding sweetness within the Macro lifestyle, and how to make some tasty treats - great tips for the upcoming holidays. Class info is HERE. Hope to see you there!

What's your favourite PUMPKIN treat?

Happy day, weekend, baking, life, you name it.
Sending some love your way.

xo jess