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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.

Macro Monday: daikon

When I wait in line at the market, and at grocery stores, I often overhear a variation of the same question..."what IS that?" says someone, while pointing at the giant daikon in my shopping basket... and "what do you do with THAT?"

Well, dear friends, if you've ever wondered just that, then this post is for you. It's all about what you can do with one of my favourite veggies:

Macro Monday: Daikon

Daikon are a kind of Asian radish, and are characterized by their enormous size. They most commonly look like giant white carrots, and can be up to 14" long.

 Thanks  Wikipedia , for the image :)

Thanks Wikipedia, for the image :)

Daikon have many healing properties, and are used extensively through Asia as both food, and as remedies for specific conditions. They are often used to make pickles - Japanese style, and Korean style (spicy like kimchi). They are often in miso soup, too. Really the ways of using this wonderful veggie seem unlimited. It's just THAT good :)

I have found that the smaller and/or shorter or rounder ones have a stronger "radish" flavour. Look for ones that have the leaves on - they will be fresher, AND you can eat the leaves too (chop them up, and lightly steam or saute with the daikon).

Today though, I want to talk about a few of the different ways of preparing it!

How to Prepare Daikon

When you cook the daikon, it loses a lot of its pungency and bitterness, and instead becomes gently sweet.

Steamed

My favourite, as far as simplicity and taste goes, is simply to steam it. I cut off a chunk, scrub it, and cut it into rounds, then in half, so I have some nice half-moon shapes. Then I simply steam it, for about the same length of time as you would steam carrots (depending on the size). Daikon & carrots steamed together make a fine match, just are steamed daikon and greens. Drizzle a tiny bit of umeboshi vinegar after steaming. Yum.

Stir-Fry

I have also cut thinner rounds, and/or diced it into small chunks and thrown it into a veggie stir-fry or saute.

Long cooked // Daikon stew

You can also easily make a delicious dish of stewed daikon. And it's one of my favourite ways to enjoy this veggie.

Cut the daikon into thick rounds (peeling the skin off makes for a nicer flavour), place a strip of kombu in a saucepan, and place the daikon rounds on top. Add just enough water to cover the daikon. Bring to boil, then turn heat to low and slowly simmer with lid on. Check often, and continue adding tiny bits of water as needed, as it boils away. You can let it cook for a long time - up to an hour or perhaps even more, depending on the thickness of your daikon rounds. The longer you cook it, the sweeter it'll be. The daikon is ready when a toothpick can be easily inserted. Once it is done, add in a few teaspoons of shoyu and let simmer for 5 more minutes or so. Clamp the lid down (using an oven mitt), and give the pot a good shake, and serve.

Raw

And of course you can slice it and put it in salads just like any other radish. You can also julienne it, and/or grate it - you may have noticed that white vegetable they serve with sashimi at Japanese restaurants...yep, that'd be daikon.

Have you ever tried daikon? What's your favourite way of eating it?

I'll leave you with a photo of my goodies from the Market this week. Summer's the best. Do you see the daikon hiding in there?

Have a great week, friends, and see you back here on Friday, for MacroTreat Friday!

MacroTreat Friday: Delicious Veggies

Hey Friends,

I know it's MacroTREAT friday, but sometimes treats come in unsuspecting shapes and sizes.

The best TREAT I've had this week was the taste of amazingly fresh & delicious veggies. I just signed up for an organic produce box (I had one when I was in Edmonton) to supplement my weekly veggies from the market (I kind of have a love / hate relationship with grocery stores, and avoiding them and getting my foods elsewhere can feel nice!). Dang - summer's just the best! So many fresh veggies and fruits. YUM!

MTF: Fresh Veggie Saute

IMG_7382.JPG

Ingredients

Serves 2 veggie lovers <3

  • 3 baby bok choy
  • a large handful of fresh basil
  • 4 large green onion stalks
  • a few bunches of oyster mushrooms
  • sesame oil, ginger juice (freshly grated and squeezed, or out of a bottle), shoyu & umeboshi vinegar
  • Serve with your grain of choice

Directions

  1. Heat up a generous splash of sesame oil in a heavy pan or skillet.
  2. While pan is heating prepare the seasonings: take a cup, add some water (about 1/2 cup) and then a few drops of umeboshi vinegar, a splash of ginger juice, and a couple splashes of shoyu. Stir it all up. This will be the liquid you add to the veggies.
  3. When the pan is hot, add in the chopped green onions. Put a lid on and let them cook for a few minutes. If they are sticking, add in a splash of the cooking liquid. Stir around a few times.
  4. Add in the chopped mushrooms. Again, put the lid on and let them cook down a bit.
  5. Add in add a few splashes of the cooking liquid again.
  6. Add in the bok choy, and another splash of cooking liquid. Put the lid on, and let the  bokchoy "steam" for a few minutes on top of the mushrooms. Then stir in and let cook for a bit more.
  7. Add the chopped basil in last, and the remaining cooking liquid. Stir around, put the lid on, and cook for another minute or so.
  8. Serve with cooked rice, quinoa, millet...any grain your heart desires. Or you could even just have a couple pieces of good bread on the side, or wrap it all up in a nice pita or wrap. Your call. We enjoyed ours with fresh cooked short grain brown rice that was cooked with some wakame in it., and topped with half an umeboshi plum!
  9. ** TIP: when you take the lid off after cooking, shake the condensation on the lid back into your pan - I learned this tip from a macrobiotic cooking class I took in Japan - the teachers told me this is where a lot of good flavour ends up :)

What kinds of FRESH summer produce and food have you been treating yourself to lately?

And... HAPPY CANADA DAY weekend to all my lovely Canadian friends <3
xo Jess

MacroTreat Friday: Pizza

Hi friends!

Too busy this week for baking...but I did let someone woodfire me a pizza that dreams are made of!

I prefer to skip the vegan cheese, and just enjoy the flavours of the delicious veggies. Also, FYI, if you can, skip the salad (usually a waste of money at most pizza places) and get fresh arugula on top of your pizza. You often end up with more greens than if you ordered the green salad :)

Pizza is probably my favourite treat to have when eating out, and there seem to be more & more "naples certified" pizzerias that know how to make simple ingredients taste fantastic.

What kind of pizza is your favourite? I like anything with olives & mushrooms!

Enjoy the weekend friends.

Transient

Macro Monday: A Macrobiotic Staple...Miso Soup

Hi Guys,

Happy Monday. Can you believe January is already more than half over? Time flies!

Today's post is about one of the top Macrobiotic Staples.

MM: Miso Soup

 Barley Miso at Rebar &lt;3

Barley Miso at Rebar <3

I get asked about miso a lot. I know, kinda weird, right? But so is miso. I think it often freaks people out a little...especially when they hear the words "fermented" and "bean paste." And then they think of this tub just sitting there, in the back of their fridge, and being not sure what the heck to do with it. So I hope this helps!

 

What is Miso?

Well, as I said, it is a traditional Japanese fermented bean/grain paste, dating back to China (likely) 2500 years ago, used most often for seasoning soups.

It is most commonly made from combining soybeans, sea salt, and the starter koji (usually the fungus aspergillus oryzaea ), and mixed with grains such as rice or barley. It is fermented from 3 months up to 3 years. The variation in fermentation lengths, and the different beans or grains used, allows for there to be an amazing variety in kinds of miso, each one with a differing taste ranging from sweeter to more salty.

Miso is sold as a paste, often in plastic tubs or glass jars, in the cool section of the grocery store. You want to make sure you are purchasing miso that does not have preservatives in it, and that has been actually fermented, not simply filled with chemicals or artifical ingredients.

Miso paste can be added to soups, sauces, desserts and whatever else your heart desires, to add an amazing depth of flavour.

 

Health Benefits

Miso is extremely enzyme rich and is great for the immune system, which is perfect during the flu season. It also has a plethora of other health & healing benefits, including:

  • It is a good source of plant derived B vitamins, especially B12, which is very important and more difficult for vegetarians to get.
  • Along with other traditionally fermented products (like real sauerkraut), miso is a wonderful source of natural digestive-friendly good bacteria. It can help balance & restore beneficial probiotics to the intestines.
  • Miso is teeming with all the essential amino acids your body needs to function properly.
  • Miso is very alkalizing, which is what we want, as diseases flourish in acidic conditions, and cannot survive in alkaline conditions.
  • It can help to stimulate your digestive system and get things moving along
  • Due to the dipilocolonic acid in miso, it can help your body remove any accumulated heavy metals, and can help protect from radiation
  • Miso is a great source of manganese, copper & zinc, along with other amazing antioxidants.

 

How to Use It

While there are many different things you can make with miso, I want to focus today on the basic miso soup.

It is actually not so basic, as depending on the kind of miso paste, and the ingredients such as root veggies and/or noodles and/or protein such as tofu, you can create a hearty filling soup, or a very light simple soup to accompany any meal.

Some things to keep in mind:

  • You do NOT want to boil the miso paste - this will destroy the beneficial enzymes and good bacteria. It is therefore best added at the end, after all the veggies or whatever else are done boiling, and the stove temperature is lowered so your soup is just lightly simmering.
  • It is best to mix a few spoons of miso with some warm water in a separate bowl, until it has more of a sauce consistency, before adding it into your pot. This will prevent it from simply being one giant chunk in your soup :)
  • Please note: miso is fairly salty...it's probably best to not have more than 2 tsp per person, per day.
  • There are many kinds of miso (I read 1300 types!), and some are better at different times of the year:
    • Heavier miso types like straight soybean (hatcho miso) or darker rice miso in the winter
    • Barley (mugi miso) is great for a more year-round soup.
    • White miso (shiro miso) has a sweeter flavour and works better in dressing, sauces, and desserts.

 

Recipe for a Simple Veggie Miso Soup

Serves 3-4

Ingredients:

  • 3 cups water
  • 1 inch piece of wakame, soaked in 1 cup water (keep the water to add to the soup)
  • 4 heaping teaspoons miso paste (I enjoy brown rice, barley or a new favourite is adzuki bean miso)
  • 1-2 tsps of sesame or toasted sesame oil
  • Veggies of your choice! Here's a recent combo I really enjoyed: few inches of thinly sliced daikon, a couple leaves of chinese cabbage or bok choy, about 1/4 of an onion or leek, and a few slices of green onion for garnish. {carrots and shitake are also lovely}
adzuki bean miso.JPG

Directions

  1. Soak wakame in about 1 cup of water, until softened (around 10 minutes).
  2. Wash and rinse all veggies. Cut the daikon pieces into half circles (moons), thinly chop the leek or onion, and thinly slice the cabbage or bok choy.
  3. Heat the oil in the bottom of a saucepan, and brown the onions or leek with a teeny tiny bit of sea salt, adding a bit of water if necessary, to prevent burning.
  4. Add in the daikon slices & the cabbage or bok choy stems, stirring for a few minutes until slightly sauteed.
  5. Chop up the soaked wakame.
  6. Add the 3 cups water, and the wakame soaking water to the pot, and bring to boil.
  7. Add the wakame, and let the veggies simmer until tender, between 5-10 minutes. Add in the finely chopped bok choy leaves closer to the end of that time frame, as they only need a few minutes to soften.
  8. Scoop out your miso paste, and mix with a tiny bit of water in a cup or bowl, until it is all dissolved and runny.
  9. Lower the temperature until the soup is barely simmering, and whisk the miso in. Alternatively, you can even remove the pot from the heat completely, and then whisk the miso in.
  10. Let it cook for a few minutes, until you see "clouds" appear. The miso will kind of puff up to the surface, like clouds, and then you'll know it's done.
  11. Throw on some green onion slices if desired, and serve.

*This miso will not be what you are used to getting at sushi restaurants...that stuff is often instant miso. It will have more of a texture. If you do not like the small bits of grain/bean chunks from the miso paste (most people don't mind), you can actually whisk your miso through a strainer like so:

More miso recipes to come in the weeks to follow :)

If you have any questions, or a favourite miso recipe to share, don't hesitate to comment or email me!

Enjoy, and may this week be nurturing, comforting, and healing for you, my friends.

xoxo Jess


 

 

Macrobiotics, Honduran Style

If you've been through Central America, you'll remember that the meals are pretty standard everywhere (at least in all the countries I've been): beans and rice...or if you're lucky, rice and beans (and if you eat meat, then add chicken to create the common menu: rice + beans + chicken). Lots of beans! I love them though, so lucky me!

This Macro Monday (which is actually on a Thursday...let's call it Island time?!?) is to give you a glance at what it was like to eat Dainty Pig Style while away on the island of Roatan, in Honduras.

Macrobiotic in Honduras

Eating Out

As I mentioned above, there are beans a plenty in Honduras, but chicken is usually a large part of the menu. Seafood is also easy to be found in most restaurants, so I've been enjoying snapper and shrimp. You can often get it grilled with nothing on it (my favourite is grilled with lemon or lime). but I've also had it cajun style served with spices, cooked tomatoes, peppers & onions. And I also had a delicious coconut & cilantro shrimp dish. The fish is often served whole & it's so SO flavourful.

Transient

They serve most dishes here with a side of mashed potatoes (!!?) or rice, so I choose rice (I've never liked mashed potatoes - but for the record, everyone who got them said they were absolutely delicious). Usually there are some steamed veggies - carrots & a kind of summer squash - that come with it too. And the plantains are definitely worth a try - so good!

Groceries

As far as groceries go, on Roatan we've been extremely lucky. There are all kinds of grains, beans, fruits, veggies, oils, hearty breads, muesli, tahini, peanut butter, coconut waters and milks, and almond, rice, or soymilk a plenty. These are all available at the big grocery chain on island called Eldons. And of course there are fruit & veggie stands every way you look selling delicious tropical fruits like guava & pineapple.

If you're curious about other foods & drinks from home you can get here too, you will easily be able to find all sorts of meats, eggs, cheese & yogurt, wine, pasta, chocolate, crackers, rice cakes etc. too. Most products are Central American or from the USA. There are also plenty of gluten free breads and products if that's what you're looking for (check out the shop called Bulk Gourmet). You could easily create an Italian, Mexican, or American style meal with ingredients from the grocery stores here.

Daily Eats

I've been enjoying fruit (oh my goodness, the papaya is insanely good!) and toast with peanut butter or oats for breakfast, along with some amazing Honduran shade grown coffee. It's been a delightful way to start the day.

We've been keeping pretty busy so lunch has often been some quick home made refried beans, salsa, avocado and either tortillas, home made tacos, or tortilla chips. Perfect for the weather here, and to munch on by the pool.

And dinner has usually been the fish I was talking about above, or the delicious coconut shrimp I had (pictured below).

Transient

I haven't gotten sick from any food whatsoever...but I did get a sinus cold (first cold I've had in years!) due to lack of sleep & some out of character indulgence in Island rum. I woke up the next morning without a hangover, but with a sinus cold. I managed it pretty well though, and felt better within a few days (minus the scuba diving...that didn't help so much). Other than that though, all has been well.

Now it's time to get into the Canadian Christmas Spirit.
Hope you have a lovely week!
xoxo J

 

Macro Monday: All About Winter Squash

If you know me, you know I love pumpkin. And Kabocha. And pretty much all winter squash. I find them to be THE single most comforting whole food (other than oats, perhaps) out there. They are sweet & decadent and pair so well with cinnamon & nutmeg, but also taste great when made with savory spices, or dipped into a delicious tahini-lemon dressing. You can roast, steam, and mash them. Squash tastes amazing spread onto sandwiches, served with wholegrains, and cooked into soups and stews. Winter squash is very health-giving & nourishing during the cooler seasons, and every year around this time I start to crave it.

IMG_2797.JPG

In honour of the Autumn Equinox yesterday, on this Macrobiotic Monday, let's focus on everything to do with Winter Squash, including a recipe for my favourite way to cook it!

Different Kinds of Winter Squash:

  • Butternut - beige colour, and they come in many fun interesting shapes. A sweet, slightly dense squash.
  • Acorn - dark green skin, and shaped like an acorn (they have ridges). They are a bit watery and less dense.
  • Red Kuri - bright red and orange *look for a photo below
  • Kabocha - dark green with some orangey patches, and a sort of squashed-round shape. Very dense & sweet. *look for photo below
  • Pumpkins (and all other pie-making variety of pumpkins) - there are too many varieties of these big orange guys to count. You know the ones :)
  • Buttercup - like kabocha in colouring, but generally a bit more square-ish shaped, with higher edges with kind of a ridge. Similar to kabocha, but a bit more watery
  • Spaghetti Squash - large round & oval in shape, yellow in colour. Once it's cooked when you scrape the flesh, it comes off in strings like spaghetti. 

How to Choose a Good Squash

There might be nothing more disappointing than selecting what looks like a beauty of a squash at the store, and then getting home, cutting it open, and finding out that it's super watery or very light coloured on the inside with a spongy texture. Boo! 

Here's how to avoid this catastrophe: 

  • Get up close & personal with the squashes: pick them up, and feel their weight (I transfer them back and forth between my hands to get an idea of how much they weight). The heavier the better.  If you have 2 equally sized squashes, choose the heavier one. Always.  If a squash seems too light for it's size, place it back in the bin and keep looking. 
  • Smell your squash: if you get a whiff of mold, place it back. 
  • If you can, choose a squash with it's stem still in place

Best Places to Buy Squash

 Kabocha &amp; Red Kuri Squash from the Pumpkin Guys on Moss Street

Kabocha & Red Kuri Squash from the Pumpkin Guys on Moss Street

My favourite place to buy squash is at markets or food stands. I find that the grocery store winter squashes are often hit or miss...and recently, they've been more of a miss (often moldy). Local farmers & gardeners have the best selection, and high quality.

This Saturday I was lucky enough to come across Winter Squash heaven. A beautiful table and buckets filled with all kinds of squashes, and a super cute sign at the end of the block. If you're in Victoria, I recommend checking out the Pumpkin Guys on Moss Street (between McKenzie & Fairfield Rd)! They'll be there every Saturday until the end of October!

 If you look close, you can see a few ladies checking out the pumpkins halfway up the block :)&nbsp;

If you look close, you can see a few ladies checking out the pumpkins halfway up the block :) 

How to Cook Winter Squash

 Steamed

  • Wash & Scrub the outside of the squash
  • cut in half vertically  
  • Scrape out insides
  • peel if you like, then cut into 1" chunks
  • Place in a vegetable steamer over water, and steam for 7-10 minutes

Boiled 

  • Wash & scrub the outside of the squash
  • Peel & cut in half  
  • scoop out all the seeds and insides
  • dice into chunks
  • place in a pan with water and boil away until nice and soft (you can start with not so much water, and just add more as necessary) 
  • { you can boil spaghetti squash whole: pierce a few holes before with a knife on all sides before boiling. Boil for about 30 minutes in a large pot. Be very careful when removing from the pot - it will be really hot and will release steam when you cut it open}

Mashed 

  • Wash & Scrub the squash
  • Either boil, steam or bake the squash
  • Scoop out the cooked flesh, and using a potato masher, or a good fork, place in a bowl and mash away
  • Add in good quality oil and seasonings of choice. For savory I recommend some herbal sea salt, or perhaps some rosemary and sea salt. For a sweet treat, add in some maple syrup or honey and some cinnamon & nutmeg. 

 Roasted Squash Fries

  • Set oven to 400F
  • Wash & Scrub the squash
  • cut into half vertically, and scoop out the insides
  • Slice into 1/2" thick crescent moons (my fav), or sticks (like fries) or peel & dice  
  • Toss with olive oil, sea salt, and seasonings (i.e., rosemary, herbal salt, sage)  or if you prefer the sweet variety: your liquid sweetener of choice, some cinnamon & nutmeg
  • Spread out on a cookie sheet or baking dish and bake for 35-40 mins. 
  • *My favourite is to make this variety savory, using butternut squash. They make delicious fries! 

 ***My Favourite way: Steam Baked  (see directions below)

How to Bake A Squash Dainty Pig Style

  • Set oven to 350F
  • Wash/ scrub your squash
  • Cut it in half vertically
  • Scrape out all the seeds/guts with a sturdy spoon
 Halved &amp; insides scooped out Red Kuri Squash, ready for the oven. 

Halved & insides scooped out Red Kuri Squash, ready for the oven. 

  • Rub a bit of sea salt on the flesh, with your fingers {optional, but for a delicious and richer taste, rub a bit of sesame or olive oil onto the flesh first, then rub in the salt}
  • Place halves flesh side down in a pyrex dish
  • Add in about 1" of water, making sure it goes inside the squash halves too (sometimes it can form a seal with the glass)
  • Bake for 30 minutes (optional, you can cover the whole squash & pan with foil)
  • Carefully take pan out, holding onto squash with oven mitts (it's hot!!), pour out the water
  • Flip the squash over, so they now rest flesh side up
  • Put them back in and bake for another 20-30 minutes uncovered
  • Remove from oven, and carefully slice or cut into chunks. Devour!
 Red Kuri Squash Ready to Eat - from the Moss Street Pumpkin Guys {it was outta-this-world delicious, some of the best squash ever btw}

Red Kuri Squash Ready to Eat - from the Moss Street Pumpkin Guys {it was outta-this-world delicious, some of the best squash ever btw}

Leftover cooked squash can be frozen, or put into the refrigerator. One of my favourite things it to use the leftovers to make a pudding (puree it, add in some cinnamon and a tiny bit of sweetener), or to cook into my oatmeal.

Some Dainty Pig Recipes That Use Squash:

*And a fun fact about winter squash: You can eat the skin on most of them - I have, with kabocha, butternut & red kuri squash. It is full of good things for you, and has a nice texture. Just make sure you don't eat the parts of the skin that have some of those bumpy markings.

We enjoyed our red kuri squash with a big salad full of fresh market vegetables, and the most delicious baguette I have ever tasted in my life, dipped in some olive oil. So good :)

What's your favourite way to eat squash?? 

Happy Autumn Everyone! xoxo


 

Macro Monday: Macrobiotic Eating for Autumn

Eating seasonally and locally are major parts of the big picture view that Macrobiotics takes. If you do this, you'll feel great during all the different seasons, but also during the often uncomfortable transition times between.

 Google Image Search Result:  http://tinyurl.com/m892tjv

Google Image Search Result: http://tinyurl.com/m892tjv

People seem to intuitively move towards lighter eating in warmer weather, and heavier eating during the cold of winter. This is simply our bodies tapping into the universe & mother nature, and sending us signals about what would serve & nourish us best during each season. 

Nourishing Meals for Autumn

When the weather cools off (becomes more yin), it feels best to begin eating slightly heavier & warmer foods with more concentrated energy (more yang) to feel balanced.  Some great recommendations for Autumn are root vegetables including pumpkins & squash, more grains including denser ones such as millet & sweet rice. Stewed fruit and desserts like apple crisp replace the crisp fresh raw fruit enjoyed in summer. And also, in your cooking, you could use a bit more salt and condiments.

Just like I posted a recipe for lighter summer eating, on this lovely Macro Monday, I have a delicious Autumn dish for you, to match the changing colours of foliage, and keep you warm during scarves & boots weather. 

Gingery Adzuki & Kabocha Stew

This is a classic Macrobiotic dish--and is one of my absolute favourites. T loves it too. I would guess that every Macrobiotic cookbook has a variation, and here's mine: 

 I promise this stew is much better than the old photo I dug up ;)

I promise this stew is much better than the old photo I dug up ;)

Ingredients: 

  • 1 cup dried adzuki beans {rinse & soak overnight, then rinse before using}
  • 1 medium kabocha (~600g), seeded & cut into about 1" chunks (peeling optional) 
  • 1/2" chunk of ginger, finely diced
  • 3 cups filtered water

Directions: 

  1. Layer into the pressure cooker, in order: the adzuki beans, the chunks of kabocha squash, and then sprinkle the diced ginger on top. 
  2. Pour the water in, gently, down the side of the pressure cooker, so you don't disturb the layers. 
  3. Bring the pressure cooker up to full pressure, and then lower heat to the lowest setting to maintain high pressure. Cook for 30 minutes. Then let pressure release naturally.
  4. Lift the lid, and if you like, add in a tiny bit of sea salt or tamari to taste, and let it simmer for a few minutes on low heat. The kabocha will be soft and break apart. 
  5. Serve with a sprig of parsley on top (I forgot for the photo, my bad).

This stew is great on its own, or with some good hearty bread, or on top of brown rice. For variation, you could make this with butternut squash instead - but I bet that once you go kabocha, you'll never go back :)

Stove-top Variation: 

You could make this without the pressure cooker, no problem: Follow the same layering technique, and bring the mixture up to boil, then reduce heat to low and let it simmer away with  lid on. Just make sure to check the water every so often, and add more as necessary. I pretty much always make this in the pressure cooker, but my guess is that it would take about 45 minutes to 1 hour or so doing the regular stove-top variation.  It will be done when the aduzki beans are nice and soft.

***And, there will be an Ohsawa pot variation coming soon --- I have written down my recipe for making this in the ohsawa pot, but will need a few days of searching to find it in my moving boxes.

Happy Autumn everyone! Enjoy your roasted veggies, apple crisps, pretty scarves & pumpkin pie.  Make sure to take some time for reflecting on the year, while sipping some warm tea and watching red, yellow & orange leaves swirl & dance to the ground.

What are your favourite Autumn foods, and clothes? 

Mine are definitely pumpkin anything, especially pie, and scarves <3

Big hugs,
Jess

 

MM: Macrobiotic Snacks for Trips

On this lovely Macro Monday (MM) I am on the final leg of a two day road trip.  Eating Macro style while traveling is definitely not easy... 

But you can manage to do it, either somewhat or full on. I've done it both ways, depending on the trip. This one is definitely leaning more towards the somewhat category, and i'm totally fine with that. 

After a marathon apartment clearing out & car loading up fiasco that lasted much longer than anticipated (doesn't it always?!) I was left with no time to prepare actual food to bring along, but luckily had grabbed a few snacks earlier in the week for our moving-to-the-coast-long-ass-roadtrip. 

Over the years I've brought many different things for trips, and found a few favourites.

Here are some things I'd recommend including in your macrobiotic road trip picnic basket:

Macrobiotic Snacks

{{For Road Trips & Other Fun ways of Traveling}}

Salty / Crunchy

  • Tamari Almonds -  #1 on my list because they are so dang tasty, and easy to transport...also easy to munch on if you're the driver
  • Popcorn with oil & salt (made at home beforehand)
  • Trail mix with any variety of nuts/seeds/dried fruit
  • Brown Rice chips
  • Corn Chips  
  • Brown Rice cakes

Sweet

  • Fresh fruit: apples transport well, and grapes are easy to eat while driving
  • Macro Bars - these are tasty, and transport well and will last in case you get stranded somewhere
  • Natural Macrobiotic / vegan baking: wholesome cookies, muffins & bars
  • High quality dark chocolate

Quick Breakfasts 

*Bring a bowl & spoon

  • Instant Oats
  • Granola or Muesli
  • Small tetra paks of rice/soy/almond milk
  • Seeds/Nuts for on top: flax/chia/pumpkin etc. 
  • Nut butters (peanut/almont etc) to eat on top of brown rice cakes or bread

Lunches & Dinners

  • Hummus & pita
  • Cut up veggies & dip
  • Pre-made guacamole to use with rice cakes/chips/pita
  • Sandwich Fixings - you can make these on the road, or before hand.
  • You could try making rice balls the night before you leave, if you have any leftover grains

Drinks

  • I usually pack a kombucha along, as long car trips aren't a friend of my stomach. Just make sure to keep 'em in a cooler.
  • I also bring along some almond milk for any coffee along the way, if I need a caffeine boost to keep me awake for driving
  • Cold Mate tea - you can buy this in a glass bottle. It will keep you awake!
  • You could make a smoothie and pack it along in a jar
  • water, water, WATER! 

And remember, if you need to find a place to eat out, here are a few tips to make it more Macro Friendly.  I've found that Pita Pit / Subway can be a life saver if need be, as well as most Mexican, Japanese or Thai Restaurants.

While on the road today, I made a Macro Sandwich using smoked tofu, arugula, and avocado-all leftover ingredients from my kitchen in Edmonton. We stopped on the side of the road in Jasper, and I used a plastic bag as a cutting board, and my fingers as a knife to open the avocado...ugh, it wasn't pretty to say the least, but it tasted good & with some brown rice chips made a pretty filling lunch.

Dinner was kind of a sad affair, as we were so behind that we didn't have time to stop and eat. While driving I had some rice cakes, handfuls of tamari almonds, a few squares of dark chocolate, and a chia seed kombucha. And then some all natural macrobiotic approved ginger candy we found at a gas station (!!??!!). Yeah. No one's perfect.

Not too sure what tomorrow will look like as the car food supply has dwindled rapidly. Guess i'll have to practice letting go of food rules & go with the flow.

Happy trips to you all, wherever you may be.
And, I'd love to hear about any foods you like to bring along when traveling!