Wednesday, April 27

Swiss Muesli with Chia Yogurt

The last couple of weeks have been work heavy, which always wrecks havoc on my kitchen flow of soaking, sprouting, and planning meals (and okay, dishes!). With early mornings and late evenings, I'm barely even able to make it to the grocery store, which is practically my all time favourite sport (Whole Foods at 5 p.m is nothing short of a fight for survival). After a couple days of measly breakfasts with what we had on hand, I found myself at work and starving by 10 a.m. dreaming of that moment where my lunch break would come and like Fred Flintstone, I'd slide down the tail of a Brontosaurus to my waiting gigantic rib (or quinoa salad maybe). Then one day as I stood in my kitchen nibbling the only breakfast I could find in the form of a rice cake, I knew I had to get my butt in gear! From here I started dreaming about making a super simple breakfast go-to stash that I've long forgotten about, muesli!

Now you may be scratching your head and being like, but muesli is so in right now? And you'd totally be right. But I ain't talking about your creamy insta-famous Bircher muesli here, I'm talking about your long forgotten no-soaking version. I remember the days when my parents would  have a bag of dry muesli in the cupboard - donned in minimal white packaging with a beautiful Swede on the bag, it was the epitome of a simple healthy lifestyle. Then one day 16 years or so ago, I was watching the Food Network (religiously, as any normal 14 year old does), when I saw Jamie Oliver make a soaked muesli. Mind officially blown! I remember, even now, making it just as he did, sequentially discovering how gross I thought dried apricots where (no longer true), and basically never turning back to the dried version.  

While I thought (and still do) that soaked muesli was the be all and end all of breakfasts, I've heard from a lot of friends who think it's too heavy or don't love the texture. In all honesty, I find it a little heavy at times, especially on warm spring days like these when all you want is a light airy bowl of breakfast kisses. Combining many of the same ingredients you add to the overnight oats, the dried version makes for a nutritious and fibre packed breakfast but without the overwhelming feeling of lethargy. Adding some puffed cereal (by way of puffed quinoa) lightens it up a notch and makes for another fun texture. Lately I've been adding this muesli mix to my new favourite chia-yogurt, but it is just as good eaten as cereal with almond milk, or as a topper for a fully loaded smoothie bowl!

Swiss Muesli with Chia Yogurt 

Makes around 5 Cups. Print Recipe Here

2 Cups Oats 
1/2 Cup Sunflower Seeds
1/2 Cup Pumpkin Seeds
1/2 Cup Slivered Almonds
1/2 Cup Toasted Flaked Coconut
1/2 Cup Puffed Quinoa (or millet/rice/ or Kamut)
2 Tbsp. Buckwheat Groats
2 Tbsp. Hemp Hearts
Pinch Sea Salt
Pinch Ground Cinnamon 

3/4 Cup Coconut Yogurt (or yogurt of choice - sweetened or not)
2 Tbsp. Chia Seeds
6 Tbsp. Almond Milk

Garnish with berries, or fresh fruit

1. Begin by toasting the oats. Heat a heavy bottom frying pan to medium and cook the oats, stirring often until they become fragrant and lightly browned. This should only take a few minutes. Once cool, combine oats with the rest of the ingredients and store in an airtight container until using.

2. To make the chia yogurt, mix the chia and the almond milk together and let stand 15 minutes or so. I like to double this recipe and keep some already made up chia in the fridge  to add to baking (as chia eggs), yogurt, or porridge. After 15 minutes, take about 2 Tbsp. of the chia pudding and stir it into the yogurt. Garish with a handful of muesli and fresh fruit. 

xox Sophie

Wednesday, April 20

Crispy Carrot + Sunflower Falafel with Hemp Sauce

Last week I was all by myself (sorry if Celine is now bumpin' around in your head like it is mine, oops!), which is both a blessing and a curse. Growing up in a crowed house with as many siblings as cats and dogs (that's three of each), I've never been able to fully adjust to an empty or worse, quiet, home. While I love the laxity that comes with eating whenever I want to, or being able to listen to the same Joanna Newsom record on repeat, or watching a Girls marathon unabashed, I kind of get lost in my own laissez faire attitude - especially when it comes to eating! Cooking for one is probably the hardest thing for me to do. Depressing, but oh so true.

Last summer when I was living in NYC, my single lady meals consisted of banana ice cream, avocado toast, and a variation of this kale and chickpea dish with lots of garlic and lemon (this dish is the tops by the way!). While all delicious in their own right, I always felt kind of weird not putting the love and care into cooking for myself as I would for others. A little self care is always needed. So when Adam was away in Portland on a beer tour (sigh), I made it my mission to make myself some easy, yet delicious, make ahead meals to help nourish me throughout the week.

Falafel is one of our favourite lazy day meals. In all honesty we often turn to the boxed instant stuff (hiding my face in shame right now) but making it form scratch is actually just as quick and a million times better for you. Instead of using canned beans, this recipe is based on the traditional method of using dried ones. Soaking the chickpeas overnight makes them soft and tender and allows them to easily puree into a crunchy patty. The addition of carrot and fresh herbs add a springy vibe and helps boost the veggie element which is often missing from falafel. To serve these I whipped up a creamy Hemp sauce which is kind of half way between the creamy Tahini Sauce you'd get at somewhere like Maoz and a yogurty tzatziki. These can be wrapped up in a pita, or served alongside some brilliant spring veggies to make a skookum salad. The perfect thing to sit outside on the porch and devour in the spring sunshine.

Crispy Carrot + Sunflower Falafel with Hemp Sauce 

Makes 12. Print Recipe Here

1 Cup Dried Chickpeas, soaked overnight 
2 Green Onions, sliced
4 Cloves Garlic
1/4 Cup Chopped Parsley (or cilantro)
1 1/4 tsp. Sea Salt
1 tsp. Paprika
2 tsp. Ground Cumin
1/2 Grated Carrot, packed
1/4 Cup Sunflower Seeds, chopped
1 tsp. Baking Powder
4 Tbsp. Flour
Oil for frying

Serve with:
Slivered Radishes and Beets, Spinach, Micro Greens, Avocado, and some more Hemp Hearts.

1. The night before soak the dried chickpeas in enough water to cover. They should soak anywhere from 12- 24 hours. When you're ready to make the falafel, simply drain the chickpeas and discard the water.

2. Combine the drained chickpeas with the green onions, garlic, parsley, salt, and spices and puree until it is fairly smooth, but not a paste. You want it to hold together but still see some chunks.

3. Once the consistency is right, stir in the grated carrot, sunflower seeds, baking powder and the flour. Portion into 12 2-Tbsp. balls and flatten into patties.

4. Heat about 1 tsp. Oil in a heavy bottom frying pan (I used cast iron) over medium/medium low heat. Add three falafel at a time (you may need to flatten them gently). Cook on both sides until crisp and golden, about 5 minutes total. 

5. Serve with veggies of your choice, or maybe some pita and hummus, and definitely the Hemp Sauce!!!

Hemp Sauce 

Heavily Based off of Angela's Recipe

1/2 Cup Hulled Hemp Seeds
1/4 Cup Water
1/4 Cup Lemon Juice
1 Tablespoon Nutritional Yeast
1/4 tsp. Sea Salt
Pinch Pepper
2 Cloves Garlic, grated

1. Combine all ingredients in a high-speed blender and blitz until smooth. 
xox Sophie

Wednesday, April 6

Chewy Chocolate Granola Bars

Whenever I head to the supermarket, I stroll up and down just about every aisle (every aisle but the laundry soap one, as the overbearing smell makes me feel a little queasy). I love spying on the new products, the seasonal kitch, and the packaged processed foods. I like to imagine a life where I am the type of person who buys the frozen lasagne, or the individual pudding cups. Maybe the type of person whose shopping cart contains not much more produce beyond peeled baby carrots. My longing doesn't stem from a desire to live like them, nor do I condemn them for how they eat. My obsession is purely based on interest, and this long-held yearning I have to see just how other people live. 

Growing up we didn't eat much packaged food, beyond what my grandmothers would sneak us. I vividly remember elementary school, where I'd secretly take out my nut butter and jam sandwich on homemade brown bread while my classmates devoured their wagon wheels, and fruit by the foots, and gushers (which still remain a mystery to me). I longed to be one of those kids. I longed to have a juice box instead of a reusable Tupperware glass. I longed to have plastic forks instead of metal 'cutlery', paper napkins instead of homemade cloths ones, a My Little Pony lunch box instead of the Ninja Turtles one I so forcefully picked out. Lunchables, Dunkaroos, you name it! I just wanted to be what I thought was 'normal'

It's funny how over time, one's desire to 'fit in' wanes. As we grow, we realize how the world isn't always so different from who we are, nor does it look that different from where we came from. We are able to find souls who, like us, were forced as children to wear rainbow patterned woven hats from Guatemala (and we subsequently marry said persons...). Or, we meet people who may have come from a world so different than ours, yet we are able to look into each other's pasts with so much intrigue and respect, that twenty three years later, people think its cool that you wore bellbottoms sewn by your mum (true story). While I no longer crave the normality I once held in such high regard, I do however try to feed that child in me who desperately craves treats. Sometimes for fun, I make the things I used to look at with envy, but unlike those, these are always high-vibe, hippie-dippy, wonderful. 

These granola bars are lightly sweetened by - the essential ingredient - brown rice syrup, which helps creates a chewy consistency much like a rice crispy treat. Subbing another sweetener like maple syrup won't work as it won't help bind it all together in the same way. On the other hand, any nut butter will work for this recipe. I opted for almond, but any flavour or blend will work well. Feel free to play around with the types of seeds and nuts added, as well as the amount. Dried fruit would make a nice addition, and if you prefer, chopped chocolate can be added to the base instead of being poured overtop. Much love from this weird kid to you! 

Chewy Chocolate Granola Bars 

Print Recipe Here 

2 1/2 Cups Crispy Rice Cereal
1 Cup Rolled Oats
1/2 Cup Almonds
1/2 Cup Pumpkin Seeds
Pinch of Sea Salt
2 tsp. Ground Flax
1/2 tsp. Cinnamon
1 Cup Brown Rice Syrup
1/2 Cup Nut Butter 
1 tsp Vanilla Extract
1 Cup Vegan Chocolate Chips or Chopped Chocolate

1. In a large bowl toss the rice cereal, oats, almonds, pumpkin seeds, salt, flax, and cinnamon. 

2. Next combine the brown rice syrup and almond putter in a small pot. Heat on low, stirring often, until it becomes runny  and pourable. Remove the mixture from the heat and add the vanilla. Pour the almond butter mix into the dry mix and combine. It will be sticky and harder to do the faster the syrup cools, so work quickly. Once everything is combined, pour into a parchment lined pan (mine was 20 cm/ 8 inch square). Using the back of a metal spoon, spread the mixture evenly creating a even flat surface (it may be warm, so watch your hands). 

3. Finally, add the chocolate to either a metal or glass bowl and place over a pot of simmering water. One the chocolate has melted remove the bowl from the heat (it will be hot so be careful) and mix well. Pour the melted chocolate over the bars - a gentle jiggle can help settle it, creating a smooth top. Chill until the chocolate is set, then cut into desired shapes. Store in an airtight container at room temperature. 

xox Sophie