FreshnCrunchy

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Roasted Spaghetti Squash With Arugula and Hemp Pesto

Dinner, LunchLina LiwagComment

It's the middle of winter here in Toronto.  I'm making a lot of cooked and nourishing meals to keep us warm. This weekend, my boy was home relaxing from all his busy days at the University. I thought of making something new: spaghetti squash.  He loves good food and he's my biggest critic.  I'm so happy to say that he enjoyed this recipe!

Spaghetti squash is nutritious.  It's packed with Vitamins A, B and C.  It also has beta carotene, lutein and zeaxanthin, antioxidants that promote good eye health.  Consider this as a better option than the regular pasta.

Roasted Spaghetti Squash With  Arugula and Hemp Pesto
Ingredients (preferably organic)

1 medium size spaghetti squash
1 Tbsp. avocado oil
Pinch of salt and pepper

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees.  Cut the squash into half and remove the seeds.  Drizzle the oil, and season with salt and pepper.  Transfer into a roasting pan lined with parchment paper and roast, cut side down until soft, approximately 45-50 mins. depending on the size of the squash.  While roasting, prep the arugula salad and pesto.  When the squash is cooked, use a fork to scrape the flesh into long strands.   Transfer into a bowl and add some of the pesto and toss to combine.   Martha Stewart has a neat video on cooking spaghetti squash by stove top method.   Take a look here.

Arugula Salad
2-3 handful of arugula leaves
1 small purple daikon or watermelon radish, cut thinly (I used a mandolin)
1  cup frozen edamame, soaked in boiling water for 3 mins. then drained
3 Tbsp. olive oil
3 Tbsp. apple cider vinegar
3/4  tsp. stone ground mustard
1 tsp. maple syrup
Salt and pepper to taste.

Prep the salad components and mix the dressing in a small jar.  Dress the greens just before serving.

Hemp Pesto
1 1/2 c. packed basil leaves
1/2 c. hemp hearts
2 Tbsp. pine nuts (or more hemp)
1/4 c. lemon juice
3 Tbsp. olive oil
2 cloves garlic (depending on taste)
Salt and pepper to taste

Place everything in a food processor.  Pulse several times, scraping the sides.  Taste and adjust accordingly.  I was conservative in adding extra oil but feel free to add more to suit your taste.

Assembly:

In a salad bowl, combine the arugula leaves with half of the purple daikon and half of the edamame.   Add some of the dressing and toss. Adjust the taste.   To serve, use the arugula as a bed for the squash and top with the rest of the edamame and purple daikon or even more pesto.   Enjoy!

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If you live in a cold place like I do,  I hope you're keeping warm.   This meal is also great with a good bowl of hot soup which I've also been making.  I love this older recipe here. I can't wait to catch some sunshine somewhere warm soon!

Xoxo,

Lina 

Fall Abundance Bowl

Dinner, Lunch, SaladLina Liwag1 Comment

 

Fall.  Such a beautiful season!   The air is cool. The trees are bursting with colours.  Even the fashion has more character. At this time, we also see a lot of colourful vegetables: squash, beets, radishes, heirloom carrots and kohlrabi in various shades and varieties.

Two weeks ago, my husband and I visited Montreal.  Our friend Chloe took us around this charming city.  We explored the place mostly by foot.  We checked out markets, spice and tea stores, unique cafes and artisanal shops.  We ate awesome food and met new friends.  One of the places we visited was Marche Jean Talon, a huge market displaying all the wonderful produce of Quebec.  The sights, smell and energy of this place was intoxicating to a foodie.   I just had that urge to cook when I was there!

So here's a dish I made this weekend - inspired by the new season and our recent trip to Montreal.  I call it 'Fall Abundance Bowl.' This is a mix of raw and cooked salad, a bit more satisfying and grounding as our bodies also change with the season.  You can definitely design your own abundance bowl with whatever vegetables and other ingredients available in your own kitchen.  This is a huge dish which is also great for packed lunches.

Roasted Veggie: 
1  medium delicata squash, cut into 1/2" thick ( no need to peel if not too mature) 
4- 5  sprigs of thyme
1 1/2 Tbsp. coconut oil
salt and pepper to taste

Preheat the oven to 375F.  Place the cut squash in a roasting pan and mix it up with the other ingredients.  Roast for 25-30 minutes until slightly brown and tender. 

Salad: 
3 cups shredded purple cabbage
2 carrots, shredded or shaved using a veggie peeler
A few radishes, thinly sliced
2 handful of microgreens
4-6 Romaine leaves, chopped or any greens of choice
2 c. cooked quinoa or grain of choice
1 c. cooked white beans or chickpeas
1/4 c. dried cranberries
1/2 c. pumpkin seeds (lightly toasted for more flavour) 
4 scallions, thinly sliced diagonally

Dressing
1/3 c. tahini
1/3 c. water
2 Tbsp. olive oil
2 Tbsp. lemon juice
2 tbsp. apple  cider vinegar
1 1/2 Tbsp. maple syrup
1 Tbsp. tamari (optional) 
1 small garlic, chopped
1/2 tsp. grated ginger
salt  and pepper to taste 

Serve on bowls arranging the different components to show off their different colours. Drizzle the  dressing. 

Suggestions:  Use different vegetables and a different dressing.  I had these two older posts here and here

Here are the photos from Montreal.  

 

I hope you're enjoying Fall with its rich colours, wonderful food at the market and even just taking out your jacket, scarf and boots from storage.  

Xoxoxo,

Lina

"Vietnamese Style" Rainbow Noodle Salad

Salad, Dinner, LunchLina LiwagComment
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It feels like an endless summer here in Toronto and I'm loving it!  Salads are still the way to go when it's hot and sticky outside.  Vietnamese vermicelli salad used to be one of my favourite Asian-inspired dishes and I've since tweaked this classic to make it more enjoyable for my family and guests.  My friend Pressie loved it when we had her family over three weeks ago.

"Vietnamese Style" Rainbow Noodle Salad

Salad:
1/2  package brown rice and millet noodles (cooked according to package directions)
or your choice of gluten-free noodles
3 cups shredded purple cabbage
2 carrots, peeled and  spiralized or cut into thin julienne
1 zucchini spiralized or cut into thin julienne
1 cup fresh or frozen green peas
1/3 c. sunflower seeds, lightly toasted
1/4 c. mint leaves, thinly cut
1/4 c. cilantro, thinly cut

Dressing:
1/4 c. lime juice
4 Tbs. Braggs liquid aminos
2 Tbsp. maple syrup
1  1/2 Tbsp. avocado oil or walnut oil
1  1/2  Tbsp. toasted sesame seed oil
1/2 tsp. grated ginger
1 small garlic clove, minced

Prep all ingredients and assemble the salad 30 mins. before serving.  Leave some of the herbs, peas and sunflower seeds for topping.  This can serve from 6-8 people.  See some variations below.

 

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There's a lot of ways this can be made:  adding your own choices of veggies and protein.  Sprouts and cucumber are great as well.  For a 100% plant-based option, I added green peas and toasted sunflower seeds.  Instead of using rice vermicelli, I went for brown rice and millet noodles (I used this brand).  For the dressing, I've replaced fish sauce with Braggs liquid aminos like this but  feel free to use coconut aminos or soya sauce or tamari. 

I hope you've been enjoying the last part of the Summer.  Tomorrow most kids go back to school in Canada.  My son started University a bit early last Thursday...exciting times for our family!  We're so grateful for this new milestone.    To celebrate the Labour Day weekend, we get to join our friends at a beach day yesterday.  We drove 2 hours to the Sandbanks and we had a blast!  I'm sharing some of the photos we took.

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Cauliflower & Hemp Couscous on Romaine Boats + More Culinary Training in Raw Cuisine

Lunch, Dinner, RawLina LiwagComment

It's Summer!  And what best way to celebrate the hot and sunny days than making food from fresh and local produce.  Cauliflower is not just meant for dishes like "Aloo Gobi" (which I love by the way) but can also be eaten raw!   

Cauliflower Couscous -  what is it anyway?  It's raw cauliflower processed into  "couscous-like" size by using a food processor, usually served as a salad or as a component of a salad.   It may not be too appealing to some but with the right ingredients, it actually tastes rad.  Here's one of my favourite recipes. 

Cauliflower and Hemp Couscous 0n Romaine Boats

Couscous:
1 small cauliflower, any variety (I used an orange one),
chopped (approx. 3 cups or 383 g.)
1/2 c. hemp hearts
1/3 c. parsley, roughly chopped
1/3 c. basil, cut into chiffonade
1/4 c. chives, roughly chopped
2 Tbsp. pine nuts ( or increase hemp hearts)
3 Tbsp. lemon juice
2 1/2 Tbsp. olive oil
1 Tbsp. nutritional yeast (optional, gives it a "cheesy taste") 
Salt and pepper to taste 

In a food processor, place the cauliflower and all the other ingredients except the hemp hearts.  Pulse until the mixture turns into grain-like or couscous-like size (see above photo).  Add the hemp hearts and pulse briefly.  Adjust the taste.  Leave for 30 minutes to marinate.  It even tastes better the next day.  

Romaine Boats:
A few romaine hearts (Boston bibb or butter lettuce leaves can also be used)
1 -  1 1/2 avocados, seeded, peeled and cut into cubes
1/2 c. cherry tomatoes, cut into halves or pieces
A few microgreens
Edible flowers if available
quick red onion pickles (or any pickles of choice)

Red Onion Pickles:
 medium red onion, thinly sliced
½ cup apple cider vinegar
1 cup warm water
2 tsp. maple syrup
1½ teaspoons Himalayan salt
A few peppercorns and coriander seeds

In a small bowl, combine the water, vinegar, maple syrup, salt and spices and stir to dissolve the salt and sweetener.  Place the onions in a clean mason jar and pour the liquid over.  Let it marinate for one hour to use in this recipe but overnight is better. 

Sauce: (optional but tastes great)
Tahini sauce, see the recipe here

To Assemble:
Spread the couscous on the romaine leaves.  If using the sauce, add a few dollops on over the couscous  then add the rest of the toppings.  It can also be served with greens on a salad.  Enjoy!

 Basil, one of my fav herbs

Basil, one of my fav herbs

 Annabelle hydrangea from our backyard

Annabelle hydrangea from our backyard

In addition to fresh produce, there's tons of lovely flowers around us these days.  I love my walks as I get to visit a mini-forest in our neighbourhood which has various wild varieties of flowers.  I hope Summer won't fly too fast!  

AN UPDATE ON MY RAW CUISINE TRAINING: 
I received my Certification in Advanced Raw Cuisine from the Matthew Kenney Culinary in April.  With this comes 270 hours of training including a Plant-based Desserts course.

 In May, I also had the opportunity to go to England and train further in Raw Cuisine with Deborah Durrant.  The program was called "Taste."   It was an intensive one week course held in the beautiful city of Bath.   Deb is a teacher that everyone would want to have: passionate, inspirational and kind hearted.  Her courses in Raw Cuisine are not just about teaching recipes but more so on practical techniques and real life application.  You can check her website here.

While in London, I also met  Amy Levin, the awesome raw chocolate guru.  I spent an afternoon with her learning about raw chocolate making.

I have such  great memories in Bath, Kent and London meeting new friends, reconnecting with relatives and childhood friends and most of all learning new things.  Below are some of the photos.  For more, please visit my Instagram page here.

 Carrot Pate.  English Veggies.  Celery and Fennel Gastrique.  Balsamic Reduction.  One of my final projects in Bath, England.  Photo courtesy of Dawn Langley.

Carrot Pate.  English Veggies.  Celery and Fennel Gastrique.  Balsamic Reduction.  One of my final projects in Bath, England.  Photo courtesy of Dawn Langley.

 Lavender & Citrus Ice Cream.  English Strawberries.  Berry Coulis.  Hazelnut & Ginger Crumb.  Photo by Dawn Langley.

Lavender & Citrus Ice Cream.  English Strawberries.  Berry Coulis.  Hazelnut & Ginger Crumb.  Photo by Dawn Langley.

And here are some photos that I took as a Canadian tourist.  

 Bath, such a beautiful and romantic place. 

Bath, such a beautiful and romantic place. 

I hope you're enjoying your Summer!  Recently, I threw a "Mini-Raw Cafe" at home for some of my friends.  We all had a blast and enjoyed raw snacks and sweets.  I will be sharing that on my next post.   Hope to touch base soon!

Warmly,

Lina

Ginger & Turmeric Spiced Cauliflower & Sweet Potato Soup

Soup, Lunch, Dinner, VeganLina LiwagComment
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It's been uber cold and snowing in Toronto lately.  This weather calls for soup.  I just love the mix of cauliflower + a sweet vegetable like squash and sweet potato with herbs and spices to help warm and nourish me.  My teenager enjoys these types of soups and depending if my day is busy or not, I would do the long or short versions of it.  This is the long one but cooking and prep time would be at least 30-40 mins. max.  Nothing too complicated especially to working moms and career women like me.

Fun facts about the ingredients:

Cauliflower - rich in Vitamins C, K and B6, folate and is linked to cancer-prevention
Sweet Potato - very rich in Vitamins A & C.  The bright colour is the presence of anthocyanin which is an antioxidant.  It has anti-inflammatory and blood regulating nutrients.  It's also believed to have anti-fungal and anti-bacterial properties.
Ginger - anti-inflammatory and helps with nausea and absorption of nutrients in the body.  It has warming benefits and helps clear out throat and nose congestion.  
Turmeric - it has been getting a lot of attention lately.  It is anti-inflammatory and helps in the relief of rheumatoid arthritis and is also linked to cancer prevention and improved liver function. 
Cilantro - also known as coriander leaves.  It has cholesterol  and blood sugar lowering properties.  It has high phytonutrient content and is also beneficial in helping the body get rid of toxins. Detox supplements usually has cilantro as one of its ingredients. 

 

Ginger & Turmeric Spiced Cauliflower and Sweet Potato Soup
Ingredients:

1 small cauliflower, cut into florets, approximately 3 cups
1 large sweet potato, peeled and cut into cubes, approximately 3 cups
3 stalks celery, chopped
2" ginger, peeled and grated
1 small red onions, minced
1/4 cup cilantro, chopped
2 Tbsp. coriander powder
2 tsp. turmeric
1/2 tsp. cumin
Himalayan or sea salt to taste
2 Tbsp. coconut oil
5 - 6 cups water or veggie stock or a combination of both

Method:
On a large pot and on medium heat, saute the ginger and onions with the coconut oil for 2 minutes.  Add the coriander powder, turmeric and cumin and stir until fragrant.  Pour in the water or stock and boil. then add all the vegetables.  Let it boil then simmer until they are tender, approximately 10-12 minutes.   Make sure they do not overcook.  Add the salt and adjust the taste. You can add more grated ginger or a pinch of cayenne for more heat.  Blend in batches in an upright blender until smooth.  Reheat if necessary. Serve with a few drops of cilantro oil.

Cilantro Oil (Optional)
1/2 cups cilantro
1/4 cup hemp or flaxseed oil
Pinch of salt

Blend until smooth.

I also have older posts for soups here and here which you may like.  For a short version of this current post, steam all the veggies  for 8-10 minutes  and use the water to blend the soup.  Add salt, herbs and all spices and blend until smooth.  Adjust the taste and serve.

 

I had a quiet "me-day" today as my hubby was at work and my son left yesterday for "Winterblast 2015."  He joined other teenagers at our Church for a fun-filled weekend up North.  They get to learn from God's Word and at the same time strengthen  their relationship with each other - without social media and electronic gadgets -  amidst the  beauty of this Season.  It's also a snow day in the city, one that is serene since it did not have that blizzard-type and windy characteristic like other days.  

I hope February is great for you so far.  I'm also writing about my "Plant-based Desserts" course at Matthew Keeney and will be posted mid-week in time for Valentines Day.  It has some chocolates in it!

Warmly,

Lina