Delicious, Fun & Healthy Food

Purple Cabbage

"Hawaiian Inspired" Taco Salad

Salad, LunchLina Liwag2 Comments

Aloha!  I've been absent from the blog for four weeks now as my family went for a vacation to Hawaii recently.  In coming back, there were a few days of unpacking...after that... a much needed break from the internet.  This created a quieting of the mind which is necessary from time to time to refocus on the more important things in life.  For me, it's my time with my God and my's refreshing and a really wonderful chance to grow.


Hawaii - what an awesome place on earth!  It created impressionable memories and the the icing on the cake was that our family grew even closer than ever before.  Although I have lived in Europe in my mid 20's, there's no other place that has charmed me most than the islands of Hawaii.  I can't wait to go back!

When we were in Maui, I noticed that fish tacos were popular there.  My son actually enjoyed eating at a place called Coconut's Fish Cafe.  Inspired by their popular fish taco recipe, I thought of creating my own version, plant based style.  This can also be done without the tacos as an option.  Corn and corn products are considered one of those popular items that have been genetically modified.  However, this brand is the only one I trust as they do not use any GMO ingredients in their products.  Check out their website here.


"Hawaiian Inspired" Taco Salad
Ingredients (Preferably Organic

For the salad:
3 c. green cabbage, cut into strips or shredded
1 c. purple cabbage cut into strips or shredded
6-8 pcs.  Food For Life organic sprouted corn tortillas (this is frozen)

For the toppings: 
1 c. tomatoes, cut into cubes
1 c. ripe mangoes, cut into cubes
2 Tbsp. red onions, minced
1/2 to 1 piece jalapeno pepper, finely chopped
1/4 c. coriander leaves, finely chopped
1 Tbsp. lime juice (extra lime to squeeze on top of taco)
1 avocado, sliced into segments or  into cubes 

For the dressing: 
1/4 c. tahini
1 small clove of garlic, minced
2 Tbsp. lime juice
2 Tbsp. unpasteurized apple cider vinegar
1 Tbsp. maple syrup or coconut nectar
1 tsp. brown mustard
Celtic sea salt to taste (optional)
1/4 c. filtered water

 Prepare the cabbage and defrost the tacos.  They can also be lightly toasted if desired.
2.  Combine all the ingredients for the dressing in a blender and process until smooth.  
3.  Add the dressing to the cabbage and let it sit for about 10 mins. to soften them.  
4.  Mix the mangoes, tomatoes, lime juice, half of the onions, half of the coriander leaves and half of the jalapeno. 
5.  Assemble the tacos before serving: the cabbage on the bottom followed by the mango/tomato salsa then top with more onions, jalapeno and coriander leaves and then add the avocado last.   Squeeze extra lime on top of each taco if desired.   Enjoy!


Here's a few pictures of Hawaii. More to come in the upcoming blogs.


This last shot is a picture of Austin.  He definitely enjoyed the variety of  beaches of Maui and Oahu.  I  hope you're enjoying your summer. 



Blood Orange and "Spring Slaw" with Lemongrass Dressing

Salad, Lunch, DinnerLina LiwagComment

This weekend has been sunny and quite warmer than most of the weather that we have been seeing for the last month or two.  I went for a walk on Saturday  morning and noticed that the some of of the trees are starting to come back to life again with their leaves beginning to sprout.  I am so excited for Spring!  I can't wait to pack my winter coat and boots.  I am also excited for a new set of seasonal foods coming our way...soups and stews will be replaced shortly with salads, juices and smoothies.  


And talking about salad, here is one that I just made yesterday using blood orange which is currently in season.  These oranges look so beautiful with their crimson flesh.   They are thought to have higher levels of anthocyanin and Vitamin C than the conventional varieties. They are also smaller in size and the rind has a bright red blush.   Distinctly sweet with hints of perfect for salads or even for snacks.  This salad just has that refreshing flavour especially with the lemongrass dressing and this makes me want to just rush for Spring to come!


Blood Orange and "Spring Slaw" with Lemongrass Dressing
Ingredients: (Preferably Organic)
3 blood oranges, peeled  and cut into pinwheels or in half moons
4 c. purple cabbage, thinly sliced
3 carrots, peeled and julienned
3 c. jicama, julienned
1/3 c. coriander leaves, finely chopped
1/4 c.  sliced almonds, lightly roasted

2 Tbsp. cold pressed extra virgin olive oil
1 Tbsp. roasted sesame seed oil
juice of 2 limes
1 1/2 Tbsp. maple syrup
2 Tbsp. Bragg liquid aminos
2 stalks lemongrass, inner portion only, finely diced
pinch of black pepper

Remove the outer and hard portions of the lemongrass.  You can slightly pound it before dicing in order for its flavour to be released.  Mix all the ingredients for the dressing in a jar and with the lid tightly closed, shake a few times until well combined. 
2. Wash and prep all the vegetables and set aside.  Dry roast the almonds. 
3.  Cut both ends of the oranges then stand the fruit on one of its cut ends.  Cut away a section of the peel and the pith from top to the bottom and continue around the fruit until it's completely peeled.   Slice the oranges thinly in pinwheels or in sections depending on your choice.  Mind you I wasn't too perfect in removing all the pith and in slicing them thinly.  Not too worry, they will still look pretty.  Set them aside until you are ready to assemble the salad.
4.  Mix all the veggies with half of the coriander and half of the almonds.  Add the dressing.  Before serving, arrange the blood orange slices on top of the veggies then garnish with the rest of the coriander and top with the rest of the almonds.  Enjoy that burst of wonderful spring colours! 



How awesome looking is this! 


It's March break for our kids this week.  I sincerely hope that we can all have a wonderful time with them!  And by the way, bring home some flowers too and enjoy their fragrance!




Soba Salad - "A Prelude To Spring"

Lunch, Asian, DinnerLina Liwag2 Comments

I was originally thinking of posting another soup recipe this week since our “soup season”  here in the Great White North has been greatly extended this year.  However, I changed my mind at the last minute and opted for this Soba Salad instead...something I call “a prelude to spring”.  It’s my way of  being  more positive with the tail end of our long Canadian winter.  I love to say the line “I dream of spring” and most Torontians will probably agree with me.   As I write this post, it snowed heavily overnight and then it turned wet and very slushy all day.   My beautiful niece Mailelani from Dallas  would actually love to come and play with all our snow.  If I had the power, I would make our families switch places now...even for just a week. That would be an awesome break except for my Canadian teenager who loves winter so much!  Although it's not possible for her now, I really hope that one day Mailelani will be able to experience a small part of our winter.


 Soba: this is the Japanese name for buckwheat  and is also synonymous with the noodle made from buckwheat flour.  Some fun facts about this noodle or buckwheat: 
 -buckwheat is not really related to wheat at all; not a grain but considered a fruit seed related to the rhubarb family
 -  soba is gluten free according to the Celiac Association of Canada as long as it's 100% made of buckwheat  flour as some others maybe mixed with wheat
 - they are a good source of manganese and thiamin

 Soba is considered the king of noodles in Japan because of its versatility: chilled with dipping sauce in the summer or hot noodle soup in the colder days.  We may be familiar with the popular "zaru soba" which is basically cold soba served in a bamboo basket and eaten with a dipping sauce.   My sister-in-law Asako who is from Northern Japan usually makes 'bukkake soba" a cold version (non-vegan) with toppings of okra, daikon radish, mushrooms, sometimes with natto (fermented soya beans), a Japanese yam called yamato-imo and  then dashi broth (made of fish stock, kelp, dried shitake mushrooms and others) is poured over the dish.  You can check her page (photos by Dex) here.

 Here's my own version of quick go-to dish when I'm in a hurry or having some late nights during the week.   I like to make the noodles with vegetables in order to add fibre, more nutrients and some crunch. This is great with  miso soup or any other soup this time of year.  With my own family's  own issues of  food sensitivities, this is a perfect dish that we can all enjoy and hoping that you will enjoy it too.  

Soba Salad
Ingredients: (Preferably Organic) 

1  pack of  250 g. organic buckwheat noodle ( I used this brand)
2 c. purple cabbage, thinly sliced
1 carrot, julienned
8 green beans blanched for 2-3 minutes and sliced diagonally
3 green onions, sliced diagonally  in thin pieces, about 1/4"
3 Tbsp. unhulled  sesame seeds, dry roasted


 3 Tbsp. Bragg liquid aminos 
1 1/2 Tbsp. organic roasted sesame seed oil
4 Tbsp. lime juice
1 Tbsp. coconut nectar or maple syrup
1/4 tsp. grated ginger


 1. Wash and prep all the veggies.  You can blanch  the green beans in
the same boiling water that you are going to cook the noodles in to simplify the steps.
2. Dry roast the sesame seeds in a skillet or in the toaster oven.
3. Combine all the dressing ingredients in a small jar and with the lid tight, shake a few times to incorporate.
4. If you want your cabbage a little softer and not too crunchy, you have the option of  adding  2 Tbsp. of the dressing  to the cabbage and set aside while waiting for everything to be ready.  However, its not  advisable to leave the dressing too long on the green beans as they will discolour.
5.  Boil about 6 cups of water in a pot  and briefly blanch the greens beans for about 2-3 minutes.  Do not discard the water.
6. In that same pot and water, add the noodles and cook them according to package instructions and stir several times so the noodles do not stick to each other.  Also, test the noodles for doneness a few  times making sure they end up being al dente and not too mushy ( 6 minutes is perfect for this brand) .  While the noodles are cooking, cut up the greens beans.  You will  notice that the cooking water turns starchy....not to worry as this is perfectly normal.
7. When noodles are ready, rinse them in cold water to drain the extra starch and to stop them from cooking any further.  If you are not yet ready to assemble the salad, you can soak them in water.
8. Before serving, combine the noodles, veggies and dressing. Garnish with green onions and sprinkle with sesame seeds.

1. Snap peas or snow peas can be used  in place of green beans. 
2. Feel free to add more sesame seeds as they really give the dish a nice crunch and flavour.
3. Lemon can also be substituted for lime.
4. In Toronto, liquid aminos is sold as Bragg All Purpose Seasoning  Please feel free to substitute this with regular soya sauce although you may need to use less considering the salt content.  For other people, nama shoyu which is unpasteurized soy sauce could also be an alternative although an expensive one.





I'm looking forward to spring and  I sincerely hope you are too!

Warm wishes,