Living a Life of Fitness, Health and Fun

Polenta, Corn and Broccoli Bake

I first saw this dish on a Facebook page  'Food that No One Died For' Just love the idea behind this site and it is full of yummy recipes.   Based on a recipe from the book "Feel Good Food" by Tony Chiodo.  As always I like to put my own twist on recipes so they are less refined and more rustic.  I used all fresh ingredients for our local Farmers Markets.

Whole Food-Plant Based

Ingredients

2 corn cob, kernels removed
1 onion, diced
sea salt
1 cup polenta
2 tablespoons finely chopped basil
250 g broccoli florets, blanched and sliced in half

PUMPKIN TOPPING
500 g butternut pumpkin,  cut into large chunks, leave on the skin and leave in the seeds.
1 onion, cut into wedges
sea salt
2 tablespoons hulled tahini
1 teaspoon grated ginger
1 teaspoon orange zest
Juice of 1 orange

Method

Bring 3 cups water to the boil in a saucepan over high heat and add the corn kernels, onion and a teaspoon of sea salt. 

Stir in the polenta, reduce the heat to low, cover with a lid and simmer for 30-40 minutes, (or according to directions on packet.  I used a fast cooking polenta and it was ready in 5 mins)  stirring occasionally, or until the polenta comes off the sides easily. If the polenta thickens early, stir in some more water. 

Stir in the basil and pour the mixture into a lightly oiled 16 x 21 cm baking dish.

Arrange the broccoli florets over the top of the polenta. 

For the topping, roast the pumpkin and onion with a pinch of sea salt until soft. 

Transfer to a food processor and purée until smooth. Add the tahini, ginger juice and orange zest and jjuice to the processor and purée until smooth and creamy.  (add extra water or juice if necessary)

Pour the mixture over the broccoli and polenta and allow it to set in the refrigerator for about 30 minutes.   

Top with some toasted pumpkin seeds and serve on spinach leaves with a drizzle of balsamic glaze.

You can serve this dish at room temperature as a slice, or bake it at 170°C for 15-20 minutes, or until lightly browned, for a more wintry meal.

The link to the original recipe is HERE

WFPB/Vegan - What do we eat?

Some people think we live on lettuce leaves and kale.  This is really what we eat.

Plant based Burger
  • Fruit: mangoes, bananas, grapes, strawberries, blueberries, oranges, cherries, etc.

  • Vegetables: lettuce, collard greens, broccoli, cauliflower, kale, carrots, etc.

  • Stems: celery, rhubarb, asparagus

  • Tubers and starchy vegetables: potatoes, yams, yucca, winter squash, corn, green peas, etc.

  • Whole grains: millet, quinoa, barley, rice, whole wheat, oats, freekah etc.

  • Legumes: kidney beans, chickpeas, lentils, lima beans, cannellini beans, black beans, etc.

  • Nuts: almonds, pecan, cashew, walnuts

  • Mushrooms: portobello, white button, shiitake

We eat Pizza, Burgers, Lasagna, Curries, Creamy Soups, Quesadillas, Nachos and lots of salads, char-grilled vegies, stir fries.  There is so much variety in our day to day meals and the internet is a wealth of information and recipes.  

We go to the Farmers Market every Saturday morning and source fruit and vegetables.  We are trying food we have never tried before and are loving the variety and colours on our plate.

Every week we try a new food that is in season because that is when you get the most flavor and nutritional value and when it is the most affordable. We buy locally, getting our fresh foods that are seasonal, fresh, and we support local farmers our community. We may wind up spending more to put our money where our taste buds (or personal ethics) are, but it is a trade-off that's worthwhile in the long run. eating what's in season is that you get a broader variety of foods in our diet. Those foods  expose us to dishes and ingredients we may not have otherwise explored, and it also helps us eat a more well-rounded and balanced diet as well.
 

Health Benefits of Buckwheat

Buckwheat – a nutrient-packed, gluten-free seed abundantly consumed in Asian countries for centuries – is now becoming increasingly popular in the U.S., Canada and Europe due to its many health benefits.

While most people think of buckwheat as a whole grain, it’s actually a seed that is high in both protein and fiber. It supports heart and heart health and can help prevent diabetes and digestive disorders. In fact, buckwheat seeds, also called “groats,” are so packed with nutrients and antioxidants − like rutin, tannins and catechin −that they are often called “superfoods.”

Despite its recent rise to nutrition fame, buckwheat is actually an ancient grain with a long history. Today, buckwheat is a favorite amongst plant-based and gluten-free eaters alike since it provides a high source of amino acids, vitamins, minerals and antioxidants – all with relatively few calories and practically no fat.  

Despite its name, buckwheat actually doesn’t contain any wheat or the protein gluten..

As a vegn, buckwheat is a great food to regularly include in our diet because it provides two types of essential amino acids — types we cannot make on our own and must get from the foods we eat. Buckwheat nutrition contains essential amino acids called lysine and arginine. What’s important about this? These specific amino acids aren’t found in many other common cereal or whole grains, so getting them from buckwheat ensures you cover the full range of essential proteins your body needs.

 Buckwheat Salad

Buckwheat Salad

NGREDIENTS:

  • 1 small zucchin, cut into ½-inch dice (substitute or add other vegies)
  • 1 cup  buckwheat

FOR THE DRESSING:

  • Juice of ½ lemon
  • 2 tablespoons white wine vinegar
  • 1 clove garlic, minced
  • Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • ½ onion, cut into ½-inch dice
  • 1 cup cherry tomatoes, halved
  • ½ cup chopped coriander
  • 1 cup baby rocket
  • 1 cup baby spinach
  • ½ cup fresh orange juice

Instructions:

1. Place the buckwheat and 1¾ cups hot water in a medium saucepan and bring to a boil over high heat. Remove from the heat, cover, and let stand for 10 minutes, until the water is absorbed and the grains are soft but chewy. Drain any excess water. Fluff the grains with a fork and set aside to cool.
2. To make the dressing, combine the lemon juice, vinegar, and garlic in a small bowl. Add salt and pepper to taste.
3.. In a large mixing bowl, combine the zucchini, buckwheat, onions, tomatoes, and coriander . Add the dressing and mix well.
4.. In another bowl, toss the rocket and baby spinach in the orange juice. Place the greens on individual salad bowls, and top with the grain mixture. Serve garnished with roasted pumpkin seeds.

Serve either chilled or at room temperature.

Buckwheat Benefits

1. Improves Heart Health By Lowering Cholesterol and Blood Pressure Levels

2. Contains Disease-Fighting Antioxidants

3. Provides Highly Digestible Protein

4. High Fiber Content Helps Improve Digestion

5. Can Help Prevent Diabetes

6. Doesn’t Contain Gluten and Is Non-Allergenic

7. Supplies Important Vitamins and Minerals

 

It's a soup day

We are really feeling the cold.  It hasn't been a super hot summer anyway, but what used to feel warm, feels cold now.  The last of the fresh Asparagus was at the markets today, so we decided a soup lunch to warm us up.

 Creamy Garlic and Asparagus Soup

Creamy Garlic and Asparagus Soup

Ingredients

  • 2 pounds green asparagus
  • 1 large onion, chopped
  • 1 clove garlic finely chopped
  • 2 tablespoons vegan margarine
  • 5 cups vegetable broth
  • ½ cup raw cashews, soaked in warm water for 1 hour 
  • ¼ teaspoon fresh lemon juice, or to taste

Instructions

  1. Cut asparagus into ½-inch pieces.
  2. In a large pot, heat margarine over medium-low heat, and cook the onion and garlic for a few minutes, until softened.
  3. Add asparagus pieces and salt and pepper to taste, then cook, stirring, 5 minutes. Add broth and simmer, covered, until asparagus is very tender, 15 to 20 minutes.
  4. Add cashews and purée soup using an immersion blender (or in batches in a blender) until smooth.
  5. Season with lemon juice, and salt and pepper.

HINT:  We always have a supply of soaked cashews in the freezer.

Nutritional Value Of Asparagus

Asparagus is a nutrient-packed source of vitaminsminerals and essential proteins. Asparagus is rich in vitamin Avitamin B1 (thiamine), vitamin B2 (riboflavin), vitamin B3 (niacin), vitamin B5 (pantothenic acid), vitamin B6, folate, vitamin Cvitamin E (alpha-tocopherol), and vitamin K (phylloquinone).

The mineral treasures that are stored in asparagus include ironcalcium, phosphorous, magnesiummanganesezincselenium, and potassium.

Asparagus contains a very low amount of calories with no cholesterol and is low in sodium as well. Along with this, it is also a rich source of dietary fiber, which is essential for the body.

We are Sprouting

They’re delicious, nutritious, and easy to grow at home. What are the health benefits of eating sprouts? Sprouts are a nutritional powerhouse living super-food! When a plant germinates, its vitamin content can increase twenty-fold, making sprouts a good source of vitamins A, E, B, and C. The seeds’ proteins also change remarkably. Sprouts also tend to be very full of enzymes, which are specialised proteins that your body needs for all of its critical processes with a high protein content ranging from 20-35% protein.

We are adding a nutritional punch, colour and texture to every meal with our home grown sprouts using our new Kitchen Seed Sprouter.  Most of our sprouts are ready within 4-5 days and are super crunchy and fresh.

Sprouting at HideAway Haven

Asparagus and Strawberry Salad with Maple Vinaigrette and Candied Pecans

I love our Albany Farmers in the Spring.  So many colourful fruit and vegies for our meals.  I am glad the produce knows it is Spring, because the weather certainly doesn't.  The last two weeks the farmers had to sell their produce in the rain and cold.  I am glad they are committed every week.

I used two of my favourite Spring ingredients for our salad this week.  Asparagus and Strawberries.  "Spring on a Plate" 

All measurements are approximate.  I don't normally measure just adjust and season to taste.

Roasted Asparagus

Prepare asparagus and roast your favourite way.  I like to toss in a little oil, salt and pepper and then in the oven for 10 - 15 mins, so they are still crunchy.

Candied Pecans

2 tablespoons Organic MapleSyrup
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
1 teaspoon Smokey Paprika
Dash of Cayenne Pepper
Splash of Olive Oil (or try Macadamia Oil)
Cup of Pecans

Toss together and bake in 185 degrees C oven for 10-15 mins

Maple Vinaigrette Dressing

1 tablespoon Olive Oil (or try Macadamia Oil)
1 tablespoon balsamic Vinegar
1 teaspoon Dijon Mustard
1 tablespoon Organic Maple Syrup

Whisk Together and drizzle over salad

To assemble salad, arrange the roasted asparagus on top of English Spinach. Toss sliced strawberries evenly through the salad and top with pecans.  Drizzle with the dressing when ready to serve.

Enjoy and know that it is good for you as well.

Nutritional Facts

Maple Syrup - contains calcium, iron, magnesium, phosphorus sodium, potassium, and zinc. Vitamins such as thiamin, riboflavin, niacin, and B6

Strawberries - rich in the essential nutrients vitamin C, potassium, folic acid, and fibre. One cup of fresh strawberries contains 160 percent of the daily recommended quantity of vitamin C

Asparagus - excellent source of vitamin K, folate, copper, selenium, vitamin B2, vitamin C, and vitamin E. It is a very good source of dietary fibre, manganese, phosphorus, niacin, potassium, choline, vitamin A, zinc, iron, protein, vitamin B6, and pantothenic acid. (listed as one of the worlds healthiest foods - World Health Organisation)

Spinach - excellent source of vitamin K, vitamin A (in the form of carotenoids), manganese, folate, magnesium, iron, copper, vitamin B2, vitamin B6, vitamin E, calcium, potassium and vitamin C. It is a very good source of dietary fibre, phosphorus, vitamin B1, zinc, protein and choline.

Pecans - contain health benefiting nutrients, minerals, antioxidants and vitamins that are essential for wellness. The nuts are rich in monounsaturated fatty acids like oleic acid and an excellent source of phenolic antioxidants.

Smoky Chickpea Wraps With Dill Tahini Sauce

Our whole-food, plant-based life-style is centred on whole, unrefined, or minimally refined plants. It’s a diet based on fruits, vegetables, tubers, whole grains, and legumes; and it excludes  meat (including chicken and fish), dairy products, and eggs, as well as highly refined foods like bleached flour, refined sugar, and oil.

There are so many recipes focusing on this life-style we are excited to try something different every night.  We look forward to eating the delicious things we make for every single meal. We love eating healthy food because it tastes so good! We also love making dishes to share with you how incredible healthy vegan food can really be. 

Ingredients:

  • 1 can chickpeas, drained and rinsed
  • 2 tsp smoked paprika
  • 1 tsp chilli powder
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 2 Tbsp olive oil
  • 1 cucumber, sliced into spears
  • 3 carrots, grated into long and thin sticks (we used our spiriliser)
  • 1 cup spinach, chopped
  • 2-3 tomatoes, chopped
  • 1 avocado, pitted and sliced
  • 4 superfood wraps
  • Tahini Dill Sauce (recipe below)

Directions:

  1. Preheat the oven to 200 degrees C. Mix the chickpeas with the paprika, chilli powder, salt, and olive oil. Spread them out on a baking sheet and roast for about 25 to 30 minutes.
  2. Prepare the Tahini Dill Sauce and set aside.
  3. On a tortilla, arrange the chickpeas with a few sliced of cucumbers and carrots, some kale, a handful of tomatoes, and several slices of avocado. Pour a few tablespoons over the vegetables and roll like a burrito. Slice in half

Tahini Dill Sauce

Ingredients:

  • 1/4 cup tahini
  • 2-4 Tbsp olive oil
  • 2 Tbsp maple syrup
  • 1 Tbsp fresh dill
  • juice half a lemon
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 2 Tbsp water

Directions:

  1. Put all ingredients in a bowl and whisk until smooth. 

Roasted Broccoli, Freekah, Lentil & Bean Salad with Honey Mustard Dressing

One of our barrier foods in our vegan lifestyle is honey.  Rather than obsess about it, we try to use it in moderation and ensure that the honey we use is unprocessed and sourced locally and is sustainable.

We believe that a a lifestyle with quality plant-based foods can prevent, treat and reverse many major diseases, and improve overall health. Animal products such as meat, dairy and eggs increases our risk of disease. Public awareness is growing over the impact of modern factory-style animal farming methods on our health and environment. 

We are enjoying the many benefits of our new lifestyle including weight loss, increased energy and being able to ditch the cholesterol and blood pressure medication.  We are also loving the many varied recipes we are finding and experimenting with flavours and textures.

A strict plant-based diet can prevent us from getting enough protein, iron and calcium if we do not do our research and ensure that we are eating a balanced diet.

Last nights dinner consisted of
Broccoli - is an excellent source of vitamin K, vitamin C, chromium and folate. It is a very good source of dietary fibre, pantothenic acid, vitamin B6, vitamin E, manganese, phosphorus, choline, vitamin B1, vitamin A (in the form of carotenoids), potassium and copper.
Freekah - high fiber - four times the fiber of brown rice, low GI - helps to prevent diabetes, high in protein content, low in available carbs, high in calcium for bone health, rich in lutein - important for eye health, rich in prebiotic properties - important for fueling the growth of healthy bacteria.
Lentils - good source of potassium, calcium, zinc, niacin and vitamin K, but are particularly rich in dietary fiber, lean protein, folate and iron.
Beans - contain a powerhouse of nutrients including antioxidants, and vitamins and minerals, such as copper, folate, iron, magnesium, manganese, phosphorous, potassium and zinc.
Honey - contains flavonoids, antioxidants which help reduce the risk of some cancers and heart disease. 
Lemon Juice - vitamin C, citric acid, flavonoids, B-complex vitamins, calcium, copper, iron, magnesium, phosphorus, potassium, and fibre.
Almonds - contain lots of healthy fats, fibre, protein, magnesium and vitamin E.
Leafy Green Salad -  low in fat, high in dietary fiber, and rich in folic acid, vitamin C, potassium and magnesium, as well as containing a host of phytochemicals, such as lutein, beta-cryptoxanthin, zeaxanthin, and beta-carotene.

As well as being super delicious, easy to prepare it is amazingly good for our bodies.  We were so happy to have leftovers for lunch as it tasted as good cold on a salad as it did last night when it was hot.

  • 1/2 cup uncooked freekah, lentils and beans (combination)
  • 1 large  head of broccoli, florets removed and chopped to a uniform size
  • ¼ cup + 1 Tbsp. olive oil, divided
  • 1-2 Tbsp. dijon mustard*
  • 2-3 Tbsp. honey (or maple syrup for vegans)**
  • juice of ½ lemon
  • 2 handfuls chopped walnuts or almonds (optional)
  • salt+pepper

Instructions

  1. Preheat the oven to 200 degrees C. Line a baking sheet with foil.
  2. Put 1.5 cups boiling water into saucepan and cook the freekah, lentils and beans for about 15 mins (covered) or until soft .
  3. Toss broccoli florets in 1 Tbsp. olive oil, and place on the baking sheet. Season with salt and pepper. Roast for 20-30 minutes, or until the broccoli is tender and golden.
  4. Meanwhile, make the dressing. Combine dijon, honey/maple syrup, lemon,  and remaining ¼ cup olive oil in a small bowl or cup and stir to combine. The dressing will be thick. Season with salt and pepper to taste. Set aside.
  5. When the broccoli is roasted, carefully pour it into a food processor. Pulse until small pieces of broccoli remain (see photos).
  6. In a large bowl, combine freekah, lentils, beans and pulsed broccoli. Pour dressing on top, and toss to combine. Add walnuts or almonds. Serve warm, at room temperature, or cold!