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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: Cozy Porridge Breakfast

There's nothing better than a comforting, warm breakfast on a chilly Fall morning. 

For me, this always means one thing: porridge. 

There's something about it that just feels right, this time of the year. 

And the best part is all the kinds of toppings you can choose from...basically it's a blank canvas kinda breakfast, and you're the artist. 

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You get to decorate it however you like, with whatever ingredients are calling to you on that particular morning. 

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I've made pumpkin oats, apple oats, peanut butter oats, long cooked raisin oats---all of these were delicious as the flavours were cooked into them...but sometimes my favourite is just a simple grain porridge with fun things on top.  

This recipe is SO simple you can't even really call it a recipe. Especially cause I've been using a rice cooker to cook it ;) 

Rice Cooker Porridge

I've been lucky enough to be staying at a house that has a rice cooker, just like the one we had in Japan. While I so dearly LOVE my pressure cooker oats, and regular old stove-top porridge, when you're pretty busy and not in the house much (I've been working away from home these days), having a rice cooker with a timer is like winning the lottery. You get to wake up to warm, perfectly cooked porridge, just waiting for you to devour. 

Assuming your rice cooker has a porridge setting, you're golden. 
If it doesn't, you'll just have to play around a bit, simply by trying it on the brown rice setting (my guess) but with more water (5-6x as much as the grain) than you'd use for making regular brown rice.

 

Brown Rice & Steel Cut Oat Porridge

I used:

  • 1 cup steel cut oats
  • 1/2 cup sprouted brown rice (it has a shorter cooking time) 
  • 5-6 times the amount of water as grain (we measured it according to the level on the rice cooker pot). 
  • a pinch of sea salt

Literally put the grains into the rice cooker pot, rinse and swish it everything until the water is no longer cloudy, and then fill the water up to the designated line. Sprinkle in a bit of sea salt, set the timer, and go and live your life.  <3

If you do not have a rice cooker, you could do this on the stove. Simply bring everything to boil, and then let simmer (stirring occasionally to prevent sticking). If you are using sprouted brown rice, it'll probably take around 30 minutes. But the longer you let everything cook, the creamier it'll be, so if you have the time, it's worth the wait.

TOPPINGS

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This week I've been craving things a little on the sweeter side, so I've been using some maple syrup on my porridge. The above bowl had chia seeds, flax, cinnamon (a must), and maple syrup. 

Some Favourite Porridge Toppings:

  • Sunflower seeds or sunflower seed butter, cinnamon, and maple syrup
  • Toasted hazelnuts, and lemon zest
  • Flax oil and dulse (don't knock it till you try it) 
  • Blueberries, cashews, and hemp hearts
  • a bit of almond / soy / coconut milk with cinnamon and maple sugar
  • Top or stir in some peanut butter and cinnamon (and a bit of raw honey if you like) and not like I've tried it or anything, but word on the street is that some dark chocolate and peanut butter or almond butter is supposed to be a good combo ;)

I'm sure there are about 50 more combinations I've tried.

When I have more time I want to make my pressure cooker whole oat porridge .
But for now, I can't get enough of this easy warm & delicious rice cooker breakfast.

What do you like to put on your porridge? 

Macro Monday: Easiest Pumpkin Cookies Ever <3

That's a bold title...but it's true.  All you need is one pot, and one bowl, and the desire to make friends with anybody you give these to...because that will definitely happen.

I made cookies these last Fall, quite often. They were actually the result of a combination between a failed pumpkin custard recipe attempt, and a whole bunch of recipes combined. I just kinda free-styled it, and I cannot remember or find which recipes were my inspiration (oops). Regardless, I'm so glad that custard never turned out, because these are YUM :)

It's time to make them again. Here we go!

MM: Spicy Pumpkin Oatmeal Cookies

Macrobiotic Inspired, Vegan, no oil, sugar, flour, or gluten <3

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Ingredients

  • 1/2 cup canned pumpkin
  • 4-6 Tbsp pure maple syrup (more or less, depending on how sweet you want it) 
  • 1 cup milk of your choice (I used unsweetened vanilla almond milk)  
  • 1 tsp cinnamon

  • 2 cups regular rolled oats (gluten free rolled oats if you need to)
  • 1 tsp cinnamon
  • 1.5 cups mix-ins of your choice: chocolate chips, nuts/seeds like sunflower seeds, chia, pecans or walnuts, dried fruit or simply use more rolled oats, or even some steel cut oats for texture (my favourite versions are down below!).
  • pinch of sea salt. 
  • Optional: candied ginger chunks, or some chunks of dark chocolate, for pressing into the tops. 

Directions

  1. Set the oven to 350F. Lightly oil a cookie sheet, or place parchment paper on top of one.
  2. Mix the next 4 ingredients together in a smallish saucepan. I whisked everything together with a fork. 
  3. Bring to boil over low heat, stirring constantly. 
  4. Mix the remaining 4 ingredients together in a bowl. 
  5. Once everything is boiling in the saucepan, remove from heat. 
  6. Wait a few minutes, then lightly stir in the dry ingredients. If you're concerned about the chocolate chips melting, then add them in last, after you've stirred in all the oats. If you let it sit for a few minutes, you'll be amazed at how much of the liquid the oats soak up.
  7. Scoop out cookie dough with a table or soup spoon, forming mounds on the cookie sheet. Then lightly press down with a fork, or back of the spoon.
  8. If desired, and highly recommended, press a small chunk of cut up candied ginger in the center of each one. (if you are not using chocolate chips in the actual dough, then press a chunk of dark chocolate into the center).
  9. Bake for ~13-15 minutes, until firm around the edges.  
  10. These cookies are very moist & chewy. They will continue to set/firm up overnight. If you'd like them to be crispier, then bake them longer, to your liking :) 

Let's be real: these are just pumpkin oatmeal in a cookie shape...so enjoy freely!!  They're GREAT for breakfast :)

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My favourite versions are:

  • 2.5 cups oat flakes, 1/2 cup steel cut oats, and 1/2 cup sunflower seeds, with dark chocolate pressed into the top
  • 3 cups oat flakes (or 2.5 cups oat flakes & 1/2 cup steel cut oats) with 1/2 cup dark chocolate chips, a tablespoon of chia seeds thrown in, and then some candied ginger pressed into the top. 
  • 3.5 cups oats/steel cut oats, and then simply decorate some with chocolate chunks pressed in, and some with ginger chunks. 

Notes & Mix-ins Ideas:

  • This recipe is VERY forgiving...if you find yourself with slightly more or less of any of the ingredients, it usually always works out
  • Feel free to go nuts with the pumpkin pie spices: cloves & nutmeg would be great in here too, I'd mix them in with the dry stuff. You can also add in vanilla to the liquid ingredients. :) 
  • I keep thinking that some almond butter or other nut/seed butter mixed in would make these even more delicious. 
  • I usually make a double or triple batch or however many I can to use up a whole can of pumpkin. They freeze pretty well...and make great treats to give to friends who enjoy pumpkin treats in cold weather. <3

I've been wanting to post this for awhile now, but had been unsuccessfully searching for this recipe (I realized that it is at the bottom of a moving box). This post is up because of my dear sister, who had a copy of this recipe (THANKS!). We made these last year together, multiple times. She's the best, and deserves a gold star...and a batch of these cookies.

They also taste amazing with an almond milk latte the size of your head...just sayin' !

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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.

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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


 

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!

 

Macro Monday: Swiss Open-Faced Apricot Pie

When life gives you fruit, you say "yes! thanks! sweet!" and then eat it. At least I do.

I like to eat fruit plain, just as it is. I could eat bowl upon bowl of fresh picked fruit. Apricots are always a favourite and I sure do feel spoiled being here in the Okanagan, with fruit trees in the yard.

I've been enjoying fresh apricots & cherries in the morning for a wonderful summer treat. But the family apricot tree keeps delivering apricots, more & more everyday, and they were beginning to pile up, so some baking was in order. Stewing or baking fruit makes it a little easier to digest (bonus!), and provides a whole new taste experience.

Apricots & Almonds baked into a treat? Yes Please. 

MM: Swiss Open-Faced Apricot Pie

Best breakfast, the next morning.

Best breakfast, the next morning.

The following recipe is a Macro-ified version of an old family recipe I enjoyed growing up. It is a Swiss fruit tart / open-faced pie, with a very thin, almost edgeless crust, and very simple filling showcasing the fruit itself. It's vegan, not-so-sweet, and can be made gluten free if you substitute the spelt flour with a nice gf mix, or perhaps an oat & rice flour combo. The layer of almonds soak up the apricot juice, preventing the crust from getting soggy, and provide an amazing flavour combo that is impossible to resist.

Ingredients

Crust: 

  • 2 cups sprouted spelt flour
  • 3 TBSP olive oil (or other veggie oil of choice)
  • pinch salt
  • 1/4 - 1/2 cup cold almond milk

Filling: 

  • 1/2- 1 cup coarsely grated almonds (I pulsed in the blender to get a grated texture)
  • sprinkle of cinnamon & sugar of choice (maple sugar, coconut sugar or regular sugar)
  • enough apricots, halved to cover the whole crust (I would guess we used 15-20 whole apricots, then halved them).
  • 1 cup vegan yogurt mixed with about 1/2-1 cup almond milk to thin, and some cinnamon {I used coconut milk yogurt, but almond would work well too}.
Fresh outta the oven! Warm &amp; Juicy Apricots! 

Fresh outta the oven! Warm & Juicy Apricots! 

Directions:

1. Add oil to flour & salt, crumble in with hands. Add enough almond milk to be able to knead the dough. Knead until shiny - ish, then form a ball. Let sit in fridge for about 1 hour. 

2. Roll out dough as skinny as possible between 2 parchment sheets. I'd recommend lightly oiling the bottom parchment sheet if the dough is sticking.

3. Place dough onto greased pizza pan or other shallow round baking pan (you can use the greased parchment paper you used for rolling if you prefer, instead of greasing the pan). There isn't really an edge to this pie---maybe only about 1 cm. or so. You're mostly making a crust base. Spread/stretch/press the dough with your fingers,so it covers the whole base of the pan.

4. Brush a tiny bit of olive oil on crust. 

5. Sprinkle almonds to cover whole crust (about 1/2 - 1 cm. thick). 

6. Rub in some cinnamon and sugar (about 2 TBSP) into almonds and smooth out the layer.

7. Cover the almond & sugar layer with apricots (place the inside of apricots facing up). 

8. Whisk/mix up yogurt and almond milk and cinnamon. Pour / brush over apricots until it just runs through the space between the apricots. You can use as much or as little as you like. I just eye-balled how thin it should be: kinda runny, but not as thin as milk. Just like a bit runny yogurt.

9. Bake at 350 F for 30-40 minutes (until you smell something delicious, and apricots are soft). Watch so the crust doesn't over brown. 

Fresh outta the oven -- still hot so there's some apricot juice on top  

Fresh outta the oven -- still hot so there's some apricot juice on top  

Serve warm, sprinkling a little more sugar over top if you like. Serve cold the next day for breakfast (I highly recommend this option!).

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As this post is going up, I'll be driving all the way back home through the Rockies with my guy, T, dreaming of the land where peaches & apricots & cherries are plenty and the weather is so so so hot. If you get a chance to visit the Okanagan, I highly recommend you plan your trip around when the fruit is ready.

Just sayin'. 

Macro Mondays: Macrobiotic Fruit Tart

Today is special because not only is it Canada day (yay! err, I mean...yay-eh!), but my guy & I are celebrating 8 wonderful years together. Holy moly! And what better way to celebrate & say I love you berry berry much than with a fruit tart...right?

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MM: Macrobiotic Summer Fruit Tart

*Vegan / Gluten Free / Refined sugar free

Ingredients: 

Crust (for more crust options see end of post): 

  • 2 cups oat flour  
  • pinch of sea salt
  • 1/4 cup oil of choice (olive, grapeseed, coconut) 
  • 1/2 cup milk of choice (almond, rice, soy, cow) 

Custard Filling: 

  • 2 cups (or a 456ml carton) amazake -- I used hazelnut flavoured
  • 2 heaping TBSP kuzu
  • 1/4 cup cold water
  • lemon zest (optional) 
  • dash of vanilla (optional) 

Fruit Topping: - It's your art! you decide! Fruit for the one I made above is:

  • 1 pint (550ml) organic blueberries
  • 2 organic apricots, cut in to rings
  • a handful of strawberries, cut into hearts
  • a few raspberries

Optional Glaze

  • 1/2 cup apricot jam (fruit sweetened if preferred) 
  • 1TBSP water
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Directions: 

I highly recommend making the custard filling the night before, and if possible the crust too. Otherwise you'd need to allow enough time for both to fully cool before assembling.  If making this tart in advance, and you need it to keep well, read step 4 first. Other crust & filling options at the end of the post.

1. Prepare Custard Filling: Pour 2 cups of Amazake into a small saucepan and bring to a low boil over medium heat. Meanwhile, add 1/4 cup cold water to 2TBSP kuzu in a small bowl. Whisk until dissolved. Add kuzu to Amazake. Stir constantly, bring back to low boil, then lower heat and stir until mixture is nice & thick (about 3 minutes). Take off heat. Allow to cool and firm up in fridge.

2. Prepare Crust: Place flour & salt into bowl & gently mix. Either blend or whisk the oil & milk together in a separate container. Add wet to dry, mixing in with your hands, and form a ball. Add a tiny bit more flour if necessary. Place ball of dough in fridge to cool a bit (15-30 mins). Turn oven on to 350F. Roll out dough between 2 sheets of parchment. Take top layer of parchment off. Grease an 11" pie pan (I used a white ceramic Ikea quiche pan), and place it face down on top of dough. Carefully flip it all over, peel off parchment, and press dough into pan. Poke some holes with a fork into the dough. Bake for 12-15 minutes. Let cool completely

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3. Put it together: Spread chilled, thickened custard over the cooled crust. If the custard is just too thick, very carefully blend for just a second, to make it a bit runnier. Then decorate: make fruit art, make it pretty, make it colourful!

4. Optional glaze:  Heat the jam and water in a small saucepan over medium heat, until liquid & melted. Remove from heat, and pour through a thin sieve to remove any fruit lumps. Let cool until just very slightly warm, then brush over fruit. ***If planning to make this tart way in advance, I'd recommend brushing some glaze on the crust, letting it set for 20 minutes in fridge, and then continuing with the custard & fruit, and then topping with glaze (as this will keep crust from getting soggy & fruit from browning).

** I'd recommend letting the fruit tart set in fridge after assembling for 30 mins or more, as the filling will again firm up a bit. But this is not necessary, & we ate ours right away. 

 ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

I made almost this exact tart last year, for our anniversary, and it had the above glaze on it {the glaze is delicious, but I forgot to get jam this time).  

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Some Other Crust & Filling Options

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Oat Flour & Brown Rice Flour Crust {A bit lighter & more crumbly}

Same directions as above, but use the following ingredients. 

  • 1.25 cups oat flour
  • 1 cup brown rice flour
  • 1/3 + 1TBSP oil

Spelt Flour Crust {A bit sturdier crust}

    Same directions as above, but use the following ingredients:
    • 2 cups spelt flour (whole grain works well!) 
    • 1/2 cup oil of choice
    • 2 TBSP maple syrup
    • 2 - 4 TBSP cold water

    Oat & Chia Custard

    • 1/2 c rolled oats
    • 1 TBSP chia seeds
    • Boiling water to cover

    Pour boiling water over the oats/chia in a bowl, and cover wth a plate. Let sit until water is absorbed and it's no longer hot. Add in:

    • 1/4 cup almond milk
    • 1/4 cup apple sauce
    • 1 TBSP maple syrup
    • zest of one lemon
    • pinch of salt

    Blend well. Then pour into small saucepan, and add 2 TBSP kuzu diluted into 1/4 c. cold water. Bring to low boil, stirring constantly. Let cook while stirring, for about 3 minutes. Take off heat and let firm up/cool in fridge.

    Dark Chocolate Layer

    Something sinfully delightful is to brush melted dark chocolate onto the crust. If doing so, make sure to let it cool & harden before layering on the custard & fruit. 

    HAVE A WONDERFUL WEEK, FRIENDS!

    Brown Rice Version 2.0.

    Sometimes the simplest things are the best.

    But, I'm sure you know this already.

    In spirit of enjoying my time during the weekend, and being a little less adventurous in the kitchen, this post is dedicated to the perfectly simple meal.

    Yup.

    It's Brown rice. 
    Pressure cooked with a little wakame.

    2 ingredients I can just never get enough of.
    So without further adieu, here's 

    Brown Rice Dainty Pig Style 
                 Version 2.0 
    (Step-by-step guide to the best pressure cooked brown rice)

    Please gather:
    4 c. short grain brown rice, rinsed and drained.
    7.5 c. cold water
    a few pinches of salt
    a couple of inches of dried wakame, cut into small pieces.

    Directions:
    1. Add half the rice to the pressure cooker. 
    2. Smooth rice over with hand or a spoon to make it level. 
    3. Take a couple inches of dried wakame, and break into a few  
       small pieces. Place in some cool water. Let sit a few minutes.
    4. Scoop out rehydrated wakame. Place on top of rice. Then cover 
       with second half of rinsed rice. Again, level rice with hand.
    5. Pour wakame soaking water, plus enough extra water to equal 
       7.5 cups, SLOWLY down one side of the pot, so water 
       doesn't disturb the rice. Some wakame might rise up, no prob.
    6. Add a couple of pinches of salt.
    7. Lock lid, and bring to high pressure over high heat.
    8. Cook for 30-35 minutes on high pressure.
    9. Let pressure come down naturally (takes about 10-15mins).
    10. Take lid off, shake condensation into rice.
        Let rice sit in the pot a bit, at least 5mins.
    11. Smile. Express Gratitude. Chew. Feast.

    ♥ please note: always follow the directions and safety instructions provided with your own pressure cooker, and make sure your cooker is big enough for this much grain (adjust accordingly).
    wakame is recommended, but not necessary! 

    If you put a crystal in your window, you get magic rice!

    If you don't have a pressure cooker, don't fear. 
    There are lots of old photos and instructions for boiling rice here: my step-by-step guide to making boiled brown rice, dainty pig style.

    *Step-by-step Photo Tour*
    Gather the rice. (4 cups)
    Rinse it. Let it drain.
    Wakame.
    Cool! Seaweed!
    Cut it up.
    Soak with cool water for a few mins.
    Put half the rice in the pot.
    Scoop out wakame from water, lay on top of rice.
    Cover wakame with rest of rice. Smooth over.
    Slowly pour in water.
    (7.5 cups total, including wakame soaking water)
    Add sea salt. A couple pinches will do.
    Put on cooker lid. Bring to high pressure.
    Cook away on high pressure for 15-50mins.
    I prefer 30-35mins.
    The longer you cook, the crispier it'll be.
    Let pressure come down naturally.
    Shake condensation from lid into rice.
    Let sit for about 5 minutes in pot.
    Scoop out into bowls or containers.
    Mounds and mounds of glorious rice.

    yup. 
    that's it.


    Eat some warm (super yummy), then re-use the rest over a few days reheating by steaming, or in soups, or by adding a tiny bit of water and boiling for porridge, or lightly frying with a bit of oil and vegs.


    Thursday Things

    Good morning!

    I decided to join the trend around the blog-o-sphere, and post something everything thursday that I truly enjoy, love, want, have, or am excited about.

    So, the star of this week's Thursday Things is.....

    WHOLE OATS

    A few years back, I used to cook up whole grain oats on weekends. I tried the overnight slow cooking method I read about in one of my macro books. It involved bringing the oats to boil, cooking for just a few minutes, then letting them cool off and soak all night long. In the morning, I would recook for about 45 minutes. They were delicious, but took much more effort than my current pressure cooker variety. I had to constantly watch the pot to make sure the thick goopey oats didn't boil over, and the pot was not so nice to clean.

    But things have changed since my best friend arrived on our doorstep.
    As per the recommendation from this book:

    I purchased along with my cooker, I soaked oats in a ratio of 3 cups water per 1 cup oats. I let them soak overnight. In the morning, I simply put the lid on the cooker, brought up to high pressure, and cooked for 30 minutes. No watching for bubbling over, no scraping the last bit off the bottom.

    And my-oh-my...soft creamy oats that are still somehow a bit chewy.

    Delightful.

    I  dished out 6 lovely servings of oats to keep us hungry breakfast eaters happy for a few days. Simply re-heat in the morning on the stove, adding in whatever you like.

    I like to add in a few chia seeds while they're re-heating, sometimes some raisins. And I love topping them with a bit of ground flax and cinnamon for a sweeter taste, or some dulse and flax oil for a more grounding hearty dish.

    Pressure cooking saves LOTS of time. Especially with soaked dried beans, and by soaking grains you can reduce cooking time by 40%.

    But more importantly than all that, it tastes SO much better, and keeps in more nutrients. And for me, the clean up is JUST. SO. EASY.  (We got a big pot so we didn't have to worry about stuff bubbling up into the lid, so far it is always sparkly clean).

    Some of my favourite topping combinations include: 
    -- sunflower seed butter with cinnamon and raisins on top
    --flax oil and dulse flakes
    --a bit of fruit only jam
    --ground flax with cinnamon or a touch of pure maple syrup
    So, what are you waiting for?? 
    Not only are whole oats amazingly delicious, but they will easily keep you energized until lunch.
    Have you ever cooked whole oats?
    What do you like to put on your oats (any kind of oats)?