Oat Bars!

Oat Bars

Delicious, quick to make, and minimal mess. You just need one mixing bowl for these bars, and I made them in my toaster oven. A couple of comments– I only had whole wheat pastry flour, so I used that instead. If you don’t like nutmeg feel free to reduce/ remove it. Next time I make this I will probably cut down the maple syrup to 1/4 cup; if it seems too dry I’ll add a tablespoon or two of almond milk. I’ll report back/ update this post with changes, but if you want a legit sweet treat just keep it as is.

This recipe is from Hip Chick’s Guide to Macrobiotics, but you can see this recipe in the preview on google books: Really Yummy Oat Bars.

Breakfast Porridge

Nourishing Breakfast Porridge

An incredible way to start your day, this porridge is balancing and very gentle on the stomach. I couldn’t find kabocha squash, so I replaced it with sweet potato. Millet is alkalizing, so it’s great for an upset stomach. But the real star of the ball here is kombu– if you haven’t used this seaweed yet, it’s time. It doesn’t add a fishy flavor, but will give you a huge range of nutrients. Read more here: Kombu, a nutritional powerhouse.

And here’s the recipe: Nourishing Breakfast Porridge

Miso Ramen

Miso Ramen

This is one of those incredible meals that will warm you inside-out and nourish you completely. It’s easy to make in a large quantity, so perfect for having people over. It just requires a bit of time to let the broth simmer on the stove. The broth has a traditional Japanese kombu dashi base, and is by Post Punk Kitchen: Miso Dashi Broth. This recipe makes enough broth for 3-4 ramen bowls. A tip for cooking with miso–do not let it boil! Simmering is fine, but boiling will kill all of the micro-organisms that support digestion.

Once the broth is almost ready, begin preparing the rest of the ingredients. Cook the noodles in water according to package directions. The vegetable combination I used was shiitake mushrooms, broccolini, kale, and bean sprouts. Feel free to explore other vegetables, but I suggest limiting sweeter vegetables such as carrots. Some great additions are daikon, zucchini, bok choy, rutabaga, and burdock (also called gobo). If you’re adding tofu, see directions below on when to add. Silken tofu is best, cut into small 1-cm cubes.

To prep the vegetables and assemble:
1) Heat a small amount of sesame oil in a skillet over low-medium heat. Make sure this doesn’t get too hot since sesame oil has a low smoking point.
2) Saute the vegetables, starting with those that have a longer cooking time. I put in the shiitake and broccolini first, sauteed them for 2 minutes, and then added the kale and after a minute, the bean sprouts. Don’t overcook.
3) Place the broth in a pot, and bring to a simmer. Add tofu if you’re using it, and simmer for 2-3 minutes to heat the tofu. Remove the pot from heat and add the vegetables.
4) Separate the noodles into bowls, and cover with broth & vegetables. Enjoy!

Tahini Dressing over Barley and Sauteed Kale and Carrots

Tahini over Barley Kale and Carrots

Confession: after taking this picture I loaded on more tahini dressing. It’s just too good. Pair this with a simple bean soup and you have a balanced and incredibly nutritious meal.

For this recipe I used the tahini dressing from Alicia Silverstone’s book The Kind Diet, a book filled with well-researched information and delicious recipes. This tahini dressing is used in her barley casserole, an awesome dish. In the interest of copyright protection, I’ll just tell you that you should get the book. In the meantime, it’s an oil-free dressing and in my opinion what makes it extra-special is the addition of shoyu.

Now to the barley–if you can find hulled barley, choose that over pearl barley and choose EVERYTHING over quick-cook barley. Hulled barley is an actual whole grain, whereas pearl barley has been polished to remove the outer bran layer. Here’s some more info from the Whole Grains Council: Types of Barley. Now that that’s settled, simple cooking instructions–soak overnight, drain water and add more; I did 3 cups water to 1 cup barley, and had a little to strain off at the end. Boil for 45 minutes to an hour (will be closer to an hour for hulled barley).

Shred the kale and slice the carrots into matchsticks. Heat a little bit of olive oil in a skillet at low-medium heat. When heated, add the kale and carrots and cook only until the kale is bright green. I like to stop there so that the kale and carrots still have a little bit of crunch.

To assemble put down a layer of barley, then kale & carrots, and drizzle with tahini dressing. Slow down and really chew this dish, so you can get all of the nutrients. Yum.

Silken Tofu w/ Avocado

Silken Tofu with Avocado

Unexpectedly refreshing and delicious! Seriously, I did not expect to like cold silken tofu in any preparation, but I am officially proven wrong. A great appetizer, especially if your meal needs a protein boost and you’re pressed for time. If you use an entire block of tofu (as the recipe suggests), I would say it is an appetizer for 4. Here’s the incredibly simple recipe: Silken Tofu with Avocado

Banana, Pecan, Dark Chocolate Muffins

I had a craving for a semi-healthy but super indulgent breakfast. Comfort food at its best. And then this happened…

Banana Pecan Choc Chip Muffins

I started with a recipe from Minimalist Baker, then made a few modifications to reduce refined sugar and increase nutritional content a wee bit. I did without the crumb topping in the original version, partially for health but mostly in the name of laziness. No regrets, friends. If you like things on the sweet side, increase to 1/2 cup of honey.
Minimalist Baker: Vegan Banana Crumb Muffins

Below is the updated list of ingredients with my changes, and mine only came out to 8 muffins.  Follow the instructions listed on the original recipe.  Prepare for bliss.

2 flax eggs (2 Tbsp flaxseed + 5 Tbsp water)
4 medium ripe bananas
1/3 cup honey/ maple syrup
1/4 cup raw coconut oil, melted
1 tsp vanilla extract
2 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp sea salt
3/4 cup unbleached all purpose flour/ white spelt flour
3/4 cup whole grain spelt flour
1/2 cup rolled oats
1/4 cup pecans (this change is mainly because I’m not a fan of walnuts, feel free to stick to the original)
1/2 cup dark chocolate chips

Blueberry Muffins w/ Cinnamon Streusel

Blueberry Muffins w Cinnamon Streusel

Low in sugar and delicious to the max. I’m not a huge fan of sweet breakfasts so these are perfect for me– the streusel topping adds a nice sweet and crunchy touch, but still leaves you feeling clean. Find the recipe here: Oh She Glows: Mini Whole Wheat Blueberry Breakfast Muffins

I made a few modifications to the recipe so I could work with what I have…
8 tsp ground chia instead of ground flax
Whole grain spelt flour instead of whole wheat
I only had one cup of blueberries (sad, I know) but I went forward regardless
Light brown sugar instead of turbinado

Also, I didn’t have a mini muffin pan so I made full-size, and no liners so I lightly greased and floured the pan. It came out to 9 muffins, and I baked for 17 minutes.