Hello beautiful people, and hello change of season!
This winter has come and gone in a flash. Perhaps it is that my internal body clock is slowing down, or maybe I’m just getting older. Either way, it’s forcing me to take time out, reflect and observe.
With life doing its thing and me going along for the ride, something that has become absolutely apparent is that what I like doing is eating lots of good food, and if I’m cooking during my busy week then I like this practice to fit in with my lifestyle. I posted a lentil and goji recipe a few weeks back on the art of compiling easy-to-make Happiness Bowls that taste great, make you feel good and support your day-to-day routine.
There are many positives to these Happiness Bowls besides the speed that it takes to whip one up, they are also high in nutritional density. They are filled with complex carbohydrates, healthy fatty acids, proteins, vitamins and minerals. They can also be thrown together with just a few items hanging around your kitchen, which doesn’t only equal simplicity but also an enormous range of flavours and creative flare.
Below are a few key tips on throwing your abundance bowl together.
Choosing your grain is the fun part, although technically every step is lots of fun. Only I would get a kick out of choosing which starch to use as my base. Healthy grains go a long way in keeping one sustained and supported. With so much variety, you can never get bored. I love playing around with wheat and gluten free grains that I know are not highly processed or sprayed with pesticides like quinoa, Tai red rice, black rice, legumes, millet and amaranth. You want to make sure you avoid highly processed and genetically modified grains, because those ones are not good for your health and will likely result in dis-ease and weight gain. If you are in the mood for a raw plant based meal, skip this first step.
Why should carbohydrates be included in one’s daily intake?
First off, our bodies require carbohydrates for energy and optimal brain function. Also, carbohydrate foods contain vitamins and minerals like iron, calcium, vitamin C, folic acid, potassium and magnesium. Strictly avoiding carbohydrates can result in nutrient deficiencies. Carbohydrates are an important source of fibre which helps maintain healthy blood sugar levels, reduces cholesterol and supports good bowel function.
Good quality carbohyrdates taste great and increase satiety. If you are eating high quality foods they will influence you positively. I am not a big fan of restrictions or labels. Call me old fashioned, but I like balance. Restrictions are not necessary when you learn how to support yourself with high quality foods and shift your focus from external goals to internal health and wellbeing. Cravings eventually subside on this eating plan, and when you do find yourself in the mood for something sweet there are now so many options available to us all – superfood chocolates with awesome raw cacao, banana ice cream made from frozen bananas and raw honey and SO much more! None of which contain refined white sugar, artificial flavourings, colorants, preservatives and emulsifiers. That is what I am talking about!
Add a protein for increased satiety and to support lean muscle mass. Nuts and seeds are my go-to source of protein. Hemp seeds work well too, and if you are a conscious dairy consumer, some organic goat’s feta can add a smooth and creamy consistency.
My favourites? Collard greens are first on my list; I’ll add kale, spinach or swiss chard to anything. Herbs add even more variety and a savoury aspect to the dish. Start experimenting with parsley, coriander, mint and dill, to name a few. Let’s not forget about the creamy avocado – technically a fruit, and always a winner! I’m living on a property at the moment with three avocado trees!! They seem to be producing all year round, the softest most delicately flavoured and creamy avocados – does it get better then that!?
Need I say more? Carrots, radishes, red, yellow and orange peppers, purple cabbage the list is endless. It’s all about overall satiety, and digestion starts with the eyes – Love it!
Add something sweet to the mix. I like raisins, soaked goji berries, orange juice and raw honey. Actually, any dried fruit will do! You just want to check that the fruit you are buying is from a trusted source, and not loaded with sulfur dioxide like most of the commercially dried fruits you find.
Olives, miso, tamari, capers, celery, cucumbers and sun dried tomatoes. A little organic cheese will also add some salt to the mix.
Garlic and onion fits this description. Both are optional.
A Fun Dressing
This will take care of the sour aspect of the dish. The base of your dressing should consist of an oil of your choice, the tartness of lemon or lime and something sweet like honey, dates or maple syrup. You can then have some fun with any ingredient that comes to mind – a spice, a superfood – go wild!
Give your bowl the final touch and finish with a flourish of spices, chopped herbs, a drizzle of lime, edible flowers or anything else that makes your meal look simply irresistible.
And the key ingredient – LOVE!
If you ever feel intimidated by the mere thought of cooking, remember that your love and enthusiasm go a long way. Think about the satisfied looks on your friend’s faces when they bite into your love-filled food, it’s the cherry on the top! And your kitchen “fails” only make you a better and more experienced chef!
Today’s Grain – Tai Red Rice
Tai red rice is unmilled (like brown rice) and takes a little longer to cook than polished white rice. However, because the grain is slender, this rice will cook more quickly than other unmilled rices and you will cook with less water. Use a pot with a tight-fitting lid to ensure the steam is retained in the pot during cooking. One cup of raw rice yields about 2 cups of cooked rice. You will find Tai red rice at most health shops. I like this rice because you don’t find it massive quantities on the market, which means it is a more sustainable option.
Red Rice and Micronutrients
One cup of cooked red rice accounts for 80 percent of your daily value DV of manganese, a mineral that helps your body process fats and proteins. It’s also a major source of magnesium, phosphorus and molybdenum, providing 20 percent or more of the daily value for each of those minerals.
The Potential of Anthocyanins
Red rice derives its colour from anthocyanins, the same group of phenolic compounds that give red and purple colours to radicchio, purple cabbage and red onions. These are biologically very active molecules and are recognised for their importance to normal body functioning. They’re powerful antioxidants and have scientifically been shown to improve eyesight. Therefore, eating red rice and other anthocyanin-rich foods regularly is likely to be beneficial.
1 C Tai Red Rice
2 C Spring Water
1 Carrot, Julienned
250 g Mushrooms, Sliced
¼ C Pumpkin Seeds, Soaked
2 Bunches Spinach, Chopped
¼ C Sun Dried Tomatoes, Rehydrated
2 t Sesame Oil
3 t Raw Honey
1 Lemon, Juiced
2 t Lemon Rind
6 T Spring Water
½ t Mango Powder
4 t Tamari
2 t Miso
Start by using your phone to time how long this meal takes to prepare. You will be pleasantly surprised.
Next, soak your pumpkin seeds and rehydrate the sun-dried tomatoes in some water. This makes the pumpkin seeds soft and crunchy and increases their digestibility. Soaking your tomatoes makes them plump and juicy.
Wash the rice well and drain. Bring 1 cup of rice to a boil in two cups of water. Cover the pot and reduce the heat to the lowest possible setting and simmer until all the liquid has been absorbed and the rice is tender, about 30 minutes. Remove the pan from the heat and let it stand covered for 5 to 10 minutes.
In another pan, sauté the onions and the garlic in a dollop of coconut oil until they turn golden brown. Slice your mushrooms and add them to the onion mixture leaving them to sit for 5 minutes without stirring so they turn brown on one side. After 3 minutes give them a stir and add the tamari, the lime & the honey. Cook for another 2 minutes.
With one minute remaining add 2 big handfuls of chopped spinach and lightly sauté for about 2 minutes. The spinach should retain its crunch.
Slice the carrots, wash and rinse the pumpkin seeds and the tomatoes and mix all of the ingredients together.
Whip up your salad dressing and pour onto your dish. Serve up and garnish with edible flowers, some extra greens and some organic goat’s feta if you’re a conscious dairy consumer.
With Love, Always