Breakfast: 1/4 cup gluten-free rolled oats and 1/4 cup raw buckwheat groats simmered with 1 cup Edensoy Extra soy milk, a generous sprinkling of cinnamon, and a dash of cardamom, then combined with 3 large, very finely chopped leaves of lacinato kale, 1 frozen thawed and thinly sliced banana, 2 dried figs, 2 dried apricots, 2 prunes, 1 tbsp almond butter, and 1 tbsp chia seeds.
These ingredients constitute more-or-less my go-to morning oatmeal—heaps of kale, an ooey gooey melted banana, LOTS of dried fruit, crunchy-creamy almond butter, a “power” seed (chia, hemp, or flax), and my two favorite spices for sweeter applications, cardamom and cinnamon.
Breakfast Checklist: Protein—soy milk, almond butter. Whole Grain—gluten-free rolled oats, buckwheat. Fruit—banana, prunes, dried figs, dried apricots. Leafy Green—kale. “Power Food”—chia seeds.
Local Ingredients: None! What’s up with the lack of locally grown kale? Last I heard, the hearty green definitely thrived in the winter.
Morning Tea: Organic Double Dark Chocolate Mate from the Republic of Tea.
Lunch Box: Mixed greens, 4 thinly sliced button mushrooms, 1 chopped medium-sized carrot, and 1 tbsp dulse seaweed tossed with Liquid Gold Dressing and topped with curtido (a Latin version of sauerkraut), accompanied by 2 brown rice cakes slathered with a mash of 1/2 an avocado, 1/2 cup kidney beans, a squirt of lime juice, and a sprinkle of cumin.
After meeting up with my now Canada-based good friend Lisa at Himal Chuli, I’ve included lime juice and cumin in almost every implementation of avocados in my kitchen per her suggestion. Not only does the citrusy tang of lime perfectly contrast the smooth avocado, but limes have fat burning qualities (a perfect complement to the heart-healthy fat so dear to avocados), stimulate digestion, and detoxify the liver. All that in a golf ball-sized green citrus? I’m in. (For more limey benefits, visit Pure2Raw.)
Also, the other day at my second home the Willy Street Coop, I discovered a new brand of sauerkrauts called Fizzeology (they don’t have a website that seems to function, but there’s some information here) based in Some Unknown Tiny Town, Wisconsin. The owner, Mike Bieser, used lacto-fermentation to improve his immune system while homeopathically recovering from Lyme disease. (Aren’t probiotics just magical?) Intrigued by the three global flavors featured (German with green cabbage and caraway, Korean Kimchi with cabbage and spicy ginger veggies, and Latin Curtido with cabbage, carrots, and red peppers), I snatched a jar of curtido right up and have wholeheartedly enjoyed it this week. Fizzeology’s krauts offer a soft texture that almost melts in your mouth and a refreshing flavor profile, not to mention all that good bacteria for which I go crazy.
Meal Checklist: Protein—kidney beans. Whole Grain—brown rice cakes. Vegetables—carrots, mushrooms, red peppers, onions, garlic (last three in curtido). Leafy Green—mixed greens, cabbage in curtido, dulse seaweed.
Afternoon Snack: A bottle of local NessAlla Kombucha in their NEW! Peach Blush flavor.
Why do I usually rely on GT’s Synergy Kombucha rather than Madison-based NessAlla for my probiotic drink needs? Don’t I unwaveringly champion purchasing local products over those shipped across the nation? My answer may seem silly, but I didn’t consider NessAlla’s probiotic drink as powerful as that of GT’s. Probably due solely to the placebo effect, the fierce carbonation of GT’s seemed to better allow my digestive system to flow, while NessAlla’s milder profile fell a bit flat. However, after introducing their new flavor of Peach Blush which sounded way too delicious to pass up, I once again reached to try a NessAlla and vow to buy at least half of my daily Kombuchas locally from now on.
Dinner: A generous bowlful of Moroccan Chickpea and Pumpkin Tagine from The Discerning Brute with a large handful of finely chopped spinach wilted in and served over a bed of quinoa.
My tweaks to the original recipe (yay, more recipe experimentation!):
- Skipped entire first step of toasting/grinding whole spices. Instead, I sauteed the onions for 7 minutes, added the garlic, ginger, and pre-ground spices, and sauteed for an additional 2 minutes.
- After sauteeing the onions and simmering the tomatoes in step two, I combined the tomato mixture with the prepped veggies in my slow cooker and let her go to work for 2 hours on high, then 2 more hours on low.
- Replaced Serrano chili with ground cayenne pepper.
- Reduced oil to 1 tbsp.
- Used kabocha squash in place of the pumpkin.
- Substituted oriental yam (a deep purple-skinned tuber with pale yellow flesh and a flavor similar to sweet potatoes) for fingerling potatoes.
- Instead of preserved lemon, I used about 2 tsp lemon zest and 1 tbsp lemon juice.
The recipe turned out absolutely gorgeously—I can honestly attest to never having produced a more delicious Indian/Moroccan dish in all my kitchen endeavors, nor having sampled one at a Middle Eastern restaurant! Bursting with complex flavors from the spices, heartiness and protein from the chickpeas, and smooth texture of the squash and yam, this stew guarantees a fantastically scrumptious, comforting meal. The dried fruit also melts into the tomatoey, spicy goodness to permeate a subtle sweetness throughout the entire dish.
Meal Checklist: Protein—chickpeas. Whole Grain—quinoa. Vegetables—garlic, ginger, onion, tomatoes, kabocha squash, oriental yam, carrots. Leafy Greens—spinach.
Comment Provoking Questions: What is your “go-to” breakfast? How do you feel about sauerkraut? What currently unavailable flavor would you like to see in Kombucha? What is your favorite Indian/Moroccan-inspired dish?
Until next time, Ali.