Simple Herb-Marinated Beans

How was your Easter? Did you eat yourself into a frenzy? We came precariously close 🙂 As such, this pot of simple, herb-marinated beans is definitely needed this week. It’s light and fresh (because spring is trying to appear), full of protein (to keep you away from all the leftover chocolate) and it lasts all week in the fridge (making your lunch or dinner choices so much easier).

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I was working from home one day last week and didn’t have any leftovers to eat up for lunch, which sent me on a minor food-hunt around the apartment. Aside from some herbs and tomatoes, the fridge was looking fairly bare. But a quick nose around the pantry turned up a few cans of beans, and some shallots. From that, this bowl of really tasty herb-marinated beans was born, just in time for lunch!

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I started with one can of butter beans (those gigantic ones) and decided it wasn’t going to be enough, so tossed in a can of cannellini beans as well. I love how big and meaty these beans are, and this salad makes a great base for many additions. Cucumber or peppers would be great, or even thinly sliced mushrooms. Just don’t skimp on the herbs. Everything is marinated in a fragrant herby vinaigrette which, when piled on a piece of toasted bread, makes for a perfect lunch.

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The beans have been sitting in our fridge for the last 4 or 5 days and everyday, they always seem to taste just a little bit better. That’s what I love about salads like this – they’re easy to make and last more than an hour in the fridge.

We’ve eaten them on toasted bread, on their own as a salad, and even tossed in with roasted veggies for a tasty kick. I love it when an almost-empty fridge surprises me like this 🙂

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Simple Herb-Marinated Beans
 
Author: 
Recipe type: Salad
Prep time: 
Cook time: 
Total time: 
These healthy herb-marinated beans are easy to make, full of protein, and bursting with flavour.
Ingredients
  • 1 small shallot, finely diced
  • 1 tsp fresh ginger, diced
  • 1 tsp dried red chili flakes
  • 3 tbsp white wine vinegar
  • 2 cans of beans (398 mL each), drained and thoroughly rinsed (I used butter beans and cannellini)
  • ½ cup cherry tomatoes, cut in half
  • ½ cup finely chopped herbs (I used cilantro and mint)
  • ¼ cup extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 tsp toasted sesame oil (optional)
Instructions
  1. In a small bowl, mix the chopped shallot, fresh ginger, dried red chili flakes and white wine vinegar. Leave it to sit for 5 minutes while you are prepping the rest of the salad.
  2. Place the beans, tomatoes and herbs in a large bowl. Add the olive oil and toss to combine.
  3. Add the shallot mixture to the beans and mix thoroughly.
  4. Refrigerate at least 30 minutes, to allow the flavours to meld.
  5. Serve as a side salad, or on top of toast or bread.
Notes
In a tightly-sealed container, this salad will last in the fridge up to one week.

Enjoy these simple herb-marinated beans!

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One-Pot Sausage and Chickpea Bowl with Goat Cheese

The holiday season seems to ensure we consume more than our daily quota of sugar intake, which is probably why we crave our veggies and greens. With Vancouver still reeling from its unusual cold snap, we’re also embracing our veggies roasted or sauted. This one-pot sausage and chickpea bowl with goat cheese hits many of our winter food requirements:

  • It’s hot (hello, roasted goodness)
  • It still has lots of colour (hello, tasty veggies)
  • It’s satisfying (hello, chickpeas and local sausage)
  • It has cheese (enough said) 🙂

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This meal is quick to put together (think, under 30 minutes) and I like to think of it as more of a broad pairing-guide, than a recipe. During the winter, we usually have roasted vegetables 4 or 5 times a week and change-up the protein as our cravings desire. So this recipe is more of a “what to add to your warm veggies” meal, than anything else.

I know I’ve mentioned it before, but we like spicy food. We picked up a few pork Habanero sausages from the local butcher, and they really added a great flavour to this meal. Pair that with a few cloves of garlic, a glug or two of white wine, and a sprinkle of tangy goat cheese, and this meal definitely elevated our roasted veggies up a notch or two.

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I can see this sausage and chickpea bowl coming together in one of two ways:

  1. The lazy-man’s approach: Roast your veggies and chickpeas together on a tray in the oven. Cook the sausages at the same time, flipping them every 7 or 8 minutes, until they’re cooked through. Then throw everything into a large bowl, mix with the fresh herbs, and top with a sprinkling of goat cheese.
  2. The slightly more active-man’s approach: Saute the veggies and chickpeas together in a large pot on the stove. Cook the sausages in the oven, flipping them every 7 or 8 minutes until they’re cooked through. Then throw the sliced sausages, fresh herbs and a sprinkling of goat cheese into the veggie pot.

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Either way, the result is quick, flavourful and healthy meal that will ease any guilt you might have after taste-testing all those extra rugelach, for quality-assurance purposes 🙂

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One-Pot Sausage and Chickpea Bowl with Goat Cheese
 
Author: 
Recipe type: Dinner
Prep time: 
Cook time: 
Total time: 
This healthy one-pot meal comes together in under 30 minutes. Use any veggies you'd like, to completely customize your dinner.
Ingredients
  • 1 medium onion, thinly sliced into half moons
  • 3 cloves garlic, diced
  • 2 medium bell peppers, sliced into strips
  • 1 pint (~350 g) cherry tomatoes, halved
  • 2 red thai chilies, finely chopped (optional)
  • 1 small bunch of kale, thinly sliced or shredded
  • 1 can (398 mL) chickpeas, drained and rinsed thoroughly
  • 150 g (~2 large) pork Habanero sausages (or flavour of your choice)
  • Glug of white wine, or white wine vinegar
  • 50 - 75 g soft goat's cheese
  • Handful of fresh cilantro, finely chopped
  • Handful of fresh mint, finely chopped
Instructions
  1. Prick the sausages and place on a tray. Broil in the oven for 25 minutes, or until cooked completely, flipping every 5 to 7 minutes. Allow to cool briefly before slicing into pieces.
  2. At the same time, heat a small amount of olive oil in a large pot over medium heat.
  3. Add the onions, garlic and chilies and saute until translucent, about 5 minutes. Add the bell peppers, tomatoes and chickpeas and cook until softened, about 10 minutes.
  4. Deglaze the pan with a glug of white wine, then add the chopped kale and stir until the kale starts to wilt.
  5. Add the sliced sausage, cilantro and mint to the pot and stir until combined.
  6. Divide into bowls and top with the goat cheese.

Enjoy the One-Pot Sausage and Chickpea Bowl with Goat Cheese!

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Chewy Peanut Protein Pick-Me-Up Bars

I was having a clean-out-the-pantry moment a few weeks ago. We have a glorified closet that I like to call our pantry. It’s quite deep, and sometimes things get lost back there, not often, but it happens. In this purging moment, I found some brown rice crisp cereal, a bag of unopened flax seeds, and a jar of peanut butter. How the peanut butter escaped us, is beyond me! But out of these few ingredients, came these protein bars. Jonty and I have coined them as Chewy Peanut Protein Pick-Me-Up bars. And they are true to their name!

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Truth be told, the real reason I was “cleaning” was because I wanted to make some post-climbing and mid-training snacks, and I really didn’t want to have to leave the house for ingredients. Thank goodness for long-lost jars of nut-butter! We’ve been entering local bouldering competitions over the last few weeks and it’s great to have bite-sized snacks to munch on when we feel the need for a little boost of energy. I don’t like buying protein bars because (1) they’re often super expensive, and (2) I can usually make something equally tasty!

These bars are perfect for our needs. They don’t require baking (just a stove-top, for bringing a few ingredients to the boil) and they keep really well in the freezer. We absolutely love the flavour of them, and they pack a great energy-boosting punch!

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The perks of these Chewy Peanut Protein Pick-Me-Up bars:

  • Boost of energy: Oats make up the bulk of these bars, providing lots of fibre and slow-burning carbs for when your energy is running low.
  • Lots of seeds: Chia, pumpkin, sunflower and flax seeds pack in a great boost of protein, fibre and a whole host of vitamins and minerals.
  • No refined sugar: Only pure maple syrup and dried cranberries in these bad boys.
  • No baking required: Total bonus, when the oven is being used for other important things.
  • Easy, portable snacks: Cut them into bars or roll them into balls.

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I’ve made these several times this season, and they don’t disappoint! They’re great to keep in the freezer, for those times when you need a quick afternoon snack, or fuel for a great climbing session.

Chewy Peanut Protein Pick-Me-Up Bars
 
Author: 
Recipe type: Snacks
These bars are based on the general protein bar format from the Power Hungry cookbook.,
Ingredients
  • 180 g (1½ cups) large-flake oats
  • 40 g (1 cup) crispy brown rice cereal (likethis)
  • 55 g (2/3 cup, lightly packed) unflavoured protein powder
  • 40 g (1/4 cup) chia seeds
  • 40 g (1/4 cup) pumpkin seeds
  • 40 g (1/4 cup) sunflower seeds
  • 40 g (1/4 cup) flax seeds
  • 15 g (1/4 cup) unsweetened large-flake coconut
  • 70 g (1/2 cup) dried, unsweetened cranberries
  • 155 g (1/2 cup) pure maple syrup
  • 120 g (1/2 cup) smooth, unsalted, natural peanut butter
  • 3 tbsp milk (dairy or non-dairy)
  • 1 tsp pure vanilla extract
Instructions
  1. In a large bowl, mix together the oats, cereal, protein powder, chia seeds, pumpkin seeds, sunflower seeds, flax seeds and dried cranberries.
  2. In a small sauce pan over medium heat, whisk together the maple syrup, peanut butter and milk. Whisk occasionally until the mixture just starts to boil. Remove from the heat and stir in the vanilla.
  3. Pour the peanut mixture over the oats mixture and mix very well until everything is completely combined.
  4. Transfer the mixture into a parchment-lined 9x9-inch square pan and use the back of a spatula to spread out the mixture and flatten until it is smooth on top.
  5. Refrigerate for at least 2 hours, until firm and set. Cut into squares.
Notes
These bars freeze very well and do not require any thawing before eating.

The bars are quite sticky at room temperature, so it is best to keep them in the fridge or freezer. If they will be at room temperature for a long period of time, individually wrap them in parchment or waxed paper.

Enjoy the Chewy Peanut Protein Pick-Me-Up Bars!

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Marbled Rye Sandwich Bread

Over the last few months, Monday’s have become my bread-baking day. They have also become our mid-morning walk day, enjoying the parks and beaches of Vancouver for a few hours when most of the world is at work. It’s a good way to start the week!

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I do love baking, and I think that baking bread (and working with yeasted dough in general) is probably one of my favourite ways to spend time in the kitchen. I love the way the dough smells and, to me, there’s always something magical about pulling that golden-crusted loaf of bread out of the oven. Seriously, I smile every time!

I first started making this version of a marbled rye sandwich bread a few weeks ago. I was looking through one of my go-to bread books and Jonty spied a picture of a marbled, swirly loaf, and asked if I could give that one a try. At first glance, I thought it might take a lot longer to make, as it called for making two batches of dough, one for the light rye and one for the dark. I couldn’t be bothered with that, so, in true Moira fashion, I’ve made a few modifications to the original recipe.

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My version is actually fairly easy to do. I’ve used my cheaters method again of adding yogurt to the rye dough, as a substitute for making a sourdough mother starter, which means you don’t have to start a bread recipe more than a week in advance. And once the dough is kneaded for a few minutes into a shaggy ball, I simply split it in half and knead cocoa powder into one ball (for the dark rye), and leave the other as it is.

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After the two balls of dough have risen, they’re split equally again, so there are two balls of each colour. Pat each of them into a rectangular shape, stack them on top of each other, then roll the entire stack into a log-shape, pinching the seams together. The log hangs around in a loaf pan until the dough just starts to dome over the edge of the pan. In a nice warm house, that will probably happen in about half an hour. Easy peasy 🙂

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Like all bread, you really need to let it cool completely before slicing into it. With the wonderful aroma of this freshly baked bread, wafting through the apartment, the wait can be hard; this is usually when we leave the apartment and enjoy a walk around town.

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By the time we get back the bread has cooled enough to slice, and the apartment smells fantastic.

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Oh man, those swirls get me every time! Jonty thinks this is one of the best toasting breads I’ve made: the bread is nice and soft, yet the crumb is dense enough that it doesn’t fall apart if you like to slice your bread fairly thin, like we do. As usual, we slice up the entire loaf and pop it in the freezer, so we can take out a slice or two whenever needed.

Marbled Rye Sandwich Bread
 
Author: 
Recipe type: Breakfast
Prep time: 
Cook time: 
Total time: 
Adapted from the rye sandwich bread recipe from Artisan Bread Everyday
Ingredients
For the starter:
For the dough:
  • 190 g warm water
  • 15 g molasses
  • 30 g vegetable oil
  • 1⅛ tsp instant yeast
  • 340 g unbleached bread flour (we prefer Anita's Organic Mill)
  • 1½ tsp sea salt
  • 2 tbsp cocoa powder
Instructions
  1. In a medium bowl, mix together the rye flour, yogurt and water. It will be very thick and resemble modeling clay. Set aside until ready to use.
  2. In a small bowl, whisk together the warm water, molasses, vegetable oil and instant yeast. Let sit for a few minutes, to allow the yeast to bloom.
  3. In the bowl of a stand mixer, add the bread flour and salt. Drop the rye starter, by the spoonful, into the bowl and add the yeast mixture.
  4. Using the dough hook, mix the dough on low until the dough just starts to come together into a shaggy ball. Turn the mixer off and let the dough stand for 5 minutes, to fully hydrate.
  5. After this wait time, continue to knead the dough with a dough hook until the it starts to look like a smooth ball. The dough will be quite sticky. Using wet hands, remove the dough from the bowl and divide it into equal halves (use a scale, for precise measurements). Place one half of the dough back into the stand mixer bowl, along with 2 tbsp of cocoa powder, and knead on medium-low speed for about 5 minutes, until the dough is very smooth and only slightly tacky. Place the dark rye ball into a clean, lightly greased bowl and place in a warm area to rise.
  6. Return the light rye dough ball back into the stand-mixer bowl and knead with the dough hook on medium-low speed for about 5 minutes, until the dough is very smooth and only slightly tacky. Place the light rye ball into a second clean, lightly greased bowl and place in a warm area to rise.
  7. Once the dough has doubled in size (this may take 30 to 60 minutes, depending on how warm your kitchen is), split each ball of dough in half, so you have 2 light rye balls and 2 dark rye balls. Flatten each into a rectangular shape, about 8 x 5 inches. Layer the dough in alternating colours and press each down quite firmly onto the previous layer, to avoid big air bubbles forming during the rise. Tightly roll the dough into a log shape and place, seam side down, into a parchment-lined loaf pan for a second rise.
  8. About 15 minutes before the bread is ready to bake, pre-heat the oven to 350 F. Bake the bread for 40 minutes, rotating the pan after 20 minutes. When done, the loaf should be a golden brown on top and should sound slightly hollow, when tapped on the bottom. Let it cool in the pan for 5 minutes, then remove and allow to cool completely on a wire rack.
Notes
This bread freezes very well. Simply slice the bread up completely before placing into a freezer-proof ziplock bag.

Enjoy the Marbled Rye Sandwich Bread!

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Pomegranate and Coconut Overnight Oats

I know I’m late to this party, but until a month ago, I had never tried overnight oats. Oh, I heard people raving about them – how quick they are to prep the night before, how easy it is to switch up the flavours. But I was firmly planted in my green-smoothie-breakfast. That was, until the motor died on our Blendtec, and we were without its pulverizing force while waiting for a replacement to come in the mail. FYI, when this company says it offers an unlimited 7-year warranty, they really mean it!

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I need something in my tummy in the mornings, and we had a bag of Rogers Steel-cut Porridge Oats in our pantry that have been staring me down for quite some time. Finally, I decided to bite the bullet and try this overnight-oat thing – and you know what? I’m officially on board!

This recipe is nourishing, full of fibre, and loaded with heart-healthy and antioxidant-promoting ingredients. It’s really a powerhouse of a breakfast and can easily be modified, depending on what’s in your cupboards. I’ve been eating this often during the week and it totally hits the spot. It should go without saying, but if you’re gluten-free, make sure you choose a certified gluten-free oat blend. If you’re vegan, use a non-dairy milk. Otherwise, the sky’s the limit 🙂

In case you haven’t heard me lamenting over the very wet, very grey autumn we’ve had on the west coast, I’ll say it again: this autumn feels gloomier than most. It’s a good thing that one day of blue sky (which we had the on Monday this week), can generally elevate my spirit for a few days 🙂

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Another way I get through these dreary months is by filling our fridge with tonnes of citrus fruit. How can a person feel glum, after biting into a ripe orange, or tasting the juicy crunch of a little pomegranate aril! I think that’s why this version of Pomegranate and Coconut overnight oats is hitting the spot for me at the moment. If I’m feeling decadent, I’ll throw in some chopped walnuts, for a bit of extra crunch, too. And, with a good cup of coffee, it’s perfect.

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So if your breakfast is needing a change-up, or you’ve never tried this type of oatmeal before, give this Pomegranate and Coconut Overnight Oats recipe a try. Hopefully it boosts your morning, like it does mine 🙂

Pomegranate and Coconut Overnight Oats
 
Author: 
Recipe type: Breakfast
Prep time: 
Cook time: 
Total time: 
No cooking required, and five minutes of preparation the night before, will make sure you have a very tasty and filling breakfast in the morning.
Ingredients
  • ½ cup large-flake oats (I used the Roger's Steel Cut Oat Porridge blend)
  • 1 tsp chia seeds
  • ½ tsp ground cinnamon
  • 2 tbsp pomegranate arils
  • 1 tbsp unsweetened large-flake coconut
  • 1 tbsp walnut pieces, broken up into small pieces (optional)
  • 1 tsp pure maple syrup
  • ½ cup milk (dairy or non-dairy)
Instructions
  1. In a 250 mL glass mason jar (with a lid), combine the oats, chia seeds, ground cinnamon, pomegranate arils, large-flake coconut and walnuts (if using). Put the lid on, and shake the jar to combine the ingredients.
  2. Pour in ½ cup of milk of your choice, and 1 tsp of maple syrup. Stir the contents to combine completely.
  3. Place the lid onto the jar and keep in the fridge for at least 4 hours, preferably overnight.
  4. In the morning, enjoy cold or at room temperature.
Notes
This recipe is enough for 1 person. Modify the quantities to feed more hungry tummies.
If you like your oatmeal dense, use 1 to 2 tbsp less milk., If you like your oats with a lot of extra liquid, either add more the night before, or top with additional milk when serving.

Enjoy!

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