Apple butter, protein bowls and keeping it simple

It’s hard to believe that it’s January 26th and I haven’t sent out a single recipe in over a month. This month has been a blur of activity. My mind has been racing with Blog ideas but there didn’t seem to be enough time in my day. Tuesday has always been my blogging day, but I started trail running Tuesday mornings with some clients so couldn’t seem to fit blogging in.
Tom was also laid off for 28 days, which means we were doing things together. Tom is back to work and I have a shoulder injury that makes me feel unsafe when manoeuvring icy trails so here I sit, getting back into my routine. I’m eating a leafy green salad as I blog (yes I know I should be doing one thing at a time, but I am on a roll).
The last month or so I have been eating amazing food, mostly cooked by myself, I have enjoyed new recipes and a new cookbook as well as a copy of a British magazine called Vegan Life, that was packed full of interesting recipes. My newest cook book is the Thug Kitchen, I have made a few things from it but hope to share recipes in future blogs. Warning it not for those of you who are offended by swear works, it’s packed full of them and hilarious.

thug kitchen
My cooking mantra is simple, I don’t want expensive ingredients or to have to work too hard. I love to not waste food and try to find easy inexpensive recipes. Many people have shared with me that they find being vegetarian and/or vegan expensive and it’s doesn’t have to be so. With the abundance of really good blogs, there is a plethora of amazing recipes online. Keeping things simple means I waste less, need less, and spend way less money than I ever did when I ate meat. Most of my meals cost under $10.00 to make and serve me a few times. My most expensive purchases are the Vega products that I love.
I’ve also been eating tons of Brown Rice bowls; basically I steam brown rice and then top it with whatever I have on hand. Things like hummus, sautéed mushrooms, chopped Kale salad mix, chick peas, slices of avocado and then maybe some Tamari sauce. Brown rice blows are crazy easy and a great way to eat healthy and use up little bits of left over veggies.
An example of my waste not want not theory is the apple butter I made just before Christmas. I was planning on making a lentil loaf (which was crazy complicated) for Boxing Day at my sister’s house, the recipe called for a tablespoon of apple butter. Apple butter can run you upwards to $10.00 for a jar, and it seemed silly to spend that much. I love apple butter and often use it instead of jam, so I wondered if I could make it. So I did what I always do I Googled apple butter recipes and found this simple recipe on the Oh She Glows blog. Better yet, Tom and I had bought some apples from Costco that were not so great, they were soft and kind of tasteless, and they were sitting in a fruit basket getting even softer. I used these for the apple butter and it was amazing. I couldn’t have been better, and the apples didn’t go to waste.

quote-if-you-appreciate-its-wonderful-natural-taste-simple-food-will-nourish-you-and-is-better-than-namboku-mizuno-253663
I love to keep my life simple too; I hang out with uncomplicated people, and avoid drama especially the kind that is created by monkey minds. Each and every time I ignore the inner warnings of my soul and try to befriend someone who is gossipy I end up regretting it. Thinking to myself, how did I get here again? Did I think she/he was not going to turn on me eventually? So trusting my inner wisdom keeps my life simple, keeps me growing and allows me to make choices of how I spend my free time with. One of the things I love about my relationship with Tom is that it’s easy, we are both uncomplicated and having been through a lot in our lives we are grateful to have found each other.

be a nice human

Here’s the link to the Apple Butter Recipe on the Oh She Glows Blog http://ohsheglows.com/2012/09/26/slow-cooker-naked-apple-butter/

apple butter

 

Ingredients
An equal mixture of sweet and tart apples (I used 5.5 pounds total, but feel free to use less for a smaller batch)
Ground cinnamon or other spices like nutmeg, ground cloves, etc, to taste
Tiny bit of fresh lemon juice, to taste (helps to preserve), optional
Sweetener, like maple syrup, if desired

Instructions
1. Slice apples. There is no need to peel the apples. In fact, your apple butter is much healthier with the peel left on. Tip: If you have an apple slicer, now is the time to use it. I love my OXO apple slicer. Add apple slices to slow cooker.
2. Set slow cooker on HIGH for 4 hours, covered with lid. During those 4 hours, give it a few stirs as the apples tend to stick to the bottom a bit. You can add some apple juice or cider to prevent sticking. If you’d rather cook it longer on a lower heat, you can do that too.
3. Mash apples and turn off heat. After 4 hours, most of the apples are soft enough to mash up with a wooden spoon or potato masher. After mashing, we now have applesauce (with the peel of course)!
4. Cool slightly and scoop into high-speed blender. With a big ladle, scoop the apple mixture into a blender. If you have a small blender you may have to do this in a few batches. Make sure lid is secured tightly.
5. Blend the mixture. Start on a low setting and go faster until you reach max speed. You may need to let some steam escape through the top hole if there is one. Puree mixture until super smooth and buttery. If it’s still chunky, keep blending.
6. Pour the apple butter back into the slow cooker. Turn heat on HIGH and cook down, uncovered, for another 45-90 minutes until it’s as thick as you desire. After 45 mins, I was left with 5 cups and the consistency was very similar to my pumpkin butter. Keep in mind it will thicken slightly once chilled overnight.
7. When ready, add cinnamon to taste (or other spices if desired) and a very small amount of lemon juice if desired.
8. Cool completely and store in an air-tight jar for up to 1 month in the fridge. Or you can try canning it as well

 

Another fanstatic recipe is from the Vegan Life Magazine, it’s British and my sister who lives in England sent my Mom a copy. Being that’s it’s dedicated soley to the Vegan lifestyle it is packed full or recipes. I am hoping to perhaps find it in Chaptors or subscribe to it.
I’m not a huge tofu eater (for no particular reason) but this recipe is protein packed and incredbilely tasty, if you are buying tofu, buy extra firm and buy organic so it’s not Genetically Modified (GMO).

 

Well Dressed Tofu Bowls – Vegan Life Magazine- Serves 4

protien packed bowls

 

Dressing
¼ cup natural peanut butter
1 ½ tbsp season rice vinegar
1 ½ tbsp fresh lemon juice
3 tbsp water or vegetable broth
1 tbsp tamari (use Gluten free if avoiding Gluten)
1 tbsp white miso (miso keeps forever so have it on hand for when needed).
1 ½ tsp agave or brown rice syrup
1 clove garlic – grated or pressed

Bowls
1 tbsp coconut oil
1 lb super firm tofu cut into ¼ inch cubes
12 ounces broccoli florets (I used frozen)
½ cup vegetable broth, as needed
1 cup brown rice
Sriracha, to taste
Garnish with chopped green onion and/or cilantro if desired (I love cilantro but skipped the green onions.

Instructions
1. To make the dressing, combine all the ingredients into a small blender or magic bullet. Blend until perfectly smooth. If the dressing thickens too much, add a little extra water or vegetable stock.
2. Cook the rice according to package directions.
3. Heat oil in a large skillet and sauté the tofu cubes until brown on all sides, stirring occasionally to prevent sticking (about 8 minutes).
4. Transfer tofu to a bowl and sauté the broccoli for a few minutes until lightly browned, then add the vegetable stock, cover and cook until the broccoli is tender, you may need to add more vegetable stock if the broccoli is not tender.
5. To serve (serves 4), place ¼ of the brown rice in a bowl, then a ¼ of the broccoli, ¼ of the tofu mixture, drizzle the sauce over top. Garnish with green onions and/or cilantro.

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