Kichiri

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I am back on my cleanse! Heyyyy!! I have been so excited about this! I love love LOVE eating super healthy!
Although I must admit this particular diet is more complicated than usual. I have to alternate my grains and proteins on a 3 day rotation. This means that if I have rice today I can’t have it again for another 3 days. Because of this, I have had to plan my meals with much care and well in advance, which I actually really like! Being organized is good for the soul I think. I think I will be continuing a weekly meal plan even after the cleanse is over….

Okay back to Kichiri! I dig kichiri! It’s super tasty, easy on the tummy and goes down so nice – enjoy!

Serves 2

Ingredients

1/2 cup green half moong beans
2 cups brown rice, washed and soaked for 8-12 hours
2 medium sized onions
1 tsp garam masala
2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp black pepper
4 cups water

Directions

Place all ingredients in pot and stir. Bring to boil and reduce heat to low-medium. Cook for about 1 hour (checking and stirring on it every 10 minutes or so) or 20-25 minutes if you have a pressure cooker (checking and stirring every 5 minutes).

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Hummus

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Yikes! I have been missing for way too long! Forgive me my friends :S The good news is that I have many a posts to share with you!

Here I go!

Serves 8 as an appetizer

Ingredients 

1 cup dry chickpeas washed and soaked for 12 hours
1/3 cup tahini
1/4 cup lemon juice
1 tsp salt
6 cloves garlic (I absolutely LOVE garlic, feel free to decrease the amount if you please)
2-4 tbsp olive oil (start with 2 and add more as you see fit)
1 tsp cumin
1 tsp paprika
1-2 tbsp Braggs Amino Liquids

Directions

Place all ingredients in a food processor and blend until smooth. Adjust spices to taste. Drizzle additional olive oil, sprinkle with paprika and garnish with fresh parsley/cilantro.

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Pumpkin Cake with Coconut Icing – Thanks Jemila!

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Yesterday was our 2 year wedding anniversary (high-five Irfan!)! Jemila, my sister-in-law, made us a cake! Mami mia it was delicious! I asked Jem to guest blog, so here she is!

Hello Happygutters of the Internets!
by Jemila Pirbhai

My name’s Jemila and I almost feel silly for blogging to you all because I am VERY new to this happy gut world.  In fact, I still haven’t fully committed to it (as Irfan slaps me for eating a store-bought chocolate chip cookie for breakfast).  However, I’ve had a wonderful happy gut experience and I think y’all can benefit from it, so here I am…

This long weekend, we celebrated my two brothers’ anniversaries.  I love baking and would’ve usually reverted to my delish yellow cake recipe that everyone loves (it’s full of sugar and butter – no wonder!), but I decided to take a chance and try out a happy-gut friendly cake recipe instead!  I recently stumbled upon My New Roots blog by Sarah Britton, an award-winning blog that has some unique recipes coupled with some mouth-watering photographs.  Sarah has a Pumpkin Spice Cake that I decided to attempt.  This was surprisingly easy to make…. and VERY rewarding.  I made some adjustments and actually forgot a few dry ingredients (whoops!), but everyone (both happy-gutters and non-happy gutters alike) loved it!  Yess!

Pumpkin Spice Cake with Coconut Vanilla Icing and Roasted Walnuts

Serves 10-12

Dry Ingredients:

3 cups whole spelt flour

1 Tbsp. cinnamon

1 tsp. cardamom

½ tsp. nutmeg

½ tsp. ground cloves

2 tsp. ground ginger

1 tsp. baking powder

1 tsp. baking soda

Wet Ingredients:

1 ½ cups canned pumpkin puree

1 cup maple syrup

6 Tbsp. olive oil

1 large, ripe banana

1 Tbsp. apple cider vinegar

Directions:

1. Heat to 350°F.

2. Put 1½ cups of pumpkin puree into food processor and add remaining wet ingredients, except for apple cider vinegar. Blend until well combined.

3. Sift dry ingredients together in a large bowl.

4. Add wet ingredients to dry mix and stir to combine. When mixed, add apple cider vinegar and whisk quickly to incorporate.

5. Pour batter into two 9” cake pans. Bake at 350°F for 30 minutes, or until an inserted toothpick comes out clean. Let cool completely before icing.

Coconut Vanilla Icing with Roasted Walnuts

Ingredients:

2 cans of coconut milk

1 vanilla bean, scraped

¼ cup creamed honey (not liquid honey)

1 cup chopped walnuts

Directions:

1. Place 1 cup of chopped walnuts on a cookie sheet, place in 200°F oven and bake for 10 minutes.

1. Place cans of coconut milk in the fridge for at least 4 hours to cool and separate. Open cans and scoop out just the top cream layer, leaving the liquid portion (save for soup or stew!). Place in a bowl and whisk together with the honey.

2. Slice vanilla bean down the centre lengthwise and scrape out the seeds. Fold into the coconut cream and honey mixture. Place icing in the fridge to set.

3. When the cake is completely cool, remove from pans. Slice the rounded top edge off of one of the cakes (this will ensure that the subsequent layer will sit flat).

4. Place one of the layers on a plate and cover with half of the icing, followed by a generous helping of the roasted walnuts. Do the same with the top layer.  Enjoy!

Adapted from My New Roots

AFTERTHOUGHT:

Well, what do you know… both my gut and my palate are dancing for joy!  That wasn’t so hard after all (*scraps chocolate-chip cookie for happy-gut power breakfast… gets high-fives from Kirfan… and from my gut).

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Asparagus & Fennel Soup

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I’ve been eating a lot of kaka these days, I’m not going to lie. With travelling to Europe and wedding season, my happygut awesome streak has been compromised 🙁 My saving grace is that I will be going on a 6 week cleanse in a couple of weeks, after the weddings are over.

To treat myself I decided to make asparagus fennel soup (YES, healthy food is a treat ;)). It was awesome! Delicious and it went down so well, my body has been screaming for something like this for a long time!

Serves 4

Ingredients:

2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
4 garlic cloves, minced
1 fennel bulb, chopped (about 1.5 cups chopped)
2 leeks, ends removed and chopped
1 bunch of asparagus (about 3 cups chopped)
1 teaspoon dried dill
1 teaspoon dried chives
3 cups vegetable broth
1 cup rice milk, soy milk or almond milk
Salt and pepper to taste

Directions:

1. Bend each piece of asparagus near the tough dried end until it snaps off at its natural breaking point.
2. Discard ends, wash remaining asparagus, cut into 2-inch pieces and set aside.
3. In a large pot over medium heat, saute garlic, fennel, and leeks in olive oil until soft (about 3 minutes). 4. Add asparagus, herbs, broth, and rice milk. Bring to a boil, reduce heat, cover and simmer until asparagus and is soft (about 10 minutes). Remove from heat and cool slightly.
5. Puree soup using a blender. Add water if a thinner soup is desired. Season to taste with salt and pepper.  6. Garnish with dried dill or fennel greens and serve.

Courtesy of For The Love Of Food

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Chocolate Brownies

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My friend Haroon is getting married (yay Haroon & Zehra or should I say Zaroon?!) and we’ve been having dance practise this week. Most of the snacks provided have not been very happygut friendly (no offense friends!) and so I decided to add some healthy goodies to the mix.

Are you ready for this one? Raw vegan gluten-free brownies. Need I say more? It was super, my friends! And the secret ingredient? Avocadoooo, heeeyyyy!

Ingredients:

2 cups hazelnuts (or you could probably use walnuts, hazelnuts are expensive!)
1 cup pitted dates
3/4 cup cocoa powder, divided
1/2 cup + 2 tablespoons maple syrup, divided
1 medium avocado
Crushed hazelnuts (or walnuts) for garnish

Directions:

1.Pulse the hazelnuts (or walnuts) in a food processor until finely ground into a flour
2. Add in the dates, 1/2 cup cocoa powder, and 1/4 cup maple syrup and process until it forms into a thick dough that sticks together.
3. Lay the dough out between two sheets of parchment paper and roll to about 3/4-inch thickness.
4. With a sharp knife, cut the dough into either 8 or 10 equal sized rectangles. If there’s excess dough you can form it into a ball, roll it out, and cut again.
5. Make the frosting by blending together the remaining maple syrup, cocoa powder, and the meat from the avocado until it’s uniform in color and texture. Taste it and adjust the sweetness if need be.
6. Spread about 2 tablespoons of frosting over half of the cakes. Layer with another slice and spread an equal amount of frosting on top of that piece.
7. Garnish with crushed hazelnuts (or walnuts).

Courtesy of The Wannabe Chef

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Hot & Sour Soup (slow cooker)

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I have been craving hot & sour soup for weeks now, and so I finally dusted off the slow cooker last week….literally – it was a good day 🙂 The soup was delicious, man I need to make a conscious effort to use it more. Alternately, you can use the good old stove top if you don’t have a slow cooker!

Ingredients:

2 cups veggie broth
3 cups water
1 cup sliced mushrooms
1 cup sliced carrots
2 tablespoon Braggs Amino Liquids or to taste
1 teaspoon sesame oil
2 tablespoons rice wine vinegar or to taste
1/4 teaspoon red pepper flakes or to taste
3 garlic cloves
2 tablespoons minced ginger
1/2 block tofu

Directions:

Combine everything in your slow cooker
Cook on low for 7-9 hours or high 4-5
If you need more of the sour flavour, add more rice wine vinegar
If you need more of the hot flavour, add more red pepper flakes

Enjoy! 🙂

Adapted from Stephanie D The CrockPot Lady

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Pulp Crackers

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Okay, I was so incredibly excited to discover these! I started juicing this week (which I LOVE btw!) and had all this pulp left over. I absolutely HATE throwing away stuff so I started-a-googlin’ about what to do with pulp from juicing. Lo and behold I found a recipe for pulp crackers! This was amazing because I had been wanting to make crackers for a while and what better way to do it but with food that I thought was doomed for the compost?! AND, on top of all of this awesomeness, the crackers were super easy and delicious! Although, I’m not going to lie, it took a long time to bake. It wouldn’t if I had a dehydrator – shoot, time to get me a dehydrator (I hope your reading this Irfan – anniversary present?! ;))

Ingredients:

2 cups juice pulp
½ cup ground flaxseed
½ tsp coriander powder
½ tsp curry powder
1 tbsp Braggs Liquid Aminos
1 tbsp lemon juice

Directions:

Heat oven to 150 degrees.

Mix all ingredients well, by hand.

Spread the mixture on a cookie tray lined with a parchment sheet. Spread to about 1/6-1/4 inch thickness. Score the sheet of dought lightly into cracker-sized squares, and put it in the oven. Now this is where your patience will be tested. Bake them for at least 2 hours. Check the consistency and continue baking accordingly. I personally kept them in the oven the whole day (about 7 hours) as I like them super dry and crispy – this is especially important if you plan on storing them.

If you do have a dehydrator (lucky you!), dehydrate for about two hours, then gently break the crackers apart and flip them. Dehydrate another two hours or so.

When they’re done, let them stand in the air for fifteen minutes or so, then put them in an airtight container. They should stay nice and crispy for at least a week or ten days.

Eat them alone or with your favourite dips!

Adapted from Choosing Raw

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Miso Tahini Tofu

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First off, I need to apologize for not blogging in a few weeks. I went on a one-week silent meditation retreat in Boston which was amazing……sigh…..I didn’t want to leave. Meditation is so important my friends…. (lightbulb!) I need to do a meditation blog! Okay, I have just added it to my blog list 😉

Anywho, I got back from Boston last week and it took me a few days just to turn on the computer – blogging seemed out of the question for a long time. But here I am! Back in the swings of things with all of the settledness felt during the retreat floating away….time to book another retreat 🙂

What was this blog about again? Ah yes, miso tahini tofu!

I made it last week (it was actually inspired by one of the MANY delicious meals from the retreat) and it was superb! AND waaaaay easy and quick! This is a must-try fo shiz!

Ingredients

1/4 cup tahini (don’t be a chump and buy it, super easy to make – I will post the recipe!)
1 tbsp miso
1-2 tbsp lemon juice
1/4-1/2 cup warm water (depends on how runny you want it)
1/4 nutritional yeast (optional)
1-2 tsp maple syrup (optional although I found it really brought out the flavour)

Directions

Mix all ingredients in food processer until smooth. Grill or bake tofu and pour sauce over tofu. Serve with your choice of grain and greens.

Enjoy!

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Juicing with Naaz

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I asked my friend Naaz if she would like to guest blog on happygut, and she agreed – yay! She has gotten into juicing and is crazy bananas about it! It was only fitting then, that she did a juicing blog! (omigoodness, enough with the exclamation marks Kiran!)

Naaz’s love for juicing was one of my main motivations for getting my own juicer (got it for a fraction of the retail price on kijiji! what, what!!!) and I am super excited to start. Naaz outlines a fabulous how-to-start-juicing-guideline.

Now before you read about juicing, I think it’s very important to talk about how awesome Naaz is. My friends, she is a beauty with a heart of gold. She is a dancer, yoga instructor and, o yea, a three time cancer survivor. She is a gracious warrior, if I ever met one 🙂

I could go on forever about my dear friend, but I’ll stop here – after all, this blog is hers and about juicing 😉

My Love Affair With Juice
by Naaz Ali

I wasn’t always in love with juicing – In fact, I wouldn’t even consider us being “in like”. Let’s just say I tolerated juice when I had to, and in return, juice tolerated me right back. I didn’t particularly care for the amount of prep work (oh, the endless chopping), the way it tasted (my taste buds were far too accustomed to sugar), the stomachaches afterwards (I’ll spare you the gory details), and the incessant cleanup. I was on and off the juicing bandwagon for many years. That all changed when, earlier this year, I came across Kris Carr’s “Crazy, Sexy, Diet”, and my relationship with juice was changed forever!

As a 3-time cancer survivor, a yoga teacher, and someone who has become very particular about what goes into her body, Kris Carr’s words leapt off the page and sang to my very soul. One of the things I absolutely loved was how she understood that juicing needed to be taken slowly. As a woman who tends to jump into things headfirst (sometimes with little or no thought given to the subject at hand), this was a concept I knew I had to learn to embrace. I started following her diet slowly, listening to my body as I went. I began a semi-raw, vegan, gluten-free, anti-inflammatory diet with green juice in the morning and a smoothie in the afternoon. As expected, my body experienced some hurdles with the new diet, but knowing it was normal, taking extra supplements and being kind to myself really eased the transition.

After about 6 months of being on the diet, I feel better than I have in years. I have more energy, I lost weight and I feel happier and more grounded. One of the best parts is that I fell in love with my juice! Now I can’t wait to have my green juice in the morning and I switched out my smoothie for even more juice in the afternoon. I’m in love with the color, the smooth texture, and the hint of sweetness and tartness in every sip. The feeling of my cells soaking up all that goodness just can’t be beat. When I’m feeling “off” or tired, I know all I need is a nice big glass of juice and some R&R, and I’m as good as new. Juice has become my soul food and an amazing BFF!

So for you, Happygut readers, I want to share my go-to juice recipes, along with some tips and tricks for happier juicing! If you are just starting out, I recommend the Transition Cocktail. Stay on that for as long as you feel is right for your body. I stayed with the Transition Cocktail for about 4 months before I ventured out into further juicing territory. And above all, enjoy! Juicing is a wonderful gift to your body and your soul.  It may take time for you to adjust to adding juice into your routine, but once you do, it’s just the beginning of a lifelong romance.

Transition Cocktail
1 cucumber
3-4 stalks of celery

Divine Blend
1 cucumber
4 stalks of celery
1 quarter of a lemon (rind and all)
1 apple (I like to experiment with the fruit, try pear, honeydew or pineapple!)
3-4 leaves of kale
1 piece of ginger (start small, you can always add more!)

Orange Crush
6-8 carrots
4 stalks of celery
1 quarter of a lemon
1 apple
1 piece of ginger

Tips and Tricks For Happier Juicing

1) Get a good juicer!

This may seem like a no brainer, but until I bought a high quality juicer, I had no idea that you didn’t have to struggle for your juice! I love my Breville Compact Juicer. It is wonderful, it has a wide mouth, so you don’t have to chop your veggies or fruits, super easy to clean and is on the lower end of the price points for juicers. Some juice purists may disagree that it doesn’t deliver optimum nutrients because it has a centrifugal motor, but in my opinion it does the job I need it to do for the price that is right for me. J

2) Start slow.

I know I have mentioned it before, but it is so important to ease into your new juicing lifestyle. When you feel ready to move beyond the Transition Cocktail, take your time. Add an apple for a few weeks and see how it feels, then add another vegetable. Your body will thank you for this, believe me!

3) Be mindful.

After you make your juice, take it to your favorite spot in your house and drink slowly. Savor every sip and notice how your body takes in your juice. You might actually feel your cells soaking up all the love you’re giving it. This makes for a very happy you, and is a beautiful way to start your day.

4) Be gentle with yourself.

Yes, you might go through some unpleasantness as you begin your juicing journey. The symptoms may vary, but if you’ve been on a bad diet for awhile, are accustomed to sugar of any kind (this includes honey), or have a weak digestive system, then do be prepared for your body to have a bit of a reaction. Diarrhea was not uncommon for me in the first month. The important thing is to listen to your body and stick with it. If you want to lessen the amount of juice you take in the beginning, I say go for it. Do what is right for you and again, your body will thank you!

You can follow Naaz on Twiiter: @naaz_a

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Lemon Cake/Cupcakes

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We celebrated my Mom’s birthday a few days ago and I offered to make the cake. I needed something to please both the picky adults and kids. I opted to try a recipe from one of the blogs that I follow, The Discerning Kitchen. The cake turned out good although way to sweet for my liking. My friend Fatima came over on the weekend and so I made decided to try the recipe again in cupcake form with reduced sugar. They were really good! The only downside was that they were a little crumbly, next time I will try adding some chia and water to act as a binder – feel free to try it on your first go!

Makes 12 cupcakes or a 10″ cake

Ingredients

1 cup brown rice flour
3/4 cups sorghum flour
1/4 cup tapioca flour
1/2 cup good sugar (maple syrup, agave, turbinado sugar, cane sugar etc.)
1 tsp vanilla extract
1 1/2 tsp baking soda
1 tsp salt
1/2 cup olive oil
2 cups shredded yellow squash
1 lemon, zested and juiced

Directions

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees and grease cupcake/cake pan
2. Combine all dry ingredients in a bowl and mix
3. In another bowl combine the squash with the wet ingredients. Make sure to add in the lemon zest and juice.
4. Combine the liquid and dry ingredients by folding in the squash mixture -this will be a drier than normal cake batter but it’s okay (the squash releases liquid as the cake cooks in the oven and it comes out quite moist)
Note: Because the cake doesn’t have eggs, feel free to try a very small amount of batter. If there isn’t enough lemon flavor, zest half of another lemon into the cake batter.
5. Bake for 25 minutes, or until a toothpick comes away mostly clean. You don’t want to overcook this cake and a little extra moisture is better than too little.

Adapted from The Discerning Kitchen

I did make a frosting but didn’t like it enough to post, I will make sure to post an awesome lemon frosting when I find it 🙂

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