Chocolate Nut Granola

Chocolate Nut GranolaI’m the kind of person who can eat the same thing every single day for as long as it takes for me to get sick of it. When I find something that works, I tend to call it a day and will find myself making it over and over until something else grabs my attention. I just like the simplicity of having a routine and not having to spend too much time thinking about what I’ll make.

For a while, every day my breakfasts were green smoothies with a piece of peanut butter toast and my lunches were BBQ tofu tacos – dinners are usually where I get some variety. Since I’ve been in Korea, my breakfasts most days are granola with soy milk and my lunches are usually eggs on toast. Boring but happy, that’s me!

DSC_3006I had been buying a Quaker’s granola at Costco, but it’s a bit too sweet and since I haven’t been going to Costco that often, I needed another option. Back in April 2013 when Elise posted that she’d been eating nut granola for breakfast every morning, I was intrigued and made a mental note to make it myself. Finally this morning I did, and already I’m a total goner.

This stuff isn’t overly sweet and has a nice hint of salt, which I love. I made it according to this recipe from Delighted Momma but with only 1/2 cup of coconut oil as opposed to the full cup that she calls for. Even then, I could probably cut down the amount a little more. I didn’t roast my nuts or bake my granola because I don’t have an oven, but even so I’m really happy with how it turned out. It’s filling and absolutely delicious. I ate it with some plain yogurt and am going to try it with soy milk tomorrow for breakfast. I have a feeling I will definitely be making this again. And again, and again, knowing me.

DSC_3010-editSpeaking of delighted mamas, I am especially happy for my own today. She has worked so hard for the last few months getting my childhood home ready to sell, and happily it sold almost instantly, for more than expected, to a lovely young family who cried when they heard it was theirs. We are all really happy. My younger sister laughed and called me a hippie yogi when I said that it felt like there was a lot of good energy involved: that maybe the buyers could sense the love and laughter of our house, and that it’s so nice that we are passing it off to a young family the way ours was when we moved in. But that’s how it seems. It’s a good thing. (Anyways, I think she secretly loves that I’m a hippie yogi and I love that she’s practical and down-to-earth.) I wish I could have been there celebrating with them in the kitchen I grew up in, but since I couldn’t be, I’m thankful for the magic of FaceTime. Happy days!

Processed with VSCOcam with s3 presetOnce again, the recipe for this delicous granola is here.

Classic Hummus

HummusWould you believe me if I told you I’ve never made my own hummus before? It’s true. There’s a small chance I’ve been present in the kitchen when my mother or one of my sisters made it, but I’ve never done it myself.

Hummus is one of those things that is very hard to come by in Korea. Even chickpeas, that typical pantry mainstay, aren’t really floating around any grocery stores. I heard a rumour that they sell the precious garbanzo beans in the basement of the biggest department store in the entire world, which is located about twenty minutes by metro from my apartment, but I haven’t ventured there yet to find out. Suffice it to say, they are rare here. Fortunately they’re not rare on iHerb, and I have eagerly awaited my order full of chickpeas, quinoa, and eco-friendly beauty products so that I could whip up a batch of hummus. My carrot sticks were getting lonely.

What took me so long!? Homemade hummus takes approximately 5 minutes (45 if you need to cook your chickpeas yourself, as I did) and is utterly delicious. I’ll have you know that I am very happily munching on it as I write this. You’re probably not jealous though because hummus is everywhere in North America, lucky ducks. When I lived in Canada, it wasn’t rare for me to have 2 containers of it languishing in my fridge at any given time. But if you live in Korea or somewhere else on earth where hummus is scarce, you’ll understand my quiet joy.

Hummus2This is how we make hummus in Korea. In a saucepan, with lots of freshly squeezed lemon juice and a hand blender. (PS. I’d like to kiss whoever invented hand blenders. It’s such a great kitchen tool for those of us with tiny kitchens.) I sometimes make a mess, but it’s okay.

Hummus1I used a recipe from Oh She Glows for classic hummus. Angela has never once steered me wrong with her recipes, they are all excellent and always work out perfectly. This hummus is no exception.

I mean, just look at that beautiful pile of mashed up yumminess! Gorgeous. Flawless. Ready to be scooped up in obscene quantities.

Hummus3Case in point! In this photo, I’m double-dipping like it’s my job. Not even a little sorry about it.

I’m excited to put this stuff on everything. I can sense that there are homemade tortillas with hummus in my very near future. Go make some of your own! Enjoy.

My Favourite Healthy Foods

DSC_2814-2Since moving to Korea, I’ve had to build a pantry totally from scratch! I’ve also had to learn how to feed myself in a foreign country, since some of my favourite foods aren’t available in grocery stores here. This has been a great experience for a lot of reasons.

First, it’s showed me that I am capable of eating well wherever I am in the world, so long as I have a few basic staple foods. It’s also taught me new skills, like how to make dried beans from scratch! Invaluable knowledge to take back to Canada with me, for sure. And of course it’s also forced me to re-evaluate what my staple foods really are! If I want specialty health foods like quinoa and flax seeds, I have to order them online through iHerb, which means I have to be mindful and consider what I actually need and am going to use.

Processed with VSCOcam with c2 presetTurns out, I really don’t need anything special to eat happily and healthfully. As appealing as ordering from iHerb is (it’s like being a kid in a very healthy candy store), most of the time my staples are easily found, even in Korea. Below is the list of the usual suspects in my kitchen – no real surprises here, folks!

Peanut butter: My current favourite is Earth Balance’s Natural Creamy Peanut Butter with Flaxseed. Another favourite is Maranatha’s No-Stir. Only within the last year have I started liking crunchy peanut butter, but I still won’t usually buy it myself.

DSC_2103Avocados: These are hard to find in Korea, but they do sell bags of 5 at Costco, so that’s a treat. Sometimes they have them at my grocery store for the low, low price of $3.50 a pop, and usually when they do I just go for it. Treat yoself, right?

Sweet potatoes: Happily, I think almost every culture on earth eats sweet potatoes so these are everywhere here. They’re a slightly different variety from what we have back home – they’re yellower, sweeter and smaller.

DSC_2645Spinach: Leafy green love. I will never again take for granted the amazing convenience of pre-washed organic spinach. Here it comes still dirty and attached to its stems, which is kind of refreshing but a little more work.

Garlic: In Korea, garlic is sold pre-peeled which is so great. I love the convenience of having the cloves ready to go! Plus I pay about $1.50 for 30+ cloves.

DSC_2804Eggs: It was easy to continue my 30 Days to Vegan diet in Canada, but much harder in a country where the word vegetarian is often not even comprehended. That being said, the only animal product I’ve really re-introduced is eggs since cheese is incredibly scarce and expensive here and soy milk is very cheap. Who knows what my eating habits will look like when I get home, but for now I’m happy to eat eggs a few times a week.

Bananas: Of course. Always and forever. Mainly I put them in my smoothies or use them to make banana ice cream, my new favourite thing.

Almonds & cashews: My two favourite kinds of nuts. I mostly just eat these raw, as a snack.

DSC_0463Tofu & tempeh: No tempeh in Korea, but there’s lots of tofu. I find tempeh has a nicer, heartier texture, but both products are kind of magical. I love panfrying tofu until it’s nice and crispy and then glazing it with some kind of sauce. BBQ sauce if I’m getting my way.

Chickpeas: I have to order these on iHerb, dried. Unfortunately I can’t just pop open a can of them! I’m getting a new bag in a few days and I can’t wait to make some hummus.

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This week on the podcast, Laura and I discuss this exact subject. We’re talking about our top staple foods for building a healthy pantry. Most of mine are listed above, but the episode is also full of interesting tips about freezing food and lots of ideas for how to use healthy ingredients in your meals. You can find the show over at our blog here or by subscribing to us on iTunes!

PS. If you want to get $10 off your first iHerb order, you can use my code LWW752.

Chocolate Peanut Butter Banana Ice Cream

FM LIL

I’m over at Guinea Pigging Green today sharing the recipe for this absolutely delicious, healthy, sweet treat. How did it take me so long to try making banana ice cream? The texture is exactly like soft serve, and it doesn’t even taste that much like bananas! I’ve been craving ice cream so much lately, and eating this feels like I’m tricking myself. It’s an absolutely perfect, no-guilt-needed dessert. And the best part? It couldn’t be easier! It takes about two minutes to make (not counting the time needed to freeze the bananas, of course) and I can make it in my tiny little kitchen using my hard-working little immersion blender. Check plus.

It’s been kind of fun to try to make new recipes in a new space with less equipment than I’m used to having. I created a Pinterest board for things I want to try to cook this year without an oven, food processor or even a proper mixing bowl, and it’s really been inspiring me. I’ve been learning lately that having restrictions actually makes me more creative. It’s funny how that works.

You can find the “recipe” here!