healthy

Vegan Cashew Cheese

Vegan Cashew CheeseHoly yummy, batman! Even though it’s true that I can eat the same thing over and over, lately I’ve been getting bored with what I’ve been eating. That’s part of why I love that I made this resolution to try new recipes: it breaks me out of food ruts and keeps my mind open to different meal ideas. The other part of why I love it, of course, is because the results so far have been very tasty. There’s also a third reason, and that is that I really love cooking and puttering around in the kitchen. It makes me feel industrious and healthier. I love that sentiment from Michael Pollan: “Eat anything you want, just cook it yourself.” I’ve been trying to embrace that more lately.

Oh Dear Drea is a blog that makes vegan living look easy. I was opening browser tabs like crazy yesterday, getting so much inspiration for delicious, easy vegan food. I had a huge bag of cashews in my kitchen, so I decided that this cashew cheese recipe would be the first one I’d try. Despite making a few changes to her original recipe, it still turned out great.

Vegan Cashew Cheese 2Cashew Cheese

Adapted from Oh Dear Drea

Ingredients:

  • 1 cup of raw cashews, soaked in a bowl of water for 1+ hours
  • 1-2 cloves garlic
  • 1-2 tbsp apple cider vinegar (or lemon juice)
  • 1 tbsp vegetable oil
  • 1 tsp salt (to taste)
  • Herbs

Soak the cashews for an hour or more. Drain them but save the water. Blend together all your ingredients, adding spoonfuls of cashew water until you reach your desired consistency (like a queso sauce). I forgot to pick up lemons so I substituted apple cider vinegar for the lemon juice the original recipe called for. Next time I’ll try with lemons and nutritional yeast because I know that would make it that much more delicious.

20140617-152044.jpgI’d treated myself to a garlic baguette (my first baguette since arriving in Korea!) after my run this morning, and loved eating some pieces of it with this yummy sauce. I think this would be great on a vegan pizza, like it was suggested in the original post. I’m excited to use it in veggie wraps and tacos too! Really it seems like you could just throw it on just about anything. The recipe makes a lot, almost a cup full, so I’m looking forward to discovering all the possibilities.

Yum! Dig in, friends.

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.

***

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.

White Bean Garlic Dip and Homemade Tortillas

GPG TortillasI’m over at Guinea Pigging Green today with the recipe for a delicious white bean garlic dip I threw together last week. It wound up being so yummy I just had to share it! No doubt it can be improved upon (my tiny Korean kitchen, while growing, is still not completely stocked) but it was the perfect addition to some light, fresh veggie wraps.

The same day, I made tortillas by hand for the first time. At the risk of sounding like a complete and total loser: it was so much fun! Not only did I feel like a domestic goddess extraordinaire, but the tortillas were so tasty and came out perfectly. I was following a recipe from Oh She Glows (all of her recipes are always awesome) using regular flour instead of the spelt flour she recommends.

You would have laughed to see me – I was covered from head to toe in flour, rolling out tortillas using my water bottle then whipping around to drop them into my little frying pan, doing a little dance back and forth the whole time. But it was fun. So far, my 24 before 24 list has been feeding me well – literally and figuratively!

Check out the recipe (and some other ideas for what to put in these tortillas) here!

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