Mexi quinoa bowls

Tonight I had the pleasure of making a meal for 3 amazing women in Mangawhai, New Zealand. I decided yesterday that I would make these nutritionally packed amazing bowls of Mexi-inspired goodness. The recipe has been adapted by one given to me by my amazing friend, Helen. Please enjoy!

mexi quinoa bowl

for the cashew cream

  • 2 1/2 C of cashews
  • 1 lemon, juiced
  • 1 Tbsp tamari
  • salt & pepper

Soak the cashews in a bowl of cold water for 4 hours. Drain the water that the cashew nuts have been soaking in. Blend the nuts in a food processor with the lemon juice, tamarin and 1/2 C of fresh water, salt & pepper, until smooth and creamy. This may take a couple of minutes.

for the quinoa

  • 2 C quinoa
  • 1 lemon, juiced
  • salt & pepper

Place the quinoa in a sieve and since with cold water until that water that comes through is clear. Place the quinoa in a saucepan with 1C of boiling water and a little salt, pepper, and lemon juice.

Let the quinoa boil for a minute or two, then simmer for another 10-15 minutes, covered, until all the water has been evaporated and the quinoa is fluffy.

*Note: We didn’t have enough quinoa so I made 1/2 quinoa, 1/2 rice. Why not?!

for the guacamole

  • 4 avocados
  • 6 tomatoes, chopped into tiny pieces
  • 1 jalapeño pepper, deseeded and finely chopped
  • handful of fresh coriander (cilantro), chopped
  • 3 limes, juiced
  •   salt & pepper

Cut the avocados in half and scoop out the fruit, place it into a bowl. Mash the avocados with a fork. Stir in the tomato, jalapeños, and coriander with the lime juice. Season to taste with salt and pepper.

for the salsa

  • 3 tomatoes
  • 1 lime, juiced
  • 3 Tbsp olive oil
  •   salt & pepper

Chop the tomatoes into small squares. Place in a bowl, and add lime juice, olive oil, and salt and pepper.

for the black beans

  • 3 C black beans, soaked (or 2 x 400g tins)
  • 3 cloves of garlic, peeled and crushed
  • olive oil
  • salt

Drain the beans thoroughly and place in a large saucepan with enough water to cover by 1”. Add any herbs you may like to lightly season the beans (I added bay leaves, fresh springs of rosemary and parsley and a touch of cumin). Bring to a boil. Lower heat to Med-Low and cover the beans.  I cover the beans and let cook for 15 minutes and then remove the cover to cook for the remaining 45mins.  You can cook uncovered for 1 hour for firmer beans, or covered for 1 hour for soft beans (refried or soup styles).

Start these early as the age and type of beans will change the amount of time it takes to cook these up. After an hour start checking in on the beans for doneness. Keep the beans at a gentle simmer and taste frequently until you are happy with the beanie-ness of your beans.  (Add more water as needed to keep your beans submerged).

When the beans are almost but not quite ready, add the salt. If you add the salt too early the beans will take a lot longer to cook and become tender.

When you’re happy with the tenderness of your beans drain them (ave / freeze the nutrient dense liquid for soups or stocks) and give the a quick rinse. Just before you are ready to eat, put them in a saucepan. Add the garlic and a drizzle of olive oil and some salt. Heat for a few minutes.

  • organic corn chips, if you like.

Building the Bowl

To assemble these gorgeous bowls place quinoa (and rice) in the middle of a bowl, then add the cashew cream, black beans, salsa, guacamole, and chippies around the quinoa. Take a deep breath and enjoy. xx


Thai Style Noodles with Tofu

Kia ora!  Hello from Aotearoa / New Zealand.

I arrived here a few weeks ago. New Zealand is a beautiful country. The people whom I have met are wonderful. I am staying with beautiful friends of mine: Rachel, Sadra, Ranui Hafez, and Emma. I met Rachel around 9 years ago in Greece and we travelled through to Italy together, and we magically reconnected last summer in Victoria, BC.

I wanted to cook something from my heart for them for dinner tonight. So, the first thing that came to mind was this dish. I was introduced to this dish by my dear Fabrizio. We made this twice together, and both times the experience from start to finish, was fantastic. I very much look forward to making this again with him.

This recipe was originally developed by Chef Heidi Fink. Here is that recipe with a few twists, and a few substitutions based on availability of spray-free veggies here in the Northlands (Mangawhai, to be exact) of Aotearoa.

Thai Noodles


  • 1/2 lb organic tofu – medium
  • 2 tsp toasted sesame oil
  • pinch of salt
  • 1/4 package of rice noodles
  • 2/12 Tbsp fish sauce
  • 1 Tbsp gluten free tamari
  • 1 1/2 tsp hoisin sauce ** see recipe below
  • 2 Tbsp honey
  • pinch of red pepper flakes
  • 1 1/2 Tbsp coconut oil
  • 2 gloves garlic. minced
  • 2 green onions, cut thin on a diagnol
  • 1/2 red pepper , seeded and sliced thinly
  • 3/4 cup snow peas (these were not available so I used green beans and courgette (zucchini))
  • 2 cups fresh bean sprouts, rinsed and drained
  • 1/4 cup chopped roasted peanuts
  • 1/2 cup fresh cilantro, chopped
  • 1/2 cup fresh mint, chopped
  • 3 to 4 Tbsp lime juice
  • lime wedges (if you have remaining lime).


  1. Preheat the oven to 400*F (200*C). Now (seriously) the trick to this recipe is to read all of the instructions and do all the prep work before you get started. Rinse and press your tofu to water out. Now chop the tofu into medium sized cubes. Place on a parchment lined baking sheet. Drizzle with sesame oil and sprinkle with a pinch of salt. Put in the oven for about 20 minutes or until the tofu starts to turn golden. Remove and set aside.
  2. Soak the rice noodles in hot tap water for 20-30 minutes until pliable but not mushy. (It is better to under soak these then have mush). Drain and set aside.
  3. If you don’t have hoisin sauce, now is time to skip to the hoisin sauce recipe (see below). Take a small pot and combine the fish sauce, water, tamari, hoisin, and honey. Put over medium heat and stir until honey dissolves. Remove from heat and add a tiny sprinkle of child flakes.
  4. Heat coconut oil in a large skillet to medium-high. Add the garlic, stir once, and immediately add the green onions, and veggies (red pepper and snow peas). Stir fry for about 3 minutes. Veggies will soften a bit and garlic will become fragrant.
  5. Add your sauce to this mix stir until the sauce starts to bubble, then stir in your noodles. Stir constantly with tongs or two wooden spoons, cook until noodles are tender.
  6. Add your tofu and most of the bean sprouts and toss. Cook for about a minute. Transfer this beautiful dish to a large serving platter. Top with remaining bean sprouts, and ALL of the chopped herbs and peanuts. Sprinkle the lime juice evenly over the dish.  Serve with lime wedges if you like.

**Hoisin Sauce. Hoisin sauce here seemed to be full of added preservatives, colours, and also wheat. To keep this as clean and nutritionally dense as possible I opted to make my own hoisin sauce. It turned out good. Very good. I think it’s good, I also am not 100% sure that I know what hoisin sauce tastes like, so please don’t expect anything close to “authentic” hoisin sauce, if that’s a thing. Makes 3/4 c.


  • 4 Tbsp wheat-free tamari
  • 1 Tbsp pomegranate molasses
  • 2 Tbsp peanut butter (I used chunky)
  • 2 tsp apple cider vinegar
  • 1 garlic clove, finely minced
  • 2 tsp sesame oil
  • pinch black pepper
  • drop of spice (hot sauce, chill flakes, etc)


  1. Combine all ingredients in a little food processor. BAM = done!

For tonight’s dinner I made extra noodles (1/2 pkg), I am only mildly ashamed to say that I over baked the tofu (oops), and used a lot of extra veggies. So, to accommodate these things I doubled the sauce.  Turned out fantastic. YUM. Sadly, there are no leftovers for tomorrow.

Mulligatawny Soup

February 2015.  Here is a heart warming whole soup with warming Indian spices and a lot of love.

Mulligatawny Spices

At solstice, with the coming of the new year, I set an intention to embrace whatever weather (and opportunity) this year brought. Already, I can say the weather is mighty fine.  I made this recipe a few times already this year – the first, for a final gathering of lovely ladies in my little downtown apartment before I move to greener pastures (literally, I am moving to my friends farm).


  • 2 Tbsp coconut oil
  • 1 yellow onion, chopped
  • 1 carrot, peeled and diced
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • 2 tsp. peeled and minced ginger root (I always add more!)
  • 2 small firm apples, peeled, cored and diced**
  • 1 diced tomato
  • 1 Tbsp. curry powder
  • 1 tsp. cumin
  • ½ tsp. paprika
  • ½ tsp. ground cinnamon
  • ½ tsp. turmeric
  • ¼ tsp. cardamom
  • ¼ tsp. fresh ground black pepper
  • ½ tsp. dried thyme
  • ½ c. red lentils (uncooked)
  • 4 c. vegetable broth
  • ⅔ canned coconut milk
  • Salt and black pepper to taste
  • ½ c. roasted cashews
  • cilantro
  • jasmine rice


  1. Take all of those beautiful spices and grind them together with a mortar and pestle. This isn`t absolutely necessary, but this creates such a warming and fragrant beginning to cooking this beautiful dish that I really recommend it.
  2. Melt coconut oil in a large pot over medium-high heat. Add the onion & carrot, then sauté for 4 to 5 minutes, or until the onions have softened.
  3. Add the garlic, ginger, apples, and diced tomatoes to the pot. Sauté for another 3 minutes, then add in all of the spices and toss to coat.
  4. OPTIONAL COOKING METHODS: Add in the lentils and broth to a slow cooker and let the contents cook on high for 4-6 hours if you are using whole red lentils and approximately 3 hours if you are using split – See note below). If you don’t want to go the slow cooker route – add the lentils and broth to the pot and bring it to a boil. Then turn down the heat and let cook for approximately 40 minutes (until lentils are done.) MORE OPTIONS: Many recipes call for you to whip out your immersion blender and go to town at this point. I prefer having some bit of veggie texture for this soup (again, your call!)
  5. Stir in the coconut milk. Taste, and adjust salt and black pepper as/if needed.
  6. Serve topped with cashew and cilantro. I prefer to serve this beauty with some coconut and saffron jasmine rice.

कृपया भोजन का आनंद लीजिये ! (kripyā bhojan kā ānnaṅd lijīyai) – please enjoy your meal (Hindi)

A note on red lentils:

Recently, while making this I used whole red lentils. These are the only organic red lentils that were available when I went to the market. Usually I do prefer split red lentils. So, what is the difference? Well, there isn`t much when it comes to measurements but the difference lies in cooking time and texture. Split lentils cook MUCH faster. Most whole lentils still have their outer skin on (usually why their red color is slightly muted compared to split lentils). I find split lentils usually almost melt into whatever you’re cooking. While whole red lentils can maintain their natural shape a bit more (in particular those that still have their skin on).

Raw Pad Thai

Welcome 2015!
With the coming of the New Year many of us reflect on the past year and set intentions moving forward. For many, this means a new (or renewed) commitment to look after ourselves… to nourish our bodies. With that, here is a recipe that, while raw, finds a way to warm the spirits. I hope that 2015 brings you amazing health and all the joy your hearts can handle!


Raw Pad Thai
· Vegetable Options (Substitute as you like. Makes 6 cups total)
· 2 medium zucchinis, julienned (cut into match sticks) or made into noodles in a spiral slicer
· 1 large carrot, julienned or made into noodles in a spiral slicer
· ½ cup thinly sliced red onion*, or green onion
· ½ red and ½ yellow pepper, thinly sliced
· 1 cup slivered red cabbage
· 1 green apple, julienned
· ¾ cup finely chopped cauliflower
· 3 Tbc. grated coconut

Almond Chili Sauce:
· 3 Tbsp. Maple Syrup
· 1 lemon, juiced (2-3Tbsp)
· 1 small clove of garlic (if you love garlic use 2)
· 4 dates, soaked for approximately 2 hours
· 4 Tbsp. nama shoyu or tamari
· 1 inch (2 ½ cm) ginger, peeled and chopped
· 1 tsp tamarind paste
· 1 tsp herbamare
· ¼ tsp cayenne, I also threw in a dash of red pepper flakes.
· ½ cup raw almond butter
· ½ cup water (for thinning)

Chop/spiralize/julienne the veggies into a large bowl.

Blend the sauce ingredients until smooth. Pour over veggies just before serving, toss and enjoy.

Optional garnishes: sesame seeds, pumpkin seeds, cilantro, peanuts, bean sprouts….

*Handy red onion tip: I used green onion for this recipe however you can used red onion. If you don’t like the bite that comes with red onion try this simple step, it tames the bite and mellows out the flavor of red onions. Peel and slice the red onion as called for in your recipe, then submerge it in a bowl of cold water. Let sit for at least ten minutes, stirring once or twice, before draining and using in your recipe. How does this work? The sulfur compounds responsible for that harsh “biting” flavor and onion’s powerful aftertaste dissipate into the water from the cut surfaces of the onion.

Hot & Sour Soup

Hot and Sour Soup

Recently, when the sun goes down here in Victoria, there has been a chill in the air  (if the sun decides to come out at all). I have been craving the warmness that comes with a good Hot & Sour soup. I’ve taken everything I like about Hot & Sour soups (and other tasty Asian soups) and well, this is what I’ve come up with!  Enjoy!!

  • Avocado Oil
  • 1 c. shitake mushrooms, sliced
  • 1/2c. chopped leek
  • 2 Tbsp. grated ginger
  • 1 Tbsp. Sesame Oil
  • 1 block of cubed Organic Super-Firm Tofu
  • 1/2 tsp. Sambal Olek
  • 1/4 c. Rice Vinegar
  • 1/4 c. Soy Sauce
  • 1 Tbsp. Sweet Chili Sauce
  • 1/2 tsp ground pepper
  • 6 c. Chicken (or Veggie) stock
  • 1/2 serving of Brown Rice Pasta
  • 4 baby bok choy
  • 8 baby tomatoes, halved

Heat avocado and sesame oils in a large pot over medium heat. Add the mushrooms, leek, ginger, chili paste, and tofu; cook and stir for 3 minute to infuse the flavors. Combine the rice vinegar, soy sauce, sweet chili sauce and pepper in a bowl, add this to the pot. Stir for a few minutes.  Add the Chicken Stock, bring the soup to a boil, and add rice noodles (I used Fettuccini Style Tinkyada Brown Rice Pasta, broken into 1″ pieces).  Simmer for 10 minutes (or until pasta is cooked).  Add baby bok choy and let simmer for 2-3 minutes.

Garnish the hot and sour soup with chopped green onion and/or cilantro before serving.

A few notes: Often folks use a thickener in this soup.  If this is your style, simply take out 1/4c. of broth and whisk 3/4c. of cornstarch (or arrowroot powder) until dissolved.  Slowly add this to the soup and stir until the soup thickens.

Egg is also added to this soup, I am not a huge egg fan but if you’d like to do this you can add 1 beaten egg to the soup before the baby bok choy.  Make sure the soup is hot. Stir the soup until the liquid is moving in one direction. Remove spoon and slowly pour in the egg mix. It should cook almost immediately. Feather the egg mix with a fork to break up.

Voila!  Enjoy!!

Ginger-Steamed Halibut with Sesame, Soy & Ginger sauce

The season for fresh Halibut has begun here in British Columbia. Being from the east coast I’ve grown up with a love of fresh, locally caught seafood. If you’re also a seafood fan please make sure that you choose your seafood wisely. In BC check out the OceanWise list to ensure that you’re eating clean, sustainable seafood. The inspiration from this recipe came from the Eating Well website.


I had never steamed fish before trying out this recipe.  Wow, it’s a keeper!

  • a beautiful piece of Halibut (any flaky white fish will work). I am terrible at quantities of seafood, so I used approx, 2 large servings.
  • thick slices peeled fresh ginger

Bring a couple of inches of water to boil in a pot. If you have a bamboo steamer, use the pot you usually use with that. I have a pot insert so that seemed to work well. Place the fish into the steamer skin side down. Place the slices of ginger over the fish (if you love ginger – use a lot, and if you don’t love ginger – just a little will do!). Cover and steam for about 7 minutes for each inch of thickness of the fish.

While the fish is steaming you can whip up some sesame, soy and ginger sauce.

  • 2 Tbsp minced peeled fresh ginger
  • 2 Tbsp chopped garlic
  • 2 Tbsp cup sesame seeds
  • 1 tablespoon grapeseed oil
  • 1 tablespoon toasted sesame oil
  • 2 Tbsp Gluten-Free soy sauce
  • 2-3 green onions, thinly sliced, for garnish

Combine minced ginger, garlic and sesame seeds in a small bowl. Heat grapeseed oil in a medium skillet over medium-high heat. Add the ginger mixture and cook, stirring, until fragrant, 1 minute. Add sesame oil; allow the mixture to get hot. Add soy sauce (be careful, it will splatter a bit) and cook for 1 minute more.

That’s it! I served my fish on a bed of Arugula and Pea Shoots with baked yam fries. Soo good!

Organic Chicken Quinoa Chili

My dear and lovely, wonderful pal Bronwen gave me this recipe and I love it. It’s simple and so tasty. I brought this to another soup swap that I had with pals today. Please note that this makes a lot of chili!


  • 1 cup quinoa
  • 2 x 540mL cans of organic diced tomatos
  • 1 x 540mL can of organic black beans
  • ½ cups organic corn
  • 2 ½ cups of veggie or chicken stock
  • 2 organic / hormone free chicken breasts, diced
  • 1 green pepper, chopped
  • 1 small sweet potato, cubed
  • 3 stalks of celery, diced
  • 1 medium onion, diced
  • 2 cloves of minced garlic, minced
  • 2 tsp cumin
  • 2 tsp chili pepper
  • Salt and pepper to taste

Combine and mix all ingredients together in a slow cooker, set on low and cook for 5-7 hours.