May The Force Be With YOU! So, Who Wants In On This Plant Strong Spud?

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Well…I hope you all want a piece of the action, because, my oh my, these little starch bombs just explode with heaps of flavor! Was caught in a bit of a pinch food-wise yesterday after returning home from an early morning, extremely agonizing, foot surgery. With the cupboards seemingly bare at first glance, I took another (much more creative) look around – managing to pull together a few handy, and easy to assemble, ingredients! Still going strong on the old anesthetic round dinner time, I was determined to¬†rustle something up myself. You know those times when only home-cooked grub will do…especially, especially, when you’re not feeling quite so chipper?!

So anyway, I spurned the offer of take-out, and on went the spuds. All in, this took about an hour to do. With the fillings being rustled up in about 15 minutes or so, I had plenty of time to get my R.I.C.E. on ūüėČ

Being the best call I could have made in terms of¬†getting properly¬†nourished in a most critical¬†moment,¬†everpost-meal, I felt like I could take on the world, and its wife!¬†Indeed, you could absolutely say, that once again, the force was well and truly with me! Yup, it was a proper lightsaber (oh yes, intended), so here’s how to make…

Ingredients

  • 4, medium sized sweet potatoes
  • 1 cup, plain hummus
  • 2 cups, raw spinach
  • 2 cups, frozen broccoli
  • 2 cups, frozen cauliflower
  • 1 can (425g), black beans (no salt added)
  • 1/4 cup, walnuts
  • 1 tablespoon, garlic powder
  • To taste, salt and black pepper
  • Additional toppings, if desired – Nutritional yeast, or,¬†Hot sauce, or, whatever is your usual go-to “tay-toe” garnish

Preparation:

  • Begin by pre-heating the oven to 400¬įF for about 10 minutes.
  • Wash the potatoes thoroughly. Then wrap each one in a piece of aluminum foil, up to about midway or so (you’ve done this before!).
  • Place on a parchment lined baking tray.
  • Pierce the top of each about 5 or 6 times with a fork, and then grind a little sea-salt on top.
  • Let them bake for¬†around 55 minutes, then when done, switch off the oven and let them sit with the door slightly ajar for a further 10 minutes to cool down – they will be piping!

So, while the spuds are doing their thing, you can get on with the fillings…

  • Wash the spinach, and set aside in a bowl.
  • Drain¬†the black beans, then throwing them in a sieve, rinse off any excess slime/ liquid from the can under the tap.
  • Set them aside in a paper-towel lined bowl, and then pat them dry with another paper-towel over the top, and throughout, as best you can.
  • Boil your frozen broccoli and cauliflower together¬†(this should take less than 10 minutes), adding a tablespoon of garlic powder for a little extra flavor while they cook.
  • Drain, mash, and again set the mix aside in a separate bowl once done. Stir in a shake or two of black pepper here for good measure!

Now, with your bits and bobs all ready to go,¬†grab the potatoes and get stuffing…¬†

  • Slice the spud straight down the middle.
  • Spread some hummus on each side, then line with a few leaves of raw spinach.
  • Stuff in some of your broccoli/cauliflower mash.
  • Next, add the beans.
  • And, lastly, stick a few walnuts (about 3 or 4¬†half or full-sized pieces), right on top.
  • Enjoy as is, or add any of the optional toppings noted¬†above that you might fancy.

Best practice with this, really, is to eyeball the amount of each ingredient going in. This will depend on potato size, your own taste preferences etc. Anything leftover can be used as a “mini” side (like the mash as shown¬†above), with any remaining hummus, for example, being just a nice bit of extra dip!

Copyright © 2017

(Note: recipe original to “the balance brigade”)

Looking For A Kick-Ass Vegan Lasagna?

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Well, if you are, you’ve come to the right place! Today was kind of an awesome day, one that was spent chopping, slicing and dicing to my heart’s content – thank you, Netflix! Just when you think you’ve already binged on every conscientious food documentary it has to offer, its “Because You Watched…” section always seems¬†to plate up something new n’juicy. ¬†And, although I somehow managed to miss the¬†quite unassuming gem that is¬†The Engine 2 Kitchen Rescue¬†from 2011, I think I couldn’t have caught up with it at a better time.¬†Running at a very short and sweet 52 minutes (perfect commute/lunch hour viewing!), whole-food plant-based diet advocate and presenter, Rip Esselstyn, provides viewers with the best hands-on approach to the adoption of this lifestyle that I’ve seen. Working with two families keen to kick their conventional eating habits, he spends about a half-hour of on-screen time with each, giving practical advice on how to go about a weekly shop, and then, more importantly, how to cook up the bounty of herbage they’ve returned home with.

And it was at this juncture, my dear friends, where I witnessed the magic that was Rip’s preparation of the mouthwatering, Raise the Roof Sweet Potato Lasagna.¬†Taking a very “bish, bash, bosh” /Jamie Oliver approach to its assembly – a style I absolutely love, and one, I think, which makes us all feel like we can be rockstars in the kitchen – I knew I had found my new go-to mid-week dish! Truthfully, I had been at a loss for the last couple of months since scrapping the old Sunday Shepard’s Pie whip-up, and this recipe fits the meal-prep bill just perfectly. Better still, now it’s just out of the oven, I can confirm that it also tastes exactly as it looks on camera – bloody delicious!

Pun possibly intended there, but what wasn’t was the extra sprinkling of nutritional yeast that I used as an add-on to Rip’s specified ground cashew topping. Mentioning in one of the film’s grocery sprees that it makes a nice parmesan substitute, I was dying to give it a go. Result = Spot On! Another quick tip on this – the veggie/tofu mixture makes a ton, so be sure to have a decent size Pyrex dish on hand to squish it all in. I spent the entire 60 minutes of its cook-time trying to cope with the unadulterated fear of a possible overflow, and a night spent not eating but cleaning. Happy to say, though, that the aluminum foil covering, as recommended, relieved me of that chore – which is perfect, as one of Rip’s books, “Plant-Strong” just arrived in the mail, and with another 150 life-saving recipes to sift through, I know where my time is more wisely spent!

Copyright © 2017