Archive | November, 2014

Curried Sweet Potato & Lentil Soup (and homemade coconut milk)

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It’s hard to know what to do when someone close to you is diagnosed with cancer. We tend to want to do something because if we don’t, it means we are doing nothing, and that’s not a nice feeling when things feel like they’re falling apart. The problem is that the person with cancer has a lot on their plate and often isn’t very helpful when it comes to ideas about what you might be able to do to help them out. Flowers? Tequila? It’s hard to know. Food is usually a good idea, but what if they aren’t feeling well enough to eat? What if they are following a strict diet? What if you don’t know how to cook?

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The answer is very possibly: this soup. It tastes delicious, is highly alkaline and vegan (cancer will hate it), is full of vegan protein, minerals, antioxidants, fiber, anti-inflammatory powers, and is very easy to make. What if all they feel like eating is crackers this week? It freezes extremely well so it can be saved for a good food week. Or maybe the cancer thriver’s spouse/family/roommate needs some clean nourishment, I bet they’re feeling their share of nutrient-zapping stress.

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Roasted Cauliflower with Romesco Sauce

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I love it when something that when made authentically in flavour and technique, also happens to be really good for you. It doesn’t happen all the time (hi there delicious, still warm, chocolate donut from Granville Island) but it does happen enough to help you not feel deprived when you are looking for healthy, flavourful recipes. It also means that when you make it, you don’t have to change too much, potentially altering the flavour or general feel of the classic dish.

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Romesco sauce is one of those recipes. If you were to make it the exact way it was written in a Spanish cookbook, it would be free of dairy, gluten and refined carbs, while full of veggies, fiber, protein and healthy fats. However, because we are talking about consciously fighting/preventing cancer, I have still changed a few subtle things.

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Vegan Goat Cheese

Do you know what makes it a lot easier to eat a vegetable-heavy, alkaline vegan diet? Cheese. Isn’t that what you are missing deep in your soul each time you enjoy a salad or an Italian style meal? You’re not alone. One of my sisters (the lactose-intolerant one…) is always sending me pictures of dishes she has made using my recipes (which I love, btw), often with the comment ‘except I added some cheese’. In fairness, she lives in a part of the world that people travel to for the cheese alone, but I do think a simple nut-based cheese recipe might be a good thing to have in our back pockets no matter what part of the world we live in.

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Dairy on a whole, whether we are lactose intolerant or not, is high on the list of things to avoid if we are fighting or preventing cancer. For starters, it is often highly processed and full of hormones and antibiotics, which can upset our own hormone balance and digestive health. It is also acid-forming, which is not good when we are striving for an alkaline, disease-free body. I don’t love to stress the negative with ‘bad foods’ and create guilt when you do indulge, because then you’re eating cheese and guilt, which is worse than just cheese. If you are going to have a bit once in a while, make sure it is really good, eat it slowly, sitting down, and enjoy every morsel.

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For the rest of the time (the majority of the time), I have new cheese for you. Faux cheese. Raw, nut-based, vegan cheese. If this sounds about as exciting to you as a toothbrush in your trick-or-treating pillowcase, be prepared for a pleasant surprise.

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Baked Beans

There is something about the shorter days that make this one pot meal veeeery appealing. It’s pretty magical that you can put a pot of ingredients into the oven, looking and tasting one way, and pull it out HOURS later totally transformed. Like all of the best fall/winter food, you put it in the oven before the sun goes down, and enjoy it in the chilly, premature darkness.

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Baked beans are a favourite of mine. They were always a made from scratch, once in a while, special occasion food in my family. It wasn’t until I did some traveling through the UK (and other places where British people travel) that I realized that some people ate baked beans…..every day. And often for breakfast.

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Beans on toast?! A totally brilliant textural contrast, I totally get it. Although, an even better combo, especially if you’re into feeding your body blood-cleaning chlorophyll and antioxidants: beans with greens. Still texturally contrasting, but you also get the deeply cooked beans heat and flavour with the fresh, enzyme-rich, lemony-ness of the greens. Any fresh green will do, simply toss with some lemon juice.

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