a fall-flavored muesli recipe

a fall-flavored muesli recipe

homemade muesli with flavors of fall

Today’s three tips and how-to’s:

the benefits of making your own muesli or granola vs store-bought

what is maca powder and why do I add it to my muesli

how to toast your muesli

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I’ve had quite the love affair with muesli over the past few years.

When I first tried muesli, I thought I was eating oats that somebody mistakenly forgot to cook.  I have to admit, I wasn’t a big fan at first, and I definitely didn’t see what all the fuss was about this cereal in Europe.  I missed the familiar crunchy texture of granola and muesli seemed just a little too soggy for me.

I’m not sure what happened since now and five years ago, but I am proud to say that I am now a full-on muesli convert.  I have gotten in the habit of making a large batch to last me a week.  Sometimes I may buy my muesli at the store, but if I have the time, I like to make my own.  Why? A couple reasons.

I always prefer homemade to storebought muesli (or granola) because you have total control over what you want in your cereal.  If you are craving more protein in your diet, for example, then you can add in more nuts or seeds.  I also choose homemade because storebought usually has added sugars, a big NO-NO and in my muesli, the only sugar I’m adding is from dried fruits.

Each week I like to vary the recipe a little as to keep things interesting, and this past weekend I fall-flavored muesli.  Before I shell out the recipe, here are the basic guidelines to making your own personalized muesli:

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How to make your own muesli step-by-step:

  1. Decide on your base
    • Start with some grains such as oats (most common), puffed grains, or toasted buckwheat groats
  2. Add in something crunchy
    • Chopped nuts such as cashews, alonds, pecans, or walnuts and seeds such as chia, hemp, sunflower, pumpkin, or sesame.
  3. Decide on your sweetner
    • Dried fruit. Apricots, apples, raisins, or dates. Coconut flakes lend a nice flavor, too.
  4. Give it an extra boost with some superfoods
    • bee pollen, maca powder, dark chocolate, cacao powder, carob powder
  5. Experiment with some spices.
    1. Think cinnamon, cloves, all spice, ginger, cardamom, nutmeg, etc.

Mix them all together and pour it in a jar with a tightly sealed lid.  For ingredient measurements, simply go with your gut/preferences or see recipe below for my basic measurement guidelines.

Tip: try adding in a spoon of nut or seed butter after you pour your bowl for some extra flavor and added protein!  Frozen or fresh fruit is always a good idea, too!

If you can’t seem to come around to muesli (believe me, my 2012 self feels you), you can always try sprinkling it over a smoothie bowl or in yogurt.

From the ingredients listed above, no matter what recipe batch I’m preparing, I always add in maca powder.  Maca powder comes from the maca root grown in high altitudes in Peru and contains a number of benefits including high magnesium and has a positive effect on hormonal balance and energy levels.  It’s worth noting that, like other adaptogens, you may need to consume maca for a number of weeks before starting to experience its full benefits.  I personally take around 1 tablespoon a day, and find that having it already added to my muesli makes it much more convenient-and I like the taste of it in my cereal!

If you’re still not on board with the muesli texture or it’s just not sweet enough, you could always try toasting your muesli….  

To do this, mix all your ingredients EXCEPT FOR the dried fruit in a large bowl.  Pour onto a baking sheet, and evenly distribute 1/4 cup maple syrup over the mixture.  Toast in the oven for 10-15 minutes at 375F/190C.  Shake the pan in between and keep an eye on it to prevent it from burning.  Take out of the oven and when it’s cooled off, mix in dried fruit, and pour into a sealable jar or glass container.

Have you tried muesli before?  Let me know if you’re a muesli nay or yay kind of girl or guy, and if so, what your favorite combos are!  I always love hearing about and seeing your creations so please leave a comment or tag me #sproutingradiance on Instagram @marypardoux !

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Fall-flavored Muesli

INGREDIENTS:

  • 3 cups large rolled oats (GF or regular)
  • 1 cup puffed amaranth (a different grain or another cup of oats is fine, too)
  • 1/2 cup raisins
  • 1/2 cup dried apple
  • 1/4 cup sunflower seeds
  • 1/4 cup pumpkin seeds
  • 1/4 cup chia seeds
  • 1/3 cup bee pollen
  • 1-2 handfuls of chopped pecans
  • 1/2 tsp ginger
  • 1/2 tsp cardamom
  • 1 tsp cinnamon

DIRECTIONS:

  1. Mix all ingredients together in a large bowl.
  2. Pour into sealable container.  Keeps for a couple of weeks (but mine is always gone by the end of the first week!)
  3. To serve, eat alone with milk of choice or top on smoothies or smoothie bowls, or yogurt.

 

the return of kale + a simple Mexican kale salad

the return of kale + a simple Mexican kale salad

Hello everyone and happy October!  This week I’m sharing a kale salad recipe with a spicy cashew dressing that are both gluten and dairy-free.


Hello newcomers!  With each recipe I include a few tidbits regarding nutrition and cooking that I hope will help you become more comfortable cooking in the kitchen or perhaps boost your confidence in making decisions relating to your overall health.  These tidbits are italicized and in bold in case you ever want to easily refer back or skip ahead to them.  Read more about the story behind the blog here.

 

Here’s what we’re learning this week:

Why you should leave your sweet potato skins on

Are red bell peppers better than green?

How to give kale a massage (sounds racy, I know.  Just you wait.)

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It’s here!  It’s here!

That’s right, my friends, kale has returned to the grocery stores and farmers markets here in Germany.  After a long, long spring and summer without, we are now in fall and that means…well, you guessed it – kale.

I heard through a German source here that Germans are not accustomed to eating kale raw and in smoothies, and instead treat it like the cabbage it is and put it in stews and warm dishes of that sort, equating it with a cold-weather dish.

I was never a huge kale addict, but with having no kale option these past six months I began to realize how much I miss it.  I’ve been telling this to Adam and he thought I was being overdramatic until he saw my face at the grocery store, when I pointed and let out a whoop, exclaimed, “kale!”, and ran over to snatch up the 10 stalks that were left.

What to make with this precious vegetable of the brassica family?   I decided on keeping it simple with a kale salad, recipe shared below.

I hope to share another kale recipe soon, but I may have to wait…my last three visits to the store were un-kale-successful.

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Eating kale uncooked is a trial for some.  It definitely was for me, until I found out the proper way to eating it raw.  Let’s start at the beginning:

  1. DO NOT EAT THE STEM.  Cut off the leaves and compost the stems.  They are chewy and hard and you will not like eating them.
  2. Tear or cut the kale leaves up into the size you’d like to eat them.  I personally don’t like them that big, and non-kale enthusiasts may not either.  Then give them a good washing, as lots of dirt can get trapped in those curly leaves.
  3. Pat the water off of them and transfer to a bowl.  Add in around 1 teaspoon olive oil (sometimes I’ll use flax oil) and massage the leaves, tearing them into smaller pieces if desired.
  4. Continue massaging for around 3 minutes.  The kale will turn a lovely shade of green and will be easier for your stomach to digest!

I chose sweet potatoes as the kale’s main vegetable accompaniment, although with autumn in full swing a butternut squash might taste nice, too!  When using sweet potatoes, I prefer to leave the skins on (ONLY if they are organic) as the skins have a HUGE amount of nutrients that if peeled, these spuds could not offer. Nutrients such as beta carotene, an antioxidant which is converted into vitamin A in your body, as well as an excellent source of fiber, helping to regulate blood sugar and bowel movements.

And as for the bell pepper?  Red bell peppers are just ripened green bell peppers! They also have a sweeter taste.  Since they are ripened, they also contain more nutrients than the other colors, so it may be in your best interest to stick to red peppers over green.

Enjoy the recipe!  I always love hearing about and seeing your creations so please leave a comment or tag me #sproutingradiance on Instagram @marypardoux !

Simple Mexican kale salad

INGREDIENTS

Salad

  • 5-7 stalks of kale
  • 1 red pepper
  • 1 small red onion
  • 1 1/2 cups black beans (or 1 15-oz can, drained)
  • 3/4 cup corn
  • 1 clove garlic, minced
  • 1 lime
  • 2 cups chopped and roasted sweet potato (skins on)
  • 1 avocado
  • 1 tsp freshly ground coriander
  • 1 tsp freshly ground cumin
  • 1tsp smoked paprika
  • 1/4 cup chopped cilantro

Spicy cashew dressing

  • 1 cup cashews, soaked for at least 1 hour (8 hours is best to achieve a creamy consistency)
  • 1/2 cup water
  • 1 tsp smoked paprika
  • 1/2 tsp chili powder
  • 1 TBS sriracha or other hot sauce (optional, omit for less spiciness)
  • 1/4 cup + 1 TBS lime juice (or lemon)
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1 tsp pepper

INSTRUCTIONS

  1. Heat oven to 425 F/220 C.  Dice one sweet potato (skin on is best) into small cubes and toss with melted coconut oil and salt and pepper.  Lay out on a tray and roast for 30-35 minutes, or until done.
  2. Wash and massage kale as instructed above in a large bowl and add in 1/2 juice of the lime with the 1 TBS olive oil.
  3. To the prepared kale, add in the red pepper, red onion, corn, black beans, garlic clove, spices, avocado, and the cooled roasted sweet potato.
  4. Add in the other half of the lime juice, or more according to taste.

FOR THE SAUCE:

  1. Add all ingredients to a blender and blend on high for 1 minute, or until a creamy consistency develops.  Toss a portion of it with the salad (it makes a large quantity so you probably won’t end up adding it all.  Equaling leftovers, yay!)

The first week of my elimination diet

The first week of my elimination diet

Week One of my Elimination Diet (and meal prep!)

A few weeks ago I started looking into doing an elimination diet to see if it could help solve the issues of my fatigue and acne.  I started this past Monday, after making sure I meal prepped, etc.   Here’s how my first week went:

My Elimination Diet, Days 1-7:

Well, pretty much easier than I had thought it was going to be!

This was largely due to my meal prepping, which prevented me from making any slips and reaching for something that was easy to do, like throw a pizza in the oven or a PB sandwich.

The most difficult part so far is definitely the no sugar part.  No gluten, no dairy, no soy, okay, fine-I can deal with that.  But no sugar!?  I hadn’t really noticed before, but by the time my son’s afternoon nap rolls by I’ve developed the naughty habit of raiding my pantry for anything sweet and plopping down on the couch.  This week I was actually getting kind of pissed that I couldn’t.  So I reached for my other snacks I had prepared, which were a healthy breakfast cookie and hummus.  My husband made some energy bites, which were a little bit sweeter, and I ate both of mine on Thursday when my sugar craving was at it’s highest yet.

Also, it’s pretty ridiculous how many products sugar can be in at the grocery store.  I slipped up a few times and ate some things that contained some raw cane sugar in it, like a curry sauce, some coconut crackers, and some vegan mayo.  Oops.  I’ll know better for next week.

Last but not least, the minor complaint of having to check the labels on everything at the store for no sugar, no dairy, no soy, and no gluten.  That took some extra time and I almost threw my hands up in the air at one point and decided to give in right then and there.

Really the main reason this week was so successful (meaning I pretty much stuck to eating only what I could AND it wasn’t at all bad) was the meal prep.  I’ve tried to cut out gluten or sugar before, and it just didn’t work because I hadn’t really prepared for it properly.

My meals this week were mainly salads and buddha bowls from the veggies that I had prepped.  If I wanted gluten free grains and beans with any of my veggies then I would just soak them the night before or the morning of and cook them right before eating.  Easy peasy!  Here’s a quick run-down of some of what I ate in pictures:

(starting at the top left corner, going across each row)

  1. Breakfast bars, recipe based off of Rachel Mansfield
  2. Cauliflower pizza crust with my cooked veggies, recipe from Nutrition Stripped
  3. Sweet Potato Curry
  4. Breakfast smoothie bowl with half sweet potato, half raspberry
  5. Afternoon snack of peaches, figs, and puffed amaranth with almond butter on top of coconut crackers
  6. breakfast smoothie of blackberries and frozen cauliflower
  7. Green Goddess pasta salad
  8. Buddha bowl
  9. Morning gluten-free oats topped with fruit and turmeric and ginger

Follow my Instagram to keep up with what I eat every day.

How to include more veggies in your diet

How to include more veggies in your diet

Ways to eat more vegetables (and fruit)

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Before adopting a plant-based diet, I ate mainly, well – plant-based.  BUT that doesn’t mean I ate healthy. One major difference between my diet then and now is that today I eat waaaay more veggies than I used to.  Before I wasn’t really sure how I could cook them, the flavor and texture possibilities they could offer, and if they could even be a main player in a dish.  Now I have no problem getting enough servings of fruits and veggies in per day!  Here´s how you can too:

Vegetables

What ways are there to prepare and eat vegetables and fruit?

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Raw

eating the vegetables as-is, straight from the store or farmers’ market!  Just be sure of two things: to always buy organic, as pesticides are a nasty business, and to wash them (even if they are organic!) Ways I love eating vegetables raw…ah, let me count the ways.

  • I enjoy cut-up veggies such as carrots, celery, radishes, peppers, and cucumbers with dips or hummus
  •  finely slicing and grating veggies into salads
  • Slicing greens such as spinach and chard into my sandwiches and soups.
  • Using a spiralizer (which I don’t have) or a grater to get vegetable “noodles”.  This works especially well with zucchini, sweet potato

(Picture of different ways to cut vegetables-grated, sliced, mandolin, )

Steamed

Using hot water (steam) to cook them.  To steam vegetables, there are a few options.  You can buy a steamer, use a more traditional bamboo steamer (see below), or even just use a pot of boiling water with a covered colander above it.  Steaming vegetables –does it leave in more nutrition? Be sure to not steam veggies for too long-you don’t want to overcook/kill them.  Vegetables I especially like to steam are zucchini and cauliflower.

(Picture of my steamer)

Boiled

Boiling vegetables is one of my least favorite ways to prepare them, for a couple of different reasons.  1. It can leave the vegetable with a mushy texture that breaks them up when left in too long, and 2. it is the method that most removes the vegetable’s nutrients (true?). That said, I do have a few vegetables that i will sometimes boil, such as potatoes (skins left on and removed after), fresh peas, and asparagus (which are then blanched…see below)

Blanching

Blanching a vegetable involves boiling it first and then throwing them into an ice cold bath.  This method is highly recommended if you intend on freezing a vegetable, and if they’re intended to be eaten right away, it gives the vegetable a nice, bright color.  My favorite vegetables to blanch are peas and asparagus for when I use in dishes such as risotto or tarts, whenever I want them to have a nice shine and bold color.  The Kitchn has a nice article on how to blanch veggies.

(Picture of finished product?)

Roasted

This is my favorite way to prepare vegetables, and what I find myself doing most often.  It’s basically cutting up the veggies, throwing them in some oil (melted coconut is my go-to because of its high-smoking point), and laying them out on a pan or tray that has a sheet of non-bleached parchment paper on it.  Then adding a little salt and pepper.

Always cut the veggies into similar-sized pieces so that they all finish at the same time.  Depending on the veggie, the time in the oven will vary.

(all at 425F/218C):

Carrots, beets, and potatoes:  30-45 minutes

Squash: 20-60 minutes

Onions: 30-45 minutes

Tomatoes: 15-20 minutes

Lighter vegetables (green beans and asparagus): 10-20 minutes

Broccoli and cauliflower: 15-25 minutes

Picture of pre and post-roasted veggies

Glazed

A semi-new technique I learned and am loving.  Glazing means to reduce the cooking liquid until it turns into-you guessed it-a glaze.  You can glaze any vegetable, really, but my personal favorite is carrots.  Just chop up some veggies, add them to a pan, and fill the pan up til it halfway covers your veggies with a liquid of some sort.  (Think water, broth, orange juice, wine…). Add a bit of coconut oil, some spices and herbs, and bring it to a simmer until most of the liquid has evaporated and the veggies are tender.  See my  favorite recipe for glazed carrots here.

(Picture of glazed carrots?)

Grilled

Grilling isn’t just for meat.  Veggies (and fruit!) taste ah-mazing on the grill.  My personal favorite veggies all charred up are corn (duh), peppers, mushrooms, onions, cherry tomatoes, which taste oh so yummy when you slide them all together on one skewer!

How can I use vegetables as the main in my meal?

There are many different ways that veggies can be added to your meals – that’s right, they don’t have to be just a typical boring addition!  Here are some of my favorites:

  • Cauliflower rice
  • Vegetable pizza crusts
  • Pasta sauces
  • Smoothies – my carrot cake smoothie?
  • Cheese
  • Pasta noodles
  • Pancakes – my chickpea flour
  • Hummus/dips

And if you happen to have a picky eater in your house when it comes to vegetables, I’m betting they would never even notice/realize that there were vegetables in the recipes above if you didn’t tell them.  Just saying.

Fruit

Now I don’t eat that much fruit, but if you’re looking to incorporate more fruit into your diet, my favorite ways are raw, in smoothies, salads, sometimes even on pizza.  Sliced peaches, oranges, and apples can all taste great in different types of salads.

Picture of my peach pizza and my peach salad

What’s your favorite way to get your daily fruits and veggies? Do you have a particularly yummy recipe featuring veggies as the main attraction?  Let me know in the comments below!

How I’m preparing for my elimination diet

How I’m preparing for my elimination diet

Preparing for my first elimination diet

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If you’re not yet familiarized with what an elimination diet is and why one does it, read my post all about it here!

If you are already familiarized, please continue 😉

So I did not sign up for any sort of cleanse program, meaning I have done my own research on the matter.  I do not recommend that for everyone though!  I take responsibility for only my own body, and so if you think you should see a physician before embarking on a similar elimination diet or following a program, please do!

These are just the steps that I did to prepare, and are of course still helpful if you do decide to do a program.

How I prepared for my elimination diet:

  1. Research.  Before doing this I read a lot about other people’s experiences and advice.  I looked up tons of info and did my research on various programs.  I looked through probably two dozen blogs or websites, and here are the ones I found most helpful to me (in no particular order):
    1. lee from america’s blog, mainly this page and this killer recipe.
    2. cut it out blog 
    3. clean program’s support page. This one too.
    4. jessica stopard’s blog
  2. I determined what I will eliminate from my diet, and for how long I wanted to do this for.  For example, the Clean Program’s elimination diet is for 21 days and you drink two smoothies per day, one in the morning and one at night.  Lunch is a healthy meal and I believe light snacks are allowed.  I chose to tailor the diet to what I knew would be workable for me, which is one smoothie a day (usually in the morning for breakfast), and two healthy meals for lunch and dinner.  Snacking is of course okay!
  3. I looked at my calendar and chose a date to start!  I realized it would be ideal to choose a time when we are not on vacation or will be going out a lot.  I also thought about this for a couple of weeks-I did not decide in one day I wanted to do this and then bam boom bing start tomorrow.
  4. I made a list of all the foods that I COULD eat.  I found that focusing on the can, not the can’t, made things much easier!  Then I made a grocery list and got to it!
  5. When I got home and started unpacking my groceries, I designated a pantry cupboard for all my cleanse food.  The food that I COULD eat.  I then shoved the rest of my food in another cupboard.  Better yet would be the neighbor’s place.  Out of sight, out of mind.
  6. Meal plan like a boss.  I planned out the whole week, making it very specific and writing down every meal so that I wouldn’t have that ‘what should I have for dinner’ situation, get confused, and stray from the cleanse.
  7. Meal prep.  I took my meal plan and prepped out all of the ingredients for the first week so that they were waiting for me when I opened the fridge or cupboard.  This makes things SO much easier.  I continued meal prepping for the remaining days I had left, though
  8. Last but not least, a food journal!  I designated a notebook to write all my meal plans, and journaled what I ended up eating and how I felt every day.  This was such a helpful tool for me to look back on and gauge my symptoms!

There you have it! My eight steps I took to prepare myself for an elimination diet.  Remember I am no doctor so if you think it’s best to see a physician before starting something like this, please do!  I can’t stress enough how important it is to listen to your body and do what’s best for you. 

Why I’m doing an elimination diet

Why I’m doing an elimination diet

Why I’m choosing to do an elimination diet

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But first,

what is an elimination diet?

The purpose of an elimination diet is to find out which (if any) foods are causing you digestive and health-related problems.  Common symptoms or reactions to the food you eat may include:

  • bloat
  • certain food cravings (hello, sugar)
  • missing periods
  • IBS
  • skin issues (such as acne)
  • constipation
  • brain fog/trouble focusing
  • food allergies or sensitivities

So why am I choosing to do this?

For awhile now I have been having a really hard time being able to focus (re: brain fog), and have been experiencing some crazy mood swings.  And since my son Benoit was born two years ago, and even before then when I came off birth control, my skin started going crazy and breaking out.  It’s come to the point where I don’t want my picture taken, have lost some self-esteem, and definitely do not want my face to have a million scars all over (yes, I’m a picker).

I figure, if these symptoms could all potentially be resolved by something as simple as taking certain food(s) out of my diet, it has to be worth a shot.

So here’s what I’ll be eliminating for the next 21 days:

  • Peanut butter
  • Caffeine
  • Alcohol
  • Rice or white potatoes
  • eggplant, peppers, and tomatoes
  • sugar
  • soy
  • gluten
  • dairy
  • …and meat (though as you know, I don’t eat that anyways)

Am I following any plan such as the Clean Program or Whole 30?

No, I’m not.  If I could afford the Clean Program, then yes, I’d probably do it!  But at the moment I can’t.  However over the years I’ve gotten to be pretty smart in the kitchen and with what I eat (toot toot!…that was my horn) so I feel pretty comfortable doing this myself, given I have done enough research and meal planning and prep.  Do I recommend going off and doing it yourself? No!  Only you know your own body and if you think you need to see a physician beforehand or follow a program, you should!

What will my diet look like?

Almost the same as before.  Almost.  Except for no pizza, no bread or bakery (unless gluten and dairy free), no coffee or caffeinated tea.

I’m basically following the Clean Program diet guidelines, except instead of two smoothies a day, I’m allowing myself to have two meals and one smoothie if I so choose.  So every morning I will have one smoothie that’s equally loaded up on veggies and fruit, and a lot of healthy fats.  For lunch and dinner I will make healthy meals that fulfill the YES list of foods.

Also Adam is up for the morning smoothies I’ll be making, so that will make things a bit easier for me.

If you’re looking for ways to prepare yourself for an elimination diet, check out my tips! And each week I’ll be posting how I felt each day and what my meals were to serve as a guide.

Week 1

Week 2

Week 3

my plant-based pantry staples

my plant-based pantry staples

Plant-based pantry staples

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During the short time that we had lived in Ireland, I had a lot of time on my hands.  Maybe too much time on my hands. (Que Styx). So one thing I liked to do was to walk to the nearby library a few times a week, hang out there and read, and check out books.  One day I started browsing the cookbook section.  Now before this particular day, I’m not sure how many cookbooks I had cracked open.  Maybe three in my entire life.  But something made me stop and reach for a cookbook.   When I got home I started looking through it and wrote down the recipes that I thought Adam and I might like or the ones that had the most appetizing pictures.

In almost every recipe, there was at least one ingredient that I had never heard of before. Some were hard to find at the grocery store, and at times I wondered if I really needed it for the recipe, or if I could simply substitute it with something less fancy-sounding, or leave it out all together.  Nutritional yeast? Blackstrap molasses? Kombu? Agar agar?  How important were these things to the recipe and what actually were they, anyways?

With no prior cooking experience I felt at times frustrated (why did the recipe not turn out?), overwhelmed (I don’t even know what half of these ingredients are!), excited (my first quiche!)….and the list goes on.

But now, after a number years of cooking a healthy plant-based diet, I’ve settled on a system to how I stock my pantry, and I’d like to share it with you today.

Keep in mind that there are some items that may not be on the list below, but I’m just including the ones that we eat most often.

Helpful tip:

When I’m not following a recipe, my typical meal consists of a mixture of one grain, one legume, a couple of veggies, and some nuts or seeds, the last two which are most often blended with a milk or water to make a sauce.

Grains

Grains are a huge staple in my plant-based diet.  I’d say 95% of my meals contain at least one grain.  I always try to rotate the ones I eat as to avoid boredom as well as make sure I get a complete source of protein.

Always on hand:

Quinoa (technically not a grain but included here anyways), brown and white rice, bulgur, pasta (whole wheat, white, and others such as lentil, buckwheat, rice, etc.)

Used less often: Couscous, buckwheat, millet, amaranth, spelt

Legumes

Legumes include beans and lentils.  With at least one meal a day I try to add a legume to the meal in some form or other.  If I had to choose just one of each it would probably be chickpeas and red lentils, but they are all so tasty and versatile!  You can find them in cans, bulk, or in plastic bags.  For me, bulk is the most ideal as you can take as much or as little as you like, and you avoid the plastic.  But sometimes I will buy in cans, just be sure to rinse them.  If they’re not canned and pre-cooked, be sure to soak them-I like to soak them overnight. Read more about soaking times here.

Always on hand:

Beans: Canellini, Broad, Kidney, Chickpeas (garbanzo beans), Black

Lentils: Beluga, red, French/green lentils

Used less often:

Beans: Mung, Adzuki, soy,

Lentils: yellow, brown

Superfoods

I don’t make it a point to buy that many superfoods.  One they are so expensive, and two I seem to get along fine without them.  Depending on the superfood, I might add them to my breakfast smoothie or cereal (re: cacao powder/nibs, hemp seeds, chia seeds) or on top of my meal (re: nutritional yeast, chia, and hemp seeds)

Always on hand: Nutritional Yeast (not technically a superfood but still pretty super nonetheless), Cacao powder cacao nibs, hemp seeds, chia seeds

Used less often: Chlorella, spirulina, and maca powder are all a bit expensive and therefore I don’t buy them that often, however all three make great additions to smoothies and are a huge powerhouse of nutrients.

Nuts

I love toasting nuts in the oven or pan, or just soaking them before blending to make a sauce for a meal.  You can also sprout them!

Always on hand: cashews, almonds, walnuts

Used less often: pecans, pistachios, hazelnuts

Seeds

These little guys are great toasted as a snack or as toppings on salads-or really any dish!  Always make sure to buy them raw and not toasted.

Always on hand: sunflower, sesame, flax, pumpkin/pepita

Used less often: hmm….

Mock-meats

I don’t rely on substitute meats often, maybe once a week or every other week.

Always on hand: Tofu, vital wheat gluten (to make seitan)

Used less often: tempeh, lupin, jackfruit

Oils

Always check the smokepoint of an oil.  When an oil is heated too high, it has reached its smoke point and the structure will start to go cray cray, producing free radicals (which are bad for your health).

Always on hand: olive, flax, coconut

Used less often: Grapeseed, avocado, hemp (simply because of price and/or availability in Germany)

Vinegars

Vinegars add that tangy acidic flavor to a meal.  Tip: If you find yourself making a recipe that calls for white wine vinegar or rice vinegar and you don’t have it in your cupboard, you can sub in lemon for one of the two!

Always on hand: Apple cider vinegar, balsamic vinegar, white wine vinegar (used for pickling veggies)

Used less often: Rice vinegar, white wine vinegar

Seaweeds

I don’t always have them on hand, but the ones I use most often is nori or wakame to add to a salad.  I’ve also tried seaweed “noodles” which were…interesting.  They’re growing on me.

Flours

I try to use as little white flour as possible and instead reap the benefits from the other more nutritient-packed flours.  Be sure to never buy refined flours.  To get oat, buckwheat, or spelt flour, I simply grind the grains whole in my coffee grinder or in the blender and voila!

Always on hand: chickpea, spelt, whole wheat, oat

Used less often: buckwheat, white, almond

Sweeteners

I switched over from refined sugars to natural sweeteners a long time ago and have never looked back.  That means there is no white sugar in our pantry.  About 90% of the time I use maple syrup as my sweetener.

Always on hand: Maple Syrup, brown Rice Syrup, and sometimes brown cane sugar

Used less often: coconut sugar, dates, honey

Other ingredients to have on hand:

Light and dark Miso: Fermented grains or beans (usually from soy or rice) that are a great addition to sauces and marinades

Tamari Sauce: Soy sauce but with less salt

Agar agar: A vegan substitute for gelatin.  I don’t find myself using it very often, in fact I think I’ve used it just twice….

Arrowroot powder: Always have on hand. It can be used to thicken a sauce or coat tofu before frying in the pan.  A healthier substitute for cornstarch.

Baking soda and baking powder: always buy aluminum-free

Canned diced tomatoes I try to have at least 3-4 of these in my cupboard at all times!  Sometimes when I’m not sure what to do I’ll mix in a can or two with some grains and beans and call it a meal.

Black strap molasses:  You can read more about it here.  I often use it in baking, my morning cereal, and in smoothies.

A good mustard: I like Dijon with the little mustard grains in the jar if it’s to spread on a sandwich, otherwise plain Dijon mustard for sauces, dressings, etc.

Dried fruit:  Raisins, apricots, and dates.  They work well in energy bites and bars, and in granola.