Jump-start It, Push-start It, Reset It!

A few recipes to help you jump-start healthier eating in 2021.

Food Confessions 28: Rollin’ into 2021


In This Issue…

​Happy Wednesday, Loves! 

As we embark on our new year, I hope you are doing well. What are your prioritizing this year?

I'm prioritizing peace and rest in all of their many forms. I've set measurable goals attached to peace in each area of my life including food and health. 

For me, that means eating more whole foods. I don't eat an overwhelming amount of processed foods, but the holidays tested my limits. Not to mention, in my mind it's counterproductive to be vegan/plant-based and eating a lot of junk food. 

Thus, during this first month of the year, I'm jump-starting health goals by avoiding processed meat replacements, weaning myself off of sweet drinks, intentionally intermittent fasting and consuming more water. I'll be sticking to five 16 oz. bottles of water and "tea"—boiled unsweetened ginger, fruit, or other spice—of choice. 

Full disclosure: I've been accidentally intermittent fasting for YEARS. I have my last meal or snack before 8 pm and break my fast at about 11 am especially on workout days. I've said all of that to say, that truth is that our health is tied to our habits and our food. 

As we roll into 2020, I hope you’re prioritizing healthier eating, too! So, join me as we get in the habit of eating more whole foods (plants, fruits, nuts, seeds). In this issue, I'm highlighting three tasty and satisfying whole food meals that'll help you stay the course for breakfast, lunch, and dinner this week. A hearty smoothie bowl, vegan stuffed cabbage leaves, and a Moroccan spiced black eyed pea stew.

Let's push start this 2021 cooking session...


Blissful Blueberry Smoothie Bowl

Now, I’m not really a smoothie or smoothie bowl person because texture, but my partner has a smoothie to start his day almost everyday. He helped me craft this recipe for you! If you’re into smoothies, you’ll love this! And it’s bar none the EASIEST recipe I’ve ever included in RECIPE’D. If you, like me, aren’t into smoothies worry not, next week I’ll showcase a savory breakfast option for you.

Ingredients

1 cup frozen blueberries

1 cup vegan protein powder

1/3 cup almond milk or yogurt (cashew or oat milk can substitute)

2 tbsp sea moss gel

2 tbsp flax seeds

2 tbsp chia seeds

1/3 cup coconut flakes

1 sliced banana

1 tbsp hemp seeds

1/3 cup crushed pecans

Blend it up

Gather your frozen blueberries, milk/ yogurt, sea moss, one tablespoon of flax seeds, one tablespoon of chia seeds and your protein powder. Place them all in the blender and blend until you get the consistency of melty ice cream.

Garnish it

Now, pour your mixture into your favorite bowl and top with sliced fruit (he likes banana), a tablespoon of flax, chia, hemp seeds, coconut flakes, pecans for crunch AND enjoy! A quick and easy breakfast that is high in protein and Omega-3s.


Vegan Stuffed Cabbage Leaves

This recipe was born out of simply trying to integrate more veg into some leftovers. On Monday, I made burrito bowls for dinner with pecan meat, corn, quinoa, sweet potato, sautéed peppers and onions. Today, I wanted more veg packed into the meal because I’m eating whole foods and variety is the spice of life. Usually, I would just stir fry the cabbage into my mince, but I had a Tex-Mex thing going and stir fry just didn’t fit.

Right about now, you might be asking how do stuffed cabbage leaves fit? Or simply saying “make it make sense.” And to you, I say, “I wanted stuffed cabbage leaves, so it made sense to me and I made a Mexican inspired sauce to go with it, so there [insert sticking tongue out emoji]! It was delicious, so stop wondering if it made sense and just let me tell you the recipe…

Ingredients

1/2 head of cabbage steamed

1-2 cups of pecan meat (pecans, green bell pepper, onion)

1 can of diced tomatoes

1 clove of garlic

Geera (Cumin)

Black Pepper

Salt-free multi-spice seasoning

Agave

First things first

Wash and core your cabbage.

Add it to a steamer or a colander over a pot of boiling water.

Season with a little bit of salt-free seasoning.

Let steam until the leaves are easily pulled apart.

Mince it up

As your cabbage steams, make your mince.

You can use any version of pecan meat you like. In the pastelle recipe from a couple weeks back, I used a pecan and mushroom mince. For this recipe, I just boiled my pecans in water seasoned with a little soy sauce, Badia Complete Seasoning, and a spoon of brown sugar. Once they were fork tender, I added them to the food processor and pulsed until I achieved the texture of ground or minced beef.

I, then, seasoned them up with a little soy sauce, ketchup, liquid smoke, Badia Complete Seasoning, lots of paprika and grated garlic.

Next, put a frying pan on medium heat with your favorite oil and a little bit of diced onion and green pepper. Sauté for one minute and then add your seasoned mince. Brown the mince and set aside.

Make your sauce

Add your diced tomatoes, paprika, Badia Complete Seasoning, and a hefty amount of geera with a splash of agave. Let simmer on low heat.

Stuff your leaves

Pull off the largest of your leaves, this is a quick lunch so 6-8 should do it. If you run across any leaves with large veins that aren’t pliable, pull the veins off or cut them off and use the parts of the leaves that surrounded them.

Then take a half of a tablespoon of your mince and put it in the center of the leaf. Wrap the leaf up gently as you would an egg roll or burrito. Add each stuffed leaf to your simmering sauce until you’ve completed all of them.

Dish up

A few of these would make a great stand alone lunch or it can be paired with any side dish you love. I served mine up alongside my leftover burrito bowl sides—corn, black beans, sweet potato and quinoa.

It was filling and tasty.


Moroccan Spiced Black Eyed Pea Stew

New Year’s Day has been synonymous with black eyed peas for as long as I’ve been alive. My mom and granny always made black eyed peas and rice cooked up like a pelau. It’d been a few years since I had intentionally had black eye peas on New Year’s Day because I’m not superstitious. I was simply not in the mood to cook on New Year’s Day this year and my twin sister graciously offered to bring lunch.

She had been itching to make a black eye pea soup recipe from our fave local food blogger, Badaiwi Assing at Eat Ah Food. As I’m the only vegan in our family at present—my partner is openly flexitarian—she even made me a separate pot of soup for myself. Whilst her soup was delicious, it was slightly salty due to a mishap. I think her husband accidentally purchased black eyed peas in brine and although she rinsed the peas, she did not realize they were in brine so didn’t soak them long enough or maybe even added a little salt to the pot. Either way, I needed to “fix” it if I was going to eat over more than one day. If you know me, you know that food waste is not something I enjoy. I am of the reinvention school. Yesterday’s leftovers can most certainly be today’s gourmet meal.

In thinking of ways to reinvent the soup, I felt like the thickness of it certainly lent itself to hearty stew and that tomatoes would help to suck up some of that saltiness. Then, I landed on a Moroccan spice mix by simply wanting to take it in a completely different direction. My sister hates cinnamon, so this was a complete departure from her soup. Whether or not you are using leftovers or starting from scratch, this stew is a healthy, unctuous, warm hug in your belly.

Ingredients

2 English potatoes diced

1 small onion diced

2-3 cans of black eye peas (not in brine)

2 cans of diced tomatoes or 2 large tomatoes pureed

1 carrot diced (optional)

2 large cloves of garlic

1/2 tsp liquid smoke (optional)

1 bundle of dasheen bush (taro leaves) or spinach

Agave

Paprika

Cinnamon

Nutmeg

ground clove

Geera (cumin)

Trini Green Seasoning

Sea salt

Black pepper

Drain, rinse, and chop everything up

Before you do anything else, drain your peas and rinse thoroughly because we want to control our sodium intake. Wash or rinse all of your veg properly, peel the potatoes, and dice all of the veg into bite-sized pieces. Wash and chiffonade your greens—set them aside.

Start bubblin’

Get a large pot; I’m partial to a stockpot or dutch oven for this type of dish. Use whatever you’ve got that will fit a lot of ingredients. Put your pot on a medium heat. Add a little oil to your pot—you know by now that I like coconut oil—and then add your aromatics. Start with your onions and carrots.

Add your seasonings (cinnamon, nutmeg, cumin, and clove—if using cinnamon sticks and whole cloves, consider making a satchel with cheese cloth so that you can easily take them out of the pan after cooking) at this point because you want them to bloom. Sauté until the onions are translucent and then add your garlic. Once your garlic adds to the cacophony of smells —becomes fragrant—add your diced tomatoes or tomato puree. Now, you can add a squeeze of agave, a sprinkle of salt and black pepper to season the tomatoes. Next add your potatoes and let them cook until they are half-cooked. They should be diced small enough that this takes no more than ten minutes.

After the potatoes cook down, add your drained peas and 1/2 a cup of water. Adjust seasonings to taste at this point, stir and let simmer on medium to low heat for 20 minutes. Keep an eye on your pot to make sure the pot doesn’t dry out. You can opt for vegetable stock instead of water if you prefer.

Serve it up

You can serve this stew up over plain rice, quinoa or with a side of bread. You can really do whatever you like and it will still be absolutely delicious.


Did I say Happy New Year?! We made it to 2021 and may it bring immense joy, continue to bless us with good—healthy AND tasty—food and our weekly cooking sessions. Thank you for rolling into 2021 with me. I hope this breakfast, lunch and dinner help you reset this week.

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Until we cook together again keep jump starting and kick starting your NEW year,

XOXO

Mel


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