Thanksgiving, Christmas, Holiday Salad: Wilted Spinach Salad with Pomegranate Seeds Recipe (From Rebar – Victoria, B.C.)

During the holidays I attempt to include dishes which are both indulgent and healthy. I first savored this Wilted Spinach Salad at one of my favorite restaurants, Rebar, in downtown Victoria, British Columbia. And, I was delighted to find the recipe in the Rebar cookbook.

From an ayurvedic point of view, during fall and winter seasons, raw salads are not recommended as they are harder to digest during these cooler seasons. This wilted salad slightly warms the spinach with the deliciously warm balsamic dressing.

I found the following recipe here at this website. My only embellishment is adding pomegranate seeds for a pop for holiday color and burst of tangy juiciness! Enjoy!

From: https://undertheteacozy.wordpress.com/2012/05/14/wilted-spinach-salad/

Wilted Spinach Salad
with olives, feta, and garlic-balsamic vinaigrette

From Rebar

Ingredients:
Vinaigrette-
3 garlic cloves, minced
1/4 cup balsamic vinegar
1 Tbsp red wine vinegar
1 1/2 Tsp honey
1 1/2 Tsp Dijon Mustard
1/2 Tsp Sea Salt
1/4 Tsp cracked pepper
3/4 cup extra virgin olive oil (or grapeseed oil)

Salad-
1 lb spinach leaves, washed and stemmed
1/4 cup Kalamata olives, pitted and chopped
1 red pepper, seeded and julienned
1 red onion, finely julienned
1/4 cup chopped mint
1/4 pine nuts, TOASTED (yes it makes a difference! watch so you don’t burn them)
1/2 cup crumbled feta cheese

OPTIONAL: sprinkle with pomegranate seeds

Prepare and enjoy!
Thoroughly combine the first seven ingredients in a bowl. Slowly drizzle in oil, whisking all the while. Correct seasoning to taste. Prepare the remaining salad ingredients. Combine spinach, olives, peppers and onions in a large salad bowl. Just before serving, heat dressing over medium heat in a small pot. When it begins to simmer, remove from the heat and drizzle over the salad while tossing with a pair of tongs. Gently mix in the fresh mint and garnish with pine nuts and feta cheese. Serve immediately.

Feed Your Soul…and Your Belly (Easy Tomato Basil Soup with Pesto)

Hot bowl of Tomato Basil Soup with Pesto

One of the most important and effective forms of self-care is the one that I often skip when I feel busy, overwhelmed, or tired: cooking a homemade meal.

I confess, sometimes the most challenging part of cooking is grocery shopping, it’s not my favorite activity and I’m making peace with it. It’s nothing new to plan ahead and prepare your shopping list and yet it’s a mindfulness habit I am cultivating. Even with cooking, setting an intention can ease my suffering and bring ease to shopping. For those of you who LOVE to shop, you may not relate to my struggle, but, for those of you who dread getting groceries, I know you can feel my pain! LOL

So…a few weeks ago, my daughter and I had a lunch date at Urban Plates and we fell in love with their Roasted Tomato Basil Soup with Pesto. She requested we get it more often so I set an intention to make it at home. I found this recipe for a Urban Plates mock tomato basil soup:

https://pjputerbaugh.blogspot.com/2016/12/mock-urban-plates-roasted-tomato-soup.html

Since we were stopping at Trader Joe’s I bought the ingredients using all TJ products then I modified the recipe accordingly, and it turned out delicious! Yum!

Mission accomplished! I had a list, one-stop shopping was easeful, cooking the soup was so fast and simple it barely felt like I was cooking. And, yet, the house was filling up with the aromatic smells of the onion and garlic then the sweet tang of the simmering tomato soup. This semi-homemade recipe was such a great recipe for my daughter to learn. The soup was delicious and was enjoyed for a few days including for my hubby and daughter’s lunches easily stored in a thermos.

This recipe can easily be adapted to be gluten-free, vegetarian, vegan, or made with a meat broth.

TOMATO BASIL SOUP WITH PESTO

INGREDIENTS

  • 3 jars TJ’s Giotto’s Organic Marinara Sauce 
  • 1 large onion
  • 2 tbsp garlic minced
  • 1 can TJ’s light coconut milk  
  • 4 cups TJs organic veggie or chicken broth
  • 1 small can TJs organic tomato paste
  • 1 tsp salt or to taste
  • 1/2 tsp ground black pepper
  • for garnish:  swirl of TJs pesto sauce if desired

Prep: 15 minutes

Cook: 15ish minutes

Serves: 8

1. Saute the onion till soft in a large pot with garlic and olive oil.  Add marinara sauce,  coconut milk, tomato paste, and broth and stir well.

3. Stir in salt and pepper to taste. Bring to a boil and then simmer for about 5-10 minutes. (original recipe suggests 5-10 minutes but, I simmered it for about 15 minutes until it thickened a bit.)

4. Blend in a processor (optional) 

Serving suggestions:

  • Swirl of pesto is optional but, I recommend it.
  • Croutons on top upon serving.
  • A grilled cheese sandwich would make this a classic comfort food meal.

Notes:

  • I modified the recipe to use the full tetra pack of broth which is 4 cups, the original recipe calls for 3 cups.
  • Since they discontinued the 28 oz. Tuscano Marinara sauce in the can, I substituted with the Organic Marinara Sauce in the glass jar which is 25 oz.  
  • Because I find myself throwing out the remaining tomato paste in those small cans, instead of using 2 tablespoons I tried using the whole can and it gave it a nice rich tomatoey flavor.  
  • The original recipe calls for light coconut milk in another brand but, I was in a one-stop shopping mode so it was TJ’s all the way!  Next time I’d probably opt for full fat coconut milk. It was yummy with light too,
  • Both of TJs pestos are yummy.  Try the vegetarian TJ’s Genovese pesto or TJ’s Vegan Kale, Cashew, and Basil Pesto. 
  • Because I made this gluten-free I skipped the croutons but, served with TJ’s Organic Naan Crackers which my fam loved.  TJs has Cheese and Garlic croutons which would give a nice texture to this soup.
  • I used a hand-blender but, in my opinion, it didn’t really need it. If you skip the last “blend in a processor step” I suggest smashing and mincing the garlic and make sure the onions and garlic are softened and cooked well.

Why don’t you practice some mindful coziness today! A steamy bowl of soup, hot cuppa tea, wrap up in a plush blanket in your flannel PJs and a gripping novel.

What else can you do to create some mindful coziness?

Enjoy!  Happy Cooking! Share any of your variations. Leave comments below.

Cheers to Mindful Coziness!!

Amelia Andaleon

The Best Chocolate Chip Bars with Almond Pulp

I recently posted a video and recipe making homemade almond milk. Here’s the link. And, follow me on Instagram! 🥰

Here’s what I made with the leftover almond pulp…YUM! Healthy CAN be tasty!! I love that there was no waste after making my almond milk!! These gluten-free bars passed the adult and kiddo taste test!! This recipe is vegan and dairy-free.

Note: Because I personally used a mix of mini vegan dark chocolate chips, and melted regular semi-sweet chocolate chips on top, my version is not technically vegan because of the butter in the chocolate chips. The chocolate topping is optional but, I also found that adding a thick smear of melted chocolate helped keep these bars intact and offered a pleasant crunch/snap. Slice your bars first THEN slather or drizzle with chocolate.

Below is the ingredient list and partial recipe. Click here to view the additional notes and full recipe.

The most delicious Chocolate Chip Granola Bars made from leftover almond pulp! Or you can just use blanched almond flour if you prefer. These are full of flavor, are vegan, gluten-free, dairy-free and oil-free and only 8 ingredients! SO much better than store-bought!

Prep Time: 20 mins

Cook Time: 30 mins

Total Time: 50 mins

Servings: 8 bars Author: Brandi Doming

Ingredients

• 1 cup (107g) almond pulp or 1 cup (112g) blanched almond flour

• 1/2 cup + 2 tablespoons( 200g) pure maple syrup, room temperature (or agave)

• 1/4 cup (32g) ground flaxseed

• 1 cup (100g) gluten-free whole rolled oats, NOT quick oats

• 2 teaspoons ground cinnamon

• 1/2 teaspoon fine sea salt

• 1/2 cup (120g) mini dairy-free chocolate chips (I use Enjoy Life)

• 1/2 cup (128g) creamy roasted almond butter

• 2 teaspoons (10g) vanilla extract

Instructions

• Before following the recipe, if you are using homemade almond pulp, make sure you have squeezed out the excess moisture out really well, from preparing the almond milk. Papertowel dry it and store in the fridge overnight, as this helps to dry it out some. You do not need a dehydrator or to bake it to dry it out, but you also don’t want it too wet or to use it immediately after making your almond milk, because it could make the bars too wet.

• Preheat an oven to 350 degrees and line a 9X5 loaf pan with parchment paper hanging over the sides for easy removal later. Do you use a different size or bigger pan, otherwise the bars will be too thin and not bind well or hold their shape. They are meant to be thick bars like in the photos.

• Mix the syrup and flaxseed in a cup well with a fork and set aside for 10 minutes to gel up. Do not skip this step, as it is what acts as the “egg” and binds the bars to hold their shape.

• In a large bowl, combine the almond pulp (or almond flour), oats, cinnamon and salt and whisk well. Stir in the chocolate chips. I prefer mini because they disburse well and stay in tact better.

• After the 10 minutes is up for the syrup and flaxseed mixture, stir in the almond butter and vanilla until very smooth. Pour over the dry ingredients and stir for a couple of minutes until very sticky and absorbed, pressing with the back of your spoon to help mix.

• Add the dough to the loaf pan and spread out evenly and flat with a rubber spatula. You can slightly dampen your fingers to help press it down around the edges, as it will be sticky.

• For dough using almond pulp, bake for 30-32 minutes until very golden brown and firm on top. For dough using almond flour, bake about 27-30 minutes until very golden brown and firm on top.

Important

• Cool 1 hour before cutting, or they will fall apart. They firm up a lot as they cool. If desired, melt some chocolate chips and drizzle the tops for added sweetness or for presentation purposes. Honestly, they are plenty delicious without it, I just did it more for looks. Slice very carefully into 8 bars. Wrap each individually in plastic wrap and store in the fridge. They will hold their shape very well this way and it makes for an easy grab-and-go snack!