One Pot Red Lentil and Sweet Potato Stew with Cashew Coconut Lime Cream

arial view of pot of red lentil and sweet potato stew with limes and cilantro on the side

When the weather turns cold and food is scarce, some animals such as bears hibernate to survive. Although people do not have the same metabolic characteristics needed to hibernate, I often feel the inclination to cocoon during the cold months of the year.  However charming this concept seems, the “not eating” aspect of hibernation has far less appeal. In contrast to the fasting bears, during these dark and cold days, I feel that nothing beats the comfort of a simmering pot of a hearty stew.  

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Three Variations of Lime Tahini-Based Sauces or Dressings

Three jars of lime-based tahini sauces: lime cilanto, ginger lime and spicy lime. Scene decorated with cut limes and scarf
Front to Back: Lime Cilantro, Lime Ginger and Spicy Lime

Tahini, the paste of crushed sesame seeds, is rich in nutrients, protein and healthy fats and it continues to be one of my most used and versatile ingredients. As well as adding protein and nutrients to a meal, the earthy flavour of tahini lends itself to both sweet and savory dishes making it an easy addition to sauces, dips, dressing or desserts.

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Quick and Easy Lunches (Vegan and Gluten Free)

plate of avocado toast and tomato tahini toast

Most of us have grown up with the idea of eating three meals a day which includes breakfast, lunch and dinner. Even though lunch is now established as the second meal of the day, it hasn’t always been this way. According to Denise Waterman of BBC News Magazine, during Roman times to the Middle Ages, “lunch as we know it didn’t exist – not even the word.”

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plate of avocado toast and tomato tahini toast

Most of us have grown up with the idea of eating three meals a day which includes breakfast, lunch and dinner. Even though lunch is now established as the second meal of the day, it hasn’t always been this way. According to Denise Waterman of BBC News Magazine, during Roman times to the Middle Ages, “lunch as we know it didn’t exist – not even the word.”

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Raw Sweet Potato Salad with Curry Almond Sauce

When it comes to eating vegetables, I am not a big fan of crunching them uncooked and generally prefer roasted, stir fried or even boiled. It is a similar story with fruit.  Although I do enjoy more raw fruits over raw vegetables, the cooked version of many fruits such as apples, pears, peaches, berries and even bananas definitely has more appeal.

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Sweet Potatoes and Yams – What is the difference?

Bowl of mixed orange, white and purple sweet potatoes, roasted with paprika and cinnamon.

When I was first introduced to whole foods, plant-based (WFPB) eating, I followed recipes by Deliciously Ella who is based in England. Sweet potatoes were often used, however, from a North American perspective, the sweet potato looked suspiciously like a yam! Then, during my last trip to England, I noticed that the supermarkets were full of what I understood to be “yams” but were abelled as “sweet potatoes.”

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Farro, Kale and Roasted Sweet Potato Salad with Lemon Tahini Dressing

serving dish with farro, kale and roasted sweet potato salad

As we move towards the holiday season, it can be challenging trying to cook for a “mixed-eater household” or, if you are a vegetarian/vegan, visiting family and friends when “traditional” holiday meals are being served. In a household with a mix of meat eaters, vegetarians and vegans, the Farro, Kale and Roasted Sweet Potato Salad can make either a hearty lunch or a tasty and satisfying side dish that everyone can enjoy.

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Lemon Tahini Based Sauces and Dressings

two bowls one with lemon tahini sauce and one with golden lion tahini sauce and one small jar with basic tahini sauce
Tahini Sauces: Basic Tahini, Lemon Tahini and Golden Lion

In plant-based cooking, I have come to believe that it is all about the sauce!  Previously, the idea of preparing a meal with a sauce would not have been entertained.  For one thing, I was haunted with flashbacks from school days and the intricacies involved in making items like a lump-free roux sauce! The whole idea of cooking a sauce from scratch seemed too time consuming and required more energy than I had.  However, store bought sauces and dressings can be expensive and, more importantly, there is no control over the ingredients.

When making your own sauces, you decide exactly what goes into it and this was a big motivation when I moved to whole-foods, plant-based eating. Sauces have quickly become a big part of my food preparation and it turns out it does not have to be an ordeal.  There are many quick and easy recipes that can be made ahead of time and I now keep a few batches on hand. A sauce can transform any dish from ordinary to extraordinary and with the great variety of seasonings available, the possibilities are endless for preparing new and different creations.

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Tahini as a Plant-Based Staple

two brighly coloured bowls one with homemade tahini in and the other with store bought tahini
Home-made Tahini (Top Left) and store-bought Tahini (Bottom Right)

Since moving to plant-based cooking, Tahini has become one of my staple ingredients. Previously, my only experience of Tahini had been many years ago when I tried it as a spread on toast. At the time, I found the taste extremely unappealing and did not go near it again until recently.  Little did I know back then, but it turns out that Tahini is highly nutritious and highly versatile in cooking adding a nutty flavour and creamy texture. Although I still don’t care for the taste as a spread, I now use it regularly for hummus, as a base for dressings and sauces and have even found it a tasty addition in granola.  

Not only has Tahini proved extremely useful today, I was surprised to learn of its rich history and the fact that references can be found as far back as the 13th century regarding its uses as a food dish, medicine, and currency. Although it has been a staple in many cuisines, especially in North Africa, Turkey, Greece and the Middle East for thousand of years, it did not make its first appearance in the USA until around 1940 and then only in health food stores. Now it is widely available in most supermarkets.

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