Summer season: Enter the Buddha bowl!

Now that we’re well and truly in the middle of a crazy Aussie summer heat wave, I’ve been craving hot meals less and less. The thought of spending time in front of the cooker whipping something up has made me want to run and permanently camp out in front of my fan.

So for lunch today I decided to make this buddha bowl instead. Having been a vegetarian / vegan for many years, I have been making these for a long time – I started making them as a way to eat simple food in as close to its natural state as possible. I’m super happy to see them all over the internet as they gain popularity, it just makes perfect sense to return to eating in a way that is healthy, simple, natural, and looks so beautiful.

 

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The stand-out ingredients in this bowl for me are the rice, and the buffalo heart tomato. The rice has come directly from farmers who travel to Sydney and sell their produce range at a local farmers market. As they often have produce left over they cannot sell, to avoid it going to waste one of the farmers has given some friends and I a bag of uncooked, milled, short-grain, semi-brown rice to try. I admit at this point I did need to turn the stove on  and cook it for 20 minutes, however after adding in quinoa, and chia seeds, I left it to simmer away while I retreated to the safety of the living room to my fan and iced water.

The end result of cooking the rice was pure deliciousness. Nutty, sticky, but with a subtle flavour, both texture and taste were perfect. The farmer had told us that the reason this type of rice was often unwanted and wasted was that the semi-browness of the rice confused consumers, but after one bite of this rice, I was the one confused. It took no longer to cook half a cup of rice than with store-bought rice, and it looks no different on the plate either. I have a bag of it in the fridge ( the rice is also pesticide- free so needs to be kept cold) so I cannot wait to see what else I can make with it – I am thinking coconut milk and chia seed rice puddings, and rosemary and thyme rice balls. Watch this space!

The buffalo heart tomato was an interesting find I picked up at my local fruit and vegetable market. While I love all kinds of tomatoes, summer calls for something a little more exotic, and the buffalo heart does not disappoint. Its unusual, striking heart shape is lovely, its skin smooth and light summery red. And it smells like a freshly-dug tomato – subtly earthy and sweet. I can see myself eating these like apples, as they don’t contain many seeds –  there is no tomato mess!

 

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If you’d like to make your own bowl, here is the list of ingredients I have used. While I call this my 10-ingredient bowl, you can use as many or as little ingredients as you like. I use as many as I can in mine simply because as a single person living on my own, I tend to have to buy more food than I can eat – I often need to get creative in the kitchen to use as much of it up as I can!

  • Romaine lettuce – both the green, and red variety
  • Lightly sautéed baby spinach
  • Lightly sautéed baby bok choy
  • Broccolini
  • Tofu in Chinese Honey flavour
  • Rice with quinoa and chia seeds mixed through
  • Chickpeas
  • Red cabbage
  • Buffalo heart tomato
  • Cucumber
  • Hummous with nuts and seeds sprinkled on top
  • Lemon and sea salt sprinkled liberally over all ingredients once on the plate

The beauty of these bowls for me is the combination of both lightly cooked and raw food. I can have these side by side, their respective flavours complimenting each other perfectly. To keep the bowl in balance, I always make sure to mix veggies, one source of grains, one source of protein, and one source of healthy fats. I’m a minimal dressing kind of girl, so opt in for lemon and salt most of the time, generously sprinkled over the bowl. And as for the colours, they look beautiful on a pristine white plate. I love the different shades of green, browns, and the sharp splashes of red and purple in this bowl. Seeing what my food looks like before I eat it is a big motivation to eating healthily, looking after my body, and making me appreciate where my food comes from. The earth has an amazing capacity to provide us with everything we need.

 

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If you’d like more inspiration on Buddha Bowls, I love lifestyle and interiors blogger Moon to Moon’s post on suggested bowls to make – even though this article is a little older, I love to come back to it from time to time for inspiration.

If you have any favourite buddha bowl recipes you’d like to share I’d love to hear from you.

Enjoy!!

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Days 12 -19 of 100 Happy Days

The last few days have been like wading through mud – difficult, and mentally draining. I found out what it’s like to  have your internet connection die and madly scramble to get another provider, get a huge migraine which left me rendered on the couch in pain, barely able to open my eyes, and then have to plug away on my first assessment for college which left my brain feeling like it had run a marathon.

Despite all this, there have still been glimmers of things to be happy about and be grateful for.

Day 12 – Working outside, with my favourite magazine on-hand.

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My favourite magazine of all time. This one is THE ONE. The one I think about as soon as I’ve finished the current issue, the one I read dozens of times over, extracting every last bit of information from, savouring each story, each little tidbit, loving the amazing design and photography scattered throughout.

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Day 13: Yummy tasty baby pumpkins – so cute I could hardly bear to buy one and take it home.

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Day 14: Shopping! Gone to attend to some serious retail therapy with a friend, I came across this jacket – oversize, ridiculously comfy, and a great neutral colour to complement everything in my wardrobe.

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These sunnies are my new crush. I tried them on in-store ( you can see the cheeky price tag!) and was smitten, so I swiftly bought them and now I wear them everywhere!

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The white skirt! The black top! What’s not to love – simple and classic.

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Day 15: I don’t know what it is about baby vegetables ( or fruit!) but this was just too cute. And I didn’t have the heart to eat it. So I simply buried it in the garden, to hopefully sprout some siblings for my garden salads.

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Day 16: Finishing my Notan collage. Notan is a Japanese art form where negative, and positive space play together and have a party – this just happened to be a party in the shape of a make-believe creature.

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Day 17: Going for a walk around town, wearing flip-flops, and a cartoon band-aid. When you’ve got a niece and nephews, it’s interesting to find what little odds-and-ends find their way into your life, especially when wanting to cover up a cut on your toe.

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Day 18: Playing with my favourite little guy. Gentle, wise, with an often sparkly and slightly crazy look in his eye, he is the reason I smile each and every day. He is an expert in companionship and cuddles, this year will be his 11th year with me.

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Day 19: Walking past this outside the Museum of Contemporary Art in Sydney. I imagine many things these days, as I am in a bit of a ‘waiting’ phase in my life – waiting for the right job, waiting for my own apartment, waiting for a life partner. It’s tough, but it’s the imagining of the things I want in my life that are slowly getting me through.

Anti-Oxidant Beauty Porridge

I love to start the day right with a powerhouse-of-goodness breakfast. A healthy nutritious combination of carbs, healthy fats, and protein to help me get through whatever the day might throw, and provide me energy to complete my various projects. The breakfast below is what I eat each and every day, using dairy-free, gluten-free ( as much as possible in this recipe), and organic fresh produce. There is a plethora of anti-oxidant goodness in each ingredient, which work hard to repair, and plump up skin cells to keep you beautiful, boost immunity, and help your metabolism to work efficiently. The coconut oil deserves a special mention, as this is amazing for soothing and nourishing skin, and I have noticed a huge difference since eating this every day.

So get your glow on each morning, and indulge in deliciousness!

To make: 

1/2 Cup Oats ( I use Freedom Foods Free Oats which, while not entirely gluten-free, are free from other gluten-producing ingredients such as wheat, rye, and barley. You may be able to find a similar product if you are gluten-intolerant and can handle a small amount of gluten like me)

I cup almond milk ( or other dairy-free milk of your choice)

2 Strawberries

Blueberries, Raspberries, blackberries of your choice in whichever amount you wish

1 small nectarine or peach

1 Tablespoon organic virgin coconut oil

A few walnuts or other nuts, a couple of brazil nuts is my fave, chopped

Chia seeds, up to a tablespoon

A mix of Cinnamon, and All-Spice to sprinkle over

Combine oats and almond milk, and cook according to packet instructions. Mix in the coconut oil, top with chopped fruit and nuts, and sprinkle with both chia and combination spices.

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A Simple Lunch…in 15 Minutes

Ricotta Fritters

I love food! Preparing it, cooking it, poring over cookbooks, taking extended trips to the supermarket to poke and prod and obsess about ingredient quality, and continuously looking for ways to modify existing recipes. Perhaps I was a chef in a different lifetime!

Having a spare Sunday today, I decided to delve into my 15-minute meals by Jamie Oliver cookbook, to try one of the recipes and see if I can really come up with a great meal in 15 minutes.

Choosing the ricotta fritters was not easy, as everything in this book is beautifully styled and photographed, and looks mouth watering-ly simple with basic ingredients that can easily be found in the kitchen.

But choose I did, and found myself whipping these up in no time! Fresh ricotta,an egg, parmesan,and a dash of lemon zest…deceptively simple and absolutely delicious once they emerged from the fry pan a few minutes later. And once they were placed on the bed of tomato passata and black olives, a fresh basil leaf from the garden was all that was needed to complete this simple and beautiful lunch dish.

Fresh, nutritious food really is this simple – all in 15 minutes.

I have the Naked Chef in my kitchen!

I finally went and bought Jamie Oliver’s 15-Minute Meals, after obsessively watching the series of the same name. I love his wholesome, nutritious food recipes, and think I could try my hand at re-creating his chef-y magic in my own kitchen. His passion, enthusiasm, and social conscience have inspired me since his Naked Chef days, ( can’t help but love that cheeky smile too!), and have instilled in me a love of all things food and health.

I have a feeling this book is going to be well loved and used!

Bon Appetit!

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