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!!

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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It’s Easy Being Green

I have been having a break in the last few weeks, taking the time to reassess life, and decide which direction life will take this year. Being unemployed is still a constant source of frustration, but I am keeping a positive outlook, counting the blessings, and taking the time to do all the things I love through this transition period. I have been accepted into graphic design college where I will be able to indulge my creative passions, which I am hugely excited about.

One of the things I have had a lot of time to think about is health, and the importance of having good nutritious food to help support my body and keep me as stress-free and positive as possible. I’ve always loved playing around with different recipes, and have recently begun to experiment with green smoothies.

After drinking one of these, I feel happy. And energised. And centred. They pull me back to earth, filling me up with vitality and goodness. This smoothie may not change the world, but it makes a difference to my world, and that’s good enough for me.

Ingredients:

250ml Almond Milk

1 Cup Kale, or Spinach, or Romaine Lettuce. Or a mixture of all three!

1 Banana, chopped

Small handful walnuts

2-3 large strawberries, chopped

1 tablespoon organic coconut oil

1 tablespoon wheat germ

2 heaped teaspoons of powdered wheat grass. You can also use chlorella, or spirulina.

Optional: You can also add chia seeds, chopped green apple, green pear, chopped cucumber, protein powder, almonds, coconut water or milk…get creative and add your own fave ingredients.

Place all your ingredients into your blender, and blend until smooth.

Enjoy!

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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.