Vegan Black Rice Sushi Recipe

 

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For those of you who love sushi and spicy food, and follow a plant-based diet, this recipe is a nice twist on the regular white or brown rice veggie rolls that we are used to getting or making. Black rice is an amazingly nutritious food, which even beats brown rice by far… It contains loads of antioxidants and fiber as well as powerful flavonoids called anthocyanins. Add some good raw veggies in the middle and the rolls look so freakin’ cool as well! I love the colors mixed together! And because I can’t resist spicy, I added a little hotness to the rolls by including some spicy vegan mayo to the mix. Try them, they are really not difficult to make and they will certainly impress people around you, but most of all, they will please your palate like there is no tomorrow!

Ingredients

  • 1 cup of black rice ( I buy mine at Sprouts)
  • 2 and 1/4 cups of water
  • 2 Tbsp of rice vinegar
  • 1 tsp of honey or agave syrup
  • 1 tsp of salt
  • 1 Tbsp of water
  • Red bell pepper cut in julienne (long and fine strips)
  • Purple cabbage finely sliced
  • Avocado cut in julienne
  • Cucumbers cut in julienne
  • Carrots cut in julienne
  • Wasabi seaweed (I find mine in Asian markets)
  • Spicy vegan mayo (I just add a bit of rice vinegar and cayenne pepper to my regular vegan mayo)
  • sushi mat for rolling the sushi (you can use plastic wrap if you don’t have a mat but I highly recommend getting one, that way you can reuse it and you reduce single-use plastic… You can also use a tea towel)

How to

  • Bring water to a boil and add the rice. Cover and cook for about 30 minutes on low heat, or until all the water has been absorbed
  • If you haven’t done it yet, cut all your veggies into julienne strips. Try to keep the same size for all strips of veggies so they will fit nicely into your rolls. I like to soften my carrots a little bit by cooking steaming them for a few minutes (5 minutes) but if you like them crunchy, you can use them raw
  • Combine the rice vinegar, honey or agave syrup, the tablespoon of water and salt in a bowl and mix
  • Once the rice is cooked and has cooled down a little, pour the mixture into it and mix well so the rice becomes “sticky.” Let cool down completely
  • Lay down a sheet of the wasabi seaweed on the sushi mat in front of you and “spread” some rice on it, making sure to leave about 2 inches on the right side
  • Place a few strips of your veggies on the left side of the rice (about 1.5 inches from the edge) but make sure not to put too much so the rolls are not too thick. Add some spicy vegan mayo as well
  • Now you can start rolling your sushi by using your thumb and forefinger to pick up the sushi mat on the left side. I highly recommend looking at this tutorial to see how it is done. It will make your life so much easier! Gently start flipping the edge over the veggies to create your roll and until it is completely closed (Having damp fingers will help the process)
  • Cut into 1-inch rolls with a wet knife
  • Repeat until you have used all your veggies and you have the amount of rolls desired
  • Enjoy with some soy sauce or tamari, pickled ginger and wasabi!
  • If you take photos and post them on your social media, please make sure to tag me @nathoutsidethebox I would love to see your creations!

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Simple Feel-Good Homemade Nutella Recipe (Vegan + GF)

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If you are a chocolate lover and/or if you have lived or been to Europe, chances are you have tried Nutella® before and you are probably totally addicted to it. Now if you are like me and you grew up in France, where eating Nutella® for breakfast or a snack is a national sport, chances are you still have to have your Nutella® fix once in a while, but are not so keen on some of the ingredients that are present in its recipe (palm oil, soy lecithin…). Don’t take me wrong, the recipe used to be worse (hydrogenated palm oil was listed for a while) but the brand has worked on improving its formula, and even though it still contains some saturated fat and sugar, the delicious spread also supplies a good amount of key vitamins and minerals. I just don’t like the fact that it is using palm oil, which the production has an extremely harmful impact on the planet. It contributes to deforestation of the rainforest, therefore a loss of animal habitat for endangered species. In the past 16 years, the quest for palm oil has led to the death of an estimated 100,000 orangutans… Other animals, such as rhinos and elephants are also supposed to be at risk. As a concerned world citizen and animal and planet lover, my conscience just doesn’t allow me to buy products that use palm oil (or other non-sustainable products). Nutella® is one of them, I have decided to make my own by coming up with a recipe that would not use the controversial oil, and use less sugar by the same token.

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The chocolate spread recipe below only uses 4 ingredients and does not use any added sugar. It is extremely simple and quick to make, nutritious, and does not contain any yucky ingredients. It will, for sure, satisfy your craving for the delicious spread.

Ingredients:

  • 3 cups of roasted unsalted hazelnuts
  • 1 tsp of pure vanilla extract
  • 1 tbsp of canola oil
  • 2/3 cup of dark chocolate chips
  • 1 tbsp of maple syrup or liquid sweetener of your choice (optional)

Instructions:

Preheat oven to 350ºF (175ºC)

Spread hazelnuts on a baking sheet in a single layer. Roast for 10 minutes.

Remove from the oven and let cool off. Once the hazelnuts are safe to the touch, place in a kitchen towel and roll the hazelnuts with your hands to remove as much skin as you can (if the hazelnuts are already skinless, skip this step). Don’t sweat it if you can’t remove some of the skin, it will be fine anyway.

Add the skinned hazelnut to a high-speed blender or food processor, and blend on low until a hazelnut butter is formed. It should take about 10 minutes depending on your blender.

Heat the chocolate in a double boiler, or in the microwave, making sure it does not burn.

Add the vanilla and the oil and blend again to mix all the ingredients. Add the chocolate little by little until it is well blended in the hazelnut butter. If you decide to sweeten your hazelnut spread, add the maple syrup or sweetener now and blend again.

Et voila! Your feel-good chocolate hazelnut spread is ready for consumption! Transfer to a glass jar or a covered bowl and keep for 2-3 weeks (do not put in the fridge or it will harden and lose some of its flavors…)

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This chocolate-hazelnut spread will be amazing on a freshly baked baguette (see my amazingly easy recipe here), pancakes, crêpes, waffles, any kind of toasted bread, cut up banana, apples, honey wheat pretzel sticks, and/or just out of the jar with a tablespoon… Yep!

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Holiday Sangria Recipe! Ole!

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Sangria for the Holidays? Really? you may ask?  Yep but not quite your traditional sangria.  This one will bring some festive vibes to your party.  In addition to the usual fruit suspects (apples and oranges), pomegranate and cinnamon steal the show in this amazing (and super easy) recipe.  Try it and print out a few copies of it because your guests will ask for it!

For about 6 people.

Ingredients

1/2 cup of pomegranate seeds
2 oranges sliced (keep the skin on)
2 apples sliced
2 cinnamon sticks
1 bottle of red wine (mild is better.  I use a red Zinfandel)
3 cups of sparkling water

Place the pomegranate seeds in a pitcher and crush with a fork or a spoon

Add the oranges, the apples, and the cinnamon

Pour the bottle of wine and mix well

Cover with a plastic wrap and put in the fridge overnight

Serve in martini glasses for a vavavoom effect and don’t forget the sparkling water! Can also be served with the turkey, I swear they go really well together!

Non-alcoholic and kids friendly version: skip the wine and add a mix of apple juice and pomegranate juice instead!


Easiest and Most Delicious French Baguette Ever

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I am not kidding here…  This is the most surprisingly easy recipe for French baguette that I have ever tried in my entire life! Now you might say that “easy” doesn’t mean “good” or “authentic” at all, but…  it has been tested by the French Connection (including myself as well as the fam) here in San Diego and it was unanimously approved! Now the beauty of this super simple recipe is that there is no kneading or poolish involved! You can basically get the dough ready in the evening (in about 10 minutes), let it rise overnight and cook your bread in the morning for a delicious and typical French breakfast.

Ingredients:

  • 2 1/2 cups of unbleached bread flour (375 grams)
  • 1 1/2 tsp of salt (8 grams)
  • 3 tsp of bread machine rapid rise yeast (12 grams)
  • 1.2 cups of lukewarm water (300 ml)

How to:

In a mixing bowl, mix the yeast with a little bit of the lukewarm water to dilute it and then add the rest of the water

Add the flour and the salt and mix roughly with a wooden spoon (yep you read that right)

Cover the bowl with a cotton fabric towel and leave for about 1 hour and 1/2 until the dough has doubled in volume

Preheat the oven to 465°F (240°C) and fill the drip pan with water (the moisture released will help the crust be more crunchy during the baking process)

Remove the dough from the bowl and place on a lightly floured baking sheet or stone (you can line it with parchment paper), or directly into  The dough will be very sticky but it is totally ok and normal.  Stretch it in one long baguette, or you can separate in two or more pieces to make more baguettes (smaller ones though). Don’t work the dough too much so it doesn’t go down.

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Make beveled cuts on top of each baguette with scissors or a blade (2 or 3 cuts per baguette loaf)

Place the baguettes in the oven and cook for approximately 30 minutes (each oven is different so cooking time may vary)

Take the baguettes out of the oven and let cool on a rack and wait about 30 minutes before cutting.

Store in a cotton fabric bag or a towel (no plastic please!).  It will keep for about 2 days but I guarantee you that it will be gone way before that! You can also freeze them but do it the day you baked them and once they are cooled.

Bon appétit! 🇫🇷

 

 

 


Beeswax Reusable Food Wrap DIY

Processed with VSCO with a9 presetOne of the first changes our family made when we started our journey to reduce our use of plastic, was to eliminate plastic food wrap.

We used to cover most food leftovers or simply wrap anything that would go in the fridge with the stretchy film.  We would buy them by the roll, and we even had one that was 3000 ft long once because a friend of ours bought it for us thinking that was the size we wanted… it took us four years to finish it… not our proudest moment looking back, and thinking where this plastic is standing right now and how long it will be there for… Eeeek!

Fortunately, reality and awareness of the plastic problem that we, humans, have created, sunk in and our family decided to make some major changes to get rid of the plastic film use completely.

Going back to basics by storing food in glass containers was the first option we chose.  Additionally and after doing a little research we found out about beeswax reusable food wrap, which is totally amazing and sustainable, as well as safe, and can be used exactly like plastic food wrap, but without the yucky plastic. The only downside to this amazing product: the price tag…

Now the DIYer in me could not resist the temptation of making her own beeswax wrap, soooo… I tried, and I can say I succeeded! The process was easy as can be, and the wrap worked like a charm!  Now, just so you know, if I can do it, so can you! The good news is that you only need two items to make a large quantity of beeswax reusable food wrap: cute fabric (cotton or hemp) and beeswax (we have our own beehive so beeswax is easily available to us, but you can also purchase in craft stores or online). And that’s it!  For a fraction of the price of the store-bought ones, you can get your own, personalized, homemade, reusable beeswax food wrap!

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So if you are willing to make this change (I really hope you do… ) and if you are a little crafty (just a little…), check out the tutorial below.

Now if you prefer buying the wraps already made, I highly recommend the ones I first bought, but I have to warn you that the price is a little high… The brand is Etee and our family purchased a pack of 3 wraps two months ago ($18) and we are extremely satisfied with the products!  Also, I went to Trader Joe’s this morning and was super (and pleasantly) surprised to see that they started selling some beeswax food wraps at a very cheap price ($8.99 for a set of three). I bought 2 sets but since I have not tried them yet, I can not say if I recommend them or not…

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Beeswax Food Wrap DIY

What you need:

  • Cotton or hemp fabric of your choice
  • Beeswax in granules (You can buy it at your preferred craft store or here)
  • A paint brush
  • Pinking shears to cut the fabric and prevent fraying

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How to:

  1. Preheat oven to 185°F (85°C)
  2. Cut your fabric in pieces of different sizes (make sure to cut some that will cover your biggest bowl)
  3. Line a cookie sheet with parchment paper and place a piece of pre-cut fabric on it
  4. Sprinkle the beeswax evenly on the fabric (very little is actually needed)
  5. Place the cookie sheet in the preheated oven and watch the beeswax melt (it only takes a few minutes…)
  6. Once the beeswax is completely melted, use the paintbrush to cover the beeswax evenly on the fabric, making sure the entire piece is coated
  7. Let it cool down

Your new beeswax food wrap is ready to use!

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Cutting the fabric with pinking shears will prevent fraying

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Make sure the beeswax pellets are evenly spread out on the fabric

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Once the beeswax has melted, spread it evenly with the help of the paintbrush, to make sure the entire piece of fabric is coated

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How to care for your beeswax food wrap:

Wash with mild soap and cold water (do NOT use hot water as it will melt the beeswax coating)

Do not wrap any raw meat or fish in your beeswax food wrap (since you can’t wash it with hot water, it is probably safer not to use it for this purpose…)

Air dry

Depending on how often you use it, it will usually last a long time

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