Himalayan Pink Salt

Himalayan Pink Salt
Himalayan Pink Salt

Himalayan Pink Salt adds great flavor to salads, soups and dressings.

It is touted as one of the purest forms available and has a high mineral content.

I use it for its flavor.

You can find it at Pricesmart (Invaders Bay, Audrey Jeffers Highway).

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Simple Trini Vegan Oil Down – Limited ingredients version

Oil Down
simple Trini vegan oil down

As a child, whenever my grandmother would cook Oil down, my mother would end up having to cook something different for me to eat.  At the time I couldn’t understand all the provision being muddled together in a pot as opposed to being separately cooked and being able to pick and choose which ones you wanted on your plate.

It was only as I got older and dared to be adventurous in the food arena that I really appreciated this dish.  I was volunteering at a Health Fair, about four years back, and when lunch time came around Oil down was on the menu (Vegan of course).  So, I decided to try this dish once more.  I was smitten by the flavors: the rich creamy coconut coming through, the hint of local seasonings, and the perfectly cooked ground provision (cassava, dasheen, etc). 

Since then, whenever it was cooked at home, I had no qualms eating it whatsoever.

So it came as no surprise that I had a craving for it yesterday.  Even though I didn’t have all of the main ground provision ingredients, I didn’t let that stop me since I still had cassava, carrots, fresh local seasonings and coconut milk of course!  I also threw in some red beans for my protein.

I started by getting the red beans on to boil.  The red beans I used were the dried version that I soaked overnight and the following day I stored them in the freezer so they really came in handy for this dish.

While the beans were cooking for the first 10-15 minutes, I had the carrots steaming as I really didn’t want them to be too soft in the Oil down.

Afterward, I added some Trini seasonings (local celery, chive, etc), coconut milk and sea salt.  When this came back to a boil I added the cassava and cooked until tender.  Just before I took the pot off I added some more celery, chive, dried ginger, onion powder, and salt.  I tossed in the carrots and the dish was done and ready to be served.

Here’s the recipe which I hope  you will enjoy:

You’ll need:

2 lbs frozen cassava (you can used the frozen logs or the frozen cubes)

2 cups red beans**

3 carrots

14 oz coconut milk

2 1/2 cups of water

4 teaspoons dried ginger

2 stalks local celery, minced

2 stalks chive, minced

3 teaspoons granulated onion powder

6 cloves garlic, smashed

2 pimento peppers, seeded and sliced

Sea Salt to taste

METHOD:

– Steam carrots to desired texture and set aside

– In a pot, bring to boil 2 cups of water and 2 cups of red beans**.  Let this cook for about 10-15 minutes*

– Next, add the coconut milk and half of the dried ginger, celery, chive, onion powder, garlic, pimento peppers and a little sea salt.  Bring to boil

– Carefully add frozen cassava logs or cubes and cook until tender

– When desired tenderness is reached add in remainder of seasonings, 1/2 cup of water and carrots

– Take off heat and let sit for 5-10 minutes

– Serve and enjoy

** Fresh red beans are not only more flavorful than their tinned/canned companions but they also have a lot less sodium.  If you don’t have access to fresh red beans then purchase a pack of the dried version instead.  Want to know how to prepare dried red beans for easy cooking? Click here

* I like my beans with some texture so  I didn’t use a pressure cooker for them or cook them for too long

TIP: If the mixture is too thick you can add a little extra water until desired consistency is reached

How To Prepare Dried Red Beans For Easy Cooking

We’ve all been there.  A recipe calls for beans and we reach for the can.  Each time we do it, we promise ourselves that the next time we would use a healthier alternative.

It’s no secret that canned beans come with a high sodium content.  Canned beans also tend to have less flavor than their dried or fresh versions.

I bought a pack of dried red beans and tried a mini experiment.

I rinsed them and then soaked them in a pot overnight and by the next day they basically doubled in size.  It yielded the equivalent of about 4 regular cans of red beans.  Talk about savings!

Cooking was done for the day and therefore I didn’t need to use the beans right away.  After rinsing and straining them I decided to place them in a freezer bag and pop them in the freezer.

The next day I had a craving for Trini Oil Down.  I quickly pulled out my beans and tossed about 2 cups worth in the pot.  The result was absolutely delicious.  I like some texture to my beans and don’t like them at all mushy so they were perfectly cooked and had the texture that I wanted.

These steps can be followed for almost all kinds of beans and peas as well.  If you have access to fresh beans and peas, however, then you can wash them, shell them (if needed), place them in a freezer bag and keep them in the freezer.

Here are the simple steps:

1. Rinse and strain your desired about of dried red beans

2. Place in a large bowl or container and cover with water

3. Let these soak overnight.  By the next morning you’ll notice that they would have most likely doubled in size

4. Rinse and strain again

5. Place in large freezer bag or freezable bowl/container.  Seal tightly and place in freezer.

You’ll now have fresh red beans whenever a recipe calls for it

Frozen red beans
frozen Red Beans in freezer bag

Oatmeal – What Else is New?

By now, you have probably heard about all of the great health benefits of Oatmeal: that it may help lower your cholesterol, or that it may lower your risk for heart disease.

You probably also know that it contains B vitamins that are essential to Vegan Nutrition.

But, what you would like to know is what you can do to jazz up that oatmeal!

Here’s some great ideas that will not only add some life into your Oatmeal but even your kids will love!

New Ways to Have Oatmeal:

1. Breakfast Parfaits – layered healthy goodness 

oatmeal breakfast parfait
oatmeal breakfast parfait

Start off with a fruit topping at the bottom, then add a layer oatmeal and pumpkin or sunflower seeds.  Keep alternating until you reach the top of your dish.

The great thing about this Oatmeal Breakfast Parfait is that you can start with any fruit you like and use almonds, pecans, etc.

 

 

2. Super simple cereal bowl

Pour the desired amount of oatmeal into a cereal bowl.  Stir in bananas and top off with toasted walnuts for a super simple Banana Walnut crunch.

Or, swap the Banana and Walnut for Cranberry and Almond and you will have yourself a satisfying Cranberry Almond crunch.  If you’re feeling adventurous, toss in some chopped dates.

Yum!