Root Vegetable Grain Bowl

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Ah, wheat berries. Again. You’ll have to excuse us, but we love them! Nuttier and chewier than rice and about a million times more eco-friendly, it’s a winner any day. Another fun grain alternative is naked oats (Swedish: nakenhavre). Have you ever tried it? Really good as well, and actually even more of a nutritional power house than wheat berries, with higher protein content among other things. We’re working on developing some recipes with naked oats too, so stay tuned! But anyway. I think the first time wheat berries ended up in our home was back in New York, when Mike bought some with the intention of making his own wheat flour. Only, his coffee grinder surprisingly didn’t do the trick (it was hysterically funny) so the box was forgotten about for a while until one of those let’s-clean-out-the-cabinets cooking endeavors took place, and those wheat berries were put in a kale salad of some sorts. Since then, they’ve become a staple, and I’d say we eat wheat berries at least once a week.

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Loaded Veggie Tacos

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When I moved to New York, I learned a whole lot about tacos right from the start. The shredded lettuce, canned corn kernels and chopped tomato add ins of my childhood were all of a sudden nowhere to be seen – instead, the most elaborate combinations were served up and a food concept I had felt sort of “meh” about for a while became a new favorite. I recall this one conversation I had with Mike early on, where I sort of “explained” to him that in Sweden, we approach tacos in a much different way. I went on and on about the standard concept of ground beef, the aforementioned vegetables, the taco sauce or salsa, sour cream and shredded cheese – only to have Mike tell me afterwards that that’s how tacos are normally eaten in America too. Little did I know, back then, that I’d only been taken to these contemporary, trendy Mexican food places, where pickled red onions, thinly sliced radishes and habanero relish had just recently risen to the sky as the “new black” of taco toppings.

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Winter Lasagna

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The epitome of comfort food. The indisputable superstar of hearty, filling, energy-packed meals. And probably the best leftovers ever. Enter: lasagna. In all honesty, we don’t make it too, too often but instead save it for when go on e.g. ski trips and want plenty of food prepared. This particular version got to come with us on our most recent voyage up north, and let’s just say it hit the spot like nothing else after hours and hours of skiing, a sauna session and a shower (that we were hungry for another snack just an hour later wasn’t the lasagna’s fault, but rather nature’s – if it hadn’t been so darn pretty, we wouldn’t have stayed out until sunset and thereby been a tad less famished. But hey, more nature AND double evening snacks? Bring it on).

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Black Bean Brownies

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In all honesty, we were kind of like… really? when first hearing about black bean baked goods. Don’t get us wrong (I doubt you would by now), we LOVE beans and lentils. They’re the best. But we also love our baked goods. Cakes, cookies, buns… you know, the whole spectrum. And around here, we tend to lean towards the attitude of “if you’re going to bake buns, bake buns. Not a ‘health-ified’ bun that no one will really enjoy anyway”. I think you get my point. But we also happen to know that from a sports nutrition point of view, having an evening snack with a touch of protein is beneficial. And one simply can’t have too much of all the good stuff in legumes. Enter black bean-based baked goods.

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West African Peanut Stew

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I know, I know, we do like to put peanut butter in/on just about anything around here. What can I say – it’s just one of many glorious things Michael (and America) has opened my eyes to. As a matter of fact, I think peanut butter has an undeservedly bad reputation – why, really? If you get (or make) unsweetened peanut butter, it’s just ground up nuts with a dash of salt. That’s all. Peanuts pack a lot of protein, good fats (both mono and polyunsaturated), vitamins (especially folate, some B’s and E) and minerals (good amounts of phosphorus, potassium, magnesium and iron, for example). And it’s energy dense. All of the above together make peanut butter a great staple for athletes. And while it’s quite amazing slathered on bread, we use it primarily as an ingredient in energy bars/balls, as an oatmeal topping (oh my, it’s the best) and as an amazing flavor and nutrient booster in savory meals, such as this stew. 

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White Bean & Dill “Hummus”

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We certainly like our plant based spreads in this household. Traditional hummus is an obvious favorite, and we just love always having a tub of it sitting in the fridge, ready to be spread on bread or act as a dip (or – confession time – just eaten with a spoon). For #localthirty, we had to figure out what to replace it with – because, unfortunately, we can’t get the core ingredients chickpeas and tahini locally. With the help of our ‘cheat’ ingredients lemon, salt and black pepper though, you can still cook up pretty delicious stuff! Thanks to the overall awesome food brand GoGreen, we can get our hands on Swedish (and close enough to us to fit the #localthirty challenge) grown white, kidney, black and cranberry beans. Needless to say, we’ve been carrying out these by the dozens from the store the past month. The small white beans have proven themselves a great substitute for chickpeas in all types of bean spreads, purees etc. Here, they’re paired with our own dill, frozen at the peak of summer, and the combination is quite lovely. Have you ever tried a dill flavored spread before? It’s really, really good! One of the best ways of having this ‘hummus’ is spread on flatbread, topped with something a little crispy (such as carrot ribbons) and then rolled up and eaten as a wrap. Truth to be told, this has been our lunch food many days during September. Filling, nutritious – and yummy. Give it a try!

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Late Summer Salad

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One of the things we daydreamed about as we built our vegetable garden last fall, was being able to step outside and harvest enough stuff to make a meal out of. We thought – best case scenario, we’ll be able to do that a handful of times in one season (somehow this still felt worth all the hard work for us, which some might say is an interesting topic in itself). Never in the wildest of dreams could we have imagined the quantities of food our humble number of square meters of land would produce, and – thankfully – we never stop being grateful. It feels like Christmas every day. This is a late-summer-bounty kind of salad that really celebrates the act of grabbing the basket, stepping outside and harvesting whatever looks good (and also what’s begging to be brought inside – I’m looking at you, you zeppelin sized zucchini). This recipe should be treated as a guide and an inspiration source, rather than a rule book. In order for it to be filling enough to serve as a main course, there sort of needs to a starchy ingredient though. We never turn down an option to have potatoes, but winter squash, carrots or parsnips are other great choices (when in season, that is). We like to throw in a legume for protein, and the small and unassuming white bean is our favorite. Again though, any kind would be fine. And then – just work with what you have on hand. Pole beans offer a nice crunch, tomatoes some sweetness, chard a dose of… green (and lots of nutrients). A simple, herb-laden dressing mixed in and – voilà. Dinner is served. We usually go heavier on the amount of potatoes and beans than the recipe suggests, simply because we need to pack in lots of energy in our meals. Keep that in mind when reading through the list of ingredients, if you think it seems a little thin. This truly is a celebration of the variety of produce available this time of year, and the creativity in the kitchen that it brings with it. Happy cooking 🙂

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