Hitting the Pause Button

Dearest Readers,

I wanted to let you know that as of January 2021, Helyn’s Kitchen will no longer be online. So if you have any favorite recipes that you haven’t saved, now would be the time to do so!

2020 has been the most challenging year of my life, not only due to the Covid restrictions and all that has come with this pandemic, but personally, too. I’ve had excruciating physical challenges which led to an emotional and spiritual overhaul. As I’ve contemplated my role in life and on this earth, it’s become apparent that I need to make this change. My Dark Night of the Soul has come and gone and I am well! I hope you are, too. It’s time to move forward together, into the Light!

Sometime in the coming year, I will be launching a new website on a different platform. This will be called Nourishing Nirvana, and will include many whole-food, plant-based recipes from Helyn’s Kitchen (but not all!) and will be a broader scope of service, offering articles on health and nutrition as well as many insights into individual and collective consciousness and how it relates to our overall well being, especially as it involves food and the preparation of recipes. I will also be sharing information and videos about sound healing, meditation, Reiki and more. I hope that you will join me once we’re up and running. I do have your email address and will let you know once we’ve successfully launched so that you can subscribe if you’d like.

It’s been a wonderful eight years getting to know you and sharing my many recipes and life journeys! Thank you for all your comments, questions and support. Mountain Man and I wish you a holiday season filled with joy and love and a simply stellar year ahead.

Healthy trails!
Helyn (a.k.a. Harmony)

Carrot Lox

 

Greetings beautiful ones! OH my… I’ve been absent for way too long, yes? Well, I do have a rather good excuse…

Mountain Man and I moved our homestead to a lovely little town (yes, still in the mountains) in October of last year. It’s a gorgeous piece of land with an historic home AND a blueberry orchard with over 900 plants! So the plan was to create a one-of-a-kind, plant-based Bed & Breakfast retreat! But then, as the fates would have it, not long after we moved in, I fell and broke my shoulder/upper arm! OW! It’s been SEVEN long months of healing. Let me tell you, this is NOT something you want to experience. I’ll spare the gory details but suffice it to say I was in no shape to create a new business, take care of this huge house, or even do any posting. I’m still working on the final soft tissue repair and SLOWLY getting back my range of motion. But here I am! Finally.

Today is a milestone for me, being able to, at long last, share a lovely recipe with you for this incredible breakfast/brunch treat. Nice timing for Father’s Day, right?

Carrot Lox. I’ve had it out at a local vegan restaurant and, you know me, I had to try it for myself. It was a great success! It’s a perfect addition to some whole grain bagels and my homemade cultured cream cheese! I also garnished it with some sliced cucumber, fresh dill and capers. Divine! I hope you’ll try it for yourself. 🙂 

Healthy trails,

 

 

 

 

P.S. There is some work happening on my website… and you may or may not be able to leave a comment. We’re working on this! Thanks for your patience.

 

Cooking Without OIL ~ tips and tricks + A PRODUCT REVIEW

 

Greetings, plant-based readers! Many folks, including most of my friends, cannot understand why I don’t consume any refined oils of any kind. I get so many confused looks and questions… “What about coconut oil? Isn’t that healthy?” and the very popular, “The Mediterranean diet has olive oil, what about that?” 

Well, I’ve been living without it quite nicely for seven years now and I can assure you, you do not need it in your diet and in fact you will be much better off without it!

On to the most important question for those who enjoy romancing the stove… “How do I sauté without oil??”
I can assure you it is very easy providing you have the know-how, and most importantly, the right pan! I made a video a while back in which I stated that I mostly enjoy using stainless steel for my sautéing. That’s right, not non-stick. Just a very good quality stainless steel pan. I know, they can be VERY costly, upwards of hundreds of dollars for a high-end 18/10 stainless pan. Well, I have good news! I was recently approached by a company called Mealthy which offers just such a pan at a fraction of the cost. They offered me a free trial which I accepted and I must say, I am in love with this pan! Not only is it heavy and made of quality steel, I love the shape of it and the fact that it’s much deeper than most pans. 

You can find your Mealthy pan on AMAZON HERE. Or at the company’s website HERE.

Back to the topic at hand, how DO you cook without oil? Mostly, I just use water or veggie broth in place of oil. For those of you who missed my video post about water sautéing, here is the link: HOW TO WATER SAUTE 

Here are some tips and tricks:

  1. Before heating your pan, wipe it with just a touch of oil. I will use about a half teaspoon and then use a paper towel to spread the oil out evenly in a VERY thin layer.
  2. Heat the pan BEFORE adding your veggies. Not to the point that’s it’s smoking, but over medium heat for a few minutes is good.
  3. Add the veggies first with nothing else. Let them sizzle just a bit before adding bits of water or vegetable broth, A LITTLE AT TIME. You don’t want to flood it, just enough so that the veggies don’t stick. This way you will still get a nice crisp on the food and it won’t be soggy.
  4. Keep it moving! It’s important to stir your ingredients, again so that they don’t stick.

That’s pretty much it! It’s not hard, especially with practice, you’ll get the hang of it.

For those of you still wondering WHY it is unsafe for our health to consume oils, here are a couple informative videos for you from Dr. Greger of NutritionFact.org to check out, but I urge you to do your own research as well:

 

But wait! What about BAKING? That’s a whole science in itself and there are also MANY ways to avoid using oils in baked goodies. For a comprehensive look at how to create yummy, plant-based, oil-free, baked treats, head over to download my FREE E-BOOK, I’m a Baker Dammit!  It took me YEARS to figure out how to bake again after becoming plant-based. I hope that you can find some inspiration here. 🙂


That’s all for now lovelies. Happy oil-free cooking (and baking)!

Healthy trails,

 

 

 

 

 

Product link disclaimer: If you’ve been visiting my site for a while, you may notice that I use NO ADS in my posts. I really don’t like to be disturbed by pop-up ads when I’m browsing myself, and I’ve seen ads for items that really have no place on plant-based blogs. So I do make a very small amount of commissions if you click through and purchase an item on Amazon via my site. Thank you for your support in allowing me to continue posting recipes for you!

Mint Chocolate Chip Ice Cream ~ Plant based!

 

 

My dad and I used to fight over the mint chip ice cream when I was a kid. Okay, so some foods have emotional ties and this one sure does for me! While we don’t eat many sweets, Mountain Man and I do enjoy some plant-based ice cream occasionally, especially in these hot summer months. THIS delivers in a big way! I love making my own ice cream. Even the vegan brands in the store contain fillers and thickeners which I really don’t care to eat. Plus, it’s EASY and it’s so much fun watching the mixture churn and grow as it’s forming.

The base of this deliciousness is cashews for ultra creaminess. Yes, it’s high in calories and fat… like I said, an occasional indulgence. You will need an ice cream maker for this one. I found a great churner on Amazon here. It is reasonably priced and just so easy to use. And, of course, you’ll need a good blender for that wonderful smooth texture! Do you own a Vitamix yet? I highly recommend them and use mine daily!

So what’s the best way to store your work of art? I found these great ice cream storage containers, again on Amazon, here. They really are great and come in some fun colors, too!

 

Enjoy and stay cool!

Healthy trails,

 

 

 

 

 

Product link disclaimer: If you’ve been visiting my site for a while, you may notice that I use NO ADS in my posts. I really don’t like to be disturbed by pop-up ads when I’m browsing myself, and I’ve seen ads for items that really have no place on plant-based blogs. So I do make a very small amount of commissions if you click through and purchase an item on Amazon via my site. Thank you for your support in allowing me to continue posting recipes for you!

Middle Eastern Harira Soup ~ Plant-based and Oil-free!

 

This savory, spicy, hearty soup is native to Morocco. Though eaten throughout the year, Harira is the most commonly eaten food during the fasting month of Ramadan. An estimated ninety-nine percent of Moroccans eat Harira every day during the 29 or 30 days of Ramadan. No wonder it’s Morocco’s national soup!

There are a couple of unusual ingredients that are traditional to this soup, but if you can’t find them, don’t worry; it’s just as yummy without them! BUT, if you go the extra measure and hunt down these uncommon additions you will be rewarded with the most authentic and unique flavor imaginable! The spices I am referring to are sumac and black lemon.

Sumac is pretty easy to come by. Most Asian stores carry it. I found it on Amazon (see link above). Sumac has a lovely, dark red to purple color and a tart flavor that is reminiscent of vinegar or lemon. It is an essential ingredient in Middle Eastern cooking.

Black lemon, on the other hand, is quite rare but I was able to find it online (again, see link above). Its name is a misnomer, as it’s actually a lime that has been dried. It’s such a funny ingredient as it’s pitch black and quite hard. I use mine by breaking one of them apart and pulverizing it in my spice blender. Black lemons have an extraordinary sweet-tart property and lend a very complex, deep flavor to any dish. NOTE: Keep your black lemons in an airtight jar with a couple of desiccant packets to keep them from taking on too much moisture from any ambient humidity.

Okay, let’s get to this tasty recipe! You can use any kinds of veggies you prefer in this soup. I usually use red bell peppers, celery, carrots, onions and mushrooms. Sometimes I add cauliflower. The base is made of lentils and tomato. Think of it as a Middle Eastern kicked-up lentil soup. Give it a try and don’t let the long list of ingredients scare you off… it’s worth every effort. 🙂 

Healthy trails,

 

 

 

 

Banana Bread Pancakes ~ plant based and oil-free!

 

Yep, we love banana bread in our house… and we love pancakes, too! So I thought, why not combine the two? Yes! These babies are so yummy, I promise you won’t have any leftovers. 🙂 I know I will get asked so no, I have not tried them with gluten-free flours. I used organic spelt flour for these. For some reason spelt does not affect me in the same way as regular wheat. I’m not gluten-intolerant but I find that if I eat too much wheat, especially more processed wheat like pasta, I do get bloated and feel uncomfortable. But not so with spelt, so there you go. You could also use whole wheat flour for this recipe.

These wonders are so soft and packed with flavor! The natural sweetness from the banana is a plus. And the little crunches of walnut add a dose of omega-3 goodness.

You will need a blender for this recipe and it really makes things so easy. Enjoy!

Healthy trails,

 

 

 

 

 

Tofu Feta “Cheese”

 

Feta cheese! This recipe really comes close to the real deal. It was a big hit at a gathering that I attended and it’s so easy to put together. You must try it! Okay, so feta cheese doesn’t normally come with added spices, but you know what they say about TOFU, right? Totally Out of Flavor Undeniably! 😀 The spices really make this tofu dish shine, making it a perfect addition to a Greek Salad! Yummy. The best part about this recipe is that the longer the tofu marinates in the juices, the more flavor it takes on and the better it gets. I have had some in the fridge for up to two weeks with no problem in spoiling, probably because of the fair amount of vinegar that I use in the recipe.

I used Eden’s ume plum vinegar as part of my ingredients as well as red wine vinegar. The ume vinegar is a bit salty, so you can omit it if you are on a low-sodium regime since there is already miso in the recipe as well.

Healthy trails,

 

 

 

Tomato Bisque VIDEO ~ plant-based and oil-free

Looking for an easy, creamy soup on a cool day. Here it is! The ultimate in comfort… tomato bisque. Click on the photo above to view the video.

Enjoy!

Healthy trails,

 

 

 

Chocolate Tahini Cookies ~ Vegan, Gluten-free, Oil-free

 

Another cookie recipe! Yay!!! I’ve been wanting to make these for the longest time. I tried one batch that I wasn’t happy with so this was my second attempt and boy, are they good. Chocolate and tahini? You bet! Possibly better than peanut butter and jelly. They seem to really complement each other, resulting in a deep, rich, complex flavor. These gems are not too sweet, and so pillowy soft, it’s like eating a cloud. Heaven in every bite. 🙂 

Tahini (sesame seeds) should be labeled a superfood in my humble opinion. Why? There’s tons of info out there about its health benefits. Here are just some:

  • Rich in minerals such as phosphorus, lecithin, magnesium, potassium and iron.
  • Good source of Methionine, which aids in liver detoxification.
  • One of the best sources of calcium out there.
  • High in vitamin E and vitamins B1, B2, B3, B5 and B15.
  • Helps to promote healthy cell growth.
  • Prevents anemia.
  • Can help balance hormones.
  • Helps to maintain healthy skin and muscle tone.
  • Can help to regulate blood pressure.
  • Easy for to digest because of its high alkaline mineral content.
  • High in healthy fats and amino acids.

Ideally a food processor should be used to combine the ingredients for these cookies, but I’m sure if you did it by hand, the result would still be fine. I do hope you will try these nutritious bundles of goodness!

Healthy trails,

 

 

 

 

 

 

Cranberry Orange Oatmeal Cookies ~ Gluten-free, Oil-free and Vegan

 

Old habits die hard. So I’m sitting looking out my window at the falling snow… there’s a fire in the wood stove, the cats are curled up in their favorite spot, and I just can’t help myself. I have to bake some cookies!!! It’s coming up on Christmas anyway, so that’s a good excuse, too, right? 😉 These cookies are really easy to make, come together in a snap, and they smell divine while baking.

I could hardly wait for them to cool! Finally… my patience pays off—the orange essence wafts up into my senses with a hint of cinnamon as I take my first, crunchy bite. Then the little pops of juicy cranberry mingle with earthy pecan bits and the experience all comes together with a sense of being nourished and loved. ❤️

We’re expecting up to 24″ of the white powdery stuff this weekend. Hoping for the best, hunkered down with my oven, my man and my kitties… life is good.

Happy, healthy holidays!