Simple Chickpea Salad and a Caribbean Adventure

Hubs and I had an adventure. We loaded up our suitcases, packed our swimsuits and snorkel gear, hopped in the car and sped off on a dark Friday night to…. Buffalo, NY. We left our amazing wheels (a 1993 Honda Accord named Betsy- a stick shift, of course), amidst a sea of other Ontario licence plates and jetted off  to our exotic cruise port destination of…… Baltimore, Maryland- where we met up with Hubs’ family and caught our boat. In case you didn’t realize, yes- you can take a Caribbean cruise from Baltimore, and because there’s really not that much to do on a giant boat, it was a surprisingly great way to relax and unwind and get all rested up. Three days later and ready to rumble… er.. explore? we arrived in Tortola, B.V.I.

I wish I could tell you that I had brought my camera along with me on all of the excursions we took. Alas, due to an extremely dramatic and vivid imagination I had clear visions of epic camera disasters. Needless to say, it stayed safely tucked in on ship. There are a thousand images I wish I could have captured- here are some of them:

The anticipation of my first time sea kayaking- being pushed off from the dock to land with a splash in the warm ocean water. The stillness and calm of an ancient mangrove swamp- birds chirping from hidden vantage points. Deserted beaches and brilliant aqua waters. Elation when hubs and I got our kayak stroke just right and in sync.

Careening through the Antiguan rainforest, attached to a single wire, feeling what it surely must be like to fly… then attempting to go even faster.

Enjoying a much needed double espresso break in Marigot at a wonderful little restaurant/cafe. The charmingly cute waiter who, not realizing he was still in our full sight line in the open kitchen, peeled off the previous night’s going out shirt and changed into his proper work tee, then glanced up with a blush of realization at his unintended exhibitionism. Grinning, he shrugged it off, walked over and chatted us up for a nice bit of conversation.

Our afternoon on the crowded, but in that perfect retro postcard type of way, Orient Beach. Splashing and swimming like children in the warm water, then letting the salt bake into our skin under the warm rays of the golden sun.

Sailing on a pirate ship in St. Thomas, then diving in to snorkel amidst happily eating sea turtles, rays and a grumpy barracuda. Imbibing in copious amounts of rum punch on the journey back to the dock then spending the rest of the day speaking like pirates.

Wandering the cobblestone streets in the Old City of San Juan, stumbling across the most wonderful cafe- with soaring glass windows, locally grown beans, an espresso machine from Florence, and the coolest music playing in the background. Getting a table there, savouring the moment, soaking it in. Enjoying.

Spending our last day on land lazing on a beach in Haiti, sipping dangerous fruity beverages. Willing time to slow down.

Eating too much potato and white rice, hoping for a really good meal. Like the chickpea salad we enjoyed on the first day on ship. We looked for it everyday afterwards, and it never re-appeared. Until we came home and recreated it. Only better- because it was with our own ingredients- nice oil, organic dried beans, fresh wet celery. Salty sweet umeboshi vinegar and crisp red radish sliced paper thin. In the comfort of our cozy home. Quiet. Relaxed. Glad to be back.

Simple Chickpea Salad

3 cups cooked chickpeas

3 radishes, sliced thin

1/4 cup onion, finely diced

1/2 cup celery- diced small

2 tbsp umeboshi vinegar

1 tsp olive oil

1 tsp tahini (optional)


In a bowl combine the finely diced red onion with the sliced red radish and the umeboshi vinegar. Massage with your hands, then cover with a smaller bowl or plate. Put something heavy on top to allow the red onions and radish to press  for 20 – 30 minutes.

Combine the red onion, radish and pressing liquid with the rest of the ingredients. Mix well and serve.

It’s super tasty the next day with left over rice mixed in. And vegenaise if you want to be especially decadent. Like on vacation.

Angela Branon - March 5, 2012 - 7:39 pm

Wonderful photos! I love how you juxaposed the food pics with the landscapes.
I just cooked chickpeas last night. I’ll try the salad for lunch.

Emma - March 8, 2012 - 7:13 pm

Ah beautiful Tortola – I miss the BVIs so much! Gorgeous photos Shauna, and lovely recipes as always

Shauna - April 13, 2012 - 10:43 am

Hi Angela, Thank you!! I love travelling…. although this trip the camera stayed hidden for the most part… can’t wait to go somewhere warm again, although I think we’ll go somewhere where we can cook for ourselves- maybe rent a cute little villa somewhere tropical? Some day!!

Karmen - July 16, 2012 - 1:42 pm

Threw this together this morning before work, since I had a bowl of chickpeas in the fridge I didn’t know what to do with (and didn’t feel like hummus). Delicious! It was my first time soaking and cooking dried chickpeas this weekend . . . the flavour seems much better than canned ones . . .

Shauna - July 16, 2012 - 4:05 pm

Hi Karmen!! Yay!! Yes- re-hydrated chickpeas are WAAAAYYY tastier than canned. Every time I make them hubs is like, “Whoa, I can’t believe how much better these are than canned” lol!! Happy you enjoyed the salad! xoxo


Good Morning all you lovely people!! I’m just finishing up the cruise/vacay/yummy chickpea salad recipe post, but in the meantime I HAD to stop in quickly to let you all know that I am beyond thrilled to have been nominated for  (multiple! eek!!) Homie Awards in the categories of Best Food Photography on a Blog and also Best Healthy Cooking Blog!! Wow!!! It’s so exciting for me, just starting out here, to be among such stellar company! There’s quite a ways to go for me to make it to the top 6 in the next 2 days (voting ends March 2nd) but I’d really appreciate your votes!! Just click on the links above and they will take you there to vote for She Cooks Macro. You do have to sign in, but it really is quick and easy. Thanks for the help, encouragement, and support!! xx

Karin - March 1, 2012 - 11:43 am

WOOHOO! Done, and done. 😉
Congratulations Shauna! Your hard work is paying off.

Gosia - March 1, 2012 - 5:54 pm

Shauna is the best…everything she does is full of heart and soul, like her beautiful macro blog and absolutely spectacular photography.

Diane Avoli - March 2, 2012 - 10:09 am

Shauna has great energy, style and cooking ability.

Nikola - March 2, 2012 - 1:14 pm

Done and Done :-)

katherine - March 5, 2012 - 10:38 am

Well done and well deserved beautiful star!

Shauna - April 13, 2012 - 10:45 am

Diane, Wow. Thank you. A comment like that from an amazing (macro superstar) woman like you means so much to me. thank you!!!

Left Over Rice Pudding

Hubs and I have been away. It was lovely travelling and exploring new places, visiting family and enjoying new people and experiences. I had never been on a cruise before and it had been my intention to post all about the trip right away, but it’s taking some time to collect my thoughts and ideas. I’ll share with you soon, I promise.

Coming back from vacation, excited to get back into the kitchen, the first thing I cooked was….. a giant pot of brown jasmine rice. Okay, so it’s not uber glamourous, but it sure was tasty alongside leafy steamed bok choy and kale, and my secret baked tofu. Greens were key. We had missed them. A lot. Our welcome back meal was simple and delicious though the next day we found ourselves wanting something sweet. Our memories were craving the fancy cocktail vacation drinks, but it was time to get back to balance. Fruity drinks are fabulous, on occasion, but it was time for something a bit more appropriate for the winter temperatures (aka not another pina colada!!). I knew I wanted something comforting and warming. Something to enjoy cuddled up in a soft wool blanket. And it had to be super easy. Enter the giant pot of rice.

It’s a good thing to cook a big ol’ pot of rice. You can use the leftovers in soups, stir-fries, grain salads, as porridge in the morning, or as the base for a rich and creamy dessert like in this pudding. The hardest thing here is the waiting, although you can cheat- I’ve written my secret below. You can use any type of milk you like. I combined the two simply because I wanted to use them up.

Left Over Rice Pudding

 2 Cups left over brown jasmine rice (short or medium grain brown rice is fine too)

1 cup amasake

1 cup almond milk

2 tbsp maple syrup

1/4 tsp cinnamon

1/8 tsp vanilla


Combine the leftover rice, the amasake and the almond milk in a pot. If you don’t have amasake that’s fine- just use whatever type of milk you have on hand. I wanted to use ours up- hence the combo. It’s flexible. Heat over low temperature, stirring occasionally, for 30 – 45 minutes. Sometimes when I can’t wait I’ll stir in some kuzu to thicken the pudding, so I can eat it right away… but it tastes better if you wait it out.

When the rice is tender soft and the pudding is thick and creamy, stir in the maple syrup, the vanilla and the cinnamon. Cook another 1-2 minutes, then serve. It’s equally tasty served hot, warm or cold.

Make lots and have it for breakfast too.


Hubs - February 28, 2012 - 5:07 pm

I hope there’s leftover rice tonight for breakfast tomorrow :) Yum!

Danielle - March 3, 2012 - 11:33 am

Hey Shauna! Congratulations on the accolades. I’m sure they are well deserved.
I love the idea of making a rice pudding! I just called up my local health food store asking if they had amasake, but they had no idea what it was (truth be told, I also had to google search it). So, if I don’t use the amasake, do I substitute that same amount for another cup of milk?

Also, this may be a stupid question, but I’ve always wondered…how long can I keep cooked rice in my fridge? It always seems to gather some condensation on the inner lid of my container after a couple days. Being just one person it takes a while longer to get through a couple servings of rice (or anything else for that matter!).

Where did you go on your cruise?

Do you remember Mandi from the store? She’s also gotten into the food health movement and has launched her own line of vegan nut butters. Nice to see these successful entrepreneurial projects take off and be received so well. Now, if only I could dedicate myself as much to my art work….something’s got to kick in in my head first to get me running again with it. But, I don’t know if you’ve seen my fb page in a little while, I’m really enjoying working on this children’s desk. It’s like entering into some fairy tale. nice :)

Chat soon!
xx D.

Shauna - April 13, 2012 - 10:44 am

Hi Danielle- thank you for the note!! I’ll send you a separate e-mail message with more details! Nice to hear from you!!!

[…] time to soak/cook, if you make a big batch you’ll be set for easy and fast rice porridge, rice pudding, fried rice, and any other number of quick dishes over the next couple of days. Woohoo to more time […]

Colourful Carrot and Burdock Kinpira

Of all the root vegetables used in macrobiotics, burdock is the creepiest. Dark brown and sinister, unlike any other root vegetable I’d ever had, it was totally intimidating. There were numerous times at the grocery store that I’d almost have it in the basket, but at the last minute it just seemed too weird and I’d freak out and toss it quickly back onto the produce shelf. Something about the colour made it seem dirty to me- a big deterrent for someone who once had the nickname “the health inspector”. Then one day I took a cooking class. “Eek!” I thought when it was served. I brought it to my mouth, closed my eyes, squished my nose up (I’m sure the teacher loved seeing that, lol) started to chew… and it was L.O.V.E.

Kind of like the enchanted frog that turns into a prince, this  seemingly dodgy brown root is all kinds of deliciousness. Freshly cut it smells like when you’re standing in the middle of a forest and while cooking its scent is reminiscent of freshly turned dirt, almost, but dirt you really want to eat… The flavour is earthy and warm and completely addictive. Hubs gets super excited when he sees this on the menu, and if there are any leftovers I don’t doubt that he would get up in the middle of the night and tuck them away to take for his lunch. Not to mention the powerhouse qualities of this root. Farmers hate burdock for its invasiveness, as it will grow almost anywhere. It especially likes concrete and will even grow in the middle of a city. It is tenacious and therefore perfect to get us moving in the middle of the winter, when some project or work needs to get done. Eat some burdock and you will accomplish anything. Seriously- please don’t wait as long as I did to try this one. If you find burdock (also called gobo) in the store, cheer wildly, thank your luck, then plunder the entire section.

Colourful Carrot and Burdock Kinpira

Serves 4.

2 cups carrot, chopped into fine matchsticks (I used a mix of orange, purple and yellow carrots for this dish, but orange carrots alone are just as tasty!)

2 cups burdock, chopped into fine matchsticks.

toasted sesame oil



toasted sesame seeds or gomashio

ginger juice


Heat a small amount of oil over medium-high heat.

Add the burdock and sauté for about 4 minutes.

Layer the carrot matchsticks over the burdock then add water to fill about halfway up the veg and bring to a boil.

Cover and reduce heat to medium low.

Simmer for about 10 minutes, then add a few drops of shoyu. Cover and simmer about 3 minutes longer.

Mix well, garnish with toasted sesame seeds and a few drops of ginger juice, then serve.

Hubs - January 30, 2012 - 5:21 pm

Can’t wait to try this tonight!

Karin - January 31, 2012 - 9:14 am

I was just eyeing the multi-coloured carrot bunches at Whole Foods yesterday! Haha. Now I have a reason to go back and grab them. YUM! 😉

Tomorrow Night!! » She Cooks Macro - October 18, 2012 - 12:26 pm

[…] now, here’s a link to the carrot and burdock kinpira recipe I featured last year. Next week, I’m going to show you one of my favourite ways to use it as […]

[…] promised, my favourite way to use left-over kinpira! We’ll also use it freshly cooked this way, as it is soooo easy for portable lunches or […]

Nathalie Lévesque - November 10, 2012 - 5:17 pm

Wow! that looks so good!

ENDANG UTARI - December 16, 2012 - 4:21 pm