How to use DAREBEE recipes
All recipes in the DAREBEE database give you three portion sizes: small, medium and large.
Pick a small portion size, if:
- You are trying to reduce your body fat percentage and your daily caloric intake in general;
- You are not used to eating big meals or you eat micro meals throughout the day;
- You had a large meal earlier in the day and don't feel like eating a lot;
- You are having other dishes like salads, bread and/or dessert with your meal.
A medium portion size is your regular plate for every day. Choose it, if:
- You are exercising regularly and you are just trying to streamline or maintain your body fat percentage;
- You are trying to build muscle tone while also trying to drop body fat;
- You are eating three times a day and this is one of your meals.
A large portion size is for you, if:
- You are trying to gain weight and put on muscle. You don’t want to lose body fat;
- You eat one or two meals a day.
The recipes for each portion size were not just increased based on quantity but with a focus on extra protein and the ingredients containing it. We designed the portion system also based on how you cook and the ingredients you will be using so you don't end up with half an apple in the fridge or forced to open an extra can of beans.
When cooking for two or more people simply multiply the portions you are making by the number of people you are cooking for. Remember, though, the recipes and the quantities given are all guidelines only. You are the master of your kitchen, you make the rules. The recipes were designed to make your life easier, give you ideas and help you feel more in control.
At the end of each recipe you will find a step prompting you to top and garnish every dish you make. Usually we will recommend fresh herbs, spices, nuts and seeds but if you don't have any on hand or you just aren’t a fan of a particular topping, just skip or change it. The reason we all should try to make our dishes look Instagram worthy is because our brains are hardwired to respond to colorful and interesting food.
When we see food that looks good, we begin to secrete digestive juices in anticipation. We can then better absorb what we eat and get maximum nutrition from the same food but presented in a more appetizing manner. How we feel about what we eat is just as important as what we eat. Food should make us feel happy and satisfied every time.
All recipes are given without any salt. That's because the saltiness of food is a very personal matter. Some people prefer things to be very salty and others like it less. With so many people reducing their salt intake the margin for error in any given recipe is incredibly high. So, season for taste. Either add salt as you go while making recipes or add it as a final touch. Alternatively serve your dishes with a bottle of soy sauce on the side. A dash of soy sauce will liven up any rice dish or soup in an instant.
Maple Syrup & Molasses
We are using molasses and maple syrup as sweeteners but you are free to replace them with one of your choice.
The reason we use black-strap molasses is because as far as sweeteners go it’s one of the best ones in terms of its nutritional value. Unlike regular sugar, black-strap molasses is rich in iron, selenium, and copper, and even has some calcium in it. And it’s cheap! So it’s great value for money, too. Because you need very little each time one jar will go a long way. It works beautifully with all types of tomato, fresh tomatoes or tomato paste balancing out that sourness.
Maple syrup is our second sweetener of choice because of its subtle taste. You can use any other syrup instead of it like date, coconut or agave syrup. You can even use plain sugar - simply half the amount required for the recipe.
Tomato Paste vs Tomato Sauce vs Fresh Tomatoes
Sometimes a recipe calls for a little bit of umami taste and that’s where tomatoes come in. It’s not always possible or practical to use a fresh one so you should always have tomato paste in your pantry, ready to go on short notice. The reason we recommend you buy tomato paste is because it is essentially a concentrate sold in small quantities. It does go a long way.
Tomato sauces on the other hand are recommended for recipes where you need a large quantity of tomatoes. Once a jar is opened, you should either use up half of it or all of it. When you buy tomato sauce it often comes in different flavors like basil or olive or mushrooms which is an excellent shortcut for better tasting food.
And fresh tomatoes are best saved for fresh salads or for when you want to add extra chunkiness to your dishes. Canned chopped tomatoes will work here, too.
Plant based recipes often include lots of different beans because of their excellent nutritional value and good rep when it comes to health and longevity. All beans are nutritional powerhouses. They are high in protein, fiber and essential minerals. They are filling, comforting and tasty even on their own. The only drawback when it comes to beans is the need to soak them before cooking. It's an important step and it should not be skipped but yes, it's a hustle and it does mean that you have to plan your meals in advance. There are a couple of shortcuts for this.
Use canned beans. Bonus - they are already cooked and you can make meals with them in minutes. The drawback, it's more expensive in the long run and the texture of the beans is not quite the same.
Cook in bulk. This is especially useful if you are cooking for two or more people regularly. Soak and then cook a whole pack of beans in advance and keep them in a tupperware in the fridge. Then use them up throughout the week. Bulk cooking also works for grains and legumes. You can cook rice, lentils and quinoa and even sweet potatoes in large quantities in advance this way.
If you cook beans often a pressure cooker is a worthwhile investment. It's a set and forget solution. You can soak beans inside, drain and rinse them the next day then add fresh water and have them ready in 10-15 minutes. Pressure cookers are brilliant for all things beans. They will also cook rice, though, the best type of rice to cook in one is brown long grain Basmati rice. It comes out perfect every time.
Note: you can cook beans in pressure cookers without soaking but there are split opinions on that one. If you can, always soak beans before cooking.
Plant Based Dairy
All DAREBEE recipes use plant based dairy: milk, cream, cheese and yogurt. We often use cashew milk, cashew or soy cream and yogurt and cheese made from nuts in the DAREBEE kitchen. The type of dairy you use is up to you. Use what you have on hand or use what you simply prefer. We prefer cashew milk and cream because of its mild taste and turn to soy when we want creamier and richer texture.
Cooking Without Oil
You will notice that we saute, boil and roast everything and we rarely use oil, if at all. We use water. Cooking this way drastically reduces the overall Caloric value of all of the dishes and makes the clean up afterwards a breeze. Cooking with oil is mostly a habit for most of us but once you try cooking without it, food cooked with oil begins to taste greasy and not that tasty. If you want to cook with oil, though, that’s ok too! Sometimes it is necessary to bring out certain flavors in food or create that golden crusty look.
Good quality oils, olive or avocado oils, should be reserved for salads or added to dishes after you are done cooking them to preserve all of their nutrients.