Peanut butter and banana chia wrap

Here is another great and very easy recipe that uses chia seeds.  It is great for a quick breakfast or lunch.  To learn more about chia seeds go here.

 

Peanut butter and banana chia wrap, adapted from peanut butter fingers blog 

Ingredients

  • 1 sprouted grain tortilla (I used Ezekiel)
  • 2 tablespoons natural peanut butter
  • 1 banana
  • ½ tablespoon chia seeds

Directions

Spread the tortilla with peanut butter. Sprinkle the peanut butter with the chia seeds.  Place banana on top and roll up.

28. January 2012 by admin
Categories: Breakfast, Main Dishes, Vegetarian | Tags: , , , , | Leave a comment

Pepper and Sweet Potato Stew

I grew up having sweet potatoes as a Thanksgiving staple.  I know a lot of people with some version of the sweet potato casserole recipe topped with either marshmallow or brown sugar and pecans.  As good as it is that way, I have added them to my diet in more healthful ways.  They are very versatile and are good both savory dishes and sweet dishes.  I usually try to have them once every couple of weeks because they are so nutritious.
Sweet potatoes aren’t really potatoes.  They are a tuberous root vegetable that is easy to find particularily in the South.  You can usually get locally grown ones in your farmer’s market or grocery store.  Sweet potatoes contain beta-carotene, vitamin A, potassium, vitamin C, and folic acid.
This is an easy one pot meal that could be served with either some bread or a simple salad.  This recipe has been adapted from Carla Hall’s recipe for Groundnut Stew.
Please note that if using dried beans you must soak beforehand and cook.  You can also use canned beans.  Also note that the poblano is roasted by placing under a broiler.  Once the pepper is charred, place it in a bowl and cover with plastic wrap.  Allow to cool slightly then remove skin, seeds, and stem and chop.

Ingredients

3 tablespoons olive oil
1 clove garlic, minced
1 and 1/2 cups cooked small red beans (1/2 cup dried if you prefer see note)
1 cup chopped green pepper
2 teaspoons salt
1/4 teaspoon black pepper
1 poblano chili, roasted peeled and seeded (see note)
3 tablespoons creamy natural peanut butter
1 1/2 cups chopped onion
2 cups peeled and cubed sweet potatoes
3 cups vegetable stock or broth
1 1/2 teaspoons freshly grated ginger
1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
1 (14.5 oz can) diced tomatoes
1 habanero, cut a slit in the pepper (optional)
Lime wedges for garnish

Directions

Heat a saute pan over medium high heat.  Add 2 tablespoons olive oil to the pan.  Add the cubed sweet potatoes and a little salt and cook for 2-3 minutes until the potatoes are brown and caramelized. In a large pot, heat 1 tablespoon of oil over medium heat and sauté onion and garlic until soft.  Add the sweet potatoes, beans, stock or broth, peppers, chills, tomatoes, and spices.  Bring the mixture to a boil and simmer on low covered for 35 to 40 minutes.  Place the 3 tablespoons of peanut butter in a small bowl.  Add a small ladle (about 1/4 cup) of broth to the peanut butter.  Used a whisk or fork to combine with peanut butter.  Add mixture back to the pot and stir.  Serve garnished with lime wedges.

19. January 2012 by admin
Categories: Main Dishes, Soups | Tags: , , , , | Leave a comment

Lentils

I love roasted vegetables.  They take on a very unique flavor when they caramelize in the oven.  I found this recipe that uses a combination of roasted vegetable and lentils for protein.  Lentils – like beans—are legumes and one of society’s most ancient foods.  Lentils are high in protein, fiber, vitamin B6, folate, thiamine, manganese, iron, copper, potassium and zinc.  They also contain antioxidants.

Lentils are available in several different types.  Most commonly used is the brown lentil, but there are also available in green and red.  Lentils are very popular in a variety of ethic cooking — particularly in regions of the world where meat is not eaten because of ethical or religious reasons – because they are so high in protein.

Lentils contain lignans, which may help reduce the risk of estrogen related cancers.  The lignans are a weak phytoestrogens – similar to those found in soybeans – although this is a controversial topic, many people believe that they help suppress excess estrogen production in the body.  Keep this in mind if you have had estrogen receptive cancer that these types of foods should be consumed in moderation.

Lentils also stabilize blood sugar levels in people with diabetes.  Lentils – like other beans — reduce blood pressure and cholesterol levels.

Lentils are very reasonable and make a very inexpensive meatless meal.  Unlike other beans lentils do not require soaking time and cook up relatively quickly.

 

Roasted Fall Vegetables with Lentils, adapted from Whole Living recipe

Note that you can use any vegetable in this dish that you desire.  It would be equally delicious with acorn squash, brussels sprouts, sweet potatoes etc.  Use what you like and what you have on hand.

Ingredients

1/2 pound carrots, halved lengthwise

1 red onion, cut into 1-inch wedges

1 small butternut squash, halved, seeds removed, cut into 1/2-inch slices

5 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil

Coarse salt and freshly ground pepper

1/2 cup dried French green lentils, rinsed

1 clove garlic, smashed

4 teaspoons raw apple cider vinegar

1 teaspoon Dijon mustard

1 stalk celery, chopped in 1-inch wedges

 

Directions

  1. Pre-heat oven to 425 degrees. Arrange celery, carrots, onion, and squash on a baking sheet and drizzle
with 2 tablespoons olive oil.  Season the vegetables with salt and
pepper. Roast, turning once during cooking time, for about 30 minutes.
  2. While the vegetables are roasting place the lentils and garlic clove in a medium saucepan
and cover with water.
Bring to a boil, then simmer, covered, until
lentils are tender, about 20 minutes. Drain; discard garlic. Season with salt and pepper.
  3. Combine vinegar and mustard. Pour remaining
3 tablespoons olive oil in a slow steady stream,
whisking constantly. Toss lentils with vinaigrette and season with salt
and pepper. Spoon over roasted vegetables.

11. January 2012 by admin
Categories: Main Dishes, Vegetarian | 1 comment

Chia

Yes, believe it or not chia.  It for more than chia pets!  (Make sure you get chia that is food-safe and not the kind for the novelty pets that have been treated with chemicals.  This kind is not edible) Chia is a seed from a plant called Salvia hispanica.  Both the Aztec and Mayan peoples ate chia seeds, as they believe that they provided energy. It is loaded with fiber and also contains iron, calcium, protein, and potassium, phosphorus, magnesium, manganese, copper, iron, molybdenum, niacin, and zinc.  It contains the antioxidants chlorogenic and caffeic acids.

Chia is also very rich in omega-3 fatty acids.  Unlike flaxseed chia does not need to be ground to utilize its nutrients. It also does not go rancid like flax seed.  For breast cancer survivors one of the biggest advantages is that Chia does not contain estrogen or any phytoestrogens. These compounds are found in flaxseed, which makes chia a great flaxseed alternative.  The subject of plant-based estrogens and estrogen-receptive cancer is a controversial topic.  Some people believe that plant-like estrogen compounds mimic estrogen in the body and can encourage growth of estrogen receptive cancer.  Others say that this type of estrogen actually levels out estrogen levels in the body.  I error on the side of caution and avoid flaxseed and limit my intake of other plant estrogens based on the advice from my doctor.  Be sure to consult your doctor prior to making any dietary changes if you have ever had cancer.

Chia also has the ability to soak many times their weight in water.  It turns into a gel that runners use to thicken smoothies and provide energy.  It is also used as an egg substitute in baking.  Chia is also gluten free, so it has become very popular in gluten-free cooking for people with celiac disease.  It’s extremely versatile and can be put into pretty much anything from pancakes to salads to cookies.  You can also sprinkle it on your yogurt of cereal.  Chia can be purchased from your local health food store or organic type grocery chain like Whole Foods.  I purchased mine from the bulk section of Whole Foods, but it can also be found in the health and vitamin section of the store.  I am just beginning to experiment with chia seed, so if anyone has any ideas or recipes to share please contact me.

Fruit and Nut Bites, Adapted from Whole Living recipe

Ingredients

  • 2 cups mixed dried fruit (  I used medjool dates, apricots, and cranberries)
  • 2 cups raw mixed nuts and seeds ( I used chia seeds (2 tablespoons), walnuts, pecans, and pine nuts)
  • Coarse salt
  • 1/3 cup raw sesame seeds

Directions

  1. In a food processor, pulse dried fruit; transfer to a bowl.
  2. Pulse nuts and seeds until finely chopped and add to dried fruit with a dash of cinnamon and a pinch of salt.
  3. Knead together and form 1-inch balls; roll each ball in sesame seeds.

 

07. January 2012 by admin
Categories: Desserts, Starters, Vegetarian | 2 comments

Miso Soup

I don’t know exactly what it is about miso soup, but I absolutely love it!  Some say that it’s the umami – you know your 5th taste – that makes this soup so irresistible.   I have been craving this soup for a couple of days so I finally made it.  I don’t know if it’s the recently cold weather we have here in Charleston.  It was in the mid 60’s on Christmas Day and I was thrilled it got cold enough the last two days that I could wear my new wool sweater that I got for Christmas.  Anyway I guess that’s why I have been craving soup!

Miso is one of those soups that can be made a hundred different ways.  If you search the Internet for a miso soup recipe then you will see what I mean.  I like mine pretty close to the traditional method.  It is one of those recipes where you can use what you have on hand.  Miso is fermented soybean paste.  Its hard to describe but the taste is strangely reminiscent of Parmigiano-reggiano.  I’ve never considered myself a big lover of tofu, but I have recently started cooking with it.  It’s not as bad as you think it is.  In most dishes it takes on the flavor of whatever it’s in.  However, if you don’t like tofu, feel free to leave it out.  It doesn’t really make or break the dish.  It just makes it more filling with the added protein.

Seaweed is used to make the dashi broth for the miso soup.  The seaweed contains folate, calcium, iron, vitamin A, C, E, and K.  It also contains iodine, which is necessary for proper thyroid functioning.  The use of soy in the diet of estrogen-receptive breast cancer patients is somewhat controversial because of the isoflavinoids that mimic estrogen.  On the advice of my doctor, I am allowed to have soy in moderation.  If you have had estrogen receptive cancer consult your doctor for their approval.  You could also omit the soy by leaving out the tofu and replacing the miso with adzuki bean miso if you prefer.

Note:  be sure not to boil the miso paste after adding it to the soup.  It can kill the natural probiotics that the miso naturally contains and it also destroys the flavor and consistency of the miso.  You can also use instant dashi or chicken stock rather than making your own dashi like I did in the recipe below.

Ingredients

  • 4 cups filtered water
  • 1 piece (about 4 inches) kombu, wiped with a damp cloth
  • 2/3 cup bonito flakes
  • 1 package oyster mushrooms, sliced (if you can’t find these you can use shitake or other mushrooms)
  • ½ small bunch of baby bok choy, sliced in ½ inch pieces
  • 3 tablespoons white miso
  • 1 block (14 ounces) firm tofu, cubed
  • 1 tablespoon chili garlic sauce (optional)
  • 2-3 green onions, thinly sliced
  • roasted seaweed snack, cut in ½ inch strips for garnish (optional)

Directions

  1. For the dashi, place the water in a pan with the kombu and bring the water to a boil. Remove the kombu and add the bonito flakes.  Stir and allow the flakes to settle.  Strain the broth and discard the flakes.
  2. Return the stock to a boil and add the mushrooms and the baby bok choy.  Simmer for 5 minutes.  Remove pan from heat.
  3. Take a ladle of the both and place in a bowl.  Add the miso and whisk to incorporate.  Add the miso mixture back to the pan.
  4. Add the cubed tofu, chili garlic sauce and stir.
  5. Ladle into bowls and top with sliced green onions and roasted seaweed.

 

 

 

05. January 2012 by admin
Categories: Main Dishes, Soups | Leave a comment

Sweet potato Hummus

Eating a diet in brightly colored fruits and vegetables will help prevent cancer.  Sweet potatoes are no exception!  These bright orange beauties contain carotenoids like beta-carotene that are powerful antioxidants that have been shown in studies to reduce the risk of many types of cancer.  The antioxidants  protect cell membrane and DNA from free radicals that can cause cancer.  Sweet potatoes also contain vitamin A which is good for eyes and skin.
This recipe for sweet potato hummus is from Whole Living magazine.  This was surprisingly delicious.  I wasn’t sure I would like sweet potatoes in hummus.  The sweet potatoes added a nice sweetness to the bitterness of the tahini and complemented the cumin very well.  Serve with whole wheat pita chips and red or green bell pepper and broccoli for dipping.  These veggies will add lycopene, vitamin C, sulforaphane, and selenium to this already healthy snack. Enjoy!

Ingredients

  • 1 pound sweet potatoes, peeled and cut into 1-inch pieces (about 2 medium)
  • 1 can (19.5 ounces) chickpeas, drained and rinsed
  • 1/4 cup fresh lemon juice (from 1 lemon)
  • 1/4 cup tahini
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 2 teaspoons ground cumin
  • 1 garlic clove, chopped
  • Coarse salt and ground pepper
  • Garlic salt
  • 2-4 tablespoons water to thin out
  • 2 Whole-wheat pitas
  • Red or green bell pepper and/ or broccoli

Directions

1.  Set a steamer basket in a large pot. Fill with enough water to come just below basket; bring to a boil. Add potatoes; reduce to a simmer, cover, and cook until tender, 10 to 12 minutes. Transfer to a food processor.

2.  Combine chickpeas, lemon juice, tahini, oil, cumin, and garlic in a food processor. Puree, about 1 minute; thin with water if necessary. Season with salt and pepper and let cool.  This will keep for 1 week in the refrigerator.

For the pita chips

Brush 2 whole wheat pitas with olive oil on both sides.  Sprinkle both sides with garlic salt.  Cut the pita into wedges like you would with a pizza.  Place on a baking sheet sprayed with cooking spray and bake at 350 degrees for 10 minutes.

29. December 2011 by admin
Categories: Starters | Leave a comment

“Fried” Rice

 

Bean sprouts

 

This recipe was adapted from Bethenny Frankel’s Un-fried rice recipe.  This is a great way to use your own bean sprouts, or you can use store bought bean sprouts.

Ingredients

1 cup chopped onions (regular or green onions)
1 1/2 cups shredded chicken (optional)
3 cups leftover brown rice
1 1/2 cups bean sprouts
1 tablespoon canola oil
1 tablespoon soy sauce
1 teaspoon sesame oil
1/4 teaspoon chili oil
1/2 teaspoon dried ginger
1/4 teaspoon garlic powder
1/2 teaspoon black pepper
1/2 cup liquid egg whites

Directions

In a large skillet over high heat, sauté the onions until soft, add the bean spouts and cook for a few more minutes.  Put ingredients to the side and add egg whites.  Scramble and add remaining ingredients.  Serve immediately.

29. December 2011 by admin
Categories: Main Dishes, Sprouting | Tags: , | 3 comments

Butternut squash pizza

Butternut squash contains fiber, carotenoids, and beta-carotene.

 

Ingredients

  • 1 whole wheat pizza crust- store bought or homemade whole wheat crust
  • 1/2 cup organic pizza sauce
  • 1 package frozen butternut squash, or you can roast your own if you can’t find frozen
  • 5 portabella mushrooms, thinly sliced
  • 1/2 cup caramelized onions (make your own by slicing onions and cooking in olive oil over low heat for 30 minutes)
  • 1 1/2 cups reduced fat italian cheese blend
  • 2 large sprigs fresh sage, finely chopped
  • cornmeal for dusting pizza crust

Directions

Dust counter or board with cornmeal. Roll out pizza dough to desired thickness. Par bake the pizza at 400 degrees F for 10 minutes. Remove from oven and allow to cool slightly. Evenly spread crust with pizza sauce. Top sauce with 3/4 cup of the italian cheese blend. Top with the frozen butternut squash, sliced mushrooms, and chopped sage. Top with the remaining italian cheese blend. Bake for another 7 to 10 minutes or until the cheese is completely melted. Serve immediately.

23. December 2011 by admin
Categories: Main Dishes | Tags: , , , , , , | 1 comment

Sprouting

Bean Sprouts

 

Why Sprout?
     Ok.  I know sprouting sounds like a weird thing to do, but it’s actually very easy.  So, you ask why make your own sprouts when you can buy them in the store?
  • You can control the  quantity of the product. Their shelf life isn’t very long and it is simply hard to use a whole package of sprouts before they spoil.
  • If you make your own you can control the quality. You know what has gone into making the sprouts because they haven’t been made on a factory farm.  Organic beans beans will produce organic sprouts.
  • Homemade sprouts are much cheaper than buying them.  You can spend several dollars or so on sprouts at the grocery and then end up throwing half of them away.
  •  You can make sprouts during the winter months were there isn’t as much fresh produce available locally.
  •  Sprouts are very nutritions. When beans sprout the phytic acid is neutralized it transforms the beans into simple carbohydrates that are easier to digest.
Mung Beans
Equipment
     All you need is a few seconds a day, a wide-mouth glass quart size mason jar, a sprouting screen (or some netting), and water.  After 4 to 6 days you have wonderful and nutritious sprouts.
Note that sprouting large beans can be done in a colander and small seeds (broccoli sprouts) may need a sprouting screen with smaller holes.  For making bean sprouts a regular sprouting screen works fine.  The one I purchased was only a few dollars on amazon from the sprout house and can be found here.
Bean Sprouts growing longer
Directions
  1. Purchase organic quality mung beans.  You can find these in the bulk bin section of your grocery store.  You may have to go to Whole Foods or another similar store to find them.  I find that 1/2 cup of beans is plenty for me to make at one time.
  2. Place the beans in the quart size mason jar and secure the sprout screen with the metal band that comes with the lid.
  3. Rinse the beans by filling the mason jar with cold tap water and pouring out through the screen.  Do this 4 or 5 times.  Make sure to drain the beans well.  You can do this be leaving upside down in the sink or dish rack to drain. Some people do an initial soak of the beans overnight, but I have not found this step necessary.
  4. Continue to rinse beans daily in the morning and evening until you see sprouts begin to appear.  When you see leaves you know that you are done.  Don’t over-spout the beans as they can become bitter if they get too long.  Once they have sprouted to desired length place them in the refrigerator.
Finished Bean Sprouts

Sprouts grown to desired length

Eating
You can eat sprout raw in salads, add them to sandwiches, or cook them to add to dishes.  I love using my bean sprouts in “fried” rice.

20. December 2011 by admin
Categories: Main Dishes, Salads, Sprouting | Tags: , , , , , | Leave a comment

Pumpkin and Black Bean Soup

Pumpkin and black bean soup

Pumpkins are known to contain antioxidants called carotenoids.

 

Pumpkin and Black Bean Soup 

Adapted from Rachel Ray recipe on foodnetwork.com

This recipe contains multiple healthful ingredients that contain antioxidants. The pumpkin is loaded with cartenoids, the tomatoes contain lycopene, and the beans contain flavinoids, folate, protein and fiber.

Please note in the directions below that I soak the dried black beans in hot water overnight with two tablespoons raw cider vinegar.  This process makes the beans more digestible by the body and is said to increase the mineral absobtion by neutralizing the physic acid in the beans.  If you prefer to take a short cut and used canned beans, that’s fine.  I would just recommend that you use reduced sodium canned beans and rinse before using.

Ingredients

  • 2 T extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 large onion, chopped
  • 3 cups canned or boxed vegetable stock
  • 1 can (14 ounces) diced tomatoes and juice
  • 2 cups dried black beans, soaked
  • 1 T raw cider vinegar
  • 2 can (15 ounces) canned pumpkin — not the pie filling!
  • 1/2 cup plain non-fat greek yogurt
  • 1 T curry powder
  • 1 1/2 t ground cumin
  • 1/2 t cayenne pepper or red pepper flakes
  • Fresh chives for garnish
Directions
The night before heat enough water to cover the beans to boiling.  Place the beans in a non reactive glass bowl and add two tablespoons of raw cider vinegar.  Add the hot water to the beans and cover with a plate or towel.  Allow the beans to soak 12 to 24 hours.
Place a heavy bottom pot over medium heat.  Add the oil, and once the oil is hot add the onion and sauté.  Sauté until the onion is soft.  Add the broth, tomatoes and black beans.  If using the dried beans cook for 45 minutes to 1 hour until beans are tender.  Add the canned pumpkin reduce heat to low and add the greek yogurt, curry, cumin, and cayenne pepper.  Add salt and pepper to taste.  Simmer soup for 10 additional minutes to allow the flavors to meld.  Serve and garnish with chopped chives.

13. December 2011 by admin
Categories: Main Dishes, Soups | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

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