RECIPE FRIDAY: ZUCCHINI LUNCH

Zucchini…. Not my favorite vegetable. It’s bland and unappealing, in general. I have found, though, that when I spiralize zucchini, it has a different taste and it looks pretty, so that has become my favorite way to utilize it. This recipe is mostly raw, and can be made totally raw if you so desire (see note at the end). It’s also a quick meal using foods that are not unusual or difficult to find.

Zucchini Salad

Zucchini Lunch

 

ZUCCHINI LUNCH

(Nutritarian, Vegan, Oil free, Salt free, Sugar free, Gluten free….and can be made totally Raw)

Serves 1

Ingredients:

1 medium zucchini, spiralized (or grated)

1 large tomato, very coarsely chopped (mine are pretty good sized pieces)

1/2 cup frozen corn, roasted for about 10 minutes in 350 degree oven (little brown marks on the corn)

1/2 of a medium avocado, cut into chunks

2 Tablespoons chopped walnuts

Lime wedges

Directions:

Layer the ingredients on a plate. Squeeze lime juice on the salad and savor the flavors! I also added a side of a few organic blue corn chips.

Spiralized Zucchini

Spiralized Zucchini

Addition of chopped tomatoes.

Addition of chopped tomatoes.

Addition of roasted corn.

Addition of roasted corn.

 

Notes:

  • I fully intended to add some chopped green onion….forgot about it until I was eating the salad. By then it was too late.
  • A couple more additions I will make in the future: black or pinto beans and some cilantro. I need to go grocery shopping and those items are on my shopping list.
  • Totally raw option: Use fresh corn cut from the cob or some thawed frozen corn. And sprouted lentils would work nicely for the bean option shown above.
Zucchini Lunch...YUMMY!

Zucchini Lunch…YUMMY!

 

 

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RECIPE FRIDAY: FAST MINESTRONE

What? Recipe Friday? What’s going on here? Well….I’ve had a rough and busy week…away from the computer. And after thinking it through, I thought Friday might really be the better day for a recipe anyway. Sorry for the confusion; I know you were all so looking forward to what recipe I was posting this week (at least in MY dreams).

With life being so hectic for me recently, as I’m sure it is for many of you on a regular basis, I thought I would put something together that didn’t require chopping, dicing, or much prep work at all. This recipe comes together with canned, frozen, and grocery prepared items. It’s quick and easy, warm on a cold night, healthy, and very comforting. Please note: it’s not salt-free, because I can only find a low-sodium variety of veggie broth. If you have unsalted veggie broth (homemade!), please feel free to substitute that.

FAST MINESTRONE

(Vegan, Nutritarian, Low-Sodium, Sugar Free, Can be Gluten-Free)

Serves 2 – 4 (Depending on serving size)

Ingredients:

1/2 cup chopped green onion or onion of your choice(already chopped from the grocery!)

2 Tablespoons dry Sherry (use real Sherry; cooking sherry contains salt) or other wine or water

2 Tablespoons Italian seasoning (or seasoning of your choice)

16 oz low sodium veggie broth

1 can salt-free pinto beans,  rinsed and drained (other beans will work well, too)

1 can diced salt-free tomatoes

1/2 12 oz bag frozen mixed vegetables

1/4 cup whole wheat elbow macaroni or other pasta (for gluten free, use a gluten free pasta, cooked quinoa or brown rice, or just leave out)

Directions:

Saute onion and herbs in sherry. Add broth, beans and tomatoes. When this mixture comes to a boil, add the frozen veggies. Return to boil and add pasta. Cook 6 mins (or recommended cooking time of pasta). Remove from heat and serve. I like to add a little more sherry to my bowl.

Easy Minestrone

I had eaten most of the minestrone before I remembered to take a photo. Told you it was good!

NOTE: Using a little wine (and my favorite is the dry sherry) to saute the onions, etc., adds an extra flavor dimension. It’s really a good substitute for the flavor imparted by cooking with oil and the alcohol cooks away. Sauteing with vegetable broth or water works fine if you don’t want to use the wine.

RECIPE WEDNESDAY: PEACH SMOOTHIE

Yes, it’s cold….even in Houston. But I still start most days with a smoothie in the morning; in fact, I start the day with a HUGE smoothie. This one was put together yesterday and I really enjoyed it. It may look green (see the picture below), but peaches are definitely a huge part of the finished product.

PEACH SMOOTHIE

(Vegan, Nutritarian, Fat-Free, Salt-Free, Sugar-Free)

Makes one LARGE Smoothie

Ingredients:

1-1/2 cups water

1 teaspoon alcohol-free vanilla

2 Tablespoons hemp hearts

3 medjool dates; remove the seeds!

3 large kale leaves, stems removed (save the stems for juicing if you have a juicer that handles greens)

1 lemon, peeled and quartered

10 oz. frozen peaches

Cinnamon or Nutmeg, as desired

Directions:

Combine all ingredients in a high speed blender until well-blended. (You can definitely use any blender; blending time will be longer and the end product may not be as smooth.) Add ice if desired to get a thicker texture.

Notes:

This would also work well using nut milk or coconut water. Other greens, like spinach or collards, would be an excellent substitute for the kale. Add some raspberries and make it a Peach Melba smoothie.

Peach Smoothie

Please try it and let me know what you think….

Happy Sipping!

A WORD (OR TWO) ABOUT THE FLU SHOT

First, a disclaimer. I am NOT a medical practitioner. The following is just my opinion, based on my experience. Please do your own research and do not perceive this as medical advice.

ABC News showed a big map last night and tonight highlighting all of the states where the flu has hit. I believe the newest number is 41 states. Part of the story on flu is to insist that people get a flu shot. I question the health of doing that.

I have received the flu vaccine a couple of times, but I choose not to any more. First of all, the shot has resulted in my being quite ill previously…and we’re not talking redness and pain at the site of the injection; we’re talking serious cases of bronchitis that took nearly a month to get under control. Secondly, the vaccine is laden with toxins, like formaldehyde, which I choose not to knowingly allow in to my body. And thirdly, the flu strain for which the vaccine is made is not necessarily the flu strain that hits in any given year.

Yes, some people should get the vaccine, especially people who eat the Standard American Diet; unhealthy lifestyles and lack of nutritious foods do not create a particularly strong immune system. Since I’ve been following a nutritarian lifestyle (Dr. Joel Fuhrman, Eat to Live), my immune system has strengthened and, I believe, can efficiently fight cold and flu viruses without having the vaccine. (That does not mean that I will not get the flu or catch a cold, but that my body can quickly take out the virus.)

For the record, I am not against vaccines. Some, like the polio vaccine, have put an end to a horrible disease. Having the pneumonia vaccine or the shingles vaccine really makes sense for the elderly. BUT….most vaccines last for several years before needing another vaccine or a booster or require only one vaccine period. The flu vaccine is EVERY YEAR. And those toxins it contains are EVERY YEAR. It seems to me a healthier long-term option might just be to eat from nature’s pharmacy…..fruits and vegetables, nuts, seeds…..and get a stronger immune system.

Here’s some other info: http://beforeitsnews.com/alternative/2012/10/flu-vaccine-ingredients-as-lethal-as-ever-dont-risk-your-health-pass-on-the-flu-shot-2474096.html

What do you think of the flu vaccine? Did you, or are you, getting one this year?

RECIPE WEDNESDAY: BLACK BEAN CAKES

This was my lunch yesterday. Although the recipe isn’t perfect yet (see notes at the end), the flavor is so good I needed to go ahead and share. Besides, if I didn’t, there would be no recipe today…..none of us want that, do we?

Finished with salsa

Black Bean Cakes

(Vegan, Nutritarian, Salt-free, Oil-free, Sugar-free …… Makes 6)

Ingredients:

1 tablespoon flax meal combined with 2 tablespoons water; let this form a gel while you’re making the rest (this acts like an egg)

2 cups cooked black beans (I used ones I cooked but you can use 1 can, drained), mashed. Some chunks are okay, but make sure they’re mashed well.

1/4 cup green onion, chopped (I happened to have green on hand, but regular onion would work fine, too)

1/2 medium green pepper, minced

1/2 cup corn kernels (use organic to avoid GMOs; I used frozen, right from the bag)

2 medium mushrooms, minced

2 cloves garlic, minced

1/4 cup fresh cilantro, minced (if you don’t like cilantro, leave it out or substitute fresh parsley)

1 tablespoon (or to your liking) chili powder

1-1/2 teaspoon ground cumin (see note below)

1/4 cup medium ground cornmeal (see note below)

Directions:

Combine all ingredients in a mixing bowl, adding the flax meal/water mix last. Cover and refrigerate at least one hour (overnight is fine, too!).

The Mix

This is the mix before I put it into the refrigerator.

Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Form bean mix into patties and place on a parchment paper-lined cookie sheet. Bake for 15 minutes. Flip and bake an additional 10 minutes. I also ran mine under the broiler for 3 minutes on each side because I wanted a really crispy exterior. Serve and enjoy!

Tray of 6

The tray of six prior to baking.

Just One

Just one, prior to baking.

Notes:

Cumin: I prefer to grind my own. Simply toast cumin seeds lightly in a skillet over medium heat. Then, run them through a coffee grinder used specifically for herbs and spices. You’ll notice a difference!

Cornmeal: I used Bob’s Red Mill medium grind. This gives a bit of a gritty texture to the bean cakes. A finely ground cornmeal or a flour (wheat, brown rice, garbanzo, etc) would work well, too.

The Cornmeal

Bob’s Red Mill Cornmeal

Spices: I like mild spices for this recipe because I was topping with a spicy salsa. Feel free to adjust the heat to your liking. You can also try Mrs. Dash’s Southwest Chipotle seasoning in lieu of the chili powder….it’s good stuff, and spicy!

These bean cakes can be a little crumbly. That’s where I need to perfect the recipe a bit, but…. try them crumbled with salsa and avocado in a lettuce wrap. Totally delicious!

Finished no salsa

Here’s a pic of a finished bean cake without the salsa.

HOPE YOU ENJOY THESE! If you try them, please let me know….and I’d love suggestions for improving them!

HAPPY 2013!

Happy New Year!!!!!

Another new year….my, they seem to come so much faster now. When I was just a kid, it seemed a year was endless. Now if I blink, we’ve entered a new year.

Have you made any resolutions for this year? I’ve decided that having a monthly goal works better than a list of resolutions. Resolutions made at the beginning of a year seem to get discarded rapidly….just look at all of the people who begin an exercise program at the gym in January and have totally abandoned their routine by February 1.

To avoid that trap, I’m setting a new goal at the beginning of each month. Statistics have shown that it takes at least 21 days for a new habit to “stick.” It’s also easier to focus on “just one thing.” At the end of one month, I will have (I hope) developed a new habit and will be ready to work on adding a new (and healthy) habit to my “radiant” life.

So what’s this month’s goal? Mushrooms! You see, I follow Dr. Joel Fuhrman’s Eat to Live  (or nutritarian) lifestyle. He recommends that each day we include GBOMBS in our diets. So what are GBOMBS? It’s an acronym for Greens, Beans, Onions, Mushrooms, Berries, and Seeds….all of these work to build up our immune systems and create healthy bodies. BUT…I’m not crazy about mushrooms. I usually bypass them (the number I’ve thrown away because they’ve rotted in the refrigerator will attest to that). So January is the month of the mushroom; and I’ll probably have to find ways to sneak them in.

At the end of January, I’ll be picking something new to work on for February. What are your plans for this year? Did you make a resolution (or more than one) or did you set a goal for yourself? Let me know….and I wish you much success!

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Image courtesy of renjith krishnan at FreeDigitalPhotos.net

RECIPE WEDNESDAY: SICK WOMAN’S BLENDER TOMATO SOUP

I almost didn’t post today….I’ve been sick with a really nasty cold (or flu; there were chills yesterday). But then I started craving tomato soup….an easy tomato soup. Most commercial soups have stuff in them which I choose to avoid so I needed to “cook up” something myself….and it needed to be fast.

SICK WOMAN’S BLENDER TOMATO SOUP

(Vegan, Nutritarian, Salt-free, Sugar-Free)

Ingredients:

1 can diced salt-free tomatoes

1 raw tomato (optional; I had one I needed to use up so I threw it in)

1/2 small red pepper

2 green onions

A handful of sliced baby portabello mushrooms

1 Tablespoon salt free Italian Seasoning (I wanted Italian, but feel free to use something else and adjust accordingly)

A couple splashes of home-made almond milk (about 2 tablespoons, or 1/8 cup)

Directions:

Put everything in to a high speed blender (like VitaMix or Blendtec). Run on high until heated thoroughly, about 4 minutes. Serve! Alternatively, you can puree this in a regular blender and then heat on the stove (I’m not fond of microwaves, but that would work, too) or heat everything first and then puree with an immersion blender right in the pot. Makes ONE BIG SERVING or two smaller ones.

This recipe is salt free, but I did add a little salt at the table.

Please don’t get sick just to try this recipe.

Blender Tomato Soup

RECIPE WEDNESDAY: HOLIDAY COUSCOUS SALAD

Sorry to be so late posting today. I have a potluck church function tonight and was busy putting together my dish. I’ve been dreaming about how to put this together and, in the end, it’s not exactly a recipe. You can use whatever amounts of different ingredients you want; if you don’t have or like an ingredient, leave it out or substitute something else; and if you want, add ingredients I didn’t think of. It’s fun! And, I promise you, it will turn out just fine! Another plus: You can make as much or as little as you need so there’s no number of servings listed (mine is for a large group and the bowl in the pictures is quite large!)

Here's the salad before the dressing. The peas and currants were an afterthought so they're not showing.

Here’s the salad before the dressing. The peas and currants were an afterthought so they’re not showing.

HOLIDAY COUSCOUS SALAD

(Vegan, Nutritarian, Salt-free, Oil-Free, can be Gluten Free)

 Ingredients:

Cooked Couscous (Brown rice, barley, or farro would work, too; Lundberg Farms also has a rice couscous)

Sliced green onions

Coarsely chopped carrots

Coarsely chopped steamed green beans

Green peas

Garbanzo beans (chickpeas)…mine were cooked in my trusty Instant Pot, but the canned variety is just fine; any type of bean will work, too!

Dried cranberries

Dried apricots, chopped

Dried currants (mine had dried out a bit so I soaked them for a few minutes in hot water)

Sliced Almonds

Directions:

Combine everything together in a bowl and leave as is, or dress with a dressing of your choice. I used a curry dressing which, I regret to say, I kept playing with so I lost track of the ingredients. I do know that I used plain coconut yogurt (So Delicious brand), a little salt-free ketchup, a little regular mustard, a little rice vinegar, and 2 different brands of curry powder (I haven’t yet found a curry powder I truly love)….mixed it all together and added just a tad of agave syrup (date or maple syrup or even apple juice would work well, too)…. Be adventurous! I’m sure you’ll come up with something very, very tasty all on your own.

And here's the salad with the curry dressing....again, without the peas and currants...told you they were an afterthought...they went in after I snapped the picture.

And here’s the salad with the curry dressing….again, without the peas and currants…told you they were an afterthought…they went in after I snapped the picture. And the almonds aren’t in yet, either….I’m waiting until just before I leave the house to add those so they’ll still have their crunch.

Do you have a commercial curry powder that you love? A blend that you create yourself? Help me  find a curry powder blend I can’t live without!

RECIPE WEDNESDAY: PINEAPPLE COLE SLAW

Last week I presented a Baked Falafel recipe; today I’m sharing a side that goes well with the falafel (and it works well as a picnic side, as well).

IMG-20121110-00009 (1)

PINEAPPLE COLE SLAW

(Vegan, Nutritarian and oil-free)

Makes 8-12 good-size servings

Cashew Dressing (make this ahead):

1/2 cup raw cashews soaked 2 hours (at least)
2 Tablespoons apple cider vinegar
3 Tablespoons date or maple syrup (I used date syrup)
Dash of salt, optional
1/4 – 1/2 cup unsweetened pineapple juice (depending on how thick you want it; I used a bit more than 1/2 cup)

Combine the above in a blender (preferably a high speed blender, but a regular one will work; processing just takes a little longer) until smooth. Refrigerate for a couple of hours or overnight before using.

Cole Slaw:

2 bags angel hair cabbage
1 small can crushed pineapple
1/2 cup (or more) unsweetened dried coconut
3/4 cup chopped raw nuts (I used pecans)
Cashew Dressing, as desired

Combine everything with the dressing and refrigerate at least a couple hours. If you make the night before, don’t add the nuts until close to serving time.  Use as little or as much dressing as you desire. And if you’re not vegan….you can substitute mayonnaise, commercial coleslaw dressing, or lemon poppyseed dressing for the cashew dressing.  Make this more festive by adding dried cranberries and/or yellow raisins.

ENJOY!

RECIPE WEDNESDAY: BAKED FALAFEL

I kept pondering what to make for myself for Thanksgiving. Hubby wanted his traditional turkey (breast only) and since I don’t eat meat, I needed something I could bake relatively quickly right after the turkey came out of the oven. I adapted this recipe from one I used as a vegetarian; it’s now vegan, nutritarian, and oil-free (except for a small amount on the baking pan, but that’s optional).

 

BAKED FALAFEL

2 cups cooked garbanzo beans (chick peas)…I cooked a 16 oz bag in my Instant-Pot and used roughly half of the cooked beans

1 tablespoon flax meal mixed with 2 tablespoons of water (let sit until it gels a bit; this replaces an egg)

2 cloves garlic, minced

2 stalks celery, minced

1/4 cup minced green onion

1 1/2 tablespoons tahini

1/2 teaspoon turmeric

1 1/2 tablespoons garbanzo flour

1/2 teaspoon red pepper

black pepper and salt, as desired

Mash the garbanzos really well (a few chunks are okay, but you want most of them pretty well mashed). Add remaining ingredients and combine with the mashed garbanzos. Chill for at least a couple hours. (I chilled overnight.)

Preheat oven to 375 degrees (F). Lightly grease a cookie sheet (or line with parchment paper for an oil-free option). Remove garbanzo mixture from refrigerator and form into 6 patties. (Or form them into any shape you want….you’ll need to adjust baking time a bit, though.) Bake 10 minutes and flip the patties; bake another 10 – 15 minutes. Remove from oven and enjoy!

That’s it! Mine don’t last very long, but I think these could be frozen successfully. If you try freezing, please let me know! And keep reading below for some serving ideas….

I like to eat falafel, sans bread, with a little German-style mustard. I’ve also thrown into an Ezekiel Wrap and added lettuce, tomato, and avocado. Try them in a pita with some chopped cucumber, chopped tomato, alfalfa sprouts and a little cashew mayonnaise. Whatever you do, ENJOY THEM!

And please, do let me know what you think and any modifications you made.