Archive for light

Friday, September 27th, 2013

Banana Chocolate Swirl Bread

banana swirl bread small not auto

I found this great recipe the other day. The original recipe is great, but I lowered the fat and sweetener to make it a little healthier and it is still delicious. One of the great things about banana bread, is that the smashed banana works great as a substitute for some of the oil anyway, so it is already low in fat. So much better than a lot of quickbread recipes that have one cup of oil! Yikes!

Banana Chocolate Swirl Bread

1 1/2 cup banana, smashed

1 1/4 cup sucanat

2 tsp. pure vanilla

3 tbsp. canola oil

2/3 cup almond milk (or milk of your choice)

3 cups all-purpose flour

1 1/2 tsp. baking soda

1 tsp. salt

6 tbsp. unsweetened cocoa

3/4 cup boiling water (divided)

1/2 cup chopped walnuts (optional)

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Prepare a 8 x 4 loaf pan and I had enough to make 3 miniature loaf pans as well. These would also make great muffins. I lightly grease and then lightly flour the pans so the loaves come out very easily.

I used a food processor to smash the banana. If you don’t have a food processor, it is fine to smash it with a fork in a large bowl. Add the sucanat, vanilla, oil, and milk. Blend well.

In a separate bowl, combine the flour, soda, and salt. Then add this to the wet ingredients. Stir just until the flour is absorbed. Be careful not to overmix so the bread is not tough.

In a small bowl, mix 6 tbsp. of the boiling water with the 6 tbsp. cocoa. I added in a little more water to mix it until it is smooth. Now take out about 1 1/2 cups of the batter and put it in another bowl. Add the cocoa mixture to this batter and stir until just combined.

Add the remaining 3 tbsp. of boiling water to the rest of the banana batter. If using the walnuts, add them now. Stir until just combined.

Now alternate scooping spoonfuls of chocolate batter with banana batter into the loaf pans. Fill the pans to 3/4 full. Use a knife to swirl the batters together. It will look random, but don’t worry, it taste delicious.

Put the pans into the oven and bake for about 50-55 minutes for a big loaf pan, and 25 minutes for the miniature loaf pans. If a toothpick comes out cleam, the bread is done. Wait for about 10 minutes before using a knife to go around the perimeter of the pan and then turn the pan upside down and dump out the bread. Enjoy warm!

 

Tuesday, July 16th, 2013

Cauliflower Barley Red Pepper Salad

cauliflower barley salad small

Its another summer salad recipe! I had never thought of putting cauliflower in my food processor until I saw it done for this recipe. When you put cauliflower in your food processor in small amounts, it turns into something that looks like a mix between feta cheese and couscous. The reason for processing small amounts at a time is to limit the liquid released from the cauliflower. I changed the original recipe a lot, but the cauliflower idea got me thinking of all these great possibilities. The barley in the recipe really hides, but the great nutty flavor and chewy texture are a great match to the rest of the ingredients. That same original recipe also has a great dressing that I only changed slightly by adding a little more pure maple syrup.

Cauliflower Barley Red Pepper Salad

1/2 large cauliflower

2 1/2 c. cooked and cooled pearl barley

3/4 c. celery, chopped

3/4 c. red pepper, chopped

3/4 c. cilantro, chopped

1/2 c. toasted sunflower seeds for garnish

Dressing

1/3 c. red wine vinegar

2 tbsp. flax seed oil, or olive oil

1 tbsp. pure maple syrup

1/4 tsp. sea salt

Start by grating the cauliflower by using a cheese grater attachment on a food processor, or grating it by hand. Put this in a large bowl and add the cooked and cooled barley, celery, red pepper, and cilantro. Mix this well. In a small bowl, combine the ingredients for the dressing. Pour this over the cauliflower mixture and stir until well combined. I put this in the refrigerator for about one hour to chill everything before serving.  Scoop a spoonful onto your plate and top with the toasted sunflower seeds. Enjoy!

 

Monday, July 8th, 2013

Mexican Pasta Salad

Here is another summer salad that I have been making for years. It was originally inspired by a Moosewood recipe. My kids eat the first bowl alone and then they start using corn chips to eat along the side. They LOVE it! It is quite easy to put together and can be made gluten free by using the pasta of your choice.

Mexican Pasta Salad

1/2 pd. chunky pasta of choice, cooked al dente

1 c. fresh of frozen corn

1 c. bell pepper, chopped ( I like red peppers best)

1 can black beans, rinsed and drained

1 can kidney beans, rinsed and drained

1 c. tomatoes, I love garden fresh tomatoes if possible, but any sweet cherry tomato works well too

1 c. black olives, chopped coarsely

2 tsp. olive oil

3 tbsp. fresh lemon juice

1 tsp. chipotle pepper from adobo sauce, chopped ( these come in a can, found in most grocery stores)

2 tsp. fresh ground cumin

1 tsp. fresh ground coriander

1/4 c. fresh cilantro, chopped

salt and pepper to taste

Combine the pasta, corn, peppers, beans, tomatoes, and olives in a large bowl. In a small bowl, combine the olive, oil, lemon juice, chipotle pepper, cumin, and coriander and mix well for the dressing. Pour this over the pasta and vegetables and keep stirring until well coated. Add salt and pepper to taste. Top with the chopped cilantro. You can put this in the refrigerator to chill everything or just eat it right away!

Friday, July 5th, 2013

Vegetable Pad Thai Salad

There probably isn’t a Thai dish that I don’t like. When I order Thai food at a restaurant, I always order extra veggies, because it seems like there just isn’t enough. One of the greatest things about this recipe is that it is not made from a base of noodles, but of veggies. The original recipe is here. I used the sauce recipe almost exactly and it is fabulous! The veggie part of the recipe, I changed just to simplify it because I did not have all the ingredients listed, and it turned out great. The veggies are turned into “noodles”, by spiralizing them. Okay, I don’t have a spiralizer either, so I just used my julienne peeler. It is awesome and I love it. So because everything is raw, this makes for a great salad on a hot day. No cooking required!

Vegetable Pad Thai Salad

2 medium zucchini, julienned

2 medium carrots, julienned

1/2 red bell pepper, very thinly sliced

Dressing

2 garlic cloves, crushed and peeled

1/4 c. almond butter

2 tbsp. fresh lime juice

2 tbsp. soy sauce

2 tbsp. water

3 tbsp. pure maple syrup

2 tsp. grated ginger

2 tsp. toasted sesame oil

2 tbsp. toasted sesame seeds

Combine the first three ingredients in a large bowl. In a food processor, add the garlic and process til it is minced. Then add all the rest of the ingredients for the dressing except for the sesame seeds. Save them for later. Process until smooth. Pour the dressing over the veggies and top with the sesame seeds.

 

Wednesday, June 12th, 2013

Coconut Curried Purple Cabbage and Rice with Mint

curried purple cabbage and rice with mintj2

I love all the members of the cabbage family. They are so delicious and nutritious and easy to find at the grocery store. Purple cabbage is loaded with vitamin C and K and has lots of fiber and folate too. The color of purple cabbage is so beautiful and grows even deeper and richer when it is cooked. And today, I combine it with fresh mint in a recipe that looks absolutely stunning when it is done. If you have rice that is already cooked, this dish is super fast and easy to make.

Coconut Curried Purple Cabbage and Rice with Mint

Coconut Curry Sauce

2 large cloves garlic, crushed, peeled and minced

1 1/2 tsp. red chili paste ( I like the brand Thai Kitchen)

1/4 c. sucanat

2/3 c. hot water

1/4 c. fish sauce ( if someone knows a good vegan substitute, let me know)

2 tbsp. fresh lime juice

1 can lite coconut milk

 

1 tsp. grapeseed oil

1 tbsp. Earth Balance

1/2 head purple cabbage, slice 1/4 inch thick

4-5 c.  cooked brown rice (I think other cooked grains would be great as well)

1/4 c. chopped mint leaves (reserve a little bit to garnish the top)

1/4 c. toasted pepitas

Begin by making the sauce. Combine the red chili paste and the sucanat with the hot water and stir until everything is dissolved. Add the garlic, fish sauce, and lime juice. Stir well and add the can of coconut milk. Stir and set aside.

I recommend a cast iron skillet to cook this dish. Turn the heat up to medium high and add the grapeseed oil and Earth Balance. When they are melted together, add the purple cabbage and saute til it is softened. This takes about 10 minutes. Turn the heat down to medium and add the cooked brown rice. Stir to combine. Add the coconut curry sauce and the mint and mix well. It may seem that there is too much sauce, but don’t despair, the sauce gets absorbed by the rice. Keep cooking and stir frequently, and when this dish turns a little bit creamy, kind of like a risotto, it is done. This takes about 10 more minutes. Garnish with the reserved mint leaves and toasted pepitas. Enjoy!

 

Tuesday, June 4th, 2013

Cilantro Pesto Veggie Bowl

cilantro veggie bowl small

Cilantro Pesto goes well with so many different foods. It is obviously great on a bowl of pasta and it is great as a sandwich condiment (just think of a roasted veggie cilantro pesto sandwich, YUM!). A spoonful of it on a veggie burrito or enchilada is divine. And it is super good as a dressing for a noodle bowl, or on a bowl of veggies and millet. One cup of millet has 6 grams of protein and 6% of your daily iron needs, as well as a little calcium. It has a lightly chewy texture without a heavy flavor when cooked. I love this stuff. This recipe has lots of steps to cook the veggies, but it does not take long and is not hard so don’t be discouraged. I posted the recipe for Cilantro Pesto here. It makes this recipe complete. The pesto recipe makes enough to have some left over after using it for this combination.

1 c. millet

2 c. water

1 tsp. grapeseed oil

2 large carrots, cut into sticks about 2 inches long

1/4 c. water

4 c. kale, baby leaves or big leaves chopped

1 pd. tofu, sliced into 3 slabs

1 recipe cilantro pesto

handful of cherry tomatoes, cut in half

Add the millet and water together in a 2 qt. pan and bring to a boil. Turn down the heat and keep at a low simmer until the water is absorbed into the millet and turn off the heat. This takes about 25-30 minutes. While the millet is cooking, start cooking the veggies. Add the oil to a heavy bottom pan, preferably cast iron, and heat to medium high. Add the carrots, stir and saute til lightly browned, about 5 minutes. Add the 1/4 c. water, cover with a lid, and turn down the heat a little. This obviously steams the carrots. It does not take long to cook til they are tender, about 5 minutes. Turn off the heat, put the carrots in a bowl, and set aside. Use the same pan and add the 1 tsp. grapeseed oil to saute the kale. Use medium heat and stir frequently because the kale cooks very quickly, about 3 minutes. Put kale into a bowl and set aside. Now just use pan spray on the same pan and heat to medium high again and add the tofu slabs. Remember to be patient while cooking tofu and wait for the edges to turn brown before turning it over so it won’t stick to the pan. Cook both sides until it is lightly browned. Remove from heat and cut the cherry tomatoes in half if you didn’t do it already. Cut the tofu slabs into 1 inch cubes. Now, finally, assemble the veggie bowls! Put 1 c. of millet into a bowl, add a spoonful of carrots, kale, tofu, and cherry tomatoes. Top with about 1 tsp. of cilantro pesto. Stir and eat warm or cold. It is a delicious mix!

cilantro pesto veggie bowl ingredients

cilantro pesto veggie bowl ingredients

pressing tofu

pressing tofu

browned tofu

browned tofu

Monday, May 27th, 2013

Cauliflower Garlic Mashed Potatoes

This is a great recipe for those times when you want to do something different with a head of cauliflower, or when you are trying to get your kids to eat cauliflower, or just when you feel like the comfort of mashed potatoes but want something more healthy. This is super easy to make so this recipe is great for something in a pinch too. Cauliflower is very low in calories and it is super high in vitamin C, and it also has a high fiber content. Red potatoes are a good source of vitamin B6, potassium, and vitamin C as well. And the last main ingredient in this recipe is garlic, which has so many health benefits, I will just let you find out more about that here. My family loves this and so do I.

Cauliflower Garlic Mashed Potatoes

4-5 red potatoes, washed and cut into 1 inch cubes (I always leave the skins on)

1 head cauliflower, washed and cut into medium small florets

1-2 cloves garlic, peeled and crushed, optional (I use the back of a chef knife to smash it)

2 tsp. grapeseed or garlic oil

2-3 tbsp. vegetable broth

salt and pepper to taste

Bring a large pot of water to a boil and add in a little salt and the potatoes and garlic. After the pot comes back to a boil, add the cauliflower and turn down the heat to simmer and cook until the cauliflower is very tender. This takes about 10-12 minutes. Drain the vegetables into a colander and put them back into the empty pan and mash them with a potato masher. Add the oil and broth and continue to mash until they are the consistency of mashed potatoes. In fact, they will look like mashed potatoes, which is a fun secret to have if you don’t want your kids to know they are eating cauliflower. Add salt and pepper to taste. This is such a flavorful dish because of the garlic that I don’t even make gravy to serve along with them, but you can if you want to anyway.

 

Monday, April 15th, 2013

Vegan Hollandaise Sauce

My husband requested some sort of tofu scramble filling for crepes for his birthday dinner. I had yet to create or find a super recipe for a tofu scramble, but yesterday, I made a yummy one! I will post about that later, but the sauce I made for the crepe filling was a vegan hollandaise sauce that was the perfect addition to the rest of the filling ingredients. Super simple to make and I know it will be good with other steamed veggies for leftovers. This is from the Vegetarian Times.

Vegan Hollandaise Sauce ( doubled this)

1/2 c. silken tofu

2 tbsp. lemon juice

1 tbsp. nutritional yeast

1/2 tsp. salt

1/8 tsp. cayenne pepper ( I used paprika instead)

1/8 tsp. tumeric

2 tbsp. corn oil ( I used canola)

Heat the tofu  in microwave for 30 seconds to just warm through. Put it into a food processor and puree til smooth. Add lemon juice, nutritional yeast, salt, cayenne (or paprika), and tumeric. Pulse til well combined. Add the oil while processing to finish the sauce. (I heated it just a little before serving). The whole recipe takes about 5-10 minutes.

 

 

Thursday, July 12th, 2012

Vietnamese Salad

This dish is embellished from a vietnamese salad that has pork in it. Before becoming veg I used to crave it. Now I use tofu, and it is still one of my favorites.

Vegan Vietnamese Salad (Bee Bong)

4-6 Servings

Ingredients for salad

8 oz.  rice stick noodles, cooked

2 handfuls bean sprouts

2 pkg. extra firm tofu, cooked (see the next post)

1 head romaine, shredded

1-2 cucumber, middle removed and thinly sliced

1/3 c. thai basil leaves, chopped

Ingredients for sauce

2 cloves garlic, minced

1 tsp. red chili paste

1/2 c. sugar added to 1 1/2 c. hot water

1/2 c. soy sauce, or fish sauce (more authentic)

4 Tbsp. fresh lime juice

To make the sauce, first mix together the garlic and chili paste.  Stir the sugar into the hot water until dissolved, then add in the garlic chili mixture. Add the soy or fish sauce and lime juice at the end.

Divide ingredients for the salad with the greens on the bottom, the noodles next, then tofu with sprouts and cucumber and basil at the end.  Pour the sauce on the top to taste. Enjoy!

Thursday, July 12th, 2012

Muesli

When the temperatures are in the nineties and above at my house, I do not feel like spending any time in the kitchen cooking. So I try to think of something to eat that is light and refreshing with little effort involved. So the next few posts are going to cover some popular options for my family.

The first is so yummy that sometimes I eat it for dessert! We call it Muesli. It is often eaten in European countries for breakfast, but we eat it for any meal when we need something fast, easy, cool, and filling.

Muesli

This is a combination of fruit, nuts, oatmeal, and soy yogurt. The amounts used are only decided by your tastes and preferences. I use chopped walnuts, raw almonds, with chopped apples, peaches, pears, nectarines, and berries, depending what is in season. The fun is in creating what combination is best for you. My favorite is vanilla soy yogurt with peaches, blueberries, oatmeal, and almonds. Try many combinations to see what you like best!