Archive for January, 2011
Tea is truly a superfood indeed. Green tea especially. It can lower blood pressure, help prevent cancer and osteoporosis, lower your risk for stroke, promote heart health, possibly even help prevent sunlight damage to skin, i.e. wrinkles and skin cancer. Berries contain flavonoids that can counter cell damage in the body, reducing the risk of cardiovascular disease and cancer. Blueberries contain more disease fighting antioxidants than any other fruit or vegetable. Pomegranates also contain antioxidants and Vitamin C. Many people find green tea distasteful and are hesitant to include it in their daily diet. Here is a little confection that should help you look forward to having your “cup of tea”.
- 2 tea bags of your favorite unflavored green tea
- 1 cup water
- 1 cup unsweetened 100% blueberry juice
- 1/2 cup unsweetened 100% pomegranate juice
- 1/4 cup raw honey, brown rice syrup or coconut nectar
- 1/2 tsp cinnamon
- In a medium saucepan bring the water to a boil, turn off the heat and add the tea bags and cinnamon. Let steep for 2-3 minutes. Remove the tea bags.
- Stir in the honey and let sit about 15 minutes or until cool.
- Place the blueberry and pomegranate juice in the pan. Stir to combine.
- Pour the mixture into a freezer safe medium size container, cover and place in the freezer for about 2 hours.
- Take the bowl out of the freezer and scrape it with a fork to loosen up all the frozen parts.
- Put the container back in the freezer and every hour or two take it out and scrape it again.
- After doing this for 3 or 4 times the liquid should all be frozen, not solid but nice and slushy.
- Spoon into bowls and garnish with another pinch of cinnamon if desired.
Makes 2 servings.
Nutrients per serving: Calories: 198.5, Cal. from Fat: 0, Total Fat: 0g, Sat. Fat: 0g, Carbs: 50g, Fiber: 0g, Sugars: 32g, Protein: 0g, Sodium: 30mg, Chol: 0mg
This frozen treat will keep in the freezer for at least a month.
I absolutely could not miss including pumpkin in our series on super foods. Pumpkin is by far my favorite super food and rice pudding is such a comfort food that it just made sense to combine the two for a delicious creamy bowl of happy childhood. I don’t remember having rice that often as a child but when we did, I loved it when there was some left over and I would ask my mom if she would make sweet rice which it turns out was rice pudding. It makes me feel good just remembering it but not as good as this super food will make you feel. Pumpkin is rich in anti-oxidants and vitamins. It is very low in calories yet a good source of vitamin A, flavonoid poly-phenolic antioxidants like leutin, xanthins and carotenes. Cinnamon is also one powerful spice. It has been shown to have anti-clotting abilities, anti-microbial activity, and blood sugar control among other good for you things. Cook up some of this spicy pudding and make some happy memories of your own.
- 1/2 cup brown rice syrup or coconut nectar
- 1 vanilla bean, split lengthwise or 1 tsp vanilla extract
- 1 tsp cinnamon
- 1/8 tsp ground ginger
- 1/8 tsp allspice
- 1/8 tsp nutmeg
- 4 cups milk (I used oat milk)
- 1 1/4 cups sweet brown rice or short grain brown rice or Arborio rice
- 8 ounces pure pumpkin puree
- 1/3 cup unsweetened or apple sweetened dried cranberries (optional)
- 1/4 chopped toasted pecans (optional)
- Place the rice in a mesh strainer and place under running water for 1 minute to rinse the rice. (skip this step if using short grain brown or arborio rice) Set aside to drain.
- In a large saucepan, combine syrup, vanilla bean, (if using vanilla extract, add later with the pumpkin puree) spices, and 1 cup milk.
- Heat to boiling over medium heat. Reduce heat to low and simmer 5 minutes.
- Remove the vanilla bean, scrape the seeds and add them back into the milk.
- Stir in the rice, turn the heat back up to medium and add the remaining 3 cups of milk, slowly 1 cup at a time. Let the mixture come back up to a simmer each time before adding more milk. Return to a boil. Reduce heat to low.
- Simmer, stirring frequently for 40-50 minutes or until the rice is tender and most of the milk is absorbed but still creamy. It may form a skin in between stirring but don’t worry, just stir it back into the milk.
- Stir in the pumpkin (and vanilla extract now if using in place of the vanilla bean).
- Add the cranberries and pecans if using.
- Cook a minute or two more to heat the pumpkin.
- Serve warm and enjoy.
Makes 4 servings.
Serving size about 1 cup.
Nutrients per serving: Calories: 450, Cal. from Fat: 12.5, Total Fat: 1.5g, Sat. Fat: 0g, Carbs: 98g, Fiber: 4.5g, Sugars: 29g, Protein: 13.5g, Sodium: 153mg, Chol: 0mg
Sweet brown rice can usually be found in health foods stores or in asian markets.
Leftover pudding can be stored in an airtight container in the fridge for up to 5 days.
There are some recipes that we make that I wish we could invite all our readers into our kitchens so that you can taste the yumminess that comes from putting together wholesome, simple, natural foods. These are by far the very best granola bars I’ve ever eaten before – and I LOVE granola and have had my fair share! Not only are they deliciously addicting but they contain blueberries and oats which are super foods. Blueberries are packed with antioxidants and phytoflavinoids. They are also high in potassium and vitamin C, making them the top choice of doctors and nutritionists. Not only can they lower your risk of heart disease and cancer, they are also anti-inflammatory. Oats contains protein and is one of the best sources of soluble fiber which can help rid the body of cholesterol. It is rich in vitamins and minerals like magnesium, thiamine, folate, B5, iron, zinc, copper and magnesium. These bars make a wonderful snack that the whole family will love!
- 1/2 cup slivered or sliced almonds
- 1 1/2 cups raw unsalted cashews, coarsely chopped
- 1 cup dried blueberries
- 1 1/2 cups old fashioned rolled oats (make sure to use gluten free oats for a gluten free granola bar)
- 1 1/2 cups crispy brown rice puffs cereal (I used Erewhon Brand Cripsy Brown Rice Cereal)
- 1 cup brown rice syrup or coconut nectar
- 1/4 cup date sugar or raw coconut crystals
- 2 tsp vanilla extract
- Start by lining a 9 x 13 glass baking dish with either parchment paper or non stick foil.
- Using a large skillet add the almonds and heat on medium high. Stir occassionally for about 5 minutes or until the almonds are nicely browned.
- Repeat with the cashews.
- Add the nuts to a large bowl and mix in the oats, rice cereal and blueberries. Stir well.
- In a small saucepan, heat the syrup, sugar and vanilla over medium high heat. Stir constantly to avoid burning.
- Once the syrup mixture comes to a light boil, reduce heat to low and cook for an additional 2 -3 minutes until the syrup begins to thicken.
- Pour the syrup over the oat mixture and stir until everything is nicely coated.
- Transfer the mixture to the glass baking dish and using a rubber spatula, pat everything down so it’s nice and compact (see notes for helpful tip).
- Let cool to room temperature. You can put them in the fridge for a bit to make cutting then easier. Cut into 2 x 4 1/2 inch bars and ENJOY!
Makes approximately 14 servings.
Serving size one 4 1/2 x 2 inch bar.
Nutrients per serving: Calories: 260, Cal. from Fat: 70, Total Fat: 7.5g, Sat. Fat: 2g, Carbs: 43.5g, Fiber: 3g, Sugars: 18.5g, Protein: 5g, Sodium: 40.5mg, Chol: 0mg
The toasted nuts are what give this granola its flavor – PLEASE don’t skip this step!
I toasted the cashews whole and then chopped them after they had cooled. It doesn’t really matter whether you toast them whole and then chop or chop them first and then toast.
The mixture is VERY sticky when it goes into the pan. I found the best way to spread everything evenly was to place a small plastic baggie on my hand to act like a glove and lightly misted the baggie with olive oil. Then I used my hand to press the mixture into the dish.
You’ll want to wrap the bars in saran wrap for easy portability and to keep them from sticking together. Store in a cool place or the refrigerator. They will keep for about 2 weeks.
I first had Muhammara prepared as a chunky type of side dish at a wedding reception many years ago. It was wonderful but I never came across it again until recently made as a smooth style dip. What a bonus to find it’s not only great tasting but contains several super foods! Bell peppers are full of nutrients. They are a good source of vitamin C, vitamin B6, thiamine, beta carotene and folic acid. Red peppers also contain lycopene, which is a carotene that helps protect against cancer and heart disease. Most nuts have healthy benefits but walnuts are the only nut that contain alpha-linolenic acid (ALA), an omega-3 fatty acid. ALA protects the heart by improving your ratio of good HDL to bad LDL cholesterol. Walnuts also contain diesase fighting antioxidants. Pomegranates (though used in a small amount in this recipe) also provide many wonderful health benefits like lowering bad LDL cholesterol, protecting against prostate and breast cancers, protecting against heart disease and diabetes as well as reducing some symptoms of menopause, such as hot flashes. With all of that goodness going for you, go ahead and dip right in!
- 3 red bell peppers
- 3/4 cup whole wheat bread, cubed (for a gluten free dip use a gluten free bread)
- 1 clove garlic, minced
- 1 cup walnut pieces, toasted
- 1 tsp paprika
- 1 tsp cumin
- 2-3 tbsp pomegranate molasses (start with 2 and add more if you like it sweeter)
- 1 tbsp fresh lemon juice
- 2 tbsp olive oil
- sea salt and pepper to taste
- 1/2 cup red onion diced (optional for the chunky spread) *See notes for Preparation*
- 2 tbsp parsley, chopped (optional for the chunky spread)
- Roast peppers directly over the flame of a gas stove burner on high heat, turning until blackened all over or place the peppers on a baking sheet under the oven broiler, turning until blackened on each side.
- Place the peppers in a bowl and cover with plastic wrap for about 10-15 minutes.
- After steaming in the bowl, peel off the skins with your fingers or rub off with a paper towel. Do not wash the skins off or you will lose the roasted flavor. Remove the stems and seeds.
- Toast walnuts in a dry skillet now if not already toasted.
- Place the bread and walnuts in a food processor and pulse until coarsely ground.
- Add the rest of the ingredients (except the onion and parsley) and process until you have a slightly chunky texture.
- Serve with warm pita bread, Baked Pita Chips, vegetables or any other dipping item that you fancy.
Makes approximately 2 cups.
Serving size 2 tbsp.
Nutrients per serving: Calories: 79.5, Cal. from Fat: 55, Total Fat: 6.5g, Sat. Fat: .5g, Carbs: 4.5g, Fiber: 1g, Sugars: 1g, Protein: 1.5g, Sodium: 5mg, Chol: 0mg
To make the chunky style Muhammara, place the peppers, walnuts, bread, onion and parsley on a cutting board and chop with a knife until all the ingredients are coarsely chopped and combined. Transfer to a bowl and add the paprika, cumin, garlic, pom molasses, lemon juice, olive oil, salt and pepper. Toss gently to combine. Spoon onto a plate and garnish with a drizzle more of olive oil and a few toasted walnut pieces. You can eat this as a side dish or use the same as a dip. It’s also wonderful as a sandwich filling.
My favorite way to eat eggs are in egg salad. My mouth is watering right now just thinking about it! When Kristy sent me a recipe for egg salad with no mayo I was a little skeptical. In fact I was so skeptical that I actually made only half the recipe so that I didn’t waste the eggs in case I didn’t like it. Turns out I should have never doubted my Mom because this recipe was AWESOME!
- 8 large hard boiled eggs
- 3 tbsp part skim ricotta cheese
- 3 tbsp non fat plain Greek yogurt
- 2 tsp Dijon mustard
- 2 tsp green onion, finely chopped
- sea salt and ground pepper, to taste
- celery, finely minced (optional)
- red bell pepper or fresno chili pepper, finely minced (optional)
- In a medium size bowl whisk together the ricotta, yogurt, mustard, onion and any optional ingredients (I didn’t have any green onion so I chopped up some red onion and I opted not to include the celery or red bell pepper).
- Season with salt and pepper.
- Peel the eggs and chop to your desired consistency.
- Add eggs to the cheese mixture and gently stir to combine.
- Serve the egg salad over toasted whole wheat baguette slices, ezekiel bread or even Baked Pita Chips.
Makes 4 servings.
Nutrients per serving: Calories: 173, Cal. from Fat: 103.5, Total Fat: 10.5g, Sat. Fat: 4.5g, Carbs: 2.5g, Fiber: 0g, Sugars: 2.5g, Protein: 14g, Sodium: 192mg, Chol: 428.5mg
Any remaining egg salad can be stored in an airtight container in the fridge for up to 2 days.
In the past few weeks I have come across Sablefish (butterfish or black cod) several times in things I have been reading. It has been highly recommended as a fish high in Omega 3, protein, B vitamins and minerals like selenium. The Sablefish is a deep sea fish commonly found in the north pacific ocean and it contains low levels of mercury, PCB’s and dioxins as compared to many other fish. I decided to give it a try paired with another good for you ingredient, Miso. Miso is a soybean paste rich in protein and minerals like zinc and copper. I’m glad I tried this Sablefish because this dish was delicious and curbed my unholy craving for tuna.
- 2 Sablefish fillets, approximately 6 ounces each
- 3 tbsp white or blonde miso
- 2 tbsp brown rice syrup or coconut nectar
- 1/2 tsp toasted sesame oil
- 1 tbsp mirin (rice cooking wine)
- pinch red pepper flakes
- 1 tbsp black sesame seeds
- Rinse the fish fillets and pat dry.
- In a glass baking dish mix together the miso, syrup, sesame oil, mirin and red pepper flakes.
- Place the fish fillets in the miso mixture skin side down. Spoon the mixture over the fish evenly.
- Cover the dish and place in the refrigerator for 45 minutes to an hour.
- After 45 minutes, turn the oven to broil and preheat to high.
- Remove the fish from the refrigerator and place on a baking sheet.
- Place the fish under the broiler for about 4-5 minutes or just until the tops are browned and caramelized. Reduce the oven temperature to 350 degrees, continue to bake for about another 5-7 minutes or until the fish flakes apart when pressed with the back of a fork.
- Place the fish fillet on a plate, the skin should come right off as you lift it off the pan. Sprinkle with black sesame seeds and serve.
Makes 2 servings.
Nutrients per serving: Calories: 474.5, Cal. from Fat 251.5, Total Fat: 28.5, Sat. Fat: 6, Carbs: 29.5, Fiber: 1.5, Sugars: 16.5, Protein: 23.5, Sodium: 716mg, Chol: 84mg
I just can’t say enough about how mild and buttery this fish is. One of the names for it is butterfish and that has to be because it really does melt in your mouth like butter. While this dish is a little higher in fat, it is due to the good heart healthy Omega 3 and 6 oils. If you wish to reduce your fat intake and still enjoy this wonderful fish try reducing your portion size to a 4 or 5 ounce fillet.
This dish is best eaten right away. It will keep in the fridge for 1-2 days. Reheat in the oven until heated all the way through.
If you thought you couldn’t eat healthy and still have french fries then you thought wrong! Not only can you enjoy french fries but you get to have one of the highest ranked vegetables on the nutrition scale! Personally, I think the sweet potato should be renamed the super potato! Sweet potatoes are high in fiber, Vitamin A, Vitamin C, Vitamin B6, potassium and manganese. They can also help stabilize blood sugar, which means they’re a good choice for diabetics. They’re relatively low in calories for all of the nutritional power they pack and did I mention how super yummy they are?! If you have picky eaters at home (like I do!) then this recipe is perfect! Pair your fries with some Homemade Ketchup and sit back and watch as your picky eaters have a super nutritional dish.
- 1 large sweet potato
- 1-2 tbsp olive oil or Garlic Gold Oil
- 1-2 tbsp of your favorite herbs and spices (The variety here is endless! Add your favorite herbs and spices and mix and match the flavors. I made 2 batches…one with just plain sea salt for my kids and one with garlic salt for myself.)
- Preheat oven to 425 degrees.
- Start by using a vegetable peeler and remove the skin from the potato. Once the skin is removed you want to cut your potato into 1/2 inch thick sticks. It’s important that all the sticks be the same thickness to ensure they cook evenly.
- Place the sticks in a large bowl or plastic bag and oil. Stir to evenly coat.
- Add the herbs and spices to the sticks and mix well.
- Place the sticks on a baking sheet (I like to line mine with non stick foil for easy clean up). Spread the sticks on the sheet and make sure they are not overlapping.
- Place in the oven and bake for 15 minutes. Take out of the oven and flip the sticks over and return to the oven and bake for an additional 15-20 minutes or until the fries are brown and crisp.
- After baking remove the fries from the oven and let them cool for about 5 minutes. Serve immediately! ENJOY!
Makes 2 servings.
Nutritional info will vary on the size of your sweet potato and the spices you use.
My kids loved dipping these in ketchup but I opted for a more grown up dip. Try this Honey Lime dipping sauce – it’s delicious!
- 6 ounces plain, low-fat yogurt (or greek style yogurt)
- 1/2 tbsp raw honey or coconut nectar
- 1 tbsp fresh lime juice
- 1/4 tsp cumin
- 1/8 tsp oregano
- 1 tsp parsley
- 1/2 tsp onion powder
- 1/2 tsp sea salt
- Mix all ingredients together until well combined. Chill until ready to use.
Just 1 whole orange or grapefruit completes your daily requirement of vitamin C as well as providing phytonutrients along with folate and potassium. Blood oranges contain anthocyanin, which may help prevent stroke and urinary tract infections and reduce the risk of cancer. Red and pink grapefruit, higher in vitamin A than yellow grapefruit, contain lyopene which may reduce the risk of some cancers and heart disease. Honey is also a superfood because it acts as an antioxidant and contains oligosaccharides, which increase the good bacteria in the colon. When choosing honey, the darker it is the more antioxidants it contains. That all said, these tangy-sweet citrus cups are so good that their super nutritional value are a wonderful bonus to an already wonderful treat.
- 2 cups citrus of your choice, I used;
- 1 ruby red grapefruit
- 2 oranges
- 2 blood oranges
- 1 Meyer lemon (if you can’t find a Meyer lemon just omit it as a regular lemon would be too tart)
- 1 lime
- 1/4 cup reserved juice from cut citrus
- 2 tbsp raw dark honey or coconut nectar
- 1/2 tsp ground cardamom (or cinnamon if you don’t like cardamom)
- 2 tbsp chopped pistachios (optional)
- Supreme cut all the citrus fruit (see tips and tricks for how to supreme citrus),saving all the juice from the leftover membrane by squeezing it over a bowl. There should be about a 1/2 cup juice after all the citrus is cut. Reserve 1/4 cup.
- Squeeze the juice of the lime in with the saved juice.
- Preheat broiler to high.
- Place the citrus supremes into 4 ramekins or 1 larger baking dish. An 9 inch pie plate works well. (If using ramekins, place them on a baking sheet to catch any drips).
- Pour 1/4 cup juice into a small glass bowl, add the honey and ground cardamom. Warm in microwave for about 20 seconds or until warm enough for the honey to mix in with the juice.
- Spoon the juice mixture evenly over the fruit.
- Place under the broiler for 6-8 minutes or until the fruit is warmed and the top is slightly browned.
- Garnish with chopped pistachios if using.
Makes 4 servings.
Nutrients per serving: Calories: 100, Cal. from Fat: 0g, Total Fat: 0g, Sat. Fat: 0g, Carbs: 28.5g, Fiber: 0g, Sugars: 25.5g, Protein: 0g, Sodium: 0mg, Chol: 0mg
This dish is best eaten right away.
While it is best to eat citrus with the membrane and the white stringy parts since they contain pectin, a soluble fiber that helps lower cholesterol, sometimes it is necessary to use just the flesh with all the rind, pith, seeds and membrane removed. This is called the supreme. Here is a step by step guide to getting to that jewel like citrus flesh.
- With a sharp knife cut the top and bottom from the citrus.
- Following the curve of the fruit, cut off the pith (bitter white part) and the rind. Check to be sure you have removed all the pith and trim if necessary.
- Find the white lines (the membrane edges) running down the side of the fruit and slice your knife down one side to the center and then up the other side of the membrane to remove the supreme flesh. Do this over a bowl to catch all the juice for later use.
- Remove any seeds before using the supremes.
This recipe is so full of good things I don’t know where to start. Bell peppers are full of antioxidants, Vitamin C and B6 as well as beta-carotene. Spinach is high in Vitamin K, also Vitamin C and B6 as well as folate and magnesium. Tomatoes are rich in Lycopene, iron, potassium and a host of B vitamins. Black beans provide a good source of dietary fiber as well as protein and antioxidants and last, quinoa. Quinoa is a sure fire power food containing a complete protein as well as Vitamin B2, B6 and E, magnesium, iron and zinc. This dish is a true super star.
- 2 tbsp olive oil
- 5 ounces or about 3 cups fresh baby spinach
- 1 medium onion, diced
- 2 stalks celery, diced
- 2 cloves garlic, minced
- 1 tbsp cumin
- 1/2 tsp sea salt or to taste
- 2 cans (15 ounces each) no salt added diced fire roasted tomatoes (regular diced tomatoes are fine too)
- 1 can (15 ounces) no salt black beans, rinsed and drained
- 2 cups low sodium vegetable broth
- 1 cup quinoa, uncooked (I like truRoots Sprouted Quinoa but any kind will do)
- 3 carrots, grated
- 1 1/2 cups grated Manchego or Monterey Jack cheese (for a vegan meal use Daiya PepperJack Cheese)
- 4 large bell peppers, halved lengthwise
- Heat the olive oil in a large saucepan on medium heat. Add the onion and celery and cook until tender. Add salt,cumin and garlic, saute for about a minute.
- Drain the tomatoes, pouring the juice into the dish that you will be baking the peppers in. Place the drained tomatoes into the saucepan along with the spinach and carrots. Cook until the spinach is wilted.
- Stir in the beans, quinoa and vegetable broth. Bring to a boil. Cover and reduce heat to low and simmer for 15-20 minutes. Stir in 1 cup cheese.
- Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.
- Place the halved peppers into the baking dish containing the tomato juice.
- Fill each pepper with about a cup each of the vegetable mixture. Cover with foil and bake for 1 hour. Uncover and spread the remaining cheese over the peppers. Return to the oven for about 15 minutes more.
- Place one pepper on a serving plate and spoon a little of the pan drippings over the pepper and serve.
Makes 8 servings.
Serving size 1 pepper half and stuffing.
Nutrients per serving: Calories: 227, Cal. from Fat: 73, Total Fat: 8g, Sat. Fat: 3g, Carbs: 26g, Fiber: 6.5g, Sugars: 5g, Protein: 13g, Sodium: 144mg, Chol: 0mg
Any leftover peppers can be stored in an airtight container in the fridge for a day or two. The peppers also freeze well. To make a smaller serving amount simply make half a recipe.