health

Perfect Pumpkin Pie : Veganized

1 fat, 1 fruit, 1 grain, 1/2 protein20140409-140642.jpg

Ok, I know it’s spring and traditionally pumpkin pie is served in the fall. But, fall was 6 months ago and I can’t possibly wait another 6 before eating this again! So I made up this excuse for the family as to why I have to make pumpkin pie instead of apple, peach, berry, etc: 20140409-140648.jpg

Pumpkin pie will help us watch the spring flowers bloom, while cleansing our bodies from the winter weather.
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I use this excuse because pumpkin is high in vitamin A, cancer fighting beta-carotene, and fiber! Not to mention it has been said to help keep the skin wrinkle free, so bring on the sun!

If your family likes pumpkin year round (like me, but unlike my family) just make it because it tastes good.

REALLY good.

20140409-140705.jpgAdapted from Vegetarian Times

Crust

½ cup unbleached flour

7 Tbs. whole-wheat pastry flour

½ tsp. salt

½ tsp. sugar or granulated sugar cane syrup

½ tsp. baking powder

2 Tbs. canola oil

3 Tbs. soy milk plus ½ tsp. lemon juice

2 to 3 Tbs. water

Filling

1 15 oz canned pumpkin

1 cup soy milk

1/2 cup sugar

1/4 cup cornstarch

1/2 Tbs. dark molasses

1 tsp. vanilla extract

1 tsp. ground cinnamon

½ tsp. ground ginger

¼ tsp. grated nutmeg

¼ tsp. ground allspice

>> The Crust: Combine flours, salt, and baking powder in a bowl. Separately mix the oil, soy milk and lemon juice. Add the wet and dry ingredients. If it is too dry, add some water. Refrigerate the dough for an hour if you can, otherwise roll it out and line a 9 inch pie pan. Crimp the edges and preheat the oven to 425F while you prepare the filling.

The Filling: Mix all the filling ingredients together until smooth. Pour over the unbaked crust and smooth the top. Bake for 10 mins and then reduce the oven to 350F. Bake for an additional 40-50 minutes, until the filling has set. Let the pie cool, and then refrigerate overnight or at least 3 hrs.

Exchange counts are for 1/8th of the pie. If you’re wondering where the fruit comes from, it’s the sugar in the pie. Ignore this if you need actual fruit in your diet, and not just the sugar.

 

The BEST Russian ‘Sukhariki’ // Walnut Raisin Biscotti

1 fat, 1 grain20140406-142911.jpg

Suhariki, in Russian, means croutons but sukhariki, means biscotti. Tricky right? Well, this weekend we had some guests visiting. Obviously we had to treat them with some delicious biscotti!

20140406-142916.jpgThe traditional recipe my grandmother uses has butter in it. This causes the biscotti to be a little softer and spread more while baking. My mother likes the traditional recipe more. I like the fact that these are so crunchy because I like to dip them in my coffee or tea. Our guests loved these and begged for the recipe!

20140406-142921.jpgAdapted from California Walnuts

2 cups all-purpose flour

1 tsp baking powder

1/4 tsp salt

3/4 cup granulated sugar + extra for sprinkling

2 eggs

1/4 cup vegetable oil

1 tbsp orange juice

2 tsp grated orange rind

1.5 tsp vanilla

1 cup walnuts, chopped

1/2 cup raisins

1 egg white

>>Preheat oven to 350F. Combine flour, baking powder, and salt in a bowl and set aside. Beat sugar and eggs in a seperate bowl for 2-3 mins until thick. Mix in the oil, juice, rind, and vanilla. Slowly add the flour mixture and then fold in the walnuts and raisins. On a floured table top, knead the dough and shape into 2 flat logs (about 8×2). Brush an egg white and water mixture on top and sprinkle with sugar. Bake 25-30 mins. Reduce oven to 300F, and let the logs cool slightly while you wait for the oven. Cut the logs into slices, and turn them onto their sides. Bake 15 mins, or until golden brown.

Makes about 30 biscotti, which yields 1 fat & 1 grain exchange per biscotti

 

Garlic and Ginger Bok Choy, Mushrooms, and Eggplant

1 fat, 2 vegetables 20140403-193639.jpg

 

Last week I wrote about a cabbage stir fry I made with button mushrooms. Today the ingredients became even more asian. I incorporated chinese cabbage (bok choy), shiitake mushrooms, and japanese eggplants.

I love cooking with japanese eggplants and baby bok choy because their smaller size gives them so much more flavor!

Bok Choy fun facts:

  • One cup of bok choy gives you about 100% of your daily vitamin A needs, and about 66% of your daily vitamin C.
  • The word bok choy originated from the Chinese word for “soup spoon” because of the shape of its leaves.

Japanese Eggplants:

  • Uncooked eggplants may contain a toxin called solanine that inhibits calcium absorption.
  • Traditionally, raw eggplants have been used to treat scorpion bites and help those suffering from frostbite.

20140403-193651.jpg1 scallion

1 japanese eggplant

5 baby bok choy

5 shiitake mushrooms

2 tsp minced ginger

1 garlic clove, minced

1 tbsp tamari/soy sauce

1 tbsp rice vinegar

1 tsp oil

>>Sauté chopped scallion and ginger in oil. Add vegetables. Once browned add tamari, rice vinegar, and ginger. Serve over rice and top with sesame seeds and fresh scallions.

 

The Best Nut Butter Banana Toast

 1.5 fat, 1 fruit, 1 grain, 2 protein20140324-155018.jpg

One thing I love to do is make “grown up” alternatives to the typical kids menu. (Check out this chocolate milk turned into an “adult cocoa blend“- haha!). Today I decided to revamp another classic: PB&Banana Sandwiches. Here’s what your average PB&B looks like:

Throw out the simple carbohydrates (white bread) and the unnatural ‘peanut butter’ (filled with hydrogenated oils aka trans fats and added sugar). Swap them out with these sophisticated alternatives:
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1 piece of bread (I used Ezekiel Sprouted Whole Grain Bread) [1 grain, 1 protein]

1/2 large banana [1 fruit]

1 tbsp almond butter [1 protein, 1 fat]

3 almonds, chopped [1/2 fat]

>>Toast the bread and top with 1 tbsp almond butter. Take 1/4 of a banana and mash it onto your toast. Top toast with another 1/4 banana, sliced. Chop 3 almonds and sprinkle on top. Add cinnamon, agave or honey.

What’s your favorite “kid’s” sandwich?

 

 

Paleo Decreases Longevity // Lemon Dijon Mushroom Israeli Couscous

2 fats, 2 grains, 1 protein
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Today I got the latest issue of Science magazine in the mail. As I was flipping through I found an interesting study. A team of scientists fed one group of mice a low carb high protein diet and fed the other a high carb low protein diet. Which group lived longer you ask?
20140322-171505.jpgPaleo dieters (low carb, high protein) will be disappointed to hear their respective mice only lived 100 days. The counterpart mice (high carb, low protein) were healthier and outlived them to 150 days. Fat intake levels made no difference in the mice health or appearance. It should be noted that the Paleo mice were skinnier, but this translated to illness and decreased longevity. You can read more about the study here.

Basically, the research supports the importance of a balanced diet. (Woohoo balanced meal plans!) Ok now onto the recipe…

1 cup cooked whole wheat israeli couscous (pearl couscous) [2 grains, 1 protein]

1 tsp olive oil [1 fat]

2-3 small whole button mushrooms

1/2 small onion, chopped

1 roasted red pepper, chopped

1 tbsp dijon mustard

1 tbsp lemon juice

1 tbsp toasted pine nuts [1 fat]

>> Sauté onion and mushrooms in oil until brown. Add cooked couscous and remaining ingredients. Stir together and add salt/pepper to taste. Top with toasted pine nuts.

*I forgot to picture the toasted pine nuts, but try not to leave these out as they complete the protein found in couscous.