Friday, January 30, 2009

Sesame Beet Salad, Soup and Sandwich

Sesame Beet Salad

When I worked at Blue Moon Cafe, we served a yummy sesame beet salad in our deli case. It was delicious and very full of fat. I do not like the taste of canola or safflower oils at all, so replacing them with nutrient dense alternatives actually improves the flavor to me. Several days ago I made my low fat knock off version of Newman's Own Lowfat Sesame Ginger dressing. Now, his commercial dressing is quite delicious and only 35 calories per two tablespoons, but I am frugal by nature and enjoy duplicating and improving flavors especially while improving the nutritional value of the food.
Onto the salad... I roasted the beets, peeled and cut them and added them to several shredded carrots, cilatnro, jalapenos, shallots and scallions. Toasted sesame seeds finished it off. I used wasabi and fresh ginger in the dressing and it was amazing!

Eggplant Quinoa Chickpea Stew with Goddess Cream

This is another version of my Eggplant Quinoa Stew.. I use what I have on hand and it is always a bit different and just as satisfying each time. This version used chickpeas and beet greens. I made a big batch of low fat goddess cream/dressing that complimented the flavors of the stew perfectly. The goddess dressing/cream used chia seeds and is one of my experiments. So far, so good. We'll see how it is in several days when I used it to top a clean out the fridge spicy noodle dish later Sunday. I have had great success in using golden flax meal in place of oil in dressings, so chia will probably work well too.

Tofu Salad Sandwich

I made this tofu salad using the goddess dressing I just talked about. Mixed with shredded carrots, cucumber, celery, spices and nutritional yeast it was delicious on toast with lettuce and avocado. I am so glad my kids love my healthy food. That have a better appreciation for it now that they eat total CRAP half the time at their dads house.

Tuesday, January 27, 2009

Another Zukay Live review, frugal cooking

Lentil Burger with Zukay Live Garlic Dill Relish

I made this delicious burger out of leftover lentils (more on lentils later), oats and spices. I topped it with tofutti mozzarella cheese, ketchup and Zukay Live Foods Garlic Dill Relish. Zukay Live produces raw fermented products that are crawling with beneficial bacteria. Now, about this product, I must preface my review by saying I am not a fan of yellow mustard seeds. I adore mustards, but for some reason I do not like the taste of yellow mustard seeds. Since this relish contains them, I did not really like it. Other than the mustard seed flavor, I could appreciate the other subtle flavors in the relish. I think that garlic could have been more pronounced if they are calling it garlic relish. My son liked the relish a lot as did my EX. I like the fizz aspect and I can tell that it is much healthier than processed sweet or dill relish. It just feels alive and I felt good after eating it.

Cabbage Stir Fry with Tofu, Pineapple and Brown Rice

After the picture was taken, I dumped it all into a big bowl and mixed it together. It was a healthy version of fried rice! I used my cast iron to dry fry the tofu, then turned the heat up high and stir fried the onion, cabbage, serrano chiles, garlic, ginger and carrots (hidden under the tofu and I added another big scoop of the veggies to my dish) with a spritz of cooking spray. Fresh pineapple, siracha, cilantro, scallions and 2 T of my own knock off version of Newman's Own Light Sesame Ginger finished it off. It was wicked hot, but very good. I saved leftovers for my sons dinner and he loved it as well.

I haven't written about frugal cooking much lately, but with these trying times, I am keeping my budget as low as possible. I still have not found a job since my layoff. I wish I lived in an area with a higher vegetarian/vegan population. It's tough out there. I am seriously thinking of making a big move in the next two years. My youngest son graduates in 2011. I know that Portland, Oregon has a great vegan scene as well as LA. I have family in LA, so I could stay with them while looking for a place. I might be open to New York as well. Hmmm.. I've been playing around with the idea of looking for work in Boston, but not sure that I could make enough money to justify my commute? (I live around 60 miles away)

Unfortunately, the vegan scene has not been profitable for me jobwise, but that is what I want to do. I am so passionate about vegan and raw vegan foods. I just love creating and it hurts my heart to think of finding a job outside of this field.

Ok... onto the lentils I talked about earlier. I am continually amazed by them! Actually, I'm amazed at all dried beans/whole grains when it comes to creating delicious staples in my diet. I bought a pound of organic lentils ($1.69) and sprouted 1/4 lb of them. I think I got at least 3 cups of sprouts from that small amount. I used those sprouts in salads and to snack on. I boiled the remaining 3/4lb of lentils with some onion, garlic, thyme, rosemary, fresh basil, bouillon, balsamic vinegar, hot pepper flakes and black pepper. So far, I have made 2 large servings of lentil soup (see last post), 4 large burgers and still have enough for my dinner tonight of mexican tostadas and to add to a pot of Eggplant/Tomato/Quinoa/Lentil/Kale soup I'm making that will feed us for at least 2 meals. Talk about a super bang for your buck! Having a base like this also makes preparing a 30 minute meal easy. I cook up brown rice, millet, quinoa or other grains to have on hand so I can throw things together fast. Cooking for one (or two) was a challenge when I first moved out of my house. Since I only have one kid here at a time and they're usually only here for dinner I had to adjust the way I cooked. If any of you read me when I first started this blog, I used to cook huge batches of foods and freeze them. I learned how to cook in a restaurant, so I'm more comfortable making large portions of everything! It has been challenging to scale things down to fit my needs.

Sunday, January 25, 2009

It's been a long time! Zukay Live Foods Review

Super Raw Salad with Zukay Salsa

It's been over two weeks since I've blogged! Wow.. time flies. Life has been interesting as well as me not really having much new to blog about. How many times can I post pics of soup and foods that do not photograph well? I've been cooking a lot for myself and my boys.. but mostly foods that I've blogged about over and over and over. I would guess that many of us eat the same foods over and over?

I received a shipment of delicious Raw Condiments from Zukay Live Foods. These products are Raw and fermented, which means they have tons of amazing productive bacteria in each batch. Very good for you and your GI tract. You know those silly dairy yogurt commercials that claim to offer intestinal fortitude? Well, eat some of these LIVE products and you don't need to worry about downing nasty cruelty dairy yogurt! I will be blogging about all of their products, but for this post I used their Hot Salsa as a salad dressing. The first thing you notice when opening the salsa is that it bubbles. It is very alive! I tasted it and it was almost fizzing. I liked the fizz. My only complaint about this salsa was that it was not hot. In fact, I added cayenne and some pickled jalapenos to my salad. I think many people are afraid of heat.. not sure why! Well, maybe I am sure whey up here in the NORTH! I have taught many cooking classes and people are afraid of heat here. I say it is a good thing to train the Northern East Coast people to eat spicy foods! Other than the lack of heat, the flavor was spot on and I really enjoyed the product. It will probably take me a while to go through the rest of the samples since I am pretty much cooking for one here.

Lentil Soup
This soup was thrown together from leftovers. I used some perfectly spiced lentils, brown rice spaghetti in marinara, yellow squash, spinach and fresh basil along with some nutritional yeast to finish it off. Delicious and simple. Less than 20 minutes to warm up this comforting bowl of goodness. (I don't have a microwave, but if you did it would come together even faster I imagine?)

Another super fast but tasty dish.. scrambled veggies and tofu. The veggies were the star here as I used 3 oz of tofu to a large amount of zucchini, tomatoes, green pepper, onions, garlic and flavored the mixture with some kalamata olives and their brine, nutritional yeast and a lot of pepper. I also used 1 serrano chile with the seeds, so this had a nice spice to it. I finished it off with fresh basil.

Raw Spicy Noodles

Turnip and Zucchini Angel Hair topped with a my version of very low fat sesame ginger dressing.. topped with cilantro, avocado and cilantro. I just love this dish. I used to use whole wheat pasta, but the veggie angel hair is so delicious and makes me feel so energetic when I eat it. My kids love this too. My trick with that was not to tell them these were noodles, but just to feed it to them. I also like to cut the noodles with the veggie noodles as well and my kids don't seem to notice. The only downside is that unless I dehydrate the veggie noodles, this dish doesn'tt keep well due to the moisture being released from the veggies.

Black Bean Burger with Chipotle Mayo

One of my favorite go to meals... I make these out of either leftover black beans or black bean soup... The sauce is a tofu/vegenasie based chipotle mayo and compliments the burger perfectly. I like to eat mine open faced.

Saturday, January 10, 2009

Raw and Cooked: A fine balance

High Raw Blueberry Cheesecake Tartlets

While I love raw foods, if I am not eating almost 100%, it is way too easy to consume too many nuts. Since I am not 100%, I thought it would be great to combine the best of both worlds. The filling was made from cashews, key limes, stevia, chia seeds and cinnamon. The crust was made from High Fiber Cereal, 1 T coconut oil (for 3 tartlets) and dates. I topped it with plain (frozen) blueberries as it was sweet enough. One cup of soaked cashews went into the recipe, so all in all it is still fairly calorie friendly. The high fiber of the cereal and the chia slows down the fat absorption. The chia also helps to firm up the mixture. Usually when I make a raw cheesecake, I add a hefty amout of coconut oil because it solidifies at cool temperatures and really 'sets' the cake. I was VERY happy with the chia/cashew combo as were my kids.

Chipotle Citrus Black Bean Soup

A while back, I cooked a pound of dried black beans in my pressure cooker. I froze some of the leftovers in 1 cup batches so I could make a quick meal for myself in the future. To make this soup I sauted 1 onion, 1 green pepper, 3 cloves garlic along with some spices in cooking spray, then added the beans, veggie stock, salsa and 1 chipotle pepper. I brought this to a boil for several minutes. Next, I added around 2 c of cilantro and pureed the soup. To finish it off, I juiced an orange and a large lime and topped it with tofu sour cream and 1 t EVOO. Perfect to warm me up in this cold weather!

Zucchini Pasta with Mushrooms and Cream Sauce

This dish was also very delicious. The night before, I had this mixed with brown rice pasta. I had some veggies and sauce leftover, so I mixed them together. Very satisfying for so few calories!
The veggies were zucchini spiralized, mushrooms, onions and garlic sauted in cooking spray. I added a lot of spices and crushed red pepper flakes. The sauce was silken tofu based. (I only like the silken tofu from Trader Joes. It is not chalky tasting to me like the boxed and other brands)
To the tofu I added some umeboshi vinegar, nutritional yeast, garlic and veggie stock along with just a TINY bit of smoked paprika and salt to taste. I topped each serving with 1 t EVOO.

I've also been eating a lot of salad with my very low fat balsamic flax dressing.

I am STILL waiting for my Vita Mix part. I MISS it sooo much.

I haven't had a green smoothie for over a week! wow... what a treat it will be to actually have one again. Also, many of my cooking projects are on hold.

Come on Vita Mix people! Get me my part!!! I NEED it!!!

Tuesday, January 06, 2009

Wheatgrass Juicer Giveaway Winner and a soup recipe

We have a winner of the Wheatgrass Juicer! Sunshine, I will email you with the details!
Now, onto a recipe for Cheesy Cabbage Potato Soup... this is a repost, but so good. I made a batch and it is just so comforting on a cold winter day.. and it's low fat and healthy too!
Cheesy Cabbage Potato Soup

Cooking spray
  • 1 onion (around 1 cup, diced)
  • 1 t dried thyme
  • 1 t dried dill
  • 1 t paprika
  • 1/2 t caraway seeds
  • 5 cloves garlic
  • pinch salt
  • 6 c shredded green cabbage (around 1/2 a medium head)
  • 2 c diced potatoes (around 2 medium)
  • 1-2 canned chipotle pepper in adobo (use 1 if you don't like heat in your soup)
  • 6 c water
  • 1.5 bouillon cubes
  • black pepper to taste

In a large, heavy bottomed soup pan over medium heat spray with cooking spray add the onions, garlic and spices along with a pinch of salt. Cook for several minutes, or until the onion is translucent. Now, add the cabbage and potatoes and chipotle and coat with the spice/onion mixture for several more minutes. Add the water and bouillon and bring to a boil, uncovered. Simmer for several minutes, then turn the heat down to low and cover and allow the potatoes and cabbage to cook. Meanwhile, prepare the 'cheese/cream mixture

Cheesy Cream:
1/2 block lite tofu
1/4 c nutritional yeast
1.5 T tahini
2 t dijon mustard
2 small cloves garlic (around 1.5 t, crushed)
1 t yellow mustard (prepared)
2 T umeboshi vinegar (or 1 T soy sauce and 1 T lemon juice)
1 T lemon juice

Process all of the above in a food processor until totally smooth. When the soup is done take it off the heat (this is VERY important or the mixture will curdle) and stir into the pot. Let it sit, covered for 5 minutes and taste for salt/pepper. If you'd like, add around 3 cups of the soup to the food processor and puree for a creamier soup (and to get all of the cheesy sauce out!). Add the pureed soup back into the pot. Enjoy!

This makes around 8 cups of soup (I think it may have made more, but I didn't measure it exactly)

A 2 cup serving provides: (1 cup would ALMOST be a 100 calorie snack!)

237 calories
5 g fat
40 carbs
8 g fiber
12 g protein

Friday, January 02, 2009

Black Eyed Pea Hummus 2 ways and soup recipes

Chipotle Lime Black Eyed Pea Hummus

I had some black eyed peas leftover from yesterday, so I decided to make some hummus. I am thrilled with the results, especially this chipotle lime variation. So good!

Black Eyed Pea Humus
2 cloves garlic (or up to 4 if you like a strong raw garlic taste)
1 t salt
juice and zest of 1 lemon
1t dry basil
1 t paprika
1/8 t freshly grated nutmeg
1/4 t pepper
3 c cooked black eyed peas
6 T tahini
1 T vinegar (the best would be umeboshi, but you can use any type)
1/2 t toasted sesame oil
1 T olive oil

In a food processor place the garlic and salt and process several times so the garlic is chopped finely.
Now add the rest of the ingredients and process until very smooth.

Chipotle Lime Variation:
Remove half of the humus. Add 1/2 t chipotle powder, 1/2 cup cilantro and juice of 1 small lime.
Now you have two variations of tasty hummus to enjoy.

I love using hummus to flavor soups..

For a 30 minute soup: (Broccoli Quinoa)
1 T olive oil
1 onion, diced
1/2 red pepper, chopped finely
6 cloves garlic, minced
1 t dried basil
several grates fresh nutmeg
1/2 t chipotle powder
16 oz frozen broccoli florets (or 1 pound fresh)
2 C of the above hummus (I highly recommend the chipotle variation)
4 c water/stock
bouillon cube if using water
1/2 c quinoa
1/4 c nutritional yeast
salt/pepper to taste
1 T umeboshi vinegar (optional, but VERY good)
Sauté the onion, pepper, garlic, basil, nutmeg and chipotle powder until the onion is soft. Add the broccoli, hummus and stock. Bring to a boil for several minutes. Turn heat down to low and add the quinoa. Cover and simmer for 15 minutes. Turn off heat and stir in the nutritional yeast and umeboshi vinegar then season with salt and lots of freshly ground black pepper.

The dish below tasted great, but unfortunately makign the sauce BROKE MY VITAMIX! Fortunately, the Vitamix people are sending me a replacement part and I should be good to go in 7-10 business days. I miss it so much!
Zucchini Pasta with a Meaty Tomato Sauce (raw)

Meaty Tomato Sauce
2 c soaked sun dried tomatoes (save liquid for another use)
1 c sunflower seeds
8 c water
1 c fresh basil
2 cloves garlic
1 shallot
2 dates
salt/pepper to taste
1 T balsamic vinegar
2 T Nutritional Yeast
1 t dried marjoram
1/2 t fennel seeds
1/2 t crushed red pepper flakes
pinch stevia
Mix everything together in a large bowl and process in two batches in either a good blender or food processor. Let this sit overnight if possible so the flavors will develop.

Cabbage Cups with Cashew Veggie Cream Cheese
Just a simple lunch.. Cabbage is much more filling than lettuce. Same with collards. I never thought I'd be so into veggie roll ups... but I am. Collard Greens are still my favorite wraps, but these hit the spot as well.