Dec 222011
 
I will admit there are days I look in my fridge and no inspiration comes.
Ha who are we kidding, that’s almost every day.
But yesterday, inspiration struck in the form of parchment paper packets.  I found the basic recipe in Clean Eating, but chose to use my dad’s fresh caught fish and the seasonal veggies I got from my CSA.  It was so easy that I’ll be doing a lot more packets going forward-even veggie only ones. 
Mind you, they weren’t pretty-between the over stuffing of fresh veggies, the light coconut oil separating/not coming out smooth and then leaking out the sides, and finally, the ends….at the last minute I asked myself what the heck I was going to secure the ends with. I could have used toothpicks possibly, and I couldn’t find paperclips, so I went with safety pins. Very resourceful, I felt.
Even with a few mishaps, the result was completely mouth watering.
The steam from the packets produced tender veggies and flavorful fish without lots of fat and calories.  So grab yourself some parchment paper and get cookin!
Florida Coconut Curry Thai Fish Packets
Inspired by Clean Eating, Jan/Feb issue, Amy’s Thai Style Coconut Curry Hailbut Packets
Serves 4

Ingredients

4 40z fillets of white fish of choice (I used fresh caught flounder my dad caught.)
Sea salt and fresh ground pepper, to taste
1 14oz can light coconut milk
½ red onion, thinly sliced
Handful yum yum peppers, sliced (or 1 bell pepper, any color, seeded and chopped)
1 large head broccoli, crown chopped and stem sliced
2 cups snow peas
1 bunch green onions, chopped (extra reserved for garnish)
½ cup basil, torn
½ cup chopped fresh culantro or cilantro
1 lime, sliced
1 tsp curry powder
red pepper flakes, to taste
Directions
  1. Preheat oven to 400F.  Cut four 15 inch squares of parchment paper.
  2. Lay each fillet on a piece of parchment paper and season with salt and pepper. Pour half the coconut milk over fillets, divided evenly.
  3. Layer red onion through red pepper flakes.  Pour remainder of coconut milk over top, dividing evenly over fillets.
  4. Fold top and secure ends. (All I had was a few safety pins.)
  5. Cook 15 to 17 minutes until the fish is opaque.
  6. Open packets and slide onto plate.
Nutrition Facts
4 Servings
Amount Per Serving


Calories 242.1
Total Fat 5.1 g
Saturated Fat 1.3 g
Polyunsaturated Fat 1.4 g
Monounsaturated Fat 1.2 g
Cholesterol 46.5 mg
Sodium 160.8 mg
Potassium 1,346.3 mg
Total Carbohydrate 14.9 g
Dietary Fiber 6.9 g
Sugars 3.0 g
Protein 36.5 g

Vitamin A 86.2 %
Vitamin B-12 25.9 %
Vitamin B-6 42.3 %
Vitamin C 332.9 %
Vitamin D 0.0 %
Vitamin E 22.2 %
Calcium 29.4 %
Copper 7.7 %
Folate 34.5 %
Iron 18.5 %
Magnesium 43.0 %
Manganese 27.2 %
Niacin 47.8 %
Pantothenic Acid 14.8 %
Phosphorus 44.8 %
Riboflavin 19.5 %
Selenium 82.6 %
Thiamin 14.0 %
Zinc 9.6 %


*Percent Daily Values are based on a 2,000 calorie diet. Your daily values may be higher or lower depending on your calorie needs.

Aug 312011
 
Did I mention that I made my own birthday cake for my birthday last weekend?
I figured eh…why not?  I wanted to try out a new recipe and I could make exactly what I was craving.
Coconut, banana and chocolate.

I can’t think of a better mix of flavors. 
It was so good I wrote my cake a little love letter. 
Oh Coconut-Banana Ice Cake with Chocolate Pecan Crust, how do I love the?
Let me count the ways.
1) You are sweet and creamy and luscious.
2) You are so easy to prepare even a 3-year-old can help.
3) You don’t involve any baking and opening of the oven door so you don’t crack (or other cheesecake techniques that always seem to elude me.)
5) Your crust is so nutty and chocolately delicious.
6) You contain no belly busting sugar or animal products but are still so rich and divine.
7) You have 0 grams cholesterol and so many less calories than regular cheesecake but are just as delicious.
8) You have fiber, protein and tons of vitamins and minerals from the healthy and minimally processed ingredients.
Ok, ok so I am not the best at love letters.
Tell me. What is your idea of the perfect birthday cake?  

Coconut-Banana Ice Cake with Chocolate Pecan Crust

Inspiration from Taste Space and My New Roots
Vegan, Gluten Free
Serves 10

Ingredients

Crust
1/2 cup raw pecans, toasted for a few minutes in a skillet over medium heat.
2/3 cup soft Medjool dates, pits removed
1/4 cup cocoa nibs (or dark chocolate chips for non-vegan)
1/4 cup finely shredded coconut, Lets Do Organic
1/4 tsp fine sea salt

Filling
1 ½ cups raw cashews, soaked for at least 5 hours, overnight is best
Juice of 2 lemons
2 tsp alcohol-free vanilla extract, divided
1/3 cup coconut oil, melted
1/3 cup agave (or honey for non-vegans)  
1 cup mashed ripe banana (about 3 super ripe)
1/3 cup shredded coconut, Let’s Do Organic 

Directions:

1. Place pecans, dates, coconut and chips in a food processor with sea salt and pulse to chop until they are just combined and stick together nicely.  Press into a small spring form pan (7 or 8 inch) or anything similar sized that can be frozen, (such as the microwave steamer I found and covered in plastic wrap.)

2. Heat agave or honey and coconut oil in a small saucepan over low heat until coconut oil melts, stirring frequently.  


3. In a Vitamix or food processor mix the soaked cashews, lemon juice, 1 tsp vanilla and melted coconut oil-agave mixture; process on high for several minutes until VERY smooth.


4. Pour about 3/4 of the mixture (does not have to be exact) out onto the crust and spread with a spoon or spatula.  Place into the freezer while you work on the next step.  

5.  Add the bananas, second 1 tsp vanilla and coconut to the remaining 1/4 mixture in the Vitamix or food processor; process or blend again on high until very smooth.  Remove cake from freezer and pour banana layer over the first cashew layer.  Place back into freezer until well frozen. Cover well with plastic wrap until ready to serve to prevent freezer burn.


6. Remove from freezer and place in refrigerator for 1 hour or at room temperature for just over 30 minutes prior to serving.  Cut slices with a knife run under hot water.  Rewrap any leftovers and place back in freezer.  

Estimated Nutrition Facts

10 Servings
Amount Per Serving


Calories 379.8
Total Fat 26.8 g
Saturated Fat 12.6 g
Polyunsaturated Fat 1.3 g
Monounsaturated Fat 2.6 g
Cholesterol 0.0 mg
Sodium 61.9 mg
Potassium 218.7 mg
Total Carbohydrate 34.6 g
Dietary Fiber 5.8 g
Sugars 22.9 g
Protein 4.7 g

Vitamin A 0.6 %
Vitamin B-12 0.0 %
Vitamin B-6 10.4 %
Vitamin C 12.1 %
Vitamin D 0.0 %
Vitamin E 1.7 %
Calcium 1.1 %
Copper 6.1 %
Folate 2.5 %
Iron 2.4 %
Magnesium 5.0 %
Manganese 16.2 %
Niacin 1.8 %
Pantothenic Acid 1.9 %
Phosphorus 2.7 %
Riboflavin 2.9 %
Selenium 1.3 %
Thiamin 3.8 %
Zinc 2.3 %


*Percent Daily Values are based on a 2,000 calorie diet. Your daily values may be higher or lower depending on your calorie needs.

Jul 112011
 
A few weeks ago I overheard a few fellow yogis talking about The China study: “the most comprehensive study of nutrition ever conducted and the startling implications for diet, weight loss and long-term health” at one of my Tuesday night Power classes.  I had heard of this study but hadn’t gotten it yet, even though I had intended to do so.
Roger, (A very unexpected yogi, due to the fact that he is one of those guys that works for either the PGA or golf channel and just seems to be one of those “guy’s guy”.  But yay for Roger, he is open enough to go to yoga.) was telling our teacher Alyson that he had to stop reading it because it would make you never want to eat meat or dairy again.
Of course, I was intrigued.  What could make me not want to eat meat and dairy?  For some reason hearing that doesn’t scare me. I still feel like I’m lost at sea when it comes to figuring out what style of eating is right for my body.  It’s hard to explain.  I’m not overweight but I have to fight so hard that it makes me think I must not have found the right way yet. 
I went out and bought the book and skimmed the entire thing and now am going back and reading and re-reading each chapter.  It is really fascinating.  The premise is that animal protein, especially casein which is the protein in cow milk, causes cancer, heart disease and obesity.  And that low-protein and low-fat diets consisting of whole, plant-only foods; vegetables, fruits, whole grains, legumes, nuts and seeds is the way to go.  The proof is through 40 years of human observation of various populations, animal study and laboratory testing by not only T. Colin Campbell himself but by students and colleagues amassing to what actually equals about 74 years of total research during that time.  The most interesting finding is that in the locations where animal protein is not in the diet these “Western” diseases; cancer, diabetes, etc. are pretty much non-existent.
Maybe I’m brainwashed from Atkins days, but I swear, this was the first time I had heard low protein is the way to go and I was surprised.   I had to go back and look again to make sure I read correctly.  Sure enough, the book states “low protein diet” is the way to go, even with plant protein. On page 101 this is an excerpt from the chapter on Lesson’s from China.
“Consuming diets high in protein and fat transfers calories away from their conversion into body heat to their storage form – as body fat (unless severe calorie restriction is causing weight loss).  In contrast, diets low in protein and fat cause calories to be “lost” as body heat.  In research, we say that storing more calories as fat and losing less as heat means being more efficient.  I bet that you would rather be a little more inefficient and convert it into body heat rather than body fat, right?
Well simply consuming a diet lower in fat and protein can do this. 
This is what our China Study data show. Chinese consume more calories both because they are more physically active and because their consumption of low-fat, low-protein diet shift conversion of these calories away from body fat to body heat.”
So I decided to go back and see when the first Atkins diet book was published.  1972.  Sure enough, just before I was born.  That is really interesting.  Could he have had that much influence on the way our society eats? 
Over all the statistics in this book are really disturbing and hard to ignore. 
Weigh in on this.  Have you read the book?  What do you think about all this? Could we all be eating way to much protein?  I, for one, would be a little relieved to not be so worried that I’m getting enough protein in all the time.  Even during my detox a few months ago I was so worried about getting enough protein in that I wonder if that is what threw me off a bit.
  __________________
For this salad, the dressing softens the raw squash ribbons to lend the mouthfeel of a noodle and the sweet raisins and coconut counterbalance the salty tamari.  This was perfect for a light lunch over spinach.

Peanutty “Noodle” Salad
Altered from Better Nutrition Magazine

Vegan, Gluten Free
Serves 6



Ingredients

3 Tbsp natural organic peanut butter
3 Tbsp organic tamari (low-sodium)
3 tsp curry powder
3 medium organic summer squash (I used two yellow and one zucchini)
1/4 cup unsweet shaved coconut
1/3 cup raisins
2 Tbsp raw pepitas
6 cups fresh baby spinach

Directions


1. Mix the peanut butter, tamari and curry in a small bowl and set aside.

2. Using a peeler and working around the outside, peel the squashes into ribbons.  Massage the peanut butter mixture into the ribbons.  Top with coconut, raisins and pepitas and mix well. 

3. Top 1 cup spinach with about 3/4 cup squash mixture for each of 6 servings.


**Exact serving size will vary with size of squashes

Nutrition Facts
6 Servings
Amount Per Serving
Calories 117.4
Total Fat 5.7 g
Saturated Fat 1.7 g
Polyunsaturated Fat 0.3 g
Monounsaturated Fat 0.2 g
Cholesterol 0.0 mg
Sodium 335.0 mg
Potassium 452.5 mg
Total Carbohydrate 13.3 g
Dietary Fiber 3.0 g
Sugars 6.0 g
Protein 4.4 g
Vitamin A 64.7 %
Vitamin B-12 0.0 %
Vitamin B-6 10.6 %
Vitamin C 27.8 %
Vitamin D 0.0 %
Vitamin E 3.6 %
Calcium 5.1 %
Copper 7.4 %
Folate 19.6 %
Iron 10.1 %
Magnesium 12.3 %
Manganese 27.4 %
Niacin 4.7 %
Pantothenic Acid     1.5 %
Phosphorus     6.6 %
Riboflavin 8.5 %
Selenium 1.5 %
Thiamin 5.0 %
Zinc 3.9 %
*Percent Daily Values are based on a 2,000 calorie diet. Your daily values may be higher or lower depending on your calorie needs.
May 102011
 
In a recent episode of No Reservations, Anthony Bourdain was thoroughly enjoying Vatapá, a classic Brazilian dish with African origins.  Vatapá is a thick pureed seafood stew with coconut, jalapeño and peanuts and then a few variable ingredients such as breadcrumb or cornmeal, fresh lime, cilantro, tomatoes and ginger. 
How could I not make this?
Little did I know how easy it would be to make.  For Mother’s day I had gotten a Vitamix blender so this would be the perfect recipe to try it out!
I whipped some up and what a treat! Salty briny seafood, hint of sweet coconut and spicy kick from jalapeño was such a welcome break from the norm.  I loved the creamy texture akin to polenta and the big chunks of fish and shrimp.
Originally I was going to simply use the shrimp but my dad had gone fishing and brought home some fabulous white flounder fillets (and a cobia which I am SO excited about. Recipe to follow.)  My husband and I loved the tender fish so much we even went back for seconds.
Next time I will try adding 1 tablespoon of ginger and 1 to 2 cups of chopped tomatoes.  I can’t wait to make it again soon.
Brazilian Vatapá
Gluten, Egg, Dairy, Sugar Free
Makes 7 cups
Ingredients
2 Tbsp coconut oil or EVOO
2 onion, chopped
1 lb shrimp, peeled and deveined, divided
2 - 3 cloves garlic, chopped
1 jalapeño pepper, chopped
1 1/2 teaspoons of turmeric (for color. Palm oil is traditionally used.)
1/3 cup peanut butter or cashew butter
Zest and juice of 1/2 lime
1 1/2 to 2 cups veggie stock or water
1 cup cornmeal
Salt and pepper, to taste
1 14.5 oz can light coconut milk
1/2 pound white fish fillets such as flounder or cod
A few dashes of hot sauce
Handful fresh cilantro
Directions
1.      Place the onion, 1/2 cup shrimp, garlic, turmeric, jalapeño, nut butter, lime zest, cornmeal and broth in food processor or blender and puree well. 
2.      Heat the oil in a large saucepan over medium heat. Add the onion-shrimp mixture and sauté until cooked through, about 7 to 10 minutes adding more broth as needed.
3.      Pour in coconut milk and simmer for 2 minutes.
4.      Stir in the remaining shrimp, fish and lime juice and simmer another 5-6 minutes, or until seafood is almost cooked through.
5.      Remove from heat, stir in cilantro.

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Nutrition Facts
7 Cups
Amount Per Cup
Calories 291.5
Total Fat 12.2 g
Saturated Fat 5.1 g
Polyunsaturated Fat 1.0 g
Monounsaturated Fat 0.6 g
Cholesterol 120.5 mg
Sodium 268.1 mg
Potassium 312.9 mg
Total Carbohydrate 18.6 g
Dietary Fiber 2.5 g
Sugars 1.0 g
Protein 25.0 g
Vitamin A 4.1 %
Vitamin B-12 26.1 %
Vitamin B-6 11.6 %
Vitamin C 6.9 %
Vitamin D 24.6 %
Vitamin E 6.6 %
Calcium 5.1 %
Copper 11.5 %
Folate 3.3 %
Iron 14.2 %
Magnesium 16.7 %
Manganese 8.2 %
Niacin 15.3 %
Pantothenic Acid     4.8 %
Phosphorus     27.4 %
Riboflavin 6.0 %
Selenium 66.2 %
Thiamin 8.1 %
Zinc 8.6 %
*Percent Daily Values are based on a 2,000 calorie diet.
 Your daily values may be higher or lower depending on your calorie needs.
Apr 252011
 
Just a super quick post today to say hello.  I hope you had a wonderful Easter!

As a special breakfast over the weekend I made a variation of my blueberry buckwheat waffle recipe.  Remember this one?
Gluten, dairy and egg free!
 This version came out really flavorful and moist from the coconut and ripe banana folded right into the batter.  It brought tropical vacations with warm breezes and swaying palm trees to mind.

I hope you love it as much as we did!

 Coconut-Banana Buckwheat Waffles 

Serves 4 (4 sections per serving)
Gluten, dairy, egg free and SO easy

Ingredients


1 1/2 cups buckwheat flour
1 Tbsp ground flax seed
1 tsp baking soda
1 tsp cream of tartar
1/2 tsp. salt
2 Tbsp shredded un-sweet coconut
1 1/2 cups coconut water (or coconut milk or any liquid)
3 tablespoons coconut oil, melted
1 tsp vanilla
1 ripe banana, sliced
4 Tbsp hazelnut agave, optional


Directions


1. Mix all dry ingredients, flour through shredded coconut with a whisk.


2. Add in the wet ingredients and whisk until just combined.  Additional liquid may need to be added to thin mixture.  Fold bananas gently into mixture.


3. Spray your waffle iron well with cooking spray and pour about 3/4 cup mixture until the wells are filled.  Close the lid of the waffle iron until waffles are cooked through.  Serve each serving with 1 Tbsp hazelnut agave if desired.

***Please note that what I designate as “allergy free” is my attempt at gluten, egg, dairy, soy, peanut and cod fish free which are the allergies my daughter has. I am not a doctor or registered dietitian.

Nutrition Facts

4 Servings
**8 WW Pts Plus (without agave)
Amount Per Serving


Calories 318.0
Total Fat 17.1 g
Saturated Fat 13.0 g
Polyunsaturated Fat 0.7 g
Monounsaturated Fat 0.8 g
Cholesterol 0.0 mg
Sodium 370.4 mg
Potassium 629.3 mg
Total Carbohydrate 36.5 g
Dietary Fiber 9.3 g
Sugars 9.1 g
Protein 7.1 g

Mar 072011
 
Today’s Eat.Live.Be is about what books, cookbooks, and resources help us with our healthy goals. 
My first reference is other healthy living bloggers. I love browsing sites and reading stories for inspiration.
I do have a lot of cookbooks and I love Clean Food by Terry Walters, but for most recipes I go to my magazines I get each month.  I wait eagerly to pore through each page of my Eating Well, Cooking Light and Clean Eating.  Additionally I use their websites if I have a particular ingredient I want to base a dish off of.  I will check each of the sites as well as Epicurious to see what sounds the best.
If I want to find a calorie count for a particular food I love Calorie King and for entire recipes I use SparkRecipes.
What are some of your favorite references for healthy living/cooking?
Tropical Ambrosia with Toasted Pecans and Coconut
Saturday we had a cookout and I made this salad.  It was so gorgeous out that a cool salad was perfect.  I have had the typical ambrosia made with apples and sour cream but wanted to give it a tangy and tropical twist with yogurt and organic tropical fruit salad.  The result was like being transported to a warm location with sandy beaches, sunglasses and a fruity drink in hand. I hope you enjoy!
 

Tropical Ambrosia with Toasted Pecans and Coconut

20 (1/2 cup) servings
***5 WW Pts Plus
Printable Recipe
Ingredients
 
2 14.5oz cans organic tropical fruit salad, I used Native Forest Organics, one undrained and one drained and juice reserved for another use (I made a smoothie).
1 10.75oz can organic mandarin oranges, I used Native Forest Organics, drained and juice reserved for another use
3/4 cup shredded coconut, I used Native Forest Organics
12 oz vanilla soy or almond yogurt
3/4 cup organic pecans, toasted and chopped
3 bananas, peeled and sliced
1 quart fresh strawberries, tops removed and sliced
1 pint fresh blueberries
3-4 cups red grapes, halved
3 cups mini marshmallows
 
Directions
 
1. Mix ingredients together.
ESTIMATED Nutrition Facts
About 20 1/2 cup Servings
Amount Per Serving

Calories 207.0
Total Fat 8.7 g
Saturated Fat 4.8 g
Polyunsaturated Fat 1.1 g
Monounsaturated Fat 1.9 g
Cholesterol 0.0 mg
Sodium 38.3 mg
Potassium 211.6 mg
Total Carbohydrate 30.3 g
Dietary Fiber 3.9 g
Sugars 21.0 g
Protein 3.4 g


Vitamin A 0.9 %
Vitamin B-6 7.0 %
Vitamin C 63.2 %
Vitamin E 2.4 %
Calcium 2.0 %
Copper 5.1 %
Folate 3.0 %
Iron 3.4 %
Magnesium 3.8 %
Manganese 19.4 %
Niacin 1.5 %
Pantothenic Acid 2.2 %
Phosphorus 2.5 %
Riboflavin 3.4 %
Selenium 1.0 %
Thiamin 3.6 %
Zinc 2.0 %

Feb 232011
 
I found Nutmeg Notebook through my weight watcher message boards. The photos of her healthy recipes are just gorgeous and occasionally she does product reviews.  The one I came across that intrigued me was for an Organic Sprouted Bean Trio from truRoots .  Per 1/3 cup there is 160 cals, .5 g fat, 11 g fiber and 11 g protein.  Is that unbelievable or what?
I was so excited I contacted the company to find out where I could purchase their product and they advised where and that they could send me a sample to see if I liked it before purchase. Of course I gave a resounding yes!
This would be the “sample” pack they sent.Sprouted Mung Beans, Sprouted Quinoa, Whole Grain Quinoa

Germinated Brown Rice, Sprouted Green Lentils

Organic Chia Seeds and Organic Haiga Rice

The first thing I thought of was a curry lentil soup because the last time I had some from Native Sun it was so amazing I haven’t been able to get it out of my head.  Every time I go back I ask if they have the soup and no far no luck.
To my complete happiness this came out just as amazing and was super easy.  It’s so creamy, flavorful and has a hint of sweetness.
Thank you to truRoots for this amazing sample pack!

Sprouted Green Lentil Coconut Curry Soup

***3 WW Pts Plus
10 to 12 servings

Organic Ingredients

1/2 Tbsp Earth Balance
1/2 Tbsp EVOO
1 onion, diced
2 carrots, peeled and chopped
2 Tbsp minced ginger
4 cups (1 carton) vegetable broth
2 cups water
2 rounded Tbsp curry powder
10 oz frozen cubed butternut squash (or fresh will be fine too)
6 Tbsp or about 1/3 cup tomato paste
1 cup lentils, I used truRoots Organic Sprouted Green Lentils
1/4 cup golden raisins
1 14-ounce can light coconut milk
Salt, to taste
Dash of cayenne pepper, optional

 Directions

1. Heat butter and olive oil in Dutch oven over medium high heat; add onion, carrot and ginger and cook until softened but not brown, about 5 minutes.

2. Pour broth and water in to vegetable mixture; stir in curry, squash and tomato paste and bring mixture to a boil.

3. Add lentils and gently boil for 5 minutes, reduce heat and simmer 30 minutes.

4. Remove from heat; stir in coconut milk and raisins.

Nutrition Facts
***3 WW Pts Plus
10 Servings
Amount Per Serving

Calories 134.9
Total Fat 2.1 g
Saturated Fat 0.8 g
Polyunsaturated Fat 0.2 g
Monounsaturated Fat 0.7 g
Cholesterol 1.6 mg
Sodium 458.1 mg
Potassium 282.4 mg
Total Carbohydrate 23.9 g
Dietary Fiber 7.4 g
Sugars 4.9 g
Protein 6.2 g

Vitamin A 81.2 %
Vitamin B-6 5.6 %
Vitamin C 13.3 %
Vitamin E 2.9 %
Calcium 4.1 %
Copper 4.5 %
Folate 3.3 %
Iron 16.5 %
Magnesium 5.0 %
Manganese 8.9 %
Niacin 3.9 %
Pantothenic Acid 1.7 %
Phosphorus 3.2 %
Riboflavin 2.1 %
Selenium 1.3 %
Thiamin 3.2 %
Zinc 1.4 %