Feb 282013
 

Two Bagel Toppings! Curried Cashew Hummus and Curried Cashew Cream Cheese

Remember some of the diets of the past? Go fat free, they said.  Peanut butter was the devil, nuts were off limits and you couldn’t even LOOK at an avocado. (Be still my heart.)

Curried Cashew Hummus and Cream Cheese

Curried Cashew Hummus and Cream Cheese

(Don’t even get me started on the Atkins craze. That’s a whole post in itself.)

Fat free cheese, fat free cream cheese, fat free yogurt, fat free cookies – Snackwell’s anyone? We were swimming in processed, fat free but sugar filled foods as the obesity epidemic skyrocketed.

Curried Cashew Hummus

Curried Cashew Hummus

Thankfully, times are changing and people are beginning to learn that balance is the way to go and that we do need some fat, some carbohydrates, vitamins, minerals and protein in the form of whole foods.

Cashew Cream Cheese

Cashew Cream Cheese

Meet the cashew.  Cashews can be turned into alternatives to almost any dairy you like – milk, sour cream, cheese, cream cheese, but have NO cholesterol and some of that healthy fat we used to miss.  Typically I use raw cashews, but in this case the curry ones were on sale at Native Sun Natural Foods Market, so I decided to give them a try.  I soaked them first so they would blend easier and voila!  Delish!

As for the hummus – this was a little sub I learned from my friend Suzanne.  A co-worker had brought bagels into the office and instead of eating it dry, since she had also cut out dairy, she topped it with some hummus. I tried it and LOVED it, so now it’s my favorite way to enjoy a bagel or baked bread and as the usual dip for crunchy, fresh veggies.

A dash of curry gives these two toppings a little hmm factor without being overpowering.  If you don’t like curry, simply leave out the curry powder, use olive oil instead of the curry coconut oil and use raw cashews instead of curry.

Curried Cashew Hummus

Curried Cashew Hummus

Curried Cashew Hummus

Serves 4 (Hummus serves 4-6)
Vegan, Gluten Free
Printable Recipe

Ingredients

4 GF bagels, such as Udi’s
2 Tbsp chopped curried cashews, soaked for 1 hour or overnight
1 can chickpeas, Tree of Life, drained and rinsed
1 Tbsp nutritional yeast
3 cloves garlic
2 tsp fresh lemon juice
1 Tbsp melted curry coconut oil, Ziggy Marley (you can sub olive oil here)**
Dash of curry powder
1 Tbsp tahini
¼ tsp salt

Directions

1. Blend cashews through salt in a small food processor or blender, adding 1/2 Tbsp water at a time until creamy consistency is reached. Spread ¼ mixture over each of four toasted bagels.

Curried Cashew Cream Cheese

Curried Cashew Cream Cheese

Curried Cashew Cream Cheese

Inspired by this recipe
Serves 4 (Cream Cheese serves 4-6)
Vegan, Gluten Free
Printable Recipe

Ingredients

4 GF bagels, Udi’s
1/2 cup chopped curried cashews, soaked for 1 hour or overnight
1 tsp fresh lemon juice
2 tsp apple cider vinegar, Bragg
Dash of curry powder
¼ tsp salt

Directions

1. Blend cashews through salt in a small food processor or blender, adding 1/2 Tbsp water at a time until creamy consistency is reached.

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Nutrition Facts Hummus (without bagel)
4 Servings
Amount Per Serving

Calories 231.5
Total Fat 8.9 g
Saturated Fat 3.8 g
Polyunsaturated Fat 1.9 g
Monounsaturated Fat 2.5 g
Cholesterol 0.0 mg
Sodium 510.3 mg
Potassium 302.8 mg
Total Carbohydrate 31.4 g
Dietary Fiber 6.4 g
Sugars 0.3 g
Protein 8.5 g

Vitamin A 0.7 %
Vitamin B-12 16.6 %
Vitamin B-6 90.8 %
Vitamin C 11.1 %
Vitamin E 0.6 %
Calcium 6.3 %
Copper 19.5 %
Folate 29.5 %
Iron 13.4 %
Magnesium 13.4 %
Manganese 43.8 %
Niacin 37.3 %
Pantothenic Acid 5.8 %
Phosphorus 18.2 %
Riboflavin 74.7 %
Selenium 10.1 %
Thiamin 86.3 %
Zinc 14.1 %

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

Nutrition Facts Cream Cheese
4 Servings
Amount Per Serving 

Calories 99.6
Total Fat 7.9 g
Saturated Fat 1.6 g
Polyunsaturated Fat 1.3 g
Monounsaturated Fat 4.7 g
Cholesterol 0.0 mg
Sodium 255.0 mg
Potassium 104.2 mg
Total Carbohydrate 6.1 g
Dietary Fiber 0.5 g
Sugars 1.1 g
Protein 2.6 g

Vitamin B-6 2.3 %
Vitamin C 2.3 %
Vitamin E 0.5 %
Calcium 0.8 %
Copper 19.1 %
Folate 3.0 %
Iron 5.8 %
Magnesium 11.4 %
Manganese 7.6 %
Niacin 1.2 %
Pantothenic Acid 2.1 %
P
hosphorus 8.4 %
Riboflavin 2.0 %
Selenium 2.9 %
Thiamin 2.3 %
Zinc 6.4 %

*Percent Daily Values are based on a 2,000 calorie diet. Your daily values may be higher or lower depending on your calorie needs.
Enjoy These A Fresh Takes on Old Favorites – Two Bagel Toppings! Curried Cashew Hummus and Curried Cashew Cream Cheese!

Jun 272012
 
One of the best things in life is meeting new people and experiencing new things.  Last Saturday was one of the most fun and memorable.  My friend Gregg, who has been supplying me the wines for the Wine Down Wednesday posts, and his wife Kerry (I hope that is the correct spelling!) had us over for dinner.
  A dinner party turned Karaoke night around the piano.
Think Elton John. Rocket Man.


We wined and dined and had an amazing time.  He showed us around his vintage home in Riverside – complete with wine memorabilia from Bono no less!
Also in attendance were my friends Alyson and her husband Chip, who brought a meteorite from their back yard as a dinner conversation piece, and Mark and Sheri – we all do yoga together so it was great to meet up off the mat.  I can’t wait for us all to meet again.


To detox after a night of wine I got it into my head that I wanted to make a macro (macrobiotic) bowl with grains and veggies but when I looked at my acorn squash I just couldn’t remove the skin – it was too pretty – so I thought, why not turn the squash into the bowl? 

Secondly, I’m always looking for new ways to eat my Mila. Because I write about Mila a lot, I created this little info blurb.  That way any frequent visitors that already know the benefits can skip over that and head right to the recipe.
What is Mila?

Mila is an organically grown, non-genetically modified blend of chia seed that is cold pressed and sliced to make it more bio-available. 

It is RAW, GLUTEN FREE, AND VEGAN, perfect for cooking and baking.

It is super high in OMEGA 3s – equal to fish oil pills per serving.  

A single serving also has FIVE GRAMS OF FIBER, more antioxidants than blueberries, more iron than spinach and many more benefits.

This little seed has anti-inflammatory properties, is excellent for brain function, energy, elimination, sleep and the best part?  It’s a FOOD!

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Acorn Squash from KYV Farm
I got this unique acorn squash from Vivian at KYV Farm (CSA SIGNUPS ARE GOING ON NOW)  I’ve never seen such a thing in the grocery store.  I usually see the typical green acorn squash that has a tinge of orange but this one is the beauty queen of squashes.
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Stuffed Acorn Squash
Stuffing them with onions and garlic during cooking imparts a LOT of flavor.  This technique is perfect at Thanksgiving.  While everyone is stuffing their bird you can stuff your squash.
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Macro Acorn Squash Bowl with Mila, Massaged Kale and Tahini Sauce
Macro Acorn Squash Bowl with Mila, Massaged Kale and Tahini Sauce
Serves 4
Vegan, Gluten Free

Ingredients


Squash
2 acorn squash, cut in half and seeds removed
1 onion, quartered
4 cloves garlic, crushed
Olive oil spray
Sea salt
1 cup cooked brown rice
1 cup cooked black beans
4 Tbsp Mila (optional)
Salt and pepper, to taste.


Massaged Kale
1 bunch kale, stems removed and chopped
2 Tbsp ume plum vinegar (or sub any vinegar you like)
2 tsp olive oil
Sea Salt


Tahini Sauce
2 Tbsp tahini
2 Tbsp miso
2 Tbsp fresh lemon
1 Tbsp raw agave


Directions


1. Preheat oven to 375.  Arrange squash, cut side up on baking dish, stuff with 1/4 onion and 1 clove garlic; spray with cooking spray, sprinkle with sea salt; bake 1 hour.


2. Mix kale ingredients together in medium bowl, massage kale until wilted, about a minute.


4. Mix tahini sauce in a small bowl.


3. Remove squash from oven.  Remove onions and garlic; chopp and mix with rice, season to taste.  Mix Mila with black beans if using.  Stuff 1/4 cup black beans and 1/4 cup rice into each squash. 
Serve each half squash with 1/4 kale and 1/4 tahini sauce.


(**Rosted potatos on the side optional – roast along with squash)



Nutrition Facts (includes Mila)
4 Servings
Amount Per Serving

Calories 392.8
Total Fat 11.9 g
Saturated Fat 1.3 g
Polyunsaturated Fat 5.7 g
Monounsaturated Fat 3.4 g
Cholesterol 0.0 mg
Sodium 67.0 mg
Potassium 1,423.2 mg
Total Carbohydrate 63.5 g
Dietary Fiber 16.8 g
Sugars 3.3 g
Protein 14.0 g

Vitamin A 369.1 %
Vitamin B-12 0.1 %
Vitamin B-6 31.7 %
Vitamin C 141.5 %
Vitamin D 0.0 %
Vitamin E 8.0 %
Calcium 30.4 %
Copper 30.8 %
Folate 33.4 %
Iron 31.9 %
Magnesium 34.4 %
Manganese 78.5 %
Niacin 14.7 %
Pantothenic Acid 11.7 %
Phosphorus 36.6 %
Riboflavin 11.9 %
Selenium 5.7 %
Thiamin 39.7 %
Zinc 11.5 %

*Percent Daily Values are based on a 2,000 calorie diet. Your daily values may be higher or lower depending on your calorie needs.
Jun 112012
 
KYV Eggplants, Heirloom Tomatos, Peppers and Cucumbers
Oxidative Stress is becoming a big buzzword nowadays – but what exactly is it?  Oxidative stress is the imbalance of our bodies oxidizing at a greater rate than its ability to detoxify. Something we’re all familiar with is the oxidation of an apple or avocado when we cut it – that is why the flesh turns brown when it comes in contact with the air.

What worsens the oxidative stress in our bodies is the presence of free radicals, according to Dr Weil, author of Healthy Aging: A Lifelong Guide to Your Physical and Spiritual Well-Being (Knopf, 2005), they are “electronically unstable atoms or molecules capable of stripping electrons from any other molecules they meet in an effort to achieve stability. In their wake they create even more unstable molecules that then attack their neighbors in domino-like chain reactions.

By the time a free radical chain fizzles out, it may have ripped through vital componentsof cells like a tornado, causing extensive damage, similar to that caused by ionizing radiation.

What we eat, our lack of exercise, radiation and pollution all contribute to the presence of these free radicals. Studies show that this stress, in turn leads to a host of diseases such as Alzheimer’s to Lou Gherigs – the disease my grandfather had.
My grandfather was a testament to the power of REAL FOOD. Typically someone with ALS will live around five years. My grandmother, following a macrobiotic diet, kept him alive into his mid seventies-he was diagnosed in his 50s.
So what do we do about this? Eat antioxidants!

Antioxidants combat oxidative stress by neutralizing these free radicals and helping the body repair the damage.

A food that we all know contains lots of antioxidants is berries, top on the list at Mayo Clinic, along with sweet potatoes, oats, cinnamon and walnuts.

What has even more antioxidants than berries and the whole reason I’ve been doing more research?

Mila.  As I have been getting more and more questions and interest surrounding this food I have spent a significant amount of time doing the research on its benefits and how to incorporate it, deliciously, into our diets.
Try some for yourself! Click here.

In this month’s issue of Cooking Light there were several eggplant recipes that caught my eye as I had gotten two with my farm share. I love anything with tahini and beans so this sounded like the perfect recipe.  Instead of egg I used Mila to create the binding and add Omega 3s to a vegan dish.

Even though the ingredient list is long, I was not disappointed.  I loved the bean flavorful bean mixture inside the eggplant and the warm, nutty sauce on top.  The relish added a cool finish to the dish. Mixing raw and cooked ingredients creates lots of interesting textures. I definitely rate this one highly-next time I may even use the stuffing in another vegetable since it’s so versatile!

Vegan Falafel-Stuffed Eggplant withTahini Sauce and Tomato Relish

Serves 4
Vegan, Gluten Free
Printable Recipe

Ingredients


Tahini sauce:
3 tablespoons warm water
2 tablespoons tahini (roasted sesame seed paste)
4 teaspoons fresh lemon juice
1 teaspoon agave
1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
1 garlic clove, minced

Eggplant:
2 eggplants (about 12 ounces or 340 grams each)
Cooking spray
3/4 teaspoon kosher salt, divided
1/4 cup chopped onion
1/4 cup fresh gluten free breadcrumbs (or regular)
1/4 cup chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley
1 tablespoon tahini (roasted sesame seed paste)
2 teaspoons olive oil
1 1/2 teaspoons ground cumin
1/2 teaspoon ground coriander
1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1/4 teaspoon ground red pepper
2 Tbsp Mila + 6 Tbsp water (in place of two large eggs – feel free to use if you have those on hand or have a seed allergy and are not eating vegan).
2 garlic cloves, minced
1 (15-ounce) can no-salt-added pinto beans (chickpeas can also be used)

Relish:

1 cup chopped seeded tomato
1/2 cup chopped seeded peeled cucumber
1/2 cup vertically sliced red onion
1/2 cup coarsely chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley
1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil

Directions

1. To prepare sauce, combine first 6 ingredients in a small bowl, and stir with a whisk. Set aside.

2. Preheat oven to 475°.

3. To prepare eggplant, slice the eggplants in half lengthwise; score cut sides with a crosshatch pattern. Place the eggplant halves, cut sides down, on a baking sheet coated with cooking spray. Bake at 475° for 7 minutes or until slightly tender and browned. Remove from oven; carefully scoop out pulp, leaving a 3/4-inch shell. Reserve pulp for another use. Season cut sides with 1/4 teaspoon salt.

4. Combine remaining 1/2 teaspoon salt, onion, and remaining ingredients (through pinto beans or
chickpeas) in a food processor; process until smooth. Spoon 1/2 cup pinto (or chickpea) mixture into each eggplant shell. Bake at 475° for 25 minutes or until eggplant halves are tender and pinto mixture is lightly browned.

5. To prepare relish, combine the tomato and remaining ingredients in a bowl; stir to combine.

6. Place 1 eggplant half on each of 4 plates. Top each half with 1/4 cup relish and 1 1/2 tablespoons sauce.

Nutrition Facts
4 Servings
Amount Per Serving

Calories 341.6
Total Fat 12.6 g
Saturated Fat 1.7 g
Polyunsaturated Fat 4.2 g
Monounsaturated Fat 5.8 g
Cholesterol 0.0 mg
Sodium 712.8 mg
Potassium 1,070.8 mg
Total Carbohydrate 47.4 g
Dietary Fiber 16.8 g
Sugars 1.6 g
Protein 14.0 g
Vitamin A 16.3 %
Vitamin B-12 0.0 %
Vitamin B-6 19.8 %
Vitamin C 38.8 %
Vitamin D 0.0 %
Vitamin E 5.3 %
Calcium 13.3 %
Copper 29.6 %
Folate 61.9 %
Iron 28.5 %
Magnesium 28.4 %
Manganese 53.3 %
Niacin 11.3 %
Pantothenic Acid 9.2 %
Phosphorus 33.9 %
Riboflavin 13.4 %
Selenium 12.3 %
Thiamin 30.2 %
Zinc 14.0 %

*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 192012
 
Welcome back to Wine Down Wednesday where I review a vegan dish paired with two different wines.
To pair wines with a meatless dish we must look at the spices and main flavors of the recipe.


For an ideal pairing we look for wines that that compliment Sweet Potato and Tahini Burgers Citrus, Mango and Avocado Salsa we look at the tahini, sweet potato, citrus and mango.


The Wines selected to taste are Warwick ‘First Lady’ Cabernet Sauvignon and Barboursville Viognier.

Sweet Potato and Tahini Burgers
with Citrus, Mango and Avocado Salsa

These sweet-spicy burgers are super easy to put together – only six ingredients. They can be baked, grilled or pan seared.  The mango salsa a spur of the moment inspiration that compliments the burgers so well it is a match made in heaven.  Mangos are on sale for a dollar and avocado is super cheap right now, too.  I had a jalapeno on hand to add a kick and some fresh Florida oranges and limes to add a nice tang.  For a side, I a added some nice steamed edamame with a sprinkle of coarse sea salt.

Time Saving Tip: To save time for the salsa, simply buy a quality store bought mango or citrus salsa in the refrigerated produce section of your grocery!


From 1791 through 1902 Warwick Wine Estate in South Africa was originally known as  ‘De Goede Sukses’, the Good Success farm.  It was later renamed Warwick after being purchased by Colonel Alexander Gordon of the Warwickshire regiment.  In the 60′s the winery traded hands again when it was purchased by Norma Ratcliffe and her husband Stan.  After initially selling the grapes wholesale to other wineries, Norma studied the art of winemaking and began producing her own wine in 1984.  She was the first female wine maker in South Africa, thus the ‘First Lady’ Cabernet Sauvignon is named as a tribute to Norma.

The winemaker’s notes, “The wine has a deep and intense ruby red colour. The nose reveals lots of red berries and sweet black cherries, complemented by sweet vanilla and chocolate oak background. The smooth ripe, round tannins make this wine easy to drink while still retaining a full body. The balanced acid creates a firm finish that is complemented by a lingering sweetness.”


Barboursville vineyards reside along side the Blue Ridge Mountains of Virginia, owned by Gianni Zonin of Gamnbellara Italy who is a 7th generation winemaker. This Viognier Reserve is grown by the general manager-winemaker Luca Paschina who has a degree in oenology; the study of all aspects of wine. 

It looks like I have found my calling – I must go back to school for an oenology degree. I wonder if this is an offering at FSU.  If not, I will simply have to attend the the Instituto Umberto in Alba Italy as Luca Paschina did.
Gregg from Broadbent Selections sent me some additional information on the vineyard that I thought was interesting, “this second-generation estate house at Barboursville plantation was designed by Thomas Jefferson, one of only 3 residences he designed for his friends. The Barbour family continued to occupy this residence until it was destroyed by accidental fire at Christmas, 1884, and returned to the elegant Georgian villa next door for several generations, now The 1804 Inn”

The Viognier, pronounced Vee-‘O’-nyaaay, is fermented in steel with tropical and floral tones.  It does well with aging of 4 to 5 years.  The photos of the vineyard are gorgeous-I would love to visit and take some of the cooking classes offered at their restaurant.

Categories



Category #1 – How well my dish turned out.
Category #2 – How well I like the wine.
Category #3 – Pairing notes – How well this wine pairs with the dish.


Rating Scale


Bleck -This wine is pretty bad.
Ho Hum- I could drink it if I was at a football game and there was nothing else in the cooler.
Nice -Good table wine. I would keep this in the wine cooler if it was a good value.
Yum – This is good, I would pay a fair bit more and have it for a special occasion.
Damn that’s Good – Self explanatory.
** We will use the same terminology for how the dish turned out and how well it paired.


Category #1 The Dish

Rating of Nice.  I would definitely make these burgers again as long as I could make the salsa with them.  I think that is what really made the dish.  It had all the elements I love - sweet from the mangos and sweet potato, aromatics from the cilantro and a spicy kick from the Cajun seasoning and jalapeno peppers.  The tahini wasn’t a prominent flavor, it just added enough to give it a nutty hint in the background. These were awesome with a bit of Arizona Gunslinger hot sauce on the side. 


Category #2 The Wine

Warwick Cabernet Sauvignon 2009 gets a rating of Damn That’s Good.  I’ve started a little wine journal now so I can sit down and write the first things that come to mind.  I’m still amazed when I go and look at reviews afterwards and the reviews actually coincide with my perception.  For this Cabernet the first thing I wrote down was chocolate/cocoa and no aftertaste. After sitting and swirling a bit I added perfect balance of dry and sweet, not too heavy.  Smoky mesquite.  Great with grilled foods.  My husband happened to be cooking on the grill at the time which may have had some influence there.

Virginia Voignier Reserve, 2010 also gets a rating of DAMN THAT’S GOOD.  I had to write that one in caps for emphasis.  On first taste I wrote honey, mango and tad sweeter than Chardonnays, higher percentage of residual sugar ?  I loved the honey-lemon color.  I also wrote down grass reminiscent of summer fresh cut grass which is interesting because in a review of the wine I read “herbal frame” – I wonder if my interpretation was the grassiness.

Category #3 The Pairing

Both get a rating of Yum.  Each brought the dish up to another level in it’s own way.  If I had rated the dish higher, the wines would have elevated the pairings to a DTG. 
The smoky-cocoa cabernet brings out the spicy elements of the dish and has a light enough body to not overpower the sweet potato burgers. 
The Viognier complimented the sweetness of the mango and sweet potato; the wine acquired an added layer of a lemony-citrus flavor when paired with the dish-refreshing and smooth.

Where to buy

All the wines will be for sale locally at the Grotto in San Marco. Please call first to ensure they are in stock.  You can contact Mitch Woodlief, grottomitch@aol.com with questions and pricing.  Anyone outside the Greater Jacksonville area can contact E-MAIL: info@broadbent.com PHONE: US +1 415-931-1725.

Sweet Potato Tahini Burgers

with Citrus, Mango and Avocado Salsa

Inspired by Lunch Box Bunch
Serves 6
Vegan, Gluten Free, Dairy Free

Ingredients

Burgers
1 can of sweet potato
2 cans cannellini or pinto beans, rinsed and drained
2 heaping Tbsp tahini
2 Tbsp maple or agave syrup
1/2 tsp Cajun seasoning
1/3 cup oats, pulsed in magic bullet, blender or food processor to grind it a bit

Salsa
1 mango, seeded and chopped
2 oranges, peeled and chopped
1 avocado, seeded and chopped
1/4 jalapeno pepper, chopped
1 tsp minced fresh ginger
Juice of 1 lime
Handful fresh cilantro, chopped

Directions

1. Preheat oven to 350F.  Add all burger ingredients to a food processor and pulse a few times, so just mixed.  Form into patties and place on a baking tray rubbed with oil.  Bake for 20 to 30 minutes, turning halfway through.  Turn on broiler to high at the end to crisp outside – about 1 to 2 minutes or until browned.

2. Meanwhile mix the salsa ingredients in a small bowl. 

3. Top each burger with a generous heaping of salsa and serve with Barboursville Viognier or Warwick First Lady Cabernet.

Nutrition Facts
6 Servings
Amount Per Serving

Calories 381.5
Total Fat 8.2 g
Saturated Fat 1.3 g
Polyunsaturated Fat 2.2 g
Monounsaturated Fat 4.1 g
Cholesterol 0.0 mg
Sodium 113.4 mg
Potassium 1,199.3 mg
Total Carbohydrate 67.5 g
Dietary Fiber 14.4 g
Sugars 8.3 g
Protein 15.8 g

Vitamin A 185.7 %
Vitamin B-12 0.0 %
Vitamin B-6 20.7 %
Vitamin C 65.9 %
Vitamin D 0.0 %
Vitamin E 5.8 %
Calcium 18.3 %
Copper 35.7 %
Folate 42.5 %
Iron 36.5 %
Magnesium 31.7 %
Manganese 78.9 %
Niacin 8.5 %
Pantothenic Acid 12.9 %
Phosphorus 27.3 %
Riboflavin 14.1 %
Selenium 5.2 %
Thiamin 25.9 %
Zinc 19.1 %

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

Please note that as an ammendment to the Black Bean Soup post I would like to change my rating of the Pares Balta to a Damn thats Good. I’ll definitely be ordering more of because of it’s summer drinkability factor as well as the new information provided that this wine is produced with absolutely now animal products so it’s perfect for a plant based diet.

Oct 182010
 
I had such an amazing weekend.  Most of it was spent in my camper….in the driveway. 
Remember how I told you that Chris is not a camping fan and, in fact, when I brought up the subject of buying one he wasn’t very happy (to say the least)? 
 Well we sat in the camper until 11:00 Friday night talking about the places we wanted to take it.  Possibly even taking it to camp one night on our way to Asheville this coming weekend!
Then Saturday he suggested we sleep in the camper just to see how comfortable it is.
And finally, Sunday he disappeared for a while and when I went out to look for him someone was pulling out of the driveway. 
The person pulling out was a friend of his that came by to check it out.
I am so happy to see that he seems to like it! I see many campouts in my future!
And I celebrated with tofu.
One of the reasons I love Heather’s blog called Where’s the Beach is because she’s so down to earth and always has great vegetarian recipes.
This past Friday I came across her Sweet Spicy Sesame tofu stir fry and it was one of those recipes that sounded so wonderful and I had almost everything I needed on hand!
Sweet and Spicy Tofu Stir Fry
Altered from Where’s the Beach
Serves 4
Ingredients
1 block extra firm tofu, pressed of water and cubed
1 Tbsp tahini paste
1/4 cup soy sauce
1/4 cup honey
Red pepper flakes, to taste
3 tsp minced garlic
1 tsp powdered ginger
Soy sauce, to taste
1 12 oz bag pre-cut stir fry veggies (mine had broccoli, snow peas, carrots and red cabbage)
1 12 oz bag of pre cut broccoli
1 red onion, sliced thinly
Sesame seeds (optional for sprinkling at finish)
Directions
1. Whisk the tahini through pepper flakes in a small bowl.  Pour over the cubed tofu and marinate overnight if possible.
2. Preheat oven to 375F and spray a baking sheet with cooking spray.  Spread the marinated tofu cubes evenly over the top.  Bake for 40 to 45 minutes or until outside is brown and crisp, turning several times during cooking time.
3. Meanwhile heat oil in a large skillet or wok over medium high heat.  Add the garlic and ginger powder.  Stir until fragrant, about 30 seconds to 1 minute.  Turn heat to high and add the stir fry mix, broccoli, onion and soy sauce, to taste.  Sauté until crisp tender. 
(You may need to add a Tbsp or two of water if the veggies start to stick). 
4. Add baked tofu to vegetable mixtures and gently toss.  Top with sesame seeds.
Feb 172010
 

Dear Aunt Owney, if you are reading this post this one is for you.

What?  No tahini, agave and flax seed in the pantry?  Sheesh, I thought everyone had this stuff!  ;) 

I will admit I do buy most ingredients at my local natural food store, Native Sun.  However, you can get almost all the ingredients shown here, as well as agave which is not in this particular recipe, at local grocery stores.  Check for an organic/all natural section or talk to the store manager.

I love looking back and seeing how my pantry has evolved.  Finding out about my daughter’s allergies definitely propelled me in the natural food direction and to tell you the truth, not only are her allergies under control, I feel great too!  I have been working to eliminate white sugar from my diet and my cravings have almost ceased (for me this is really amazing as someone with a horrendous sweet tooth).

Pumpkin is a great source of fiber and vitamin A and is very low on the glycemic index. Even though these started out as a dessert truffle, they ended up not quite as sweet.  The pumpkin provides something more like the taste of a very moist granola bar.


I ate so much of the batter when I was making these around 10AM I wasn’t hungry until 4:30! Needless to say these little guys are very filling and tasty.

 Raw Tahini Pumpkin Truffles
Vegan, Gluten Free

Ingredients
1/2 cup pumpkin puree
2 Tbsp tahini, I used JoYva
1 cup dates
2 tsp maple extract
1/4 tsp cinnamon
3/4 cup rolled oats, I used Bob’s Red Mill
2 Tbsp flax seeds, I used Bob’s Red Mill
2 Tbsp apple juice
1/4 cup raisins

Directions

1. Add pumpkin puree through apple juice to a food processor; blend well, scraping down the sides of the food processor frequently until mixed to desired consistency.

2. Fold in raisins.

3. Roll rounded teaspoonfuls into balls and place in small muffin cups. Sprinkle with cinnamon and stevia and a few raisins for garnish (optional).