Wednesday, March 20, 2013

These Are a Few of Our Favorite Things

When the dog bites, when the bee stings, when I'm feeling sad...
Ahh...I just love The Sound of Music! But this blog isn't "Tofu and Movies", so let's get to our main topic of FOOD.

Having been eating our new diet for close to five months now, we have accrued some favorite recipes. This post does not provide all of our favorites, but is a selection of some that we find easy to make, delicious, and satisfying. We were talking just yesterday about how we sometimes miss foods we no longer choose to eat, but the missing doesn't overwhelm us because we have the pleasure of enjoying so many dishes that are within our dietary standards. I hope that these recipes appeal to you and that you find as much enjoyment from them as we do.

Big Salad
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A big salad is exactly what it sounds like: a SOUS (salad of unusual size...Princess Bride reference). Or to quote Elaine from Seinfeld, "It's a salad, only bigger...with lots of stuff in it."

A big salad is an easy, convenient, and delicious way to eat a variety of vegetables with any meal. Here's our recipe, but you should certainly modify to include veggies that you love if these aren't your favorite.

Dressing Ingredients, from the Wellness Forum:
  • 12 oz pkg firm or extra-firm silken tofu, drained
  • 1/3 cup mustard (we like HEB's whole grain organic mustard)
  • 1/3 cup pure maple syrup (make sure it's 100% pure maple syrup)
  • Juice of one lime
  • 1/2 tsp sea salt
  • Pepper to taste

Salad Ingredients:
  • Salad greens (so many choices: green leaf, spinach, arugula, romaine...)
  • Matchstick sliced carrots
  • Broccoli florets
  • Cucumber slices
  • Radishes, thinly sliced
  • Cherry tomatoes, sliced in half
  • To make the dressing: Combine all ingredients in a food processor or blender and blend until smooth and creamy. You can make a double or triple portion and store in the refrigerator, it'll keep for several weeks. It also makes a yummy veggie dip.
  • Compile your salad ingredients in a big bowl (or small if you like) and top with dressing. It's that easy!

Stir-"fried" Rice
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This is a recipe that I made up, based on a couple different dishes we've made from our cookbook. It's extremely easy to make if you have all the ingredients on hand. It literally takes me 10 minutes from start to finish, so this is a dish we eat at least once a week whenever we need a quick, but filling and delicious meal. It also has four kinds of vegetables in it, so it's an easy way to incorporate more green veggies into your day. My advice is to always keep some cooked brown rice on hand in your fridge. You can play around with the quantities to make it how you like it.

  • Baby-cut, matchstick, or chopped carrots (I use about 1 cup)
  • Broccoli florets and chopped "stumps" if you like them (~1 cup)
  • Asparagus, trimmed and cut into ~1-inch pieces (about 1 cup)
  • Kale, roughly chopped (~2 wilts down)
  • Vegetable stock for sauteeing (I use a couple Tablespoons at a time)
  • Pepper to taste
  • Ground ginger to taste
  • Garlic powder to taste
  • Brown rice syrup (~1 Tbsp) (check the natural foods aisle at Kroger...mine looks like this)
  • Low-sodium soy sauce to taste (they sell gluten-free soy sauce if you avoid gluten)
  • Cooked brown rice (~ 2-3 cups)

  • Add carrots, broccoli, asparagus, and kale to a large pan/pot and pour about 1-2 Tbsp of vegetable stock. Saute over medium-high heat for about 8 minutes or until veggies are to desired tenderness, adding small amounts of vegetable stock at a time to keep from sticking. Season with pepper, ginger, and garlic powder. Add brown rice syrup and stir in.
  • Add cooked rice and soy sauce and heat over medium-high heat until heated through (since we usually make this using cold cooked rice).

We like pizza. No, we love pizza. Who doesn't? Especially when you can actually eat pizza and it's healthy. Yes, finally, there is justice in the world. We are presently eating these two pizzas every night this week, and we don't have to feel guilty one little bit because it's all made from scratch and from healthy ingredients. Although the "cheese" on these pizzas aren't real cheese, they are a delicious substitute. Pizza was one of the big items we thought we would never have again, but then we heard Pam Popper mention this cookbook. These recipes, when making all of them in one day, take a bit of time, so we like to prep the toppings and make large batches of the sauces and "cheeses" ahead of time, so that each night during the week all we have to make is the dough, top it, and bake it. Sorry this is so long. No, wait, I'm not sorry. You should be thanking me for giving you permission to eat pizza every night in one week.

Pizza dough
We now eat gluten-free (Michael has a gluten-sensitivity), so we buy and follow the directions for Bob's Red Mill Pizza Crust mix, using ground flax seeds and water as a substitute for the eggs (note that buying already-ground flax seeds is not best because flax seeds go rancid quickly after breaking the seed capsule; instead grind your own flax seeds in a blender or coffee grinder and use immediately in this dough recipe). But before we started eating gluten-free, we used this recipe, omitting the oil and using sucanat as the sugar.

Tomato-based Pizza
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Tomato Sauce (one week's worth):
  • 4 6-oz cans organic tomato paste
  • 2 15-oz cans organic tomato sauce
  • 2 12-oz pkg. silken firm tofu
  • 4 Tbsp balsamic vinegar
  • Garlic powder to taste
  • Basil (dried) to taste
  • Ground oregano to taste
  • Pepper to taste
  • Sea salt to taste
  • Directions: Blend all ingredients in blender or food processor until smooth and creamy.

"Mozzarella Cheese" Ingredients (altered from the Uncheese cookbook):
  • 3 cups plain unsweetened almond or soy milk
  • 3/4 cup nutritional yeast flakes
  • 1/2 cup oats (we use GF oats)
  • 6 Tbsp sesame tahini
  • 4 Tbsp arrowroot (it's sold in the baking aisle)
  • 4.5-6 Tbsp lemon juice (about 3 lemons)
  • 1.5 Tbsp onion powder
  • 1.5 tsp sea salt

"Mozzarella Cheese" Directions:
  • Combine all ingredients in a blender and process until smooth.
  • Pour into saucepan, cook and stir over medium heat until until slightly thickened.
  • Pour into storage container, and cool, uncovered in refrigerator. You can cover it once it's completely cooled. You'll have to use a knife and spoon to spread gently over your pizza.

  • Prepared sauce and "cheese" above
  • Fresh parsley, oregano, and rosemary as desired
  • Chopped yellow onions
  • Broccoli florets
  • Sliced mushrooms
  • Sliced red bell pepper
  • Sliced roma tomatoes

Alfredo-based Pizza
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Sauce Ingredients (altered from the Uncheese cookbook):
  • 4 cups plain unsweetened almond or soy milk
  • 2 12-oz pkg. silken extra firm tofu
  • 2 tsp onion powder
  • 1 tsp garlic powder
  • 1 tsp sea salt
  • 1 tsp ground nutmeg
  • 1 tsp pepper
  • 1 bulb garlic, roasted (cover in foil, bake at 400 for about 30 minutes) and peeled
  • 1 large head cauliflower, steamed
  • 2 cups from the "Parmesan cheese" batch below

Sauce Directions:
  • Combine all ingredients, except "Parmesan cheese", in a blender and process until smooth.
  • Pour into large storage container and stir in "Parmesan cheese".
  • Cover and store in refrigerator.

"Parmesan Cheese" Ingredients (altered from the Uncheese cookbook) (Makes 6 cups):
  • 3 cups almonds
  • 3/4 cup nutritional yeast flakes
  • 6 tsp mellow white miso (found at health food stores in refrigerated section)
  • 1.5 tsp sea salt

"Parmesan Cheese" Directions:
  • Put almonds in a saucepan and add enough water to cover almonds completely. Bring to a boil, then reduce heat to low and simmer for 2 minutes. Drain completely (in a colander is best) and allow to cool either on its own or by running cold water over it.
  • Pinch each almond individually to remove the skin (it should easily pop off, but I admit, it's time consuming to do this to every single almond!) and place de-skinned almonds in a food processor container. Process until almonds are finely ground.
  • Add remaining ingredients and process until well incorporated. It should look like the Parmesan that comes from a shaker can. (Also makes a delicious topping for popcorn!)
  • You can store in airtight container in refrigerator for several weeks.
  • This recipe makes 6 cups, and you'll need 2 cups of that for the Alfredo sauce above.

  • Prepared sauce and "cheese" above
  • Fresh parsley, oregano, and rosemary as desired
  • Fresh chopped basil
  • Chopped yellow onions
  • Broccoli florets
  • Sliced mushrooms
  • Spinach, sauteed in water until wilted

Banana "Ice Cream"
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We've hit the motherload! We recently found this gem of a dessert. It's a quick, easy, and delicious substitute for ice cream when you're feeling weakened to temptation. Or when you just crave some ice cream. Or when you just want a healthy snack. It's a mildly sweet, ice-cream-cold dessert. And it's fat-free. Can I get an 'Amen!'?

We made this the first few times using only frozen bananas, vanilla extract, and ground cinnamon. It's delicious! Last night we added unsweetened cocoa powder instead of cinnamon. Yummy! Although it wouldn't be fat-free, you could add some nuts or peanut butter if desired. This summer we'll probably add some fresh berries. Or maybe we'll freeze some berries and make flavored ice cream.

If you don't have a strong blender, you may have to let the frozen bananas thaw for a little bit. You may be able to make this in a food processor, but I haven't tried it. This is the fun part of trying something get to eat all the trials! Boy do we have a good life!

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