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Monday, February 27, 2012

Squash Tofu Pizza

Yup, that's right. Pizza with squash and tofu. And it was good. Really good. I wanted to experiment with squash on pizzas, mostly because I'm over-run with them from my winter CSA, and I'm trying to get more creative with them. I also wanted to experiment with tofu instead of cheese, just because it sounded intriguing. I like a challenge. This turned out to be an excellent decision, and took me pleasantly by surprise. I'm no vegan, but I quite enjoyed this vegan pizza. Next time, I might drizzle a bit of balsamic vinegar over it, too. Yum!

This is a simple no-rise dough, but if you want to let it rise, it's even better.

Pizza Dough
2 1/2 C flour (white, wheat, or a combination)
1/2 C flax seed meal
2 T yeast
2 T oil
1 T sugar
1 t salt
1 C very warm water

In a large bowl mix flour, flax seed meal, salt, sugar and yeast. Mix in oil and water. I like to use my hands to fully incorporate the flour and get a feel for the dough. Set aside and rise, or press into a pan - I always use a greased cast iron skillet or griddle for my pizza. Preheat oven to 425 degrees.

Squash Sauce
1 delicata squash (or any other winter squash), about 1 C pureed
2 t garlic powder
salt and pepper

Halve the squash and scrape out the seeds. Steam until soft then scoop out the insides into a bowl. Mix in garlic powder, a sprinkle of salt and a bit of pepper. I used a handheld blender to make my nice and sauce like.

Tofu Cheese
1/2 pound extra firm tofu
1/4 C nutritional yeast
salt & pepper

In a bowl crumble tofu and mix in nutritional yeast, a dash of salt and bit of pepper.

Caramelized onions
Fresh Basil
Fresh Spinach

Now put it all together! Press out the dough into the pan of choice, spread the squash sauce over it, sprinkle basil over that, toss on tofu cheese, then layer on the spinach and caramelized onions. Bake for 30 minutes.

Friday, February 10, 2012

Not Meat Loaf

Today seemed like a comfort food sort of day. My mood has been grumpy, spending loads of time editing my book, and working on my new project. I needed something warm and filling....and I wanted to close the laptop and spend the afternoon in my favorite place in the house - the kitchen. I did a quick perusal of my cupboards and fridge and decided meat loaf was it for the night. But of course, since I have my vegetarian step-kids on the weekend, I had to do some sort of alternative not meat loaf. Thus, this delicious mixture of black beans and quinoa was born.

Not Meat Loaf
2 C cooked black beans, mashed
1 small onion, chopped
3 cloves garlic, minced
1 red pepper, chopped
2 Portobello mushrooms, chopped
1/2 C quinoa
3/4 C broth/stock/water
1/4 C nutritional yeast
6 T ketchup
1/4 C flax meal flour (or any other type of flour)
salt and pepper
2 T butter

Preheat oven to 400 and grease a bread pan with oil. In a large skillet on the stove melt the butter and saute the mushrooms for 5-7 minutes, until nice and brown. Add in onions, garlic and peppers and saute for another 5 minutes. Sprinkle with salt and pepper. Stir into mashed black beans. Let sit (this helps the mix dry out a bit). In a sauce pan add quinoa and broth and cover. Bring to boil over high heat, then lower it down for 12-15 minutes, until liquid is absorbed. Toss into bean mixture and add nutritional yeast, 3 T of ketchup and flax meal. Stir in salt and pepper to taste. Press into pan and spread 3 T of ketchup over the top, bake for 35-40 minutes. Remove from oven and let sit for 15 minutes. Place under broiler for 5 minutes then serve. This is great with steamed veggies and mashed potatoes, with a little gravy or ketchup over the top.

Thursday, February 9, 2012

Delicata Squash Alfredo

Last night I discovered a new favorite food - raw squash! I love cooked squash, a late-in-life discovery, but it holds no candle to the texture and flavor to uncooked squash. When you cook it, the squash becomes starchy, a reaction to the breaking down of its enzymes. When eaten raw, it's clean & sweet. Matchsticks of squash would be a perfect addition to any veggie platter, tossed over greens, or even mixed into a potato salad. I'll be exploring more with this, especially since I have a hallway lined with a variety of fresh squash from my CSA.

After eating this meal, I became energized and felt so much healthier than I have in a while. The bright orange squash is full of vitamin C - something so valuable this time of year. On top of that, the Alfredo sauce was healthy and light, a drastic distance from heavy, cheesy Alfredo. Now don't get me wrong, I love a rich creamy white sauce poured thick over long strands of warm pasta, but this meal was a nice alternative on those nights when you want a comfort food without the extra 5 pounds added to your mid-section. I especially think this would be nice in the summer, with a side salad and a maybe some extra veggies like peas and shredded carrots tossed in as well. Either way, I'm thoroughly pleased with this new discovery of how to enjoy winter squash.

Delicata Squash Alfredo
1 small delicata squash (any other type would work, too), peeled and shredded or spiralized
1 small orange pepper, diced
1 C low-fat plain Greek yogurt
2 T fresh parsley, minced
1/4 C nutritional yeast
1/2 lemon, zested
1/2 t salt
pepper & garlic powder (to taste)

Toss pepper with squash and set aside. In a bowl whisk yogurt, parsley, nutritional yeast, salt, pepper and garlic powder. Stir in lemon zest. To serve: pile a mound of squash on plate, top with sauce and sprinkle with nutritional yeast. Enjoy!!

Tuesday, February 7, 2012

Beans, Yogurt, and Salad Greens

I got a Pantry Share from Wolf Pine Farm this fall and it was full of all sorts of beans - kidney, black, and pinto. I love fresh from the farm beans because they require no soaking, and cook up in like an hour. I always toss in a bit of kelp to help eliminate the the gas issue, and to help speed up the process. It's nice to be able to take a cup of dried beans and decide to have them for dinner, in an hour and half. Tonight I decided to try something different with them - put them on a salad. It was DELICIOUS!!! I'm totally addicted, and would probably eat this every day if I could.

Beans, Yogurt & Salad Greens
1 C cooked pinto beans
1 T coconut oil
1 small onion, sliced
2 cloves garlic, sliced thin
1/2 C Kale
1/2-1 C water
1 lemon, squeezed
chili powder, salt and pepper
1/2 C plain low-fat yogurt
1 t cinnamon
1t chili powder
1 T nutritional yeast
2 C mixed greens
1 carrot, shredded or spiralized
corn chips or corn taco shells

Melt coconut oil in frying pan and add onions and garlic for 3 to 5 minutes. Toss in beans and kale, add water, chili powder, salt and pepper and simmer until gone. Toss in lemon juice and set aside. Whip yogurt, cinnamon and chili powder together, then stir in nutritional yeast. To serve, crunch of some taco shells or corn chips on plate, cover with mixed greens and carrot, top with beans and a few more corn chips. Add a hefty dollop of yogurt mixture, sprinkle with nutritional yeast, and devour. Enjoy!!!

Stir Fry

It was just the hubby and I last night for dinner, so I decided to whip up a quick RAW stir fry that was both filling and nutritionally satisfying. I forget how quickly you can fill up on RAW meals, and how much energy you get from all the nutrients and enzymes your body takes in. Sometimes in the winter I have a hard time fully enjoying a RAW meal because I miss the warmth of something cooked, but yesterday was so bright and sunny and beautiful, that this stir fry felt like the right meal for the night. This meal served two, with enough left over for a third, and could easily be increased for more.

Stir Fry
1 small head broccoli
1 small carrot, peeled
1/2 C arugula
2 T raw pumpkin seeds
1/4 C tamari (or soy sauce, or Bragg's)
1 T rice wine vinegar
1 clove garlic, minced (or 1 t of garlic powder)
1 T honey
1 large parsnip, peeled & chopped
1 sun-dried tomato (if dried, soak for 1 hour)

Place parsnip and sun-dried tomato in food processor and chop until a rice consistency. Set aside. Chop broccoli into bite-sized pieces. With a spiralizer or grater, shred carrot into fine pieces. Chop arugula and toss with carrot and broccoli. In a separate bowl mix tamari, vinegar, garlic and honey until well combined, then toss with chopped veggies. To serve: place a heaping mound of parsnip rice on a plate and scoop veggies over it. Sprinkle with pumpkin seeds, a bit of tamari and ground pepper. Enjoy the pop of and crunch of the veggies, and the sweet tang of the parsnip rice. If you prefer softer veggies, let them sit in the marinade for an hour before serving.

Saturday, February 4, 2012

Simple Cleansing Salad

In an attempt to limit refined sugars, yeast and processed foods from my diet, I've discovered my one true love - Salads. I always liked them, even as a kid, but as an adult, I find myself craving them. I'll even go out to dinner and order a salad for my meal. They are delicious, fulfilling, and energizing. Given all of that, they still can get boring, particularly in the winter when fresh salad ingredients are limited. There's no plump red tomatoes, juicy cucumbers or sugar snap peas to liven it up. Greens I can come by, though, from some local farms, carried by the Bath Natural Market, so at least the base is there. The rest is pure inspiration.

Today I perused my fridge for a meal and found a bag of mixed lettuces, so I knew a salad was in my future. I also found a bowl of daikon radish that I had put thru the spiralizer (it made beautiful thin shreds of radish), and a jar of sprouted quinoa. These ingredients screamed to be made into a filling winter salad. But what oh what would I use for salad dressing? I don't buy dressing at the store - I find it expensive and over-processed. Making your own dressings is simple, cheap, and delicious. But alas, I gave my hubby the last batch of honey mustard dressing I made last week to take to work today. It was time to get creative!

Sprouted Quinoa Salad
1/2 C sprouted quinoa* (directions below)
1/4 C shredded daikon radish
2-3 C fresh salad greens

*Sprouted Quinoa is easy to make, only requiring 2 days to bring it from a grain to a lovely sprout. Take 2/3C quinoa and soak in a large bowl of cold water for 30 minutes. This helps remove dust and whatnot from the grain. Drain thoroughly, rinse, and drain again. Place in a glass jar and cover the top with a piece of cheese cloth, held tightly in place by an elastic band. Place in a bowl with the cheese cloth end down and the jar resting on the bowl edge at an angle. This allows proper drainage so the sprouts can grow and not mold. In 8 to 12 hours fill the jar with water (keep the cheese cloth on) and drain. Put back in position on the bowl. Repeat in another 8-12 hours. Taste the sprout at this point and see if it's good for you. I like to do one more rinse and rest period, but it all depends on personal taste. If you want to go a bit longer, fill the jar with water and drain, then place jar back in position on bowl for 8 to 12 hours. Replace cheese cloth with tight fitting lid and store in fridge. I eat these in salads, by themselves with a little dressing, tossed onto rice...whatever sounds good to you. Quinoa is one of the best grains available so eat a lot of it, and eat it often!

Nutritional Lemon Dressing
2 T nutritional yeast*
1/2 lemon, squeezed & zested
1-2 T extra virgin olive oil
salt and pepper

Squeeze lemon into a bowl, add in nutritional yeast, then quickly whisk in olive oil until a creamy dressing is formed. Sprinkle with salt and pepper. Pour Dressing over salad, add some zested lemon rind, and toss thoroughly. Enjoy every bite!
*(this is different type of yeast than regular baking yeast, so if you're on a yeast free diet, this is just fine to eat!

Friday, February 3, 2012

Nuts, Fruit, and Cacao - Oh My!

In an attempt to regain some energy, I'm including much more RAW in my diet again. This time, though, I'm getting serious. In order to stick to it, we needed some snack foods that were both good for us and will give us our sweet-tooth fix. After a perusal of my cupboard, I decided to pull everything that sounded yummy, throw it all together in the food processor, and cover it in chocolate. The amounts are an estimate. If you don't have these items, get creative with what you do have. I just devoured my first sampling of it, but I did manage to get a pic before i gulped the last bite.

Nuts, Fruit, and Cacao - Oh My!

3 T nut butter (if you're not concerned with raw, just use peanut butter)
2 T dried cranberries
1 T cacao nibs
3 T honey
2 T unsweetened shredded coconut
2 T raw cashews
4 T coconut oil
3 T carob powder

In the food processor combine nut butter, cranberries, cacao, 2 T of the honey, coconut, cashews and 2 T of the coconut oil. Combine until it clumps together in a ball. If the cashews don't chop up, add a bit more coconut oil. Press into a small baking dish. Meanwhile, melt 1 T honey, 2 T coconut oil, and carob powder. Whip it really good for 30 seconds until it becomes a thick, chocolate sauce. Spread over the baking dish and put in freezer for 1 hour. Then put in fridge to keep cool and firm. Devour every bite!