Tuesday, May 31, 2011

Curried Lentils and Brown Rice

This dish is a no-brainer.  It's packed with protein, whole grains, and antioxidants.  Lentils are popular in Indian cuisine, as well as curry.   Curry contains many powerful antioxidants and anti-inflammatory compounds.  Curry is a mixture of several spices, the main one being turmeric.  Curcumin is the substance in turmeric that gives the curry mix its yellow color.  Curry is used as a common antiseptic in India to treat damaged skin such as cuts or burns.  It's even being linked as a possible cure for Alzheimer's disease.  I actually take a curcumin supplement every day.

This dish goes a long way, as well as keeps you full longer with it's complex carbs.   So simple to make, enjoy!

3 cups of cooked lentils (any variety you like)
2 cups of cooked brown rice (white rice is bleached and has no beneficial nutrients, just empty calories)
4 vine ripened tomatoes, diced
2 garlic cloves, diced
1 small onion, diced
1/2 teas. chili powder
1/2 teas. curry powder (or more if you like!)
1/2 teas. cumin
1/4 cup olive oil
dash of red pepper for heat
salt, pepper, garlic powder to taste

Heat oil in a large pan and cook onions and garlic for a few minutes.  Add tomatoes and spices, stir.  Add cooked lentils and brown rice, warm through to let flavors combine.  Can be served warm, or cold like a salad.  Left-overs are delish!

Wednesday, May 18, 2011

The Yard House Restaurant

Wonderful news!   The Yard House is now serving Gardein™ garden dishes on their menu.  I've always enjoyed this restaurant, but now I love it even more.  Over 15 vegetarian and vegan options!  Plus they look delicious.  Gardein™ is made from soy, wheat gluten, and ancient grains.  It mimics the flavor and consistency of chicken.  It has 14 grams of protein per serving, zero cholesterol and only 90 calories.  I love that so many restaurants are getting with the program and adding vegetarian meals to their menus.  It's a way of life that seems to be catching on more and more.  Even if you are not a vegetarian, but are cutting back on meat for health reasons, it's nice to know you can still enjoy a night out dining and not have to eat the same old salad again!  Check out their website and look for Gardein on the menu!

Monday, May 16, 2011

Fried Onion Rings-Only Baked

Don't you love onion rings?! I love to have my friends order them when we are eating out, then I 'taste' a few. But let's face it~the fried grease is clogging our arteries, mine included.  Have you heard the saying "anything in moderation is fine?"  Well here is a new saying I keep thinking about: "moderation kills."  All that means is you may be eating so many unhealthy things in "moderation" that it all adds up to, NOT GOOD!  Here is a simple way to make "fried" onion rings a healthful way, and you can eat more for less calories.  If you steer away from white flour, casein, and too much oil, you're on the right track.  Recipe adapted from Skinny Bitch:

You will need three bowls for dipping, plus:

1 sweet yellow onion, cut into 1/4" slices, for about 20 good rings
1/2 cup soy or rice flour (you could use whole wheat, but then you'll have a "wheaty" taste)
1/4 cup yellow corn meal (for the crunch part)
1/4 cup bread crumbs
1/2 cup of soy or rice milk
1/2 teas. sea salt
pepper to taste
canola or coconut oil (these two oils are best for heating at high temps)

Preheat oven to 450F. Oil cookie sheet with canola or coconut oil and set aside.  Even if it is a seasoned pan, grease it anyway~it will help crisp up the rings. In one bowl, mix in the bread crumbs, cornmeal, salt.  The next bowl, flour.  The third bowl, soy milk.  Then, dredge onion rings one or two at a time in milk, then flour, milk again, last bread crumb mixture.  Shake off and set on pan.  Bake for 18 minutes and serve with organic ketchup.  Did I eat the whole batch?  Duh.

Saturday, May 14, 2011

Lemon-Rosemary Israeli Couscous

Wow, you've got to try Israeli Couscous.  What is it, you ask?  Israeli Couscous is a small, round semolina pasta that should not be confused with the tiny, yellow North African couscous; it is completely different.  Sometimes called pearl couscous or maftoul, it resembles barley, or very small, white peas.  Totally yummy.  It makes an excellent side-dish instead of that same old rice or pasta. You can make it with any veggies your family loves, such as, green beans, broccoli, peas, corn etc.  Be creative!

**Did you know rosemary/rosemary oil is full of healthful benefits, such as cancer fighting antioxidants, delaying of the aging process, memory enhancement, and hair shine.  Make sure your eating lots of fresh herbs!
All I did for this recipe is sauté my favorite veggies (asparagus, red onion, mushrooms) with some oil and then add it to the couscous.  I followed the preparation directions on the box for the couscous, except, at the end, I added:
1/2 squeezed lemon
1 teaspoon of dried rosemary (or fresh would be great!)
pinch of salt, garlic powder and pepper to taste

Really delish!  Try something new and healthy tonight!

Sunday, May 1, 2011

Pomodoro Sauce

Pomodoro (tomato) sauce is a type of Italian red sauce made from tomatoes, garlic, olive oil and fresh basil.  It is so fresh and flavorful, much more authentic and delicious than anything bought in a jar.  Plus it is extremely easy to make, anyone can do it!   I use whole wheat spaghetti and "meatless" meatballs, which makes for the perfect, healthful, vegetarian pasta dinner my family loves!  Complex carbs, protein and fiber. Boo-ya!  (This is Joe Bastianich's recipe found in Runner's World magazine)  Enjoy!

The key is in the tomatoes, do not deviate!

1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
3 garlic cloves, crushed
2- 28 oz. cans of peeled, whole Italian plum tomatoes (such as San Marzano or Muir Glen)
1 tsp. dried oregano or Italian seasoning
1 tsp. sea salt
1 tsp. black pepper
fresh basil for garnish

Heat oil in large sauce pan over medium.  Add garlic and saute about 3 minutes.  Pour tomatoes in separate bowl and squeeze them with your hands to break them up.  (If you don't like big chunks, then blend tomatoes in blender.)  Add tomatoes and juice to sauce pan.  Add oregano, salt and pepper.   Simmer on low 45 minutes.   Use one pound of pasta.   Two minutes before pasta is done, drain and add to sauce, cooking a few more minutes allowing pastas to absorb some of the sauce.  Garnish with fresh diced basil and serve with a garden salad.  YUM.

*You can also make this sauce ahead and freeze for up to two months.

Banana Oatmeal Chip Cookies w/ Flax

These little gems are a cross between a cookie, muffin and scone.  They are packed with nutrients, fiber and protein~a perfect energy snack!  I used whole wheat flour, but you could use spelt or any non-wheat flour.  I like to eat two for breakfast with my tea or coffee.   They contain ground flax seeds.  I like to include ground flax seeds in my diet as much as possible~in baking recipes, on top of my cereal or oatmeal, in a smoothie and in pasta dishes.  Flax is full of fiber, omega-3 fatty acids and phytochemicals called lignans.   Lignans may help prevent Type 2 diabetes, reduce peri-menopausal symptoms, and prevent breast cancer.  Flax seeds are very low in carbohydrates and help lower blood cholesterol.  Ground flax seeds are more easily digested compared to the whole seed.  If you don't have any in your pantry, pick some up at the supermarket as soon as possible!   This recipe is adapted from Oh She Glows.

1/2 cup organic whole wheat pastry flour (or spelt, or soy flour)
1 cup rolled oats
1/2 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp cinnamon
1/4 tsp salt, optional
1 Tbsp ground flax seed
1/4 cup organic soy milk
1/4 cup pure maple syrup (or other liquid sweetener)
1/2 tsp vanilla extract
1 Tbsp expeller pressed canola oil
1/2 banana
1/4 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips
1/4 cup chopped walnuts
1/4 tsp. salt (optional)

1. Preheat oven to 350F and line a baking sheet with parchment or a non-stick mat.
2. In a large bowl, mix together the dry ingredients.  Next, add in the liquid ingredients and stir well.
3. In a small bowl, mash the banana. Stir in the mashed banana, chocolate chips, and walnuts into cookie mixture.
4. Spoon onto prepared baking sheet, leaving 2 inches apart.  Bake 12-15 minutes.  Cool on rack for 10 minutes before serving.  Makes 1 dozen.
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