Spaghetti Puttanesca with Matchstick Zucchini

 

Spaghetti Puttanesca

 

 

“By posting this recipe I am entering a recipe contest sponsored by the National Pasta Association and am eligible to win prizes associated with the contest. I was not compensated for my time.”

Have you every noticed that there seems to be a day or a month for just about every thing? There’s Take Your Kid to Work Day, Secretary’s Day, and Talk Like a Pirate Day. There are also month long celebrations, too. October happens to be National Pasta Month, so along with the Recipe Redux I am ready to cook up some pasta.

Let’s face it, pasta has been getting a bad rap lately. With the craze of the Paleo diet that eliminates starch, the new CDC diet recommendations calling for more vegetables, and more people eating a gluten free diet, I could be wrong, but it seems to me that there is less space for carbs like pasta. Well, pasta is great! Why give up something that is so enjoyable to eat? Really. Whole grain pasta is a good source of tryptophan that helps convert to seritonin, which is key to fighting insomnia, depression, and irritability. And whole grains help a person to feel full longer.

My solution is to have the pasta and eat it too. Add some vegetables into the mix for a more balanced diet. In this way you still get the wonderful taste pasta, with all the of benefits of whole grains and vegetables.

This recipe for Spaghetti Puttanesca with Matchstick Zucchini is a quick and easy meal to make for the busy family. My favorite way to eat it is paired with a side salad, and for heartier fare it can be paired with chicken or beef for a delicious protein rich healthy meal. Omit the anchovies for the vegetarian and vegan options.

References:

wholegrainscouncil.org – whole-grains-good-mood-food

myhealingkitchen.com – whole-grains-and-other-complex-carbs-elevate-calming-serotonin


Spaghetti Puttanesca with Matchstick Zucchini

Cook Time: 8 minutes

Total Time: 30 minutes

5 Servings

Spaghetti Puttanesca with Matchstick Zucchini

Ingredients:

  • 10 ounces dry whole grain pasta
  • 3 medium zucchini
  • 1-1/2 tablespoons pitted and chopped black olives
  • 1 can anchovies, about 6 filets, finely chopped
  • 1 tablespoon cappers, chopped
  • 1/8 teaspoon red pepper flakes
  • 1-1/2 tablespoons chopped green onion
  • 1-1/2 teaspoons minced garlic
  • 1-1/2 tablespoons minced parsley
  • 1 cup cooked homemade tomato sauce, or your favorite brand
  • ¼ pound feta cheese, crumbled

Procedure:

  1. Wash the zucchini and cut off the ends of the so they measure about 5 inches long.
  2. Use a mandolin, or a knife and your good judgment to eyeball where you make your cuts, and slice the zucchini to 3/8 inch thickness (a little less than ¼ inch).
  3. Stack up a few slices of the zucchini and slice along the length to make long matchsticks. Set the zucchini aside.
  4. Put on a small pot of lightly salted water to boil. (Later you will lightly boil the zucchini.)
  5. Cook the pasta.
  6. While the spaghetti is cooking, Place 1-1/2 tablespoons olive oil in a skillet and then add the garlic, stir for 15 seconds and then add the red pepper flakes, anchovies, black olives, green onion, oregano, parsley and tomato sauce. Stir well to mix and then turn off the heat.
  7. Cook the zucchini in the boiling water just until tender, about 40 seconds, and then strain. Add the zucchini to the tomato mixture.
  8. Strain the pasta when the spaghetti is at the al dente stage, still slightly firm to the bite. Place the pasta in a large serving bowl, and to it add the zucchini tomato mixture. Stir well to mix. Serve in pasta bowls and top with the crumbled feta cheese.
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Making Oven Dried Fruit

Dried Fruit     This month the Recipe Redux is all about dried fruits. This is the perfect time too, because summer is coming to a close but there’s still some good fruit to be had and you can preserve it to eat later it in the year. Making oven dried fruit is easy and it’s a great way to preserve the taste of summer to eat in the off season. What can you do with dried fruit? You can do los with dried fruits; add it to your oatmeal or sprinkle it on your favorite cereal, make fruit compotes with a mixture of fresh and dried fruit, make a trail mix with dried fruit and your favorite nuts, add it to your favorite sourdough bread recipe, stir it into curries, make liqueurs, cook up a chutney, bake a fruitcake, add it to your chicken casserole, or take it on car trips as it won’t spoil and smell. Is Dried Fruit Better for You? You have to be careful when consuming dried fruit because it has higher sugar content than fresh fruit, and more calories. On the flip side, dried fruits have at least twice the amount of fiber than fresh fruit. Oven Dried or Dehydrated? When you dry fruit in a conventional oven you lose more nutrients than when you with a dehydrator, which essentially blows dry air on the fruit, and is a gentler process which results in less loss of nutrients. But, not everyone has a dehydrator or is ready to invest in one, in which case using the oven is a good way to see if you enjoy making and eating dried fruits before making the investment of a dehydrator. Check out the links below for more information: Dried Fruits, Whfoods.org Drying Fruits, NDSU  

Dried Fruit

Prep Time: 30 minutes

Cook Time: 6 minutes

Total Time: 6 hours, 30 minutes

Dried Fruit

Making oven dried fruit is pretty easy. To get started all you'll need a couple of sheet pans, and silplats or parchment paper.

Ingredients:

  • 1 quart water
  • 1 cup lemon juice, or 1 teaspoon citric acid
  • 3-1/2 cups peeled, cored, and/or pitted fruit

Procedure:

  1. Select fully ripened, unblemished fruit.
  2. Peel, core, or pit the fruit as called for.
  3. Pour citric acid or lemon into the water, add the fruit and let it soak 10 minutes.
  4. Remove the fruit with a slotted spoon and pat dry.
  5. Place the fruit on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper a silpat.
  6. Oven dry at 140° for 5-6 hours. It should be leathery and pliable when done.
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Dried Apricots 2

Miso Soba Noodle Soup

Miso Soba Noodle Soup

 

 

Maybe you heard on the news about the big rainstorm we had in Arizona last week? Let me tell you that it was pretty wet around here. Streets were flooded and looked more like rivers than roadways, schools closed, banks closed, and flat roofs caved in under the weight of the water. We even had a little flooding in our living room. And even though the weather is still fairly warm at 92° right now, somehow our bodies are starting to go into colder weather mode. We are beginning to enjoy warm foods again like soups and stews. These cravings for warm food may be psychological due to the stormy weather conditions, but it’s great to eat soup again.

The other day, under the influence of this need for heat, I came up with a delicious soba noodle miso soup. Maybe you think miso isn’t good for a person due to it’s high sodium content, but studies show this isn’t the case. The sodium in miso doesn’t effect the body the way table salt does. A Japanese study of adults showed that diets containing miso tended to have lower risk of cardiovascular problems.

Miso is a fermented food which means it is a probiotic food with beneficial bacteria for your body. Another benefit of this paste is that the Bacillus bacteria in miso is able to make a special form of vitamin K, (menaquinone-7, or MK-7) that is good for the bones and decreases the risk of osteoporosis. It’s also rich in B-complex vitamins and various minerals. Purchase certified organic soy miso to avoid pesticides and genetically modified soybeans; WHFs recommends buying Chinese miso if you want the benefits of vitamin K, as it more likely contains the beneficial Bacillus.

Besides all the nutritional value and being gluten free, this soup tastes great! My picky 17 year-old son loved it and wanted it again soon.  Hope you enjoy it, too!

 

Miso Soba Noodle Soup

Prep Time: 10 minutes

Cook Time: 4 minutes

Total Time: 15 minutes

Servings: makes 6 servings

Miso Soba Noodle Soup

Ingredients:

  • 6 ounces organic soba noodles
  • 2 tablespoons miso
  • 2-1/2 tablespoons Tamari
  • ½ teaspoon Chinese hot oil
  • 2 teaspoons sesame oil
  • ½ cup cilantro leaves, roughly chopped
  • 2-1/2 stalks green onions, shredded
  • 1-1/2 carrots, peeled and cut into matchstick style
  • 3 ounces mushrooms, roughly chopped
  • 7 ounces organic tofu, cubed

Procedure:

  1. Fill a 4-quart pot with salted water and begin to heat it (for the pasta).
  2. Pour the Tamari, the Chinese hot oil and the sesame oil into a small bowl and set it aside.
  3. Gather the remaining ingredients on a cutting board. When everything is ready to geo, boil the noodles about 4 minutes, or until they are to your liking. In the meantime, start the next step.
  4. Fill a small pot with 3-1/2 cups water and bring it to a boil. Once it reaches a boil whisk in the miso, and then add the carrots and cook one minute. Next add the mushrooms and cook about 30 seconds, and then the flavoring liquid and stir. Finally, add the tofu and let this sit for a minute to warm the tofu.
  5. Strain the noodles and place them in a large serving bowl. Pour the miso mixture over the noodles and then top with the shredded green onions and chopped cilantro.
  6. Add extra tamari or hot pepper oil to taste.
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References:

Miso, World’s Healthiest Foods

Benefits of Miso, SFGate

 

Miso Soba Noodle Soup 2

Are You Getting Enough Magnesium?

Magnesium Foods

 

So, I met a woman in Spain over the summer who told me she got rid of her symptoms of rheumatoid arthritis and osteoarthritis by taking magnesium supplements. She read about the benefits of magnesium in a book by a well-known Spanish chemist, Ana Maria La Justicia, who wrote a book back in the 80’s called El Milagro del Magnesio (The Miracle of Magnesium). Curiously enough, I found it on my mother-in-law’s bookshelf; (it sounds like an impossible coincidence to find the book there, but not too much, as it was very popular when it came out and someone gave it to my mother-in-law to read).

The Relaxation Mineral: Dr. Mark Hyman says that are over 3,500 medical references on magnesium deficiency. He says to think of magnesium as the relaxation mineral,  “Anything that is tight, irritable, crampy, and stiff — whether it is a body part or an even a mood — is a sign of magnesium deficiency.”

Do you suffer from lack of magnesium? After doing some research I learned thatan estimated 68 to 80 percent of Americans are not getting enough magnesium and don’t even know it. The following are some of the symptoms or illnesses you mightbe having, says Dr. Mark Hyman: “Muscle cramps or twitches, insomnia, irritability, sensitivity to loud noises, anxiety, autism, ADD, palpitations, angina, constipation, anal spasms, headaches, migraines, fibromyalgia, chronic fatigue, angina, asthma, kidney stones, diabetes, obesity, osteoporosis, high blood pressure, PMS, menstrual cramps, irritable bladder, irritable bowel syndrome, reflux or trouble swallowing.”

Why don’t I get enough magnesium? If you have any of the above symptoms you many not be getting enough of this mineral in your diet, or your intake of magnesium draining foods is too high. Excess coffee, tea, alcohol, sodas, sugar, and salt can deplete magnesium, as can stress, diuretics, and antibiotics.

Look for...Eat Foods High in Magnesium: Fill you plate with almonds, spinach, collard greens, wheat bran, wheat germ, Brazil nuts, tofu, avocado cashews, peanuts, shredded wheat cereal, soymilk, black beans, edamame, peanut butter, whole wheat bread, avocado, baked potato, brown rice, yogurt, oatmeal, kidney beans, banana, and salmon.

Supplements: The Recommended Daily Allowance (RDA) for men is 420 mg/day, and 320 mg/day for women, although many doctors think these recommendations are too low. Most people do well with a higher dose from 400 to 1000 mg/day, says Dr. Hyman.

He also says to look for “easy to absorb magnesium like magnesium citrate, glycinate taurate, or aspartate, although magnesium bound to Kreb cycle chelates (malate, succinate, fumarate) are also good.” (My husband and I searched around and found Chealted Magnesium by Solgar).

Talk to a doctor before taking supplements if you have kidney disease or have a severe heart condition. Be aware that magnesium can cause loose stools, and you may have to experiment to find the best form for you.

Are you getting enough magnesium? Do you want to know more about it? Check out the links below!

LINKS:

http://drhyman.com/blog/2010/05/20/magnesium-the-most-powerful-relaxation-mineral-available/

http://drcarolyndean.com/magnesium_miracle/

http://articles.mercola.com/sites/articles/archive/2004/08/07/miracle-magnesium.aspx

http://www.webmd.com/vitamins-supplements/ingredientmono-998-magnesium.aspx?activeingredientid=998&activeingredientname=magnesium

http://www.anamarialajusticia.es/articulos/la-contra-punt-avui-del-10-de-enero-del-2014

 

Gluten Free Brazil Nut Bars

Gluten Free Brazil Nut Bars

 

Cathedral LeónIt’s been a long time since my last post—nine weeks! Maybe you thought I fell of the edge of the earth, but no, I was in Spain for most of the time and then getting back to normal life. Yes, it was a great trip! We stayed in Carlos’s home town of León, in the Northwest of Spain, where he takes a number of students each year for a summer abroad program.

León is a town of some 140,000 people. It’s a beautiful town know for it’s gothic Cathedral, also called the House of Light because of the large stained glass windows that illuminate the interior of the structure. León is also recognized and included in the Memory of the World program by UNESCO as being the birthplace of modern democracy, when in 1188 the city hosted the first European parliament.

In March 2014, two Spanish historians claimed to have identified the true Holy Grail, (remember Monty Python and Indiana Jones?); it sits in the Basilica of San Isidoro, in León. I’d seen the cup several times before, it’s known as the goblet of Doña Urraca, and until now it sat in a case in the museum’s antique library. This summer, it has it’s own special room with low lights and the cup is well protected in a large glass case.

Many people also visit León because it is a city along the Saint James trail to the city of Santiago where many pilgrims travel each year for religious reasons, or just for a good time getting out in nature.

Some of the highlights of my trip this summer were visiting Barcelona and touring Casa Batlló by architect Antoni Gaudí; spending an afternoon at the beach; visiting Carlos’s uncle and seeing his field of spelt; a day trip to Salamanca to visit some friends (if you ever go to Spain you must visit Salamanca to see one of the most beautiful town squares in the world!); an overnight trip in the company of friends to a small village nestled in the mountains of León—enjoying the company and eating lots of paella! And that reminds me of food…

Spelt Field

This week the members of TheRecipeRedux group are posting snack bars. I’m not too crazy for the typical snack bars with oatmeal and puffed rice. I think an apple or a banana make a tastier and healthier snack, but yeah, sometimes it’s nice to have something a little out of the ordinary so I came up with gluten free Brazil nut bars that are flourless and are made with cocoa powder. Both the nuts and the cocoa are loaded with magnesium, and I’ll be talking about that in upcoming posts. Believe me, it’s good for you!

Brazil Nut Bars

Prep Time: 17 minutes

Cook Time: 25 minutes

Total Time: 42 minutes

Yield: 8 bars

Serving Size: 1 bar

Brazil Nut Bars

These flourless gluten free Brazil nut bars with cocoa are a great source of magnesium!

Ingredients:

  • 1 cup Brazil nuts
  • 3 eggs
  • 5 tablespoons cocoa powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon gluten free baking powder
  • 1/3 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 banana
  • 1/3 cup organic brown rice syrup
  • 1/4 cup olive oil
  • 4 packets stevia
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • Plain yogurt (optional topping)

Procedure:

  1. Pre-heat the oven to 375°
  2. Ground the Brazil nuts in a food processor until it resembles sand.
  3. Place the nuts in a mixing bowl and stir the cocoa powder, stevia, salt, and the baking powder.
  4. In a separate bowl, mash the banana well and add the eggs, olive oil, brown rice syrup, and
  5. vanilla.
  6. Lightly oil a 7X9 inch pan, or an 8X8 inch pan with olive oil.
  7. Pour the mixture into the pan and bake 25-30 minute, or until and inserted toothpick comes out clean.
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Black Rice with BBQ Mango Shrimp

Black Rice with BBQ Mango Shrimp

 

 

I knew it wouldn’t be long for black rice to be on my dinner table after seeing it at Trader Joe’s. I had seen this rice posted on a visual menu of a Spanish arrocería (restaurant specializing in rice dishes), and I was curious to try it. The question became, what to do with it? A couple of dishes caught my attention on Pinterest. What caught my eye was the use of an orange colored food against the purple black color of the rice. Considering the time of the year, and for my taste, I decided it could be none other than black rice with BBQ mango shrimp.

Black rice is also know as “forbidden rice” because it was reserved for the Chinese Emperor, in the belief that the rice promoted health and longevity. What it has in common with brown rice is a similar chewiness and nutty flavor, and the nutritional benefits from the bran. Both types of rice are also effective for controlling weight, as compared to white rice (Nutrition Research).

What black offers that brown rice lacks are anthocyanin pigments that give the grain its purplish color. One very good thing to know about that is that you’ll have a lower risk of atherosclerosis by eating this food and other foods with the purplish hue like blueberries, beets, grapes, eggplant, and acai berries.

And if you’d like to hear a fun fact about black rice, you might be interested in knowing that you can use the rice as a natural dark purple dye. You might keep that in mind next time you want to color Easter eggs.

The mango shrimp marinade is delicious and it is loosely inspired by a marinated shrimp recipe by Emeril LaGasse. For my recipe, the shrimp is cooked on the bbq, but you can pan fry it if you prefer. Wipe of some of the marinade off the shrimp and cook it in about 1-1/2 tablespoons olive oil.

Now it’s your turn to try this healthy food. The rice is easy to make and it cooks up in about 35-40 minutes, even though the package indicated 30 minutes. What do you think about the black-purplish color? Be sure to let me know how you like it.

Additional Resource:

whfoods.org

Black Rice with BBQ Mango Shrimp

Prep Time: 40 minutes

Cook Time: 40 minutes

Total Time: 1 hour, 20 minutes

Servings: 6 servings

Black Rice with BBQ Mango Shrimp

Ingredients:

  • Black Rice with Mango Shrimp
  • For the shrimp and the marinade:
  • 1 pound shrimp, peeled and deveined
  • 3 tablespoons lime juice
  • 3 tablespoons virgin olive oil
  • 1 tablespoon garlic, minced
  • ¾ teaspoon cumin
  • ¼ teaspoon cayenne
  • 1 Serrano chile, minced
  • 1/3 cup mango puree
  • 1 teaspoon honey
  • ¼ cup cilantro, chopped
  • ¾ teaspoon salt
  • For the Rice:
  • 1-1/2 cups black rice
  • 3 cups water
  • 1-1/2 tablespoons virgin olive oil
  • 1 bay leaf
  • ½ teaspoon sea salt
  • For the Garnish:
  • 2 green onions, chopped into thirds and then shredded lengthwise
  • 1/3 cup cilantro leaves

Procedure:

    For the Rice:
  1. In a 10-inch casserole pan, sauté the onions in 1-1/2 tablespoons olive oil and cook them until they are translucent.
  2. Place 2 cups black rice in a sieve and rinse under cold water.
  3. Add the rice to the onions along with the bay leaf, the salt, and 4 cups of water.
  4. Bring the water to a simmer and cook on medium-low for 30-40 minutes, or until the water is absorbed.
  5. For the Shrimp:
  6. Place the peeled and deveined shrimp in a bowl with all the ingredients for the marinade and allow it to sit 30 minutes in the fridge.
  7. You can start to cook the rice while the shrimp is marinating.
  8. When your are ready to grill the shrimp heat the grill for 10 minutes on high (propane grill) and cook the shrimp about 3 minutes one each side. They will turn a shrink up and turn a whitish color when they are done. Be careful not to over cook them or they will be too dry.
  9. To Serve:
  10. Spoon the rice onto a platter, top with the shrimp, and cover with the cilantro and green onion garnish.
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Black Rice with BBQ Mango Shrimp

This recipe is also posted at Hearth and Soul, Tuesday’s Table, and The Yuck Stops Here.

Rainbow Chopped Salad

Rainbow Chopped Salad

 

 

 

School is out and we are officially in summer. Actually it’s been out for a couple of weeks already, but it’s only just now sunk into my mind. This is the time of year to shed the extra pounds that were put on over winter. There’s no need to diet, really. By eating more fresh vegetable salads, fresh fruit and less bread, and getting out to walk, bike, or swim more often, the extra pounds fall off. The summer heat helps, too, because the body enjoys fresh foods and drinks even more.

Today in Tempe, Arizona, it’s 109°, about 48° C. Living in the desert I’ve learned to plan the day. Wake up early, ideally about 6:30 – 7:30, but in practice more like 7-8, and take a walk early because later on it will be far too hot. I also do my shopping early in the morning, or late evening around 8:00 p.m.—after the sun has gone down and it’s cooler outside.

Living in a hell hole desert you appreciate light cold soups like tomato gazpacho, vichyssoise, and avocado gazpacho; and salads with a mix of veggies and protein, like: Lipsmacking Orange Salad, Arugula, Shrimp and Watermelon, and Roasted Bell Pepper with Tuna and Orzo. Who in their right mind would want to turn on the oven? It’s time to enjoy fresh cold foods straight out of the fridge.

Andalucia, an area in southern Spain, is a region of the country where the weather can be similar to Arizona. The Andalucians have been fighting the heat for centuries and they serve up a number of cold dishes, like: salmorejo (like gazpacho but thicker), ajo blanco (garlic almond soup), ensaladilla rusa (Russian Salad), tortilla de patata (potato omelet), and boquerones en escabeche (brined anchovies).

Is it hot where you live? Maybe you should link to one of the refreshing foods above, or try my rainbow chopped salad below. It’s vegan, dairy-free, gluten-free, and delicious!

 

Rainbow Chopped Salad

Prep Time: 25 minutes

Total Time: 25 minutes

Yield: about 12 cups

Serving Size: 8 servings about 1-1/2 cups each

Rainbow Chopped Salad

Ingredients:

    For the Salad!
  • 4 cups lettuce, washed and shredded
  • 1-1/2 cups black beans, drained
  • 1/2 cup cilantro, chopped
  • 1-1/2 cups corn
  • 1-1/2 cups tomato, chopped
  • 2 avocados, peeled seeded and chopped
  • 1-1/2 cup red bell pepper, chopped
  • 1/2 cup red onion, sliced
  • For the Dressing:
  • 3 tablespoons lime juice
  • 1/3 cup olive oil
  • garlic
  • 1 teaspoon minced garlic
  • 1/2 teaspoon garlic salt
  • 1/3 teaspoon sea salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon siracha

Procedure:

  1. Place the lettuce on a large serving platter.
  2. Put the chopped salad vegetables on top of the bed of salad in vertical lines.
  3. Top with the sliced red onions.
  4. Pour the salad dressing over the entire area of the salad.
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 Weight Watcher Points Plus: 5 points per serving

Nutrition Facts Rainbow Chopped Salad

Rainbow Chopped Salad

This recipe is also posted at Hearth and SoulTuesday’s Table, and The Yuck Stops Here.

 

Blueberry Nut Butter Sandwich

Blueberry Nut Butter Sandwich

 

 

Have you ever discovered something so obvious that you wonder, why didn’t I see that before? That’s the way I felt when I realized what I’d been missing all these years by not knowing how good a blueberry nut butter sandwich is. It was like a V8 moment. I wanted to slap my forehead and say, “What a dummy, I could have been enjoying a blueberry nut butter sandwich all these years.”

Yesterday I wanted a nut butter sandwich but without the jam or jelly, and then the idea came to me, why not try it with blueberries? I’d been eating peanut butter with bananas since I was a little girl, why hadn’t I tried it with berries? I spread almond butter on a piece of whole wheat bread, topped it with fresh blueberries and took a bite. What a surprise! Why would anyone ever come up with the idea of making jam to put on toast when this fresh fruit tastes so fresh and juicy?

You might be thinking, why put up a post for something so simple, I mean…, blueberry nut butter sandwich? Really?

Yes. Really.

If I didn’t write this post today you could go years, like me, without ever having it cross your mind to make a blueberry nut butter sandwich. That would be sad, and I would feel guilty for not having shared my find with you, even though you might think it is trite. But if you try it, I know you’ll agree with me that this sandwich is worth the post.

Sometimes the most delicious and memorable foods are the simplest. And sometimes they are just to obvious to even be seen, but if you let yourself relax and let your eyes gaze casually over the foods in the fridge, you might just have a V8 moment.

 

Blueberry Open Face Nut Butter Sandwich

Prep Time: 1 minute

Cook Time: 2 minutes

Total Time: 4 minutes

Serves: 1

Blueberry Open Face Nut Butter Sandwich

Ingredients:

  • 1/2 whole wheat bagel
  • 2 tablespoons almond butter
  • 1/2 cup fresh blueberries, washed and drained

Procedure:

  1. Lightly toast the bagel.
  2. Spread the almond button on the bagel and top with the blueberries.
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 Weight Watcher’s Point Plus Value: 7

 

Blueberry Nut Butter Sandwich 2

 

This recipe is also posted at Hearth and SoulTuesday’s Table, and Wonderfully Creative Wednesdays.

Chai Tea Biryani

Chai Tea Biryani

 

 

 

It’s National Vegetarian Week, and I’m doing my bit to create awareness about the benefits of eating less meat by sharing my recipe for vegan chai tea biryani rice.

There are many reasons why people become vegetarians, but probably the 3 most common reasons are: for better health, compassion for the animals, and to better the health of the planet.

According to USVegWeek.com “Nine billion land animals (and billions more aquatic animals) are raised and killed for food each year in the United States—that’s more than 1 million animals every hour.” There are several things wrong with this figure: It’s an unnecessary waste animal life, water resources, and land, and it’s unsustainable.

One book that I can recommend you to read about the unsustainability of the current practice of harvesting animals is Food Matters: A Guide to Conscious Eating by Mark Bittman. This book is written for vegetarians and non-vegetarians alike.

Whether we eat meat or not, by making a few changes in our diet, in the direction of eating less meat, we will be doing better for our own health, the well-being of animals and for the health of the planet.

This week the friendly women at theRecipeReDux challenged the group members to come up with a recipe that uses tea–like that was really a challenge. For me it had to be something with chai tea, or a variation of it. This biryani rice dish uses chai tea as the base liquid and it’s delicious! It’s also dairy free, vegetarian and vegan. Try it and let me know what you think about it.

You might also like the following recipes to celebrate National Vegetarian Week. They are all super yummy!

Wicked Vegan White Beans (vegan)

Mediterranean Garden Lasagna (vegetarian)

Vegetable Shu Mai (vegan)

Spicy Marinated Tofu (vegan)

 

Chai Tea Biryani

Prep Time: 20 minutes

Cook Time: 35 minutes

Total Time: 55 minutes

Serves: 4

Chai Tea Biryani

Ingredients:

  • Chai Tea Biryani
  • For the Tea:
  • 2-1/3 cups water
  • 1 teabag of chai tea
  • 2 1/3-inch slices of ginger
  • 5 green cardamom pods
  • 1 stick cinnamon
  • 1 star anise
  • 5 black peppercorns
  • For the Rice:
  • 1 cup Brown Jasmine Rice
  • 1 tablespoon olive
  • 1/2 cup onion, chopped
  • 2 cups plus 2 tablespoons chai tea
  • ½ cup coconut milk
  • ½ teaspoon turmeric
  • ¼ teaspoon cumin
  • ½ teaspoon sea salt
  • Garnish:
  • ¼ cup cashews
  • ¼ cup raisins
  • 2 tablespoons chopped cilantro or parsley

Procedure:

    For the Tea:
  1. Place 2-1/2 cups water in a small pot along with 1 bag of chai tea, 2 slices of ginger from a piece of ginger about 1-inch in diameter, 5 cardamom pods, 1 star anise, and 5 black peppercorns. Bring the water to a simmer and allow it to simmer for 5 minutes.
  2. Remove the tea from the heat and let it rest for 10 minutes.
  3. Strain the tea. You should have 2 cups plus 2 tablespoons of liquid remaining. If you are short of this amount add water to make up the difference.
  4. For the Rice:
  5. Pour 1 tablespoon olive oil in a 4-quart saucepan and sauté the onion until it is transparent.
  6. Add the salt, turmeric, cumin and raisins. Stir well.
  7. Add the tea, coconut milk, rice, and bay leaf. Stir, and bring the liquid to a simmer. Cover the pot tightly and cook on low heat until the rice absorbs the liquid, about 30 to 35 minutes.
  8. When with rice is done, fluff it up with a fork and then garnish with chopped cilantro or parsley, raisins and cashews.
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This recipe is also posted at Hearth and SoulTuesday’s Table, and Wonderfully Creative Wednesdays.

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Mango Banana Smoothie and the Benefits of Mango

Mango Banana Smoothie

 

 

You might be thinking “Hmm, another smoothie recipe,” without giving it too much thought. But there are a few reasons why you should give this smoothie some consideration. Why? First of all, and let’s face it, what we really want is great taste; but there are also important nutritional, health, and cooking benefits mangos give:

Nutritional benefits: In just one cup of mango you get 100% of your daily vitamin C recommended nutritional needs (RDA), 35% of your vitamin A requirements, and 12% of your fiber needs, all this and only 100 calories.

The Health Benefits: You might think that you would gain a lot of weight from eating such a sweet fruit, but studies show that mango may aid to reduce body fat and it may also help to control blood sugar levels. Like papaya, it also aids digestion because it contains an enzyme with digestive properties. Research also shows that mango may help prevent breast cancer.

Culinary Benefits: The enzyme that aids with digestion also acts as a tenderizer for meat, pork and poultry. Next time you plan to BBQ, make a mango marinade. Not only will the food taste better, it will be more tender.

Now to the best part—the smoothie! If you asked me how to describe this drink I’d say it’s naturally sweet, creamy and luscious. The smoothie gets its sweetness from the mango and the banana. Select ripe fruit, cut it up and freeze it; this way you will not need to add ice which will only make the smoothie more watery and icy. This drink is seriously good and it will replace your ice-cream cravings.

Did you know that mango originated in India about 5000 years ago? It’s said that Buddha meditated under a mango tree. If it’s good enough for Buddha, it’s good enough for me, my family, and my healthy eating habits. Make mango banana smoothie a part of your day!

 Related Post:  Grilled Ono Fish with Mango Salsa 

Mango Banana Smoothie and the Benefits of Mango

Prep Time: 5 minutes

Total Time: 5 minutes

Yield: 2 10 ounce glasses

Serving Size: About 10 ounces

Calories: 238

Ingredients:

  • ½ pound mango peeled, seeded and frozen
  • 1 banana, peeled and frozen
  • 1-1/4 cups non-fat milk, almond milk or soy milk
  • 1-1/4 teaspoon vanilla extract

Procedure:

  1. Place the ingredients in a blender and process until smooth, about 15 seconds.
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 Weight Watcher Points Plus: 6 points per serving

Mango Banana Smoothie Nutrition Facts

This recipe is also posted at Hearth and Soul,  Tuesday’s Table, and Wonderfully Creative Wednesdays.

References:

http://today.agrilife.org/2013/05/08/mango-breast-cancer-research/

http://humansciences.okstate.edu/nsci/index.php/component/content/article/1-latest/56-nsci-research-finds-health-benefits-in-mangos

http://www.mango.org/mango-fun-facts

http://www.besthealthmag.ca/eat-well/cooking/8-healthy-mango-recipes

Mango Banana Smoothie 2