Sweet Potato Casserole Lightened Up

Sweet Potato Casserole Lightened Up

 

 

Can you believe that it’s almost Thanksgiving Day. It’s my favorite holiday of the year, partly due to the fact that it’s the least commercial. We can enjoy the pleasure of being with loved ones for the of the sake of their good company, no other reason—except the good food, of course! Members of TheRecipeRedux are sharing their memories of food from past Thanksgivings. You can visit the other sites by clicking on any of the links below for more memories.

As for most Americans, being with family at this time of the year is an important part of the holiday. It’s a time to reunite and just hang together. What has changed over the years is the food, at least at my house. When I was little I didn’t like much of the traditional meal. No cranberry sauce for me—no no. And hold the stuffing, please. Sweet potatoes? Well, ok, if there are lots of marshmallows on top. Mashed potatoes and gravy, yes please, and some of that turkey, and pumpkin pie, too. Those were then, and still are favorites.

Years back my mother changed Grandma’s recipe for cranberry sauce by adding orange to it, making it less acidic and more tasty. I also like to add walnuts, chopped pears and apples for more texture. Stuffing? That hasn’t changed but my taste buds have developed since I was little. These days there isn’t any food I don’t like at the Thanksgiving spread. The one food that didn’t make the cut was the sweet potatoes with marshmallows. No one over age 12 likes those. Now we usually make sweet potato puree. But last year a friend of my mother’s gave her a recipe that appeared in the November 2008 edition of Cooking Light, which was a lightened version of someone else’s recipe. For my taste, both versions had so much sugar that I thought, “Why eat pie.You’ve already got dessert here.” The recipe I’m sharing today, sweet potato casserole lightened up, is a modification of the “lighter” version. I have omitted the eggs, reduced the sugar significantly, and have added some spices. I love the toasted pecans on top. Hope you enjoy it, too. Happy Thanksgiving!

Sweet Potato Casserole Lightened Up

Prep Time: 40 minutes

Cook Time: 25 minutes

Total Time: 1 hour, 5 minutes

Yield: 5 cups

Serving Size: 1/2 cup

Ingredients:

    For the Sweet Potatoes
  • 2 3/4 pounds sweet potatoes ( 1/2 of them white, 1/2 orange)
  • 1-1/2 tablespoons brown sugar
  • 1/ 4 cup non-fat milk, (see notes below for dairy free option)
  • 1-1/2 tablespoons melted butter
  • 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 3/4 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1/3 teaspoon allspice
  • 1/3 teaspoon nutmeg
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • 1 teaspoon olive oil (to grease the pan)
  • For the Topping:
  • 5 tablespoons whole wheat pasty flour, (see notes below for gluten free option)
  • 2 tablespoons brown sugar
  • 2 tablespoons soft butter
  • 1/2 cup chopped pecans

Procedure:

  1. Pre-heat the oven to 350°
  2. Bring the potatoes to boil in lightly salted water, turn down the heat and simmer them until they are tender, about 30 to 35 minutes.
  3. While they are cooking gather the ingredients to beat with them when they are ready.
  4. Separately, gather the ingredients for the topping, mix them together and set the mixture aside.
  5. When the sweet potatoes are tender, drain them and beat them with the milk, butter, salt, cinnamon, allspice, nutmeg and vanilla, and then place them in a previously oiled 11x7 inch pan.
  6. Sprinkle the topping over the sweet potatoes and bake the casserole at 375° for 20 to 25 minutes, or until the top is lightly toasted.

*Dairy Free Option - use dairy free butter, and soy milk or almond milk instead of cow's milk and butter.

*Gluten Free Option -use gluten free flour instead of pastry whole wheat flour.

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Great Tips to Clean Kitchen Tile

Great Tips to Clean Kitchen Tile

 

 

Normally, I would never have considered writing a post about floor cleaning. This is a food blog, after all. But I’m sure you know how difficult it can be to keep kitchen floors clean. There can be grease buildup, calcium stains, dirty grout, water spots, and food residue buildup. Ugh! Recently, I cleaned my floors and was shocked at how clean they got. Unfortunately, there are no before and after pictures because I wasn’t thinking of doing this as a post, but later, I decided I had to share these great tips to clean kitchen tile with you. The secret weapons? Oxiclean and a 10-inch grout brush on a pole.

A couple of years ago I burned a pot so badly that after scrubbing and scrubbing I considered throwing it away because so badly burnt. As a last resort I soaked the pot overnight with Oxiclean and water. The next morning the burned area lifted off the pot and washed out of the pan when I rinsed it with water. A miracle! So after trying regular floor cleaner with a poor outcome, I turned to the Oxiclean and got an awesome results on the tile and grout.

The 10-inch grout brush seems to be a well guarded secret because I’d never heard of, or seen one. You probably won’t see one at Lowe’s or Home Depot, either. I had to order it online. Wow, does it ever work! I learned about this brush from a tile and grout expert who came out to the house to give an estimate, that was before I decided to clean the floors myself. (There were 325 reasons I decided to do it myself —ching ching.) Back to the point, the brush is made especially for cleaning grout and it will blow you away when you see the results. Placing the brush on a long pole saves you from getting down on you knees and getting back pains and achy knees.

To clean the floor, pour the Oxiclean and water mixture onto the floor and let it sit 5 to 15 minutes before cleaning the grout lines. After five minutes have passed, brush the grout in long strokes about 4 feet in length in a series of six back and forth strokes. Follow by cleaning the floor with a scrub brush connected to a pole, and you might want to go over stubborn areas twice. After this, mop up the soapy water, discard it, and follow with a clean water mopping. (I also used a spin mop which helps to cut down the time it takes to wring the mop.)

This process is for cleaning dirty floors; it’s not for the typical daily or weekly mopping. Too bad about the pictures, but believe me. It works!

Amazon links: Oxiclean, grout brush, spin mop, scrub brush, pole.

Indian Flavors Spiced Sweet Potatoes

Indian Flavors Spiced Sweet Potatoes

 

 

When theRecipeRedux came up with a challenge to do something with spices, I knew it had to be something with sweet potatoes. Fall is the season when it feels right to be eating sweet potatoes. These spuds are dense in both texture and flavor which makes them especially satisfying; and topped with a winning combo of spices you just can’t go wrong. Another equally delicious dish I’ve made is Indian spiced Cauliflower. While these cooked dishes can be a little time consuming, they are definitely worth the wait—all good things are worth the wait. Aren’t they?

The fun thing about cooking is that sometimes you can sometimes discover a great combination. Today for example, I was thinking that Mexican and East Indian food fuse together well. Both of the cuisines use similar spices and flavorings like onions, garlic, cilantro, cumin, cayenne, and coriander. And while Indian food is often served with yogurt, Mexican food is often topped with sour cream, which is similar in taste and texture to yogurt minus the fat. And a type of food common to both Mexican and Indian cuisines is the flat bread; the Mexican tortilla, and the Indian chapatti.

Go ahead and make these flavorful spiced sweet potatoes, spoon the spuds up inside a tortilla or chapatti, top it with yogurt, guacamole, and cilantro leaves and enjoy. The dish is vegan and vegetarian friendly, and without the tortilla is gluten free. For added protein add some cooked beans, tofu or tempeh. It works well as a side dish, too.

 

Indian Flavors Spiced Sweet Potatoes

Prep Time: 15 minutes

Cook Time: 1 hour

Total Time: 1 hour, 30 minutes

Yield: 5 cups

Serving Size: 1/2 cup

Ingredients:

  • 2 pounds red sweet potatoes,
  • 2 onions, finely chopped
  • 2 ½ tablespoons olive oil
  • 1-1/2 tablespoons minced garlic
  • 4 teaspoons cinnamon
  • 1/4 cup fresh ginger, peeled and minced, or 2-1/2 teaspoons dry ginger
  • 2 teaspoons turmeric
  • 3/4 teaspoon cumin
  • 1/3 teaspoon coriander
  • 1/4 teaspoon cayenne
  • ½ teaspoon sea salt
  • Garnish:
  • Yogurt
  • Cilantro leaves

Procedure:

  1. Heat the olive oil in a 8-quart stock pot and begin to sauté the onions, stirring them every couple of minutes. The idea is to caramelize them to a nice golden brown color, and this can take from forty minutes to 60 minutes.
  2. After the first 30 minutes, add the minced garlic and ginger (if you are using fresh ginger).
  3. While the onions are cooking peel and chop the sweet potatoes. The pieces should be about ¾ inch in size.
  4. Add the spices to the pot and stir for one minute.
  5. Add 2 ½ cups of water and stir, and then add the sweet potatoes to the pot and stir well so the sauce covers all the potatoes. Set the heat between medium low and medium, and cook until the sweet potatoes are easily pierced with a sharp knife, approximately 30 minutes. Add water as needed.
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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.