Category Archives: food

Recipes, diet, wheat-free, nutrition, cooking and a few guilty pleasures.

Quinoa-Kale Salad with Lemon-Dill Dressing

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I wish I could take credit for dreaming this one up. It’s actually a knockoff from a restaurant I’m boycotting (poor service). I really tried to hang with them for this salad. But I’m happier making my own.

My daughter introduced me to this salad as I was restructuring my diet pre-surgery. It’s packed with anti-carcinogenic, anti-inflammatory and anti-oxidant properties.

This salad is a good keeper. The small seedless cucumbers don’t become watery like their larger seeded sisters. Baby kale is easier to digest and chopping it actually releases more nutrients. So you end up with a compact bed of greens that oxidize much slower.

Finally, most of these ingredients can be purchased ready to eat, cutting way down on prep time. As a fibro warrior, that’s also really important: saves spoons.

This makes enough salad for me for 3-5 days. If you plan to keep it longer, omit the cucumbers and add them fresh at serving time.

SALAD INGREDIENTS

  • One 5-oz. package of ready-to-eat organic baby romaine
  • One 5-oz. package of ready-to-eat organic baby kale
  • Four mini seedless cucumbers
  • One envelope of Success Boil-in-Bag Tri-Colored Quinoa
  • 2 T. DeLallo Simply Pesto®, Sun-Dried Tomato, Basil & Cheese
  • 1/2 c feta cheese crumbles
  • 1/2 c. organic sliced raw almonds

DRESSING INGREDIENTS

  • 1/2 c. fresh lemon juice
  • 1/2 c. extra virgin olive oil
  • 1/2 t. dried dill weed
  • 1/4 t. salt
  • 1/4 t. black pepper

PREPARATION

  1. Boil the bag of quinoa according to instructions on the box. When cool, empty into a small bowl and toss with the pesto. Set aside.
  2. Chop kale, romaine and cucumbers and transfer to a large bowl or kettle.
  3. Toss with lemon-dill dressing to taste.
  4. Add cooled quinoa and toss again.
  5. Top with almonds and feta.

IMPORTANT STUFF
The glucosinolates found in kale are utilized for DNA repair and help prevent cancer and slow the growth of cancer cells.

Along with the antioxidants found in romaine, the leafy green may also protect the body from cancer through its high folate content.

A study, published in 2015 in Gynecologic and Obstetric Investigation, found that individuals who consumed higher quantities of peanuts, walnuts, and almonds had their risk of breast cancer reduced by 2–3 times.

Quinoa contains a number of bioactive compounds, including polyphenols, which studies have shown can reduce the risk of cancer and cardiovascular disease. It also has a high concentration of protein and essential amino acids.

Cucumbers contain high levels of nutrients known as cucurbitacins, which may help prevent cancer by stopping cancer cells from proliferating and surviving.

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Blue Apron Salad

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One of the nicest things I did for myself in 2017 was to sign up with Blue Apron. Meals are for two, which means I get great leftovers, too. Unless it’s a shrimp entree. There are no leftover shrimp in my house. Ever.

It’s been just too hot for frying or roasting this week. So I made soup with some of my latest shipment and put the rest in this charm tomato & fresh corn salad.

I’m having it for lunch today on a bed of balsamic-dressed romaine with dried cranberries and almonds (and one wandering cashew).

8 yellow charm tomatoes, quartered
2 ears of corn, blanched and cut off the cob
2 carrots, sliced
2 ribs of celery, sliced
1 Kirby cucumber, sliced
4 garlic chives, thinly sliced

Toss with this dressing:

1 T olive oil, 2 T rice wine vinegar, 1 T sugar
S&P

Serves 4-6, depending on how you roll.

Desperation Bars

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Desperation Bars are good enough to make on purpose. But I invented them in a desperate attempt to treat a severe chocolate deficit, using whatever I had on hand.

These are surprisingly chewy and stick to your teeth so keep a hot cup of coffee handy. Or make them without the marshmallows. But they won’t be nearly as much fun.

First, clean out your pantry. Put everything back except for:
* half a bag of stale marshmallows
* a jar of marshmallow creme
* half a stick of butter
* handful of whole toasted almonds
* 1 cup of shredded coconut
* 1 cup oat-walnut meal* (if you’re not avoiding gluten you can sub graham cracker or cookie crumbs)
* 1 can of condensed milk
* 1 jar Nutella

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees and spray a 9″x 13″ baking pan with cooking spray, being sure to coat well the corners and edges.

If you have to stay tidy, just give it up now. Everything is going to be sticky by the time you’re done.

Melt the marshmallows, marshmallow creme and butter in a bowl in the microwave, stirring frequently. Scoop up the pieces that inflate themselves onto the turntable and eat them. Don’t burn your mouth. Give up trying to completely melt the marshmallows and leave big hunks in the bowl.

In the meantime, roughly chop the almonds and toss in a bowl with the coconut and oat-walnut meal*. Stir in the condensed milk and spread evenly in the baking pan.

Spread the marshmallow goo over this. Then spread the Nutella over the goo.  You don’t have to use the entire jar but what the heck.

Pop in the oven for about 20 minutes. Take out and cool 10-15 min before cutting into bars. Sit on your hands or go outside if you have to. The chocolate aroma in the house is killing you by now.

Desperation Bars

the globs of unmelted marshmallow turn into bumps of gluey caramel

Store in a cool, dry place or refrigerate if you don’t eat the entire batch in one sitting.

Makes 16 *extremely* chewy bars.

*Oat-Walnut Meal:  put equal parts oats and walnuts in a food processor and pulse into fine crumbs.

Caramel Cinnamon Apple Tart

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scoop

 

This is an all-calorie creation.
Do not look for carb substitutes here.
This is for when your sweet tooth is really aching.

I like to make this in a deep baking dish — less likely to bubble over in the oven.

Also, my pie crust box said to put in an ungreased dish but it stuck after baking so next time I’m prepping with cooking spray.

INGREDIENTS

1 9″ pie crust (make your own or use refrigerated premade)
2 large apples, peeled, cored and sliced thin (I used Fujis)
1/4 c flour
1/2 c sugar
dash salt
1/2 t cinnamon
1/2 stick butter, melted
1/2 jar caramel ice cream topping, heated until pourable
Aluminum foil
tart
Preheat oven to 400 degrees.

Center your pie crust in a glass baking dish or a deep dish pie plate.
If the crust is too big just let the edges hang over the sides.

Put sliced apples in a large mixing bowl.

In a small bowl, stir together flour, sugar, salt and cinnamon.
Pour over apples and stir until each slice is well coated.
Spread apples evenly over pie crust.
Drizzle first with melted butter, then with caramel topping.

At this point, if you have pie crust hanging over the sides of your dish, just fold the edges over the top of the filling.

Cover with foil.
Bake for 20-30 min or until crust is brown.

Serves at least 4 if you’re polite.

Crunchy Oat Bars

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I’m never hungry in the morning. I’d always rather have breakfast for supper. Give me coffee with milk and I’m good until noon. However, I tend to get foggy by mid-morning, so I try to have a light snack. Nothing tempts me like granola bars, especially in the winter when cold fresh fruit seems like a bad idea.

Satisfying, high in fiber, these are also high in calories, a whopping 300 per bar. The culprit here? The almonds. They’re higher in calories than either the coconut or the condensed milk. You can make a lower calorie bar by eliminating some of the extras and increasing the oats and still have a great snack.

You can substitute any dried fruit, nuts or seeds. This is what I happened to have in my pantry the day I made them. You just want to end up with a sticky ball of dough that isn’t too runny and that presses easily into the pan.

INGREDIENTS

2 c oats
cooking spray
1 c chopped toasted almonds
1 c shredded coconut
1 c raisins
1/2 t ground cinnamon
1 can condensed milk

aluminum foil
waxed paper

Preheat oven to 300.
Line 9×12 cookie sheet with foil.
Spread oats evenly and toast for 10 minutes.

Pour oats into bowl to cool.
Set aside foil-lined pan to cool.

Increase oven temp to 350.
Put open can of condensed milk on rack to warm.

Spray cooled foil with cooking spray.

Combine toasted oats, almonds, coconut, raisins and cinnamon.
Slowly pour warmed milk over mixture and stir in completely.

Spread evenly onto greased foil.
Cut length of waxed paper and use to press mixture evenly into pan to edges.

Bake at 350 for 18-20 minutes.

Remove from oven and lift bars from pan.
Flip upside down into pan and peel off foil.
Allow to cool for 10 minutes then use pizza cutter into bars.

Allow to cool completely before storing.

Makes 16 bars.

P.S.  They were crunchy coming out of the pan.  After overnight storage in Tupperware, they’re chewy.  I like them either way.

 

White Bean Chili

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white bean chiliThis is another of those recipes that welcomes improv.

If you are lucky enough to live where you can pick up a hot rotisserie chicken at the grocery store, you can have the wings and leg quarters for dinner another time and make this soup with the breast.
Or dice and saute your own boneless breast.

If you have the time and the presence of mind, cook your own Great Northern beans.
But a can of white beans works fine — you can sub cannellini, navy or limas.

A mild yellow onion is my preference here, Vidalias are best but a white onion works.
And you can sub bell pepper (any color) or jalapenos for the chilies.

Add handful of chopped greens (turnip, spinach, kale) if you need green leafies in a meal.
Add a cup of cooked macaroni to tempt the kids.
Throw in some diced cooked carrots for color.  It’s all yum.

I keep ground cumin in my pantry, but if you’re out, no worries. Use chili powder or oregano or basil.  Or not.

ingredients

1 c diced onion (1 cup)
2 T cooking oil
1 small can chopped green chilies (1/4 cup)
1 T minced garlic (2-3 cloves)

1 entire chicken breast, cooked and diced (2-3 cups)
1 quart cooked beans with broth (1 can beans with broth to make 4 cups)
1 t ground cumin
Salt to taste (1 tsp)

1. Saute first 4 ingredients in a hot kettle until onion is soft.
2. Add next four ingredients, stir and simmer for at least 30 minutes.

Serve with hot bread (try the Jalapeno Cheddar Cornbread!)

Field Pea Soup

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20150330_184435Too tired to grocery shop and not in the mood for fast food, this is what’s for supper tonight. It’s a lighter soup for a warmer evening.

Yes, this soup is almost entirely from cans. But it’s probably still healthier than drive-thru.

indexCanned field peas are hard to find lately. These are *not* blackeyed nor crowder peas, but probably an Austrian winter pea, also known as a dun pea. They are currently my favorite legume and when I see them on the shelf I get half a dozen cans.  I particularly like Allens or Texas Fair.

2 c. sliced smoked sausage
1 c. chopped onion
1 can field peas with snaps
1 can chilies
1 can diced tomatoes
1 can chicken broth
1 t Cajun spice mix
1 t cumin

Saute the sausage and onion together in a small amount of water until the onion is soft. Before lowering heat, add tomatoes and chilies and stir well for a couple of minutes to prevent sticking. Lower heat and add peas, broth and spices. Simmer for 30 minutes.

Do a taste check before adding additional salt or spice. Both the sausage and the peas will add salt and occasionally chilies will add a little fire.

Serves four.

Sweet Potato Pecan Bread by the Harris Sisters

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20150213_183339I probably knew what I was doing when I bought a 3# bag of sweet potatoes. I’m not sure I knew what I was doing when I baked them all at the same time.

I got tired of having them one at a time as a side with dinner. So tonight I mashed up all the rest of them and made this bread.

Oh, my goodness, it smells like a party in my kitchen. Of course I didn’t follow the recipe to the letter.  I added raisins to the batter and skimped on the sugar in the batter, and then doused it with a lemon glaze when it came out of the oven.

And it’s what’s for dinner tonight, with a glass of Earl Grey iced tea.  Life is good.

http://theharrissisters.blogspot.com/2014/10/sweet-potato-pecan-bread.html

simplest loaf cake by Dorie Greenspan

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1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
2 tsp baking powder
1/4 tsp salt
3 large eggs
1 cup sugar
1/2 cup sour cream
2 tsp pure vanilla extract
1/2 cup flavorless oil, such as canola

1. Preheat the oven to 350ºF and generously butter an 8x4x2–inch loaf pan (6-cup capacity). In a bowl, whisk together the flour, baking powder, and salt.

2. Whisk the eggs, sugar, sour cream, and vanilla together until well blended. Add the dry ingredients and stir until smooth. Finally, pour in the oil and use the whisk to gently but thoroughly fold it into the batter.

3. Put the batter in the loaf pan and bake 50 to 55 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted in the center of the cake comes out clean. Cool on a rack for 5 minutes, then unmold and cool to room temperature right-side up.

Serves 8. Per serving: 360 calories, 44g carbs, 5g protein, 18g fat, 85mg cholesterol.

Lemon Coconut Bread Pudding

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lemon, coconut, buttermilk, etc.

My little kitchen gets so hot that I had to come up with something that would bake quickly when I was craving something lemon-coconut.

Since all lemons are not created equal, you can add the glaze as you wish.  Mine came out pretty tart, so I dumped in the whole batch.

Ingredients

1 small sourdough baguette — about 6-8 cups of bread chunks
3/4 c powdered sugar
1 1/4 c buttermilk
1/4 c lemon juice
1 c coconut
1 stick butter, melted
1/2 c soft brown sugar (not packed)

Preheat oven to 325.

Grease or oil spray a 2 qt baking dish.

In a large bowl, break up the bread into 1″ chunks. I prefer tearing the bread to cutting it with a knife.  The irregular pieces soak up the liquids better, I think, and make a nice texture for the pudding.

Sprinkle with powdered sugar and then add buttermilk and lemon juice and toss.

Add coconut and mix well.

Allow 5 minutes or so for the bread and coconut to moisten.

Pour melted butter over the bread and then sprinkle with the brown sugar.  Toss well, just until brown sugar is dissolved. Spoon into baking dish.

Cover and bake for about 15-20 minutes or until top starts to brown.  Time isn’t exact — it depends on the softness of the bread you started with.

This results in a very moist bread pudding. If you like a firmer pudding, leave in another 5 minutes.

Glaze

Heat 2 T butter with 2 T milk in a 1-quart bowl until butter is melted. You can do this in the hot oven or in the microwave.  Then stir in 1-2 cups powdered sugar until you get the consistency you want.  Pour over the hot pudding and toss briefly, or serve alongside as a sauce.