Sunday, February 22, 2009

About My Waffle Recipe

Note to anyone who has copied down my waffle recipe:

I have removed the baking powder from the recipe, because it is not necessary. They turn out just fine without it. Your waffles will run over the edge if you use the baking powder. You will like the waffles better without the baking powder.

Thursday, February 12, 2009

Oven Hashbrowns and Veggies

When my husband concluded after his heart attack that based on the research we should not be using oil in our cooking. I went into big shock. I am sure that most would say that I did not use much oil in my cooking. I have since learned to cook lots of common items without oil and they turn out just fine.

Here is a recipe for Oven Hashbrowns that we love to make on Sunday mornings along with some scrambled tofu. I has some fat, in the nuts in the gravy, but doesn't use processed oil. Exact measurements aren't necessary in this recipe, but I'll give you some guidelines, to get you started. It can be made without vegetables, but my tastebuds have changed and their new vote says that it tastes much more interesting and alive with them. I try to get more vegetables in our diet as many ways as possible.

Oven Hashbrowns and Veggies

1. Grate up a big pile of scrubbed clean potatoes, skins and all. You need somewhere between 6 and 10 cups for a large cookie sheet full of hashbrowns. I often use red potatoes, or Yukon Golds for this. You can use a hand grater, or food processor. I use an electric Salad Shooter. Place the grated potatoes in a big mixing bowl.

2. Chop up 2 - 4 heads of broccoli into tiny bite sized pieces, including the stems. Peel the stems only if necessary. You need 4 - 6 cups of broccoli bits. Add to the grated potatoes.

3. Make a gravy. This is close to what I make, though I'm not always good at measuring. Adjust the seasonings to your liking. In your blender or vita-mix whiz up until very smooth: 1 1/2 cups of cashews, 1 1/2 cups water, 1 tsp salt, 1 Tablespoon onion powder, 1 teaspoon garlic powder, 4 Tablespoons nutritional yeast. (Add more water if necessary in a regular blender.)

4. Mix the gravy into the potatoes and broccoli and mix until everything is coated well. Other optional veggies, if you have them. Diced red or green pepper, chives, minced parsley or cilantro or basil, diced onion, minced garlic, spinach. Be creative and see what you come up with. It is really yummy.

5. Spread everything onto a baking sheet or two. Bake at 400 degrees for 30 - 45 minutes, or until the vegetables are soft. Serves 4 , more or less, depending on how many veggies you prepare.

Friday, February 6, 2009

Food on Fridays

Ann Kroeker writes about food on Fridays. Today she wrote about chocolate gravy. That sounds amazing and something I don't know much about. But I do have a Cashew Gravy recipe that is pretty great! But even more tasty is my Butternut Squash Curry recipe. It is really something you have to try. It is the recipe that friends ask from me more then any other. It is eaten really quickly whenever I take it to a potluck. My family gets quite excited when I make it.

I posted both recipes yesterday. But you can look at them on Friday, or any other day if you wish.

Thursday, February 5, 2009

I Love Your Heart With All My Heart

Many have come to think of rich foods, and fatty sweet treats when they think of Valentine's Day. I used to think it was loving to give one of those fatty sweet indulgences on holidays. Now I am thinking differently. If we really love someone, we should give them what is good for them, not just what tastes good. But hopefully, we can think of something that tastes good without being bad for the heart and health. If you love someone you want them to be around a long time, so you should give them food that is good for their heart, especially on heart day. It would show that you love them with all your heart, and are not out to help them die off sooner.

If care about someone's heart health, you need to get oils, margarine, butter, cheese and other fats out of the diet, especially animal fats. Most plant fats when found in their original package, such as flax seeds, nuts, avocado, and olives are good for heart. Meat is not good for hearts, bones or health in general, so it has to go. Milk was made to turn a baby calf into a 600 pound bull in one year. It has too much fat and protein for good human health, even though the dairy industry disagrees. The research and evidence is clear that milk will not "do you good."

So is there anything left to eat? Yes! Absolutely, yes! What is left is the foods that make a healthy long life. If you care about your valentine, please give them some vegetables and fruit this year, and a fun walk together out in the fresh air. In fact do it everyday for a month for their Valentine's Day gift, and start reaping good health. It is the loving thing to do.

Baked Potatoes and Gravy

Baked potatoes are easy to prepare, easy and normal for most people. We usually eat them once a week. We love Yukon Gold potatoes because when baked they are naturally yellow and a little creamy in texture. We don't use margarine anymore, so a tasty homemade gravy is very important.

To bake potatoes I simply scrub some up, and put them on the middle rack of the oven, then bake them at 400 degrees for 1 hour. I don't wrap them in foil anymore, because aluminum seems to contribute to disease.

Here is Tami Benton's gravy recipe from Pure and Simple.

Onion Gravy
By Tami A. Benton

Saute onions until soft:
1 large onion

Blend until smooth:
3 cups of water
2 T rice flour
3/4 cup raw cashews
1 1/2 t salt
1/8 t garlic powder

Add blended mixture to the onions and simmer 5 minutes or until slightly thickened.

One trick to get people to eat more veggies at a potato meal is to put out the salad as the first course, with nothing else at the table. If you pre-serve the salad on pretty plates, people will eat even more then then normally do, because salad looks so lovely with all it's colors and textures. After the salad course, bring out the potatoes with another veggie such a cooked, frozen peas, asparagus or broccoli. No meat or entree' is needed. There is good nutrition in salad greens.

Sensational Salads and Ranch Dressing

For the salad, never settle for a just lettuce and a few token tomatoes. Salad can be so pretty! Make it one of the most beautiful things on the table.

I almost always use romaine lettus, sliced or torn thinly. This salad contains:
yellow and red pepper
sweet salad onions (use green onions)
slivered red cabage
grated carrot

The salad dressing is out of Tami Benton's cookbook, Pure and Simple. Her recipe is a good place to start. I make about the same thing most days, but I find I vary the amount of seasons to my taste and desires that day. I've had many people get so excited about how yummy this kind of dressing is. And I have to say it is easy to make, you just have to have a good blender.

Ranch Dressing
by Tami A. Benton

1 cup raw cashews
1 t salt
1 T onion powder
1 T garlic powder
1/4 t thyme
1/4 t rosemary
1/4 t basil
1 T fresh lemon or lime juice
1 cup water
1 T dill (after blending)

Put all the ingredients except dill in the blender and blend until very smooth. At the end add the 1 T dill and stir in or pulse blender just once or twice on a slow speed.

My notes: Experiment with the amount of seasonings. You are competing with the flavor enhancer MSG when you serve homemade ranch dressing, so it helps to put in a lot of herbal flavor. I usually put in only about 1 t garlic powder and 2 t onion powder and I usually add more basil, maybe 1 t. I also like to add 1 t of ground mustard powder. And because my kids aren't crazy about that much dill, I add only about half of what is in the recipe. But I have to say that any variation is good. Fresh herbs are also wonderful, if you have some out in your garden, put some in. Add more water if you want it more pourable. Figure out what works well for your family.

Tomato Herb Lentil Loaf

Last year we had a very special guest for lunch. Dr. T. Colin Campbell author of the important book, "The China Study" was going to be speaking in our town on Saturday and Sunday. I was asked if we could prepare lunch for him and his wife and another couple. I was a little scared, but what an honor. We have people over sometimes, but they are usually other families with kids, or people more like us. I've never cooked and cleaned for such a famous person before.

As it turned out, Dr. and Mrs. Campbell are wonderful people. The are small town people, just like us. They were easy to talk with, and easy to be around. I think everyone one present instantly felt at ease.

For the meal I served a lentil loaf out of my friend's just published cookbook, Pure and Simple by Tami Benton. It is a cook book featuring plant based foods that are gluten free, and MSG free. Just to get you interested, Tami gave me permission to share a couple recipes.

Tomato Herb Lentil Loaf
By Tami A. Benton

*Cook the lentils and rice ahead. Mix all ingredients together in a large bowl.
1 cup cooked brown lentils
1/2 cup cooked brown rice
1/2 cup ground raw sunflower seeds
1/2 cup tomato, chopped
1/3 cup onion, finely chopped
1/3 cup celery, finely chopped
5 T tomato paste or 1/2 of a 6 oz. can of tomato paste
2 T salt
1/8 t sage
1 t garlic powder
1/2 t onion powder
dash cayenne (careful, not too much)
dash rosemary
dash thyme
dash basil

Press into an oiled 4" by 8" loaf pan. Bake 350 degrees for 40 minutes or until brown. Allow pan to cool. Decorate a platter with lettuce leaves and place loaf in the middle. Or place directly on the serving platter and drizzle cashew gravy over the top.

It does freeze nicely.

My Notes: Make sure your lentils have as much liquid drained off of them as possible before measuring or your loaf ends up a little too wet. The loaf does come out of the pan easier after it is cooled. If you loaf does not come out in one piece, like mine did, then all is not lost. Just take a spoon and mound and smooth the sides. It still turns out pretty. I added cooked carrots around the edge of mine for decoration.
If you would like to hear a couple lectures by Dr. T. Colin Campbell, I have good news. I found two of them at google video.

Lecture one -

Lecture two -

Also his book, The China Study, is really worth reading.

Easy Butternut Squash Curry

Did you know that my favorite food is Thai food? Because the weather in Thailand is hot, I often think of curry when the weather gets hot. I lived there long enough to really get it into my system. I've got Thai basil growing in my garden and it is just begging to be made into something delicious. My favorite use of Thai basil is in Squash Curry. You have just got to try it. And if you don't have any Thai basil, don't worry. It tastes fantastic without it.

Easy Butternut Squash Curry

By Barbara Frohne

1 can coconut milk
1 can water
1 - 3 tsp of Thai Kitchen green or red curry paste (I used 3 tsp. green paste and don't think it's too spicy) *
1 medium butternut squash, peeled and cubed
1 - 2 onions, peeled in large chucks
1/2 large red pepper (optional but adds nice taste and color)
1 - 2 cups frozen green peas (optional, but I miss them if I don't have any)
1/2 cup chopped cilantro (important)
1 - 2 handfuls of leaves of Thai basil (optional)
1 - 2 tsp. salt to taste

Cooked Rice.**

Pour about half of the can of coconut milk into a soup pan on medium high. If part of the coconut milk is solid, use the solid half. Add 1 - 3 tsp of curry paste and stir until it is bubbly and smells really good. Add the onions and the squash, the remaining coconut milk and about a can full of water. Use the coconut milk can to measure. Reduce heat, cover and simmer until the squash is tender. It might take around 20 minutes, depending on how big your chunks are. As soon as it is soft add any of the remaining ingredients that you have

*A note about the curry paste. Any Thai curry paste will do, but not all curry pastes are equal. I have tried quite a few. Most will do if you don't care about what is in the curry paste. Read the label. Many have shrimp or some other sea creature which I have no desire to eat. Some add MSG, but call it "spices." I was about to give up buying curry paste and just make my own. It isn't hard to make. But then I found the Thai Kitchen brand. It is vegan and gluten free and delicious! You can find it in heath minded stores such as Wild Oats, Whole Foods, and Huckleberries. My favorite is the green curry paste which has a few spices found in Indian foods. The red is very good too. I use the red in potato curries quite often.

**I really like Jasmine rice, but because of it's low nutrition content, I have switched to brown rice. My favorite is organic short brown rice. I really think that the organic rice tastes better, and the short brown rice cooks up tender and soft, easy to eat. It cooks up easily in a rice cooker.

Fresh Cucumber Tomato Salad

Here is another recipe that I'm making with the produce from my garden. Cucumber salad is delicious all through the year, but is best when the tomatoes and cucumbers are straight out of the garden. It is a nice cooling side for a spicy curry.

Fresh Cucumber Tomato Salad

2 - 3 cucumbers, diced or sliced
3 - 4 tomatoes, chopped or wedged
1 medium sweet onion diced
the juice from one fresh lime (or lemon)*
1 tsp. salt

Mix. Taste. Add more lime or salt if needed. Serve right away.

*Fresh lime or lemon juice is so much more delicious then the preserved stuff in a bottle. Really. Do a taste test. They are not the same thing. And the fresh juice doesn't have added chemicals.

Simple Gluten-free Cornbread

Cornbread is an easy gluten free bread that turns out pretty much like it used to is corn bread. Corn bread normally has some wheat flour, and eggs and milk and lots of sugar and oil. My recipe still has some oil, but it is one of the few exceptions in our diet. We don't eat it every week, and my husband reminds himself not to eat too much. It is an excellent side with a bowl of soup or chili.

Simple Cornbread
gluten-free, dairy-free, egg-free

1 1/2 cup cornmeal
1/2 cup Masa Mixta (usually used for making tortillas) or corn flour
1 cup brown rice flower
4 tsp. Baking powder
1 tsp. Salt
2 T. tapioca flour

1 cup water
1 cup rice milk or other desired milk
1/3 cup vegetable oil of choice, I use grapeseed oil
1/3 cup honey

Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Get a 9 x 13 inch baking dish sprayed and ready to go. Mix the dry ingredients completely. Mix the wet ingredients separately, then combine with the dry ingredients. Stir just enough so it gets completely combined, then quickly pour into your baking dish, before it has a chance to rise much. Bake at 400 degrees for about 20 minutes.

Update on 2/19/08: Would you like to make this oil free? I just figured out how to do it. Into your blender place: 1 TBSP flax seeds, and 2 TBSP raw cashews. Substitute 1/3 cup water for the oil, place in the blender along with the 1 cup rice milk and 1 cup water. Blend until smooth and add to the dry ingredients along with the honey.

Cream of Broccoli Soup

This recipe is one of family standbys. We eat it several times a month. It is a great way to get lots of broccoli into tummies. And it tastes delicious!

Cream of Broccoli Soup

Bring to a boil. Simmer until onions are soft, around 10 minutes:
3 cups of water
1 medium onion diced
1 teaspoon salt
1 T onion powder
1 teaspoon garlic powder
4 T Nutritional Yeast

Once the onion is soft, add:
6 cups or more of bite sized raw broccoli pieces
1/2 to 1 whole red pepper, diced (optional)
Simmer 5 minutes or until tender but still bright green

Meanwhile blend until very smooth:
1 cup raw cashews
1 cup water

Add the blended mixture to the cooked broccoli soup and serve.

Optional: Cooked brown rice is yummy mixed into the soup. My husband loves to sprinkle cayenne on his bowl

Just Like Cheesecake

We made this recipe for my husband's birthday a couple years ago. As you can see, it turned out beautifully.

I found the recipe in "The Complete Book of Raw Food: Healthy Delicious Vegetarian Cuisine Made with living Foods" Lori Baird, Editor.

Just Like Cheesecake
By Emily Lee Angell
Makes 24 slivers

I will type out the original recipe for you just as written, but will tell you that I decreased the amount of coconut oil in the cheese like filling to only 1/3 cup. Coconut oil is said to have some good health benefits. Even though it is called a saturated fat, it isn't the same thing as factory processed hydrogenated fats, but it is processed some, so my husband would rather not eat much. Even with the reduced coconut oil it was delicious, and a very satisfying treat. I didn't add the salt and didn't miss it one bit.

One cheese cake I made with lemon juice as suggested, and the second one I made with orange juice, and it was very delicious.

I made the raspberry sauce as suggested, but froze it with the rest of the cake, as the top layer. It turned out very lovely.

For the crust:

2 cups raw macadamia nuts
1/2 cup dates, pitted
1/4 cup dried coconut

For the cheese:
3 cups chopped cashews, soaked for at least 1 hour
3/4 cup lemon juice
3/4 cup honey
3/4 cup coconut oil
1 teaspoon vanilla
1/2 teaspoon sea salt (optional)

For raspberry sauce:
1 bag frozen raspberries
1/2 cup dates

To make the crust, process the macadamia nuts and dates in the food processor.
Sprinkle dried coconut onto the bottom of an 8 or 9 inch springform pan. Press crust onto the coconut. this will prevent it from sticking.
To make the cheese, blend the cashews, lemon, honey, gently warmed coconut oil, vanilla, sea salt (if using), and 1/2 cup water. Blend until smooth and adjust to taste.
Pour the mixture onto the crust. Remove air bubbles by tapping the pan on a table.
Place in a freezer until firm. Remove the whole cake from the pan while frozen and place on a serving platter. Defrost in a refrigerator.
To make the raspberry sauce, process raspberries and dates in a food processor until well blended. (Do not use a blender for this or the raspberry seeds will become like sand.)

Simple Cabbage Stirfry

Some blogs are full of fancy food for parties and holidays. And while I admit it is nice to have some of those recipes around, it is most important to have nutritious food to eat every day. Here is a quick and easy everyday dish that is tasty, and oil free.

Simple Cabbage Stirfry.

Make sure you have a good amount of leftover brown rice in the refrigerator, or get a rice cooker of it started first.

I don't know how many people you are going to serve, so adjust your ingredients to fit how many will be eating.

Chop up one onion, and put it in you pan with some water, but no oil. No oil is needed. Start cooking it on medium heat. If it starts to go dry, add a little more water.

Grab a head of cabbage and chop up as much cabbage as you would like to eat. Remember it will cook down smaller. Cut the pieces the size you'd like to put in your mouth.

Add the cabbage to the onions. Add a little more water. Put on a lid, and cook until the cabbage is tender.

Add about 1 teaspoon of salt for a big pan of cabbage, or less.

Mix in your brown rice until it is about half cabbage and half rice. Cook a little to mix the flavors and warm the rice, if it is cold from the fridge.

Serve with a little dill weed or cayenne sprinkled on top, if you would wish.

Sunday, February 1, 2009

Vegetable Love recipe contest

One of my favorite blogs is hosting Vegetable Love this year. The challenge is to make a vegetable filled recipe that will put the sizzle into an intimate valentines day dinner. Now that sounds like just the thing. I wonder what I can come up with? What could you come up with? Any ideas? Go to the Fatfree Vegan's website to find out more details, and then then check back on Valentine's day to find out who the winner is.