Monday, October 31, 2011

Corn and Two-Bean Burgers

Adapted from:
Makes: 4 servings (serving size: 1 burger)
2 Tbsp olive oil
1 (15oz) can kidney beans, rinsed and drained
1 (15oz) can black beans, rinsed and drained
1/3 cup dry whole wheat breadcrumbs
1/4 cup canned whole-kernel yellow corn, drained
1/4 cup purple onion, chopped
1Tbsp cilantro, chopped
Juice of 1/2 lime
2 Tbsp ground flax seed
6 Tbsp water
To prepare burgers, heat oil in a large non-stick skillet over medium-heat.
Combine kidney beans, black beans, cilantro and lime juice in a large bowl: partially mash with a fork.  In a separate bowl, mix flax seed with water until texture is slightly gelatinous.  Add breadcrumbs, corn, onion and flax seed mixture to large bowl; stir until well blended.  Form bean mixture into 4 (1/2-inch thick) patties.  Add patties to pan; cook 4 minutes on each side or until crisp and beginning to brown.
Place burgers on bread or bun and garnish with toppings of your choice.  I used avocado and tomato for my burger and cheddar cheese for my husband's burger.  I served sauteed green beans and a mixture of baked sweet and white potato fries on the side.


Thursday, October 27, 2011

Tensing Pen, Negril, Jamaica

We're heading back to Tensing Pen to celebrate our 1 year wedding anniversary. 
Be back next week.


Monday, October 24, 2011

The Vegetarian Chili you must try!

I tried a new recipe (and actually followed it... for the most part) for vegetarian chili last week.  It is, hands down, the best vegetarian chili I have ever tasted!  This chili is not only a great source of protein and fiber, but it's so filling and satisfying that you won't even miss the meat.  And the best part, it's also easy to make.

Adapted from: The Eat-Clean Diet Cookbook, pg 155

2 Tbsp extra virgin olive oil
1 medium yellow onion, peeled and chopped
1 large red bell pepper, chopped
1 large carrot, peeled and grated
1 Tbsp Cholula Hot Sauce
3 Tbsp chili powder
1/4 tsp red pepper flakes
Sea salt and fresh ground pepper
2 tsp dried oregano
2 tsp dried basil
2 Tbsp cilantro, chopped
1 cup canned white kidney beans, rinsed and drained
1 cup canned great Northern beans, rinsed and drained
1 cup canned red kidney beans, rinsed and drained
1 cup canned corn kernels, rinsed and drained
2 1/2 cups water or low sodium vegetable stock
4 squares dark (75% or more cocoa) organic chocolate
28 oz canned tomatoes
Juice of 1 fresh lime
Juice of 1 fresh lemon

In a Dutch oven, warm olive oil over medium heat.  Add onion, red pepper, grated carrot and saute until onion becomes soft and translucent.  Stir in chili powder, red pepper flakes, sea salt and black pepper.  Cover and cook over low heat for 10 minutes, stirring occasionally. 
Add all remaining ingredients.  Blend well.  Cover and let simmer for 20 minutes.  Remove from heat and serve hot.  This recipe can be served over brown rice for a heartier version.  Leftovers are perfect in a wrap the next day.
Makes 6 Servings
Prep time:  35 minutes
Cook time:  40 minutes

This chili is a bit on the spicy side so adjust the seasonings to taste.  You can also temper it with some shredded cheese, sour cream, sliced avocado or all three depending on your preference.  We ate our chili with a salad and homemade corn muffins but it would be just as good with a hearty slice of sourdough or whole wheat bread.

You can freeze leftovers in single serving quart size ziplock bags. Lay flat and stack in the freezer. When you're ready to eat, simply defrost, heat and enjoy!


Monday, October 17, 2011

Check out my guest blog today for byrdie's magazine monday post.
Make sure to sign up to follow byrdie while you're there!

More Vegetarian Meals!

So as you know, Sean's meatless month came to an end on Oct 2nd.  He lasted exactly 1 day.  I can't really blame him though. He's been eating meat his whole life.  It's not an easy thing to give up cold turkey (pun intended).  That's the thing with most diets, people expect to change lifelong habits over night.  In my mind, that's just not realistic and it's why most diets fail.  Being healthy is a journey.  It's something you have to work on and choose every day, every meal, every bite.  So although Sean hasn't been able to give up meat entirely, he wants to continue with meatless dinners at home for the rest of the month.  After a rocky start, we got back on track and finished the first week with tacos and pasta.

Vegetarian Taco Bar
I don't have an exact recipe for the tacos as what we use varies each time we have them.  We usually use organic whole wheat wraps and/or organic blue corn hard taco shells along with a variety of fillings.  This time we had  refried beans, blacks beans, brown rice flavored with taco seasoning (these 3 help to replace some of the bulk that you might otherwise miss when omitting meat), tomatoes, shredded lettuce (or spinach), fresh guacamole (1 avocado, chopped onions, tomatoes, cilantro and fresh lime juice), shredded organic cheddar cheese for Sean and shredded zucchini for me.  Top with hot sauce if desired and enjoy!  This is a great meal if you have picky eaters in your house as everybody can always find at least 3 or 4 fillings that they like. 

Fresh Tomato Sauce
From Vitamix Whole Food Recipes pg. 139
6 medium Roma tomatoes, quartered
1 small onion, peeled, halved
1 small carrot
2 TBSP tomato paste
1 garlic clove, peeled
1/2 tsp dried basil
1/2 tsp dried oregano
1/2 tsp fresh lemon juice
1/2 tsp brown sugar
1/4 tsp salt
1. Place all ingredients into the Vitamix container in the order listed and secure lid.
2. Select Variable 1.
3. Turn machine on and quickly increase speed to Variable 10, then to High.
4. Blend for 2-3 minutes, using the tamper to press the ingredients into the blades.
5. Pour into saucepan and simmer for 35-40 minutes.
6. (Optional)- I chopped up some mushrooms in the Cuisinart and added them to the the sauce to simulate the texture of ground beef.

Cook Whole Wheat Fusilli according to directions on the box.
Pour Tomato sauce over pasta and mix. 
Serve hot and enjoy!

Zuchhini with Kale and Green Onions
Zucchini, quartered
Kale, small handful
Green Onions, chopped
Sautee all of the above vegetables in olive oil with salt and pepper to taste.

I hate to admit it but the garlic bread was from the freezer.  Ideally we would have had homemade garlic bread on a fresh whole wheat baguette but we didn't have any.  Sometimes you just have to make due with what you have on hand.

The meat-free menu for this week includes vegetartian chili, homemade pizza and veggie burgers.  Recipes to follow!

Thursday, October 6, 2011

Meatless Dinner #1

Since my husband, Sean, made his pledge last Sunday to go meat free for the month of October, I made a pledge to cook good vegetarian alternatives for dinner. On Sunday night I made a list of meals for the week that I thought Sean would like and went to the grocery store after work on Monday to get all of the ingredients.  I may have gone a little bit overboard because I got so much food that Sean had to come meet me at Whole Foods to help me carry it all home.  Unfortunately, I worked so late that by the time we got home from the grocery store it was too late to cook a big meal. Sean ended up having a bowl of cereal and I had rice and beans. Monday was meatless but I would hardly call it a success.

Tuesday afternoon I got an email from Sean saying he had meat for lunch.... well that sure didn't last long. He promised to re-commit himself starting with dinner. So, on Tuesday night I made stuffed Portobello mushrooms with Brussels sprouts.

Sean's comment after his first bite was "it's interesting" followed by "it's good".  He said he would eat the stuffed mushroom again as is but I personally thought the stuffing had too much lemon juice and needed a bit more spinach. They were certainly a good alternative to meat though and were very filling. I thought the brussel sprouts were OK... not sure I would make them again with so many other recipes out there to try.  They weren't Sean's favorite either but then he doesn't love brussel sprouts in general. I thought maybe the sauce would win him over but he said he would have preferred green beans.

Stuffed Portobello Mushrooms
*I initially was going to make the stuffed mushroom recipe from Forks Over Knives but I ended up making so many substitutions and adjustments that I don't even want to say it's adapted from that recipe... so I will just say that it was the inspiration for my recipe.  I would like to try the recipe in the book in the future.  I will let you know how it turns out.
1/2 cup almonds
1/2 cup walnuts
5 white mushrooms (caps and stems)
handful of basil leaves
1 cup of spinach
1 clove of garlic
juice of 1/2 lemon (I used juice of 1 lemon but I think it was too much)
4 TBSP fresh grated parmesan cheese
2 TBSP panko bread crumbs
1 tsp olive oil
Clean mushroom and de-stem.
Combine first 7 ingredients and 2 TBSP of parmesan cheese in Cuisinart.
Sauté panko bread crumbs in olive until golden brown.
Stuff mushroom caps and then top with panko bread crumbs.
Bake at 350 degrees for 45 minutes to 1 hour (or until mushroom is tender).
Top with remaining parmesan cheese.
Serve hot.

Maple Glazed Brussel Sprouts
By Chef AJ
Page 165 of Forks Over Knives- The How-To Companion to the Feature Documentary Forks Over Knives
1 1/2 pound brussel sprouts
1/4 cup finely minced shallots
1/4 cup maple syrup
1 TBSP Dijon mustard
1 TBSP tamari
1 TBSP arrowroot powder
Finely diced bell peppers, optional (I omitted this)
Chopped walnuts or pecans, optional (I omitted this)
Bring a saucepan of water to boil. Cut the stems off the Brussel sprouts and discard, then cut the sprouts in half. Cook the sprouts in the boiling water for 2 minutes; drain. Rinse with cold water.
In heavy nonstick sauce pan, sauté the shallots in a small amount of water or vegetable stock for 2 to 3 minutes. Add the boiled brussel sprouts and saute for 4 more minutes. Whisk together the maple syrup, Dijon mustard, tamari and arrowroot powder in a small bowl. Pour the maple syrup mixture over the Brussel sprouts and cook for about 2 minutes, until the sauce thickens. Garnish with bell pepper or nuts if desired.

TIP: the first step of cooking and cooling the brussel sprouts can be done in advance.

Stay tuned for more updates and vegetarian recipes!

Monday, October 3, 2011

Forks Over Knives

Since I started studying at IIN™, I have watched a lot of interesting films and video clips about nutrition.  Last night, I watched Forks Over Knives.  The film documents the stories of Dr. Caldwell B. Esselstyn, JR, MD and T. Colin Campbell, PhD.  These are two men, who, through separate research and studies, came to the same conclusion:  "degenerative diseases like heart disease, type 2 diabetes and even several forms of cancer can almost always be prevented- and in some cases reversed- by adopting a whole-foods, plant-based diet".  Forks Over Knives not only tells the stories of Dr. Campbell and Dr. Esselstyn, but it also intertwines several sub stories about people they have helped and other doctors that share the same philosophy.  The film shows first hand how your health can be dramatically transformed through food alone.  Although Forks Over Knives contains quite a bit of data and research to support the theory that a plant-based diet is best, it moves quickly and manages to stay entertaining. 

 I personally made the choice to stop eating meat 9 months ago.  I have also given up most dairy products and am working towards a primarily vegan diet.  Since I have made these changes, I have lost 25lbs and my cholesterol has dropped 57 points.  While this has been the right decision for me, I am a firm believer that we are all different and that nobody can tell you what you should and shouldn't eat.  Only you know what is right for your body.  That being said, while we should all make our own choices as to what is best, I think Forks Over Knives makes a pretty compelling case as to why a whole-foods, plant-based diet could be the right decision for most people.  Or, at the very least, why it is important to incorporate more whole foods and plants into your diet and less meat and dairy.  Watch it and let me know what you think.

After seeing the movie, my husband, who is a meat eater, has committed to trying to be meat-free for the month of October.  In support, I'm going to prepare some new vegetarian recipes for dinner this week, including some from Forks Over Knives- The Plant-Based Way to Health.  Hopefully they will be good enough that he will be encouraged to eat meat less often in the future... we'll see.  I will post the recipes and his review of each one next week. Stay tuned.