Hot Cross Buns - Any Day of the Week!

Ever wonder why we seem to feel that traditional Holiday Fare must be served solely on their respective observed Holiday? Wouldn't it be wonderful to both awaken the energy held in said Holidays and enjoy the foods served, during other times of the year?

Why celebrate the Nativity or Thanksgiving, or Adha or Diwali only once a year?  I'm not saying we should go out and do all the associated activities we feel compelled to attach to each Holiday... but to bring the spirit of that day to mind during the year.

It's like not waiting to say a prayer of thanks until you're in a Church or Temple, but freely anywhere, anytime!

So while I did make the Hot Cross Buns for Easter... they were so well received I think they're going to appear on our table a few times a year. :)

Easter eggs

I tweaked a recipe from Udi's to better comply with our good-fats, high-fiber, low glycemic diet, while remaining tasty.

Everyone from adult to teen to 12-year-old loved them (the dark chocolate chunks didn't hurt).  Of course you're welcome to use a few raisins instead.

Chipful Hot Cross Buns, Gluten Free

Dry Ingredients:

  • 3¼ cups gluten-free flour (about 1 lb.). For the best results use a GF flour blend; I used: 1-1/8 c. Sorghum flour 1-1/8 c. Gluten Free Oat Flour (e.g. Bob's Red Mill) 1/2 c. Potato Starch, slightly mounded 1/2 c. Almond Flour/Meal
  • 2 Tbs. Coconut Palm Sugar
  • 2 Tbs. Apple Pectin (for sweetness and fiber)
  • 2½ tsp. Yeast
  • 2½ tsp. Xanthan Gum
  • 1 tsp. Ceylon or True Cinnamon
  • 1 tsp. Sea Salt
  • ¼ tsp. each: Ginger, Cardamom, Nutmeg
  • 3/4 c. Dark Chocolate Chips or 1/2 c. Raisins

Wet Ingredients:

  • 1½ c. Almond Milk
  • 3 Hi Omega-3 Eggs
  • 4 Tbs. organic, grass-fed Butter, melted
  • 2 tsp. Pure Vanilla Extract

Next day:

  • 1/4 teaspoon Instant Yeast ( I used regular yeast with 1 Tbs. warm water and let it sit for 5 minutes, and it was fine)
  • 1 Tbs. Warm Water

Egg Wash:

  • Mix 1 large Egg with 1 Tbs. Almond or Coconut Milk

Method

  1. Combine all dry ingredients (except fruit or chocolate chips)
  2. Combine wet ingredients and then add to the mixed dry ingredients. Fold in fruit or chocolate chips.
  3. After mixing dough thoroughly, cover tightly with wax paper, then a clean dish towel and refrigerate in a bowl overnight.
  4. The next day: Dissolve the 1/4 teaspoon of instant yeast in the water. Stir this into the dough.
  5. Grease two 8"x8" square or two 9" round pans with coconut oil, and place 8-9 balls of the dough into each pan.

    Hot Cross buns pan

  6. Smooth out the tops of the buns and brush with the egg wash.
  7. With a sharp knife, slice a shallow cross (+) in the top of each roll. Let them rest in a warm room (or 100 degree oven) for about 10-12 minutes.
  8. Preheat oven to 350º F.

    Hot Cross buns oven

  9. Place baking pan in the center of the oven and bake for 25-30 minutes, rotating once during baking, until the buns are golden brown and firm to the touch.
  10. Allow buns to cool for about 10 minutes in the pan before transferring them to a wire rack to cool completely... if you can wait that long!

No icing necessary, but you must try them warm with a smear of coconut oil and sprinkle of cinnamon!

Hot Cross buns plate

~ Bon Apetit!

Quick Mini Veggie Wraps with Peanut Sauce

This recipe has become a favorite as a quick lunch, or salad substitute with dinner. The presentation is colorful.  

brown rice wrap
brown rice wrap

Next time you shop buy two packages of Brown Rice Wrappers and Nori sheets to have on hand.

You can improvise with the filling, and surely you have a jar of organic, no-sugar-added Peanut Butter for the sauce base. :)

Mini Veggie Wraps with Peanut Sauce

Note: You can make the sauce without the pepper flakes, and/or add 1 tsp. Lime Juice for more zip.

Also, adjusting the amount is simple.. for each additional sheet or Nori or Rice wraps, you'll want another 1/2-3/4 c. of shredded or sliced veggies.

  • 4 sheets Brown Rice Wrappers
  • 2 sheets sushi-grade Nori
  • 1 1/2 c. organic Zucchini, shredded
  • 1 c. organic Carrots, shredded
  • 4 organic Scallions, cut into thin strips
  • 3/4 c. fresh organic Cilantro, stems trimmed
  • 1/2 c. organic Mushrooms, sliced thin
  • 1/2 c. organic Red Cabbage, shredded
  • 1/4 c. organic Yellow or Red Bel Pepper, thinly sliced

Spicy Peanut Sauce

  • 1/4 c. organic, no-sugar-added Peanut Butter
  • 3 Tbs. Coconut Aminos or Tamari Sauce
  • 2 Tbs. Rice Vinegar
  • 2 Tbs. organic ev Olive Oil
  • 1 Tbs. raw, organic Honey (Maple syrup for vegan)
  • 2 tsp. Sesame Oil
  • 2 tsp. organic Garlic, minced
  • 2 tsp. Ginger
  • 1 tsp. crushed Red Pepper flakes
  • 2 tsp. Water or Lime juice (opt)

Mix all ingredients, whisking until smooth.  (You may add a few crushed peanuts if you so desire.)  Place in a bowl.

rice wrap ingredts
rice wrap ingredts

 

  • Place on a chopping board or kitchen counter covered with parchment paper.
  • Spread 2 tsp. of sauce along center, and place up to 3/4 cup of filling (1/6 of each veggie), in layers, on wrap. Fold ends in and roll carefully but firmly, so as not to tear sheet.
  • Cut into 1-1/2" slices with very sharp knife, and place on serving platter.
  • Do this with remaining sheets or rice wraps.

To make Nori, go through the same process, but do not dip in water.

  • Serve with additional peanut sauce, or Tamari.

~ In Good Health! ♥

Super Duper Dill 'n' Veggie Omelet

We had a little plumbing crisis last night. J did a couple of loads of laundry, his little girl took a shower and we used bathrooms all within the same hour or so.... Yikes!  Our 35-year-old pipes couldn't handle it. While waiting for the plumber this morning, I had time to make a leisurely breakfast.

One of the classic breakfasts that is served in Lebanon is a Dill Omelet. Mom made an oven baked version that includes some flour, and was rich with dill and onions.

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Kale and Lentil Salad

Here is a salad that I accidentally created today when I was trying to finish off some leftovers... it turned out to be amazingly Delicioso! Yesterday I cooked some sprouted lentils with onions as a quick version of Mjaddara(The Lebanese Lentil Mash dish).  The sprouted version hold their shape much better, so not really as creamy as Mjaddara, but still very tasty.

Here is that recipe.

1. Hoda's Sprouted Lentils with Onion

  • 2 Tbs. extra virgin Olive Oil
  • 1 small organic white Onion, chopped
  • 1/4 c. organic brown Rice
  • 1-1/2 c. hot Green Tea (or boiling water)
  • 2 c. sprouted organic Lentils
  • 1/2 tsp. Sea Salt

Place medium size pot over med heat for 1 minute.  Add onions and saute for 2 minutes stirring occasionally, until lightly brown on edges.

Turn heat to med-low.  Add olive oil and rice, stirring for another 2 minutes. Add water, cover and simmer for 25 minutes.

Add lentils and salt, stirring to mix. Cover and simmer another 10 - 15 minutes, until rice is done and the water absorbed.  You may need to add a little more water after adding lentils if too dry.  There should be enough water at that point to soak but not cover the lentils.

Taste, and adjust salt seasoning.

Sprouted lentils
Sprouted lentils

So this was what I added to my Kale salad which had the following ingredients:

2. Kale, Tomato and Parsley Salad

  • 3 c. organic Kale, chopped
  • 1 organic Tomato, chopped
  • 2 organic Green Onions, chopped
  • 1 c. chopped organic Parsley
  • 1/4 c. chopped organic Mint
  • Juice of 2 lemons
  • 1/2 tsp. cumin
  • 3 Tbs. extra virgin Olive Oil
  • 1 tsp. Sea Salt

Mix it all together.

Combine the two Salads in any ratio that pleases you.

P.S. I ate the combo before I had a chance to take a Photo!  Will update next time I make this. ♥  :)

Black Bean Salad Lunch Plate

Whenever I make Tabbouleh I am sure to make enough to last 3 days. That's about the limit for freshness. It goes so well with so many foods, and as a condiment in sandwiches. I had some left from yesterday, and some black beans left from making the Dark Chocolate Black Bean Bars, so I transformed the latter into a salad, and added the last piece of Ginger Cod. Very tasty, very healthy... high protein, omega 3's, high fiber, high antioxidant!

Black Bean Salad

  • 4 c. cooked organic Black Beans, drained
  • 1/2 c. organic sweet Onion, chopped
  • 1/2 c. organic Cilantro, chopped
  • 1/4 c. organic Mint, chopped
  • 1/2 organic Serrano Chili Pepper chopped (opt.)
  • 2 medium organic Tomatoes, chopped
  • 2 organic Green Onions, chopped
  • 4 Tbs. organic Apple Cider Vinegar (Bragg's is best)
  • 2 Tbs. Lemon Juice
  • 2 Tbs. Flax Seed Oil
  • 1 Tbs. Olive Oil
  • 1 tsp. Sea Salt
  • 1/2 tsp. Cumin or more to taste
  •  

Mix everything together in a large bowl. Taste and adjust seasoning to your taste. I added a sprinkle of black pepper.

My son ate some for a snack right out of the bowl. He's my gourmet, finicky food critic.  :)

~ Bon Apetit! ♥

Lentils and Mung Beans - the Whole Story

There are some days when I get an awfully strong craving for Indian spices. I either want to have a curried dish, or a lentil dish... those are the two competitors for my attention. My favorite dish when I was a girl, is called Mjaddara, a 'peasant' type winter dish popular in the villages of Lebanon.  It's basically a lentil/rice/onion mash that is sooo tasty, sooo comforting and sooo healthy!  That's THREE Soooo's!!  :) Mom was an expert Mjaddara maker, like her father.

According to Choosemyplate.gov...

Health Properties

"Aside from their slight differences in calorie, carb and protein values, red and French lentils have very similar health benefits. Both are protein-rich, plant-based foods, which gives them a unique set of positive nutritional properties.

mung bean sprouts 1
mung bean sprouts 1

According to ChooseMyPlate.gov: low-fat proteins such as lentils are essential for growing, building, repairing and maimaintaining tissues in blood, skin, bone and muscle cells.

Protein is also a particularly satiating nutrient and may be able to keep you full for longer than carb- or fat-rich foods, which can be important if you’re watching your weight. Both red and French lentils are high in dietary fiber, which means they can improve digestive health and potentially lower levels of blood cholesterol and blood sugar."

Mung beans are low in Saturated Fat and Sodium, and very low in Cholesterol. It is also a good source of Protein, Thiamin, Niacin, Vitamin B6, Pantothenic Acid, Iron, Magnesium, Phosphorus and Potassium, and a very good source of Dietary Fiber, Vitamin C, Vitamin K, Riboflavin, Folate, Copper and Manganese.

To find out if a carb food you are about to buy (bread, crackers, pasta, etc..) is a healthy choice do the following:

Add a zero to the total grams of fiber per serving, so 2g becomes 20.  Compare it to the total grams of Carbs per serving.  The fiber number should be MORE than the total Carbohydrates number.  This means if a product has 20g of Carbs and 1g of Fiber (i.e. 10) Then put it back on the shelf!There is not enough fiber to slow down the conversion of the carbs into glucose, and it will spike your blood sugar.  These spikes that occur all day long are what predispose us to Diabetes and other diseases.  Aim for at least 1.5 times the Fiber to Carbs.

1 cup of cookedMung beans has 2 grams of Fiber vs. 6 grams of Carbs.  That's 20 vs 6! A very good ratio.

1 cup of Lentils have 16 grams of Fiber vs. 40 grams of Carb...160 to 40!  An Excellent ratio.

And of course we know that a diet high in fiber can help prevent colon and breast cancer. So eat your beans!

I adapted this recipe to include both lentils and mung beans.

Sprouted Lentils and Mung Beans, Indian Style

  • 2 c. sprouted organic brown Lentils
  • 1/2 c. organic Mung Beans (soaked overnight)
  • 2 tsp. extra virgin Olive Oil
  • 3/4 c. organic Onion, chopped
  • 1 green organic Chili Pepper (I use Serrano)
  • A 1-inch piece of organic Ginger
  • 1 Tbs. organic Cilantro, chopped
  • 1/2 tsp. Cayenne Pepper
  • 1/2 tsp. dried Coriander powder
  • 3/4 tsp. Cumin
  • 1/4 tsp. Black Pepper
  • Sea Salt to taste
  • 1-1-1/2 c. hot Water

Heat a medium stainless steel pot over medium heat for 1 minute.  Add oil and wait another 1 minute.

Add onion and chili pepper and saute for 2 minutes. Add ginger and cilantro, stirring for 1 minute.

Add beans and spices and 1 cup hot water, stir, cover and simmer over medium-low for 15 minutes.

Press one of the beans between your fingers to make sure they are done, and add the last 1/2 c. of hot water if too dry.

Adjust seasoning, and serve hot or at room temperature.

lentils_Indian style
lentils_Indian style

~ Cheers! ♥

Teacups and Dark Chocolate Black Bean Bars

Mom, Dad and my older siblings lived in Washington DC for about 5 years when Dad was Ambassador to the U.S.  He was reassigned when I was born, so at 2 months old I made the trip back home. While in DC Mom and Dad had a portrait done by Stefan Norbin, a Polish artist.  While he made Mom look much younger than Dad they were actually only 6 years apart in age.

Mom and Dad 1940's
Mom and Dad 1940's

Recently, I looked up info on the artist and this is what I found:

"Stefan Norblin, a polish painter and graphic artist, had an exciting, and tragic life. He was a successful and popular portrait painter, poster and book and costume designer in Warsaw in the 1920's and 1930's, married to the movie star Lena Zelichowska.

When World War 2 broke out, the couple fled in the last-minute, first to Romania, then Istanbul, Iraq and finally arrived in India. Norblin quickly caught the attention of the Maharaja of Jodpur who had just built a huge palace that needed to be decorated, and Norblin was given a free hand to design the interior and the furniture.

In 1946, he left for the United States, and although he had a few commissions for portraits, he was not happy, his eyesight was failing and he finally took his own life in 1952. Most of his work in the United States was lost or destroyed, and except for his polish tourist posters, he was forgotten. "

A few years ago, I started my a collection of teacups like my mother did in her 40's. 

Cups
Cups

I inherited my love of cooking from Mom, who spent 6 years writing the first anthology of Middle Eastern and North African Cuisine, published in 1970. Thanks to her all 7 of her children, and numerous grandchildren have that same passion.

Yesterday I stumbled on a recipe for brownies made with Black Beans that sounded twice as good as the recipe I adapted a few weeks ago.

Here is my version...

Dark Chocolate Black Bean Bars

  • 3/4 c. cold-pressed Coconut Oil
  • 5 oz. 85% organic Dark Chocolate, broken into pieces
  • 2 c. cooked organic Black Beans, drained
  • 3 Tbs. organic raw Cocoa Powder
  • 3 Tbs. Coconut Flakes (more to taste)
  • 1 c. organic Walnuts, roughly chopped
  • 1 pinch of Sea Salt
  • 2 high-Omega3 Eggs
  • 3 Tbs. freshly ground golden Flax Seeds
  • 2/3 c. Chicory Root or Xylitol

Preheat the oven to 325°F and line an 11-inch square or 8 x 11 baking pan with parchment paper.

Melt the coconut oil on low heat in a medium size pan, add dark chocolate pieces. Stir around until the chocolate is completely melted.

Chocolate Black Bean Bars2
Chocolate Black Bean Bars2

Put beans, cacao powder, coconut flakes and 1/2 cup of the walnuts in a blender or a food processor. Blend for one minute or until well chopped, then add the chocolate mixture and blend for one more minute, scraping down sides once.

Chocolate Black Bean Bars1
Chocolate Black Bean Bars1
Chocolate Black Bean Bars6
Chocolate Black Bean Bars6

In a separate bowl, whisk the eggs with an electric mixer for about 2 minutes, add the flax seeds and xylitol and beat for one more minute.

Chocolate Black Bean Bars4
Chocolate Black Bean Bars4
Chocolate Black Bean Bars5
Chocolate Black Bean Bars5

Save four spoonful’s of the egg mixture in a separate cup and pour the rest into the chocolate and bean mixture and process just to incorporate.

Add the remaining walnuts and dark chocolate and stir gently with a spatula until blended.

Chocolate Black Bean Bars7
Chocolate Black Bean Bars7

Pour into the baking pan.

Drip the remaining egg mixture on top of the chocolate mixture and use a toothpick or a knife to create a marble effect.

Chocolate Black Bean Bars final
Chocolate Black Bean Bars final

Bake for 30 minutes. They might still feel a little soft in the middle when you take them out, but they will harden when they cool. These are decadently chocolaty!

You can spread a little Xylitol-sweetened raspberry jam on top for variation.

~ Enjoy!  ♥

Haight Street and Roasted Vegetables with Tea Leaves

I had an appointment with my anthroposophic Doc in San Francisco yesterday.  I've been having vertigo that lasts for a few seconds when I lay down, and inner ear congestion, so I sought her help.  She is an amazing woman with more accomplishments than I can ever remember. 

haight street SF
haight street SF

J and I drove in 4 hours early since he had a meeting on Haight Street with contractors bidding for a remodel on a new building his boss purchased to turn into another Music store.  I hadn't been to Haight in a number of years.  My niece and I used to go to a Middle Eastern restaurant across from the building where J has his appointment, to enjoy the food and belly dance to live music.

Everyone knows that one aspect of San Francisco's charm is the wonderful Victorian architecture.  The intricate designs and eye-catching colors never cease to please me.

red victorian SF haight
red victorian SF haight

Haight Street is best known as the principal street in San Francisco's Haight-Ashbury district. The Haight-Ashbury district is famous for its role as a center of the 1960s hippie movement. College and high-school students began streaming into the Haight during the spring break of 1967.

Hunter S. Thompson labeled the district "Hashbury" in The New York Times Magazine, and the activities in the area were reported almost daily.  I'm sure we all remember the Summer of Love, the social phenomenon in the summer of 1967, when about 100,000 people converged on the Haight-Ashbury triggering a major cultural and political shift.

The 'Peace Cafe' located in the Red Victorian, is neighbor to a Vintage Costume and Rental store.  We got ourselves something to drink from a cafe across the street, decorated with huge paintings on canvas based on "The Wind in the Willows".

Back at home, I decided to roast some veggies, bake some Cod filet with ginger and green onions, and steam Butternut squash with a hint of coconut oil, salt and pepper. For a salad a Slaw with Red and Napa Cabbage.

Roasted Rainbow Vegetables

8 Servings

~I only use veggies that are Organic.

  • 1 cup chopped Red Cabbage
  • 1 cup coarsely chopped Onion
  • 3 Zucchini, cut in half lengthwise and sliced 3/4" thick
  • 3 Carrots, sliced 3/4" thick
  • 1/2 large Eggplant, cut in chunks
  • 2 cups Butternut Squash, cut in bite size chunks
  • 2 Sweet Potatoes, cut in bite size chunks
  • 7 -10 cloves Garlic, halved if large
  • 2 Tbs. Green Tea leaves (reserved from making tea, or soaked)
  • 2 Tbs. Olive Oil
  • Sea Salt
  • Black Pepper
  • 1 tsp. Caraway Seeds
  • 1 tsp. Cayenne Pepper

Pre-heat oven to 425ºF ; 220ºC.

Combine veggies in a large bowl with tea leaves. Add Olive oil and toss to coat thoroughly.

Sprinkle with Sea Salt, Black Pepper, Caraway and Cayenne. Toss again until evenly coated with the spices.

Spoon Veggies into a large ceramic or glass baking dish that has been lightly sprayed with Coconut or Olive oil.

Roast veggies for 30 minutes, toss them with spatula and continue to roast for another 10-15 minutes or until carrots are tender.

veggies roasted
veggies roasted

Adjust seasoning, and serve hot.

~ Bon Apetit! ♥

Coconut Cilantro Chutney

One of my sweet 30-something nephews came over for lunch today.  We hadn't really visited for some time since he lives an hour away. We caught each other up on news over chicken tacos, chicken Thai curry, whole wheat couscous, kale salad and spinach flat bread (I like eclectic meals).

I realized that I didn't have a chutney to serve, since most are so full of sugar I rarely buy them.  I came across this recipe... It goes very well with fish too, and takes just minutes to whip up.

Coconut Cilantro Chutney Recipe

GreenCoriander chutney
GreenCoriander chutney
  • 3/4 c. shredded unsweetened Coconut
  • 3/4 c. fresh organic Cilantro, coarsely chopped
  • 1 small seeded organic Serrano chili,  quartered
  • 1/2 c. light coconut milk (or green tea)
  • Juice of 1/2 organic Lime
  • dash of Sea Salt

Place all but Lime juice in blender, or food processor, and pulse until consistency is almost smooth.

Pour into a bowl and mix in lime juice. Taste and adjust seasoning.

As a variation you may add 1 clove of garlic to veggies, or a 1/2 inch slice of ginger.

Makes about 1 cup of chutney.

~ āp kā khānā svādiṣṭa ho! ♥

The King of Vegetables and My Eggplant Caponata

As a child, eggplants were my least favorite vegetable, much to my mother's disappointment.  The only exception was Baba Ghannouj, a must at every Lebanese appetizer table.
You see, in the Middle East, the Eggplant is referred to as the King of Stuffed Vegetables due to its versatility and the large number recipes that feature this violet beauty.
When I was in my preteen years, I decided that every couple of weeks or so I would force my self to eat one food item that I did not like. When the eggplant's turn came around, it took a while, but slowly I grew to love that little bit of creamy bitterness it offers.  Soon my favorite recipes included 4 eggplant dishes... 1) Eggplant rounds pan-fried in olive oil and topped with a Spicy Tomato-Onion medley; 2) Eggplant stuffed with Rice, Lamb, Onions, Tomatoes and Spices; 3) Eggplant-Beef boats with Pine Nuts; and 4) Baba Ghannouj.
The recipe below calls for the Caponata to be served cold as an appetizer.  Since it is versatile, I have heated it up and spooned it over hot whole wheat couscous that has been cooked in chicken or vegetable broth, for a wonderful meal!

Recipe

Serves @ 10 as an appetizer
  • 2 lbs. organic Eggplant, peeled and diced
  • 2 Tbs. Extra Virgin Olive Oil
  • 1 c. organic White Onion, small diced
  • ½ c. organic Bell Pepper, small diced
  • 2 Tbs. Garlic, finely chopped
  • 2 c. organic Tomatoes (peeled, seeded, and small diced)
  • ¼ c. organic Basil, fresh chopped
  • 2 Tbs. Sherry Vinegar
  • 1 Tbs. organic Lemon, squeezed
  • 1 packet Stevia
  • 1 small Green Chili, minced (opt.)
  • ¼ c. Green Olives, chopped
  • 2 tsp. Black pepper, coarsely ground
  • 1 Head of Green leaf Lettuce
Sauté diced eggplant in olive oil until lightly browned; removed from pan. In the same pan, sauté onions, bell peppers, tomatoes and garlic for 2 minutes (vegetables should still have some texture, and garlic should not brown). Mix everything else together in a large bowl with the cooked vegetables.
Refrigerate overnight.
Serve a large scoop of pate over a bed of lettuce and surround with toasted whole wheat pita bread triangles, or scoop onto whole wheat Tuscan bread that has a light smear of Vegenaise.

~ Buon Apetito!

Apples and Butternut Squash

I inherited my current Crock Pot from a dear friend who moved to Atlanta.  

It had been a number of years since I owned a Crock Pot, maybe. I remember I have one when I walk by the rack it sits on, so it has yet to rent a permanent space in the cooking corner of my mind!

Crock Pots are wonderful for plan ahead, everything in one pot meals. Some of them are quite tasty, although scoffed at

by gourmets, but I've learned to relax and enjoy a wide array of cooking styles and approaches.

I love recipes that combine fruit and vegetables.  So many of them seem to be made for each other, like Butternut and Apples.

Pumkins and Squash

Recipe

This recipe makes a lovely side dish to curries, grilled chicken or fish.

  • 1 Tbs. organic grass-fed, Butter
  • 1/2 ts ground Ceylon Cinnamon
  • 1/4 tsp ground Nutmeg
  • 1 lb organic Butternut squash, peeled, seeded and cut into 1/2-inch cubes (about 5 cups)
  • 2 large tart organic Apples, cored, cut into 1/2-inch cubes (4 cups)
  • 1/2 organic White Onions, chopped
  • 3 Tbs. real Maple syrup
  • 1 Tbs. Balsamic vinegar

Combine spices in a small bowl, and set aside.

-butternut-squash
-butternut-squash

Put squash in Crock-pot. Add apples and onion.

Sprinkle with spices and add maple syrup.  Stir to combine well.

Cover and cook on LOW for 6 - 7 hours, or until vegetables are tender.  Stir in butter and adjust seasoning just before serving.

~ En Guete! ♥

Kale Medley Wraps

Kale and Greens

medley bags from Trader Joe (baby kale, baby chard, baby spinach)  and decided to create an Asian Style wrap filling using that and a few other ingredients.

I had a cup of soaked and sprouted mung beans in the fridge, and about a cup of sprouted lentils that I cooked with green tea, onion, cumin, salt and pepper. So here's what was born from this starter.

Kale seasoning
Kale seasoning

Kale, Greens and Bean Filling

  • 5-6 cups mixed organic Greens (Kale, Chard, Spinach, Collards, Watercress, etc..)
  • 2 tsp.organic  extra virgin Olive Oil
  • 1 organic White onion, sliced thin
  • 1 c. organic Carrots, shredded
  • 1 c. cooked sprouted Lentils (cook in broth or green tea and spices to give it flavor)
  • 1 c. Mung Beans, soaked overnight till sprouted
  • 1/4 c. Water or Vegetable broth
  • 2 Tbs. organic Ginger, chopped
  • 3 Tbs. Tamari Sauce (Gluten Free)
  • 3 Tbs. Sweet Chili Sauce
  • 1 packet Stevia
  • 1 tsp. Black Pepper
  • 1 tsp. Cayenne Pepper

Pour olive oil into a large sauté pan over medium heat, for 1 minute. Tilt pan to spread oil a little. Add onions and saute for 2 minutes, then add greens and carrots.

Stir for 5 -6 minutes or until greens turn bright.

carrot onion kale saute
carrot onion kale saute

Add Mung beans, lentils and water. Stir to mix.  When it starts to simmer, turn heat to Low, cover and cook for 10-12 minutes, stirring occasionally.

Kale burrito filling 3
Kale burrito filling 3

Add ginger, and all seasonings.

kale saute _ginger
kale saute _ginger

Stir well, cover and simmer for another 10 minutes, stirring occasionally, until kale is tender. Add a little more water if necessary.

Taste and adjust seasoning.

Kale burrito filling 4
Kale burrito filling 4

Serve wrapped in wilted Chard leaf, whole grain Tortilla, or open face on whole wheat Pita bread. May also be served on top of wild rice or mixed in with buckwheat noodles!

 Bon Apetit!

Black Bean Brownies - Revisited!

On June 5th I re-blogged the Black Beauty recipe from Chronicles of Passion.  I said that I would post the results after I tweaked the recipe to fit in with our Anti-Cancer Diet.

Well, I baked up a batch last week, and below is the end result presented in photo and words.

black bean brownies
black bean brownies

Here is the recipe with my modifications

.

maple syrup Josephs
maple syrup Josephs
  • 1 c. organic Black beans, drained
  • 1 Banana, cut into 5 pieces
  • 1/4 c. organic Zucchini, shredded
  • 1 generous tsp. pure Vanilla extract
  • 1/2 - 3/4 tsp. Cinnamon
  • 3/4 tsp. Baking Powder
  • 1/2 tsp. Baking Soda
  • 1/4 cup organic Raw Cocoa powder
  • 3 Tbs. Xylitol or Chicory Root powder
  • 3 Tbs. pure Maple Syrup
  • 2 Tbs. brewed Green Tea or Water
  • 1/4 c. organic Oat Flour
  • Toasted Pecans (opt.)

Then I followed the recipe instructions for the most part.

Preheat oven to 375º F. Line an 8×8 inch pan with parchment paper and set aside.

Place beans and banana in food processor and pulse until completely mashed.  Add the rest of the ingredients and process until combined, scraping often.

black bean brownies 4
black bean brownies 4

Pour batter into pan, spreading it evenly, and push pecan pieces into batter.

black bean brownies raw
black bean brownies raw

Place pan on middle rack of oven.

Bake for 22-27 minutes, or until edges curl away from paper. The brownies may seem a little gooey, but they harden as they cool. Let cool on a rack and slice into squares.

I spread a little sugar-free (no artificial sweeteners) raspberry jam on my slice.. and oh my gosh.. it was amazing.  By the time J and I finished tasting them, 1/3 of the pan was gone!

I liked them cold out of the fridge the next day.

Do try this, and tell me what you think!

Make it Fruity

I'm sifting through my Hot Weather recipes to gather them for reference in the upcoming weeks of Summer.  

Fruit is the main feature in a number of tasty meals I am planning for many reasons... its nutrition content, its ease of preparation, its tastiness and its cooling effect, not to mention the gorgeous colors it brings to our table.

I replaced the dairy I used to use with Tofu here.  It's possible to serve this without the topping, and just sprinkling the mint on the fruit.  Watermelon and grapes have high sugar content, so don't overdo those two fruits.  Also make sure you bananas are firm and a little on the green side, since they too are overly loaded with sugar when ripe.

 

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Makes 4 servings

  • 1/2 c. seedless organic Red Grapes
  • 1 c. organic Strawberries, halved
  • 2 c. organic Soft Tofu, crumbled
  • 2 Tbs. organic Mint, chopped

In a bowl combine Vegenaise, lemon juice, and Stevia; stir well and set aside.

In a large bowl combine fruit, and spoon into serving dishes. Mix Tofu with mint and divide among dishes. Serve with the dressing.

Enjoy!

Baked Falafel

The first couple of times I tried making baked Falafel in our oven, they were just OK.  They dried out a bit more than they should have, and weren't as crispy as I like them... even though I brushed them lightly with olive oil.

Well, tonight I decided to give Big Boss a try.. and it didn't disappoint!

Big Boss Falafel
Big Boss Falafel

I put the first batch in for 10 minutes at 400ºF, and then flipped them and added another 10 minutes. Hmm, not very crispy.

So J suggested we cook the second batch at 425ºF for 10 minutes on each side, and YAY, the edges were nice and crunchy, and the middle still moist.

Flafel big boss
Flafel big boss

I stuck with Tradition and whipped up Tahini Sauce, and sliced some organic tomatoes, onions and pickles to go on top. Steamed broccoli, broiled chicken and baked Mac 'n Cheese for the kids completed dinner.

Tahini Health Benefits

Tahini is a source of healthy fatty acids, containing 60.1 mg of omega-3 fatty acids and 3.421 mg of omega-6 fatty acids. Your body doesn't manufacture these fatty acids, so getting them from the foods you eat is critical and they are beneficial for your brain and heart.

Thiamine : Consume tahini to boost you thiamine intake. Each serving provides 16 percent of the daily suggested intake of this vitamin, also known as vitamin B-1. The thiamine in tahini influences your nervous system, muscles and digestion.

Phosphorus : Tahini provides 12 percent of the phosphorus you require in each serving. This mineral is important for the strength of your bones and teeth

Copper : You need only small amounts of copper in your diet each day, and tahini can help you meet those nutritional needs. This mineral helps keep your blood vessels and bones healthy

Traditional Tahini Sauce recipe

  • 1 c. organic Sesame Tahini
  • 2 small Garlic cloves, mashed well with 1/4 tsp. Sea Salt
  • 1/4 c. organic Lemon Juice
  • 2 Tbs. organic Parsley, chopped
  • 1/4 c. + cold Water, enough to give sauce the consistency of Ketchup.

Pour lemon into garlic and salt mush, and stir well.

Add to Tahini sauce along with 1/4 c. water. Stir.  Tahini will thicken first (due to chemical reaction to lemon juice.  Keep stirring and adding water in 2 Tbs. increments until consistency is reached.

Add parsley and stir. Will keep for 1 week in refrigerator.

Serving Ideas: Use on Falafel, Fish, as a topping on Steamed Veggies, or as a spread on Baked Eggplant and Tomato sandwiches.

Tahini Sauce
Tahini Sauce

Luckily there is enough left for lunch tomorrow!

Falafel Plate
Falafel Plate

 ~ Sahtein (double health)! ♥

The Sweet Potato Story

1. Did you know that a medium-sized sweet potato contains more than your daily requirement of vitamin A, nearly a third the vitamin C you need, almost 15 percent of your daily dietary fiber intake and 10 percent of the necessary potassium?

2. Did you know that orange-fleshed sweet potatoes may be one of nature's unsurpassed sources of beta-carotene?  And that the beta-carotene and vitamin C in these tubers work together to rid the body of cancer-friendly free radicals?

3. Well did you know diabetics can eat sweet potatoeswithout worry as they have a low glycemic index?

4. How about the fact that they contain Vitamin D which is critical for immune system and overall health, especially for women.

It's important to have some fat in your sweet potato-containing meals if you want to enjoy the full beta-carotene benefits of this root vegetable. Recent research has shown that a minimum of 3-5 grams of fat per meal significantly increases our uptake of beta-carotene from sweet potatoes. This can be 1 Tbs. of virgin olive oil (also recommended for breast cancer suppression) per serving for 4.

Organically grown sweet potatoes are free from the harmful effects of chemical fertilizers, pesticides and inorganic sprays. They cook relatively quickly and are rather versatile, lending themselves both to sweet or savory dishes.
Below is a recipe I adapted from Plenty: Vibrant Recipes from London's Ottolenghi , so it fits in with our Anti-Cancer Diet.  Instead of pan frying, we're going to bake these patties, and instead of dairy yogurt we're using soy or coconut yogurt.

SWEET POTATO CAKES (Vegetarian and Gluten Free)

  • 1 3/4 lbs peeled organic Sweet Potatoes, cut in large chunks
  • 2 tsp. organic Butter or Coconut oil, plus more for cooking
  • 2 Tbs. organic Green Onions, thinly sliced
  • 1-1/2 tsp. Tamari sauce
  • 1 clove Garlic, minced
  • 3/4 tsp. Sea Salt
  • pinch of Red Pepper flakes
  • Scant 1/2 c. organic Oat flour (gluten-free)
  • 1 Omega-3 Egg, well whisked

Sauce

  • 1/2 c. Soy or Coconut Yogurt
  • 2 Tbs. Lemon juice
  • 1 Tbs. Extra Virgin Olive Oil
  • 2 Tbs. chopped organic Dill
  • 2" section of organic Cucumber, thinly sliced
  • 1 Tbs. organic Red Onion, thinly sliced (opt.)
  • pinch of Sea Salt and Black pepper

Steam the potatoes until tender throughout. Set aside in a colander to drain and cool.

While the potatoes cook, warm the butter or oil in a cast iron pan. Sauté the green onions in 1 Tbs. coconut oil over medium heat until softened, about 4 minutes. Set aside to cool.

Meanwhile, blend all of the yogurt sauce ingredients, besides the dill, together in a mini blender or food processor. Lastly, add the dill and give it one or two more whirls just to blend. Set aside.

When the potatoes have released most of their moisture, transfer them to a bowl and mix them with the tamari sauce, garlic, salt, red pepper flakes and flour to combine. You want the mix to be tacky not wet, add more flour if it seems too moist to hold shape. Add the green onions and egg and mix to combine.

Add enough coconut oil to baking sheet to coat lightly.

Drop potatoes by 2 Tablespoonfuls onto sheet, and flatten into patties. Bake at 375 for 12 minutes, flipping after 6 minutes. Add another 2 -3 minutes if not quite browned on top.

Remove to a plate. Serve with some lightly dressed greens and a generous portion of the sauce. Garnish with a dill stem.

These would be so wonderful with a poached egg and a few leaves of watercress on top.

~ Enjoy!

Turnover a New Leaf? Make it Swiss!

Couldn't resist... the leaf is Swiss Chard and it's going to creep into the turnovers I am making. Savory pastries are quite popular in many European, South American and Mediterranean countries.  In my Post about Pies I mentioned a few of them:

Pierogi (Polish), Kulebyaka (Russian), Steak and kidney pie (British), Zwiebelkuchen (German), Tourtière (French Canadian), Banitza (Bulgarian), Kreatopita (Greek), Fatayir (Lebanese). Click on titles for recipes!

My favorite Lebanese turnovers or pies are:  Spinach-Onion, Swiss Chard, Chickpea-Onion, and of course Zaatar (Thyme) Pies.

Note: Only trim 1 inch off the bottom of the stems of any green. There are nutrients in the stems that may not be present in the leaves!  This will alter the amount of greens you wind up with, so I wanted to share that with you.

Make 1 recipe Basic Dough and let it rise for 90 minutes, or until about doubled.

dough rising
dough rising

In the meantime prepare Filling:

  • 1 bunch organic Swiss Chard, trimmed and cleaned
  • 2 c. organic Spinach, cleaned and chopped
  • 2 medium organic Onions, chopped
  • 2 1/2 tsp. Sea Salt
  • 2 Tbs. organic Lemon Juice
  • 2 Tbs. Sumac (found at Mediterranean markets)
  • 1 c. organic Walnuts, chopped
  • 1/2 c. Extra Virgin Olive Oil

Stack 3 leaves of Chard and slice lengthwise into 3 - 4 pieces depending on width.

Chard1
Chard1

Chop and repeat with rest of leaves.

Chard2
Chard2

Place in a large bowl.  Add Spinach.

Chop onions and add to greens.

Sprinkle Salt over mixture and using your hands mash all together squeezing the greens and onions until slightly wilted.

swiss chard mix
swiss chard mix

Add lemon juice, sumac, walnuts and olive oil, and mix well. Taste and adjust seasoning.

Tilt bowl so liquid will drain on one end, propping with a cloth underneath.

chard filling1
chard filling1

Preheat oven to 400ºF.

Lightly grease a baking sheet with olive oil.

When dough is ready, roll into balls the size of walnuts, dipping the bottoms in flour and putting aside.

dough balls
dough balls

Sprinkle flour on your board or counter top, and roll each ball into a thin round  using a little flour if sticky.

flat dough
flat dough

Place 2 Tbs. of filling in center of round. Make sure liquid is squeezed out.

chard turnover1
chard turnover1

Have a small bowl of water nearby.  Dip your finger into water and rub around perimeter of dough round to wet.

Fold 1/3 dough over filling, sealing top tip securely by pressing.

chard turnover2
chard turnover2

Fold other 1/3 overlapping the first and press to seal all along overlapped edge.

chard turnover3
chard turnover3

Bring bottom 1/3 up and press along seams and tips to seal well.

chard turnover4
chard turnover4
chard turnovers
chard turnovers

Place on baking sheet, repeating until all dough it used up. 

P.S. If you are left with any dough balls, allow to rise for 10 more minutes, and pop in the oven to make into Pita bread!

Bake turnovers for 15 minutes or until bottoms are golden brown.

chard turnovers baked
chard turnovers baked

Cool to room temperature.  Enjoy warm or cold.

~ Sahtein (double health!) ♥

When did Waldorf Creep into my Sandwich?

It's helpful to have something quick and healthy in your fridge ready to grab as you rush off to work or an appointment. You can relate to that I'm sure. With summer around the corner, a cold meal is welcome.

I love the combination or sweet and savory, and adding low-sugar fruits to a sandwich is both tasty and smart! 

Enter...

Waldorf Chicken (or Tofu) Salad

This salad will keep for 2 - 3 days.

waldorf-salad
waldorf-salad

Waldorf Chicken Salad Sandwich

  • 2 cups cooked organic Chicken, diced (or 2 cups grilled or barbecued Tofu for Vegan recipe)
  • 2 tablespoons Apple Cider vinegar
  • 2 medium organic Granny Smith Apples, unpeeled and chopped
  • 1/2 cup organic Grapes (halved)
  • 2 organic Celery Stalks, thinly sliced
  • Shredded organic Green Leaf or Romaine Lettuce
  • 1/2 cup chopped Pecans or Walnuts
  • 2 Tbs. organic whole Cranberry Sauce (opt.)
  • 1/2 cup Vegenaise
  • ¼ tsp. Black Pepper
  • Dash of Curry

In a medium bowl, combine all ingredients; mix well. Cover and refrigerate 1 hour. Serve on whole grain bread, Udi's Gluten Free Chia bread or atop salad greens.

~ To Your Health! ♥