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! ♥

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!

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! ♥

Steam Baked Vidalia Onions

This recipe is a Cancer fighter. Onions are a major source of a Quercetin, a super-antioxidant.   Similar to garlic, onions and shallots seem to be most helpful in cancers of the digestive tract (e.g. esophagus, stomach, and colon).

Unlike garlic, onions don’t lose their potency if lightly cooked.

Prep: 5 mins Cook: 30 mins

  • 1 Tbs. organic Coconut oil or organic Butter
  • 3 cloves Garlic, finely minced or pressed
  • 2 med Vidalia Onions, peeled and cut in half across the middle
  • 2 Tbs. Water

Preheat oven to 375.

In a small sauté pan over med-low heat, warm the butter until just melted. Add garlic and stir to warm, about 1 minute.

Butter 2

Place onions cut side up, and the water in a small glass baking dish with a cover. Gently spoon the garlic butter on each half equally.

Cover with lid or aluminum foil tent (not touching any part of onions) and seal edges.

Bake until the onion is soft to the fork and garlic is slightly caramelized, about 30 mins.

Gently lift onto plates and serve. You can sprinkle with fresh oregano, thyme, or crushed rosemary.

Delicious alongside organic Chicken Breasts Baked in Lemon Garlic sauce, and a steamed Veggie of your choice.

~In good health! 

Authentic Baba Ghannouj... or When Eggplant Meets Tahini

It's difficult to translate the name Baba Ghannouj literally because there isn't one word that captures the adjective "Ghannouj" but I'm going to try. When someone, usually children or girls up into their early 20's, act cutesy, shy and cuddly we say they are a "ghannouj" for a male, or a "ghannouji" for a female.

Baba means father.. so Baba Ghannouj means Dad is being cutesy and cuddly!

Now here is my creative genius at work:

The term fits the unusual looking Eggplant... perhaps because it has to act cutesy and shy to tempt us into eating it! Or, it could be that this dish is so yummy, that Father had to act all cutesy and shy before he had the nerve to ask the Mom to make it!

Choose your version... either way... it's delicious!  :)

Recipe

  • 1 large organic Eggplant (close to 1 lb)
  • 2 medium cloves organic Garlic
  • 1/2 tsp. Sea Salt
  • 1/4 - 1/3 c. freshly squeezed Lemon Juice
  • 1/4 c. Sesame Tahini, mixed well to incorporate oil Garnish:
  • 2 tsp. virgin Olive Oil
  • 1 Tbs. chopped organic Parsley
  • Pomegranate seeds (opt.)
  • Sprig of fresh Mint

Charring the Eggplant

Remove leaves from around stem, but don't but stem off.  You'll need to use it as a 'handle'. Cut several small gashes around the eggplant to allow steam to escape during charring.

Place Eggplant in preheated 375º oven, and bake for 30 minutes, or until outside is crisp and inside is soft.

Allow to cool for 20 minutes.

Holding by stem, cut open eggplant and scoop out the flesh into colander. Discard the skin and stem.

Drain for about 10 minutes. Allowing the liquid to drain will eliminate the bitterness.

Making the Dip

Mash garlic with salt in a mortar and pestle until a smooth paste. Scrape into a medium bowl, and add eggplant pulp. Mash together with pestle until it is of uniform consistency with very few lumps.  (Small ones are ok).

Add the lemon and mix, then add the Tahini and mix again until well incorporated.

Once cool, cover and refrigerate for an hour.

Transfer Baba Ghannouj to a shallow serving dish.  Wet the back of a large spoon, and use it to smooth the surface of the dip, leaving a raised rim, much like a pie crust. Keep a small mound in the center so you've created a moat around it.

Decorate the center with sprig of mint, or a carved red radish. Sprinkle parsley around the rim in clumps, alternating with pomegranate seeds...or create your own pattern.

Drizzle olive oil into 'moat'.

Serve with whole wheat Pita bread, or crudités.

~ Sahtein!

Cheesey Stuffed Mushrooms - Non Dairy

Tomorrow evening I am having a few people over to test their anti-oxidant levels with the amazing machine I spoke of in my post on April 27th. I'm so excited to have access to such a wonderful tool.  My teenage son agreed that most kids in his class would rate quite poorly, and he's anxious to see what his results will be. To supplement his diet, I started him on the Teen vitamins Pharmanex makes, and so in 4 weeks we'll do another reading to see if his levels rise. (It takes about 4 weeks for the change in your anti-oxidant levels to reach the skin, which is what the Biophotonic Scanner is measuring.)

I am going to try to get as many doctors in our area to incorporate this piece of data into their health evaluations!

Anyway, I want to make a little treat to serve tomorrow night and thought these quick and simple to put together appetizers would be fun.  (If you are someone who can eat dairy, then substitute goat cheese for the rice cheese.)

Makes about 24

  • Olive oil, for baking sheet
  • 3 slices whole wheat Sandwich Bread
  • 1 small Garlic clove, coarsely chopped
  • 6 oz grated Rice or Almond Cheese
  • 1/2 c. fresh organic Parsley leaves, chopped
  • 1/4 tsp. Red Pepper flakes
  • 1/4 tsp. Black Pepper
  • Coarse Sea salt
  • 2 packages (10 ounces ea) white button mushrooms, stems removed

Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Lightly oil a rimmed baking sheet.

In a food processor, pulse bread and garlic until fine crumbs form; set 1/2 cup aside. To food processor, add cheese, parsley, and red-pepper flakes. Season with salt, and pepper and pulse filling until combined.

Spoon filling into each mushroom, and roll filled side in reserved breadcrumbs. Place on prepared baking sheet; bake until mushrooms are tender and lightly browned, 15 to 20 minutes.

Cheers!

The Versatile Eggplant

My Tasty Eggplant Dip

In Lebanon the Eggplant is known as theKing of the Stuffed Vegetables, for its versatility. In my family its known as the shape of most of my Aunts! :)

Eggplants are very low in saturated fat and cholesterol. They are a good source of Vitamin K, Thiamin, Vitamin B6, Folate, Potassium and Manganese, and a very good source of dietary fiber.

eggplant
eggplant

Eggplants belong to the nightshade family of vegetables, which also includes tomatoes, sweet peppers and potatoes. Properly cooked, the slight bitterness eggplants possess can be compensated for by enhancing the flavor so unique for this vegetable.

Research has shown that eggplants contain an anthocyanin phytonutrient in the skin called nasunin. Nasunin is a potent antioxidant and free radical scavenger that has been shown to protect cell membranes from damage.

The August 10, 2005 issue of the "Journal of Agricultural and Food Chemistry" reports that a study shows the nasunin in eggplant hasanti-angiogenic abilities. The Cancer Center at the Angiogenesis Foundation explains that when something is angiogenic, it stimulates new growth of blood vessels and blood supply. Cancerous cells can gain angiogenesis ability, which means they can develop a means to increase their own blood supply, which can cause a cancerous mass or tumor to grow rather quickly. Nasunin in eggplant has the ability to prevent angiogenesis from occurring.

I will post several recipes that feature our plump purple friend.

Hoda's Spicy Eggplant Dip

eggplant sliced
eggplant sliced
  • 1 large organic Eggplant, peeled in zebra stripes
  • 3 cloves Garlic, minced
  • 2 Tbs. organic Cilantro, chopped
  • 1 small Chili pepper, seeded and minced
  • 2 Tbs. Coconut oil
  • 1/2 c. Green tTa or hot Water
  • 1/2 tsp. Stevia or 1 tsp. Xylitol
  • 1/2 tsp. Black pepper
  • 2 tsp. Sesame oil

Garnish

  • 2 Tbs. organic Cilantro, chopped
  • 2 Tbs. organic ripe Tomato, chopped

Slice eggplant lengthwise into 1/2" slices.  sprinkle each with salt and stack. Put on doubled paper towels, placing a heavy pan on top to press down. Wait 10 minutes.

Eggplant slices will leach water. Using fresh (unbleached) paper towels, press slices dry and cut into strips then dice.

Place a saucepan over medium heat and add 1 Tbs.  of the coconut oil.  Wait 1 minute. Add garlic and cilantro and saute for 2-3 minutes, stirring occasionally. Add chili pepper, eggplant and remaining 1 Tbs. coconut oil.  Cook, stirring frequently, until eggplant is wilted and brown. Add water, Stevia and pepper.  Cover and cook for 20 minutes on medium low.

Add sesame oil, stir well, cover and cook for additional 10 minutes.

Eggplant dip2
Eggplant dip2

Spoon into bowl and sprinkle with chopped cilantro and tomatoes.  Serve warm or at room temperature with toasted whole-wheat pita bread chips.

~ To  Your Health! ♥

Hoda's Fresh Salsa with Pear

After my massage therapy appointment this morning, I headed for Whole Foods to replenish my veggie bins. It's a bright, warm, sunny day in Northern California...a day that calls to you to walk among the produce bins!

I had a list.. and I allow myself to add about 4-5  things depending on what looks good that day.  Well, I came back with a couple of bags full, and laid them out on the counter to figure out what I wanted to play with first.  Since the bunch of Cilantro was huge, I decided to make it the star of this morning's creation.

I love pears when they're still crisp, so I picked one of them as the co-star.

2 cups packed organic Cilantro, chopped 1 med. ripe organic Tomato, chopped 1/2 Anaheim or Poblano pepper, minced 2 Tbs. minced organic Shallot 1/2 small under-ripe pear, diced 2 tsp. lemon juice 1 tsp. cider vinegar 1/2 tsp. Tabasco.. or your favorite chili sauce 1/2 tsp. salt.. or to taste

Mix all veggies and pear.  In small bowl, combine lemon, vinegar, and Tabasco, stir.  Add to veggies with salt, and mix.

Enjoy with homemade whole wheat pita chips*.

* Stack three loaves of whole wheat pita bread, and slice into 8 wedges like a pizza, or into squares. Separate the tops from the bottoms and place single layers on cookie sheets.  Mist lightly with virgin olive oil, and if desired a sprinkling of organic Garlic salt.

Bake in 400º oven until lightly brown. About 4-5 minutes. Time will depend on thickness of pita bread... so watch carefully because they can burn easily.

~ Cheers!

Heirloom Tomato Salad with Mint

Nothing is as refreshing to me as the flavors of fresh, vine-ripe tomatoes and freshly chopped mint. Add a drizzle of virgin olive oil and a light sprinkle of salt... and you're done! Well, this recipe adds two B's to raise the taste-bud orgy...basil and balsamic vinegar.

3 Tbs. Balsamic vinegar 1 Tbs. extra virgin Olive oil 3 lbs. mixed organic heirloom Tomatoes, firm 3 Tbs. fresh organic Mint, chopped 3 Tbs. fresh organic Basil, chopped Salt and cracked black pepper Shredded rice or almond cheese (if you can eat dairy, use Asiago shavings)

In a small bowl, mix/whisk together oil and vinegar.

Rinse and core tomatoes, and slice 1/3" thick. Arrange on a platter in layers drizzling dressing over tomatoes and sprinkle mint, basil, salt, pepper and cheese evenly over each layer.

Cover and chill at least 30 minutes or up to 4 hours.

~ Cheers!

Low Fat, Tasty Black Bean Dip

This recipe is full of fiber, as well as antioxidants from the garlic and tomato paste. Recent research has shown that black beans provide special support for digestive tract health, and particularly our colon. The indigestible fraction (IF) in black beans has recently been shown to be larger than the IF in either lentils or chickpeas.

While some of the total carbohydrate content in black beans is lost along with the discarding of the soaking water, the amount of resistant starch remained unchanged. (Resistant starch is a type of carb that will typically make its way all the way down to the large intestine without being digested. Once it arrives in the large intestine, it can help support the growth of desirable bacteria in that area of the digestive tract.)

The seed coat of the black bean (the outermost part that we recognize as the bean's surface) is an outstanding source of three anthocyanin flavonoids: delphinidin, petunidin, and malvidin, as well as the super anti0xidant Quercetin.

Many public health organizations--including the American Diabetes Association, the American Heart Association, and the American Cancer Society--recommend legumes as a key food group for preventing disease and optimizing health. 3 cups of cooked beans per week is considered the minimal amount of recommended legume consumption.

Read more here.

Serve Dip toasted whole wheat pita bread triangles (toast them yourself in a toaster oven), or high fiber crackers. Also good with carrots and celery.

Tasty Black Bean Dip

• 2 c. cooked drained Black beans • 4 tsp. organic Tomato paste • 3 Tbs. Water or Green tea • 2 cloves Garlic, minced • 2 tsp. Lime juice • 1/2 tsp ground Cumin • 1/2 tsp Sea Salt (or to taste) • 1/8 tsp Cayenne pepper (to taste) • 2 organic Green Onions, chopped • 2 Tbs. organic mild Green chilies, chopped

Olive oil (optional)

Process all ingredients except green onions and chiles in a blender or food processor until smooth. Garnish with remaining green onions and chiles and place in a serving bowl.

I like to drizzle a little olive oil on mine.  A little Olive oil every day is recommended for breast cancer patients.

Makes 2 cups

~ Buen provecho!

A Delicious Fruit Salsa

I was looking for a tasty but out of the ordinary appetizer to serve at a function and stumbled on this recipe.  It was a big hit and fit with my diet beautifully so I want to share it with you. If you are not partial to spicy foods, omit the jalapeno.

This makes about 4 cups, and since it doesn't store very well, you may halve the recipe.

Spicy Strawberry Kiwi Peach Salsa

  • 2-1/2 ripe organic Peach - peeled, pitted, and diced
  • 2-1/2 organic Kiwi, peeled and diced
  • 10 fresh organic Strawberries, diced
  • 1 Jalapeno pepper, seeded and diced
  • 2 Tbs. and 1-1/2 tsp. Lime juice
  • 2-3 organic Green onions, chopped
  • 1/4 c. and 1 Tbs. chopped fresh organic Cilantro
  • 2-1/2 pinches Sea Salt

Combine the peach, kiwi, strawberries, jalapeno pepper, lime juice, green onion, cilantro, and salt in a bowl; gently stir to combine.

Very tasty on whole grain crackers or as a salsa with a mild fish, or roasted chicken.

~ Enjoy!