Tuesday, April 17, 2012

Homemade sushi heaven! (with healthy grain, quinoa)

Now I can make my own sushi rolls, and eat them, too!  (eat them with better piece of mind, that is!)   These are rolls made with quinoa, (a really healthy grain) instead of rice!  It's a wonderful recipe I found on the very rockin' blog called My New Roots.

The quinoa seeds are treated as a grain- meaning you can steam/cook them like rice or oats.  The plant itself is related to spinach, beets, and swiss chard.  The grain-seeds have all 9 amino acids in their composition, making quinoa a complete protein, as well!  Quinoa also is rich in magnesium, and is said to help reduce occurrence of migraine headaches for this reason.  Also, quinoa has a glycemic index in the 50s, whereas rice can have a glycemic index in the 50s up past 100.

We made California rolls from rice and quinoa.   We used avocado, celery, imitation crab, arugula, spinach, and radishes for filling.  We made our pickled ginger from scratch (see the recipe link) and stirred up wasabi from the powder found in the Asian section of the grocery store.

We watched several videos on YouTube for tutorials on rolling the sushi rolls, before we started.  It really isn't that difficult.  One tip I came away with is to completely encase your sushi mat in plastic wrap, especially if you are rolling with the rice on the outside.  There is no sticking this way, and your mat stays clean. (dried,  sticky rice is no fun to wedge out of a sushi mat!)

Please go over to Sara Britton's  amazing My New Roots Blog for the fabulous DIY quinoa sushi recipe, complete with pickled ginger:

Saturday, March 17, 2012

A Natural Green for St. Patrick's Day

We started off our morning with our usual smoothie- but made a special green version in honor of St. Patrick's Day.  It's a lime-coconut smoothie!  Yummy yum!

By the way...the green is a natural coloring- can you guess from which food?  More later on that.

Anyway, today's smoothie was inspired by the book, Peas and Thank You: Simple Meatless Meals the Whole Family Will Love, by Sarah Matheny.  My smoothie is very loosely based on Sarah's.  We both have fresh lime juice in our smoothies, and we both share the secret ingredient that makes that natural green, but then our recipes rapidly depart from each other.  I adjusted my ingredients to pack in more anti-inflammatory healthy foods, per Andrew Weil's anti-inflammatory diet.

Have you guessed what makes the natural green yet???  Hint: it's very healthy for you...and Popeye would be pleased......

Here is our St Patrick's Day smoothie recipe:

St. Patrick's Day Smoothie

1/2 pound silken tofu (1/2 of a standard carton)
1/3 cup lime juice (about 3 fresh-squeezed limes)
1 banana
1 ripe pear
ready for the secret ingredient???
1 big handful of fresh spinach leaves
1/4 tsp coconut extract (real coconut milk would be good)
1/2 to 1 cup+ almond milk (I eyeballed it)
a small handful of ice
a really good blender, or food processor, to mix it all together.

Whirl all ingredients together except for the ice- add the ice at the end when all ingredients are incorporated.  Add sweetener if you need to cut the tartness of the lime. (my fruit was ripe enough today that I didn't need any sweetener)

You'll be strong to the finish, 'cause you ate your spinach!
Serve up and enjoy!  Salud!!!

I wold recommend Peas and Thank You for some great healthy ideas for meals and snacks ...

Monday, August 8, 2011

nearly flourless oat-quinoa-blueberry muffins

Isn't that a great color?  Good for you, too!  I adapted this recipe from the book, Baking With Agave Nectar, by Ania Catalano.  I used quinoa grain instead of quinoa flour, and substituted cooked steel cut oats for the cornmeal.  I needed about 1/2 cup of all-purpose flour to hold the batter together in the end.  Here is my recipe:

nearly flourless oat-quinoa-blueberry muffins

 preheat oven to 350 F.
1/2 cup steel cut oats
2 1/2 c water
1 c quinoa (whole grains)
1 egg
1/4 c olive oil (extra virgin gives the best amino fatty acid amounts)
1/3 c "light" agave syrup
1 tsp vanilla
1 tsp cinmnamon
1 tsp grated orange peel
3 tsp baking powder
1/2 c all-purpose flour
2-3 handfuls fresh blueberries

Cook oats in the 2 1/2 cups of water, stirring occasionally, for about 20 minutes, or until the oats have cooked through and have absorbed the liquid, more or less. (if the oat grains are still too chewy/crunchy for your taste. add a little more water and cook a few minutes longer)  Allow to cool.

Combine oats, quinoa, agave syrup, egg, vanilla, cinnamon, orange peel, vanilla, and baking powder, and give a good stir to combine.  Then add as much flour (I used about 1/2 cup) to hold together a sticky soft dough.  Add blueberries.

Pour mixture into muffin cups in a muffin tin (about 12 muffins) Bake 25-30 minutes till golden brown and toothpick inserted comes out clean.  Cool and enjoy!

What would I do differently next time?
~I would add the baking powder just before adding the flour- I added it to the warm oats, and the baking powder sprang to life with the heat.  I would have rather sprang it to life as I was pouring into the muffin cups, and perhaps they would have turned out fluffier.

~I might cook the quinoa with the oats.  The grains were crunchy, which isnt such a bad thing.

~I'd hide more goodies in there!  Flax seed meal and sesame seeds would have been a nice, nutritious addition!

What anti-inflammatory properties was I thinking?
~Using as little flour as possible to keep glycemic index low.

~Using steel cut oats to also keep glycemic index low (as opposed to rolled or instant oats)  Same for using agave syrup instead of regular sugar.

~Using quinoa as a supplimental nutritious grain

~using extra virgin olive oil for essential fatty acid content,

~blueberries for antioxidant and vitamin content and supper yummy taste

Saturday, June 11, 2011

steel cut oats

It's a power breakfast!
Along with some fresh berries, it keeps my daughter fueled through her 3-hour gymnastics workout.  

The key to oats as energy food is the way they are cut.  "Steel cut", or "pin oats" are whole oat groats, chopped into pieces.  Converely, "rolled oats" are steamed and rolled a few times, then toasted, and end up looking like the little shavings we are accustomed to.

Steel cut oats take a a much longer time to digest than rolled oats do, because they are less processed, and therefore have thicker "walls" for digestive juices to penetrate.  They don't digest quickly and dump a lot of carb-sugars into the bloodstream at once, but rather, release their energy over a much longer time.  Steel cut oats have a much lower glycemic index because of this reason, and are a good grain for an anti-inflammatory diet.

We found steel cut oats at our local health food store.  A little bit goes a long way!  Be prepared to cook them much longer than rolled oats!  Here is the recipe we have worked out for basic steel cut oat oatmeal:

1/2 cup steel cut oats
2 1/2 cups water

Place the water and oats in a sauce pan, and gently bring to a boil.  When boil has been achieved, put a cover on the pan, and turn the heat down to a simmer.  Cook covered for about 25 minutes, stirring every few minutes or so.  The oats may still be slightly chewy at this point, but in a very enjoyable way.  Add sweetener (we use agave syrup) cinnamon, etc, and a little of your favorite white beverage (be it milk, soy milk, almond milk, etc)

makes 2 small-medium-sized bowls, or one fairly big bowl of oatmeal

Monday, May 30, 2011

berry soy-bet

What a beautiful way to get your soy, don't you think?  Just look at that lovely color!  The color, I am proud to say, is 100% natural- from the raspberries and strawberries blended into the tofu and small dabble of plain Greek yogurt.  You can make this "soy-bet") from any berries, but this is how I made this today:

Berry Soy-bet

Approximately 12-16 ounces of fresh berries (2 small 6 0z containers raspberries plus 5- strawberries  is what I used today)

1/2-pound silken tofu (1/2 of a standard container)

3 oz plain Greek yogurt (1/2 of a single-serve container)  *I imagine this ingredient could be optional*

1/2 cup sugar

Place all ingredients in a blender and whirl it till it is a uniform, smooth texture. 

Place the mixture into a sealable kitchen storage container, and place it in the freezer for about 2 hours.  While freezing, take the container out every 15 minutes and give it a quick shake.  When 2 hours pass, take the container out, open the lid, and fluff the soy-bet with a fork, and serve immediately. 

I imagine using an ice cream maker of some design would work beautifully with this recipe, too.

This yummy dessert contains isoflavones from the soy, which act as antioxidants.  The berries are rich in flavonoids and carotenoids, which are also anti-oxidant and anti-inflammatory in action, not to mention having great vitamin content!

Sunday, May 22, 2011

soy-ful tzatziki

Every day, I try to gather the kids around to eat some raw veggies and nutritious dips. If we make it about the same time each day (like near lunchtime or mid-afternoon, for instance) it becomes a habit, and we are more consistent.

Here is one of our dips- a tzatziki sauce, which is Greek in origin.  I substitute whole soy for most of the dairy, and add some healthy nut oil.

soy-ful tzatziki
one cucumber, sliced lengthwise, seeds removed with a spoon, cut in rough pieces
juice of 1/2 to one whole lemon
a teaspoon to tablespoon of rough chopped mint
1-2 cloves garlic
1 block of firm tofu
about 1 tablespoonful healthy nut oil (walnut oil is my favorite)
salt and pepper to taste
optional: 3 ounces (more or less) plain greek or regular yogurt

Combine ingredients in a food processor or blender. Refrigerate between uses.  Dip and enjoy!

The yogurt gives the tzatziki the creaminess expected from the dip.  We may wean off the yogurt entirely as we get used to the soy taste, but for now, we will be adding just a bit to our dip- about 3 ounces.  If you use regular yogurt, strain it through a paper towel or coffee filter for a few hours to drip off the extra water.

The soy is usd to get those good isoflavones (anti-oxidant) and protein.  The nut oil has omega-3 fats and is also a good antioxidant boost.  Pair it up with a mixture of multi-colored veggies, and you're good to go!