February 18, 2010
Hi Everyone! Miami and Key West are beautiful and the food is amazing; both cities have the most amazing Cuban restaurants, loaded with flavours and very simple.
Most Cuban cooking relies on a few basic spices, such as garlic, cumin, oregano, and bay laurel leaves. Many dishes use a sofrito as their basis. The sofrito consists of onion, green pepper, garlic, oregano, and ground pepper quick-fried in olive oil. The sofrito is what gives the food its flavor. It is used when cooking black beans, stews, and tomato-based sauces.
Below is a recipe is from one of my favorite vegan blogs, Fat Free Vegan.
No storms here in the sunny south but I may just need this recipe when I get home – lots of winter still left! Enjoy!
Stormy Black Bean Soup
Vary the amount of spices in this to suit your taste. I used the minimum amounts given, which put this right at the outer edge of my daughter’s spice tolerance.
1 large onion, chopped
3 cloves garlic, minced
1 green bell pepper, chopped
2 cans (or 3 cups) black beans, rinsed and drained
1 tbsp. oregano
1 tsp. cumin
2 bay leaves
1-2 tsp. chile powder
generous grating of black pepper
1-2 tsp. minced chipotle chiles in adobo sauce
2 15-ounce cans diced tomatoes
4-5 cups vegetable broth or water
1 cup fresh or frozen corn kernels (optional)
In a large pot, saute the onions, garlic, and bell pepper until the onions soften, about 3 minutes. Add the beans, seasonings, and tomatoes, and stir to combine. Add 3 cups vegetable broth or water. Reduce the heat to a simmer, and cook, uncovered, for about 1 hour, adding additional water or vegetable broth as needed to keep a soupy consistency. Just before serving, add the corn, if you like, and heat through. Serve in bowls with lime wedges. Makes 4-6 servings.
February 16, 2010
I am vacationing in “Key Lime Pie country” and thought I would share an amazing Vegan and Sugar-free version from one of my favourite cook books – Raw Food Made Easy. Once you try this amazing recipe you will be hooked on Raw Pies. Mark your calendar, June 19 2010, Simply Raw hosts a Healthy Lifestyles Festival in Ottawa http://www.simplyraw.ca/community/festival-2010/, including a Raw Pie contest with celebrity judges, don’t miss it
OK, back to the beach!
Healthy Key Lime Pie Recipe
recipe from: Raw Food Made Easy
1 1/2 cups unsweetened shredded dried coconut
3/4 cup macadamia nuts, unsoaked
3/4 cup walnuts, unsoaked
1/2 teaspoon sea salt
1/2 cup pitted medjool dates, unsoaked
3/4 cup chopped avocados (about 1 1/4 avocados)
2 tablespoons fresh lime juice
1/4 cup unpasteurized honey
Blueberries and freshly sliced kiwi fruit (optional garnish)
Combine coconut, macadamia nuts, walnuts, and sea salt in food processor and process until coarsely ground.
Add medjool dates and process until mixture looks like coarse crumbs and begins to stick together. Be sure not to process beyond this point.
Transfer coarse crumbs/crust into a 9″ pie plate. Use your fingers to gently distribute the crumbs in a uniform layer along the bottom and up the sides of the plate. Aim to build up the sides with about 3/4 of an inch of crumbs.
After the crumbs are evenly distributed, press the crust firmly against the bottom of the plate using your fingers. Be sure to press firmly near the junction between the bottom of the pan and the sides of the pan. Press firmly into the crust along the sides of the pan. Place completed crust in the freezer for 15-20 minutes.
Combine avocados, lime juice, and honey in a food processor and process until smooth. You may need to stop occasionally and scrape down the sides of the processor with a spatula or spoon.
Bringing it Together:
Use a spatula or spoon to spread filling over the bottom of the crust.
Peel kiwi, cut lengthwise, and slice into half-moons. Arrange kiwi slices around the outer edge of the pie – it looks especially nice when the slices are propped up at an angle.
Place blueberries (or any other berries like raspberries, strawberries, or blackberries) in front of kiwi slices.
Chill entire key lime pie for at least 2 hours before serving. This pie is best served chilled or slightly colder than room temperature.
Please note: This healthy key lime pie will keep in the refrigerator for about 2-3 days.
February 8, 2010
Welcome to Meat-Free Monday, below is a message from Paul McCartney who founded MFM in the UK. The website is loaded with great info and lots of recipes.
The US based Meatless Monday campaign also has a website full of helpful hints and recipes to get you on your way. Just in time for Valentine’s Day, there is a great quinao chili recipe posted today, with cocoa. In fact they have a whole day of recipes listed – makes it easy to go meatless!
From Sir Paul:
Ok, here’s the story on Meat Free Monday. In 2006, the United Nations issued a report which stated that the livestock industry as a whole was responsible for more greenhouse gas emissions than the whole of the transport sector put together.
I found this interesting particularly because people at the UN are not a vegetarian society and therefore, could not be accused of bias. They pointed out the following facts:
The Livestock industry produces gases that are extremely dangerous for the future of our environment.
The two main gases, methane and nitrous oxide, are considered to be more harmful than CO2 (methane is 21 times more powerful than CO2 and nitrous oxide is 310 times more powerful than CO2) so the data suggests that this is causing a highly dangerous situation for ourselves and, more importantly, for future generations.
Methane also remains in the atmosphere for 9 to 15 years; nitrous oxide remains in the atmosphere for 114 years, on average, and is 296 times more potent than CO2 – the gases released today will continue to be active in degrading the climate decades from now.
Livestock production is land intensive: a recent report by Greenpeace on land use in the largest meat producing state in Brazil found that livestock (cattle) production was responsible for vastly more deforestation than soya.
A third of all cereal crops, and well over 90% of soya, goes into animal feed, not food for humans. Eating less meat will free up a lot of agricultural land which can revert to growing trees and other vegetation, which, in turn, will absorb more carbon dioxide from the atmosphere.
Livestock production is water intensive: it accounts for around 8% of global human water use. The estimated 634 gallons of fresh water required to produce one 5.2 ounce (150g) beef burger would be enough for a four-hour shower. For comparison, the same quantity of tofu requires 143 gallons of water to produce.
Livestock production is the largest source of water pollutants, principally animal wastes, antibiotics, hormones, chemicals from tanneries, fertilizers and pesticides used for feed crops, and sediments from eroded pastures.
The meat industry is set to double its production by 2050 so even if they manage to lower emissions by 50%, as they have promised to, we will still be in the same position.
With this in mind, my family and I launched Meat Free Monday in the UK, an idea which has been gaining support from people like Tom Parker-Bowles who, after a lifetime of denigrating vegetarians, recently wrote in his Daily Mail column, “I wince at the memory of my boorish antics” and who pronounced himself “intrigued” by MFM: “There’s no doubting the plain common sense of the message…Meat Free Monday is something to really savour”. Another supporter is Al Gore who stated that initiatives like Meat Free Monday “represent a responsible and welcome component of a comprehensive strategy for reducing global warming pollution and simultaneously improving human health.”
Even a number of schools have already done this in the UK with great success. The town of Ghent in Belgium has a meat free day and, amazingly, Sao Paulo has one even though Brazil is a large exporter of meat. In Sweden, the government is now labeling food to give the consumer the opportunity to understand the dangers of indiscriminate food consumption and there are many more examples appearing online.
The point is that so many people these days are looking for ways to “do their bit” for the environment. We recycle – something we never would have dreamt of doing in the past. Many people now drive hybrid cars but most people understand that we cannot leave this important issue to the politicians of the world. Recently, at the Copenhagen Conference for Climate Change, this issue was not even on the agenda and so I believe it is once again left to us, the people, to do it ourselves.
It’s amazingly easy to take one day in your week, Monday or any other day, and not eat meat. When you think about it, there are so many great alternatives, for instance, in Italian cooking, so many of the dishes are vegetarian already and Thai and Chinese cuisine are the same. All it means is that you have to think a bit about what you’ll eat that day but, in actual fact, far from being a chore, it’s a fun challenge.
Having been a vegetarian for over 30 years, I find it very simple and in fact, tasty and most enjoyable.
So there it is! Next Monday – don’t eat meat and do your bit to save this beautiful planet of ours. For more information, ideas and lots of meat free recipes, go to the official Meat Free Monday website.
Rock on ya’ll!
February 7, 2010
Ellen has decided to give up refined sugar – see her video announcement – with her hosting duties on American Idol and taping her own show, Ellen says she needs all the energy she can get and eliminating sugar from her diet is sure to boost her stamina!
In honour of Ellen, I’ve started Sugar-Free Sunday, inspiration for sugar-free baking you can do on the weekend to get you smoothly through the week.
The first recipe is for Crumbly Lemon Blueberry Cupcake Muffins – from the Balanced Plate by Renee Loux.
I made these yesterday for a Yoga Teachers Evening hosted by my beautiful Yogini friend Sylvie. We ate most of these delicious morsels last night and this morning John and I polished off the few I brought home, yummy. I’ll make another batch this afternoon.
Crumbly Lemon Blueberry Cupcake Muffins – perfect with a cup of chai tea, sweetened with honey or agave nectar
makes 12 – 18 muffins
3/4 cup organic whole wheat flour
3/4 cup organic spelt flour
2 tsp baking powder
1/4 tsp Celtic sea salt
1/4 cup + 2 tbsp softened Omega Nutrition coconut butter or grapeseed oil
1/4 cup agave nectar
1/4 cup maple syrup
1/4 cup apple juice, almond milk, soy milk, or filtered water
2 tsp lemon zest (Donna’s note: I used the zest of 1 lemon)
2 tbsp lemon juice (Donna’s note: I used the juice of 1 lemon)
1 tsp vanilla extract
1/2 tsp apple cider vinegar
1 cup fresh blueberries, or thawed and drained organic frozen blueberries
1/4 cup nuts (pecans, walnuts or raw almonds)
3/4 cup spelt flour
1/4 tsp sea salt
1/4 tsp ground cinnamon
2 tbsp + 1-2 tsp softened Omega Nutrition coconut butter or grapeseed oil
1 tbsp agave nectar
1 tbsp maple syrup
1/2 tsp lemon zest (optional)
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F
Line muffin tins with unbleached paper baking cups or brush the pans with oil.
In a mixing bowl, whisk together the flours, baking powder and salt
In another bowl, beat together the coconut butter or grapeseed oil, agave, maple syrup, apple juice (or almond milk, soymilk, or filtered water), lemon zest, lemon juice, vanilla and vinegar.
Beat the dry ingredients into the wet ingredients and mix until just nice can smooth. This can be done by hand or with a mixer, but be careful not to overmix or your muffins will be tough.
Gently fold in the blueberries
Fill the muffin cups about half full with batter.
Now make the streusel topping: in a food processor, grind the nuts into a fine meal. Add the flour, salt, and cinnamon and chop until well mixed. Add the coconut butter or oil, agave, maple syrup, and lemon zest (if desired) and chop in pulses just until mixed and crumbly. The texture should be like pebbles and sand. If it is too moist, add a bit of flour. If it is too dry, add a touch more oil.
Sprinkle the streusel topping evenly over the muffins.
Bake until golden, 20-25 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted in the center of a muffin comes out clean. Let cool before serving.
I suggest you make a double batch and freeze some of these delicious muffins so they will last through the week!
Another recipe for The Balance Plate that I make quite often is for Frozen Chocolate Coconut Haystacks - very easy to make and sugar-free! I use raw cacao powder for an added hit of anti-oxidants and the most yummy chocolate flavour. You can get raw cacao powder at any health food store.
Ellen we’re behind you! Be strong.
Hey anyone want to join Ellen on her sugar-free journey?
Anyone have a Sugar-Free Sunday recipe to share? I’d love to add it to our recipe list