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Tuesday, July 28, 2015

Yam Falafel

Falafel is a traditional Middle Eastern food, commonly served in a pita, which acts as a pocket, or wrapped in a flatbread known as lafa; "falafel" also frequently refers to a wrapped sandwich that is prepared in this way. Chickpeas provide the most bio-available protein of the plant world, and are the "Prime Rib" of a plant based diet! Here is a new twist on traditional falafel that I hope you really enjoy!


*Use organic ingredients if possible!


Yam Falafel balls


Ingredients

  • 5 medium cloves garlic, chopped
  • 2 cups stemmed, chopped kale
  • 1/4 cup flat Italian parsley leaves
  • 1 15 ounce can of chickpeas, (also known as garbanzo beans), drained
  • 1 cup cooked yam (sweet potato)
  • 3/4 cup cooked quinoa
  • 2 teaspoons ground cumin
  • 2 teaspoons lemon juice
  • 1 tablespoon tahini
  • 1/2 teaspoon finely ground himalayan or sea salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon black pepper
  • Vegetable cooking spray

Instructions

  1. Add the garlic, kale and parsley to the food processor and process for 30 seconds to 1 minute until the greens are finely chopped.
  2. Add the chickpeas and process again until the beans are crumbled but not yet turned into paste. Remove half the contents of the process and put into a medium sized bowl.
  3. Add the remaining ingredients to the processor except for cooking spray. Process for 1 minute, until all the ingredients become incorporated but not too pasty
  4. Add the processed mixture to the mixture in the bowl. Using a spatula, stir well to combine. Let sit for 5 to 10 minutes for the flavors to blend.
  5. Heat an oven to 400 degrees F.
  6. Put parchment on a rimmed baking sheet. Spray with cooking spray.
  7. Make balls the size of ping pong balls and place on baking sheet. Spray the tops with cooking spray.
  8. Bake for 10 minutes on one side. Flip the balls over and bake another 10 minutes. When time is up, let the balls sit for 5 minutes to cool before serving them.
  9. Serve on corn tortillas (pictured), or wrap in lettuce leaves, with a tahini-garlic sauce on the side.
Number of servings (yield): 4 portions of 5 falafel balls each

Yogurt Tahini Sauce

Ingredients

  • 1/2 cup Soy yogurt
  • 1 tablespoon lemon juice
  • 1 tablespoon tahini
  • 2 tablespoons thinly sliced red onion
  • 1 small clove garlic, minced
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/8 teaspoon pepper

Instructions

  1. Combine all ingredients in a small bowl.  Add a little water to thin, if desired. Whisk until smooth, drizzle on falafel balls or serve on side for dipping.

Saturday, April 18, 2015

Protect Against, and Fight Cancer! With a God-given Rainbow not Chemicals and Pharmaceuticals!

It’s fair to say that cancer is a true health crisis today, but not one that we are powerless to. It was once thought diet had no correlation on cancer, but we know that’s far from the truth. Over the last decade, we've seen limitless research backing a plant-based diet as a means to fight cancer. From doctors such as Dr. T Colin Campbell,to Dr. Neal Barnard, to Dr. Joel Fuhrman, Dr. McDougall,and more, medical powerhouses now firmly state that animal foods cause cancer and plant-based food prevent it.
That’s an incredibly powerful statement when you stand back and look at it; especially since we live in a society that prioritizes animal food production over almost anything else.  Considering the food guide pyramid was largely funded by the dairy industry and our entire agriculture system today runs largely on the production of animals for the American diet.
There’s no coincidence that the rise of cancer the last 25 years has grown with the massive growth of the animal food production industry. Perhaps it’s easy to live in disbelief for a short time, but a culture made up of McDonald’s, fast food pizza joints, ice cream shops, and even diets that promote animal products for the use of weight loss, is sure to get an awakening at some point or another.


Eating the Rainbow for Cancer Prevention and Protection

The war against cancer, however, is never black and white. But a diet rich in colorful fruits and vegetables may just be one of the best ways to treat cancer of all. Plants contain pigments that give them their colorful hue, which indicates their antioxidant content. Antioxidants  boosts immunity and fights off disease (such as cancer.) Many of them also contain a large amount of special nutrients or specific antioxidants that have directly been linked to cancer prevention.

Why Animal Foods Are Not a Health Food for Cancer Prevention

The Physician’s Committee for Responsible Medicine (a medical powerhouse documenting case studies for a plant-based diet against cancer and diabetes) shares that certain foods contain certain colors that come with special cancer-fighting benefits. They also share that drinking just two glasses of milk a day  increased cancer risks to 60 percent, and eating 35 grams of dairy protein increased cancer risks by up to 32 percent! Meat consumption was linked to a 28 percent increase, and the average Western diet (rich in processed and fast foods) increased risks by 200 percent!
Many factors can lead to cancer cell formation, however we can’t ignore studies that show high-fat, low-fiber foods such as animal products, boosts specific hormones that promote the growth of cancer cells, along with alter normal cells, which can lead to cancer cell growth. The Physician’s Committee for Responsible Medicine also advises women to reduce or eliminate their intake of meat, dairy, fried foods, and vegetable oils, due to the way these foods cause women’s bodies to create more estrogen, which increases growth hormone that leads to higher breast cancer risks, along with other cancers sensitive to female hormones.


How to Incorporate the Rainbow Into Your Cancer Fighting Meals:

Start by replacing your processed or animal-based meals with foods from each color segment below and check out their benefits on their ability to fight cancer.

Green: 

Fruits and vegetables such as cabbage, broccoli, kale, turnips, cauliflower, asparagus, collards, mustard greens, green apples, fresh herbs, zucchini, turnip greens, spinach, and Brussels sprouts contain either antioxidants known as flavones and/or indoles which have been directly linked to the prevention against cancer. They also contain high amounts of chlorophyll that prevents acidity in the body. Soybeans, green peas, and green beans are also high in antioxidants that support immune health even further.

Yellow/Orange:

Fruits and vegetables such as pumpkin, squash, peaches, yellow and orange bell peppers, lemons, cantaloupe, sweet potatoes, grapefruit, papaya, and apricots all contain especially high levels of Vitamin C for immune health, along with beta-carotene, a nutrient derived from the carotenoids found in these plants that give them their colorful hue. Studies have shown that women who eat carotenoid-rich vegetables reduce their breast cancer risk by up to 19 percent!

Red/Orange:

Fruits like watermelon, tomatoes, red peppers, papaya, grapefruit, and guava, all contain lycopene that also reduces the risks for prostate cancer and heart disease. Lycopene has also been shown tolower high cholesterol that can lead to increased fat cells that stimulate cancer cell growth.

Red/Blue/Purple:

Blue and purple foods like berries, figs, beets, pomegranates, grapes, raisins, and plums, all contain high levels of antioxidants known as anthocyanins or polyphenols that protect the heart and prevent heart disease. Their intake has also been linked to the prevention of certain types of cancers, according to The American Cancer Society.

White/Tan/Brown:

If you think white vegetables don’t count, think again! They are rich in antioxidants known as phytochemicals like allicin (garlic and onions), beans and legumes (that contain fiber to reduce cholesterol and obesity), quercetin (onions and apples), selenium (mushrooms), Vitamin C (onions, apples, and parsnips), and a variety of vitamins and minerals that support the immune system (banana flesh, white nectarines, white peaches, cauliflower, artichokes, and potatoes.) Selenium was found to be one of the most prominent minerals for mens’ prostate health while garlic and onions remain as two of the top foods to boost the immune system and fight cancer cell growth.
There are so many ways to add fruits and vegetables to your diet. Here are a few great suggestions:
  • Make a delicious superfood salad brimming with anti-cancer foods like broccoli and kale. Top it with some edamame hummus for an extra cancer-fighting punch!
  • Blend up a delicious smoothie in the morning filled with some greens, berries, and a green apple. 
  • Add some fruits and vegetables into your next batch of muffins; they’ll add flavor, fiber, and antioxidants to protect your body.
  • Keep raw fruits and veggies on hand at all times for snacking and be sure to pair them with some heart-healthy dip like a no salt added salsa or some oil free hummus.
  • Make a homemade pizza with artichokes, olives, tomato sauce, basil, oregano, and a hearty dose of mushrooms in place of meat.
  • Add some garlic and onions to your next dinner entree. 

Monday, March 9, 2015

Vegan, Gluten Free Lemon Meringue Pie

This recipe was found at TheGentleChef.com. It is vegan-chef developed and is amazing! Try it with my gluten free, vegan pie crust recipe here:gluten-free-vegan-pie-crust)

photo from The Gentle Chef


Chef's notes: Tangy and refreshing lemon curd is poured into a prebaked pie crust and then chilled until set. The pie is then topped with billowy clouds of eggless meringue and lightly baked to perfection.
About the meringue: The recipe and technique for the eggless meringue is an adaptation of a recipe posted by Goose Wohlt in a vegan cooking group on Facebook. However, I do know that other chefs have been experimenting with chickpea liquid to create a whipped “egg white” texture prior to Goose’s discovery. Regardless of the originator, the idea is brilliant and I offer my heartfelt gratitude. For the meringue you will need a stand mixer with a balloon whip attachment or a handheld electric rotary mixer with a whip attachment or 2 beaters.
Note: As a pie meringue, I feel this recipe is superior to meringue made with Versawhip 600K and far superior to egg replacer powder; however, Versawhip 600K is still my ingredient of choice for preparing marshmallows and crispy meringue cookies (because it is a pure protein rather than a starch).

Pie Crust
• 1 nine-inch non-dairy and egg-free pie crust

Pie Filling Ingredients
• 1 carton (12.3 oz.) Mori-Nu™ extra-firm silken tofu, or similar
• 1 and ¼ cup organic sugar
• 1 cup water
• ¾ cup fresh lemon juice
• 5 T cornstarch or unmodified potato starch
• 1 T fresh grated lemon zest
• ¼ tsp fine sea salt

Meringue Ingredients
• ½ cup plus 2 T organic sugar
• 1 can (15 oz.) cooked white beans (Great Northern, cannellini or white navy) or garbanzo beans (chickpeas), preferably salt-free*
• ½ tsp guar gum, xanthan gum or sodium alginate
(food gum stabilizes the meringue and discourages deflation when baked)
• 1 tsp real vanilla extract
*In my opinion, Great Northern beans possess the mildest flavor which is ideal for this recipe.

Technique
In a DRY blender process the meringue sugar (1 cup plus 2 tablespoons) until finely powdered. Set the powdered sugar aside in a small bowl. This will be used for preparing the meringue and is not added to the pie filling mixture.
Preheat the oven to 375°F. Bake the pie crust for 12 to 15 minutes or until lightly browned around the edges. Remove and set aside to cool.
In the same blender, process the pie filling ingredients until smooth. Pour the blender contents into a large saucepan and cook over medium heat, stirring frequently with a flexible spatula. The mixture will be foamy and milky in appearance. Stir constantly as the mixture begins to thicken. Keep stirring until the mixture begins to bubble and the milky and foamy appearance transforms into a thick and gelatinous lemon curd.
Pour the filling into the pie crust, smooth the top gently with a rubber/silicone spatula or the back of a spoon and place in the refrigerator uncovered for a minimum of 2 hours until the top of the pie is firmly set.
After the pie has chilled for a minimum of 2 hours, preheat the oven to 200°F while preparing the meringue.
Preparing the Meringue
Strain the liquid from the can of beans into a large mixing bowl or the bowl of a stand mixer. Sprinkle in the food gum and begin whipping on high speed for 3 minutes.
Gradually begin to incorporate the powdered sugar, in increments, while whipping. Continue to whip the mixture until soft peaks begin to form. Add the vanilla and continue to whip the mixture until it is voluminous and stiff peaks begin to form.
photo from The Gentle Chef

Spoon and spread the meringue onto the surface of the pie, avoiding the edges by ½-inch. Create soft peaks in the meringue using the back of a spoon. Bake in the oven for 30 minutes. To lightly brown the meringue, set the oven on “Broil” and position the pie on an oven rack close to the flame source. Keep the oven door open while doing this and watch the meringue carefully – it will brown quickly and can burn easily. Rotate the pie as needed until the peaks are evenly browned.
Remove to cool for about 5 minutes and then place the pie in the refrigerator to chill thoroughly for several hours until completely set before serving. Keep the pie refrigerated but do not cover or the meringue will turn into a gooey liquid.
For Mini Lemon Meringue Tarts 
Prepare the pie filling according to the recipe. Fill individual frozen mini fillo cups with the filling and refrigerate as recommended. Then top with a small dollop of meringue and bake according to the directions. Refrigerate until chilled and serve.

http://thegentlechef.com/blog/?p=1557

Perfect Gluten Free, Vegan Pie Crust That Can Be Rolled Out!

This recipe works. I adapted it from Cassidy and is one of my 'go-tos' for any pie! This almost tastes too good to be gluten free and vegan, your guests will never even know ;)

Here it is in my Vegan Meringue Pie (recipe here:vegan-gluten-free-lemon-meringue-pie




Ingredients

1 C blanched almond flour
2 Tbsp. Coconut Flour
1/2 C arrowroot
2 Tbsp. whole psyllium husks
1/4 tsp salt
1 Tbsp agave
4 Tbsp Earth Balance butter (vegan) or Coconut Oil
1 flax egg (2 Tbsp flax + 3 Tbsp water)
1/2 tsp. vanilla
Cold Water As Needed
Additional Arrowroot As Needed

Instructions

1. Combine the almond flour, arrowroot, salt, coconut flour and psyllium husks in a food processor. Give it a few pulses until it's one lovely flour. You can also combine in a bowl with a whisk.

2. Cut the butter into small cubes. Add it to the food processor and pulse until the flour resembles sand with small balls in it. If doing by hand, use a fork to completely cut the 'butter' into the flour.

3. Add in the flaxegg and vanilla. Pulse until combined and forms a ball. Your dough should have the consistency of Play-Dough. You can add 1 Tbsp. of ice cold water if it's too dry, or 1 Tbsp. of arrowroot if it's too wet until it reaches the desired consistency.

4. Form dough into a disk and wrap with plastic wrap. Let rest in refrigerator for at least 1 hour (or until crust is firm and can be rolled out) or up to 2 days. If you don't allow it to firm up in fridge that's fine, just continue to step 5 as it will not be able to be rolled out. ***Update To roll out dough***: Make sure it has rested in fridge long enough (I usually allow to rest overnight) for dough to firm up, shape into a circle and place onto a piece of parchment paper. Roll with a rolling pin, reshaping as you roll. Invert onto greased and floured pie pan. Patch up any cracks and apply any decorative effects!!! 

5. Grease and sprinkle a pie pan with coconut or arrowroot flour. Then, place the dough and press into the bottom of the pie pan until covered.
Crinkle the edges

6. Place in the freezer while you make the filling. Bake as directed but watch the crust carefully as almond flour burns easily. You may need to cover the crust with a crust protector or a ring made of foil after 10 to 15 minutes of baking.


Recipe adapted from Cassidy's Craveable Creations at http://cassidyscraveablecreations.com/2011/02/how-to-make-perfect-gluten-free-pie.htm

Tuesday, February 10, 2015

Cauliflower Tortilla!


Ingredients
  • 1 med head cauliflower (2 cups when processed)
  • 2 flax 'eggs'
  • 1/2 teaspoon chili powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon paprika
  • 1/8 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1/8 teaspoon onion powder
  • 1/8 teaspoon oregano
  • 1/8 teaspoon cumin
  • 2 tablespoons parsley
  • pinch of salt and pepper
Instructions
  1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees F.
  2. Combine 2 Tbsp ground flaxseed + 6 Tbsp warm water and set aside to gel.
  3. Cut cauliflower in small pieces and put in a food processor or blender.
  4. Process until very fine.
  5. Put in a microwave bowl and microwave on high for 2 minutes.
  6. Stir and microwave again for 2 minutes.
  7. Let cool until you can handle it.
  8. Place in a towel or cheese cloth and squeeze all the water out. (make sure you get all of it out)
  9. Place back in bowl and add the flax eggs and all spices.
  10. Mix well.
  11. Line a cookie sheet with parchment paper.
  12. Make 6 small tortillas on the paper.
  13. Bake for 10 minutes, turn and bake for 6 more minutes.
  14. Let cool.
  15. You can brown them in a dry frying pan if desired.
  16. Fill with your favorite toppings.
Notes
Use a small cookie scoop to get 6 even tortillas. Use the back of a tablespoon to spread them out on the parchment paper.