Sunday, April 13, 2008

Banana Nice Cream

I have been reading around on some raw and whole food foodie blogs about the miracles of frozen banana ice cream.  Apparently bananas have some sort of bizarro-land properties to them that make them turn into the texture of soft serve if you prep them right.  I didn't believe it.  Then I did it for myself. Holy crap, it really does.

The trick is to cut your banana into chunks, and freeze them ahead of time.  In the food processor, blend the frozen chunks for about 3 minutes.  You will need to open the top and scrape down the edges every 30 seconds or so.  At first. the chunks will knock around, then it becomes a powder almost; when it starts to melt is when the magic happens and the substance comes together. It really is like soft serve.

The first time I made this, I did 2 bananas, and covered the top with a tablespoon of almond butter (about 300 cals), but the almond flavor was lost in the pure banana goodness.

Tonight, I did 1 banana, and after I went through the process and it was in ice cream form, I added 2/3 cup of frozen pineapple, and 2 oz. of frozen plain non-fat Greek yogurt and blended for a bit longer.  I think I have died and gone to heaven.  Over the top I spooned on 1.5 tablespoons of coconut butter, which hardened up on the cold surface, so it was like having Magic Shell

Calories on this bowl of fun were 341.

Other combination I have tried : frozen star fruit & strawberries (add additional fruit after banana is already in the "powder" form) which only came out so-so - to much extra fruit.  Frozen black cherries; frozen strawberries.

Gratuitous food-porn closeup shot:

Wednesday, March 19, 2008

Roasted Salsa

Salsa is a pretty simple affair, but I made a pretty good batch the other day, so figured this would be a good time to report it.

4 jalapenos
8 plum tomatoes
2 Anaheim chilies
1 large red onion, rough chopped
5 cloves garlic, peeled
1/4c. lime juice (about 4 small limes)
2 tsp. cumin
1 bunch cilantro, finely chopped
salt and pepper to taste

Place jalapenos, tomatoes and chilies on a cookie sheet.  Roast in the oven under a high broil turning once until blackened and blistered on all sides.  Allow to cool.  Remove skins taking care with the jalapeno to avoid getting spice on your hands.

In a food processor, take turns chopping onion and garlic to a fine chop; chilies jalapenos and tomatoes to a chunky consistency.  Add all remaining ingredients together and toss. Season to taste.

Yields 4.5 cups / 65 calories per cup.

Spinach Tortillas

I can't believe I made my own tortillas, but I did it!  This is another great recipe from VeggieWiz, and I changed very little; I also tweaked the directions slightly to reflect my personal experience with the dish.  

Spinach Tortillas
1/2 cup corn flour (found in health food store, NOT corn meal)
1/2 cup whole wheat flour
1/2 tsp salt
1/4 tsp baking soda
4 cup spinach, boiled and drained, reserve the liquids

Puree the boiled spinach in a blender; you will need about 3/4 cups puree.
Mix the corn flour, wheat flour, salt and baking soda together. Knead into a dough by slowly adding the spinach puree. Add the reserved liquids if needed. The dough should be soft but not sticky. Cover the dough with plastic wrap and set aside for 30 minutes. 

Divide the dough into 6 balls and pat each ball into a thin roundish tortilla using the corn flour to help with sticking.  Make as thin as you can.

Heat a griddle or skillet over high heat (do not use oil). Gently place a tortilla on the hot pan, and cook for 40-50 seconds on each side; longer if your tortillas are a little thick. You should see little bubbles forming, and it should get lightly toasted.   Eat them fresh; for leftover5s, wrap in aluminum foil and refrigerate,

Cardo y berza con garbanzos

When this recipe came through my reader, it was called Espinacas con garbanzos (Spinach and Chickpeas); Since I had a whole plan for a meal (see my recipes for Roasted Salsa and Spinach Tortillas) that already involved spinach, and I had a bunch of collard greens (berza) that were getting wilted and a fresh bunch of chard (cardo) come in my organic delivery, I decided to do some substituting, which at this point is less a decision and more a force of habit :)  From the original blog post, apparently this is a Spanish comfort food; I'd never heard of it (being about as whitey McWhite White as they come...) but I am so happy I it gave it a try!

Cardo y berza con garbanzos
6g coconut oil
1 medium red onion, chopped
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 tsp of cumin
3/4 cup all natural tomato sauce
1 bunch collard greens, stems removed and chopped
1 bunch chard, any variety, stems removed and chopped
1 15 oz can chickpeas, drained and rinsed
juice of 1 lemon
few dashes of Tabasco, to taste
salt, pepper

In a large, deep, sauce pan with fitting lid, sautee onion and garlic in the coconut oil, until just translucent.  Add cumin and saute until fragrant. Add chard, collards, chickpeas, and  tomato sauce; cover and let greens wilt.  Add some water, and continue to saute, covered, checking frequently for doneness.  When greens are tender, saute uncovered until liquids have all but evaporated.  Season with salt, pepper, and lemon juice over the top before serving.

Yields 5 cups, 140 calories per cup

Monday, March 10, 2008

Mango Ahi Ceviche with Black Bean Plantain Fritters

Mango Ahi Ceviche
1.5 lbs of sushi grade Ahi Tuna, cut into chunks
1 bunch green onions, sliced thin (whites only)
1/2 medium red onion, finely diced
1 tbs fresh ginger root, minced
2 serrano chilis, roasted, de-seeded, skin peeled, and minced
3 small tomatoes, roasted, skin peeled, and chopped
1 tsp soy sauce
4 limes, juiced
2 lemons, juiced
1/2 bunch of cilantro, leaves only, minced
2 tsp salt
1 packet sweetner
1 fresh mango, peeled and cubed same size as the tuna
1 fresh avocado, peeled and cubed same size as the tuna

Place everything in a bowl EXCEPT the mango and avocado. Mix well. Cover and let marinate in the fridge for 3 - 4  hours.   Add mango and avocado just before serving and mix again.

1058 calories for the whole batch.  0.66 calories per gram (pictured: 2/3 cup serving at 101 calories)

Black Bean Plantain Fritters
1 can black beans, drained and rinsed well
1 plantain, peeled, cut into chunks
1 jalapeno
3 cloves of garlic, peeled
3 egg whites (or 1/3 c. of egg whites)
1 tbsp cumin
1 tsp salt

Preheat oven to 375.  Spray a cookie sheet with non-stick spray. Cut plantain into chunks and boil for 20 minutes, or until softened.  Blend everything in your food processor until all chunks are broken down, and a relatively smooth paste is formed.  Form pattied on the cookie sheet by plopping down a large spoonful of the mixture, and spreading out slightly so each patty is no more then 1/2 an inch thick.  Bake for 10 minutes, flip over, and back an additional 10-15 minutes.  Dollop the top with non-fat Greek yogurt.

This whole batch is 782 calories.  1.18 calories per gram (pictured is two 3-inch patties at 142 calories )

Sunday, March 9, 2008

Shepard's Harvest Pie

In my PlanetOrganics delivery this week I ordered some ground beef from the fabulous Eel River Ranch .

I am still sitting here stunned by how good my crazy concoction came out.  I took the typical Shepard's Pie, reduced the fat, and the starchy carbs, and added loads of veggies (hence the 'harvest' part).

Let me say I have never made Shepard's pie before, nor have I ever eaten it.  In fact, the closest I have come to a Shepard's Pie in the past was an episode of Kitchen Nightmare's where the Pie was, "just a big ball of grease" and then Chef Ramsey vomited...  DRAMA QUEEN.

After eating my version, I really don't know that a traditional version could be better.  My mouth and tummy are so happy right now, I am bouncing in delight.  This can also really easily be changed to a vegetarian version, just by substituting tofu and/or mushrooms for the beef, or made even lower cal by using ground turkey or chicken.

Shepard's Harvest Pie
2 cups winter squash, peeled, de-seeded, and cubed
5 small cloves garlic
2 TBS broth
1 tsp each: salt, white pepper, paprika, horseradish
1 c. corn kernals
6 oz n/f greek yogurt
1TBS coconut butter, warmed
1/2 oz shaved parmesean

1c. onion, chopped
1/2 TBS coconut oil
1lb ground beef 90/10
2 TBS wheat flour
1 TBS tomato paste
1 c. veggie broth, plus water as needed
1 tsp each: salt, thyme, marjotam, paprika, parsley
2 c. baby brocoli, chopped
1 bunch Chard, chopped

preheat oven to 350

For the topping: Put squash, garlic, broth and seasonings in a microwave safe dish and microwave for 10 minutes, or until cooked and softened.  Meanwhile, saute your corn kernels until they are slightly browned.  Add corn, squash mixture, yogurt, and coconut butter to a large mixing bowl and use hand blender to puree (or use a Cuisinart or blender).  Set aside.

For the filling: saute onion in coconut oil.  When slightly caramelized, add beef. Cook until browned. Add flour, tomato paste, broth and seasoning.  Boil until broth is a gravy consistency.  Add broccoli and chard.  Cover and let simmer until chard is wilted.  Adjust seasoning as needed. Uncover and let simmer until much of the liquid has evaporated.

Add filling mixture to the bottom of an oven safe casserole dish. Top with the squash mixture and carefully spread, completely covering the beef.  Bake for 20 mins.  Switch to broiler, and broil for 5 mins, or until browning starts.  Cover with the shaved Parmesan and broil a few moments longer until cheese starts to brown.  Let rest before serving.

The whole dish is 1569 kc. Split into 4 meal-sized serving s= 392 calories per serving

Ruby Tostada with Jicama-Mango Salsamole

I was feeling south of the border and decided to make a veggie version of a taco, which morphed into a tostada.  These recipes came out terrific; one of those things where I sit back and wonder how the hell I come up with stuff.  Needless to say, both me, and my belly, are quite happy!

Ruby Tostada
2 c yams , peeled, and diced
2 c beets, peeled and diced
2 TBS water or veggie broth
7g coconut oil
3 cloves garlic, minced
2 c red bell, diced
1 c green bell, diced
1 can black beans, drained and rinsed
1 tsp each: cumin, oregano, chili powder, cayenne, onion powder
2 tsp salt
makes 5 c/ 161 calories per cup

In a microwave safe casserole dish with lid, add yams, beets, and water/broth.  Cover and nuke for 3-8 minutes, until just cooked, but still a bit of crunch left.  Meanwhile, heat oil in a pan, add garlic and saute for a couple minutes.  Add peppers, and allow to slightly caramelize.  Drain off any liquid from beet/yam mixture, and add remaining ingredients.  Heat through.

Assemble whole wheat tortilla, filling, Jicama-Mango Salsa (recipe below), and a dollop of n/f Greek plain yogurt.

Jicama-Mango Salsamole
1 jalapeno, deseeded and diced
1/2 c red onion, diced
1 bunch cilantro, stems removed
1.5 c jicama, peeled
1 mango, peeled
2 avocado, destoned
2 lime, juiced
2 lemon, juiced
2 tsp salt (or to taste)
1 tsp each: cumin, chili powder
makes 4 cups / 204 cals per cup

In your food processor, blend each fruit and veggie individually, then add to a large bowl - I preferred mine a little chunky.  When all is blended, mix together with the citrus juice and seasonings.

Friday, March 7, 2008

Beet Hummus

This recipe came courtesy of VeggieWiz, a great blog for fun vegetable recipes.  Check it out :)  I made only very small changes.

Beet Hummus
1/2 c. tahini (128g)
1 can garbonzo beans (245g)
1.5 c. beets, peeled and chopped
1/2 c. fresh lemon juice - 1.5 small lemons
4 cloves garlic
1 tsp cumin
4 TBS water (if needed)
salt to taste
= 1366 kcals

makes 721 grams = 1.9 calories per gram.  I had about 3/4 c. serving at 289 calories

Roast beets in oven for 20-30 minutes at 350, or until softened.  When beets are done and slightly cooled, add everything into your blender or Cuisinart. Add water as needed to loosen the mixture; this is a less oil version than the original and needs the moisture. Serve with fresh crunchy veggies!

Thursday, February 28, 2008

2 minute Fake Baked Apple (190 kc)

All the taste, a fraction of the calories, and hardly any time

1 apple, chopped into 1 inch pieces
1 tsp nutmeg (or more)
1 tsp cinnamon (or more if you so desire)
1 TBS coconut butter (or any nut butter of you want)
1/4 c. granola (I used 13g of Kashi Go Lean Crunch)

Season your apples in a bowl.  Microwave for 1 minute.  Drizzle nut butter over the top. Nuke for another minute.  Sprinkle your granola over the top, and enjoy!

Carrot Yam Sweet and Spicy Soup (127 kc per cup)

This recipe came from Veggie Wiz which I found via reddit.   I made some substantial changes to her original recipe; hers looks terrific, I just did it different!

3 c. chopped carrot (496g, 5 large)
4c. chopped yam (554g, 2 small + 1 med)
5 c. veggie stock (or more if you want a looser soup)
3 cloves chopped garlic
1 tsp each: thyme, cumin, turmeric
2 tsp each: salt, cinnamon
.5 tsp: cayenne
2 TBS coconut butter, added at the end
served with dollop of yogurt on top

 Boil everything together (except yogurt and coconut butter) for 15-20 minutes, or until the veggies are tender.  Hand blend (or transfer to a blender in batches) the pot.  Add the coconut butter.  Serve with a dollop of fat free Greek style yogurt on top.

makes 9 cups / 127 kc per cup

Part of my awesome dinner: big ol' mixed salad, big ol' bowl of kale chips, and a big ol' mug of this soup. Heavenly!

Monday, February 25, 2008

Spiced Parsnip Soup (68 kc per cup)

4 c. veggie broth*
1 c. water
740 g parsnips (1.6 lbs)
1 large onion (about 2c)
1 inch ginger, chopped
3 gloves garlic, chopped
1 tsp each: cumin, turmeric, chili powder, cardamon
juice of 1.5 lemon

Sautee onion garlic ginger.  Add the rest. Cover and simmer for 15 or until everything is nice and soft. Use a hand blender and puree everything (you can use whatever method to puree of course, but the hand blender makes this a snap!). At your lemon just before serving.

*You can also use fat free chicken broth if you so desire. 

Roasted Veggies (50-150 kc)

One of the quickest, simplest, and to my mind, elegant treatments of beautiful veg is a simple roasting.

2-4 c. chopped vegetables
2 cloves garlic, chopped or sliced
S& P
1/2 lemon
1-2 tsp oil (olive or coconut)

I start with 1-2 (more is fine!) vegetables that I have on-hand.  Clean and chop as needed for a uniform size to allow for even cooking.  Toss with 2-3 cloves of chopped garlic, salt, a dash of pepper, and the juice of half a lemon.  I am super careful with added fats, but a teaspoon of olive oil, or even better, coconut oil, works great. Place in a roasting pan, or casserole dish, and bake in the oven for 30 or so minutes at 375, or until the veg starts to brown. I sometime add a tablespoon of vegetable broth, cover, and microwave 3-4 minutes if I am getting too brown and the vegetables aren't done enough

Here are some combos I have tried recently:

Brussels sprouts and olive oil
Brussels sprouts, celery root, and coconut oil <-- to DIE for & 88 kcal per 1.5c. serving
red onion, sweet potato, parsnips
acorn squash, parsnip, and turnip
eggplant, tomato, zucchini
... can't wait for the summer veggie FEST

Saturday, February 23, 2008

Blueberry Parfait Oatmeal (392 kcal)

  • 1/2 c. instant oats (150 kcal)
  • 3 grams chia seeds (15 kcal)
  • 3 grams ground flax seeds (16 kcal)
  • 2-3 c. water
  • 1 cup blueberries (70 kcal)
  • 75 grams non-fat Greek Yogurt (46 kcal)
  • 16 grams coconut butter (95 kcal)
  • sweetener if desired
In a small saucepan, bring oats, seeds and water to a boil. Reduce to medium low.  Add blueberries. Stir constantly until oatmeal reaches desired thickness, but not too thick.  Turn off heat.  Add yogurt and stir in well. Add sweetener at this point if you desire.  After adding mixture to a bowl, add your dollop of coconut butter on top.  Revel in the glorious fluffy mound of delicious you now get to enjoy. I only have these high calorie oatmeal's on the weekends when I sleep in.  I don't usually eat until 11am, which means lunch is just a salad, add a regualr dinner and I am at my calorie limit for the day.

Kate's Whipped Banana Oatmeal (367kc)

  • 1/4 c. instant oats (75 kcal)
  • 1/4 c. multi-grain hot cereal (65 kcal)
  • 3 grams chia seeds (15 kcal)
  • 3 grams ground flax seeds (16 kcal)
  • 1 small banana, broken into big chunks (101 kcal)
  • 16 grams cashew butter  (95 kcal)
  • 2-3 c. water
  • sweetener if desired
I take no credit for this recipe.  This is straight from a blog called Kath Eats Real Food.  She makes the most amazing oatmeal.  I highly encourage you to read her Tribute to Oatmeal post for killer ideas on how to make yourself crazy-delicious porridge! The instructions for how to make this "whipped" version, is at the link.

Apple Spiced Oatmeal (237kc)

Apple Spiced Oatmeal (237kcal)

  • 1/4 c. instant oats (75 kcal)
  • 1/4 c. multi-grain hot cereal (65 kcal)
  • 3 grams chia seeds (15 kcal)
  • 3 grams ground flax seeds (16 kcal)
  • 1 small apple, finely diced (66 kcal)
  • 2 tea bags
  • 3 cups of water
  • sweetener if desired
Steep your teabags in hot water for at least 5 minutes.  Add all ingedients and microwave 2-4 minutes.  Stir until oatmeal thickens. I make this at my office with only the microwave and water cooler/heater.  I pre-measure my chia and flax at home.  The tea I use is Good Earth Original which is outrageous.  I love it so much - it is super strong, sweet and spicy.  Notice that I use an inordinate amount of water - 3 times the amount called for for the serving of oats.  I microwave for 4 minutes on top of using hot tea to begin with, and then I stir stir STIR as it cools, I end up with a super fluffy almost parfait-like bowl of porridge.  It's amazing

You can add all sorts of things to this to add more nutrients and flavor. Try: 1/4 c. pumpkin honey seeds dried fruits chopped nuts... just be careful of calories!

Chicken-Kale Lemony Soup (350-425 kcals)

Chicken Kale Soup
4 c. fat-free broth (chicken or veggie)
2-3 cloves garlic, chopped
3-4 oz skinless, boneless chicken breat , cut into small strips or cubes
1/4 c. grains (wheat berries [farro], quinoa, couscous, brown rice)
1 bunch leafy greens (kale, collards, chard or spinach)
1 lemon

Bring your broth and garlic to a boil.  Add your grains* and chicken and continue to simmer for 15 minutes. Remove the chicken and set aside.  Add your greens, and simmer until wilted.  Add the lemon juice from the whole lemon, and season with S&P.  Add the chicken back, and serve.

*Depending on the grain you use, you may have to add some water, and adjust the time to simmer.  eg, wheat berries take an hour to cook, and you lose a lot of moisture.  I add a cup of water, and let garlic broth, water and wheat berries cook for 45 minutes before adding my chicken.  You will need ot make adjustments based on what you use.

This is so simple, and so delicious, it's astounding how so few ingredients can really just knock your socks off.  The grains allow this to be quite filling, and the liquid also really fills you up.  This makes a terrific meal all by itself if you pair it with a simple salad

Calorie count is around 350-425 calories depending on the amount of chicken and which grain you go for.