Saturday, April 28, 2012

Lemongrass Tofu and Broccoli

When I first tasted a lemongrass infused dish, the unique flavor was absolutely delightful. Truth be told, I had no idea what lemongrass was other than the Thai restaurant used a lot of it. I could see why though. Lemongrass has a light and delicate lemon/citrus-ish tang that counters the more zesty spices like ginger, garlic, and onions.

Tuesday, April 24, 2012

Triple Berry "Yogurt"

Creamy. Cool. Refreshing. Yogurt has always been one of those snacks that I love and look forward to. Non-dairy versions can be more expensive and harder to find. So, why not make a similar version? It's simpler than you think and I promise, kids and adults alike will never know the secret ingredient is tofu. That is, unless you tell them. If you aren't quite ready to jump into 'tofu yogurt'...I know, it sounds funky...you can add the silken tofu to a fruit smoothie for added protein and isoflavones. You taste buds can't tell, but your body will be thanking you for all that plant based protein.
Triple Berry "Yogurt"

1 12oz package of silken tofu, drained (I used the Nasoya brand found in the refrigerated section with other tofu)
1 cup mixed frozen berries
1 tablespoon maple syrup
1 teaspoon lemon juice

1. Place all ingredients in a blender and mix evenly. Adjust fruit and sweetness to your liking. Top with Kashi GOLean Crunch (as pictured), other favorite cereal, or additional fruit. 



Sunday, April 22, 2012

Taste the Rainbow Salad

When was the last time you tasted the rainbow? I'm not talking about the artificial neon colored rainbow in foods or candies, but rather the rainbow in fresh fruits and vegetables. This light lunch salad or dinner side salad has an awesome range of colorful toppings. Zesty sweet no added oil dressing lightly coats crisp, dark green spinach leaves. With every forkful there's complex textures and flavors. Chewy but crunchy. Sweet but salty. 

Thursday, April 19, 2012

Cornbread

Early pioneer and Native American cornbread was nothing more than water, salt, and cornmeal that traveled well on long journeys. The natural properties of corn allow it to rise (think popcorn) without needing yeast like traditional quick breads. Cornbread is best served alongside soup, stew, chili, or salad. 


Forget instant cornbread mixes; this recipe is super simple and out of the oven in 30 minutes. I particularly like the crunchy sweet texture of the whole corn kernels...good luck finding that in a mix.

Sunday, April 15, 2012

Harvest Berry Breakfast Quinoa

Quinoa (pronounced keen-wah) has been getting more and more attention in the media as it's packed with protein (9g per 1 cup cooked) and fiber (6g per 1 cup cooked). Ancient Incas used the grain, which is more like a seed than our traditional grains, in so many of their staple dishes. Similar to how some cultures have rice or millet for breakfast, I wouldn't be surprised if the Incas started their day with quinoa. We can use their "mother grain" as inspiration to add plant based protein to power up breakfast and add a different dimension if you're stuck in a rut.

Tuesday, April 10, 2012

Creamy Lentil, Spinach and Sweet Potato Dal

After a busy few days of eating less optimally than I would like, I knew it was time for a high fiber vegetable and legume dish to make the gut flora happy. With my stomach already screaming "feed me," I knew it was time for the quickest go to bean, lentils. They are certainly less glamorous than the fava bean, the garbanzo, or the cannellini bean. Lentils are perfect if you're short on time since they don't require soaking. So, if you haven't invested in a pressure cooker or you don't want to mess with the soaking business, rest assured this main dish can go from bag to pot to table in all of 30 minutes. That's a beautiful thing!

Friday, April 6, 2012

Citrus Coleslaw

Easter is a few days away, and if you're concerned as I am that there's never enough raw vegetables at the table, try this "coleslaw." Using a fruit based dressing eliminates the fat and increases the nutrient density of the dish. The bright colors shine at any meal, so even if your Easter dinner menu is packed, this colorful dish will last throughout the week for lunch leftovers.
 

Monday, April 2, 2012

Grilled Spring Vegetable Sandwich

You know those high end bistro sandwiches that combine crispy fresh vegetables, enticing toppings, then grilled to a crusty perfection? Suddenly a sandwich becomes a gourmet meal. This same flavor explosion can be created at home and much easier than you think. When I made this last week, if we didn't have a big salad to go with the sandwiches, I'm pretty sure Dan and I could have put away two in one sitting. Any way you slice the layers of creamy avocado, fresh spinach, basil, and tangy eggplant, the sandwich is no longer simple lunch fare. It's let's have again and again any meal fare.

If you sandwich repertoire consists of peanut butter and jelly (which can hold its' own as a fabulous sandwich), don't be discouraged by a longer ingredient list than you may be used to...the end result is well worth it! I've listed double the amount of eggplant (you won't use a whole one here) to save for a couple days worth of sandwiches or use as a layer in lasagna. Also, the roasted red bell peppers can be located in the pickle aisle in a glass jar...weird, right? I'm only warning you as I've looked several times before in the canned vegetable aisle. Although you can make your own, the jarred ones packed in water are nice to keep on hand for a sandwich like this or tossed into pasta. 
Grilled Spring Vegetable Sandwich

1 medium eggplant
1/2 cup balsamic vinegar 
1 (15oz) can of garbanzo or great northern beans, rinsed and drained
2 tablespoons olive oil
2-3 tablespoons water
1 tablespoon lemon juice
3 cloves roasted garlic
1/2 teaspoon thyme
1/2 teaspoon black pepper
1/2 red onion, sliced
1/4 cup fresh basil leaves
1/2 cup fresh spinach leaves
1 avocado, sliced
8 slices of crusty bread (such as ciabatta)

1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees Fahrenheit. Prepare eggplant by skinning (can get tough when cooked) and slicing into 1/4" slices. Salt one side of the eggplant and set on plate. You'll notice sweat buds appearing on the surface; this will eliminate any of eggplant's bitterness. After about 10 minutes, wipe the salt and released moisture off with a paper towel. Brush slices with balsamic vinegar and place on coated cookie sheet. Roast for 25 minutes, flipping halfway through until eggplant slices are tender. In the last 10 minutes of cooking, add garlic still in peel to roast.
2. Blend or mash together beans, olive oil, water, lemon juice, garlic, thyme, and black pepper. **Time saver: you can use hummus here and add the thyme for the savory infusion.
3. Preheat a non-stick skillet or panini press if you have one. Spread a thin layer of margarine on the outsides of the sandwich slices. Assemble the sandwich with a layer of bean puree, roasted red bell peppers, basil, spinach, onion, and sliced avocado. Grill both sides and serve them hot and crispy...you'll feel like you're devouring bistro bliss!