Sunday, February 5, 2017

How to Make Boxed Mac & Cheese a Little Better

I know it is not healthy. I know there are chemicals in that "cheese". But sometimes you gotta do what you gotta do. So, I sort of make it according to the directions on the box.  BUT to help with the protein, I add a 1/4 cup dried red lentils along with the noodles during the boiling process. Both the noodles and lentils are done within 7 minutes. Meanwhile, either drain a can of diced tomatoes or chop up about 4 plum tomatoes. Five minutes into the boiling process, add a couple of handfuls of chopped kale. Feel free to use spinach too.  At 7 minutes, drain in all saving about 1/4 cup of the cooking water.  Returning the noodles to the pot, add the "cheese" to the noodles/kale/lentil mixture, a tsp of butter and the 2Tbsp milk and 2Tbsp reserved liquid (or all milk or all liquid) and stir. Once it's as well blended as it'll get, add the tomatoes. Put on low heat and cook through until the tomatoes are warm. Top with some fresh cheese. You've added protein and vitamins to an otherwise not very nutritious meal. Bon appetite! 

Sunday, January 15, 2017

Toasty Roasty Kale

Healthy snacks are important to have and when they are easy to make it is even better.  Toasty Roasty Kale fits in perfectly.  The easy part comes later.  Let's talk about the healthy aspects of kale.  I know, I know.  You are thinking - "Isn't that what they put in salad bars to make them look pretty?"  And the answer is YES!!!

Kale contains substantial amounts of the Recommended Daily Allowance (RDA) of nutrition essentials.  In one cup alone you have:
  • About 20% of fiber (diet and digestion)
  • Over 1300% of vitamin K (anti-inflammatory)
  • 10%of omega-3 fatty acids (anti-inflammatory)
  • 192% vitamin A (antioxidant)
  • 88% vitamin C (antioxidant, immunity)
  • Plus so much more.  
Kale is consumed all over the world.  There are different varieties.  
  • Curly leaved (Scots Kale)
  • Plain leaved
  • Rape Kale
  • Leaf and spear (a cross between curly leaved and plain leaved Kale)
  • Cavolo nero (also known as black cabbage, Tuscan Cabbage, Tuscan Kale, Lacinato and dinosaur Kale)*
Now, that you know the benefits of kale.  What the heck do you do with it?  KALE CHIPS! Unfortunately, Many of the kale chips you will find in the stores are very high in fat.  They use a lot of oil in the baking and/or frying.  There is absolutely no need for the fat.  In our Toasty Roasty Kale, there are just trace amounts of fat from the spray.  It keeps it very healthy and lower in fat than the store made ones.

Toasty Roasty Kale  

1 bunch of Kale, washed, ribs cut out, and in 1" pieces
Juice of half a lemon
Olive Oil sprayer
Salt 
Pepper 
Seasonings of choice

Preheat oven to 350F.

Place the kale on a sheet pan.  Squeeze the juice of half a lemon, spray with olive oil, sprinkle with salt and pepper plus any other spices you may chose to use.  Toss right on the pan. Level out.  Put in oven for 8-10 minutes.  Check and cook to desired crispiness.  

Prep time: 5 minutes
Bake time: 10 minutes

Level of difficulty - easy


With the Toasty Roasty Kale you can add any variety of spices to it ~ salt, pepper, paprika, garlic powder or salt, onion powder or salt, chili powder, cayenne, whatever floats your boat.  Remember, part of the fun of cooking is experimenting!!  And you can start enjoying them from start to finish in about 15 minutes. 

Watch the video, print the recipe, prepare any one of the dishes and you'll find yourself saying "That's Vegetarian?!"

http://www.healthdiaries.com/eatthis/9-health-benefits-of-kale.html
*http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Kale
http://nutritiondata.self.com/facts/vegetables-and-vegetable-products/2461/2

Monday, November 7, 2016

Kabocha Squash and Azuki Beans with Kale!


What's the difference between "pumpkin" and "squash"?   

This is the best answer I could find:
"Squash are generally separated into three categories: summer squash, winter squash, and pumpkins. The difference between them all is really just based on how they are used. Summer squash are harvested when young and tender, while winter squash are harvested when hard and ripe. Pumpkins are really just winter squash, but have a distinctive pumpkin shape."* 

Not to mention there are SOOOO many varieties.  I found great lists (plus additional recipes) - All About Pumpkins Varieties and Seed to Supper.  In this recipe, I used the Kabocha Squash but Butternut or Acorn could have easily been substituted.  There was so much squash left I had to figure out what to do with it.  Check out and join www.thatsvegetarian.blogspot.com later this week for the great treat!!  

Pumpkin is so nutritious, full of fiber and beta-carotene.  Here is more in formation:
1 cup of cooked pumpkin flesh contains**:
Calories 49 
Protein 2 grams
Carbohydrate 12 grams
Dietary Fiber 3 grams
Calcium 37 mg
Iron 1.4 mg
Magnesium 22 mg
Potassium 564 mg
Zinc 1 mg 
Selenium .50 mg
Vitamin C 12 mg
Niacin 1 mg
Folate 21 mcg
Vitamin A 2650 IU
Vitamin E 3 mg


To truly amp up this macrobiotic dish, add some brown rice.  Check out last week's blog on the macrobiotic diet.  Prepare the Kabocha Squash and Azuki Beans with Kale or any of the other wonderful recipes and and you'll find yourself saying "That's Vegetarian?!"

Kabocha Squash and Azuki Beans with Kale

1 6-inch Piece of kombu
1c Azuki beans, dried
2c Kabocha squash, cut into 1/2 inch cubes, can leave peel on if organic, I prefer without
1/2 bunch kale, chopped into 1 inch pieces
1t soy sauce or shoyu
1t ginger

Combine the kombu and beans in a bowl and cover with 3 c water.  Soak for a minimum of 5 hours preferably overnight. 

Drain the kombu and beans, discarding the soaking water.  Slice the kombu into 1" x 1" squares and put the pieces in a pot.  Add the beans and fresh water to cover the beans by about 1 inch.  Put the burner on high and bring to a boil, straining any foam that rises to the top.   Boil for about 5 minutes or so.  Reduce to a simmer, cover and cook for about 30 minutes checking every 10 minutes for enough water (at bean level) and doneness.  Soaking the beans longer decreases the cooking time.

Once the beans feel al dente, add the ginger and soy sauce (or shoyu) and stir.  Then place the squash on top and simmer covered for about 10 minutes.  Check, it should be slightly soft, then add the kale and simmer for another 10 minutes.  It should still be bright green.

Prep time: 15 minutes, mostly for cutting the squash and kale.
Bake time: 50 minutes
Serves 4, about 1 cup each
Level of difficulty - Intermediate.
4PP


Monday, October 31, 2016

What IS a Macrobiotic Diet?

"Macrobiotics", translated from Greek, means great life and dates back to Hippocrates. Macrobiotics as we know it today was started by a George Ohsawa, a Japanese educator, who was battling a serious illness. This simple diet cured him.

The macrobiotic diet is a holistic approach to a lifestyle. It utilizes the idea of food containing yin and yang properties which help balance out the body, spirit, and energy.  Yin foods are cold and sweet while yang foods are hot, salty and bold. It can be a "flexitarian plan" in which occasional fish is okay, however most are vegetarian. It does require a fair bit of planning to be on the macrobiotic diet.

Some foods will over stimulate the body. The diet discourages processed foods, coffee, alcohol, high fat foods, extremely cold foods, dairy, eggs, and animal products. In limited quantities, it is okay to have seafood, tomatoes, eggplant, peppers and nuts.

Food should be consumed in the most natural state or by preparing with baking, boiling, pressure cooking or steaming. Eating slowly and chewing your food thoroughly is an essential part of the program. The macrobiotic approach also means eating locally, what's in season, organically, and focus on whole grains. (Click on term to read previous blogs relating to these topics.)

The breakdown of a typical macrobiotic diet will vary from source to source. Here is an approximation based on various resources:
  • Whole grains, especially brown rice: 50%-60%
  • Vegetables: 25%-30%
  • Beans and legumes: 5%-10%
  • Sea vegetables: 5%
  • Fish, nuts, seeds, fruits, miso soup: 5%-20%
  • Soup (using ingredients above): 1-2 cups/day
Best bets: Brown rice, barley, whole wheat, fresh broccoli, cauliflower, butternut squash, chickpeas, tofu, sea vegetables like kombu and nori, and vegetable soups. A few servings of nuts and seafood per week are allowed. 1

That's Vegetarian has provided you with many recipes that are in accordance with a Macrobiotic Diet.  Here are a few.  Go back and check these out:

The macrobiotic approach has been shown to help in healing in prevention and cure in cancer, although it has not been scientifically proven.  The American Dietetic Association also approves the macrobiotic diet as a well balance approach to a vegan diet, if done correctly.

There is so much more information on the macrobiotic diet. Books upon books and websites upon websites. I have included links to some websites for more information on the basics of the diet, food lists, the lifestyle, and the history.

Visit That's Vegetarian's website, blog , and YouTube channel for more information, videos, and recipes!!  You'll find yourself saying "That's Vegetarian?!"

Sunday, June 12, 2016

To Be or Not to Be Organic. That is the Question.

There are so many articles out there that say "Buy this organic..." then another one says "No, buy this organic. Arrrggghhhh which is it? Then the environmental impact of pesticides.  What to do?

First and foremost, eating your fruits and veggies is most important. If you cannot afford organic, it's okay.  Clean your fruits and veggies with an appropriate scrub/rinse. You can buy the veggie wash from the store or you can make your own with common household items. Do you know which household ingredients go a long way in reducing the pesticide residue on your foods?  Click here for more.

Here is what you can do to get rid of the pesticides in a friendly way:
  • Baking soda ~ Using, a clean sponge or cloth, sprinkle, scrub, and rinse!
  • Make a spray bottle with 1t vinegar (white or cider) and fill the rest with water. Make a separate spray bottle with 1/2t hydrogen peroxide and water. DO NOT MIX TOGETHER IN ONE SPRAY BOTTLE TO SAVE A STEP!!! Creates a Peracetic acid which in no bueno to consume. Then rinse.
  • Add 1/4-cup vinegar and 2 Tablespoons salt into a sink full of water and let sit for 15 minutes then rinse.
  • Combine 2T vinegar, 1T lemon juice, and 1c cold tap water in a spray bottle, shake well, and apply to your produce. Rinse
  • 4T salt and juice of half a lemon in a sink full of water, soak for 5-10 minutes, less for leafy greens and berries. Rinse. 
Why buy organic? Many people buy organic because of the amount of pesticides that are usually used on that particular crop that will absorb into the food and/or stick as a residue which will be passed onto the consumer, aka your body. I'm not going to get into the politics or more specifics, check out the links below for additional reading.

Here is a quick list that I gathered from multiple resources1 that agreed on what to get organic:
  1. Apples
  2. Celery
  3. Strawberries
  4. Stone fruits - peaches, apricots, cherries, nectarines
  5. Leafy vegetables - spinach, kale, collard greens, lettuce
  6. Grapes
  7. Sweet bell peppers
  8. Potatoes
  9. Blueberries
What other foods are recommended organic and why?  

It is also suggested to find organic meats and dairy products because of the hormones that are used. Coffee because of the countries it comes from. Raisins and wine because they are made from grapes. There are also the ideas of eating foods in season so it doesn't have to be imported and travel long distances to get to you. Imported foods have different standards on pesticides used vs. domestic. Cantaloupe is one of the foods that is okay domestic but organic imported. The fruits and veggies with peels have less concern because the pesticides don't penetrate as much and they are peeled off. But with bananas there is a concern on proper harvesting and sustainable farming. Those are the issues that I will leave for you to decide.

Here is a list of what doesn't need to be organic because minimal pesticides are used for this particular crop and/or they don't absorb as much of the pesticides.
1. Onions                                                                                                                                           
EWG's Dirty Dozen Cheat Sheet
EWG's Dirty Dozen Cheat Sheet              2
2. Corn
3. Pineapples
4. Avocado
5. Asparagus
6. Sweet peas
7. Mangoes
8. Eggplant
9. Kiwi
10. Mushrooms
11. Cabbage
12. Watermelon
13. Sweet potatoes
14. Grapefruit


Organic is great if you can fit it in time wise and financially. If not, use one of the helpful tips to eliminate the majority of the pesticides. BUT MOST IMPORTANTLY, organic or not, EAT YOUR FRUITS AND VEGGIES!!!!! Your body really does need the nutrients they provide that you can't get in such glorious form anywhere else.

Check out the other blogs for links to watch the video, print the recipe, prepare any one of the dishes and you'll find yourself saying "That's Vegetarian?!"


Sunday, November 29, 2015

Pumpkin Vanilla Parfait

Smells evoke emotion.  I am  a fan of scents like vanilla, cinnamon, and just about anything else that is reminiscent of baking. I am adding humidity to my randomly heated NYC apartment by keeping a pot of water simmering on the stove with allspice in it. It adds a holiday aroma to the house plus keeping my skin hydrated (along with the 80oz+ of water I drink a day) and generating a little heat.


It is no surprise that I read an article, Eat vanilla yogurt, be happy, says research discussing scientific research on the connection between foods taste and fragrance with satisfaction. [1] Ask a foodie, we could have told you that decades ago!! There are many articles and books on the topic too.  Below you will find a recipe for a Pumpkin Vanilla Parfait will will evoke some happy, relaxing aphrodisiac. [2]

The article also discusses the satisfaction fat bring to a sense of satiety and perhaps considering it a taste sent along with bitter, sweet, salty, sour and umami. (TVeg did a blog on umami back a few years ago - click to read). TVeg will investigate in a future blog. Still use non fat Greek yogurt in this recipe.  By adding your own vanilla, you reduce the amount of sugar that is found in most vanilla yogurts.  Read your labels and compare.
Visit That's Vegetarian  to prepare any one of the dishes and you'll find yourself saying "That's Vegetarian?!" 

Pumpkin Vanilla Parfait
2 c non fat plain Greek yogurt
1T vanilla
1t maple syrup (opt)
2/3 c canned or fresh pureed pumpkin
1/2 c granola
1/4 c pomegranate seeds

Mix the yogurt, vanilla, and maple syrup together. Place about 1/3 of a cup in 2 bowls or parfait glasses. Add 2 heaping T of pumpkin to each. A sprinkle of pomegranate seeds and granola. Repeat layers until complete.  


Serving size 1 1/2 cup
Serves 2
Prep time 7.5 minutes

Forward email to someone who might find this interesting.

[1] http://www.medicalnewstoday.com/articles/302573.php
[2] http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2014/04/26/scents-and-wellbeing_n_5193609.html

Wednesday, October 28, 2015

Happy Fall - Squash and Pumpkin Ideas


What does fall make us think of?

Pumpkins of course!!!! Pumpkin and squash are full of beta-carotene and fiber. There are many dishes we can make with pumpkins and squash like kabocha squash with adzuki beans (which That's Vegetarian made a few seasons ago) but it leaves you with A LOT of leftover squash.  What are the options for these leftovers?




My suggestions and the suggestions gathered from my Facebook, Twitter, Unleash Video and YouTube followers include:
  • Pie, candied, cheesecake, ice cream, custard
  • Mix into cottage cheese, oatmeal or yogurt
  • Soup, chili, risotto
  • Cookies, scones, muffins, cupcakes, cake
  • Latte, smoothie
  • Wontons, pot pies, ravioli 
  • Waffles, pancakes, bread (click for Pumpkin Flax Bread recipe)
  • Mashed, roasted, pan fried
  • Butter
  • Facial, body scrub
The favorite addition to the squash/pumpkin is by far MAPLE SYRUP!!!  Then cinnamon, nutmeg, and whipped cream.  Add more suggestions below! 

Here's a soup recipe that I threw together with my leftover squash.  My friend told her son it was Peanut Butter Soup.  That worked for a few bites anyway!

Pumpkin Peanut Butter Soup

Olive Oil Spray
1/2 c diced onions
1t garlic
1t Cumin*
1/4t Coriander*
1/4t Fenugreek*
1/4t Ginger*
1/4t Asafetida*
1/4t Cayenne
1/4t Celery Salt
4c Vegetable broth
4c Squash/Pumpkin, diced and roasted (400F for 25 min or until soft)
2T Peanut butter
Salt and pepper to taste. 
*Substitute 2t curry powder total for the above spices

Spray the bottom of the pot with the olive oil.  Add the onions and sauté over medium heat for about 3 minutes, until soft.  Add the garlic.  After a minute add the remaining spices and cook for about one minute.  Add broth, roasted squash/pumpkin and peanut butter.  Heat thoroughly.  Puree the soup using an immersion or regular blender.  Use caution, it will be hot.  Add more of the spices, salt and pepper to taste. 

Serve with roasted seeds sprinkled on top, and why not, a little maple syrup!!

Other options include using cinnamon and nutmeg making it more like a pumpkin pie soup.  Try adding some milk ~ cow’s milk or keep it vegan with coconut, rice or almond.  
Pumpkin Peanut Butter Soup Printable Recipe