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In my quest for how to destroy excess zucchinis, I found a great recipe. My friend, Dr. Johnny Bowden posted the best squash spaghetti  recipe ever! If you like Thai food, try my adaptation of it. I added peppers and peanuts, substituted Tamari with Bragg’s and put peanut butter instead of almond one. The  peppers make this dish spicy, which I like.

 

zuchinni noodles
Serves 6

Ingredients:

3 Tbs. raw peanut butter

3 Tbs. Bragg’s Aminos

3 tsp. curry powder

2 fresh chili peppers, diced

3 medium organic summer squash

1/4 cup unsweetened shaved coconut

1/3 cup raisins

1/2 cup chopped fresh cilantro

1/3 cup dry roasted peanuts

  1. Combine almond butter, tamari, and curry powder in large bowl, and whisk until well mixed. Set aside.
  2. Trim ends off squash. Using mandolin or sharp vegetable peeler, slice squash lengthwise into long, thin strips.
  3. Add squash strips to bowl, and gently toss with peanut butter mixture until well coated. Add coconut, raisins, peanuts, peppers and cilantro, and toss until evenly distributed. Serve immediately, or chill for up to 48 hours.
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My twin babies fell madly in love with zucchinis. So, I buy big quantities of zucchinis and put them in pretty much every vegetable dish. I even like them raw in a salad. Their mild taste works for the days when there isn’t a single cucumber in the fridge. Since,in my opinion, a casserole is the easiest dish to feed the whole family, I like to make this simple zucchini bake. It tastes delicate enough to eat the leftovers for breakfast. Zucchini is rich in nutrients, especially manganese and vitamin C. One cup of cooked zukes contains 1.64g of protein and .15g of omega-3 fatty acids.

You can make this recipe vegan by using flax or chia, instead of an egg and a vegan cheese instead of cheddar. I personally never tried using quinoa or gluten-free flour here, but am sure it’s possible. If you manage to make this casserole free of gluten, please, write me a note!

Ingredients

 4     cups unpeeled, chopped zucchini (and/or yellow summer squash)

¼     cup chopped onion

1/2 cup yellow cornmeal

 2/3 cup whole wheat flour

½  tsp. sea salt

1 tbsp. baking powder

2 tbsp. olive oil

2 tbsp. agave syrup

 1     egg

 1     cup grated cheddar cheese,  set aside ½ cup

Preheat oven to 325 degrees. Combine all dry ingredients and stir well. Mix in all other ingredients  (except for ½ cup cheddar cheese) and stir well. Pour into a greased 8-inch pan. Bake for about 45 minutes. Sprinkle the second ½ cup grated cheddar cheese on top and bake an additional 15 minutes.

 

  1. Plantains contain high levels of vitamin A, potassium, calcium, iron and fiber. They are also low in sodium, have no cholesterol and contain natural mood enhancers. Nutritionally, plantains are similar to bananas. I like plantains as an interesting potato alternative once in a while. I buy black plantains (they are sweet inside) or let the plantain ripen and turn black on my windowsill.

    Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F. Coat the baking dish with some olive oil. Slice the plantains lengthwise into skinny strips that are about 3 inches long. Place the plantain slices in the baking dish, sprinkle them with some more olive oil  and  place them in a hot oven. Bake for about 10 minutes. Using a spatula, turn the fries over and bake for about 20-30 minutes, or until the fries are crispy. Lightly salt the plantain the minute it comes out of the oven. You can also sprinkle the plantain with spices, such as curry, cayenne or garlic on these fries.

    Salsa and lime juice work well as an accompaniment.

    photo credit: healthbent

Sorry, I haven’t been able to post for a few days. We went to Asheville, NC for a few days, and the house we rented had internet  troubles. On the more positive note, Asheville is home to my favorite vegetarian restaurant in the country. I’ve been to  the Millennium in San Francisco, I’ve been to Angelica’s in NYC. I also visited countless veggie spots around the country. Still, the clean,  spacious and delicious Laughing Seed Cafe in Asheville cannot be beat. It gets the highest marks in my book both for its food (they  have daily veggie specials to die for) and its service ( they brought organic veggies, cut into bite-size chunks for my babies when I foolishly left  the baby food bag in the car.) And they actually have healthy food on their kid’s menu!

……………….

When I was in my early twenties, studying at NYU, taking yoga classes at Jivamukti, living alone in NYC , I never cooked anything, because my apartment’s  kitchen was barely large enough to accommodate a teapot, forget about the actual cook (me.) I loved going to Angelica’s Kitchen restaurant and ordering a Dragon Bowl. The simplicity of this perfectly balanced vegetarian dish reminded me of home-cooking. That, and it was superhealthy and inexpensive. The Dragon Bowl was an example of a perfect equilibrium in food: bitter, but also sweet, healthy, but filling. It tasted like home, yet I ate it in a restaurant. “The Bowl” also fit nicely into a “One Bowl,” which was a nutrition book I  followed for a while.

Some years later, in Asheville, I was pleasantly surprised when I saw a Harmony Bowl on the Laughing Seed Cafe’s menu. It was very much like my old Dragon Bowl! I was feeling like I was twenty again as I devoured it. The next day, I came back and ordered another one.  And two days later, I made one at home. The simplicity and versatility of this dish are overwhelming: you can use any grain, bean or vegetable you have. Here’s the Bowl, in a nutshell.

Cooked brown rice

Cooked black beans

Steamed Veggies

Sauce

Optional: Tofu

Pick a nice-size bowl, suitable for one person. Put some cooked brown rice (or other grain) on the bottom of it. Put black beans on top of the rice. Put tofu on top, if using it. Put the veggies over everything and pour the sauce over the veggies.

When picking the vegetables, try to cover many flavors: squash or carrots for sweetness, kale for bitterness… Don’t forget green staples, like zucchini or broccoli.

The dish at this point is rather bland. The sauce is what really makes The Bowl sparkle. My two absolutely favorite sauces for the Harmony Bowl are carrot/ginger or tahini.

I didn’t list any proportions or amounts here on purpose: the bowl is an individual dish, so make it your own by playing an experimenting. You can make it pretty, or you can make it simple. Busy parents:  don’t be afraid to use canned beans.

 

photo: Piyachok Thawornmat

I found a really interesting raw cake recipe online, but it calls for jicama, which I do not have. Going to the supermarket with three babies is not very appealing. Also, I am really stuck on trying out this weird cake recipe and therefore am not interested in cooking anything else that’s new… So, my good friend Nina came to the rescue! She made this awesome cold soup yesterday (inspired by cooks.com.) She used some herbs from her garden as a garnish. I think, this soup would be a perfect appetizer on a hot summer night. I also believe its temperature and texture to be very child-friendly, but that we will know tomorrow, when my kid tries it. 🙂

 

Ingredients:

3 tomatoes (quartered)
1/2 cucumber
1/2 pepper
1/2 onion
Garlic clove
3 tbsp. wine vinegar
1 tsp. salt
1/2 tsp. pepper
2 tbsp. olive oil
1/8 tsp. white pepper

Green herbs ( chives, basil, rosemary, cilantro -whatever you have is fine)

Place items in blender and pulse. Chill. Pour in individual cups and top with greens.

This pate works as a cracker topper or as an interesting dip for a party. Since it packs a lot of protein, vitamins and minerals, I  love feeding it to my kid. If you don’t have lentils, feel free to use chickpeas or any other beans: the taste would be different, but just as good.

Ingredients:

2 cups cooked lentils (or two cans of lentils)
1 cup dried apricots
3/4 cup walnuts
1 medium onion, chopped

1/2 cup parsley, finely chopped
olive oil, salt to taste

optional: 2 garlic cloves, diced, curry and paprika

Put the cooked lentils, the apricots and the walnuts in the food processor and process until well-mixed.

Saute the onion in olive oil, until golden. Add the onion to the lentil mix. Process again. Add parsley and salt to taste. Process again. Optionally, add garlic, curry and paprika to taste.

I posted a salad recipe yesterday, so how about one for today, for good luck?

This salad is extra rich in calcium and manganese, because of the sesame seeds. It’s also rich in fiber, vitamin C and folic acid from broccoli. What I also love about this recipe is that it can work both as a salad and as a vegetarian side dish. It’s excellent for lunch during colder months, when a regular salad would be too cool to enjoy.

 

 

 

 

Makes 3 servings:

Mixed greens, 2 cups

Shredded carrots, 3/4 cup

Broccoli florets, 1 cup

Onion, sliced finely, 1/2 cup

Dark roasted sesame oil 3 tbsp

Sesame oil, unrefined. 5 tbsp

Brag’s amino’s 4 tbsp

Sesame seeds, 4 tbsp

optional: sprouts, 3/4 cup

optional: shitake mushrooms, 1/2 cup

Warm up the dark roasted sesame oil in a skillet. Add 2 tbsp of Bragg’s sauce. Add the onions. Stir fry them for about a minute. If using shitake mushrooms, saute them in a separate pan for about two minutes, until they reduce to about half of their size and add them to the onions.  Add the broccoli florets and about 1/4 cup of water. Stir fry for  another minute or two (the broccoli should still be crisp.) On a large plate, arrange the greens. Place the carrots and the sprouts (if using) around the plate, so that the center stays empty. Put the onion-broccoli mixture in the center. Sprinkle the sesame seeds on top. Add the unrefined sesame oil and the remaining Bragg’s. Serve immediately.

This salad also works well with cubes of tofu or cooked chicken, if you’d like to add these.

I love having a salad for lunch. Sometimes, my kid does, too. Contrary to the popular idea, salads are not “just vegetables.” My salads are a powerhouse of nutrition. While trying to make this recipe, be flexible. if you are missing an ingredient, don’t stress it. The salad turns out just fine without the celery or the beets or even the pumpkin seeds. Tomatoes are an interesting substitute for carrots and basil works instead of parsley, if indeed,  you are using tomatoes.

Here’s what my two year old and myself had today ( and I promise you a post onj how to make your kids eat veggies! 🙂

Makes about 3-4 portions:

Mixed greens or arugula, 2 cups

Shredded carrots, 3/4 cup

Beets, raw and grated 1/2 cup

Cucumber, sliced, 1 large

Celery, diced – 2 stalks

Shallots, diced, 1/4 cup

Parsley, diced 1/4 cup

Avocado, sliced – 1 medium

Chickpeas, 1 can, drained

Pumpkin seeds, roasted, 1 small cup

Tofu (or cooked chicken,) cubed, 1 small cup

Extra Virgin Olive oil, salt and papper to taste.

Lemon juice to taste (optional)

 

Mix all of the vegetables, except for the beets and the avocado (avocado is, technically, a fruit.) Arrange avocado slices on top and sprinkle them with lemon juice, if using it. Arrange the grated beets on top (beets tend to color other veggies red, so it’s not a visually appealing idea to mix them in.) Put the tofu or the chicken on top of the beets. Put the chickpeas on top (be creative with how you arrange them.) Sprinkle with pumpkin seeds. Put the olive oil and the salt/pepper in. Lunch is ready!

We talked about how simple it is to make almond milk at home. This milk can be used for coffee or tea, it can be drunk on its own or added to smoothies or any recipes, calling for milk. I believe almond milk to be a wonderful beverage for kids:  it’s rich in proteins and low in calories. To make your almond milk more flavorful and nutritious, please, consider these flavors:


Chocolate almond milk
: To the recipe for vanilla almond milk, add 2 tbsp of unsweetened cocoa powder.

Coffee almond milk: To the recipe for vanilla almond milk, add 2 tbsp of Nescafe powder or 1/2 cup of brewed coffee and agave or stevia to taste.

Cinnamon almond milk: To the recipe for vanilla almond milk, add 1 tsp cinnamon and a dash of nutmeg.

Banana almond milk To the recipe for vanilla almond milk, add 1 mashed banana.

Strawberry almond milk To the recipe for vanilla almond milk, add 1/2 cup of mashed strawberries and agave or stevia to taste.


A lot of my friends complain that their kids don’t  eat any veggies and do eat too much pasta. This simple quinoa pasta dish packs all the veggies in the sauce and all the grain in the pasta. Best of all,  the kids probably won’t even be able to tell! If you have some extra time and want to be creative, you can try to make some awesome homemade pumpkin pasta recipe from Vegan Dad instead of the store-bought quinoa variety. You can also double or triple the sauce recipe and freeze the leftovers.

Ingredients:

5 medium ripe tomatoes

1 medium onion, chopped

1/2 cup olive oil

1/2 cup water

1 cup of shredded carrots

1 medium zucchini, shredded

4 leaves of kale, chopped

Handful of fresh basil leaves

3 garlic cloves, minced

salt, paprika

one pack of quinoa pasta, cooked, according to package instructions.

Put and leave the tomatoes in boiling water. When their skin cracks, peel the tomatoes. Chop them. Sautee the onion in olive oil for about 3 minutes, add the kale and the water and simmer for another 3-4 minutes. Add the carrots and the zucchini and simmer for another 3-4 minutes. Add the tomatoes and simmer for another 3-4 minutes. Add the spices. Let the sauce stand for another 3-4 minutes. Put the sauce in the blender or food processor and process, until smooth.  Serve on quinoa pasta. Optionally, put some parmesan cheese on top. You can leave a basil leaf or two for garnish.

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