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This recipe does contain vegetables, but overall is not so healthy. However, it is a-delicious and b-can make stubborn kids eat veggies. My mother used to make it when I was a kid and I have yet to meet a person who didn’t like it. Butter makes it taste great, but coconut oil is a pretty yummy healthier option. Olive or other vegetable oil doesn’t work here. Gluten-free breadcrumbs are a good option.

Take one head of cauliflower and divide it into florets.Put it in a cast-iron skillet with 1/2 cup of water, cover it up with the lid and let simmer until the water evaporates. Then, add about 1/3  stick of butter and enough breadcrumbs to cover the whole thing. Turn the flame up to high and mix periodically, while cooking. Cook until the crumbs turn darker, but not too dark (4-6 mins. )

I also like to add broccoli florets to this dish.

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I was browsing through some blogs last night and stumbled upon a post about a really delicious, easy and healthy bean spread. Oh,and the spread is supposed to be placed on a sandwich with some kale on top. I was hooked. First of all, I am all about quick and easy, healthy cooking. Secondly, I could feed this spread to my twin babies, who’d love a little extra protein, so that they can finally grow up and take their toys back from their big brother. Thirdly, I could feed the kale to my oldest, who thinks that eating kale makes you grow big enough to drive a real car ( ok, I taught him that.)

I tripled the bean spread recipe and we had the leftovers for lunch today. The babies had the spread with some celery sticks and avocado chunks and we had  baked potatoes with bean spread, avocado , kale and chives. 

After playing with the  original recipe a bit, here’s the spread and the sandwich:

 

 

Rustic White Bean Spread

  • 1 can of white cannellini beans, drained and rinsed (or 1 heaping cup of cooked beans)
  • juice from one lemon
  • 1-2 garlic cloves
  • 2 Tbs tahini
  • 1 Tbs water (or more for desired consistency)
  • 2Tbs olive oil
  • sea salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste

Process everything until smooth.

 Kale

 Heat a bit of olive oil and water in a frying pan. Add a small garlic clove, minced, stirring a minute until fragrant. Add 1-2 tbsp. of Bragg’s amino acid sauce. Toss in a couple handfuls of kale (stems removed, chopped). Sautee until wilted. Add a few drops of tobasco, if desired.

Sandwich

 Place a generous dollop of warmed white bean spread over two pieces of toast. Top with cooked kale. Squeeze a splash of lemon over everything and put a slice of lemon on top (optional). I also put a tomato slice on top.

 

Since we have three little kids, it’s hard to go out in the evening. So, I learned to make some gourmet foods at home. Flatbread is one of those foods. The best part about this recipe ( taken from here) is that the bread is easy to make and is gluten-free. Then, you can put whatever you want on top and tell the kids it’s pizza. I like bell peppers, sundried tomato spread, portobello mushrooms, chunks of tofu, onions, tomatoes, zucchinis to top my flatbread…I sometimes put a bit of goat cheese on top and sometimes I forego the cheese altogether and the dish still tastes amazing. The recipe here is a suggestion. Make the basic flatbread and put whatever you want on top. After the bread is made, don’t forget to top it off with arugula leaves, some salt and olive oil.

I also like to quintuple this recipe and freeze the unused portions in ziploc bags. Whenever I need dinner, I thaw some flatbread dough, roll it out and put something on top. Then I bake the flatbread for 10-20 minutes and dinner is ready!

note: you can use 1 egg instead of the psyllium husk

Flatbread:

– 1 cup quinoa flour

-1/2 -1 tsp salt

-1 tbls psyllium husk

-3/4 cup (2 dl) water

Preheat oven to 200 Celsius (400 F).

Mix the salt, psyllium husk and flour together, add the water gradually so that it resembles a thick porridge, wait for a couple of minutes and then spread the batter on to a baking tray lined with baking paper.

Topping

4 tbsp. pesto sauce

1 bell pepper, thinly sliced

1 zucchini, thinly sliced

1/2 medium onion, thinly sliced

1 tomato, thinly sliced

1/3 cup soft goat cheese, crumbled

Arugula leaves, salt, pepper,olive oil

Spread the pesto sauce on top of the flatbread and put all of the veggies on top of the sauce.sprinkle some goat cheese over the veggies and bake at 425 degrees F for 10-15minutes. Take out of the oven and generously put arugula leaves on top. Put salt and pepper to taste.

Fourth of July will be here very soon. Before you start feeling bad for vegetarians, I have a really awesome bean burger recipe to share. It’s is vegan, gluten-free and soy-free. I found this recipe in Vegetarian Times magazine and changed a thing or two. The original recipe asked for quinoa, but I felt that buckwheat, while similar in texture, has a more “meaty” look to it. That, and I had some leftover buckwheat laying around. Enjoy!

Ingredients:

1.5 cup cooked buckwheat

1 cup onions, finely chopped

1/2 cup carrots, grated

1/4 cup sun-dried tomatoes, packed in oil – drained and finely chopped

1.5 cups black beans ( cooked or canned and drained) – I like to use canned spicy beans here

1.5 cups water

2 tsp.   steak seasoning

2 garlic cloves, minced

optional: a few drops of Tabasco sauce

Salt, pepper to taste

Olive oil for oiling the baking dish

Preheat the oven to 350°F. In a medium frying pan, sautee the onions, the tomatoes and the carrots for about 4 minutes, mixing periodically. Use the oil form the tomatoes to sautee. Add the beans, the spices and the water. Simmer for about 5 minutes, or until most of the liquid has evaporated. Transfer the mixture to the food processor, add the buckwheat and process until smooth. Add salt and pepper.

Oil up the baking sheet. Form 8 patties, using your hands. Arrange the patties in the baking sheet. Bake for 20 minutes, or until the patties are crisp on top. Flip the patties and bake for another 10 minutes, until both sides are crisp and brown.

Serve in a whole wheat bun with lettuce and tomato. Mayonnaise, ketchup and cheese are optional.

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 had some roasted vegetables from yesterday. The good thing about these is that you can eat them with virtually anything: pasta, grains or sandwiches can only benefit from a few strips of a freshly roasted sweet pepper or a yummy zucchini. I never tried roasted veggies on a crepe, so it was my mission for today. The result was so ridiculously delicious, that I might try it for lunch tomorrow!

     Buckwheat Crepes Recipe, click here.

 

    Roasted Veggies:

   

Ingredients:

  • 2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
  • 1/3  cup extra-virgin olive oil
  • 3 garlic cloves, pressed
  • 1 teaspoon finely chopped fresh basil
  • 1 yellow bell pepper, cut into 1/2-inch-wide strips
  • 1 red bell pepper, cut into 1/2-inch-wide strips
  • 1 orange bell pepper, cut into 1/2-inch-wide strips
  • 6 asparagus stalks, edges trimmed
  • 1 1-pound eggplant, cut crosswise into 1/2-inch slices
  • 2 medium zucchini cut into 1/3-inch-thick rounds
  • Sea salt and pepper to taste

Whisk vinegar and oil in a medium bowl. Stir in garlic and basil. Add salt and pepper.

Preheat oven to 450°F. Toss the vegetables in a bowl. Add the dressing and toss to coat. Put the vegetables on a baking sheet and roast until  tender and slightly brown around edges, about 35 minutes.

 

Additional ingredients:

2 cups alfalfa sprouts

1/4-1/2 cup sundried tomatoes in oil (just the tomatoes)

1/4 cup diced scallions

3-4 tbsp. pesto sauce

1/4 grated cheese (soy is ok)

Assembly:

Place the roasted veggies on top of a crepe.  Put the sundried tomatoes on top. Use four sundried tomatoes per each crepe. Put the sprouts, the scallions and the cheese on top. Top off with a few tbsp. of pesto sauce.

As a busy mother, I know nothing beats a good casserole when it comes down to a quick and delicious family dinner. This casserole is very easy and is excellent for utilizing leftovers. The vegetables I chose to use this time are more suggestions than musts. Green beans work well, cauliflower is fine corn is delicious and sweet potatoes taste great! Furthermore, you can take any other grain you fancy and use it instead of quinoa, making this casserole into a completely different dish altogether! I am a big fan of millet for this dish, but I also love brown rice. I sometimes use garbanzo beans instead of the multi-colored ones. I usually serve this casserole with a  nice salad of arugula, cucumbers, carrots, celery, avocado and pumpkin seeds with a bit of extra virgin olive oil on top.  Go to the kitchen and begin experimenting!

Ingredients:

  •     3 cups quinoa, cooked in vegetable broth
  •     2 medium sized peppers, chopped
  •     1 medium sized onion, chopped
  •      1 cup thawed green peas (the frozen ones)
  •     2 medium carrots, chopped
  •     1 medium zucchini, chopped
  •     1 can mixed beans, drained and rinsed
  •    4 medium tomatoes, sliced
  •     4 cloves garlic, diced
  •     1/4 cup olive oil
  •     salt to taste
  •     tabasco sauce to taste
  •     curry powder to taste
  •     1 cup of grated cheese ( goat cheese or soy cheese is fine)

Preheat oven to 375 degrees. In a large bowl, mix all chopped vegetables, (except for tomatoes) beans, garlic olive oil and spices.

In a  casserole dish, put the quinoa on the bottom and the vegetable mix on top. Put tomatoes on top. Sprinkle with cheese. Bake for about 45 minutes.

My oldest child is allergic to soy, so I usually make (and devour) these wraps before he has a chance to see them. You can use cooked chicken breast instead of tofu for a pretty good result, too. I also like to use an avocado here, which means the amount of mayonnaise needs to be cut.

Ingredients:

1/2 block extra firm tofu, cut into rectangular strips

1/2 large carrot, grated

1 celery stalk, diced

1 tbsp red onion, diced

1 cup green leaf mix

¼ cup walnuts, crushed

1/4 cup raisins

1/4 cup mayonnaise (soy is ok, too)

1  tsp curry powder

1 tbsp. lemon juice

1 tsp. agave syrup

3  spinach wraps

Salt  to taste

Sauce: Mix the mayo,  the curry powder, the agave,  the lemon juice and the salt together in a small bowl. Cool in the fridge for ten minutes. Spread the sauce on the wrap and place all other ingredients on top. Wrap and serve!

I first tried this dish at Cafe 118 in Winter Park, Florida. It was ridiculously yummy and seemed to be very easy to make.

They used zucchini noodles, which gave this Pad Thai a very smooth texture. At home, i like to use a 50/50 mixture of zucchinis and carrots, or butternut squash for a crunchier bite.  A played with some ingredients at home and here’s what I came up with:

Ingredients

Sauce

  • 1 cup coconut milk ( any other milk would work, too)
  • 1/2 cup  peanut butter  (or any nut butter)
  • 1 tbsp minced fresh ginger
  • 2 tbsp Bragg’s Aminos sauce
  • 1 tsp minced garlic
  • 2 tbsp lime juice
  • 1 tbsp red miso
  • agave syrup to taste (optional)
  •  cayenne pepper to taste
  • 1/2 bunch basil & 2 tbsp chopped cilantro

Noodles

  • 4-5 cups assorted vegetables,  cut with a vegetable peeler for long thin spaghetti-like  strips:  zucchini, carrot, butternut squash, beets, red pepper… Sprouts and red cabbage work, too.
  1. Blend all the sauce ingredients until smooth.
  2.  Toss the noodles with the sauce.
  3. Serve immediately with 1/4 of a lime and/or some peanuts, sprinkled on top (optional)

When you think “salad,” do you visualize a boring pile of vegetables? Or do you imagine your favorite salad that you eat day after day, because you don’t really know how to create anything new? I love “main meal” kind of salads: the ones that include some real food, not just lettuce. There some basic rules to creating a good, healthy salad. Once you are familiar with these, you can let your creativity flow and let me know what kind of super-salads you have created.

The Salad Rules:


1. Pick your greens. 

2. Pick your veggies. Cucumbers, tomatoes, celery, beets, carrots, radishes, even jicama, broccoli florets or zucchini. Experiment with finely diced or coarsely chopped and see what works better for you. Make sure to cover the rainbow of colors – the more colors you have in your salad, the more nutritionally dense it is.

3. Pick your main protein: chicken, tuna, tofu (baked or natural,) hard-boiled egg or beans, chick peas or even a scoop of cooked quinoa.

4. Pick something crunchy: croutons ( I prefer homemade,) almonds, walnuts, pecans, sunflower or pumpkin or sesame seeds, cracker pieces, etc… You can use natural or roasted nuts and seeds. I like to roast them on a dry frying pan for a few minutes.

5. Pick something oily, to balance the crunch. I love avocado, but you can also choose cheese. Goat cheese and feta cheeses work well.

6. Pick the little details. Like accessories to a ball gown, little details  matter a lot in a good salad. Try herbs, such as parsley or basil. Or, try something sweet, such as cranberries (dried) or raisins or apple or strawberry slices. Blueberries work, too and so do raspberries. Maybe, some onions or garlic? Seaweed flakes? Chia seeds? Flaxseed?

7. Dressing. Commercially sold dressings tend to be rich in preservatives and artificial ingredients. I think the best salad dressing is a mixture of cold-pressed organic extra virgin olive oil with some cold-pressed organic flaxseed oil and possibly a bit of lemon or orange juice. Maybe, a bit of Braggs or some sea salt. Sometimes, apple juice works well with the oil. You can also try one of the dressings I featured in this blog: tahini or carrot/ginger: they are fresh and full of nutrients.

image: Master isolated images

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