Cooking Delights

Wednesday, August 30, 2006

Muffins, a great salad and pad thai

First up, these muffins were blogged by Carrie over at the house of Simon. I made these muffins super healthy by changing the recipe slightly. I put 1/2 of the sugar they called for. I replaced 1/2 cup of oil with 1/2 cup of apple sauce. I also changed the 1 1/2 cups of white flour to half a cup each of whole wheat, spelt and white flour. They were so delicious. I loved the crumb topping made of pecans, sugar, oil and cinnamon. My hubby thought they were tasted too good to be good for him.

Next was a creative salad from yesterday. I put diced pears and walnuts on top of baby greens. Yummy! I also added some umph to that store bought pizza by piling on my own toppings!

For lunch today I made pad thai. This is an old favourite recipe from 125 best vegan. I don't think I have tried a recipe that tops this one.

Tuesday, August 29, 2006

A couple of dinners, and.....

Here are a couple of dinners that I have made over the last little while. The first is a spinach salad with a black bean salad and Miss Vickies roasted red pepper potatoe chips. The creamy orange-poppy seed dressing is taken from Dreena Burton's Vive le Vegan I highly recommend this salad dressing. You can load it on because the creamy part is tofu! I used mori nu, it is the best tofu for stuff like this. Spinach is one of those wonder foods, it prevents cancer, helps improve bone density, helps improve cardiovascular health, prevents cancer and makes you smarter. The black beans in the other salad are a very good source of cholesterol-lowering fiber, as are most other legumes. In addition to lowering cholesterol, black beans' high fiber content prevents blood sugar levels from rising too rapidly after a meal, making these beans an especially good choice for individuals with diabetes, insulin resistance or hypoglycemia. The black beans are also loaded with antioxidants.

The second meal is just a simple salad loaded with fresh produce from our garden - tomatoes and zucchini. Also for additional nutritional punch I sprinkled the salad with hemp seed nuts and walnuts. Walnuts are a fantastic way to add those essential omega 3 fatty acids to your diet. Hemp seed nuts are also a source of omega 3's, you get 250 mgs of omega 3's in one 1/4 cup serving. Hemp Seed Nut also contains the rare fatty acid Gamma-Linolenic Acid (GLA). The second salad is made with tomatoes and cucumbers from our garden with a few sliced olives added in for extra flavour. Olives are a very good source of monounsaturated fats and a good source of vitamin E. Because monounsaturated fats are less easily damaged than polyunsaturated fats, it's good to have some in our cells' outer membranes and other cell structures that contain fats, such as the membranes that surround the cell's DNA and each of its energy-producing mitochondria. The stability of monounsaturated fats translates into a protective effect on the cell that, especially when combined with the antioxidant protection offered by vitamin E, can lower the risk of damage and inflammation. I served this with some tofu coated with the tofu coating from the Fresh at Home recipe book. I have totally been craving Fresh lately, I will have to make a trip soon, that is for sure.

The last part of this post is for Vegan Diva. She loves a good deal so I had to post the first thing I baked in my new bread machine. This is honey oat bread. I made it in my new to me bread machine. Hubby picked it up at Value Village for $24.99! Watch out for pizza again!

Thursday, August 24, 2006

Creamy Garlic Tomato Sauce

This is Dreena Burton's Creamy Garlic Tomato Sauce from The Everyday Vegan. I put fresh herbs from my herb garden on top after cooking the pasta and sauce so that the herbs would be more flavourful. This recipe has three whole bulbs of roasted garlic. Numerous studies have demonstrated that regular consumption of garlic lowers blood pressure, and decreases platelet aggregation, serum triglycerides and LDL-cholesterol (the potentially dangerous form) levels while increasing serum HDL-cholesterol (the protective form) and fibrinolysis (the process through which the body breaks up blood clots), and stimulating the production of nitric oxide in the lining of blood vessel walls, which helps them to relax. As a result of these beneficial actions, garlic helps prevent atherosclerosis and diabetic heart disease, and reduces the risk of heart attack or stroke.

I served this pasta with a big salad from our garden with shredded jicima on top.


On Sunday I had my sister and her boyfriend for lunch. It was a lot of fun planning a menu and sharing food with them. Plus they brought me a yummy gift, organic pear juice... I have really been enjoying that!

On the menu were a lot of different things. I served two salads. The first was a mixed red and green leaf salad with parselyt, shredded beets, orange tomatoes from our garden. I served it with a simple vinegrette. Next up was a Cool Cucmber Tomato Toss from Dreena's Everyday Vegan. I made this salad with tomatoes and cucumbers from our garden but I had to venture out to the grocery store for the rest of the ingredients. This salad also had jicima in it. Jicama, a legume, is grown for the large tuberous roots which can be eaten raw or cooked and are used as a source of starch. Jicima is a good source of fiber and vitamin C.

I also served tapenade, puff pastry pizzas, and peach pie for dessert.

Monday, August 21, 2006

Pho Hung

Saturday my daughter, husband and I decided to head into Toronto for dinner. Destination Pho Hung. We had a great time at one of our old favourites. I ordered the tofu vermicelli bowl with an avacado shake. Yummy!

Blogger is finally working for me again! I have a whole back log of entries I am dying to get up here! I don't know what was going on for me before, every time I would try to upload an image safari would quit on me. Anyway, I sure am glad it is working again!

Saturday, August 19, 2006

Beets and Spinach

I finally got my hands on Dreena Burton's The Everyday Vegan. With it came new ideas and new recipes. I love the idea of grating beets to put them on your salad. The sweet taste of beets reflects their high sugar content; they have the highest sugar content of all vegetables, yet are very low in calories. These colorful root vegetables contain powerful nutrient compounds that help protect against heart disease, birth defects and certain cancers, especially colon cancer.The pigment that gives beets their rich, purple-crimson color--betacyanin--is also a powerful cancer-fighting agent. Beets' potential effectiveness against colon cancer, in particular, has been demonstrated in several studies.

The pasta is Dreena's Mediterranean Pasta found in The Everyday Vegan as well. I loved the large amounts of basil and spinach in this pasta. Researchers have identified at least 13 different flavonoid compounds in spinach that function as antioxidants and as anti-cancer agents. Lutein, a carotenoid protective against eye diseases such as age-related macular degeneration and cataract, is found in green vegetables, especially spinach. Cooked spinach is an excellent source of iron. Although Popeye ate spinach to boost his strength, it's more important for menstruating women, who are more at risk for iron deficiency

Friday, August 18, 2006


"If you love deeply, you will grieve deeply. If you deny your grief, you deny the reality of the love you felt."
Diana McKendree

I decided to write a eulogy for my bread machine because a ceremony would necessarily carry on for many hours, which just wasn't bearable. How can a single eulogy sum up my bread machine's life and spirit? My bread machine was a faithful and loyal companion to our family.

When my bread machine died tragically a few days ago, it came as a profound sense of loss. The pan seized after a long and difficult fight. Despite treatment with WD40 the pan was not able to recover. I regret that my beloved bread machine will not knead bread again.

The loss of my bread machine has been difficult. In the days following the death of my bread machine I was forced to resort to making pizza on store bought pita bread.

I want to take this opportunity to thank my bread machine for your special blends of multigrain and spelt pizza dough, raisin bread, panettone, and my favourite honey oat bread. Your contribution to the joy of this family is duly noted and will be very much missed but not forgotten.

Thursday, August 17, 2006

The Salad is the Main Dish!

I have been reading Dr. Joel Fuhrman's Eat to Live and one of the things that he said that really struck me was make salad the main dish. It got mt thinking about the way I plan my meals...always around the main dish, which is almost never a salad. The salad is usually an afterthought. So then I thought, what if I planned my meals around my salad?

As soon as I shifted my thinking, this delicious salad popped into my head. This salad is an all-time favourite. My daughter even made up a song about this salad which we affectionately called, "the Mango song." My daughter has received numerouse requests for the song she used to sing as a toddler picking the mangos right out of the salad singing, "mango, mango, mango song."

Here I have created the mango salad with red and green leaf lettuce, mangos and a small sprinkling of feta cheese and pecans. Now, I have lots of room for improvement because Dr. Fuhrman certainly wouldn't advocate any animal products and I sprinkled my salad with feta cheese. Also, he certainly wouldn't approve of the amount of oil in this dressing. Good nutrition is always a process, so all in good time. Here is the recipe for the dressing. The dressing is taken from Rose Reisman's The Art of Living Well. The dressing really makes this salad.

2 tbsp. balsamic vinegar
2 tbsp. olive oil
1 tbsp. honey
2 tsp. sesame oil
1 tsp. minced garlic

In a small bowl whisk together vinegar, olive oil, honey, sesame oil and garlic. Pour over salad.

Dr. Joel Fuhrman advocates a diet rich in whole fresh fruits and vegetables. He argues that most vegetables contain more nutrients per calorie than any other food and are a rich in all necessary amino acids. Apparently, of any beneficial food, raw vegetable consumption showed the strongest protective effect against cancer. Fuhrman sites leafy greens such as romaine lettuce, kale, collards, swiss chard and spinach as the most nutrient-dense of all foods.

So, eat your salads! Plan your meals around them!

Wednesday, August 16, 2006

Tomato Soup, not from a can...

The tomatoes are coming fast and furious from our garden. As you have seen in previous posts we are eating many of them in fresh salads. I had a bit of a back log growing in my fridge so I decided to make some tomato soup.

Tomatoes are one of the healthiest vegetables, technically a fruit, around because of the lycopene found in them. This carotenoid found in tomatoes (and everything made from them) has been extensively studied for its antioxidant and cancer-preventing properties. The antioxidant function of lycopene - its ability to help protect cells and other structures in the body from oxygen damage - has been linked in human research to the protection of DNA (our genetic material) inside of white blood cells. Prevention of heart disease has been shown to be another antioxidant role played by lycopene.

Here is the recipe for this soup, veganized from The French Culinary Institute's Salute to Healthy Cooking (Rodale):

Fresh Tomato Soup
Serves 4

2 teaspoons olive oil
1 medium onion, thinly sliced
5 medium very ripe tomatoes, cored and
cut into 8 pieces each
1 clove garlic, crushed
1 sprig fresh thyme, chopped
pinch of sugar
2 1/2 cups vegetable stock
1/2 cup soy milk (optional)
salt and pepper to taste
4 sprigs fresh chervil or 12 leaves fresh flat-leaf parsley

Warm the oil in a medium nonstick saucepan over medium-
low heat. Add the onions and cook for 10 minutes or until
very soft but not brown. Add the tomatoes, garlic, thyme
and sugar. Raise the heat to medium and simmer for 10
minutes. Stir in the stock and bring to a boil, then boil for
two minutes. Remove from heat and cool slightly.

Transfer to a blender or food processor fitted with the metal
blade. Process until smooth.

Strain the soup through a medium fine sieve into a clean
saucepan. Bring to a boil over medium-high heat. Reduce
the heat to medium-low. Stir in the milk (if using). Season
with the salt and pepper. Simmer for 1 minutes.

Place equal portions in each of 4 shallow soup bowls.
Garnish the chervil or parsley.

Tuesday, August 15, 2006

Stuffed Zucchini and Zucchini flowers

Lunch today was almost totally from our garden. We feasted on stuffed zucchini, zucchini flowers, fresh lettuce and tomatoes from our garden. I stuffed the zucchini with the recipe for stuffed peppers found in Vegan with a Vengance. It has, are you ready for this, can you guess it? Why yes, it has quinoa in it! It also has black beans. So it is quite a nutrient dense meal. I have been reading Joel Furhman's Eat to Live, and he talks a lot about the nutrient density of your food. I chose to garnish the salad with almonds and pumpkin seeds in an effort to eat more nuts and seeds. Pumpkin seeds are one of the healthiest seeds around...they actually help to lower cholesterol. Almonds, the queen of nuts, also help to lower LDL (that's the lethal kind) cholesterol. Eating fresh, organically grown vegetables, whole grains and legumes, as found in this meal, results in a lower risk of many types of cancers and chronic diseases, and promotes healthy aging and higher energy levels.

Sunday, August 13, 2006

Date Night

...or what not to eat at Fressen's. My husband treated me to dinner at Fressen's last night, but unfortunately, besides the soup, I ordered all wrong. It was such a disappointing night. Still the food looks fantastic.

Disappointment began when our waitress told me that I couldn't have the lemonade that she had offered me only minutes earlier. Apparently they were all out. Instead I ordered a grapefruit juice. It was good, but I could have made it at home and it was nowhere as impressive as their apple ginger juice.

The hit of the night was the sweet potato, ginger soup made with coconut milk. This was totally delicious, but again, I could have made it myself at home. Honestly though it was so good that hubby had to stop me from licking the bowl.

This peppery rocket arugula dressed in a cranberry vinaigrette with pears, pumpkin seeds and seared tempeh in a poppadum canoe didn't seem very peppery or rocket like. I thought it was good, but just not overly impressive. It did reassure me that I do like tempeh, a lot. I am actually totally convinced that there was something wrong with the tempeh that I purchased to cook myself now that I have tasted good tempeh.

These deep fried tofu bundles stuffed with minced pineapple on a sweet orange glaze were pretty good. Hubby didn't like it. The sweet orange glaze and minced pineapple were good, but there was another sauce that wasn't as sweet for my liking.

The warm avocado and corn salsa sandwiched between fluffy spinach blinis accented with pepper pures was so so. The taste of the salsa was kind of off. The spinach blinis were really tasty.

The absolute disaster of the night was the seared home made gluten-roast on candied orange yams with a red wine and shiitake glaze. It was listed under vegetables for some reason. I wanted to try gluten... but since have firmly decided that I don't like faux meats one little bit. There is a reason I am vegetarian and that is because I don't like meat. This faux roast grossed both of us right out the door. The texture was so unbelievably meat-like. Even the way it cut and broke off seemed way too much like meat.

Hubby told me I have lost my ordering privileges. I don't blame him.

Friday, August 11, 2006

Black-eyed Pea and Quinoa Croquettes with Mushroom Sauce

I cooked up this little number from Vegan with a Vengance, for today's dinner. It was a nice change from what we have been eating lately because it was actually cool enough today to turn on the oven in the kitchen. Black eye peas are a very good source of cholesterol-lowering fiber. They also help manage managing blood-sugar disorders since their high fiber content prevents blood sugar levels from rising rapidly after a meal.

Quinoa, quinoa, let me sing your praises! What vegetarian doesn't love quinoa our beautiful complete protein? Did you know quinoa is technically not a grain? It is actually a relative of the green leafy vegetables such a kale! Quinoa is a very good source of magnesium, the mineral that relaxes blood vessels. This can help reduce migraines and improves cardiovascular health.

By the way, the mushroom sauce for this meal was yummy! I also tried a new salad dressing for my salad - PC honey dijon, definitely tasted great on our garden lettuce and tomatoes!

Thursday, August 10, 2006

What have I been eating lately?

Our garden is in full swing right now. We have been enjoying fresh salad straight from the garden every day. My daughter has been eating multiple plates full of the green leafy lettuce. Here are some photos of the combinations. Salad and pita pizzas. Dreena's quinoa salad on green leaf lettuce. Salad with tomatoes (also from the garden) with breaded zucchini. Simple meals for summer.

Oh by the way, those tomatoes in the last photo really are orange! Isn't that cool?

Have I told you how much I love pie?

Pie has to be my favourite dessert. There really aren't many nutritionally redeeming qualities about pie. It is still one of my favourite baked desserts. I bought a basket of Ontario peaches when we were away camping and I was not at all upset that they were not good enough to eat. I simply sliced them up for pie. It was delicious. I have such fond memories of my Mom and Grandma making pies at the cottage in the summer. Every combination you can imagine. Peach, peach and blueberry, peach and blackberry. MMMMMMMmmm I love pie.

Thursday, August 03, 2006

Organic Kamut and Quinoa Pasta

I picked up this Eden pasta at the health food store. I love alternative grains from the traditional whole wheat and multigrain varieties of pastas. Kamut is a relative of durum wheat but with 20-40% more protein, and is also higher in lipids, amino acids and vitamins and minerals. It is a great alternative to wheat. This was a delicious pasta topped with fresh veggies and a pesto sauce.

We're off camping for a few days. I'll see you all soon.

Tuesday, August 01, 2006

Can you help my amazing coach?

My dissertation coach is a foodie just like us! She is trying to convince the meat-eating lovers of Argentina to eat more fresh food and veggies. Gayle is an amazing cook and does incredible things with herbs and flowers. Slow Food, the organization she is preparing a special menu for looks like a fantastic organization too. She probably doesn't need any help, but if you have any suggestions, leave them in the comments! Here is her original request:

I really am doing my part to convince these beef-crazy folks to eat more vegggies!!! Last night I fixed a wonderful pumpkin-tomato soup (pureed) with a touch of honey from a cook book by Crescent Dragonwagon. . . yummy!!! And I convinced the organizer of the new Slow Food Chapter in Rosario to let me plan a menu (since the last two had nothing fresh or green!!!). . . and it will be a dinner with flowers in every thing. . . an international chef at the most prestigious hotel and I will be selecting the dishes...I've got one books specifically on flowers in the kitchen plus lots of herbals....if you have any tips or recipes, I'll take them!

p.s. I already directed her to the zucchini flower recipe below!

Zucchini Flowers

Yesterday my awesome friend and extremely knowledgeable nutritionist reminded me that I can eat the flowers of my zucchini plants. You should have seen the look on my husband's face when I told him we were having zucchini flowers for dinner. Anyway, these babies turned out totally delicious. I can't wait to make more. I just breaded them with some sprigs of fresh rosemary and sage from my herb garden and fried them with a bit of olive oil. I served them up with a salad (lettuce from our garden) topped with avacado, yellow pepper, hemp seed nuts and pecans. It was a wonderfully light dinner for a hot, hot day. This morning I was going to bake something with the large zucchini gifted to me, however it is so hot here already that there is no way anybody sane would turn on their oven (unless they had air conditioning of course).