Monday, April 30, 2012

Hot Broccoli Tofu Dip

For supper tonight, I made cooked tofu and had also pureed broccoli and decided to throw it together because I was too lazy to wash two bowls.  Surprise, surprise. It was delicious! I sprinkled crushed baked tortilla chips on it to add some crunch, or could have scooped up the dip with the chips.   It was definitely ethnically confused : Mexican tortilla chips, East Indian curry and turmeric, and Asian soy sauce and tofu.  It could also be stuffed into a pita pocket bread, adding a mid-Eastern influence, too.  Does this snack qualify as "fusion cuisine"?  

4 cups broccoli florets
1 cup water
1 pkg (12.3 oz) soft tofu
1/2 tsp curry powder
1/4 tsp turmeric
1/4 teaspoon onion powder
1/4 teaspoon garlic powder
1/8 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
2 teaspoons Kikoman reduced-sodium soy sauce
2 teaspoons coconut oil

Drain/squeeze excess water from the tofu.  Mash it up with the seasonings and soy sauce, and let it sit for about 15 minutes to meld the flavors.  Heat the coconut oil over medium heat and add the tofu and cook it for about 15 - 20 minutes, stirring frequently.  I like the tofu to get almost crispy fried, but you can cook it to your heart's fancy.  Tofu is ready to eat without cooking, but the cooking process more thoroughly melds all of the flavors. While the tofu is cooking, put the broccoli and water in a 4-cup glass measuring container and microwave on high power until the broccoli is tender, which is about 10 minutes in my 1984 microwave.  (Don't laugh. My 27 year-old refrigerator still works, too.)   Puree with an immersion blender in the glass measuring cup.  Then stir in the tofu.  Adjust seasonings to match your mood.  Scoop it into a bowl and throw in a few crispy baked chips or similar to give it some crunch.  (The extra garnish is not included in the nutritional analysis.)  Or stuff it into a pita pocket before you stuff it in your mouth.

Servings per recipe: 2
Serving Size: About 1 cup
Calories: 189
Total Fat: 9 g
Cholesterol: 0 mg
Sodium: 309 mg
Total Carbs: 15 g
Dietary Fiber: 6 g
Protein: 14 g

Sunday, April 29, 2012

Curried Carrot Soup

It was 49 degrees in Duluth on Saturday, but the cold wind from Lake Superior made it feel like 30 degrees, so it was soup day for me.  This recipe is a modification from one in The Soup Bible.  I replaced the olive oil with coconut oil, and reduced the amount of vegetable broth to make it creamier.  Yum!  Our daughter-in-love, Kiara, had some tonight and she also thought it was  scrumptious.  

But my brain's pleasure center really lit up when my friend, Tahirih, visited. She is a frequent "juicer" and feels wasteful if she throws out the fiber extracted by her juicing machine.  So she had cooked the mixture of fiber from carrots, tomatoes and I don't remember what else with some spices and then put it in her blender.  But it still had a grainy texture, so she wanted to try using my VitaMix to make it smoother.  Kudos to the VitaMix! It successfully transformed the grainy mixture into a creamy one. So we swirled a bit of that mixture into my curried carrot soup for a richer visual and taste experience.  

As a side note, a couple of weeks ago I had a complete lipid profile analysis, which showed that my consumption of coconut oil has not created any problems for me.  In fact, my HDL, LDL, total cholesterol and triglycerides were all improved since I started to use coconut oil and all are now within optimal range.  See my earlier post about coconut oil and why it is more easily digested by people with pancreatic insufficiency.    

1 Tablespoon coconut oil
2 teaspoons curry powder
1 medium onion, finely chopped
1 Tablespoon chopped fresh ginger
1 pound carrots, peeled and thinly sliced
3 cups low-sodium vegetable broth
2 Tablespoons fresh lemon juice
dash of sea salt
sprinkle of freshly ground black pepper

Optional garnish:  goat yogurt, non-fat yogurt or fat-free feta cheese; parsley or cilantro
(not included in nutritional analysis)

To chop the onion, carrots, and ginger, I used the chopper attachment for my Cuisinart SmartStick and it performed the task quickly and clean up was easy.  Heat the oil in a saucepan and add curry powder, onion and ginger.  Cook until onion is soft.  Add carrots and cook, covered, for 20 minutes, stirring from time to time.  Pour in the broth and bring to a boil.  Simmer for 15 minutes or until carrots are tender.

Blend soup until smooth.  Return to the saucepan and gently reheat.  Stir in the lemon juice and season to taste.  Ladle into bowls and garnish with a swirl of yogurt or sprinkles of fat-free feta cheese and the parsley or cilantro.
Servings per recipe: 4
Serving Size: 1 cup
Calories: 104
Total Fat: 4 g
Cholesterol: 0 mg
Sodium: 187  mg
Total Carbs: 17 g
Dietary Fiber: 5 g
Protein: 2 g

Saturday, April 28, 2012

Spinach Mushroom Soup

I am "coming up for air" after a couple of weeks of pouring over decisions for remodeling our bathrooms.  A tub that leaks in one bathroom and mold-infested walls and a broken exhaust fan in the other bathroom necessitate upgrades.  If I could avoid doing the remodeling, I would, for two reasons. First, the money to upgrade is outrageous, and most days I am content to simply have a roof over my head and clean water when so much of the rest of the world doesn't have either.  Second, the land of fixtures, tiles, and interior design are entirely foreign to me, and it has been a slow learning curve.  I wander much more comfortably in the kingdom of herbs, vegetables, garnishes, kitchen gadgetry, and food preparation techniques. 

Did you miss me while I was on my journey to find my "inner Martha Stewart"?  I have done  minimal food preparation, but one day I did put together this soup and it was tasty enough to share with you. The mushrooms with spinach made a tasty combo.

2 teaspoons coconut oil
1/2 cup chopped celery
1/2 cup chopped yellow onion
1/4 cup chopped  mushrooms
2 cups loosely packed fresh spinach
1 cup vegetable broth

Melt coconut oil in a saute pan.  Add the chopped celery, onion, and mushrooms and saute until tender. Chop the spinach and add it to the other vegetables and cook until  tender.  Put contents into a  4-cup measuring glass with the vegetable broth and cook in microwave until tender.  Puree with an immersion blender.   

Servings per recipe: 1
Serving Size: Approximately 1 1/2 cup
Calories: 150
Total Fat: 9 g
Cholesterol: 0 mg
Sodium: 243 mg
Total Carbs: 15 g
Dietary Fiber: 5 g
Protein: 4 g

Friday, April 13, 2012

Lentil Loaf Make-Over

I have missed eating Lentil Loaf for a very long time. I was first introduced to this healthy entree back in the days when I was a single professional woman living close to Madison, WI,  and exploring a variety of eating styles. A friend gave this recipe to me and it became a "go-to" favorite meal, providing plenty of left-overs that could easily be frozen for later use. When I got married and was raising 3 sons, I continued to make this on occasion and found that at least 2 of the 3 guys liked it, and so did my husband. And when our oldest son married a vegetarian, this became one of her favorite meals at our house. And so I have missed eating this hearty treat because it is filled many things I don't digest well, such as coarsely chopped nuts, whole eggs, lentils with a coarse outer husk, chopped onions, and milk. Last week I determined to find a way to make it digestible for me. I was pleasantly surprised with my first attempt at its make-over! In fact, when Kiara (our daughter-in-love) tried it, she thought it might even be better than the original!

3/4 cup thoroughly cooked brown lentils
3/4 cup finely ground herb seasoned stuffing crumbs
1/4 cup egg white substitute
3/4 cup plain lite soy milk (or fat-free evaporated milk)
3 Tablespoons finely ground almonds or almond meal
2 Tablespoons canola oil
1/2 teaspoon ground sage
1/2 teaspoon onion powder
1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
1/4 teaspoon Morton Nature's Seasons
Plain non-fat yogurt to serve as an accompaniment

Puree the lentils in a food processor or similar. (I used the chopper attachment for my Cuisinart SmartStick and it worked perfectly.  Thoroughly mix all of the ingredients together in a mixing bowl.  Lightly oil a 7 x 11 inch glass baking pan and bake at 350 degrees for about 20 - 30 minutes until the loaf is cooked in the center.  Cut into 6 pieces.  Serve with a side of plain yogurt.

Nutrition: (using soy milk and does not include a side serving of yogurt)
Servings per recipe: 6
Serving Size: 1/6th of the pan (each piece is about 3 1/2 " square depending on size of pan used)
Calories: 153
Total Fat: 6 g
Cholesterol: 0 mg
Sodium: 187 mg
Total Carbs: 16 g
Dietary Fiber: 3 g
Protein: 6 g

Monday, April 9, 2012

Hopeful Spring Smoothie

On Saturday, I had prepared a pureed asparagus soup and a delectable carrot-parsnip puree to be certain I would have what I needed to enjoy my Easter dinner with my family. So I was surprised when I stared at the fabulous fruit platter of fresh pineapple, strawberries, grapes, and mango with envy for my family's ability to eat it with abandon and without concern for an obstruction. Then, oh so slowly, the words from the poem I had read earlier in the day crept into my soul: "Coax joy to spring from my difficulties." "Warm the buds of my relationships so they bloom with healthy love." "Light-filled Being, my Joy and my Hope, let the greening in me begin." (just a few lines from Out of the Ordinary, an exquisite poem, by Joyce Rupp). So later in the day when there was a quiet moment after the guests departed, I made a fruit smoothie with pineapple, strawberries, yogurt, and some shredded unsweetened coconut.  Ah, hope bubbled up with gratefulness.  

1 Tablespoon unsweetened shredded coconut
1/2 cup diced fresh pineapple
3 medium strawberries, stem and core removed
1/4 cup plain non-fat yogurt 

Put all of the ingredients into a blender or food processor and puree your way to sweet hope!

Servings per recipe: 1
Serving Size: About 1 1/2  cup
Calories: 104
Total Fat: 3 g
Cholesterol: 4 mg
Sodium: 45 mg
Total Carbs: 17 g
Dietary Fiber: 2 g
Protein: 4 g

Friday, April 6, 2012

Asparagus Cauliflower Soup technology challenged brain is at work again. I accidentally deleted this from the posts and so I am posting it again.  Take this as an opportunity to try this if you missed it the first time around.  How is that for a spin on the positive?  

Asparagus again?  Yes.  I love it.   This creation resulted from combining several asparagus soup recipes that I saw on SparkPeople, which is the site I use for my recipe calculator.  I was surprised by how well the cauliflower complimented the asparagus.  Easy spring festival! 

20 small spears of fresh asparagus, chopped
1 small head (4" diameter) of cauliflower, chopped (4 cups chopped)
4 cups Emeril's vegetable stock  (it was on sale so I tried it and was quite pleased)
2 medium stalks celery, chopped
1 leek, white and light green part only, sliced/chopped
2 garlic cloves, minced
2 cups water
freshly ground black pepper

Put the chopped cauliflower and the vegetable stock in a big soup pot.  Bring to a boil, then reduce heat and simmer for about 10 minutes.  Add the celery and chopped asparagus stems (reserve the tips) with about 2 cups of water.  Simmer till tender.  Add the asparagus tips, the leeks, and the garlic and simmer until all the vegetables are tender.  Puree, add some freshly ground pepper, and enjoy spring!

Servings per recipe: 6
Serving Size: Almost 1 cup
Calories: 40
Total Fat:  0 g
Cholesterol: 0 mg
Sodium: 410 mg ( use a reduced sodium vegetable broth if desired for less sodium)
Total Carbs:  8 g
Dietary Fiber: 3 g
Protein: 2 g