Monday, November 23, 2009

Sugar Free Miniature Whole Grain Corn Muffins with Stevia - Vegetarian and Vegan Recipes

This recipe makes 9 to 12 large or 24 miniature muffins.

Stevia is a natural herb and a safe replacement for sugar.

This recipe fills 2 miniature muffin pans.

Perfect size to accompany a large Thanksgiving feast.

How to Save Calories on Thanksgiving or Other Multi-Course Meals
Although no one needs bread on Thanksgiving with all of other dishes, we often feel compelled to serve it. One way to prevent over-eating these treasured carbs is to serve them in a "miniature" package. In this recipe, I use miniature muffin tins which allows me to get 24 muffins out of same amount of batter than yields only 9 to 12 regular sized muffins. If you put a large muffin on your plate you'll probably eat it even if you're busting at the seams. If you put a miniature muffin on your plate, you'll get the joy of having some extra carbs with only a fraction of the damage. Most likely, you won't go back for more.

Making Sugar Free Muffins with Stevia Instead of Sugar
Stevia is an herb which has been used to sweeten beverages in Paraguay and Brazil since pre-Columbian times. It's popular in many parts of the world but has been kept a "secret" in this country, in my opinion, by the artificial sweetener and sugar lobbyists. It wasn't until recently that the FDA granted GRAS approval to stevia so that it can be used in "food and beverages" and not just as a "supplement" for which it was previously approved. With its popularity around the world, it has been used in large quantities for many years and has been shown to be completely non-toxic unlike many artificial sweeteners on the market.
When baking with stevia, you do not have the "volume" that you get when using sugar. In this recipe, I replace 1/4 cup of sugar with 6 (1 gram) packets of stevia, 2 tablespoons of applesauce and 2 tablespoons of oat bran. The applesauce and oat bran make up the missing volume nicely.

Fiber Fiber Fiber
As my blog readers know, I think fiber consumption is one of the most important things you can do for health and longevity. This recipe is made with "King Arthur White Whole Wheat Flour" which gives you the delicate mild flavor and light color of white flour but all of the fiber and nutrition of whole wheat. I also use whole grain cornmeal which, I must admit, gives you a very grainy texture. If you don't like the texture of whole grain cornmeal, you can substitute degermed cornmeal but you will not get as much fiber. Try the whole grain cornmeal and see what you think.


Sugar Free Vegetarian Miniature Whole Grain Corn Muffins
[makes 24 miniature muffins]
1 cup white whole wheat flour (or all purpose flour)
1 cup whole grain cornmeal (or degermed cornmeal)
3 teaspoons aluminum free baking powder
1/2 teaspoon sea salt
6 (1 gram) packets stevia extract
2 tablespoons oat bran
2 tablespoons unsweetened applesauce
4 tablespoons virgin olive oil
1 organic, cage free, omega 3 egg, beaten
1 cup 1% organic low fat milk

Preheat oven to 425 degrees. Grease 2 miniature muffin pans that hold 12 muffins each. Place all ingredients in a mixing bowl and blend. Divide batter into 24 miniature muffin tins and bake for 9 minutes or until an inserted toothpick comes out clean. You can also make 9 to 12 large muffins but they will have to cook a little longer, about 12 to 15 minutes. You can also put the batter into an 8 inch square pan and bake 20 to 25 minutes.

Per miniature muffin: 63.9 calories, 2.8 g fat, 0.5 g saturated fat, 9.3 mg cholesterol, 1.8 g protein, 7.9 g carbohydrates and 1 g of fiber.

Sugar Free Vegan Miniature Whole Grain Corn Muffins
[makes 24 miniature muffins]
1 cup white whole wheat flour (or all purpose flour)
1 cup whole grain cornmeal (or degermed cornmeal)
3 teaspoons aluminum free baking powder
1/2 teaspoon sea salt
6 (1 gram) packets stevia extract
2 tablespoons oat bran
2 tablespoons unsweetened applesauce
4 tablespoons virgin olive oil
1 1/2 teaspoons EnerG mixed thoroughly in 2 tablespoons warm water
1 cup organic soy milk

Preheat oven to 425 degrees. Grease 2 miniature muffin pans that hold 12 muffins each. Place all ingredients in a mixing bowl and blend. Divide batter into 24 miniature muffin tins and bake for 9 minutes or until an inserted toothpick comes out clean. You can also make 9 to 12 large muffins but they will have to cook a little longer, about 12 to 15 minutes. You can also put the batter into an 8 inch square pan and bake 20 to 25 minutes. When using EnerG egg replacement, bake the muffins immediately after preparing the batter. If they sit around a while, they may not rise properly.

Per miniature muffin: 60.5 calories, 2.7 g fat, 0.4 g saturated fat, 0 mg cholesterol, 1.5 g protein, 7.5 g carbohydrates and 1 g of fiber.

Sunday, November 22, 2009

Raw Vegan Walnut and Mushroom Pâté -Great Substitute for Chopped Chicken Liver and Pâté du Foie Gras

Healthy Alternative
This veggie pâté has a rich and meaty taste and makes a great appetizer for any guest whether they love to eat meat or avoid it completely. Compared to pâtés made from chicken or goose liver that contain little or no essential fatty acids while being high in cholesterol, this recipe provides 683 mg of omega 3 and 2,891 mg of omega 6 per tablespoon and has zero cholesterol. And once you've soaked the walnuts, it only takes minutes to prepare.


Raw Walnut and Mushroom Pâté
[makes 16 servings, 1 tablespoon each]
1 cup raw English walnuts, soaked for 4 hours
1 cup chopped button mushrooms
2 teaspoons Nama Shoyu soy sauce
1 teaspoon garlic, chopped
1 teaspoon fresh thyme
1/8 teaspoon black pepper (more or less to taste)
1 teaspoon extra virgin olive oil
1 tablespoon minced yellow onion
1 tablespoon chopped parsley

Rinse the soaked walnuts and drain well. Put them in a food processor with an S blade together with mushrooms, Nama Shoyu, garlic, thyme, black pepper and olive oil and process until smooth, scraping down the sides when needed. Add minced onion and parsley and process briefly. Serve as an appetizer with a whole grain vegan baguette or with raw crackers. It can also be used as a vegan sandwich filling.

Per serving: 53.1 calories, 5.2 g fat, 0.5 g saturated fat, 0 g cholesterol, 1.3 g protein, 1.3 g carbohydrates, 0.6 g fiber, 683 mg omega 3 and 2,891 mg omega 6 essential fatty acids.

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Healthy Vegan and Vegetarian Thanksgiving Menu and Recipes

A simple vegan antipasto appetizer.

Vegan split pea soup with carrots.

Vegan stuffed pumpkin with quinoa, pecans, cranberries and apples.

Vegan lemon tahini encrusted baked cauliflower.

Vegan sweet potato casserole with pineapple and pecans.

Garden fresh green beans with garlic, lemon and dill.

Vegan apple and blackberry crisp.

Vegan carrot cake with cashew cream icing.

A Healthy and Vegan Friendly Thanksgiving
If you are hosting a Thanksgiving dinner and have some vegan guests, here's what you need to know. Vegans do not eat any animal products - besides avoiding meat, fish and poultry,(that includes broth made from turkey, chicken or beef), they don't use milk, eggs, cheese, butter and honey (although some vegans eat honey so make sure to check). This menu provides vegan friendly recipes from appetizers to desserts. The quinoa stuffed sugar pumpkin makes a great main entree. Even if you aren't a vegan or vegetarian, these delicious dishes will make your Thanksgiving meal lighter and healthier.

How to Make Your Favorite Recipe Vegan Friendly
To make your own recipes vegan friendly, replace:
* Butter with a vegan buttery spread or olive oil
* Honey with agave syrup
* Eggs with EnerG egg replacer or make an egg by whipping up 1 tablespoon of ground flax seed with 3 tablespoons of water
* Chicken or beef broth with vegetable or mushroom broth
* Ricotta cheese with tofu processed in a food processor
* Cream with silken tofu

Healthy Vegan Thanksgiving Menu
[Please click on the recipe titles to link to the actual recipes and then hit the back arrow to return to this posting].
I love to serve a big Vegan Antipasto when we entertain. For the non-vegans, you can add baby buffalo mozzarella or chunks of provolone. This antipasto is very easy to make and can be assembled in minutes.
One of my favorite soups is Vegan Split Pea Soup with Carrots. You can make this ahead of time and reheat on Thanksgiving day. Or, make it early in the day and leave it in the pot. Set aside and warm it right before dinner.
Main Course
For the main entree we have Vegan Stuffed Pumpkin with Quinoa, Pecans, Cranberries and Apples. This is a very filling dish so if you make all the other side dishes, this recipe will serve 8. I've chosen 3 healthy and fairly easy side dishes to go with the stuffed pumpkin and/or with a traditional turkey. The first is Vegan Lemon Tahini Encrusted Baked Cauliflower. This dish makes a very elegant presentation and slices nicely. Although this recipe usually serves 4, with all the other dishes, a large cauliflower would probably serve 6 to 8. The next dish is Vegan Sweet Potato Casserole with Pineapple and Pecans. This light and healthy casserole will serve 8 and can be made the day before. The last side dish is Garden Fresh Green Beans with Garlic, Lemon and Dill. This recipe will serve 6 to 8.
For dessert we have 2 options. The first is a Vegan Gravenstein Apple and Blackberry Crisp . Of course you can replace the Gravensteins with other apples and you can also replace the blackberries with cranberries or raisins. This recipe serves 6. The second dessert is Vegan Carrot Cake made with a cashew cream icing. The sheet cake can serve up to 30 people so if you have a smaller crowd, pour the entire batter in a 9"x13" pan, make only half the icing and just ice the top. That will still serve up to 20 people but you can eat if for several days or send some home with your guests!

I hope you enjoy these menus for your Thanksgiving or other winter holiday feasts.

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Tuesday, November 10, 2009

A Complete Raw Vegan Thanksgiving or Winter Holiday Menu - From Raw Appetizers to Dessert

Raw sprouted garbanzo hummus appetizer.

Raw crackers with walnuts, veggies and mixed seeds.

Raw walnut and spinach pesto stuffed mushroom appetizer.

Raw pumpkin soup topped with pumpkin seeds and thyme.

Raw vegan turkey lettuce cups with cranberry relish entree.

Raw vegan Waldorf salad with apple chia dressing.

Raw kale salad with fresh corn and red bell peppers.
Pear and apple crisp for dessert. (Or, just make it with pears).

Experience Something New
In 2007 my husband and I were visiting our daughter Linda in New York City. I had just finished writing my dissertation on the “Nutritional Adequacy of a Raw Food Vegan Diet” so I was pretty immersed in raw food. Since Pure Food and Wine, one of my favorite raw food restaurants, was nearby we decided to invite ten members of our family to have a “raw” Thanksgiving. Now you've got to understand, except for me, my husband and my daughter, NONE of these people regularly ate raw vegan or even vegetarian food. I was absolutely delighted when everyone agreed to do something really different and adventurous for this special holiday. It was a fun meal and I will always appreciate and admire all of them for doing this.

Bring a Raw Dish to your Traditional Thanksgiving Gathering
Although Doug and I are certainly not “completely raw” year round, we continue to include an abundance of raw food in our diet. I spend lots of time trying to develop easy, delicious and nutritious raw recipes for my family and my blog followers. Although I don’t expect you to talk your family into a completely raw Thanksgiving, you may want to bring one or more of these delicious and healthy raw dishes to your family’s traditional dinner.

For my Raw Food Enthusiasts
For my many raw food friends, I’ve put together a complete menu for Thanksgiving. There are lots of dishes here so if you aren’t entertaining a big crowd, you may want to cut a few out. If you are hosting a raw food Thanksgiving potluck, hand out the recipes and have everyone bring one of the dishes. There are many other raw recipes on my blog so feel free to substitute. All the recipes are pictured above.

Raw Vegan Thanksgiving Menu
[Please click on recipe titles to link to the actual recipes and then hit the back arrow to return to this posting]
Our first appetizer is Raw Hummus with Sprouted Garbanzo Beans . Begin sprouting 4 days in advance. You can serve this with raw veggie slices or make Raw Crackers with walnuts, veggies and mixed seeds. The raw crackers will have to be started at least a day in advance as they need 6 hours for soaking, and 16 hours for dehydrating (turning them after 8 hours). These two items are the only recipes that take advanced planning. All the others take much less time and can be made the same day. The next appetizer is Walnut and Spinach Pesto Stuffed Mushrooms. Spinach makes a great pesto and is a lot easier to find in the winter months than basil, which is most commonly used in pesto.
Pumpkins are plentiful this time of year and there is nothing more festive than Raw Pumpkin Soup.
Main Course
For the main entree we have Raw Vegan Lettuce Cups with Cranberry Relish. With all of the other side dishes, you only need to plan for one lettuce cup per person. I've chosen two nice side salads to go with the lettuce cups. One is a Raw Vegan Waldorf Salad with Apple Chia Dressing and the other is a Raw Kale, Corn and Red Bell Pepper Salad.
For dessert we have a raw crisp. Follow the recipe for Raw Vegan Pear and Apple Crisp with Raisins . If you are serving the Waldorf salad (which already introduces apples to your meal), you may want to make this crisp with only pears. In this case, omit the apples in the filling and use 6 cups of thinly sliced peeled and cored pears instead of 3 cups. We've made it with just pears and it comes out great.

Two More Great Thanksgiving Recipes
I'm updating this post to add two more raw Thanksgiving recipes that I think you'll love.
The first is a Raw Vegan Brussels Sprouts Salad with Orange Chia Seed Vinaigrette. This light and colorful salad also has slivered almonds and dried cranberries so I hope you'll check out this November 10, 2010 posting.
The other recipe is a beautiful Raw Vegan Pecan Tart. These elegant tarts are very rich so a little goes a long way, especially after a big Thanksgiving meal. I just posted them on November 8, 2010 so I hope you'll give them a try!

To my followers in the U.S., Happy Thanksgiving. To my followers in the rest of the world, I hope you enjoy this menu for any of your winter holiday celebrations! Check out more raw food recipes on my blog.

Monday, November 09, 2009

Raw Vegan Turkey Lettuce Cups with Cranberry Relish - A Great Main Entrée for a Raw Thanksgiving

A Great Raw Thanksgiving Entrée
I've been developing a raw Thanksgiving menu over the last few months (which I will publish shortly) and although it's easy to come up with appetizers, soups, salads and even desserts, it was really hard to think of something that would pass for an entrée. Since my favorite "meaty" raw meal is raw tacos, I thought I could get the same effect by using raw walnuts and poultry seasoning to simulate crumbled turkey. I put it in a lettuce cup with a dollop of raw cranberry relish and voila, a satisfying and meaty tasting Thanksgiving dish. OK, it's not baked turkey and gravy but I thought it made a better presentation than a pile of faux stuffing which was my second choice. And, unlike so many raw recipes, it takes minutes to prepare which is important on a day that you'll be preparing lots of dishes.

It's Not Just for Thanksgiving
These lettuce cups are also great for lunch or dinner. You can even put the mixture in endive and serve as an appetizer. This recipe provides large amounts of omega 6 and omega 3 fatty acids in a perfect 4:1 ratio as added bonus!


Raw Vegan Turkey Lettuce Cups with Cranberry Relish [makes 4 lettuce cups]
For the Crumbled Turkey
1 cup raw English walnuts
3/4 teaspoons dried sage*
1/4 to 1/2 teaspoon fresh thyme, chopped*
2 teaspoons Nama Shoyu soy sauce
pinch of black pepper
4 small leaves butter lettuce, cleaned
* 1 teaspoon of poultry seasoning can be substituted for the sage and thyme
For the relish [makes enough for 12 or more lettuce cups]
12 oz package of fresh cranberries, rinsed under cold water and drained
10 Medjool dates, pitted and chopped

Combine the walnuts, sage, thyme, Nama Shoyu and black pepper in a food processor with an S blade and process until it resembles crumbled ground turkey. Do not over process. Remove and set aside. Rinse out the food processor to make the relish.
Combine the cranberries and pitted dates in the food processor and process until it reaches the desired consistency. This will make more than needed.
To assemble the lettuce cups, divide the turkey crumble into the center of 4 leaves of butter lettuce. Put a heaping tablespoon of cranberry relish in each cup and serve. In a big Thanksgiving dinner with several courses, plan on making one lettuce cup per person. As a whole lunch or dinner, make 2 per person.

Per lettuce cup: 208.3 calories, 19 g fat, 1.8 g saturated fat, 0 mg cholesterol, 4.5 g protein, 8.5 g carbohydrates, 2.7 g fiber, 2.7 g omega 3 and 11.1 g omega 6 fatty acids.

Sunday, November 08, 2009

Raw Cranberry Relish and Low Sugar Cranberry Sauce

Cranberries Have Important Medicinal Properties
Cranberries can be very helpful in preventing urinary tract infections. Cranberry juice and cranberry supplements are often used for this purpose. This powerful "cousin of the blueberry" contains proanthocyanidins or "PACS" that prevent certain bacteria, like E. coli, from sticking to the walls of the urinary tract. E. Coli are responsible for over 80% of urinary tract infections. If you don't want to drink cranberry juice every day, you can take cranberry supplements. I took CranActin by Solaray for many years and found the product to be very effective. I'm sure there are other good brands available also.

High in Antioxidants
A study revealed that cranberries were found to have an extremely high level of antioxidant phenols. They had five times the antioxidant content of broccoli! Antioxidants reduce free-radical and oxidative damage.

Lowers Bad Cholesterol
Cranberries are high in flavonoids which help prevent bad cholesterol (LDL) which can lead to artheroscierosis. This "hardening of the arteries" can result in a stroke or cardiovascular disease.

Cranberry Recipes
Below are two cranberry recipes. The first one is a simple raw relish. Sweetened by dates, it can be made in minutes. Feel free to add apples or pecans to this relish but grind the cranberries and dates first, add chopped apples and pecans and process again, briefly.
The cooked cranberry sauce below uses apple juice, liquid stevia and a reduced amount of sugar to sweeten the dish. The popular recipe on the back of cranberry packages uses 1 cup of sugar where this recipe uses one third of the amount. A serving of this recipe is only 66 calories versus 116 calories in the original recipe. Dieters and diabetics can eliminate all of the sugar and use more stevia. That would reduce the calories to only 19 per serving. Stevia is a natural herb and considered one of the safest sugar substitutes. Use a few drops at a time as too much stevia can have the reverse effect and make your dish bitter. A brand that I like is Stevita liquid extract. I use only 2 or 3 drops to sweeten my morning tea. When baking, I generally use powdered stevia and mix it in the flour. There are now many brands of both powdered and liquid stevia now that it has been approved by the FDA.


Raw Cranberry Relish [serves 12]
12 oz package of fresh cranberries
10 Medjool dates, pitted and chopped

Wash cranberries. Place in a food processor with the Medjool dates and process until you reach the desired consistency. You can make this ahead of time so just refrigerate until needed. (If desired, you may add chopped apples and pecans and process again briefly.)

Per Serving: 68 calories, 0 g fat, 0 g saturated fat, 0 mg cholesterol, 0 g protein, 18 g carbohydrates and 2.7 g of fiber.

Low Sugar Cranberry Sauce [serves 8]
12 oz package of fresh cranberries
1 cup organic apple juice *
1/3 cup Sucanat or other organic cane sugar
Stevia to taste for added sweetness

* You may substitute orange juice for the apple juice and add 1 teaspoon of orange zest

Wash cranberries. Place in a small saucepan with apple juice and sugar. Bring to a boil and cook until all the cranberries pop and the sauce thickens (about 4 or 5 minutes). Add stevia to taste. Don't add too much or it can taste bitter. You can make this ahead of time so refrigerate until needed.

Per serving: 66 calories, 0 g of fat, 0 g saturated fat, 0 mg cholesterol, 0 g protein, 16.3 g carbohydrates and 1.5 g fiber.

Thursday, November 05, 2009

Healthy Vegan Sweet Potato Casserole - Low in Sugar, Fat and Calories, High in Flavor and Nutrition

You can garnish this casserole with chopped raw pecans.

Remove skin from the baked sweet potatoes.

Add pineapple, cinnamon, salt and a little vegan buttery spread.

Naturally Sweet and Creamy
I've always wondered why so many sweet potato recipes add large amounts of sugar, syrup, butter and cream. To me, this healthy root vegetable is amazingly sweet and creamy just baked in their skins. It's especially important not to overdo the fat and calories in each of the many side dishes during the holidays and this is a popular side dish on Thanksgiving and other winter holiday meals. (For other healthful Thanksgiving recipes, check out my 2009 Thanksgiving Menu and my 2010 Thanksgiving Menu).Every time you can keep yourself from adding a stick of butter or a cup of sugar in a recipe, you are way ahead of the game. And in this dish, it isn't needed at all. Sweetness comes from the sweet potatoes and pineapple. With only 2 teaspoons of a vegan buttery spread, this dish is very low in fat and has no cholesterol.

It's a Meal by Itself
One of our favorite mid-week meals is a huge baked sweet potato and a head of steamed broccoli tossed in lemon juice, olive oil and a little sea salt. We occasionally top the sweet potato with chopped nuts or for a hearty meal, we top it with vegetarian baked beans. Sweet potatoes have no fat and are a good source of fiber, vitamin B6 and potassium. They are a very good source of vitamin A, vitamin C and manganese. Only one cup of cooked sweet potato gives you almost 8 times your daily requirement of vitamin A.


Sweet Potato Casserole [serves 8]
4 large sweet potatoes (about 3 1/2 pounds)
1 8 ounce can of unsweetened crushed pineapple
2 teaspoons of Earth Balance or other vegan buttery spread
1/4 to 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon (to taste)
1/2 teaspoon sea salt (or to taste)
1/4 cup raw pecans, chopped

Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Wash sweet potatoes and place them on a foil lined shallow roasting pan. Do not peel. Bake for 1 1/2 hours or until a fork easily pierces the potatoes. Let cool enough so that you can handle and remove potato skin. Drain the pineapple but reserve the juice in case you need more moisture for the casserole. Add crushed pineapple, buttery spread, cinnamon and salt to the potatoes and mash until smooth. If needed, add some or all of the reserved pineapple juice. Place in a lightly greased casserole dish and warm (covered) in a 350 degree oven for 20 to 30 minutes. Or, you can cover and refrigerate and warm it the next day. Garnish with pecans right before serving.

Per serving: 153.6 calories, 1.6 g fat, 0.3 g saturated fat, 0 g cholesterol, 2.6 g protein, 33.3 g carbohydrates and 2.4 g of fiber.

Per serving with pecans: 177.2 calories, 4.1 g fat, 0.5 g saturated fat, 0 g cholesterol, 2.9 g protein, 33.7 g carbohydrates and 2.7 g of fiber.

Tuesday, November 03, 2009

Raw Vegan Pumpkin Soup

Getting Ready for the Holidays
It's November and soon my favorite holiday will be here - Thanksgiving. I'll be publishing healthy and delicious recipes that you can prepare for this special day or for any of your favorite holiday meals. This raw pumpkin soup is part of the Raw Vegan Thanksgiving and Winter Holiday Menu. This thick and creamy soup provides 150% of your daily requirement of vitamin A - a key vitamin important for vision, growth and development, healthy skin and immune function. It's also high in vitamin C. Feel free to replace the pumpkin with butternut or other winter squash.


Raw Vegan Pumpkin Soup [serves 4]
3 cups raw pumpkin or butternut squash, peeled and diced
1 1/2 cups fresh or frozen (and thawed) yellow corn
3/4 cups diced red bell pepper
2 1/2 cups fresh apple juice
2 1/2 teaspoons fresh ginger, minced
2 1/2 teaspoons fresh garlic, minced
1/2 to 1 teaspoon sea salt (or to taste)
1/2 cup mashed avocado
2 teaspoons raw pumpkin seeds for garnish
1 teaspoon fresh thyme, chopped, for garnish

In a high speed blender, combine pumpkin, corn, red bell pepper, apple juice, ginger, garlic, salt and avocado. Process for several minutes, until smooth. (If too thick, add more apple juice). Divide into 4 soup bowls and garnish with raw pumpkin seeds and fresh thyme.

Per serving: 211.5 calories, 5.8 g fat, 0.8 g saturated fat, 0 mg of cholesterol, 3.8 g protein, 39.1 g carbohydrates, 3.9 g fiber, 7,457 IU vitamin A and 51.3 mg of vitamin C.