Tuesday, July 31, 2012

Whole Grain Weetabix Turns Your Morning Fruit Salad Into A Hearty Vegan Breakfast!

Weetabix turns your fruit salad into a hearty, vegan breakfast!

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Have you tried Weetabix?
I discovered and enjoyed Weetabix breakfast cereal a while back while visiting London. I was thrilled to find it when I got back to the U.S. 
Two of these delicate whole grain treats have only two grams of sugar while providing 4 grams of protein and 4 grams of fiber. If you can eat wheat (these are not for those of you who are gluten intolerant), they can make a very healthy addition to your breakfast repertoire. 

The Weetabix company began as the British and African Cereal Company in 1932 and became available in the US in 1968. Today their products are offered in over 80 countries.

My New Favorite Way to Eat Weetabix
The other night I had a dream that I was layering fresh fruit with crumbled Weetabix biscuits. (I know, a compressed biscuit of wheat isn't as sexy as dreaming of Brad Pitt but hey, that's just who I am). That next morning, as soon as I woke up, I gave it a try. (The recipe, not Brad Pitt - just to clear that up). The result was a delicious, hearty breakfast with 3 servings of fruit layered with wholesome whole wheat goodness topped with heart-healthy, non-dairy, organic soy milk. The first day I made this, I just topped it with a few more blueberries but today I made it even more hearty by topping it with some raw English walnuts and hemp seeds. Here's what I did:

To make 2 servings you'll need:
 4 Weetabix biscuits
2 cereal bowls
 1 large peach, thinly sliced and chopped
1/2 cup of fresh blueberries (or strawberries)
 1 banana, thinly sliced
2 tablespoons or more of chopped, raw English walnuts
2 tablespoons raw hemp seeds
Your favorite non-dairy milk
Cover the bottom of each bowl with 1/4 of the sliced peach.
Crumble 1/2 Weetabix biscuit over each bowl of peaches. 
Add half of the blueberries to each bowl.
Crumble another 1/2 biscuit over each bowl of blueberries.
Add half of the sliced banana to each bowl.
Crumble another 1/2 biscuit over each bowl of sliced bananas.
Divide the remaining peach slices among the 2 bowls.
Crumble another 1/2 biscuit over the peaches in each bowl.
Top with English walnuts and hemp seeds or just a few more blueberries.
Right before eating, add desired amount of non-dairy milk.
Weetabix gets soggy so don't add it until you're ready to eat.
If possible, eat your breakfast in the sunshine!

Tuesday, July 24, 2012

Celebrate Peach Season With Baby Arugula And Peach Salad - Raw, Vegan And Gluten Free!

Arugula and peach salad with slivered almonds.

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Peaches are in Season
On Sunday you could find peaches at almost every stand at the local farmer's market. In Sonoma county, everyone waits for Dry Creek peaches. Last year, while in Colorado, I was introduced to the wonderful Palisades peach. No matter what peach you have access to in your local area, they are a welcome sight when they finally arrive! And they pair beautifully with arugula in this quick and easy salad.

Arugula - A Nutritious Green!
Arugula, also known as rocket, has a peppery and slightly bitter flavor. Some people are put off by the bitterness of arugula while others are drawn to it for that very reason. If you haven't acquired a taste for bitter greens quite yet, try mixing them in with spring greens. I must admit, I wasn't always an arugula fan but now I love the taste, especially of delicate baby arugula.

Arugula is packed with nutrients. It's a very good source of vitamin A, C, K, folate, calcium, iron and potassium. It even provides some omega-3 fatty acid!  A two ounce serving of arugula is only 14 calories yet it provides:

1328 IU vitamin A 
8.4 mg vitamin C
61 mcg vitamin K 
54 mcg folate 
90 mg calcium 
206 mg potassium 
.8 mg iron
95 mg omega-3 fatty acid

Arugula and Fresh Peaches
I got the idea of pairing arugula and peaches from a recent recipe in the Press Democrat. Sadly, like so much of the rich food in wine country, they felt compelled to mask the beautiful, natural flavor of these 2 ingredients with prosciutto and goat cheese. I know some of you are saying, "yummm, prosciutto and goat cheese". Well, if those are your favorite food groups - go for it. But here's a light and healthy version of this recipe that I think you'll enjoy. 

Baby Arugula and Peach Salad
Raw Vegan, Gluten Free
[makes 4 servings]

2 small peaches, pitted, peeled and sliced
1 tablespoon freshly squeezed lemon juice
8 ounces baby arugula, cleaned
1 tablespoon plus 1 teaspoon cold pressed hemp oil or extra virgin olive oil
salt to taste
2 tablespoon slivered almonds (or raw pecans or walnuts)

Place peeled peaches in a small bowl and toss with lemon juice. Set aside.
Place arugula in a salad bowl and toss with oil and salt until nicely coated. Transfer to 4 plates.
Divide and mound peaches over arugula along with remaining juices. 
Top with nuts and serve.

Per serving (using hemp oil): 103 calories, 6.9 g fat, 0.6 g saturated fat, 863 mg omega-3 and 3368 mg omega-6 fatty acid, 0 mg cholesterol, 2.7 g protein, 23.5 g carbohydrates, 2.2 g fiber and 39 mg sodium (plus sodium from added salt). 

This recipe is appropriate for use during a raw food cleanse.

Tuesday, July 17, 2012

How To Grill Pizza Outdoors On A Pizza Stone With "Ready-To-Bake" Dough - Easy Entertaining!

Vegan pepperoni and veggie pizza.

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Pizza Party!
Most everyone loves pizza but not everyone agrees on the toppings or the crust. Some people love all meat toppings, some just cheese, some like pineapple and others love assorted vegetables. Many people like a white crust and others enjoy a more hearty whole grain crust. Those people who are gluten intolerant opt for gluten-free crusts. 

A fun and easy way to please everyone is to have a "bring your own toppings" party!
Just provide the dough and tomato sauce and have everyone bring their favorite toppings. Coordinate what people are bringing ahead of time so that you don't have too much of one ingredient. 

For a quick, stress free night of entertaining, you can purchase "ready to bake" pizza dough. Many grocery stores carry this item now. Trader Joe's has 3 types of pizza doughs. Plain, whole wheat and herb. 

Trader Joe's ready-to-bake pizza dough.

If you have guests who are gluten intolerant, pick up a couple of Udi's gluten-free pizza crusts

Udi's gluten-free pizza crusts.

If you have a bread machine, you can also make the dough pretty easily by using the "dough setting". 
Some bread machines come with a pizza dough recipe that works best in their machines. 

What You'll Need
To make a pizza outdoors you'll need a:
* Covered BBQ grill with a temperature gauge
* Wooden or metal pizza peel
* Pizza stone
* Pizza dough
* Extra virgin olive oil
* Marinara or pesto sauce
* Toppings to be cooked with pizza
* Meltable vegan or regular cheese (optional)
* Raw toppings like arugula, fresh herbs or sprouts (optional)

There is no limit to how imaginative you can get with pizza toppings. My favorite toppings are:
* Artichoke hearts
* Kalamata olives
* Mushrooms
* Bell peppers
* Thinly sliced zucchini
* Partially steamed diced eggplant
* Jalapeño slices
* Red or yellow onion slices
* Raw or roasted garlic
* Capers
* Pineapple
* Crushed red pepper

Assorted veggie toppings

Meat toppings such as vegan pepperoni  or thinly sliced Field Roast sausage make good meat-free toppings. My youngest grandson is a true carnivore and happily ate the vegan pepperoni pizza I made for him. I'm not sure I could have fooled an adult, however. 

Cheese is generally considered by many to be the heart of a good pizza. Since I, like so many others, am lactose intolerant, I leave dairy off of my pizza completely. Many people who avoid diary use vegan Daiya mozzarella shreds. I prefer no cheese to fake cheese. For those who prefer real cheese, a little parmesan, asiago, provolone, organic mozzarella or feta cheese make good toppings.

How to Make Pizza Using Ready-to-Bake Dough

Step 1 - Prepare the crust (These are the directions for Trader Joe's dough. If using other packaged dough, follow their instructions)
Remove the ready-to-bake dough from the refrigerator. 
Remove it from its bag on to a lightly floured work surface.
Let the dough rest for 20 minutes.
(While dough is resting, place pizza stone on the grill and preheat to 450 degrees F.)
Form dough into desired size and shape crust by stretching by hand or rolling with a rolling pin. (I can make two 8" round pizzas out of one 16 ounce bag of dough).

3 crusts: plain, whole wheat and herb.

Step 2 -Coat the crust
Spread some cornmeal on a pizza peel and gently place the formed crust on the peel.

Wooden pizza peel. Select one with a very thin front edge.

Coat the crust with a thin layer of extra virgin olive oil. This will prevent the other ingredients from penetrating the dough and getting it soggy.

Crust lightly coated with olive oil.

Spread a layer of prepared marinara sauce over the oiled crust. You may also use pesto instead of tomato sauce.

Crust with a layer of marinara sauce.

Step 3 - Cover with desired toppings.

Artichoke hearts, red onion, red and green bell pepper, crimini mushrooms, kalamata olives and chopped raw garlic.

Sprinkle with Daiya mozzarella shreds or cheese, if desired.

Step 4 - Grill pizza
Gently slide the pizza off of the pizza peel onto the preheated stone.
Cover and cook until crust is crisp and slightly browned, about 8 minutes.
Carefully remove pizza with pizza peel.

Removing pizza from 450 degree stone using a pizza peel.

Step 5 - Cut
Place pizza on a cutting board and slice into 6 to 8 slices.

Use a good knife or a pizza cutter.

Step 6 - Final raw toppings (optional)
Top pizza with raw toppings such as:
* Sprouts
* Baby arugula
* Spring greens
* Fresh basil or other herbs
* Raw sunflower, hemp, pumpkin or other seeds

Veggie pizza topped with raw sunflower sprouts.

How Healthy is Pizza?
Pizza can make a fairly healthy meal if you do the following:
* Start with a whole grain crust
* Cover with veggies
* Leave off the real or fake meats
* Leave off the real or fake cheeses
* Top with raw sprouts, greens and/or hemp seeds


Tuesday, July 03, 2012

Raw Vegan, Gluten Free Mexican Salad And Chili-Lime Dressing With Fresh Jicama, Corn, Red Pepper And Avocado

Chili-lime dressing gives the flavors of Mexico in this beautiful salad of fresh greens and raw vegetables!

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Great for Raw Days
Today I decided to load up on raw food since I had a bit too much heavy, cooked food over the weekend. A few weeks ago I wrote about doing mini-raw food cleanses - one day at a time. Today was one of those days for me. 

If you weren't familiar with Jicama, I doubt you would ever pick one up at the grocery store. It looks like a giant, round potato with a harder, thicker skin - not very appetizing. But the treasure is inside. Jicama, also know as "yambean" is a root vegetable with a wonderful crisp texture and a slightly sweet, mellow flavor. I love to slice them as part of a crudité and serve them with guacamole or hummus. I often just eat them by themselves as a snack. They are very high in fiber, 1 cup providing 6 grams, almost one quarter of the daily requirement. They are also an excellent source of vitamin C, 1 cup providing 40% of the daily requirement. 

Jicama looks like a big potato with thick skin. 
One cup is only 46 calories!
For the salad, julienne the red pepper and jicama.
Thinly slice the red onion.

Chili-lime dressing
This dressing has a nice mixture of Mexican seasonings with lime juice and a combination of cold-pressed hemp oil and extra-virgin olive oil. No blender is needed.

Chili-lime dressing is versatile. Try it on a simple salad of fresh corn and pinto beans.
Or, cut jicama in the shape of french fries. Rub this dressing over them and enjoy raw chili fries!

Mexican Salad with Chili-Lime Dressing
Raw Vegan, Gluten Free
[makes 4 servings]

For the dressing
1/4 cup cold-pressed hemp oil
1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
1/2 cup freshly squeezed lime juice
1/2 teaspoon salt, or to taste
1 teaspoon chili powder
1/2 teaspoon dried oregano
1/4 teaspoon ground cumin
1 clove garlic, pressed or finely minced

For the salad
4 large handfuls salad greens (~8 cups)
1/2 cup chopped cilantro
1 cup julienned jicama
1 cup julienned red bell pepper
1/2 cup thinly sliced onions
Kernels from 1 ear of corn
1/2 California Hass avocado, peeled, pitted and sliced

To make the dressing, combine all dressing ingredients in a cup or small bowl and whisk until combined. Set aside.

To make the salad, place salad greens and cilantro in a large bowl. 

Use one large handful of greens per serving.

Dress the greens with the desired amount of salad dressing and place on 4 plates.
Divide the remaining salad ingredients between the 4 plates and place over the greens. Drizzle with additional salad dressing and serve.

Per serving (salad plus 2 tablespoons dressing): 217.3 calories, 16.6 g fat, 2.1 g saturated fat, 1.2 g ALA omega-3 and 5.4 g omega-6 fatty acids, 0 mg cholesterol, 2.0 g protein, 16.2 g carbohydrates, 4.4 g dietary fiber and 172 mg sodium.