Tuesday, December 13, 2016

Make Your Own Seaweed Powder Spice!

Add flavor to your food without using salt. Grind any type of dried seaweed into a powder to make a salt substitute to use in your recipes. 

All edible seaweeds contribute healthy vitamins and minerals to your diet, including vitamins A, B, C and E, plus iodine. 

The distinctive flavor of seaweed is known as “umami” — a savory sensation unlike the other four tastes of the tongue: sweet, salty, bitter and sour. Used as a seasoning, seaweed powder can enhance the flavor of any food.

The good news is it is very affordable and easy to make. You can purchase 50 sheets for less than $10 on Amazon and enjoy making wraps with all kinds of healthy ingredients in addition to creating this new addition to your spice rack!

Take a sheet and rip it up into small pieces, placing them in a coffee or spice grinder. 

Pulse the grinder until the dried seaweed becomes pulverized into a fine powder. 

Using a funnel, transfer the seaweed powder to an empty spice container. Approximately 4 sheets fill a small one. You can make a lot more of this powder and store it in an air tight container indefinitely in a cool, dry spot.

Sprinkle the powder over your food or add it to taste for a savory flavor accent.

Try any edible seaweed - such as dried kelp, nori or dulse - for making this seasoning.

Look for dried seaweed in Japanese markets, international grocery stores and on the Internet.

Wishing you excellent health, today and always!

Thursday, March 24, 2016

Vegan Chickpea 'Tuna-Fix'

Easy and quick to prepare and very filling, this is one of my favorite 'go to' dishes - with a salad, in a wrap, in a pita, great for parties and picnics, with veggies or chips, and it stays for several days in the fridge. (It's even yummier the next day!)

The taste and consistency is very much like tuna fish, especially when you add mayonnaise (veganaise) and lemon juice. You can substitute the mayo with blended avocado or a dressing of your choice, and add pickles, onions and/or olives. 

The base is (cooked/canned) chickpeas and celery, but I also like to include carrots as well as different herbs and seasonings.

It's easiest to use a food processor using the 'S' knife to prepare it. Each ingredient should be chopped or 'pulsed' separately for just a few seconds each. If you over-blend it gets too mushy, so be careful.

Delicious in a pepper...
In a seaweed wrap...  
In a salad...

Some people add salt. I like to use Ume Plum Vinegar, which is healthier than salt but satisfies that flavor. You can read about it here and find it at Whole Foods.

No worries (or excuses!) if you don't own a food processor, you can use a salad chopper or chop very fine on your own.

Hope you enjoy! Wishing you excellent health today and always...

Wednesday, November 25, 2015

Pumpkin Ice Cream Pie, Oh My!

If you want to make a dessert that is easy, healthy and delicious, with no baking, no sugar and the 'pumpkin-y' taste of Thanksgiving, freeze some bananas, buy some fresh pumpkin and try out this recipe!

Start with the crust, which is made up entirely of almonds and dates - approx. 3 handfuls of almonds and 10 dates - chop in your food processor and mush into pie dish to cover the bottom.

Steam about 2 cups worth of fresh pumpkin (or use canned in a pinch) and combine with spices in food processor - mix in cinnamon, nutmeg, allspice, (soaked) dates, vanilla and anything else you like. Freeze in an ice cube tray for a few hours, pop them out, set aside about 6 cubes for this recipe and save the rest for another time.

Chop the frozen bananas (approx. one per person) into small pieces, and combine with a handful of walnuts, a drop of vanilla and the 6 pumpkin cubes to form a thick creamy mixture to go on top of your pie crust. Freeze until serving time.


Hope you enjoy...have a happy & healthy Thanksgiving!

Monday, September 28, 2015

Waldorf Salad with a Twist

A Waldorf salad is a salad traditionally made of fresh apples, celery, and walnuts, tossed with mayonnaise, and usually served on a bed of lettuce as an appetizer or a light meal.

The Waldorf Salad is said to have been created in the 1890's by Oscar Tschirky, the maitre d' of the famed NYC Waldorf-Astoria Hotel in New York City. It included only diced red apples, celery and mayonnaise. Chopped walnuts were added soon after, and there have been many incarnations since.

Adding extra ingredients like grapes, chickpeas, dried cranberries/raisins and/or shredded coconut bring a wonderful dimension to this already delicious salad, and a vegan mayonnaise or special dressing makes it even healthier and more delectable. There are loads of recipes available online, but below I offer my own delicious variation that will hit the spot and delight your taste buds.

For this recipe I decided to leave the amounts of each ingredient up to you, since the quantities may vary depending on your personal taste.

  • Red Delicious apples, chopped
  • Celery, chopped
  • Walnuts, chopped (toasting them is extra yummy)
  • Grapes - halved
  • Chickpeas
  • Shredded coconut
  • Dried cranberries or raisins (unsweetened)
  • Vegan mayonnaise
  • Juice from lemon/lime
  • Dijon mustard (optional)
  • Ground nutmeg

(You can use cashews, pecans, almonds, pine nuts or any other nut if you prefer instead of walnuts, and replace celery with jicima, fennel, radish, parsnip, red bell pepper if you prefer...be creative and please share!)

  • Combine apples, celery, walnuts, cranberries/raisins, chickpeas in a bowl and set aside.
  • Add mayonnaise, mustard & lemon juice and mix into salad.
  • Serve on a bed of fresh salad greens.
  • Drizzle the dressing on top and sprinkle with coconut and ground nutmeg right before serving.
  • Can be refrigerated in an air-tight container for a few days.
Healthier Mayonnaise Replacement Dressing:
  • 1/2 apple
  • 1/4 cup walnuts
  • 2 tablespoons raisins
  • 2 tablespoons Dijon mustard
  • 2 tablespoons water, more if needed
  • 1 tablespoon red wine vinegar
  • 1/8 teaspoon sea salt (optional)
    Blend well until slightly thick, adding water to make it thinner. Pour over salad and enjoy!

    Friday, June 26, 2015

    Mango - The Perfect Addition To Your Salad

    Happy Summer!  Mangoes are now in season and a favorite in our house. We eat them for breakfast, as a snack, and at least a few mangoes get consumed daily these days. The 'king of fruits', as mango is sometimes called, is one of the most nutritionally rich fruits with unique flavor, taste and health-promoting qualities. They taste so good it's hard to believe they are actually healthy, but they are! 

    Mangoes are loaded with more than 20 vitamins and minerals that defend the body against disease. They are high in iron, so people who suffer from anemia can enjoy mangoes regularly. Mangoes help to reduce cholesterol and are a rich source of vitamin A. Mangoes are even good for better sex, since the vitamin E which is abundantly present in mangoes, help to regulate sex hormones and build sex drive.

    Mangoes can also be used externally to improve skin tone, as they clear clogged pores and eliminate pimples. Mangoes help to make the body more alkaline and are also important in preventing constipation due to their high fiber and water content. Recent studies have shown that contrary to popular belief, mangoes may also help to protect against diabetes.

    My favorite salad this season is one that includes mango - I am addicted! I can eat it every day and never tire of the taste. No matter what other vegetables are included, mango makes a salad sweeter, yummier, prettier, zestier and more flavorful. Add some lemon or lime juice and perhaps a little vinegar, olive oil and/or herbs, and you have an amazing and very satisfying dish.

    The easiest and most efficient way to cut little cubes is to slice each side of the mango just past the pit and cut a grid without breaking the skin. Turn it inside out and just use your thumb to push off the little pieces right into your salad.  As you do this, the sweet mango juice will drip into your salad and garnish it with yummy-ness.

    More good news - mangoes are very low in calories, only about 110 in each. The sweetness of mangoes also helps in curbing the appetite for other sweet things, because the high fiber content helps keep us feeling full, with less of a need to snack.

    Mangoes fight cancer, alkalize the body, aid in weight loss, regulate diabetes, help digestion, clean your skin and make the perfect snack. We should all be eating more mangoes, don't you think?

    Hope you enjoy!

    Tuesday, April 21, 2015

    Sweet Potato - How sweet it is!

    How sweet it is to eat sweet potatoes! 

    Many people think about sweet potatoes as being nothing more than plain old potatoes that can perk our taste buds with some extra flavor. 

    Yet research on sweet potatoes tells us that they have so many unique nutritional benefits to offer!

    Among these benefits are antioxidants, anti-inflammatory nutrients, and blood sugar-regulating nutrients. Sweet potatoes are high in vitamin B6, a good source of vitamin C, contain Vitamin D, iron, and are a good source of mag­nesium and potassium. They are high in carotenoids, have natural sugars that slowly get released into the bloodstream, and so much more...
    Not only are sweet potatoes inexpensive, filling, delicious, and readily available all year long, they are one of the most versatile foods available. You can eat them roasted, puréed, steamed, baked, or grilled. You can add them to soups and stews, grill and place them on top of leafy greens for a delicious salad, make sweet potato hash browns and baked fries, and they can even be added to smoothies, baked goods, and wraps.
    This week I experimented a lot with sweet potatoes. To begin with, I steamed them whole and stored them in the fridge, and over several days I found myself and members of my family adding some to our vegetable salads, seaweed wraps, soups, or just grabbing one and eating it plain, 'on the go', to keep from being hungry.

    I also made a number of dishes, such as the following below:

    Steamed and mashed sweet potatoes & carrots, with raisins, cinnamon, ginger, nutmeg, dates - sweet and delicious.

    Cubed and steamed sweet potatoes, carrots, zucchini & red pepper with vinaigrette dressing - yum.

    Finely chopped (in food processor) sweet potato, sauteed with brown rice, lentils (already cooked) and raisins mixed in, seasoned with, garlic, curry, ginger, cumin, pepper & cinnamon - a very Middle Eastern flavor and very tasty.

    Sweet potato/quinoa burgers, with sauteed shallots & garlic, tomato paste, and seasoning - Google for a variety of recipes - healthy, filling & amazing.

    Sweet potatoes don't have to take a long time to prepare. Cutting them into 1/2-inch slices and steaming them for just 7 minutes not only brings out their great flavor, but helps to maximize their nutritional value. 
    You can also make sweet potato spaghetti in the spiral vegetable slicer, which is really easy and comes out great. I would recommend lightly sauteing with coconut, olive or flax seed oil.

    How to Select and Store

    Choose sweet potatoes that are firm and do not have any cracks, bruises or soft spots. Avoid those that are displayed in the refrigerated section of the produce department since cold temperature negatively affects their taste.

    Ideally, sweet potatoes should be kept out of the refrigerator, loose, and stored in a cool, dark, and well-ventilated place away from sources of excess heat, where they will keep fresh for up to ten days.

    For even more information on Sweet Potatoes, check out www.ncsweetpotatoes.com where you'll find loads of tips, recipes and so many great ideas for your next meal or gathering.

    Enjoy and wishing you excellent health, today and always!

    Thursday, February 19, 2015

    Cauliflower Rice

    Did you know that cauliflower, raw or cooked, hot or cold, is an amazing replacement for rice, couscous and all types of other grains? Believe it or not, an entire head of cauliflower (about 6 servings!) is only 146 calories! And 1 ounce is only 7!

    Check out the list of grains below and compare:
    (click to enlarge)

    I'm so excited to share with you my recent experience with cauliflower I can hardly contain myself! There are so many wonderful ways to prepare this amazing and versatile vegetable that is often taken for granted...

    Click here for a list of the amazing health benefits of cauliflower.

    Here are raw cauliflower florets, which were then 'magically' made into raw rice by chopping in the food processor for just 3 seconds.

    To the right is cauliflower rice, sauteed with a little Toasted Sesame Oil and Bragg, topped with toasted almond slices & peanut sauce with salad on the side. The 'rice' is light and fluffy, super easy, quick to make and so filling and delicious!

    To the left is Tabbouleh Salad - The Bulgar wheat is simply replaced by raw cauliflower, tastes just as good, is healthier, lower in calories, and a breeze to prepare.

    Here are 2 more cauliflower dishes, one with chopped sweet potato, black beans, sauteed onions and bean sprouts, the other sauteed in coconut oil with some corn, both very yummy.

    So don't walk, RUN to the store and buy some cauliflower! 

    There are so many things you can add and ways to prepare...try some cauliflower rice in a seaweed wrap or in a pita, with any kind of sauce, spread or dressing, with different types of veggies and greens...the sky's the limit! 

    Have you tried Cauliflower Rice before? What's your favorite recipe? 

    Please share your thoughts, I LOVE hearing from you!  

    Hope you enjoy!