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Butternut Squash Soup & Some Important Cooking Tips January 24, 2011

This will warm you up nicely since it’s been so cold out lately.  The recipe is a bit lengthy so I would recommend doing this on a Sunday.

Ingredients:

  • one medium sized butternut squash
  • one can of coconut milk (unsweetened)
  • 1 tbsp of curry powder
  • 1 tbsp of fresh chopped ginger root
  • 1 bag of frozen peas

Directions: (about an hour and a half)

  1. Cut the butternut squash lengthwise and scoop out the seeds.
  2. Place it face down on a baking pan in  1/2 an inch of water.  Bake at 375 for 45min-1hour.
  3. When the squash is done you should be able to pierce through the skin with a fork or knife.
  4. Scoop out the meat from the squash and put it into a blender or food processor.
  5. Also add the coconut water, curry powder and ginger root and blend.
  6. Place the mixture in a pot on the stove on a low heat (3) and add the frozen peas (or any other veggies you’d like)
  7. In about 10 minutes you should have some yummy soup!

Baking the butternut squash face down prevents it from burning.  When food is dry baked acrylamides are formed.  Acrylamides have been shown to cause cancer.  So you may be thinking to yourself…everything causes cancer these days!  Well, let me put it this way, cigarettes contain large amounts of acrylamides and we KNOW those cause cancer.

Healthy cooking tips at home:

Cook at home often because that is where you have the most control over your food.  Also it is extremely important to cook your food at a medium to low temperature.  There is no need to have the burner higher than a medium heat.  Heating food too much not only destroys the nutrients, but also causes the fats in foods restructure into transfats.

You should also only cook with coconut oil because it can withstand temperatures of up to 350 degrees without restructuring into harmful heart disease causing transfats.  Also, the medium chain fatty acids found in coconut oil will actually double the rate at which omega 3 fatty acids are transferred into DHA.  DHA is a fat that is essential for healthy brain functioning.

So we all hear about how benefits of Omega 3’s.  However, we don’t hear that in order to use Omega 3 fatty acids our bodies need to convert them to DHA.  Everyone’s conversion rate differs, which is why eating small amounts of coconut can be a very beneficial addition to your diet.

However you don’t want to over do it with fat.  If you’re doing a stir-fry I would suggest adding 1 tsp per person.  If you are more active you can be a little more liberal with this suggestion.

Steaming or boiling food is the best way to cook veggies because you lose the least amount of nutrients.  However, we all like a little variety.  If you do plan on doing a stir-fry add a teaspoon or two of water and keep the heat no higher than a medium heat.  Keeping a low heat will prevent the occurrence of acrylamides and retain nutrients.  It may take a little longer, but your body will thank you for it!

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Tropical Smoothie December 7, 2010

Maybe this smoothie is a little out of place mid-winter?  But maybe it’ll perk you up when a lot of snow is falling on the ground.

Ingredients:

  • 1/2 cup coconut butter
  • 2 cups coconut water
  • 1 cup pineapple slices
  • 1 cup frozen mango
  • 1 cup frozen strawberries
  • 1 tsp goji berry powder
  • 1 tsp camu camu powder

Throw the ingredients in a blender and enjoy!

All these ingredients can be found at Wegmans.  If you’re not near a Wegmans then Whole Foods.  When I was going through a phase where I ate mostly raw food I neglected frozen fruit.  But now I find that it is really convenient.  You avoid possibility of mold and bacteria as well as cut down on waste.  In the summer it is a lot easier to enjoy fresh fruit, but in the winter months I’m sticking to frozen fruit.

The goji berry powder is a good source of protein, vitamins and minerals.  It has 18 amino acids, loaded with vitamin A.  The camu camu provides a substantial amount of vitamin C, which is great for fighting winter colds.  Drink up!!!

 

Raw Chocolate November 16, 2010

Filed under: Desserts,Gluten Free,Raw,Recipes — Yvette @ 2:00 pm
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Here is a raw chocolate recipe that many many people enjoy!

Ingredients:

  • 1 cup cacao powder
  • 1 cup grated cacao butter
  • 1 cup ground hemp seed
  • 1/2 cup coconut butter
  • 1/2 agave or honey
  • 1 tbs vanilla powder

Pour contents in a bowl and stir.  Then you have two options, if you have a dehydrator you can stick it in overnight, this will prevent the chocolate from melting.  After you dehydrate it overnight place the chocolate into cupcake sheets and stick in the freezer.  If you don’t have a dehydrator then you can just stick them straight into cupcake sheets and then the freezer.

 

Food Pyramid Revised October 15, 2010

Filed under: Health Facts and Concerns,Health Tips — Yvette @ 3:18 pm
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I recently re-read Dr. Joel Fuhrman’s book Eat To Live.  He talks about how it is important to have most of what you eat consist of plant food.  I think this diet is much more approachable for the average American who is not ready to become vegan.  The motto is similar to Michael Pollan who states, “Eat food.  Not too much.  Mostly plants,” only he gives a little more detail on exactly what and how to eat.

Animal (including fish, eggs and dairy) and processed foods are taxing on the body and acidic.  They are also very high in saturated fat and calories as well as low in vitamins and minerals.  These foods do not make ideal diet or health foods.  In his book he suggests limited animal food consumption to 2 to 3 times per week, and recommends fish over dairy.  This is because his idea is based upon the idea of weight loss.  Dairy contains a large amount of saturated fat which immediately goes to the waist line (even low fat dairy), whereas fish at least contains amounts of Omega 3 & 6 essential fatty acids.  Please note that I am not promoting the eating of fish because I am vegan, but just simply giving the facts stated in the book.  Dr. Joel Fuhrman states that if animal food can be avoided at all this is best to maintain proper weight and ideal health.

Fruits and vegetables bring alkalinity to the body and they contain vitamins, minerals and most importantly phytonutrients which help our cells fight against diseases.

What about protein?  That’s what most people ask…well there a few points to be made here.  First off, after you’re done growing and if you’re not highly active you don’t need that much protein at all.  Second, green leafy vegetables are 50% protein and and beans are also a great source of protein.  Third, you do not need to combine different foods in order to make a complete protein.  The body can store amino acids (building blocks of protein) in it’s cells until there is a complete protein.

The idea behind the diet is that you need not restrict calories if you are eating 90% plant food and most of that 90% is fruits and vegetables.  You will lose weight and feel healthier.

 

Cheater Baked Beans October 13, 2010

This recipe is stolen/modified from Veganomicon.  I always have a tough time following recipes, so below is my modification.

Ingredients:

  • 5 cloves garlic
  • 1/2 tsp of coconut oil
  • 1 can tomato paste
  • 1/2 cup water
  • 2 cans white or navy beans
  • 1/4 blackstrap molasses
  • 1 tsp mustard powder
  • 1/4 tsp allspice
  • 1/2 tsp sea salt

Directions:

  1. Mince garlic and combine with coconut oil is a medium sized pot
  2. Saute the garlic on a low heat (around 2) for at least 10 minutes
  3. Combine the remaining ingredients into the pot
  4. Let it sit for an hour occasionally stirring

These are called cheater baked beans because you are using canned beans and you’re not baking them!  There are a few reasons why I would make my own baked beans instead of buying canned ones.

First off I don’t like added sugars and it is impossible to find anything these days without added sugar.   I choose blackstrap molasses in this recipe because it contains one the highest concentrations of iron of any food (vegan or not).  Believe it or not it is right up there with liver on iron content, and much tastier!  (Honestly I wouldn’t know I’ve never had liver, but I hear it’s pretty gross)

I use a small amount of coconut oil when sauteing the garlic because you need to be really careful with heated fats.  Coconut oil is the only oil that can with stand high heats, all other oils become hydrogenated after cooking and are hazardous to your health.  Using other oils on occasion can be fine, but I would recommend regularly cooking with coconut oil.

Finally, the delicious beans!  Beans are a great vegetarian source of protein, vitamins and minerals.  Cooking them on a low heat will help break down the fibers and reduce gas.

I would recommend serving along with steamed kale and broccoli…YUM!!

 

Orange Sesame Ginger Dressing October 12, 2010

I’ve been student teaching and teaching a course at SU, so I haven’t been able to post much.  But, I just made this dressing last night.

Ingredients:

  • juice of 1 orange
  • 2 tbs of tahini
  • 1 tbs miso
  • 1 tbs flax oil
  • 1 tsp ginger root powder

Mix ingredients in a bowl and you’re done!  I typically use flax oil in my salad dressings.  This really should be the only oil used on a regular basis because it contains EFA (essential fatty acids).  More specifically flax oil contains Omega 3 fatty acids which are hard to find in the standard american diet.  We are bombarded with Omega 6’s which compete with the Omega 3’s for room in our cells.  Omega 3 fatty acids are known for their ant-inflammatory properties, whereas Omega 6 has inflammatory properties.  This is why it is important to have an ideal ratio of the two.

Many people use olive oil in their salad dressing, but this and the use of all other oils should be limited.  If you are not an active individual, then even the monounsaturated fat is being stored along the waistline.  In fact to be more specific, 97% of the monounsaturated or saturated fat that you eat is being stored along the waistline.

 

Sesame Honey Dressing September 12, 2010

Filed under: Dressings and Sauces,Raw,Recipes — Yvette @ 11:32 pm
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I have started my student teaching this semester and have found myself really busy.  I have been having a little difficulty with my diet because I no longer have as much time to devote to preparing my food.  This Sunday I decided to make some dressing for the week and hope to make a new dressing each week.

Here is this weeks:

  • 1 tbs. raw honey
  • 2 tbs. lemon juice
  • 2 tbs. tahini
  • 1 tbs. flax oil
  • 1/2 tsp. ginger powder
  • 1/4 tsp. sea salt
  • 2 tbs. water

Combine ingredients in a bowl and stir.  I doubled the ingredients so that I’d have enough for the week.  I keep the dressing in a mason jar to preserve it’s freshness.