Category Archives: Food Products & Recipes

Celebrating Cranberries

cranberriesThese sour red berries grow on a trailing shrub. You can buy them fresh in the Fall, or frozen at any time of year. Dried cranberries are a delicious addition to trail mixes. When buying fresh look for bright red shiny skins. Cranberries are a valuable source of iron, vitamin C and folic acid.

Cranberries are usually too sour to eat raw. First wash and remove any damaged berries. Then cook them with a little water and sugar, then puree them to make a sauce. Or you can add them to a recipe directly to add a contrasting flavor.

Recipes:

  • Harlequin Squash with Corn Bread Stuffing
  • Cranberry Corn Bread
  • Apple Cranberry Crisp

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Winter Squash recipes

Winter SquashWinter squashes are readily available at this time of year. They are nutritionally dense, supplying beta carotene, iron, and riboflavin, but best of all they provide endless options for creating tasty, satisfying meals. The best cooking method for almost any winter squash is to cut it in half, scrape out the seeds and then steam it or bake it in the oven. The flesh will then be soft and easy to scrape out or cut, to be used in a wide variety of delicious recipes.

Acorn, butternut and kabocha squash can be cut in half and filled with a delicious stuffing to provide the perfect centerpiece to any holiday table. The green and yellow striped delicata squash has sweet yellow flesh and a soft skin which can be eaten, eliminating the need for peeling. Spaghetti squash can be separated into spaghetti-like strands, making it an interesting addition to stews. And most familiar of all is pumpkin (baked, steamed or from a can), used in soups, stews, pies and even cookies!

Baked Squash Recipes

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Can “milk” be used on plant-based foods?

MilksUnder pressure from the dairy industry, the government is trying make it so that plant-based alternatives to dairy can’t use the terms “milk”, “butter” or “cheese” on their product labels. The excuse is that the consumer can’t tell the difference between dairy milk and soy milk, and so may be confused. It doesn’t take a PhD to know that almonds, coconuts, rice and cashews don’t come from a cow! Read more

Glorious grapes

GrapesGrapes have always been associated with health, and with good reason.  They are packed with antioxidants and phytonutrients.  One of their renowned phytonutrients, resveratrol, is said to increase the expression of three genes related to longevity. Even though they’re sweet, grapes are also good for diabetics, since they promote a better blood sugar balance and increased insulin sensitivity. And of course the skin is packed with fiber, which helps to promote good bowel health.

 

At this time of year, the local grapes are particularly fresh and delicious, so it’s a great time to enjoy them. Their unique texture and sweetness makes them a perfect addition to salads and desserts, but also a handy snack throughout the day.  Just wash them and put them in a bowl in the fridge to keep them fresh and ready for whenever a hunger pang strikes.

Recipes (see below):

Minted Green Grape Sorbet

Green Goddess Breakfast Smoothie

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Enticing Arugula recipes

ArugulaNative to the Mediterranean region, arugula is a green leafy plant from the mustard family, also known as rocket. Arugula has a rich peppery taste, and is a good source of vitamins A and C, folate, potassium, magnesium, calcium and phytonutrients. It has been enjoyed the Italians and French for centuries and now is becoming popular in the US.

Arugula is most often used in salads, particularly in a mesclun or mixed green salad, along with other leaves such as dandelion, chervil, endive, frisee, and baby chard, lettuce, spinach and kale leaves.

In addition to its use in salads, it can be made into a pesto sauce, or sauted or steamed and added to pasta dishes.

The following recipe is from The Veg-Feasting Cookbook, by Vegetarians of Washington:

vegfeastckbk_small_border lighterFingerling Potato and Arugula Salad

This simple salad makes a light lunch or substantial side dish. Arugula becomes more peppery as it ages; baby arugula is mildly spicy while mature arugula packs a bigger bite.

Serves 4

1½ pounds French fingerling potatoes (or substitute other small, waxy potatoes such as Yukon Gold)

4 ounces arugula, plus a little salt

 

Dressing

¼ cup extra virgin olive oil

2½ tablespoons red wine vinegar

1 medium shallot, peeled and quartered

⅓ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

Place the potatoes in a large saucepan, add enough water to cover by an inch, add salt to taste, and bring to a boil. Cook until fork-tender, about 15 minutes; be careful not to overcook. Drain, chill quickly with ice or cold water and refrigerate until ready to use. The potatoes can be cooked a day ahead.

In a food processor or blender, combine the oil, vinegar, shallot, ¾ teaspoon salt and pepper. If no appliance is available, mince the shallot very fine and whisk the ingredients together, or shake them well in a screw top jar.

Slice the potatoes crosswise ¼ inch thick, leaving on the peel, and place in a large bowl. Add the arugula and most, but not all, of the dressing. Toss the dressing with the potatoes and arugula until they are lightly coated and flavorful, adding the remaining dressing if necessary. Arrange the salad on four salad plates, making sure a few slices of potato show on each plate, and serve.

 

The following recipe is reprinted from www.nutritionmd.org with permission:

Italian Stuffed Griddle Dumplings (Consum)

Makes 6 servings (2 pita halves each)

This traditional “griddle dumpling” from Romagna is actually a stuffed Italian flatbread, similar to a calzone but stuffed with greens. This easy version uses whole-wheat pitas.

6 pieces whole-wheat pita bread
1½ teaspoons chopped garlic
¼ cup low-sodium vegetable broth
½ pound Swiss chard, beet greens, spinach, or savoy cabbage, or a mixture
½ pound bitter greens, such as arugula, radicchio, rapini, Chinese broccoli, mustard or turnip greens, or curly endive
¼ teaspoon salt, plus more to taste
1 freshly ground black pepper, to taste

Cut each pita bread in half and open to form a pocket. Wash, trim, and thinly slice the greens.

Place garlic, broth, greens, and ¼ teaspoon salt in a large, deep non-stick skillet. Bring to a boil, then cover, reduce heat to medium, and cook until tender. If any liquid remains, uncover and cook over high heat, stirring constantly, until it evaporates. Season with the salt and black pepper and set aside to cool.

Drain the greens and stuff inside the pita halves. Heat filled pitas on a hot, dry griddle or cast-iron pan over high heat, turning frequently, until hot and flecked with brown spots. Serve hot.

FDA approves plant blood!

Impossible cheeseburgerHow can a plant have blood? That sounds impossible! Well, not exactly. The folks, at the appropriately named Impossible Foods, have invented a burger that actually bleeds just like a real burger with just one exception. While this blood didn’t come from an animal, many will think it could have. The company created a totally vegan burger that “bleeds” just like a real, juicy, half-pounder does, and now the Food and Drug Administration has decided that it’s totally, 100% safe.

The nutrient that causes the bleeding effect is heme — it’s an iron-rich compound that occurs naturally. And as it turns out, it’s the reason that the Impossible Burger turns impossibly blood-red when it’s cooked.

This is just part of the new trend of making meat substitutes, or as the industry calls them meat analogues, as much like the real thing as possible, but without the meat of course. Scientists at the Impossible Foods company say they’ve managed to mimic the particular mouth-feel of meat by using bioengineered plant “blood,” reports the Wall Street Journal.  While not yet available in grocery stores, look out for the Impossible Burger at a good number of restaurants throughout Washington state!

Delicious Black Bean recipes

Black BeansBlack beans are small, black, shiny beans, packed with protein, fiber, iron, and various minerals, plus they are loaded with antioxidants. They have a delicious smoky flavor.

They can be purchased dried, in packets or from bulk bins, or precooked in cans.  Canned beans are more convenient, and very little is lost nutritionally, so they are handy to keep in your pantry. Choose a brand which doesn’t add extra salt or other additives.

Black beans can be added to many different soups and stews.  They can be used in burritos, served with rice, or as a topping for a baked potato. They can also be made into a tasty dip.

Mexican Black Bean Salad

This salad makes a handy lunch and leftovers are equally delicious the next day. For an especially quick meal, you can use a 15-ounce can of black beans, drained and rinsed. Enjoy the cilantro in this dish or substitute parsley if you prefer.

Serves 6

½ pound potatoes, peeled and diced (about 2 cups)
2 medium carrots, chopped (about 1 cup)
1 cup frozen corn
1½ cups cooked black beans
1 red bell pepper, chopped
6 radishes, thinly sliced
5 scallions, chopped
¾ cup medium-hot salsa
½ cup chopped fresh cilantro
½ cup low-sodium tomato juice
2 tablespoons juice from 1 lime
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 avocado, chopped into bite-sized pieces

In a medium saucepan, cook the potatoes in boiling water until nearly tender. Add the carrots and cook for 2 to 3 more minutes. Add the corn, stir, then pour the vegetables into a colander. Rinse under cold water to quickly cool the vegetables and stop the cooking process. Drain well.

Combine the black beans, red pepper, radishes and scallions in a medium serving bowl. Add the potatoes, carrots and corn.

Combine the salsa, cilantro, tomato juice, lime juice and olive oil in a medium bowl. Mix well and pour over the vegetables. Toss gently but thoroughly. Before serving, top with the avocado.

 

Easy Black bean dip

1 15-ounce can black beans, drained and rinsed (or 1 1/2 cups cooked beans)

1 cup salsa (any variety)

1/2 teaspoon ground cumin

Combine beans and salsa in a food processor or blender and process until smooth.  Add cumin.  Serve with tortilla chips.

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