Good things to eat

Posts tagged ‘brown rice’

Vegan Challenge – Week 2

Well, as of yesterday, I have completed fourteen days without animal product.

Yep.

I’ll admit I’ve been a bit miserable without my cuppa “real tea”.   I’ve been trying to make do with substitute items, but nothing compares.

People…..I won’t say who……have tried to alleviate my misery by encouraging me to just cheat a little on this, or cheat a little on that…..trying to convince me that it won’t hurt.

But that’s not the point.

I could very well have anything I want at anytime……I’m a grown person with a will of my own.

I’m not doing this as a punishment or even a “diet” or out to prove something…..

I simply want to see if it makes me feel better.  And I can’t very well know unless I actually DO it!!

It was like when I was in nutrition school and learned that peanuts have a substance in them that is a low-grade allergen to many people.

And anyone who knows me well……knows that I LOVE peanut butter.  But I gave it up for one FULL year…..just to see if it actually made a difference in my health.   I was happy to report, that it didn’t make one LICK of difference and I have never forsaken it since!!

I DO feel like I have been sleeping better, but that could just be from the lack of caffeine!!

And my blood pressure has dropped considerably compared to when I started.

Coincidence?

Don’t know.

As for the Chef?  Well, he’s doing the best he can with it.   We eat Vegan at home and then he eats whatever he needs to eat when he is at work.

Last night he made me a wonderful “Cheffy” Vegan meal.

Grilled Vegetables and brown rice  with Panang Curry sauce.

With dishes like this, who needs meat??

Vegan III027

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Vegan III033

A little help from my friends

One of the best things about the blogging world is all the lovely people who you meet, even if only in the virtual world,  and all the things that they share with you!

So here is a wonderfully warming meal that is made up of dishes I got from other people!

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So let’s start with the Masoor Daal because that is the one that takes the longest to make.

This recipe comes to us from my friend at Peri’s Spice Ladle, a delightful blog of exotic dishes.

I followed this recipe exactly except for one thing, I didn’t add the Bay leaf, because I didn’t have any.  And as a friend of mine likes to say “I’ve never met anyone who while commenting on a dish, say ‘this would be good, it only it had a little more Bay!'”  So if you don’t have any, let me assure you, it is just as delightful without!

And I made the crock pot version so the aromas could permeate the house all afternoon!  Splendid!

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Next on the list is Chapati bread.

This one comes from my friend at Soul of Spice, whose blog is filled with warming and comforting creations!

I unfortunately didn’t have quite as much luck with this one, but through no fault of the instructions!

As I’ve mentioned, I’ve been trying to live a gluten-free lifestyle so I took it upon myself to try and make the Chapati with chick pea flour instead.

In theory, it probably should have worked, but I think I had my ratios off and they were terribly sticky to work with and I ended up probably using 3 times the flour called for.

They actually had good flavour, but they were a little hard…..and heavy.

But I definitely vow to try them again!

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And then to round off the meal, I made a batch of my own Roasted Cauliflower which always adds a little comfort to anything you have it with!

Add to all this, a little steamed brown rice and a little tahini yogurt sauce and you have yourself a VERY comforting and satisfying meal!

Spanish Rice

Spanish class is coming along nicely.

We had a substitute teacher this week and she clearly thought we were a lot smarter than we actually are.  I mean we DO know a lot of words but clearly we are missing a few of the fillers because when she spoke to us completely in Spanish, we all stared blankly.  It was comforting that everyone had the same reaction and that is wasn’t just me!

But in keeping with the mood, I’ve keep trying to make pre-class dishes to get us in the mood.

I cooked up a little meal size Spanish rice to tide us over.

Here’s what you will need:

  • 1 medium onion chopped
  • 1 small jalapeno pepper seeded and chopped
  • 1/2 bell pepper of your choice, chopped
  • 2 cloves fresh minced garlic
  • 1/2 tsp of chili flakes ( more if you like)
  • 1 tsp ground cumin
  • 1 tsp dried oregano
  • 1 tbsp olive oil

Heat up your dutch oven and add olive oil.  Then add all of the above and cook till wilted about 5 – 7 minutes.

Then add:

  • 1 cup brown short grain rice ( I’m a brown rice kinda gal but any rice will do)

Mix the uncooked rice in with the cooking vegetables until it is well coated with everything.

Then add:

  • a splash of red wine vinegar
  • 1 tin of diced tomatoes + some water or stock if it is a small tin

Bring this up to a boil and then turn down to #2 on the dial, put on a tight fitting lid and let the rice cook.  The time will depend on what kind of rice you are using.

When the rice looks nearly cooked you will then add:

  • 1 tin of black beans ( rinse them first)

Stir them in and replace the lid until the rice is nice and tender.

At this point it is still a vegan item but you could have added some chorizo sausage somewhere along the way or on the side.

But tonight I just served it up in a bowl and sprinkled with some grated cheese and a few chopped green onions.

Very satisfying.

Buenas noches!

Spanish rice

Squash sauce

Squash squash everywhere!

It is that time of year and what with Canadian Thanksgiving rapidly approaching it’s time to dust off your squash recipes!

Squash squash everywhere!

I had some left over squash soup  ( click here for that recipe ) from the other day that needed used up but wasn’t really enough for both of us  to eat as actual soup, so what to do?

Well…..

I made squash sauce of course.

Extremely simple.  Put the soup in a sauce pan ( does that automatically make it sauce??) and add a little stock or water to it to thin it out.  Then I took the hand blender to it to blend up the hunks of kale and mushrooms that I so carefully added to it when I was making the soup!

THEN I added a good glob of Boursin cheese and melted that down into it.

Presto chango now you have a beautiful rich sauce for your topping pleasure!!

We had it on some grilled chicken which I put on top of some left over spaghetti squash that I sauted with some garlic, onion and a little butter.   And then a side of brown rice and broccoli and you have a pretty healthy meal chalk full of hidden vegetables!!

Chicken with squash sauce

Mexican to me

 Happy Cinco de Mayo!!
 
I love Mexican food.  Would have to say it is in my top three of styles of food I like.  But it’s not always available around these parts so sometimes a girl has to improvise and make her own……..or what is “Mexican to me”.
 
Here is a version of what I make from time to time.
 
Let’s start with the rice first.  As I’ve mentioned a bunch of times, I always like to use short grain brown rice.  Not only cause it is chalked full of nutrients, but because I just love the nutty flavour.
 
So make up a pot of your favorite rice ONLY instead  of using water use a can of stewed or diced tomato.  Even better if you can get the ones that have onions and peppers in them, but regular are fine.  And if your tomatoes don’t measure up to enough liquid as you need, just top them up with water.
 
Then turn on your oven to 350 degrees.
 
What you’ll need next is:
  • ground meat (beef, chicken etc) or just omit if you are making the vegetarian version and use rice and beans
  • 1 onion cut in large slices
  • bell pepper of your choice (cut into long slices)
  • 1 tsp cumin
  • 1/2 tsp chili flakes or hot sauce
  • salt & pepper
  • 1 5.5 oz tin of tomato paste

I know what you are thinking…..sounds VERY similar to my BBQish pork.  You’re right!  And in fact, you could even use that stuff in this dish if you wanted.

So, you know the routine.  Brown up the meat, then add the onions, then peppers, then the spices.  When everything is mixed, brown, and wilted, add the tomato paste and mix well.  Continue cooking till well heated.

Now if you didn’t feel like making this stuff and had some thick left over chili of any kind, it would work real well too.

So now you will need some tortillas of your choice.  Flour or corn or any of those fancy coloured flavour ones.

Lay out a tortilla and grate on some of your favorite cheese.  On this occasion I used a spicy Monterey Jack.

 Then we will add a scoop of our chili mixture.

Then we roll it up burrito style.  You can either tuck in the ends or leave them open depending on your rolling skills.

When they are all nicely rolled, place on a tray, top them with some more cheese and then pop them in the oven.

This won’t take too long because you are just melting the cheese, everything else is already cooked.

So while your burritos are heating, go back to your rice.  It should be almost done by now. At this point you want to add 1/2 to 1 whole drained and rinsed can of black beans.  Or other beans of your liking and stir them into the rice, replacing the lid and let the rice finish, or at least long enough to heat the beans.

While these two other things are going on you can either whip up a quick batch of guacamole or just dice up a ripe avocado and sprinkle with some lemon or lime juice and put it on top of some salad greens.

Take your burritos out of the oven and plate them.  You can pour a few spoonfuls of your favorite salsa over them and or a dollop of sour cream.  Then a scoop of rice and your little salad and there you have it.  My version of Mexican without even to leave the house!

My favorite Vegan meal

 Near the end of my time in holistic nutrition school ( click here to check out my school) I had to do a work study.  Because my focus was on health cooking as a way to spread the gospel of good nutrition, I choose to work at a restaurant in Toronto called FRESH (click here to check out restaurant).  It was at Fresh that I got the basic idea for this dish, although I’m still not sure what we should call it really. A “Rice Bowl” prehaps?
 
This is one of my favorite things to make when I’m home alone, or feel the need like to get maximum nutrition for my effort.  It sounds a bit complicated because there are a lot of elements, but once you’ve made it a few times, it gets easy and there are even short cuts you can take.
 
 
Let’s begin.
 

Right off the top you want to put on a pot of your favorite brown rice.  I always use organic short grain brown rice because I just love the taste, nice and nutty, but you can use whatever you like and hopefully if you are a person who reads food blogs, I’m assuming you know how to make rice.

Then choose a protein product.  You could grill up some marinated tofu or in the case of this particular time, I  used pre-marinated tempeh. 

Marinated Tempeh

 I like this brand because it comes pre-cut and already marinated.

Grill it up in a fry pan with a little oil.

Meanwhile you are going to want to steam up some greens.  On this occasion I used broccoli and kale.  You can either steam them on their own in another pot, or the lazy way like me, where I add them to the top of the rice pot when the rice is about half way to three quarters cooked.  You’ll be eating them all out of the same bowl in the end so getting a little on each other while cooking won’t hurt!

Then it’s time to make the sauce.

Sauce ingredients:

  • 2 cloves fresh garlic
  • 1 inch fresh ginger, coarsely chopped
  • 1/2 tsp crushed chili flakes
  • 1 tsp honey
  • 1 tsp sesame oil
  • 1 tbsp soya or Bragg sauce
  • 1 tbsp natural peanut butter OR tahini
  • 2 tbsp rice wine vinegar
  • 2 tbsp water

Whiz this all up in a small food processor or with a hand blender.  If you don’t have an appliance then chop the garlic and ginger very finely and then mix all ingredients together.

 

 Now that we have all of our elements ready to go, it’s time to assemble.

Start with a bowl and fill it with about a cup of cooked rice.  Then add the broccoli, kale or whatever cooked greens you are using.  Then the next layer is the protein, tofu or tempeh.

To finish it off, add sauce and then the toppings of your choice.  I like things like toasted cashews or sesame seeds, chopped green onions, grated carrot, sprouts of your choice or whatever bits of other live things you might have.

Then at the very last-minute, to make it a super healthy item, a good splash of flax oil!

This bowl is SO packed with nutritients and surprise suprise, it actually TASTES good too!!

ENJOY!!

Easy cabbage rolls

I was always intimidated by cabbage rolls.

I first had them as a kid at my German friend’s house.  I was one of those annoying  picky eaters when I was a kid.  Actually I take that back, I WAS a picky eater until I went to Girl Guide camp one summer, where they actually try to make a man out you!!

It was a traumatic event.  It was 10 years old, my first time away from home, deep in the woods, living in tents, with 15 year olds in charge of us and it rained the entire time!  The food was frightful and sparse, luckily we didn’t have to kill it ourselves.  It was a turning point in my life, I was never a picky eater after that!  In fact that’s probably where my tendency to over eat began,  because after that camp experience every meal felt like it could be my last!

But I digress.  Back to the cabbage rolls that I had at my friend’s house.  Normally I would have never eaten something so exotic in those days, but my friend’s mom’s cabbage rolls were the best!

Here is my version.

First you need to boil up a big pot of water.  Then cut the core out of a medium size green cabbage.

Core a green cabbage

Then when the water is boiling, or even just about there, toss in the cabbage.   Well, be careful cause boiling water can burn, but you know what I mean.

Cabbage in the pot

It won’t take long for the leaves to let go.  So keep poking at it with a wooden spoon and the leaves will come loose.   As they do, fish them out with some tongs and put them in a bowl of very cold, or ice water so it will stop the cooking and they will keep their shape and not get too soggy.

Cooling down the cabbage leaves

Meanwhile, or before you start boiling your cabbage, you will want to make your filling.

There are various “traditional cabbage roll” fillings so feel free to use the one of your choice but this is what I used.

  • 1 medium onion diced
  • 1 cup cooked brown rice
  • 1 pound bulk spicy Italian sausage
  • the left over smaller leaves of the cabbage once large leaves are removed, finely chopped
  • 1 tsp smokey paprika
  • 1 tsp cumin
  • 1 pinch salt
  • a few twists ground pepper

Mix well.  I find the best way is to just get in there with your hands and squish it together.

Cabbage roll filling

Now it is very easy to make Vegan or Vegetarian versions of these by replacing the meat with extra rice and some sautéed vegetables like mushrooms, zucchini, carrots or combinations of these, as well as some cooked brown lentils for example.

Now you are ready to assemble.

Place a cabbage leaf on your work area:

Cabbage leaf

Now if the bottom of the ridge or vein of the cabbage is too tough you can make small slits and remove the hard part to make the leaf easier to roll, but this one was just right.

Add the filling:

Filling on cabbage leaf

Then fold in the sides and roll up into a nice package with seam side down.

Cabbage Roll

Then place into a lightly oiled baking dish in a single layer.

Cabbage rolls in baking dish

Then top with the tomato sauce of your choice.

Cabbage rolls in tomato sauce

At this point you could sprinkle with breadcrumbs, or some grated cheese or if you really wanted to be decadent, a little bit of brown sugar!  But on this occasion, I left them o natural!

Place is a 350 degree oven for about 35 minutes till they get all bubbly.

They are just fine all by themselves or you could add some salad and bread to round out the meal.

Enjoy.

Cabbage rolls in tomato sauce

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