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Boston Vegetarian Food Festival, October 26 and 27, 2013
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Entries in vegan (9)

Thursday
Jun262014

Sautéed Purple Swiss Chard with Sweet Potatoes and Dried Fruit

Introducing Alexa, my new recipe contributor!I can't say how thrilled I am that my niece Alexa is cooking up a storm. She already contributed a simple delicious recipe last year Chocolate Banana Ice Cream that I have made endless times and been encouraging all of my patients to make! I had to share this new one that she said she'd whipped up for lunch one day. Is it normal to drool over vegetables?? I've been doing that a lot lately and this recipe is no exception. I signed up for a CSA this summer and received my first batch yesterday with a bunch of beautiful purple Swiss chard. Swiss chard is a nutrition superstar, ranking 3rd in a recent study of "41 powerhouse fruits and vegetables" featured in The Washington Post. Can't wait to put these greens to good use with Alexa's recipe! Feel free to substitute other greens and your favorite dried fruits...they'll all work wonderfully here. You can also add nuts or seeds to boost the protein and nutrient content.

Sautéed Purple Swiss Chard with Baked Sweet Potatoes and Raisins

Ingredients

2 bunches Swiss chard, washed thoroughly, dried, and chopped (4-5 heaping cups after chopped)

1 medium onion, diced

1/2 cup raisins

1 T olive oil

2 medium sized sweet potatoes

Directions 

  1. Preheat oven to 350 F. Bake sweet potatoes for 45 min to 1 hour, depending on size, until tender (or use a knife to create a few slits in potatoes and microwave for 6-7 minutes on high). Cool potatoes, remove the skin, and chop into small chunks.
  2. In a pan on medium heat, add oil. Add the diced onion and cook until translucent.
  3. Add raisins and chopped Swiss chard to the onions. Saute one minute and then turn heat to low as the leaves will wilt very quickly.
  4. Toss in sweet potatoes and serve! 

Thursday
Aug152013

Healthy New Snack? The Wave Bar

I love trying new food products, especially when they conveniently arrive at my front door! Rick Guarnaccia, the CEO (Chief "Everything" Officer) of Natural G Foods, sent over his new Wave Bars for my two cents. It's a soft granola bar made with a bunch of fruits and vegetables including apples, pumpkin, carrots, broccoli, kale, beets, strawberries, raspberries and blueberries. The sweeteners are date paste, tapioca syrup and agave. It also contains rolled oats and seeds (sunflower, pumpkin, flax). One bar has 170 calories, 7 grams fat, 20 mg sodium, 3 grams fiber, 3 grams protein, 9 grams sugar, and 430 mg of healthful omega-3 fats (from the flaxseeds).

Before the birth of Wave Bar, Rick and his wife Monica had baked a bar similar to this one for their three daughters. Like many parents, they wanted their kids to eat more fruits and vegetables, and this snack seemed the perfect conception. With all the different fruits and veggies in the Wave Bar that are listed first among the ingredients, I was surprised the bar contained only 1/2 serving of fruit and 1/2 serving vegetables. But after all it is a snack size bar and what I appreciate about real fruit bars is that kids become familiar with the natural tart flavors, so that ideally eating whole fruits and vegetables will be more accepted.

So I gave a thumbs-up for the product's nutritional profile with no artificial colors or flavors and that the company is a start-up by parents trying to improve kids' nutrition. Bigger question, how was the taste? Chewy, tangy and mildly sweet. I loved the richness from the seeds. Unfortunately my son is still, shall we say, selective about fruits and vegetables so he took one whiff and refused the bar. But I enjoyed the natural flavors of the various fruits (couldn't detect the broccoli or kale!) and that it was very satisfying. It would be great as part of a breakfast on-the-go or for a late afternoon snack. As for my son, maybe I'll try covering it in melted dark chocolate.

For more info, check out the Wave Bar website and Facebook page! They're not available in Massachusetts yet but you can find them on Amazon.com.

Disclosure: I received food samples but no monetary compensation for my honest review of this product.

Monday
Apr152013

Tasty Tidbits at Whole Foods

I recently attended a Whole Foods blogger event in Wellesley featuring Chad Sarno, consulting research and development chef for Whole Foods Market and coauthor of the new cookbook Crazy Sexy Kitchen with New York Times bestselling author and cancer survivor Kris Carr. We each received a copy of the cookbook, and after thumbing through it I found a plant-happy collection of vegan recipes, most of which are a half to one-page long with a philosophy toward non-dairy, gluten-free, alkaline, and low-glycemic foods. I appreciated the introductory chapters on cooking basics that guide you through the vitals like various knife cutting techniques and how to prepare whole grains and beans. There are several unusual but easy smoothie concoctions and fresh salad dishes that I'll be sure to test for this blog in the near future. 

On this particular night, I was inspired watching Chad whip up quick and delicious creations right before our eyes. He demonstrated an array of 2-bite vegan appetizer recipes (see pic below!) that we lucky bloggers sampled in abundance—one bite after another popped with maxed out flavor. Clockwise from top: Jackfruit Carnitas with Avocado and Pico, Crostini with Pureed Artichoke and Garlicky Mushrooms, Cucumber Cups with Cashew Cream Cheese and Balsamic Pickled Figs, Smoked Portabella Satay with Almond Chile Sauce

I decided to recreate his sweet ending of cocoa truffles: a no-cook, no-fuss treat that has my stamp of approval as a healthful dessert! That night Chad didn't provide the recipe and was just throwing in a little of this and that, so later he did email this version below and gave me permission to reprint it. A few notes that it uses almond meal, which is ground up blanched almonds. You can probably make your own, especially as one 16 oz. package of Bob's Red Mill costs a hefty $12.99. The date paste adds natural sweetness; I panicked after blending it because it looked like pure liquid but it thickened up after a few minutes. The final mixture resembles a dry dark chocolate brownie batter. It is very rich and amazing so make the balls small and savor each one! If it tastes too bitter, you can use a bit less cocoa or add some sugar/honey.

Chad Sarno's Cocoa Truffles

Ingredients

1 cup almond meal/flour

1 cup rolled oats, ground into course meal

3 T almond or cashew butter (I used peanut butter)

3/4 cup cocoa powder, unsweetened

1 1/4 cup date paste* (or add enough until the mixture binds well)

1 T vanilla extract

Directions

  1. Mix all ingredients in a large bowl with a wooden spoon until well blended. Refrigerate for about 30 minutes.
  2. Roll or shape into small balls.
  3. Coat surface of balls with coconut, cinnamon, Grape Nuts, crushed nuts, smoked salt, or more cocoa. Serve immediately or refrigerate for future munching!

*To make date paste, blend 1 cup of pitted dates with 1 cup water