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Collard Greens, Southern-style

Collard Greens, Southern-style

Last week, I started my quest to feature a dish or meal from each U.S. state over the course of the year. Since there are 50 states and 52 weeks, I began by featuring a Native American dish. This week is Alabama. I researched recipes of Alabama, and it seems sweet potatoes, grits and collard greens are some of the popular foods. This week’s featured recipe is Southern-style Collard Greens. The recipe was provided by a Southern friend of mine.

Collards are a healthy, inexpensive whole food. They are believed to help prevent cancer and another star health benefit is their ability to lower cholesterol. They also are a good source of fiber. Collards have been a staple in Southern American cooking for many years, but have actually been a part of the human diet for thousands of years. Find out what you’ve been missing by cooking up a kettle of collards tonight!

Southern-style Collard Greens

Large bunch of collards, cleaned and chopped

½ large onion, chopped

2 cloves garlic, minced

½ tsp. crushed red pepper

1 tsp. garlic powder

1 tsp. sugar

½ tsp turmeric

½ tsp. celery seed

2 cups reduced sodium vegetable broth

Olive oil

  1. Saute 1-2 tbsp. olive oil in large kettle on medium high heat. Once softened, add garlic and sauté a minute more. Add crushed red pepper and other seasonings.
  2. Add collards and stir. Pour in vegetable broth. Bring to a boil. Then reduce heat to low and simmer for about 35 minutes.
  3. Add salt & pepper to taste.
Lovely large collard leaves

Lovely large collard leaves

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Sweet Potato Corn Chowder

Sweet Potato Corn Chowder
with Black Beans and Spinach

While researching the foods of Native Americans, corn kept appearing as a common ingredient. Other vegetables eaten by early Native Americans included sweet potatoes, squash and beans.  I thought about making a fry bread, which seems to be a popular Native American recipe, but decided instead to make a chowder. I used ingredients that would have been available to Native Americans hundreds of years ago.

The chowder turned out great. I put all of the ingredients in the slow cooker and cooked it on low for about five hours. Native Americans might have left it stewing over a fire for a while and gotten the same effect.  This is a heart-healthy, gluten-free, vegan dish. Enjoy.

Sweet Potato/Corn Chowder with Black Beans and Spinach

1 large sweet potato, peeled and cut into square chunks
1 cup frozen baby corn
½ cup canned black beans, drained and rinsed
2 cups fresh baby spinach
½ onion, chopped
1 clove garlic, sliced
2 cups low-sodium vegetable broth
2 cups water
1 tbsp. ground cumin
1 tbsp. cilantro
1 tbsp. parsley
¼ tsp. cayenne pepper
Salt & Pepper

  1. Place all ingredients except spinach and black beans into crock pot.
  2. Cook in the crock pot on low heat for about 5 hours.
  3. About 15 minutes before serving, stir in the black beans and spinach.

Makes 3 servings.

* This is week 1 of my “quest” to make a vegan recipe from every state in the U.S. during 2015. Since there are 50 states and 52 weeks, the first week is a Native American recipe and the last week will be a holiday recipe. Inspiration for my quest came from Chris Guillebeau and his recent book The Happiness of Pursuit. Check them out!

Vegan Pumpkin Pie and Mousse


Pumpkin pie is great during the holidays, but often it is made with eggs and cream. I searched online and found three yummy looking, vegan pumpkin desserts.

Photo courtesy of Minimalist Baker Blog


Coconut whipped cream looks delicious

1) Creamy No-bake Pumpkin Pie, topped with a luscious coconut whipped cream: http://minimalistbaker.com/creamy-no-bake-pumpkin-pie/

2) Tofu Pumpkin Pie – made with silken tofu!
http://woodstocksanctuary.org/recipes
/tofu-pumpkin-pie/

3) Easy Pumpkin Mousse
http://www.shape.com/healthy-eating/
cooking-ideas/6-new-ways-eat-tofu/slide/6

And in case you need added incentive to open a can of pumpkin and make dessert, Huffington Post lists some impressive health benefits of eating pumpkin. Seems that pumpkin is good for your heart, your eyes, your skin, your mood, and more! http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2014/09/04/pumpkin-health-benefits_n_1936919.html.

So make a guilt-free dessert. Happy holidays!

 


Fricasse de Seitan

Fricasse de Seitan

Recently I discovered a new dish – Cuban Fricase de Pollo. It is an ideal Sunday dinner dish because it takes a bit more time and effort to make than you might want to spend on a weeknight and it also provides great leftovers for a lunch or two during the week. And it is absolutely delicious and 100% worth the effort. The mixture of sweet and savory in this dish make every forkful a treat. Nutritious too. I substitute seitan for the chicken, and it works superb. Here is my vegan version of this oh so tasty Cuban dish:

Cuban Fricase de Seitan (Cuban-style stew)

¼ cup lime juice
¼ cup orange juice
3 cloves garlic, minced
1 8 oz. package of seitan strips
1 green pepper, thinly sliced (stem and seeds removed)
1 yellow onion, thinly sliced
2/3 cup white wine
1/3 cup low-sodium vegetable broth
2 yukon gold potatoes, cut into 1” pieces (peel optional)
1/3 cup pimento-stuffed green olives
2 tbsp. capers plus 1 tsp. caper juice from jar
¼ cup raisins
1 8 oz. can tomato sauce
1/2 cup frozen peas, thawed
1 tsp. Hungarian paprika
1 tsp. dried parsley
1 tsp. cilantro
Salt & pepper
Extra virgin olive oil

Fricasse de Seitan with white rice

Awesome Cuban stew. Works well with white rice.

1) Mix together the lime juice, orange juice, garlic and ground black pepper. Add the seitan strips. Let sit in marinade for about 30 minutes.
2) Meanwhile, sauté the onion in olive oil in a deep skillet on medium high heat for about 5 minutes. Add the green pepper and sauté another 5-10 minutes.
3) Remove pepper and onion from skillet. Add diced potatoes and more olive oil. Stir fry about 10 minutes until potatoes are fork tender. Add the seitan and stir fry with the potatoes a few minutes. Add more oil if, needed. Add in all of the remaining marinade.
4) Then add all of the remaining ingredients and stir together, including the pepper and onion and all spices. Add a little water if needed. Bring to a quick boil, then reduce to a simmer. Simmer about 10 minutes so flavors can meld together.
5) Traditionally served with white rice.

Makes four main-dish servings.


Vegan Creamy Ranch Dressing

Creamy Vegan Ranch Dressing

Bottled dressings don’t compare to homemade. Making salad dressing from scratch is much easier than you might think. This creamy ranch dressing was so delicious I had to share it on the blog. AND it is vegan and easy to make.

Creamy Vegan Ranch Dressing

4 tbsp. Vegenaise
1 tbsp. extra virgin olive oil
1 tbsp. white wine vinegar
1/2 tsp. lemon juice
1/2 tsp. garlic powder
1/2 tsp. black pepper
1 tsp. parsley flakes

1) Whisk all ingredients together.
2) Pour over salad and toss. Toss with greens about 10 minutes before serving for best taste. Delicious with any types of greens but stands up well to hearty lettuces and sliced veggies like cucumbers. Great with a chopped salad.

DELICIOUS!


Snacks for your game day celebration don’t have to be fat-laden dips and deep fried. Appetizers can be both healthy and delicious. What’s better than guacamole when watching the game? It’s good-for-you when paired with whole wheat crackers or tortilla chips (especially if you use low-sodium organic corn chips). If you like spinach and artichoke dip, I have a recipe for one that replaces all of the saturated fat with healthy fats, but doesn’t short you on deliciousness. I’ve included several healthy and yummy appetizers below! Enjoy!

Guacamole

Delicious and easy to make.

4 ripe avocados
2 cloves garlic, minced  OR 1/2 tsp. garlic powder
1/4 purple onion, diced fine
1 ripe tomato, seeded and diced fine
1/2 cup fresh cilantro, stems removed OR 1/2 tbsp. dried cilantro
½ tsp. cumin
1 tsp. lime juice
Dash of cayenne pepper
Low-sodium salt & pepper

1) Peel avocados and remove pits. Mash with potato masher or fork until only slightly lumpy.
2) Blend in other ingredients.
3) Serve with tortilla chips

Note: In a pinch and short on ingredients – avocados mashed with garlic powder, salt & pepper will still make a tasty dip.

——

Chickpea Spread

Hearty and Yummy

2 15 oz. cans chickpeas, rinsed and drained

Chickpea Spread

Chickpea Spread

½ red pepper, diced fine
3 cloves garlic, minced
¼ tsp. cayenne pepper
½ tbsp. Vegenaise
1/3 cup extra virgin olive oil
½ tsp. cumin
1/8 tsp. paprika
1 tbsp. chopped chives
salt and pepper

1) In large bowl, mash chickpeas. Can be chunky, but there should be no whole chickpeas left. I used a potato masher.
2) Add diced red pepper and stir.
3) In small bowl, whisk together remaining ingredients. Pour dressing over chickpea mixture and blend together.
4) Serve with blue corn tortilla chips or your favorite crackers.

——————

Cranberry Salsa

Deliciously different

2 cups fresh cranberries
1 orange, sectioned and chopped
2 tsp. grated orange rind
½ medium green pepper, chopped
1-2 jalpeno peppers, seeded and chopped fine
½ cup sugar
¼ cup chopped pecans, toasted
3 tbsp. chopped fresh cilantro (dried ok if no fresh on hand)
1/8 tsp. salt

1) Mash cranberries with a potato masher (or use a food processor) until cranberries are coarsely chopped.
2) Stir in remaining ingredients.
3) Cover and chill at least two hours.
4) Serve with sweet potato chips or your favorite tortilla chips.

——–

For the spinach artichoke dip recipe and other healthy Greens recipes, check out the new cookbook Fifty Shades of Greens at www.fiftyshadesofgreens.com

 

 

Fifty Plates of Greens


GreensCover_pngWhile working on the cookbook Fifty Plates of Greens, I experimented with different recipes and ate a lot of greens. I have found that I love greens! The more greens you eat, the more you like them. Any trip to the grocery store now includes a purchase of some kind of greens. I usually buy what looks good and fresh: kale, mustard greens, bok choy, collards. If all other greens look wilted, I can usually count on finding some pretty good organic baby spinach greens. And spinach is so versatile.

Here is a recipe from my just released heart-healthy cookbook Fifty Plates of Greens. It is now available in pdf format. All recipes are vegan, low-fat, and designed to promote good health. What’s more, most of the recipes are gluten-free, and the few that aren’t include gluten-free substitutions. The majority also consist solely of whole food ingredients, sure to please anyone trying to eat a “clean” or unprocessed foods diet. And since none of the recipes contain added sugar, cheese or butter, they are ideal for anyone watching sugar intake or trying to control weight.

Check it out. I think you will find some recipes you will love.

Rustic Kale Soup with Cauliflower, Carrots & Barley

(if following a gluten-free diet, substitute brown rice for the barley)

10-15 kale leaves
1 ½ cups chopped cauliflower
2 large or 3 small carrots, peeled and
sliced
½ cup (uncooked) barley
1 celery stalk, chopped
1 leek, white & light green, sliced
1/3 yellow onion, chopped
1 clove garlic, minced
2 quarts low-sodium vegetable broth
½ tsp. turmeric
1 tsp. parsley
1 tsp. oregano
1 tsp. smoky paprika (or any paprika)
¼ tsp. red pepper flakes
1 tsp. celery flakes or celery seed
2 bay leaves
Extra virgin olive oil
Salt & pepper, to taste

Rustic Kale Soup with Cauliflower & Barley

Rustic Kale Soup with Cauliflower & Barley

1) In large kettle on medium-high heat, add a couple tbsp. of olive oil and the onion and
leek. Saute about 5-7 minutes.

2) Next add the cauliflower and carrots. Saute about another 5-7 minutes.

3) Add all spices to the kettle. Stir in the chopped celery. Add more olive oil, as needed.

4) Meanwhile, cook barley according to package directions in a separate pot.

5) Chop the kale leaves and remove the stem. Add to the main soup pot. Stir for about 5
minutes. The greens will cook down. Add the garlic.

6) Pour in the vegetable broth. Bring to a boil, then reduce to a simmer. Simmer for about
20-30 minutes. Add the barley when it’s tender.

 Makes 4-6 servings.