Delicious Marinara Sauce

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I just had the best experience with this sauce. I read a couple of recipes, combined them, added a few of my own ideas and came up with this marvelous dish.  It had to be the best dinner I’ve had in a long while.  First I will list the ingredients (trying to remember the proper proportions).

  • 4 garlic cloves, thinly sliced
  • 1/2 onion, chopped
  • 1/4 – 1/2 cup vegetable broth
  • 6 mushrooms, sliced
  • 1/4 cup red cooking wine
  • 1/8 tsp. crushed red peppers
  • 1/4 tsp. oregano
  • 1/4 tsp. crushed rosemary
  • 1/4 tsp. crushed thyme
  • 1/2 tsp. crushed basil
  • 1 quart (or 28 oz. can) tomatoes

First, thinly slice the garlic and place in a skillet with 2 Tlbs. vegetable broth.  Cook over medium heat.  Stir, adding more broth as it dries up.  Once the garlic cooks, add the onions and the remaining 2 Tlbs. vegetable broth.  Stir and cook over medium heat until the onions are soft.

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Add the mushrooms.  Cook a little longer to soften the mushrooms.  Add the cooking wine.  Cook until the wine condenses down.  Add the spices and the tomatoes.  Crush the tomatoes with a potato masher.  Cook over medium high heat, stirring occasionally until the sauce thickens up.

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Serve over whole wheat pasta and zucchini.  Mmmmmmm sooo good!

African Stew

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First and foremost, I have to say… I’ve become addicted to exercise!  I love it, I love it, I LOVE IT!!  I’m getting stronger and stronger.  I have noticed that I have more energy to do things around the house.  I can feel the absence of the weight that I’ve lost.  It’s just a GREAT feeling of health!  This is ALL worth it!

Today, I made African Stew.  I was introduced to this on Sunday when my family went over to our neighbor’s house to eat.  My neighbor’s sister was so excited about these new vegan recipes that she had just made, that she ran quickly to her house to get a sampling for Steve and I.  We were delighted with the new tastes and new possibilities for our diet.  So today, I decided to try out one of them.  This recipe came from the Forks Over Knives website (I take no credit for the recipe).  It’s an awesome website that everyone should visit.  http://forksoverknives.com

Here is the recipe (then I will explain):

½ cup water

1 onion, chopped

1-2 tablespoon(s) Anaheim or jalapeno pepper, minced

1 tablespoon ginger, ground

1 tablespoon garlic granules

2 teaspoons cumin, ground

2 teaspoons coriander, ground

1/4 teaspoon crushed red pepper

6 yams, peeled and chopped

2 cups vegetable broth

24 ounces tomatoes, chopped

14 ounces garbanzo beans, drained and rinsed

14 ounces black eyed peas, drained and rinsed

1/4 cup almond or peanut butter, unsweetened

1½ cup corn

6 cups collards, chopped

Serves: 6-8

Instructions:

In a large pot, sauté onion and pepper with water for 5 minutes or until onions are translucent, stirring

occasionally.

Add ginger, garlic, cumin, coriander and red pepper.

Cook and stir for 1 minute.

Mix in yams, vegetable broth, tomatoes, beans and nut butter.

Bring to a boil, reduce heat and simmer for 20 minutes.

Stir in corn and collards and cook for about 10 more minutes, until yams and greens are tender.

The first thing I did was chop up the onions, jalapenos, yams and collard greens

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Then I gathered the spices that I needed:

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I noticed that I did not have ground coriander, but rather coriander seed.  So, I came to the conclusion that I would have to do this the hard way.  I took out our HUGE mortar and pestal and began grinding away.  Oh my goodness the scent that these seeds gave off was just delightful!  It had a strong lemony smell, very pleasant.

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Earlier, I had soaked and cooked some black-eyed peas.  I took them out of the pot so they could be measured for the recipe.  Then, I grabbed a can of chick peas.

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When I grabbed the chick peas, I also grabbed the canned corn.  I was GREATLY distressed as I read the ingredients… SUGAR.  So I grabbed another can of corn.  Much to my dismay, the ingredients listed included SUGAR as well.  I was just about to run to the store AGAIN when I thought of the bag of freezer corn we had.  Reading through the ingredients provided a lot of relief…. NO ADDED SUGAR OR SALT! Just beware of the sugar content in canned corn please.

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Finally I took out our organic peanut butter (we have some JIF brand peanut butter for the boys).  It is unsalted and all natural.  Perfect!

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One more thing… my pride and joy!  The recipe called for 24 ounces of canned tomatoes.  I was glad to use the bottled tomatoes that Steve and I put up from our bounteous tomato harvest earlier this summer.  I actually included the whole jar.  I drained the tomatoes well, then chopped them up and threw them in the pot when the recipe called for it.

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Once my ingredients were all in place, I followed the recipe as outlined.  This recipe has lots of starchy vegetables (sweet potato, corn) and also peanut butter.  With this in mind, I limit myself to one cup (and yes I measure it!) a day.  I hope that you enjoy!  I know that I sure did :):)

Delicious Mexican Dinner

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Dinner tonight was fabulous!  I soaked some black bean this morning.  This afternoon I rinsed them, covered them with new water, and put in one chopped onion, and one chopped garlic clove.  After the water started boiling, I added about 1 tsp. ground cumin.  They had to cook on medium heat for about 1 1/2 hours.  DELICIOUS!  For the rice, I chopped 1/2 onion, 1 large jalapeno, and a good size handful of fresh cilantro.  I made sure these were chopped up nicely.  Then I measured one cup of vegetable broth, and 1 1/2 cups of water.  I put in one cup of brown rice.  I cooked it like normal rice.  I brought it to boil, then placed a lid on it and turned down the heat to low.  I let it simmer for about 45 minutes.  Just divine!  We put the rice and beans over a bed of lettuce, then put tomatoes and avocados on top.  We garnished it with salsa and some cilantro/lime vinegrette fat free dressing.  SOOOOOO GOOD!!

Stuffed Bell Peppers

Well, it looks like my bell pepper plants have resurrected themselves and are going for round 2!!  We have sooo many, I was not sure of what to do with them.  I remember my friend and co-worker Veronica talking about making stuffed bell peppers.  I haven’t had these since I was very small.  My mom made them once or twice.  And so…I began on a search for stuffed bell peppers that would fit my Fuhrman diet.  I found a few online, and tweaked them, and came up with this:

1/2 lb dried red kidney beans
1 cup brown rice
6 medium green peppers
3 Tbsp. vegetable broth
4 cloves garlic (minced)
1 medium onion (diced)
2 large celery (diced)
3 large carrots (diced)
1 large tomatoes (peeled & seeded)
1/2 tsp. dried basil
1/4 tsp. dried red pepper flakes
1/2 tsp. dried oregano
1 Tlbs. fresh parsley, chopped
freshly ground pepper (to taste)
Directions:

Rinse beans. Add 3-4 cups water and soak overnight. Drain beans,  cover with water and simmer until tender (30-40 minutes). Drain beans, set aside.

Bring 2 1/2 cups water to boil. Add 1 cup rice. Cover and simmer for 45 minutes (or until all liquid is absorbed).

Put 3 tablespoons vegetable broth in frying pan and add the minced garlic. Sauté for 3 minutes, stirring so the garlic doesn’t burn. Add onion, celery, and carrots (and additional vegetable broth if needed for moisture) and sauté for an additional 5-7 minutes. Remove from heat and mix with the rice.

Add the seasonings (all the dried seasonings, pepper, and fresh parsley). Mix well. Mix in the beans.

Cut the tops off the green peppers and remove the seeds. Stand the peppers in shallow baking dish. Fill peppers with bean and rice mixture.

Dice tomato. Place the diced tomatoes over top of each pepper and top off each with a sprinkle of fresh parsley.

Cover dish and roast in 350 degree oven for 35-45 minutes or until peppers are tender.Yield: Serves 6
And here are some pictures:

Kale Chips with Lemon–My Favorite Snack

History of the vegetable: Kale dishes were frequented during WWII by Americans because it was easy to grow and it is PACKED with essential nutrients. After the war, it became less popular because of its “metallic taste and the fact that it turned into an unappealing green mush when boiled.” (Poulter, 2007)

…apparently nobody in the 1940s knew about KALE CHIPS.

Apparently since the war, there have been botanical improvements to the vegetable, therefore making it taste better. Seriously, this stuff tastes better than popcorn. I like to eat it on the couch with my husband while we watch movies on weekends. We hardly ever leave leftovers. Heck, if I’m alone, I’ll eat the whole head by myself!

Ingredients:

  • 1 head of kale (I like to buy ones with crunchy, stiff leaves)
  • 1 tbsp light tasting olive oil
  • 1 dash of salt
  • juice from 1/2 lemon

Cooking Instructions:

  1. Preheat the oven to 400°F.
  2. Using a colander, rinse off kale leaves while tearing away from stems into bite-sized pieces.
  3. Combine kale, olive oil, salt, and lemon juice into a large mixing bowl. Mix well.
  4. Add seasoned kale to a baking sheet and bake for 15 minutes, stirring halfway through.

Enjoy!

References:

Poulter, Sean (2007). World War Two vegetable comes back as ‘superfood’. Daily Mail 3. (On-line). Retrieved from: http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-485506/World-War-Two-vegetable-comes-superfood.html.

Beans, beans, beans!!

Oh my goodness! I just made THE.BEST.BEAN.SOUP.EVER!!!  And I’m so proud of myself, I made it all up. I could not wait to blog about this, even though it’s late and past my bedtime!

I started off yesterday with some dried beans like in the picture above.  You can buy these already mixed like this in the dried beans section (next to rice, I believe).  They are packaged like that with a recipe and spices for soup.  I threw away the spices and opted for fresh veggies instead.  Let me (hopefully) come up with a recipe:

  • 2 cups dry bean mixture
  • 1 quart Swanson’s low-sodium vegetable broth
  • 1/2 onion (chopped)
  • 2 green bell peppers (chopped)
  • 1 red bell pepper (chopped)
  • 2 stalks celery (chopped)
  • 3 carrots (peeled and chopped)
  • 1 quart tomatoes (drained)
  • 2 cloves garlic
  • 1/8 tsp. dried oregano
  • 1/4 tsp. freshly ground pepper

Soak the beans in water overnight.  Drain and rinse.  Place the beans and vegetable stock in large pot.  Bring to a boil.  Add chopped veggies, garlic, tomatoes and spices.  Simmer on low for about 1 1/2 hours.

DELICIOUS!!

This would be great paired with some brown rice!

Smoothie

This is my favorite way to start the day.  This has also been my staple every day from the beginning (July 1, 2012) and I never get sick of it.  It gives me so much energy and sustains me clear until lunch (usually) unless I do some extraordinary amount of exercise in the AM.   The recipe that we use, has been altered from the one Dr. Fuhrman gives in his book.  We use a WHOLE lot more fruit.  I know that we need to tone that down a little, but it was a good way to get started.  So, here ya go…

  • 3/4 cup unsweetened almond milk
  • 3/4 cup pomegranate juice
  • 5 ounces spinach
  • 2 cups frozen mango/pineapple mix
  • 2 cups frozen strawberries
  • 1 cup frozen blueberries
  • 1 banan
  • 2 Tlbs. ground flax seed

Mix this all together and enjoy!  This makes enough for 2

Here is my plug for my WONDERFUL blender.  My husband searched high and low for a top quality blender.  He researched many types.  His sisters Priscilla and Rebecca both claimed the Blendtec to be superior.  They both have been making green smoothies for quite some time.  We were intrigued.  It wasn’t until our recent trip to San Diego, when we visited Elizabeth, that we were sold on the Blendtec.  Steve quickly bought one.  That is one big reason we decided to begin our diet and stay with it.  It works like a charm.

Collard Greens

I’ve always had a hard time with collard greens.  Sadly, Dr. Fuhrman counts them as nutrient dense, so I realize this is something that I must learn to like/love.  Today I remembered back in the day when I was little, we had a garden full of swiss chard. My mom would wilt the swiss chard (probably through the steaming method) and add vinegar, salt, and pepper.  I loved that.  I thought about recreating that with the collard greens.  We had a big bag in the fridge that I had bought earlier at HEB that needed to be used up.  This bag contained already washed, and chopped collard greens.  I looked on the bag and it seemed to have a great recipe.  We had a jar of tomatoes, that somehow didn’t seal when we were canning, that needed to be used.  This was the outcome.  And, they were actually pretty good.  This is the recipe:

1/2 pound chopped collard greens
2 Tlbs. Italian seasoning
1 15 oz. can tomatoes

Simple!  You put the collard greens in a good sized pot and cover them with water.  Bring the water to boil, then turn down the heat to simmer for 10 minutes.  After the 10 minutes are up, drain 1/2 the water.  Add the seasoning and the tomatoes (you can add the juice from the jar if you want). We simmered for 10 minutes more on low.  They were actually quite tasty.

Our dinner consisted of 1/2 cup brown rice, 1 small sweet potato (my FAVORITE part of the meal), a small portion of navy beans (I had cooked these earlier), 1/4 avocado sliced, about 2 Tlbs. salsa.  We also had a bowl full of cherries, and a glass of water.  PERFECT!