Wednesday, January 29, 2014

No Bake Bites (cookies)

No bake energy bites are packed with protein and fiber

Healthy Benefits
Oats, via their high fiber content, removes bad cholesterol without affecting the good cholesterol. It has the highest protein level of any grain.
It's a low calorie food which can help stop cravings and stays in your stomach longer making you feel full longer.
It stabilizes blood sugar and reduces risk of diabetes (type 2). The high fiber and complex carbohydrates slow down the conversion of this whole food to simple sugars.
Ingredients   116 calories per serving (serves about 20)
1 cup oatmeal 
2/3 cup coconut flakes
1/2 cup almond butter (or peanut butter)
1/2 cup ground flaxseed 
1/2 cup chocolate chips (optional)
1/4 cup maple syrup
1 chia seed egg (1 Tbspn chia seeds + 3 Tbspn water) stir and wait 3 minutes. This is the binder.
1 tsp. vanilla extract (you may want to leave this out since vanilla extract contain alcohol)

- Mix all ingredients together, pack tightly and chill in refrigerator for at 30 minutes.

Note to vegan chef
- You can substitute the chocolate with apricots, dates, raisins, cranberries, walnuts. I pack them into shape by using a sandwich bag over my left hand and the back end of a large spoon in my right hand.

No bake energy bites

Nutrition: (per 1 serving)

Alternate Variation
This variation has cashews and it has a smoother texture (the oats and cashews are blended).

2/3 cups of raw cashews
1/3 cup of oatmeal, grind in blender
1 teaspoon of vanilla
2 tbspn maple syrup
1 flaxseed egg (binder)
1/4 cup of chocolate chips

Grind cashews and oatmeal in blender. In bowl, combine all ingredients and stir. Shape into small balls and chill for 30 minutes. 

Inspired by  Gimme Some Oven

Reference:  Calorie Count

Tuesday, January 28, 2014

Bean burgers

Bean burgers are delicious and high in dietary fiber.  Photo courtesy of Susan Geffers

Healthy Benefits
There are two kinds of fiber: fibers that dissolve in water and forms gels and fibers that do not dissolve in water and pass through the body unchanged. Plant foods usually contain a mixture of both soluble and insoluble fibers. 

Water soluble fibers can lower blood cholesterol, slow digestion to stabilize blood sugar, and soften the stools by holding onto moisture. Insoluble fibers move solid wastes out of the body quickly to prevent constipation and some gastrointestinal diseases. 

Fiber can also delay hunger by creating a feeling of fullness. Fiber may prevent weight gain by providing calories that are not absorbed and displacing high-calorie refined foods.

Ingredients   282 calories per serving (serves 6)
1 cup cooked chickpeas, coarsely mashed (or other beans)
1 cup cooked brown rice
1/2 cup rolled oats
1 teaspoon paprika
2 tablespoons soy sauce
1/4 teaspoon black pepper
1 stalk celery, finely chopped
1 small onion, finely chopped
1 garlic clove, minced
1 chia seed egg (or flaxseed): mix 1 tbspn chia with 3 tbspn water, wait 3 minutes and stir. This is the binder.

- Combine all ingredients and mix. Form into patties. Fry in a nonstick pan until lightly browned, about 3 minutes on each side.
- Serve on whole wheat bread with tomato slices and lettuce, or forget the bread and just use leafy greens!

Nutrition: (per 1 serving)

Inspired by Jenifer Raymond, Food for Life book by Neal Barnard, M.D., page 267

Monday, January 27, 2014

Minestrone Soup

Healthy Benefits
Minestrone soup is a crowd pleaser made with seasonal vegetables that's versatile since you can use what you have on hand. It's a low calorie soup that's high in fiber, protein, vitamins, minerals, well balanced and low in fat. It will fill you up on very few calories. The fiber of the plant foods will fill you up without adding fat.

Ingredients   187 calories per serving (serves 8)
1 small onion, chopped
3-1/2 cups low sodium vegetable broth (or water), both are good
3 cups fresh tomatoes (or whole peeled tomatoes or diced tomatoes) (14.5 oz)
1 garlic clove minced
2 medium carrots, diced
1 stalk celery, diced
2 medium potatoes, diced
1 tablespoon chopped fresh parsley
1 teaspoon dried basil
1 medium zucchini, diced
1/2 cup cooked pasta shells
1 cup cooked kidney beans (or one 15 oz can drained)
2-1/2 cups chopped greens (spinach, chard, collards and/or kale)
Dash of crushed red pepper flakes
Salt to taste

- Heat 1/2 cup water in large pot
- Add onion and cook over medium-high heat stirring frequently until onion is soft
- Add whole peeled tomatoes, remaining vegetable broth or water, garlic, carrots, celery, potatoes, parsley and basil. Bring to a simmer, cover and cook for 20 minutes.
- Add remaining ingredients for additional 10 minutes

Note to vegan chef:
I like to keep the pasta shells a little on the el dente side. You can top it off with additional water or vegetable broth if you find that it's too thick. Control the sodium by using water or making your own vegetable broth.  

Nutrition: (per 1 serving)

Inspired by Jenifer Raymond, Food for Life book by Neal Barnard, M.D., page 225

Reference:  Calorie Count

Saturday, January 4, 2014

Green Pancakes (Kale or Spinach)

Start your day with the most nutritionally dense vegetable, kale.
Healthy Benefits
Kale is a superstar vegetable.
One cup of chopped kale contains 33 calories and 9% of the daily value of calcium, 206% of vitamin A, 134% of vitamin C, and a whopping 684% of vitamin K. It is also a good source of minerals copper, potassium, iron, manganese, and phosphorus.
Kale’s health benefits are primarily linked to the high concentration and excellent source of antioxidant vitamins A, C, and K -- and sulphur-containing phytonutrients. 
Carotenoids and flavonoids are the specific types of antioxidants associated with many of the anti-cancer health benefits. Kale is also rich in the eye-health. Kale is now recognized as providing comprehensive support for the body's detoxification system. The fiber content of helps lower blood cholesterol levels and reduce the risk of heart disease. 

Ingredients   408 calories per serving (serves 2)
1 banana
1/2 tsp. baking powder
Dashes of cinnamon, cardamom and coriander 
1/4 cup almond or soy milk
2 generous handfuls kale (remove spines) or spinach (approx. 4 cups) or other leafy green
1 flax egg  (1 tbsp of flaxseed + 3 tbsp of water)
1/2 cup old fashioned oats
1/2 cup whole wheat flour
1/2 tbsp. chia seeds
1/4 cup of crushed walnuts (optional and recommended)

- Blend the banana, baking powder, spices, almond milk and kale (or spinach)
- Transfer mixture to a medium mixing bowl and add the (optional) oil, flax egg and mix
- In another bowl, add oats, flour and chia seeds and stir
- Combine all ingredients and stir
- Coat griddle (or skillet) with non-stick spray (or oil). Flip when browned.
- Serve with maple syrup

Note to vegan chef:
The original recipe I saw called for 1 tbspn of canola oil. I try to limit oil in my cooking so I don't use it to reduce the calories ... I don't think it needs it. I don't think kale has a strong taste and so these kale pancakes are not overpowering in any way.

Nutrition: (per 3 pancakes)