Wednesday, June 26, 2013

Cran-Apple Oatmeal

I am always delighted when I come across a recipe that is McDougall friendly as written, which was the case with the "Cran-Apple Oatmeal" (page 521). Is there anything more delicious and healthy for breakfast than a steaming bowl of hot cooked oats infused with fruit? In this recipe, old-fashioned oats are cooked in a mixture of water, apple juice, cinnamon, and brown sugar until done, then fresh diced apples and dried cranberries are stirred into the cereal and left to thicken up for a few moments before serving. If you like your oatmeal creamy, rather than chewy, add the uncooked oats to the water/juice mixture before bringing to a boil, and set on the lowest heat, allowing the mixture to come to a gentle simmer very slowly. This is my preferred method for cooking old-fashioned oats, as it results in a very thick and creamy bowl of cereal.
"Keeping it McDougall Friendly" checklist:
ü No changes required!! J

Sunday, June 23, 2013

Sesame Cucumber Salad

Simple cucumber salad seems to compliment just about any meal, and when I'm at a loss of what to serve as a veggie side, I often turn to sliced cucumbers of some sort. The "Sesame Cucumber Salad" (page 61) is now among my repertoire of go-to recipes for just such occasions. With only a handful of ingredients, and simple to make, this dish goes together in no time at all. The English variety of cucumbers are used in this recipe, but I think any cucumbers you have on hand would work just as well. The dressing calls for a mixture of sesame oil, soy sauce, mirin, and rice vinegar, but if you want to keep it fat-free, just leave the sesame oil out altogether. The three tablespoons called for would be very dominant both in fat content and the strong sesame flavor. You could probably use ½ teaspoon and still get the flavor essence. In addition to the sesame oil, the salad is sprinkled with sesame seeds (the theme of twos here), so you likely won't miss the oil if you decide to omit it, which is what I did.
"Keeping it McDougall Friendly" checklist:
ü Omit the sesame oil when making the dressing. With the moist cucumbers and the remaining dressing ingredients, no substitution is required.

Tuesday, June 18, 2013

Garden Patch Sandwiches on Multigrain Bread

There are 20 sandwich recipes in this cookbook, and the "Garden Patch Sandwiches on Multigrain Bread" (page 110) marks the 17th one I've tried so far. This has been one my favorite sections of the book, and even though typically considered lunch food, I can turn sandwich filling into breakfast or dinner fare very easily. Like my husband always says, sandwiches should be considered one of the food groups! This particular sandwich starts with tofu as the base ingredient, to which you add red bell pepper, celery, and green onions. A little crunch is provided by the addition of sunflower seeds, and the entire mixture is held together with vegan mayo. Spread on any variety of whole grain bread, add lettuce and tomato, and your meal is ready! I served our sandwiches with fresh microwaved potato chips, oil-free, using the Topchips potato chip maker, a very nifty gadget to have around.
"Keeping it McDougall Friendly" checklist:
ü Use oil free mayonnaise, purchased or homemade.
ü Use 100% whole grain oil-free bread. If you're lucky enough to have a bakery in town that bakes whole grain and oil free varieties of bread, take advantage of that option.

Tuesday, June 11, 2013

Cucumber-Radish Salad with Tarragon Vinaigrette

The "Cucumber-Radish Salad with Tarragon Vinaigrette" (page 57) is a great summer garden salad as both cucumbers and radishes are commonly grown in our own backyards this time of year. These two ingredients are the only veggies in this salad, which are dressed with tarragon dressing, and ready to eat in just a few minutes. Speaking of the dressing, as written the recipe calls for ¼ cup olive oil, better than half of the entire mix. I left this out altogether, using just the flavored vinegar and other seasonings listed, and it was perfectly delicious! Serve this salad on a bed of mixed greens as a stand-in for tossed green salad.

"Keeping it McDougall Friendly" checklist:
ü  Omit the olive oil in the vinaigrette altogether; add a little extra vinegar if more moisture needed, but the cucumbers are quite juicy and you probably won't miss it at all.

Wednesday, June 5, 2013

Chinese Black Bean Chili

The not-so-secret ingredient in "Chinese Black Bean Chili" is the Chinese black bean sauce. As described in the recipe head notes, "Garlicky Chinese black bean sauce is a salty intense seasoning". Not one to shy away from intense flavors, I found this dish immensely satisfying with the black bean sauce adding a wonderful complexity to a dish made up of otherwise commonplace ingredients: black beans, onions, carrots, and tomatoes. You would expect to find chili powder in a chili dish, and here you do, but a surprise ingredient that stretches the boundaries of chili as we might think of it is freshly grated ginger, which of course marries nicely into this Chinese themed recipe. As I have been noticing in many of her dishes, Robin often incorporates a theme of twos, or a theme of threes, into a recipe. Here it is a theme of twos with the Chinese black bean sauce, and the black beans themselves. An unusual and delicious take on chili, which I heartily recommend.
"Keeping it McDougall Friendly" checklist:
ü     Omit the canola oil when stir-frying the veggies, and use a bit of sherry, water, or broth instead, and/or a nonstick skillet.