Monday, January 27, 2014

Creamy Cucumber Dressing

Taking advantage of recipes using non-dairy yogurt is getting easier and easier, as this product becomes more readily available in even conventional markets across the country. Sometimes, though, it can still be difficult to find the non-flavored yogurt in the non-dairy variety, which happened to me when I decided to try the "Creamy Cucumber Dressing". After contemplating the recipe, I decided using vegan sour cream would be an acceptable substitute, and it turned out I was right! (If you want to make your own vegan sour cream, this book also has a recipe for that.) I was especially happy to see this dressing includes no added oil, always a bonus! This simple dressing consists of the yogurt (or sour cream), cucumber, a splash of lemon juice, and some herbs and spices (salt, cayenne, and parsley). I thought it was begging for a clove of garlic, so I threw that in as well.
Keeping it "McDougall Friendly" checklist:

  • No changes necessary if you can find oil-free yogurt, or use or make oil free sour cream.

Wednesday, January 22, 2014

Golden Harvest Soup

This slightly sweet soup is rightly named "Golden Harvest Soup" (page 148), with no less than seven yellow and orange ingredients contributing to the golden hue: yellow onion, carrots, sweet potatoes, yellow bell pepper, yellow tomatoes, chickpeas, and turmeric. Add to this some garlic, herbs, and a flavorful broth, throw in a handful of small soup pasta (cooked with the turmeric before adding), and you've got a hearty main dish soup, just the thing on chilly evenings. What says nutritious and delicious better than a pot full of vegetable soup?
Keeping it "McDougall Friendly" checklist:
  • Omit the oil when sautéing the veggies; use a non-stick soup pot instead and/or use water, broth, or sherry as a sauté liquid.

Friday, January 17, 2014

Whole Wheat Raisin Bread

"Whole Wheat Raisin Bread" (page 394) is a recipe I plan to make again and again. If you find yourself trying to decide which of the yeasted breads to try from this book, I would suggest you try this one first. Made from half whole wheat, half all-purpose (white) flour, sweetened with molasses, and with no added oil, this bread already has a lot going for it nutritionally speaking. But the flavor is what makes it sing! The raisins and cinnamon make this a slightly sweet bread, but not enough to classify as dessert. Since this is a yeasted loaf, plan on at least 3.5 hours to allow for the raising and baking times. This bread makes the most heavenly toast!  
Keeping it "McDougall Friendly" checklist:
  • You can make this using 100% whole wheat flour with excellent results. If you do, double the kneading time to 10 minutes so the dough gets fully developed.

Sunday, January 12, 2014

Beer-Marinated Seitan Fajitas

The Fajitas and Burritos section of this cookbook (a subset of the Sandwiches, Pizza, and More chapter) contains just seven recipes. The "Beer-Marinated Seitan Fajitas" (page 125) makes the sixth recipe I've tried, and brings me close to wrapping up another category. Being more than a third of the way through the 1000 recipes, I find this starting to happen more frequently! The biggest challenge here is finding a tortilla that adheres to the McDougall guidelines. As I've mentioned before, if you can find a whole grain tortilla, it usually contains oil. If you find a fat free tortilla (easier), it is almost certainly made from white flour. This time around I opted for the Food For Life brand Ezekiel 4:9 Sprouted Whole Grain tortillas. With no added oils (made from sesame seeds and sprouted soybeans barley, millet, lentils, spelt, and sea salt), these are in my opinion the healthiest tortillas around. Not everyone appreciates their hearty texture, and they certainly don't roll up as easy as a more traditional tortilla, but I find the flavor more than compensates for these differences. To make these fajitas, you start by marinating seitan in a mixture of beer, onion, garlic, lime juice, cilantro, and crushed red pepper. Begin early, as you need to marinate the seitan at least 4 hours. The seitan and marinade is sautéed in a skillet, piled into warmed tortillas, and topped with avocado and salsa. Very tasty as is, but if you want additional filling add some shredded lettuce per the recipe suggestion.
Keeping it "McDougall Friendly" checklist:
  • Omit the oil when sautéing the seitan. Use the marinade as a sautéing/simmering liquid, and don't be concerned about browning the seitan. 

Tuesday, January 7, 2014

Creamy Tomato Soup

Whenever I want the perfect go-to soup alongside a sandwich, I turn to tomato soup. With this "Creamy Tomato Soup" (page 170), you will never have to resort to the canned or packaged variety again. This soup is so easy to put together and is so much more satisfying than something not homemade. You start by sautéing onion, carrot, and garlic in a soup pot, adding both fresh and canned tomatoes, plus broth and seasonings, and cooking until everything is tender. The entire batch of soup is puréed, heated back up, and ready to serve. Both dried and fresh basil are used in this recipe - dried in the pot, and fresh as a garnish. Fennel seeds add a subtle but delightful flavor to this very comforting soup.
Keeping it "McDougall Friendly" checklist:
  • Omit the oil when sautéing the veggies. Use a non-stick pot along with water, broth or sherry as a sauté liquid. 

Thursday, January 2, 2014

Chocolate Peanut Butter Frosting

The "Chocolate Peanut Butter Frosting" (page 504) is an easy spread that you can whip up in a flash whenever you want a rich frosting for cakes and cupcakes. A simple blend of peanut butter, cocoa powder, confectioner's sugar, vanilla, and non-dairy milk yields about 3 cups of delicious frosting. The recipe calls for "thick" dairy-free milk or cream, which often times translates into something containing oil. I opted to use plain soymilk and got good results. The directions call for mixing this in a food processor, but I was able to mix it up in a bowl using a whisk, much easier and less messy.

Keeping it "McDougall Friendly" checklist:
  • Make sure the non-dairy milk is oil-free.