Monday, September 29, 2014

Thyme-Scented Sweet Potatoes with Black Olives & Garlic

The "Thyme-Scented Sweet Potatoes with Black Olives & Garlic" (page 380) was another recipe that struck me as calling for an unusual combination of ingredients, but which turned out to be delightfully pleasing. This is a one-dish-meal, or side-dish if you will, where all the ingredients are combined in a skillet and cooked on the stovetop until done. I opted to use about ¼ cup of light broth instead of the oil called for which supplied enough liquid to steam cook the sweet potatoes. As luck would have it, and what sometimes happens when we find ourselves in the middle of nowhere, I was unable to find cured olives (i.e., kalamata), so I ended up using "regular" sliced black olives. I think the kalamata olives would have been better, but working with what I had available, I wasn't disappointed in the least.
Keeping it "McDougall Friendly" checklist:
ü Omit the oil and replace with about ¼ cup light vegetable broth.

Tuesday, September 23, 2014

Cucumber & Green Olive Dip

At first glance, I wasn't sure how the combination of ingredients in the "Cucumber & Green Olive Dip" (page 14) would taste. Made from about equal parts cucumber, green olives, and tofu combined in a food processor, seasoned with garlic, parsley, and lemon, and just a pinch of cayenne to give it a mild kick, the resulting texture is rather soft, and surprisingly the cucumber flavor is more prominent than you would imagine. The recipe notes describe this dip as light and refreshing, and I would agree with that. It also says it is best eaten on the day it is made, but I found it kept pretty well for several days. It was especially nice as a dip for raw veggies and whole grain crackers.

Keeping it "McDougall Friendly" checklist:

ü     No changes necessary! J

Thursday, September 18, 2014

Creamy, Crunchy, Fruit-and-Nut Sandwiches

The "Creamy, Crunchy Fruit-and-Nut Sandwiches" (page 111) wraps up yet another section in my journey to test all 1000 recipes in this book. This was the last of the twenty entries in the "Sandwiches and Wraps" section of the "Sandwiches, Pizza, and More" chapter, but most certainly not the least! Of course, I don't think I've met a sandwich I don't like. It's amazing how almost anything between two slices of bread can be transformed into a delicious and satisfying breakfast, lunch, or dinner. This spin on the everyday PB&J combines almond butter with agave nectar, chopped walnuts, and dried cranberries, which is then spread on whole grain bread, and filled with sliced fresh pear. What a winning combination! This recipe is open to endless combinations - vary the nut butter, use maple syrup instead of agave, switch up the walnuts with any other nut of choice, and use bananas or apples instead of pear. I used the Irish Soda Bread when I made these sandwiches, and it was a match made in heaven!  
 Keeping it "McDougall Friendly" checklist:

ü Make sure the nut butter does not contain any added oils.

ü Chose an oil-free whole grain bread for the sandwiches.

Saturday, September 13, 2014

Refried Bean & Salsa Quesadillas

Nothing could be easier for a quick lunch or snack than "Refried Bean & Salsa Quesadillas" (page 126). Whole pinto beans are cooked and mashed with a bit of chili powder, folded into a tortilla, topped with salsa and minced onion, than grilled in a skillet. Although not technically a quesadilla (derived from queso, the Spanish word for cheese, combined with the word tortilla), the idea of a Mexican style grilled tortilla sandwich has expanded to include any number of tasty fillings, sans cheese, this being a good example. Try to find a high quality oil-free tortilla if you can. I really love the Food For Life sprouted whole grain tortillas, made from whole grains and seeds with no added oil (Ezekiel 4:9 Srouted Whole Grain Tortillas). They are substantial and chewy, and brown nicely in the skillet without adding oil. I have now tried all seven entries in the "Fajitas and Burritos" section of the "Sandwiches, Pizza, and More" chapter of this book! J One by one, section by section, I'm closing in all 1000 recipes! ;-)

Keeping it "McDougall Friendly" checklist:

ü Omit the oil when cooking and mashing the beans. Just use a little bean broth or water instead.

ü Use oil free, whole grain tortillas. These can be hard to find! It seems you can find oil free or whole grain, but harder to find one that is both!

ü Skip the oil when grilling the quesadillas; cook in a non-stick skillet.

Wednesday, September 10, 2014

Irish Soda Bread

"Irish Soda Bread with Golden Raisins" (page 400) puts a vegan spin on this traditional St. Patrick's Day treat. Buttermilk is normally used as the liquid, but here soymilk soured with vinegar stands in for the dairy, providing the acidic environment needed to activate the baking soda. This is a free form loaf, rounded by hand on a baking sheet and crisscrossed with a big "X" just before popping in the oven. In the quick bread category, meaning non-yeasted, this hefty loaf is still quite firm and chewy, enough so to use for sandwiches (I found it made the most wonderful bread for peanut butter and jelly sandwiches in particular). Just slightly sweet from the two tablespoons of sugar and the golden raisins, this also makes wonderful bread for morning toast. It made a large loaf for just the two of us, but kept well in the refrigerator for the week we had it around.
Keeping it "McDougall Friendly" checklist:

ü To keep this completely McDougall Friendly, the all-purpose (white) flour should be replaced with whole wheat pastry flour. You might find the loaf a bit too heavy with all whole grain flour, so at the very least, try a 50-50 blend of white flour and whole wheat pastry flour.

Wednesday, September 3, 2014

Red Bean & Bulgur Chili

If you like a little chew in your veggie chili, but don't like the idea of using faux meats, which are mostly comprised of highly processed soy isolates and other questionable ingredients, try the "Red Bean & Bulgur Chili", (page 251).  Adding bulgur provides the perfect texture and mouth feel, adding a level of pleasing complexity. The red beans are dark red kidneys, but any of your favorite beans would be equally as good here.  The vegetables include red onion, tomatoes, red bell pepper, and salsa (see the color theme here, utilizing red foods?), and is seasoned with garlic, mild green chiles, chili powder and oregano. The bulgur is added right into the chili pot, and doesn't take long to cook tender. If you have cooked beans on hand, this chili can be ready in just about an hour. Top off with diced red onion, vegan sour cream, and chopped cilantro at the table, if desired.  
Keeping it "McDougall Friendly" checklist:

ü Omit the olive oil when sautéing the veggies. Use a nonstick pot and/or substitute water or veggie broth for the oil.