Thursday, July 30, 2015

Favorite Fruit Smoothie

"Favorite Fruit Smoothie" (page 532) is one of the author Robin Robertson's favorites, and so explains the name of this particular smoothie. A winning combination of mango, strawberries, orange juice, and frozen banana, no wonder it earned this title. Easy to make, as are all smoothies, and if you like your smoothies more on the thick side (as I do), try freezing the strawberries and/or the mango at least a day ahead of time, as well as the bananas. You might need a spoon instead of a straw using this approach!

Keeping it "McDougall Friendly" checklist:

  • No changes needed!

Saturday, July 25, 2015

Parsley & Sunflower Pesto

This cookbook has opened up an entire new world of pesto for me, expanding the traditional basil/pine nuts/garlic base ingredients to include just about any nut or seed you can imagine, and using parsley, spinach, or even sundried tomatoes instead of basil. In the "Parsley & Sunflower Pesto" (page 567), as the title implies, the base ingredients consist of parsley (Italian flat leaf parsley in this case) and sunflower seeds, which results in a milder, and grainier, pesto. The taste of parsley is less prominent than basil, and sunflower seeds don't blend up as smooth as pine nuts, but the combined flavors still produce a flavorful topping for wherever you want pesto. Garlic and salt are still important players in this preparation, and the recipe even includes the option of a bit of miso paste, which I used. To get around the 1/3 cup of oil called for (and the 71 grams of fat), I substituted about ½ cup light flavored vegetable broth. I have found that because pesto already contains oil from the blended nuts or seeds, I never miss the oil, and the broth provides not only the liquid component, but also another layer of mild flavor.  I mixed this pesto into cooked tiny seashell pasta so the nooks and crannies of the shells could capture the sauce, and this ended up being a quick, delicious, and easy dinner I needed to make on short notice one evening.

Keeping it "McDougall Friendly" checklist:

  • Substitute light flavored vegetable broth for the olive oil, adding a little at a time until the pesto reaches the desired consistency.

Sunday, July 19, 2015

Maple-Mustard Sauce

"Maple-Mustard Sauce" (page 559) is a quick and easy way to jazz up plain mayonnaise, and is delicious on veggie burgers, sandwiches, or as a dipping sauce. Slightly sweet, slightly tangy, and with just a touch of hot, this sauce is made with vegan mayonnaise (store-bought, or homemade) as the base, flavored up with maple syrup, Dijon mustard, balsamic vinegar, and Tabasco sauce. Just in time for those grilled veggie burgers!!

Keeping it "McDougall Friendly" checklist:

  • As long as you use an oil-free, vegan mayonnaise, no changes are needed!

Wednesday, July 15, 2015

Curried Cashews

Eating nuts for a snack is something I have to be really careful about. I could effortlessly put away ¼ cup, ½ cup, or even more in the blink of an eye, and although nuts have many healthy qualities, as most everyone knows, it's almost impossible to eat "just one". It takes no time at all to go beyond a reasonable amount, with fat, saturated fat, and calories adding up way too fast. However, in the future, when I do allow myself an occasional nutty treat, the "Curried Cashews" (page 7) will be high on my list. A simple combination of cashews, curry powder, and salt, I found the savory flavor more than addictive! Right away, though, I knew I would have to get creative to work around the oil and margarine the recipe called for. The directions are to heat the oils in a skillet, add the curry powder and salt, add the cashews, and cook on the stovetop. My workaround consisted of soaking the cashews in water for 5-minutes, draining, and blotting dry, thus allowing the nuts to remain moist enough for the spices to stick. Then, I tossed the nuts with the spices in a big bowl, spread them on a parchment paper lined baking sheet, and roasted them in a 400° oven for 15-20 minutes (until they started to just slightly brown). Much too delicious!

Keeping it "McDougall Friendly" checklist:

  • Omit the margarine and oil. Instead: Soak the cashews in water for 5 minutes; drain well and blot dry.
  • Toss the nuts in a bowl with the spices, and bake on a parchment lined baking sheet in a 400° oven for 15-20 minutes (until they start to just slightly brown).

Friday, July 10, 2015

Sunflower Zucchini Bread

I  have really enjoyed making the quick breads in this cookbook, and feel that I have finally figured out the right combination of ingredients to replace the oil and white flour. My oil-free, whole-grain baked goods are coming out moist and delicious, and the "Sunflower Zucchini Bread" (page 405) is no exception. Any bread that includes fruits or vegetables already gets a head start in the tender and moist department, and is a great way to boost the nutritional value of your baked goods. This is a simple recipe using basic bread batter, with the addition of zucchini and sunflower seeds, and goes together quickly. Because of the extra moisture from the zucchini, this bread bakes a little longer than most to bake, up to an hour, if necessary. Also sweeter than some quick breads (calls for a cup of sugar), I think it would be easy to cut this amount in half and still have delicious results. The 1/2 cup of oil really surprised me - most of the other quick breads in this chapter call for much less, and a couple don't call for any at all - bonus! I left the oil completely out, using a combination of applesauce and mashed banana to equal ½ cup (or a little more, if you think your batter needs it). The sunflower seeds were a nice change (it seems most breads call for walnuts or pecans), subtle, yet distinctive. I enjoyed toasting individual slices of this bread just before eating.

Keeping it "McDougall Friendly" checklist:

  • Substitute the canola oil with ½ cup applesauce, mashed banana, or a combination of both.
  • Use whole wheat pastry flour instead of all-purpose (white) flour.
  • Bake the bread in a non-stick loaf pan so you won't have to oil the pan prior to baking.

Sunday, July 5, 2015

Orange-Date-Walnut Bread

I was so pleased with the "Orange-Date-Walnut Bread" (page 404), that I have added this one to my list of repeatable quick bread recipes. It is just slightly sweet, which I really appreciate, yet so festive and flavorful it would make a wonderful, fruity bread to make during the winter holidays. Fresh orange juice is the liquid, and since I used applesauce in place of the oil, this further enhanced the fruity flavors. Sweetened with dates and just ¼ cup maple syrup, the underlying flavors, and not sugar, are allowed to take center stage. The recipe suggests using other nuts, if you wish, such as almonds or pecans. I think any of these would be equally good. I added a teaspoon of cinnamon (the combination of ingredients just seemed to be begging for this), which was quite delicious, and filled the kitchen with wonderful cooking aromas.

Keeping it "McDougall Friendly" checklist:

  • Substitute the canola oil with ½ cup applesauce.
  • Use whole wheat pastry flour instead of all-purpose (white) flour.
  • Bake the bread in a non-stick loaf pan so you won't have to oil the pan prior to baking.