Tag Archives: turmeric

June 2018 Cooking Class – Burger Time

June 10, 2018

Burger and a salad

Just in time for summer, June’s cooking class focused on summer favorites – burgers, Caesar Salad and a cool frozen dessert. This month we continued our talk on the importance of fibre in our diet, and the great source of fibre and protein found in beans.

Our smoothie of the month was ‘berry delicious’, a combination of kale, banana, mango, orange and blueberries with added nutritional value from turmeric, ginger and flax.

Green Smoothie

• 2 cups greens (we used kale)
• 2 cups water
• ¼ tsp turmeric
• 1 inch piece ginger
• 1 tbsp ground flax
• 2 cups fresh or frozen fruit (we used a combination of banana, mango, blueberries, and an orange)

Place all ingredients in a blender in the order listed. Blend until smooth.

Making Burgers

Summer is burger time, but burgers also make great fast meals any time of the year. This is a great burger as it holds together well, but it is important to let it sit to thicken up. It best if you make the burger mix and let it sit for at least 1/2 hour before forming the burgers. However, in a pinch you can make them up right away, just be gentle when cooking. I prefer to bake the burgers then freeze them for later use. However, in class we make the burgers and fried them up immediately. They were a bit more fragile but still delicious. If you plan to throw these on the barbecue, I recommend baking ahead of time, then warming on the grill. We made our burgers with grated beets which gave them a real ‘meaty’ look; however, they are also great make with grated carrot.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

Grillable Veggie Burgers
• 1 cup cooked brown rice (I use short grain rice, or substitute couscous, millet or quinoa)
• 1 cup raw walnuts (or substitute sunflower seeds, bread crumbs or oatmeal)
• 1/2 white onion (about 3/4 cup), finely diced
• 1 beet or carrot, grated fine
• 1 pepper (red, yellow, orange, green or poblano), diced fine
• 1 to 2 cups mushrooms, diced fine
• 1 1/2 cups (227 g) cooked chickpeas, rinsed and drained
• 2 tbsp ground flax soaked in 6 tbsp water
• 1 cup oatmeal (old fashioned, large flake)
• 4-5 Tbsp vegan BBQ sauce
• 2 tbsp nutritional yeast
• 1 Tbsp each chili powder and smoked paprika
• 1 tsp garlic powder, onion powder, cumin and salt
• 1/2 tsp black pepper

Grating beets

Chop walnuts fine in a food processor, coffee mill or by hand.
In a skillet, over medium heat, sauté onion, beets, pepper, and mushroom for 3-4 minutes or until tender, adding small amounts of water or broth to keep it from sticking to the pan. Remove from heat and set aside.
In a food processor, place chickpeas and process until slightly mashed but not a mushy puree. Alternatively you can mash with a fork.
In a large bowl, add the ground flax and water and let soak for 5 minutes. Once soaked, add cooked rice, chopped walnuts, sautéed veggies, mashed chickpeas, oatmeal, BBQ sauce, nutritional yeast, seasonings. Mix thoroughly with a wooden spoon for 1-2 minutes, or until a moldable dough forms.
If too dry, add extra 1-2 Tbsp BBQ sauce. If too wet, add more oatmeal. Taste and adjust seasonings as needed.
Let sit in fridge for several hours or overnight. Form into patties using wet hands. (I use 1/3 cup mixture per patty – will make about 14 or 15 burgers). This is important to make sure the burgers hold together well for grilling. (for best grilling results, bake at 350 for 20 minutes then freeze for later grilling)
If grilling, heat the grill at this time and brush the grill surface with oil to ease cooking. Otherwise, cook in a skillet or bake (20 minutes at 350F).
Remove burgers from heat and allow to cool slightly before serving.

An all time favorite at our house is Caesar Salad with this creamy picante dressing.

Caesar Salad Dressing
• ½ cup raw cashews
• ¼ cup water
• Juice of 1 lemon
• 1 tsp Dijon mustard
• 2 cloves garlic
• ½ tsp garlic powder
• 1 ½ tsp vegan Worcestershire sauce
• ¼ cup nutritional yeast
• ½ tsp black pepper
• 1 tbsp miso (or ½ tsp salt)

Soak cashews for 2 or more hours. Drain cashews and place in blender with all other ingredients. Taste and adjust seasonings to taste.

Nothing says summer like ice cream. This creamy frozen dessert is a favorite, and is my take off on a traditional Indian Mango Lassi beverage. Since I always keep coconut milk and frozen banana and mangos in stock, I can whip this one up quickly. You can substitute any frozen fruit you like for the mango – blueberry, strawberry, etc.

Mango Lassi
• 1 can full fat coconut cream
• 1 frozen banana
• 2 cups frozen mango
• 1 tbsp finely grated ginger
• ¼ tsp turmeric
Place coconut cream in a blender or food processor. Add ginger and frozen fruit. Blend until smooth. Keep in a freezer until ready to serve. Best if made 2 to 3 hours before serving. If frozen hard, let sit in the fridge for ½ hour before serving.
Substitute other fruit for the mango (blueberry, raspberry, cherry, peaches, etc) or other seasonings for the ginger (cinnamon, nutmeg). For a sweeter dessert, add an extra banana or some date paste.

Thanks to James for the great pictures. And thanks to my granddaughter Katie who was a great assistant.

 

 

Advertisements

May 2018 Cooking Class – Beans, Greens and Berries

May 2018

I know I am terrible late in posting the recipes for the May class, but its garden season. Now that the garden is in, I have time to catch up on my posts.

May cooking class meal

May’s class focused on beans, greens and berries, three important foods that you should try to add to your daily diet. They offer great fibre, protein, vitamins, minerals, antioxidants and phytonutrients. All that wonderful fibre is great for feeding those lovely probiotic bacteria in your gut. Happy guts, happy life!

Berry Banana Green Smoothie

As usual, we started the class with my favorite – the green smoothie. I used to love my smoothies green, real green. However, smoothies are a great way to add berries as well as greens to your diet. So now, most of my smoothies are more muddy colored than green. But they still taste delicious. This months smoothie was a mixture of kale, bananas and blueberries with the addition of an orange and some ginger and turmeric. When I can find it, I buy fresh turmeric, chop it up and freeze it for use in smoothies and salad dressings. However, ground turmeric works just as well, just don’t add too much.

Berry Banana Green Smoothie
• 2 cup water
• 2 cups leafy greens (kale, spinach, parsley, cilantro, etc)
• 1 orange, peeled and quartered
• ¼ tsp ground turmeric or ½ inch fresh turmeric root
• ½ inch fresh ginger root
• 3 fresh or frozen bananas
• 1 cup fresh or frozen blueberries, raspberries or mixed berries

Put all ingredients in a blender in the order given. Blend until smooth.

One Pot Mexican Quinoa

Our main dish this class was a bean and quinoa dish that only requires one pot to make it in as the quinoa cooks right in the pot. Fast, simple and delicious. While most quinoa that you buy has been prewashed, its always a good idea to rinse your quinoa before cooking to make sure all the bitter soponins on the seed have been washed off. The saponins are the plants natural defence mechanism, to keep the birds from eating all the delicious seed.

One Pot Mexican Quinoa
• 1 onion, diced
• ½ jalepeno, chopped fine
• 1 pepper, diced (your choice, red, yellow orange or green)
• 1 carrot, diced fine
• 2 cloves garlic, minced
• 1 cup corn, fresh or frozen
• 1 can beans, drained and rinsed (your choice black, pinto, kidney or mixed beans)
• 1 cup tomatoes, tomato sauce or salsa
• ¾ cup quinoa, rinsed
• 1 tsp chilli powder
• ½ tsp cumin
• ½ tsp salt
• 1 cup vegetable broth

In saucepan, sauté onion, jalepeno, pepper, carrot and garlic with a small amount of water or broth until onion is softened. Add corn, beans, tomato and spices. Add quinoa and broth and simmer for 20 minutes or until quinoa is cooked. Adjust seasonings to taste. Serve with diced avocado and tomatoes.

Chop Salad with Vegan Ranch Dressing

Our salad dressing for this month is a creamy Ranch type dressing. It goes great on the chopped salad below, but also good on any salad. The recipe is from Dr. Michael Greger’s How Not To Die Cookbook. The recipe uses Dr. Greger’s Savory Spice Blend, a favorite in many of his recipes. I’ve included the recipe for the spice blend as well, as it is good in almost any recipe you are making. However, if you don’t want to make a whole batch just use a couple of teaspoons of nutritional yeast.

Chopped Vegetable Salad
• 1 head romaine lettuce, chopped into bite sized bits
• 2 radishes, chopped
• 1 ripe tomato, chopped
• 1 cup chopped cucumber
• ½ small red or orange bell pepper, chopped
• ½ cup chopped celery
• 1 ½ cup cooked cannellini beans, cooked and rinsed

• Ranch Dressing (recipe following)

In a large bowl, combine all veggie ingredients. Add Ranch Dressing and toss until well coated.

Ranch Dressing
• ½ cup raw cashews, soaked for 2 or more hours
• 2 cloves garlic
• ½ cup almond milk, unsweetened and unflavoured
• 3 tbsp rice vinegar
• 2 tbsp lemon juice
• 1 tsp onion powder
• 2 tsp savory spice blend (recipe below)
• 1 tbsp white miso paste
• 1 tsp date paste
• 1 tbsp fresh parsley, or 1 tsp dried
• 1 tsp fresh dill or ¼ tsp dried

In a high speed blender, combine all ingredients except parsley and dill. Blend until smooth. Add parsley and dill and pulse just until mixed in. Transfer to a glass jar and let sit at least 1 hour to let flavors develop. Stir or shake before using.

Savory Spice Blend
• 2 tbsp nutritional yeast
• 1 tbsp onion powder
• 1 tbsp dried parlsey
• 1 tbsp dried basil
• 2 tsp dried thyme
• 2 tsp garlic powder
• 2 tsp dry mustard powder
• 2 tsp paprika
• ½ tsp ground turmeric
• ½ tsp celery seeds
Combine all ingredients in a spice grinder, coffee grinder or blender. Blend until pulverized. Store in a tightly sealed container.

BlueBerry Cobbler

And of course, no class would be complete without a dessert. My criteria for a great dessert is that it should be nutritious enough so that you can eat the leftovers for breakfast without any guilt. The blueberry cobbler fits the bill perfectly. It is chock full of blueberries and has only a small amount of sweetener added and no oil. The original recipe, from Kim Campbell’s PlantPure Kitchen, uses whole wheat flour, but I prefer to use oat flour instead. I make my own oat flour by blending old fashioned slow cook oats in a blender until smooth. (use certified only oats for a gluten free dessert)

Berry Cobbler
• 6 cups blueberries, fresh or frozen (or mixed berries)
• 1 tbsp brown sugar
• ¼ cup water
• 2 tsp lemon juice
• 2 ½ tbsp cornstarch or arrowroot powder
• 1 ½ cups old fashioned oatmeal (blended in blender until fine)
• 2 tsp baking powder
• ¼ tsp salt
• ¼ tsp nutmeg
• ½ cup unsweetened plant milk
• 2 tbsp maple syrup

Preheat oven to 400F

Blueberry Filling cooking

In medium saucepan, combine berries, brown sugar, water, lemon juice, and cornstarch. Cook over medium heat until bubbling and thickened. Spread berry mixture evenly in an 8 inch square baking pan.
In medium mixing bowl, mix oat flour, baking powder, salt, and nutmeg. Add milk and maple syrup and stir until combined. Drop dough mixture by the tablespoon over the berry mixture. You should be able to cover most of the berries.
Bake for 25 minutes, until lightly browned. Serve warm.

 

Hope you enjoy the recipes. Thanks James for the great photos.

How Not To Die

February 8, 2018

I find “How Not to Die” an odd name for a book. After all, we are all going to die, someday.  However, this book by Dr. Michael Greger, outlines how not to die from preventable causes. I must confess, that although I have known about the book for a while (Dr. Greger was a guest lecturer for the Plant Based Nutrition Certificate course I took), I refused to read it just because I did not like the title – until recently. Apparently, I was meant to read the book, as the universe sent Dr. Greger to me.

Katherine, Dr. Michael Greger and myself

I was thrilled when I learned that Dr. Greger would be speaking in Manitoba, and even more thrilled that the event was sponsored by The Wellness Institute.  The Wellness Institute is affiliated with, and attached to,  the Seven Oaks General Hospital in Winnipeg, Manitoba. For a hospital associated organization to sponsor a talk on using whole food plant based nutrition to heal is big news in my books.  Perhaps the science on plant based nutrition is beginning to be recognized by the medical community.

Apparently, tickets to How Not To Die where the hottest tickets in town last week. Only 140 tickets were available to the event, and they sold out quickly. Luckily, my friend Fran is a member at the Wellness Institute and gave me the heads up as soon as they were released. I attended the talk with friends Fran, Theresa and Katherine.  Dr. Greger is a great speaker. Very humorous, personable and extremely knowledgeable. The talk, follow up question session, book signing and taste testing were fantastic. During book signing, Dr. Greger took the time to speak to each person in line, and even pose for pictures. He was very happy to hear of the Whole Food Plant Based Cooking Classes we are holding here in Winnipeg and happily agreed to let me post his picture on this blog.

The first thing I did after purchasing tickets to the talk, was to order the book How Not To Die. I am a bit of a geek, so of course I had to read up on the subject before attending the talk. Dr. Greger has an interesting story and a unique historical connection to the plant based movement through his grandmother.

The book is divided into two parts. The first section focuses on individual diseases and the research showing the effect of nutrition on the disease. How Not to Die from Heart Disease, How Not to Die from High Blood Pressure, How Not to Die from Lung Disease, How Not to Die from Diabetes and How Not to Die from Parkinsons are just some of the chapters.  A very lengthy foot note section at the back of the book provides the links to the scientific research behind the information provided (for a science geek like me that is important). These chapters are in depth and full of information, so much so that I would recommend reading only one chapter a day as it is heavy reading. By the last chapters I found myself skimming the research. However, it is a great resource book for your library when you are looking for info on a specific disease. I found it interesting to look at diseases that tend to run in my family – heart disease, Parkinsons, high blood pressure – and see what can be done to reduce the chance of these genes expressing.

The second section, is all about the food, with a chapter on each of Dr. Greger’s ‘Daily Dozen’ food groups. The Daily Dozen is the foods that Dr. Greger himself tries to consume each day. This was the my favorite part of the book – real down to earth practical advise on how to eat well. The Daily Dozen focuses on what you should strive to eat daily.  I love the checklist and have been incorporating it into my everyday routine. Beans, Berries, Other Fruit, Cruciferous Veggies (broccoli, cauliflower, cabbage, kale, etc), Green Leafy Veggies, Other Vegetables, Flax, Nuts, Spices, Whole Grains, Beverages and Exercise. On a daily basis you can check your list and see how you faired.

Dr. Greger is the founder of the website NutritionFacts.org which reviews new scientific research on nutrition and provided the ‘Coles Notes’ version for you. It free and provides over 2,000 videos on health and nutrition topics. Its a great site to bookmark for where to go for scientific based information rather than relying on the sometimes questionable opinion based information available on the internet.

I have been a vegetarian for almost 40 years, solely plant based for seven years, and whole food plant based for three years. My diet was already heavy in beans, whole grains, greens, veggies, fruit and nuts. What more can I do to improve my diet? I found out there is still room for improvement. Since reading the book I am:

  • Reducing the salt in my diet.
  • Eating more legumes – beans, lentils, chickpeas, etc , making sure I get two or three servings of them every day not just every week.
  • Making sure I get at least one serving of cruciferous veggies each day – usually cauliflower, broccoli, cabbage, or kale. (read the book to get fascinating info on how to prepare crucifers to preserve the cancer fighting properties)
  • Getting at least two serving of leafy greens every day, in a smoothie, salad or steamed greens
  • Making sure I get at least one serving of berries each day. Since they are out of season now in wintery Manitoba, I am using frozen berries in my smoothies, chia puddings and cobblers. Before I would have berries in my smoothie once or twice a week.
  • Having 1 tablespoon of ground flax daily. I like to dissolve mine in lemon water and let it hydrate before drinking. Or add it to a smoothie.
  • Ramping up the spices, especially turmeric. Adding 1/4 tsp of turmeric to my daily smoothie is a fast and easy way to get more turmeric without eating Indian food every day. Herbs and spices in general are great sources of antioxidants and nutrients.

With plant based diets becoming more mainstream, it is good to focus on the quality of the diet rather than the label. After all, a diet of potato chips and coke is vegan but it is not healthy. And so many would like to improve their diets but don’t know where to start. Cutting out meat often leads to eating more carbs – bread, pasta and rice which are often refined, white and lacking fibre.  By reducing meat and dairy consumption and increasing beans, whole grains, veggies and fruit, you will be adding so much more fibre to your diet. And it turns out that fibre is not just good for regularity. It also serves as food for the good bacteria that inhabit your gut. These good bacteria are a vital part of your immune system. So eat more beans!

I would recommend reading the book How Not to Die by Dr. Michael Greger, despite the title. The first part on individual diseases is great reference information and the second part provides vital information on how to eat every day. I can’t speak for the companion cookbook, as I have yet to try any of the recipes. However, if the appetizers served at the talk are any indication, the recipes should be great. Check out the website NutritionFacts.org and also The Wellness Institute. In their introduction to Dr. Greger, the Wellness Institute stated that this talk was only the first of a series of talks on how to improve health and prevent disease. Hopefully Winnipeg will see more high profile nutrition experts in the near future.