Nutrition Ambition

Welcome to my vegan food blog! When it comes to food, my philosophy is that taking time to lovingly prepare your own meals can result in better health and greater life satisfaction. I use natural, whole ingredients to create nourishing, exciting meals which replenish mind, body and spirit. Enjoy!

Thursday, November 30, 2006

Two Apple Recipes, CSA, and a Word About Flax

I hope everyone had a wonderful Thanksgiving holiday. I'm back to share two recipes I've invented over the holiday. But before I get into that, I wanted to spread the word about CSA or, Community Supported Agriculture. My mom and I are joining a CSA after a spokesman came to her place of work and held a lecture on it. I'm so excited! To join, you pay a fee straight away ($200-$300, usually) to the participating CSA farm of your chosing and from May to October you recieve weekly bounty of fresh, organic fruits, herbs and veggies. How cool is that?

Apple Cranberry Crumble
Ingredients for the topping:
* 1 cup whole grain flour
* 1/2 cup walnuts
* 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
* 1/3 cup sucanat
* 1 teaspoon vanilla
* 1/4 cup margarine (Earth Balance is best), divided into small chunks
Ingredients for the filling:
* 2/3 cup dried cranberries, soaked in water 30 minutes or overnight
* 4-5 apples, cored and sliced (do not peel!)
* 1 teaspoon vanilla
* 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
* 1/4 cup sucanat
* 2 teaspoons lemon juice
Begin by putting all the filling ingredients EXCEPT the margarine in a food processor. Buzz until the walnuts are chopped. Add in the margarine chunks and buzz again briefly until the topping is slightly crumbly. In a large mixing bowl, combine all the filling ingredients and toss to combine, then lay this mixture out evenly in a baking dish. Pour the topping mixture on the apples and spread evenly. Bake at 350 degrees F for 25 minutes. Keep an eye out and make sure the topping doesn't burn.

Apple-Flax Breakfast Delight
This recipe was concieved the other day when I was thinking of new ways to eat the oh-so nutritious Flax Seed. It is important to not heat these tender little guys--the omega-3 fats will be destroyed will oxidize and cause free-radical damage in your body.
* 1 apple, cored and sliced (do not peel)
* pinch of cinnamon
* 1 heaping tablespoon ground flax seeds
* raisins
Place the apple in a food processor and buzz for just a few seconds until the apple is finely chopped. Transfer the apple to a serving bowl and toss with the rest of the ingredients. Enjoy!

Tuesday, November 21, 2006

Countdown to Thanksgiving

"When we are ready to listen with our heart, we are transformed." -James Levin
Thanksgiving is just a few days away, so I wanted to tell you all about Farm Sanctuary's Adopt-a-Turkey project. As much joy Thanksgiving brings me (getting together with family, lots of yummy food) I also feel very sad in the days leading up to the holiday, thinking of all the turkeys being slaughtered for so many millions of tables--not to mention having to watch people pick at the half-butchered carcass come dinner time. Please visit Farm Sanctuary's website and for just $20, you can sponsor a rescued turkey to ensure he/she can live out life in peace at this wonderful sanctuary.

Saturday, November 18, 2006

Fruits, Veggies and Dips...Oh My!

Lately, I've been trying to devise more exciting ways to liven up the fruits and veggies I eat everyday. Even though I'm all into health and nutrition, I still get bored with the everyday dinner side-salad and piece of fruit for breakfast. One day, while paging through Nava Atlas's wonderful cookbook, The Vegetarian Family Cookbook I discovered her idea on serving a veggie platter with dinner as an alternative to a salad. That very night for dinner, I whipped up a colorful plate of cut veggies for Rutiger and I and my very own Tahini Dip With Lemon and Dill:
* 1/2 cup tahini
* 1/3 cup water (or less, depending on how thick your tahini is)
* 3-4 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
* 1/4 teaspoon dried dill (you can also use fresh, of course)
* salt, to taste
* chopped parsley and paprika, for garnish, optional
In a blender or food processor, combine the tahini and lemon juice. Blend until quite thick--the tahini seizes up when mixed with the acid. Pour in the water and blend again until smooth and creamy. Mix in the dill and salt and pour into a small serving bowl. Sprinkle the dip with paprika and parsley. TIP: if the tahini dip tastes bitter, refrigerate overnight to let the bitterness mellow and combine with the flavors of the lemon and dill.

Then, this morning, while looking through the newest issue of VegNews, I came across a sweet dip for fruit made from cashew butter and soy yogurt. Yum! I just happened to have all 5 ingredients the recipe called for, so I made it to dip pear chunks into. You can also serve it with bite-size bagel pieces, a wide array of fruits and veggies, or even crackers. Delightfully delicious!

Tuesday, November 14, 2006

Tempeh, Pineapple and Green Pepper Stir-Fry w/ Sweet and Spicy Glaze

I invented this recipe as a way to use up some leftover kebob ingredients. Pineapple and green pepper are two of my favorite combinations (when are they coming out with that flavor ice cream, anyway?) throw in some tempeh, and you can forget about it. Yum! This makes about two or three servings; you can increase the yield as needed.
* 1 cup tempeh, plain or marinated, cut into bite-size cubes
* 1 green bell pepper, cut into bite-size pieces
* 1 cup fresh pineapple, cut into bite-size chunks
* 2 teaspoons olive oil or canola oil
For the glaze:
* 1 tablespoon orange juice concentrate
* 1 teaspoon fresh ginger, minced
* 1 garlic clove, minced
* pinch of red pepper flakes, or to taste
* 1 tablespoon Braggs or lite soy sauce
* 1/3 cup water
* 1/4 teaspoon cornstarch or arrowroot powder
Heat the oil in a large saute pan over medium-low heat. Add the tempeh and cook (without stirring) on at least two sides until starting to turn golden brown, about 5 minutes. Add in the green pepper and pineapple and cook another 10 minutes, until the sides are browned and pineapple is caramelized. Meanwhile, mix all the glaze ingredients together in a small bowl. When the tempeh, pineapple and pepper are cooked through, add the glaze. Stir almost continually until the glaze is thickened and shiny, about 4 minutes. Serve over rice or quinoa.

Monday, November 13, 2006

Ina turns to The Dark Side

So, there I was, watching The Barefoot Contessa on the Food Network and what do you know, but Ina Garten makes these amazing roasted red peppers with basil oil. Now, if you're not familiar with Ina and her show, you may be wondering what the big deal is. Well, the vast majority of what she cooks on the show is full of eggs, dairy, and various dead animal parts--often, all three in the same recipe. However, she has made the rare healthy vegan dish and let me tell you, when she does, it is truly magnificent. So I made this recipe and it is divine--absolutely delicious, beautiful, and luscious, and I suggest all of you reading make it too.

Tuesday, November 07, 2006

Sweet Cinnamon Strips

I invented this simple recipe the other day when I just had to have something sweet after dinner. It's so easy and quick, you could even make it for a snack or to throw in your lunch. Here's an idea: make these as a delicious add-on to a little bowl of vanilla soy ice cream. Yum! By the way, I like using brown rice tortillas for this purpose, as they are light, sweet and when they bake they become crispy and slightly flaky.
* 1 brown rice tortilla
* 2 tablespoons Earth Balance margarine, melted
* 1 1/2 tablespoons sucanat or other brown sugar
* 3/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
Cut the tortilla into 2 inch strips. Lay the tortilla strips on a baking sheet. Mix the melted margarine with the cinnamon and sugar. Spread the sugar mixture onto the tortilla strips, being careful not to get too much onto the baking sheet. Bake for about 5-6 minutes at 350 degrees F, until the strips are crisp and the sugar is bubbly. Keep a close eye on them, as the sugar will burn easily. Cool at room temp for a minute or so until eating or sticking into your ice cream. As a variation, you can cut the tortilla into fun shapes with a cookie cutter and follow the recipe as usual. Enjoy!

Wednesday, November 01, 2006

Kale and White Bean Sauce with Sundried Tomatoes

"We will feel nourished by food when the negative thoughts which determine who we are-or aren't-are dissolved...Eating then becomes filled with love and joy and the body and mind become lighter and happier." --Gabriel Cousens in his book Conscious Eating
Recently, I've been trying to think of ways to add more leafy greens into my diet--instead of the basic side dish of sauteed greens with garlic and olive oil. A sauce seems the perfect way to blend something really healthy and nutritious into other more...tasty ingredients. So here it is, a beautiful red and green sauce that is lovely over pasta. To me, it is a meal in one: whole grain, veggie and protein. Hey, I bet if I can get Rutiger to eat this (who can be picky, especially when it comes to kale), any kid who won't eat their veggies will eat it too.
* 4 cups kale, washed, stems removed and roughly chopped
* 1/4 cup water
* 2 cloves garlic, chopped
* 2 teaspoons olive oil
* 2 tablespoons pine nuts
* 1 cup cooked great northern white beans
* 1 tablespoon lemon juice
* 1/2 teaspoon dried Italian herb blend
* 1/4 cup sundried tomatoes, preferably ones packed in olive oil and herbs
* Salt and black pepper to taste
In a skillet with a lid, heat the kale and water over medium heat, until it starts to shrink down in size. Add in the garlic and oil, stir well, turn heat down slightly, cover, and steam the kale for about 8 minutes until tender. Meanwhile, combine the beans with the pine nuts and lemon juice in a food processor and blend until smooth. Add in the cooked kale, herbs, salt and pepper and blend again until smooth. Transfer this mixture into a sauce pan and heat over medium. Add in the chopped tomatoes and heat through. Serve over whole grain spiral pasta and enjoy!