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martes, 31 de mayo de 2011

Pre-soaked quinoa with sauteed vegetables

Pre-soaked quinoa with sauteed vegetables

Before I write out the recipe I want to give props to the nourishing gourmet. I've been following this blog for a while and I like her recipes and all the healthy ingredients she uses. I read about the benefits of soaking grains on the nourishing gourmet blog. To sum it up:
"Soaked grains equal better digestive worth and make vitamins and minerals available to absorb "
So, before I cooked the quinoa I soaked it overnight in some water with a bit of vinegar "(this gives it an acidic medium which helps neutralize anti-nutrients)." You can read about soaking grains in more detail here: Nourishing Gourmet on soaking grains

I've been soaking a lot of my grains before cooking them and have found that especially with brown rice it can even change or enhance the flavor. My brown rice tasted so rich and almost cheese-like after soaking. Anyway, here's the recipe:

1-2 cups pre-soaked and cooked quinoa
1/2 red bell pepper
1/2 zuccini
1/2 onion

So, after you cook the pre-soaked quinoa (1 part quinoa to 1 1/2 parts water, sometimes less, depending on soaking time) set it aside while you cook your veggies. Dice the onions and sautee with olive oil, add a little cumin to the onions and cook until the onions are nearly clear. Dice the bell pepper and zuccini and add the bell peppers first to the sautee pan, wait until they are a little soft then add the zuccini. Sautee until they are at the texture you want. Then add the cooked quinoa to the vegetables and mix. Add a little salt and pepper and a little olive oil for flavor if you want and enjoy!

viernes, 6 de mayo de 2011

Savory Gingery Sweet Potato Pie

Savory Gingery Sweet Potato Pie

3 1/2 sweet potatoes
1/2 onion
1 1/2 x 1 1/2 piece (more or less) of ginger
3 cloves of garlic
1/2 zucchini
3 leaves of kale
3 leaves of chard
olive oil
4  eggs

Crust Ingredients:
1 1/2 cups of whole grain flour
1 1/4 tsp. salt
1/2 cup butter or oil (may need to add more depending on the flour you use)
5 tbsp. milk (may need to add more depending on the flour you use)

First, I should tell you that I don't have a pie pan, so i used an 11x15 pyrex pan for this. So, if you use a pie pan you'll have to lessen the ingredients. So, first, put together crust ingredients and press dough into pan. Bake at 400F/200C degrees for 5-8 minutes, so it's slightly, but not fully cooked. Then, take crust out of the oven and turn oven down to 350F/175C.

Now, onto the pie filling. Cut the skins off of the sweet potatoes and cut them into small cubes, boil them until very soft. When finished, drain the water from the pan, add a tbsp of butter to the potatoes and mash the sweet potatoes until it's a smooth puree. In another pan sautee the onion, garlic and ginger in olive oil on medium high heat until the onions are soft and see-through. Add the zucchini, kale and chard and sautee until they are soft. If you want the kale to be a little softer you can add a little water so it steams a little. Once the vegetables are done, take 4 eggs, mix them and add them to the sweet potato puree. Make sure the sweet potatoes have cooled, so the eggs don't start to cook in the puree. Then, add the vegetables to the sweet potato and egg mixture and pour into the pan over the crust. Bake for 20-30 minutes at 350F degrees and enjoy!!

martes, 3 de mayo de 2011

Coconut Oat Bars (no sugar!)

After living here in Spain for a few months I realized how much sugar is consumed on a daily basis. I didn't really realize it until I decided I should cut back on it. Every time you go have coffee in a cafe they give you free cookies, churros, muffins, or something sweet to go with it. Evey day at my school at break they have unlimited cookies for a snack with the coffee in the teacher's lounge. Not that there isn't a lot of sugar consumption is the U.S. too, but it seems like it's just given to you here for free! Everyone knows that sugar is bad for you, but, I guess I didn't realize how much it affects your body and mind until I read an article about it. After reading it, I decided to nearly stop eating sugar completely aside from the special occasion birthday here or there. For the past several months I've been avoiding sugar, especially after reading this article: http://www.westonaprice.org/childrens-health/2108-zapping-sugar-cravings.html   
I highly suggest reading it. It's very interesting! I was surprised to hear about a school that outlawed sugar in their school and found that the sick days for both the students and teachers went down a significant amount as well as the kids visits to the nurses office. Also, the test score percentage for the entire school went up!

So, just about all of my recipes for sweet things use natural sweeteners like dates, stevia and natural fruit juices. Sometimes I use a little honey, but I try to avoid using too much because your body responds to it a lot like sugar. I also like to use coconut sugar, but I haven't been able to find it here in Spain. Anyway, now for the oat bars!

Coconut Oat Bars (no sugar)

1 cup unsweetened shredded coconut
3/4 cups quick oats
1/2 cup spelt flour (or flour of your choosing)
1/4 tsp. salt
3/4 tsp. stevia powder
1/8 tsp baking powder
10 pitted dates
2 eggs
1/2 cup coconut milk
1 Tbsp. honey
1/2 large mashed banana
Juice of 1 small orange 
4 Tbsp. unsweetened cocoa powder* (can be omitted) 

* If you want a chocolate variation you can add the cocoa powder. I wanted a normal bar and a cocoa one, so after i mixed all the ingredients, I separated them in half and added 2 Tbsp. of cocoa powder to half of it.

Directions: Set oven to 350 F/ 175 C degrees. Mix together dry ingredients-  coconut, oats, flour, salt, baking powder, stevia. In a separate bowl mix wet ingredients- eggs, coconut milk, honey, banana, OJ. Pour wet ingredients into dry mixture. Chop dates into small pieces. I chopped mine with a kitchen knife, but if you have a food processor to chop up the dates it would probably be easier. Then mix in the dates. Line a 11x15 pan with butter, then sprinkle a little flour over it, then some coconut flakes (when the bars are done and you take them out and turn them over, they'll have a nice little coconut flake top). You can use a smaller 9x9 pan if you want thicker chewier bars. Bake at 350 degrees for 25-35 minutes. Enjoy with a cuppa tea!


I made a yogurt frosting and a chocolate frosting for each, but I forgot to write down the chocolate one (oops!). It was something along the lines of cocoa powder, butter, milk? Not sure, i made it for another recipe a few days ago and forgot. But, the yogurt one is:

Yogurt Frosting

1/2 170g. cup of full fat greek yogurt
1/4 cup coconut milk
1/4 tsp. stevia

Victor my spokesmodel

lunes, 2 de mayo de 2011

Food, food and more food!

I have come to terms with the fact that there's only a finite number of things to do in Pontevedra. The plus side of that is that I don't feel stressed and I have plenty of time to rest.... but, the downside? I get very bored. So, I've been cooking and baking a lot and experimenting with new recipes. I've always done this in my spare time, but I never write down the recipes for the things I make, because usually when i make something I haphazardly throw things in.

Whole wheat veggie lasagna

Victor scarfing down some veggie lasagna, keeping in mind our very strict table etiquette

Picnic with bell pepper, chard, tomato and garlic cous cous

Sweet potato fries (unfinished)
Baking focaccia
Whole grain spelt rosemary focaccia

Veggie quiche with whole wheat crust

Almond flour pancakes with yogurt date topping and strawberries

Anyway, I've decided that since I'm cooking so much that I should write down my recipes and share them here. So, on my next post I'll include a recipe and maybe better pictures, hehe.

domingo, 1 de mayo de 2011

Yogurt Renaissance

As a greek yogurt enthusiast, living in Pontevedra has been a little challenging in the yogurt department. The yogurt they call "greek yogurt" here is not at all the same taste, ingredients or texture as the kind I'm used to. I looked in a bunch of health food stores around town for good quality yogurt, but couldn't find much. So, I tried for a while to substitute my craving with some regular store brand yogurt. Needless to say, I just stopped eating yogurt after a while.

Then, the other day, I went to the supermarket by my house and saw that they had a new kind of yogurt there (Clearly, I have a lot of free time on my hands...). This was the Vrai brand french organic yogurt. I bought it on a whim and it turned out to be delicious! Very thick and creamy without sugar or weird added ingredients. So, I was quite pleased to find a new yogurt.

A few days later I went to Vigo with Victor and Emma and we stopped by El Corte Ingles (a department store with a supermarket in it). To my surprise they had the Fage brand Greek yogurt I'd been pining for the whole time, only a half hour from where I live! They also had many other organic kefirs and yogurts. So, i bought a goat kefir too! Emma and I we're very excited and spent probably 15 minutes in awe in the yogurt aisle (obviously Victor went home as soon as he saw how long we would be spending there glaring at different cups of yogurt).

Emma had also come back the night before from a school trip to Leon and had brought me back some good quality Coladilla brand yogurts. A sheep's milk yogurt and a cow's milk one. So, as you can see, we are currently experiencing a yogurt renaissance.

I, in the throws of my honeymoon romance with yogurt, have been enjoying it in every way. This morning I woke up and made a bowl of greek yogurt with a bit of honey and cinnamon with chopped dates and bananas. So simple yet so satisfying. My people of California, do not take your greek yogurt for granted!!