Archive for the ‘ Food ’ Category

World Cafe

I love coffee. I equate drinking coffee with feelings of comfort and warmth and love to relax with my hot morning brew and read before work. There’s good coffee and bad coffee however and while I can appreciate a bad cup of diner coffee for everything it embraces, I prefer my coffee strong, dark and smooth. I think my stint as a Starbucks barista definitely made me a bit pretentious, but it also made me discerning as to what coffee I like and why I like it. And I learned how a person’s beverage of choice at an establish such as Starbucks tells a lot about a person – Skinny quad Venti, 165 degree, extra pump of vanilla, no foam latte, you know who you are!

But I digress…

As many of my readers know, I also love to be socially and environmentally conscious. I try to buy fair trade, shade grown, organic coffees whenever I can. Yeah, I might pay a little more, but I see it as the cost of guilt-free java indulgence. (Sidenote: Starbucks, for as much as people knock them, are actually very supportive of their coffee farmers and pay for the value of the coffee despite what market prices may be at the time. And they give back a lot both socially and environmentally. Very cool.) So, when a sister or a friend told me about a little company called Dean’s Beans my little ears perked up. Then, after I tried a cup (okay, five) I was sold.

Dean’s Beans is a coffee company devoted to the buying and selling of 100% organic and fair trade coffee. They have a huge online selection filled with flavorful coffees that easily fit any palate. They not only buy shade grown, fair trade, organic coffee but they put their money where their coffee is and help support farms and farmers dedicated to producing healthy lifestyles for their villages and environments. They also have specials on coffee where proceeds from each purchase help support a specific cause. They have many more products – books, candies, cocoa, etc – and information on their website, so I encourage you to check them out. And if you don’t drink coffee I’m sure your family member/neighbor/spouse/friend does and it would make a great gift!

It brings me joy to know that I’m not only drinking an amazing cup of coffee (seriously) but helping to support a great cause. 🙂

Vegetarian Autumn Stew

Some of my favorite things about cooler temps are all the wonderful recipes out there for delicious soups and stews. I’m vegetarian because I believe it’s a healthier and more humane way to live, thus I’m constantly on the hunt for tasty recipes that suit both my palate and my diet. One of the tricky things about vegetarian recipes is finding something that is not only healthy but full of flavor. I have tried many dishes that are simply lacking in the taste department, but this recipe is filled with hearty goodness. 🙂

Here is a recipe I just made that is absolutely delicious! I found it through an online search and will definitely be making it a lot this fall/winter. I tweaked the recipe a bit to suit my needs and put those changes in blue. I also made my Homemade Wheat Bread to go along with the meal. It was the perfect rainy fall day food. 🙂

Vegetarian Autumn Stew

Ingredients:

  • 1 pound seitan, chopped (*see note at bottom)
  • 1 onion, diced
  • 5 cups vegetable broth
  • 2 tbsp soy sauce
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 2 tomatoes, diced (1 15oz can diced tomatoes, drained)
  • 3 carrots, diced (I added 4 large carrots sliced)
  • 3 potatoes, chopped (red potatoes, cubed)
  • 2 stalks celery, diced (3 stalks, sliced)
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 3/4 tsp pepper
  • 4 tbsp cornstarch mixed with 4 tbsp water until smooth
  • 1 cup brown rice

Preparation:

Place all the ingredients except rice in a crock pot or slow cooker. Cook on low for 6 to 8 hours. (Or on high for 4-5 hours). Add one cup of rice to mixture 1 hour before it’s set to be finished. Since every cooker is different I would sample a potato (they usually take the longest time to cook) to make sure it’s fully cooked.

Sautee the seitan in a little bit of olive oil first, if you’d like. If you’re pressed for time, you don’t need to, but it will give the seitan a bit of extra flavor if you do.

*Note: Seitan is basically wheat protein that has the consistency of meat. It will absorb the flavor of whatever you cook it with. You can make homemade seitan in the slow cooker or buy it packaged. It’s usually found in the organic refrigerated section of your grocery store.

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Homemade White (or Wheat) Bread

Homemade White (or Wheat) Bread

(As found in my wonderfully fabulous cookbook – Cooking Light. A perfect pairing of healthy and deliciousness.)

Ingredients

  • 1  package dry yeast (about 2 1/4 teaspoons)
  • 1  tablespoon  sugar
  • 1 2/3  cups  warm fat-free milk (100° to 110°)
  • 2  tablespoons  butter or stick margarine, melted
  • 4 3/4  cups  all-purpose flour, divided (substitute wheat flour here if desired)
  • 1 1/2  teaspoons  salt
  • Cooking spray

Preparation

Dissolve yeast and sugar in warm milk in a large bowl; let stand 5 minutes. Stir in butter. Lightly spoon flour into dry measuring cups; level with a knife. Add 4 1/4 cups flour and salt to yeast mixture; stir until blended. Turn dough out onto a floured surface. Knead until smooth and elastic (about 10 minutes); add enough of remaining flour, 1 tablespoon at a time, to prevent dough from sticking to hands (dough will feel tacky).

Place dough in a large bowl coated with cooking spray, turning to coat top. Cover and let rise in a warm place (85°), free from drafts, 1 hour or until doubled in size. Punch dough down; let rest 5 minutes. Roll into a 14 x 7-inch rectangle on a floured surface. Roll up rectangle tightly, starting with a short edge, pressing firmly to eliminate air pockets; pinch seam and ends to seal. Place roll, seam side down, in a 9 x 5-inch loaf pan coated with cooking spray. Cover and let rise 1 hour or until doubled in size.

Preheat oven to 350°.

Uncover dough. Bake at 350° for 45 minutes or until loaf is browned on the bottom and sounds hollow when tapped. Remove loaf from pan, and cool on a wire rack.

Cinnamon-Raisin Bread Recipe

Cinnamon-Raisin Bread

(As adapted from myrecipes.com)

Ingredients

  • 3/4  cup  raisins
  • 3/4  cup  fat-free milk
  • 1/3  cup  packed brown sugar
  • 1  package dry yeast (about 2 1/4 teaspoons)
  • 4 1/4  cups  all-purpose flour, divided (about 19 ounces)
  • 1  teaspoon  salt
  • 1 1/4  teaspoons  ground cinnamon, divided
  • 2 eggs
  • 2  tablespoons  butter, melted, cooled, and divided
  • Cooking spray (I use olive oil)
  • 1/4  cup  granulated sugar

Preparation

Dissolve yeast and brown sugar in warm milk (100-110 degrees); let stand for 5 minutes

Lightly spoon flour into dry measuring cups; level with a knife. Combine 4 cups flour, salt, and 1/4 teaspoon cinnamon.

Add eggs and 1 tablespoon butter to milk mixture; stir well with a whisk until combined. Add to flour mixture; stir until a soft dough forms. Turn dough out onto a lightly floured surface. Knead until smooth and elastic (about 8 minutes); add enough of remaining flour, 1 tablespoon at a time, to prevent dough from sticking to hands. Lightly coat dough with cooking spray; cover and let stand 10 minutes. Knead in raisins.

Place dough in a large bowl coated with cooking spray, turning to coat top. Cover and let rise in a warm place (85°), free from drafts, 1 hour or until doubled in size. (Gently press two fingers into dough. If indentation remains, dough has risen enough.) Punch dough down; cover and let rest 5 minutes.

Roll dough into a 14 x 7-inch rectangle on a lightly floured surface; lightly coat surface of dough with cooking spray. Combine 1/4 cup granulated sugar and 1 teaspoon cinnamon in a small bowl. Sprinkle sugar mixture evenly over dough; sprinkle water over dough. Roll up rectangle tightly, starting with a short edge, pressing firmly to eliminate air pockets; pinch seam and ends to seal. Place roll, seam side down, into 9×5-inch loaf pan coated with cooking spray. Cover and let rise 40 minutes or until doubled in size.

Preheat oven to 350°.

Uncover loaf.

Bake at 350° for 50 minutes or until loaf is browned and sounds hollow when tapped. Remove from pan; cool on wire rack.

Tasty Treat on a Hot Summer’s Day

I’m a BIG fan of an icy cold smoothie on a hot summer’s day. As you know, I love to be active as often as possible and wanted a smoothie recipe that would be filling, tasty and be a perfect post-workout snack.

Here’s the recipe I’ve concocted, enjoy!

1/2 frozen banana (I freeze these myself so I always have them on hand)

1/4 c frozen strawberries

1/4 c frozen blueberries

1 tsp flax seeds

1 scoop protein powder (I use Trader Joe’s vanilla soy protein powder)

1/2 c vanilla soy milk

Throw in a blender, blend until smooth.

Flax seeds are rich in omega-3 which has been shown to prevent heart disease and have anti-inflammatory benefits.

Soy is high in protein, which helps to rebuild muscle fibers, and contains isoflavones which are linked to the prevention of heart disease, cancers, and osteoporosis.