Thursday, June 24, 2010

'Chikin' Nuggets

Well I think I have finally found a recipe that will have me leaving the store bought brand of chic nuggets and patties in the freezer section. Please do not misunderstand me, I love the convenience of pulling them out of the freezer and plopping them into the frying pan. And the journey is turning out to be pretty darned tootin' good.

I stumbled upon these quite by accident via Post Punk Kitchen on Facebook. The recipe comes from Opera Girl . She is not a vegetarian, for she has meat dishes, but this one caught my eye and I had more then 90% of the ingredients.

I made them and they looked so much like the nuggets you get in a little box with toys that I scared myself. Thee only thing I need to work on is the texture. They were just a bit soggy in the middle. Not so much that I did not eat 4 of them...oh my gosh, did that just slip out on to the blog. The seasonings were to die for. Take that fast food. These will definitely be on our plates again for sure.

1 cup cooked chick peas
2T olive oil (for frying)
1/2 cup vital wheat gluten
1/2 cup Italian style bread crumbs
1/3 cup water
2T low sodium soy sauce/Tamari
3 cloves garlic, grated with a microplane
1/2 t lemon zest (we were out)
1/2 t thyme
1/2 t paprika
1/4 t dried sage (we were out)
1) In a mini chopper process the chick peas until mostly mashed.
2) Put the chick peas in a medium sized mixing bowl and add the rest of thee ingredients. Turn the mixture onto a cutting board and knead for 3 minutes until you see the strings of gluten forming.
3) Using a knife, divide the ball into 4 even sections. Then divide those 4 into 4 more balls. Shape the hunks of dough into nugget style shapes.
4) Heat up a think layer of oil in a heavy bottom skillet over a medium-low heat. Cook for about 5-7 minutes or until golden brown.

Honey Mustard Sauce

2T coarsely ground Dijon mustard (we used deli style mustard, stone ground)
1T honey
Mix well and serve with nuggets.

This is going to work well once I master the texture thing. I am hoping to make them into cutlets for a more main course style food. Wheeeeeeeee!

Friday, June 18, 2010

I Got Your Protein...Right Here!

For those of you who still may think that you 'need' meat to get your protein...think again.There have been more than enough articles written to support a vegetable based lifestyle and that if done correctly gives us way more than enough protein. But there are forces who would lead you to believe that you need meat to sustain an ample amount of protein in your diet. Pfffft! Yeah, have fun with that. Those would be you meat industry lobbyist. And lobbyist is just another word for legal bribery, in my book of course. If I were to go to a judge and try to persuade him/her to alter my guilt or innocence by how much I donate to his campaign, I would be thrown in jail however, these morons, are still allowed to go in to Washington and gives TONS of money to senators and congressmen, all in the name of contribution. Puh-leaze!

I just to choose to educate people. And when and if they are ready to open their eyes, they can do so by their dollars. Yes folks, there is power in numbers. And the numbers I am talking about is how and where you spend your hard earned money. I choose not to spend anything from Kraft. Why you may ask.Well I am glad that you did. Kraft is connnected, if not owned by Phillip Morris, which we all know is one of thee biggest tobacco companies in the world. Not where I want my hard earned dollars to go. And if you don't think that by not spending your money somewhere does not hurt...then think again.

So I have been doing a bit of research to see where we get our protein from. I myself do not worry about it any longer, for i know what I eat is loaded with protein. And so much so that even on a vegetarian/vegan diet, if done properly, is way more than enough protein. Most Americans, eat the S.A.D.(Standard American Diet) diet, are getting way too much protein, which is even more taxing on the system.

So here are just but a few of the ways to get enough protein and see that you really do not need as much as you think. Who do you think sets the standards for thee amount of protein we need to get. The FDA. And who supports thee FDA? Big time lobbyists. Time to rethink what you eat and where your money is going.

Broccoli - 4 grams in 1 cup
Brown Rice - 5 grams in 1 cup
Refried beans - 7 grams in 1/2 cup
Soymilk - 7 grams in 1 cup
Peas - 8 grams in 1 cup
Tofu - 11 grams in 5 ounces
Oat bran - 16 grams in 1 cup
Lentils - 18 grams in 1 cup
Chick peas - 18 grams in 1 cup

And if we are still going by what the FDA tells us we need, which is a whopping 30 grams per day, then a veggie diet is AOK in my book. But I myself feel we do not need that much protein, but that is just me. An article I read goes further in stipulating that meat may be loaded with protein, but there is a major downside to it as well. Put aside the animal thing and how those poor creatures are being treated. Let's crunch some numbers, shall we?

6 ounce porter house steak - 38 grams of protein(which by FDA standards is already over the limit) & 44 grams of fat, and 16 of those 44 are saturated. Read more in an article here

Now for those of you who may have youth on your side. Trust me when I say that Mother Nature has a way of playing catch up, and she ain't always nice about it. So those Big Macs now will be your triple by-pass in a few years, not necessarily in decades. So you keep on thinking that meat is your best source of protein. Here are some more numbers.

Corn on the cob - 1 cup - 5 grams
Collards - 1 cup - 4 grams
1 medium baked potato - 5 grams
Spinach - 1 cup - 5 grams
Peanut butter - 2T - 8 grams
Almonds - 1/4 cup - 8 grams
Peanuts - 1/4 cup - 9 grams
Cashews - 1/4 cup - 5 grams
Pumpkin Seeds - 1/4 cup - 8 grams

As you can see, it is quite easy to obtain your protein from elsewhere. And no, I do not sit around doing the math. I just eat and enjoy my food. And for those of you who may say, well nuts are fat. Yep, but so is that T-bone steak you ate last week, and I will take my nuts/seeds over your T-bone any day of the week, ounce for ounce.

Sunday, June 13, 2010

Cool 'N Spicy Watermelon Salad

This I found on a Facebook group I belong to. Raw Vegan Recipe Exchange. They have some great recipes and to date I have used two of them. I am not a fan of mixing sweet and savory, but I saw that I had all thee ingredients and went for it. I am now a believer in sweet and savory. Try this over the summer, it is a dish you will not regret trying.

3 cups cubed watermelon
2T jalapeno (diced, I used less)
2T mint (I used dry)
2T lime juice (I used lemon)
pinch of salt
I put all thee ingredients on our already cut watermelon and this was unbelievable. For those of you who try this, please drop me a line on what you think of it, I am very curious to see what others think.

Happy Birthday Son

My son may be getting older, but I am not. Okay, maybe a little. But yesterday was my sons 21st birthday. Man oh man, where does the time go? Now usually he has a big to do, here at home, but this year he wanted it be just a quiet gathering, meaning, his immediate family and super-close friends. Two of the three friends could not make it due to prior obligations or work, so it came down to just enough people to sit at our dining room table.

I was at work all day, which was a 45 minute drive away. So suffice it to say, I would not be the one cooking dinner. In steps my daughter. We of course, had asked my son what he wanted for his birthday dinner and he fessed up right away that he wanted mashed potatoes and macaroni and cheese. Taters are easy enough. But her macaroni and cheese are very grown up. But last night she out did herself.

Then there was the coup de ta (sp?). She made her brother a golden cake. Basically a vanilla cake. To him, as long as it is white, it is vanilla. We have not told him otherwise. She found the recipe for the cake and the frosting at Food Network, but let me tell you, there are no words to describe how good these recipes were.

Gold Cake

3/4 cup butter flavored vegetable shortening (I have no idea what she used, but I will find out)
1&1/4 cup sugar
2&1/2 cups cake flour (she used unbleached white flour)
3t baking powder
1/4t salt
8 egg yolks, beaten (I know I have given up eggs, but I did try the cake all the same, but I would love to find a substitute)
3/4 cup milk
1t vanilla
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Grease 2 (9 inch ) cake pans with shortening and set aside. Cream together the shortening and the sugar. Combine the flour, baking powder and salt. Slowly alternate adding the egg yolks and milk with the dry ingredients and mix until well combined.

Add the vanilla and mix well. Pour into the prepared pans, about half the batter. Bake for 18-20 minutes. Remove from oven and cool on a rack.

Quick Vanilla Buttercream Frosting

3 cups confectioners' sugar
1 cup butter
1t vanilla extract
1-2T whipping cream

In a standing mixer fitted with a whisk, mix together sugar and butter. Mix on ow speed until well blended and then increase speed to medium and beat for another 3 minutes.

Add vanilla and cream and continue to beat on medium speed for 1 minute more, adding more cream if needed for spreading.

Suffice it to say, our dinner last night was to die for. And all thinks goes to my lovely daughter Nana Brain!!

Wednesday, June 9, 2010

Pasta And Navy Bean

I have had this recipe for so long that I cannot even remember where I got it, or from who. Needless to say this is easy and filling. And so much so that for me at least, it is a one pot style meal. Meaning that I don't need anything else but some bread and a tall glass of iced tea and I am good to go.

3/4 lb dry pasta
2T olive oil
3 cloves garlic minced
1 large tomato, chopped (I used canned for I was out of fresh)
2 cups tomato sauce
1/4 water
3 sprigs parsley, chopped
2t dried oregano and basil
2 cups broccoli florets (mine were the frozen style)
2 cups cooked navy beans (I had soaked a bunch and cooked them in bulk, then froze the leftovers)
1/4 cup chopped black olives
Cook pasta according to directions, drain well. In a large pot, heat oil, and saute garlic until lightly browned. Stir in tomatoes. Add tomato sauce, water, parsley, oregano and basil. Cook uncovered over medium heat smashing tomatoes with spoon.

When sauce thickens, add broccoli. Simmer covered until broccoli is tender but crunchy. Add beans and olives, mix well. Simmer covered until heated through. Stir in pasta. Serve with parsley.

This is so pretty to look at and again, it is just a meal in and of itself, nothing else is needed. Try it, they will ask for it again, you can bet on it.

Friday, June 4, 2010

Paper Or Plastic?

Not anymore, or so it will be in California in the foreseeable future. By the year 2012, you will no longer be asked if you want paper or plastic, you will either have to bring your own, or be charged $.05 for a recycled paper bag. I can't wait for that to get to my home state.

I was recently at the grand opening of a grocery store where my company is a vendor. There were many of us from our company, and us who demonstrated the meat and cheese (Yes I work for a deli meat company) would rotate between giving out samples and greeting customers at the front door.

I saw a lady walk in with a bag from Whole Foods that read, 'I use to be a plastic bottle.' It was ingenious. I mean think about it. I told her how much we do in the green category and our conversation was going splendidly until an old fart of a man walked by and gruffed out, 'You will never see my use any of those.' I, of course, could say nothing, for I was on duty. But the lady I was talking to, did not have to obey my constraints. She, without missing a beat, politely told him, when they start charging you for them, you may see things differently. She had won me over.

But my daughter asked me, 'What if you gave people a discount for using the reusable bags, won't that make them use them more often?' And I told her no, and for this reason. People are so accustomed to BOGO, 1/2 off, sale, reduced price, clearance. BUT, when you take their money from them right out of their pockets, that makes them mad, and people do not like parting with their money.

So, I look forward to the day when folks get charged for the bags they use. There are may a day that I walk out and never even use a bag...for 1 item...really?

Read more here.

Wednesday, June 2, 2010

Raw Hummus

I love raw food and I love hummus. Now my other half feels the need to have pita bread in order to eat hummus. And inasmuch as I agree, it is not a necessity in my book. I feel you can enjoy this lovely dish without the added circular things of joy. And yes I love Pita Bread. But if you have ever eaten it from a fresh Arab Bakery, you will N-E-V-E-R eat it from a grocery store again. Trust me when I say that everything after that is a farce. Well a while ago I had seen a raw hummus recipe on Youtube, but it was quite complicated. And not that I am against complicated dishes, but I googled raw hummus and got this lovely recipe.

Now the young lady who's blog this is no longer blogs but she gave us this lovely dish to relish in and thank you muchly I might add. I may go back and attempt to make the other raw chick pea hummus, but not until I have enough time to do so and that my friends will not be for a while. But in thee interim, go and make this one, and enjoy whether it be with a piece of pita bread or some raw veggies, this is worth the making.

Recipe is Here

1 large zucchini, peeled and diced
1/2 cup tahini
2T olive oil
2T lemon juice
1t salt
1t cumin
1 large clove garlic, pressed
Sprinkle of paprika
Peel the zucchini until all the green is removed, this is extremely important otherwise your hummus will come out green and in no way resemble traditional hummus. Combine all ingredients in food processor except for paprika and process until smooth and creamy. If you consistency is not coming up like you want it to be, then add a bit of water until you get where you want to be. Serve in a glass bowl and sprinkle with paprika and drizzle with olive oil if you so desire, and enjoy.

Sprout. Sprout. Let It All Out!

I love this chick. She has taught me so much and because of her, I am seriously contemplating getting my own Youtube channel...nah, just kidding. But the thought has crossed my mind. I love food, preparing it, cooking it and then eating it, so why not share that passion with others. One day.

But on to the real reason of this post. I have begun to sprout. No, not lie that, because i am older and no longer growing, but I am sprouting beans and seeds. Right now, in the fridge, I have alfalfa sprouts and lentil sprouts, and both batches came out fantastic. And so darned easy, even a monkey could pull this off. And I am now in the process of sprouting mung beans. So far so good.

These little gems are a powerhouse of foods. Take what they offer and multiply it be thee nth degree and that is what you have in the way of foods. It did take a wee bit to get use to their earthy flavor, but once you get rolling you just can't stop. I love my sprouts and use them on just about anything and everything and just nibble on them when I need a little hold me over. So get off the couch and give sprouting a try, you will not regret it.