Saturday, May 14, 2011

Celebrate Mothers Brunch Menu

The Menu:
Morning Glory Muffins
Bacon and Spring Onion Quiche
Asparagus and Goat Cheese Quiche
Yogurt, Granola and Strawberries

Morning Glory Muffins

1 cup whole wheat flour
½ cup all-purpose flour
1 cup regular oats
¾ cups packed brown sugar
1 tablespoon wheat bran
2 tablespoons baking soda
¼ teaspoon salt
1 cup plain fat free yogurt
1 cup mashed banana (about 2)
1 large egg
1 cup chopped pitted dates*
¾ cup chopped walnuts*
½ cup chopped dried pineapple*
3 tablespoons ground flaxseed (about 2 tablespoons whole)

Preheat oven to 350º

Lightly spoon flours into dry measuring cups, and level with a knife. Combine flours and next 5 ingredients (through salt) in a large bowl; stir with a whisk. Make a well in the center of mixture.

Combine yogurt, banana and egg; add to flour mixture, stirring just until moist. Fold in dates, walnuts and pineapple. Spoon batter into prepared muffin cups. Sprinkle evenly with flaxseed. Bake at 350º for about 20 minutes or until muffins spring back when touched lightly in center. Remove muffins from pans immediately; cool on wire racks.

*You could substitute any nut or dried fruit for this recipe; raisins, apples, apricots, unsweetened coconut, pecans, etc.

Bacon and Spring Onion Quiche with Fontina Cheese

1 prepared pie crust
4 bacon slices, cut into small strips
3 large spring onions, sliced
½ teaspoon salt
¼ teaspoon black pepper
1 ¼ cups egg substitute
2/3 cups low fat milk

Pre bake pie crust as directed on package. Heat a large skillet over medium heat, cook bacon. Remove from pan; reserve about 2 teaspoons of the drippings. Add the onions to the pan cook just until tender about 5 minutes. Remove from pan. Arrange onions and bacon in the pie crust.

Combine egg substitute, milk, salt and pepper; stir well with a whisk. Pour into crust. Bake at 425º for about 25 minutes or until a knife inserted in the center comes out clean. Let stand for 10 minutes before serving.

Asparagus and Goat Cheese Quiche

1 prepared pie crust
8 Asparagus spears
¼ cup soft goat cheese
½ teaspoon salt
¼ teaspoon black pepper
1 ¼ cups egg substitute
2/3 cups low fat milk

Pre bake pie crust as directed on package. Fill a 2 quart pot about half way with water and bring to a boil. Add asparagus and let boil for about one minute, remove from boiling water and transfer to a bowl of ice water to stop the cooking. Arrange the asparagus around the pie crust. Crumble the goat cheese around the crust.

Combine egg substitute, milk, salt and pepper; stir well with a whisk. Pour into crust. Bake at 425º for about 25 minutes or until a knife inserted in the center comes out clean. Let stand for 10 minutes before serving.

Friday, May 13, 2011

Being a Vegetarian…again?

I was a vegetarian for almost 10 years; I was what is considered a lacto-ovo vegetarian* which meant I ate dairy and the occasional egg and to some that may not be a “true” vegetarian. Shortly after college I started to re-introduce fish and seafood back into my diet and then chicken and then eventually red meat. Why did I start eating animals again? Well actually the main reason was for my health; which was also one of the reasons I became a vegetarian to begin with. While in college I wanted something quick and cheap so pasta was usually the answer, we didn't have a cafeteria. Not to mention all the pizzas, Ben & Jerry’s ice cream, alcohol and late nights. I just wasn't getting the nutrients I needed. We occasionally had group dinners and a lot of wine.

So why am I even talking about this? Well I have been sharing vegetarian recipes with a co-worker whose daughter is a vegetarian and I have also been trying to eat a lot better and take better care of myself. I have actually been craving vegetarian meals, including tofu, tempeh and various other plant based foods. I have always been good about eating my veggies but I am in need of a change and I think this is what I need. I have already gotten my husband to agree on eating a couple meatless meals a week (I will just need to figure out ones he will at least try.) Just because I am ready to make some changes, doesn’t mean that I am ready to cut animal product out of my diet all together yet. I am not expecting my husband to change, but I would ask that he be open minded and willing to try it. He has been supportive so far and has even bought me new vegetarian cookbooks. Because he makes dinner during the week I don't want him to feel like he has to do anything special for me. He has and still is supporting me through my weight loss even though it cuts into our time, and I feel guilty sometimes for it.

Now once again I am making this change mostly for health, I am older and more aware of what my body needs. Not to mention I have lost about 20 pounds and I refuse to gain it back. I need variety in my diet and currently I feel like as much as I try I just don’t feel like I am getting what I what or need. My plan is to reduce my meat intake, especially red meat, this time also weaning off dairy. I can see myself someday going to complete plant based diet again but for right now, my reason or excuse is that I don’t think it is fair to my family. I know that I can not expect anyone else to change because of me, especially when the other people are used to a meat based diet and feels the need to have meat at every meal. Little by little I am going to make some changes, and introduce new foods to my family. Since it is farmer’s market season I have decided that every week or two I am going to pick up a vegetable or fruit that I have never had, made or just want to try. I got a timid okay when I suggested this but I think it will be good to taste new things. There are at least three different markets that I will be frequenting this season so I am sure I will be able to find new things.

Here is where I may upset some people; my first reason for not eating animals would be for health. Animal rights are a secondary and bonus. When it comes to factory farms I do agree that the way animals are treated is wrong. But I really try not to think about it, I know that is awful and I shouldn’t think that way, but it just is what it is. I do think that as a whole there are other more important things to be concerned with. I have been listening to a podcast called Vegetarian Food for Thought, by Compassionate Cook and it makes you really think about the animals and the rights they don’t have. I find it very educational and inspiring; the link for Compassionate Cook below.

Ok, I could keep on rambling on but I will leave you now with a few definitions and links…

*A vegetarian diet focuses on plants for food. These include fruits, vegetables, dried beans and peas, grains, seeds and nuts. There is no single type of vegetarian diet. Instead, vegetarian eating patterns usually fall into the following groups:

The vegan diet, which excludes all meat and animal products

The lacto vegetarian diet, which includes plant foods plus dairy products

The lacto-ovo vegetarian diet, which includes both dairy products and eggs

Links I find useful and educational:

The Savvy Vegetarian
Vegetarian Times
Compassionate Cook

Tuesday, May 3, 2011

Short-cut Chicken Enchiladas

So I while back a found this recipe for enchilada suzia (see my blog titled Mexican fiesta) well I decided I wanted to make something nice for my fathers birthday so I had it in my head that I was going to make the same enchiladas I made before. Well that didn't quite happen, what did happen was a happy accident if you will.

The main ingredient in the sauce is tomatillas, I grew these over the summer so there was no problem finding them. But when they aren't in season and your closest grocery store doesn't have the best produce selection you need to improvise. So I was about to give up and just do a plain tomato base when I found a tomatillo salsa. The salsa had most of the ingredients that I would have put in the sauce, minus the roasted tomatoes so I decided to give it a try. The result...delicious! Now I must say if you have the time and ingredients I would still recommend the homemade sauce.

10-12 corn or flour tortillas*
3/4 rotisserie chicken, shredded
1-15oz. Can fire roasted tomatoes
1 1/2 cups tomatillo salsa, such as Frontera Grille
3/4 cup sour cream
3/4 cup shredded Colby-jack cheese

In a blender or food processor blend the salsa, tomatoes and sour cream. Take about half of the salsa mixture and mix with the chicken. Spread some of the salsa mixture on the bottom of a 13x9 baking dish. Fill each tortilla with about a 1/4 cup of the chicken mixture. Roll and place seam side down in the baking dish.
Pour the remaining salsa mixture over the tortillas and then top with cheese.
Bake at 400 degrees until hot and bubbly. About 30 minutes.

*Note: I think that corn tortillas taste best with this, but they get mushy if you freeze then cook later. So if you plan on making this ahead of time and freezing I would recommend using the flour tortillas.