Friday, September 7, 2007

Power up with your fruits, vegetables, and whole grains!

This past week we decided to step it up a notch and make new homemade concoctions. We tried new grains and mixed vegetables in new ways. Our menu for the week consisted of a lot of powerfully nutritious grains, vegetables, and fruits! (such as swiss chard, blueberries, and brown rice.)

Cooking/baking gives us so much satisfaction and optimism, because it makes us feel good knowing that our meal ideas turn into reality, taste fantastic, and are healthy!

First of all we have been wanting to use sundried tomatoes for a meal, and decided to do a sundried tomato pasta dish.

We used whole wheat penne pasta and added minced garlic, extra virgin olive oil, hydrated sundried tomatoes, sauteed mushrooms, bell peppers, onions, and some crushed red pepper. Of course, olive oil always makes things wonderful! The pasta really tasted fresh with alot of great flavor and texture. Next time some firm tofu cubes might be a nice addition to mellow out the tartness of the sundried tomatoes.

Tomatoes are known to contain lycopene, a powerful phytonutrient, and reduce the risks many cancers, including prostate, breast, and colon. It is also a great source of vitamin C and A.

As the end of summer comes to a close, we took advantage of fresh corn cobs and made corn and chive pancakes, from Passionate Vegetarian cookbook! They were very flavorful, fresh, with corn popping in every bite, yet slightly soft like cornbread. Yum!We also made a powerhouse blueberry banana smoothie!

Simple, with just fresh blueberries, frozen banana slices, and fruit flavored yogurt, blended together! Blueberries are one of the top nutritious foods, with high levels of antioxidants.

One of the greatest meals we got to make this week was mushroom fajitas with homemade whole grain tortillas!

We used fresh elegant cremini mushrooms, which research states have many protective benefits from cancers and diseases, and are a good source of many vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants. Mushrooms are so easy and simple to enjoy - we have been just sauteeing mushrooms with dried herbs and black pepper. We even add some sauteed mushrooms to veggie burgers to enhance them.

With the fajitas, though, we added some spices to make it Mexican flare. Along with mushrooms, we sauteed some onions and bell peppers, and served them with slices of avocado. We dashed in some soy sauce too for an interesting flavor combination, trying to replicate Mr. Natural's mushroom fajitas, which had soy sauce.

It was our first time to make homemade tortillas, and we were doubtful about whether we could replicate our grocery store's tortillas, but they surpassed our expectations tenfold! We used the recipe from King Arthur Flour Whole Grain Baking cookbook and added unique grains, such as spelt and kamut flour.

Other nutritious meals we made over the week incorporated green swiss chard, our first time to eat it. Swiss chard is absolutely addicting! It is tastes similar to spinach and is not bitter, like kale tends to be. We sauteed the swiss chard with some minced garlic, olive oil, chopped onion, and garbonzo beans. It was a great colorful meal!

Swiss chard is one of those top vegetables, along with other green leafy vegetables. It has more than the recommended amount of vitamin K, which is important in maintaining strong bones, vitamin A, which helps eye sight and cancers, iron for blood cells, vitamin E, an antioxidant that also helps with mental functioning, fiber, and other great health benefits.

We served the swiss chard bean dish with amaranth. Amaranth is new to us and we saw it at the store and thought to cook with it somehow. I have to say that it is a very different grain. You cook it like quinoa or couscous, but it is very gelatin-like in texture. From what we know, amaranth has similar health benefits to quinoa; it is a complete protein source. Maybe the high content of proteins interact to produce the gelatin texture. We didn't much care for it in the end, it was too bland and gummy. We'll stick to amaranth flour if we need to.

Our last meal of the week had one of our favorite foods in it - peanut butter! We made a pb tofu stirfry, using our pb Asian dipping sauce that we usually use for spring rolls. It was so devine and creamy! Stirfrys are so great because they are easy and incorporate a wide variety of fresh vegetables. We added peas, scallions, onions, red bell pepper, broccoli, and firm chewy tofu.
A lot of health benefits right there! As you probably know, tofu and other soy products are very much praised by health professionals these days for their soy protein, calcium, iron, and other vit/minerals. Broccoli, which is a cruciferous vegetable, has cancer fighting phytonutrients also.

So, just from those four meals, we are now pumped up full of great nutrients!

Hope you enjoyed our "nutrition lecture" post this week. We love to talk about the health benefits of food, especially fiber, vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants! There is a lot more information out there; we are even taking a college class right now titled 'Nutrition Treatment of Disease'!

As William Londen quotes, "To insure good health- eat lightly, breathe deeply, live moderately, cultivate cheerfulness, and maintain an interest in life"!
-Cheers to good vegetarian health! LK

P.S. We forgot to mention some great products we've recently had!
Eden Organic's Fruit Sweetened
Dried Cranberries, Nature's Path HempPlus Granola, Prana Energy Bars (apricot goji), and White Mountain Food's Vegetarian Spicy Tamales


maybepigscanfly said...

Wow so much great food and information! Where to begin? I really like the sundried tomato dish- they make anything taste heavenly. Oh and blueberries in a smoothie are a must!

I noticed that you guys tried amaranth grain for the first time. I personally think it's better for breakfast and simpler type dishes. Give it another chance. If you have Vive le Vegan, there is a great Amaranth Millet breakfast recipe. I also like to add a little bit of it to my pot of oatmeal in the mornings. Plus its good for you!

healthnut said...

Hi, just wanted to let you know that you've been tagged by me to post a meme :)