Thursday, December 29, 2011

How Tips For Buying Healthier Foods?

What is Health Food? What is Organic Food? What is Natural Food?

Organically grown foods are the foods that are produced without using chemical fertilizers and harmful pesticides. Organic poultry, dairy products, and meat means that the grass fed beef, or other animals and birds, were not given growth hormones, steroids, or antibiotics. The awareness of the adverse effects of chemicals in non-organic food is spreading, and more and more people are opting to buy organic and to eat 100% grass fed beef and dairy products.

It is more costly to grow organically and to raise animals and birds organically, and that is the reason it is sometimes more expensive than common supermarket food. In spite of the cost difference, more people are switching over to organically grown foods because of the indisputable benefits; it is well worth any extra money spent due to these advantages:

1. Organically grown food has a high nutritional content. When no pesticides, insecticides, or chemical fertilizers are used for growing plants, the plants start to produce more proteins and antioxidants to fight against the pests, insects, and other diseases that attack the plant. The same thing applies for 100% grass fed beef raised on a certified organic farm. Their bodies start to produce more vitamins and minerals to survive. It is no wonder that some organically grown foods can have up to 50% or more nutrients and less fat than non-organic food.

2. The chemicals used on the plants we eat, as well as the plants which animals eat, enter our bodies when we eat non-organic food. These chemicals often can increase the risk of Cancer, Alzheimer's Disease, Obesity and Food Allergies. Infants and children are at higher risk of birth defects when a pregnant woman eats non-organic food. Breast fed children also may be affected. Studies have proven that these chemicals may affect the neurological development in infants. The hormones injected into the animals and poultry also reportedly may decrease fertility.

3. Organic food can be tastier than other food. As the plants are naturally grown without the use of artificial fertilizers, the harvested products are more pleasant tasting. Warning - once you taste organic, your taste buds may be reluctant to accept other food.

4. Organic farming helps in increasing the fertility of the soil. The animals that live in organic farms are healthier. Environmental pollution is minimized.

It is clear that organic foods are beneficial. Do you want to buy organic food? If the answer is YES, the next question that will arise in your mind is, 'Where do you buy organic food?" Your local market or the super market in your area may not sell it. Even if your local market sells it you may not be certain if the product is genuine and certified organic.

Many food labels will say "Natural" or "Healthy" on the label, but do not be deceived; this means nothing as far as the organic content or nutrition in the food. You should read the entire label. If you want to insure you are buying certified organic food, the best advice is look for the USDA Organic Seal.

The USDA has three categories of labels for organic food:

1. 100% Organic: means made with 100% organic ingredients

2. Organic: means made with 95% minimum organic ingredients

3. Made With Organic Ingredients: means made with a minimum of 70% organic ingredients, with strict restrictions for the other 30% including no GMOs (genetically modified organisms)

Anything with less than 70% organic ingredients can list organically produced ingredients on the side of the package, but cannot make organic claims on the front of the package.

It is to your advantage financially to buy organic online. When you buy online you save a lot of time, and your time is certainly worth money. You can always work to make more money, but once your time is gone you can never get it back. Add the savings in gasoline, wear and tear on your car, and eliminate drive time to and from grocery stores; you will find that any extra costs you pay to buy organic food online is more than worth it.

Tuesday, December 27, 2011

Making Vegan Recipes for Vegetarian Dads On Father's Day

Father's Day is a special day for the most important and special man in the family. Celebrating the day with the whole family is one of the best gift that can be given to a father. A day full of love and pampering that will leave an imprint to his thoughts as one of the best memories he can ever have. Finding creative ways to make it such sometimes pose a challenge too especially for a vegetarian dad. Preparing meals for the special occasion for the whole family to share and enjoy all through the day can eventually make it one cherished memory.

What about pampering a vegetarian dad the moment he wakes up with a breakfast in bed consisting of a blueberry vegan pancake and a veggie sausage? Surely he'll love it especially when each family member shares his breakfast right in the confines of his bedroom. A riot but enjoyable.

Vegan Blueberry Pancake with Veggie Sausage


1 lb. Veggie sausage
1 tbsp. Olive oil
1½ cups blueberries, mashed
3 cups flour
3 level teaspoon baking powder
2 tablespoons sugar
½ teaspoon salt
5 tbsp vegetable oil
soy milk (for thicker pancakes use a little less milk)

Put olive oil in a non-stick, deep and large skillet. Place the veggie sausage and cook over medium heat until brown. Remove, place in a strainer to drain and set aside.

In a large mixing bowl, sift all together flour, baking powder, sugar, and salt. Add soy milk and oil and whisk for consistency. Add mashed blueberries and mix well.

Pour ¼ cupfuls of batter in a greased skillet placed over a medium-heat and cook for about 3 minutes on each side till golden brown.

Place in a platter and serve hot with honey and veggie sausage on the side. The recipe makes 5 to 6 servings, everyone can partake to enjoy breakfast in bed with the extra special man of the day.

Prepare this Vegetable Delight for dinner.


400 grams vegan cottage cheese cut into sticks and deep fried
1 cup mushrooms, quartered
1 cup baby corn, cut into strips and blanched
1 cup spring onions
20 grams each of celery, chopped ginger and chopped garlic
10 grams toasted sesame seeds
25 grams chilli sauce
25 grams tomato catsup
3 tbsp olive oil
salt and pepper to taste

Heat a large saute pan. Add oil and saute ginger, garlic and celery until light brown. Toss in the cheese, mushrooms, baby corn, spring onion, chilli sauce, catsup and salt. Mix well and transfer in a serving bowl and garnish with sesame seeds and some green part of green onions. Serve hot.

Bell Pepper Soup Recipe


1½ cup green or red bell pepper, remove seeds and sliced

4 cloves garlic, chopped

1 large onion, sliced

¾ cup tomato paste

3 cups vegetable stock

2 tbsp chopped basil

green part of spring onions to garnish,chopped

salt and pepper to taste


Mix all together bell pepper, garlic, onion, tomato paste, vegetable stock in a large pot and bring to a boil while constantly stirring. Reduce heat and simmer until bell peppers have softened. Drain or sieve the mixture and set aside the liquid. Puree the leftover bits.Boil together the liquid, the puree and chopped basil in a large saucepan or pot and garnish with chopped green part of spring onion. Sprinkle salt and pepper to taste. Serve hot.

Green smoothies go along well to quench thirst next to water. They can be easily prepared with combinations of fresh fruits and vegetables. When fresh, they are sweet enough to refrain from adding sugar,. They are now popular health trends as they are good for the immune system, for detoxifying, for cleansing and energizing the body and weight loss. Coconut water can be blended with spinach, mango and wild honey. Combinations of other fruits and greens can be experimented for the desired taste. So easy now with blenders and other kitchen gadgets around.

Make him feel special by preparing these veggie recipes specially for your vegan dad. After all, the saying " A way to a man's heart is through his stomach", still applies Father's day or not. Happy Father's Day to all the fathers in the whole wide world!

Saturday, December 24, 2011

About Healthy Foods For Vegetarians

Unlike meat, vegetables do not contain cholesterol or any saturated fat but just nutrients and vitamins. That is why models and celebrities in entertainment and sports choose to minimize or even refrain from meat and preferred vegetables since their careers require them to stay fit and healthy. Based on their interviews, here is their common list of ingredients found in healthy foods for vegetarians.

1. Antioxidants

Strawberries, raspberries, cranberries and blueberries are known to be rich in antioxidants. Antioxidants help to reduce a person's risk of being infected with heart diseases as well as reducing stress and high blood pressure.

Other foods containing antioxidants are tomatoes, red bell pepper, prunes and green tea. The same goes for fruits containing high amount of water like apples, honeydew, pears and watermelons.

2. Fibre And Protein

Dry nuts like almonds, pistachios and walnuts are another healthy foods that will keep your heart and body healthy as they contain good amount of fibre and protein which helps to prevent heart-related ailments.

Compared to salted peanuts, they are free from cholesterol and monosaturated fats. They can be served as wholesome cereal meals together with fresh milk, flax, pumpkin and sunflower seeds.

3. Calcium And Magnesium

Green veggies like broccoli and spinach serve as excellent sources of calcium and magnesium that protects you against heart attacks.

4. Vitamin B And Folate

White chickpeas and red kidney beans are believed to be healthy sources of vitamin B and folate since they help to build up your immune system and keep your energy levels high for a longer period of time.

5. Vitamin E

A good proportion of coconut, mustard and olive oils can beneficial to you in terms of Vitamin E.

They are also said to keep any sicknesses in check as well as preventing stroke and heart attack.

6. Vitamin C

For those who are addicted to desserts like ice cream and cakes, you might want to consider fruits as your alternative.

As we are told by our parent and teachers since young, fruits are the primary sources of vitamin C. They can be eaten as whole or slices like apples, grapes, honeydew, pears and pineapples. Or they can be served and mixed as iced fruit juices or even hot tea as both drinks and desserts.

Tuesday, December 20, 2011

How Making Tomato and Roasted Red Pepper Rice?

Do you have childhood memories of being cajoled into eating?

Shiny shoes with glistening buckles swung, knocking at the kitchen cupboards whilst I was perched onto a kitchen worktop in velvety dungarees and a sympathetic, fresh polo neck jumper. Mum or Dad leaned their tummy gently against my knees, for balance and in sing song and over-enthusiastic grins and upstretched eyebrows, they transported 'aeroplanes' loaded with rice, bathed in tomato soup and widened their mouths, hoping that I'd mirror them.

It's the sort of food that's easy, juicy and sweet in a dribble inducing sort of way. Modest, economical but its familiarity and succulence is calming...but you know that I like to meander to new ways with gorgeous stuff. These days it's a roasting red, spicy kick that I'm longing for. The thought of dried red chillies, releasing their sweet heat when soaked sets my heart a-flutter (but not on fire, I don't go that far!). That's why this recipe I'm about to share with you gives me my fix; I can change it to suit my mood. More or less heat, some veg, a bit of bite or crunch or something soft or squidgy. To be honest, I could make a meal out of this recipe, I don't need much else.

Tomato and Roasted Red Pepper Rice

Serves 4-6


1 cup tomato pulp

2 tbsp. vegetable oil

200g of roasted red peppers (the jarred stuff is fine to use for this recipe)

4-5 shallots, finely chopped

7-8 curry leaves

2 tbsp. Channa dhal (Bengal gram)

10-15 cashew nuts halved

2 red chillies and 1 green chilli (or to taste)

300g uncooked rice

The spices; ½ tsp. garam masala, ½ tsp. mustard seeds, 1 tsp. cumin seeds, pinch of asafoetida, salt to taste,


1. Wash and boil the rice and then keep it to the side 
2.Whilst the rice is cooking, whizz (roughly) together the tomatoes and the roasted red peppers to a deep red pulp 
3.Heat the oil in a deep pan, then add the asafoetida, cumin seeds, mustard seeds, chillies, Bengal gram and curry leaves and cook until the gram is golden brown and crunchy 
4.Stir in the cashew nuts and stir until they've browned a little 
5.Bring it together with the onions, add the salt and sauté for a couple of minutes before bringing in the garlic and sauté until they have softened 
6.Add the tomatoes and red pepper and bring It to a gentle simmer before stirring in the garam masala and then stir in the cooked rice 
7.Serve with something yogurt and garnish with coriander.

A Delicious and Healthy Pizza Recipe in 7 Easy Steps

Health is wealth as they say. In this age of technology where everything comes lightning fast and people seems to get stuck in a nine to five desk job with unhealthy lifestyles, maintaining to be healthy and fit is becoming a tedious task. Some exercise which is good and some watch what they eat and this recipe is actually to help on the healthy eating.

Who's among us don't like pizza? Of course everyone wants a piece of it. But there's a dilemma we are facing just thinking about eating one: delicious pizza isn't healthy and healthy pizza isn't delicious, right? Or if there's an available veggie pizza it turns out it cost that much more than your regular meaty pizza and it's not available a few blocks from your home.

This pizza recipe is a personal recipe made to fulfill a craving pizza lover who needs to start eating healthy without truly giving-up the delicious food.

Pizza Spectrum

pizza crust tofu (cubed or diced into tiny bits)

butter or oil


pineapple tidbits


tomato sauce

green bell pepper

Edam cheese



1. Pre-heat your oven at 375 F (190 C) for 20 minutes.

2. Lay your pizza crust in a baking pan.

3. Spread the tomato sauce evenly on top of the crust. You can actually use any kind of brands of tomato sauce but I prefer Del Monte's Gourmet selection since it has already that distinctive classic taste that you don't need to add anything because the sauce is complete in itself.

4. Then add the grated cheese. For this particular recipe I used Edam cheese since that's what we have available. Though it's perfect since it's a bit salty so it became also a substitute for salt.

5. Meanwhile, fry the tofu in butter or oil. I prefer the tofu almost grounded for it's more crunchy and will appear and taste like unsalted chicharon. But if you don't like crunchy you can just slice it into cubes and don't over fry it so this way it will taste and feel like meat. Then sprinkle it on top of the crust.

6. Next add the remaining ingredients: cucumber, mushrooms, pineapple, and bell pepper and manage to decorate the pizza as well while adding them. Then sprinkle the grated mozzarella on top.

7. Bake for 10 to 15 minutes or until crust is brown. Then serve with hot sauce or ketchup.

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

How Tips For Incorporating Fruit Into Every Meal?

You already know it: fruit can help you in many ways. Fruit in every meal can help you lower your cholesterol, it can help you lose weight. It can increase your life power.

Even if you are completely healthy, the addition of fruit to your meals is certainly a good idea.

Not only are most kinds of fruit tasty, but all of them are fiber rich. Fibers are good for various reasons. First of all they help us cut down on the intake of food.

They satisfy the stomach because they fill it up. They help our digestive system to do its work with more ease. For this reason, they will help you lose weight if you have to. If you don't have, your weight will stay where it is..

You are just having a healthy meal.

I would suggest you try to incorporate a banana into your breakfast. You may eat it as it is or cut it down and have it with your cereals. You may add a 100% fresh orange or grapefruit juice to your breakfast as well..

A banana gives you approximately 80 calories but a wealth of fiber and vitamins like the complex of the B-group with the exception of B12. In other words a banana contains the vitamins B1, B2, B3, B6 and B9. But that is not all. It also contains the vitamin C and the vitamin K. It is furthermore rich in potassium. The vitamin K helps you to maintain the cardiovascular health and the potassium helps you to avoid cramps in your limbs.

At lunch, whether you eat at home or at work you may consume, a part from your bread, an apple, an orange or grapes. If you want you may also eat another banana. The apple and the orange give you fibers and a good deal of vitamin C. The grapes that are both sweet and fresh, can help you prevent cardiovascular disease as they contain the vitamin K that regulates the density of your blood. If the grapes are dried, their content in sugars is much higher reason for which you should eat less of them.

For dinner you may add pineapples or apples to your salad. You may also prepare a waldorf salad with apples, celery and walnuts. Consume with a light dressing. This is a fresh dish that contains only vegetarian components and highly satisfies your stomach and also your cravings for sugar.

You may also add fruit to meat like chicken. Add apricots or mango chutney. I also recommend a combination of carrot salad with ginger in syrup. Prepare the carrots with a little salt, lemon juice and some olive oil. Then add this chipped ginger in syrup. It is very tasty and gives you fiber, vitamins and phytonutrients.

Fruits are also perfect for snacks. Eat a cup of fresh berries. They all come with a great taste and most of them have many health promoting nutrients, vitamins and antioxidants. Cranberries, for example help prevent bladder disease, whereas blueberries contain lutein that is indispensable for a perfect eyesight. For a snack also grapes are a good solution. Whether you prefer white or red grapes, depends on you. Both types of grapes give you important and precious help for your health.

You can also add fruit to your dessert. Eat a baked apple. it is a delicious sweet. You can also consume pears or prepare a fruit salad that contains various kinds of fruit.

As you see, fruit is always precious in every meal. The various kinds may be combined with meats or with other ingredients of dishes, like rice, pasta, potatoes, various kinds of vegetables.

Sunday, December 11, 2011

What Led to Use Of Hydroponics Systems in Green Houses?

Did you ever notice that the market nearest to your house has equal number of racks dedicated to tinned food and fresh vegetables? Yes, this is the outcome of an age where no one has the time to stop and think. Therefore, no one seems to notice that fresh vegetables and fruits are the outcome of synthetic additives being extensively used in farming practices. In the past decade, the age old practice of growing vegetables in private kitchen gardens had lost its popularity. This was due to an increase in the number of high rise buildings.

More and more people started living in apartments or flats that did not provide the space required for gardening. Fast lives and busy schedules slowly converted the lifestyle of urban masses and therefore today, the harmful effects of fertilizers and chemical pesticides have come as an eye opener for everyone. Yes, people have been forced to stop and take note of the various effects of fertilizer residues found in the so called 'fresh' vegetables and fruits.

The Crisis and Its Solution: Green Revolution

Scientists and food experts claim that nitrate compounds found in these fruits and vegetables have been found to cause cancer and other disorders like the Blue Baby Syndrome. They immediately suggested the many advantages of using organic vegetables. To be very precise, organic vegetables are developed under controlled natural conditions and do not use any fertilizer or pesticides to promote plant growth. This advancement came as a great boon for the common man.

It brought back the popularity of vegetables and fruits grown in private gardens, as organic vegetables are essentially produced in a similar manner. The only difference between kitchen gardening and present day organic food production practice lies in the fact that natural conditions are created in the latter. Yes, organic vegetables are produced in green houses, that optimize all natural conditions required for plant growth.

Sunlight is trapped to enhance the warmth inside the green house and moisture is provided to the plants using humidifiers or hydroponics systems. In America, home green house kits are made available to families who want to build their own green house, and produce fruits and vegetables in them. These kits come with the necessary requirements to set up hydroponics systems in your green house. You only need to make sure that you install the green house according to the steps mentioned in the guidelines.

Saturday, December 10, 2011

Raw White and Dark Chocolate Layer Torte

This raw cake is incredibly quick and easy to make. One can use any type of nuts and dried fruit as sweetener. The cacao flavour of this cake can also be changed into a more fruity one, by blending in frozen or fresh fruit and the cake will still set perfectly.


3/4 cup raw almonds (not soaked; but if soaked already, dehydrate first until dry)

1/2 cup coconut chips

3 Tbsp carob powder

1 tsp vanilla powder

pinch of Himalayan salt

5 fresh dates, chopped

2 - 3 Tbsp apple juice/water

Method for crust

1. Place the almonds in a food processor fitted with an S-blade and process until coarsely chopped.

2. Add the coconut chips, carob powder, vanilla and salt. Process to coarse-fine.

3. Add the dates and apple juice or water. Blend briefly. Add more liquid if the mixture is too crumbly.

4. Press the mixture into the bottom only of a cake tin with a removable bottom (spring-form).

5. Place in the freezer while you make the dark chocolate filling.

Dark chocolate layer

1 1/2 cups raw cashews, soaked 2 - 3 hours and drained

1/2 cup thick home-made almond milk

4 Tbsp apple juice

4 Tbsp raw cacao powder

3 Tbsp Irish moss blend *

1 tsp vanilla powder

1 tsp balsamic vinegar

Method for dark chocolate layer

1. Place all the ingredients in a strong liquidizer. Use the plunger to make it easier on the blades.

2. Pour the smooth mixture onto the crust in the cake tin. Keep about 2 Tbsp back to decorate the torte with later.

3. Level the surface as best you can. Wipe off any spills on the sides of the cake tin with a damp piece of kitchen paper. The torte displays more beautifully if the layers are level and clear with no smears.

4. Place in the freezer for the chocolate layer to set quicker.

White chocolate layer

1 cup cashew nuts, soaked 2 - 3 hours and drained

1 cup thick home-made almond milk

1 ripe banana

4 Tbsp raw white coloured honey OR 4 Tbsp light agave syrup (not a raw product though)

2 Tbsp Irish moss blend

pinch of Himalayan salt

Method for white chocolate layer

1. Place all the ingredients in a strong blender. Use the plunger again to assist the blades.

2. Pour carefully on top of the dark chocolate layer.

3. Drop half teaspoonfuls of the dark chocolate filling on top of the white layer and with a chopstick draw curly-tails beyond the circles onto the white layer for decorative effect.

4. Place in the refrigerator for at least 3 hours to set.

Makes 1 medium large torte, enough for 12 - 16 slices.

* Make your Irish moss blend by soaking a handful of dried Irish moss in a bowl of water for 2 hours. Rinse well. Place in blender with about 1/4 cup of filtered water. Blend until smooth and thick. Add a little more water if the mixture seems too thick. Store what you don't need for this recipe in the refrigerator.

Tuesday, December 6, 2011

Healthy Gluten-Free Baking: Gluten-Free and Flour-Free Banana Muffins

For too long, gluten-free baking has been lacking in flavor, fiber and nutrition as most recipes are dependent upon gums, starches and refined flours. This method of baking, in contrast, uses presoaked whole grains and is a wonderful alternative as it produced baked goods that have great texture, flavor and nutritional quality. It is also much less costly to prepare than gluten-free mixes and traditional gluten-free recipes. This has the added bonus of making wholesome gluten-free recipes affordable and appealing to the whole family. (No more making the gluten-intolerant family member eat differently from the rest!).

I usually refer to these recipes as "blender recipes" because the whole grains are soaked for a period of time to allow for the breakdown of enzyme inhibitors and to increase nutritional value, and then are processed in a blender for use in a pancake, muffin, cake or cookie recipe. The texture of baked goods made from blended soaked grains is superior to those made with gluten-free flours and is much more similar to that of the white flour products we're accustomed to. They are more nutritious and economical too! Gluten-free "blender" recipes are some of my favorites and definitely worth the extra effort expended to set some grains to soak in advance of baking time.

So here's a basic blender recipe for-

Gluten-free Flour-free Banana Muffins

1 1/3 cups brown rice

1/2 cup whole millet

1/3 cup raw buckwheat

1 Tbsp. apple cider vinegar


1 1/4 cups water

2-3 ripe bananas

2 Tbsp. oil/butter

3+ Tbsp. honey*

1 tsp. apple cider vinegar

1/4 cup ground flax

1 tsp. cinnamon

¼ tsp. nutmeg

3/4 tsp. sea salt


2 tsp. baking powder

½ tsp. baking soda

Soak grains overnight (or for at least 8 hours) in plenty of water plus the 1 Tbsp. vinegar. Drain and then add to blender with the ingredients in the right column. When batter is quite smooth, gently blend in baking powder and soda (sift through a sieve and whisk in to avoid lumps). Pour into oiled muffin cups. Bake at 400 degrees for about 20 minutes. Makes about 1 1/2 dozen muffins.

* or agave or maple syrup

Option: add 1 cup of raisins to muffin batter before baking.

Be sure to oil your muffin cups well so they release easily. I prefer using a baking stone (muffin top style) as the clean-up is simplified.

Saturday, December 3, 2011

Vegan (Sugar-Free) Cantucci Dipped in Apple Nectar

In Italy, when visitors drop in at one's house in the afternoon they are welcomed with a glass of Vin Santo and sweet biscuits that resemble biscotti but which are smaller. This makes it easier to dip them into the wine glass. However for people who do not drink alcohol, this is a recipe of delicious sugar-free Cantucci served with pure apple juice simmered with raisins. It still tastes wickedly sweet, but is more wholesome and a lovely treat to have with guests.


apple nectar:

3 cups good quality, clear apple juice (preferably home-juiced)

½ cup raisins

2 tbsp apple syrup


2 tbsp wholemeal spelt flour

2 tbsp water

2 tbsp ground linseeds (flaxseeds)

1 cup wholemeal spelt flour

2 tsp baking powder

pinch of salt

4 tbsp apple syrup

2 tbsp soy milk

2 tsp vanilla-infused grape-seed oil / walnut oil

2 tsp almond butter

1 tsp almond essence

2 tbsp natural almonds


1. For the apple nectar: Simmer 1½ cups of the apple juice with the raisins and apple syrup for 5 minutes. Cool completely. Strain off the raisins and add the reduced apple juice to the remaining 1½ cups of apple juice. Refrigerate.

2. Make the starter dough: stir the 2 tbsp of spelt flour and 2 tbsp of water together. Leave for a day on the kitchen counter covered with a damp piece of absorbent kitchen towel. Stir a few times.

3. When ready to bake, pre-heat the oven to 190°C (370°F). Line a baking sheet with non-stick baking parchment.

4. Mix the dry ingredients together in a bowl.

5. Mix the liquid ingredients together in a cup. Add the starter, mix and pour into the dry ingredients. Fold the ingredients together to incorporate as much air as possible.

6. Pat the dough into a log. Make a shallow cut in the centre down the length of the log. Bake in the oven for 20 minutes.

7. Remove from the oven and cool completely. Lower the oven's temperature to 150°C (300°F).

8. Cut the log into 1.5 cm thick slices. Dry the 'Cantucci' in the oven for 15-20 minutes. Cool on wire racks.

9. To serve, place the 'Cantucci' on a serving plate. Pour a glass of apple nectar for each person in which to dip the 'Cantucci'.

Serves 4.

Wednesday, November 30, 2011

No Problem Healthy Vegetarian Meals For the Holidays

One of reasons people start getting serious about their health come January 1st is not only to have a New Year's resolution but to start setting goals to change their diet, get in shape or lose some weight. Usually people tend to eat more than normal during the holidays in the months of November and December. And if you are like most people....maybe some of the food choices are less than healthy - after all, how can you resist your mom's baking? Between the feasting and drinking, it takes a toll on our bodies. And so goes the resolution.

Don't feel as though you have to continue down this path. You can start a vegetarian lifestyle right now. Healthy vegetarian meals can help with this change and it is a perfect idea to help yourself or those you love. Finding ways to enjoy the holidays AND include vegetarian dinner recipes to your menu does not need to be stressful. The traditional holiday menus that we all love can be sprinkled with healthy choices.

Most people wait all year for enriching holiday moments and special celebrations with their families and friends. Don't let diet strain relationships and ruin holiday cheer. Here are some tips to become a master at creating familiar dishes that are sure to fit within your family's culture and traditions and will appeal to all taste buds. 

It is very easy to find vegetarian recipes for Thanksgiving for example - as vegetables are mainstays in many parts of this meal.
Instead of your traditional turkey, you can enhance your guests with a herb roasted soy vegan chicken, served with your traditional vegetable side dishes
For those that normally serve "beef" at your turkey dinner, try something like a Vegan Beef Wellington with a traditional salad to entice their taste buds
Want to be warm and cozy, serve something like a Vegan Chicken Pot Pie, warm cranberry sauce and some mashed potatoes with a vegan gravy (yummy)
A traditional chef prepared Meatloaf, ala vegan style, that would food the Queen of England
People want to be healthy, but they don't want to give up the taste of traditional fare of meat at their holiday meals. Once you realize how easy it is to find vegetarian dinner recipes, you will feel joy in making and eating such healthy fare. You can show people they don't have to give up anything; You will bring delight to the table and health to those you care for.

Thursday, November 24, 2011

Quick Cheesy Casseroles For Vegetarian Dinners

The holiday season is here and that means busy days and nights. If you're looking for quick and easy dinners, stop right here. Three entrees that depend on cheese, fill the bill to fill your family's tummy. The first is cheesy broccoli and rice. Even children who don't like broccoli like this dish. The second is a spicy enchilada casserole and the third a gourmet take on mac and cheese. All three dishes are vegetarian which means they save you money.

Start off with a preparing a silky cheese sauce.

Combine 1 cup of whole milk with 1 tablespoon of flour until smooth. Heat in the saucepan until the sauce bubbles and thickens. Add 1/2 cup of your favorite shredded cheese. You'll need one cup of this sauce for every two servings. Since the ingredients below make dishes that serve four, make 2 cups.

Cheesy Broccoli

Cook 2 cups of broccoli in the microwave until it's softened but still crisp. The broccoli will finish cooking in the oven. Combine with 2 cups of cooked rice. Or use instant rice with water as the directions specify. Add 2 cups of the cheese sauce. Stir well.

Top with an additional 1/2 cup of shredded cheese. Either freeze this in an air tight container for a dinner you only have to bake later or bake in a 350 F oven for 30 minutes until the dish is bubbly and the cheese melted.

Enchilada Casserole

If you can layer you can make this dish. You won't be using the cheese sauce for this dish. Add 1 teaspoon of cumin and 1/2 teaspoon of cayenne pepper to two 15 ounce cans of tomato sauce. Add more cayenne pepper for a hotter kick or add several chopped jalapeno peppers.

Spread 1/2 cup of the tomato sauce in the bottom of a baking dish. Layer in five or six corn tortillas. Add another 1/2 cup of sauce and spread over the tortillas.

Slice one medium onion and layer over the tortillas. Sprinkle 1/2 cup of shredded cheese over the onions. Finish with 1/2 cup of sauce and another layer of tortillas. Spread the remaining sauce over the tortillas and sprinkle with another 1/2 cup of shredded cheese. Bake 45 minutes in a 350 F oven.

Gourmet Mac and Cheese

Butter the bottom of a casserole dish. Combine 4 cups of cooked macaroni with 2 cups of cheese sauce and 2 cups of frozen defrosted peas. You don't have to cook the peas. Place in the casserole dish. Cover with a layer of breadcrumbs -- about 1 to 1/2 cups and an additional 1/2 cup of shredded cheese. Heat at 350 F until the breadcrumbs are brown and the cheese topping melted. This is oh so much better than the boxed stuff.

Sunday, November 20, 2011

Vegan Food Choices That Over Relatives At Holiday Time

I recently called a friend to ask how his Thanksgiving was. He is a pretty healthy guy who practices a vegan diet and recently has been leaning towards raw foods. He told me that his Thanksgiving was fine and proudly told me about the raw food dish he made. Of course I expected to hear details about the social part of his holiday as well, but it turns out he ate his Thanksgiving meal by himself while his family celebrated at his sibling's house.

This was sad and frustrating. My friend eating all by himself was only taking in secondary nutrition. Secondary nutrition is what you call the nutrition most people think of - food, beverages, and nutritional supplements. Primary nutrition is what gives our lives meaning. It's what feeds our soul. It is relationships and hugs from people we love. It is careers, spiritual practice, physical activity, and leisure time - fun, hobbies, entertainment, and rest. Getting together with people we love and nurturing relationships is a vital part of life and benefits us in many ways.

"They don't like my food, and they eat turkey and I don't like to be around that," is what he told me. I could relate to this because that was how things used to be in my house. I would get up on my high horse and preach to everyone that they should eat a certain way. I was frustrated that people didn't like the organic whole food vegan dishes I cooked because I knew they would make them healthy, and that what they were eating was killing them. Of course, there were family members who would comment kindly about the vegan dish brought to the table - but the reality is that they were thinking that it was nothing more than a poor protein vegetable side dish (a dish that does nothing to stimulate any consideration of giving up meat).

The solution to the problem is to lose the "rabbit food" and go with meat substitutes.

Meat substitutes, also known as meat analogs, are vegan food products that look, smell, feel and taste like meat in practically every way. This can be a shock to people. Someone who is used to eating a meat-centered diet, like most Americans, is ok trying meat substitutes, but is turned off by anything that strays from the norm (and appears healthy).

Meat substitutes don't threaten one's culture, identity and traditions, or alienate taste buds with something strange or foreign looking. What's more, they frequently have more protein than the meat they are trying to replicate. There are companies that produce meat substitutes - Garden, Yves, Light Life, Tofurky, and Field Roast to name a few. They make everything from Italian sausage to pepperoni and deli slices - all 100% vegan. They can be found in health food stores, Trader Joe's. And now, more and more traditional food stores are carrying these products. There is also Veggie Brothers which features chef made gourmet vegan dishes, delivered to your door anywhere in the USA and Canada that include meat substitutes like Vegan Chicken Pot Pie.

So how does this solution really work?

Meat substitutes are not extreme. They are not threatening. People try them, and that's a big hurdle. If you are a traditional household holding a festive holiday dinner, a macrobiotic dish or raw food dish is typically not in sync with everything else on the table. Meat substitutes on the other hand can rival the meat-based focal point of the meal. I've seen it many times, and many people have written to me telling me so:

Now, let the magic begin

When people try meat substitutes for the first time they are often amazed. It challenges their old way of thinking: vegans and vegetarians just eat salad.

I have found that when you couple meat substitutes with great information there is a very good chance that a person will make better dietary choices like consuming less meat, or eliminating it completely. Most people are aware that consuming less meat improves health, offers relief to animals, and helps the environment.

Friday, November 18, 2011

Vegetable Dishes That Are Perfect for All, Including Diabetics!

We should all eat more vegetables and this is especially true for those of us diabetics. The recipes in this article are great for diabetics but they are not 'diabetic' recipes. They are regular recipes that are perfect for diabetics, too. If you just love vegetables or you are trying to get more veggies into your diet, give these recipes a try!

2 tsp canola oil 
1 cup chopped onion 
1 red bell pepper, diced 
1 green bell pepper, diced 
4 garlic cloves, minced 
1 tsp chili powder 
1 can (14-oz) fire-roasted diced tomatoes, do not drain 
1 tbsp minced chipotle chiles 
1 small (approx. 8 oz) sweet potato, peeled and chunked 
1 can (15-oz) black beans, rinsed and drained 
1/2 cup chopped cilantro, optional

In a large saucepan over medium heat, heat te canola oil. Add the onion and cook, stirring, for 5 minute. Add bell peppers, garlic, and chili powder; cook while stirring for about 2 minutes.

Add the tomatoes with juice, chipotle chiles and the sweet potato; bring to a boil. Cover the saucepan and simmer over medium-low heat for 15 minutes. Stir in the black beans; cover and simmer another 8 to 10 minutes or until sweet potatoes are tender. (Mixture will be thick. If you want, you can gradually stir in water to thin to your preferred consistency.)

To serve, sprinkle with chopped cilantro, if desired.

Yield: 4 to 5 servings

NOTE:By scrubbing the sweet potato well instead of peeling, you will retain more nutrients.

1 cup cherry tomatoes 
1 bunch broccoli, cut into small florets 
1 head cauliflower, cut into small florets 
1 bottle (8-oz) low-sugar or sugar-free Italian Salad dressing

Put the tomatoes, broccoli, and cauliflower into a bowl with a sealable lid. Pour the dressing over the vegetables and toss gently to coat well. Refrigerate 12 to 24 hours before serving.

2 lb fresh green beans, ends removed and broke into bite-size pieces 
2 tbsp finely chopped onion 
2 tbsp extra-virgin olive oil 
1 tbsp vinegar 
1 garlic clove, minced 
1/2 tsp salt 
1/4 tsp pepper 
2 tbsp Panko bread crumbs 
2 tbsp grated Parmesan cheese 
1 tbsp butter, melted

Cook the beans in a small amount of water until crisp tender; drain. Add the onion, olive oil, vinegar, minced garlic, salt and pepper; toss to coat the beans. Place the beans in an ungreased 1-quart baking dish. Toss the Panko crumbs with the cheese and butter; sprinkle over top of the beans. Bake, uncovered, at 350 degrees for 20 to 25 minutes or until topping is golden brown.

Why You Become A Vegetarian?

You've probably asked yourself that one at one point in your life. As someone who's been a vegetarian for several years, as well as learned from world-class chefs and dietitians, there are several of valid reasons to make a fresh start and begin a plant-based diet.

A lot of people concerned about their well-being are searching for ways to get rid of unhealthy eating habits. By taking meat out of your diet, you are getting rid of a major source of saturated fat, cholesterol, and various other harmful elements. This doesn't include the chemicals that you take in by having meat in your diet. The animal processing industry uses various growth hormones, antibiotics, and other unnatural chemicals that you will wind up eating and processing through your body.

You can also take into account the environmental aspects. Research has proven that the level of harmful gases given off from the daily excrement of millions of factory-raised livestock is more harmful to the world than every car put together. Additionally, the dizzying amounts of feed necessary to feed the millions of head of livestock requires additional millions of pounds of pesticide and other chemicals, which can run off into drinking water.

One more element of the discussion over going vegetarian has to do with the less-than-humane ways animals are processed for eating. We like to think that chickens, pigs, cows, etc. that are raised for consumption lead pleasant lives, similar to how we treat our dogs and cats.

But the hard fact is that the majority of livestock are looked at as commodities and are treated as nothing more than a product; not sentient creatures. Realize that most livestock live in small boxes, often not allowed room to stand. They suffer from awful diseases and are kept viable so that they can make it to the slaughterhouse, where they are shocked, hit with electric bolt guns, have their throats slit, and some are even dumped into scalding water while still conscious.

The good news is that you can lead a healthy, ethical life by eating a meatless diet. Vegetarians often have lower incidences of disease, and several report feeling a higher level of focus and concentration all through the day.

Monday, November 14, 2011

How Making Yummy Vegetarian Recipes?

There are various vegetarian recipes that people can enjoy and relish for a long time. One of these is roasted vegetables and a vegetarian should prepare sweet potato, Yukon gold potatoes, red bell peppers and squash. Once they are combined in a large bowl, red onions are added. In a separate bowl, rosemary, thyme, olive oil, salt, vinegar and pepper are stirred together and are used to coat the vegetables. All of these are spread evenly on a large pan that is used for roasting. In a pre-heated oven, these vegetables should be stirred every ten minutes so the vegetables will be cooked thoroughly.

Vegetarian recipes should never be boring and pasta lovers can savor the taste of hearty vegetable lasagna. First, lasagna noodles are placed inside a hot pot and are boiled for ten minutes. Afterwards, they are drained and rinsed with cold water. Next, vegetables such as onions, garlic, mushrooms and green peppers are cooked and stirred in a large saucepan. Pasta sauce is added and is left to boil. After fifteen minutes, the heat is reduced and it is simmered for fifteen minutes. Next, eggs, ricotta and two cups of mozzarella cheeses are mixed together.

The oven is heated to 350 degrees and one cup of tomato sauce is greased at the bottom of a 9x13 inch baking dish. Meanwhile, one half of the lasagna noodles as well as the Ricotta mix; Parmesan cheese and sauce are layered together. All of these have to undergo a second layering and are topped with two cups of mozzarella cheese. Before this vegetable lasagna is served, it is baked and uncovered for at least forty minutes. This vegetarian meal is left to stand for fifteen more minutes and vegetarians can partake of this delicious meal afterwards.

One of the simplest vegetarian recipes is the easy cheesy cream of broccoli soup. All that is needed is a ten ounce broccoli that is frozen, a 10.75 ounce condensed cream of mushroom soup, eight ounces of processed cheese, one and one-fourth cups of milk and pepper and salt to taste. The broccoli is prepared and drained of excess water. Then, cream of mushroom soup is added as well as one can of milk. This is stirred in low heat. Cheese is then added and is stirred until it melts. To add flavor to this soup, salt and pepper are added.

One of the most unique vegetarian recipes is Carrot raisin salad. For this salad, three shredded large carrots are needed as well as a cup of raisins and one cup of walnuts. Additionally, two tablespoons of shredded coconut, one half cup of mayonnaise, two tablespoons of sour cream, one tablespoon of cider vinegar, and one half teaspoon of white sugar are added into the mix. To top it off, one-fourth celery needs to be chopped. All of these ingredients are combined in a medium bowl and whisked as well. The dressing is stirred into the carrot mixture. Finally, the salad is chilled before it is served.

Thursday, November 10, 2011

How Being Vegetarian - What Does This Really Mean?

Many people all over the world love to eat meat, but there are those who only want to eat vegetables. There are many reasons a person wants to be a vegetarian, but perhaps the most obvious factor is economics. Vegetables are far more affordable than meat and healthier as well, so the latter is only used for special occasions. Incidentally, even if meat is plentiful in some gatherings, there are some individuals who want to eat it moderately. Vegetarianism is a term used for people who want to eat vegetables exclusively because they value their health and do not want to get sick with meat-related ailments.

For other people, their religious belief prevents them from eating meat because they think that eating animals is not right. Still, other people have expressed concern over the environment so they chose to be vegetarian. Hard-core vegetarians do not consume meat at all and that includes fish and chicken. On the other hand, a lacto-ovo vegetarian will eat eggs dairy products, but not meat. Those who follow a strict form of vegetarianism called veganism do not eat all meat products, eggs, dairy products together with gelatin and honey that are made of animal products.

Many years ago, many Americans often consider individuals who do not eat meat as queer, but times are changing. Vegetarianism is taking the world by storm although vegetarians are still a minority in the United States. ADA also known as the American Dietetic Association has endorsed vegetarian diets because these are very beneficial for those who are conscious with their health. Being a vegetarian is not strange anymore because people have embraced the idea that eating vegetables makes one stronger in body and spirit. Furthermore, a growing number of schools and restaurants are serving vegetables in their menus instead of the usual jelly or peanut butter sandwich.

Becoming a vegetarian is easier said than done and people have to educate themselves first and plan their diets carefully. If these people are able to maintain a strictly vegetarian diet, they will become stronger; have firmer muscles and bones, and a higher energy to boot. Would-be vegetarians though have to be cautious with a vegetarian diet because it is lacking in zinc, vitamins B12 and D, calcium, iron and protein. Fortunately, in lieu of eggs, dairy products, and fish people can take other alternatives such as mineral supplements and multiple vitamins.

Monday, November 7, 2011

How Making Vegetarian Foods No Boring And Tasteless?

Vegetarian food is hardly tasteless or boring and there are a number of these that many people can choose from. For starters, people may want to try vegetarian soup recipes that are very healthy and among these are crockpot, chili, vegetarian minestrone, French onion soup, barley and tomato soup. One of the best vegetable soups that people should try is the gourmet vegetarian and tomato bisque soup. Not to be outdone is the delicious vegan artichoke that will certainly be a treat for vegetable lovers. Vegetarian foods are so very tasty that many people cannot have enough of them.

Incidentally, Taiwan offers plenty of vegetarian chows that people can feast on and enjoy with much delight. One of these is the unassuming Vegan Scallion Pancakes wherein street vendors pile them high and serve them hot. These delicious snacks can be eaten as an appetizer or as a snack and the best way to eat them is by dipping them in soy sauce. Another flavorful fare is Vegetarian Chinese Dumplings that is considered as one of the best vegetarian meals. These dumplings are steamed and dipped in vinegar or soy sauce and they are best served with hot green tea.

Tofu or seitan can be added to a soup called Vegetarian Hot and Sour soup and the Chinese usually eat this during breakfast. Also, this is considered as a complete meal and people can heartily consume this tasty soup. Incidentally, many people are worried that they may not get enough protein if they eat vegetarian foods, but their fears are unfounded because they can get this when they eat whole grains especially if it is the "quinoa." Other, grains that are rich in protein is barley, brown rice, and whole grain bread. For those who miss burgers in their diet, they can try the special Cranberry and Camembert Burgers that are made of healthy soya protein that is textured.

Customers will definitely enjoy this meal that is high in protein and fiber especially if it is served with rosemary oven chips together with grilled haloumi that is placed inside a ciabatta roll. For added flavor, customers can request for salad leaves and fresh tomatoes. Vegetarian foods that customers should look forward to are Red Onion and Rosemary Sausages. This tasty meal is baked with rosemary sprigs and slice onions are added into it. This meal would not be complete without the minted peas, spring onions and mashed potatoes that are buttered.

Wednesday, November 2, 2011

How History of Vegetarians Overview?

I have always pondered on the background of vegetarianism. At first I believed it was accountable to either spiritual or religious beliefs, where people didn't deem the slaughter of another animal or living thing as acceptable. The beginning of my investigations into vegetarianism discovered that customarily the action of abstaining from eating animals was undertaken by a variety of cultures and people from the beginning of civilizations.

Eastern civilisations appear to be the original influence from the world's oldest societies. It is my understanding that the removal of eating meat or killing animals was due to the cultural belief of reincarnation. Theravada, Hinduism and Buddhism are the main Eastern cultural teachings. There are a considerable number of other religious groups that encompass these religions, however, this is a broad overview.

As you are aware with Western ideals towards vegetarianism, different people have different views. The same applies to the Eastern cultures over history. Some of these cultures do in fact still consume meat, however, it is not the common practice and there are generally rules or guidelines based on its consumption.

The Classical and antiquity period, known for Greek philosopher Pythagoras, also provides some more recent insight into the history of vegetarianism. In order to study as Pythagoreans there was a requirement to abstain from eating meat. Again, this is due to the thoughts surrounding reincarnation of the human soul into animals. There are known parallels between Greek and Hindu philosophies and it is likely this aversion to the slaughter of animals based on reincarnation that was derived from these teachings.

During the Middle Ages and Renaissance period there began to be an increase in vegetarianism, limited however to minority groups. It wasn't until the 19th Century, that the United Kingdom and some other European countries founded the Vegetarian Society. As is common in Western Society, popularity can be a driving force behind cultural shifts, at that stage vegetarianism began to gain momentum.

The above is only a broad overview surrounding the history of vegetarianism. As mentioned before, each cultural identity holds it's own beliefs and adaptation in regards to the subject. At times is appears that drought, disease and other factors such as the shear expense of meat forced people to remove it from their diets.