Archive for April, 2012

The Braces and Wiggly Tooth Diet – Piece by Piece

Thursday, April 26th, 2012

As if my son’s expanders weren’t enough metal in his mouth now he has braces too.  He’s been a real trooper.  It takes him much more time to eat and it takes me more time to plan and cut his meals.  Take for instance his lunch.  It’s tough to bite in to a sandwich and not end up with it all stuck to his braces.  So now we cut the sandwich in small pieces.  Here’s a photo of the new lunch.

Actually eating with a spoon or fork makes things the easiest.  Although he doesn’t think lunch should need “dinner utensils”.  We’ve worked in a few extra smoothies, shakes, and creamy desserts to keep things sweet and easy when his mouth is feeling achey.  We even tried this new smoothie from What Color is Your Smoothie? (review soon) that’s made with oatmeal, banana and maple syrup.

Coincidentally my daughter now has a wiggly tooth.  So we’ve applied the same cutting rules to her food.  Here’s a photo of her pasta salad lunch.  This is such a colorful lunch, I just had to show it off.  The best part is the lunchbox came home empty.  But the tooth is still intact.  It shouldn’t be long before the toothfairy is making a visit…

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Hawaiian Vacation – Photos and Food

Monday, April 23rd, 2012

Did you miss me?  My family was lucky enough to spend spring break in Hawaii.  It was so wonderful to enjoy the ocean and be warm for an entire week.  I never remembered Hawaii as a great culinary mecca, but we had some great meals.  Some we prepared at our condo and some we enjoyed while out and about Oahu.  My kids started appreciating Pog (a blend of pineapple, guava and orange juices) as soon as we got on the plane.

My kids loved all the fresh fruit.  My son especially likes papaya and it was everywhere.

Had a great sushi dinner at Sansei in Waikiki Beach.  The color of this roe (my son’s favorite) was amazing.

Probably the best meal was at a roadside cafe called Sweet Home Waimanalo on the North Shore.  So glad I saved an article with recommendations from Sunset Magazine.  I would’ve never found it.  The fish tacos and portobello tacos were wonderful.  As was the hibiscus lemonade.  Another suggestion was OnoPops, sold at Whole Foods, Farmers Markets and Down to Earth (a vegetarian market where we found them). Interesting flavors like cheesecake, mango cream, lychee and mexican chocolate (our favorite).

Of course a visit isn’t complete without a visit to Roy’s.  I went once before and didn’t think that much of it when in Maui.  But this time was great.  Roys Ko Olina was overlooking a lovely golf course.  Very hospitable and kid friendly service.  Good activity book with coloring, word search and educational info for the kids.  It took us through my husband and I’d three courses (deal on Mondays for $42!)  Take a look at my son’s starter – fish shaped potstickers (above).  My daughter’s vegetarian diet was certainly accommodated.  I think we all enjoyed the chocolate souffle (a Roy’s specialty) and macadamia tart.  See our before and after shared plates.

 

 

 


Waikiki Beach Tower on Dwellable
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Quinoa Cuisine – Book Review and Chocolate Zucchini Bread Recipe

Thursday, April 5th, 2012

My family is not new to eating quinoa, however I had no idea how diverse it really is.  We use it in pilafs, salads and frittata crusts.  But quinoa is a healthy ingredient not only in it’s whole stage, but as flakes and flours and with various colors and properties.  I received the Quinoa book by Jessica Harlan and Kelley Sparwasser.  Reading the introduction there is lots to learn.  For instance quinoa is not a grain, it’s actually in the goosefoot family related to beets, spinach, and chard.  Nutritionists refer to quinoa as a “pseudograin”, like buckwheat and amarynth because it has a similar nutritional profile to true gains and prepared in similar ways.

 

My family wanted to try the baked goods from the book, so I bought quinoa flakes and flour for my pantry (actually needs to be refrigerated ounce opened).  The first thing we made was the Rich Chocolate Zucchini Bread (see recipe below).  The quinoa flour is more grassy smelling and tasting, so it makes sense to pair the baked items with maybe more sugar or spice or chocolate than you’d (actually I’d) usually use.  I went with the recipe and was glad I didn’t cut back on any chocolate chips, after tasting the dough – which is not as yummy as other zucchini breads I’ve made with all purpose or wheat flours.  However once baked this was delicious and satisfied everyone’s palate.  (While combining these ingredients in photo, I wasn’t so sure).  This is also glutten free, so a great recipe to have on hand for potlucks or occassions where gluten free baking may be needed.  Unfortunately I cut the bread when it was still warm (yes, I was impatient) and it crumbled.  I wrapped the slices in plastic to hold their shape better and store, which worked well.

Next we made the Ginger Biscotti.  These too were delicious and wheat free too.  However I cheated and used half wheat flour and half quinoa.  Both because I wanted to try it (they suggest if not baking for a wheat free audience) and because I didn’t want to go to the store for more quinoa flour.  These are heavy on the ginger, so be prepared.  My son loves candied ginger and thuse these were a big hit as he shared them on a playdate.  They get very hard – a true biscotti.  So are best enjoyed dipped in coffee, tea or milk.  These are great for packaging and gift giving (prettier than my bread above) as they travel well.

Book Review

Overall:  I like this book and feel like it is a valuable resource for adding this healthy ingredient to more dishes for my family.  I look forward to trying some of the savory options such as the Tabouleh Salad, Bacon Wraped Dates, and Thai Summer Rolls.

Pros: I enjoyed learning about quinoa and all the various uses.  Also great to know for wheat and gluten free recipes for potlucks and gatherings.   Easy to identify icons for gluten free, vegetarian, vegan, freezes well, healthy choice, etc (yes, if you have my books I’m a sucker for icons).

Cons:  Wish there were photos.  Some recipes have more sugars and fats than I’d like to overcompensate for bitter quinoa flake or flours.  Some quinoa products may be more expensive and harder to find than traditional grains.

 

Rich Chocolate Zucchini Bread

You’d never know that this dense, fudgy bread is (sort of) healthy! It was inspired by a favorite recipe from Cooking Light magazine that I make every year in the late summer when zucchini are bountiful. But luckily, you don’t have to limit this bread to a summertime treat, since most supermarkets stock zucchini year-round.—JH

Serves 8 to 10 (Makes 1 Loaf)

Freezes Well, Gluten-Free, Healthy Choice, Vegetarian

 

⅔ cup packed brown sugar

2 tablespoons canola oil

3 large eggs

1 cup unsweetened applesauce

2 cups quinoa flour

3 tablespoons unsweetened cocoa powder

1½ teaspoons baking soda

1 teaspoon ground cinnamon

½ teaspoon salt

1½ cups shredded zucchini (about 1 medium zucchini)

1 cup semisweet chocolate chips (6 ounces)

 

1. Preheat the oven to 350°F. Grease a 9 x 5-inch loaf pan with butter, shortening, or cooking spray. Place the brown sugar, canola oil, and eggs in the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment and beat at low speed until well combined. Add the applesauce and mix on low speed until combined.

2. In a medium bowl, whisk together the quinoa flour, cocoa powder, baking soda, cinnamon, and salt. Add to the mixer bowl and beat, beginning at the lowest speed and gradually increasing speed, until the ingredients are smooth and well combined. Using a spoon or a rubber spatula, fold in the zucchini and the chocolate chips.

3. Pour the mixture into the prepared loaf pan. Bake until a cake tester inserted into the bread comes out with only a few crumbs clinging to it, about 1 hour. Let cool completely in the baking pan on a wire rack before removing and slicing.

 

Packaging Tips: To give it a professional look, bake this bread in a disposable paper baker (look for them in kitchenware or baking supply stores or online, such as at www.kingarthurflour.com). Or wrap it tightly in foodsafe cellophane or plastic wrap and tie with a ribbon. For a chocolate-lover’s gift, package the bread with a few packets of hot chocolate mix.

 

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A Tale of Two “Egg” Salads

Wednesday, April 4th, 2012

My family came over for brunch a few weeks ago.  I was feeling a springtime menu and decided to make vegan lemon muffins and chocolate zucchini bread, bagels with lox and all the trimmings, a fruit salad and egg salads.  My kids are always up for egg face sandwiches (a work of art below) but I forgot about my old favorite, my Sunny Tofu Salad.  This was great because my vegan sister would appreciate this eggless salad.  However I realized my recipe is not actually vegan, just vegetarian because I use yogurt.  I thought about soy or coconut yogurt but wouldn’t have the neutral taste.  Instead I discovered Vegenaise.  There’s a whole cold section at Whole Foods with vegan products, which I find very helpful (vegan sausages, cheeses, tofu, seitan).  I decided to try Vegenaise, but which one to buy?  There’s original, low-fat, grapeseed, soy free and I can’t even remember what else.  I was overwhelmed for a moment and then just decided original was the best bet.  O.K. I am not a spokesperson and no one gave me a coupon, but let me tell you I am definately a fan.  I’m not big on mayonaise, but somehow I like this.  It’s not greasy and seems a bit sweeter than mayonaise, and now I have found plenty of uses – cooking vegan and otherwise.  It’s lower in fat than mayonaise, but this still isn’t a diet product.

The egg and nonegg salads were a hit with my family, and completely finished.  I highly suggest the two “egg” salad options to try to please all kinds of diets at your next brunch (maybe Easter this week) or sandwich face party anytime.  The eggless salad is below.  You’ll find my Egg and Olive Salad as well as some hard boiled egg tips on a past Easter blog – click here.

Sunny Tofu Salad

(page 72 from Petit Appetit: Eat, Drink and Be Merry)

This was inspired by a sandwich I had from Whole Foods Market. It’s the same idea as egg salad but uses tofu in place of egg. The mustard still gives the sunny color of egg yolks. Stuffed into pita bread or rolled into lettuce leaves this is a tasty vegetarian option for those not eating eggs. It is also is a nice addition to a party platter.

 

Makes about 1½ cups

 

8 ounces organic extra-firm tofu, drained

1 tablespoon organic whole-milk yogurt (or Vegenaise for Vegans)

1 tablespoon chopped green onion (optional)

1½ teaspoons prepared mustard

1 teaspoon freshly squeezed lemon juice

1 teaspoon chopped fresh dill or ¼ teaspoon dried

1/8 teaspoon salt

 

Place tofu on a cutting board lined with a kitchen towel or paper towels. Gently squeeze tofu between towels to remove excess liquid.

Put tofu in a medium bowl and crumble apart using a fork. Add yogurt or Vegenaise, green onion (if using), mustard, lemon juice, dill, and salt and mix to combine.

 

Go Green!  Be sure to buy organic tofu.  Non-organic tofu is more than 84 percent likely to be genetically modified.

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