Tag Archives: pantry

Alicia Silverstone’s Raw Balls

21 May

These things – omg omg omg – are the tastiest little morsels ever. Friends who’ve tried them have said

“That’s the best thing I’ve ever tasted”

and

“Those cannot possibly be sugar-free”

and other things that were unintelligible.

Lately I’ve been making them to control my sugar cravings in the post-lunch lull at work. Dates and pure maple syrup provide benefits such as fiber, potassium, manganese, zinc, and other nutrients, and the fat and protein in the almond butter, walnuts, and almonds counteract their natural sugars, meaning I don’t have the spike (and crash) that I would with something like a cupcake. These are also very rich, so I’m satisfied with one or two. Win!

My only critique of this recipe is that it needs a better name. I had to put Alicia’s name in front of it to give it some credibility. As it is, whenever I say it out loud, I have to say it in a silly voice – because inside, I am a prepubescent. Raw balls. I digress.

I have made these two different ways. Originally, I used carob chips and processed them into a powder, because my closest health food store didn’t sell carob powder. These are sweetened with malted corn and barley. I also used toasted almond butter, which is sweetened with organic unrefined cane sugar. And, I suppose, not technically raw.

Then I wanted to make a truly refined-sugar-free version, so I processed a bar of unsweetened chocolate (100% pure cacao) and used raw almond butter, which is truly made from nothing but almonds.

Because of the fat and/or moisture content (?) in the chocolate, I wasn’t able to get a true powder consistency – it looked more like instant coffee that’s been hanging around too long – but it did the job.

The chocolate lent a bit more richness to this recipe than the carob, but I enjoy both. Of course, you could also sub unsweetened cocoa powder here. And you could use peanut butter or hazelnut butter instead of the almond… feel free to experiment!

Once all the ingredients are processed into a dough, roll it into 1″-2″ balls, then roll in a topping of your choice. I did half in unsweetened shredded coconut and half in a mixture of cocoa powder, cinnamon, and walnuts.

These get pretty mushy at room temperature, so I’d recommend eating them straight out of the fridge. And if transporting, be sure to do so in a hard, sealed container and not a Ziploc bag… not that you or I would ever make such a mushy mistake…

To your health!

RECIPE – Alicia Silverstone’s Raw Balls

Adapted from The Kind Diet, by Alicia Silverstone
Makes 10 to 12 balls.

1/2 cup walnuts
1/2 cup pitted dates
1/2 cup raw carob powder
1/2 cup maple syrup
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/4 teaspoon fine sea salt
1/2 cup whole almonds
1/2 cup almond butter
Optional: shredded unsweetened coconut, cocoa powder, instant coffee powder, spices, nuts – for rolling

Place the walnuts in a food processor and process until coarsely ground. Add the dates, and pulse until well combined with the nuts. Add the carob powder, syrup, vanilla extract, and salt. Process until mixture is thick and smooth. Add the almonds, and pulse a few times until combined; you want them to remain in crunchy chunks. Transfer the mixture to a bowl and stir in almond butter with a sturdy spoon.

Form the mixture into golf-ball-size balls with your hands. Roll the balls in the topping of your choice. Place in a sealed container in the freezer until hardened.

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VegWeek Day 2, Vegetarian Chicken Salad

26 Sep

VegWeek_2011 Welcome to Day 2 of VegWeek!

Before you consider embarking on a vegetarian diet, you might be tempted to ask the basic question, what is a vegetarian? There are several different variations on the vegetarian diet, ranging from modest omissions of animal products to strictly plant-based diets.

Ovo-Lacto Vegetarian. A person who eats dairy products, eggs, fruits, vegetables, greens, legumes, grains, soy products, nuts, and honey. This is the most common type and what is commonly meant by “vegetarian.”

Lacto Vegetarian. A person who eats dairy products, but not eggs.

Ovo Vegetarian. A person who eats eggs, but not dairy products.

Pesco-Vegetarian (pescatarian). A person who eats fish.

Vegan. A person who does not eat anything from animals, including honey. Vegans also minimize the use of any product made with animal byproducts. Their main goal is to lessen animal cruelty and exploitation.

Low Fat Vegetarian. This diet is primarily used to treat diseases and lower the fat content of your diet. The diet consists of less than 10% of its calories from fat.

Raw Vegetarian / Vegan. A person who does not eat anything that has been heated above 115 degrees Fahrenheit.

Fruitarian. A raw vegetarian who only eats fruit, greens, and some nuts and seeds.

Flexitarian. A person who consciously reduces his / her intake of animal products. Movements such as “Meatless Mondays” promote this type of diet.

Lisa Simpson, vegetarian

Why be a vegetarian?

I can think of four major reasons people choose to limit their intake of animal products, and for most people, it’s usually a combination of these. The reasons most important to you will likely change throughout your life.

Concern for animals. Farming as it is practiced today is extremely cruel to animals. They are crowded and caged to the extent that it’s impossible to move, beaten and tortured, housed in unsanitary conditions where disease is rampant, and force-fed bizarre items that would never exist in their natural diet, such as plastic pellets, the remains of other animals, and a bevy of vitamins and antibiotics.

Concern for the environment. Large-scale factory farming uses an enormous amount of resources and is one of the largest contributors to our current environmental crisis. Animal farming has contributed to air, land and water pollution, scarcity of water, deforestation, and the erosion of topsoil.

Concern for health. Meat and dairy consumption has been linked to a number of physical ailments, especially heart disease and cancer. The antibiotics routinely fed to livestock have resulted in antibiotic-resistant strains of bacteria that threaten public health.

Preference. Some people simply dislike meat, and have an aversion to its taste and texture. It can also be difficult to digest, with dairy allergies being especially prevalent.

Hug a Vegetarian

Want to learn more about adopting a veggie diet? Check out this article: Six Simple Steps to a Healthy Vegetarian Diet.

Vegetarian Chicken Salad

Recipe Source: Wheat Free, Meat Free

I know the title of this recipe is Vegetarian Chicken Salad, but I’ll admit it – I’m a sucker for a good tuna sandwich. Tuna salad is one of those easy staple recipes I grew up with, and it holds a certain kind of comfort for me. But the fishing industry is damaging the delicate balance of our oceans. Animals such as whales, dolphins and porpoises are often caught accidentally, and over-fishing has left other species in danger of extinction.

Fish are FriendsFish are friends, not food!

This might not be the most gourmet of recipes, but it makes for a fast lunch to prepare at night during the hectic work week. It’s basically smashed chickpeas mixed with vegan mayo and whatever else is tasty in a tuna or chicken salad.

smashed chickpeas

The most important part of this recipe is smashing up the chickpeas. It’s nice to have some mashed, and some intact. Then, you can add in any number of veggies: pickles, carrots, celery, cucumber, etc. – along with some vegan mayo, lemon juice, and maybe a spice or two… black pepper, smoked paprika? The only limit is your imagination!

veg chicken salad

RECIPE – Vegetarian Chicken Salad

2 15-ounce cans of chickpeas (~3 cups), drained and rinsed
2 stalks of celery, diced
1/4 cup diced red onion
1/4-1/3 cup mayo, miracle whip, or veganaise*
1 heaping tablespoon dill relish
1 heaping tablespoon dijon mustard
freshly cracked black pepper

*For vegan mayo, you can also try this homemade marcona almond mayo recipe!

Place the chickpeas in a large bowl and lightly mash. (Some chickpeas whole and some pretty smashed.)

Stir in the celery and onion.

Then add the mayo, relish, mustard and pepper to taste. Mix well. Serve.

(Makes about 4 cups)

veg chicken salad sandwich

Spaghetti with Artichoke Hearts & Tomatoes

29 Dec

Recipe Source: Pioneer Woman

This recipe defines comfort food for me, and is incredibly easy to make. So easy that the Pioneer Woman admitted to embarrassment for posting it on her blog – but I have no such shame! This is what she calls a “pantry recipe,” meaning that you quite likely already have all or most of its ingredients in your pantry.

The combination of creamy and tart flavors is what I think really makes this dish. To start, you will cook a pound of spaghetti in a pot of slightly oiled, salted water according to package directions.

While you’re waiting for the pasta water to boil, melt butter and olive oil in a large saucepan and saute onion and garlic until they become fragrant, a few minutes. Then add in a can of drained, non-marinated artichoke hearts.

drained artichoke hearts

I like to break them up with my hands a bit to disperse them through the entire dish. Next add in a can of diced tomatoes, with their juice, and simmer for about 10 minutes.

canned tomats

Reduce heat and pour in heavy cream and broth. The original recipe doesn’t call for meat, but if you’d like some chicken, you can add a cooked, diced breast at this point to heat through. In general, I like to use chicken stock when I’m cooking with chicken, and vegetable stock for fully vegetarian, non-meat dishes. I don’t think this is really a “rule” that exists anywhere, but it’s my personal rule as I’ve come to appreciate vegetarian meals more. To season, fresh-grated nutmeg adds a special twist (or dried ground is fine too) in addition to salt and pepper.

parmesan-asiago cheese blend

The last step in this recipe is to douse it with grated parmesan cheese. Surprisingly, on the day I went shopping, a flaky parmesan-and-asiago blend was more affordable, so I used it instead. The blend achieved a gooey-melty-cheesy fabulousness that I don’t remember getting with the grated stuff, so I think I’ll make it a staple in the future. It’s also nice to serve on your side salad.

Just before serving, top with diced chives or another fresh green herb of your choice and enjoy!

Spaghetti with Artichoke Hearts & Tomatoes

RECIPE – Spaghetti with Artichoke Hearts & Tomatoes

2 tablespoons olive oil
2 tablespoons butter
3 cloves garlic, minced
1/2 medium onion, finely diced
1 14.5 ounce can artichoke hearts (non-marinated), drained
1 14.5 ounce can diced tomatoes with juice
1 cup heavy cream
1/2 cup chicken or vegetable broth, more as needed
1/2 teaspoon nutmeg
salt & pepper to taste
1 pound thin spaghetti
1 cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese
2 tablespoons chopped chives or other herbs

Cook spaghetti till al dente. Drain and set aside.

Melt olive oil and butter in a large skillet over medium heat. Add onions and garlic and sauté for 2 to 3 minutes. Add artichoke hearts and tomatoes. Stir and cook for 8 to 10 minutes.

Reduce heat to low. Stir in cream and broth. Add salt and pepper to taste. Sprinkle in nutmeg. Cook over low heat until heated through, then turn off heat.

Place drained pasta in a large bowl. Sprinkle with 1 cup Parmesan. Pour sauce over the top. Add chopped chives. Toss lightly to combine and coat; add a tiny bit of reserved pasta water if sauce seems too thick.

Pumpkin Pudding

4 Oct

Recipe Source: Skinny in the City email newsletter, Top 6 Skinny Foods for 2010

This is a really simple, unusual, delicious breakfast for the Fall and it’s full of fiber and protein. It’s rich, creamy and very satiating. Chances are good you’ll be satisfied far longer with a bowl of this than a bowl of your normal breakfast cereal. It also makes a nice post-lunch dessert if you’re a slave to that sort of thing… *cough*

All you do is combine 6 ounces of nonfat vanilla yogurt with 1/2 cup of canned pumpkin puree and a few spices (I like 1/2 teaspoon each of cinnamon, nutmeg and allspice). You can whisk it together or whip for a few seconds in the blender and voila! Pumpkin puddin’.

Tuna Casserole

19 Mar

As a child my family’s menu consisted of two choices: take it or leave it.
-Buddy Hackett

This is a dish I ate allll the tiiiime growing up, and still make. I always keep these ingredients in my pantry. It’s quick, easy and filling. Just beware when serving – I always overestimate how much I can actually eat! This recipe is also great for leftovers as it reheats well. You can substitute albacore tuna for the chunk light, but the mushroom soup tones down the fishy taste enough that I say go for the cheap stuff 🙂

This is a basic recipe, so feel free to add any other ingredients that sound interesting. Like peas maybe… peas were banned from my house growing up as my mother hated them, but now I always have a bag in my freezer because they’re just so easy to throw into anything at the last minute.

1 (12 oz.) can chunk light tuna (water-packed), drained
1 (14.5 oz.) can cream of mushroom soup
1 cup milk (half of soup can)
2 cups white rice
Chow Mein noodles, to sprinkle

Prepare rice. Combine tuna, cream of mushroom soup and milk in a medium saucepan over medium heat and cook, stirring occasionally, until milk reduces slightly and sauce turns gray, about 10 minutes. Pour sauce over rice and top with chow mein noodles.