The Overlooked Seed…

Most of us are aware of the nutritional benefits of nuts. They are rich in omega 3 fatty acids. However, including seeds as part of our daily menu may be a missing health component as well as an option for those who have an intolerable reaction to nuts. Seeds can help with cholesterol and blood sugar levels as well as fight off inflammation. They compliment breads and puddings especially with all the baking now going on. Chia- this little seed can swell to 3 times its size, is loaded with fiber and can substitute or stretch the need for eggs in a recipe. Flax- should always be consumed milled. Rich source of omega 3’s and aids in boosting nutritional absorption. Can be used for breading cutlets or just sprinkled over pasta and a salad. Pumpkin- are extremely high in protein and magnesium. Roasted they can be used as a replacement for croutons in salads. Sesame- these seeds are rich in Zinc which can boost immunity. Three teaspoons can provide a good supply of our daily iron requirement. Toasted they are great in stir fry. Check out tahini, which is crushed sesame, add to lemons for an interesting dressing. Sunflower- are also high in protein as well as Vit. E.  They can serve as a substitute for pine nuts in pesto or can replace peanut butter in its butter form. All of the above are extremely rich in Omega 3 fatty acids, a lacking component in the American diet.

Roasted Garlic and White Bean Dip with Rosemary…

Ingredients:

1 head garlic

1 teaspoon, plus 5 tablespoons olive oil

2 (15 ounce) cans white beans, like cannellini, Great Northern or navy beans, drained and rinsed

3 tablespoons lemon juice (from 1 lemon)

1 tablespoon roughly chopped fresh rosemary leaves, plus 1 full sprig

¼ teaspoon black pepper

1 pinch of cayenne, plus more for garnish (optional)

1 tablespoon hot water

1 ¼ teaspoons kosher salt

 

Directions: 

  1. Roast the garlic. Keep the oven to 400 degrees. Peel off most of the garlic’s outermost skin but leave the whole head intact. Trim about ¼” off the top of the garlic to expose the clove. Place the garlic on a large piece of aluminum foil, then drizzle one teaspoon olive oil over the exposed cloves and close the foil into a pouch. Bake for 40 to 50 minutes, until you can pierce the center of the head with a knife. Let cool slightly.
  2. Squeeze the rousted garlic cloves into the bowl of a food processor. Add the white beans, 4 tablespoons olive oil, lemon juice, rosemary leaves, black pepper, cayenne, hot water and salt. Puree until smooth, then taste for salt, pepper, rosemary and lemon juice. Adjust as necessary. Transfer to a serving dish.
  3. Heat remaining teaspoon of olive oil in a small heavy skillet over medium high heat. When hot, add the remaining rosemary sprig, it should sizzle. Cook until brown and crisp, add 1 minute per side. Transfer to the top of the dip as a garnish. Pour or spoon the remaining olive oil, now infuse with rosemary, over the top of the dip. Sprinkle with cayenne.

 

Time: One Hour

Yield: 8-10 servings (2 ½) cups

Stuffed Sweet Potatoes with Curried Chickpeas…

 

Ingredients:

4-medium sweet potatoes, scrubbed

1-teaspoon olive oil

1-(15-ounce) can unsalted chickpeas, drained and rinsed

½-teaspoon salt

½-teaspoon black pepper

½-teaspoon curry powder

2-cups baby kale leaves

¼-cup cilantro, chopped

 

Yogurt Sauce

½-cup plain Greek yogurt

1-teaspoon olive oil

1-teaspoon lemon juice

¼-teaspoon garlic powder

¼-teaspoon turmeric or curry powder

¼-teaspoon salt

 

Directions:

Pierce the sweet potatoes several times with a fork, then place them on a microwave-safe plate. Microwave on high 10-12 minutes, or until tender. In a large pan or skillet, heat oil at medium heat. Add chickpeas, salt, pepper and curry powder. Cook 5-6 minutes or until heated through. Add kale to skillet and cook 2-3 minutes or until wilted. In a small bowl, combine yogurt sauce ingredients. Cut open each sweet potato; top with chickpea mixture and yogurt sauce. Garnish with cilantro. Serves 4. Calories: 239, Total fat: 3g, Saturated fat: 1.2g, Cholesterol: 1.3mg, Sodium: 478mg, Carbs: 45g, Dietary fiber: 10.2g, Sugars: 6g, Protein: 9g

How Do I Stock Up?

We were asked to have as little contact with each other as possible. How do you prepare for an uncertain period of time that we may be home-bound? Certain food items last for a number of weeks, provide good nutrition and can be made easily into a healthy meal. Grains: They last for months and each variety can offer a different taste and feel. I lean a lot on quinoa. It is fast and protein rich. Stocks and broths: Come in low sodium containers that stack easily and are a great base for any vegetable or soup. Beans: Compliment any green vegetable and with a slice of whole grain bread offer a filling meal. Eggs: Perfect little package of good protein and fat, besides they last for weeks. Egg drop soup and omelets are great meal additions. Frozen fruits and Vegetables: Green frozen vegetables are as healthy as fresh. In fact, they are usually frozen at their peak of freshness. Canned Fish: Salmon as a replacement for tuna along with sardines and mackerel offer high quality of omega 3 fatty acids. Hard Cheeses such as Parmesan last for months and offer a great source of added calcium. Olive oil and a selection of vinegars: Together these can enhance the flavor of any meal. My favorite is fig infused white balsamic vinegar. Root veggies: have a long shelf life and provide great source of fiber and complex carbohydrates. Nut butters: Almond and peanut are great for sauces and sandwiches. If you are allergic there are seed butters such as sunflower. Spices: Can change the flavor of any meal and will even cut down on the amount of sodium used.  Now is the time to play around and experiment and if you go to my website, I have some easy recipes.