Saturday, December 31, 2011

Quiche Stuffing

Went to some friend's for post-Christmas fun and we made us quite the festive vegie spread - steamed broccoli, raw carrot slices, watercress and tomato salad, and then the blueberry granola cobbler for dessert. Our centerpiece entree was a fabulous quiche-like shepherd's pie, and four of us adults and 2 kids licked the pan clean! [OK, I admit making a pig of myself on that entree because I couldn't eat the carrots or cobbler - excuses, excuses, but it was good!] Unusual, filling, and herb tasty, much like the herby, bready flavor of Thanksgiving stuffing so we voted on calling it "Quiche Stuffing".

First, grease the pan and flour the bottom and sides with lentil (dahl) flour.


"Bread" Crust

5 cups brown rice, cooked
2 1/2 - 3 cups lentil (dahl) flour
1/3 cup olive oil
1/4 cup seasonings (mixed herbs - thyme, marjoram, basil)
1 teaspoon sea salt
2 teaspoons crushed garlic
1/2 cup hot water (as needed)

Mix all of these ingredients to a ball, that is sticky but not gooey.

Vegie Filling
1 zucchini
3 cups chopped spinach
1 large onion sliced
1 cup dried tomatoes
1-2 cups mushrooms (for people without candida)

Layer vegies in crust and press down to compress.

Quiche Filling
6 small eggs
1 onion
2 teaspoons thyme or dill
1 teaspoon sea salt
2 teaspoons crushed garlic

Blend these ingredients and immediately pour over the layered vegies.

Bake @ 180 Celsius or 320 Fahrenheit for 45 minutes. Bake at a little lower temperature than usual in order to cook the eggs so that they are still light and fluffy.

Sunday, December 25, 2011

Black Bean (Carob) "Fudge"

The "natural" sweeteners are the coconut oil, cinnamon and of course any fruit and nuts. Because of fruit sugar though, the tasty and very suitable fruit is whole fresh or frozen cranberries. Walnuts complement this dessert well.

Black Bean "Fudge"

3 cups black beans, cooked
1 1/2 cups black bean broth
(beans and broth must be measured together)
1/2 cup coconut oil
1 rounded tablespoon cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon cloves
1/2 teaspoon sea salt
1 1/2 teaspoon vanilla (non-alcoholic)
1 1/2 teaspoon butter flavor (non-alcoholic)
2/3 cup whole fresh cranberries - garnish
2/3 cup walnut pieces (dust-free) - garnish

Blend all ingredients except fruit and nuts in a high-speed blender until creamy. Liquid may need adjusting, but while creamy "fudge" is good, pudding-like "fudge" doesn't hold its shape so careful on the extra liquids.

Finding flavorings without alcohol and corn-syrup is a little bit difficult, but Frontier and The Spicery Shoppe do have these options, just read the labels carefully for each flavoring to make sure. Supposedly using glycerin instead of corn syrup or other sweeteners is OK for people with candida; however, I seem to react a bit and since glycerin is yet another "processed" product, rarely using it and with discretion is what I recommend.

Here's another batch of my fudge but with carob - Black Bean Carob "Fudge". I used a huge heaping tablespoon of unsweetened (or raw) carob powder. Last time I got a little too much liquid in my "fudge" so this time I tamped the beans frequently in the blender to make them smooth and more solid. Less water and the carob made them more "fudgy" looking. Better flavor too, but although carob has a low glycemic count, it does add in unnecessary glycemic points, so stop after 3 or 4 pieces of "fudge"! Whoever heard of eating 3 or 4 pieces of regular fudge, so this is a great treat!

And here's the secret in making beautiful fudge. Line a pan with plastic wrap and throw a bunch of walnuts in the bottom, which will be the top when turned out of the pan. Spoon in some fudge, drop cranberries on top and a few walnuts as a layer and spoon in more fudge and press in cranberries and walnuts. When slicing the "fudge", the appearance will be FESTIVE!

Tuesday, December 20, 2011

Christmas Health Nectar

With Christmas approaching and thoughts of spiced drinks, I thought I could create something redolent of the holidays. Korea has a wealth of "health" tonics, herbs, twigs, and miscellany in their traditional medicines markets, and I even noticed a small package of spices in a local market. The package was intended for stuffing and cooking a chicken in Korea's fabulously popular dish 삼계탕 (samgyetang). The package had a handful of jujubes, a cinnamon stick, a root called hyanggi by the cashier (but which translates simply as perfume or scent) and then some other unidentifiable smaller twigs, seeds and roots. This looked doable for a Christmas drink, but I did add about 10 cloves, a few more jujubes, and a couple of anise stars.

Slow-cooked overnight in my crock pot, the next morning the house smelled of Christmas seasonal scents and the crockpot was full of a delightful Christmas drink. The flavors were wonderfully blended (but then how can a person go wrong with cinnamon?!) At a friend's I had made a cinnamon cake, and the drink and slice of cinnamon cake to start my morning was very much like a person enjoying a morning coffee with a donut ... except mine tasted so much better (not biased of course :)and was healthy to boot!

The Cinnamon Cake recipe was another attempt to try something "special" so I don't remember the measurements, but suffice it to say that the ingredients were: almond flour, coconut oil, eggs, heavy on the ground cinnamon, ground cloves, sea salt, and maybe that was it. I've got to work this recipe out because it deserves being repeated.

A few days later I was walking through a traditional medicines market and saw a huge bag of cinnamon sticks for ₩3,000 and imagined all the delightful spiced drinks I could have, especially since cinnamon is recognized as a top fighter against rampant bacteria. Yeah! I bought a bag and came home to make me another spiced drink to liven up a couple more cold winter nights. The ingredients were a bit different but I think I liked it a little better although it didn't have the same thick coffee-reminiscent texture. The ingredients: several cinnamon sticks, a couple handfuls of jujubes, a ginseng root, whole cloves, a star anise. Very smooth and soothing on the mucus membranes (although I question that feeling against the actual effect as cinnamon, while a fierce battler against candida, can be hard on the stomach lining).

Sunday, December 18, 2011

Apricot Almond Muffins "Gluten-free"

Friends were talking about Dunkin' Donuts, sweets and eating healthy, and how healthy choices are few when eating out, and I was certainly agreeing that people certainly can't have healthy choices at such high-calorie, low food value dessert joints like Dunkin' Donuts. [I guess I should qualify this statement as everyone seems to have a different opinion about what is "healthy". "Healthy" is now a VERY relative term!] The talk at some point turned to getting some donuts or muffins for a 'treat' breakfast, but of course since I was going to be in the kitchen making breakfast for me anyway, why not also make some breakfast muffins for all of us?!

So the next morning I whipped together some oatmeal muffins for my friends and plunged half of a thawing apricot in the middle of each and baked them (pictured in the background). For me I had to get a bit creative, and so dumped some ingredients in a bowl and whipped them up. Because apricots are lower glycemic than other fruits and also high in fiber, I figured I could eat a total of a half of an apricot divided among my mini-muffins and not "feed" the candida bacteria/fungus in my body too much. The muffins turned out ultra cute and the apricots really gave them a delightful flavor. Wow, I wish I could remember the exact recipe but it's something like the following (and yes, since I was traveling, I broke down again and mixed eggs in - they were the leavening):

Apricot Almond Muffins

1 cup almond flour
1 cup lentil or garbanzo flour*
2 eggs
3 tablespoons coconut oil
2 teaspoons cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon cloves
1/2 teaspoon sea salt
water as needed

* I think garbanzo flour is lower on the glycemic count and would be the better alternative.

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

Leftover "Bibimbap"

Bibimbap [here's a link to a wide variety of bibimbap in Korea] is a mixed rice and vegies meal much loved by the Koreans ... and much loved by myself. However, since I'm ultra sensitive to the seasonings and sauces rich in sesame seed oil, fermented bean paste, hot pepper sauce and vinegar and of course sensitive to the many flavorings in the 영양분, literally translated "nutrition powder" but has all kinds of hidden secrets disguised, I absolutely can't eat Korean food ... or is it coincidence, almost no food that contains citric acid and/or MSG, and that pretty much includes everything (in both Korea and the US) processed on supermarket shelves and packaged in the freezers.

And btw, I've had many discussions with Koreans about what's in the 영양분 and say there must be citric acid and/or MSG in it because I hugely react to both and I hugely react to the seasoning salt. Koreans get so offended when I suggest that their "nutrition powder" - how could it be anything but good "nutrition"? - be non-healthful and that it might contain MSG, especially when there was a craze across Korea a few short years ago following a news broadcast on the dangers of MSG and then with everyone going hypo about it. Even for a time, restaurants to ease their clienteles' minds posted in their windows "No MSG served here". Even though I've tried to tell the Koreans in my discussions that I've located a list of no less than 25 alternative named additives that are simply put just monosodium glutamate with a disguised name, hidden by US marketing strategies, but, there's no reasoning when people have a cherished belief system and Koreans staunchly stick with theirs that "there is NO MSG in their 'nutrition powder'".

For an easy referencing list of disguised MSG additives, I've found a well-researched site on the known-to-be toxic additive. Debbie Angelsey has done intensive research on MSG as her 19-year-old son started having strange and violent reactions to foods. Here's her list link of alternative names for MSG, but her whole web site it dedicated to research on the toxin. Not surprisingly and according to her research (my research strongly points to the same conclusions) MSG is an excitatory neurotransmitter that can affect people with ADD/ADHD, migraine headaches, Parkinson's, fibromyalgia, autism, brain fog and many others. I would even dare to include the gamut of autoimmune diseases as being radically affected by the excitatory neurotransmitter.

Anyway, since I really like bibimbap and it's such an easy meal to eat and easy to put together - just add vegies to rice and dump a sauce on top - making a vegan, candida bibimbap is "easy as pie" ... or should I saw "easy as bibimbap"!

My ingredients are black rice (which I've found I don't digest well at all), chopped celery with leaves, leftover garbanzo bean "mashed potatoes" (hm, I'll have to post a recipe for that later. It's very tasty!) and whole frozen cranberries. Basically just about any vegie can be added to a base of rice and complementary sauce to make the stir-together dish sticky and well flavored.

Friday, December 9, 2011

Vegie Stew

There's nothing like a hearty stew on a cold winter day. Every day I try to walk outside for a while to improve the circulation and to keep my vitamin D up. [Vitamina D2 is through dairy foods which I don't eat so am very deficient in that aspect of vitamin D so I absolutely must keep my vitamin D3, from sunshine, as high as possible otherwise I'll have bone troubles again, be unable to utilize calcium and a whole host of other problems related to vitamin D deficiency. More precisely and doctors should inform ALL their patients this, autoimmune difficulties are directly linked to vitamin D deficiency and I'm battling those probs ... but now within the normal range of vitamin D and the symptoms are greatly reduced!] Anyway, after walking in the cold I really need a body warmer and something nutritious and easy to digest in the latter hours of the day. So, vegie stew with leftover brown rice.

The ingredients are pretty easy, no measuring because a soup can't go wrong as long as the vegies taste good together and the seasonings aren't too heavy or too light. So my hearty stew consists of lightly sauteed onions and garlic, then sliced zucchini, broccoli, and 1/3 of a carrot for color - I'm also experimenting with adding a little food higher on the glycemic count but also rich in vitamin A, which I'm still very deficient in as those foods are considered glycemically off limits. Add leftover brown rice at some point so the grains can get plumper and filled with the flavors of the vegies. After the harder vegies had cooked down quite a bit, I added in fresh spinach to just lightly cook. The seasonings were added about this time too - sea salt, thyme, parsley and basil.

Sunday, December 4, 2011

Stir-fry Thanksgiving "Stuffing"

Ha! Found the stir-fry pictures of my Thanksgiving stuffing. Most of my friends enjoyed it but a couple were expecting something more "bready" and one of the kids absolutely hated the whole nearly raw cranberries and out-right said the taste was disgusting! Hahaha! The honesty of kids :0 ... but I have to say if I tried to feed this as "stuffing" to my more open-minded friends who didn't know why I'm eating the way I am, they probably would have been a little less tolerant to the lack of sweetness (wow, cranberries can be very tart!) and lack of breading. I think to stave off expectations, just calling it a cranberry vegie stir-fry would make it a much more popular dish. Anyway, I quite like the earthly flavors and don't miss the breadiness at all. Well, if something made you sick every time you tried it no matter that you loved the flavor, you would learn pretty quick to dislike it too ... if not, wow, I'd say an addiction would need to be addressed.

So, to make the "stuffing", slow saute a pile of onions and celery, some garlic too if you like. Then add in your chopped vegies like zucchini, asparagus or even broccoli and a few cauliflower florets. I've been on this ultra-strict candida diet for a year now, and wow do I feel better and am almost pain-free, so I thought I could add just a short couple of inches of a carrot for color. That would only be less than half an inch if the stir-fry was divided into 4 servings, maybe manageable I think at this point. Salt and seasoning was added at some point and of course a lot of garden herbs, although I can't remember which ones, parsley, basil and marjoram for sure though.

After the vegies slow-cooked down, I turned off the heat and threw on a bunch of washed frozen whole cranberries and a couple big handfuls of walnuts, the walnuts that I'd pre-washed and put through the dehydrator. I didn't want them to cook so didn't stir them in until the "stuffing" had cooled down a bit.

OK, so this isn't exactly bread stuffing, but with a lot of garden herbs added to the base of onions and celery, the taste of stuffing is definitely appreciable. Yum with Garbanzo Bean "Mashed Potatoes" and slices of leftover vegan "turkey"!

And here's a picture of a later batch made around New Year's (backposting 'cuz the pict turned out so well, with flavor to match).

Friday, December 2, 2011

Systemic Candida Thanksgiving "Turkey"

Somewhere I read that turkey was a food that should be meticulously avoided as it's loaded with more hormones than chicken and therefore is more inflammatory. Doesn't sound good to me, but all meats, due to how they are raised (unless arguably home raised), really should be avoided because of their bacteria content that climbs quickly once they are killed, and industrial processing with all it's sterilizing chemicals to reduce the bacteria load play horrendous havoc on the body. But having that turkey or chicken to carve during the holiday does give a special festive feel to the day.

And so, when diddling around on the internet I came across a turkey-less turkey and a hamless-ham! Bryanna, author of 9 vegan cookbooks, has an awesome website with some recipes and many pictures of foods she has prepared. I seriously drooooool on her website and it was here that I was introduced to the brand Field Roast Grain Meat. Field Roast makes 32 different vegan products, from vegan sausages to holiday hams, and for a quick video on how they make the products take a look here. Let me clear my throat here though, I am certainly not recommending the Field Roast products to people with candida or any auto-immune diseases because the products are made of heavy concentrations of wheat, and therefore are highly inflammatory. That said, I figured a person can fiddle around with the ingredients and attempt something with non-gluten grains. So I tried. The result was dry and lacking a definitive flavor especially when cold. However, my little vegan "turkey" held together - surprising since the ingredients were non-glutinous - and looked like a meat product, so now I just need to adjust the seasonings and finished moisture content ... am thinking on that.

The video link above also showed "stuffed ham" with the stuffing being butternut squash, apples and mushrooms, three things that people with systemic candida must avoid [the squash and apples are too glycemic and the mushrooms are another fungus, yikes!] Hmmm, but I think a stuffing would be nice with cranberries, a small amount of apple and tons of onions ... of course only after I figure out the main "meat" ingredients.

Anyway, my little "turkey" was made principally of mashed garbanzo beans, lentil flour and then onions, seasonings and what-not. I saw somewhere online an inventive person who used a crockpot to slow-cook the "turkey" or "ham" into the formed shape. The "meat" had been wrapped in a hemp cloth, tied with string and then submerged in water or a broth to slow-cook for several hours. I didn't have a hemp cloth so used a small hand towel, but because I didn't want the thick, gooey, shapeless mess to stick to the towel while cooking, I laid a pile of cabbage leaves on the towel and then spooned the goop onto the leaves and then wrapped and tied the unwieldly shape into the semblance of a blob-form ... messiness and trickiness together. My crock pot iss small so I ended up cramming the lumpy log, which had been tied with thread, into the crockpot and, not bad, when I pulled it out about 8 hours later, it had cooked into the crammed shape. Kind of turkey-ish-looking in my opinion!

At a friend's house I covered it with foil and baked it for an hour or so to brown the top, and it actually looked pretty even more turkey-like when I pulled it out of the oven. It even tasted pretty good with some of my vegan "breadless breading" made with zucchini squash [the only squash people with systemic candida should have - very low glycemic and starch counts], celery, asparagus, onions and garlic, lots of herbs, whole cranberries and walnuts. Hmm, am surprised I don't have a picture because it turned out beautiful and then was tasty on top of that!

My little vegan "turkey" was great the next morning when I prepared a big "normal" thanksgiving breakfast for my friends. I had "turkey hash", just broken up pieces of the vegan "turkey" with one of my dressings on top and scrambled eggs loaded with shredded sesame leaves and cubed tomatoes! I rarely eat eggs but when traveling, and since I don't seem to react, I sometimes break down and eat some for convenience. I do realize that eggs are not healthy and that according to Carolee Bateson-Koch, DC, ND, in her book Allergies, Disease in Disguise: How to Heal Your Allergic Condition Permanently and Naturally, 90% of the population [is this only American population where the research was conducted? not sure] is allergic to eggs but do not know it. Anyway, the meal was wonderful change from my more mundane vegie and bean [garbanzo, lentil and black bean only] fare.

The next day I even sliced some "turkey" up and had "turkey roast" on my noon salad. I was really impressed with the consistency and so there is certainly hope for more (and tastier) vegan "turkey" in my future menu.