Sunday, January 31, 2010

Mediterranean Curry Soup

Yoga is something I practice every day. I also "suggest," not nag, on a regular basis that my husband to do more stretching. My suggestions usually fall on deaf ears except on rare occasions as captured in the photo above. My husband has found a stretching partner, Kona, who likes to reward effort with lots of slups.

I enjoy getting "slups" from Kona too but I especially like getting her to warm me up as an extra big lap dog on a cold winter day. Another winter warm-up for me is a hot bowl of soup.
A recipe for a spicy, curry veggie soup caught my eye recently in a magazine while I was waiting for an appointment. If I could remember the recipe, I knew what I wanted to fix for dinner as soon as I got home. The soup ended up being delicious although it was more my creation since I added chicken and couldn't recall all the ingredients.
Mediterranean Curry Soup
(serves 4)
1 cup chopped cooked chicken
2 T. olive oil
1/2 medium chopped onion
2-3 garlic cloves, minced
2 tsp. fresh grated gingerroot
1 zucchini, diced
1/4 head cauliflower, chopped into small bite-size pieces
1 carrot, diced
1/2 cup garbanzo beans
Optional: chopped fresh cilantro for garnish
1/2 tsp. cumin seeds and coriander seeds, toasted
1 tsp. cumin
1/2 tsp. cardamon
1 tsp. Indian curry
1 tsp. turmeric
1 tsp. coriander
salt and pepper to taste
4 cups vegetable broth (Imagine makes a good one without added sugar.)
Heat the olive oil in a large soup pot. Saute the garlic, ginger and onions until soft. Add the zucchini, carrot and cauliflower and continue sauteeing until tender. Toss in the spices, salt and pepper to taste, and stir. Add the chicken, garbanzo beans and the broth, and heat to a simmer. Garnish the soup with toasted seeds and chopped cilantro and serve.
Note: I really like the spiciness of this soup but feel free to adjust the amount of each spice.

Monday, January 25, 2010

Quinoa muesli

My orange pals, Pumpkin and Kona, are always providing me with a show while I'm in the kitchen. Pumpkin, the cat, races around the house with Kona, the golden retriever, hot on his heels. The chase is followed by more play in the form of a boxing match. Pumpkin's paws are no match for Kona's but they still play box for a few seconds. The two are the best of friends but this winter they seemed to have gotten even closer.

Pumpkin is really a housecat but sometimes I take him outside on a leash. When winter arrives, he becomes a complete sissy pants. Snowy, rainy or windy conditions are completely unacceptable to him. He'd rather sleep or play with Kona and me.

Eleven-year-old Kona, on the other hand, loves to go for a romp in the snow. Put her out in the snow and she instantly becomes a puppy again. I wish snow would do that for me!

Snowy, wintry days do have one affect on me. They make me hungry for carbs, which I'm sure I've mentioned before. The problem is I need to keep my carb intake low while I continue to battle candida. One of my recent cravings was for muesli. I'm not sure where that craving came from because I've never been a big fan of granola or muesli, largely because of the calories and the ingredients.
Most granola or muesli contains oil, nuts, dried fruit, oatmeal and tons of sugar/honey, which ups the calories. I decided to try to make allergen-free muesli using quinoa flakes and seeds. It turned out to be tasty and easy to make. I started sprinkling just a tablespoon's worth on top of tofu mixed with fruit for a quick treat, breakfast or dessert as pictured above. Now, I pretty much avoid tofu/soy at least for now while my thyroid is on the mend. As an alternative, I sprinkle it on berries or pudding, thickened with chia seeds. Here's a link to my recipe for chia-seed pudding

Here's how to make this super, simple muesli.


2 cups quinoa flakes
1/4 cup sunflower seeds
1/4 cup pumpkin seeds
1-2 T. SweetLeaf stevia powder
pan spray
Optional: 2 tsp. ground cinnamon
Preheat the oven to 325 degrees. Spray a large baking sheet with pan spray. Spread the quinoa flakes mixed with seeds, stevia powder and cinnamon, if desired, on the pan. Spray the top of the muesli with some additonal pan spray or mist with olive oil if you prefer. Place in the oven and toast the mixture for about 5-10 minutes, depending on your oven. Toss the muesli often to insure even toasting and respray if needed. When the muesli is golden brown, remove it from the oven to cool. Store the muesli in a container in the freezer.

Sunday, January 17, 2010

Chocolate-sunbutter hemp milk ice cream

It's not easy making ice cream that tastes delicious when you have to leave out all the good stuff, like sugar, eggs, milk and cream. But it has been my challenge in recent weeks to come up with a creamy "ice cream" where the main ingredients are hemp milk and stevia sweetener.
I have an ice cream maker attachment for my Kitchen Aid mixer that makes my experimenting fairly easy to do. I keep the ice cream maker bowl always ready to use in the freezer. I've tried making all kinds of flavors, including pumpkin, chocolate, carob, green tea, vanilla, strawberry and sunbutter.
The closest I've come to decadent is chocolate-sunbutter hemp milk ice cream, pictured above.
This ice cream was actually creamy in texture thanks to the addition of the sunbutter. It was easy to make too with my ice cream maker attachment.
Chocolate-Sunbutter Hemp Milk Ice Cream
(makes 4 servings)
2 cups unsweetened hemp milk (Or other dairy beverage of choice)
2 T. unsweetened sunbutter
1/4 cup dark baking cocoa powder
1 tsp. vanilla powder
1-2 T. pure stevia powder
Soften the sunbutter in the microwave in a medium-sized bowl. Add the cocoa powder and the hemp milk. Continue heating in the microwave, occasionally stirring to blend in the cocoa powder. Remove and stir in the vanilla powder and stevia.
Place the ice cream mixture in the refrigerator to chill. Follow your ice cream-maker instructions to freeze the mixture. This ice cream is ready to eat right out of the ice cream freezer. You don't have to worry about continuing to firm it up in your refrigerator freezer. Resist the impulse to eat it all yourself.

Sunday, January 10, 2010

Vegan pumpkin ice cream

I'm really missing being able to eat soy foods as part of my diet. But my thyroid comes first. Soy was interferring with the absorption of my thyroid medication. My thyroid hormone levels came back normal this week after staying away from soy for a month.
I've switched from soy milk to hemp milk. It's a little pricey and difficult to find, at least where I live. I've considered making my own but I wonder how many hemp seeds it takes to make a batch. I guess I'll have to check into that.
I know there are other alternative dairy beverages but hemp milk seems to be the best choice for me given my food sensitivities. It does have some negative aspects. It doesn't heat up well and tends to separate when heated above a certain temperature. That's a problem since I like to add milk to my tea. Tempt hemp milk is the one brand I've found that doesn't separate as easily.
My ice cream freezer has come in handy since I've given up soy. I used to make quick soy puddings with silken tofu. Lately, I've been experimenting with different vegan ice cream mixtures that are made with unsweetened hemp milk and sweetened with stevia. One of my favorites is Vegan Pumpkin Ice Cream.
2 1/2 cups hemp milk (Other alternative milks can be substituted.)
1 cup pumpkin puree (I used canned pumpkin.)
1 1/2 tsp. pumpkin pie spice
1 T. stevia powder (Sugar or agave nectar can be substituted if not following the ACD diet.)
2 T. chia flour or arrowroot for thickener
1 T. vanilla powder (I found this in a health food store. It's ground up vanilla bean. It's ACD friendly because it has no added alcohol.)
Mix 1/4 cup of hemp milk with 2 T. of chia flour or arrowroot. Set aside.
Mix the remaining milk, pumpkin and pumpkin pie spice together in a saucepan and bring to almost a boil. When the mixture has just started to boil, remove it from the heat and stir in the chia or arrowroot slurry. This should cause the liquid to thicken some.
Stir in the stevia powder and vanilla. Chill the ice cream mixture. Freeze according to your ice cream maker's instructions. When done, the mixture will still be soft. You can put it in the freezer for awhile to help it firm up before serving. Makes about 4 generous servings or 6 small servings.

Tuesday, January 5, 2010

Korean veggie pancakes

I discovered over the holidays that I had been eating too much soy. I knew because I started to develop symptoms of low thyroid, including extreme tiredness and sensitivity to cold, dry and breaking hair, wounds that wouldn't heal and sudden weight gain. Here is a link to other common symptoms of thyroid disease:

I recognized the symptoms because I had experienced them before being diagnosed with hypothyroidism and getting on thyroid replacement medication. There is some disagreement about the effects of soy on the thyroid. However, it seems to be widely believed that those on thyroid medication should restrict soy to no more than a serving every other day. The reason is soy interferes with the absorption of the thyroid replacement medicaiton.

My consumption of soy foods got out of hand in conjunction with being on the anti-candida diet. I think I thought it was okay since there were so many other foods I could not eat. Obviously, I was being guided by emotions rather than logic.

I've come to my senses, and I'm now on the "soy wagon." In fact, it's been more than three weeks since I've eaten anything containing soy. I'm starting to feel better, and I won't be cooking up any recipes with soy for awhile.

Here's one of the latest no-soy recipes I recently cooked up although Korean Veggie Pancakes could be topped with tamari sauce.


1 cup garbanzo bean flour
salt and black pepper to taste
2 scallions, chopped
1/3 cup shredded cabbage
1/3 cup shredded carrots
1/3 cup broccoli slaw (I used the pre-packaged version.)
3-4 T. olive or canola oils
1 tsp. baking soda
1 tsp. baking powder
3/4-1 1/4 cups water

Preheat the oven to 425 degrees. Combine the dry ingredients in a large bowl. Gradually add the water and 2 T. oil to make a thick pancake batter. Set aside.

Saute the veggies until slightly tender. Mix the veggies into the pancake batter.

Spray and oil a baking sheet with the remaining oil. Heat in the oven for a few minutes. Remove the pan from the oven. Ladle scoops of pancake batter onto the pan leaving adequate space between pancakes. Bake the pancakes in the oven. Check after about 10 minutes. Turn them over if they are ready to be flipped. Bake another 5-10 minutes.

These pancakes are versatile. They can be eaten for any meal or even as a snack. They also store well in the fridge or even in the freezer for later eating.