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Archive for January, 2009

Microminerals

The third post in the Vitamins and Minerals trilogy. I’ve given you Vitamins and Macrominerals, so to conclude we’ll discuss the Microminerals. These are otherwise known as trace elements. Though they are found in very small amounts in the body, they do play a critical role in nutrition. People usually only need about 100 micrograms a day. Micronutrient malnutrition is typically found in underdeveloped countries, since those in developed countries have easy access to readily available foods and supplements. Micronutrients enable the body to produce enzymes, hormones and other substances essential for proper growth and development – thus the small amounts that are required can have big impacts on overall health.

Mineral; Food sources; Major Functions; Recipes in which to find it

Chromium: Vegetables,yeast, beer, unrefined wheat flour, corn oil. Necessary for glucose metabolism, formation of insulin for proper blood glucose concentration. Peachy Blue Monster, Naan, various Steamed Vegetables, Pasta Primavera, just about any vegetable recipe on this site πŸ˜‰
Cobalt: Broccoli, spinach, oats. Necessary for formation of red blood cells. Moroccan Veg, Scape Bake, Green Enchiladas, Oat Surprise Muffins
Copper: Wheat products, barley, cocoa, lentils, molasses, mushrooms, nuts, oats, seeds, wheatgerm. Necessary for hemoglobin formation, maintenance of certain copper-containing enzymes, proper intestinal absorption of iron. Dulce de Bourbon Chews, Sweet and Spicy Nuts, Oat Surprise Muffins
Fluorine: Fluoridated water, toothpastes, tea. Hardens bones & teeth, suppresses bacterial action in mouth. Herbal teas, Green teas, Black teas
Iodine: Iodized table salt, seaweed (nori). Necessary for synthesis of thyroxin, which is essential for maintenance of normal cellular respiration. Nori Rolls, and any dish you salt… πŸ™‚
Iron: Beans, raisins, molasses, dried spirulina, pepita, sesame/sunflower seeds, quinoa, soy flour, endive, pistachios, tomato paste, miso, apricots, oats, lima beans, wheat, barley, lentils, peaches, spinach, wheatgerm, potatoes, peas, gingerroot, tahini, beets, thyme, nuts/nut butters. Component of hemoglobin, myoglobin; necessary for transport of oxygen to tissues, cellular oxidation. Peachy Blue Monster, Fruit Salad, Black Bean Quinoa Salad, Roasted Thyme Potatoes, PB Cups, Refashioned PB Cookies
Manganese: Bananas, bran, beans, leafy vegetables, whole grains, nuts. Necessary for formation of hemoglobin, activation of enzymes; Important for tissue respiration, growth, healthy nervous system. Dulce de Bourbon Chews, Breakfast Burritos, Blueberry Bran Muffins, Green Enchiladas
Molybdenum: Legumes, green leafy vegetables, peas. Component of several enzymes. Lime-Saffron Millet ‘Pea’laf, Italian Herb Veg & Quinoa, Chickpea Cauliflower and Kale curry
Selenium: Whole grains (especially the bran and germ), onions, celery, cabbage, broccoli. Enzymes, lipid metabolism, antioxidant (protects plasma membranes from breaking down). Dulce de Bourbon Chews, Fresh Fruit Salad, Red Beans & Rice Soup, Cornbread stuffing
Zinc: Legumes, green vegetables, mushrooms, sunflower seeds, pepitas, brewer’s yeast. Part of many enzymes, important in wound healing, cell growth, and cell repair. Chickpeas Romesco, Fresh Fruit Salad, Sweet & Spicy Nuts, Green Enchiladas

Happy and Healthy Eating!

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Macrominerals

Continuing with educating the masses on how a vegan diet can give you everything you need (see previous vitamin post), here’s the Macrominerals: what they do for you, and what foods and recipes you can find them in! Aptly named macrominerals are those which are found in the body in larger amounts than microminerals. Macrominerals are also consumed in larger quantities and provide bulk energy.

Mineral; Dietary Sources; Major Functions; Recipes it can be found

Calcium: Soybeans, kale, spinach, watercress, parsley, seaweed, nuts/seeds, molasses, dried fruits, figs. Necessary for proper bone structure, normal heart action, blood clotting, muscle contraction, excitability, nerve synapses, mental activity, buffer systems, glycogen metabolism. Chickpea Cauliflower and Kale Curry, Fruit Salad, Vegan Pizza w spinach, Blueberry Bran Muffins/Loaves, Gingerbread Oatmeal Cookies
Chloride: All foods, table salt. Principle anion of extra-cellular fluid, necessary for acid-base balance, osmotic equilibrium, helps with muscle cramps. No special dish since we salt nearly everything these days..but beware of excess salt intake.
Magnesium: Green veggies, nuts, whole grains, molasses, yeast extracts, apples, figs. Necessary for proper bone structure, regulation of nerve and muscle action, catalyst for intracellular enzymatic reactions, especially those related to carbohydrate metabolism, prevent retinopathy. Clementine-n-Mango Juice, Dulce de Bourbon Chews, Fruit Salad, Blueberry Bran Loaves
Phosphorus: Beans, grains, fruits. Combine with coenzymes in various metabolic processes; necessary for proper bone structure, intermediary metabolism, buffers, membranes, phosphate bonds essential for energy production (ATP), nucleic acids. Clementine-n-Mango Juice, Classic 3-bean salad, Fruit Salad, Breakfast Burritos, Chickpea Cauliflower and Kale Curry
Potassium: Avocados, banana, broccoli, Brussels sprouts, dates, prunes, raisins, potatoes (with skins), cantaloupes. Major component of intracellular fluid, necessary for buffering, muscle contraction, nerve impulse transmission. Clementine-n-Mango Juice, Dulce de Bourbon Chews, Moroccan Veg with Spiced Orzo
Sodium: Most processed & packaged foods, table salt, breads. Major component of extracellular fluid, necessary for ionic equilibrium, osmotic gradients, nerve impulse conduction, buffer systems, helps with dehydration, muscle cramps, and kidney failure. Peachy Blue Monster, Pita bread, Chickpea Noodle Soup
Sulfur: Cabbage, garlic, onions, wheat germ . Structural, as amino acids are made into proteins. Banana Bread, Peachy Blue Monster, Red Beans & Rice Soup, Potato Gratin

Happy and Healthy Eating!

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waffles1I made waffles this weekend with my new, everything I dreamed it would be, waffle-maker (Festivus gift, thanks Jo). I converted a Martha Stewart buttermilk waffle recipe out of her ‘Favorite Comfort Foods’ cookbook. I think they came out supremely delish, but I’ll let you guys be the judge… It’s the mixing of the apple cider vinegar with the milk alternative that creates the “buttermilk” effect – I know we’ve all seen this step in vegan cupcakes πŸ˜‰ . This recipe says it will serve 4-6 (which for me made 2 batches in my 4-square waffle-maker).

Ingredients:

3 TBSP ground flax mixed in 6 TBSP hot water
2 C hemp, oat, or almond milk
2 tsp apple cider vinegar
8 TBSP Earth Balance vegan butter, melted; plus more for greasing
2 C AP (or 50:50 blend of white whole wheat and all-purpose)
1/4 C turbinado sugar
1 tsp baking soda
1.5 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp cinnamon
1/2 tsp salt
1 tsp vanilla or almond extract

Directions:

1. Mix together ground flax with 6 TBSP hot water; set aside. In another container, mix together hemp (oat) milk and apple cider vinegar; set aside.
2. Grease waffle iron with a small amount of melted butter, and heat. In a large bowl, sift or whisk together flour, sugar, baking soda, baking powder, cinnamon, and salt.
3. In a separate bowl, whisk together ground flax mixture, melted butter, milk and vinegar mixture, and extract. Pour into dry ingredients, and gently stir to combine – but a few lumps can remain, you just want it to mix until all is moistened.
4. Ladle the batter into the waffle iron and spread until almost to the edge. Close lid and cook for 5 or so minutes, until no steam emerges. Re-grease between batches with more melted butter. Trial and error will let you know how long to let it go for your preferred crispiness – I like mine crispy so I let the first batch go about 7 or 8 minutes (even though I had preheated fully), but the second set only needed to go 5 minutes. Don’t open the waffle maker before 5 minutes, otherwise you risk ripping the waffle in half top to bottom…

I dusted mine with powdered sugar, but I think I’m gonna have to start keeping some syrup on hand – I can see the waffles becoming the weekend breakfast for a while…sorry pancakes, I still love you!

waffles2

Happy Cooking!

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Kale is definitely not a traditional component of Indian cooking, but I think the strong flavors typical of curries balance out the kale nicely. I have anaheim peppers listed, but of course you have leave those out if you don’t like spicy food :(. This recipe makes quite a lot since the amounts are based on my using an entire head of cauliflower.

Ingredients:

2 TBS canola oilkalecurry1

1 medium onion

3 large cloves garlic

2 anaheim peppers (optional)

1 head cauliflower, chopped

1 bunch kale, chopped

3 C cooked chickpeas

1 jar tomato paste

1 tsp each: cumin seeds, coriander seeds, ground cumin, ground coriander, curry powder, chili powder

1 TBS salt

Instructions:

1. In large pan, heat oil over medium. Add onion. When onion begins to turn clear, add garlic, pepper, and cumin and coriander seeds.

2. When onion mixture has browned slightly, stir in tomato paste. Fill the tomato paste jar with water and stir it in by spoonfuls. Add spices.

3. Stir in kale and chickpeas. Let stew for 10 minutes, stirring occasionally.

4. Add cauliflower. Cook another 5-7 minutes, until cauliflower softens slightly.

5. Remove from heat. Enjoy with some potatoes or rice of choosing.

kalecurry2

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Kale

Kale seems to be one of those vegetables that scare people off, maybe because of its strong flavor or because it’s denser (and therefore chewier) than spinach, I don’t know. But I’d like to encourage everyone to give it a try. It’s chock full of beta carotene, vitamin A, vitamin K, vitamin C, lutein, zeaxanthin and calcium; and is known for its antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties (so it’d be great to pair with pasta if, like us, wheat makes you a little feverish). It is chewier than other greens, because it’s unusually high in fiber for a leaf. That has the benefit of making it very filling. Plus, I’m on a never ending quest to increase the number of plant species I consume, so if you’re new to kale, this can be another notch in the old cutting board for you. πŸ™‚

When choosing your kale, you want the leaves to be very crisp and dark green. Then:

1. Give each leaf a rinsing, and pat down with a towel to remove the excess water.

kale1

2. You’ll want to remove the thick vein in the middle of each leaf. Just pinch both sides of the leaf while pulling the vein away from the back.

kale2kale3

3. Especially if you’re new to kale, you’ll want to cut it into thin strips, so you don’t get overwhelmed.

kale54. More kale recipes will be forthcoming, but now give it a try in my Chickpea, Cauliflower and Kale Curry.


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Teatime: Apple-Berry Sun Tea

sliced applesWho wants another warm-weather recipe? Those of you Down-under perhaps – or even those in Texas?! Well, here’s a fruity sun tea that I concocted with fresh apples, frozen berries, and of course..tea (ok, dried flowers which can still be considered a ‘tea’)! It is inspired by the “Sunset Rouge” blend from my favorite Herb Store, Phoenix Herb Company. Don’t worry those of us still in the midst of winter, I’ll remind us all again once we hit the warm weather πŸ™‚

Ingredients:

1 TBSP dried Hibiscus
2 TBSP dried rose petals or budsapple-berry sun tea1
apple slices from one apple(1 Granny Smith or other tart apple, such as Pink Lady)
1/2 C frozen raspberries (or any berry of choice)
lemon peel or a couple wedges

Directions:

Place all ingredients in a 2L pitcher (glass preferable, but plastic is ok). Fill up to 2 L with cold water. Place in sun 2-4 hours…Strain and enjoy!

With the inclusion of the berries and the sweetness of the apple, I highly doubt that you’ll need to sweeten with nectar. Of course, we are all a bit different on our sweetness preference for tea πŸ™‚ …

apple-berry sun tea2

Happy Teatime!

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tostadas3Here’s a delicious meal that can be made within 5 minutes..ok, maybe 10. Tostadas were one of mine and Jo’s favorite things growing up. Of course, my toppings have expanded since childhood – as a kid, all I wanted was tomatoes. These can also be served alongside enchiladas (red or green) or any other mexican treat you like. I find 3 tostadas make for a nice and light, yet filling dinner. And because you top individually, you can cater to everyone’s tastes – or even those undecided voices in your own head (do I want tomatoes only or roasted corn salsa? why not both)!

Ingredients:

refried beans (either canned or homemade)
tostada shells (I use Bearito’s, but any will do)
salsa, for extra spice on top
any toppings you like, such as:
diced tomatoes
chopped baby spinach

lettuce
roasted corn
minced garlic
diced bell pepper (red or green – depending on your preference)
diced onions (red or yellow)

cilantro
you could even go fancy with some roasted tex-mex veg, or go make it easy on yourself if you have some already made roasted corn salsa (which is what I used) or pico de gallo

Directions:tostadas1

1. Heat refried beans in a small sauce pan over medium heat. Preheat oven to 350ΒΊF.
2. Meanwhile, chop veggies of choice – a dice is best. Spread warm beans on tostada shell. If using roasted corn salsa, top tostada with it. I pretty much top it with everything i want minus the tomatoes and spinach (since I like those to be chilled for a fresher taste).
3. Warm tostada in oven for about 3 minutes – until it all becomes one warm shell of goodness and the edges begin to slight brown (this won’t take long so keep a close eye).
4. Top with diced tomatoes and spinach, and Enjoy!

tostadas2

*Note: I didn’t have any spinach on hand when I took these photos, but I normally do add chopped spinach to my tostadas…

Happy Cooking!

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