Tuesday, February 22, 2011

Polenta Mexican Pie

This is another easy, tastey recipe. I made it for the first time tonight as an experiment and it was a hit with the adults in the house.

Polenta Mexican pie

Precooked sun dried polenta- sliced in rounds
1 15 oz. can black beans
1 tub chicken seiten
3 ounces black olives (half a 6oz. can)
Medium spiced salsa
1 large ripe avocado
Daiya "cheese" or shredded Follow Your Heart :cheese" (these are vegan cheese substitutes that do not contain casein)

Preheat oven to 400. Use a pyrex dish or a glass pie dish. Drain the liquid from the seiten and in a bowl toss white pepper, cumin and any other spices that you like in Mexican foods together to coat the seiten. Slice the polenta into rounds and place them on the bottom of the dish. Empty the beans into a colander and rinse. Top the polenta with the black beans and seiten. break up the olives into 2 pieces and place them on top of the setien. Sprinkle the "cheese" shreds and top them off with Salsa. Place the remaining polenta slices on top of everything and bake for 15 minutes then check to make sure the polenta is turning slightly brown. Add more cheese shreds if desired. Turn the oven down to 350 and set the oven to broil for 15 minutes. Take it out of the oven and let cool. Top with avocado slices. Serve
Now there are many variations for this recipe. Many things like mushrooms, corn, potatoes, garlic or cilantro could be added. The salsa could be added after it has cooked as it adds water to the dish. If you do this you will not need to cook it for 30 minutes and I would check it after 15 minutes because the polenta and beans are already cooked. Any type of bean can be used as well. The setien is chewing in texture and not everyone likes it. It is made from wheat gluten so if that is something you are trying to avoid just leave it out. Of course you could make guacamole to top it off instead of using avocado slices. Be creative! It is an easy dinner.

Saturday, February 19, 2011

Easy Asian Noodle Saute

I tried these new already cooked Japanese Udon noodles today in a saute and they were really tastey. This is a quick, easy lunch or dinner recipe that will feed three people.

1 package of precooked Udon noodles
chopped veggies of your choice. I used asparagus, red onion & mushrooms
shoyu or tamari (shoyu contains wheat)
2-3 cloves garlic, sliced
sesame oil
coconut oil

optional additions include sesame seeds, almond slivers or cashews, avocado slices, (after cooking is complete) chili pepper flakes

The precooked Udon noodles are found in the refrigerated section of most health food stores. The uncooked noodles are found in the ethnic foods isle in the stores. Both are yummy and the uncooked noodles cook up pretty fast.

In a frying pan over medium heat warm 2 or 3 spoons full coconut oil and about 1 cup water. Add the noodles and let steam for about 3 minutes. Add your chopped veggies and garlic slices. After about 5 minutes the noodles will be easy to separate with a fork and you can add some shoyu or tamari and sesame oil to taste. When the water is boiled away it is ready to serve. The coconut oil and sesame oil give a lovely flavor combined with the salty tamari or shoyu. If you choose to add the sesame seeds, nuts or avocado do so right before serving.
These noodles do seem to be carb heavy so adding tofu or another protein is a good idea.

adding the veggies and garlic raw is always an option. I did not do that today but will try it with my next version of this recipe so that so part of it is enzyme rich.

Friday, February 11, 2011


Just when I was giving a big sigh of relief that I managed through my first holidays as a widow February rolls into town. This month is a crazy one for me. It is my birthday month, the month that I almost died from a brain abscess, the month my father did die (on my birthday) I am not making that up and it is Valentine's Day. I should clarify my dad had cardiac arrest on my birthday and was placed on life support. Two days later the family chose to remove life support so the date of death is offically not my birthday but without life support he would not have made it those 2 days. My husband & I used to joke around that he got hit doubly hard this month with my birthday and Valentine's Day especially because they are within a day of each other. He always made it special, always. So this year I am in Portland and for the first time in 18 years have no true love to share these special days with. My friend Dana has reminded me a few times that anniversaries are for happy things. I know that she is right. I am trying to put a positive spin on this month. It is the month I was born and survived a near fatal illness. It is the month my daddy became free and it is a month full of fabulous, cherished memories of my husband. So this year because I can go to the ocean on my birthday that is exactly where I plan to go,weather permitting. I am looking forward to it. I will go to the beach and cape that Paul and I went to the first time we visited Portland. We got the gift of whale watching that day and, fingers crossed, I will spot one this year. On Valentine's Day I am having dinner with friends from my Sangha before going to meditation. Again I am so grateful for my spiritual family.
Life is....beautiful when you chose to wear the right glasses! Happy Valentine's day!!

Wednesday, February 9, 2011


Tea is one of my favorite things. I love tea like many people love coffee or beer. I believe in the relaxing, revitalizing & medicinal properties of teas. I am a bit of a tea snob sometimes. Relocating too Portland in so many ways has proved to be the right move for me and the many ways there are for me to indulge my tea dreams is one of those ways. The tea bowl pictured is the much talked about Japanese Matcha green tea. This is the green tea noted for its' anti-oxidants, essential vitamins and minerals. It comes in powdered form and is whisked with water to create a drink. It is used in traditional tea ceremonies. When you order a preprepared Matcha tea it comes in a tea bowl not a tea cup. It is fairly high in caffeine. Matcha is said to bring about mental concentration, composure of the mind and emotional stability. I am so fortunate to live in a city that boosts a fabulous teahouse/cafe called The Tao of Tea. You might have seen their teas on the shelves of health food stores or tea shops. If you are able to find Matcha powder in your city give it a try. It has a rich, oceanic flavor. It is also called Liquid Jade.
White teas are low in caffeine & high in antioxidants. They are the least processed of all the teas and usually have a light flavor.
Kukicha is twig tea (one of my favorites) it is low in caffeine and easy. It has an earthy flavor as one might imagine.
Green Kukicha is also low in caffeine and is not roasted.
Genmaicha is a blend of green tea and two variables of rice(usually brown rices to my knowledge) It is high in antioxidants
Tulsi teas are new to me and they boost a wide array of health benefits. Tulsi is a sacred plant in India referred to as the "elixir of life". In the west we know it as Holy Basil. It is commonly used in a Ayurvedic medicine. Often on the teas you will see different teas recommended for the different doshas. Tulsi has several phytochemicals, vitamin A, C Iron and Zinc. It is antiviral, antimicrobial and enhances the immune system. I tried my first pot of Tulsi tea Monday. It was Shanti and is my new favorite tea because it was earthy with a mix of spices that made it yummy and cooling. Shanti means peace within.
Yerba Mate is native to South America where it is used in tea ceremonies. Traditionally it is served in a hollowed out gourd and drunk with a metal straw( typically made of silver) called a bombilla. Mate does contain caffeine but regular drinkers report that they do not get the negative side effects of caffeine like jitters, inability to fall asleep, and diarrhea. Yet they do find it a stimulant. Mate is high in Potassium, Magnesium & Manganese.
Pu-er teas are black teas that are fermented, rather than oxidized, and then aged. They do contain caffeine and are said to offer health benefits like aiding in weight loss and protection from bacteria. They have a nice earthy flavor. Another favorite of mine.
In china what we call black teas they call red teas.
Herbal teas are referred to as tisanes which means herbal infusions and have the properties of the herbs used to make them. In general herbal teas are caffeine free.
This is the tip of the tea iceburg. There is so much more to learn about tea. Enjoy a cup or if you are like me, a pot because a single cup just won't do. Be adventurous and as always choose organically grown. There is a world of tea out there have fun exploring it. The Tao of Tea has a very informative website.

Saturday, February 5, 2011

2 great dipping sauces

I would love to call these recipes my own but I cannot. The Mock Peanut Sauce is from Jennifer Cornbleet's Raw Food Made Easy and the Raw Mango sauce is from Ann Gentry's Real Food Daily Cookbook. You do need a food processor to make these. I garlic serve these with spring rolls or raw lettuce wraps.

Mock Peanut Sauce
1/2 cup almond butter
1/4 cup water
1 tbs. fresh lemmon juice
2 tbs. Pure maple syrup
2 tbs. tamari or shoyu (I like shoyu)
1/2 tsp. garlic ( I use 1 clove)
1/4 tsp. ginger
dash of sea salt & cayenne pepper
Put it all in the food processor and pulse until smooth. Serve. It is so yummy!

Mango Sauce
This has a bite to it and it is easy to over do the ginger so be mindful of that. Also, if you make your own lemon & orange juices I suggest peeling them. I juiced them with the rind and it made the sauce a bit strong especially with the ginger.

6 pitted dates
3/4 cup coarsely chopped, pitted mango - about 1 mango (I used frozen )
1/4 cup chopped onion
1/4 cup lemon juice (about 2 lemons)
1/4 cup orange juice (about 1 orange)
1 1/2 tbs. shoyu
1 clove garlic
1/2 tsp. minced ginger
1/4 tsp. minced jalepeno ( I used more..I did not measure )
Put it all in the food processor and pulse until smooth. Serve.