More Vegetarian Recipes Part 8 (Thanks to my Wife)

Important note: I’ve been working for a few months on setting up a teleconference support group for those interested. I’ve finally been able to negotiate and it’s ready to go!  The idea is to have it weekly for 45 minutes to one hour. I could speak on a topic and then there would be time for questions and answers. If any interest, please e-mail me at fibro@drgenemartin.com and write support group in the description.

Vegetarian Recipes

I’m posting recipes I receive and ones my wife uses to show that it is possible to eat a very healthy diet and still have it taste even better than the commercial foods out their that are slowing poisoning us. My wife is an excellent cook and collects recipes!

BUTTERNUT SQUASH & SAGE RISOTTO: (No Gluten)

Serves 4

Ingredients:

2 tablespoons olive oil

1 cup leek, white part and 1 inch of green, finely chopped

1 garlic clove, minced

2 tablespoons fresh sage, chopped

1½ cups Arborio rice

2 cups butternut squash flesh, diced (¼ to ½ inch cubes)

4–5 cups low sodium vegetable broth, heated until hot

2 cups butternut squash flesh, finely diced

½ cup pine nuts

2 tablespoons salt and pepper sunflower seeds

4 tablespoons almond milk

Pinch of fresh ground nutmeg

Sea salt and fresh ground pepper to taste

1/4 cup freshly shredded Parmesan cheese* or rosemary orange pecans

Directions:

  1. In a food processor, combine the nuts, seeds, milk and nutmeg until smooth. Set aside.
  2. Heat the oil in a large saucepan over medium heat and sauté the leek, garlic and sage for about 5 minutes until golden.
  3. Add the rice and squash and sauté for 2 minutes until all of the rice grains are well coated in oil.
  4. Add 1 cup of stock and simmer, stirring until absorbed. Continue to add stock, ½ cup at a time, stirring frequently for about 20-25 minutes, until the rice is creamy.
  5. When there is only a small amount of liquid left in the risotto, stir in the nut mixture, salt and pepper. Continue to simmer until all the liquid is absorbed.
  6. Cover saucepan and let rest 2 minutes.
  7. Sprinkle with Parmesan cheese or nuts and serve immediately.

Broccoli-Basil Mac and Cheese

1 small butternut, acorn, or other winter squash, peeled, seeded and cut into tiny chunks

olive oil
1 bunch of basil, stems removed
2 slices good brown bread, stale or dried out in the oven
1/2 a small head of broccoli (100 g / 3.5 oz), roughly chopped
4 tablespoons creme fraiche or sour cream
~ 1 3/4 cups / 3.5 oz / 100 g grated white cheddar cheese
~ 1 3/4 cups / 3.5 oz / 100 g grated gruyere cheese
a large handful of (yellow) cherry tomatoes
3 cups / 300 g dried (whole wheat) macaroni elbows

Preheat your oven to 400F / 200C with a rack in the middle. Put a large pot of water on to boil.

Place the squash on a large baking sheet, drizzle with a bit of olive oil, sprinkle with salt and pepper, and bake for about 20-25 minutes, or until golden.

In the meantime, pulse half the basil, all of the bread, the broccoli and a lug of olive oil in a food processor until you’ve got a fine crumb. It’ll be a bit damp – that’s o.k. Transfer to a small bowl and give the processor a rinse.

In a separate bowl, combine the creme fraiche and grated cheeses.

Place the cherry tomatoes in the food processor with the remaining basil. Pulse a couple times to break things up, then add to the creme fraiche mixture and stir well.

Boil the pasta in well-salted water for a bit less time than the package suggests – you want it ever so slightly undercooked. Drain, reserving a big cup of the hot pasta water for later use. Return the hot pasta to the pan and add the cheese mixture to it. Add the squash and give it a good stir. Add pasta water to thin the sauce to the consistency of cream. It can be a bit runny as the pasta will soak it up in the oven.

Transfer everything to a large baking dish or casserole. Sprinkle the green breadcrumbs evenly across the top and bake for 20 -25 minutes or until the topping is crunchy. Remove from the oven, and wait 10 minutes before serving.

Serves 8 – 10.

Baked Quinoa Patties


2 1/2 cups / 12 oz /340 g cooked quinoa, at room temperature*
5 large eggs, lightly beaten
1/2 teaspoon fine-grain sea salt

1/3 cup/ .5 oz /15 g finely chopped fresh chives
1/3 cup /.5 oz /15 g finely chopped fresh dill
1 cup / 1.5 oz /45 g finely chopped kale
1 yellow or white onion, finely chopped
3 cloves garlic, finely chopped
1 teaspoon (toasted) cumin
1 teaspoons baking powder

1 cup / 3.5 oz /100 g whole grain bread crumbs, plus more if needed
water or a bit of flour, if needed

1/3 cup / .5 oz / 15 g crumbled feta

1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil or clarified butter

Preheat oven to 400F / 200C.

Combine the quinoa, eggs, and salt in a medium bowl. Stir in the chives, dill, kale, onion, garlic, and cumin. Stir well.

Add the baking powder and bread crumbs, stir, and let sit for a few minutes so the crumbs can absorb some of the moisture.

Gently stir in the feta.

At this point, you should have a mixture you can easily form into twelve 1-inch / 2.5cm thick patties. I err on the very moist side because it makes for a not-overly-dry patty, but you can add more bread crumbs, a bit at a time, to firm up the mixture, if need be. Conversely, a bit more beaten egg or water can be used to moisten the mixture. If you’re still having trouble getting the mixture to hold – mix in flour, a couple tablespoons at a time.

Oil a baking sheet, and arrange the patties with a bit of space between each. Bake for ~20 minutes, or until the bottoms are brown. Flip and bake for another 5 minutes.

Enjoy hot, or allow to cool to room temperature on a cooling rack.

Makes about a dozen patties.
*To cook quinoa: Combine 2 cups/ 12 oz/340 g of well-rinsed uncooked quinoa with 3 cups / 700 ml water and 1/2 teaspoon fine-grain sea salt in a medium saucepan. Bring to a boil, cover, decrease the heat, and simmer for 25 to 30 minutes, until the quinoa is tender and you can see the little quinoa curlicues.

**Alternately, you can cook the patties in a skillet. Here’s how – Heat the oil in a large, heavy skillet over medium-low heat, add 6 patties, if they’ll fit with some room between each, cover, and cook for 7 to 10 minutes, until the bottoms are deeply browned. Turn up the heat if there is no browning after 10 minutes and continue to cook until the patties are browned. Carefully flip the patties with a spatula and cook the second sides for 7 minutes, or until golden. Remove from the skillet and cool on a wire rack while you cook the remaining patties. Alternatively, the quinoa mixture keeps nicely in the refrigerator for a few days; you can cook patties to order, if you prefer.

Prep time: 10 min – Cook time: 25 min

Spiced Cauliflower with Sesame Seeds

Feel free to adjust the spiciness to your liking. And a suggestion for those of you averse to cilantro – try slivered basil instead.

1 1/2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil or clarified butter
1 teaspoon cumin seeds
2 medium yellow onions, finely sliced
a pinch of turmeric
fine grain sea salt

1 medium / 12 oz cauliflower, thinly sliced

4 dried red chiles, stemmed and halved
1-2 teaspoon sesame seeds, lightly toasted
1 garlic clove, grated

4 cm / 1 1/2-inch piece of fresh ginger, peeled and finely grated

1-2 green jalapeno chiles, seeds removed, finely chopped
2-3 tablespoons chopped fresh cilantro / coriander

Heat the oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat, add the cumin seeds and cook until they begin to crackle, just 30 seconds or so. Stir in the onions, along with the turmeric and a few pinches of salt. Cook, stirring often, until the onions caramelize a bit and turn lightly golden, roughly 7 – 10 minutes. Add the red chiles, sesame seeds, garlic, and half of the ginger. Continue to cook for another minute. Add the cauliflower and stir well. Cover the pan and cook the cauliflower over low-medium heat for 3 – 5 minutes, until just tender.

When the cauliflower is nearly cooked, remove the lid, increase the heat, and stir in the green chiles and remaining ginger. Salt to taste, sprinkle with cilantro and enjoy.

Shredded Brussels Sprouts & Apples

Feel free to leave out the tofu if you like – I add it to make this a one skillet meal.
I used the Wildwood Organics baked savory tofu here, it browns up nicely and holds its shape – though any extra-firm tofu will work. If you don’t feel like shredding the brussels sprouts, you could do a version of this recipes cutting them into quarters instead – a bit quicker as far as prepping the ingredients goes.

1 large, crisp apple, cut into bite-sized wedges
1 lemon, juice only

4 ounces extra-firm tofu cut into tiny-inch cubes (see photo)
a couple pinches of fine-grain sea salt
a couple splashes of olive oil
2 medium cloves garlic, minced
a scant tablespoon of maple syrup
1/3 cup pine nuts, toasted and chopped

12 ounces (3/4 pound). brussels sprouts, washed and cut into 1/8-inch wide ribbons

Soak the apples in a bowl filled with water and the juice of one lemon.

Cook the tofu in large hot skillet with a bit of salt and a splash of oil. Saute until golden, about 4 minutes. Stir in the garlic, wait a few seconds, now stir in the maple syrup, and cook another 30 seconds or so. Drain the apples, and add them to the skillet, cooking for another minute. Scrape the apple and tofu mixture out onto a plate and set aside while you cook the brussels sprouts.

In the same pan (no need to wash), add a touch more oil, another pinch of salt, and dial the heat up to medium-high. When the pan is nice and hot stir in the shredded brussels sprouts. Cook for 2 – 3 minutes, stirring a couple times (but not too often) until you get some golden bits, and the rest of the sprouts are bright and delicious.
Stir the apple mixture back into the skillet alongside the brussels sprouts 1/2 of the pine nuts – gently stir to combine. Remove from heat and enjoy immediately sprinkled with the remaining pine nuts. This isn’t a dish you want sitting around, the flavors change dramatically after ten minutes or so, and I think that is part of the reason brussels sprouts get a bad rap. Even I don’t like them after they’ve been sitting around.

Serves 2 – 3 as a main, 4 as a side.

Carrot Oatmeal Cookie Recipe

After your initial batch experiment with the type of nuts/seeds you use. Lemon zest, clarified butter, and olive oil might be ingredients to play around with as well

1 cup whole wheat pastry flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
scant 1/2 teaspoon fine grain sea salt
1 cup rolled oats
2/3 cup chopped walnuts
1 cup shredded carrots
1/2 cup real maple syrup, room temperature
1/2 cup unrefined (fragrant) coconut oil, warmed until just melted
1 teaspoon grated fresh ginger

Preheat oven to 375F degrees and line two baking sheets with parchment paper.

In a large bowl whisk together the flour, baking powder, salt, and oats. Add the nuts and carrots. In a separate smaller bowl use a whisk to combine the maple syrup, coconut oil, and ginger. Add this to the flour mixture and stir until just combined.

Drop onto prepared baking sheets, one level tablespoonful at a time, leaving about 2 inches between each cookie. Bake in the top 1/3 of the oven for 10 – 12 minutes or until the cookies are golden on top and bottom.

Makes about 2 1/2 dozen cookies.

Chocolate Puddle Cookies

I’ve used both 365 organic powdered sugar from Whole Foods, and Hain organic powdered sugar with success. I prefer to use non-alkalized cocoa powder (Scharrfen Berger or Dagoba) but also tested with Droste, which is a Dutch-process cocoa powder. All with success. On the nut front, be mindful of how you toast your walnuts – it’s the single factor that impacts the personality of these cookies most. Using deeply toasted walnuts makes for a much more intense, nutty cookie. Lightly toasted walnuts can sometimes be mistaken for chocolate chips, and make for a much more mild cookie. Both good! Also, cooking time – you don’t want to over or under bake here – over bake, and your cookies will cool too a crisp, under bake, and they are too floppy and crumbly. Also, underbaking makes it more difficult to remove the cookies from the parchment paper after baking – you get the swing of it after a batch or two. Use large eggs, I suspect if you use extra-large, the batter will run, and you’ll have to compensate with more powdered sugar.

3 cups / 11 oz / 310 g walnut halves, toasted & cooled
4 cups / 1 lb / 453 g confectioner’s (powdered) sugar

1/2 cup plus 3 tablespoons / 2 oz / 60 g unsweetened cocoa powder

scant 1/2 teaspoon fine grain sea salt
4 large egg whites, room temperature
1 tablespoon real, good-quality vanilla extract

Preheat oven to 320F / 160C degrees and position racks in the top and bottom third. Line three (preferably rimmed) baking sheets with parchment paper. Or you can bake in batches with fewer pans.

Make sure your walnuts have cooled a bit, then chop coarsely and set aside. Sift together the confectioner’s sugar, cocoa powder, and sea salt. Stir in the walnuts, then add the egg whites and vanilla. Stir until well combined.

Spoon the batter onto the prepared sheets in mounds of about 2 tablespoons each, allowing for PLENTY of room between cookies. These cookies are like reverse Shrinky Dinks – they really expand. Don’t try to get more than 6 cookies on each sheet, and try to avoid placing the batter too close to the edge of the pan.

Bake until they puff up. The tops should get glossy, and then crack a bit – about 12 -15 minutes. Have faith, they look sad at first, then really blossom. You may want to rotate the pans top/bottom/back/front.

Slide the cookies still on parchment onto a cooling rack, and let them cool completely. They will keep in an airtight for a couple days.

Makes 18 large cookies.

Prep time: 20 min – Cook time: 15 min

What Are Heck Are Minerals?

Note: Before the Blog! Fibro Support Group Via Teleconference Info

Please note: I’ve been working for a few months on setting up a teleconference support group for those interested. I’ve finally been able to negotiate a very inexpensive price. (The main reason the negotiations took so long) The idea is to have it weekly for 45 minutes to one hour. I could speak on a topic and then there would be time for questions and answers. If any interest, please e-mail me at fibro@drgenemartin.com and write support group in the description.

Minerals:

First a definition: Minerals are inorganic elements that originate in the earth and cannot be made in the body. They play important roles in various bodily functions and are necessary to sustain life and maintain optimal health, and thus are essential nutrients.

Part of the chemical fuel in food that helps keep our bodies healthy are called food minerals, even though you are not actually eating bits of rocks. You are eating just chemicals that contain traces of elements. They are also called dietary minerals or mineral supplements. Minerals perform vital functions in the body.

Food minerals can be found in all of the amounts you need to stay healthy if you eat a balanced and varied diet, including a lot of fresh fruit, vegetables and protein sources like meat or beans. Unfortunately, in today’s age of processed foods, many if not most of the minerals are just not in our foods anymore. Therefore your diet is not as balanced as you need and taking a mineral supplement is more than likely necessary. Some people have bodies that have trouble absorbing some kinds of food minerals, such as iron, and have to take supplements of that mineral.

Foods that contain the Essential Minerals and their Importance:

Calcium

Calcium is important for building strong bones and teeth. Shortage of calcium, especially in children, can lead to weak bones.

Almonds, figs, beans, carrots, pecans, raisins, brown rice, apricots, garlic, dates, spinach, sesame seeds, Brazil nuts, cashews, papaya, avocados, celery.

Chromium

This works with insulin to metabolize glucose.

Brewers yeast, clams, cheese, corn oil, whole grains.

Copper

It is a component of many enzymes. Copper is essential for making red blood cells, skin pigments, some tissues and nerve fibers. It helps in the absorption of iron in the body.

Soy beans, Brazil nuts, bone meal, raisins, legumes, sea-foods, black strap molasses.

Iodine

The body needs small amounts of Iodine. This trace mineral is required in the thyroid gland to produce a hormone called thyroxin. A shortage of iodine can cause all kinds of health problems, for example goiter (a swelling in the neck due to an enlarged thyroid gland), extreme fatigue, and mental slowing.

Kelp, dulse, beets, celery, lettuce, Irish moss, grapes, mushrooms, oranges.

 Iron 

Iron is important for the blood. The blood contains red blood cells. In these red blood cells is a substance called hemoglobin, which is needed to transport oxygen from the lungs to the rest of the body. If the body has not enough iron you become anemic; you become weak, pale and listless, and your are short of energy.

Kelp, raisins, figs, beets, soy beans, bananas, asparagus, carrots, cucumbers, sunflower seeds, parsley, grapes, watercress.

Magnesium

There is about 28 mg of magnesium in the body. More than half of it is stored in the bones and the rest circulates in the blood or is stored in muscle tissues. It is needed for bone building and proper functioning of muscles

Honey, almonds, tuna, kelp, pineapple, pecans, green vegetables.

Manganese

This is a component of many enzymes and is needed for good metabolism, for the growth of bones and tendon formation.

Celery, bananas, beets, egg yolks, bran, walnuts, pineapples, asparagus, whole grains, leafy green vegetables.

Phosphorus

The role of phosphorus is similar to that of calcium. In fact, it works along with calcium in developing strong bones and teeth. Like calcium, it is absorbed only with the presence of vitamin D. Another important function of phosphorus is that without it, vitamin B cannot be absorbed by the body.

Mushrooms, cashews, oats, beans, squash, pecans, carrots, almonds.

 Potassium

The body needs Potassium or proper functioning of muscles and the nervous system (brains and nerves). It also plays a role in the water balance in the body

Spinach, apples, tomatoes, strawberries, bananas, lemons, figs, celery, mushrooms, oranges, papaya, pecans, raisins, pineapple, rice, cucumbers, Brussels sprouts.

Sodium

Sodium works with potassium to regulate fluid balance and promotes muscle function. But excess sodium is a major health hazard. Common salt is a major source of sodium.

Turnips, raw milk, cheese, wheat germ, cucumbers, beets, string beans, seafoods, lima beans, okra, pumpkins.

 Sulfur

Sulfur is an integral part of the biological cement that forms skin, hair, nails, and the cartilage that shapes your nose and pads your joints.

Bran, cheese, eggs, cauliflower, nuts, onions, broccoli, fish, wheat germ, cucumbers, turnips, corn.

 Zinc

Zinc plays an important role in the immune system of the body. It helps the body to protect against diseases and infections, and it is needed or healing wounds. Zinc is also needed or proper cell

Mushrooms, seafood, soy beans, sunflower seeds, brewers yeast.

So what happens if you are lacking the essential minerals?

Calcium – Lack of calcium weakens bones and teeth, and causes osteoporosis.

Phosphorus – Lack of phosphorus causes weakening of the bones and teeth, and loss of weight.

Potassium – The deficiency of potassium may cause weakness of the muscles, even paralysis. It may also cause brittleness of the bones, sterility and heart ailments.

Sulphur – Some metabolic processes in the body are hindered by a deficiency of sulfur.

Iodine – Lack of iodine impairs the function of the thyroid gland, resulting in goiter.

Magnesium – Bones, teeth and muscles weaken due to the deficiency of magnesium. Insufficient supply of magnesium may even give rise to heart ailments.

Chlorine – Bones weaken and joints stiffen if there is a deficiency of chlorine.

Sodium – Lack of sodium can cause headache, nausea, slower development of the body, and disorders of the muscles.

Iron – Anemia is the principal symptom of iron deficiency.

In summary, unfortunately we can no longer count on our food to provide the minerals we need due to food processing, agricultural techniques and chemicals in our foods which deplete vitamins and minerals. There, it is a good idea for everybody, people with Fibromyalgia and people without Fibromyalgia to take a mineral supplement daily.

Be aware that not all supplements are created equal, therefore it is important to choose high quality products. This can usually be found in better health food stores or Vitamin stores. Don’t buy according to how inexpensive the product might be, buy quality, after all, it is your health we are talking about.

What is Codex Alimentarius (This is very important to read!)

I bet you’ve never heard of Codex Alimentarius, most people haven’t.

The Codex Alimentarius (Latin for “Book of Food”) is a collection of internationally recognized standards, codes of practice, guidelines and other recommendations relating to foods, food production and food safety. It was established in 1963 by the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO) and the World Health Organization (WHO). The Commission’s main aims are stated as being to protect the health of consumers and ensure fair practices in the international food trade. The Codex Alimentarius is recognized by the World Trade Organization as an international reference point for the resolution of disputes concerning food safety and consumer protection.

It is basically concerned with:

  • Food Labeling (general standard, guidelines on nutrition labeling, guidelines on labeling claims)
  • Food additives (general standard including authorized uses, specifications for food grade chemicals)
  • Contaminants in foods (general standard, tolerances for specific contaminants .
  • Pesticide and veterinary chemical residues in foods (maximum residue limits)
  • Risk assessment procedures for determining the safety of foods derived from biotechnology (DNA-modified plants, DNA-modified micro-organisms, allergens)
  • Food hygiene (general principles, codes of hygienic practice in specific industries or food handling establishments, guidelines for the use of the Hazard Analysis and Critical Control Point or “HACCP” system)
  • Methods of analysis and sampling

It oversees:

  • Meat products (fresh, frozen, processed meats and poultry)
  • Fish and Fishery products (marine, fresh water and aquaculture)
  • Milk and milk products
  • Foods for special dietary uses (including infant formula and baby foods
  • Fresh and processed vegetables, fruits and fruit juices
  • Cereals and derived products, dried legumes
  • Fats, oils and derived products such as margarine
  • Miscellaneous food products (chocolate, sugary, honey and bottled water.)

Now, on the surface this sounds like important work done by an important agency whose goal is our health, but lets look a little closer at the story.

According to many of the consumer protection groups, the Codex Alimentarius has “codified policies designed to serve the interest of global agribusiness above all others, while actively undermining the rights of farmers and consumers”.

One of the main causes of concern is that the Codex Alimentarius is recognized by the World Trade Organizations an international reference standard for the resolution of disputes concerning food safety and consumer protection however there are no requirements to base their recommendations on scientific studies. For example:

In 1996 the German delegation put forward a proposal that no herb, vitamin or mineral should be sold for preventive or therapeutic reasons, and that supplements should be reclassified as drugs.This proposal was agreed upon but world protests halted it’s implementation. If it had been put in place, you would need a doctors prescription to purchase Vitamins, Minerals and Herbs. Imagine needing a prescription to purchase Peppermint Tea?

So lets look at the situation, at least how it appears in the U.S. and lets see if Codex is doing their job, or at least what they claim their mission to be.

1     Fast Food restaurants are on just about every block in the U.S. cities. We know that these foods being sold are high in fat and salt, low in nutrients and filled with additives, preservatives and other chemicals designed to make the food look attractive.

2    Most food sold in our supermarkets are processed and filled with such dangerous chemicals as ethylene glycol (anti-freeze) among others, MSG, High Fructose Corn Syrup on and on.

3     A majority of certain produce is being genetically engineered, yet this practice not only is illegal in many European countries, but the longer term side effects are unknown.

4    Our drinking water is becoming more and more polluted. for example, when we are told that one part per million of cyanide is acceptable, there obviously is something wrong.

5    Plastics and other materials which are toxic are leaching into the ground water, of which we are drinking.

6    The increase in prescription drugs used has doubled over the past number of years and continues to rise as more and more advertising is done on television, newspapers and other media. The number of deaths per year from this is hotly debated, but the fact is that it is very high.

7     The increase in obesity, diabetes and a plethora of other (lifestyle related illnesses) have gone through the roof. Children are actually developing adult onset diabetes, and doctors want to  start all children of a certain age on cholesterol lowering drugs.

The fact is that I can go on and on, but apparently Codex is not doing their job very well. Many point to the fact that today Codex is made up of the heads of pharmaceutical cartels, giant agricultural concerns and chemical companies. their motive is, of course, profit as well as keeping us sick. Why would they want to keep us sick, billions of dollars in drug sales.

Part of the problem lies with us, in our fast paced 21st century life. We want things immediately, such gadgets as cell phones, (made with non recyclable materials which wind up in land fill) instant foods (instead of eating foods grown locally and in season), the inability or unwillingness to take the responsibility to read and educate ourselves on what is going on around us. (It is estimated that the majority of adults in the United States read 1 book per year) and the fact that the majority of us sit in front of the television for hours a day watching not only silly programs but being bombarded with advertising for the above things which are just not good for us. (Cigarettes have been banned on television in the U.S. for decades, yet Ronald McDonald can prance around sending the message to children that they need to go to a fast food restaurant to eat. To top it off, gifts are advertised, such as happy meals to start the children on these bad habits at an early age).

The rest of the blame goes to our government agencies which are easily paid off by these huge conglomerates (through lobbying) to push their products on the non-suspecting public. A business is entirely entitled to make a profit (which is what business is about), however do they have the right to do this at the expense of our health and the health of the future generations as well as the planet?

You be the judge.

Dr. Gene

An important announcement:

Please note: I’ve been working for a few months on setting up a teleconference support fibro group for those interested. I’ve finally been able to negotiate a very cheap monthly price. (the main reason the negotiations took so long) The idea is to have it weekly for 45 minutes to one hour. I could speak on a topic and then there would be time for questions and answers. If any interest, please e-mail me at fibro@drgenemartin.com and write support group in the description.

Vegetarian Recipes Part 8 (Thanks to my wife)

Before the blog entry, an announcement!

Please note: I’ve been working for a few months on setting up a teleconference support fibro group for those interested. I’ve finally been able to negotiate a very cheap monthly price. (the main reason the negotiations took so long) The idea is to have it weekly for 45 minutes to one hour. I could speak on a topic and then there would be time for questions and answers. If any interest, please e-mail me at fibro@drgenemartin.com and write support group in the description.

Now, Today’s Blog!

More Vegetarian recipes as I receive so many e-mails requests weekly.
Fruit Salad with Custard Powder
Fruit Salad Ingredients:
  • Banana – 4-5
  • Apple – 2
  • Mango – 1 (Seasonal Fruit and hence optional)
  • Sapota/Sapodilla (Chikku) – 2
  • Pomegranate Seeds – 1/2 Cup
  • Cashew nuts – 8-9
  • Raisins (Kishmish) – 10
  • Milk – 1/2 litre or 17 ounces or 2 cups
  • Sugar – 1 and 1/4 Cup
  • Vanilla flavour Custard Powder – 2 Tbsp

Time to Prepare: 20 min

How to Make Fruit Salad using Custard Powder:

1. Cut all the fruits listed – Mango, Banana, Apple, Sapota into small pieces and transfer to a bowl. Peal off Pomegranate, extract seeds and transfer them to the fruit bowl along with Cashew Nuts and Raisins. Sprinkle 1 tsp of Sugar immediately onto this fruit bowl and mix well with the fruits. Mixing with Sugar helps prevent the change of color you see in the cut fruits like Banana and Apple; maintains the fresh look of freshly cut fruits. Keep in refrigerator for about 30 minutes.

2. Take Vanilla flavored Custard Powder in a small bowl. Add 2 Tbsp of boiled and then cooled Milk, mix well with spoon the paste formed without allowing lumps to be formed. Keep aside.

3. Boil the remaining Milk in a vessel. Add Sugar to the boiling Milk and stir continuously until the Sugar dissolves completely.

4. Now add the Vanilla flavored Custard paste from Step 2 to the boiling Milk and stir for 5 minutes until the whole mixture turns thick. Remove from the flame. Make sure you leave the mixture to cool for 10-15 minutes.

5. Now add the fruits mixture from Step 1 to the Custard paste and mix well.

Fruit Salad using Custard Powder is now ready. If needed, keep this mixture in refrigerator for 30 minutes and serve the Fruit Salad chilled.

ONION PIE

5 to 6 medium onions, a mix of red and sweet onions

3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil

2 to 3 sprigs thyme

1/2 teaspoon plus

1/4 teaspoon fine sea salt

Freshly ground black pepper

1 cup all-purpose flour, plus more for the work surface

1 cup whole-wheat flour

1 generous teaspoon baking powder

5 tablespoons chilled unsalted butter

Scant 1/3 cup whole or low-fat milk

Heat the oven to 425 degrees.

Cut the onions into medium dice to yield about 8 cups.

Heat the oil in a medium (9- or 10-inch) ovenproof skillet over medium-high heat until the oil just begins to shimmer; a seasoned cast-iron skillet or enamel-coated pan works well.

Add the onions and the leaves from the thyme sprigs (to taste), stirring to coat. Cook for 8 minutes, stirring fairly often, until the onions have softened and some of them are lightly browned. Season with the 1/2 teaspoon of salt and the pepper to taste. Remove from the heat.

While the onions are cooking, whisk together the flours, baking powder and the remaining 1/4 teaspoon of salt in a large mixing bowl. Cut the butter into small pieces and use your fingers or a pastry cutter to quickly work the butter into the dry ingredients, creating crumbs that are no larger than pea size.

African Peanut Potato Stew

Servings: 6-8

1 onion, chopped
2 jalapenos, seeded and finely chopped (optional)
2 teaspoons minced fresh ginger
1 teaspoon minced fresh garlic
2 teaspoons ground cumin
1/2 tsp. salt (optional)
1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/8 teaspoon crushed red pepper
1/4 teaspoon ground coriander
2 1/4 pounds sweet potatoes, peeled and cut into 1 1/2-inch chunks
2 14.5 ounce cans chopped tomatoes
2 14.5 ounce cans chickpeas, drained and rinsed
1 pound green beans, cut in 1 inch pieces (fresh or frozen)
1 ½ cups vegetable broth
¼ cup natural peanut butter

1. In 6-quart pressure cooker, heat over medium heat until hot. Add onion, jalapenos, and 2 tbsp. water and cook about 8 minutes or until tender, stirring occasionally and adding water if needed. Stir in ginger, garlic, cumin, salt, cinnamon, crushed red pepper, and coriander, and cook 1 minute, stirring.

2. To onion mixture in pressure cooker, add tomatoes with their juice, sweet-potato chunks, chickpeas, broth, and peanut butter. Following manufacturer’s directions, cover pressure cooker, bring up to pressure, and cook under pressure 5 minutes. Quick-release pressure as manufacturer directs.

3. Add green beans to pressure cooker. Return to heat and cook, covered, until beans are done, about 10 minutes. Or, return cooker to high pressure and cook for one minute. Quick-release pressure and add additional seasoning as needed.

Regular stove-top directions:

Place 1/3 cup water, onion, jalapenos, ginger and garlic in a large pot. Cook, stirring occasionally for 5 minutes. Add cumin, cinnamon, salt, red pepper and coriander. Cook and stir for 1 minute. Add sweet potatoes, tomatoes, chickpeas, green beans, vegetable broth, and peanut butter. Bring to a boil, reduce heat and simmer for 30 minutes, or until potatoes are tender.

Baba Ghanouj

  • 1 med. eggplant, about 1 1/2 pounds
  • 1 tsp. salt (optional)
  • 2 cloves garlic
  • 1/4 cup lemon juice
  • 1-3 tablespoons tahini (use less to reduce fat)*
  • 1/4 tsp. ground cumin

Place eggplant on a baking sheet and bake in a 375°F oven for about 45 minutes or until tender.  Or, cook over an open flame, turning frequently until charred outside and soft inside.  When eggplant is cool enough, peel it and set aside.

Peel the garlic and, with food processor running, drop it into the processor and process until finely chopped.  Add the eggplant, lemon juice, and tahini, and process until it forms a smooth paste.

Pour into a serving bowl, sprinkle cumin over the surface, and let stand for 30 minutes to allow the flavor to develop.  Serve as a dip for pita bread, vegetables, or crackers.

You can sometimes reduce this to 1 tbsp. tahini and used a couple of tbsp. of soy yogurt for a lighter, creamier version.

Apple-Zucchini Salad

  • 3 medium zucchini, washed, shredded
  • 2 crisp apples, washed, cored, diced
  • 1/3 cup golden raisins or dried cranberries
  • Fresh lime juice from 1 large lime
  • Drizzle of brown rice syrup, to taste
  • Pinch of ground cumin, to taste
  • Pinch of curry powder, to taste
  • Pinch of cinnamon, to taste
  • Fresh mesclun greens for serving

In a bowl combine the zucchini, apples, raisins, lime juice, brown rice syrup, and spices. Toss well. Taste for seasoning adjustments.

Serve on mesclun spring greens as a refreshing side dish.

Optional garnish: Pumpkin seeds

Thick Tex-Mex Chili

I love thick, hearty chili in cold weather.  It’s always so satisfying and filling, so it makes a great comfort food…especially when served my favorite way:  over warm grits!

1 Onion, diced
5 cloves Garlic, minced
1 Green Bell Pepper, diced
1 T. Jalapeno, minced with seeds
3 c. Diced Tomatoes
1 ½ c. cooked Kidney Beans
1 ½ c. cooked Pinto Beans
1 ½ c. Frozen Corn
2 t. ground Cumin
1 t. Chili Powder
½-1 t. Salt
½ t. Black Pepper
½ t. Cinnamon
1 pkg Soy Crumbles (optional)
1 c. Water or Vegetable Broth

1. In a 5qt saucepan, sauté onions, garlic and jalapeno over medium heat for 5 minutes. Add bell pepper and continue cooking for 5 more minutes.
2. Add all remaining ingredients, except soy crumbles, and bring to a boil. Cover, reduce heat to simmer and cook for 20 minutes.
3. Add soy crumbles and cook for 5 minutes, until warmed through.
4. Serve plain, or on top of brown rice or grits!

Makes 12 cups.

Mock Turkey Slices and Dressing

1 lb firm or extra-firm Tofu, frozen & thawed & gently pressed dry
1 quart water
1/4 cup vegan ‘chicken’ bouillon powder
1 Tbs vegan ‘beef’ bouillon powder
1 tsp sugar or Sucanat
1/2 tsp celery seed
Vegan ‘chicken’ broth (reserved from cooking Tofu)
Additional broth as needed
1 bag stuffing mix

Slice Tofu into 1/4-inch slices.

Put water, bouillons, sugar, and celery seed in a pot.
Bring to boil.
Add Tofu.
Turn down to simmer.
Simmer for 30 minutes.

Drain Tofu, reserving broth.

Prepare stuffing, using reserved broth and additional broth as needed.
Put stuffing into a baking pan.
Top stuffing with Tofu slices.
Baste with a little broth.
Cover with foil, and bake 30 minutes at 350 F.

Uncover and bake 5 minutes to brown Tofu (if desired).
Serve with gravy and fruit sauce.

Creamy vegetable Wild Rice Soup

1 white onion, chopped
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 stalk celery, chopped
2 heads cauliflower, chopped into 1″ pieces
Water to cover vegetables
1 1/2 c. cooked wild rice
4 carrots, chopped
4 stalks celery, chopped
1-2 cups broccoli, chopped
2 vegetable bouillon cubes
1 t. thyme
Black pepper to taste

In soup pot, add onion, garlic and 1 stalk celery (chopped) with a little water to saute’. When onion is translucent, add cauliflower pieces and water to cover. Add vegetable bouillon and thyme and bring to boil. Simmer until cauliflower is tender.

While cauliflower is simmering, steam carrots, celery and broccoli in a separate pot or in microwave.

Once cauliflower is tender, use immersible blender or pour soup in batches into a regular blender. Blend until creamy and put back in soup pot to simmer. Add steamed vegetables and rice to the creamed soup. Add black pepper to taste.

The Health Freedom Movement

Note that this article is taken from many different sources.

The term “health freedom movement” is used to describe a loose coalition of organizations, consumers, activists, alternative medicine practitioners and producers of products around the world who are campaigning for unhindered freedom of choice in health care.

The major tenets are:

1. Access to natural healing modalities, including supplements, herbs and organic food, is under threat.

Unfortunately, it seems that conflicts of interest abound in the very government agencies that are supposed to be looking out for your health. The FDA and the USDA are known to be revolving doors for Big pharmaceutical and big agricultural executives. You constantly hear about someone whose tenure with the FDA is up and accepts a very lucrative job with a large Pharmaceutical company

Furthermore, the big pharmaceutical companies, who view natural products as a direct threat to their profits, and Agricultural giants like Monsanto, are widely considered to be the driving forces behind something called Codex Alimentarius.

The controversy over the Codex Alimentarius relates to the fact that it is a mandatory standard  for the safety of food, including vitamin and mineral supplements and other ways of approaching health. In theory this sounds good, except that firstly, they are not bound to base their recommendations by scientific facts and research and secondly that there have been too many conflicts of interest between it’s members who many times are executives of large pharmaceutical and chemical companies and actual facts regarding health. Proponents of the Health Freedom Movement argue that Codex really does not take into account  scientific studies as evidence of food safety and consumer protection. For many, Codex is simply a way of controlling what you eat, what vitamins you can and cannot take etc. (unfortunately, there seems to be truth to this statement).

2. Government censorship of scientific information

Perhaps even more troubling, is the fact that the government currently has the power to effectively censor information about natural healing modalities. As it stands, it’s illegal for a grower, manufacturer, distributor or retailer to reference valid research concerning the health benefits associated with a food or supplement. Referencing such research converts the food or supplement into an “unapproved drug” in the eyes of the FDA.

 According to the Alliance for Natural Health, putting an end to government censorship of scientific information as it relates to the effects of foods and supplements on health would empower consumers to make informed decisions about their health. The long-term results of these legislative changes would be a healthier population and dramatically reduced health care costs for both individuals and for the government.

3. Lack of health care coverage for natural medicine

The whole health care debate is generally very frustrating for those  who believe in the healing powers of natural medicine. On a personal level, what’s frustrating is that many of the tools we use to stay healthy — and the practitioners  sought out for support — are not even considered part of the U.S. health care system, as they’re generally not covered by insurance providers. Shouldn’t all Americans have equal access to natural healing modalities and holistically minded health care practitioners, along with conventional treatments and practitioners?

4. Our health care system needs to shift its focus to prevention.

The ongoing debate over access and payment seem irrelevant when it’s apparent that our health care (or “sick care,” as many refer to it) system, as it stands, is fundamentally ineffective. Until the system itself moves toward a more prevention-oriented model, the exorbitant costs associated with health care will always be unmanageable.

Recent statistics indicate that our health care system is failing us. Life expectancy in the U.S.behind that of other high-income nations. Additional, studies have shown that the young 20’s and 30’s generation will be the first in recorded history not to live as long as their parents. Generally, children are supposed to live a longer span to to better food, sanitation etc, but this trend is now reversing.It is argued that people are victims of their own. own prosperity. Rates of obesity, diabetes and heart disease — all conditions that are considered largely preventable — are rapidly rising. In fact, some say that 90% of all illness are lifestyle caused. What we need is change — a widespread awakening to the reality of the “sick care” system and people learning how to use diet, lifestyle changes and other natural means of healing. It is believed that the government is barely doing anything to help facilitate this change, rather, due to lobbyists and large money interests, the governments are just putting even more money into supporting a pharmaceutical industry that is fundamentally flawed and only profit based. You just have to turn on the television and every other ad is for a medication with the final words of “see you doctor and ask if this med is right for you. People are than almost demanding that their doctors are prescribing these meds as the patients have seen how “so called” miraculous these meds are by the slick “Madison Avenue” advertising they are exposed to.

5. Pharmaceutical dangers

Drug safety is a growing concern in this country. Reports of adverse drug reactions have skyrocketed in recent years, resulting in the deaths of an estimated 20,000 Americans last year alone. There are many who believe that this number may be even higher, due to selective misreporting the causes of death. A study released in 2007 showed that reports of serious adverse drug events more than doubled between 1998 and 2005, and these disturbing numbers continue to grow, as physicians write more and more prescriptions. Too often, the physicians knowledge of a new med comes only from the pharmaceutical representatives making their visits to doctors offices. Furthermore, it is estimated that any Doctor with a DEA license (one who who can prescribe drugs) receives on average, at least two visits from a rep per week. On the other hand, zero deaths have been attributed to dietary supplements in 2009? . Not a one. Yet, it’s dietary supplements that are constantly under attack for their “dangers”.

So, what are your thoughts, especially for those of you on that never ending Fibromyalgia Merry-go-round!

Vitamins Part 2

In the last post about vitamins, we spoke about what they were and tried to clear up some of the false info perpetrated by others.

Firstly, here is a list of the Vitamins and what they do in your body. I’ve also included what foods these vitamins can be gotten from.

* Vitamin A

Vitamin A helps to regulate cell development, promote bone and teeth development, and boost the body’s immune system. It is needed particularly for good vision and healthy skin. It also improves the body’s healing ability. Vitamin A can be found in liver, kidneys, butter, eggs, fish oils, and the beta-carotene of green and yellow fruit and vegetables.

* Vitamin B1

Vitamin B1 is necessary for converting blood sugar into energy, keeping the nervous system healthy and promoting growth. It can be obtained from wheat germ, peanuts, sunflower seeds, beans, pork, cereals and peas.

* Vitamin B2

Vitamin B2 helps the body to produce energy. It is particularly important during the stage of growth and development as it helps to keep the mucous membranes healthy and protect the nervous system, eyes and skin. Vitamin B2 is mainly found in milk, cheese, yogurt, green leafy vegetables, liver, kidneys, chicken and bread.

* Vitamin B3 Vitamin B3 is essential in keeping the skin, nerve system and digestive system healthy. It also helps to release energy from the food we eat and aids in lowering the blood levels of cholesterol and triglycerides. The dietary sources of vitamin B3 include lean meats, poultry, fish, avocados, peanuts and sunflower seeds.

* Vitamin B5

Vitamin B5 aids the body fight infections, heal wounds and build cells. It helps to strengthen the body’s immune system. Vitamin B5 is mainly found in liver, kidneys, fish, eggs and whole-grain products.

* Vitamin B6 Vitamin B6 has an important function in the production of cells. This vitamin helps to maintain the health of the nervous and immune systems. It is instrumental in maintaining leucocytes (white blood cells), which produce antibodies. Apart from these, it enables the body to resist stress and helps maintain the proper chemical balance in the body’s fluids. The dietary sources of Vitamin B6 include meat, eggs, cabbage, melon, molasses, yeast, avocados, carrots, bananas, fish, rice, soybeans and whole grains.

* Vitamin B12 Vitamin B12 aids in growth and cell development, particularly in the production of erythrocytes (red blood cells). It also enables the body to process carbohydrates and fats. Helping the nervous system to function properly, it improves memory and concentration. It also helps the body process deoxyribonucleic acid (DNA). Vitamin B12 can be obtained from fish, dairy products, pork, beef, lamb and eggs.

* Vitamin C

Vitamin C is required for healthy skin, bones, and muscles. It plays an important role in the manufacture of collagen, which is the connective tissue that holds bones together. Vitamin C also helps to protect the body from viruses and allergies. Besides, it lowers the level of cholesterol and aids the absorption of iron. Being an important antioxidant, it protects the body from free radicals and helps repair damaged tissue. Furthermore, it aids in the production of hemoglobin and red blood cells, accelerates wound healing and maintains the health of gums and teeth. Vitamin C can be found in fresh fruits, berries, tomatoes, broccoli, green peppers, vegetables and potatoes.

* Vitamin D

Vitamin D is important for the growth and development of strong bones and teeth. It assists in the absorption of calcium. A vitamin D deficiency can result in rickets, which is a disease characterized by the softening of bones. Vitamin D can be obtained from milk products, eggs, herring, salmon, sardines and fish oil. Sun exposure is a source of vitamin D. Ultraviolet rays from the sunlight can trigger vitamin D synthesis in the skin.

* Vitamin E

Vitamin E is essential for the absorption of iron, slowing of the ageing process, and fertility. It is a powerful antioxidant which helps protect cells from damage by free radicals. It also assists in the production of red blood cells, helps prevent blood clots and is believed to reduce the development of certain types of cancer. The main sources of Vitamin E include vegetable oils, nuts, sunflower seeds, eggs, wheat germ and green leafy vegetables.

* Vitamin K

Vitamin K helps the clotting of blood and the healing of wounds. This vitamin can be obtained from green vegetables, milk products, cod-liver oil, apricots and whole grains.

To change subjects for a second, you should realize that there are groups, heavily funded who want to make vitamins a prescription item.

Now that medical evidence shows vitamin supplement effectiveness, you may not get a chance to use them. An international pharmaceutical trade-group cartel known as CODEX is preparing to limit dietary supplements to RDA-quantities only, and make any supplement over the RDA a prescription-only item. This has already been done in a number of European countries. The whole CODEX issue has been kept behind closed doors and off TV. We’ve had public hearings on tobacco. We’ve had assault weapons and crime hearings. We’ve had how-do-people-dimple- ballots-in-Florida hearings. Seen any CODEX hearings lately? Be aware, meds are much more profitable than vitamins. need I say more.

Last Note Linus Pauling is one of only 4 people to have won 2 noble prizes.

He was one of the most influential chemists in history and ranks among the most important scientists of the 20th century. He was also a huge proponent of vitamin C as a way of preventing colds as well as other illnesses. He basically was ostracized by scientists doing research funded by (can you guess? Yup large pharmaceutical companies). The fact remained that the majority of his research holds up. It takes a very special. enlightened and brilliant mind to  win one, much less 2 noble prizes.

Perhaps the final insult was that Pauling died at 93 years old of Prostate cancer. Instead of the the tributes to an incredible mind who furthered not only biology but physics, the comments were: “Well, if vitamins did as he said, why did he die”? can you see the stupidity of that statement?

I highly recommend that you read his book: “How to Live Longer and Feel Better”, it is an eye opener.

Next: What the heck are Minerals?

Vegetarian Recipes Part 7 (thanks to my wife)

And Still Some More of My wife’s Recipes:

Cashew Casserole with Soy Curls

Ingredients (use vegan versions):

Mushroom Soup:
1 (4 ounce) can mushrooms, with liquid
2 tablespoons unbleached white flour
1 1/2 teaspoons chicken style seasoning
1/2 cup water
1 1/2 cups nondairy milk (I use soy)
1 teaspoon dry parsley flakes
1/2 teaspoon salt

Casserole:
1 onion, chopped
3 stalks celery, chopped
2 cups mushrooms, sliced
2 tablespoons oil
1 1/2 cups soy curls, soaked in water for 10 minutes
1 tablespoon chicken style seasoning (I use Butler chik-style seasoning)
1 1/2 cups chow mein noodles, divided
1 cup cashew pieces, rinsed
2 cups mushroom soup (see recipe above)
2 teaspoons salt
2 teaspoons onion powder

Directions:

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit. For soup, blend soup ingredients until mushrooms are cut in pieces, not smooth. Cook over low heat until thick. Stir constantly.

2. For casserole, saute onion, celery, and mushrooms in oil along with drained soy curls and chicken style seasoning.

3. Add 1 cup noodles, cashews, mushroom soup, salt, and onion powder.

4. Pour into casserole dish and top with remaining chow mein noodles. Bake for 30 minutes or until brown on top. Serve over rice. Enjoy!

Source of recipe: This recipe was modified from the “Something Better” Cookbook.

Makes: 8-10 servings, Preparation time: 20 minutes, Cooking time: 30 minutes

My Mom’s Revised Holiday Sweet Potato Casserole

Ingredients (use vegan versions):

Sweet potatoes:
3 cups canned sweet potatoes
Ener-G egg replacer for 2 eggs
1/2 stick margarine (1/4 cup), melted
1/2 cup nondairy milk (I use soy)
1/2 tablespoon vanilla
dash cinnamon

Topping:
1 cup brown sugar
1/3 cup flour
1/2 stick margarine (1/4 cup)
dash cinnamon
1 cup pecans, chopped

Directions:

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Grease a casserole dish.

2. Mix together the sweet potato ingredients, and add to prepared casserole.

3. Mix together topping, and sprinkle on sweet potato mixture.

4. Bake uncovered for 35 minutes.

Serves: 8, Preparation time: 1 hour

Easy Barley Risotto

Ingredients (use vegan versions):

35-50g pearl barley per person (big eaters use 50g)
600ml vegetable stock (or concentrate and water)
bay leaf
small pumpkin or medium butternut or 2-3 sweet potatoes or something that mashes well
knob margarine or 1 tablespoon oil for mashing (e.g. pumpkin seed oil)
variations:
add a chopped carrot to the stock
add cooked spinach or baby leaf spinach just before stirring in the mashed vegetable
add sautéed mushrooms
add garlic
add whatever you have in the fridge or store cupboard
throw in some seeds e.g. pumpkin, sunflower, pine nuts etc

Directions:

Wash the barley and put into a large non-stick pan with the bay leaf and the stock.  Cover and bring to the boil, then reduce heat, and simmer uncovered for approx 35-40 mins, stirring occasionally, until the barley is swollen and the stock is absorbed.  While the barley is cooking, peel your vegetable of choice, and cut into small cubes.  Steam (or boil) until quite tender, then mash or puree with the vegan margarine/oil.  Remove the bay leaf and stir the mashed vegetable into the barley.  If adding mushrooms put them in now and you will get a delicious mixture of flavours.  Eat while hot (but it tastes great cold the next day.)

This is a really cheap and filling dish and can be adapted endlessly.  It takes no time to get on the go, and you can happily leave it to cook, unlike all the stirring in a normal rice risotto. It can also be quite nutritious, barley is a good alternative to too much wheat, and if you use pumpkin seed oil, you’re looking after your essential fatty acid intake too.

Serves: 2-3

Preparation time: 45 mins cooking

Chicken and Leek Casserole

Ingredients (use vegan versions):

1 tablespoon vegan butter
1 leek
1/2 package fettuccini
3 pieces of mock chicken
1 teaspoon dried dill
1 package vegan mozzarella cheese
Ener-G Egg Replacer (the equivalent of 4 eggs worth)
2 cups rice milk
1/4 teaspoon each salt & pepper
8x8x2 baking pan

Directions:

Melt the butter in a small saucepan on med heat. Chop up the leek (use about 7 inches worth) and separate into little pieces. Cook leeks in saucepan until soft. Set aside.

Cook pasta al dente. Drain and cut pasta noodles in half. Set aside.

Heat mock chicken and chop into bits. Mix mock chicken, dill and leeks together with the pasta. Put all in the baking pan.

Sprinkle with vegan cheese. Mix Ener-G with water then add rice milk, salt and pepper. Mix and pour over casserole.  Bake in oven at 350 F until cheese has melted. Makes enough for two people, plus a lunchbox the next day!

Serves: 3

Preparation time: 30 minutes

Broccoli Rice Casserole

Ingredients (use vegan versions):

1 large head broccoli, chopped
1 tablespoon vegan margarine
2 heaping teaspoons flour
1 cup nondairy milk
4 heaping teaspoons nutritional yeast
pinch nutmeg
pinch dry mustard
thyme, to taste
salt and pepper, to taste
vegetable broth, as needed, optional
2 cups cooked white rice
4-8 ounces lemon pepper baked tofu, diced
1-2 cups cracker or bread crumbs

Directions:

1. Preheat oven to 250 degrees F. Steam broccoli until crisp-tender. While broccoli is cooking, melt margarine in a saucepan.

2. Stir in the flour. Keep stirring until it is thick. Whisk in the milk, then nutritional yeast. Add nutmeg and dry mustard. Add thyme, salt, and pepper, to taste.

3. If it gets too thick, add some veggie broth. In a casserole dish, combine rice, steamed broccoli and tofu. Pour the sauce over it all.

4. Top with crushed crackers or breadcrumbs. Cover with tinfoil and bake for 30 minutes. Uncover and bake for 10 minutes.

Serves: 2-4, Preparation time: 20 minutes

Brown Rice Asparagus Casserole

Ingredients (use vegan versions):

1 cup brown rice
3 cups water
3 large portobello mushrooms, chopped
3 cloves garlic, crushed
3 tablespoons oil blend
1/4 cup walnuts
1/4 cup sunflower seeds
1/4 cup pumpkin seeds
1 bunch asparagus, lightly steamed and cut into 1-2″ pieces
sea salt and pepper, to taste
dash curry powder
sprinkle turmeric, optional
dash lemon juice or balsamic vinegar, optional

Directions:

1. Cook rice in rice cooker with water until done. Sauté garlic and mushrooms in oil on medium heat for 5-10 minutes. Don’t let garlic turn brown. Mushrooms should be golden.

2. Add nuts and sauté another 5 minutes. Watch carefully to avoid burning the garlic or the nuts.

3. Combine mushrooms and nuts with rice, along with cooked asparagus.  Season to taste and toss all ingredients.

Very, very delicious!

Serves: 4, Preparation time: 30 min

“Cheesy” Chile Casserole

Ingredients (use vegan versions ):

1 cup uncooked rice
1/2 white onion, chopped
1 4 oz. can mild green chilies with liquid
1 jalapeno, seeded and chopped
1/2 8oz can corn, drained
1 cup plus 2 tablespoons water
1 cup plus 2 tablespoons vegetable stock
1 8oz tub vegan sour cream
1 cup plus 1/3 cup vegan cheddar and/or jack style cheese, divided
margarine
1/8 teaspoon garlic powder

Directions:

Saute onion in large pot with margarine until soft. Add canned chilies, jalapeno, corn and garlic powder, stir. Add liquids and rice, cover, lower heat and cook to package specifications, approximately 20 minutes.

Preheat oven to 400 degrees Fahrenheit.

When rice is cooked and all the liquids are absorbed remove from heat and stir to evenly distribute ingredients.

Stir in sour cream and 1 cup vegan cheese, mix well. Transfer to casserole dish greased with margarine, and bake for 20 minutes.

Top with remaining cheese and bake an additional 5 minutes until cheese is melted (as much as possible). Allow to cool slightly and serve.

Serves: 6+

Preparation time: 1 hour

D’s Brown Rice Falafel Casserole

Ingredients (use vegan versions ):

1 small to medium red onion
garlic cloves (I used 10 because I love garlic)
1/3 cup corn
1/2 cup thinly sliced bell pepper
1/2 cup organic whole wheat pastry flour
3 tablespoon Earth Balance Natural Buttery Spread
1/3 cup low fat SNO*E tofu milk
2 cups of water
1 tablespoon veggie chicken soup base
1 teaspoon sea salt
4 cups cooked brown rice
about 20 falafels (I use Fantastic brand mix)

Directions:

Blend onion and garlic cloves in food processor until the pieces are very small but not quite pureed.

In cast iron skillet, brown the flour on high for a few minutes.  Add non-hydrogenated vegan margarine.  Turn to low heat and stir until mixed.  Add soy or tofu milk.  Stir until mixed.  Turn to medium heat and add 2 cups of water about 1/4 cup at a time until well mixed.  Add salt and soup base.  Add extra salt, soup base or other seasonings to taste.  Stir.  Turn to medium high and let simmer to thicken while you prepare the vegetables.

In a wok or another frying pan, brown onion & garlic mixture.  Throw in some corn and peppers and whatever vegetables you have (strings of carrots maybe).

Stir vegetable mixture into gravy and add the rice.  Mix well.

Make flat Falafels.

Line the bottom of a 9×13 inch casserole dish with falafels.  Cover with rice mixture.  Crumble remaining falafels over the top of the mixture.  Cover with foil and bake on 350 degrees F for 30-45 minutes or until done.  Let me know how it turns out.  I’m getting ready to bake mine.

Stuffed Cabbage Bake

Ingredients (use vegan versions):

1 head of cabbage
2 cups uncooked brown rice
chopped green pepper,onion,sundried tomato
1 can diced tomato
1 can tomato paste
shredded soy cheese
breadcrumbs
garlic, lemon pepper, oregano

Directions:

Steam the head of cabbage and cook the brown rice.  Mix together the rice, green pepper, onion, sundried tomato,garlic,lemon pepper.  Peel the cabbage and fill the leaves with the rice mix.  Mix the diced tomato and the tomato paste together into a sauce and put a spoonful into each leaf.  Roll the leaves and place side by side in a 9 x 12 baking pan.  Spread the remaining tomato mix on top, sprinkle with shredded soy cheese and vegan breadcrumbs and oregano and bake at 325* for about 25-30 minutes.  Serve hot. Filling was enough for 12-13 rolls, but can be easily adapted to make more or less.

Serves: 4

Preparation time: 45 MIN.

Seitan and Mushroom Casserole

Ingredients (use vegan versions):

1 1/2 cups brown rice
1/2 cup wild rice
5 cups mushroom broth, divided
1 1/2 cups whole wheat bread crumbs
1/2 cup soy Parmesan cheese
1 teaspoon olive oil, plus more for cooking
1 onion, diced finely
2 cloves garlic, diced finely
1 – 8 ounce package baby portobella mushrooms, sliced
1 – 8 ounce package traditionally seasoned seitan, cut into small pieces
1/2 cup unsweetened soymilk
1/2 cup vegan sour cream
1 tablespoon dried sage
salt and pepper, to taste

Directions:

1) Preheat oven to 325 degrees Fahrenheit. Bring 4 cups mushroom broth to a boil in a large stock pot. Add both brown and wild rice, return broth to a boil, reduce heat and let simmer until all liquid is absorbed and rice is fluffy.

2) Combine bread crumbs, soy cheese and 1 teaspoon olive oil, stirring until mixture is combined. It should be quite dry– if you’ve added too much oil, just throw in another handful of bread crumbs. Set aside.

3) While rice cooks, saute onion and garlic in olive oil until translucent. Add mushroom, saute until soft. Add seitan, soymilk, 1 cup mushroom broth, vegan sour cream and sage, bring to a boil. Reduce heat and simmer mixture for 2 to 3 minutes.

4) Combine cooked rice and seitan mixture in a greased casserole dish, stirring to thoroughly incorporate. Sprinkle bread crumb mixture over the top. Cover with foil and cook for 25 minutes. Remove foil and cook for 5 minutes more to brown the top.

Serve with cranberry sauce for a Thanksgiving twist!

Source of recipe: I was tinkering with ideas for creamy rice casseroles and this is what came out!

Makes: 4 to 6 servings, Preparation time: 30 minutes, Cooking time: 30 minutes

Vitamins – What the Heck are they really?

The word Vitamin is bantered around so freely these days that I would bet that the majority of you really don’t know what a vitamin really is, aside from something you need to have in your bodies.

Vitamins are various fat-soluble or water-soluble organic substances essential in minute amounts for normal growth and activity of the body and obtained naturally from plant and animal foods. In essence, they really are food and are used by the body as co-enzymes to make the body run properly, healthily and efficiently. Some vitamins are automatically synthesized by the body, for example vitamin D, while others have to be taken into the body by the foods we eat.

Vitamins have very diverse functions in the body, some act as hormones, others act to make other enzymes workable, still others act to grow the body, while some do their part to prevent illnesses. To summarize, vitamins are essential and the human body cannot live and survive without them.

Some History:

Going back thousands of years many cultures understood that certain foods were important to maintain health, though the concept of the vitamin was unknown at this point. For example the ancient Egyptians knew that feeding liver to a patient would help cure night blindness, however, they certainly didn’t understand the the Vitamin A in liver was the solution.

When the European sailors were exploring the new world via lengthy ocean voyages, many suffered from scurvy, again due to lack of vitamins found in fruits and vegetables.Eventually in 1749 a Scottish doctor James Lind realized and discovered that the lack of citrus fruits were causing scurvy and he recommended fresh lemons and limes, which eradicated the problem. still The concept of the vitamin was still unknown. Interestingly, Lind was ridiculed by the medical establishment at the time. (Sound familiar?)

The first vitamin was finally recognized in the late 1800’s and called Vitamin A which was a cure for Rickets. Note that this was ultimately changed to Vitamin D.

Suffice it to say, much is known about the importance of vitamins these days.

Vitamins are classified as either water-soluble or fat-soluble. In humans there are 13 vitamins: 4 fat-soluble (A, D, E, and K) and 9 water-soluble (8 B vitamins and vitamin C). Water-soluble vitamins dissolve easily in water and, in general, are readily excreted from the body, to the degree that urinary output is a strong predictor of vitamin consumption  Because they are not readily stored, consistent daily intake is important Many types of water-soluble vitamins are synthesized by bacteria. Fat-soluble vitamins are absorbed through the intestinal tract with the help of fats (Yes folks, despite what you might hear or for those on diets, fats are essential parts of the food you eat for healthy bodies.) Because they are more likely to accumulate in the body, they are more likely to lead to to much of these vitamins than are water-soluble vitamins.However, the fat soluble vitamins have to be taken in very large amounts to be dangerous, and most of us never do that to this extent.

There are many Doctors who will tell you that taking daily vitamins are not necessary as all vitamins should be readily available by a good healthy diet. Unfortunately, this is plain incorrect as the commercial food industry, through their production, use of chemicals, lack of crop rotation, genetic engineering  and storage techniques have succeeded destroying these vitamins that were once part of the food. Therefore, taking daily vitamins is not only very important for people with Fibromyalgia, but for everybody. In fact, it is a must for people of all ages!

Now that we established the importance of Vitamins, it is important to understand that not all vitamins are created equal. In other words, you must be careful where you purchase your vitamins as many are produced with fillers. This is done to make the pill or capsule large enough for the consumer to believe that they are actually purchasing and taking something that is worth the money they pay. In reality the amounts of vitamins we need might seem like a large number (vitamin C 500 milligrams), but are actually a really small amount. For you Americans, 500 milligrams is actually 1/64 of an ounce. Thus fillers are used. Many times, these fillers are the same fillers in foods which are not very healthy.

Most commercial vitamins use fillers such as coal tar, sand, dirt, and soap to bind the vitamins together.

Some fillers are made of unhealthy or even toxic materials. For instance, medical professionals have warned patients away from hydrogenated oils for years because they are linked to high cholesterol and heart disease, yet hydrogenated soybean oil is a common filler in gel cap vitamins. Artificial flavoring and coloring may also be added to vitamins, including chemicals derived from coal tar, according to an article by Mike Adams of Natural News. If you’re a vegetarian or a vegan, you may also be dismayed to know that many gel-cap vitamins contain animal products from pigs and cows.

If you have food allergies or sensitivities, you may be vigilant about your diet yet not realize that your vitamin pills could be filled with common food allergens. Lactose, corn starch, various sugars, whey, soy and yeast have all been used as fillers in some vitamins, and all of these are known allergens. According to Chet Day’s Health & Beyond website, as many as 7 percent of the U.S. population shows allergic reactions to one or more of these fillers.

Here is a “cool” trick to see if your Vitamins are filled with fillers:

Step 1

Take a glass and put 3 inches or so of white vinegar in it. Drop one of your vitamins in the glass. Come back after 20 minutes. Here are your items to check.

Step 2

If the vitamin capsule/tablet (and its contents) has not dissolved in the vinegar, it is not dissolving in your stomach either. It is really passing through your body on its way to the sewer system. There have been doctors who have seen x-rays of a well-known multi-vitamin in its original form in the intestinal tract, and you can still read the label.

Next: More detailed info about individual Vitamins!

Some Techniques that might help your Fibro!

Simple Meditation for Calming Anxiety

 Think of a word. Usually a good word is the name of a child. This will be your mantra and never change it once you start practicing this.

Lie down in a comfortable and quiet place, close your eyes and in your mind start to repeat the word.

At times your mind will wonder which is okay, when you feel it wander; return immediately to the word.

Continue for 15 minutes, and use a soft chime or something soothing as an alarm so you know when the 15 minutes are up.

At first this process might seem difficult but as with all things the more you do it, the more it will become easier.

Can be repeated as often as necessary, it has a calming effect, the heart will slow down and you’ll be a bit less anxious. This is not a cure as with fibro you’re pumping so much adrenalin, but it’s just another way to make life a bit more bearable..and it does work.

Instructions for Deep Breathing

1                    Find a relaxed position, can be sitting or lying down

2                    Take a deep breath in, through the mouth or nose but try to breath from the abdomen, not the chest. You can put your hands on the diaphragm and try to feel it move as you take the deep breath. Also it doesn’t have to be fast, but nice and relaxed as you breathe in.

3                    Hold the breath for 2 or 3 seconds.

4                    Exhale in the same manner slow and steady.

5                    Wait 2 or 3 seconds.

6                    Repeat 9 more times.

That’s all there really is to it, if you find yourself beginning to hyperventilate

Stop until it passes, but you rarely will hyperventilate if breathing from the abdomen.

This might not seem like much, it will generally calm you down, especially if you’re having an anxiety attack or a low level of anxiety.

This is in no way a cure for the anxiety but many Fibro people find it helpful.

Also, be aware that it might be difficult at first to sit still or lie down as the adrenalin is pumping, so you might have to force yourself at first but as you get into the rhythm, it will become easier.

You can repeat this as many times a day or night as you need to. Again, remember that if you feel yourself starting to hyperventilate, stop until it passes, but generally breathing from the abdomen will not cause hyperventilation.

Tai Chi

This is a technique of focusing the mind solely on the movements of the form  which helps to bring about a state of mental calm and clarity. It is reported to provide general health benefits and stress management.

The study of tai chi chuan primarily involves three aspects:

  • Health: An unhealthy or otherwise uncomfortable person may find it difficult to meditate to a state of calmness or to use tai chi as a martial art. Tai chi’s health training, therefore, concentrates on relieving the physical effects of stress on the body and mind. For those focused on tai chi’s martial application, good physical fitness is an important step towards effective self-defense.
  • Meditation: The focus and calmness cultivated by the meditative aspect of tai chi is seen as necessary in maintaining optimum health (in the sense of relieving stress and maintaining homeostasis and in application of the form as a soft style of martial arts.

With purely a health emphasis, Tai chi classes have become popular in hospitals, clinics, and community and senior centers in the last twenty years or so, as baby boomers  age and the art’s reputation as a low-stress training for seniors became better known.

As a result of this popularity, there has been some divergence between those that say they practice tai chi primarily for self-defense that are more interested in its benefits to physical and mental health. Regardless, many have reported it very helpful but as with anything “Fibro”, it is best to start very very slow!

Herbal Tea

The following are some herbal teas which you also might find helpful:

Lavender:

Gentler than its essential oil form, lovely-smelling lavender is said to have benefits that range from aiding digestion and soothing heartburn to helping with insomnia and anxiety.

Chamomile Tea:

Subtle, gentle, and aromatic chamomile tea has long lulled the sleepless and overly anxious.

Catnip Tea:

People can have catnip too. But don’t worry — unlike the stimulating effect the plant tends to have on cats, it’s actually said to have a sedative effecton people who drink tea made from the dried leaves. A member of the mint family (it’s also known as catmint), the plant is also thought to help soothe stomach aches.

Caraway Tea:

Cooks are no doubt well familiar with this aromatic plant as a wonderful flavoring agent, but herbal tea drinkers are more likely to talk to you about health benefits. Teas made from the seeds have been said to help treat colic, loss of appetite, and digestive problems.

Valerian Tea:

Many people swear by this not-so-delicious tea as a means of calming nerves and getting a better and more restful sleep. It is commonly paired with other sleep-inducing herbs like chamomile and passionflower in tea mixtures sold specifically as sleep aids.

Licorice Root Tea

As a tea, licorice root is naturally sweet and — for those that like the candy — has the same great flavor. It also has an almost ancient history as a healing herb, with benefits that range from healing stomach aches and ulcers to having antiviral properties.

Lemongrass Teas

In addition to being a singularly delicious and vitamin rich herb, lemongrass also makes a fine tea. The tropical plant has traditionally been used for relief from pain and fever, aiding with upset stomach, and helping soothe muscle tension, just to name a few.

Friday’s Blog Vitamins

Vegetarian Recipes Part 6 (thanks to my wife)

Some More Vegetarian Recipes:

Creamy Cauliflower and Red Pepper Casserole

Ingredients (use vegan versions):

nonstick spray
1/2 head cauliflower, cut into bite sized pieces
1 red pepper, chopped
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 tablespoon vegan margarine (such as Earth Balance)
1/4 cup flour
1 1/2 cups nondairy milk (I use soy)
1/2 teaspoon ground mustard
1 teaspoon granulated onion
1 teaspoon garlic powder
1 tablespoon nutritional yeast
1/4-1/2 cup vegetable broth
1/4 cup bread crumbs

Directions:

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Spray roasting pan or 9 x 13″ baking dish with nonstick spray.  Arrange cauliflower and red pepper in a single layer and roast for 20 minutes.

2. Meanwhile, melt butter and olive oil over medium heat in heavy saucepan. Add flour and stir constantly for 1-2 minutes. Whisk in milk, whisking constantly over medium low heat until thickened.

3. Add mustard, garlic, onion and nutritional yeast. Add vegetable broth, just until sauce is thinned enough that it is makes a nice creamy sauce. Spray a casserole dish with nonstick spray.

4. Add vegetables. Pour sauce over vegetables and stir until coated. Add breadcrumbs on top and bake for about 30 minutes, until top is browned. (I used a broiler for a few minutes at the end)

Source of recipe: I really wanted a creamy recipe that included cauliflower and after finding nothing that suited my craving, I made it up.  I am sure I will modify this in the future, but it was delicious and I will probably use the sauce for a macaroni and cheese in the future.

Makes: 4 servings, Preparation time: 20 minutes, Cooking time: 1 hour

Double Corn Casserole

Ingredients (use vegan versions):

1/3 cup water
1 1/2 teaspoons Ener-G egg replacer
1 (14 ounce) can corn, drained
1 (14 ounce) can cream-style corn, with liquid
1/3 cup olive oil or margarine
1 cup vegan sour cream
2-3 tablespoons dried minced onions
8 ounces corn bread mix

Directions:

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F and oil 9×13″ baking dish. Whisk water and egg replacer.

2. Mix all ingredients except vegan corn bread mix, then mix it in as well. Spread into prepared dish.

3. Bake for 45 minutes. This will be somewhat moist.

This recipe is very simple and sounds perhaps a little unimpressive, but it wows the carnivorous relatives at family gatherings every time.

Serves: 8, Preparation time: 10 minutes

Broccoli Casserole

Ingredients (use vegan versions):

1 potato, chopped
1 small carrot, chopped
1 small or medium onion, chopped
1 cup vegetable broth
1 teaspoon salt
1 pound frozen broccoli
1/2 pound firm tofu, crumbled
1/2 cup nutritional yeast
1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
1 clove garlic
1 cup cooked brown rice

Directions:

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit. Grease a casserole dish. In a sauce pan bring the potato, carrot, onion and vegetable broth to a boil, add salt, then cover and cook on medium heat until tender, about 10 minutes.  In the meantime, thaw the frozen broccoli in a colander by running warm water over it.

2. After the potato mixture is done cooking, put it all in a blender along with nutritional yeast, tofu, yeast, lemon juice and garlic.  Blend until creamy.  This mixture is delicious by itself!

3. Pour mixture into prepared casserole dish and smooth it out and make it even all around the dish.  Mix rice with the broccoli. Add rice/broccoli mixture to the top of the potato/carrot mixture and smooth it out.  You should have a layer of creamy potato mixture on bottom, with broccoli/rice on top.

4. Bake for about 40 minutes or until bubbly and golden brown on top.

Originally this recipe called for mushrooms but I hate mushrooms, you may want to add them if you like them, but I left them out.

Source of recipe: This recipe was modified from the Vegetarian Times cookbook.  I made some minor changes and it turned out great.

Makes: 4 or so, Preparation time: 15 minutes, Cooking time: 40 minutes

Veggies & Elbows Casserole

Ingredients (use vegan versions):

1-2 garlic cloves, chopped
1/2 yellow onion, chopped
3 tablespoons vegan margarine, divided
2 cups mushrooms
2 yellow squash, sliced
16 ounces frozen (or fresh) green beans
1 teaspoon lemon juice
3 tablespoons whole wheat flour
1 cup plain nondairy milk + 1/2 cup veggie broth or milk
1/2 teaspoon thyme
1/2 teaspoon rosemary
1 teaspoon miso
salt and pepper, to taste
1 cup whole wheat elbow pasta, cooked
nutritional yeast, to taste

Directions:

1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit. Grease 1 casserole dish. Saute the garlic and onion in 1 tablespoon margarine until just brown.  Add mushrooms, squash, and green beans, and lemon juice.  Cover and cook until slightly softened, then set aside.

2. Melt the rest of the margarine in a saucepan and stir in the flour.  Slowly add the milk and veggie broth, and the thyme and rosemary, stirring to avoid lumps.

3. Remove from heat and add the miso and salt and pepper. Pour the sauce over the veggie mixture and mix well. Add pasta and mix.

4. Pour the whole mixture into prepared casserole dish and sprinkle enough nutritional yeast on the top to cover the mixture.

5. Bake 25 minutes or until the nutritional yeast crust begins to brown.

Serves: 4

Delicious Brussels Sprouts and Mushrooms Au Gratin

Ingredients (use vegan versions):

4 slices of veg bacon (I used Lightlife Smart Bacon)
1 large onion, chopped finely
2 cloves of garlic, minced
1 ½ pounds Brussels sprouts
about 12 oz. sliced mushrooms (I used a bag of frozen shiitakes)
1 1/2 cups soy milk (I used Silk Enhanced with Omegas)
1 cup veggie broth (I used “No Chicken Broth” by Imagine Foods)
2 tablespoons vegan “butter” (I used Earth Balance Whipped)
5 tablespoons flour (I used whole wheat white flour)
3/4 cup vegan parmesan (I used vegan topping by Galaxy International Foods)
1 tablespoon Dijon mustard (I used this really good flavoured mustard I bought at the
farmers’ market)
thyme, paprika, salt, and pepper to taste
1 block vegan cheese, grated (I used Follow Your Heart mozzarella)
hickory smoke flavouring to taste

Directions:

Preheat the oven to BROIL.

1.  Cook the bacon according to package directions; try to get it crispy if you can.  Cut the bacon into small pieces and set aside.  If you want, you can also try using imitation bacon bits in place of this step.  I used a combination of both and it worked very well.

2.  Sautee the onion and garlic till transparent and fragrant.  Place them evenly in a casserole dish.  Set aside.

3.  Trim and wash the sprouts and shrooms.  Steam the sprouts over boiling water about 5 minutes.  Cut them into quarters and place them in the casserole dish with the mushrooms and onions.  If you are using fresh mushrooms, sautee them a bit before adding them to the dish.

4.   Combine the soymilk and broth in a pot and simmer.  At the same time, melt the “butter” in a pan and add the flour.  Stir it around till the flour starts to darken, and then add it all to the milk mixture.  Boil and stir till thick.

5.  Stir in the vegan parm, mustard, herbs and seasonings, and hickory smoke.  Pour evenly over the veggies in the casserole dish.

6)  Add the bac’n and cover with cheeze.

7)  Broil on the top rack in the oven about 10 minutes, or until the cheeze is melty and bubbly.

I experimented with a decidedly non-vegan recipe to make this, and it came out surprisingly great.  If you don’t like Brussels sprouts, try them this way.  You might be surprised!  This will probably work well with other cruciferous veggies like cauliflower and broccoli, too.

Serves: 10

Preparation time: about 45 minutes

Easy Cabbage Casserole

Ingredients (use vegan versions):

1 medium head of cabbage
1 cup uncooked lentils
1 cup uncooked basmati rice
2- 8oz. cans tomato sauce
2 cups water
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon onion powder
1 teaspoon garlic salt
1 teaspoon pepper
1 teaspoon basil
1 teaspoon Natures Seasonings (all purpose seasoning)

Directions:

Slice cabbage and  layer half the cabbage in a casserole dish. Reserve the other half of the sliced cabbage and  one 8 oz can tomato sauce. Combine everything else in a bowl and pour evenly over cabbage. Top with remaining cabbage. Add a little water in with the can of tomato sauce and pour over the top of cabbage.

Cover with foil or lid and bake for 1 1/2 hours at 350 degrees, until liquid is absorbed.

Note: Brown rice can be used, but you might want to add a little more water.  This dish has a definite peppery taste that compliments the cabbage. Hope you’ll try it and enjoy it as we do.

Serves: 6

Preparation time: 1hr. 45 min, including cooking time

Chicken Veggie Bake

Ingredients (use vegan versions):

1 tablespoon vegan butter
1 medium onion, finely chopped
3 celery ribs, finely chopped
3 cloves garlic, finely chopped
6 ounces asparagus, chopped into 1″ pieces
1/4 cup water
4 breaded vegan chicken patties, cubed (I like Boca)
1 cup vegan mayonnaise
1 1/2 cups plain nondairy milk
1 1/2 cups vegetable broth
6 egg replacers (http://vegweb.com/index.php?topic=7678.0)
1 tablespoon fresh parsley, chopped
1 tablespoon chives, chopped
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon black pepper
6 cups French bread, cubed
1 cup vegan cheddar cheese, shredded

Directions:

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit. Lightly butter 9×13″ baking pan. Melt vegan butter in a skillet and add onion, celery, and garlic. Cook, uncovered for about 5 minutes on medium heat.

2. Add asparagus and water and cover, cooking for about 5 more minutes. Uncover and continue cooking until liquid cooks off. Remove from heat. In a large bowl, mix together the cubed vegan chicken patties and vegan mayonnaise. Add the cooked vegetables. Stir together.

3. In a separate bowl, mix together the milk, broth, egg replacer, parsley, chives, salt, and pepper. Spread 1/2 the bread cubes in dish and top with chicken mixture.

4. Pour “egg” mixture over the bread and chicken. Top with the other 1/2 French bread. Sprinkle vegan cheese on top. Bake for 45 minutes or until brown and bubbly. Enjoy!

Source of recipe: My mom made this a couple months ago, and it looked so interesting, I decided to modify it and make it vegan!

Makes: 6 servings, Preparation time: 25 minutes, Cooking time: 45 minutes

“Beef” and Mushroom Casserole with Sour Cream

Ingredients (use vegan versions):

2 (12 ounce) bags vegan beef tips (I use Gardein Beefless Tips)
3-4 tablespoons olive oil
1 medium onion, chopped
1 clove garlic, minced
2 tablespoons flour
1 cup vegan sour cream
4 ounces button mushrooms, sliced
1/2 cup celery, chopped
1 (8 ounce) can tomato sauce
1 teaspoon salt
1 tablespoon vegan Worcestershire sauce
8 ounces cooked fusilli noodles or cooked rice

Directions:

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F, and grease a casserole dish. In a large skillet, add the olive oil and heat. Add the beefless tips and brown for a few minutes. Remove the meat and add the garlic and onions. Cook until the onions are translucent.

2. Blend in flour, and add sour cream; cook, stirring constantly until thickened. Return beef tips to pan, add remaining ingredients except noodles, and mix well.

3. Turn into prepared casserole dish, bake uncovered for about 20 minutes, and serve over the noodles or rice.

Makes: 6 servings, Preparation time: 15 minutes, Cooking time: 40 minutes