Thursday, December 31, 2009

Ending the Year Without Wisdom

Well, the end of another year is upon us, and I for one am kind of glad to see it go. Don't get me wrong - there's been a bunch of good things that have happened this year too, but I'm not getting any sort of "vibe" from 2009 except that this year is tired out and needs to be put to bed.
I'm not feeling overly wordy these days, and I'm blaming my lack of inspiration not on lack of material (oh God, do I have material!) but on my lack of teeth. Yes, teeth. As I have mentioned before, the procedure has put a rather sizable dint in both my abilities to cook and eat, and though it's almost completely healed now on two sites, there is still some work left for my body to do on the massively bruised side and it's been tiring me out! I did, however, make my Christmas Eve goal of having sushi rolls for our Italian seafood feast (because sushi is so Italian!). I even lucked out with the place I found... it's a recently opened place by us (in between a Starbucks and a Popeye's... go figure) but they offer brown rice for any and all of their dishes! I looove brown rice sushi, especially when I have it in veggie rolls.

However, before (and after!) my treat of sushi (almost 3 meals in a row too!) I relied on very soft foods for sustenance, and by playing around with a couple of ingredients and flavours, I ate very well!

Would it be anti-nutritionist of me to admit to eating pudding for breakfast? I wound up alternating between two (chocolatey, of course!) concoctions for the most part, for both breakfasts and snacks when I wanted something a little different than applesauce. The first one I tried out was actually the result of an error I made when I was putting together my favourite ice cream base. In trying to be full of foresight pre-surgery, I made several batches of the base, but on the last go-round, I left out a portion of the liquids! I noticed the problem as I was scraping the mixture into a container (the scraping should have clued me in!) but I tasted it and found that the omission made the ice cream into a rather delicious pudding!

"Un-Wise" Chocolate Pudding
Serves 3 (about 1 cup/serving)
1 (12.3-oz) block Mori-Nu lite silken tofu
1/4 cup brown sugar
1/2 tbsp vanilla
1/3 cup cocoa powder
2/3 cup Splenda*
1/4 tsp fine sea salt
1/3 cup chocolate Unsweetened Almond Breeze
1/3 cup cold brewed coffee substitute (like Teeccino)
*if you add sugar instead, add 511 calories and 132g carbohydrate to the total mixture (170.3 cal / 44g CHO per serving)
  1. In a food processor, combine tofu, sugar, and vanilla. Puree until smooth, scraping the processor sides as necessary.
  2. Whisk together cocoa, Splenda and salt, then add to the food processor.
  3. Pour in the Almond Breeze and coffee.
  4. Puree again until smooth and velvety.
  5. Chill before serving.
Amount Per Serving
Calories: 135.2
Total Fat: 2.4 g
Cholesterol: 0.0 mg
Sodium: 107.2 mg
Total Carbs: 30.5 g
Dietary Fiber: 3.0 g
Protein: 9.0

The other ridiculously good pudding I made as an emergency "oh-my-god-I-need-chocolate-NOW" fix was an adaptation of one of Angela's recipes on Oh She Glows. I had some chia seeds in my arsenal pantry for adding to my mom's weekly breads, and though I knew that they were nutritious (just check out Angela's write-up!), I realized just how important they are for anyone recovering from injury, surgery or other physical stressors! Chia seed is high in protein (18%) and calcium (6.3% - about 5-6x that of milk!), and since it was bone that was recovering from being shattered (not to mention I have osteoperosis), I figured that any help is good!

RESTipe for Repair
Serves 1, about 3/4 cup
2 tablespoons chia (Salba) seeds
1/4 cup unsweetened vanilla Almond Breeze, hot
1/2 cup hot water
1/2 tablespoon cocoa powder
1/2 tablespoon sweetener (I used sugar, but agave nectar, honey, etc. work well)
1 tsp vanilla extract
  1. Combine chia seed, Almond Breeze and hot water in a bowl, mixing well.
  2. Stir in cocoa and sweetener until blended, then place into the refrigerator for 15 minutes.
  3. If desired, heat in the microwave for 30 seconds - 1 minute before stirring in vanilla.
  4. Otherwise, add vanilla to cold pudding and enjoy right from the fridge (my fave way)!
Amount Per Serving
Calories: 140.2
Total Fat: 9.1 g
Cholesterol: 0.0 mg
Sodium: 45.6 mg
Total Carbs: 18.0 g
Dietary Fiber: 11.1 g
Protein: 4.8 g

And finally, soup. Ah yes, the grand catch-all of the kitchen. Basically if you throw anything into a pot with a decent amount of liquid and cook it enough, anything can be slurped off a spoon and called soup! This is spicy - perfect for when you have an ice pack slapped to your face 20 hours a day - and I added a ton of garlic (yum!) because of it's antiseptic properties... plus the fact it just tastes darn good!

Black Bean Tamale Soup
Serves 2 very generously
½ large sweet onion, diced
5 garlic cloves, minced
1 tsp chili powder
1 tsp oregano
2 tsp smoked paprika
2 cups vegetable broth
1 ½ cups water
2 oz canned diced green chiles, drained
8 oz can salt-free tomato sauce
1 cup (about ½ a 19-oz can) cooked black beans, drained and rinsed
¼ cup ketchup
¼ cup dry polenta
Zest of ½ lime
½ tbsp lime juice
  1. In a large pot over medium heat, saute onions in a splash of water for 3-4 minutes.
  2. Add garlic and continue to cook until onions are translucent and garlic is fragrant.
  3. Stir in chili powder, oregano and smoked paprika. Stir to completely combine.
  4. Add broth, water, chiles, tomato sauce and beans, stirring well.
  5. Bring to a boil, then reduce to a simmer, cover and cook over low for 15 minutes.
  6. If desired, transfer half of the mixture to a blender and puree before returning to the pot.
  7. Add ketchup, polenta and lime zest.
  8. Simmer 10 minutes, stirring frequently.
  9. Add lime juice and serve.
Amount Per Serving
Calories: 264.0
Total Fat: 1.1 g
Cholesterol: 0.0 mg
Sodium: 2,231.8 mg
Total Carbs: 52.7 g
Dietary Fiber: 11.0 g
Protein: 11.6 g

Have a happy New Year, everyone!