If you follow this blog, you know what a big fan I am of tofu. Perfect in appetizers, desserts, fancy dinners, sandwiches and more, tofu is one of the most versatile ingredients in the kitchen. Most people I work with, don’t get tofu. They either don’t know what to do with it or are unsure how to work with the flavor, or lack of flavor. Don’t fear. The beauty of tofu is that it can be pretty much anything you would like it to be: pudding, sauces, ricotta, steaks, think of tofu as the new “chicken”. Besides being less expensive than meat protein, tofu is also lower in calories, cholesterol and saturated fat free.
Since October is Breast Cancer Awareness month, I think it’s appropriate to address the discussion on soy foods and breast cancer. Soyfoods contain large amounts of isoflavones, also referred to as plant estrogens or phytoestrogens. You can find them in a variety of foods, but soy is a very rich source. It’s important to note that isoflavones are not estrogen, though their chemical structure is similar to the hormone estrogen. Both isoflavones in soy and estrogen bind and activate estrogen receptors on cells. Estrogen, the hormone, will bind to any receptor in the body, while isoflavones are more particular and tend to bind to only one type of receptor. The difference in receptors demonstrates how isflavones and estrogen behave differently in the body. This is also why isoflavones are called SERMs, selective estrogen receptor modulators.
There a a multitude of studies that demonstrate the safety of soyfoods, in particular their benefit for those who have breast cancer. A recently published study in the Journal of the American Medical Association (JAMA) found that among Chinese breast cancer patients, those who consumed the most soyfoods were about 30% less likely to die from breast cancer or to experience breast cancer recurrence over a four year period compared to patients with the lowest intake of soy. Personally, I favor natural soy foods, those that have been minimally processed: tofu, tempeh, soymilk, edamame, over textured soy protein and the like.
This milkshake is super creamy, thanks to the addition of silken tofu and a frozen banana. I call it a milkshake, but I tend to drink this as a after-run morning smoothie. I usually dislike the chalky taste of protein powder, this milkshake tastes delicious and has the same protein as those other “shakes”.
Chocolate Tofu Milkshake
Ingredients: (makes two milkshakes)
1 cup silken tofu (I like mori-nu brand)
1/2 cup frozen strawberries
2 cups unsweetened vanilla almond milk
1 tsp. vanilla extract
2-3 tbsp. liquid sweetener of choice
1 frozen banana
2 tbsp. cocoa powder
1 cup ice
Place all ingredients in blender. Blend baby blend until you get a silky, creamy milkshake. About 90 seconds using a high powered blender. Feel free to adjust liquid to make it thicker/thinner to your liking.
Want to win this awesome cookbook, packed with tofu recipes? To enter: follow DK on facebook/twitter. In the comment section below, what is your favorite tofu dish? If you have never tried it before, what dish would you like to try? Contest ends October 20th!
By posting this recipe I am entering a recipe contest sponsored by The Soyfoods Council and am eligible to win prizes associated with the contest. I was not compensated for my time.
I know what you might be thinking… we went from processed free foods to a recipe contest sponsored by Frito-Lay? Huh?
Before you label me a sell-out, consider this. This Recipe Redux challenge is a gluten-free recipe challenge that must feature a naturally gluten-free Frito-Lay product. As far as snacks go, Fritos, Regular Lays and Tostitos Corn Chips pass the simple ingredient test: either corn or potatoes, oil, & salt (now we just need to have them Non-GMO). Pretty good, considering all the other “healthy” snacks I’ve seen that have a ton of ingredients.
I feel for the gluten-free crowd. Sure, I’m not gluten-free myself, clearly evidenced by my love of all things pasta. But, I do understand how it feels to be on a special diet. I get dining out with friends and having a hard time deciphering what is vegetarian on the menu, not to mention pestering the waiter with a thousand questions. So, when I heard about the opportunity to create a gluten-free recipe, I was excited to flex my creative chef muscle.
And it did take a little bit of thought as I wanted my recipe to be easy, healthy, and gluten free. Of course it’s also vegetarian which makes this dish pretty perfect for whoever you decide to make it for.
To make this contest even more fun, Frito-Lay has put together this GF package for you. In it you will find:
(1) one chip and dip bowl
(1) one bag each of Lay’s Classic potato chips and Tostitos Scoops! tortilla chips
(1) one copy of Nicole Hunn’s book, Gluten-Free on a Shoestring
To Enter to win, Follow Delicious Knowledge on Facebook & Twitter and leave a comment stating your favorite gluten-free snack food. The winner will be selected at random on Monday!
Now… let’s eat!
Remember Frito Pies? Well, I fondly remember the Frito pie from my Girl Scout camping days; open a bag of Fritos and pour canned chili inside. Top with cheddar cheese and you have yourself dinner. Well, kinda dinner. Hopefully the Girl Scouts are serving healthier meals these days.
This is my take on a vegetable-filled frito pie. Layers of chunky chili-vegetables and beans topped with corn bread and crushed Fritos. I used 1 package tempeh crumbles in this but feel free to substitute gluten-free meatless crumbles or omit all together. I like using my own spices to create a mix but if your short on time, use a gluten-free chili spice mix.
Vegetable Frito Pie
1 can black beans, drained
1 can pinto beans, drained
1 can diced tomatoes, drained reserving 1/4 cup juice
1 onion, diced
2 carrots, diced
3 zucchini, diced
1 package gluten-free soy meatless beef crumbles OR 1 package tempeh, steamed and crumbed
1/2 cup shredded cheddar cheeze (optional)
1 1/2 cup cornbread mix
1/3 cup unsweetened soy/almond milk
1/4 cup silken tofu
1 cup crushed Lightly Salted Fritos.
1/4 cup chili powder
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1 teaspoon ground cumin
1/4 teaspoon ground allspice
1/4 teaspoon ground cloves
1/2 tsp. cayenne pepper (or more or less depending on what kind of kick you want)
Saute the onion in a large skillet until translucent. Add a healthy pinch of salt and pepper. Add the zucchini, carrot, meatless crumbles, and spices. Cook for 5 minutes until the carrots and zucchini have softened.
Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F. Add the tomatoes, reserved tomato juice and beans to the skillet. Cook another 5-8 minutes until combined and heated through. If it’s too dry, add a tiny bit of water. You don’t want it to be soupy or else it will create a soggy casserole.
Pour the vegetable mixture in the bottom of a 9X13 pan. Layer with cheddar cheese if using.
Using a food processor or hand mix, combine the silken tofu and unsweetened milk. Add the cornbread mixture and stir to combine. It’s OK if it’s a bit lumpy.
Pour the cornbread mixture over the vegetables and spread out to create a thin layer. It will puff up once cooked.
Place in the oven and back for 20 minutes. Remove from oven and spread the 1 cup crushed Fritos on top. Bake for 3 more minutes. Remove from oven, let stand for a minute or two and serve!
This is definitely a crowd-pleaser!
Check out the other Recipe Redux creations below, don’t forget to comment to enter to win!
I received free samples from Frito-Lay of the products mentioned in this post. By posting this recipe I am entering a recipe contest sponsored by Frito-Lay and am eligible to win prizes associated with the contest. I was not compensated for my time.
Hello DK readers and welcome to my first book give-away. I am so excited to share this book with you, I know you are going to love it. Last week I interviwed the author, Gita Patel MS RD/LD CDE CLT, regarding the release of her new book “Blending Science with Spices: Tasty Recipes & Nutrition Tips for Healthy Living.”
Gita has been in practice for over 20 years and is an expert on vegetarian nutrition and diabetes education. In addition to discussing more about her upcoming book, Gita also shares her amazing stir-fry recipe that was featured in Cooking Light in 2010. “Blending Science with Spices” is a completely gluten free, vegetarian cookbook with options on making every recipe vegan if desired. To enter the give-away, please comment below with your favorite tip for “healthy living.” The winner will be chosen at random on Wednesday at 6PM, good luck!
DK: Why did you decide to write this book?
Gita: My patients tell me the fast pace of today’s “developed” world makes it hard to eat well. They say over and over again that all the knowledge in the world about nutrition does no good if it cannot be implemented easily.
The purpose of this book is to show how to choose health, understand nustrition science, and easily put the information to use to make the kitchen into an “instant take-out” hub for healthy food. I also wanted to share my approach to healthful cooking which combines modern nutritional science with my traditional vegetarian Indian heritage to improve the quality of lives by supporting health with nutritious food.
Color is used as a theme throughout this book to illustrate the bounty provided by nature and as a guide to healthy eating. Food color is indicative of health-enhancing phytonutrients that act as antioxidants to fight harmful chronic inflammation. Phytonutrients occur naturally, but only in plants. These phytonutrients reduce our risk of those diseases associated with chronic inflammation, including cancer, atherosclerosis and diabetes. When you get home from work at 5:30 pm and the family is tired and hungry, you want to reach for whatever is “quick and easy.” I show you how to make the kitchen into an “instant take-out” hub. Your freezer and pantry will be stocked with healthy foods, so you will have the knowledge and ability to put “Feeding Health” into action.
DK: I love the idea of a “take-out hub.” Where do you get your inspiration for your recipes?
Gita: My mother is the source of inspiration for healthy eating. I enjoy eating nutritious foods and I believe my creativity is best expressed in the kitchen.
DK: Your book is titled “Blending Science with Spices,” is there one spice you find most beneficial?
Gita: Herbs and spices (in use since approximately 5,000 B.C.E.) are among the richest sources of antioxidants and play a central role in Indian cooking. They can reduce salt, fat and sugar by adding flavor to foods without adding unwanted sodium and fat calories. If I had to pick just one it would be turmeric. It is anti-inflammatory, odorless and flavorless, but imparts a beautiful yellow color to the food. However, many other herbs and spices (such as cinnamon, cloves, coriander, dill, garlic, ginger, mustard seeds, turmeric, garlic and many others) have high ORAC scores.
DK: Your book is completely plant-based; what advice would you give someone who is interested in trying to eat more plant-based foods, but afraid of taking the leap?
Gita: They do not need to take the leap. All the recipes can be used as side dishes or entrées. About half the recipes are vegetables, then come beans and legumes and then grains. If they want to be vegetarians or vegans they can start slowly with breakfast, and then move on to including lunch and finally dinner. Or they can choose to decide on 1 day each week that may be all plant foods. Enjoy one meatless day each week.
DK: Tell us more about “Blending Science with Spices: Tasty Recipes & Nutrition Tips for Healthy Living.” Where can we buy it and what is its focus?
Gita: It is available on my website http://www.feedinghealth.com Amazon and B&N
The focus is on planning, nutrition and health, taste, cooking and variations. I have woven simple recipes with adaptations and variations with evidence-based rationale for the science of nutrition to substantiate each and every recipe. The recipes and tips help to make kitchen time more fun than work, with an outcome that is divine.
This practical vegetarian cookbook (with vegan options) with an index, nutrient analysis, menus and much more will transform your kitchen into an instant take-out place for healthy food. Simple recipes highlighting spices and herbs enhance vegetables, beans, and grains, while the accompanying index, glossary, and nutritional analysis of each recipe make the book accessible to even the most tentative of cooks.
About half the recipes are the most nutritious part of your plate…the vegetables. I have included a nutritional analysis of each recipe’s star and supporting cast, which affords you the opportunity to take charge of your health by guiding you to make appropriate, educated culinary decisions.
DK: Would you mind sharing your favorite recipe with DK followers?
Gita: I was one of four finalists in Cooking Light magazine’s Healthy Cook of the Year contest in 2010. I have many favorites, however the recipe I entered for the contest is one of my favorites. It is very quick, tasty and easy to prepare.
Edamame with Stir-fried Vegetables—Simple
Science: Edamame (Green Soybean or Sweet Soybean) has been cultivated in China for over 3,000 years. Research shows that consuming isoflavone-containing whole soy foods, as opposed to isolated isoflavones, significantly inhibits bone loss and stimulates bone formation in menopausal women. Whole soy foods protect post-menopausal women against cardiovascular disease. Soybeans, high in protein, contain molybdenum, iron, manganese, phosphorus, omega-3 fatty acids, magnesium, copper, potassium, vitamin B2 and choline. (8,9,10)
For a video of the cooking demonstration of this recipe go to http://www.feedinghealth.com
Olive oil… 2 T
Cumin seeds… 1 t
Garlic chopped… 3 cloves
Jalapeño pepper sliced in half… one-half
Corn kernels, fresh (or frozen)… 1+½ cups
Turmeric… ¼ t
Salt to taste or ¼ t
Edamame thawed… 1 cup
Zucchini diced… 3 cups
Sweet red bell pepper diced… 1 cup
Cilantro with tender stems chopped… 1 cup
Lemon juiced… one-half
Assemble and prepare all ingredients. Add jalapeño, salt and turmeric to the corn and set it aside. Heat on medium-high heat a 2 to 3 quart skillet or pan. Add cumin seeds. When the seeds begin to change color add oil and garlic, turn heat to medium. Fry the garlic for a minute, then add corn with combined ingredients. Stir and cook covered for 2 to 3 minutes. Stir and add edamame, zucchini and red pepper. Stir and cook covered for 3 to 4 minutes. Before serving add chopped cilantro and fresh lemon juice, stirring to mix all the ingredients. Serve the vegetables over rice, quinoa or millet as part of a meal. Enjoy leftovers for lunch in a pita pocket.
Variations and Options
1. Eliminate jalapeño if you prefer it without the heat of the pepper. Substitute cayenne pepper, fresh ground black pepper or mild paprika for the jalapeño.
2. Substitute chopped onion for garlic.
3. Substitute either basil or parsley for cilantro.
4. The recipe calls for 6 ½ cups of vegetables, so you can substitute a variety of vegetable combinations.
5. Substitute 1-cup sprouts for 1-cup zucchini.
6. Substitute canned beans for edamame.
Nutrition Information Per Serving:
Protein: 5 grams
Total carbohydrates: 16 grams
Fiber: 3 grams
Total fat: 6 grams
Sodium: 59 milligrams
Calcium: 46 milligrams
Omega-3 Fats (ALA): 80 milligrams
DK: Tell us a little about your services offered and how to get in touch with you for more information.
Gita: I partner with individuals and organizations that want the science of nutrition translated into the art of healthy vegetarian cooking. I am a registered dietitian, certified diabetes educator, and certified LEAP (Lifestyle Eating and Performance) therapist specializing in diabetes, women’s health, heart disease, vegetarian nutrition, healthy aging, migraines, IBS, IBD, Celiac disease, gastrointestinal problems with food allergies, food sensitivities and food intolerances, and multiple sclerosis.
You can reach me through my website. http://www.feedinghealth.com
Thank you Gita for the interview, don’t forget to comment below to enter to win!