Tuesday, December 16, 2014

Bebe's Coconut Curry

A bunch of my 3 year old daughter's favorite foods all mixed together.

1 package of extra firm tofu, cubed
1 can of lite coconut milk
1 cup of frozen peas
2-3 potatoes, peeled and cubed
2-3 sweet potatoes, peeled and cubed
3 cloves of garlic, minced
1 teaspoon ground ginger
1 tablespoon curry spice

Mix it all up in the crock pot, then set on high for 4 hours.

Serve with brown rice. Makes 4 servings.

Monday, November 24, 2014

Heart and Pancreas Healthy Thanksgiving Dinner

This will be my fifth year hosting Thanksgiving and also my fifth year preparing a totally low-fat, vegan meal, with the exception of the turkey. I started out making all the side dishes super low-fat because of my dad's heart disease. He's switched to the diet recommended by Dr. Caldwell Esselstyn and it has helped him stay healthy and stay off meds that have all kinds of side effects. Now I've been diagnosed with chronic pancreatitis and also have to avoid fatty foods, so I'm glad I've had plenty of practice cooking this way even for holidays. For anyone else out there trying to eat this way for whatever reasons, I thought I'd share my Thanksgiving recipes;

Marf's Thanksgiving Recipes (in addition to the turkey)

Cranberry Relish

  • 2 navel oranges
  • 1 (12-oz) bag fresh cranberries
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 1/8 teaspoon cinnamon

  1. Remove from the oven and allow to cool on the counter. For best results, refrigerate until chilled before eating.

Finely grate 2 teaspoons zest from orange. Cut away and discard peel and pith from orange, then cut sections free from membranes.

Pulse cranberries with zest, orange sections, sugar, and cinnamon in a food processor until finely chopped. Chill, covered, at least 2 hours to allow flavors to develop.

Green Bean Casserole

1 1/2 pounds fresh green beans, trimmed and cut into bite-size pieces, then steamed for 10 minutes.

10 ounces mushrooms, chopped, 3 cloves garlic, minced, sauteed in broth
generous pinch cayenne pepper
Salt to taste
Fresh pepper to taste
2 tablespoons flour
1 cup vegetable broth
2 tablespoons dry sherry
3/4 cup soy milk

Enough seasoned breadcrumbs to lightly cover the top

Assemble in a 9" x 13" pan and then Bake in the oven at 425 degrees for 15 minutes.

Mashed Potatoes

Chop and boil 10 redskin potatoes (rinse well, but keep the skin on).

Mash the potatoes, adding rice milk (do not use soy milk!) until you get the desired consistency.

Season with salt, pepper. (I also add a half teaspoon of dillweed.)

Mushroom Gravy
  • 1 package mushrooms
  • 1 small yellow or white onion
  • 1/4 cup soymilk
  • 3 cups  veggie stock
  • 2 tbsp soy sauce
  • 1/4 cup flour
  • 1 tbsp corn starch   
  • 1/2 tsp each of sage, thyme and rosemary
  • salt and pepper to taste

Pulse the mushrooms and onion together in a food processor.

Boil the simmer all the other ingredients stirring with a whisk, then stir in the mushroom-onion mixture.

Sweet Potato Casserole

Peel and chop 8-10 sweet potatoes and boil until soft.

Mash with: 
1/4 cup soy creamer or soymilk
1/4 cup orange juice
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/4 cup maple syrup
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg
1 teaspoon cinnamon

Topping: ½ cup pecans, ¼ cup brown sugar, 2 tbsp flour

Bake 45 minutes at 350 F.

Apple Sausage Stuffing

1 package fresh, crumbled multigrain bread
About 8 oz sausage or fake sausage
2 green apples, peeled, cored, and chopped
½ cup walnuts
2 stalks of celery, finely sliced
3 cups veggie stock
1 onion, chopped
salt, pepper, sage, thyme, rosemary, oregano

1.) Add all dry ingredients to the crumbled bread.
2.) Saute the onion and sausage in some of the broth
3.) add the rest of the ingredients to the crumbled bread.
4. Bake at 350 F for 40 minutes.

Impossible Pumpkin Pie
  • 1 1/2 cups soymilk
  • 1 tbsp flaxseed meal mixed with 6 tbsp water
  • 1 tbsp. cornstarch
  • 1 tsp. vanilla
  • 28 oz. can of pureed pumpkin
  • 1/2 cup all purpose flour
  • 2 tsp. baking powder
  • 3/4 cup sugar
  • 1/2 tsp. ginger powder
  • 2 tsp. cinnamon
  • 1 tsp. nutmeg
  • 1/2 tsp. ground cloves
  • 1/2 tsp. salt

  1. Preheat oven to 350 F. Spray a 9-inch deep dish pie pan with cooking spray. A deep dish is recommended because this pie will rise a lot during cooking but will fall back down as it cools.
  2. Put the first five ingredients in the blender, and blend well. Add the pumpkin, and puree. Add the remaining ingredients and blend on high for 2 minutes, stopping to scrape the sides a couple of times to make sure everything is thoroughly blended. Pour into a pie pan and bake for about 60 minutes. The top and edges should be brown, but the edges should not be over-done. (Since this is a custardy pie, using the standard toothpick or knife test does not work; it will remain somewhat moist in the center, but it shouldn’t be uncooked.)

Tuesday, November 4, 2014

Spinach and Quinoa Bars

1.) Cook 1 cup of dry quinoa. (Simmer, covered in 2 cups of water for 20 minutes.) 

2.) Defrost 18 oz frozen spinach. 

3.) Mix 2 tablespoons of flaxseed meal with 6 tablespoons of warm water. 

3.) Mix the quinoa, spinach, and flaxseed mixture together with: 

  • 1.5 cups nonfat cottage cheese
  • 4 green onions, chopped
  • 4 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 teaspoon lemon juice
  • Four drops of liquid smoke (optional) 
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon pepper
  • 1/4 cup nutritional yeast

4,) Spray a 9" x 12" pan with canola oil, pour it in, and bake at 350 degrees for 1 hour. 

Monday, November 3, 2014

Butternut Squash with Apples and Cranberries

Mix together: 

1 butternut squash, peeled and chopped
2 large, tart apples, peeled and chopped
1/2 cup dried cranberries
1/4 cup maple syrup
1 teaspoon salt

Bake in a 9" x 12" pan for 40 min at 400 degrees. 

Spinach Potato Balls

I found these healthy and delicious dinosaur-shaped, nugget-sized vegetable snacks in the frozen food aisle at Aldi. They were from Aldi's SimplyNature line of foods, called Spinach Bites and Broccoli Bites. Pop 'em in the oven for a few minutes, and a great side dish full of veggies and very low in fat that my kids loved. Alas, they were there one time, and I haven't been able to find them again, even after checking out three different Aldis and searching online. 

So I developed my own, similar treat. They aren't dinosaur-shaped, but little bite-sized balls of food are still pretty cute and particularly appealing to kids. 

16 oz frozen spinach
4 cloves garlic, minced
1 tablespoon soy sauce
6 large potatoes, peeled and chopped
1 tablespoon of flaxseed meal mixed with 6 tablespoons of warm water 
2 tbsp whole wheat flour
2 tbsp nutritional yeast
1 teaspoon salt

1.) Preheat oven to 450 degrees. 

2.) Peel, chop, and boil the potatoes until soft, then strain and mash them. 

3.) Saute 16 oz of frozen spinach and 4 cloves of minced garlic in the soy sauce. 

4.) Mix together the potatoes, spinach, and other ingredients. 

5.) Form the mixture into 2-3" balls and bake on a baking sheet for 15 minutes. Let cool for 10 minutes before eating. 

Monday, October 13, 2014

Polenta with Black Beans and Spinach


6 cups water
1.75 cups cornmeal
2 teaspoons salt 

Canola cooking oil spray 
8 oz cremini mushrooms, chopped
5 cloves garlic, minced
10 oz fresh spinach

15 oz marinara sauce
1 can of black beans, drained
1/3 cup nutritional yeast. 


1.) Boil the water and then whisk in the cornmeal and salt. Simmer for 15 minutes, stirring frequently. Then pour the mixture into a 9" x 13" pan and leave to cool and firm up. (Give it at least a half hour at room temperature.) 

2.) Spray a pan with canola oil and saute the garlic and mushrooms for about 5 minutes on medium heat. 

3.) Add the spinach to the pan and saute until it cooks down. 

4.) Add the marinara sauce and black beans and cook until hot. 

5.) Stir in the nutritional yeast and then pour the mixture over the polenta. Cut and serve. 

Saturday, October 11, 2014

Sweet Potatoes with Apples and Cranberries

1.) Preheat the oven to 400 degrees.

2.) Peel and chop 5-6 medium sweet potatoes and 1 large, tart apple.

3.) Toss them together with:
1/2 cup dried, sweetened cranberries
1/4 cup of water
1/4 cup of molasses
1 tablespoon of soy sauce
1 teaspoon Chili powder
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon liquid smoke

4.) Put the mixture in a baking pan (I used 9" x 13") covered with foil and bake for 35 minutes.

I thought this was delicious hot or cold.

Friday, October 10, 2014

Sourdough Pumpkin Bread (for Bread Machine)

I made this last night to eat with black bean and pumpkin soup, and it was great! It's a recipe I found online but modified to be fat free.

1 cup pumpkin puree
1 cup sourdough starter
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon ground ginger 
1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg
1/4 teaspoon ground cloves
2 tablespoons apple butter
2 1/2 cups bread flour
2 1/4 teaspoons active dry yeast

Put all ingredients into bread machine or follow your user's manual for a 2 lb loaf of white bread.

Wednesday, October 8, 2014

Pasta with Chickpea Sauce and Peas

For the sauce, blend together: 
  • 1 cup water
  • 2 tbsp soy sauce
  • 1 tablespoon jarred minced garlic
  • 1 tablespoon tahini
  • 1/2 teaspoon liquid smoke
  • 1 15 oz can chick peas, drained

Defrost 1 cup frozen peas. 

Cook 13 oz whole wheat rotini. 

Heat the sauce either in the microwave or in a sauce pan on the stove, then mix it together with the drained pasta and peas. 

Saturday, October 4, 2014

Pumpkin Spice Muffins

A fat-free muffin recipe for autumn: 

Dry Ingredients:
1.5 cups whole wheat flour
1 tsp cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon ground ginger 
1/4 teaspoon ground cloves
1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup granulated sugar
1 tablespoon honey

Wet Ingredients: 
1 cup pumpkin purée
2 tbsp flaxseed meal mixed with 6 tbsp warm water
1/4 cup apple butter
1/4 cup apple cider

1.) Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. 

2.) Mix up the wet and dry ingredients separately, then together. 

3.) Scoop the mixture into a standard size muffin pan for 12. 

4.) Bake for 25 minutes. 

Pumpkin Spice Pancakes

Another fat free pancake recipe. I made these for breakfast this morning. Seasonal and very delicious, especially with apple butter and maple syrup. 

Wet Ingredients: 

1.5 cups almond milk
1 cup pumpkin purée
2 tbsp apple cider vinegar
3 tbsp honey 

2 teaspoons flaxseed meal and 1/4 cup hot water (mix together first, then add to the rest of the wet ingredient mixture.) 

Dry Ingredients: 

1 cup whole wheat flour 
1 cup all purpose flour 
2 teaspoons baking powder
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon ginger

1/2 teaspoon salt 
1/4 teaspoon nutmeg

1/4 teaspoon ground cloves

1.) Mix the wet and dry ingredients separately, then together. 

2.) Cook a few minutes per side in a frying pan or on a griddle on low heat using spray canola oil. (Or just use a non-stick pan if you want to be totally fat free.) 

Wednesday, October 1, 2014

Roasted Kabocha Squash

Trader Joe had Kabocha squash at a good price this week. I only first heard about these squashes this year, and this was only the third time I've cooked with them. It's a lot like an acorn squash, and I imagine you could do this recipe with acorn or butternut squash with similar results.

1.) Cut the squash in half, scoop out the seeds. Then cut it into 1-2" chunks, cutting off the discarding the rind.

2.) Toss the chunks in a bowl with:

  • light spray of canola oil
  • 1 tablespoon of honey
  • 1 teaspoon of curry powder
  • 1 teaspoon of cinnamon
  • half a teaspoon of chili powder
  • dash of salt

3.) Spread the chunks out on a pan (as shown in the photo) and roast for 35 minutes at 400 degrees.

Monday, September 29, 2014

Chili with Black-eyed Peas and Quinoa

My favorite food blog is by far that of Susan Voisin at Fat Free Vegan. I used to regularly make recipes from her blog even before I was doomed to having to eat this way for health reasons. Tonight I was planning to make her Black-eyed Pea Chili with Quinoa. But I didn't have all the ingredients, and I don't like following recipes to the letter anyway. So here's my modified version. (I'm sure hers is better, but if you need an excuse to use a jar of Sofrito tomato cooking base, here you go.) 

First saute:

  • 1 big yellow onion
  • 1 red Bell pepper
  • 1 green Bell pepper 

Next, cook 3/4 cups of dry quinoa (I do this in a rice cooker. Ratio of quinoa to water is 1:2, simmer for 20 minutes. 

Put all that in a crock pot with: 

  • 12 oz jar of Goya Sofrito tomato cooking base
  • 2 cups water
  • 2 cans black eyed peas
  • 1 cup frozen corn (I used the roasted corn from Trader Joe's)
  • 1 15 oz can diced tomatoes
  • 1 tablespoon jarred, minced garlic
  • 1 tablespoon chili powder 
  • 1 tablespoon cumin
  • Half a teaspoon liquid smoke.

Cook in the crock pot on low for 6 hours. 

I suggest adding some hot sauce. I only left it out for the kids, and then added it individually to my bowl. 

Banana Cinnamon Pancakes

Here's a fat free pancake recipe: 

Dry ingredients: 
1 cup whole wheat flour
3/4 cup bread flour
1/4 cup cornmeal
Pinch of salt 
1 tablespoon baking powder
1 teaspoon cinnamon

Wet ingredients: 
1 ripe banana
2 egg whites
1/4 cup brown sugar
1.5 cup almond milk

Mix the wet and dry ingredients separately, then mix them together. Heat the griddle to medium and use canola oil spray or if you want to be hard core about the no fat, just use a non-stick pan and a good spatula. I made these small (about 1/8 cup of batter per pancake) and then we dipped them in maple syrup. 

Broccoli Penne

This is a heavy pasta dish with almost no fat and that went over well with the kids. It also has the advantage of being quick and easy to prepare. 

First, blend in the a blender: 

  • 1 15 oz can of chickpeas, rinsed 
  • 1 cup almond milk
  • 1 tablespoon tahini
  • 1 broccoli crown, chopped and steamed beforehand 

Afterward put it in a pot over a burner to heat. 

Then cook up a 13 oz package of whole wheat penne. 

After straining the pasta, toss it with the sauce and half a cup of nutritional yeast. 

Thursday, September 25, 2014

No Fat Cabbage and Noodles

I can no longer eat fatty foods due to health issues, and this includes the bacon and Parmesan cheese I used to add to my cabbage and noodles. Messing around in my kitchen, I came up with this alternative, which I found largely satisfying. 


  • Large onion, chopped 
  • 1 tablespoon jarred, minced garlic 
  • 2 tablespoons soy sauce
  • Medium head of cabbage, sliced (as you can see from the picture, I happened to have a purple cabbage. But you can use green ones too if you want.) 
  • 1 tablespoon apple cider vinegar
  • 1 teaspoon lemon juice 
  • 1/2 teaspoon liquid smoke 
  • 1/3 cup nutritional yeast 
  • salt and pepper to taste 
  • 16 oz bag egg noodles (I used yolk free, but if you're not eating eggs, just get whatever broad noodles you like.) 

1.) Sautéed onion and garlic in the soy sauce for 10 minutes. 

2.)  Add cabbage and all of the other ingredients except the nutritional yeast and noodles, simmer for 30 minutes, stirring occasionally. 

3.) In the last 10 minutes, boil the noodles then rinse (don't let them get mushy!) 

4.) Stir in the nutritional yeast with the cabbage, then gently stir in the noddles. 

Quinoa Salad With Beets and Cucumbers

1.) Cook 1 cup of dry quinoa. I cook mine in a rice cooker since it is a the same ratio of grain to water and same time as for cooking most white rice. But if you don't have a rice cooker, just boil 2 cups of water, add the quinoa, then simmer at low heat with a lid on it for 20 minutes.

2.) Put aside the quinoa to cool. If in a hurry put it in the refrigerator. You don't want hot salad.

3.) Once the quinoa has cooled at least to room temperature, add:

  • 3 medium tomatoes, chopped
  • 3 medium beets, peeled, cooked and chopped (I buy these already ready to go in the refrigerated section of Trader Joe's.)
  • 1 small cucumber, peeled and chopped
  • 2 tablespoons of balsamic vinegar

Salt and pepper to taste.

Tangy Lentils Over Toast

I made this recipe with truRoots sprouted lentil trio that I picked up in a big bag at Costco, but I think it could be done successfully with just about any lentils.

1.) Cook 1 cup of dry lentils according to the package's instructions.

2.) Add to it:

1 tablespoon soy sauce
1/2 teaspoon liquid smoke
1/3 cup of BBQ sauce (I used Sweet Baby Rays Vidalia Onion because it is slightly sweet but not spicy, and I was feeding my kids.)
1 tablespoon Dijon mustard
1 teaspoon jarred minced garlic

We ate this over toasted hearty, multigrain bread, but over rice or some other grain or just by itself would be good, too.

Breaded and Roasted Cauliflower

When I'm feeling lazy or don't have much time I just spread out cut-up cauliflower on a baking pan, do a quick spray of canola oil and sprinkle of salt, and roast them for 30-40 minutes (until just starting to brown on the edges) at 400 degrees.

But last night I felt slightly more ambitious.

After preheating the oven at 400 degrees, I mixed up:

1/2 cup very warm water
2 tablespoons flaxmeal

I then tossed the cut up cauliflower pieces with this mixture. If you don't have flaxmeal, you could use a couple egg-whites or 1 egg instead.

Then I sprayed the pan briefly with canola oil, and coated each wet cauliflower piece in bread crumbs. (I added a little salt to the breadcrumbs before doing this.)

Cooked them for 40 minutes. It was the only item on the dinner plate that my kids finished.

Plus there was enough left over for me to enjoy with lunch today. Yum.