Friday, January 7, 2011

Eating "Daniel" Style - Part III , What I've made

Okay!  Okay!  I know this is my 3rd post in 2 days BUT I'm just excited about trying these recipes and sharing the results with you!  I promise, after this one I'll probably go back to my normal schedule of once every three months or something. :-)  Just kidding.  I really hope to be more consistent.  Maybe a weekly thing.

Well, I know you are all probably wondering which recipes I made and how they came out.  So today I decided to make the Roasted Butternut Squash Soup recipe but I also ended up making the Homemade Crackers AND the Indian Flat-bread!  I'm pretty proud of myself for accomplishing all three!

Slice the squash lengthwise.  They are pretty hard so make sure you have a strong, sharp knife and a good handle on the squash.
 Scoop out the seeds.
 Place face down in baking dish and add 1/2 cup water.  I baked it in a 350 oven for about an hour.
Here are the rest of the ingredients you will need
While squash is roasting add olive oil, chopped onion, apple and sage leaves to pot.  Cook until onions are soft or have "sweat" out their moisture.
 Add cinnamon, cook slightly then add broth, bring to a boil and simmer for about 30 min.  At this point the squash wasn't quite ready so I covered the pot and turned off the heat but you could probably keep it on really low to allow some of the broth to evaporate creating a thicker soup.
 When squash is ready peel off the skin OR scoop out the flesh...
 adding it to the pot.  Then simmer for another 30-45 min.
 After allowing the soup to cool for a few minutes add small amounts to the blender and puree smooth.
It should look something like this.  It made about 10 cups.
 Ladle some in a bowl and serve with the homemade crackers which I will show you next!
This soup was extremely tasty and I'd definitely make it again.  It's for sure a cool weather/fall/winter soup so I hope you give it a try before all this cool weather leaves us!  Leave a comment letting me know how yours came out!

These crackers where actually much easier than I expected but I'd change a couple of things next time.  I think the hardest part about this was hauling my food processor out of the cabinet!
Add 1 cup whole wheat flour, 1 teaspoon salt, 2 tbsp olive oil and 3 tbsp water, 1 tsp oregano and 1 tsp garlic powder (my alterations)
 Mix well then start adding 1 tbsp more of water at a time until it forms a ball.  I ended up using 7 tbsp.
 Flatten it out on floured parchment.
 I actually used another piece of parchment on top to roll it out more easily.
 Slide it on to a baking sheet and bake for 20 min.  This is where, next time, I will first cut or score the dough before I bake it.  The original didn't seem to bake up the middle of the crackers as quickly as the edges.  So the edges were crisp but the middle was still soft.
I'll be honest it wasn't the tastiest cracker but with a few alterations I think my next batch will be much better!

The last thing I made today was the Indian flat-bread. Start with 2 1/2 cups of flour, pinch of salt and 2 cups water.
Mix into a soft dough.  Knead 5 min.  This part gets real sticky.  Cover with a damp towel and refrigerate for an hour.
 Use more flour to coat your pieces of dough and rolling surface.  Using a golf ball sized piece roll it out on your floured surface.  Heat your skillet to med-hi and cook the rolled out bread for about 30 sec per side (not the 1 min as suggested).  This can take a bit of time.  Done!
These were a bit bland as well so I'll probably add more salt next time but this would be a great wrap for the Mediterranean Tofu Wrap recipe!

Thank you guys so much for sharing this eventful day with me and I hope you were able to gain some useful information and find these recipes easier to make since I have gone before you to pave the way!  God bless and happy cooking!

Eating "Daniel" Style - Part II

So, I go shopping for some groceries for a couple of the recipes on my previous post and what do ya know...the store is out of Lentils, Eggplants, Yellow Squash AND Zucchini!!!  How many people are doing this Daniel fast thing anyhow?!?!  Although, I guess that would be a really good thing if we're all wanting more of God, right?

Anyhow, here's a rundown of recipes, which is not as many as I'd hoped for due to the lack of ingredients and I'm not the type to run to every store to find what I need.  I just revamp and put it on the list for next time!  I'm also going to include a couple more recipes that my beautiful and talented SIL shared with me.  

Recipes I'll be making:
Roasted and Spiced Butternut Squash Soup
Three Bean Chili (again because I love it)
Curry Lentil Soup (no lentils at store)
Slow Roasted Vegetable soup (No eggplant, squash and zucchini)
Indian flat-bread
homemade crackers

Here are the recipes my SIL shared with me.  She got a few of them off this website.

Meditteranean Tofu wrap - the recipe originally called for shrimp but I, Natalia, changed it to Tofu to make it work with the guidlines.  There's ALWAYS a substitution you can make.
sliced, grilled or sauteed extra-firm tofu
arugala (a slighty spicy, leafy lettuce)
sliced red onion
vinaigrette dressing (recipe link)
- wrap in a whole wheat tortilla- just check the ingredients in the tortilla, make sure they didn’t add inactive yeast

Sweet potato fries – sliced thin and baked in the oven for 30-45 min, depending on preferred crispy-ness.  Drizzle with olive oil and season with salt.

Strawberry Spinach salad
fresh spinach
sliced strawberries
thinly sliced shallots
raspberry vinaigrette (recipe link)

These next few recipes are from the Daniel Fast Cookbooks available at

Southwest Corn and Black Bean Salad  -The bean, corn and nuts in this salad combine to create 19 grams of protein per serving. This is a very flavorful salad and easy to make ahead.
1 ½ cups corn kernels (fresh or frozen)
1/3 cup pine nuts
1/4 cup lime juice
2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
1/4 cup chopped fresh cilantro
2 (14.5 ounce) cans black beans, rinsed
2 cups shredded red cabbage
1 large tomato, diced
1/2 cup minced red onion

1. Place pine nuts in a small dry skillet over medium-low heat and cook, stirring, until fragrant and lightly browned, 2 to 4 minutes.
2. Whisk lime juice, oil, cilantro, salt and pepper in a large bowl. Add the corn, pine nuts, beans, cabbage, tomato and onion; toss to coat. Refrigerate until ready to serve.
3. Freshly ground pepper and salt to taste just before serving.
Yield: four servings

Lemon Olive Oil Dressing
 cup fresh lemon juice (1 large or 1½ small lemons)
¾ cup olive oil (or sometimes I mix canola and olive)
1-2 tablespoons tamari soy sauce
2 large cloves garlic, crushed
Fresh ground black pepper to taste
Shake all ingredients in a bottle. Toss with fresh salad greens. Store leftover dressing in refrigerator.

Greek Vegetable Stew
The Orthodox Greeks enter partial fasts as part of their religious practices. This recipe is one that’s handed down and common among Greek families.

2 tablespoons oil
2 onions, chopped
1 pound green string beans, broken in half
1 package frozen or fresh spinach
4 cups water
6 zucchini, chunked
4 yellow squash, chunked
2 cups celery leaves
4 tomatoes, quartered
1 teaspoon salt
8 slices lemon
1 tablespoon dried oregano
3 tablespoons fresh basil
2 cloves chopped garlic
2 tablespoons lemon juice
1. Lightly brown onions in a hot dry skillet in 2 tablespoons oil.
2. Add oregano and garlic, cook 1 minute.
3. Add 4 cups water and tomatoes. Cook 10 minutes.
4. Add remaining ingredients. Cook covered for 40 minutes, stirring occasionally.
5. Serve with a lemon slice in each bowl.
Yield: eight servings

Chapattis or Indian Flat Bread
Chapattis are similar to tortillas, but made with no baking powder. They are easy to make and keep well if stored in an air-tight container. Chapattis are common in Southeast Asia and throughout Africa.
2 ½ cups fine whole wheat flour (you can usually find this in the natural foods section of the supermarket or with the bulk foods)
2 cups water (or enough to make a soft dough)
1 pinch salt
1. Mix flour and salt in a large mixing bowl.
2. Make a hole in flour and using your hand, mix in water to make soft dough.
3. Knead for five minutes, return to the bowl, cover with wet cloth and refrigerate for an hour.
4. Heat a cast iron skillet over medium high heat until very hot.
5. Roll out 1/2 a handful of dough into a flat round shape and place in pan, cooking for 1 minute on each side.
6. Once turned, press gently with a towel, until brown.
7. Repeat until all dough is used.
Yield: About 10 chapattis 

Homemade Crackers
Making crackers is quick, easy and fun. They can be made with various seasonings and many different kinds of grain. Try cornmeal with chili powder, rye with caraway or dill seeds, or whole wheat with garlic powder. Experiment! If made from cornmeal, buckwheat or other non-gluten grains, they can safely be eaten by gluten-intolerant individuals. This recipe makes a semi-crisp, dense cracker.
Preheat oven to 400°
1 ¼ cups whole wheat flour, divided (rye, buckwheat or cornmeal can be substituted)
½ teaspoon salt
2 tablespoons canola oil or olive oil; more as needed
4 tablespoons water; add more as needed
1 teaspoon seasoning such as dried herbs, chili powder, garlic powder, onion powder, etc. (optional)
1. Using a food processor to mix 1 cup of the flour, ½ teaspoon salt and oil.
2. Add 3 tablespoons water and mix well. Gradually add more water, mixing after each addition, until mixture forms a compact ball. If it seems too sticky to handle, add more flour.
3. Sprinkle your work surface (or a baking sheet-sized piece of parchment paper) with some of the remaining flour then press and roll the dough to about 1/8th inch thickness, trying to get it fairly uniform. If the dough is too dry to roll out, return it to the food processor and add a little more water. If necessary to prevent sticking, dust your hands and the rolling pin with a little more flour.
4. Place the rolled-out dough on a baking sheet dusted with a little flour or cornmeal (if you've used parchment paper, transfer dough and paper to baking sheet)
5. Bake for 10 - 15 minutes, until light brown.
6. Cool and break into pieces. If making several batches, mix another while the first one bakes. You can re-use the parchment paper several times.
Makes about a pound of crackers

I'll try to take pictures of and post my preparations of the Butternut Squash soup, Flat-bread and Crackers.

Thanks for reading.  God bless and happy cooking!

Thursday, January 6, 2011

Eating "Daniel" Style

By the title of my post some of you may be wondering "what in the world does she mean?"  I'll tell ya.  There are a lot of people I know doing the Daniel Fast right now for 21 days starting from January first.  I've posted a few of my family's meals on Facebook with lots of responses of how do you make that? or what does that taste like?  and what else can I make?  So this post is dedicated to just that.  I'm going to share some recipes that I have made and that I want to try.  I will include recipes and pics as much as possible so this might become quite lengthy.

Now let me start off by saying that I am in no uncertain terms a nutritional expert, dietitian or health expert but I do love to cook and eat healthy and I love to share what I've learned that works and tastes great!

So I'll begin with the dishes that I've made then move on to others I'd like to make.

The first item on the list caused quite a bit of stir when I FB'd it so that's where I'll begin...

can be baked, boiled, steamed, or microwaved.[1] It can be served with or without sauce, as a substitute for pasta. The seeds can be roasted, similar to pumpkin seeds.[1]

Spaghetti squash contains many nutrients, including folic acidpotassiumvitamin A, and beta carotene. It is low in calories, averaging 42 calories per 1-cup (155 grams) serving.[2]

I love to use it as a pasta substitute. Here's some help on how to prepare it.  The dish that I made the other night included broccoli and mushrooms.
This was actually my own recipe that I threw together with what I had on hand but the preparation is pretty much the same for any recipe.
1 medium Spaghetti Squash
2 bunches of broccoli
1 - 8oz container of sliced mushrooms
Olive oil

1. Slice the squash in halve lengthwise and scoop out the seeds.  Place them in a pot and cover with water.  Boil for about 30 minutes or until it softens.
2. Drain the water and remove the squash from the pot.  Allow to cool while you cook the vegetables.
3. Meanwhile add a turn (1-2 tablespoons) of olive oil to a pan and warm over medium heat.  Add the mushrooms and brown for 5 min.  Cut the stalks off the broccoli and add to the pan with the mushrooms.  Cook until broccoli is bright green and mushrooms have softened.  Season with salt and pepper.
4. Take a fork and scrape out the pulp of the squash then place it onto plates and top with the veggies.  Drizzle with olive oil and season to taste.
Regular diet alternatives: You can also add grilled Chicken or shrimp and Parmesan cheese to further enhance the meal.

There!  Wasn't that painless AND you've increased you're food preparation repertoire! 

Now the next meal on my list includes the superfood...BEANS!  Three bean chili was on the menu next so lets get to it!  This is an altered recipe from here to suit my family's tastes.
1can (14 oz) vegetable broth
1large onion, chopped (1 cup)
2cloves garlic, finely chopped
2medium tomatoes, cut into 1/2-inch pieces (2 cups)
1tablespoon chopped fresh or 1 teaspoon dried oregano leaves
 1  1/2teaspoons chili powder
1can (15 oz) great northern beans, drained
1can (15 oz) red kidney beans, drained
1can (15 oz) black beans, drained
2tablespoons chopped fresh cilantro or parsley

  1. In 4-quart Dutch oven, heat 1/4 cup of the broth to boiling over medium-high heat. Cook onion and garlic in broth about 5 minutes, stirring occasionally, until onion is tender.
  2. Stir in remaining broth, tomatoes, oregano and chili powder. Heat to boiling; reduce heat to low. Cover; simmer 15 minutes, stirring occasionally.
  3. Stir in chili, kidney and garbanzo beans. Heat to boiling; reduce heat to low. Simmer uncovered 10 minutes, stirring occasionally. Sprinkle with cilantro.
Regular diet alternatives: Cheese, sour cream and gimme some cornbread baby!  Easy shm-easy!  Delicious too! 

The meal I made this evening was really simple which included green beans, brown whole-grain and our go-to side salad.  Here is what you'll need some "always on hand" olive oil, salt and pepper!
3 lbs of fresh green beans, cleaned
1/2 cup natural almonds, chopped
1 garlic clove, peeled and smashed
1/2 onion, chopped ( I usually use yellow but was out so I had purple)
1 cup brown whole-grain rice
Olive oil
salt & pepper to taste
side salad

1. Place 2 1/2 cups of water in a medium saucepan with onions and garlic and bring to a boil.  Add your rice, season with salt, stir, cover, reduce heat to low and simmer for about 45 min.
2. About 15 min before rice is done add your almonds to a pan and toast over medium heat for 5 minutes.  Transfer to a dish. 

3. Add a tablespoon of oil to the pan and then add your beans.  Let them cook over medium heat for about 10 min. then add your almonds and salt and pepper, cook until bean are cooked but still crisp. 

4. Plate your food and serve!
You can see that I served this to my family with fish.  A great addition for the "regular" guy!
The side salad with baby spinach, tomatoes, cucumbers, oil, lemon juice, salt & pepper and some Feta...again...a great alternative. :-) 
 We typically have a salad with EVERY meal because my boys will eat that up even if they don't like anything else on their plate!  Although they do tell me...all the time...that I'm the "best cook ever"!

So there's a little bit of what we eat.  Now let me indulge a bit in what I'd like to try!
First up is another tasty looking Spaghetti Squash recipe I found!  Doesn't this look great!
Of course you would leave out the feta if still following the Daniel guidelines.

I also found this delicious recipe for a Butternut Squash soup.
Just substitute the chicken broth for vegetable and the butter for olive oil.

Here's one that my friend, Liz, posted on FB that she made and that I've got to try!  Curry Lentils with Tofu per her "recipe".
2 cups of lentils
2 cups of vegetable stock plus 2 cups water
1 onion chopped
5 carrots chopped
a heaping tablespoon of minced garlic
about 3 tablespoons of curry powder (and added "some" more when I added the tofu later on)
1 pkg extra firm tofu, cubed
some salt and pepper. 
1. Let the first 6 ingredients cook until the lentils are soft, about 45 min. then add tofu.
2. Simmer it until some of the liquid cooks out and it thickens, about 1.5 - 2 hours ( or you can blend it to thicken it)
Serve it over brown rice.  This is just is picture I found online of what it should resemble in case you are wondering.

Thanks for sharing Liz!  I'll definitely be making this because Rick loves curry!
My final recipe entry for this post will be from one of my cook books called Greek Cooking.  I LOVE this book!  It has some awesome recipes in it if you enjoy Mediterranean food.  This is one that adheres to the Daniel guidelines and sounds absolutely yummy!
SLOW ROASTED VEGETABLE SOUP - This recipe is a bit more involved with a bit more time spent on preparation but let me tell you that once you make this you will be hooked AND you will be able to substitute different seasonal vegetables to suite your tastes and your budget!
2 eggplants
4 tomatoes
2 red bell peppers
2 onions, unpeeled
2 garlic cloves, unpeeled
4 tbsp olive oil
spring fresh oregano
salt & pepper
7 cups vegetable broth
fresh basil or chopped fresh flat-leaf-parsley to garnish
1.  Prick the eggplants several times with a fork and put in a roasting pan.  Add the tomatoes, bell peppers, onions and garlic.  Sprinkle with 2 tablespoons of olive oil.  Roast  in a preheated oven at 350 for 30 min. then remove the tomatoes.  Roast whats left for another 30 min. until very soft and bell pepper skins have blackened.
2. Put the roasted vegetables in a bowl, cover with a damp towel and let cool for several hours or overnight until cold.  Then cut the eggplants in half, scoop out the flesh and put in bowl.  Remove skins from the tomatoes, cut in half, discard the seeds and add flesh to the bowl.  Hold bell peppers over th bowl to catch the juices while peeling off the skin.  Discard the stem, core and seeds then add flesh to to the bowl.  Peel the onions, cut into quarters and add to the bowl.squeeze garlic out of it's skin and into the bowl.
3. Heat the remaining olive oil in a large saucepan, add the vegetables and juice, the oregano leaves, salt & pepper and cook gently for about 30 min., stirring frequently.  Add the stock to the saucepan, bring to a boil, then simmer for 30 min. more.
4. Allow soup to cool slightly before pureeing in a food processor or blender.  If necessary, return soup to the saucepan and reheat.  Serve hot with basil leaves or chopped parsley.
The finished product should look something similar to this. 
To round out my journey through these wonderful recipes with you guys I'll leave you with a suggestion for a snack to much on when you get those nasty hunger pangs.
Hummus -  serve with fresh veggies
Click on pic to see recipe
Thanks so much for visiting and reading!  I hope you are able to create some of these delicious recipes and let me know how it goes.  Remember that if you don't make a plan of action on how you will accomplish you eating goals you will be more likely to falter.  So, make a menu, write out your grocery list and stick to it.  You can do it!  God bless and happy cooking!