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!

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