Tuesday, April 27, 2010

Chicken Broccoli Spinach Pesto

Okay so I obviously stole this image. This meal was so good I completely forgot to take a picture! Basically I used the pesto sauce recipe and threw some boneless, skinless chicken in a skillet. When the chicken was fully cooked, I threw in some baby spinach and blended some frozen broccoli (not more than Variable 4) into a chopped heap of veggies.

Sunday, April 25, 2010

Roasted Red Pepper Hummus

When I went to summer camp and they served hummus, I had no idea what it was. I definitely had no idea it was made of chickpeas! But ever since then I've always wanted to make my own hummus. I had some red pepper left over in the freezer from Chicken Tortilla Soup a while ago and thought I'd give it a shot.

1 can chickpeas (garbanzo beans), drained and rinsed
1/4 red pepper
1/4 cup olive oil
2 Tablespoons lemon juice
1 tsp minced garlic
1 dash salt

I threw the red pepper slice on the George Foreman which I don't know was really necessary but seemed to mellow out the flavor. Toss all ingredients into the Vitamix and start on Variable speed, working your way up to High. Blend for a minute or two, so that the mixture is one uniform color. I had to add a few more drops of olive oil to keep it moving. Serve with pita, snap peas, carrots, etc.

Taste score: 8/10
Likes: I will definitely make this again! The red paper was not too overbearing and the texture was creamy and smooth. Usually hummus is made with tahini but I couldn't find that in the grocery store and this recipe came out great without it.

Dislikes: It's annoying to grill one little slice of red pepper. I'll probably just try garlic next time. Also, unless the hummus is in a sealed container, it starts to harden.

Nutrition score: 9/10

Chickpeas get glowing reviews. They're high fiber, folate and manganese-laden little gems. They help prevent heart disease, lower cholestrol, and stabilize blood sugar.

Friday, April 2, 2010

Sweet Potato Biscuits

1 cup Bisquick
1/4 cup brown sugar
1 peeled sweet potato 
1 tsp vanilla

Cook sweet potato in the microwave for 5 minutes on high with about 1/4 cup water. Dump ingredients (including the water) in the Vitamix. Select Variable 1 and increase speed to 5, pushing ingredients down with the tamper. Bake for 10 minutes at 350. Sprinkle with cinnamon.

Taste score: 9/10
Likes: Yumm these are better than cheesy biscuits and better for you too. They were moist enough so I didn't even have to spread them with butter. I'm guessing they're probably best right after they come out of the oven. I will definitely make this a regular breakfast recipe.

Dislikes: I probably wouldn't make this in a Vitamix again, since the batter gets stuck around the blades. And I might try to blend in the skin because it has so much fiber. Trying out a wheat flour version instead of Bisquick would add more fiber as well.

Nutrition score: 7/10
Sweet potato has lots of vitamin A and C. Bisquick isn't the most nutritional batter mix, but it's super easy!

Saturday, March 27, 2010

The Vitamix Salad Series: Strawberry Spinach Salad

It's finally strawberry season so I decided to try out this classic picnic recipe. Nothing makes spinach taste good like fresh strawberries!

1/4 cup sugar
1/2 cup olive oil
1/4 cup vinegar
1 t Worcestershire sauce
1 t salt

Dump ingredients in the Vitamix. Select Variable 1 and increase speed to 7, then blend for 20 seconds. Serve with baby spinach, chopped fresh strawberries, and almonds.

Taste score: 9/10
Likes: We used to have this in the summer at the peak of strawberry season. I remember eating this recipe at a friend's BBQ because it was the first time I ever had spinach that I liked! I don't know if the dressing would be that good with any other combination. This was the perfect blend of fruity, sweet, and leafy crunch!

Dislikes: Again, the vinegar is a little overwhelming. Since I only had apple cider vinegar, I'd probably use white if I had it. 

Nutrition score: 9/10
Spinach is a superfood full of vitamin K and it's really good for your brain, your eyes, and your bones. Strawberries are a rich source of vitamin C. The sugar content of the dressing isn't ideal, but it's preferable to fatty ranch or creamy italian dressings.

Wednesday, March 24, 2010

Faux Fried Zucchini

Maybe I should make this blog, 100 ways to use Fiber One breadcrumbs! We used to have garden fresh zucchini in the summers, sauteed in a pan with oil and breadcrumbs. Even though it was one of the only ways I would eat this green summer squash, I know that frying vegetables don't necessarily make them good for you. Since I always eat the crispy ones anyway, I tried popping them in the oven.

I used the same Fiber One mixture from the Faux Fried Chicken recipe:

I cut the zucchini into thin slices and drizzled them with olive oil. I then added a few shakes of Parmesan cheese and some salt to the breadcrumbs, dipped the zucchini in the mixture, and baked at 400 degrees for 5-10 minutes. Some took longer to crisp than others depending on the thickness of the slice.

Taste score: 9/10
Likes: This is even better than the oil drenched version, and that is a rare statement! Like I said, I always like the crispy ones, and the zucchini slices were perfectly golden brown. I had this as an after school snack, and I wasn't hungry hours later (probably because the combination of zucchini and the breading packs in a lot of fiber!).

Dislikes: I had to cook them in two rounds, because some burnt before others were fully done. But lesson learned- I can't wait to make this again!

Nutrition score: 10/10

Zucchini is full of manganese, vitamin C, vitamin A, fiber, and folate. It's also low in calories and sugar. Aaand I paid a grand total of $0.52 for one zucchini. What's not to love?

Thursday, March 18, 2010

Coming soon...

Olive oil and parmesan sautéed asparagus

Oven baked onion rings

I have officially added onions to my list of eatable vegetables. Asparagus was on sale this week so I grabbed a bunch and wondered if it would share the same fate. Vitamix lovers, you are in luck!

Tuesday, March 2, 2010

Healthy Tips I've Learned So Far Part I

No, I don't eat all my meals from the Vitamix (just the vast majority!). Here are a few healthy eating tips I've learned since starting this journey:
  • You can still eat sugary cereal.
    I love Cinnamon Toast Crunch. I could eat it for every meal. The only problem is, there just isn't that much nutritional value. That's where Fiber One cereal comes in. It has almost half of the fiber your body needs for the day! Fiber One cereal tries really hard not to taste like cardboard...But it does. A mix of 1/2 cup of Cinnamon Toast Crunch with 1/2 cup Fiber One satisfies your belly and your taste buds. What a sweet compromise! 
  • Green tea doesn't have to taste like plants.
    There's nothing better than a cup of hot tea. And green tea is really good for you. Unfortunately, I think it tastes like someone boiled freshly mowed grass. Then I discovered citrus and peach flavored green tea. So what did I do with the entire box of plant flavored green tea I bought? I didn't waste it! I just boiled two cups and added a raspberry black tea bag to the green tea bag.

    Hot chocolate is a good source of calcium.
    I never understood those diet hot chocolate mixes. They're full of strange chemicals and you have to make it with water. Gross! In Buenos Aires, I used to order "submarinos," which are cups of hot milk with a small bar of chocolate at the bottom. Now I throw a few chocolate chips into a mug of skim milk, heat it in the microwave, and enjoy my low cal, calcium rich hot chocolate.

  • Fries can be healthy. I've always had problems making sweet potato fries crunchy. They just don't like to get crisp without being fried or rubbed with oil. I learned that if you cut them into thin strips, and quickly spray with Pam, they'll brown at 425 degrees in 20 minutes. Sprinkle with salt, nutmeg, and cinnamon. And make sure they're separated. Sweet potato fries do not like to be huddled together!

    Veggies taste good if you don't know they're there. Even if it were slathered in cheese, I would not eat cauliflower. The texture, the taste, the smell- it literally makes me gag. But I discovered that adding steamed cauliflower to smoothies makes for a creamier texture. And because sweet fruit (like pineapple or peaches) mask the taste, it's like I'm not eating vegetables at all! I can mix in equal parts cauliflower and fruit without noticing!

    Spinach pesto pizza

    I bought whole wheat naan and hummus a while ago, and my naan is starting to get a little hard. I didn't want to waste it because it's really good, so I popped it in the oven with baby spinach, onion, Vitamix pesto and some shredded mozzarella. Presto! Spinach Pesto Pizza! Definitely a perfect 10. Let's just say we had some Pizza Hut leftovers in the fridge and I opted for this instead:

    The Vitamix Salad Series: Peach Basil Vinaigrette

    Last time I tried making salad dressing, I made massive amounts of it. I ate salad with raspberry vinaigrette for a month. So now that I polished off the last of it, this time I'm going to cut the ingredients by a TON. Romaine lettuce was on sale this week, so I'll be experimenting with different salad dressings in the Vitamix Salad Series. Since frozen fruit was also on sale, first up is peach basil vinaigrette!

    2 T olive oil
    2 T apple cider vinegar
    1 tsp honey1 frozen peach (5-6 slices)
    4 basil leaves

    Dump ingredients in the Vitamix. Select Variable 1 and increase speed to 7, then blend for 20 seconds. Serve with lettuce, chopped carrots, and almonds.

    Taste score: 7/10
    Likes: Refreshing and light! I've never seen peach dressing in stores, and I'm sure if it exists, it's probably gourmet and expensive. The basil was left over from the pesto sauce recipe. The combination was interesting and tasty.

    Dislikes: Although it was good, I couldn't really taste the peach as much as I would have liked. The vinegar was overwhelming. Next time I'll just do 1 tablespoon vinegar. 

    Nutrition score: 8/10
    Peaches are a good source of fiber and vitamin A. Apple cider vinegar is very low in calories, and the olive oil has heart healthy fats.

    Sunday, February 28, 2010

    Whole wheat banana muffins

    Last time I tried to make banana bread it was a major fail. They were super mushy and not very tasty. So this is round two and the turnout was infinitely better than round one:

    2 overripe bananas
    1 cup whole wheat flour
    1 tablespoon brown sugar
    1 tsp each of: vanilla, salt, cinnamon, and nutmeg
    2 tsp baking powder
    1/4 cup water
    1 egg
    Throw all ingredients in the Vitamix in the order listed. Work up to Variable 8 and blend for 30 seconds, pushing down with the tamper. Pour into muffin cups and bake for 20 minutes at 400 degrees.

    Taste score: 8/10
    Likes: Success! I was wary of any muffin recipe without oil or butter, but this worked well. The muffins turned out fluffy and golden brown. Perfect for a breakfast to go!

    Dislikes: Bananas can be boring. I would add more cinnamon and nutmeg next time.

    Nutrition score: 10/10
    Bananas  are a great source of potassium, vitamin B6, and fiber for about 100 calories! They also help with "elimination problems" if you get my drift.

    Magic Lime-aid

    What makes this recipe magical? When I tried to make frozen lemonade, it was a little too tart, a bit watery. Just okay. But this recipe is amazing simply because you can have a glass of frozen sweetness without any added sugar! I was freezing after running around outside and I still made this recipe because it's so good.

    1 lime
    1 cup green grapes
    1 handful ice cubes

    Cut the ends off the lime and throw it in the Vitamix along with the grapes. Make sure the ice is on top. Select Variable 5 and let the fruit blend until it turns one color (about 10 seconds). Work up to Variable 10, then set on High, pushing everything down with the tamper. Blend for 30 seconds.
    Taste score: 10/10
    Likes: Wow. When I was in Colombia, I had the most delicious limeaid. I thought I would never get to taste it again but this recipe proved me wrong. Grapes are not my favorite. I'll eat them but I could never get excited about them. Their high water content blended with the delicious lime make this a real treat.

    Dislikes: I would like to try this without so much ice, so it's more like a glass of lemonade than a frozen version.

    Nutrition score: 10/10
    Grapes have lots of antioxidants, vitamin B6, vitamin C, and manganese. Yes, they have a lot of sugar (which is probably why this recipe tastes so good) but it's all natural and much better for you than the refined version.

    Thursday, February 25, 2010

    Everything but the Kitchen Sink Soup

    What do you do when spring break is coming up and you have to get rid of everything in your fridge? Throw it in the Vitamix and have leftover soup! I linked the ingredients in this recipe to other meals I've made in the Vitamix, which explains why I have, for example, only a fourth of a red pepper in my fridge.

    8 baby carrots
    6 florets of steamed cauliflower 
    1/4 red pepper
    1 small stalk celery
    2 cups chicken broth
    1/3 onion
    2 garlic cloves
    2 tablespoons taco seasoning
    1/2 can kidney beans
    fiber one crackers (optional)

    Dump all ingredients except the beans into the Vitamix. Select Variable 1 and increase speed to 10, then on High. Blend for a few minutes until you see steam coming from the vented lid. Next, select Variable 2 and add the beans. Blend for a few seconds and serve with crackers.

    Taste score: 8/10
    Likes: I think the secret to this soup's perfectly smooth and slightly creamy texture is the steamed cauliflower. The secret to the flavor is HOT taco seasoning, which kicked up the heat just enough for this otherwise boring soup recipe. I was pleasantly surprised at how full I felt halfway through the meal. Since I couldn't finish it all,  I microwaved some brown rice in the rest of the broth which I will eat tomorrow with a spinach wrap and some cheese. Instant burrito!

    Dislikes: I might add corn, steamed carrots, and more beans next time to bulk up the texture. If I had any more vegetables around, I could definitely sneak in some cabbage or more celery.

    Nutrition score: 9/10
    Is there anything bad for you in this recipe? Well I guess the seasoning and the bouillon have high levels of sodium (we're talking like 20% daily recommended value EACH). So a point off there, only because I don't have much sodium in my diet anyway, and frankly I'll take some salt if it means vegetables taste better!

    Monday, February 15, 2010

    Peanut Butter Chocolate Chip Ice Cream

    My all time favorite ice cream is Peanut Butter Fudge. My favorite candy is Reese's peanut butter cups. Do you see the trend? Needless to say, these are not the most nutritious treats. Here's my alternative using the Vitamix. 

    1/2 cup natural peanut butter
    2 tsp vanilla
    1/3 cup skim milk
    2 cups ice cream
    chocolate chips (optional)

    Dump all ingredients in the Vitamix. Start from Variable 1 to 8, then blend on High for 10 seconds, pushing down with the tamper until ice cubes are fully blended.

    Taste score: 10/10
    Likes: This is delicious! It's lighter than my favorite creamy version but doesn't skimp out on taste. The Vitamix  blended everything so smoothly, I would gladly trade my saturated fat-laden favorite for this lighter soft serve one!

    Dislikes: It comes out a little soupy, so I stuck mine in the freezer for a few minutes while I cleaned up. I'm sure it would taste sweeter with added sugar but who needs that?

    Nutrition score: 8/10
    Nuts have a lot of fats, but they are rich in non-saturated fats which can help lower bad cholestrol: http://www.peanut-institute.org/NutritionBasics.html

    Fake Mashed Potatoes and Shepard's Pie

    For the cauliflower mashed potatoes:
    1 head of cauliflower
    2 cloves of garlic
    1/4 cup milk

    For the shepard's pie:1 can of corn
    1 cup of frozen peas
    1/2 cup of chopped carrots
    1/2 chopped onion
    1/2 lb extra lean ground beef
    1 tablespoon olive oil
    1 tsp cumin
    1 tsp salt
    1 tsp nutmeg

    For the fake mashed potatoes:
    Cut the cauliflower into florets and place in a microwave safe bowl. Cover with plastic wrap and microwave on high for a full minute. Dump into the Vitamix with the milk and garlic cloves. Select Variable 1 and increase speed to 8. Blend for about 30 seconds. 

    For the shepard's pie:
    Cook the meat and onions on the stove with olive oil until browned. Drain of oil and then add spices. Spread peas, corn, and carrots in a shallow baking dish and top with a layer of meat. Next, pour on cauliflower mixture and spread evenly. Bake at 400 degrees for 15 minutes, then broil for 3.

    Taste score: 7/10
    Likes: I only eat peas with mashed potatoes. Why? Because I love garlic mashed potatoes and can hide in the vegetables without hating them...which makes shepard's pie an excellent meal to sneak in some veggies. This recipe is filling but not high in calories. I really liked the texture- just like the "real" thing!

    Dislikes: I could definitely taste the difference between cauliflower and real mashed potatoes, but this close enough for the starch trade off. I will take Outback Steakhouse garlic mashed potatoes anyday, but they certainly don't have the same nutritional value!

    Nutrition score: 8/10
    The key to this recipe is extra lean ground beef. You can add a lot of saturated fat just by buying the lean version. Why switch out potatoes? Potatoes are high on the glycemic index, which affects our blood sugar quickly and then makes us feel hungry sooner: 

    Wednesday, February 10, 2010

    Pumpkin Spice Muffins

    1 apple
    1/2 can of pumpkin
    1 1/2 cups whole wheat flour
    1/4 cup packed brown sugar
    1/2 tsp baking powder
    1/2 tsp baking soda
    1 tsp cinnamon
    1 tsp ground ginger
    1 tsp nutmeg
    1 tsp lemon juice
    1 tsp vanilla extract
    chocolate chips (optional)

    Core the apple and dump it along with the pumpkin, vanilla, and lemon juice into the Vitamix. Select Variable 1 and increase speed to 8. Blend for 20 seconds, pushing down ingredients with the tamper until the mixture is one color. Next, add the remaining ingredients and select Variable 4. Stir the with the tamper until fully mixed. Bake at 400 degrees for 20 minutes.

    Taste score: 9/10
    Likes: Finally a whole wheat, low fat muffin recipe that doesn't taste like baby food! This recipe wasn't just good- these muffins were delicious. My apartment smelled like pumpkin pie all afternoon. I ate one the moment they came out of the oven and a day later warmed up in the microwave and I had to restrain myself from polishing off the whole batch!

    Dislikes: I sprinkled the muffins with chocolate chips, which burned in the oven. Next time I'll mix them in the batter.

    Nutrition score: 8/10
    This recipe gets points off for added sugar. But the applesauce is a great substitute for eggs, and the whole what also adds a few grams of fiber. To compare, check this out: http://www.thedailyplate.com/nutrition-calories/food/starbucks/pumpkin-loaf

    Monday, February 8, 2010

    Strawberry Broccoli Smoothie

    I feel like this one should be prefaced with the fact that many health conscious people preach the "good news" about green smoothies. To me, throwing in vegetables ruins a perfectly good smoothie, but I wanted to see for myself. For someone who hates veggies, this is a good way to sneak some in my diet. So when I didn't have time to make lunch one day and needed something quick and filling to hold me over, I gave it a try- my first green smoothie!

    1/2 cup frozen broccoli
    1/2 cup frozen strawberries

    1 cup orange juice
    3 ice cubes

    Dump the ingredients in the Vitamix. Select Variable 1 and increase speed to 7. Blend for 20 seconds, pushing down ingredients with the tamper. Then blend on High for 10 seconds.

    Taste score: 5/10
    Likes: I think the 2:1 fruit to broccoli ratio is just right. This tasted like a regular strawberry-orange smoothie, without the pulp or seeds. I will definitely sneak some veggies in my fruit smoothies again, just maybe not this one.

    Dislikes: If I said I couldn't taste the broccoli I would be lying. But it's not so bitter when blended with the sweetness of the fruit, and tasted more like a hint of green instead of a mouthful. Next time I'll add different types of fruit so it settles better in my stomach.

    Nutrition score: 7/10
    I used fresh squeezed orange juice (not from concentrate) but it contains a lot of sugar. Apart from that, I also used frozen broccoli which doesn't have as much nutritional value as fresh veggies. But broccoli is anti-carcinogenic and can prevent all sorts of cancers.

    Sunday, February 7, 2010

    Raspberry Vinaigrette

    1/2 cup olive oil
    1/4 cup apple cider vinegar
    1 tsp salt

    2 tablespoons honey
    1/2 cup frozen raspberries
    1/4 cup water

    Dump ingredients in the Vitamix. Select Variable 1 and increase speed to 7, then blend on High for 10 seconds.

    Taste score: 7/10
    Likes: I ate this dressing with baby spinach, chopped carrots, and a sprinkle of peanuts. Since I was running low on frozen raspberries, I also threw in a handful of blueberries. Leafy green vegetables are not my favorite, so when I find a fruity salad dressing that takes the edge off, I am perfectly content.

    Dislikes: It kind of tasted like I poured a smoothie on my salad. I will definitely make this again, but I'll try 1/3 cup of fruit instead of 1/2.

    Nutrition score: 7/10
    Pretty good as far as salad dressings go. Since you're adding fruit to amp up the sweetness, only a little honey is needed.

    Monday, February 1, 2010

    Frozen lemonade

    2 lemons
    1 tablespoon sugar
    1 cup ice cubes

    Peel the lemons and place ingredients in the Vitamix. Select Variable 1 and increase speed to 7. Blend for 20 seconds, pushing down ingredients with the tamper. Then blend on High for 10 seconds.

    Taste score: 6/10

    Likes: After a long day of classes, there was nothing I needed more than this sour frozen treat. It tasted just like the frozen lemonade you buy at amusement parks but without all the corn syrup. The Vitamix could handle the seeds just fine, and I liked that I could eat it with a spoon or slurp it with a straw.

    Dislikes: It was very tart, which I didn't mind, but since I didn't want to add too much sugar, I  could have diluted it with a little water. Also, the Vitamix strangely couldn't pulverize the pulp as well as the seeds, so I might run it on High for a little longer.

    Nutrition score: 7/10
    This frozen lemonade Vitamix recipe is pretty simple. Lemons are an excellent source of Vitamin C and they have lots of anticarcinogenic flavonoids.

    Sunday, January 31, 2010

    Banana Bread

    1 apple
    2 bananas
    3/4 c. brown sugar
    1/3 c. water
    1 2/3 c. wheat flour
    1 egg white
    1 tsp baking soda
    1/4 tsp baking powder

    Place fruit in the Vitamix. Select Variable 1 and increase speed to 5. Blend for 20 seconds, pushing down ingredients with the tamper. Then dump the rest of the ingredients in the Vitamix and blend at speed 4 for 30 seconds. Spread mixture in 11x14 pan and bake for 20 minutes at 375 degrees. Top with cinnamon or brown sugar.

    Taste score: 4/10

    Likes: I like them thin so I can eat them as breakfast bars on the go. I topped them with cinnamon sugar for a little more flavor.

    Dislikes: Although they were way better tan those vegan muffins I tried to make, the insides were still mushy. I wouldn't spend time making this recipe again.

    Nutrition score: 7/10
    This treat would be pretty healthful without the topping. But if you're going to have banana bread, this is a great alternative to anything you'd find at a bakery or coffeeshop.

    Faux Fried Chicken Fingers

    1/2 cup flake cereal- Special K, Fiber One, or corn flakes
    1 piece wheat bread (optional)
    1 tsp. each salt and pepper
    2 egg whites
    One package of boneless, skinless chicken

    Add cereal, bread, and spices in the Vitamix. Select Variable 1 and increase speed to 4. Blend for 20 seconds, pushing down ingredients with the tamper (I only added the wheat bread because I had an end piece I wanted to use up but it worked out fine). Dump the breadcrumb mixture from the Vitamix into a small dish. Slice raw chicken into strips. Crack egg whites into another small dish and whip with a fork until you see bubbles. Dip chicken strips into egg whites and then the breadcrumbs. Bake for 10 minutes each side 425 degrees.

    Taste score: 10/10

    Likes: Two thumbs up! Who doesn't love chicken tenders? Usually they're dripping with oil and most of the calories are found in the breading. But using fiber cereal and wheat bread amps up the fiber content, while still retaining the delicious crunch. I ate these with ketchup but I saved half for chicken parmesean and pasta tomorrow.

    Dislikes: This isn't necessarily a dislike, but as lover of all things spicy, I might experiment with taco seasoning or hot sauce next time.

    Nutrition score: 8/10
    I remember reading in the Hungry girl newsletter that cereal makes a great breading for chicken and she's right! I guess this recipe would be better for you if you just steamed the meat and left out the breading, but that's boring. At least in this recipe the breading is fiber fortified!

    Wednesday, January 27, 2010

    Turkey Chili

    1 Roma tomato
    1 peeled onion
    1/3 red pepper
    1 packet taco seasoning

    1/2 pound lean ground turkey
    1 tsp olive oil
    1 can black or kidney beans

    Cook turkey on the stove with olive oil. Meanwhile, add all salsa ingredients to the Vitamix. Select Variable 1 and increase speed to 4. Blend for 20 seconds, pushing down ingredients with the tamper. Drain meat, then add beans and salsa. I also added an extra dash of cumin and chili pepper.

    Taste score: 9/10

    Likes: I have to admit this is the first time I've ever had ground turkey. Far from someone with a refined palate, I didn't notice any difference between this chili and any other beef chili I've had. I ate this in a whole wheat spinach wrap with baby spinach and a sprinkle of cheese. Popped it in the microwave and it was way better than Taco Bell!

    Dislikes: It has a lot of spices but it isn't necessarily hot and spicy. I should have bought those jalapenos...

    Nutrition score: 9/10
    Between the meat and the beans, this dish is packed with protein! Lean turkey has less saturated fat than ground beef, so that's a plus. It does have quite a bit of cholesterol, but everything in moderation right?

    Monday, January 25, 2010

    Raspberry Peach Sorbet

    1/4 cup plain yogurt
    2 cups any combination of frozen peaches and raspberries
    1 Tablespoon sugar
    2 tsp vanilla

    Add all ingredients to the Vitamix. Select Variable 1 and increase speed to 8. Blend for 10 seconds, pushing down ingredients with the tamper.

    Taste score: 10/10

    Likes: Whoohoo! This sorbet has a key ingredient: vanilla. The great thing about this sorbet is the texture. It's velvety smooth with no seeds or ice crystals. Peaches and raspberries aren't even my favorite fruits, but this frozen treat was deliciously sweet and my favorite recipe so far. Perfect 10.

    Dislikes: It could use more sugar but...I will resist!

    Nutritional score: 9/10
    This recipe gets a point off because of the added sugar. But peaches are a good source of Vitamin C and raspberries are anticarcinogenic, antimicrobial, and antioxident little gems. Enjoy!

    Spinach Garlic Bread

    For the bread:
    2 cups wheat flour
    1 tsp salt
    2 tsp baking powder
    1/4 cup vegetable oil
    2/3 cup water

    For the filling:
    1 drizzle of olive oil
    2 handfulls of baby spinach
    2 cloves minced garlic
    2 tsp garlic powder
    1/3 cup shredded cheese

    Place all filling ingredients in a pan on medium heat. Leave for 5-10 minutes until leaves look wilty or soggy (I never claimed to be a professional chef!) While it's cooking, add all bread ingredients to the Vitamix. Select Variable 1 and increase speed to 5. Blend for 10 seconds. Roll the dough on a nonstick cookie sheet into a rectangle about 1/4 inch thick. Sprinkle cheese evenly on the dough and then spread the spinach mixture. Roll the dough into a cylinder and  bake for 20 minutes.

    Taste score: 6/10

    Likes: I am a spinach hater. It is green, bitter, and boring. But when you saute it with garlic to mask the bitterness, you forget it's a leafy green vegetable. I was nervous about this dough because it's yeast-free, but it turned out perfect for this recipe. The outside is golden brown and the inside is fluffy. I love garlic bread, but it's usually made with white bread and slathered in butter. This is a healthy alternative that tastes even better!

    Dislikes: It needs to be consumed with a glass of water. And I think I could get away with adding more spinach to take full advantage of the fact that it is going into my mouth without a gag reflex.

    Nutritional score: 7/10
    Spinach is a magic food that contains folate, Vitamin K, Vitamin C, and beta carotene. It strengthens bones, lowers blood pressure, and even helps to keep your mind sharp. This recipe gets a 7, because the cheese and vegetable oil add a little more fat.

    Black Bean Baked Potatoes

    2 Russet potatoes

    1 onion
    2 garlic cloves
    1 tomato
    1 tsp cumin
    1 tsp chili powder
    1 can black beans
     (an optional sprinkle of cheese for topping)

    Scrub the potatoes and cook them in the microwave on high for about 8 minutes (or until you feel them steaming). While they're cooking, place all other ingredients in the Vitamix. Start on Variable 1 and increase speed to 8. Blend for 10 seconds, pushing down the ingredients with the tamper. Cut the potatoes in half and scoop out a golf ball sized portion from the center of each half. Drop in the Vitamix. Drain the can of black beans and rinse well. Drop in the Vitamix. Blend for 10 seconds on Variable 4.

    Fill the potato boats with the mixture and top with a sprinkle of cheese. Serve warm.

    Taste score: 5/10

    Likes:  I love baked potatoes, but usually restaurant quality loaded baked potatoes are made with greasy, fatty fillings. This baby was more flavorful than a plain potato with butter, and the beans added some much needed texture. I was on a baking spree, so I stuck my half in the oven for a few minutes and the skin turned nice and crispy. I'm going to wrap the rest and have them for my brown bagged lunch this week!

    Dislikes: The texture really threw me off. Mashed potato with black beans is a combination I wasn't used to "at first bite." I think maybe next time I'll just scoop out the potato and eat it instead of adding it to the mixture!

    Nutritional score: 9/10 
    There's nothing bad for you in this recipe. The beans and potato are great sources of fiber, and cumin is a good digestive aid. Although potatoes have a bad rep because they are very starchy, they also contain 20% daily value of Vitamin B6, which is responsible for breaking down everything we eat.

    Wednesday, January 20, 2010

    Vitamix disasters!

    So this week was a whirlwind of Vitamix FAILS. Among the few:

    Vegan banana bread- This one wasn't too horrible, because the insides tasted like applesauce. But the consistency was way off and I had to cut it up and broil it to make it edible without a spoon.

    Vegan pumpkin muffins- They are made without dairy products so I knew they would turn out a little different from traditional pumpkin muffins. But these babies burnt to a crisp on the outside and had the consistency of pumpkin pie on the insides. This will not be a repeat. I will stick with the milk and eggs!

    Grapefruit juice- I love grapefruit juice but this was a mistake. I don't have cheesecloth to drain the grapefruit pulp, so this tasted like bitter grapefruit pulp. Gross.