THE HEALTHY HAG

I COOK … I EAT … I SHARE.

Rice and Peas, Peas and Rice July 31, 2009

It is Caribana weekend here in metropolis,  and in honour of this long standing glorious tradition, I am posting my take on a classic: rice and peas. There is more to this celebration than parades, whistles and sweat, there’s the delicious and cheap food.  I am a big time lover of caribbean inspired culinary delights, as they’re often ridicously tasty, cheap and easy to make.  Most of the ingrients are pantry staples, so it makes a spontaneous night of heart-and-belly-warming eats a snap. I know, I know, there aren’t any real “peas” in this dish … but hey, aren’t you as sick as I am at saying you’re having yet another dish of rice and beans?  Rice and peas just sounds nicer.

INGREDIENTS:

1 can (or 2 cups cooked) red kidney beans

1 can coconut milk

2 cups of brown rice, soaked overnight

1 small onion, chopped

1 clove garlic, chopped

1/4 tsp dried thyme

1 TBSP canola spoon oil

water

Scotch Bonnet Pepper (although this is totally optional)

DIRECTIONS:

1) Rinse cooked beans thoroughly, place in a pot and add coconut milk and enough water to make four cups of liquid.

2) Add in onions, garlic, thyme and oil, bring to a boil.

3) Add rice and stir for 1 minute, add hot pepper whole, by placing pepper on top and allow to simmer.

4) Reduce heat to med-low and continue to simmer for about 35 min (or until rice is cooked).

5) Remove pepper (you can discard or add it to another dish you may be making – but watch out … it’s HOT) and serve.


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FETE ‘TILL YOU SWEAT!

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Out-of-this-world Oatmeal PB Bars July 23, 2009

I am always on the hunt for new and exciting tasty treats that are soy-free and healthy.  I’ve experimented with dozens of batches and have adjusted my good ol’ taste buds to accommodate a lot of pasty and good-for-you-but-not-good-tasting snacks.  I was hankering for something oatmealy, healthy and transportable and came up with what according to my hubster, is by far the best thing I’ve ever made.  It’ll be tough to follow up this one with something comparable, but I love a challenge.  These bars are a great way to grab a brekkie on the go or to feast upon with a cuppa java.  They’re also dairy-free so that’s another unexpected perk too!  The batch I made yesterday has been reduced to one bar in less than 24 hours – and there’s only 2 of us to blame.  YUMMERS!

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INGREDIENTS:

1/2 cup whole wheat flour

1 tsp cinnamon

1/2 tsp baking soda

1/8 tsp salt

1 tsp wheat bran

1 tbsp ground flax seed

1/2 cup natural-style smooth peanut butter (my absolute favourite right now is PB & Co … LOVE their stuff!)

1/2 cup firmly packed brown sugar or sugar in the raw

1/3 cup honey

2 eggs

2 tbsp canola oil

2 tsp vanilla extract

2 cups old-fashioned rolled oats

1 cup dried cranberries, raisins, dates or apricots (or any other dried fruit you like)

1/2 cup coarsely chopped walnuts or almonds (or your favourite nut)

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DIRECTIONS:

1. Preheat the oven to 350°F and coat a 9 x 13-inch baking dish with nonstick spray (I used a bit of oil smudged about with a brush, as all the spray oils I’ve seen have soy).

2. Mix flour, cinnamon, baking soda, salt, wheat germ, and ground flax in a medium bowl and set aside.

3. Thoroughly mix peanut butter, sugar, and honey in a large mixing bowl until blended, then blend in egg, oil and vanilla and beat until smooth.

4. Add reserved flour mixture to wet mixture and combine, then mix in oats, dried fruit, and nuts.

5. Scrape batter into the prepared baking dish and bake fro 20-25 min until lightly browned and firm to the touch.

6. Let cool completely in the pan on a rack before cutting into bars (about 30 min minimum).

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Roasted Veg with Rice Soup July 22, 2009

As mentioned about a trillion times before, I LOVE making soup.  Love Love Love.  It’s so easy and so cheap, and uses up all the veggies in the fridge that otherwise might have had to head to the green bin.  That said, I hit the fridge last night and raided the crisper for anything less than fresh.  Enter sweet potatoes, some sprouting garlic, an assortment of mushrooms and some frozen veggie stock.  Three hours later, the house smelled delectable, only bad spots sat resting in the green bin and I was left with enough soup for dinner and lunches for two days.

INGREDIENTS:

1 extra large sweet potato, chopped into small cubes (I left the skin on, but you could peel it if you wish)

2 cups of mushrooms, chopped (your choice – I used button and crimini)

1 medium onion, chopped

3 garlic gloves, chopped

1 tbsp olive oil

1 tsp kosher salt

6 cups vegetable stock

½ cup uncooked wild or brown rice

½ tsp cinnamon

½ tsp of allspice

Pepper

DIRECTIONS:

1)      Set oven to 375F and place chopped vegetables on a baking tray.

2)      Pour olive oil over vegetables, sprinkle with salt and bake for 20-30 min until browned.

3)      Bring a large pot with the stock to a boil, and carefully add in cooked vegetables.

4)      Return to a boil, add in rice and remaining spices, and simmer on low for approximately 45 min.

5)      Serve with crusty bread or your favourite crackers!

NOTES:

You can be as creative as you want here!  Swap in or out your favourite veggies, or use barley instead of rice, and maybe even add in some beans of your choice.  This would go nicely with some freshly grated cheese too.

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BE FREE Mac n’ Cheese July 3, 2009

Yes, this is a mac’n’cheese for the rest of us … soy, gluten, AND dairy free!!!  Some of the most common allergens and food intollerences out there these days.  Sad but true.  This certainly won’t replace Auntie Marg’s creamy gooey gorgeous baked version that has everyone in a coma for a few hours after enjoying, but hey, it’s better than the alternative of nothing.  It’s a pretty tasty and easy version of a classic that will satisfy any “freer” out there.  Enjoy!

INGREDIENTS:

1 1/4 cup uncooked brown rice macaroni

1 1/4 cup unsweetened rice milk

1/3 cup nutritional yeast

1 tsp sea salt

1 tbsp cornstarch

1 tsp EACH onion powderand garlic powder

1/2 tsp paprika

1/4 tsp tumeric

1 tbsp tahini

Sprinking of smoked paprika for dusting (optional!!)

MAC

DIRECTIONS:

1. Cook pasta according to directions on the box (usually about 7-8 min).

2. Immediately drain and rinse with cold water, and set aside.

3. Whisk all remaining ingredients together in a medium sauce pan, and turn on heat on burner to medium.

4. Bring sauce to a near boil then turn down the heat to low – stirring occasionally, to allow sauce to thicken.

5. Remove from heat once thickened, and combine with cooked macaroni, stirring to coat completely.

6. Return to bruner, heat thoroughly and serve!