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Wild Rice, Wheat Berry, Tempeh Stir-fry December 19, 2011

Whole Grains and Plant-based Proteins Make a Filling Meal

MEATLESS MONDAYS
Wild Rice, Wheat Berry, Tempeh Stir-Fry
with homemade ginger peanut sauce

Easy-to-make, tasty, and extremely filling, this high-protein dish makes a great meal or a substantial side. Active time is only about 15 minutes but plan ahead to cook the rice & wheat berries for an hour.

Ingredients
Makes 4 meal (amounts are approximate)

-3/4 cups dry wild rice
-1/2 cup dry wheat berries
-1 package tempeh (I used Trader Joe’s Organic 3 Grain Tempeh)
-4 tbsp natural peanut butter (no sugar added)
-2 tbsp Whole Foods Thai Ginger Marinade (or 1 tbsp grated ginger & 1 tbsp soy sauce)
-3 tbsp lemon juice
-3/4 cup of your favorite stir-fry veggies
-4 tbsp canola or olive oil
-1 tsp chia seeds (optional)
– 1/4 cup cashews (optional)

Methods

1) Boil 4 cups water, add wild rice and wheat berries, bring to a boil, and reduce to a simmer for 1 hour.

2) After rice and wheat berries have cooked for 45-50 minutes begin to prepare tempeh. Add 4 tbsp oil (olive or canola) to large sauce pan and bring to medium heat on stove top. Cut tempeh into thin bite-sized pieces and add to large stir-fry pan at medium heat. Stir frequently.

3) In a small bowl, mix peanut butter, lemon juice, and Thai Ginger Marinade (Whole Foods brand or homemade by combining 1 tbsp grated ginger with 1 tbsp reduced-sodium soy sauce). Add blended peanut sauce to your stir-fry pan with tempeh.

4) Remove cooked rice and wheat berries and drain excess water. Add all remaining ingredients (including rice and wheat berries) to sitr-fry pan. Mix well. Serve hot. May store in the fridge for up to 4 days or in the freezer for up to 2 months.

 

Cozy Pumpkin-Peanut Soup November 2, 2011

Pumpkin Peanut Soup: This super filling and delicious soup will warm you right up! Served with half a slice of whole wheat Tandoori Naan bread.

Cozy Pumpkin & Peanut Soup
with fire-roasted red peppers & scallion garnish

If you’ve been on the blog lately you’ve probably noticed I’ve been making a lot of soups lately. I must say that this recipe is probably my favorite of all I have made so far! This soup is incredibly satisfying: the combo of peanut butter and pumpkin puree (spiced up with some peppers) is such a pleasant surprise of a flavor.

I stuck very close to a recipe this time from Women’s Health Magazine. You can find the recipe here.

My Recipe Tweaks:

-Used olive oil instead of vegetable
-Chunky natural peanut butter (NO hydrogenated oils) instead of smooth reduced fat
-Cayenne Pepper instead of chili pepper flakes
-Non-fat European plan yogurt instead of sour cream (left this off when I reheated a bowl the next day)

 

Breakfast March 8, 2011

 

Fage 0% Plain Greek Yogurt mixed with de-thawed frozen strawberries, cinnamon and turmeric and topped with sliced almonds; two slices of whole wheat toast: one with peanut butter, one with tabbouli; skim milk

 

Better Peanut Butter October 10, 2010

Crunchy, creamy, on bread, on bananas… most of us have opinions about how we like our peanut butter that haven’t changed since childhood.  (Unless of course you’re allergic, in which case you probably just like it far away from you.)

For those of you who love it, you’ll be happy to know that this popular spread packs in protein, healthy fats (monounsaturated fats make up most of the fat content), fiber, vitamin E, niacin, and manganese. But there is one catch to optimizing the health benefits beyond sticking within the serving size (2 tbsp): steer clear of the hydrogenated oils.

 

Look at the ingredients list for peanut butter. Avoid peanut butters with added hydrogenated oils "aka trans fats"

 

A Quick Fat Lesson

Unsaturated fats: (listed as monounsaturated or polyunsaturated fats) are fats that contain one or more double bond within the carbon chain of their chemical structure. Because of their structure, these fats tend to take a more fluid form. Unsaturated fats are used for normal lipid functions, including body insulation, organ cushioning and protection, cell membrane formation, energy etc. without causing a dangerous rise in blood cholesterol levels. These are often known as the “heart healthy” fats. These these fats in moderation are good for you but keep in mind that all fats are a major source of energy (9 calories/gram). Unsaturated fats, like ALL FOOD, should only be eaten in quantities that are useful to the body or they will just end up being stored as body fat. Try to stick to the recommended serving size for best results! Examples of monounsaturated fats include, peanut oil, peanut butter, olive oil, avocado and canola oil. Examples of polyunsaturated fats include most vegetable oils, fatty fish, salad dressings (with oil), and seeds.

Saturated Fats: Found mostly in animal products (meats and dairy) and in some tropical oils (palm, coconut). The U.S. dietary guidelines recommend keeping saturated fats at 10% or less of your total fat intake. This is because saturated fats (the carbon chains are fully “saturated” or filled to capacity with hydrogen atoms) raise blood cholesterol levels and, when too much is consumed, contributes to risk of heart disease. Saturated fats are solid at room temperature.

Trans Fats: While there are a few exceptions to this rule, the majority of trans fats are the result of hydrogenation of polyunsaturated fats. In other words, hydrogen atoms are added to unsaturated fats to either partially or fully saturate them. These chemically altered fats are known to be the worst for our health when consume. Their structure is similar to saturated fats but our bodies respond to the small structural differences enough that the U.S. Dietary Guidelines recommend restricting trans fat intake to as close to zero grams as possible.

One key difference between saturated fats and trans fats: Saturated fats raise the amount of LDL cholesterol carriers in the blood and have a negligible effect on HDL cholesterol carrier levels.  Trans fats both raise LDL levels and lower HDL levels. LDL are the carriers you want less of (they increase blood cholesterol levels) and HDL are the carriers you want more of (they help to remove cholesterol from dying cells, and other places you don’t want cholesterol to be).

Why then, would we create trans fats? Trans fats are made to change the texture of fats and to extend the shelf life of many foods. While polyunsaturated fats are much better for your health, they do not hold up so well when left on a grocery store shelf or in warehouses for long periods of time. Without refrigeration, many foods rich in polyunsaturated fats will become rancid over time and no longer edible. Thus the convenience of hydrogenation was born. By hydrogenating the unsaturated fat that is natural to peanut butter, manufacturers could produce a spread that could stay good on store shelves and in your pantry for up to two years. The saturated-fat like structure of trans fats also helps create a more solid, even consistency that helps prevent separation of the oil from the rest of the spread.

All things considered, I would much rather refrigerate and stir my peanut butter than opt for the trans fat version that keeps for 2 years in the pantry. Most “natural” peanut butters are the trans-fat free versions. Check the nutrition label and look for “0” listed under the trans fat content and avoid products with “hydrogenated” or “partially hydrogenated” oils for best results.