Meatless Monday: Millet Stew

meatless monday

 

After a week of sniffling, coughing and losing my voice, I wanted to cook something mild, nutritious and creamy with my favorite grain — ¬†millet. Millet is rich in magnesium, phosphorus, lignans, antioxidants and other health-promoting nutrients. I adapted this recipe for millet stew from Cooks.com. I’ve only made this recipe once, but I can picture many different types of vegetables in it, such as yellow squash, zucchini or peas. Here’s my version for this Meatless Monday:

Millet Stew

Ingredients:

7 cups water

2 cups hulled millet, rinsed

2 potatoes, peeled diced

2 carrots, diced

1 onion, diced

1/2 teaspoon salt

dried Italian herbs to taste

sprinkle of salt and pepper to taste

Boil the water in a large soup pot. Add all the ingredients — excedpt for herbs and sprinkleof salt and pepper — to the water. Reduce to simmer, cover the pot, and cook for 30 to 40 minutes until the millet is soft and creamy. About 10 minutes before the stew is cooked, stir in herbs and a sprinkle of pepper. You may need to add 1/2 to 1 cup of additional water.

When the stew is finished, spoon it into bowls and sprinkle with salt and pepper. The stew really stays hot for a long time, so be careful! If you’d like to learn more about this grain, click to read a great article from World’s Healthiest Foods.

Be well and be blessed!

Meatless Monday: Cinnamon Applesauce Banana Bread

Happy Meatless Monday on this week before Christmas! I’m sharing a variation on banana bread that I made when I discovered I was lacking some ingredients for the traditional recipe. I adapted the recipe from the Better Homes and Gardens Cookbook — a favorite of mine.

Cinnamon Applesauce Banana Bread

Ingredients

2 cups all-purpose flour

1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder

1/2 teaspoon baking soda

1 teaspoon cinnamon

1/4 teaspoon sea salt

2 beaten eggs

1 cup mashed bananas (2-3 bananas)

1/2 cup unsweetened applesauce

1 cup sugar or equivalent sweetener

1/2 cup canola oil

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Grease a 9x5x3-inch loaf pan; set aside. In a large bowl, mix together flour, baking powder, baking soda, cinnamon and salt. Make a well in the center of the flour and set aside.

2. In a medium bowl, combine eggs, bananas, applesauce, oil and sugar. Add this mixture all at once to flour mixture, and combine until just moistened (batter will be lumpy). Spoon batter into loaf pan.

3. Bake in oven at 350 degrees F for 55 to 60 minutes; during the last 15 minutes of baking time, cover the pan loosely with foil to prevent overbrowning. On a wire cooling rack, let the bread cool in the pan for 10 minutes. Remove from pan and cool completely on the rack. For easiest slicing, wrap and refrigerate overnight before serving (I’ve never been able to wait that long!).

I like this bread with cream cheese, but it’s great with butter or even peanut butter. Hope you’ll try it.

Be well and be blessed…and Merry Christmas!

Meatless Monday: Whole Wheat Crackers

This week the Meatless Monday recipe is for crisp, tasty whole wheat crackers. These crackers have a similar taste to Wheat Thins; I adapted the recipe from Kitchen Stewardship. Check out the site for the original recipe and more cooking inspiration!

Enjoy these whole wheat crackers with soup or on their own.

Whole Wheat Crackers

Ingredients:

1 1/4 cup whole wheat flour

1/2 tsp. salt

4 Tbsp. butter

1/4 cup water

1 1/2 Tbsp. agave nectar

1/4 tsp. vanilla

sea salt and black pepper to taste

Preheat oven to 400 degrees F.

In a medium mixing bowl, combine flour and salt. Using a pastry blender, cut in the butter until the mixture resembles small peas.

In a cup, combine water, agave nectar and vanilla. Add liquid mixture to dry ingredients and combine just until it forms a ball of dough.

Divide the ball of dough into three sections. Sprinkle flour on a surface and rub flour on a rolling pin. Roll the dough as thin as possible. Slice dough into 1 1/2-inch pieces and poke each section with a fork.

Place the pieces of dough on a cookie sheet, and sprinkle with sea salt and black pepper. Bake at 400 degrees F for 5 to 10 minutes, checking frequently to prevent burning. Crackers will be golden brown when done. Repeat this process for the other three dough sections.

For a snack, top these crackers with cream cheese or peanut butter. Of course, they’re also perfect with soups.

Have a great week. Be well and be blessed!

Meatless Monday: Oats for Your Brain, Blood Sugar and More

After a summer blogging break, it’s good to be back on Meatless Monday! Instead of the usual recipe, I’d like to share some information on a familiar food that offers a wide range of health benefits. It’s worth taking another look at this food that we may take for granted. Rich in calcium, iron, B-vitamins and other nutrients, oats and oatstraw (the stalks and leaves) offer medicinal properties. Please note that we’re talking about unrefined — not instant — oats! Here are some of the health benefits of oats:

Brain and Nerves

As¬† tincture or infusion, oatstraw appears to improve concentration, clarity of thinking and attention span. In her book Healing Wise, herbalist Susun Weed notes that oat baths and oatstraw infusions are longtime remedies for nervous and emotional stress associated with quitting smoking, and even childhood bedwetting and colic. Drink a cup of calming — though not sedating — infusion when your nerves are frayed, or at bedtime for a restful sleep.

Cardiovascular

Oats are probably best known fro their cardiovascular benefits. Numerous studies have shown the cholesterol-reducing, antioxidant heart benefits of this food. A 2007 Harvard study published in the Archives of Internal Medicine found that regular intake of whole grain breakfast cereals — such as oats — is associated with a lower risk of heart failure. Researchers have found this food to be especially beneficial to heart health in postmenopausal women.

Blood Sugar

If you have Type 2 diabetes or just want to maintain healthy blood sugar levels, you may want to include oats in your diet. The beta-glucan in oats appears to help prevent spikes in blood sugar, and the magnesium content promotes enzyme activity which aids insulin production. You can add cinnamon, which may improve blood sugar stability, to your serving of oatmeal.

Breast Health

Research suggests that fiber intake helps reduce a woman’s risk of developing breast cancer. Premenopausal women who had a daily intake of more than 30 grams of fiber were found to have a 52 percent lower risk of developing breast cancer. In one study, researchers found that fruits and whole grains, such as oats, ofter the best protection. Fresh fruit and whole grain cereals are a classic breakfast combination.

Recipes and More…

For more details on the benefits of oats:

World’s Healthiest Foods: Oats

University of Illinois Extension: Enjoy Oatmeal for Your Health

 
Recipes (other than hot cereal) which include oats…

Eating Well: Healthy Oat Recipes and Cooking Tips

Have a wonderful week…be well and be blessed!


Meatless Monday: Blueberry Banana Bread

Happy Meatless Monday! My husband came up with this recipe idea, and it turned out very well. Blueberries add sweetness along with flavor to this recipe, and the whole wheat adds a rich flavor. For a low-glycemic sugar substitute, try coconut sugar; its caramel-like flavor blends well with the other ingredients, and it measures the same as cane sugar. I adapted the basic banana bread recipe from the Better Homes and Gardens New Cookbook Special Edition. I made this bread for the first time yesterday, and knew I had to share it. For more meatless ideas, join us at Midnight Maniac Meatless Monday.

Serve blueberry banana bread with coffee for breakfast...great with cream cheese!

Blueberry Banana Bread

Ingredients:

2 cups whole wheat flour

1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder

1/2 teaspoon baking soda

1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon

1/8 teaspoon ground nutmeg

1/2 cup sugar

1/4 teaspoon sea salt

2 beaten eggs

1 cup mashed bananas (2 medium/large bananas)

1/2 cup canola oil

1/2 cup frozen blueberries

1. Preheat oven to 35o degrees F. Grease and set aside one 9x5x3-inch loaf pan. In a large mixing bowl, combine flour, baking soda, baking powder, cinnamon, nutmeg, sugar, and salt. Make a well in the center of the mixture.

2. In a small bowl, combine eggs, oil and bananas. Add egg mixture all at once to the dry ingredients. Combine just until moistened, and fold in the blueberries. Spoon the batter into the prepared loaf pan.

3. Bake for 55 to 60 minute, or until a toothpick inserted near the center of the loaf comes out clean. During the last 15 minutes, you may want to cover the loaf loosely with foil to prevent over-browning. Cool in the loaf pan on a cooling rack for 10 minutes, and then remove loaf from pan. Cool completely on a wire rack, and then wrap and refrigerate overnight before slicing (Yeah, right…who wants to wait?).

Done! Try this bread at breakfast with either cream cheese or peanut butter.

Till next time, be well and be blessed!

Meatless Monday: Tomato Bisque

This week’s Meatless Monday recipe is a classic — tomato bisque! This recipe is adapted from Soup & Bread: A Country Inn Cookbook by one of my favorite cookbook authors, Crescent Dragonwagon. This tasty soup is delicious with a sandwich, or on its own. It’s also a rich source of the antioxidant known as lycopene, which is found in chopped, cooked tomatoes. Lycopene has received much attention for its apparent cancer-fighting properties. Enjoy this soup and be well!

Tomato bisque soup is surprisingly easy to make!

Tomato Bisque (serves 2 to 4 lunch entrees)

Ingredients:

1 tablespoon canola oil

1 large onion, chopped

1 14-ounce can diced tomatoes, with juice

1 medium tomato, diced

1 tablespoon honey

1 bay leaf

1/8 teaspoon ground cloves

1 teaspoon dried basil

salt and pepper to taste

1 cup plus 3 tablespoons fat-free evaporated milk

2 tablespoons cornstarch

In a 10-inch skillet heat the oil over medium heat. Add the onion and saute a few minutes, until it begins to soften. Add canned and fresh tomatoes with juice, honey, bay leaf, cloves, basil, and salt and pepper. Simmer for 5 minutes, stirring occasionally until heated through.

Meanwhile, in a medium saucepan, heat 1 cup of the evaporated milk to just under a boil. In a small bowl, dissolve cornstarch in the 3 tablespoons of evaporated milk. Whisk this mixture into the hot milk. Cook, stirring constantly, until thick, smooth, and free of starchy taste — about 1 minute.

Remove bay leaf from the tomato mixture. Gradually add the mixture to the hot thickened milk. Do not add all at once, because it could curdle the milk. Heat the soup thoroughly, but do not boil. If you like, you can thin the soup with a little more milk. Serve hot, immediately.

Meatless Monday: Spicy Whole Grain and Raisin Muffins


Welcome to another Meatless Monday! This week’s recipe is for Spicy Whole Grain and Raisin Muffins. These hearty muffins are delicious hot with cream cheese! This recipe is adapted from an original recipe at Cooks.com.

Spicy Whole Wheat and Raisin Muffins

Ingredients:

2 cups whole wheat flower

1 tsp. baking soda

1 tsp. ground cinnamon

1/8 tsp.ground cloves

1/2 tsp. sea salt

1/2 cup raisins

1/4 cup honey

1 egg, beaten

1 cup buttermilk

3 tbsp. canola oil

Directions:

Preheat oven to 375 degrees F.

In a mixing bowl, combine flour, baking soda, cinnamon, cloves, salt and raisins.

In a separate small bowl, whisk together milk, honey, oil and egg.

Make a well in the dry ingredients and add the liquid ingredients. Stir until dry ingredients are just moistened.

Fill greased muffin pans so that each cup is half full. Bake for 15 minutes.

Cool the muffins on a wire rack. Makes 12 to 16 muffins.