Zucchini Fudge Brownie Bites

Sometimes I just need a little chocolate! These low sugar, delectable and satisfying bites perfectly indulge my craving. They are made with spelt flour. Spelt is an ancient grain that is similar to wheat. However, many people who have a wheat allergy are able to eat spelt with no problems.

THE TWIST

The vitamin C, folate and beta-carotene content in zucchini helps to protect these cells from the harmful chemicals leading to colon cancer. Beta-carotene and vitamin C also have anti-inflammatory properties, thereby naturally curing ailments like osteoarthritis, asthma, and rheumatoid arthritis, where swelling is immensely painful. The copper percentage in zucchini also helps in reducing the aching symptoms of rheumatoid arthritis. Zucchini contains vitamin A, magnesium, folate, potassium, copper, and phosphorus. This summer squash also  has a  high content of omega-3 fatty acids, zinc, niacin, and protein. Moreover, several B vitamins and calcium in zucchini assure optimal health. The folate in zucchini is highly recommended for pregnant women to help prevent birth defects. Zucchini has such a broad array of nutrients, including carbohydrates, soluble and insoluble fiber, minerals, protein and more.

Cacao powder has more antioxidant activity than any food tested to date! In fact, it has up to four times the antioxidants found in green tea. Cacao powder is not the same as cocoa powder. The processing of cacao powder is so minimal that the nutrients are retained as opposed to being destroyed by the heat and processing associated with making cocoa powder. There is little difference between the taste and texture of the two, however, cocoa powder is generally darker in color. Raw cacao powder contains over 300 nutrients including: protein, fat, fiber, iron, magnesium and sulfur, which is considered the beauty nutrient as it helps form strong nails, silky hair, and beautiful skin. It also helps to cleanse the liver and it helps support the pancreas. Cacao powder helps us feel happy, excited, focused and alert, and causes an increase of a positive mood and decreased feelings of depression. Cacao appears to be the #1 source of magnesium of any food. Magnesium balances brain chemistry, builds strong bones, and helps regulate heartbeat and blood pressure. Magnesium deficiency, present in 80% of Americans, is linked with insomnia, anxiety, constipation, muscle spasms, difficulty swallowing, headaches high blood pressure, heart disease, diabetes, extreme fatigue and joint problems.

Xylitol is found in many fruits and vegetables and our bodies make about 10 grams of it everyday. Xylitol is as sweet as sugar, but with 40% less calories, and does not rely on insulin in the body, making it the ideal natural sweetener for diabetics and it can have a positive affect on the waistline! It is slowly absorbed and metabolized, resulting in very negligible changes in insulin making it an extremely low glycemic alternative to sugar. It has no unpleasant aftertaste like sugar and other sugar alternatives. Xylitol has been used in various places around the world for decades with only positive effects. Most bacteria and yeast in the mouth are unable to make use of xylitol which slows there ability to multiply and produce acids that cause cavities. Xylitol is easy to use in baking since it doesn’t break down under heat. However, it can cause a little gas so don’t eat more than your share of brownie bites!

The walnuts on these bites contribute protein and they contain significant amounts of omega 3 fatty acids as well as manganese, copper, phosphorus, iron calcium and other minerals.  Plus, the antioxidant activity in walnuts is extremely potent which provides the body protection against damaging free radicals.

http://www.organicfacts.net/health-benefits/vegetable/health-benefits-of-zucchini.html
http://nutritiondata.self.com/facts/vegetables-and-vegetable-products/2639/0
http://www.drhoffman.com/page.cfm/127
http://www.xylitol.org/nutritional-benefits-of-xylitol
http://portal.acs.org:80/portal/acs/corg/content?_nfpb=true&_pageLabel=PP_ARTICLEMAIN&node_id=222&content_id=CNBP_026930&use_sec=true&sec_url_var=region1&__uuid=c4751440-bd06-42c3-bac1-4eab6613ebd7

ZUCCHINI FUDGE BROWNIE BITES

1 cup grated zucchini
1/2 cup non-hydrogenated margarine (Earth Balance)
1/4 cup xylitol*
1/4 cup agave nectar
1/2 t Himalayan sea salt*
1 T ground flaxseed
1 t vanilla extract
3 T  soy sour cream (Tofutti)
1 cup spelt flour
1/2 cup raw cacao powder
1/2 cup extra-dark chocolate chips
24 walnut halves

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Grate zucchini with a food processor, remove blade and insert the chopping blade. Add all the remaining ingredients, except the chocolate chips and walnuts, into the zucchini to make a wet mixture. Stir in the chocolate chips. Divide among 24 lightly oiled mini-muffin tins. Top each with a walnut half. Bake for 16 to 18 minutes. Let cakes cool slightly in pans on wire rack, then remove from pan to finish cooling. Store up to 3 days in an airtight container. Makes 24 happy little bites! ©Janice Moreland http://thekitchentwist.com

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Taco Salad With Chipotle Orange Dressing

This is such a quick and easy dish to make. It is both filling and refreshing. I love the combination of  the sweet orange with the smokey spice from the chipotle pepper.

THE TWIST

The health benefits of eating leafy greens can’t be overemphasized. Salad greens are loaded with vitamins A, C and K as well as several of the B vitamins. Salad greens are also a rich source of iron and calcium and numerous trace minerals including magnesium, phosphorus and potassium. Greens are full of nutrients that protect the body and fight disease. They also contain important antioxidants and have anti-inflammatory effects.

Among all groups of food commonly eaten worldwide, no group has a more health-supportive mix of protein-plus-fiber than legumes which includes both the tempeh and the black beans. From a single, one-cup serving of legumes you get nearly 15 grams of fiber, well over half of the daily value and 15 grams of protein, nearly one-third of the daily value. The almost magical protein-fiber combination in legumes explains important aspects of their health benefits for the digestive tract, the blood sugar regulatory system, and the cardiovascular system.

Given the impressive array of antioxidant and anti-inflammatory phytonutrients in black beans, it is not surprising to see numerous studies connecting black bean intake with reduced risk of certain cancers, especially colon cancer. Constant excessive oxidative stress and chronic excessive inflammation are both risk factors for the development of many cancers. By increasing the body’s supply of antioxidant and anti-inflammatory nutrients, black beans may be able to help lower cancer risk. Black beans provide soluble fiber, and this is precisely the type of fiber that researchers have found especially helpful in lower blood cholesterol levels. Decreased risk of coronary heart disease and heart attack have both been associated with increased intake of soluble fiber from food, and in particular from legumes. They are choke full of antioxidants and are anti-inflammatory which helps fight free radical damage, many diseases associated with inflammation and aging. They are full of folate, magnesium, zinc, manganese and provide about 180 milligrams of omega-3 fatty acids per cup.

When buying products made of soy, such as the tempeh, check to make sure it is made of organic soy. All the soy-based products I mention by name are always organic. I also look for “non-GMO” this means that the soybeans are not genetically modified. Usually genetic modification means that pesticide (whether herbicide or insecticide) is now in the gene structure of the product. There is much controversy over the consequences to the human frame of eating GMO products. I recommend to always avoid them.  Other common genetically modified products are corn, canola, cotton (such as cottonseed oil), zucchini and as of 2011 also sugar beets and alfalfa. Buying organic ensures the products are non-GMO.

Just 4 ounces of tempeh provides 41.3% of the daily value for protein for less than 225 calories and only 3.7 grams of saturated fat. Soy protein in tempeh tends to lower cholesterol levels, while consuming protein from animal sources tends to raise them, since they also include saturated fat and cholesterol. In addition to healthy protein, tempeh’s high points include the following: riboflavin, a nutrient essential for the mitochondria in cells and in the regeneration of one of the liver’s most important detoxification enzymes, glutathione; magnesium, which plays an essential role in more than 300 enzymatic reactions, including those that control protein synthesis and energy production; manganese and copper, which are trace minerals that serve numerous physiological functions. The protein and fiber in tempeh can prevent high blood sugar levels and help in keeping blood sugar levels under control. Some diabetics even find that the effects of soy foods, such as tempeh, and other legumes on blood sugar are so profound that they need to monitor their new blood sugar levels and adjust their medications accordingly. The fiber in tempeh provides preventative therapy for several conditions. Fiber is able to bind to cancer-causing toxins and remove them from the body, so they can’t damage colon cells. Soy has been linked to protecting the prostate from cancer in men and a reduction in hot flash symptoms in menopausal women. There is also evidence that soy foods may be able to help reduce the bone loss that typically occurs after menopause.

Recent research studies have confirmed that coriander can alleviate the symptoms of diabetes by stimulating the secretion of insulin and lowering blood sugar, reduce the amount of damaged fats in cell membranes, and lower levels of total and LDL cholesterol (the “bad” kind), while increasing levels of HDL cholesterol (the “good” kind). It has been used in India for it’s anti-inflammatory properties.

Kelp, even in very small quantities, contains large amounts of iodine which is a mineral vital to proper thyroid function but difficult to find naturally from plant sources. Though it may not be adding any flavor to this dish the kelp is a powerhouse of iodine and other much needed minerals such as magnesium, calcium, iron and vanadium.

http://www.whfoods.com/genpage.php?tname=foodspice&dbid=2
http://www.whfoods.com/genpage.php?tname=foodspice&dbid=126#
http://www.whfoods.com/genpage.php?tname=foodspice&dbid=70#
http://nutritiondata.self.com/facts/vegetables-and-vegetable-products/7361/2

TACO SALAD WITH CHIPOTLE ORANGE DRESSING

For the tempeh:
1 onion, chopped
3 garlic cloves, minced
1 serrano chile pepper, minced
1 pkg. tempeh
2 T taco seasoning
1/4 t  kelp powder*
1/4 cup salsa (Arriba)

Saute the onion until translucent and lightly caramelized. Add the garlic and Serrano pepper stirring to combine. Meanwhile, slice the tempeh in half to create two thin sheets. Cut each into very thin strips, matchsticks or small cubes. Combine tempeh with the taco seasoning and kelp powder in a gallon sized plastic bag. Seal bag and shake to evenly coat tempeh. Add entire contents of the bag to the onion mixture, then add the salsa and stir to combine. Set aside until ready to assemble salad.

For the salad dressing:
2 t orange zest (about 1 orange)
1/4 cup freshly squeezed orange juice
1 T fresh lime juice
1 chipotle pepper in adobo sauce
1/2 t ground coriander
1/4 t Himalayan sea salt*
1/8 t stevia (Sweet Leaf)
1/4 cup olive oil

Combine all but the olive oil in a small bowl. While stirring vigorously, slowly pour in the olive oil. Set aside.

For assembly:
Spring greens as desired
1 can (15 oz.) black beans, rinsed and drained
1 can medium olives, drained
1 avocado, sliced
8 oz. cherry tomatoes, sliced
1 orange bell pepper, diced
1/2 bunch cilantro, chopped

Toss together the ingredients for assembly in a large bowl. Add the tempeh mixture and drizzle with the dressing, toss well. Serve over organic tortilla chips, cooked brown rice or quinoa if desired. Serves 4.

Variations:
Other possible add-ins could include corn, red onion slices, mushrooms, diced summer squash, shredded carrots, pinto beans or green onion slices etc…. ©Janice Moreland http://thekitchentwist.com

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Reuben Sandwiches

Last week, while vacationing in Tennessee we found the nicest vegan restaurant in all of Nashville, The Wild Cow. While we had fun enjoying a full menu full of animal free choices it also made the decision of what to eat a little more difficult than it usually is in restaurants. We asked our server, Ryan, what he liked on the menu. He indicated that everything was delicious but that he had recently been “addicted” to the reuben.  Enough said, Vincent ordered the Reuben! There were four of us at the table and we each ordered something different. Ryan was right, everything was very delicious! I told Ryan about The kitchen twist and he told me about how to download some of his original music for free at ryansilver.bandcamp.com be sure to visit and enjoy his tunes! You can also find him on youtube or his website at ryansilvermusic.com his music is very chill with a bit of whimsey, I liked it! Upon arriving home I wanted to create something in honor of The Wild Cow and Ryan, our talented server, who is sure to break into the music scene and become a famous musician. Under these circumstances I decided that nothing could be better than to create a satisfying and addicting reuben sandwich!

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Apart from its deliciously tangy flavor, sauerkraut offers remarkable health benefits. The fiber and lactic acid bacteria improve digestion and promote the growth of healthy bowel flora, protecting against many diseases of the digestive tract. It’s low in calories, enzyme-rich and high in vitamin C. The fermentation of cabbage produces compounds called isothiocyanates which are protective against cancer.

Tofu is a rich source of protein that is cholesterol free. It can help lower the LDL (bad) cholesterol without lowering HDL (good) cholesterol which leads to a reduced risk of heart disease. Being high in protein, it satisfies body’s hunger for a long time. Also, its low-calorie nature doesn’t add any excess calories to your diet.

Tofu is a very good source of iron. Iron helps in the transport of release of oxygen throughout the body promoting energy production. Tofu also provides copper, an important mineral without which iron cannot be properly utilized in red blood cells. Copper is also helpful in reducing the symptoms of rheumatoid arthritis.

A study done on men with type 2 diabetes, all of whom had a diagnosis of diabetes-related kidney disease, found that men who added tofu to their diet significantly reduced the stress on their kidneys.  Those receiving the animal protein, however, experienced an increase in kidney disease.

The juniper berries in the marinate help to prevent gas and heartburn. They also help treat bladder and kidney infections.

Rye bread may be a better choice than wheat bread for persons with diabetes. One study found that bread made from wheat triggers a greater insulin response than rye bread does. Results of the study showed that after women had eaten rye bread, their insulin responses were significantly lower than after they ate wheat bread. Researchers felt this lower after-meal insulin response could be due to the fact that the starch granules in rye bread form a less porous and mechanically firmer matrix than in wheat bread. This would translate into a much greater particle size being swallowed when rye bread is eaten compared to wheat, which would slow the rate at which the starch could be digested into sugar.

http://www.thehealthbank.co.uk/nutrition_articles/sauerkraut.html
http://www.lifemojo.com/lifestyle/health-benefits-of-tofu-37252648
http://www.whfoods.com/genpage.php?tname=foodspice&dbid=65


REUBEN SANDWICHES

For the tofu:
2  (1 lb.) blocks extra-firm tofu, frozen, thawed and water squeezed out (or fresh, drained and pressed)
1/2 cup water
2 T apple cider vinegar
1 T grated ginger
2 juniper berries,* crushed
2 t dry mustard
1 t sesame oil
1/4 t Cayenne pepper
1/8 t cinnamon
1/8 t allspice

Place the tofu  in a gallon sized ziplock bag. Stir together all remaining ingredients and pour over tofu, coating all sides. Press the air out and zip closed. Marinate for 30 minutes while preparing the remaining ingredients.

For the reuben sauce:
3/4 cup vegan mayonnaise (Vegenaise)
6 T ketchup
2 T minced dill pickle
4 t horseradish sauce
2 t Bragg’s amino acids

Mix all ingredients together. Use to spread on the reuben sandwiches.

For assembly:
16 slices rye bread cut from 2 loaves
1 (8 oz.) pkg. Diaya Mozzarella shreds
2 1/2 cups fresh sauerkraut
Non-hydrogenated margarine (Earth Balance)

Preheat a large skillet on medium low heat. Place the slices of rye bread together preparatory to assembling the sandwiches. Evenly spread the reuben sauce across each slice of bread. Slice each block of tofu into 4 thin pieces and place on half of the bread slices. Top the tofu with a generous amount of sauerkraut, then evenly spread the Diaya Mozzarella shreds on the opposite bread slices. Quickly put the bread slices together to form sandwiches. Spread the top of each sandwich with a very thin layer of non-hydrgenated margarine and carefully lay in heated pan, margarine side down. While in pan spread a very thin layer of non-hydrogenated margarine on the second side of each sandwich. Flip sandwiches when the first side is browned and brown the second side. Remove from pan and continue until all sandwiches are grilled. Makes 8 sandwiches. ©Janice Moreland  http://thekitchentwist.com

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Eggplant With Marinara Sauce

With all the eggplant coming out of my garden it seems like a good time to post this tasty recipe. Eggplant with Marinara Sauce is an adaptation of a very simple recipe that I first made many years ago. It is fast and easy to prepare and chock full of nutrition!

THE TWIST

Although iron is a necessary mineral for the body, too much is harmful and causes a rise in free radicals which is associated with many diseases. Eggplant naturally mops up and removes excess iron which keeps the body’s iron levels balanced. It is full of dietary fiber so is a great choice for anyone on a diet to lose some extra weight. Eggplants have been used as a natural method to control and reduce glucose levels of type ll diabetes because of the fact that they are low in carbohydrates and high in fiber.  They are very high in potassium which plays a vital role in regulation blood pressure. The antioxidant activity in eggplant shields the brain cell membranes which is important for allowing the entry of nutrients and exit of harmful wastes. This is really important as the membrane protects the cells from free radicals and also receives instructions from messenger molecules telling what activities the different cells should perform. Eggplant also acts as antimicrobial, antiviral and antimutagenic making them one of the most potent free radical scavengers available. But be sure not to peel them as their greatest nutrients are found in their skin.

http://www.whfoods.com/genpage.php?tname=foodspice&dbid=22#

EGGPLANT WITH MARINARA SAUCE

2 medium eggplants
1 small onion, chopped
1 T coconut oil*
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 large tomato, chopped
1 (15 oz.) can crushed tomatoes in sauce
3 T fresh parsley, chopped
1 T Italian seasoning
1 t Himalayan sea salt*
1/4 t freshly ground black pepper
Olive oil spray
1 cup wheat germ

Cut eggplant crosswise into 1/2 inch round slices. Soak slices in a large bowl of salted water for 30 minutes. Meanwhile, make the marinara sauce. Sauté the onion in the coconut oil until soft, add the garlic and sauté an additional minute. Add the tomato, tomato sauce, parsley, Italian seasoning and salt and pepper. Simmer about 10 minutes until thickened. Remove the eggplant from the salted water, rinse and pat dry. Brush or spray both sides of each slice with olive oil and dip in wheat germ. Place slices on cookie sheets. In two batches, broil 3 inches from heat for 2 minutes, turn and brown other side for 2 minutes. Repeat with second tray. Assemble eggplant and serve with marinara sauce over top. Serves 8. ©Janice Moreland http://thekitchentwist.com

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Zucchini Boats With Seasoned Rice

This is a two-for recipe. Two recipes in one! Some great things about these Zucchini Boats: they don’t require much cooking so the kitchen stays cool,  many of the ingredients can come straight from the garden and this fresh recipe is quick and easy!

THE TWIST

Your overall health will surely be safe if you consume zucchini regularly. It helps you to prevent all kinds of diseases. Studies have already declared that fiber-rich foods help to alleviate cancer conditions by washing away the cancer-causing toxins from cells in the colon. The vitamin C, folate and beta-carotene content in zucchini helps to protect these cells from the harmful chemicals leading to colon cancer. Beta-carotene and vitamin C also have anti-inflammatory properties, thereby naturally curing ailments like osteoarthritis, asthma, and rheumatoid arthritis, where swelling is immensely painful. The copper percentage in zucchini also helps in reducing the aching symptoms of rheumatoid arthritis.

Researchers have taken extracts from zucchini squash to conduct certain studies and concluded that this food has certain properties that effectively treats an ailment in men called BPH or benign prostatic hypertrophy. When the prostate gland becomes enlarged, which can cause trouble with sexual and urinary function, it is known as prostatic hypertrophy. Zucchini is extremely useful in decreasing BPH symptoms.

Zucchini contains vitamin A, magnesium, folate, potassium, copper, and phosphorus. This summer squash also  has a  high content of omega-3 fatty acids, zinc, niacin, and protein. Moreover, several B vitamins and calcium in zucchini assure optimal health. The folate in zucchini is highly recommended for pregnant women to help prevent birth defects. Zucchini has such a broad array of nutrients, including carbohydrates, soluble and insoluble fiber, minerals, protein and more.

Among all groups of food commonly eaten worldwide, no group has a more health-supportive mix of protein-plus-fiber than legumes. Including black beans. From a single, one-cup serving of black beans you get nearly 15 grams of fiber (well over half of the Daily Value and the same amount consumed by the average U.S. adult in one entire day of eating) and 15 grams of protein (nearly one third of the Daily Value and equivalent to the amount in 2 ounces of a meat like chicken or a fish like salmon). You won’t find this outstanding protein-fiber combination in meats, dairy products, or seafood. The almost magical protein-fiber combination in legumes explains important aspects of their health benefits for the digestive tract, the blood sugar regulatory system, and the cardiovascular system. Given the impressive array of antioxidant and anti-inflammatory phytonutrients in black beans, it is not surprising to see numerous studies connecting black bean intake with reduced risk of certain cancers, especially colon cancer. Constant excessive oxidative stress and chronic excessive inflammation are both risk factors for the development of many cancers. By increasing the body’s supply of antioxidant and anti-inflammatory nutrients, black beans may be able to help lower cancer risk. Black beans provide a lot of soluble fiber, and this is precisely the type of fiber that researchers have found especially helpful in lower blood cholesterol levels. Decreased risk of coronary heart disease and heart attack have both been associated with increased intake of soluble fiber from food, and in particular from legumes. They are choke full of antioxidants and are anti-inflammatory which helps fight free radical damage, many diseases associated with inflammation and aging. They are full of folate, magnesium, zinc, manganese and provide about 180 milligrams of omega-3 fatty acids per cup.

Brown rice is rich in many of the B vitamins which, along with its high fiber content, promotes cardiovascular health by reducing the risk of heart disease and stroke. The folate is also critical for pregnant women given that folate deficiency is associated with birth defects. The fiber promotes weight management and digestive health as well as reduces the risk of several cancers. Brown rice is a very rich source of manganese which is required for bone health, maintenance of the nervous system and protects the body from oxidative damage.

http://www.organicfacts.net/health-benefits/vegetable/health-benefits-of-zucchini.html
http://nutritiondata.self.com/facts/vegetables-and-vegetable-products/2639/0
http://www.whfoods.com/genpage.php?tname=foodspice&dbid=2
http://nutritiondata.self.com/facts/cereal-grains-and-pasta/5706/2


ZUCCHINI BOATS WITH SEASONED RICE

For the zucchini boats:
4 zucchini squashes cut in half lengthwise and the center scooped out
1 cup cherry tomates, quartered
1 can (15 oz.) black beans
1/2 yellow bell pepper, diced
1/4 red onion, finely diced
1/4 cup chopped cilantro
1 jalapeno, minced
1 garlic clove, minced
1 t taco seasoning
Juice of 1 lime

Prepare the zucchini and set aside. Toss together the remaining ingredients. Place the zucchini boats on a bed of seasoned rice and fill with the prepared filling. Makes 8 boats. ©Janice Moreland http://thekitchentwist.com

For the seasoned rice:
1 T coconut oil*
1 small onion, diced
1 carrot, peeled and finely diced
2 cloves garlic, minced
2 cups brown rice
2 t taco seasoning or chili powder
1/4 t Himalayan sea salt*
4 cups water

Combine the coconut oil, onion and carrot in a 4 quart saucepan and saute for a few minutes until the onion begins to turn translucent.  Add the garlic and rice stirring constantly until rice begins to lighten in color and make popping sounds then mix in the taco seasoning and salt. Pour in the water and cover. Simmer on low heat about 40 minutes. Spread on a deep platter or casserole dish and place zucchini boats over top. ©Janice Moreland http://thekitchentwist.com

See Sources*

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