Thursday, January 31, 2013

Tzatziki Yogurt Dip

I am a fan of Mediterranean and Middle Eastern food. Dolmathas, hummus, spanikopita, babaganoush... you name it. One of my favorite dips is this creamy, flavorful, and savory cucumber yogurt dip. My mom made a similar dip when I was home during winter break, so I decided to create my own! With two special spices from Penzey's, I made my own version! This is a flavorful, high protein, low fat, and versatile dip that can be used with veggies, breads, chips, and anything else that suits your fancy!

Tzatziki Yogurt Dip
By Caroline Mac
2C plain nonfat Greek yogurt
1T extra virgin olive oil
1T lemon juice
1 clove garlic, finely chopped
1T fresh dill, finely chopped
1T fresh mint leaves, finely chopped
1/2t Penzey's Zatar seasoning
1/2t Penzey's Turkish seasoning
1/2 large cucumber, peeled and chopped

Stir all ingredients except for the cucumber together until smooth. Add cucumber and mix again until thoroughly blended.

Serve as a dipping sauce for chips, crackers and veggies, or as a bread topping. 


Thursday, January 24, 2013

Lentil Grapefruit salad with Mint and Black Pepper Dressing

Easily the most beautiful dish I've ever created, this healthy salad is packed with flavor, has an excellent source of protein, and has a unique combo of flavors, which keeps things interesting. I've been on a major grapefruit kick lately, so having it in this salad made it even better. This works as a light meal, appetizer, or could be multiplied and served family-style.

Lentil Grapefruit Salad with Mint and Black Pepper Dressing
By Caroline Mac
Single Serving
1 1/2 cups baby spinach
1/2 cup lentils, cooked, and packed in a small cup
1/2 grapefruit, peeled and separated into small wedges
4 mint leaves, shredded, 2 whole for garnish

1 T extra virgin olive oil
1/2 T lemon juice
1/4 t ground black pepper
pinch dried rosemary

Step 1: Whisk together all dressing ingredients until thoroughly blended. Set aside. You may want to whisk it up again before serving

Step 2: Spread spinach leaves at the bottom of a dish. Flip the cup of lentils onto the spinach base and slowly lift cup away, maintaining the shape of the lentils. Place grapefruit pieces evenly around the lentils.

Step 3: Sprinkle mint leaves over entire salad and drizzle with dressing. Top with two mint leaves for garnish.


What I Buy: Siggi Yogurt

I used to hate yogurt. I rarely ate it unless it was in a recipe. That was then. Now, I eat yogurt at least every other day. In fact, yogurt is one of the few dairy products that I still consume! I rely on yogurt as a source of protein and calcium to get me through a long day of dancing. However, I don't eat your average, nonfat yogurt. I always buy either Greek yogurt or my new favorite, Siggi Icelandic Yogurt! I believe it's actually called Skyr, but no one would understand me if I referred to it by that name.

You're probably wondering what's so special about this yogurt besides the fact that it's expensive and Icelandic. Like Greek yogurt, skyr has LOTS more protein than regular yogurt. In fact, one container of  nonfat Siggi has 14g of protein, versus a single- serving container of Brown cow yogurt, which has only 6.
Another plus is the low sugar content. I'm a person who doesn't particularly like the taste of plain yogurt (It reminds me of bile... not good.), which means I either have to buy a flavored yogurt or add applesauce, agave or some other kind of flavor. With a typical yogurt I would shy away from buying a pre-flavored variety, as a Brown Cow strawberry yogurt has 23 grams of sugar. Even a strawberry Chobani Greek yogurt has 19 grams! When I saw that Siggi only has 9 and still tastes equally delicious, it became the obvious choice.

Besides Nutritional information, the flavor assortment makes Siggi even more appealing. The vanilla, which happens to be my favorite flavor, tastes like less-sweet vanilla bean ice cream. When the vanilla gets boring I can spice things up with flavors like orange- ginger, grapefruit, pomegranate- passion fruit,  and acai-berry. What's not to love about this healthy, tasty, and sustaining food?

Learn more about Siggi here: Siggi's Wesbite

Saturday, January 19, 2013

What I buy: Kombucha!

As I expand my blog, here's my first post for a page of products that I love to buy on a regular basis that I don't make myself. Number one? My current favorite beverage, G.T. Dave's Synergy Kombucha!

Honestly, I was completely grossed out by Kombucha until this year. My mom would buy it all the time and I simply couldn't get over the weird mushroom at the bottom and the vinegar-like aroma. Finally, I tried the hibiscus flavor and was hooked. The drink has a wonderful, fizzy consistency and a taste that I have come to love. The drink is very low-calorie and high in good-for-you probiotics. The array of flavors keeps things interesting as well. My only wish is that I had been at Whole Foods the day that it was buy-one-get-one-free!

My favorite flavors...

Crispy (And Spicy!) Baked Tofu

Here's yet another delicious way to prepare tofu! My goal for this one was to duplicate the spicy tofu I  buy at Food Front Co-op in Portland. My absolute favorite tofu, I've never been able to find this tasty, charred, and spicy version anywhere else. I'll be the first one to say that my tofu isn't the same as the goal, but I did achieve a spicy and flavorful version with a crispy skin. This tofu is great on it's own as well as chopped up in a salad or stir fry.
My New Tofu Press!

Crispy and Spicy Baked Tofu
By Caroline Mac
1 16 oz package extra firm tofu (I like Trader Joe's high protein tofu)
2 T sesame oil
1t rice vinegar
1/4 t soy sauce
1/2 t sweet chili sauce
1/2 t red chili pepper
1/4 t garlic powder

Step 1: Rinse block of tofu and press it in a tofu press or under weight for 30 minutes. Remove and cut into slices no more than 1/2 inch thick. Set aside.

Step 2: Whisk together all sauce ingredients until thoroughly blended. Brush sauce onto both sides of each slice of tofu. Place slices in a dish and refrigerate for two or more hours.

Step 3: Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Place tofu slices on a non-stick cookie sheet and brush any remaining sauce over slices.

Step 4: Bake tofu for one hour, flipping the tofu every 20 minutes (a total of three times). Tofu should be brown/ golden and crispy on all sides. Remove from oven and serve!


Friday, January 18, 2013

Story of my life.

I thought this was a very relevant cartoon, as it illustrates exactly what I hear on a very regular basis. Yes, everyone, it IS possible to get plenty of protein on a vegetarian or vegan diet. You simply have to know which foods to eat!

Southwestern Black Bean Hummus

Here's a southwestern twist on a mediterranean classic! I had some spread on a rice cake topped with sun dried tomatoes. You could also serve it with veggies, crackers, or even in a mexican-inspired wrap!

Southwestern Black Bean Hummus
By Caroline Mac
1 can black beans, drained, no salt added
1/4 c tahini
3 T fire roasted green chilis
2T Southwest style seasoning
11/4 t cumin
2 pinches salt
1t lime juice
6-10 drops Cholula hot sauce

Puree all ingredients in a food processor until creamy! 


Thursday, January 17, 2013

Sesame Ginger Green Machine Stir Fry

I didn't realize this stir fry was rather monochromatic until all the veggies were in the pan! Well, if green veggies are good for you, then this recipe takes the cake!

This recipe makes 2-3 smaller servings.

Green Machine Veggie Stir Fry
By Caroline Mac
1 c green beans, cut into pieces
1 1/2 c broccoli florets
1/2 cup edamame
1/2 c sugar snap peas
1-2 small heads bok choy, cut into large pieces
1 recipe of spicy sesame ginger sauce
1 square of baked tofu, cut into small pieces
Canola oil for cooking

Step 1: Add small amount of canola oil to a pan and stir fry/ saute all veggies over medium-high heat until tender. I prefer my veggies a little bit crunchy, but you can go as long as you want until you reach your desired texture.

Step 2: Reduce heat and add tofu and sauce. Stir until ingredients are thoroughly coated and tofu is heated through. Serve hot.

Note: Though I didn't include it in the recipe, you can serve the stir fry over noodles, rice, or another choice of grain. 


Wednesday, January 16, 2013

Spicy Sesame Ginger Sauce

In honor of surpassing 2,000 blog views and nearly 50 recipes, I'll be posting a few BRAND NEW recipes this week! That's right, recipes that I have made up myself. I'm sure there will be plenty of improvements to be made in the future, but if they taste good on the first try I'll share them!

My first of the series is a spicy sesame ginger sauce that can be used in a stir fry or as a dipping sauce. I'd like to figure out how to make the sauce thicker without affecting the flavor, so I'll be doing some research and adding an update in the next couple of weeks. This recipe coated a stir fry worth 2-3 servings, so you may want to double it if your want more saturation or are using a larger recipe. If you do, remember the cardinal rule of doubling... Don't double the spices unless you want to end up with something so spicy you can barely eat it! I speak from experience.

Spicy Sesame Ginger Sauce
By Caroline Mac

2 T water
2 1/2 t sesame oil
2t rice vinegar
1 t soy sauce
1T plus 1/4t minced ginger
1 garlic clove, minced
1/4 t red chili pepper
1/4 t agave syrup
2t sesame seeds

Whisk together all ingredients until thoroughly blended. Add to stir fry or use as dipping sauce.


Saturday, January 12, 2013

2000 and Beyond!

Thanks to everyone who has viewed my blog! I've reached over 200 views and am very excited about it. Keep an eye out for an extra special recipe to commemorate this occasion! 

<3 Caroline

Veggie Quinoa Pasta with Spicy Tomato Sauce

One of my goals for my blog this year is to start creating more of my own recipes. I thought a good first one would be a classic tomato sauce. I decided to make it a little more interesting than your average marinara by adding basil and a kick of chili pepper. I made a meal out the sauce by adding veggies, beans, and some protein-packed quinoa pasta! 
Veggie Quinoa Pasta with Spicy Tomato Sauce
By Caroline Mac
6 oz tomato paste
3/4 c fresh basil
2 cloves garlic
2 fresh tomatoes, peeled
1 t olive oil
1/2 T Italian seasoning
4 pinches salt
1/4 t plus 1 pinch chili pepper

1 squash, diced
1 zucchini, chopped
1/2 onion, diced
1 1/2 c mushrooms
1/2 c great northern beans

Olive oil to sauté veggies
Chosen amount of quinoa pasta 
Step 1: In a food processor, combine all sauce ingredients and puree until relatively smooth and creamy. Set aside.

Step 2: In a medium saucepan, sauté onion and mushrooms in olive oil until tender and onions become translucent. Add squash and zucchini and sauté until tender. 

Step 3: Add beans and sauce to pan and stir until everything is evenly coated. Cover and set heat to warm until pasta is cooked.

Step 4: Cook pasta according to directions on the package. Top with sauce and serve warm.


Thursday, January 3, 2013

The Barre Blog

As many of you may know by now, I've recently become an intern at Barre: A Real Food Barre. However, this is the first time I've mentioned it on this blog! I definitely should have shared it a long time ago. I'll do a more detailed post on Barres later, but I thought I'd share the Blog, Facebook, and Pinterest so you all can check it out!

My most recent post is on the benefits of eating dates. Since I've used them in a few of my recipes I figured it would be worth sharing here. So, This is why you should eat them!

The Blog:

Please, please, please check out the other social networking pages as well! This is a great small business that deserves a TON of attention. Better yet, buy some Barres! You won't be sorry. :)