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Vegan day 93: Miracle rice: shirataki

Shirataki- what? 
Now four people have asked me about this- what is it? I had researched it a little bit but since I stay away from pasta and noodles I didn’t venture over to tasting it, until a friend of mine brought it right over to me. Miracle rice.. hmm? The package says guilt free, zero calories, soy free and gluten free– what is this? Could this be the first time I allow something pasta-like back into my diet after eliminating it almost 2 and 1/2 years ago?

I have seen tofu shirataki noodles and now the miracle rice or shirataki rice. Shirataki is made from the root of the konnyaku imo plant (konjac plant). It is also known as elephant yam although it’s not a yam as we know it. What’s good here is the soluble fiber known as glucomannan.

Benefits of shirataki 
(summed up from an excellent blog post: Healthy Cooking Coach) 
are that it:

  • slows down digestion
  • slows down the release of carbohydrates
  • provides a feeling of fulness
  • allows for better control of blood sugar and energy
  • binds with bile acids enhancing excretion of cholesterol
  • is a welcomed food for those with diabetes, high cholesterol, constipation or excess body weight
WebMD says:
Glucomannan might work in the stomach and intestines by absorbing water to form a bulky fiber which treats constipation. It may also slow the absorption of sugar and cholesterol from the gut, helping to control sugar levels in diabetes, and reducing cholesterol levels.” See the reference link below for more uses and side effects. 

I added this miracle rice to a recipe from CLEAN START by Terry Walters:

Asian Spinach with Peanut Ginger Sauce

Peanut butter 3T
Ginger freshly grated 2t
Tamari 1t
Maple syrup (organic grade B) 1t
Sesame oil or hot sesame oil 1/2t
Hot water 3T
Peanuts chopped 2T
Miracle rice 1 package

(1) First I opened the package of shirataki- so excited to taste it. I didn’t even need to cook it- I tasted it right from the package and of course, I liked it! I drained and rinsed it for 10 seconds under cool water, then I flashed cooked it as the packaging suggested: boil water and pour the rinsed rice into the pot- cook for about one minute and drain again. 
(2) I used a large bring frying pan and filled it with 1/4 inch of water- to a boil. Lower the heat, add the spinach for 30 seconds to 2 minutes so the spinach still has form. 
(3) Separately, whisk together peanut butter, ginger, tamari, maple syrup, sesame oil and hot water. 

Drain the spinach well and then place in serving dish. Add the miracle rice on top. Drizzle the sauce over both and finish off with peanuts. Ok my peanut sauce is a little thick- I probably was heavy handed while measuring the peanut butter and maple syrup-oops- guilty pleasures!

I actually loved the miracle rice and will now implement this into my weekly diet. It’s super fast- you can eat it right out of the package. It adds soluble fiber to any meal and its zero calories- really- need I say more!

The package is simply purified water, konnyaku (Glucomannan) and Calcium Hydroxide. 
Interestingly, the label reads ZERO in every category including calories, carbohydrates and sugar– except for one– and that’s IRON @ 8%. 

This x-pasta user recovering from past pasta addiction finally approves a pasta-like food!  

Chef Rachel. (2009). Health Cooking Coach… Inspiring Healthy Choices. Miracle Noodles. Retrieved from: http://www.thehealthycookingcoach.com/2009/04/miracle-noodles.html

Miracle Noodle News Report (YouTube)https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YaCGfC6FdkA&feature=player_embedded#!

Web MD. Glucomannan. Retrieved from http://www.webmd.com/vitamins-supplements/ingredientmono-205-GLUCOMANNAN.aspx?activeIngredientId=205&activeIngredientName=GLUCOMANNAN


Disclaimer: The information given here is for educational purposes only. You should not use this to diagnose or treat a health problem or disease without consulting with a qualified health care provider.
[Monday April 2nd 2012 blog]


Vegan day 92: Cranberry beans

Just because it looks pretty- doesn’t necessarily mean you are suppose to eat it!  
I was drawn in by their bright red color and blotted design. I’m sure somewhere, people eat these in their whole form both raw and cooked. 

Well not knowing much about this- I jumped right in. I treated them as normal string bean pods and set them in a stir fry pan with orange and yellow bell peppers, sun dried tomatoes and strips of tofu. All was good and well until I tried eating them. I can eat food raw and/ or slightly cooked plus I have a special palate, but these seemed off- so much that I had to google it.

No one seemed to cook with these whole bean pods- I realized that you are suppose to shell the beans. This information changed everything- I could have made cooked cranberry beans with something interesting I’m sure, even though these beautifully colored beans would loose their gorgeous color! Anyway, mid way through cooking and tasting them, I striped the beans from their pods and ended up with a much smaller dish. Honestly, I couldn’t even finish the beans- they were a little too hearty for me.

 Apparently, these beans are known by other names as well: borlotti, shell beans and French horticultural beans. They are also known to have a mild chestnut flavor. 

Health benefits of these and most beans are:

  • VITAMIN B6 and other vitamins
  • MAGNESIUM and other minerals
BEANS also provide protein, act as a complex carbohydrates slowing down sugar absorption and are known to lessen risks for certain diet related illnesses such as diabetes, heart disease and cancer. 


Disclaimer: The information given here is for educational purposes only. You should not use this to diagnose or treat a health problem or disease without consulting with a qualified health care provider.
[Sunday April 1st 2012 blog]

Vegan day 91: Tofu scramble

I make a slamming TOFU SCRAMBLE! I guess that’s because I always made great scrambled eggs- who can mess that up? lol- plenty of people- trust me! 

If you are not already vegan and you have an open mind- this dish can taste great and be healthy as well. For the record, no one is saying to eat tofu or soy every day. The soy debate is a very heated one for sure. I believe I have mentioned it before in an earlier blog– as with most foods- it’s the processing itself that needs to be limited. It’s probably not a great idea to eat “animal” substitutions made of soy everyday- ex) soy chicken, soy cheese, soy yogurt, soy milk, soy protein shakes etc. I mean – do what you need to if you are interested in transitioning your diet- but know that it’s not healthy for a long-term habit. Fermented foods, however, are of the healthier types. This includes most tofu, tempeh, natto, miso and shoyu. 

Still moderation is key and there are other high protein vegetarian foods as well such as beans, lentils, peas, hemp, nuts, seeds, seitan and some grains.

Tofu scramble:

~Tofu- I use firm or extra firm.
~Vegetables- Onions, garlic, tomatoes, peppers, mushrooms etc.
~Earth balance buttery spread or extra virgin coconut oil (sometimes extra virgin olive oil)
~Turmeric powder
~Hot sauce or chilis
~Sea salt and black pepper

* Whatever spices you desire!

DRY THE TOFU FIRST! (see yesterday’s blog on how). This makes it easy to crumble!
Set the frying pan as you would to make scrambled eggs- sauté the oil, onion, garlic, tomatoes etc. Then crumble in the tofu– keep stirring and add in the spices. Let the tofu take on the flavors, then it’s ready- I would say 10-15 minutes!

Disclaimer: The information given here is for educational purposes only. You should not use this to diagnose or treat a health problem or disease without consulting with a qualified health care provider.
[Saturday 31st 2012 blog]

Vegan day 90: Lauren’s tofu delight

Every holiday season at work, we have a “cook your favorite dish” potluck type party. My friend Lauren made such a delicious combination of baked tofu with roasted vegetables and mango that I have been talking about it ever since. 

It’s so good that the “vegetarians and vegans” have to tell the rest of our co-workers that it’s not chicken“go eat the meat foods” lol. Actually, we do want everyone to know how good vegan food is so that they are not afraid of it – so they have options – so they can be healthier and so that we can together reduce the animal and environmental stresses caused from the industry.

Twice I had tried to recreate this delicious meal and twice my tofu was too soft and moist and the vegetables a bit over cooked. I had the procedures backwards and I got caught red-handed for not following directions. We made it together now- I will take you step by step

The key is– to dry out the tofu first, then bake it (just the tofu) and afterwards, roast the vegetables from hardest to softest on the stove top for a short time.

Lauren’s tofu delight

Tofu (one package for every 2-4 people; extra firm)
Snap peas
Orange bell peppers
Red bell peppers
Water (2 cups)
Teriyaki sauce

STEP (1)
DRY the tofu! Take the tofu out from the water packing. Lay it flat on a paper towel with another paper towel on top and press gently. Do this a few times. Next cut the tofu depth wise into 3 pieces so each piece is still in the same length and width dimensions. Lay these pieces on new paper towel and press gently again. You can now cut these pieces of tofu into cubes- still patting the tofu with paper towel. Put the cubes onto a lightly greased (coconut oil) baking tray and then into an oven that has been pre-heated to 425 degrees. Lower the oven slightly and bake for about 15 minutes until lightly browned. 

STEP (2)
Cut the veggies into nice size chunks. Begin with a wok or medium to large sauce pan: add the vegetables that may take longer. The idea is for all the vegetables to be ready at the same time. Start with some olive oil- put the broccoli in first, onions, garlic and carrots. Add the water when needed. The faster cooking vegetables are next- the mushrooms and pepper – then the snap peas! You can change up the order. 

STEP (3)
While the veggies are roasting- put the baked tofu in a separate small sauce pan and add a teriyaki sauce of your choosing- hopefully, a healthier style one with less sugar, salt and calories. I personally like tamari and sesame oil.

STEP (4)
Combine the sauced up tofu and the diced mango into the veggie wok or saucepan. Fresh cut pineapple and it’s juices also work great! Top with tamari and sesame oil if needed! This is a great dish to make family or party style.

Video to make your own teriyaki sauce 

Disclaimer: The information given here is for educational purposes only. You should not use this to diagnose or treat a health problem or disease without consulting with a qualified health care provider.
[Friday 30th 2012 blog]

Vegan day 89: Pulp patties

PULP PATTIES— that’s what I call what I attempted to make! I had heard that burgers could be made from the pulp created from juicing. I made a large pitcher of juice for my friends and I. I had so much pulp that I wanted to try it!

Here is a blurb from my favorite vegan Facebook page “VEGANISM“: 

“This is the good part…..I take the pulp and put it in a large mixing bowl, add cumin, turmeric, curry, cayenne, one full cup of fresh ground flax seeds, Bragg Amino Acid, two cups of sprouted beans (you fan skip the beans of you want) and chopped red oinions. I mix the concoction thoroughly and then form them into patties and place them ever so gently on a baking sheet. I put them in the oven for thirty to forty minutes at 400 degrees.

They are delicious and full of fiber, vitamins, enzymes, no fat, very little if any calories and very filling. For all of your non-vegan friends and kids, serve them like that meat alliterative that we all hate so much. Put them between a healthy sprouted bun, add some tomatoes and onions and go ahead and buy some organic sugar free ketchup and mustard and your non-vegan doubters will be shocked on how delicious these organic vegetables patties are……….”

As I read this back now I realize that I tried to fry them.. mistake number one because they came apart a little plus I had to use oil- too much! Secondly, I didn’t have ground flax seed– I think a binder like that would have helped. 

The results:
The patties had flavor but the texture was off. 

The FUNNY PART is — the meat eater friend of ours ate it- the vegetarians and myself .. not so much! Meat eaters will eat anything lol.. hehe just kidding! I will make this again- I juice every day- so I have lots of pulp that I hate wasting! I will let you know when I get it right. 

Disclaimer: The information given here is for educational purposes only. You should not use this to diagnose or treat a health problem or disease without consulting with a qualified health care provider.
[Thursday 29th 2012 blog]

Vegan day 88: Banana cashew ice cream smoothie

Cheater– lol- yes I am! I wanted a quick vegan snack! I was hanging out with one major meat eater and 2 vegetarians.. lol- they had to know we (vegans) can do fun shakes and snacks too! I really enjoy finding non health food stores that carry vegan items! When you think about it, dairy free items are on the rise and should be even more popular than they are due to the high rate of people who are lactose intolerant.

This shake was really basic- just a banana and ice cream! The ice cream is made from cashew nuts. The brand I found here is from Organic Nectars: Cashewtopia! 

You can make your own – I’m just not at that level yet! 
Here is a video to make raw cashew yogurt/ ice cream: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=uuD5relVXhQ

Disclaimer: The information given here is for educational purposes only. You should not use this to diagnose or treat a health problem or disease without consulting with a qualified health care provider.
[Wednesday 28th 2012 blog]

Vegan day 87: Maple mustard and tahini glazed carrots

Where does one find TAHINI while up in the mountains?? I’m away for a few days with CLEAN START so yes I’m craving to prepare more than one recipe– and that’s why I’m out of a few ingredients as well. If you want things like mirin, vegenaise, special flours and I’m sorry to say TAHINI- then you must pack them ahead of time! I’m so loving this way of cooking but I have to be careful of these sauces- just a little too delicious if you know what I mean! 

It’s almost adventurous so seek out ingredients or when that fails– ingredient substitutes. That’s where the creativity and brainstorming comes in. First was the search for maple syrup grade B— well we lucked out being in the land of maple syrup makers. That was easy to find– local and fresh too! Tahini was another story. At least they had heard of tahini- I can’t say the same for myself only but a few years ago. So how do you substitute tahini— not very easily because it has a unique taste. My friends wanted to use tamari or sesame seeds. I felt the tamari would be too salty and of course- sesame seeds were not readily available either. Even if they were, how does one get from the sesame seed to the tahini- I know- I have to google it.. and I will. Meantime, I used what first came to mind when I tried tahini and that is peanut butter- SCORE!

Maple mustard and tahini glazed carrots

1 pound of baby carrots
2T maple syrup
1T whole grain mustard
1t of tahini
1t lemon juice
sea salt to taste

The picture in the book I must admit is way better but these tasted so good I didn’t really mind!

Walters, T. 2010. Clean Start. Inspiring You to Eat Clean and Live Well. New York, NY: Sterling Epicure

Disclaimer: The information given here is for educational purposes only. You should not use this to diagnose or treat a health problem or disease without consulting with a qualified health care provider.
[Tuesday 27th 2012 blog]