Healthy New Year

 

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It’s cold out and about 2 inches of snow. I feel like nesting. So, I decided to make a feast, but a healthy one.
Like most Americans, I am disgusted by my sheer girth. I need to lose weight and clearly exercise is key. Funny enough, that’s the one thing I don’t seem to manage to fit in. Even if I tried to fit it in today, trust me, the snow plus me equals a disaster! I am quite confident that I would end up in the emergency room with a concussion. So, I decided to prepare a healthful meal!
I decided to make a zucchini bread, but not just a regular one, but one packed with carrots and parsnips too. I wanted to keep the fat content low, as well as the sugar. The result was a nice soft, yet dense quick bread that was not only flavorful but filled with nutrients.
While that was baking, I decided a pot of vegetable bean stew was a good idea. Again, I tried to keep the fat down. I did not add any meat or dairy or rice. But I wanted to do something to it that would make it over the top in healthy! I decided to add my favorite quinoa and some morel mushrooms.
I do have a sweet tooth, but I was also feeling like I was omitting fruit and nuts. I assembled a blackberry-almond tart!
Of course, portion sizes are key, and another problem I have, but in moderation, you too could have a winter feast!
Zucchini, Carrot and Parsnip Quick Bread

  • 3 ounces zucchini, shredded
  • 3 ounces carrot, grated
  • 3 ounces parsnips, grated
  • 1 1/2 cups unbleached flour
  • 1 1/2 cups whole wheat flour
  • 1 tablespoon baking powder
  • 1 tablespoon cinnamon
  • 1 teaspoon ginger
  • 1 teaspoon nutmeg
  • 1 teaspoon dried lavender flowers
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 3 eggs
  • 3/4 cup agave nectar
  • 3/4 cup unsweetened applesauce
  1. Mix grated vegetables together in a small bowl.
  2. Mix the dry ingredients in a large bowl.
  3. Beat the eggs in a bowl. Add the agave nectar and applesauce and mix thoroughly.
  4. Gently fold in the grated vegetables.
  5. Stir in the dry ingredients.
  6. Pour into a prepared loaf pan.
  7. Bake in a preheated 325 oven for one hour.
  8. Cool in the pan for 10 minutes, then remove from the pan and continue cooling on a wire rack.
Yields: 12 slices
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Vegetable Bean Stew
  • 1 red onion, minced
  • 4 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 green bell pepper, minced
  • 2 stalks celery, minced
  • 1 carrot, chopped
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 15 ounces canned tomatoes
  • 1 cup frozen corn kernels
  • 14 ounces canned kidney beans
  • 14 ounces canned black beans
  • 14 ounces canned cannelini beans
  • 6 cups vegetable broth
  • 1/3 cup quinoa (or rice)
  • 1/4 cup morels, chopped (or other mushroom)
  • 1/2 teaspoon oregano
  • 1/2 teaspoon cumin
  • 1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper
  • 1/4 teaspoon fresh ground black pepper
  1. In a large stock pot, heat the oil over medium heat. Then add the onion, garlic, bell pepper, celery and carrot. Saute for about 10 minutes, until the vegetables begin to soften.
  2. Add the canned tomatoes and frozen corn. Drain and rinse the beans. Add them to the stock pot.
  3. Add the stock, turn heat to high and bring to a boil.
  4. Reduce the heat, and add the quinoa, mushrooms and spices. Simmer for 20 minutes.
  5. Serve.
Yields: 8 bowls
Tip: Freeze in individual containers for a quick meal in the future.
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Blackberry-Almond Tart
  • 2 pie crust (9 inch)
  • 10 ounces blackberry jam
  • 7 ounces almond paste
  • 6 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • 2 eggs, beaten
  • 2 tablespoons sugar
  • 2 tablespoons flour
  • 1/4 cup almonds
  1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees.
  2. Using two 9-inch pie pans, line each with pie crust.
  3. Spread 1/2 jar of jam on the bottom of each pie crust.
  4. Grate the almond paste in a bowl. Beat the butter into the almond paste until smooth. Add the eggs and beat well.
  5. Fold in the sugar and flour.
  6. Pour half the batter over the jam in one pie pan, and the rest in the other. Carefully, spread to the sides, without making the jam show through the batter.
  7. Take the ends of the pie crust and gently fold over on top of the almond mixture, and scatter the almonds on top.
  8. Bake for 30 minutes.
  9. Allow to cool completely before serving.
Yields: 16 servings
Serve with a low-fat whipped cream.
© 2011 Jennifer A. Wickes All Rights Reserved. No part of this document may be reproduced without written consent from the author.
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6 thoughts on “Healthy New Year

  1. >Jennifer,I was just going to say the same thing….pressure cook that stew and no more canned beans. Most important because you expressed in this post the desire to drop some bodyweight and extra salt doesn't help that. Also, with the pressure cooker you can make you own veg broth in less than an hours time using leftover veg scraps! (saving money and salt!)Also, even in moderation the startchiness of parsnips, and the high natural sugar content in carrots would leave you better to stick to the zucchini only, after all you've put carrots in your stew….how many carrots does a person need?And that Blackberry-Almond Tart….good Lord…I too have habits of not practicing portion control as much as I say I want to, and having a whole tart AND a whole loaf of zucchini bread would do me in.As a person that has lost a significant amount of weight and kept it off for years now, first rule…..if you have it you'll eat it! So don't make it or buy it! Oh, and I, personally, don't believe fat is the enemy, overeating is the enemy. Fats require longer and more digestion, and they keep blood sugar levels more stable by slowing the digestion of carbs as well. I know, I know, probably more information and opinion than you wanted….sorry….

  2. >Thanks, Tracy! I truly appreciate the input. Sometimes, we need someone on the outside to look in on us. For me, recently, I make a dessert, and I don't even eat it. And if I do, it is a small piece. Whatever is going on with that, I am not going to mess with it. But I agree, if it's in my house, I eat it. So, usually, I take my piece and give the rest away.Thanks for the sodium and weight comment. I will take that comment and look at other areas of my life too!And the bread! Never thought that I had too many carrots, but you do have a point. I will be more aware.Thanks again!

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