Meatless Monday: Golden Rice Pilaf with Cashews and Raisins

From the Calgary Herald

2 T. oil or margarine

½ c. unsalted cashews

½ c. raisins

½ onion, finely chopped

1 c. long grain rice, rinsed

1 ½ c. chicken stock, heated

½ tsp salt or to taste

1 T. finely chopped fresh parsley or dill

In a medium sauce pan, heat the oil over medium high heat, stir in the cashews and stir until they turn golden.  Stir in the raisins and continue to stir constantly for another minute until they puff up.  Remove raisins and cashews and reserve.  Add the onion and rice to the pan and sauté, stirring until they are golden brown, 5 or 6 minutes.  Stir in the hot stock and salt, if needed, and bring to a boil.  Reduce heat to low, cover and cook 15 minutes.  Turn off the heat, lift the lid and fluff with a fork.  Add the raisins and nuts and cover for 5 or 6 minutes.  To serve, garnish with herbs.  Makes 4 – 6 servings.

Meatless Monday: Potato Party

Have a potato party for supper. Here’s what you’ll need:

4 baking potatoes, scrubbed, pierced with a fork, and wrapped in foil

While the potatoes are baking, assemble toppings. Topping suggestions include:

Toppings: Pre-shredded low fat Cheese, salsa, green onions (chopped), cooked frozen peas (cooked in the microwave with a little water for a few minutes) or other cooked vegetables, chopped red pepper, leftover cooked roast beef, chicken or salmon, deli slices (low sodium and nitrite free if possible) (optional for Meatless Monday), sour cream. This should take very little time to assemble – people can cut their own vegetables and meat and put it on their potato.

Bake potatoes at 350 in oven for approximately 1 hour or until tender all the way through when pierced with a fork. Assemble toppings. Let everyone help themselves to whatever toppings they want. Serves 4. Recipe easily doubles.

White Bean Hummus

Adapted from

1 cup canned white kidney beans, rinsed and drained
1 T. dried parsley
3 tbsp chopped green onions
2 tbsp tahini or a mild nut butter (such as almond)
2 tbsp water
1 tbsp olive oil
1 tbsp fresh lemon juice
1/2 tsp dried oregano
1 tsp. garlic powder
1/8 tsp each: salt and freshly ground black pepper

In a food processor, combine beans, parsley, green onions, tahini or nut butter, water, olive oil, lemon juice, oregano, garlic, salt, and pepper. Purée until smooth.  Serve with pita or taco chips, or raw veggies.

Breakfast Scramble

Breakfast is a tough meal for me in that I can’t “face” a lot of food in the morning. I’d found however that I wasn’t eating enough throughout the day and then over-eating at supper time.  I’ve decided to try and eat more in the mornings to see if it helps. Here’s something that takes about 20 minutes.

Saute in a non-stick pan in a little oil:

1/2 pepper, chopped

2 green onions, chopped

4 mushrooms, sliced

Mix in a bowl:

1 egg

2 egg whites

Add to the vegetable mixture, and cook until the eggs are done.    The vegetable mixture is pretty flexible.  A bit of grated cheese could also be added.  Good with turkey bacon and toast or hash browns. Serves two.

Spotlight on: Lemongrass

Lemongrass Cupcakes

According to my research, lemongrass  is a grass that grows to approximately 4′ high and is found mostly in India and Sri Lanka.

Lemongrass oil is used in many cosmetic preparations, perfumes and medicines.  It helps cleanse, revitalize and invigorate.

Medicinally, lemongrass may help with a variety of symptoms such as fevers and digestive disorders such as flatulence and has antibiotic and antifungal properties.

I love lemon so lemongrass with its’ bright, lemony flavour is a natural for me.

For cooking, use the inner stalks of the leaves as the outer stalks can be tough.  Concentrated “liquid” lemongrass is also available for purchase.

Lemongrass pairs well with beef or chicken dishes and is even used in desserts. For example, I found a recipe for Lemongrass Cupcakes I made that were quite tasty.  I believe I adapted the recipe from by using the concentrated lemongrass-in-a-tube to save time and energy.

Used in Asian cooking, primarily Vietnamese and Thai cuisine, it slightly sweetens, brightens and lightens any dish.