Check It Out! (1)

I do a lot of reading about food and issues related to eating, dieting, and health. I often think: I’d like to share that with people who come to this blog.

So I decided to write a “Check It Out!” post for this kind of information. If you like the idea, let me know.

For the lactose-intolerant: I’d been thinking about investigating non-cow milks to find out the pros and cons, but this article, Which Non-Dairy Milk is Best? by the Nutrition Diva, covers a lot of good territory.

For curious dieters: Have you ever wondered how restaurant critics maintain their weight? Diet Differently: Shed Weight by Maximizing Your Flavor Per Calorie is about one critic who lost 40 pounds and kept it off by believing in gratification, not denial.

For the philosophically inclined: It turns out that peas can communicate with one another. Thoughts to ponder at If Peas Can Talk, Should We Eat Them?

For pepper lovers: The spouse won’t eat peppers so I don’t have recipes that include them. But that doesn’t mean I don’t salivate at the occasional good-looking possibility. Quinoa Stuffed Red Peppers look delish!

And, finally, in the “Lose Your Appetite” department: Read about 28 mealbreakers: “nasty, non-edible surprise[s] found in food while it is being eaten; often lawsuit-provoking, sometimes fabricated, always disgusting.”

Crustless Strawberry/Raspberry Lime Chia Pie

Hot summer days just beg for cold, refreshing desserts that are both sweet and tart at the same time.  This pie not only delivers on taste, it’s also lovely, light, and very low-cal.  Oh, and it’s also a little crunchy, thanks to the chia seeds. 

I’ve made this pie with strawberries; then I made it with raspberries (in the photo).  I’m sure you could even mix them for a third delicious flavour!  And now that I think about it: what about blueberries…?

Many, many thanks to Susan at the Sugar & Spice blog for providing the inspiration for this pie with her delicious Strawberry Lime Chia Pudding.

Printer-friendly recipe

Servings: Divvy it up any way you want!

Ingredients

  • 1 pkg. gelatin (1 tbsp.)
  • ¼ tepid water + ¼ boiling water
  • Juice of 1 lime
  • 2 cups strawberries or raspberries
  • 2/3 cup unsweetened soy or almond milk
  • ¼-½ cup erythritol sugar, to taste
  • 1 tbsp. chia seeds
  • 1 tsp. pure vanilla extract
  • ½ tsp. almond extract

Directions:

  1. Prepare the gelatin by pouring the powder over the tepid water, adding the boiling water, and then mixing until completely dissolved.
  2. Prepare lime by juicing it.
  3. Put gelatin, lime, ¼ cup erythritol, and all other ingredients into a food processor or blender. Process until smooth.
  4. Taste for sweetness and add remaining ¼ cup erythritol if necessary.
  5. Pour into an 8″ or 9″ pie plate.
  6. Refrigerate until set—about 4 hours.

For Weight Watchers: The total pie is worth:

  • With soy milk (80 calories/cup): 4 points on the Points plan and 3.5 points on the PointsPlus plan. 
  • With almond milk (60 calories/cup): 3.5 points on the Points plan and 3 points on the PointsPlus plan. 

Quinoa Pudding #4: Mango-Banana

I bought a box of 18 mangoes because the price was…well, so compelling.  I could just hear those mangoes calling out to me.  When I arrived home, my husband groaned at the sight…yes, I’ve done this before, but this time the price was even better!  This earned me a rolling of the eyes, which I completely disregarded as we’ve been married for 45 years, and a few mangoes can’t threaten that marital bond, can they?

Okay, so what to do with all this ripening fruit?  My solution was to make several iterations of Coconut-Mango Squares and to turn to my versatile quinoa pudding recipe.  Since I also had one small, overripe banana, I decided to throw that in with some mangoes (although I’m sure you could just use mangoes).  The result: a pudding so sweet that it required no additional sweetener.  And, as with the Summertime Banana Quinoa Pudding, I served this cold—a delicious, refreshing, and filling treat for my late-afternoon snack.

When varying this recipe: The trick, I find, is to make sure that you have a total of 3½ cups of liquid between the milk and the puréed fruit.  When I combined the banana with 2 small, yellow ataulfo mangoes, I ended up with 1½ cups and, therefore, reduced the original 2½ cups of almond milk down to 2 cups.  Two other differences from the banana pudding: I altered the spices to adapt to the mango flavour and had to cook the pudding longer.  I’m not sure why: perhaps because there is more fruit and less milk?

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Quinoa Pudding #3: Summertime Banana

Sweet, cool, soothing, filling, and easy to make—this is a pudding that’s just right for hot summer days.  This dish is also a new version of a versatile favourite. (Earlier warm pudding versions used dried cranberries and puréed pumpkin or squash.)

I keep finding myself coming back to this pudding recipe whenever a possible ingredient makes itself  known: in this case, aging bananas crying out to be puréed.   But bananas are calorie-expensive, my rational mind argued.  But they’d be delicious in this pudding, my stomach-inclined mind replied.  Think of something! 

That something was to tweak the original recipe by using liquid egg substitute instead of whole eggs and almond milk instead of soy milk.  That didn’t make a significant change in taste but it did lower the Weight Watcher points and, hence, calories.  My stomach-inclined mind immediately thought of adding chocolate or coconut, but I ignored it as best I could!

Printer-friendly recipe

Makes 9-10 ½-cup servings

Ingredients

  • 1 cup quinoa seeds
  • 2 ½ cups unsweetened almond milk
  • ½ cup liquid egg substitute
  • ¼ cup artificial sugar, to taste
  • 1 tsp. vanilla
  • ¼ tsp. salt
  • ¼ tsp. ground cinnamon
  • Pinch of ground cloves
  • Pinch of nutmeg 
  • 1 cup puréed bananas

Instructions

  1. Rinse quinoa seeds if the manufacturer has not indicated that this has been done.
  2. Put 2 cups of water in a saucepan and bring to a boil.
  3. Add quinoa and bring to boil again.
  4. Lower heat to simmer.
  5. Cover and cook for 15-20 minutes.  The quinoa should have absorbed all the water, and you should have approximately 2 cups. 
  6. In a bowl, beat eggs with a whisk.
  7. Stir in milk, vanilla, salt, spices, and puréed banana.
  8. Test for sweetness and add artificial sugar if necessary. 
  9. Add cooked quinoa to liquid ingredients.
  10. Bake in 325 degree oven for 55 minutes. The quinoa will not be set yet.
  11. Let stand for 15 minutes for liquid to absorbed.
  12. Chill in refrigerator

For Weight Watchers: 2 points per ½-cup serving on both the Points plan and PointsPlus plan.