Keeping our bones strong is an important part of aging. (Ideally, this should start early in life, while the bones are still being built.) In the kitchen, you can create recipes that are “bone-friendly” as Dr. Nelson notes in her book Strong Women, Strong Bones, reviewed in this month’s posting.
After reading Dr. Nelson’s book, I chose some of the foods that she lists as good sources of calcium and put them in dishes that you can make for “boning up” your own menu. I made a Chickpea Pate, with chickpeas being the calcium-rich ingredient, Creamy Strawberry Sauce with ricotta cheese as the calcium star, and Brussels Sprouts with Sesame Seeds, featuring this little green veggie and the even tinier sesame seeds, both of which are on the “calcium rich” list.
Let’s start with the garbanzo bean (chickpea) spread that can be used with vegetables or crackers for a tasty appetizer. (I also call this Mock Chopped Liver.)
One cup cooked chick peas (I used organic in the can)
1/2 cup walnuts, chopped
8-10 ounces of mushrooms, sliced (I used creminis)
one small chopped onion
2-3 minced garlic cloves
1 1/2- 2 cups cooked green beans
salt & pepper to taste
1. Saute garlic, onion, and mushrooms in a water from the can of chickpeas; then add a teaspoon of olive oil for flavor.
2. Puree the cooked green beans with the ground walnuts in a food processor or strong blender.
3. Add cooked garlic, onion, and mushrooms to blender and puree again.
4. Place in a medium-sized bowl, adding a little more olive oil for flavor and a dash of salt and pepper to taste.
(The amounts of the ingredients are quite flexible. If you like mushrooms, feel free to add more; ditto with garlic and onion.)
Note: I froze some of this dish and then thawed it. It was fine, except a little watery, so I spooned it in another dish using a slotted spoon before serving again.
one cup ricotta cheese
1/2 cup plain (soy) yogurt or (soy) sour cream
one cup washed and sliced organic strawberries
2 packages of stevia (sweetener from a natural herbal extract) or comparable sweetener.
Puree all the ingredients in a blender or food processor to a pourable consistency.
If you stir in some additional ricotta, the consistency will be more like a pudding. Chill and serve as a pourable sauce over fruit salad or the thicker version as a pudding in small serving dishes.
Note: You may also use low fat or part-skim ricotta or low fat versions of sour cream and yogurt. If you are limiting your intake of dairy, there are soy versions of each of the items.
Stir-Fried Brussels Sprouts w/ Sesame Seeds
(By cutting the sprouts into slivers, the “cabbage taste” is ameliorated and also hastens the cooking time.)
1. one 10 ounce package of Brussels Sprouts
2. one clove garlic, minced
3. one to two teaspoons dill weed
4. one to two tablespoons olive oil
5. one to two teaspoons (black) sesame seeds
1. Wash and trim the Brussels sprouts. Slice crosswise into thin pieces.
2. Place cut sprouts in a large pan with a small amount of water. Add 1-2 tsp. dill and simmer until the sprouts are tender and water is almost gone, about 5 minutes.
3. Drain and toss with olive oil and sesame seeds. Serve immediately.
Note: Because this dish cooks up quickly, you can prepare the sprouts ahead of time, but cook the dish right before you are ready to serve.