All Posts for November 2007

National Family Caregivers Month

Wednesday, November 7th, 2007

I recently received an email from a counselor alerting me to the fact that November is National Family Caregivers Month. You may want to check out the website www.theFamilyCaregiver.org for more information.

Caregivers are those who take care of people who cannot take care of themselves, which would include everyone in the nursing/nursing home/hospital profession. However, I generally think of them as family members or people hired by family members to help with a loved one.

The task is awesome and often frustrating. Caregivers are often more stressed out than the people they care for. If you know a caregiver, maybe you can lend a helping hand and give him/her a few hours or a day off so s/he can have some R & R. If you are a caregiver, give yourself a pat on the back.

So this month, let’s salute the caregivers of the world with a big Thank You. Maybe send him or her a nice bouquet, like these flowers below. If you are the caregivers, treat yourself to the bouquet. It will brighten your day.

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Giving Thanks for Fresh Food

Wednesday, November 7th, 2007

Thanksgiving is a wonderful time to use the whole foods available to us in fall: nuts, sweet potatoes, pumpkins, cranberries, and of course, greens. Unfortunately, many of the recipes at Thanksgiving are loaded with sugar, like cranberry sauce and pumpkin pie and “candied” sweet potatoes, a dish my mother loved to serve. However, the recipes today do not follow this tradition, so you may have to add some sweeteners of your own. But, I urge you to taste the dish before altering it, because you may find that by not adding extra sweetness, the true taste of the cranberries or the sweet potato comes through.

Below are four recipes, only one of which is mine. So thanks to all the helping hands for these recipes.

Jay’s Thanksgiving Salad

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Ingredients
(These amounts are very flexible. The amounts are only suggestions.)

Salad:
One pkg. mixed organic greens (or lettuces of your choice)
Seeds of one pomegranate (A pain to do, but worth the effort!)
1/2-1 cup walnut pieces (Substitute a grated carrot for nut-allergic guests)
goat cheese (one small package)
Dressing:
balsamic vinegar and olive oil in a 3:1 ratio
(3 times as much vinegar as olive oil, approximately,
such as 2/3 cup vinegar & 1/2 of 1/3 cup olive oil)
pinch of sugar (I use fructose)
one shallot clove, peeled
one very small tomato
dash of mustard

Directions

1. Wash and spin dry the lettuce(s). Add the pomegranate seeds,
walnuts (or carrots) and goat cheese. Toss gently.
2. Blend dressing ingredients in a food processor or blender until
smooth. Toss onto salad right before serving. (You won’t have
to use all the dressing; save the rest for another salad.)


Marilyn’s Sweet Potato Souffle

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Ingredients

4 large yams or sweet potatoes, washed and scrubbed
1 white potato, washed and scrubbed
garlic powder (or salt) to taste
1 small can (8 oz.) unsweetend crushed pineapple, drained
2 eggs (or egg substitute)
1/2 cup orange juice
1 tsp cinnamon (more if you love cinnamon)

Directions

1. Clean, cut and boil the potatoes until soft. (I boiled them and
then peeled them after they cooled. Easier to peel when
cooked.)
2. Hand mash the peeled potatoes in a bowl. Add garlic
powder or salt to taste.
3. Whisk orange juice and the beaten eggs and add to the
potatoes, mixing well. Add crushed pineapple, combining all
the ingredients.
4. Pour into a fairly large baking dish, sprinkle with cinnamon to
taste and bake in a 350 degree oven for 45 minutes to an hour.

Approximate servings: 4-6 (With Thanksgiving, there are often lots of dishes on the table, so you may want to have smaller servings of each dish.)

Note: Feel free to add more cinnamon as well as nutmeg and/or cloves.


Cranberry-Orange Relish “Boats”

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Ingredients

2 oranges cut crosswise
3/4 c. organic fresh or frozen cranberries
3/4 cup walnut or pecan pieces
1/2-1 small apple (unpeeled and cored)
cinnamon, cloves, nutmeg, cardamom to taste (any or all)

Directions

1. Scoop out orange flesh and place in the blender or food processor. (I use a small paring knife or grapefruit knife.)
2. Add other ingredients and process to a coarse consistency.
3. Pour into bowl for relish. (See photo below.) For boats, spoon mixture in the orange halves, top with a walnut or pecan half and serve.

Variation: Sprinkle on some unsweetened, dried coconut for color and extra crunch. Another variation: Add 1/2 grated apple to relish to temper the tartness.


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Paul’s Pumpkin Pie

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This is a recipe my older brother Paul developed because of his borderline diabetes and health concerns. It uses very little sweetener and no fat. I have made some suggested variations, but his basic recipe is delicious enough to use at any time, not just Thanksgiving.

Ingredients for Filling

One 15 oz. can of (organic) pumpkin (unsweetened)
2 beaten eggs (or one egg and one egg substitute)
One tsp cinnamon
¼ tsp. Ginger
1/8 tsp. Ground cloves
One tsp. Cornstarch
One Tbl. Maple syrup
1 & 2/3 cup apple juice or apple cider plus one pkg. dry skim milk powder
or protein powder (my choice)

One uncooked pie crust, available at health food stores, or your own crust. (See my recipe below after directions for pie filling).

Directions for Filling

1. In a large bowl, stir pumpkin and eggs (pre-cracked and
whisked together in a small bowl first.)
2. Add spices and mix again. (Feel free to increase spices, which
should decrease the need for sugar.)
3. In a blender, mix apple juice and milk (or protein powder) and
add this to the large mixing bowl.
4. Combine items from #3 with items from #1 and #2 and mix
well.
5. Purchase or prepare (see below) an uncooked piecrust bottom
in a 9-inch pie pan, with thicker rim of dough pressed down
with a fork. (A 10-inch will also work. The pie won’t be quite
as high.) Pour or ladle contents of the mixing bowl carefully
into the uncooked crust.
6. Bake in a preheated 425 degree oven for 15 minutes, placing
a cookie sheet underneath to catch any overflow because the
pie filling should rise a little as it bakes.
7. Reduce the temperature to 350 degrees and continue to bake
for 45 minutes or longer, until a knife inserted in the center
comes out clean. (I baked mine for one hour. es) Cool, slice,
and serve.

Ingredients for Pie Crust
2 cups organic, unbleached white flour
One tsp. baking powder
Dash of salt (optional)
½ cup oil (I use macadamia)
¼ c. unsweetened applesauce
¼ c. apple juice, brought to a boil

Directions for Pie Crust

1. Mix flour, baking powder, and salt, if using. Add spices and
cornstarch and combine.
2. Bring juice to a boil while adding oil and applesauce to flour
mixture, using a fork so that small pieces begin to form.
3. Add boiling apple juice gradually, blending it with a fork until
a ball forms that you can lift from the bowl.
4. On a floured surface, roll out the dough, sprinkling flour also
on top of the ball so that your rolling pin does not stick. While
the ball is still warm, roll out dough slightly larger than the pie
plate and gently place it into the pie plate. (Roll dough onto
edge of rolling pin and lift gently.)
5. Adjust the shape to fit the edges of the pan, pressing edges
down with a floured fork when finished.
6. Pour in the pumpkin mixture from above and follow baking
instructions.

Sweet Touch: If you feel your guests will think the pie is not sweet enough, feel free to drizzle some pure maple syrup on the top right before serving. Better yet, put the syrup in a small pitcher and let guests add the amount they want.

Notes: I thought I had apple juice in the house, but discovered I had only orange juice. I used this juice and the pie came out slightly tart, but good. (I gave it to 3 people to taste.) I also plan to try to make it with Imagine Foods Sweet Potato Soup. Protein powder also worked well. (I don’t like milk.) Feel free to garnish with walnuts or cranberries. You can buy apple sweetened dried cranberries in Whole Foods that taste like “craisins” without the sugar.

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