As Fall sets in and the leaves begin to change colors, the chilly weather signals one thing: really really really cold weather is coming. In a gloomy and sometimes arctic region like New England, it is necessary to find the bright spots that accompany the arrival of Fall. For us foodies, that would be apple picking, the abundance of certain root vegetables, and of course, our favorite group of foods: winter squash. If you can recall, we once packed a stuffing into a pumpkin, baked it until it was soft, and then took a trip to food heaven as we enjoyed one of the best meals ever (Happiness in a Pumpkin). Marnina jokes that I am so much in love with squash, especially butternut and buttercup, that I should have her engagement ring resized so that it can be given to a squash.
We have recently gone on a pumpkin craze, and we would like to share two recipes that have been indulgent but still relatively healthy due to pumpkin’s nutritional content. For dinner on Friday night we made a dairy-free pumpkin custard, a light dessert that takes like pumpkin pie filling. Then, for Sunday morning brunch, we cooked up a baked pumpkin french toast dish that was off the charts good. While we enjoyed the smell of our apartment during the cooking process of both of these dishes, we REALLY enjoyed the buttery pumpkin sweetness that infused our custard and french toast.
Words to live by.
As noted many times before, we love spice (remember our Tandoori Cauliflower blogpost?) Whenever something tastes bland, we usually add some hot chili sauce known as sriracha, or we add some kind of spice to impart more heat. Many dishes that we are served at other people’s houses or in restaurants are too mild for our taste, which is one reason we enjoy Indian food. The generous use of spices ignites our tastebuds, and those first few bites are heaven. For these reasons, we were extremely excited when we were approached by Arora Creations, one of the top of the line retailers of authentic Indian Spices Blends. They were kind enough to send us a sampling of their line-up of organic spice blends. All of their blends are made from 100% pure spices, and they are vegetarian, gluten-free, sugar free, kosher, nut-free, contain no MSG and are non-irradiated. Many Indian packaged spice blends are very salty, so the low sodium content and absence of MSG was very appealing. These inexpensive Indian spice blend packets allow you to create unique homemade Indian dishes with relative ease. (more…)
Does this make your mouth water?
In the IBD Guide to Eating Out, we mentioned that typical Indian restaurants in the U.S. serve many dishes that are oily, creamy, and incorporate lots of fat (and sodium as well). In general, individuals with IBD need to be conscientious of the amount of fats/oils in their food, and must also be aware of the amount of spices used. IBDers should know, however, that almost any recipe can be modified to fit their dietary preferences. There is always an IBD-friendly version of a dish. Here, we present you with an alternative to the Indian dish Palak Paneer (farmer’s cheese in a thick curry sauce based on pureed spinach) called Palak Tofu, a vegan twist to the normal recipe. It tastes very similar to Palak Paneer, but is healthier, less oily, and more protein rich. The dish is basically tofu cooked in curried spinach, a very healthy dish that goes well with some rice or naan. You will love the green color, and your house will smell like an Indian restaurant for hours afterward….what could be better?? (more…)
Before we enter into the world of spices, we want to give you a “SKEWER IBD” update. We have run about 45 miles so far and are less then $75 away from raising $4,000. We will be mailing a copy of The Foul Bowel to the winner of our blog giveaway, Allison Finn. Congratulations Allison!! Our fundraising isn’t over yet though. We still need your help and donations to really “stick a fork” in IBD. Please consider donating today (click here). We are currently the 3rd top fundraiser on our team! Thank you to those who have donated so far!! Also, as you may or may not know, the Jewish holiday Purim (ready more about it here) begins tomorrow night. We will be rocking some pretty awesome I Be a fooDie costumes that you won’t want to miss. Stay tuned for pictures (and to see us make a fool of ourselves…)
Now, back to SPICES! We love spice. When we cook we often do not use measuring instruments to measure out spices. Instead, we add spices almost by the handful to the point where the spice aroma lingers for hours afterward. We used to just double the prescribed amount of spice in a recipe, but now we just go by instinct and smell. I have been able to convince Marnina that spices can replace unhealthy ingredients, such as salt and sugar. For example, I literally dump cinnamon into my cream of brown rice every morning because cinnamon has a sweet and warm taste that can replace sugar or any sugar derivative. We mostly omit broth and seasoning mixes from our soups because of the high sodium content and replace them with extra spices. Some of our favorite ground spices are curry, coriander, ginger, cinnamon, turmeric, and cumin, all of which happen to be spices featured in Indian cuisine. We have recently started using fresh ginger and garlic, and have noticed that the flavors provided by these fresh spices are more intense than the ground versions.
When Marnina does not eat well one day or feels her stomach “chugging,” she will often resort to an extra low-residue, low-fiber diet until she feels better. Soups often satisfy both of these requirements, especially soups that consist of pureed low-fiber veggies. Dietary fiber, which is found in plant foods, cannot be digested, and residue is the undigested part of plants that contribute to stool. By limiting the amount of fiber and residue, Marnina is reducing the amount of food that passes through her large intestine, which reduces the number of times she needs to run to the bathroom, and reduces abdominal pain. If Marnina wants to eat veggies while she is not feeling well, she makes a special effort to consume only very well cooked vegetables, pureed vegetables, or soups.