Tag Archives: Fruit

Chilled Fruit Soup: Berries + Kefir

Chilled fruit soup-Berries and KefirWith antioxidant-rich berries and probiotic-rich kefir, this chilled soup is delicious and nutritious. Enjoy as an appetizer, snack, or simple dessert. To adjust the sweetness, just add more or less black raspberry powder!

INGREDIENTS

  • Dairy kefir (plain)
  • Black raspberry powder
  • Frozen wild blueberries, defrosted

STEPS for 1 serving (about 1/2 cup)

  • Pour about 1/3 cup kefir into each individual serving bowl.
  • Add black raspberry powder to taste; mix.
  • Add defrosted wild blueberries and mix.
  • Garnish with a few more blueberries.

INGREDIENT NOTES

Kefir

Green Valley Organics Kefir. I like Green Valley Organics Kefir because it’s organic, a tad sweet with no more carbs than other plain kefirs — and it’s an amazing source of probiotic bacteria (good gut bugs). I was blown away when I learned that per 8 ounce serving, this kefir contains about 590 billion CFUs or colony forming units of probiotic bacteria from 10 different strains! That’s a lot more than most probiotic supplements!

organic black raspberry powderI love Virgin Extracts Pure Premium Raw Freeze Dried Organic Black Raspberry Powder Extract Concentrate because it’s organic (even though it just says so in fine print on the back of the package), tastes great, is super convenient, and ess expensive than fresh black raspberries — though it’s certainly not cheap.

What makes black raspberries (which, BTW, are not the same as blackberries) so healthy? Check out this extensive list of nutrition and health benefits.

Enjoy and be healthy!
~ Leni

Note to my regular readers – What’s Cooking with the Monamifood Blog

I have not been posting much for a while and that’s because I have been devoting a lot of my “spare” time to reading* and thinking about nutrition. What have I learned? For starters, that a healthy diet is plant based (with an emphasis on whole lower carbohydrate foods) but also with adequate amounts of meat, fish, chicken, and eggs.

In other words, I think it’s healthy to eat eat lots of low carbohydrate veggies and some low carb fruits (especially berries) and to put meat, fish, chicken, and eggs back on the plate in reasonable amounts.

So on the continuum of veg and non-veg, mine is a “hedge your bets” style of healthy eating. I think this makes good common sense. After all, the science of nutrition is constantly changing and evolving. In addition the official doctrines put out by the government (any government) and American Association of This or That are by their very nature influenced by special interest groups. And…even the scientific research published on the pages of prestigious journals depends, at least in part, on the currently held doctrines of the field (as expressed by the editorial boards).

So…making all the right food choices is impossible because we don’t have, and can’t possibly have, all the information we need to choose the most wisely.

In addition we are all genetically different, so there is no one-size-fits all diet.

Still I think there are a few absolutes to guide food choices today:

  • Many whole foods are very healthy (especially vegetables) and we should eat more of them.
  • Some things we think of as foods are not foods at all – just packages of refined junk with advertising to make us want what’s not good for us.

In the future on this blog you will find some delicious and easy to make veggie and non-veggie recipes that are nutritious – at least for most people given what I understand of what we know today about nutrition.

I can’t wait to share the next post I’m working  on — about making delicious and nutritious stock. It’s a winner of a recipe! Coming soon! I promise!

* If you are interested to read the book that turned my mind around and convinced me that a vegetarian diet is not ideal, read The New Atkins for a New You by Eric Westman, MD, MHS, (associate professor of medicine at Duke University Health System and director the Duke Lifesytle Medicine Clinic), Stephen D. Phinney, MD, PhD, (professor of medicine emeritus at the University of California Davis School of Medicine), Jeff S. Volek, PhD, RD, (associate professor and exercise and nutrition researchers in the Department of Kinesiology at the University of Connecticut).

* If you are interested to know more about choosing healthier carbohydrates (lower in glycemic index and high in nutrients), check out  the information contained in the website for the GI Database hosted by the U of Sydney Australia. Also, I highly recommend you listen to two People’s Pharmacy podcasts which feature Jennie Brand-Miller’s (known for her work with GI index) and Dariush Mozaffarian (author of recent study on diet and weight gain published in The New England Journal of Medicine). 

 

Thyme and Lime Flavored Blueberries with Tofu Avocado Cream


Blueberries are BEAUTIFUL…DELICIOUS…and HEALTHY! No wonder they are one of my favorite foods!

For a comprehensive and authoritative summary of the many health benefits of blueberries, see the excellent Huffington Post article (published online in 2011) by Leo Galland MD.

This post is about an awesome blueberry dessert — one that reminds me of a mixture of blueberry pie and key lime pie – but guilt-free! And, yes, this recipe involves parchment paper, which might make it seem difficult and complicated, but trust me, working with parchment paper is easier than wrapping a present! And the results are dramatic and delicious! This dessert will delight you and wow your guests! I guarantee it!

And…if you have kids at home…you might want to ask them to help you — or let them make it all by themselves. This recipe is really EASY and FUN to make!

So let’s get cooking!

Thyme and Lime Flavored Blueberries with Tofu Avocado Cream

Serves 4

Ingredients
4 cups fresh (or frozen) blueberries
2 tablespoons plus 2 teaspoons fresh squeezed lime juice
2 tablespoons plus 2 teaspoons honey
2 tablespoons plus 2 teaspoons cold tap water
3 teaspoons fresh thyme leaves, chopped

1, 10-ounce block of firm tofu
1/2 medium-size, ripe Hass avocado
2 tablespoons honey
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/4 teaspoon salt
2 teaspoons fresh thyme leaves

For garnish: fresh blueberries and fresh thyme leaves

Directions

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.

Cut 4 pieces of parchment paper, each 12 x 12 inches. Place each square of parchment paper over a small bowl (for example, a cereal bowl). Carefully place 1 cup of the blueberries into the center of each piece of parchment paper. (Note: This takes two hands, because with one hand you need to make a well in the center of the paper for the blueberries.) Set bowls with blueberries aside.

In a cup (or small bowl), mix lime juice, honey and water until fully mixed. Spoon 2 tablespoons of this mixture over each serving of blueberries. Then sprinkle the fresh thyme leaves evenly over the blueberries.

Using 4, 18-inch pieces of raffia or kitchen twine, tie each bundle of blueberries tightly and finish it off with a little bow.

Place the 4 packets of blueberries onto a baking sheet and bake for 30 minutes at 350 degrees F. (Note: I tested the time with frozen blueberries, and it was the same!)

While the blueberries cook, place tofu, avocado, honey, vanilla extract, salt, and thyme leaves (2 teaspoons fresh thyme leaves) into the work bowl of the food processor fitted with the metal blade. Process for 30 seconds; scrape down the sides with a spatula; process again for 30 seconds to 1 minute; scrape again, and process again if needed, until fully blended and smooth. Using a spatula, remove the tofu avocado cream from the food processor and place the cream in a small bowl. Garnish with fresh blueberries and a sprinkling of fresh thyme leaves.

When the blueberry packets have finished baking, remove the baking sheet from the oven and let the packets of blueberries cool on the baking sheet for about 5 minutes.

To serve, place each packet of blueberries in a small shallow bowl and then place each bowl on a plate. As you can see, the packets are very dramatic and beautiful! So this is how I like to serve them at the table. But to make it easier to eat, it’s good to trim the packets to within about an inch of the tie. So I pass a pair of scissors around the table and let everyone do their own trimming.

After a little trimming — and a lot of laughing about how this reminds everyone of kindergarten — it’s time to open the packets. (Be prepared for “oohs” and “ahs”!) Then pass the bowl of Tofu Avocado Cream so everyone can top their blueberries with a dollop or two.

Ingredient notes

  • Blueberries –  This recipe should be made with highbush (cultivated) blueberries (not the small wild blueberries).
  • Lime juice – If you don’t have fresh limes, use store-bought organic lime juice which comes packed in glass jars. A really nice product to have on hand!
  • Thyme leaves – You can store fresh thyme leaves (on stems) in your freezer so it’s ready when you need it.
  • Tofu – For this recipe, use the tofu that comes packed in water and found in the refrigerated section.

Equipment notes

  • Parchment paper – The unbleached parchment paper (kraft or light brown color) can be found at health food stores and it is a much better choice than the bleached (white) parchment paper. Who wants bleach leaching into their food?!
  • Raffia – I like the look of raffia (what you see in the photos) but plain kitchen twine will do. If you choose raffia, make sure it’s the natural raffia – not plastic. Plastic will melt in the oven.

Recipe note

  • I have entered this recipe into the “Make It – Blog It – Win It! Blueberry Recipe Contest for Bloggers.” Results will be announced on or before 20 September! (I will let you know how it turns out…) Meanwhile, if you would like to leave a message about this recipe, please do. I’m sure the contest judges would like to know what you think!

Enjoy and be healthy!

~Leni