Wednesday, April 23, 2014

State of the Blog, Lightened Up Dressings and Sauces AND a Reader Advice Request! Phew!

I'm not going to go into a whole song and dance about the state of this blog, but I'm sure it's obvious that I have done less blogging lately than I used to. The simple fact is that while I absolutely love and adore blogging (I really, really do), there are other things in my life that need my attention right now (my kids, my health, my business, my home).

It literally pains me to say that, but I have to say it out loud, to you.

I wish I could be a full time blogger AND do all of the other things that I love and need to do. But I can't, so blogging needs to take a backseat to everything else right now.

I'm not going to stop blogging altogether, simply because I really do enjoy it that much. So you can expect HGK blog posts from time to time, and maybe even a new recipe or two. If you miss me (and I hope that you do), I am able to be much more active at this time on Facebook and Instagram, two platforms that literally take minutes to connect with like-minded peeps, rather than the hours and hours that a single blog post requires. So if you haven't started an Instagram account yet, what are you waiting for? It really is fun.

But back to something interesting, right?

I have been reading and LOVING Dr. Fuhrman's newest book, The End of Dieting. Just when it seems like we can't read one more book by Dr. F, there he is, coming out with another great work. It's the latest and greatest of all of the nutritional studies rolled up into one well organized and fun to read book.

I'm still on the fence about his feelings about the humble potato though, so just to be one the safe side I also ordered up a copy of The McDougall Program for Maximum Weight Loss book. Dr. McDougall is a HUGE fan of the potato and the two plant based giants seem to be having a war about this subject.

Who the heck knows? Chef AJ lost a shit ton of weight and she seems to be eating a potato just about every day. So I'm not eliminating potatoes from my diet any time soon. They just provide me with a feeling of fullness that makes me, well, happy and comfortable when eating SOS free plant based meals.

In fact, I have been so inspired by the new recipes from Chef AJ that I constructed my own New Recipes by Chef AJ cookbook. I just can't wait for a new Chef AJ cookbook to come out, okay? It took many hours, but I chose the newest recipes that I like from her YouTube videos and the world wide web and cut, pasted and typed everything into one document. Her most recent video is for a sauce called Yummy Sauce, and while I haven't made that exact sauce yet, the recipe totally inspired me to start making more dressings and sauces with cannellini beans (white kidney beans) instead of nuts.

Here's the lovely AJ demonstrating her cannellini bean based Yummy Sauce for us:


Once I saw that video, I knew I needed to try it out as soon as possible. I'm so used to using nuts (read HIGH calorie) in dressings and sauces and I wanted to see if I would like this style of dressing/sauce. Then and inspiration recipe came my way from a photograph and recipe that someone posted on Instagram for a Tahini Sauce. I used that as my jumping off point for my Lightened Up Tahini Sauce. For those of you that know and love Tahini Sauce, I can pretty much guarantee that you will devour this lighter and healthier version. And if you don't know what I'm talking about, just make this sauce! Put it on veggies. Fall in love.

Lightened Up Tahini Dressing/Sauce
I can tell you already that this one is AMAZEBALLS on top of steamed kale or as a dip for steamed or raw vegetables (just go lighter on the water when you want to use it as a dip). I'm sure it would make a great salad dressing as well!

1 can salt free cannellini beans, rinsed and drained
1.5 Tbsp miso
6 Tbsp tahini (I poured all of the oil off the top of the jar of tahini before I scooped out what I needed.)
juice of 2 lemons
up to 1/2 cup water, depending on desired thinness of sauce

Blend all ingredients until very smooth.

Lightened Up Curry Dressing/Sauce
This is not a full fledged tested out recipe (yet), but really just an inspiration that I'm pretty sure would be amazing. It came by way of Gena at Choosing Raw, who used full fat coconut milk as the base for this sauce. I figure it's worth a try with cannellini beans as the base. I've got a bunch of cans of Thai curry paste in my pantry, just looking for a recipe to be used in. Here's what I will do the next time I need a sauce:

1 can cannellini beans, rinsed and drained
3-4 tbsp curry paste (yellow is my favorite, but use red if you like it hot, or your favorite) OR 3 teaspoons curry powder and maybe a pinch of cayenne pepper
3 tbsp tamari (or to taste)
1.5 tbsp lime juice
2-3 medjool dates
optional: 1.5 tbsp minced ginger (or ginger powder to taste)
optional: 1-2 cloves minced garlic (or garlic powder to taste)

Blend all ingredients till smooth.

And now for the Reader Advice Request . . .

Hi, Wendy -

I really enjoy your down-to-earth blog, and the encouragement to keep at it. One of the great things you do is the occasional Reader Advice subject, and along those lines, I have a suggestion for you. I'm trying to be more disciplined about eating well, and one of the problems I have is that I really don't like to cook. All that standing and chopping for just a few minutes of eating, and often with results I'm not that crazy about. What I'd like to do is find half a dozen good, freezable sauces with a wide variety of flavours that I could make in quantity. Then I'd cook big batches of whole grains to freeze, and maybe even dice and blanch a bunch of veggie mixes to freeze. (or just choose the veggies to go with the other things according to what's available) Then, presto! take 3 baggies out of the freezer and dinner's ready!

It's the sauces that are the challenging part for me. Maybe your readers would have some ideas?

Thanks for all the good you do...

Carrie S

So, HGK readers, can we help out Carrie? What are your favorite sauce recipes to ladle onto rice, veggie and bean bowls and such? Please provide recipes or links in the comments section below. Thanks!
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