Sunday, November 27, 2016


Best Blog Tips

I'm trying to use up all the great vegetables I have around-- especially the lovely local winter squash.  I love winter squash.  I actually eat it for breakfast sometimes (very satisfying!).  Last night I had a chunk of Hubbard squash and some cooked brown basmati rice in the refrigerator that I wanted to use, so I decided to make a tian, which is a type of vegetable gratin from Provence (named for he earthenware vessel of Provence used both for cooking and serving), sometimes made with the addition of rice.  It makes a great side dish or a main dish, if you like.

To add nutrition, I used my creamy, fat-free white bean flour based Béchamel sauce (see this blog post for more info), with a small amount of vegan cheese, to hold it together, instead of the more common and sometimes copious amounts, of dairy cheese and cream-based sauce.  

The ingredients for this recipe are few and simple, but, together, made a delicious and nutritious dish.

Printable Copy

4-6 servings

1 Tbsp vegan butter or olive oil
2 tsp dried, crumbled sage (not powdered)
3 cups grated peeled winter squash (such as Butternut, Hubbard, etc.)
2 cloves garlic, minced
1/4 cup chopped parsley (this can be omitted, if you don't have any)
3 cups cooked long grain brown rice, such as brown basmati
1/2 cup grated melt-able vegan cheese, such as Daiya Mozza or "Smoked Gouda", or your favorite kind
Fat-Free, Creamy Vegan White Bean Flour-Based Béchamel (Make ahead):
2 cups non-dairy milk of choice (use Original type-- I use soy milk)
1 tsp vegan chicken-style broth powder or paste (I like Better Than Bouillon No-Chicken Vegan Broth Base)
1/4 cup white bean flour (or white urad dal flour)-- see below
1/4 tsp salt
1 pinch grated nutmeg
freshly-ground pepper to taste

Freshly-milled white bean flour-- you can use navy beans, Great Northern, cannellini or white kidney beans.  This batch was made with navy beans. If you can't find white bean flour to purchase look for white Urad Dal flour where ingredients for Indian cooking are sold (which includes some large supermarkets).
To make the Béchamel Sauce:

Place all of the Béchamel ingredients in a blender and blend until very smooth. I cook the sauce in the microwave, in a large Pyrex batter bowl. I cook it on 100% power for three minutes, then whisk it then repeat for 3 minutes more. Microwave a bit more if necessary. If you prefer, you can cook it in a heavy saucepan over medium-high heat, stirring constantly, until the sauce boils and thickens.

To make the casserole:
Set oven to 400 degrees F. Oil an 8-cup shallow gratin or casserole dish.

In a wide heavy skillet, stir-fry pan or sauté pan, heat the vegan butter or olive oil over medium-high heat.  Add the sage and grated squash.  Sauté until the squash has just softened.  I only sautéed it for 3 minutes, but it may take longer if you grate it more coarsely.  You don't want it mushy. Immediately stir in the chopped garlic and parsley (if using).

Combine the sautéed squash in a large bowl with the cooked brown rice, cheese, and the pre-made Béchamel Sauce.

Scoop the mixture into the prepared pan and place in the oven.

Bake for 25 to 25 minutes, or until a bit of a crust forms on top.  Serve immediately.

Nutrition Facts
Nutrition (per 1/4 of recipe): 365 calories, 80 calories from fat, 8.9g total fat, 0mg cholesterol, 488.3mg sodium, 712mg potassium, 63.2g carbohydrates, 8.5g fiber, 7.4g sugar, 10.8g protein, 10.4 points.

Nutrition Facts
Nutrition (per 1/6 of recipe): 243 calories, 53 calories from fat, 5.9g total fat, 0mg cholesterol, 325.5mg sodium, 474.7mg potassium, 42.1g carbohydrates, 5.7g fiber, 4.9g sugar, 7.2g protein, 6.9 points.


Monday, November 21, 2016


Best Blog Tips

I'm so sorry for not blogging for so long!  I have not been terribly inspired in the last few months, so have been taking a bit of a blogging vacation. On top of that, I have had the worst cold of my life for the last three weeks-- very tired from waking up coughing at night. But, I'm on the mend, finally.

One wonderful addition to our life-- I have a great-grandson!  Here he is with me just after he turned 4 months old:

I have been working on a few things and hope to post them soon.  In the meantime, I made some muffins yesterday.  I used to make muffins quite often, but I don't do much baking these days.  We have to watch our calories and fat. But Brian expressed an interest in carrot cake all of sudden, so I suggested carrot muffins instead of cake. (I happen to have a huge bag of carrots in the house and have been trying to use them up, so it sounded like a good idea.)

I like muffins that are low in fat, but moist. The crushed pineapple helps with that and I think using the aquafaba as an egg substitute also helps. We loved them, and I hope you do, too.

Printable Recipe


Yield: 10 muffins

Dry Mix:
1  cup whole wheat pastry flour
1/2 cup unbleached white flour
1  tsp baking powder
1 tsp baking soda
1/2 Tbsp cinnamon
1/4 tsp salt
1/4 tsp ground ginger
1/4 tsp ground nutmeg
3/4 cup brown sugar
Wet Mix:
1/2 cup non-dairy milk
1/4 cup aquafaba (cooking liquid from cooking chickpeas, or liquid from canned chickpeas)
3 Tbsp oil
2 tsp. pure vanilla extract
Additional Ingredients:
8 oz. crushed pineapple, drained thoroughly
(NOTE: If you have only canned pineapple slices, use 6 slices and shred with a fork; drain thoroughly.)
1 1/2 cups grated raw carrot, squeezed by hand to remove juice.
1/2 cup raisins
1/2 cup chopped toasted walnuts or pecans

Turn the oven to 350 degrees F.  Grease 10 muffin cups with cake release, or line with unbleached paper cupcake liners.

In one bowl, mix together the Dry Mix ingredients with a whisk.

In a larger bowl whisk together the Wet Mix ingredients thoroughly.  Pour in the Dry Mix and stir gently.  Add the pineapple, grated carrots and raisins (and optional nuts, if using). Mix just enough to distribute the ingredients evenly.

Distribute the batter evenly between 10 prepared muffin cups. Bake for 20 minutes, or until a toothpick poked into the center of one muffin comes out clean.

Place the muffin tin on a rack for a few minutes, then carefully loosen the muffins from the cups and turn on their sides.

Nutrition Facts (without nuts)
Nutrition (per muffin): 215 calories, 40 calories from fat, 4.6g total fat, 0mg cholesterol, 248.2mg sodium, 332.6mg potassium, 42.5g carbohydrates, 2.9g fiber, 25.4g sugar, 3.1g protein, 6.3 points.

Nutrition Facts (with optional nuts)
Nutrition (per muffin): 254 calories, 72 calories from fat, 8.4g total fat, 0mg cholesterol, 248.3mg sodium, 358.4mg potassium, 43.3g carbohydrates, 3.3g fiber, 25.6g sugar, 4g protein, 7.4 points.