Monday, February 27, 2017

Lemon Spinach Stuffed Grilled Pork Loin

This is a lovely light meal for spring or summer, very easy to prepare an makes for a great presentation for guests. Pork can be stuffed and tied up to 1 day ahead of time. We enjoyed this with grilled asparagus.

Serves 4
2 lb pork loin, silver skin trimmed
2 bunches fresh spinach or 9-10 oz frozen
3 cloves garlic, finely chopped
1 bunch chives or basil, finely chopped
1 lemon
1 tsp salt
2 tsp ground black pepper
1/2 tsp cayenne, optional
1/2 tsp smoked or regular paprika, optional
Supplies: kitchen twine


  1. If using fresh spinach, wash well and trim stems, roughly chop. If using frozen spinach, defrost in a microwave until room temperature or just warm to the touch, drain well.
  2. In a non-stick frying pan over medium-low, saute the garlic for a few seconds until fragrant and then add spinach. Cook, stirring frequently, until cooked down if fresh or warmed through if frozen. Season with salt, pepper, and spices if using. Drain any excess liquid from the spinach. Add chives or basil.
  3. Zest lemon peel, or peel and very finely mince lemon peel if you don't have a zester (I don't have a zester). Add zest to spinach, and juice lemon into spinach mixture as well. Mix filling thoroughly.
  4. You can heat the grill to 325F at this point, preparing to cook the pork over indirect heat. You can also just cook this in the oven at 350F.
  5. If your pork loin is 1 thicker piece: Slice horizontally along the length of the loin, about 1/2" above the cutting board until the knife is all but 1/2" through. Rotate the loin and continue to cut carefully until you have a flat rectangle.
  6. If your package came with 2 thinner loin pieces (which mine did), make a cut along the length of each loin lengthwise, stopping 1/2" above the cutting board, so you have a long narrow cavity to stuff.
  7. Arrange the spinach mixture along one long edge of the loin if you had one big piece. If you had two pieces, carefully place the filling down the middle of one of the long cavities you cut. Roll the loin around the filling or place the second piece on top.
  8. Using the kitchen twine, tightly tie one end of the loin(s) together so that the filling is entirely encased in meat. Continue to make ties every inch or two along the length of the loin, careful to ensure the filling is securely stuffed inside. If you find filling falling out in between the ties, you can always go back and use your fingers to push it back in.
  9. Carefully oil the grill with a paper towel and tongs. Grill over indirect heat until cooked thoroughly, approximately 35-40 minutes. If baking, cook until internal temperature reaches 160F.
  10. Allow to rest for 5 minutes, then cut twine and remove. Slice with a sharp knife into 1 1/2" or 2" slices and serve.

Nutrition Facts
Servings 4.0
Amount Per Serving
calories 282
% Daily Value *
Total Fat 8 g12 %
Saturated Fat 2 g10 %
Monounsaturated Fat 0 g
Polyunsaturated Fat 0 g
Trans Fat 0 g
Cholesterol 90 mg30 %
Sodium 1835 mg76 %
Potassium 33 mg1 %
Total Carbohydrate 6 g2 %
Dietary Fiber 4 g14 %
Sugars 4 g
Protein 49 g98 %
Vitamin A174 %
Vitamin C30 %
Calcium10 %
Iron13 %
* The Percent Daily Values are based on a 2,000 calorie diet, so your values may change depending on your calorie needs. The values here may not be 100% accurate because the recipes have not been professionally evaluated nor have they been evaluated by the U.S. FDA.

Monday, February 20, 2017

Peanut Butter and Jelly Granola Bars

These bars are nice soft granola bars, that still keep their shape and shouldn't fall apart on you. I sent my friends on the road with a big bag of these after they stayed at my place on a cross-country road trip.
Servings per recipe: 28
Dry Ingredients:
2 tbsp olive or other oil for tinfoil
4 cups old-fashioned rolled oats
1 cup quinoa
1 cup TVP
2 cup unsweetened puffed corn (or crispy rice cereal)
1 cup roasted salted peanuts
1 cup wheat bran (can sub for wheat germ, flax seed, or chia seed)
Optional: 3/4 cup dried currants, raisins, blueberries, or other dried fruit

Wet Ingredients:
3/4 cup fruit jelly or preserves of your choice (I used grape)
1/2 cup brown rice syrup (I used IMO syrup)
3/4 cup sugar (or other granulated sweetener such as Stevia)
1 tsp salt
1/2 cup natural peanut butter
1 tbsp vanilla
Optional: 1/2 cup powdered peanut butter such and Protein Plus Peanut Flour for additional protein and peanut butter flavor

Preheat oven to 325F, and line a baking sheet with edges with tinfoil and grease tinfoil thoroughly with oil.
In a large bowl, mix together dry ingredients and dry fruit, if using. Set aside.
In a small saucepan, combine all wet ingredients besides vanilla, peanut butter and peanut powder. Melt sugar slowly over medium-low heat, stirring until everything is well mixed and sweetener or sugar is dissolved, about 10 minuted. Take pan off the heat. Gently whisk in peanut butter, vanilla, and peanut butter powder to the saucepan until no more clumps of peanut butter powder remain, and peanut butter is thoroughly dissolved.
Pour peanut butter and jelly mixture over dry ingredients and mix very thoroughly with a rubber spatula. Pour into the baking sheet, and spread evenly to all edges of the baking sheet. Using the rubber spatula, press down very firmly to compact the granola bars. How firmly and  thoroughly you press the granola bars down will result in granola bars that stick together better.
Bake for 25-35 minutes, or until the granola bars just start to look toasty around the edges, and feel firmer to the touch. Don't overbake, or you could burn the dried fruit. Let cool completely in the baking sheet.
Once cool, carefully slide the foil onto a large cutting board. Cut the baking sheet of granola bars in half with a sharp knife, and then cut each half in half again. Move three of these aside, and cut each quarter into 7 bars. They should be about the size of a traditional granola bar. Store in an airtight container for up to 3 weeks.

Nutrition is for 1/28 of recipe made with puffed corn cereal, wheat bran, grape jelly, IMO syrup, and 1/2 cup Protein Plus Peanut Flour (does not include dried fruit)
Nutrition Facts
Servings 28.0
Amount Per Serving
calories 259
% Daily Value *
Total Fat 11 g17 %
Saturated Fat 2 g8 %
Monounsaturated Fat 2 g
Polyunsaturated Fat 1 g
Trans Fat 0 g
Cholesterol 0 mg0 %
Sodium 191 mg8 %
Potassium 184 mg5 %
Total Carbohydrate 46 g15 %
Dietary Fiber 9 g35 %
Sugars 24 g
Protein 10 g20 %
Vitamin A0 %
Vitamin C0 %
Calcium2 %
Iron11 %
* The Percent Daily Values are based on a 2,000 calorie diet, so your values may change depending on your calorie needs. The values here may not be 100% accurate because the recipes have not been professionally evaluated nor have they been evaluated by the U.S. FDA.

Tuesday, February 14, 2017

Pizza Oatmeal: Brunch of Champions

I made some delicious pizza with the roommates last night and had some leftover ingredients. This morning when I was contemplating breakfast, I couldn't get the thought of that delicious pizza off my mind.

Serves 1
351 kcal, 24 grams protein, 7 grams fiber

1/3 cup rolled oats
1/3-1/2 cup seasoned pizza sauce
1/4 cup cheese (I used an "Italian" blend of mozzarella, parmesan, and asiago)
10-15 slices of chopped turkey pepperoni slices, optional
1 tbsp psyllium husk powder, optional
1 large egg
Salt, black pepper, and chilli flakes to taste

In a cereal bowl, pour 1/3 cup oatmeal and add water to about 1/4" above the top of the oatmeal. Microwave for 1 minute.

On the stove, bring a small frying pan half full of water to a very low simmer. Give the water a few vigorous circular stirs to form a whirlpool, which will keep the egg white nice and tight. Immediately crack egg into the center of the whirlpool. Cover the pan, and then the stove down to low. Set the timer for 3 minutes for a perfectly runny yolk.

While the egg is cooking, add to the warm oatmeal 1/3 to 1/2 cup sauce, depending on the consistency you prefer. Stir in sauce, pepperoni, and psyllium husk to mix thoroughly. Gently fold in as much cheese as you desire. Microwave for another minute or 2, until cheese is melted.

Using a slotted spoon or spatula, gently lift the egg out of the water and place on the oatmeal. To serve, top with additional cheese, pepperoni, and cracked black pepper.

Gluten free pizza crust from last night coming soon!

Gluten free pizza crust: crispy and chewy

This crust is super quick to make once you have all the ingredients measured out. The crust turns out nice and crispy at the edges and bottom, while the part under the sauce has a nice chew to the middle of it.

Serves 4 (1 15" pizza)
2 slices: 392 kcal, 3.5 grams protein, 6 grams fiber

1 cup tapioca starch
1/3 cup coconut flour
1/3 cup cornstarch
1/3 cup oat flour
2 tsp xantham gum
1 tsp baking powder
Preheat oven to 425 F and prepare a 15" pizza pan with parchment paper. No need to grease.
Whisk all dry ingredients very well in a large bowl.
Add 2/3 cup boiling water, 1/3 cup olive oil and mix very well for 2 minutes. Spread with your fingers directly on to the pizza pan. I used a rolling pin directly on the pizza pan, but the paper could be transferred to the pan after the dough is rolled out onto it.
Bake at 425F for 15 minutes without toppings, and then top and bake for 20 minutes more, or until browned to your liking on the edges.

Monday, February 6, 2017

Vegan Blue Cheese

This is raw vegan magic in a high speed blender!
Fermented Tofu
The color of the pumpkin seeds comes out a nice blue-green color which resembles blue cheese without artificial color or spirulina often found in other recipes. For this recipe, you need a powerful blender or food processor to break down the nuts and seeds sufficiently. I used my Nutribullet 600 watt. You can substitute out another bland nut or seed such as blanched almonds or raw sunflower seeds, but the color will not be as white and sunflower seeds may contribute some flavor to the final cheese. If you are turned off of cashews because of the price, look for B grade or pieces- you don't need the nut to be whole for this recipe. You can find fermented tofu at Asian or international markets. This is the kind I get- you can get regular (sesame oil), or this kind with chili that I get. 1 cup raw cashews 1 cup raw pumpkin seeds (without 4 oz fermented tofu ½ cup raw sauerkraut, drained well and chopped finely 1 teaspoon acidophilus culture (2 tablets, ground or 4 capsules) Sea salt or Kosher salt to taste 2 Tbsp mild miso paste Overnight or for minimum 8 hours, soak the cashews and pumpkin seeds separately in cold water. Drain well and rinse. To the blender, add drained cashews, 2 oz fermented tofu (or 2 cubes), 1/4 cup sauerkraut, 1 tbsp miso paste, and salt to taste. Salt is very important to this recipe as blue cheese is salty- I recommend starting at 1/2 tsp and then tasting. Blend these ingredients until very smooth, adding as little cold water as necessary, 1 tsp at a time if necessary for blending. Once fully blended, stir in 1/2 tsp acidophilus, or open 2 capsules and stir in. Scoop this mixture into a wide flat container, preferably glass. A 9x13" glass pan would be perfect. Dollops are fine, it doesn't need to be spread smooth. After as much of the cashew mixture has been scraped out of the blender as possible, add in the rest of the ingredients and salt to tast, minus the other 1/2 tsp acidophilus. Blend until very smooth. Again, adding very little water only if needed. Once blended, stir in the other half of the acidophilus well, then scoop this mixture on top of the cashew mixture. Cover loosely with a cheesecloth or other thin, clean fabric such as a clean t shirt or towel, making sure the fabric is not touching the mixture. Set this aside for 2-3 days to culture and develop flavor. The fermented tofu and sauerkraut come into play here, providing bacteria and a cheesy flavor to the cheese as it ages. After a few days, the cheese should be drier on top and should have firmed up. If you want, you may dehydrate it at this point in crumbles on a very low temperature, or scrape into a smaller airtight glass container for storage. This is great on crackers, with fruit, and on a salad. Enjoy!