Friday, January 31, 2014

Free Soul Food Recipes Slimming Down to Meet Consumer Demand

Free soul food recipes continue to go through major changes. In response to growing consumer demand and to maintain market share, more book, website and recipe publishers are slimming down their recipes. How? By cutting the high calorie fats, sodium and creams in their recipes. Making the ingredients leaner and meaner comes as a result of consumer demand.

Southern recipes have come under the gun by many health experts and medical professionals for the large quantities of fat and sodium they contain. As tasty as these southern inspired dishes have been. Many health experts complained about the ingredients and cooking methods which can cause high blood pressure, diabetes and obesity as well as other health threatening ailments.

In response to these concerns, the industry is starting to respond by reducing these health threatening ingredients. "The trick has always been to reduce the bad-for-your-health stuff without reducing the taste. We are getting better at it," admits Don Griffith, Executive Chef from Atlanta Georgia, known as the Mecca of southern dining by many.

More and more soul food restaurants are starting to cater to the health conscious crowd by offering salads on their menus. A few years ago most would laugh at the thought of salad or any kind of fresh vegetable at a soul food establishment, they just didn't go together. Now, more owners are adding salad bars and even offering vegetarian menus to their customers.

The response has been overwhelming. In fact, one owner plans to open a separate Vegetarian Soul Food Restaurant next year because of the growing demand.

Soul food cooking techniques are also adapting to the slimmer, leaner consumer demand. Techniques not normally associated with southern cooking is joining this movement. For example, stir frying - this quick cooking method that helps to preserve nutrients and vitamins is being used in more soul food recipes. You'll also notice more steaming, baking and roasting used and less deep fat frying.

Thursday, January 23, 2014

Vegetarian Protein Diet

Why partake of a high protein vegetarian diet? This is often the question and argument presented by people misinformed by many years of faulty education regarding a vegetarian lifestyle. Before we answer that, I think the bigger question would be how much is a person's daily requirement of protein?

It is all dependent on one's weight and height if one wishes to be specific about it, but the average daily need ranges from 50 to 65 grams per day. A high protein diet is not necessarily a healthy one. It's a common misconception that a vegetarian diet is deficient in protein and we hear this even amongst doctors and supposedly health professionals. Time and time again this has been disputed.

A hundred grams of beef would give 36.12 grams of protein while the nearest plant source to that amount would be pumpkin seeds at a whopping 32.97 grams per 100 grams protein. Realistically speaking however nobody really consumes pumpkin seeds daily right? OK how about with a 100 grams of peanut butter one can get 25.09 grams of protein. Believe it or not plants are also sources of protein. So do we really have to be worried about protein deficiency with a vegetarian protein diet? Not really especially if you're living in a first world country.

There may be a slight challenge of balance for those living in developing countries hence a need for a vegetarian protein diet. A study done Young VR, entitled "Soy Protein in Relation to Human Protein and Amino acid Nutrition" concluded that well-processed soy-protein isolates and soy-protein concentrates can serve as the major, or even sole, source of protein intake and that their protein value is essentially equivalent to that of food proteins of animal origin.

It's all about eating a balanced diet, ladies and gentlemen, in as much as you also need to include into the equation the carbohydrates and fats. There are other benefits of protein derived from non animal sources. A study done by Washburn S. entitled "Effect of Soy Protein Supplementation on Serum Lipoproteins, Blood pressure, and Menopausal symptoms in Perimenopausal women" explains that soy protein showed significant improvements in lipid and lipoprotein levels, blood pressure, and perceived severity of vasomotor symptoms.

It is all about embracing healthy meal ideas from various cultures of the world to give that variety in your vegetarian meals. Take for example soy beans, you can use them in various shapes and forms to create delicious high protein vegetarian and vegan recipes such as soybean hummus, baked koftas, soy pancakes, bean curry, sprout stirfry, soups and refreshing soy drinks just to name a few.

The meat industry is filled with controversy as to the inhumane methods employed in the slaughter of animals as well as the bad side effects of a cholesterol diet. People don't consume meat for its protein. It takes 350 liters of water to produce a bag of potato chips but to produce a pound of beef it necessitates 10,000 liters. By consuming a vegetarian protein diet, you not only receive the expected daily requirements, you improve your health and the health of our planet.

In this way healthy eating is healthy living.

Thursday, January 16, 2014

Vegetarian Mexican Recipes - Vegetables With Cheese

Vegetables are a large part of traditional Mexican foods and most authentic Mexican food recipes contain at least one fresh vegetable. You can make a really delicious Mexican food recipe, which is suitable for carnivores as a side dish or vegetarians as an entree, just by cooking some vegetables and adding some herbs or spices and cheese.

This might sound like a simple dish but sometimes the easy Mexican recipes turn out to be the tastiest ones and combining vegetables with a tasty cheese from Mexico is sure to result in a mouthwatering meal.

Delicious Cheeses from Mexico

Queso asadero is one of the nicest Mexican cheeses and this chewy, mild white cheese behaves like American processed cheese, which means that if you cannot find it you can use a processed Jack cheese instead. Pretty much anything can be used in the following recipe, so you might want to try cheddar, mozzarella, feta, or a mixture, depending what you have already in your refrigerator. Muenster, teleme or Fontina would also work.

Queso asadero is used to make chile con queso and chiles rellenos, which are stuffed chili peppers. In the Mexican state of Qaxaca, wild berries are added to the queso asadero when it is made, giving it a different flavor to the American and Northern Mexican varieties.

You can also alter the other ingredients in this vegetable recipe if you like. Perhaps you cannot find chayote, in which case you could use squash. Add some corn kernels and fresh cilantro if you fancy. This recipe also contains jicama, although this is something you can omit if you cannot get it where you are. So what is jicama exactly? It is a sweet, edible root, which looks like a turnip.

Jicama features in many recipes and its unique flavor suits salsas, vegetable dishes, and salad recipes. You can eat jicama raw and it is also nice in Chinese stir fries, as a substitute for water chestnuts. Since this ingredient is fat free and high in vitamin C, it also makes a great snack.

Mexican Vegetables with Queso Asadero

You can roast the vegetables for twenty minutes in a hot oven, rather than cooking them on the stove, if you prefer. If you want to do this, chop them into small pieces and coat them in olive oil. Cook them until tender.

What you will need:

  • 1/2 cup chopped red onion
  • 1 cup peeled, chopped jicama
  • 2 thinly sliced zucchini
  • 1 tablespoon vegetable oil
  • 1 thinly sliced yellow squash
  • 1 thinly sliced chayote
  • 2 minced cloves garlic
  • 1/8 teaspoon cayenne pepper
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 2 chopped tomatoes
  • 1 teaspoon chili powder
  • 1 cup shredded queso asadero
  • Salt and black pepper, as needed

How to make it:

Saute the garlic and onion in the oil in a skillet over a moderate heat for five minutes. Add the jicama, squash, chayote and zucchini and cover, stirring occasionally, cooking the mixture for about eight minutes or until the vegetables are soft.

Stir in the cumin, cayenne, chili powder, tomatoes, salt and pepper and cook the mixture for two minutes. Stir in the shredded cheese and serve immediately.

Thursday, January 2, 2014

No Egg, No Butter, No Milk at All! - How to Make a Cake From Scratch (Vegetarian Chocolate Cream)

If you never tried this cake before, it would be hard to believe that a complete vegetarian cake with no eggs, no milk, no butter or any other ingredients can be so delicious.

Low-gluten flour, cocoa powder, vegetable oil, those are the main ingredients of today's chocolate cake. Decorated with thick chocolate cream made from the same coco powder, this cake leaves an endless aftertaste at the tip of your tongue.

I want to dedicate this cake to all the vegetarian friends. This is also a cake worth trying for non-vegetarians, because it's a relatively low calorie cake that spares you temporarily from the guilt of excessive animal fat and calorie.

Chocolate cream cake (vegetarian) - how to make cake from scratch recipe

(For your reference, the amounts of ingredients provided hereafter are for three helpings)


60 g low-gluten flour,
12 g cocoa powder,
45 g fine sugar,
30 g vegetable oil,
70 g water,
1/4 tsp (1.25ML) vanilla extract,
1/2 tsp (2.5ML) baking powder,
1/8 tsp (0.625ML) baking soda


150 g chocolate syrup,
10 g low-gluten flour,
10 g corn starch

DECORATION: chopped nuts

BAKING: in the middle of the oven, 185° C for 10 minutes


  1. Sift flour, cocoa powder, baking powder and baking soda mixture into one big bowl, then add some sugar and mix it even.
  2. Add some vegetable oil
  3. Mix with a rubber spatula.
  4. Add a little bit water, but don't stop the mixing.
  5. When the paste is more or less ready, add vanilla extract and again, mix (if you have no vanilla extract, just skip this step).
  6. Pour the well-mixed paste into an 8-inch square baking pan paved with greaseproof paper or tin foil, spread the paste evenly in the pan.
  7. Pre-heat the oven to 180 ° C and then put in the pan and bake for 10 minutes or so, take out the cake for cooling.
  8. Prepare the vegetarian chocolate cream. Pour chocolate syrup into the milk pan, add some sifted low-gluten flour and corn starch and mix evenly.
  9. Heat the milk pan. While heating, keep stirring the mixture (use a wooden spoon or heat-resistant silicone spatula. Stir frequently so that the syrup won't be overly-burnt at the bottom.
  10. When the syrup is boiling, turn off the heat and soak the milk pot in cold water. Keep stirring while the chocolate syrup is cooling. Fully cooled syrup will become very thick and creamy. Voila, the chocolate cream is done.
  11. When the cake is fully cooled, cut it into 4 pieces.
  12. Take one piece of cake slice and coat with a layer of chocolate cream. Put a second cake slice on the top and coat with chocolate cream. Put on a third cake slice and chocolate cream coating, and finally put on the last piece of cake slice. Put the finished cake into the refrigerator for more than two hours so the taste of the cake will become denser.
  13. Take out the refrigerated cake and cut off the irregular edges, then cut into three helpings. Top the cake with chocolate cream, and sprinkle some chopped nuts as decoration.

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