My Food Style

Cashew Sour Cream is Just a Dollop Away

Cashews are no longer just a snack for popping, but wonderful little treats packed with tons of nutrition. It is safe to say that cashews are quickly becoming another ingredient for Forrest Gump and Bubba to recite. With 5 grams of protein per ounce, and high levels of essential minerals like iron, and magnesium, which are paramount in keeping with a healthy diet, you can take two and call me in the morning.

Like many things, you should enjoy cashews in moderation. They are relatively high in fat, 12 grams per ounce, but even with the high fat content, they are considered to be “low-fat” because they contain less fat per serving than almonds, walnuts, peanuts and pecans. They also have a large amount of dietary fiber, which can help with weight management.

I am trying to avoid sounding like a cashew angler but I just can't help it. The best way to showcase the versatility of cashews, and to further convince you that they should play a pivotal role in your diet, is to give you a recipe too enjoy.

I have created many main dishes but this one is the icing on the cake, so to speak.

Sour cream is the perfect addition to hundreds of recipe, and just the right topping to some.

Cashew Sour Cream

1 1/2 cups raw cashews

1/4 TBS lemon oil

1/2 to 3/4 cup water

Salt to taste

 

Using a blender or food processor, blend the cashews, lemon oil, water ,and a little salt until the consistency is much like whipped cream.

You may add a little water as you go, until you reach the desired consistency.

Store in an airtight container for 4 days.

A Night of Inspiration: Zucchini Ribbon Salad w/ Coconut Mint Dressing

A couple of nights ago this idea for a ribbon zucchini salad came up as I watched a local chef prepare my meal. While he utilized some impressive knife skills to peel a piece of fruit, I began running through all of the safe-to-eat vegetables on the Interstitial Cystitis approved food list, and zucchini stuck in my mind. How would I create a recipe that is both fun and beautiful using zucchini?

My crazy brain thought of this. Using a potato peeler, cut end-to-end, long strips of zucchini, marinate them in salt to extract the water, and toss the strips with a light salad dressing. You must use a salad dressing that does not overpower zucchini’s natural sweetness. Thus, I created a coconut mint dressing to compliment its subtle sweetness while still awakening your pallet….just a bit.

As we build the salad up, we must not ignore its texture. Using toasted peanuts is an excellent way to add the crunch we need without adding too much flavor. Toasting any nut, allows their oil to reach the surface of the nut, creating a wonderful aroma and flavor.

Doing without any carbohydrate is always a fanciful idea, and with spring upon us, creating a nice salad without pasta seems to be a hit. Enjoy this recipe, and I promise to return too the place of inspiration and bring back some more goodies!

Zucchini Ribbon Salad w/ Coconut Mint Dressing

2 pounds small zucchini - trimmed

1 tsp salt

4 cups frisée salad greens trimmed and torn into small pieces

1/2 cup toasted peanuts

8 oz fresh mozzarella***

1/2 cup loosely packed fresh flat-leaf parsley leaves

1/2 cup loosely packed fresh basil leaves, torn into small pieces

Mint dressing

1/2 cup unsweetened coconut milk

1/4 cup mint leaves

2 garlic cloves

 

Using a blender, puree the coconut milk, mint leaves, and garlic until smooth. Season with salt.

Cut the zucchini lengthwise into 1/8-inch-thick slices with a potato peeler and place in a colander set over a bowl. Sprinkle the zucchini with salt and then toss. Let them sit for 5 minutes, and then rinse under cold water.

While the zucchini sits, toast the peanuts. Place nuts in a single layer in a skillet. With the skillet over medium-high heat, stir or shake the nuts continually for 5 to 7 minutes or until they start to turn golden. Remove from the heat.

Using a kitchen towel, spread the zucchini strips into one layer, then gently roll up towel to absorb the water.

Add the mint dressing to the zucchini, frisée, mozzarella, and herbs; toss to coat.

Top with toasted peanuts and serve immediately.

 

Vegetarians: How Those with Interstitial Cystitis Go Green

 

Every time my wife and I go out for dinner, I know I must choose our restaurant wisely. Not only does my wife have a severely limited diet, due to stomach complications, but she is also a vegetarian. Before her, I never understood why people chose to be vegetarians. My mother was a vegetarian for a decade, one day she just stopped eating meat, made the switch for no particular reason. However, what if you have Interstitial Cystitis, and you want to become a vegetarian? Could you afford to just up and drop a diet dominated by meat? Are there enough safe vegetables, fruits, and legumes for you to eat and still maintain a healthy diet?

If I were to ask ten different vegetarians why they chose to be a vegetarian, I would end up with ten different answers. The argument that it is better to be a vegetarian has to be built on evidence supporting healthy living. According to the American Dietetic Association, an appropriately planned vegetarian diet is nutritionally adequate, providing healthful benefits in the prevention and treatment of chronic diseases. In addition, Vegetarian Nutrition Info states that kidney, Lima, pinto, great northern, garbanzo, black-eyed peas, lentils, and fava beans all take the place of meat and fish as a major source of protein. In addition, plant foods embrace cancer-protective properties. These include broccoli, Brussels sprouts, cabbage, cauliflower, carrots, celery, cucumber, caraway, dill, parsley, and fruits such as cantaloupe. Also herbs and grains like brown rice, oats, whole wheat, flaxseed, nuts, garlic, scallions, chives, ginger, turmeric, rosemary, thyme, oregano, sage, and basil. I counted 34 foods that not only help prevent disease but are also listed as safe to try, and are on the approved Interstitial Cystitis Food List.

The evidence supports a healthy transformation from Carnivorian to Vegetarian. Eating whole grains, legumes, nuts, fruits, and vegetables lacks very little when compared to the vitamins and mineral found in meat alone. I still believe the only reason one would remain a meat eater is because meat tastes so darn good. Therefore, I guess it is my job to make you veggie heads some great tasting recipes! My wife will love me for it.

 

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