On Memorial Day, the nation honored its war dead and those who are making the ultimate sacrifice to keep this country safe and secure. For some people, it was a celebration; for others, a remembrance.
Now that the celebration is over and you're no longer feasting on that slab of pork ribs and other meats, I'd be remiss if I didn't try to refocus your attention on maintaining a healthy diet. Below are some basic, delicious and healthy recipes that you can make without difficulty. They're simple and fun. So let's move forward to better nutritional choices.
Oatmeal Bites with Bananas
Makes 8 muffins
These muffin-like bites use only puréed bananas as a sweetener, no added oil and use whole-grain oats and oat flour. They can be prepped in just minutes!
1 cup rolled oats
1 cup of oat flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon of cinnamon
1/8–1/4 teaspoon of freshly grated nutmeg
1 cup of puréed, overripe bananas (2 large bananas)
1 teaspoon of vanilla extract
Preheat oven to 350 F. In a mixing bowl, combine the oats, oat flour, baking powder, cinnamon and nutmeg. Stir through until well combined. Add the banana and vanilla to the dry mixture and stir through until combined. Using a cookie scoop, place mounds of the batter (about 2 to 2 1/2 tablespoons) on to a baking sheet lined with parchment paper. Bake for 14 to 15 minutes until set to the touch and a touch golden. Remove and let cool on pan for just a minute. Then transfer the mix onto a cooling rack.
Tomato Lentil Soup
This recipe is based on an Ethiopian soup with a rich, deep curry flavor and complex textures. It's easy to make in a big batch for the week ahead. It's so good, but don't expect it to last more than a couple of days.
1/2 yellow onion, diced
1 small carrot, diced
1 teaspoon of freshly grated ginger
3 cloves of garlic, minced
1 tablespoon of curry powder
1 teaspoon of fenugreek seeds
2 1/2 cups vegetable broth (low sodium)
1/4 cup of tomato paste
1/4 cup of brown or green lentils (soaked overnight)
1 Yukon Gold potato, diced
1/4 cup of cooked brown rice
Over medium-high heat, sauté the onion until it is brown. Reduce the heat to medium. Add the carrot, ginger, garlic, curry powder and fenugreek, sautéing them for about 1 minute with water. Add the veggie broth and tomato paste, stirring until the tomato paste is thoroughly combined with the broth. Bring the soup to a simmer. Add the lentils and stir. Once the soup comes back to a simmer, cover the pot and reduce the heat to low. Cook the soup for 30-40 minutes until lentils are tender. Add the potato and brown rice; cook the soup, cover, for 5-10 more minutes.
Keep It Simple: Bring the veggie broth and tomato paste to a simmer, making sure the tomato paste is thoroughly combined with the broth. Add the onion, carrot, garlic, ginger, curry, fenugreek, and lentils, and proceed with the above recipe as if you had just added the lentils.
Chef note: The key to this soup is timing when you add the ingredients. Lentils require time to cook, while diced potatoes and the brown rice need only a few minutes. These are best added to a soup during the last few minutes of cooking.
Hummus is a flavorful anytime bean dip made from chickpeas, lemon juice and garlic. Usually served as a dip paired with pita bread or other fresh vegetables. It can also be used as a flavor powerhouse spread for sandwiches, wraps and burgers.
1 clove garlic, smashed
Juice of 1 lemon, fresh
2 cups of cooked, rinsed chickpeas
1 tablespoon of tahini
2 TBS of water (use your judgment on water)
Blend all ingredients in blender until smooth. Enjoy!
Zucchini with Grilled Asparagus
Asparagus and English peas with the lightness of lemons and parsley are a beautiful springtime dish that's perfect for lunch or dinner.
6–8 stalks of asparagus
2 cloves of garlic, minced
Juice of 1 fresh lemon, about 2 tablespoons
6 ounces of Zucchini Noodles
2 tablespoons of minced parsley
1 cup of sweet peas
Toss the asparagus in the garlic, lemon juice. Grill the asparagus until it starts to develop a few blackened spots. This can be done in the oven. The asparagus should still have some crispness to it. Cut the asparagus into 2- inch-long pieces. Mix zucchini with the asparagus, parsley and English peas.
This dish will enlighten your day. Enjoy!
(Dr. Timothy Moore is an author, professional speaker, international wellness coach and personal plant-based chef. Email him at cheftimothy @cheftimothymoore.com, visit him at www.cheftimothy moore.com or follow him at www.twitter.com/ cheftimmoore.)