In honor of #popsicleweek, I am bringing a traditional cake recipe new life with these tasty Red Velvet Pudding Pops. Of course, there’s a twist. I boosted this sweet treat with nutrient-dense whole foods, so you can have your cake and nutrients and eat it, too!
It wasn’t too long ago that I snuck a little cauliflower into some popsicles here on Tasty Yummies. I’m hoping if you tried that recipe, you still trust me and know that despite these strange ingredient combos, I will never lead you astray. It was a fun surprise to find that the cauliflower brought another level to the treat, with creaminess and also of course, nutrients. While I don’t feel that every dessert should have a veggie snuck into it, I do love the unexpected nutritional boost that this provides. And why not?
So, I am back at it again today with these Red Velvet Pudding Pops. As traditional Red Velvet Cake is simply a subtle amount of cocoa with red food coloring, it’s actually a cake flavor that has forever eluded me. I never really understood it. It’s not chocolate and the red color has nothing to do with flavor. But not too long ago I tried a gluten-free Red Velvet cupcake and I am not gonna lie. I was into it. But, ya know, it was loaded with sugar and grains. Additionally, red food dye used in baking is almost always derived from Red #40 (Allura Red) an artificial food dye. According to a CSPI report, some of the most commonly used food dyes may be linked to numerous forms of cancer, along with hyperactivity and other behavioral problems in children.1http://articles.mercola.com/sites/articles/archive/2011/02/24/are-you-or-your-family-eating-toxic-food-dyes.aspx The European Union has recently placed regulations on labeling food dyes to inform consumers of the health risks, but the United States has no such requirement.
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1. ↑ http://articles.mercola.com/sites/articles/archive/2011/02/24/are-you-or-your-family-eating-toxic-food-dyes.aspx
DOLE® Fresh Vegetables is a sponsor of Tasty Yummies. DOLE® provided me with Organic Salad samples for the purpose of this post, as well as compensation for my time. All content, ideas, and words are my own.
You guys know how I feel about my daily greens and more importantly about the quality of all the foods that we eat in our household. Sourcing organic is of top priority to me so when I received word that DOLE® was expanding their organic product line to include new salad mixes, I was beyond excited to get into the kitchen and start creating with them.
It is an absolute given that at all times I have organic baby spinach and/or kale in the fridge. Whether it’s wilted down in my morning eggs, tossed into a blended smoothie or the base of an epic, seasonal salad I find these to be the most versatile veggies to always have on hand.
If I am being fully honest with you, I have been known to just save a fistful of baby spinach or baby kale into my mouth mid-day if I have been slacking on my greens consumption. Hey – you do what you gotta go sometimes.
A bean-free hummus that’s pretty enough to be a work of art? Say what? No seriously, this cauliflower hummus features roasted beets and garlic and it’s about to take your snack game to a whole new level!
After years of working on healing my gut, dealing with a parasite and unhappy gut bacteria, among other things, I am proud to say that my gut and my digestion has never ever been better, I don’t date say that I am cured and everything is perfect, but I feel incredible and that is absolutely something to celebrate.
There is something so magical about the spring, all the beautiful new produce, the delicate, fresh and new little baby stuff especially makes me happy. It’s like seeing those adorable fuzzy little ducklings at the park following around their mama duck. They just suddenly appear out of nowhere and break your heart with sweetness. But, I also love that we still have the remnants of the long winter season, the hearty, long-lasting, robust foods of the colder time. Squash, the bright and fresh citrus, all the root veggies. Even though we are well into Spring at this point, the swing-season status of Spring lasts the longest of all, which I really adore. The crossover of produce makes for some of my favorite dishes.
We’ve been getting tons of beets in our weekly CSA boxes (community supported agriculture) from the farm and besides beet kvass, I have mostly been roasting them, as it’s my favorite way to enjoy the flavor of beets. The roasting actually brings out a subtle sweetness and takes down some of the earthiness for those that aren’t big fans of it. Plus roasting makes peeling beets a breeze, the skin literally slips right off. Beets are, in my opinion, a very underrated superfood, offering liver support by thinning bile to decongest a congested liver or biliary stasis or insufficiency. They also contain high levels of folate and manganese which support gallbladder function. Underground vegetables like potatoes, beets, carrots, etc – they also contain silica – important for collagen formation and for connective tissue’s elasticity and resilience. Silica also regulates calcium placement in bone and tissue. Beets also include fructooligosaccharides which is a great nutrient source for healthy micro-flora in the GI system. Finally, beets contain trimethylglycine, a methyl donor used in liver detoxification. Trimethylglycine is used by the body to detoxify substances by donating one of it’s methyl groups to the toxic molecule yielding a less toxic methylated substances and dimethylglycine. Dimethylglycine is also a methyl donor and is also used to stabilize toxic substances for further processing and elimination.
First of all, I have to be honest and tell you that I really wanted to call this post “Ode to Persimmon”. If you can believe it, just a couple weeks ago, I finally tried a persimmon for the first time ever. Yup, to my knowledge, I had never had one until very recently. I haven’t been actively avoiding them, by any means, it just hadn’t happened. I mostly attribute it to growing up in Western New York, where they don’t seem to grow and aren’t as common. On the contrary they seem to be everywhere out here in California.
For me, it was love at first bite. A persimmon is unlike anything I have ever tasted before. I honestly can’t compare their flavor or even their texture to anything else, they are a completely unique and beautiful creation. Their size and look seems more like something of the tomato family than any other fruit. The flesh is soft and creamy, similar to a peach or nectarine, but not as juicy. Something about the sweetness reminds me of dates, but I can’t put my finger on it. The skin of persimmons is edible.
So far, I have enjoyed the persimmons I have been getting in my CSA boxes, raw, sliced or eaten like an apple, in smoothies and in salads. This particular salad has quickly become a favorite of mine. It has the earthy rustic flavor of the beets, with soft sweetness from the persimmons, the creamy, richness of the goat cheese in contrast plus the fresh and bright flavor of the micro-greens (ir a baby green if you so choose instead) and finished with the toasted nuttiness of the tart vinaigrette.
I made such a big batch of Roasted Winter Vegetables last week that I have been enjoying them lots of different ways ever since. Because Mark refuses to eat beets, I have been slowly making a dent in them all by myself and I have been loving it. I had about half of them left, so, I decided to take the remainder and make this ragout over the weekend, I served it over some brown rice with a lot of freshly ground black pepper, for a nice hearty and hot winter lunch. There was enough that I also enjoyed it served over some organic brown rice linguine last night for dinner. There is still one small serving left and that will be a great lunch tomorrow. There really are many ways you can do this, the main point is to create a quick and easy chunky tomato sauce. I didn’t have diced or whole canned tomatoes so I just used the crushed tomatoes that I had and then I added some sun-dried tomatoes slices in. Because there are onions and garlic in with the roasted vegetables you really don’t have to add much. I added baby spinach for some green crunch. This was great over the brown rice and brown rice pasta, it would also be great over polenta, quinoa or millet.
Roasted Winter Vegetable Ragout
3 cups leftover roasted winter vegetables (or however much you have)
1/2 of a 28 ounce can organic crushed tomatoes (put the remainder in a leftover container in the fridge for another meal later in the week)
2 cups organic vegetable broth, low sodium
Pinch or two of dried herbs de provence
1 cup sun-dried tomatoes sliced
2 cups organic baby spinach
Add the crushed tomatoes and vegetable broth to a large pan over a medium-high heat, bring to a simmer. Add in the herbs, sun-dried tomatoes and roasted vegetables, cook over a high heat about 15 minutes. Stir in the baby spinach and cook another 2 to 3 minutes. Season with salt and pepper to taste. To serve, spoon over rice, pasta, polenta, etc.
I wanted dinner for day-one of my cleanse to be special and exciting, something to look forward to. Vegetables are hard to come by this time of year and the selection is limited compared to the warm months, but fear not, winter root vegetables are great! I grabbed a ton of them at the market and decided I would roast a big pan of vegetables with fresh herbs and a little olive oil. I figured this would also be nice as I could use the leftovers in a couple of other meals. Later in the week I plan to roast some potatoes and add them to these leftover vegetables with some tomato sauce and vegetable broth for a delicious ragout.
These vegetables are so satisfying and hearty, there is something about roasting that brings a rustic depth of flavor to just about anything. I served it as a main course over brown rice, it would also be great over polenta or just as is as a side. A pan of roast vegetables like this are great, you can really add anything. I thought about adding some red potatoes but ran out of room. You could also add celery root, turnips, rutabaga, sweet potatoes, squash, etc. I tried to buy organic on everything I could, but didn’t stress over it if I couldn’t find organic. I just made sure to really give all the vegetables a really good cleaning. The key when cutting the vegetables is to try to keep them all relatively around the same size, so they cook evenly. Obviously if you aren’t on a cleanse you could certainly give these a sprinkle with a nice sea salt. I skipped it and it really didn’t even need it. This was a hard one to photograph as the images don’t even begin to show all the colors and beautiful textures. So you’ll just have to make it for yourself to see.
Roasted Winter Vegetables
1/2 lb of brussels sprouts, halved
1 parsnip, peeled and cut into cubes
3 small carrots, peeled and cut into cubes
2 beets, peeled and cut into cubes
1 eggplant, cut into cubes
2 small onions, peeled and cut into eighths
4 cloves garlic, peeled and roughly chopped
1 large bunch of italian parsley, roughly chopped
2 sprigs of rosemary, roughly chopped
2 sprigs of thyme, roughly chopped
freshly ground black pepper
2 tablespoons olive oil
Preheat the oven to 475º.
In a heavy roasting pan, combine all of the vegetables and olive oil, toss to coat. Roast 20 to 30 minutes, turning every 10 minutes, until the vegetables are nicely browned. Sprinkle with a bit of fresh herbs, serve as a side or over brown rice as a meal.