Category Archives: Healthy Cooking

Healthy Cooking: Grilling for Summer, Val Wilson

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Summer is my favorite time of year. One of the reasons is because you can grill food outside. For some reason, food just seems to taste better to me when cooked outside. Be careful not to fall into the trap of thinking you have limited options of just grilling veggie burgers and veggie hot dogs if you are living a vegan or vegetarian lifestyle. I have experimented grilling many vegetables and other fun recipes such as the tofu kabobs described below.

Tofu is a great option when you are grilling. When you marinate tofu, it takes on the flavor of the marinade and creates a very tasty dish. Tofu is a complete protein. It contains all eight essential amino acids. It’s also is a good source of calcium and iron, plus it contains phosphorus, zinc, copper, magnesium, and vitamin B1.

Yellow summer squashes are one of my favorites on the grill. They have high water content, helping to keep you hydrated, and have lots of potassium and fiber. Carrots and radishes are high in antioxidants and contain potassium, which is essential for healthy blood pressure. And onions contain anti-inflammatory properties.

When creating this recipe, I chose the vegetables to give a rainbow of colors to the kabobs. These kabobs taste great when grilled. However, if you do not have a grill, you can cook them in a skillet or even bake them in the oven.


 
Tofu Kabobs

Wooden kabob sticks  
1 lb. fresh firm tofu  
1 onion (cut in chunks)  
4 carrots (cut in long, round diagonals)  
1 yellow summer squash (cut in cubes)  
20 radishes (cut in thick rounds)  

Marinade
1/3 cup tamari  
¼ cup each olive oil and water  
2 T. each brown rice vinegar and mirin  
1 T. brown rice syrup  
1 tsp. each basil and thyme  

Arrange the tofu and all the vegetables in a shallow dish, lying flat rather than stacked on top of each other. Whisk together the marinade ingredients and pour over the vegetables. Let marinate 30 minutes. Take the wooden kabob sticks and place the tofu chunks and vegetables on each one. Alternate the vegetables to make each one unique. Heat a skillet or grill and brown the kabobs on each side, or place the kabobs on a cookie sheet and bake at 350  degrees for 20 minutes. If grilling the kabobs on a barbecue, soak the wooden sticks in water for 20 minutes before making and grilling the kabobs. 

Chef Valerie Wilson has been teaching cooking classes since 1997. You can attend virtually including a special class through Peter White Public Library on 6/15/21. Visit http://www.macroval.com for schedule, cookbook purchases, phone consultations, or radio show, and follow her on Facebook at Macro Val Food.

Excerpted with permission from the Summer 2021 issue of Health & Happiness U.P. Magazine. Copyright 2021, Empowering Lightworks, LLC. All rights reserved.

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Healthy Cooking: Greens for Spring, Val Wilson

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Once the long winter months are over, we start to see the first signs of spring appear in nature. Everything starts coming up green! Not surprisingly, the signature color of spring is green and we can reflect that in our cooking to feed our bodies healthy vitamins, minerals, and other nutrients. Most greens have a few things in common: Chlorophyll, which helps heal skin and helps cleanse toxins out of the body; glucosinolate, which is a sulfur-rich compound proven to reduce cancer risk by preventing or delaying cancer cells at various stages of development; Vitamins, A, C, B6, and E; Vitamin K, which is very important for bone health; and the minerals iron, calcium, magnesium, and manganese.  

Each green has it own taste, and you can combine a variety of greens to create a delicious dish. Collard and kale taste similar to cabbage. Carrot greens have a sweetness similar to the root part of the carrot. Daikon greens are more bitter to the taste. For the following recipe, you can use your favorite greens. Dandelion has a nice bitter taste. Bok choy is a light cabbage with a sweet taste. Nappa cabbage is wonderfully sweet. Arugula and watercress are both bitter and pungent.

Mixed Greens Stir Fry 

1/2 onion (thin half moons) 
1 carrot (cut in matchsticks) 
3 large collard greens (cut up) 
1 cup chopped carrot greens 
1 cup chopped daikon greens 
1 T. olive oil 
1 T.  tamari 
1 T. lemon juice  
2 T. toasted sunflower seed for garnish

Sauté the onions in a little olive oil and a dash of tamari until translucent. Add the carrots and greens. Add the olive oil, tamari, and lemon juice. Cover and turn heat to low. Simmer for 10 to 15 minutes until the greens have wilted, and the carrot is soft. Serve with toasted sunflower seeds sprinkled over the top. 

Chef Valerie Wilson has been teaching cooking classes since 1997. You can attend virtually. Visit http://www.macroval.com for schedule, cookbook purchases, phone consultations, or radio show, and follow her on. Facebook at Macro Val Food.

Excerpted with permission from the Spring 2021 issue of Health & Happiness U.P. Magazine. Copyright 2021, Empowering Lightworks, LLC. All rights reserved.

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Chef Val’s Virtual Cooking Class – Creamy Pasta Casserole with Mushroom Sauce

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Chef Val

Health & Happiness U.P. Magazine’s Healthy Cooking columnist will be teaching through the Peter White Public Library, Marquette, MI on Tues. March 30th, 7 to 8 PM – through Zoom 

Casseroles are great winter time comfort dishes. Chef Val will teach how to make a whole foods casserole featuring brown rice pasta. The recipe features a white sauce with two different types of mushrooms-maitake and white button. All the health benefits of the ingredients will be discussed as Chef Val teaches how to make the casserole. The recipe is vegan, whole foods, plant based, organic, anti-inflammatory and delicious!

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Healthy Cooking: Making Millet & More, Val Wilson

Cooking for the holidays can be a joy or stressful. Here are some tips to keep things upbeat. Use recipes that are simple when making dishes for the holiday. Trying to follow an elaborate recipe can create stress, especially if you spend a lot of time on it unsuccessfully. Prepare some dishes ahead so you’re not overwhelmed on the big holiday. Loafs can be made the night before, or even a couple of days ahead, and refrigerated. Then all you have to do is bake it the day of your holiday dinner.  


Millet is creamy, nutty, slightly sweet, and gluten free, plus the easiest whole grain to digest. Millet has a high amino acid protein profile and iron content. It also contains B vitamins, phosphorus, 15 % protein, and feeds and nurtures your spleen, pancreas, and stomach.  


Tempeh is a complete protein containing all eight essential amino acids, and is 19.5% protein. Made by partially cooking, then fermenting soybeans, tempeh is easy to digest. Soybeans have easily absorbable iron, many B vitamins, and carotin, and support detoxification. Known for promoting vitality, and having anti-cancer properties, soybeans feed and nurture the lung and large intestines.


Kudzu is a thickening agent that is also very medicinal. When purchased, it looks like white chunks. Dissolve the chunks in water before adding them to the hot gravy for thickening. Kudzu helps to alkalize your body, relieve stiff muscles, and may help relieve migraine headaches by dilating blood vessels. The plant arrowroot is also a thickening agent used in cooking. Arrowroot is very soothing to your digestive tract.  


Tempeh Millet Loaf with Onion Gravy 

1 cup millet 
2 cups water 
1/2 tsp. sea salt
1 (8oz.) package tempeh 
1/2 onion (diced) 
3 garlic cloves 
1/4 cup walnuts 
3 T. tamari
5 T. tahini 
1 tsp. basil 
1 tsp. marjoram
1/2 tsp. paprika 
1 carrot (grated) 
1/2 cup rolled oats 
2/3 cup water

Put millet in a soup pot with 2 cups of water and bring to a boil. Boil for 2 minutes, reduce heat to low, cover and simmer 20 minutes until all water has been absorbed and millet is soft. Let sit 5 minutes, then stir in the 1/2 tsp. sea salt. Puree the tempeh, onion, garlic, walnuts, tamari, tahini, basil, marjoram, and paprika until smooth. In a large bowl, mix together the millet, pureed tempeh mixture, grated carrots, rolled oats, and water. Press into an oiled loaf pan, bake at 350 degrees for 45 minutes. Let sit for 5 minutes before cutting. 

Onion Gravy 

4 cups water 
1/2 onion (diced small) 
1 tsp. sea salt 
3 T. tamari 
4 T. kudzu or arrowroot, dissolved in 1/2 cup water 
1/4 cup minced parsley 

Bring water to a boil in a pot. Add the onions, reduce heat, and simmer for 5 minutes. Add the sea salt and tamari. Simmer for 5 more minutes. Dissolve the kudzu or arrowroot in the 1/2 cup water and add to the pot, whisking as you add the thickening agent. Gravy will thicken as it continues to cook. Turn off heat once thick, and add the parsley. 

Chef Valerie Wilson, aka Macro Val, has been teaching cooking classes since 1997. She now offers cooking classes you can attend through Zoom. Visit http://www.macroval.com.for class schedule, purchase of any of her five cookbooks, phone consultation appointments, or radio show, Facebook Macro Val Food.

Excerpted with permission from the Winter 2020-2021 issue of Health & Happiness U.P. Magazine. Copyright 2020, Empowering Lightworks, LLC. All rights reserved.

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Healthy Cooking: Soybeans &Women’s Health,Val Wilson

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When it comes to keeping women strong and healthy, soybeans and products made with soybeans can be very helpful. Soybeans contain easily absorbable iron, many B vitamins, and carotin, support detoxification, promote vitality, and feed and nurture the lungs and large intestines.

Soybeans made into tofu are high in calcium. When made into tempeh, it is 19.5% protein. Containing all eight essential amino acids, it is a complete protein. When made into miso, it has 11 grams of complete protein in each tablespoon. And by fermenting it to make the miso, its healing properties are enhanced. Miso is a living food containing lactobacillus, a healthful micro-organism that aids digestion. There are so many wonderful health benefits from soy foods, I can see why we have been eating them for thousands of years.

Studies have shown soybeans can support your bones by reducing bone loss due to osteoporosis, helping to reduce the risk of fractures. Researchers conclude that their findings indicate postmenopausal women and others with low bone density could benefit from consuming soy.

I feel there is a lot of confusion about the plant-based phytoestrogen isoflavones found in soybeans. This part of the bean does not disrupt your estrogen levels, it balances them. If your estrogen level is too low, it raises it; if your estrogen level is too high, it lowers it. These isoflavones also have been credited with slowing the effects of osteoporosis, relieving some side effects of menopause, and alleviating some side effects of cancer. They have also been shown to dramatically lower the undesirable LDL cholesterol. It is interesting that in China, where they eat soybean products such as tofu, tempeh, and miso every day, until recently, they did not have a term in their language for hot flashes.

Tofu Kabobs

Wooden kabob sticks
1 lb. fresh firm tofu
1 onion (cut in chunks)
4 carrots (cut in long, round diagonals)
1 yellow summer squash (cut in cubes)
20 radishes (cut in thick rounds)

Marinade:
1/3 cup tamari
¼ cup olive oil
¼ cup water
2 Tbsp. each: brown rice vinegar and mirin
1 Tbsp. brown rice syrup
1 tsp. basil
1 tsp. thyme

Arrange tofu and all vegetables in a shallow dish, lying flat and not stacked on top of each other. Whisk together marinade ingredients and pour over vegetables. Let marinate for 30 minutes. Take the wooden kabob sticks and place tofu chunks and vegetables on each one, alternating the vegetables to make each kabob unique. Heat a skillet and brown kabobs on each side, or place kabobs on a cookie sheet and bake at 350 degrees for 20 minutes. To grill the kabobs, soak the wooden sticks in water for 20 minutes first, then prepare kabobs as described above before grilling.

Chef Valerie Wilson, a.k.a, Macro Val, has been teaching cooking classes since 1997. Visit her website to purchase her cookbook Year Round Healthy Holiday Cooking, set up a phone consultation, or listen to her radio show, http://www.macrval.com. Facebook, Macro Val Food.

Excerpted with permission from the Fall 2020 issue of Health & Happiness U.P. Magazine. Copyright 2020, Empowering Lightworks, LLC. All rights reserved.

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Healthy Cooking: Feeding the Fires of Summer, Val Wilson

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Summertime, when we are at our most active, is known as Fire Energy Phase according to the Five Transformations of Energy (the ancient study of the energy of food, how it relates to the seasons, and how it feeds and nurtures our bodies). Summer relates to how we feed and nurture our hearts, brain, circulatory system, and small intestines. These are the most active organs in the body, so it makes sense that they are associated with the most active time of the year. The heart provides blood, nutrients, and oxygen to every part of the body and every cell. The small intestines digest the food eaten and transfers digested nutrients to our blood, determining the quality of the blood flowing through our bodies. The heart and small intestines are responsible for the action of the circulatory system. This system helps regulate the temperature of the body. It adapts and makes us comfortable in whatever environment we may find ourselves. When the Fire Energy is balanced, we can feel comfortable in the heat of summer and the cold of winter.

Below is a recipe with ingredients that support our summer needs. Quinoa and corn, the signature whole grains of summer, are small and cook up quickly, giving the body energy to help keep up with summer’s busyness. Cucumber, with its high water content, is cooling to the body for hot summer days. It also contains silicon, an integral part of calcium absorption. Dulse flakes are the dried leaves of sea vegetable dulse that have been chopped very fine. Dulse is known for its high amount of iron, calcium, Vitamin C, E, and B12. Ume plum paste is a traditional Japanese fermented food. It has tremendous flavor and imparts a salty, sour, pungent, bitter, and slightly sweet flavor to the salad, satisfying all five tastes. Ume plum paste also has antibacterial properties and helps alkalinize the body. Ume vinegar is the salty brine created when fermenting ume plums.

Quinoa Cucumber Corn Salad

1 cup quinoa
2 cups water
1 cup corn
1 cup peas
3 scallions (thin rounds)
1 cucumber (seeds removed and diced small)
½ cup grated carrot
½ cup toasted walnuts (chopped)
1/3 cup raisins
¼ cup minced parsley
1 T. dulse flakes

Dressing:
¼ cup olive oil
2 T. brown rice vinegar
2 T. ume plum vinegar
2 tsp. ume plum paste

Put quinoa and water in a pot and bring to a boil. Reduce heat to lowest possible temperature, cover, and simmer for 20 minutes, until all water has been absorbed. Let sit 5 minutes after cooking, then put in a large mixing bowl. Mix in the corn and peas. The hot quinoa will lightly cook the corn and peas. Let sit for 20 minutes until cool. Add the scallions, cucumber, carrots, walnuts, raisins, parsley, and dulse flakes. Whisk the dressing ingredients together, add to the salad, mix all together, refrigerate, and serve cold.

*Recipe is from Chef Val’s fifth cookbook, Summer Season Healthy and Delicious Cooking, to be released in July 2020.

Chef Valerie Wilson, a.k.a, Macro Val, has been teaching cooking classes since 1997. Visit her website to purchase her cookbook Year Round Healthy Holiday Cooking, set up a phone consultation, or listen to her radio show, http://www.macrval.com. Facebook, Macro Val Food.

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Healthy Cooking: Whole Grain Bread Stuffing for the Holidays, by Val Wilson

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When I was young, my family would spend most Thanksgivings at my grandparents’ farm in Carney, MI. When we were all there for the holiday, the little farm house would be packed with eight adults and seven kids. Their farm was a secluded place on 900 acres of forest land. As a kid, it seemed like a magical place. My fondest memories are of us all sitting down to a big family dinner. My grandmother, mother, and aunt would be busy all day cooking and getting ready for our dinner. It did not reflect the vegan, organic, whole-foods lifestyle I now live, but the food was made with love, and all from scratch.

One of my favorite Thanksgiving dishes was stuffing. I have created my healthier version, also made from scratch, and cooked with love. This recipe, along with many of my best holiday recipes, can be found in my new cookbook, Year Round Healthy Holiday Dishes, along with stories of my childhood memories spending holidays at my grandparents’ U.P. farm, and the foods I remember as a kid, now made with a healthier twist.

Sprouted grain bread is a heavier, nutrient-rich choice for your stuffing.

It has higher protein content, and the sprouted grain is high in fiber, and digests slower than flour. Some people with blood sugar issues find the slower process of digesting sprouted grains stabilizes their blood sugar levels. If you have digestive issues, sprouted grains may not cause the bloating that can occur from bread made with flour. If you follow a gluten-free diet, you can substitute your favorite gluten-free bread. The addition of the short grain brown rice adds a creamy texture and all its strong antioxidant health benefits.

Shiitake mushrooms add a tremendous amount of flavor to the stuffing. Cooking the dried mushrooms with the brown rice is the key to this stuffing being so delicious. When you cook shiitake mushrooms with brown rice, you create a powerful cancer-fighting combo. Polysaccharides compounds found in the rice bran in brown rice, when eaten with the enzymes in shiitake mushrooms, have shown they can destroy cancer cells.

Whole Grain Bread Stuffing 

8 dried shiitake mushrooms
1 cup short grain brown rice
2 cups water
1 onion (diced)
3 celery stalks (diced)
3 garlic cloves (minced)
2 tsp. sage
2 tsp. thyme
2 tsp. marjoram
4 T. tamari
1 T. toasted sesame oil
Approximately 3/4 loaf of sprouted whole grain bread

Soak the dried shiitake mushrooms for 15 minutes. Remove the mushrooms and cut in thin slices, removing and discarding the stems. Use 2 cups of the soaking water to cook the brown rice, adding the sliced shiitake and brown rice, then bring to a boil for 2 minutes. Reduce to the lowest possible temperature, cover, and simmer for one hour. Meanwhile, sauté the onions in a little toasted sesame oil with a dash of tamari until translucent. Remove from pan and put in a large mixing bowl. Using the same sauté pan, sauté the celery and garlic for a couple of minutes and add them to the mixing bowl. Put some water in a shallow bowl. Soak the bread slices in the water for a minute, break them up with your hands, and add to the mixing bowl. When brown rice is done, add to the bowl. Add the sage, thyme, marjoram, tamari, and 1 T. toasted sesame oil, and mix all together. Put in a casserole dish, bake at 350 degrees for 20 minutes, and serve warm.

Article adapted from Year Round Healthy Holiday Cooking, copyright 2019, Valerie Wilson.

Chef Valerie Wilson, a.k.a, Macro Val, has been teaching cooking classes since 1997. Visit her website to purchase her new cookbook, Year Round Healthy Holiday Cooking, set up a phone consultation, or listen to her radio show, http://www.macrval.com. Facebook, Macro Val Food.

Reprinted with permission from the Winter 2019-2020 issue of Health & Happiness U.P. Magazine. All rights reserved.

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Healthy Cooking: Pumpkin Power, by Val Wilson

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Before you know it, there will pumpkins everywhere!

This signals it is Halloween time. The temperature will start to cool down, all the colorful leaves will fall from the trees, and many of us will take part in an ancient celebration of our ancestors. Halloween’s origins date back to the ancient Celtic festival of Samhain (pronounced sow-in). The Celts, who lived 2,000 years ago in the area that is now Ireland, the United Kingdom and northern France, celebrated their new year on November 1st. At the end of summer, the Celts thought the barrier between our world and the world of ghosts and spirits became thin. As part of the celebration, people lit bonfires and wore costumes to ward off ghosts. To outsmart these ghostly beings, people would put on masks when they left their homes after dark so the ghosts would think they were fellow spirits.

Every year around October, people start asking for pumpkin-flavored desserts.

Pumpkin is very versatile. I have used it in many sweet dessert recipes, and created many savory pumpkin dishes too. It is in the winter squash family of vegetables. Pumpkin is high in fiber, making it a great food for heart health. It’s also high in beta-carotene, a carotenoid that turns into Vitamin A in your body, which can help your body fight off infections and strengthen your immunity. Pumpkin also contains lutein and zeaxanthin, compounds that help protect your eyes from macular degeneration and cataracts. This incredibly healthy vegetable also contains potassium, manganese, iron, phosphorus, zinc, magnesium, vitamin C, E, and several forms of B.

Pumpkin used in baked goods, such as cookies or muffins, gives an incredibly moist texture and tremendous flavor. If you use fresh pumpkin instead of canned pureed pumpkin, look for the small pie pumpkin. It’s smaller, sweeter, and has better overall flavor than the others. Leave the large pumpkins for decorative carving. Simply cut the small pie pumpkin in half, lay flat side down on an oiled cookie sheet, and bake at 350 degrees for 45 minutes until fork tender. Let cool, then scoop out the flesh, and puree for a smooth texture.

Pumpkin Spice Oatmeal Cookies

½ cup dried apricots
1 cup pumpkin puree
¼ cup olive oil
¾ cup brown rice syrup
2 tsp. cinnamon
¼ tsp. each: ginger, allspice, cloves
Pinch sea salt
1 ½ cups rolled oats
2 cups oat flour
Raisins

Put the apricots, pumpkin puree, olive oil, brown rice syrup, spices, and sea salt in a food processor. Puree to chop the apricots into small pieces. Put the rolled oats and oat flour in a mixing bowl. Add the pureed mixture and mix all together. Spoon the dough onto an oiled cookie sheet. Press the cookie dough down with a fork. Decorate the cookies with raisins to create faces on the cookies. Bake at 350 degrees for 15 minutes. Let cool before eating.

Adapted from Year Round Healthy Holiday Cooking, copyright 2019, Valerie Wilson.

Chef Valerie Wilson, a.k.a, Macro Val, has been teaching cooking classes since 1997. Visit her website to purchase her new cookbook, Year Round Healthy Holiday Cooking, set up a phone consultation, or listen to her radio show, http://www.macrval.com. Facebook, Macro Val Food.

Reprinted with permission from the Fall 2019 issue of Health & Happiness U.P. Magazine, copyright 2019. All rights reserved.

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Healthy Cooking: Wild Blueberry Ice Cream, Val Wilson

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There is nothing more delicious in the summer than wild blueberries grown in the U.P. They are sweeter and juicier than any other blueberries I have tasted. It is always a thrill when you come across some wild blueberries growing in the woods and get to pick them for yourself. And you are getting extra health benefits from the wild ones.

Although all blueberries have a high amount of antioxidants, wild ones contain more of the powerful antioxidant anthocyanin. Anthocyanin may be responsible for some biological activities such as preventing or lowering the risk of cardiovascular disease, diabetes, arthritis, and cancer. And it’s responsible for the beautiful blue color of the berries. If you are lucky enough to pick a bunch of blueberries, you can make some ice cream with them.

Have you heard of Aquafaba?

It is an exciting ingredient used in many vegan recipes. Aquafaba is the water left over when you cook chickpeas. You can cook the chickpeas yourself and save the water, or you can use the water from canned chick peas. Something amazing happens when you whip the Aquafaba in a mixer for about 10 minutes—it gets fluffy similar to a meringue created by egg whites! It increases five times in volume when you whip the chickpea liquid. For best results, you need to add a stabilizer. Cream of tartar works best.

Once the Aquafaba is whipped up and you’ve added the flavors you want, you freeze it to make great ice cream. Because Aquafaba is basically bean water, it contains very low amounts of calories, fat, protein, or carbohydrates. The ice cream is vegan, and the only fat or calories it contains are what you add to the Aquafaba, making it a great low-fat, low-calorie dessert.  It is a soft ice cream and melts fast, so packaging it in small, one-serving containers to freeze works best.

Aquafaba Blueberry Ice Cream

1/2 cup Aquafaba
1/4 tsp. cream of tartar
1 cup blueberries
1/4 cup maple syrup

Put the Aquafaba and cream of tartar in the mixing bowl of a standing mixer. Using the whisk attachment, start on low speed, slowly increasing the speed until you reach high speed. (With a Kitchen Aid Mixer, whipping it on #8 works great.) Whisk the Aquafaba for 8 to 10 minutes until you have achieved a stiff consistency and it has increased in volume about 5 times.

While whisking the Aquafaba, put the blueberries and maple syrup in a sauce pan and heat on low until warm. Gently fold the blueberry syrup into the whipped Aquafaba. Put in small, one-serving containers (half pint containers work well). Cover and put in freezer for a couple of hours until completely frozen.

Chef Valerie Wilson, a.k.a, Macro Val, has been teaching cooking classes since 1997. Visit her website to purchase her new cookbook, Vegan Cooking with Kids, set up a phone consultation, or listen to her radio show, http://www.macrval.com. Facebook, Macro Val Food.

Reprinted with permission from the Summer 2019 issue of Health & Happiness U.P. Magazine, copyright 2019. All rights reserved.

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Healthy Cooking: Spring Sour Power, Val Wilson

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Spring is a natural time of cleansing, making it an ideal time to feed and nurture our liver, gallbladder and nervous system. The main job of these organs is to purify the blood. The flavor associated with spring, and that helps to feed and nurture these organs, is sour. Foods that make your mouth pucker are sour, such as limes, lemons, plums, pomegranates, sauerkraut, and naturally fermented pickles. The signature flavor of sour is featured in the recipe below and complemented by sweet and bitter chocolate.

A couple of ingredients you may not be familiar with in the recipe are agar flakes and kudzu. Agar flakes are small, almost-clear flakes to thicken the dessert once the dessert has cooled. Agar is freeze-dried red algae, making it one of the healthiest foods you can consume. It’s high in calcium, iron, phosphorous, Vitamin, A, B complex, C, D, and K. 

Kudzu root is the root of the kudzu plant that has been dried. You will find it in stores in a bag and it looks like white chunks of chalk. To cook with kudzu, you have to dissolve the white chunks in water before adding them to any recipe. Kudzu thickens liquid and in the recipe below, it helps to create a creamy texture for the filling. Kudzu helps to alkalize your body, lower cholesterol, reduce high blood pressure, and contains bioflavonoids that dilate blood vessels to help alleviate migraine headaches.

Chocolate Lime Squares

Crust
2 cups cookie crumbs
3/4 cup vegan chocolate chips
2 T. rice beverage (or favorite non-dairy beverage) 

Topping
1/3 cup vegan chocolate chips
4 T. rice beverage (or favorite non-dairy beverage)

Filling
1 cup rice beverage (or favorite non-dairy beverage)
1/2 cup lime juice
3/4 cup brown rice syrup 
2 T. maple syrup
5 T. agar flakes
pinch sea salt
4 T. kudzu root (dissolved in 1/4 cup water)

To make crust: Using low heat, slowly melt the chocolate chips and 2 T. rice beverage. Stir as it melts. Mix in the cookie crumbs. Press firmly into the bottom of an oiled 8” square casserole dish. Refrigerate until cold. 

To prepare filling: Put the 1 cup rice beverage, 1/2 cup lime juice, brown rice syrup, maple syrup, agar flakes and sea salt in a pot. Bring to a boil, reduce to a simmer and simmer for 10 minutes. Add the kudzu mixture. Whisk as it starts to thicken to prevent clumps. Once it has thickened, pour over crust. Refrigerate until cold and firm. 

To make topping: Using low heat, slowly melt the chocolate chips and 4 T. rice beverage. Once it is melted, drizzle over the top of dessert. Put back in refrigerator for topping to set. Cut and serve. 

Chef Valerie Wilson, a.k.a, Macro Val, has been teaching cooking classes since 1997. Visit her website to purchase her new cookbook, Vegan Cooking with Kids, set up a phone consultation, or listen to her radio show, http://www.macrval.com. Facebook, Macro Val Food.

Reprinted with permission from the Spring 2019 issue of Health & Happiness U.P. Magazine, copyright 2019. All rights reserved.

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