To celebrate October as National Breast Cancer Awareness Month, The Soyfoods Council is challenging Recipe Redux to inspire family, friends, and readers to add more soy foods to their diet by creating recipes using one of the most versatile soy foods available–tofu!

It’s easy to find tofu at almost any grocery store these days, and not all brands will taste the same. But one thing that’s good about tofu is that it can easily take on the flavor of sauces and spices, making it a versatile ingredient for almost any dish you wish to make.

Today I’m going to share a pudding recipe that uses not one, but three healthy ingredients: tofu, pumpkin, and coconut. Here’s a little background information so you know this dessert not only tastes good, but is good for you, too!

A Little Tofu Goes a Long Way. A 4-ounce serving is a good source of calcium (40% of your daily needs), protein (9 grams along with that calcium), and iron (nearly 34% of your daily requirements taken care of). As a cancer-preventing food, tofu contains selenium, an important mineral necessary in helping to create your body’s own cancer-fighting antioxidants.

It’s the Great Pumpkin! Sure pumpkin pie is great, but did you know you can eat pumpkin raw, too? Reap the most of the nutritional benefits by using a vegetable peeler and slicing it thin. Enjoy it in a crunchy salad with a spicy Thai peanut sauce or use in place of cooked noodles with your favorite pasta sauce. It’s a great source of Vitamin A and other powerful anti-oxidants. It’s low in calories, high in fiber, and even if you use the canned stuff or roast a whole gourd, cooked pumpkin will still be a good source of nutrition.

I’m Coo Coo for Coconut! Coconut is often thought to be a cholesterol-laden food that’s bad for your health. Although high in fat (about 50 calories per tablespoon), coconut cream and coconut oil contains saturated fats with a different composition from that of animal fats, which are difficult for your body to metabolize. The medium-chain fatty acids of coconut are metabolized much more easily and can also help your immune system by staving of viruses, plus its anti-carcinogenic properties help fight cancer. Be sure you use a VIRGIN coconut product, as these contain the healthy fats. Unhealthy coconut oil has been chemically treated and loaded with artificial hydrogenated oils.

Why tofu in pudding? Puddings are usually made with milk, sugar, eggs, and cooked until it’s nice and thick. Using tofu instead of milk is great for people who are lactose intolerant or sensitive to dairy (like me!) or would prefer to cook vegan-style. This recipe is not only dairy-free, vegan, and gluten-free, but there is absolutely NO cooking involved! The boxed silken tofu blends easily, especially with the canned pumpkin. But instead of just making a holiday pumpkin pie-flavored pudding, I wanted something else to compliment the warm spices. Blending in coconut cream brought out a fresh, creamy flavor. Making a separate chocolate pudding made it more indulgent, and went perfectly with the warm pumpkin pie spices. Topping it with toasted coconut deepened the flavor and gave a nice crunch to the smooth, creamy texture.

The verdict: I gave my husband a big cup of chocolate and pumpkin-coconut pudding, waiting to see how he liked it. After a few spoonfuls and a “mm, good!” I asked him what he thought of it. He said it reminded him of a Christmas dessert (he’s originally from Germany, where they have lots of delicious spiced cookies around the holidays.) I told him it must be the pumpkin pie spice, and ginger, and Chinese five spice. I told him it was made of pumpkin and tofu, and he said “mm…s’good,” and ate the rest. Good enough for me!

Chocolate Pumpkin-Coconut Pudding

Chocolate and Pumpkin-Coconut Pudding

This dessert takes less than ten minutes to prepare. Though it tastes good as soon as you’re done, give it a couple of hours in the fridge before you dish out this heart-healthy dessert to your guests.

Serves 6, appx. 3/4 cup serving each

Ingredients:

1 12.3 oz. box Mori-Nu Silken Lite Tofu, Firm
1 15 oz. can pumpkin pie filling (no sugar added)
1/3 cup plus 1 tablespoon light agave syrup
1 tablespoon pumpkin pie spice
1/4 teaspoon ground ginger
1/8 teaspoon Chinese Five Spice (optional)
1/4 cup coconut flour
1/4 – 1/3 cup coconut cream (Put a can of coconut milk in refrigerator for 1-2 days. Open, scoop out coconut cream from top of can. Native Forest Organic Coconut Milk is an EXCELLENT tasting brand!)
1 1/2 tablespoon unsweetened cocoa powder

Toppings:

1/3 cup unsweetened flaked coconut
1 ripe banana (optional)
gluten-free semisweet chocolate chips (optional)

Directions:

In a blender, combine tofu and pumpkin pie filling on medium speed until well-blended, stopping and scraping down sides with spatula as needed. Add 1/3 cup agave syrup (reserve the 1 tablespoon for later),  spices, and coconut flour. Blend until well combined. If too thick, pour into a mixing bowl and stir vigorously with a wire whisk for a minute or two until thoroughly combined.

CHOCOLATE PUDDING: Scoop half of mixture into a small mixing bowl. With a wire whisk, stir in cocoa powder and agave syrup, mixing well.
PUMPKIN COCONUT PUDDING: To the other half of mixture, add 1/4 – 1/3 cup coconut cream and beat with a whisk until incorporated. Add more if you want a stronger coconut flavor. Cover both bowls with plastic wrap and chill for at least 1 hour to firm up.

PREPARE TOPPINGS: Before serving, toast unsweetened flaked coconut in a skillet over medium heat until golden, stirring every so often to prevent burning. Remove from heat and let cool. Thinly slice bananas, and have about 1/4 cup chocolate chips handy for decorating. Remove puddings from refrigerator.

Set out six serving dishes. Starting with chocolate or pumpkin-coconut pudding, layer pudding alternately with toppings, finishing with a sprinkle of toasted coconut. Serve immediately and enjoy!

Have it your way: chocolate chips, bananas, toasted coconut–or all three!

Disclosure: by posting this recipe I am entering a recipe contest sponsored by The Soyfoods Council and am eligible to win prizes associated with the contest. I was not compensated for my time.

Be sure to check out the other tofu-riffic recipes at The Recipe Redux: http://teaspooncomm.com/teaspoonofspice/2012/10/grilled-tofu-blt-sandwich-giveaway/.



Happy Wednesday! Hope everyone is staying fit and healthy as we continue with “Fun, Food and Fitness” sponsored by the very fit Jenn at Peas and Crayons!

Most of my meals could be considered on the healthy side, but there’s always room for improvement. I tried increasing my raw food consumption, but in effect I also increased calorie intake by eating too many nuts and soaked grain products! So right now I’m trying to figure out what are some good sources of lean (uncooked) protein. Well, yogurt has been working out so far, so I’m going to stick with that. Most other raw sources are high in fat, so if any one has suggestions, please let me know!

The other morning I was very, very tired, even though I slept earlier than usual (because  I was so tired!)  I didn’t do my morning exercise routine, but this morning I felt better so did my exercises, tried doing a hill run (puff, puff!) and came back to a watermelon lassi for breakfast:

Added 1/2 scoop vanilla protein powder and juice from 1/4 lime (I like it tart.) A few raspberries made it look pretty.

Lunch was a big bowl of cold watermelon soup…with a twist! I am saving the recipe for Saturday’s Recipe Redux, but I can tell you it was just what I needed for that hot, humid day. I can wait to share the recipe, but I can’t wait to share a teeny portion of my lunch:

green stuff??

Come back on Saturday to view the recipe and the rest of the photo!

I let my husband try some of the watermelon soup as a starter for dinner. He couldn’t eat/drink the whole bowl, I think the flavors were too strong? Green? Piquant? As our main course I made panko-crusted tuna tofu patties: 2 cans water-packed tuna, 1/2 cup medium or firm tofu (more, if you like,) 1 tablespoon white miso paste, 1 teaspoon Spike seasoning, 1/4 cup chopped onion, 1/2 cup shredded carrrots and a  dash of pepper. Squish tofu and tuna together with your hand, mixing well. Stir in rest of the ingredients. Divide into 8 balls, smash lightly to make patties (don’t make too flat, they’ll fall apart.) Coat in mixture of 1 egg beaten with 1 tablespoon cornstarch. Coat with panko, crushed corn flakes or crushed corn chips. Fry in hot oil on medium heat until browned on both sides. Serve on buns, with rice, or on a salad:

You can see the big shreds of carrot in the mashed patty on the bottom and the delicious crispy panko coating on the top patty.

My friend Suzi asked me about watermelon sorbets, which I never made before (no ice cream machine.) I tried making one this morning, but since I didn’t add a lot of sugar, the texture just wasn’t the same. Xanthan gum helped to thicken it up and the vodka kept it from turning into a bowl-shaped block of ice, so rather than forcing it to become something else, I just ended up calling it a slushie.

It may look a bit underwhelming, but I urge you to try this recipe. The addition of cayenne and salt amplifies the lime and rounds out the sweet-sour-salty combination nicely. It’s not spicy and if you want to share with kids, simply omit the vodka.

Refreshing Watermelon Slushie
makes about 12 ounces 

1 1/2 cups mashed watermelon, about 2 cups chopped
zest and juice of 1/2 lime (zest first then cut lime in half)
1 tablespoon natural sweetener such as honey or agave (I used the hollowed-out lime rind as my ‘measuring cup’)
1 tablespoon vodka (used the same ‘measuring cup’ as above)
dash of cayenne
incredibly tiny pinch of salt
1/8 teaspoon xanthan gum (helps thicken it up)

Directions:

Add all ingredients to a blender and mix on low speed until combined. Pour into a shallow bowl or dish and freeze for 1 hour. Stir, breaking up frozen chunks around the edges, and freeze for 2 hours more for slushy consistency.

The lime makes it refreshing, but cayenne and salt adds another dimension to this refreshing, low-sugar version of a classic summertime treat.

Going back to what I was talking about earlier in the post: what are some good sources of protein that are low in fat? How about veggie sources? How do you like to prepare them? I’m looking for more sources, so any suggestions would be most helpful!

perfect little bites of your favorite ice cream and cake

Happy Birthday to The Recipe Redux! This month we are celebrating their first successful year of delicious and healthy recipes with “Small Bites to Celebrate a Big Event.” And this is definitely a BIG EVENT!

I decided to make a favorite two-in-one dessert: ice cream cake! And with the first day of summer, what better way to enjoy it than in cute, bite-sized portions? This dessert has only two ingredients, but you can have any flavor ice cream, frozen yogurt, cake, or even brownie that you want. Want a variety of flavors? I say go for it!

All you need is cake mix, frozen yogurt or ice cream, a jelly roll pan, a small round cookie cutter about 1 1/4″ in diameter, and some fresh fruit to garnish. Alternatively, you can layer the ice cream on the cake, freeze it, then cut into bite-sized pieces. Either way, it’ll be cool, delicious and very fun to eat!

Cherry Garcia Fro Yo and gluten-free chocolate cake


Ice Cream Cake Bites – using frozen yogurt and gluten-free cake recipe

One Bowl Gluten-Free Chocolate Cake recipe, slightly modified from original at food.com:

3 cups GF flour mix
1 1/2 tablespoons xanthan gum
1 cup cocoa
2 cups sugar
1 teaspoon salt
4 teaspoons baking soda
2 teaspoons instant espresso
3/4 cup coconut oil, melted
2 tablespoons vinegar
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
2 eggs
2 cups coffee
ice cream or frozen yogurt of your choice
fruit and herbs to garnish

Directions:

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Grease a jelly roll pan with nonstick cooking spray, set aside. Mix all dry ingredients in a bowl. Add all liquid ingredients, mix well. Bake  for 20 minutes or until toothpick inserted comes out clean. Cool on wire rack.

Using a round cookie cutter about 1 1/4″ in diameter, cut as many rounds as you need (you can make around 60-72 for one jelly roll sheet) and set aside on wax paper.

To assemble, place one cake round into cookie cutter. Scoop 1 heaping teaspoon of ice cream inside cookie cutter, place another cake round, banana slice, or strawberry slice inside cookie cutter and press down firmly, being careful not to squish the ice cream down the sides of the cake. Hold top down with index finger while unmolding. Place on wax sheet-lined plate, repeat with 4  more then transfer to freezer to firm up for at least 20 minutes. Serve and enjoy immediately!

No birthday is complete without cake and ice cream!

As the first and only recipe challenge founded by registered dietitians, The Recipe ReDux aims to inspire the food lover in every healthy eater and inspire the healthy eater in every food lover. Thank you for visiting. We hope you enjoy!

(Please note that this is a closed link-up for Recipe ReDux posts only. Any links added to this collection for non-ReDux posts will be deleted.) 

Strawberries with Vanilla Coconut Cream: it’s the cat’s meow!

Our cat, Wolfie, likes to take walks with us around the property, occasionally scratching a rotting log and sniffing the ground to see who (or what) else may have crossed the path recently. After a few minutes he would start meow-complaining (about the tall grass, muddy path, anything!) but he’d tough it out and keep up with us at a pretty good pace.

Wolfie is the most curious one of the three and also likes to see what I’m up to in the kitchen. I don’t normally give him scraps when I’m cooking, but there’s a few things I’ll give him a tiny portion of…like coconut milk! Whenever I’d cook Thai curry, Wolfie would be there, waiting for a sample taste. And when I made this vanilla coconut cream, there he was, first sticking his nose into my picture,and then licking the cream off a plate when I wasn’t looking! Needless to say, I couldn’t use that plate of strawberries & coconut cream in the photos. :(

Continuing with our Flavor of the Week theme, here is the recipe for Vanilla Coconut Cream, a wonderful substitute for regular whipped topping (and the fake stuff, too!) The texture is soft, thick and incredibly creamy. Use it on other desserts, but be sure to keep an eye on it if your cat is lurking about!

These strawberries look too cozy in their fluffy cream topping to be eaten.

Strawberries and Vanilla Coconut Cream
If you don’t have xanthan gum, coconut cream can be used, but the texture will be less thick

8oz coconut milk, chilled in fridge overnight
1 tablespoon vanilla syrup (or 1 tablespoon sugar + increase vanilla extract to 1 1/2 teaspoons)
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/4 teaspoon gluten-free xanthan gum
8-10 fresh strawberries, washed

With a mixer, beat coconut milk on high until thickened, about 1 minute. Add syrup or sugar and extract, beat on high until combined, about 15 seconds. Sprinkle half of xanthan gum, beat on high for ten seconds and check consistency. If you want it thicker, add remaining xanthan gum and beat on high for another ten seconds.

Serve with fresh strawberries.

The vanilla coconut cream is a wonderful dairy-free substitute for regular cream.

 


Welcome to What I Ate Wednesday, another presentation of everyday eats and tasty treats sponsored by the awesome Jenn at Peas and Crayons!

Today I’ll be continuing with the “Flavor of the Week” presented to you in Monday’s post. I’ve been experimenting with several drinks and desserts using lemon sugar, and in addition to Monday’s Lemon Coconut Macaroons, I think a lot of you will enjoy reading about today’s featured recipe which can be the perfect finish to cool you off on a warm summer’s evening.

The past few days presented us with some great weather once again, so we were able to enjoy more super-casual outdoor dining. Breakfast was peanut butter and raspberry jam on sprouted grain toast, scrambled egg with Gouda cheese & onions, German bratwurst from Aldi (mini-sausages with a strong nutmeg taste, I didn’t like them at all!) and coffee w/stevia:

Lunch was a colorful salad with Gorgonzola cheese and some Tostitos chips leftover from the Frito-Lay Gluten-Free Challenge (please check it out, folks!) Now usually I like the tangy taste of chevre with my salads but today I wanted to try an Il Giardino Mountain Gorgonzola I picked up the other day from Sam’s Club (they have a good selection for great prices.) It’s a lot softer and sweeter than other blue cheeses, and not exactly what I was hoping for…but it was okay:

Colorful salad with dots of soft Gorgonzola: there, there….here, and there.

Snack time consisted of more (unphotographed) Tostitos chips and couple of these chewy indulgences. It’s got tons of peanuts and a deep rich caramel, much tastier than the stuff you’ll find in a candy bar:

Two of these are enough to satisfy my sweet tooth…well, maybe three.

On Sunday, my sister made some great barbecue chicken and panko crusted walleye her husband caught the day before. We ate it with potato salad, buttered salt potatoes, and I topped the fish with mayo and soy sauce. We had the leftovers for dinner the next day, and I added some diced pineapple, celery, lettuce, avocado and tomatoes.

Barbecue chicken and a mish-mash salad

Now, on to dessert! After making a couple batches of macaroons I wanted to try another coconut and lemon-infused dessert. I thought a cream pie would be great, something nice and cool to enjoy on a warm evening. I have a favorite chocolate banana cream pie recipe I make every Thanksgiving, so decided to change it up by giving it a light lemon taste in a luscious coconut cream pie. The result was surprisingly good.

The cookie-like crust is flecked with lemon zest and shredded coconut and tastes great on its own. It will stay nice and crisp even after a couple days in the refrigerator. The cream filling had just enough coconut milk to create a luxurious base for a smooth balance of coconut and lemon flavors. Topping it off is a whipped coconut cream sweetened with lemon sugar and sprinkled with lightly toasted coconut and lemon zest.

With the contrasting textures and flavors supporting each other so wonderfully, this dessert is definitely worth a try.

Lemon Coconut Cream Pie
Freeze the pie for an additional 30 minutes, it will taste just like frozen custard.

Gluten-Free Crust (based on “Tart Shell Crust” recipe from Gluten-Free Baking Classics):

1 cup Brown Rice Flour Mix (2 parts brown rice flour, 2/3 parts potato starch, 1/3 part tapioca starch)
1/4 cup lemon sugar
1/2 teaspoons xanthan gum
2  tablespoons unsweetened coconut flakes
1/2 teaspoon coconut or vanilla extract
5 tablespoons coconut oil or unsalted butter

Directions:
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Position rack in center of oven. Spray an 8″ round pie pan (or 8″x8″ square cake pan) with cooking spray, set aside.

In a large mixing bowl, combine all dry ingredients. Add coconut oil and sprinkle in extract. Mix with a fork until well combined and clumpy. Sprinkle crust mix into pan then gently press evenly over the bottom, but not up the sides.

Bake in center of oven for about 14-16 minutes or until lightly golden. Set aside while you make filling.

Filling:

3 tablespoons cornstarch
3/4 cup sugar
1/4 teaspoon salt
3 eggs
3/4 cup coconut milk
3/4 cup low-fat vanilla soy milk
1 1/2 teaspoon vanilla
3 ounces reduced-fat cream cheese
1/3 cup fresh lemon juice

Combine cornstarch through soy milk in a saucepan over medium heat, stirring constantly with a whisk. Bring to a boil. Reduce heat to low, and cook 30 seconds or until thick. Remove from heat. Add vanilla. Beat cream cheese until light (about 30 seconds). Add lemon juice and beat well  to incorporate. Add about 1/3 cup hot custard to cream cheese, and beat just until blended. Stir in remaining custard and blend well.

Pour into pie crust and cover with plastic wrap, pressing to surface of filling. Cool on counter for about 10 minutes, then refrigerate for at least 4 hours.

Topping:

1-2  cans coconut milk
1 tablespoon lemon sugar
1/3 cup heavy cream or coconut cream
1/4 cup toasted coconut
1 teaspoon lemon sugar
1 teaspoon lemon zest

Refrigerate coconut milk overnight. Open can(s) and scoop out cream at the surface, reserving rest of milk for later use. With an electric mixer beat coconut milk, sugar and heavy cream or additional coconut cream at high speed until thickened. Spread over pie. Mix toasted coconut, lemon sugar and lemon zest and sprinkle on top before serving.

Not too sweet, not too heavy, but just right