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Posts Tagged ‘soul food’

I don’t always acknowledge this fact, but I’m born and bred in the south!  Living in the deep south has had positive and negative impacts on me and has clearly opened my eyes about some things. It is true that America as a whole has a health and diet problem, however, the deep south reigns supreme for unhealthy lifestyles and I know one big reason- Soul Food!  For 2008, Mississippi is the number one fattest state, Alabama is second, and Virginia is the third fattest. Colorado is the leanest. No, not Tennessee, Florida, or Georgia. Not a southern state!

So, griping or being sad about the south being fat really doesn’t make a positive impact on anyone so that’s no good!  Lets be positive not negative!  What’s important is to know that EVERY person, yankee or reb, has the POWER and CONTROL over their own life, health, and diet. So many people find out that I’m VEGAN and ask “what do you eat???!!“.   Well, the truth is that I eat whatever I want!  I don’t WANT to eat animals for moral reasons, but I don’t have to miss out on ANYTHING!  My appetite hasn’t changed, my enjoyment of food has only  become stronger, and I don’t feel bad or guilty about anything I put in my mouth!  Ever!  Any vegan whole food selection is a good one as long as I’m staying balanced- which is part of the fun!  Chocolates, hot breakfasts, soups, cookies, veggies and dips, burritos, pasta, wine, cake, pie, quiche, nachos, smoothies…I eat whatever I want!  What has changed is my heart, mind, and health-  not how full my belly is and how satisfied my taste buds are!

Growing up in the deep south formed many eating habits for me.  Fortunately, many habits(foods, ways of eating) have been let go of because they were unhealthy.  Hooray!  And, fortunately again, many  foods from my childhood have stayed in my diet!  BBQ- BYE BYE! Fried Chicken- I never liked you anyways!  Mashed potatoes and casserole… YOU’RE HERE TO STAY!  

So, if you like some down home soul food but you don’t like to load your plat with added fat and cholesterol, do you have another option?  Absolutely!  Because a VEGAN diet isn’t about being jipped out of good food!  It’s about no longer eating food that is not good for you and about cooking good foods in ways that keep them good for you!  I was reminiscing the other day and thought about how I used to eat a baked potato loaded with butter (fat, cholesterol, dairy, casein, protein), sour cream (fat, cholesterol, butter, casein, protein), and cheddar cheese(fat, cholesterol,dairy, casein, protein), and a REALLY long time ago I’d probably throw on some bacon(fat, cholesterol, protein) too!    

But now… I eat my soul food in a way that doesn’t promote the NUMBER ONE KILLER in women- HEART disease! Yee-ahw!

 

Ingredients:

2 potatoes

5 courgettes, or 2 regular zucchini

1 1/2 slices of whole wheat bread or 1 cup whole wheat bread crumbs

1 T Earth Balance or other non-dairy non-hydrogenated margarine

1 cup sweet corn

1/2 cup diced bell peppers, assorted colors or green only

black pepper to taste

salt to taste

4 T veggie broth (*optional)

Directions:

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  Fill a med pot with water 3/4 full and bring to a boil.  Peel and chop your potatoes and add to pot of boiling water.  Dice peppers and reserve.  In a small pot bring 1.5 cups of water to a boil.  If water in the medium pot is boiling, add potatoes and cook for 15 minutes.  Add sweet corn in the small pot and cook for 4-5 minutes.  While potatoes and corn are cooking, cut the ends off of the courgettes and slice then into thin strips, lengthwise.  After 15 minutes of boiling potatoes, drain, and cool in a bowl.  Drain corn and set aside.  Mash potatoes with a masher, add the optional veggie broth at this point, and season with salt and pepper. 

Heat a grill pan or large saute pan on med-high.  Lightly spray surface with olive oil and grill courgettes for 3-4 minutes on each side.  While they are grilling, prepare your breadcrumbs by pulsing bread, margarine, and salt and pepper to taste in a Magic Bullet or another food processor.  

To assemble layered Soul Food Casserole, spoon half of the mashed potatoes into a medium, square, baking dish.  Spread potatoes evenly on the bottom of the dish using the back of a spoon.  Take your courgette strips off the grill and line them across the entire surface of mashed potatoes.  If you have too many courgettes, just fit them in even if you must cram them a little bit!  Add the rest of the mashed potatoes over the courgettes and smooth with the back of your spoon to create and even layer.  Sprinkle on top the corn and peppers to evenly cover.  They may not cover the entire surface, but just make sure you distribute them evenly!  And finally, dust the top layer of corn and peppers with the bread crumbs!

Place in the oven at 350 degrees for 35 -40 minutes.  4-6 servings!  

This Soul Food Casserole really hits the deep south spot in my tummy (which is admittedly, not that large)!  We’ve got mashed potatoes, sweet corn, peppers and bred crumbs!  The zuke could easily be substituted with spinach, yellow squash or eggplant.  Soul Food Casserole is fabulous because it’s a great one-dish meal!  You don’t need a side of veggies when you’ve got a casserole full of fresh veggies!  Soul Food needs not be loaded down with added oils, butter, cream, or meat (fats).  Once you’re eating veggies regularly your taste buds really start to notice and appreciate those natural flavors that God gave them!

I sure hope y’all like it!

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