Tag Archives: Rolls

Celebrating 10,000 Hits with Guest Author Catherine Hosack and Her Zucchini-Tomato Pesto Rolls Recipe

I met today’s guest author several years ago at a local Barnes & Noble while we waited for the midnight release of the final Harry Potter book. Catherine Hosack is a dear friend who is also in a journey towards better health. She writes a blog called “Going Raw: Adventures in Uncooking.” Check it out here. I wanted a guest author to help me celebrate 10,000 hits on my blog, so I asked her to share her story with my readers, and here it is:

“I love Melissa’s “journey to lean” blog for a lot of reasons; for one, it shows that everyone has their own spiritual and physical health journey to experience. The process of learning what is best for our individual bodies, minds, and spirits is, I think, an essential part of our lives. As Melissa’s blog testifies, this process can be hard, but it’s worth it. My personal journey along these lines has led me to eating a mostly raw, Vegan diet. Briefly, a Vegan raw food diet is a pure vegetarian diet of fruits, vegetables, nuts, and seeds. In order to qualify as raw, no food can be heated above 118º F, which is the temperature at which the whole live enzymes and nutrients in the food start to be destroyed.

“I started eating this way because in 2002 I was diagnosed with ulcerative colitis, which basically means that my immune system and my colon were not happy. After seven years of dealing with really strong medications and a very bleak outlook for my long-term health, I decided to increase my health through nutrition. I decided to try a raw food diet because it maximizes one’s intake of live enzymes, antioxidants, and alkaline-forming foods – all of which actively improve your body’s immune system and increase your natural health. The idea, in short, is to eat foods that make you stronger, instead of eating foods that make you weak and therefore more susceptible to disease.

“Transitioning to this new way of life was difficult at first, but now I am happy to say that after a year and a half of eating a diet heavy in raw foods, I have experienced NONE of the ulcerative colitis symptoms that used to disrupt my life every couple months. Additionally, I have more energy, I hardly ever get sick (not even a cold), and I’ve experienced other unexpected health benefits as well.

“I LOVE raw food. If I go a couple meals without a big raw dish, I crave it. I still eat cooked foods sometimes, of course, and it’s still fun to eat my old favorite foods like Pad Thai and pumpkin pie and things like that… but as time goes on, I feel less and less drawn to my old comfort foods, and more and more attracted to my new favorite dishes, like avocado-carob pudding, fresh sprouts, garden-fresh okra, and marinated eggplant.

“This is one of my favorite raw food recipes.”

~Catherine

ZUCCHINI-TOMATO PESTO ROLLS by Catherine Hosack

  • PESTO INGREDIENTS
    • 1 cup of pine nuts or walnuts, soaked in water for 8 hours or more
    • 1 cup of fresh basil
    • 3 cloves of garlic
    • 2 tablespoons olive oil
    • dash of sea salt to taste
    • Appliance needed: blender or chopper
  • OTHER INGREDIENTS
    • A couple medium tomatoes or 3-4 small ones
    • 1 zucchini

INSTRUCTIONS

“Blend all the pesto ingredients in some sort of small blender or chopper. Next, you need to make thin zucchini-strips. You can either do this by getting a big knife and cutting your zucchini carefully, lengthwise; but it’s far easier to use a cheese slicer if you have one. Just hold the zucchini and pull the slicer down from one end to the other, keeping the thickness of the slice as even as possible.

“Dice the tomatoes into pieces about the size of large grapes. Then take a slice of zucchini, spread pesto on the slice, and stick a tomato on one end of the zucchini slice. Carefully roll the zucchini around the tomato. I like to grind peppercorns over the finished rolls. These are so tasty…and cute too!”

Bon Appetit! I hope you enjoy this raw Vegan treat! Don’t forget to check out Catherine’s blog! ~Melissa

Merry Christmas, Y’all (from December 26, 2009)

I hope everyone had a very Merry Christmas, celebrating our Saviour Jesus Christ!

This year, I think we started (or brought back) some old traditions that will stay around for a while. We went to the Christmas Eve service at our church, then came home and fried egg rolls and had bacon wrapped water chestnuts and bacon wrapped dates, fried rice, and special Japanese soft drinks. 🙂 I think this should be a new tradition, as it was MUCH fun!

The bacon wrapped dates recipe is in a previous post. And I can’t provide the fried rice recipe, as our friends brought that. As for the bacon wrapped water chestnuts, drain the water chestnuts, then wrap 1/3 piece of bacon around each one, securing with a toothpick. Soak in soy sauce for at least an hour (overnight is recommended). Then bake with the bacon wrapped dates at 350F for 20-25 minutes. You may have to turn it to broil the last few minutes to get the bacon to crisp up. Or you can try broiling it for 15 minutes, if you’re in a hurry (this is what my mom used to do).

I went to the Asian Market this time for the ingredients for my egg rolls. They have a large selection of egg roll wrappers and all things pertaining to Oriental Cuisine (at cheaper prices than your local grocery store). We tried the rice wrappers this time. They were not as frail, but they also did not stick together as well as the flour version. We had to use an egg wash instead of just water to make them hold together after wrapping (trust me, you don’t want them falling apart in the hot oil). Prep the filling ahead of time, so you don’t have to do it all when you get home, as it can take a while. After filling the egg rolls, gently place them into hot oil (I use the long handled metal slotted spoon to place them in and pull them out) and gently flip them until crisp and/or golden brown. Some fry up faster than others, so you have to keep an eye on them. Drain on paper towels. Serve with your favorite dipping sauces (soy sauce, duck sauce, plum sauce, chili sauce, or hot mustard).

Egg Roll Filling:
Heat 1 Tbsp. oil in a wok or large skillet. Add 2 cloves of garlic, 1 tsp. of grated ginger root, 1 lb. ground turkey (or pork) and cook till meat is no longer pink. Meanwhile, chop finely or shred 5 shallots, 1 c. carrots, 1 1/2 c. cabbage, and 1/2 c. to 1 c. of water chestnuts (buy a large can at the Asian Market and use the rest for the bacon wraps above). When meat is brown, add veggies to heat along with 1/4 c. soy sauce, and let veggies soften. Remove from heat and set aside (in fridge if longer than 1 hour ahead of time). When ready, spoon 1 Tbsp. filling into each wrapper, fold in sides, then roll from bottom to top (away from you), securing with egg wash (whisk 1 egg and brush between layers of wrapper so they stick). You can wrap them straight on, so the edge is a straight line, or you can start with a diamond shape, so you have a V on the outside for a little extra aesthetic interest. Either way, they taste wonderful.

After dinner, we sat around and chatted for a while (letting the food settle) before turning on the traditional Alastair Sim’s version of The Christmas Carol. My husband, Bryan, talked me into putting the first, smaller batch of homemade cinnamon rolls into the oven (prepped for Christmas morning). And his brother convinced me we needed coffee to go with them. I told him my mom used to make cinnamon rolls on Christmas Eve to bake for Christmas morning’s breakfast. Bryan said that’s a Christmas tradition we should keep (though I think I’ll make a smaller batch next time).

We woke on Christmas morning, and had a wonderful breakfast of cinnamon rolls, hot tea, scrambled eggs with Havarti cheese, and turkey sausage links. Bryan read the Christmas story from chapter 2 of the Gospel of Luke, and his brother read “The Gift of Gifts” prayer from The Valley of Vision. We opened stockings, and prepared to go to my husband’s parents’ house for a Christmas feast and gift exchange.

Merry Christmas to all!