Wednesday, May 27, 2015

Slow Cooker Pork Vindaloo

I recently returned from a 17-day cruise and a lot of people have been asking me about the food and meals served on the ship… “ Isn’t everything covered with fat-laden sauces?  Were you able to eat gluten-free?  How did you manage to resist all the desserts? “

I admit to submitting to a few temptations but all in all, it was very easy to maintain a healthy diet while on board… there was an abundance of fresh fruit and vegetables. Lean meats, eggs, and fish were available all the time. The chefs were more than willing to cook according to your liking.  And yes, there were plenty of decadent desserts, too.  But every day there was one sugar-free dessert and one gluten-free dessert so that certainly made things a bit easier.  The pavlova was fabulous!

My favorite thing about the ship’s cuisine, though, was the enormous variety of ethnic dishes.  Because passengers hail from all over the world, the chefs go all out tp please everyone and make it easy to find your favorite dishes at each meal. For example, at the breakfast buffet, along with all the different things we Westerners would expect, there were a couple of different hot soups. warm and cold stewed fruits, and cold smoked fish with assorted condiments.  It was wonderful to be able to try some things that we never would have at home.

And dinner was even more fun. I learned to really look forward to the Indian dishes on the evening menu.  One that I came to particularly enjoy was Pork Vindaloo.  I had it a couple of different times and really loved it… so when I got home I started looking for recipes.  I couldn’t find any that I really liked so I ended up making up my own and it turned out pretty well.

I chose to do it in the slow cooker so that it could cook away while I was at work, and when I came home, the kitchen smelled absolutely wonderful!  I could barely wait to dig in!  That first night we had this I served it over rice… and froze the remaining 6 portions.  The second time we had it, I served it with red potatoes and vegetables. Wonderful!  Do give it a try.

I know I will be making this often… and I think that I will try using crushed tomatoes the next time, instead of diced. It will be a bit thicker I think.  I also think that a spoonful of plain yogurt alongside would be really nice.  If you like this dish I hope you will consider trying my version.  It’s easy and all comes together quite easily.

And just a hint…I like to spray the inside of my slow cooker with a non-stick spray for easy cleanup.

Slow Cooker Pork Vindaloo by @WeCanBegin2Feed

Pork Vindaloo
Makes 8 servings
  • 1-1/2 Tbs fresh ginger root, peeled, and grated 
  • 2 tsp garam masala
  • 2 tsp dry mustard
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1-1/2 tsp ground cumin
  • 1/2 tsp red pepper flakes
  • 1 boneless pork loin roast, trimmed and cut into 1-inch pieces, approximately 32 ounces
  • 2 cups chopped white onion
  • 6 garlic cloves, peeled, crushed, and minced
  • 1 can diced tomatoes, 28 ounces
  1. Combine first 6 ingredients in a large bowl.
  2. Add the pork and toss well to coat the pieces with the spice mixture.
  3. Place a large non-stick skillet on the stove over MEDIUM heat.
  4. Add the pork to the pan.
  5. Cook 5 minutes or until pork is lightly browned on all sides.  Stir occasionally.
  6. Place the pork in a slow cooker that has been coated with non-stick spray.
  7. Add onion and garlic to pan.
  8. Saute about 5 minutes or until onion is softened.
  9. Scrape pan to loosen browned bits and then add with onion and garlic to the slow cooker.
  10. Add tomatoes to the slow cooker and spread over the onions, garlic, and pork..
  11. Cover and cook on LOW for 7 hours or until pork is tender.
  12. Remove from slow cooker and divided into 8 servings.
  13. Serve with rice or potatoes and veggies.
Per serving.
Weight Watchers P+ = 5.
Calories 213;  Protein 26g; Carbohydrate 9g; Fat 7g; Fibre 2g.

Printable Recipe

Slow Cooker Pork Vindaloo by @WeCanBegin2Feed

Slow Cooker Pork Vindaloo by @WeCanBegin2Feed

Slow Cooker Pork Vindaloo by @WeCanBegin2Feed

Are you a fan of Pork Vindaloo?  What is your favorite Indian dish?

Thursday, April 23, 2015

Plantain Sandwich Bread

I am going on vacation in a few days and won’t be posting anything new for the next few weeks so I want to leave you with something new that I am very excited about. I call it Plantain Sandwich Bread.  It is gluten free, grain free, Paleo and vegetarian.  And there are only 2 ingredients.

I have been reading about plantains for some time now and was finally intrigued enough to really search for them at my local markets last week.  I did find some and purchase a fairly large one.  I let it sit on the counter about 5 days before it turned yellow and looked ripe enough and felt soft enough to use.

After looking at the nutritional information for plantains I decided that there is enough carbohydrates in them to think about using them in pancakes, waffles, flatbreads, and the like, so I started looking on Pinterest for different ideas.  And I found lots of them, most having several ingredients.  So, after tossing some ideas around it my head, I decided to start out with something very simple and put together this bread.

It is a softer bread than my Low-Carb Flatbread but not as soft and pliable as my Low-Carb Tortillas, both of which are made with cauliflower and eggs.  This Plantain Sandwich Bread is also slightly sweeter than those, too.  Now that makes sense, as the plantain is much more like a banana and is certainly starchier and sweeter than cauliflower.

I purchased a large plantain. It weighed about 16 ounces before I peeled it. And it peeled much like a banana does, although the skin is a bit thicker and not as pliable as a banana peel.
I think I might have found a new favorite ingredient here! 

This bread is soft like a real flour-based bread and can easily be folded. I have used it to make both open-faced and closed sandwiches.  And it can be popped into your toaster as well.  Very versatile. Very easy. Very quick. I hope you will give it a try.

Plantain Sandwich Bread

Plantain Sandwich Bread
Fills a standard size cookie sheet

  • 1 large plantain (15 – 16 ounces before peeling)
  • 3 large fresh eggs
  1. Preheat your oven to 375°F.
  2. Line a cookie sheet with parchment paper.
  3. Peel the plantain and cut into slices and place in food processor or blender.
  4. Add 3 fresh eggs to the plantain and puree till smooth and thick.
  5. Pour the mixture onto the parchment paper and spread almost to the edges of the cookie sheet.
  6. Bake for 25 minutes.
  7. Remove from the oven and lift the paper off the cookie sheet and set on wire baking racks for about 2 or 3 minutes.
  8. Gently flip over and carefully peel the paper away from the bread.
  9. Allow to cool before cutting into 12 rectangular pieces.

The whole recipe.
Weight Watchers P+ = 16.
Calories 673; Protein 24g; Carbohydrate 119g; Fat 5g; Fibre 8g.

I cut mine into 12 slices for sandwiches and used 2 per serving.
Per serving.
Weight Watchers P+ = 3.
Calories 112; Protein 4g; Carbohydrate 20g; Fat 3g; Fibre 1g

My plantain was ripe and had some brown spots on the peel.

Cut and Peel Plantain
I sliced the ends off and then cut it in half to make it easier to remove the peel. Then I cut down the length of one half and slowly pried the cut apart with my fingers.

Whizzing the plantain and eggs together in my food processor.

Thick batter
A thick and frothy batter.

Peeling paper
Remove the bread, still on the paper from the cookie sheet. Then flip it over and gently peel the paper away from the bread while it is still warm.

Face Down 2
After the paper is removed completely…

Face up
flip it over and allow it to cool for a few minutes before…

cutting it into slices. 

On plate
I put 2 slices on a dinner plate to give a better idea of their size.

Plantain Sandwich Bread 2
They are nice for open faced sandwiches but not too thick for a closed sandwich too.

With soft cheese and cucumber
And the bread is also strong enough to be spread with semi soft cheese or butter or nut butter, too.

I would love to know if you are using plantains in your kitchen these days and what you like to make with them.

Sunday, April 12, 2015

Protein Filled Smoothies and Shakes

I have not been doing a lot of experimenting in the kitchen lately. I am intent on eating simply and keeping my nose to the grindstone where my workouts are concerned. We are leaving on vacation in a couple of weeks and I am determined to be at my best before we go!

One thing I have really been enjoying though, are protein filled smoothies and shakes.  I have a variety of protein powders that I particularly like… North Coast Naturals 100% ISO whey, Shakeology whey and also the Vega vegan powders.  They are all very different and I use them at various times for different needs.

I tend to use the Shakeology and the Vega powders mixed with unsweetened Almond Breeze and some fruit as a meal replacement… breakfast or lunch.  And I like the NCN powders mixed with Almond milk as a snack or after workout recovery drink.

I also really like a variety of fruits… frozen or fresh bananas, fresh strawberries, frozen mixed berries and blueberries, and a blend of frozen fruits from Europe’s Best called Caribbean Treasure  which has mangoes, strawberries and peaches.

Caribbean Treasure

And recently I discovered frozen cherries.  I belong to a couple of different Facebook groups that are nutrition and fitness communities, and many of the people who I come into contact with there happen to mention blending frozen cherries into their protein shakes. I looked for them every time I went shopping in all of my local markets and never saw cherries… all kinds of other fruits, but never cherries.

Until the last time we visited Costco, which we tend to do every 6 to 8 weeks.  And there they were… frozen cherries.  I grabbed a bag and tossed it into the cart immediately.

Frozen Cherries

I could barely wait to get home and rip that bag open!  And I was not disappointed!  Huge juicy, dark red cherries, individually frozen and pure delicious!


I admit to eating them right out of the bag, still fairly hard and very cold. They are refreshing and make a lovely snack!  But they really shine when blended into a protein shake.

The first time I tried them I used chocolate Vega One.  About 3/4 cup of cherries with 12 ounces of unsweetened original Almond Breeze and a packet of the protein powder.  It was fabulous!  Thick and sweet and really filling!  You can see the bits of cherries in the thick chocolate drink.


So of course I had to give them a try in a vanilla based drink… this time with a scoop of vanilla Shakelogy and 12 ounces of unsweetened vanilla Almond Breeze…. Mmmm.  Again, great taste, and lovely color too!
Fresh with cherries

I think I will have to try a mix of cherries and banana next!  And I just know they are going to make a lovely soft serve, too.

What is in your favorite protein smoothie or shake lately? I am always on the lookout for new and tasty ingredients!