Israeli Couscous with Shallot and Parsley

For the next high fiber recipe, Minoo introduced to us Israeli couscous. Israeli couscous, also known as ptitim or Jerusalem couscous is a wheat-based baked pasta in the shape of round pearls.

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The pearly Israeli couscous is generally considered as a food for children. It is often served as a side dish with a main dish of meat. Minoo served this as a side dish to the Chicken Paprika.

Minoo also shared with us a list of high fiber food as follows:

Grain Products

  • Whole grain breads (such as 100% whole wheat, whole grain rye, mixed grain, or cracked wheat), buns, pitas, wraps, bagels, and muffins
  • Whole wheat or graham crackers
  • Brown rice
  • Whole-wheat pasta or brown rice pasta
  • Cereals made from whole grain (whole wheat, bran, or whole grain oats)
  • Oatmeal and other whole grain cooked cereals

Another great way to add more fiber to your diet is to add ground flax, wheat germ, or wheat bran in your baked goods. You should aim for six to eleven servings of grain products in your diet every day.

Vegetables

Eat a wide variety of vegetables and you will increase your fiber intake enormously, as well as improve your overall health in a number of ways. However, dark, leafy green vegetables contain the highest amounts of fiber. These beneficial veggies include:

  • Broccoli
  • Romaine lettuce
  • Spinach
  • Swiss chard
  • Green peas
  • Green beans
  • Artichokes
  • Brussel sprout
  • Turnip greens

Try to include green vegetables in your diet more often, at least three to five servings daily. Starchy vegetables such as potatoes are lower in fiber content however.

Fruit

Many fruits are also high in fiber and, therefore, should be added to your list of high fiber foods. Some of the best choices include:

  • Berries (strawberries, raspberries, blueberries, and blackberries)
  • Dried fruits (dates, prunes, apricots, figs, and raisins)
  • Apples (with the skin), oranges, pears, and peaches

It is best to select fresh, raw fruit to receive the most nutrients, including fiber. Include two to three servings of fruit in your diet every day.

Legumes, Nuts, and Seeds

Legumes, nuts, and seeds are another important addition to your list of high fiber foods. You should try:

Fresh, dried or frozen peas, beans (black beans, lima beans, kidney beans, baked beans), lentils, and other legumes

  • Almonds
  • Acorns
  • Walnuts
  • Soy nuts
  • Peanuts
  • Pecans
  • Cashews
  • Pistachio nuts
  • Sesame seeds
  • Sunflower seeds

Keep in mind nuts and seeds (preferably unsalted) should be eaten only as occasional snacks, particularly when you want to limit your fat intake.

Ingredients

  • salt and ground pepper
  • 1 cup Israeli (pearl) couscous, wash and drain
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 8 shallots halved and thinly sliced
  • 2 Onions sliced and caramelized
  • 1/2 cup fresh parsley, coarsely chopped
  • 1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice

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Source: this recipe is adapted from Martha Stewart

Serves 4

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Creamy Yam Soup

Minoo resumed the Gilmore Park Church Community Kitchen in 2011 with 3 recipes; Chicken Paprika, Creamy Yam Soup and Israeli Couscous with Shallot and Parsley.

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I had blogged about the Chicken Paprika recipe here. The emphasis of this week’s recipes is to introduce high fiber food.  Minoo shared with us the benefits of a high fiber diet which includes elimination of constipation, reduce the risk of colon cancer, reduce bad cholesterol and balance blood sugar level as follows:

Constipation – By promoting more efficient elimination, whole-grain fiber almost inevitably halts common constipation when taken with adequate amounts of fluid. The fiber and the water it retains produce a larger, softer stool that the digestive system can pass quickly and easily.

Cancer – Colon cancer is rare among people with a diet low in meat and rich in high-fiber foods. No one knows exactly how fiber may protect against this cancer, but there are several likely mechanisms. It may move intestinal contents faster through the bowel, thus decreasing the length of time the bowel wall is exposed to potential carcinogens. And fiber may dilute carcinogens as well or possibly bind or inactivate them in some way.

Heart Disease – An elevated cholesterol level is know to one of the chief risk factors in heart disease, and a number of studies have linked high-fiber intake with low levels of cholesterol. It is proposed that fiber may alter fat or cholesterol absorption in the large bowel. Some studies suggest that soluble fiber produces a reduction in LDL (“bad”) cholesterol levels without decreasing HDL (“good”) cholesterol levels.

Diabetes – Elevated blood sugar levels are a major problem in diabetes. Researches have shown that fiber may have a potent effect on blood sugar levels. Other studies have also shown that a high-carbohydrate, high-fiber diet improves glucose tolerance. One theory is that the gums in soluble fiber may delay the emptying of the stomach or even the absorption of glucose.

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The first recipe is a Creamy Yam Soup.  A thick sweet soup perfect for those cold days. Garnish it with a dollop of low fat sour cream and chopped chives. Serve it with warm crusty whole wheat rolls or crackers.

From wikipedia:

Yam provides arround 110 calories per 100 grams of product. They are high in vitamin C, dietary fiber, vitamin B6, potassium, and manganese; while being low in saturated fat and sodium. Vitamin C, dietary fiber and vitamin B6 may all promote good health. A product that is high in potassium and low in sodium is likely to produce a good potassium-sodium balance in the human body, and so protect against osteoporosis and heart disease.

Yam products generally have a lower glycemic index than potato products, which means that they will provide a more sustained form of energy, and give better protection against obesity and diabetes. It is also known to replenish fast-twitch fibers and West Indians use it as a way of recovering after sprinting.

Ingredients

  • 1 ½  cups onion
  • 2-4 garlic cloves
  • 1 tsp ground ginger
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • Oil
  • 6-7 cups chicken stock
  • 2 yams, peel and dice
  • 1 tsp dried sweet basil
  • 1 cup buttermilk
  • chives and sour cream for garnishing

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Source: unknown via Minoo

Makes 10 cups

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Oats Cake

The second recipe which Minoo demonstrated in the South Arm Community Kitchen is taken from Fresh Choice. Although it is called Oats Cake, it is more like a cookie or granola bar.

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The Oats Cake is crispy when it’s fresh from the oven. I noticed that it turns soft the next day for those extras that we took home. These Oats Cake makes a great after school snack.

Ingredients

  • 2 cups unbleached flour
  • 2 cups rolled oats (we used quick cooking oats)
  • 2/3 cups brown sugar
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 3/4 teaspoon baking soda (I’ll recommend reduce this by 1/4 teaspoon as the oats cake has a hint of bitterness to it but if you eat it with jam, you will not taste the bitterness)
  • 1 cup butter
  • 1/3 cup cold water

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Source: Fresh Choice

Serves 8 portions

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