Without getting into TMI territory, after much procrastination, in July I completed a health check-up recommended for those in their 50s. Happily, my dread and nervousness about the occasion was unwarranted and now I can cease to worry about another such procedure for the next ten years. But rather than share the gory details, below are two simple recipes that helped me get through the recommended 3-day modified diet leading up to the procedure.
Eat Like A Kid!
And…that diet can best be described as bland. On the list of allowable foods were, well, “kid foods” and more specifically, the foods my mom offered me when I wasn’t feeling quite right: bananas, white rice, warm broth, mild fruit juices, Jell-O. No-nos were anything whole grain, beans, greens, fresh fruit and vegetables – in other words, all of the things on which I normally subsist. I wasn’t thrilled with the limited and unimaginative recommendations, but I was determined to make those three days as painless as possible. So, I planned meticulously and did what I always do when I feel the need to exert a little control over an unpleasant situation, I wrote lists. I created a detailed eating schedule and annotated it with recipes comprised of acceptable foods. I stocked the pantry and refrigerator and prepared most of my meals ahead of time.
My diet looked like this: homemade vegetable broth; miso soup, canned mandarin oranges and canned peaches; white macaroni noodles with a mild plant-based cheese sauce (made from roasted butternut squash), white rice, tofu chocolate pudding, and a homemade version of Jell-O. Making it really couldn’t be simpler and I was pleasantly surprised by the tasty, refreshing result. In place of gelatin, I used agar agar powder, replaced sugar with erythritol (though cane sugar works as well – and only a small amount is needed) and for the raspberry gelatin recipe, I supplemented raspberry juice with apple juice, which added both flavor and sweetness.
If the big 5-0 is looming over the horizon, or if you are already there and you haven’t met that health care milestone (surely you’ve guessed what it is, right?!), I encourage you to stop stalling and get it done. It truly was not nearly as bad as in my imagination! [Note: red- or purple-colored liquids are not allowed 24-hours prior to a colonoscopy.]
Light, cool and refreshing, this is the perfect easy hot weather dessert that can be dressed up with beautiful berries or a dollop of whipped coconut cream.
Set aside four small dessert cups or bowls.
In a small saucepan, bring the orange juice, peel, agar agar powder and erythritol (or sugar, if using) to a gentle simmer and cook, stirring often, for 5-7 minutes, or until the agar flakes have dissolved. Remove the mixture from the stove and discard the orange peel. Taste and adjust sweetness.
Divide the juice evenly between the dessert cups. Place the cups in the refrigerator until firm. This will take a couple of hours. Serve with orange slices, fresh fruit or whipped coconut cream.
I have not tried this with orange juice from a carton or bottle so I can only recommend using freshly-squeezed juice.
Keywords: vegan gelatin, dessert, orange juice, fruit juice, easy, quick, low sugar, agar flakes, agar agar
And the raspberry version:
Though slightly more tart and tangy than the Orange Gel-O, the raspberry version is just as light and refreshing on sultry summer days. Top with whipped coconut cream for a little indulgence.
- 2 cups fresh ripe raspberries, well-washed
- 1 1/4 cups unsweetened apple juice + more if needed
- 1 teaspoon erythritol (or pure cane sugar), or to taste
- 1 teaspoon agar agar powder (not flakes)
Place a fine-mesh strainer on top of a 2- or 4-cup glass measuring cup (or medium-sized glass bowl). Have four small dessert cups or glasses set aside.
In a small saucepan, bring the raspberries and apple juice to a gentle simmer and cook, stirring occasionally, until the berries begin to break apart. Using a large spoon or potato masher, break up the berries further so that they release the seeds.
Carefully pour the berry mixture into the strainer. Mash the pulp and seeds to extract as much juice as possible. If the liquid doesn’t quite reach the 2-cup mark, add more apple juice. Return the liquid to the saucepan. Add the sweetener and agar powder and bring the juice back up to a simmer. Cook, stirring frequently, for about 5 minutes. Remove the juice from the stove.
Divide the juice evenly between the dessert cups. Place the cups in the refrigerator until firm. This will take a couple of hours. Serve with fresh berries or whipped coconut cream.
If you like, place a few fresh raspberries or other fruit in the dessert cups before pouring in the hot juice mixture.
Keywords: vegan gelatin, dessert, raspberry juice, raspberries, fruit juice, easy, quick, low sugar, agar flakes, agar agar
COMING UP NEXT MONTH: