Moody Blues

Sometimes you just need comfort food.  And as the daylight shortens and the temperature drops, I have wanted more comfort food lately.  The key to not letting comfort food wreak havoc on your health is to recreate your favorite recipes.  That, combined with your tastes adapting to simpler more whole foods based eating, will trigger satisfaction from eating the food you wanted without the guilt of lots of fat, cholesterol, or refined foods.

Chips and dip are a comfort appetizer for me, and since I don’t buy packaged chips or eat the fried GMO corn chips at Mexican restaurants, I only get these at home when I make them, like Baked Tortilla Chips with Spinach Dip, Easy Black Bean Dip, or my all-time lazy fallback of store bought hummus.  The tortilla chips are quick to make and are great for those times that I just don’t want to eat raw veggies in dip.

Comfort entrees in our household include the likes of Baked Bean Chili, Tempeh Oat Loaf, Mac and Trees, and Pasta Fagioli.  Our newest comfort entrée is a Seitan Roast in the slow cooker, described below.  I’m still working on the ultimate Southern comfort entree – vegan chicken and dumplings.  Sometimes, though, (usually early in the morning or late at night for me) a simple baked potato or a steamy bowl of brown rice fits the bill for comfort food.

Some would argue that all desserts are comfort foods, but I don’t fully agree.  Warm, rich desserts like Individual Sweet Potato Pies or Brownies are comfort food for me, whereas Pecan Pie and Soft Serve Ice “Cream”, while I love them are not the same.  The dessert below, though, may be my newest favorite, so definitely check out Pomegranate Bark – your family, neighbors, and colleagues will thank you if any of it makes it out of the kitchen.

 

Seitan Roast (Slow Cooker)

Chicken-like Seitan (one batch raw dough)

1 ½ c vegetable broth

3 T tamari or low sodium organic soy sauce

¼ c red wine, optional

2 cloves garlic, minced

½ t thyme

Salt and freshly ground pepper

Optional: potatoes, carrots, and onions (halved or quartered depending on size)

Prepare the Chicken-like Seitan dough and place it in a slow cooker lightly sprayed with oil.  Combine the broth, tamari or soy sauce, and red wine if using and pour over dough.  Add garlic and seasonings.  Add vegetables if using.  Place cover on slow cooker and cook on low for at least 6 hours or on high for at least 3 hours.  Remove roast from slow cooker and slice, serving with vegetables if desired.

To make gravy from the cooking liquid, remove roast and vegetables and turn slow cooker on high.  Whisk 1-2 T of a thickener (such as arrowroot, kuzu, vegetable starch, or flour) into an equal amount of water or broth, then add to remaining cooking liquid.

 

Pomegranate Bark

12 oz bag of Ghiradelli semi-sweet chocolate chips or other dairy-free dark chocolate or carob

Seeds from 1 or 2 ripe pomegranatesChocolate_Pomegranite

Optional additions:  sea salt, coconut flakes, minced crystallized ginger, chopped pecans

Melt the chocolate with the coconut oil in a homemade double boiler, taking care not to let the boiling water in the sauce pan touch the bowl of chocolate sitting on top, and stirring regularly.  (Alternatively, you could also melt the chips in the microwave, stirring every 30 seconds.)  Once the chips have melted, pour the chocolate on a parchment paper lined baking sheet and spread the chocolate into a thin layer.  Sprinkle the pomegranate seeds evenly across the chocolate.  Refrigerate or cover and set outside in cold temps.  When the chocolate has set (20-30 min), break or use a pizza cutter or knife to cut the bark into pieces.   Store at a cool room temp or in the fridge.

I recommend that you immediately package the pomegranate bark into individual containers as it is way too hard not to eat a ton of this at once.  Many thanks to my Cross Fit friend Jami for sharing this wonderful treat!!

My favorite way to de-seed pomegranates is to make a 1-2 mm deep incision around the equator of the pomegranate, then twist into two halves.  Over a colander in the sink, hold one half of the pomegranate with your left fingers with the seeds pointed down.  With your right hand, hit the pomegranate with a wooden spoon.  The seeds will be ejected into the colander without much of the pulp.