Healthy AF Enchiladas + Caloric Density & Weight Loss| Vegan, Gluten Free, Oil Free, Disease Reversing Info

enchiladas

These enchiladas are by no means at all traditional.  Traditional as in white flour tortillas and cheese and meat… blegh! Sounds like a mess of weight gain, and heart disease! Time for a neeeeeew recipe.  This recipe has got kale, shrooms, quinoa, and all simple wholesome ingredients. Mmm what could possibly be more deliciously satisfying and nourishing.

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Completing my master’s and dietetic internship in South Texas where cola, taki’s, breakfast tacos, and bacon fat laden pinto beans are unfortunately staples, the statistic that 3/4 of Americans are overweight or obese made sense to me.  What’s crazy is that, a calorie dense, nutrient poor diet is actually quite common. Even where I live now in Los Angeles, California.  I have a couple of clients who, prior to working with me, had never chopped a vegetable before.  Gawd. I love my job.  And these enchiladas.  They’re not insanely overly stimulatingly like oh my gawd so f***ing good (if you’re comparing to something thats been salted, oiled, idk.. fried and oober processed) . Recalibrate your taste buds. And these will knock your socks off. 😛

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Healthy AF Enchiladas

Adapted from Food52’s Wintry Mushroom Enchiladas

The Homemade Saucy Sauce 

  • tablespoon water
  • cup onion, diced
  • 3 sun-dried tomatoes
  • cloves garlic, minced
  • 1/2 tablespoon chili powder
  • teaspoon ground cumin
  • 1/2-1 tsp dried thyme
  • 14 oz can diced tomatoes (I like the Fire Roasted diced tomatoes from Muir Glen – no salt added)
  • teaspoon maple syrup (optional)

The Enchiladas

  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • small yellow onion, chopped
  • 3/4 pound baby bella or button mushrooms, chopped
  • 1/2 cup diced jalapeño peppers (or for V mild version, use poblanos
  • cups kale, chopped
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 1/4 teaspoon sea salt (or to taste)
  • 1 1/2 cups cooked black beans
  • 1 1/2 cups cooked quinoa
  • 1 1/2 cups corn kernels
  • 10 6-inch organic corn tortillas (I used masienda brand – just corn, lime, water)
  • 1/2 cup chopped cilantro
  • avocado on avocado on avocado

Steps:

  1. To make the enchilada sauce, heat water in a medium skillet or pot. Saute onion and garlic for 3-5 minutes
  2. Add the chili powder, cumin, thyme, tomatoes, and maple syrup
  3. Transfer sauce to a blender or food processor, and blend till smooth. Add a little water to adjust the consistency as you wish. Set sauce aside till you’re ready to use.
  4. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
  5. In a large pot over medium heat, heat 1 tbsp water (have some handy to add if burns off). Saute onion and garlic till onion is translucent. Add mushrooms and cook until liquid has been released and evaporated.
  6. Add the chilis to the pot and give them a stir. Add the kale and allow it to wilt slightly. Add the cumin, sea salt (optional), black beans, corn, and quinoa. Continue heating mixture until it’s completely warm and well mixed.
  7. In the bottom of a casserole dish, spread a thin layer of the enchilada sauce. Place about a quarter cup mushroom and quinoa mixture in the center of a tortilla. Roll the tortilla up and place it into the dish. Repeat with the remaining tortillas. Cover them all with a layer of enchilada sauce and bake for 25 minutes. Top the enchiladas with chopped cilantro, avocado, and pumpkin seeds, and idk. More corn because noooom!!!
  8. Also, squeeze a lime on there and, call me crazy, but I put a little cinnamon on mine and it was off the charts

So.. why is this recipe so generally disease reversing?

  1. No Salt: although 0 calories, it is a super processed white powder (aka crack cocaine) that causes responses in the brain to make us not only want to eat more, but that makes wholesome food taste less flavorful.  Cut the salt, and all of a sudden, celery, cilantro, avocado and lime dance on your tongue like a tap dancer in times square.  Flavors so very exciting, no white powder added.  Plus plus, high sodium intake has been shown to decrease calcium absorption / utilization. That ain’t good!!! Also also. Sodium is important. This is different than salt. Naturally occurring sodium is sufficiently found in wholesome plant foods like the veggies I mentioned a second ago.  No stimulants needed.  Excess sodium causes water retention, causing blood volume to increase, leading to high blood pressure, strokes, heart disease, etc.
  2. No Oil: Talk about caloric density. Not many foods are more calories per pound than oil… are any foods more calorie per pound??  Just a tiny bit of oil adds a lot of calories with not much benefit.  All it really does is make you eat more calories than you’re designed to eat plus make you want to eat more. The fat from the avocado and pumpkin seeds is fantastic. You got fiber and zinc and fresh phytochemicals and antioxidants.  Avocado oil and pumpkin oil?? Mmm I’ll pass.
  3. Nutrient Dense: Self explanatory.  Every calorie is full of nutrition.  Helping you to feel calm, balanced, satisfied, energized, clear headed.. not to mention beautiful bowel movements. Which is actually a huge fricken deal these days.  If there’s a magazine rack in your bathroom… call me!!! You need help!!!
  4. Intact Grains: Ok, obvi the tortillas are made of corn flour, which is not intact. The quinoa tho- that’s good stuff.  And the tortillas I used were just 3 ingredients: non-gmo corn, lime, and water.  That’s all you need. No gums, oils, preservatives, or fortified etc etc. Keep it simple.  The more whole the better.
  5. Beans: Resistant starch is liiife.  Did you know that resistant starch in beans actually decreases the glycemic load of your next meal?  Also, beans are such great sources of protein, iron, fiber. Eating them has been shown to help decrease risk of so many diseases and cancers.  If you’re afraid of fartiness. Don’t fret.  The resistant starches may take a couple of weeks for your gut to adjust to.  Start with a little bit like 1/4 cup a day for a week and work your way up to ~1-3 cups or so / day.  A healthy gut can process beans just fine.  Little to no fartiness.  If you’re used to eating a V low fiber diet. Warn your friends and family your increasing ahead of time hahaha.
  6. Greens: The most nutrition per pound possible.  Everything you need. Just amazingness.
  7. Mushrooms: Should be eaten cooked. Mushrooms help decrease excess estrogen that may cause breast cancer- very well targeted, doesn’t cause low estrogen if you are healthy. Also, mushrooms contain lectins (ABLs) that recognize cancer cells and prevent them from growing and dividing. Also also, mushrooms upregulate IgA antibody secretion, helping the immune system. Also also also, they have beta glucans which also boost immune function. PLUS they make their own vitamin D if exposed to the sun!! Honestly. All plants are amazing. I just don’t have all day to tell you every magical component of everything gawd!
  8. Onions: Eaten raw the allinaise enzyme is active and is potent cancer fighter. Onions also help to blunt blood sugar spikes. Onions and garlic are antimicrobial and help the immune system to fight viruses and fend against cancers. Scallions are great too.
  9. Healthy Fat: Includes fiber 🙂 Necessary for healthy hormones, satiety, clarity, and overall optimal health. It doesn’t take much though.  A little dab will do you.
  10. Peace of mind: Honestly, of course.  A favorable health destiny is priceless. HOWEVER I say “generally” disease reversing because I do have clients with eating disorders, amenorrhea, and anemia, and athletes who aren’t getting in enough calories and wasting away, or frail adults, etc. Who, it is healthier for them to eat more refined foods. More calorically dense foods. More stimulating foods.  These recommendations are for the general average American looking to lose weight, lower their cholesterol, blood pressure, have regular bowel movements, and reverse type 2 diabetes. Have your healthy AF enchiladas, and your vegan cookies too maybe. Ok? All depends on your goals and what you, you beautiful individual, need.

That is all. xoxo

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Best Chili I Ever Ate, And It Was Vegan.

When I come home from school, mom knows I’ll be asking for her chili and cornbread.  Yesterday, I had fun helping her make it.  When my dad got home from work, he started stirring the pot, too.  A memory I will never forget. A bowl of chili is more than a bowl of chili, it is comfort, love, and a healthy meal for strength and vitality. Enjoy ❤

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Mom’s Vegan Chili

Level: Easy Prep: 25 minutes Cook: 30 minutes Serves: 6-8 servings,

Adapted from Emeril Lagasse’s Vegetarian Chili

Equipment:

  • Large Pot
  • Stovetop
  • Large Knife and Large Cutting Board (or use the food processor S blade for quicker rough chop)
  • Spoon

Ingredients: Feel free to chop as finely or as roughly as you prefer.  I like big chunks of mushrooms and veggies, but a more fine chop will give a delicious meaty texture as well.

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  • 2 Tbsp vegetable oil (we used safflower)
  • 1 1/2 cups chopped yellow onions (learn to chop an onion)
  • 1 cup chopped red bell pepper
  • 2 Tbsp minced garlic
  • 1 medium zucchini, stem ends trimmed and cut into small dice
  • 2 cups corn kernels (we used frozen)
  • 1 1/2 pounds portobello mushrooms (about 5 large), stemmed, wiped clean, and cubed
  • 2 Tbsp chili powder
  • 1 Tbsp ground cumin
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 1/4 tsp cayenne
  • 2 14.5oz cans of diced tomatoes (Muir Glen Fire Roasted – No Salt Added)
  • 3 cups canned black beans (drained and rinsed)
  • 1 15oz can tomato sauce
  • 1 cup low sodium vegetable broth/stock
  • diced avocado and chopped green onion, garnish

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Steps:

  1. In a large pot, heat the oil over medium-high heat.  Add the onions, bell peppers, and garlic, stirring until soft, about 3 minutes.
  2. Add zucchini, corn, and mushrooms, and cook, stirring, until soft and the vegetables give off their liquid and start to brown around the edges, about 6 minutes.
  3. Add the chili powder, cumin, salt, and cayenne, and cook, stirring, until fragrant, about 30 seconds.
  4. Add the tomatoes and stir well. Add the beans, tomato sauce, and vegetable stock, stir well, and bring to a boil.
  5. Reduce the heat to medium-low and simmer, stirring occasionally, for about 20 minutes.
  6. Remove from heat and adjust seasoning to taste.

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Rough Nutrient Estimate Per Serving (Based on 6 Servings):

  • 311 Calories
  • 7g Fat
  • 13g Protein
  • 51g Carbohydrate
  • 12g Fiber
  • 0g Cholesterol

Mom’s Incredible Cornbread

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Ingredients:

  • 1 C all purpose flour
  • 1 C cornmeal
  • 1 Tbsp baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1/2 C sugar
  • <1/2 C oil
  • 3/4 C non-dairy milk
  • 3 Tbsp apple sauce
  • 1 tsp vanilla
  • 1/4-1/2 tsp fine grated lemon zest

Steps:

  1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees F and spray 8 x 8 inch square pan
  2. Combine and mix dry ingredients and wet ingredients in separate bowls
  3. Fold wet into dry ingredients (do not over-mix, mixing flour too much with wet ingredients will create proteins that will form a tough product)
  4. Pour into 8 x 8 inch pan and sprinkle a little sugar over the top
  5. Bake for about 18 minutes or until desired texture. No worries about undercooked eggs. Share with those you love most ❤ 🙂
Vegan Chili
Portions: 7

Food GroupsAmount Per PortionGrains0 ounce(s)Whole Grains0 ounce(s)Refined Grains0 ounce(s)Vegetables4¼ cup(s)Dark Green0 cup(s)Red & Orange1 cup(s)Beans & Peas1¾ cup(s)Starchy¼ cup(s)Other1¼ cup(s)Fruits0 cup(s)Fruit Juice0 cup(s)Whole Fruit0 cup(s)Dairy0 cup(s)Milk & Yogurt0 cup(s)Cheese0 cup(s)Protein Foods0 ounce(s)Seafood0 ounce(s)Meat, Poultry & Eggs0 ounce(s)Nuts, Seeds & Soy0 ounce(s)Oils1 teaspoonLimitsAmount Per PortionTotal Calories232 CaloriesEmpty Calories*38 CaloriesSolid Fats22 CaloriesAdded Sugars16 Calories*Calories from food components such as added sugars and solid fats that provide little nutritional value.Empty Calories are part of Total Calories.NutrientsAmount Per PortionProtein10 gCarbohydrate38 gDietary Fiber10 gTotal Sugars14 gAdded Sugars4 gTotal Fat6 gSaturated Fat1 gMonounsaturated Fat 1 gPolyunsaturated Fat3 gLinoleic Acid1 gα-Linolenic Acid0.1 gOmega 3 – EPA0 mgOmega 3 – DHA0 mgCholesterol1 mgMineralsAmount Per PortionCalcium98 mgPotassium1158 mgSodium255 mgCopper509 µgIron4 mgMagnesium78 mgPhosphorus256 mgSelenium14 µgZinc1 mgVitaminsAmount Per PortionVitamin A67 µg RAEVitamin B60.6 mgVitamin B120.0 µgVitamin C52 mgVitamin D6 µgVitamin E3 mg ATVitamin K23 µgFolate122 µg DFEThiamin0.3 mgRiboflavin0.4 mgNiacin8 mgCholine63 mg

www.SuperTracker.usda.gov

 

 

 

Mom’s Vegan Blueberry Cornbread

Nothing says welcome home like the comfort of piping hot moist sweet American blueberry corn bread

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Go ahead, live a little 🙂  :

  • 1 C all purpose flour
  • 1 C corn flour
  • 1 Tbl baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1/2 C sugar
  • 1/2 C oil
  • 3/4 C non-dairy milk
  • 2 Tbls apple sauce
  • 1 tsp vanilla
  • 1 C blueberries
  • 1/4 tsp fine grated lemon zest
  1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees F and spray 8 inch square pan
  2. Combine dry ingredients (except blueberries) and wet ingredients in separate bowls and whisk separately.  Fold into dry and halfway through mixing, add in blueberries and distribute well.
  3. Pour in 8 inch pan and sprinkle a little sugar on top.
  4. Bake for 18 minutes or until desired texture. 🙂 Enjoy in good health!  And try not to eat it all in one sitting 😉

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Genetically Modified Organisms (GMOs). Shake My Head (SMH).

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The controversial pro-GMO vs. no-GMO hysteria has a lot of people talking.  Especially for us here in CornVille (aka Indiana).  Let’s talk food.  Of course it is better to increase fruit and vegetable consumption whether or not it is organic- but think you know what’s on your plate?  Inspired by my Public Health Nutrition Text, pg. 58: “Food is not a constant thing.  Vitamin content can vary… Farming techniques also change our food supply on the most basic level.  A cow fed a corn-based diet is not nutritionally the same as a cow that grazes on grass.  We may think we are comparing the proverbial apples to apples, but in reality often those apples have very different nutrient contents.”  Maybe that’s not the nourishment you think it is… let’s find out!

Apple-GMO

What are GMOs? GMO=Genetically Modified Organism.  According to Monsanto’s website, GMOs are plants or animals that have had their genetic makeup altered to exhibit traits that are not naturally theirs. In general, genes are taken (copied) from one organism that shows a desired trait and transferred into the genetic code of another organism.

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Hold up- what is Monsanto? According to the Huffington Post, Monsanto is one of “The Big 6” chemical companies including Dow, Dupoint, Syngenta, BASF, and Bayer.  It was founded as a drug company, and its first product was saccharin for Coca-Cola – a derivative of coal tar that was later linked to bladder cancer.  The Huffington Post describes Monsanto as a company who manufactures the world’s most destructive chemicals, and is a pioneer of biotechnology; their first product being artificial recombinant bovine growth hormone (rBGH), and they have sued companies for labeling their products as “rBGH-free”.

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Why care?  A lot of our food is genetically modified to resist bugs and grow bigger, brighter, and sweeter in all kinds of weather.  In Indiana, most farmland is GMO corn and soy.  The “big 6” companies have a lot of power here.  Our Indiana farmers need to do everything they can to maximize their profits- that means with every new chemically altered seed that comes out- they better invest if they want success.  It is brilliant what these companies have come up with, but there are some adverse outcomes worth discussing.

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Disease and allergies- Fact is- researching health outcomes based on food consumption is difficult.  There are so many barriers and variables.  Studies have been done by the FDA and the CDC that did show allergy and inflammatory responses from people who consumed genetically modified corn products, but they concluded, “These findings do not provide any evidence that the reactions that the affected people experienced were associated with hypersensitivity to the Cry9c protein (a protein genetically modified into the corn). The difficulties of this investigation highlight the importance of evaluating the allergic potential of genetically modified foods before they become available for human consumption.”  Funny thing is about this conclusion, we eat GMOs all the time, and nobody evaluates their allergic potential.  All the evaluations I could find end in questionable conclusions like this.  Nobody even lets you know your food was messed with.  And I won’t go into the science- but you are what you eat, and if you mess with the genes of your food, the potential for mutated genes certainly increases.  #cancer.

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Other Countries, Education, and The Environment:  GMOs are required by law to be labeled in lots of countries including Europe, Australia, and Japan.  Why not America?  Is there something they’re not telling us? Why would they not want something labeled GMO if they are so safe?  GMOs are in almost every packaged food- it’s about time us ignorant Americans actually knew what we were eating.  Might I add the disruption to the soil, and the superbug insects that these technologies could be creating?

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How to avoid GMOs?

  1. Buy USDA Organic certified food and food products
  2. Look for Non-GMO seals.
  3. Grow your own food
  4. Avoid risk ingredients that are commonly genetically modified:
  • corn (as in corn oil, cornmeal, cornstarch, and other corn based ingredients
  • soybeans (as in soybean oil, soy protein, soy lecithin, soy milk, tofu, and other soy-based ingredients)
  • canola (canola oil), cottonseed (cottonseed oil), sugar beets (the “sugar” listed on food labels is almost always derived from sugar cane and genetically modified sugar beets)
  • most Hawaiian papaya
  • some zucchini and yellow squash
  • and beware of dairy products, which may come from cows injected with genetically modified bovine growth hormone, and meats from animals (including farmed fish) that have been fed genetically modified foods.  Look for dairy products labeled No rBGH or rBST, artificial hormone-free, or organic; wild-caught fish; and meat labeled organic or 100% grass-fed.

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This was a hard article for me to write, because I know and love a lot of people in the ag business.  They are kind, whole hearted people, and truly do want the best for the world.  I came to Indiana to see their side of the story.  However, as a dietetics student, it is up to me to educate about exposures to various foods, and the possible outcomes.  There is a difference between a farmer, and a global chemical corporation.  Let’s do what we can.  We can talk to our food providers and parents about starting to grow our own food and consume more local, organic food.  We are the promising future.  Not a science experiment.

Such a Scrumptious Sunday: Salad, Spaghetti, and Seitan

Gotta love Sunday.  Catch up on you to-do list, and with those who lift you higher!  I made plans with the brilliant Owen Densel- who is going to be the most incredible superhero of a dietitian and inspires the crizzaap out of me- we are both huge food nerds! We were going to go out and order veggie dishes, but instead  I asked Jesse if we could maybe borrow his kitchen with high hopes of some mouthes to feed..

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They didn’t seem to have any complaints about the idea 🙂  Owen made an awesome light, cooling, and hearty avocado, tomato, cilantro, cucumber salad, and I made some zucchinilini with raw marinara and steamed sweet potato, as well as a millet, okra, corn and purple cauliflower casserole.

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Owen (with the baseball cap in the bottom corner there) made:

The Salad:

Ingredients:
  • 3 handfuls of spring mix
  • 3 avocados
  • Package (or 2 cups) of grape tomatoes
  • Bunch of Cilantro
  • 1 cucumber
Steps:
  1. Dice up spring mix, place in mixing bowl
  2. smash up the avocados,( place in mixing bowl )
  3. cut the grape tomatoes in half,( place in mixing bowl )
  4. dice the cucumber into little cubes, (place in mixing bowl)
  5. dice up cilantro, (place in mixing bowl)
  6. mix mix mix !

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The Spaghetti:

Ingredients:
  • 6 zucchini
  • 2 sweet potato
  • any leftover veggies (we had leftover frozen corn and okra)
Steps:
  1. Spiralize the zucchini with a spiralizer or a potato peeler
  2. Slice the sweet potato into small chunks and steam until soft
  3. mix veggies up in a large bowl

The Marinara:

Ingredients
  • 3 tomatoes
  • 2 cloves of garlic
  • 1 small-medium onion
  • about 1/3 cup sun-dried tomato
  • 4-5 soft medjool dates (pitted)
  • about 3 Tbs Italian seasonings
Steps:
  1. Chop tomatoes, onion, garlic, and dates just enough to be easy on your blender or food processor
  2. Blend in blender until desired consistency (until smooth, or chunky.. if you like it chunky)
  3. Pour over bowl of prepared vegetables.  Garnish with diced tomato, chopped kale, and plenty of basil!

The Casserole:

From Alicia Silverstone’s “The Kind Diet” “Polenta Casserole with Seitan”

I had most of these ingredients just sitting in my desk drawer (the tahini, braggs liquid aminos, millet) and I’ve been trying to experiment with more recipes lately.  This recipe was perfect to try, if I can do it- I guarantee you can to!  It was so light and fluffy, with a mild hearty Asian twang. Really great dish 🙂 

Ingredients:
  • 1 cup millet or 1 1/2 cups polenta or cornmeal
  • 1 medium-size head cauliflower, cut in large pieces (I could only find purple cauliflower, so our casserole ended up being a pretty purple 😛 )
  • 1 cup peas, fresh or frozen and thawed (I didn’t have peas, but I had frozen okra, so I used that.  I ❤ okra! It was great!)
  • 1 (8-ounce) package seitan, sliced (I couldn’t find seitan so I used organic tempeh, I have never used either before and am still learning about the differences between the two, but the tempeh seemed to be fine)
  • 1 cup of thawed frozen corn
  • 6 asparagus spears cut into 1″ pieces
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons toasted sesame tahini
  • 1/3 cup soy milk
  • 1 1/2 Tbs shoyu (I used Bragg’s Liquid Aminos) plus one more to sprinkle on top
  • 1/4 cup chopped fresh parsley
  • fresh basil for garnish
Steps:
  1. Place the millet in a large heavy pot.  Add the cauliflower, peas (if using fresh) and 3 cups of water (add 5 cups if using polenta). Bring to a boil, reduce heat, cover, and simmer for 25 minutes (30 minutes if using polenta).  Polenta must be stirred frequently as it cooks to prevent it from sticking or becoming lumpy, but you don’t have to stir millet.
  2. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Lightly oil an 8″ x 8″ casserole dish.
  3. While the cauliflower mixture cooks, arrange the sliced seitan in the casserole dish. Layer the corn kernels on top, and then add the asparagus. (I think next time I make it I won’t do these layers and I will just mix in the corn and asparagus pieces into the cauliflower part, up to you!)
  4. Remove the millet mixture from the heat.  Add the tahini, milk, shoyu, and mash with a potato masher or fork until the mixture resembles mashed potatoes.  Add the chopped parsley and peas (if using frozen) and mix well.  Spoon the mashed mixture into the casserole dish over the vegetables and smooth the top.  Poke a few small holes in the surface, and sprinkle with a little extra shoyu (this makes the top crispy)
  5. Bake for 30-40 minutes (I think I got impatient and took it out at 25).  Let the casserole cool for 15 minutes (ya right..) before cutting into squares.  Garnish with basil, and serve.

It was so nice getting to share this scrumptious and healthy bounty with such wonderful people!  Everyone was inspired by the delicious vegetable dishes- ah! It brought me so much joy!  Owen and I were stoked to see people enjoying these amazing health foods.  I am so thankful for this opportunity tonight!  What a satisfying Sunday!  Off to a great week!