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Candied Ginger Pears

I came to a revelation last night. As my husband and I cuddled on the couch, I realized I was hungry. After all I had eaten, how could I be hungry? Those starchy white potatoes broke down into sugar and made me hungry. So thats when I heated up some brown basmati rice and sprinkled in some cinnamon and a small diced plum. I was satisfied and full. I guess eating whole grains does make a difference!

I discovered a newly opened Mediterranean market in Mobile, 7 Spice. Most of the food is imported from India and the Middle East. Russell was thrilled to see they had fava beans, and I was just as excited to see their bulk bags of red lentils, cracked bulgar, and spices.

Tonight we made a yummy veggie pizza. I always make my own pizza sauce: a large can of organic crushed or diced tomatoes, 1-2 chopped garlic cloves, onions, peppers, red pepper flakes, fresh or dried herbs, and a little bit of my favorite tomato paste. I sauté it until it’s thick and most of the water is boiled out. *this is a great marinara too-just don’t cook all of the water out.
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As a treat, I made some candied ginger pears. The pears aren’t really “candied,” but the little bit of agave and maple with the roasted almonds, creates a sweet addition to the pears. I adapted a recipe out of Alicia Silverstone’s book, The Kind Diet. For these Russell-approved goodies, you will need:

-1 cup almonds (I also tossed in some sesame seeds)
-2 tablespoons agave or brown rice syrup
-1 teaspoon cinnamon
-3 large or 4 small pears, halved and core scooped out
-1 1/2 cups apple juice
-1 teaspoon grated ginger
-pinch of fine sea salt
-1 tablespoon cornstarch mixed
with 1 tablespoon cold water
-1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
-1 teaspoon lemon zest

Heat a dry skillet over medium heat. Toast the almonds and sesame seeds for 3 to 5 minutes, stirring constantly, until golden brown. Transfer to a small bowl to cool. When cool, grind the almonds and seeds. Heat the agave in a small saucepan. Add the ground almonds and cinnamon, and stir over medium-low heat until the mixture thickens. Set aside.

Arrange the pears in a deep skillet, cut sides up. Add apple juice to the pan along with the ginger juice and salt. Cover the pan, bring to a boil, then reduce the heat to medium, and simmer for 7 to 10 minutes, or until the pear halves are soft. 20110724-083611.jpg

Using a slotted spoon, transfer the pears to a serving platter, reserving the cooking liquid. Fill the hollow of each pear with some of the ground almond mixture.

Dilute cornstarch in the cold water and stir into the reserved cooking liquid, and heat for 3 to 5 minutes, stirring constantly, until the sauce thickens. Remove from the heat, and stir in the lemon juice and zest. Pour the sauce over the pears and indulge. I promise you won’t miss the refined sugar!
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This 7 day adventure has been fun and I can’t wait to continue this vegetarian way of eating. I have yet to look at someone’s cooked, grilled, or cured meat and be jealous (except for the shrimp). I also haven’t been face to face with bacon either. I’ll cross that bacon road when I come to it. Ciao a tutti!

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