August  2004

Vol. 3    No. 8

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During our 10 day live-in McDougall Program in Santa Rosa, California we serve a variety of coffee substitutes that many of you who are trying to reduce or eliminate your dependence on coffee will find helpful.  The July McDougall Newsletter has an article “Coffee - Pleasure or Pain” which will explain why you may want to make this change. On every table at every meal during the program are jars of instant Roma – mixed with hot water, Roma instantly turns into a satisfying coffee-like beverage.  Of all the varieties of coffee substitutes, mostly made from roasted barley and chicory, our favorite is called Teeccino.  This is a ground product, prepared in a regular coffee maker and delivers a hearty, rich flavor. You can still enjoy “the brewing ritual” with a familiar pot of hot dark beverage each morning.  Teeccino is made from roasted barley and chicory with almonds and other added ingredients.  It is available in several different flavors and may be purchased at most natural food stores; or visit for more information or to order.  I offer soy or rice milk for people to add to their beverage if they wish.


We use tortillas in many of our meals because they are very versatile.  They can be used in place of bread to turn a sandwich into a wrap.  They may be filled, rolled and baked with a sauce, or layered with various ingredients and served warm or cold.   There are two basic kinds of tortillas; those made from corn and those made from flour, including wheat flour and spelt flour. This also includes the flour tortillas with added spinach or artichoke (green color), or those with added tomatoes or peppers (orange color). Tortillas, ideally, should be made with as few ingredients as possible.  Realistically, you will find many tortillas made with refined flours, additives, preservatives and added oils.  Look for the healthiest ones you can find, usually in your natural food store.  I am able to find healthy corn tortillas much easier than the flour tortillas.  There are several brands of corn tortillas made with only corn, water, and lime.  Store tortillas in the refrigerator after purchase, or freeze for up to 3 months.  To thaw, just put the bag on the counter for a couple of hours, or separate while still frozen and heat on a dry griddle or in the microwave until soft.

Two of my favorite uses for corn tortillas are the Bean Enchilada recipe in the May 2003 newsletter or the Tex-Mex Lasagna in the Quick & Easy Cookbook.  I also love the soft corn tortillas filled with Smashed Pinto Beans, toppings, and covered with Enchilada Sauce from the June 2003 newsletter.  Try them filled with chili, sloppy joes, or even mashed or roasted potatoes.

If you like crispy corn tortillas, you can easily make your own and avoid all the fat found in the packaged products.  Cut the soft tortillas into wedges, place on a baking sheet, spray very lightly with water, sprinkle with seasonings if desired and bake at 350 degrees until crispy – about 10 minutes.  Do the same thing with whole tortillas for a flat crisp tostada shell.  I have found a couple of products to make crispy taco shells or tortilla boats.  They are made by Chicago Metallic and have a non-stick finish.  One is called a Baked Taco Rack and the other is called a Tortilla/Taco Shell Pan.  Both of them use soft corn tortillas which are placed on the product and baked in the oven to form a crisp shell.  To check out these products go to and search for either taco rack or tortilla pan.  We like to use the tortilla boats with black bean chili, or other Mexican style meals.


I have made many variations of scrambled tofu over the past 28 years.  Almost all of them contain some onion and a few vegetables, as well as a variety of herbs and seasonings. There are also prepared “box mixes” of scrambled tofu mix found in natural food stores that you can add to your crumbled, firm tofu if you don’t have time to make this recipe from scratch. 

Scrambled Tofu makes a delicious transition “treat” for those people missing their scrambled eggs.  (See note below about egg substitutes.) 

Preparation Time:  10 minutes
Cooking Time:  10 minutes
Servings:  4-5

1/3 cup vegetable broth
½ cup chopped onion
½ cup chopped bell pepper
½ cup chopped fresh mushrooms
1 pound lite firm tofu, crumbled
2 tablespoons prepared brown mustard
½ teaspoon chili powder
¼ teaspoon dill weed
¼ teaspoon garlic powder
¼ teaspoon turmeric
dash salt
several twists freshly ground pepper
1 cup cooked fresh spinach leaves, squeezed dry

Place the broth in a large non-stick frying pan.  Add the onion, bell pepper and mushrooms.  Cook, stirring occasionally, for about 4 minutes.  Add the crumbled tofu, the mustard and the seasonings.  Cook, stirring occasionally, for another 5 minutes.  Add the spinach, mix well, heat for another minute, and serve hot.

Hints:   This may be made with water-packed or silken tofu.  Be sure to use the lower fat variety.  The water-packed tofu will yield a firmer scramble, while the silken tofu will be softer.  Some of the seasonings may be omitted, but be sure to use the turmeric because it gives the scramble a familiar yellow color.  You may also omit or change the vegetables as desired.

Note:  Many people ask me about using egg substitutes, such as Egg Beaters, assuming that these are acceptable because they have had the fat and cholesterol removed.  These products are made from egg whites (animal protein), plus additives, colorings and preservatives.  We do not recommend them, and instead suggest a scrambled tofu recipe.  To replace eggs in baking, use a product by Ener-G Foods, called Egg Replacer.


Many of you have been unhappy with the “fat-free” salad dressings that you purchased in the supermarket or natural food store, either because of the flavor or the sodium content.  During the 10-day McDougall Program in Santa Rosa, California our chefs make many delicious salad dressings – loved by everyone.  Any of these may be prepared ahead of time and kept in the refrigerator for about a week. 


Preparation Time:  10 minutes
Servings:  makes 2 cups

1  box (12.3 ounces) firm lite silken tofu
4-6 cloves garlic, minced
½  cup lemon juice
2 tablespoons soy sauce
3 tablespoons tahini
3 tablespoons chopped fresh dill
3 teaspoons honey
freshly ground pepper to taste

Place all ingredients in a food processor or blender.  Process until smooth and creamy.

Hints:  The garlic and dill do not have to be finely chopped. They will be processed along with the other ingredients.  The amount of garlic may be increased or decreased according to your tastes.  Add a bit more soy sauce to taste, if necessary.  Flavors will intensify during refrigeration.


Preparation Time:  5 minutes
Servings:  makes 1½ cups

2 cups fresh or frozen strawberries or raspberries
4 tablespoons red wine vinegar
2 teaspoons honey
freshly ground pepper to taste

Place all ingredients in a food processor or blender.  Process until smooth.


Preparation Time:  5 minutes
Servings:  makes 1¼ cups

½ cup rice vinegar
½ cup balsamic vinegar
1/3 cup honey
3 tablespoons Dijon mustard
freshly ground pepper to taste 

Place all ingredients in a blender and process until smooth.


 “Frozen desserts” make a special treat during the warm summer months when there are a delicious and wide variety of fresh fruits available.  Many frozen desserts can be made with only a food processor or blender and a freezer.  However, to get the desirable creamy consistency that most people prefer, an automatic frozen ice cream and sorbet maker is necessary.  There are many of these available with 1 ½ quart freezer bowls.  I purchased one made by Cuisinart this summer to make some of these desserts.  Frozen desserts always contain some kind of a sweetener, which can usually be adjusted depending on your preferences.  Maple syrup and honey work very well, if you use organic cane sugar, it will need to be dissolved in water to make “sugar syrup” before using in the recipe.


Preparation Time:  10 minutes
Chilling Time:  6-8 hours
Servings:  8

4 cups frozen raspberries or strawberries
1 ½ cups water
½ cup honey
2 tablespoons lemon juice

Place the frozen berries in a bowl on the counter and allow to partially thaw.  Do not drain.

Place berries in a blender or food processor and process until smooth.  Add remaining ingredients and process again.  Pour into a bowl.  Cover and freeze until slushy, about 3 hours.  Beat with an electric mixer until smooth.  Cover and return to freezer.  Freeze until firm, several more hours or overnight. 

Remove from freezer about 10 minutes before serving.

Hints:  To make this with sugar instead of honey, use about 1 cup of sugar and dissolve in 1 ½ cups of boiling water in a saucepan.  Remove from heat and cool completely.

Try this with fresh melon of any kind instead of berries.  Use about ½ cup of orange juice instead of the lemon juice.

Soy or rice milk may be substituted for most of the water for a creamy dessert, or try the cashew cream idea below.


This dessert is made with RAW cashews blended with water, similar to the French Toast or Veggie Benedicts in previous newsletters (see recipe index).  This needs to be made in an ice cream freezer.

Preparation Time:  15 minutes
Chilling Time:  6-8 hours
Servings:  4

2 cups RAW cashews
2 cups water
½ cup honey
2 teaspoons vanilla 

Place the cashews, water and honey in a food processor or blender and process until very smooth.  This may take a couple of minutes.  Add vanilla and mix.  Pour into a bowl, cover and freeze for about 1 hour.  Pour into an ice cream maker and follow the manufacturer’s instructions for freezing.

Variations:  To make a chocolate version, use ½ cup of Wonderslim fat-free cocoa powder.  Add with the vanilla and process until well blended.  To make this with other sweeteners, try 1 cup of maple syrup in place of the honey, or make a sugar syrup by dissolving 1 cup of sugar in 2 ½ cups of water.  Allow to cool completely and use in place of the 2 cups of water and honey in the recipe above.


This frozen dessert requires previously frozen bananas.  When you have extra ripe bananas, peel them, break into pieces, place in a bowl or freezer bag and freeze for at least 1 day.  They make a delicious addition to a smoothie or use them in the recipe below.

Preparation Time:  10 minutes (using previously frozen bananas)
Servings:  variable

Place frozen bananas and a small amount of soy milk in a food processor and process until smooth.  Serve at once.

Variation:  The best way to make banana ice cream is in a Champion Juicer.  The frozen bananas are pushed through the feed tube and come out as soft frozen banana ice cream.  Champion Juicers are sold in many natural food stores.  For more information on this product and where to buy go to

Hints:  Other frozen fruits may be added along with the frozen bananas for additional flavor whenever you make banana ice cream.

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