When Leslie Evenson was growing up, bananas weren't among her favorite foods.
"I think it was the texture," she said.
However, Evenson liked banana bread.
"It was more like dessert," she said.
Evenson -- sporting a healthy recipe for banana muffins -- was one of several presenters recently in cookery classes sponsored by the Community Health Outreach of Collegedale Seventh-day Adventist Church at Southern Adventist University's Hulsey Wellness Center.
The classes, described in promotional material as "veglicious" and "vegetritious" offered recipes in keeping with the vegetarian dietary lifestyle recommended by the Adventist denomination.
That lifestyle includes the generous use of whole-grain breads, cereals and pastas, lots of fresh vegetables and fruits and moderate use of legumes, nuts and seeds. It can also include low-fat dairy products such as milk, yogurt and cheeses and eggs. It recommends avoiding foods high in saturated fat and cholesterol such as beef, lamb, pork, chicken, fish and seafood.
However, since the class included both non-Adventists and Adventists, the presenters described the recipes as thriftier and healthier options than processed foods and meat-related dishes and not simply as a dietary plan of the denomination.
"It's important not just for you," Dr. Gordon Guild, a retired family physician, told the more than 50 people in attendance, "but for your pocketbook."
Holding a preserved human heart, he also suggested it was a lifestyle "that helps this little fella."
Among the food options prepared and served in samples were Stuffed "Turkey" Roll, its accompanying Stuffing and "Turkey" Gravy.
Describing the dish as similar to Turkey Wellington, presenter Lorey Haag said it is "good for the holidays," easy, reliable and tasty.
Likewise of the stuffing, she said, "It's not fussy."
Other entree-type dishes were Wheat Germ Patties, which can substitute for hamburgers, and "Meatballs" With Chili Sauce.
The patties, according to presenter Lil Yarosh, are relatively easy to make, have an excellent flavor and are nutritious, too. They can be paired, she said, with Oven-Browned Potatoes.
The "meatballs," demonstrator Yvonne Kyle said, were created to be a "healthy and yummy" substitute of the meatballs she was served in Memphis more than 20 years ago.
Since then, she said, she has played with a meatballs recipe to make it healthier. The result, Kyle said, is "nutritious and good for you."
Wanda Anderson, 61, a Collegedale resident and lifetime Adventist, said she was raised with a vegetarian dietary lifestyle but over the years had eaten beef, chicken and fish. As issues were raised about various additives, she returned to a "99 percent" vegetarian diet.
"That's God's original plan for us," she said.
Anderson said she likes the fact different recipes are prepared and offered in each of the classes and the ability for attendees to ask questions about each one.
"It was interesting to listen to the doctors tell you the benefits of that kind of [cooking]," she said. "It's a little bit of everything, and everybody is just so friendly."
Contact Clint Cooper at firstname.lastname@example.org or 423-757-6497. Subscribe to his posts online at Facebook.com/ClintCooperCTFP.
Healthy Homemade Hummus
1 can chickpeas, rinsed and drained
2 cloves garlic, chopped
2-5 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
1 teaspoon Bragg Liquid Aminos
3 tablespoons water or vegetable broth
Place all ingredients in a blender, and mix into a thick paste, using a small amount of water as necessary to achieve desired consistency. Customize by adding one or more of the following: 2 tablespoons toasted sesame seeds; 1 roasted, seeded and chopped red bell pepper; 1 cup black or Kalamata olives; 1 bunch fresh mint; 1 cup fresh spinach; 1 cup cooked eggplant.
-- From "The Engine 2 Diet Cookbook" by Rip Esselstyn
Stuffed "Turkey" Roll
3/4 cup raw cashews
2 cups water
1/4 cup nutritional yeast flakes
1 teaspoon salt
1 tablespoon chicken-like seasoning
1 teaspoon onion powder
1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
2 cups vital wheat gluten flour
2 tablespoons whole-wheat flour
1 recipe of cooked stuffing (recipe follows)
Heat oven to 325 F. Place all ingredients except gluten flour, whole-wheat flour and stuffing into a blender, and mix until smooth, making sure cashew nut pieces are eliminated.
Mix gluten flour and whole-wheat flour in a large bowl. Pour blended mixture into gluten flour mixture. Mix and knead together until it holds together.
Cut a piece of parchment paper into a 15-inch by 20-inch size, and place it on the countertop. Put the mixture onto the parchment paper, and with hands, spread out evenly to make a 10-inch by 14-inch size. Place the prepared recipe of cooked stuffing in the center of the gluten, and spread evenly down the middle third.
Lift up the long sides of the parchment together to bring the edges of the mixture over the stuffing to meet in the middle. Tear off sheet of foil large enough to cover the parchment roll, wrap the roll with the foil, and twist the ends like a Tootsie Roll.
Bake for 11/2 hours. When done, unwrap and slice into 1-inch thickness and serve with your favorite gravy or the recipe that follows. Freezes well if rewrapped.
-- Kyong C. Weathersby per 3ABN cooking program
1 cup water
1 onion, chopped
2 stalks celery, diced
3 carrots, diced
2 whole green onion, chopped
1/4 cup parsley, chopped
2 cloves garlic, minced
1/2 teaspoon sea salt
3 tablespoons nutritional yeast flakes
1/2 tablespoon olive oil
4 cups herb-seasoned bread stuffing mix
In a large saucepan, add the water and bring to a boil. When water starts to boil, add remaining ingredients except stuffing mix. Cook until vegetables are crispy. Remove from heat. Add stuffing mix, tossing gently to moisten evenly, and use as filling for Stuffed "Turkey" Roll.
2 cups water (divided)
21/2 tablespoons chicken-like seasoning
3 tablespoons cornstarch
2 tablespoons nutritional yeast flakes
Bring 11/2 cups water to a boil in saucepan. In a small bowl, mix the 1/2 additional water with remaining ingredients. Pour mixture into boiling water, and cook until gravy thickens.
"Meatballs" With Chili Sauce
1 cup finely chopped walnuts
2 cups saltine cracker crumbs
1 box Morinu tofu (blended in food processor)
1 medium onion, finely chopped
1 tablespoon garlic powder
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon sage
2 tablespoons dry parsley flakes
Place all ingredients in medium bowl. Mix well and form into small balls. (Can use scooper.) Put on cookie sheets sprayed with nonstick spray, and spray the meatballs with additional nonstick spray. Bake at 375 for 25 minutes or until slightly brown. Serve with warm sauce.
For chili sauce:
1 bottle (12 ounces) Heinz chili sauce
Water to fill 2/3 of empty chili sauce jar
1/2 cup grape jelly
Combine all ingredients in a small pan, and stir with a small whisk. Warm over medium heat, and pour over "meatballs" before serving.
11/2 cups wheat germ
1 cup quick oats
1/2 cup chopped pecans
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon sage
1 clove garlic, minced, or 1 teaspoon garlic powder
1 medium onion, chopped
1 cup soy milk
2 tablespoons Liquid Aminos
Mix all ingredients. Form into patties. (Use 1/4 cup measuring cup, and pack in mixture. Flatten and round as you shape patty.) Sauté in oiled skillet over medium heat until golden brown, about 4 minutes. Turn, and cook the other side. Serve plain as a entree, with gravy of choice or as a burger on the bun with all the fixings.
-- Adapted from
"Natural Lifestyle Cooking" by Ernestine Finley
Lori's Banana Muffins
1/2 cup sugar
1/4 cup oil
4 mashed bananas
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
11/2 cups whole-wheat flour
1/2 cup white flour
1/2 cup nuts (optional)
Optional: Nutmeg, ginger or orange juice may be added for more flavoring
Heat oven to 350 degrees. Grease a muffin tin (or loaf pans). Smash bananas in a bowl, and mix in the rest of the ingredients. Spoon into prepared muffin tin or loaf pan, filling about 2/3 of the way full. Bake until knife or toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean, 20-26 minutes for muffins or up to about an hour for a loaf. Makes 1 dozen regular size muffins.
4 Idaho or Russet potatoes, washed
Light olive oil
Heat oven to 375 F. Peel potatoes, and slice in half lengthwise. Score lengthwise and widthwise, and brush sides and top with olive oil. Lightly spray cookie sheet with cooking oil. Bake at 375 for 60 minutes until lightly brown and done in the middle.
-- From "Natural Lifestyle Cooking" by Ernestine Finley
Pineapple breakfast pudding
1 cup fresh pineapple chunks
1/3 cup almonds
1 fresh pear, cored and quartered
12.3 ounces firm silken tofu
1/4 cup pitted dates
1/4 teaspoon salt
Place all ingredients into blender, and pulse until smooth. Serve with granola or Grape-Nuts and fresh fruit.
-- Barbara Watson
1 package (14 ounces) water-packed tofu, extra firm, crumbled
1/2 cup lemon juice
1/4 cup water
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 tablespoon dried basil
2 teaspoons salt
1 teaspoon onion powder
1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
Drain water off tofu, pressing with weight and paper toweling, making as dry as possible.
To make the end product a little firmer, crumble the tofu, and spread it out on a microwave plate. Microwave on high until it starts to make a popping sound. This removes a lot of the water, resulting in firmer tofu. The lemon juice helps it to firm up even more.
Whisk remaining ingredients together in a medium bowl. Add tofu to bowl. Stir, and refrigerate at least an hour but overnight is best.
-- From "Give Them Something Better" by Frain & Howard
Clint Cooper is the faith editor and a staff writer for the Times Free Press Life section. He also has been an assistant sports editor and Metro staff writer for the newspaper. Prior to the merger between the Chattanooga Free Press and Chattanooga Times in 1999, he was sports news editor for the Chattanooga Free Press, where he was in charge of the day-to-day content of the section and the section’s design. Before becoming sports ...