Wednesday, December 23, 2009

Holiday Realities

Okay, it's just sort of running over me now, this last-minute press of activities for Christmas. I have decided not to post until after the weekend, unless I just get inspired to come pop something in here in the meantime.

But I made an interesting discovery yesterday. Despite a great start with a great smoothie and good choices for lunch and supper (no details here, but I'm trustworthy on that), in between I had too much temptation and too much succumbing to the treats I was making--so basically an overload of fat and sugar and refined flour, with some oats and nuts in there, too. I'm guessing I wound up with about 2500 calories altogether yesterday, only 1000 of it from my meals. And I didn't feel good! I had to take a Tums before bed (and this was HOURS after supper and a homemade caramel or two) and I woke up with a headache and vague ill feelings. So I guess I'm really getting used to eating good things most of the time! Yay!

I thought this post was particularly appropriate for me this morning--enjoy!

Holiday Strategy? No Wrist-Slaps and No Write-Offs

Now I'm off into the Christmas fray again--mostly planning a series of small and larger feasts over the next several days, and basking in the amazing wonder of it all: that the God of the Universe loved us so much that He took on flesh and dwelt among us, full of Grace and Truth. And it all began with an angel messenger, a baby, and a star . . . Rejoice!

Tuesday, December 22, 2009

On the Run . . .

I usually just throw a few things together to make my smoothies several mornings a week, but this one is worth an actual recipe:


Frozen banana
Two cups (maybe 1-1/2) frozen blueberries
One pink grapefruit
Handful of kale
Tablespoon or two flax seed meal
Water to blend

Combine all in blender and whirl.

Verdict--Excellent. The combination of grapefruit and blueberry was beautifully refreshing, and the color was luscious. I tried with a smaller amount of blueberries at first, but it was too tart, so I tipped in the rest of the bag. :-)


Can't do it today!

Monday, December 21, 2009

Rescuing the Day

Well, I had a great day until late afternoon, and then it pretty much fell apart. I think sometimes that my success actually leads to my stumbles. But now it's nearing suppertime and I'm back in the right place again. Thanks, Lord.


Breakfast--Banana and peanut butter in half a South Beach Multigrain Wrap

Lunch--Half cup of VEGETARIAN CHILI, 1-1/2 cups of vegetable-beef soup, gingerbread muffin, clementine, EGGPLANT HUMMUS with carrot and red pepper and celery to dip

Late-Afternoon Meltdown--It started at a little party--Spinach dip and crackers, cookie, little petit-four kind of thing, small piece of chocolate, a few caramel rice cakes. Then at home I felt I'd blown it so I might as well have some of the last of the potato chips, another gingerbread muffin, and a couple of cookies. Brother!!!

Supper--Lundberg Jubilee brown rice mix, green beans, small portion of beef tips in gravy; clementine


Down one pound for a total of eighteen down in ten weeks! I had blood work today and am interested to see what the results are, as I have an interesting marker at two years ago when I weighed about the same as now but was not eating as healthfully. Although I am significantly overweight, I am "metabolically healthy," so my numbers are pretty good and don't have anything dramatic to show, I expect. Stay tuned . . .

Sunday, December 20, 2009

Church Dinner Choices

I was pleased with how the church dinner went today--I was satisfied with my healthy choices. Since I have blood work after a 14-hour fast in the morning, I'm eating a bit past full for supper, which I'm having at about 5:30.


Breakfast--Smoothie of 2/3 pink grapefruit, banana, frozen homegrown peach chunks (yum!), kale, and flax seed meal

Lunch--VEGETARIAN CHILI (about one cup); one serving each (about 3 cups total?) pre-prepared salads at church dinner--one was Greek with a smidgen of tomato and olive and feta and great dressing, and the other spring greens and balsamic dressing; small homemade shortbread cookie

Snack--Half a Harry and David pear; one ounce mixed roasted nuts

Dinner--Half a cup of Lundberg Jubilee rice (prepared yesterday--see that post) with two ounces baked chicken and about 2/3 cup steamed broccoli florets; mini whole wheat bagel (about 80 calories) spread with EGGPLANT HUMMUS; two or three melon chunks

Saturday, December 19, 2009

Cooking Saturday

We have a dinner at church tomorrow, and I was asked to bring a crock pot of chili, so I asked if I could do a vegetarian version. To save time and effort, I also made a vegetable-beef soup at the same time, so all my vegetable chopping and seasoning could go both ways. The soup is seasoned with garlic, onion, worcestershire, bay leaf, and chili powder, with stew beef and tomato juice for the base--I will add frozen mixed vegetables and additional water the day we eat it, but the "guts" are ready to freeze. The chili is below.

(All measurements are approximate--I can't be absolutely sure of the number of cans of tomatoes, for example.)

Tablespoon of oil
2 green peppers, chopped
1 very large onion, chopped
Three cloves of garlic, sliced
Two to three ribs of celery, chopped
Two large cans chopped tomatoes (might be three)
2-3 tablespoons McCormick chili seasoning
1 tablespoon cumin
1 tablespoon chili powder
Additional garlic powder and dehydrated onion to taste
Chopped hot peppers to taste--my homegrown "Anaheims" are too hot for the name, so I put in a handful and then tasted the chili and quickly removed most of the pieces of those peppers!
Spoonful of sugar and dash of salt if needed to correct seasoning
Two large cans kidney beans, drained (I used one dark and one light)

Saute the onion, peppers, celery, and garlic until soft, then add tomatoes and seasonings and cook down for an hour or so. Check seasoning, add beans, reheat, and taste again. Refrigerate overnight and reheat for best flavor.

Verdict--Excellent. I had a cup soon after it was all put together, and it's got a nice hotter-than-medium kick to it. It's a little on the "tomato-ey" side, but I'll taste it again tomorrow before serving to be sure that's still the case.


Breakfast--Leftover apple/raisin oatmeal with toasted almond slices (burned two batches and barely salvaged the third--shame on me!)

Lunch--Amy's Black Bean Enchiladas (yes, I ate both of the ones in the package, for a total of 6g fiber and 100 calories of fat out of 360 calories total) over a salad of spring mix and romaine; larger half of a giant Harry and David pear; sliver of ciabatta sub and of banana coffee cake, about three potato chips, and three chocolate-covered cashews


Supper--Chicken drumstick (baked in the oven with a soy/ginger/honey marinade); 2/3 cup of Lundberg Jubilee Gourmet Blend of Whole Grain Brown Rice cooked in my rice cooker with chicken broth (canned), adding near the end canned sliced mushrooms and a dash of sherry--this was EXCELLENT!; green beans steamed over the rice near the end of cooking time

Snack/Dessert--Will probably have something because we had supper early, but we'll see.

Friday, December 18, 2009

Another Eggplant Hummus

I have a recipe for Eggplant Hummus earlier in this blog, but I didn't refer to it when I made this one tonight.


Small eggplant, baked to softness
Can of garbanzo beans, drained and rinsed
Two to three ounces of tahini
Four cloves garlic
Two teaspoons parsley
Juice of half a lemon
Salt to taste

Combine all in blender and blend to a smooth, creamy consistency, adding a bit of water if needed. Serve as a salad topper, sandwich spread, or dip.

Verdict--Excellent. This makes at least four cups, and I look forward to enjoying it for many days to come. It's particularly spicy/biting from the garlic and eggplant. I like that the eggplant and smallish amount of tahini make for a lower-fat version than is usual.


Breakfast--Smoothie of frozen banana, strawberries, a few blackberries, kale, and flax seed meal

Lunch--One cup leftover KUSHERIE base (lentils, brown and white rice, quinoa) with a large zucchini dry-sauteed with one small onion and a clove of garlic, garnished with a tablespoon of reduced-fat feta cheese; honeydew, cantaloupe, and watermelon chunks

Snack--Ounce of mixed roasted nuts and a large Pink Lady apple

Supper--Large salad of spring greens and a bit of romaine, with green peppers and onion, topped with about half a cup of EGGPLANT HUMMUS and a drizzle of low-cal Italian dressing; small sliver of ciabatta sub sandwich the family was having; small serving of potato chips

Snack/Dessert--Half ounce or so of the banana coffee cake the family was having; two tiny clementines

Thursday, December 17, 2009

Catching Up

I'm having trouble catching up to my life this week since I got back online, and every time I think of this blog I'm doing something else I cannot leave. So I'm just going to start in with what I've eaten today.

Christmas temptations are getting to me. We have goodies people have made us, goodies we've made for various functions we've been going to, and more goodies planned for the next week and more (a birthday two days after Christmas). I hate to commit to it because I don't want to cut off my options, but I really need to. I want to plan to have one small indulgence each day over these holidays, so I can look forward to something each day and keep to that limit. Lots of veggies and fruits will help in that.


Breakfast--Leftover oatmeal with apples, raisins, cinnamon, nutmeg, cloves, and pecan pieces

Lunch (too late!)--Bowl of watermelon, honeydew, and cantaloupe chunks (got a good deal on a prepared tray at the grocery); leftover 2/3 cup Dreamfields pasta (I'm suspicious of this stuff) with 1/4 cup leftover prepared Macaroni Grill lasagne and jarred red sauce, with 1/2 cup cauliflower; single chocolate-cranberry cookie

Supper--Sauteed spinach on a small baked potato; half cup of leftover Kusherie (just the lentils and rice and quinoa) with two-plus ounces of meatloaf; a few bites of dessert cookies

Monday, December 14, 2009

I'm Back! Progress Report

Since my modem died last Wednesday I've had a different sort of life. I've played a lot of Spider Solitaire while listening to an audio book (Desiring God -- nicely read here!) during some of those times when I would normally be checking my Google Reader, doing email, that kind of thing. I also decided to just move through my days without recording everything I was cooking and eating. I found I tended to get sloppy around the edges of things, so that today, for example, I nibbled on a piece of cinnamon toast every few hours throughout the day. Did I really need that? No. Could I have done better? Sure.

I also made a huge pot of Kusherie (the browned onions always run out before the rest of it does, so make lots extra) from the More-With-Less Cookbook  late last week and have eaten it for lunch or supper every day since. That's not such a great idea, either. I browned my onions with less oil, and I used part brown rice and part white rice and part quinoa for the grain--it just took some interesting timing to make all the parts come out right in the end.

The first evening of not blogging I made a casserole of stuffing mix (included whole wheat bread, prepared mostly for the family, but I had a little) with catfish baked on top, with a bruschetta-type topping--tomatoes, olives, herbs. It was good, but I'm not really interested in the leftovers we still have around. I made a nice slaw to go with it (let's see if I can remember it):


one diced apple
tablespoon or two of homemade tarragon vinegar
handful or two of broccoli slaw
tablespoon of cucumber dressing (creamy type)
possibly a tablespoon or so of plain lowfat yogurt (I can't remember!)

Dice apple and toss with the vinegar to prevent browning. Add slaw and dressing and toss to coat everything well. Let stand for an hour or so before eating.

Verdict: Very Good. This was a nice, bright complement to the mellow fish and stuffing.


Two pounds down in one week, total of seventeen pounds down in nine weeks. Not bad for a not-so-great week! I had a physical today (blood work later--that will be interesting to see, though I had good numbers before, despite my weight) and my blood pressure was 120/80, not bad for a 48yo mom not enjoying being there for her physical. :-)

Wednesday, December 9, 2009

Blackberry-Pear Smoothie and Offline For a While

It seems an extravagance to put a perfectly beautiful Harry and David Royal Riviera pear in a smoothie, but when I start feeling sorry for myself about what I don't get to eat, I figure I should have something that makes me feel privileged. So there.

My modem died today and I will not have another until perhaps Monday or so, so I will be suspending my entries here for several days. I hope to have a good report for Monday anyway!


One large ripe pear
Cup frozen blackberries (from our garden)
Frozen banana
Leaves from one large stem of kale
Water to blend

Combine all ingredients and blend to smoothness.

Verdict--Exellent. The pear and banana give it smoothness and the blackberries tart depth. I left out flax seed meal today because I figured the kale and berries would put in plenty of graininess--they do. I had about 3/4 of this and saved the rest for NEVER-ENDING SMOOTHIE. :-)



Snack--(was feeling a little nauseated) 1/3 piece of leftover cheese toast

Lunch--1/2 package Tasty Bite Multigrain Pilaf topped with leftover RATATOUILLE SAUCE, navel orange, 100+ calories' worth of chocolate with almonds

Supper--Half ounce of peanuts; apple; 2/3 cup of leftover brown rice, two ounces or so baked chicken (no skin), 1/3 cup canned diced tomatoes, 1/4 cup diced red onion, blop of salsa--I microwaved all the but last two ingredients to take with me for a supper on the run. I will probably have something else when I get home after posting this.

Tuesday, December 8, 2009

Another Tuesday, Another Restaurant


Breakfast--Oatmeal with peaches frozen from our garden, cinnamon, nutmeg, and toasted pecans

Lunch--At the Iron Bridge Inn, one of a very few good restaurants in our area, I had a lunch menu item of Asian Stir-Fry vegetables with an orange sauce, minus the rice. I could tell there was oil on it, but the veggies were nice--a mix of green and red peppers, broccoli, mushrooms, and I cannot recall what else--maybe carrots, celery . . . ? I had hoped they'd give me extra vegetables in lieu of the rice but they didn't, so the veggies looked kind of lonesome in that giant platter. Our waitress agreed and brought me the side of the day, brussels sprouts. Not my favorite, but healthy and decently done. I had about four of hubby's amazing fries and a couple of bites of his prime rib panini and a few sips of his Lobster Ale. I love the atmosphere in that place, especially with all the Christmas decorations! Good memories of good times there, too.

Snack--Ounce of roasted peanuts, most of a Harry and David pear, two-plus squares cherry-chili chocolate

Supper--Giant salad of mixed leaf lettuce and dark romaine, tomatoes, red onion, tablespoon ranch with tablespoon or two of lowfat plain yogurt for dressing; bowl of MOTLEY CHILI SOUP

Monday, December 7, 2009

Progress Report


Breakfast--Leftover NEVER-ENDING SMOOTHIE (I think I'm ending it for now!)

Lunch--Salad of mixed dark lettuces, purple cabbage, radish, red bell pepper, and red onion topped with 1/2 cup Tasty Bite pilaf (mixed grain and bean) and a half dozen Spanish olives, dressed with a drizzle of low-cal Italian dressing; cup of MINESTRONE SOUP; half a Harry and David pear

Snack--Half ounce of roasted peanuts early, banana with peanut butter and flax seed meal late

Supper--Three ounces baked chicken breast (no skin), 1/2 ounce acorn squash with cinnamon, two cups broccoli, 2/3 cup macaroni and cheese (shouldn't have done that, but it was a lower-fat version I made up for the family), navel orange


Same weight today as last week (when I'd lost four in a week). After my slipup yesterday, it makes sense. But that's still fifteen pounds in eight weeks. :-)

Sunday, December 6, 2009

The Never-Ending Smoothie

This morning I used the last third of the GRAPEFRUIT-BERRY SMOOTHIE I made the other day, but it wasn't going to be enough for my breakfast, so I added a navel orange and more flax seed meal. Too tart and "weak" (navel orange wasn't the best quality). So I thought to add a few frozen blueberries and accidentally tipped too many into the blender. But I blended away and wound up with too much for today's breakfast. So I wonder how many incarnations this smoothie will have before I'm done with it! What should today's be called? Maybe 2X2 SMOOTHIE, having two citruses and two kinds of berries. But that doesn't account for the flax, spinach, and banana in there, too. Whatever.


I started with a desire to make white bean chili, but I didn't have enough flavorful ingredients to make it work, and then it ended up thinner than I intended and we didn't have time to let it cook down sufficiently. So here's what I did, one step at a time.

tablespoon canola oil
small onion, chopped
half a green pepper, chopped
three cloves garlic, sliced
about three or four cups cooked navy beans with a bit of liquid
half a large can diced tomatoes
two teaspoons cumin
quarter cup sliced home-canned jalapenos (briny, not too vinegary)
two tablespoons chicken soup base
two tablespoons chili seasoning
water as needed (probably a pint to a quart)
small bag frozen corn
can chili beans with their liquid

Sautee the chopped veggies in the oil and then add the other ingredients, letting water come to a boil before adding the corn, then the chili beans. Adjust seasoning.

Verdict--Very Good for just thrown together at 9pm. I put a pinch of shredded cheese on top of mine and had a toasted corn taco shell (45 calories?) with it.


Breakfast--Smoothie described above, handful of nuts and raisins

Sunday Dinner--Pink lady apple, 2 oz. lean pork chop with cranberry sauce, leftover Indian rice and lentils from last night, cup of cauliflower (seared, steamed, and dressed with a bit of tomato relish), huge salad of dark greens and other veggies with low-cal balsamic dressing and a touch of ranch, square of chili-cherry dark chocolate. :-)

Snack--I succumbed to a number of emotional pressures this afternoon and had probably a third cup of chocolate chips and pecans, then about four bites of a chocolate chip cake my daughter made. Sigh.

Supper--Navel orange, MOTLEY CHILI SOUP, pinch of shredded cheddar, toasted corn taco shell (45 calories?)

Saturday, December 5, 2009

Indian Outing


1/2 cup cooked navy beans
a half dozen assorted olive bar olives and mushrooms, sliced or chopped
salt to taste

Mash beans with sliced olives and spread on your choice of substrate.

Verdict--Very Good. I needed a substantial snack before going out to a restaurant this evening, and I needed some beans for the day, so I enjoyed this on an Arnold's Sandwich Thin (100 calories)

Going with my friends to Tamarind: Flavor of India in Shadyside, Pittsburgh this evening. In checking out the menu I think I may order either Bisibella Bath (rice with vegetables and lentils) or Biryani (basmati rice with special spices, vegetable variety). The former is pretty cheap, so it may be fairly small. I'll inquire and go with the one that has more veggies in it. :-) Dal Fry and Veg Kofta are two other possibilities . . . remember I'm working on nutritarian, which minimizes starches and fats and sugars other than from natural produce.

I'll update this evening or tomorrow, reporting what I had. Any counsel? :-)


Breakfast--Steel-cut oats with home-dried sugared tart cherries (these are impossible without sweetening!) and toasted almond slices

Lunch--Spaghetti squash topped with RATATOUILLE SAUCE (large serving--I'm hungry!), navel orange

Snack--WHITE BEAN TAPENADE on an Arnold Sandwich Thin

Supper--I chose the Bisibella Bath, which was mostly rice, with lots of lemon grass inedibles to pick out, but the flavor was nice. My friend Marci got the Biryani and I tasted it and was glad for my choice, as hers was too hot for a full meal. I ate a cup-plus of mine and brought home a third to half of it for later, when I can look at it in good light to determine how many lentils are actually IN it. :-) My plate came with one of those crispy things that usually have lentils in them, but this one didn't and tasted really of pork rind. Hmmmm. I tasted a couple of things others had ordered and just plain enjoyed my evening out. Later at Starbucks I had a decaf with half-and-half and two little Walkers shortbreads (179 calories) for a splurge. At home I had a couple of squares of dark chocolate with cherries and chilis and shared with the family (thanks, Marci!). Fun evening out.

Friday, December 4, 2009

Grapefruit-Berry Smoothie and Ruby Salad


1/2 large or whole small pink grapefruit
frozen banana
1/2 cup frozen blueberries
eight or so frozen strawberries
handful of fresh spinach
tablespoon flax seed meal
water to blend

Combine all ingredients in blender. I actually started without the strawberries and found the mixture too tart.

Verdict: Excellent. Very refreshing, and I'm having about 2/3 of it for my breakfast today.


Mixed dark romaine and red leaf lettuces, torn into pieces
Red onion sliced into rings
Thinly sliced radishes
Finely sliced red cabbage
Dried cranberries

Arrange lettuces in a bowl and top with pretty arrangement of all the red and purple things. Serve with a creamy white dressing. (I used a tablespoon of cucumber dressing with a tablespoon of lowfat plain yogurt.)

Verdict: Very Good. It's just a salad, but it's really pretty, and the onion and radishes give it bite while the cranberries give it sweetness.


Breakfast--GRAPEFRUIT-BERRY SMOOTHIE, two bites of Wolferman's English Muffin with a bit of butter

Lunch--2 cups MINESTRONE SOUP, Arnold's Sandwich Thin Multigrain (100 calories, good amount of fiber I've forgotten the count of) topped with peanut butter and part of a pear

Snack--Ounce of roasted edamame and mixed nuts

Supper--Taste of the homemade turkey pot pie I made for the family (really good!), 3/4 cup or so of mixed canned baked beans and navy beans, navel orange, RUBY SALAD with dressing as described

Thursday, December 3, 2009

On the Road Today

I knew I'd be facing dining out in Grove City again today for lunch, so daughter and I determined to go to McDonalds, where I was pretty sure I could get a decent salad (with darker greens than iceberg lettuce!). I was given the crispy chicken on mine and didn't realize it until I'd eaten my portion (slightly less than half the chicken), so it was more fat than I'd intended for lunch. To prepare for this lunch I made sure to have a substantial breakfast, and I didn't have time until afternoon to get in any fruit!

For supper I wanted a lot of veggies done in an interesting and satisfying way, for one of the few times this week our whole family will sit down to supper together. I had spaghetti squash on hand, already cooked, and wanted to do something with that. One recipe that tempted me is "Spaghetti Squash I," with feta and black olives and tomatoes. But I wanted more veggies than that, and I had zucchini and eggplant on hand, so I did this instead: "SPAGHETTI SQUASH WITH RATATOUILLE SAUCE."

This dish includes no oil but I put in a tablespoon or so of olive oil, and I added some sweet white wine, too, to mellow the expected harshness of the flavors. I also added some frozen dried-tomato (and basil) pesto lurking in the back of my freezer, in lieu of the fresh basil in the recipe.

Verdict: Excellent, and everybody else liked it, too. I have leftovers I know I'll enjoy in the next few days.


Breakfast--South Beach Multi-grain Wrap (100 calories, 9g fiber?), 1/2 teaspoon butter to sautee one green onion and scramble one medium egg and two whites

Lunch--McDonalds Southwest Chicken Salad with Lowfat Balsamic Vinaigrette (all shared with daughter, so I calculate I had about 275 calories from my portion, including a couple of ounces of the chicken)

Snack--Leftover strawberry smoothie (includes some spinach and flax seed meal) with additional banana added; half to 3/4 ounce roasted edamame

Supper--SPAGHETTI SQUASH WITH RATATOIULLE SAUCE (I had about a cup of squash and one to 1-1/2 cups of the sauce. The family had some of this as a side dish with their braised steaks and leftover mashed potatoes and rice.) ; apple with peanut butter

Wednesday, December 2, 2009

Banana-Nut Oatmeal, Convenience Food, Christmas Party

I started thinking about this a couple of days ago and got to enjoy it this morning:


1/3 cup steel cut oats
1 cup water
1/4 teaspoon nutmeg
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
1 very ripe banana (mine was frozen)
1/2 ounce broken-up walnuts

Cook oatmeal as directed, adding other ingredients near the end of the cooking time and mashing all together.

Verdict: Excellent! I usually put a dash of salt in my oatmeal and this doesn't need it.



Lunch--Harry and David Anjou pear; Amy's Garden Vegetable Lasagne (frozen, 290 calories, 80 of those fat, 5g fiber, 13g protein) over dry-sauteed mix of two chopped zucchini, half an onion, and a few mushrooms. Because sometimes nutritarians need convenience food, too! :-)

Snack--About 20 chocolate chips, half a biscotti. This is dangerous territory, but . . .

Supper was a challenge. The first part was at a Christmas Open House for Grove City College. It was a gorgeous spread, and I actually wound up eating some of the table decorations, really! Next to the roast beef and the stuffed mushroom caps and the oysters something-or-other (not Rockefeller) they had giant mushrooms. I didn't take any of those. At the other end of the table, by the miniature beef wellingtons and crabcakes, they had a pile of gorgeous yellow and red bell peppers. I didn't take any of those, but I took a tangelo from beside another meat option. I took a bit of the salmon but left the grapes garnishing the platter. By a platter of toasts piled with ham and strawberries I took a single strawberry garnish. There was a beautiful tray of mini caesar salads in parmesan baskets. I took one of those and enjoyed the salad (a few bites) and single crouton. I sampled the cheese basket to be sure what it was, but I left it. I nibbled a few of hubby's choices, particularly the desserts I didn't even get near otherwise, but I totaled no more than three or four bites of the rich goodies. Sooo...

Supper--Tangelo, strawberry, two or three bites caesar salad and a crouton, ounce of salmon with a bit of sauce, tastes of hubby's choices totaling maybe two ounces of heavy hors d'oeuvres and desserts; at home a salad of romaine, carrot, red bell pepper, half a cup of white beans, 100 calories of guacamole, onion, and salsa, plus one toasted corn taco shell (50 calories); half cup of leftover strawberry smoothie from last week

Tuesday, December 1, 2009

Diner Blues

Well, at the famous Main Street Diner (no web site) in Grove City today I had very little to choose from. I have had the flavorful chili in the past, but I know it's full of meat, and today's other soup choices were chicken noodle and cream of potato. Nahh. I ordered the baked cod with baked potato and salad with ranch dressing on the side. Other choices might have been applesauce (sugared, no doubt), cottage cheese, chicken noodle soup, fries, that kind of thing. I don't think they know the color green there! However, the cod was good and well-cooked, with almost no seasoning, and I brought home half of it for another time.


Breakfast--1/2 cup oatmeal (everybody else ate it up!) with 1/4 cup frozen blueberries and 2 tablespoons sliced almonds

Lunch--3 oz. baked cod, 1/2 baked potato with 1/3 oz. cheese, iceberg lettuce salad with token tomato, olive, onion, and pepper slices, 2 tablespoons ranch dressing (a bit of it on the potato), two bites of hubby's hamburger, three french fries, and one bite of garlic bread; apple when I got home, two bites of Toll House pie

Snack--1-1/2 cups MINESTRONE SOUP

Supper--Salad of really nice dark, crisp romaine with red cabbage shreds, matchstick carrots, four or five olive bar olives, tablespoon basil/tomato feta, and low-fat Italian dressing; half a clementine

Monday, November 30, 2009

Progress Report, and Very Monday

Some leftovers are definitely better than in their original. My MINESTRONE SOUP tasted much better to me Sunday evening than it did Saturday, when I made it. And today I found the ENCHILADA CASSEROLE I made last week, when I didn't enjoy it, and it's really good for lunch. That's a nice surprise.


Breakfast--The last of the AMBROSIA (waah!) with flax seed meal

Lunch--Harry and David pear (I get these at a good discount at the outlet mall), leftover ENCHILADA CASSEROLE

Snacks--Four leftover BRUSSELS SPROUTS WITH LEMON (I like these better the next day, too.), apple, half ounce of roasted peanuts

Supper--Tough to report: I made Crockpot Thai Chicken for the family (using boneless, skinless chicken breasts) and a Teriyaki veggies and noodles frozen thing, with sauce, but augmented with about a third of a head of sauteed cabbage and half a red onion. On my plate I put nearly a cup of baked spaghetti squash, and over that some of the veggie/noodle thing, and over that a couple of ounces of the Thai chicken and sauce. I had a half ounce of peanuts on the side. Sometimes it's just a tired evening and too much trouble to be persnickety. And then I am having those two bites of Toll House pie.


FOUR pounds down this week (after one pound up last week) for a total of fifteen pounds down in seven weeks. I'll take it!

Sunday, November 29, 2009

What to Do With Sunday Pot Roast?

I made pot roast for the family for Sunday dinner today, seasoned with onion soup mix and additional dried minced onion, garlic powder, and red wine. I wanted to adapt it for me to be more nutritious, so I sauteed some mushrooms in a dab of butter and put most of them in the crock pot with the roast, but to the rest of them in the skillet I added a half cup of cooked brown rice, a half cup of cooked white beans, an ounce of the pot roast, and some of the pot roast juice from the crock pot, with some fresh thyme. It was pretty good!


Breakfast--Smoothie of a dozen frozen strawberries, banana, a quarter bag of inadvertently frozen fresh spinach (lovely little shattery leaves fall beautifully into the blender), flax seed meal (I had about 2/3 of this and saved the rest for another day.)


Lunch--BRUSSELS SPROUTS WITH LEMON (I omitted the almonds, and we found the sauce too lemony and thick, but it was an interesting treatment); rice, beans, mushrooms, and a flavoring of pot roast; tablespoon of leftover Thanksgiving sweet potato casserole; cup of AMBROSIA; about twenty chocolate chips my daughter pressed on me :-)

Supper Before Church--MINESTRONE SOUP (I didn't want to be too hungry when they have a snacky thing after church tonight, knowing we won't be home until 8:30 or so.)

Snack After Church--Romaine salad with beet slices and two or so ounces of white-meat turkey and a snipped scallion, dressed with a tablespoon of ranch dressing and two tablespoons of plain lowfat yogurt; two bites of Toll House pie

Saturday, November 28, 2009

Ambrosia for Breakfast, Minestrone Soup

It makes me happy to have for breakfast a cup of AMBROSIA made about sixty hours ago, so that the flavors have mingled and chilled together so nicely, in a chunky cup decorated with a gold and red checkerboard border and little green Christmas trees and gold stars around its circumference.

Inspiration here and here.

1-2 tablespoons olive oil
large onion, chopped
three cloves garlic, sliced
three ribs celery, chopped
5-7 stems from the chard I had earlier in the week, chopped
two large zucchini, chopped into chunks
large can diced tomatoes
1/2 cup tomato puree (I just had some left over)
tablespoon Italian herbs
teaspoon marjoram
1/2 teaspoon powdered thyme
teaspoon paprika (in one of those recipes)
cup chicken stock
sprig fresh rosemary
three bouillon cubes
two teaspoons garlic powder
tablespoon dehydrated minced onion
cup dry ditalini or other small pasta (you could use more but I'm minimizing)
4 cups cooked navy beans
half a bag of fresh spinach inadvertently frozen in the mud room fridge (drat!)
teaspoon pepper, salt to taste

Saute onion, garlic, celery, chard stems, and zucchini in olive oil, then add other ingredients through the chicken stock, bring to a boil, check flavor, then add the other things through the pasta. Simmer until pasta and zucchini are tender, then add beans and spinach. Don't overcook to the point of mushy beans and veggies, but let sit on the stove an hour or so before eating, then heat gently again. I expect the leftovers will be even better next week.

I know that's a lot of ingredients, but it just follows how I operate in the kitchen. Consider the two recipes linked above that I used for inspiration.

Verdict: Excellent. I didn't have much appetite, though. :-(


Early Breakfast (I got up at 5:15!)--AMBROSIA with flax seed meal

Later Breakfast (about 10 a.m.)--Half a whole-wheat bagel with one egg (half the yolk) and a teaspoon of homemade, homegrown elderberry jam

Lunch (I see the problem with publishing everything I eat--some of it is just weird)--2 cups of steamed broccoli with about 1/3 cup homemade mac & cheese and 2-3 oz. baked pollock

Snack--pecan triangle (Ours are actually squares, and I didn't have any yesterday!). I can tell I do better without the treats--having this has made me feel "munchy" for the late afternoon, but then again, since I got up almost twelve hours ago, maybe I'm just ready for supper!

Supper--MINESTRONE SOUP; one bite of hubby's pumpkin pie; maybe a piece of fruit I'll choose after I post this.

Friday, November 27, 2009

The Day After . . . Comfort Food

For lunch I made a nutritarian version of comfort food: instead of a big bowl of mashed potatoes with all the rich trimmings, I had a half a cup of them (and the recipe modified--see yesterday's post) tossed with two whole cups of steamed broccoli. All the warmth, the creaminess, and health to boot--that's real comfort food!


large can red enchilada sauce
9 small corn tortillas
2/3 can refried beans
1/3 cup kidney beans
small can Mexican corn, drained
small onion, half shredded or finely chopped, the other half in rings
1/4 red bell pepper, shredded or finely chopped
Optional: salsa and chopped tomato and pepper and onion to garnish

Pour enough enchilada sauce into a 9x13 glass dish to cover the bottom. Spread each tortilla with refried beans and then add kidney beans, corn, onion, and pepper. Fold up the sides of each tortilla and put open side down into the dish, over the sauce. Mine fit better at a slight angle. Cover with remaining sauce and onion rings and bake at 350 for about 30-45 minutes, until bubbly.

Verdict: Good. I'm not a big fan of red enchilada sauce, but I needed a quickie casserole to use up leftovers (thus the odd amounts of beans). I put too much salsa on mine, too, so it was hotter than I would have liked. It would be nice to refine this recipe in the future, maybe with green enchilada sauce (what I intended to buy) and other fillings.


Breakfast--Banana eaten in part at 3 a.m. and in part at 8 a.m. for the purpose of taking ibuprofen; AMBROSIA with flax seed meal

Lunch--2 cups steamed broccoli with 1/2 cup (maybe a bit more) of mashed potatoes left over from Thanksgiving, a snipped scallion added for bite


Supper--ENCHILADA CASSEROLE (I had two tortillas, about 90 calories, with the fillings and sauce), green beans (frozen from our garden)

Snack--Clementine, pear

Thursday, November 26, 2009


Happy Thanksgiving! I am indeed thankful for so many things this year--for the news of TWO matches in the cord blood bank for a little girl I know who needs a bone marrow transplant, for my amazingly beautiful and interesting and just-fun-to-be-with children, for my dear husband and his new scratchy mustache, for my teaching work and engagement with plans for the future for all the family, for my amazing friends online and local, for my country, as flawed and frustrating as it is, and most of all for my great God, Who does so much for me that I often take so for granted.


(All counts are approximate--I don't remember exactly what I did.)
2-3 pink grapefruit
2 navel oranges
2-3 tangerines
3-4 clementines
1/2 cup shredded coconut (yes, mine is sweetened)

Peel and section all citrus, peeling off most of the membranes but leaving some so that there are distinguishable chunks throughout, adjusting quantities for the right mix of colors. Then mix in the shredded coconut and stir well, leaving in the fridge overnight. Better as the days go by.

Verdict--Excellent! This is one of my favorite Thanksgiving and Christmas traditions, though I often make it with just navel oranges. Those and coconut constitute the traditional Southern version, though some might sneak in some sugar, if the oranges aren't juicy enough.


Turkey--It's pretty healthy to begin with. I'll have a few ounces, and yes, some dark meat, but no skin.

Gravy--My turkey roasted so moistly there weren't really any browned bits in the pan, so I'm just reducing the stock (chilled overnight and skimmed of fat) and adding some white wine and seasonings, no thickener. This is amazingly good--try it!

Dressing--Instead of adding a whole stick of butter to the bag of mix (combined with half a skillet of homemade cornbread), I used just a couple of tablespoons, with which I sauteed an onion and two ribs of celery and a bunch of sage from our garden. I used chicken broth for additional "body" and flavor.

Mashed potatoes--Instead of lots of butter and cream, our big three quarts or more has about a half a stick of butter and a half cup of sour cream with 1% milk to correct the consistency.

Green beans--Instead of a casserole, with mushroom soup and canned fried onions (why does everyone find it necessary to make this?!), we're having a nice batch of plain steamed green beans, though I might add a bit of butter and some slivered almonds if I feel they need dressing up.

Sweet potatoes and cranberry sauce--A guest is supplying these, and I'll have a little of each.

Rolls--To reduce temptation and labor, I purchased some pretty ones (mixed types) from the grocery bakery. I can leave those alone, or just taste one of the rye ones.

Appetizers--I will put out a dry salami and good cheese with crackers. As long as I don't open the Boursin cheese, I won't be too tempted, but I might sample the salami (a sliver). I am thankful that I am so well nourished and not "craving" most of the time, so that I can really enjoy "just a taste" of these kinds of things.

Pies--My daughters made traditional apple and pumpkin, and I'll have a bite or so of each, but that's it. I'm saving up for . . .

COMPLETELY WORTH IT INSANE INDULGENCE--Priceless Pecan Triangles. One 48th of the recipe is 160 calories, 100 of those from fat. I plan to have no more than two of these today, and maybe just one, fully savored with a good cup of coffee.


Breakfast--Leftover oatmeal with apple and ginger and cinnamon

Lunch--Scant three ounces of mixed white and dark meat turkey, (measures following approximate) 1/4 cup dressing, 1/4 cup mashed potatoes, 2 tablespoons reduced turkey stock (see "gravy" above), tablespoon homemade cranberry sauce, 1/4 cup sweet potato casserole, 3/4 cup green beans (dressed with scant dab of olive oil and lemon juice), 3/4 cup AMBROSIA; two bites each of apple pie and pumpkin pie, equivalent of one pecan triangle

Supper--Salad of red leaf and iceberg lettuce with red bell pepper, canned beets, 2 oz. turkey breast, and a tablespoon of cucumber dressing with two tablespoons of plain lowfat yogurt; 1/2 cup canned baked beans with navy beans; one pecan triangle

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Busy Day

Busy prepping for Thanksgiving today . . .


Breakfast--Oatmeal with apple, cinnamon, and toasted walnuts

Lunch--South Beach multigrain wrap (see earlier posts) spread with 100 calories (70 of fat) of guacamole (cool single-serve pouches from Costco), and a layer of kidney beans, chopped tomato, bell pepper, and onion; banana spread with peanut butter and a sprinkling of granola

Supper--Sauteed zucchini (four of them with a couple of teaspoons of olive oil, a small onion, garlic powder, and a sprinkling of parmesan); scant 1/2 cup of the whole-wheat pasta casserole I made the family--includes lowfat cottage cheese, some part skim mozarella, tomato sauce, and one small meatball


Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Preparing for Thanksgiving

Today I bought most of my groceries--maybe all of them!--for Thanksgiving. I am planning ahead to have some nutritarian offerings I can enjoy fully but that won't be off-putting for our guests. So I have our traditional ambrosia (navel oranges, coconut) that I may put a spin on with a bit of variety in the citrus and less coconut than usual. And I'm planning plain steamed green beans and mashed potatoes without too much additional stuff in them. I'll still make turkey and dressing and gravy and a friend is bringing sweet potato casserole and homemade cranberry sauce, and I've purchased rolls ahead of time. One daughter is making pumpkin pies (not a great temptation to me, but I may have some) and I want to plan one real indulgence--pecan pie or pecan pie bars I made last year and that are wonderful.

I'm determined to have lots of healthy things around the holiday, too, so that I'm not derailed by days and days of holiday food. So I bought clementines and a pummelo today, plus brussels sprouts and a nice green squash I hope is one of the kind that are sweeter than acorn squash but look kind of like them. Tonight I'm making ribs for the family and will make collards and perhaps brown rice to go with that.


Breakfast--Smoothie made of a mixed-berry one I had last week, frozen banana, lots of spinach, and flax seed meal with water to blend

Lunch--Salad of red leaf lettuce, mostly, with green pepper and jicama and onion and grape tomatoes, with black beans over the top and low-cal Italian dressing, plus a couple of olive bar olives and the teaspoon or so of oil in those; clementine (why are these so expensive this year?!); one reduced-fat Ritz cracker

Snack--1/4 cup Kashi Go Lean cereal with a few pecan halves

Supper--Half cup of brown rice topped with collard greens (cooked in a bit of bacon for the family), then with caramelized onions on top (sauteed in a tad of peanut oil); 3/4 cup of a mixture of 2/3 canned baked beans and 1/3 canned navy beans. The family is having bbq ribs with this, and I got a little for my portion (maybe an ounce of meat). For dessert, we shared my pumello.

Monday, November 23, 2009

Challenges of Travel, Progress Report

On my three-day first-time-ever trip to New England, I started very strong and ended kind of weakly, with renewed cravings (see note on potato chips in today's menu!). Here's a rundown of how it went:

Thursday--Smoothie at home for breakfast, Taco Bell "Fresco" chicken burrito, apple and nuts, two bites of hubby's turkey sub at the airport, ounce or so of roasted edamame, then a late-night Mexican salad at a Sonic (chicken, black beans, corn, cucumber, a bit of tomato, light ranch dressing)

Friday--Bowl of mixed fruit and one egg at hotel with one bite of daughter's bran muffin; Gordon College cafeteria excellent salad bar salad of dark greens and healthy veggies on top, including garbanzos, with fat-free balsamic dressing; Gordon College "Vegan Gumbo" with red beans, okra, celery, tomato-type broth; banana; ounce or so of roasted edamame. For dinner an amazing dinner recommended by a local at Passports in Gloucester, MA. I definitely had the fresh popover the waitress put on my bread plate before we ordered, and a couple of sips of hubby's white wine. I ordered the sesame-crusted yellowfin tuna with stir-fried vegetables and a ginger-type sauce. I requested additional veggies in lieu of a potato or rice. I could tell the sauce had some fat in it, but the fish had very little crust on it and the whole of it seemed pretty light. I was really hungry but still took home a good little leftover portion daughter enjoyed the next evening. I enjoyed a couple of bites of hubby's paella, too. :-)

Saturday--Bowl of mixed fruit and one egg with a small bran muffin at hotel; half ounce or so of mixed nuts; mid-afternoon lunch at Gloucester House -- I had the Greek-Style Seafood Scampi with just shrimp (allergic to scallops) and a small piece of cornbread. I ate almost all of this--left behind some of the pasta. It was definitely fatty but also very good. Later as we relaxed in the hotel I had some nuts and an orange. In the late evening hubby got a pint of ice cream for the three of us to share and I had no more than three ounces.

Sunday--Bowl of mixed fruit and 1-2 scrambled eggs, with small bran muffin (bet you can't guess this was at the hotel); after church lunch at Bertucci's, famous for not publishing nutritional information. But their roasted veggies are included in the posted recipes online, so I learned today I got more oil than I thought with those, and I ordered a bowl of minestrone and completely enjoyed the amazing roll on the table, plus I had the lunch salad we'd requested with light burgundy vinaigrette. At the airport I had a bite of a muffin and of a doughnut hubby had purchased for us three to share--I really could have done without those. And at home I had some leftover SATYAMMA'S FAMOUS CAULIFLOWER CURRY and some asparagus I found in the fridge from other daughter's dinner party Friday night.

In the wake of that increasingly non-nutritious eating over those days I have felt "needy" today (Monday) and grasping of treats I know are around, though the potato chips below are the only infraction I can think of right now. I'm trying to max out the good stuff today so I won't be hungry for the not-so-good stuff, and I hope to be back on an even keel by Tuesday.

There are times to enjoy celebratory, vacation-type food, and I think the dinner at Passports was just the thing for that, as was the small serving of ice cream. I'm not as happy about the "bite" here and there of non-optimal stuff, nor with the scampi at Gloucester House.


Breakfast--Oatmeal with frozen homegrown peaches, nutmeg, slivers of candied ginger, and toasted pecans

Lunch--Salad of romaine and spinach topped with black beans, onion, green pepper, salsa, and a tablespoon of ranch dressing; sweet potato with raisins and a few pecans broken up; unauthorized small handful of sour cream and onion potato chips (they're gone now, for which I'm thankful)

Supper--Yellow squash and onions; chard braised with garlic, olive oil (a tad), and lemon at the end; two ounces of pollack baked with a bit of olive oil and low-cal Italian dressing; orange

Snack (planned now as I'm posting)--Apple with peanut butter


Well, after a difficult weekend I'm pleased to report being just one pound up from last week, and I hope that will resolve in a day or two. That's eleven pounds down in six weeks.

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Hungry and Another Curry

I woke up this morning pretty hungry (even a bit woozy), so I'm working on making sure I'm getting high-quality calories in there. Beginning tomorrow evening I will have three full days out of town without known access to groceries, etc. I may not post during that time but I'll report when I return.


Breakfast early--Banana with peanut butter and flax seed meal

Breakfast late--Half whole-wheat bagel (120 calories) with a smear of homemade elderberry jelly; two egg whites and half a yolk microwaved with a bit of milk, half a snipped scallion, a teaspoon of cheddar cheese shreds, salt, and pepper

Lunch--Leftover cup of LENTIL SOUP enriched with canned diced tomatoes, fresh spinach, and dried minced onions; smoothie of red grapefruit, frozen strawberries, and frozen blueberries

Snack--Tablespoon of peanuts and raisins, apple

Supper--SATYAMMA'S FAMOUS CAULIFLOWER CURRY (see sidebar for link to Molly Katzen's website--this recipe is from The New Moosewood Cookbook (Mollie Katzen's Classic Cooking) ), which includes a blended sauce of peanuts, sesame seeds, cumin seeds, mustard seeds, cayenne, coconut, and fresh ginger over sauteed (I used very little oil) onion, cauliflower, and carrots, with lemon juice and garbanzos added near the end. We had condiments of green and red onion, tomatoes, bell pepper in red and green, toasted almond slivers, and I forgot the raisins. :-) The family had it on rice, and I had it on green beans. WONDERFUL! I had a little homemade peanut butter cup (chocolate chips melted in a candy cup with peanut butter filling to finish, feeling a little deprived because the family were all munching cookies around me.

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Subway Salad


Breakfast--Smoothie of banana, navel orange, elderberries (search for earlier post), spinach, flax seed meal, and water to blend

Lunch--Subway salad (50 calories) with roast beef (90 calories, according to their menu, but it seemed a bit skimpy for that calorie count) plus fat-free honey-mustard dressing (30+ calories); two bites of hubby's pizza; cup of leftover LENTIL SOUP; 2-inch segment of cherry-almond biscotti from my friend Amy in Maryland and 1-inch sliver of candied ginger from my friend Melissa in Jordan. Is that eclectic or what? :-)

Snack--Apple (Jonathan) and <1 oz. roasted cashews

Supper--Leftover stir fry with two meatballs (50 cal.) and added frozen green beans (no pasta), pear

Monday, November 16, 2009

Progress Report


Breakfast--Oatmeal with frozen homegrown peaches, toasted walnuts, cinnamon, and nutmeg

Lunch--2 cups lentil soup (probably 1-1/3 cups lentils); apple; hot tea with some sugar (sore throat, cough)

Snack--A few pieces of granola with raisins (tablespoon?), <2 tablespoons ice cream (are we feeling needy here or what?), cup of green beans with about one small red potato (better choice for hunger now)

Supper--Stir fry of cabbage, broccoli, carrot, red onion, water chestnuts, edamame, green beans, red bell pepper, and baby corn, in 1-2 tablespoons peanut oil (I ate about a quarter of this); two meatballs (50 calories); two ounces tofu; 1/2 cup whole wheat linguine


1 pound down in a bit less than a week, for 12+ pounds in five weeks!

Sunday, November 15, 2009

Simple Sunday


Breakfast--Smoothie of pear, banana, tangerine, spinach, flax seed meal, and water and ice to blend

Snack--1/2-3/4 cup leftover WHITE BEAN CHICKEN CHILI

Lunch--Green beans cooked with about 1/2 a smallish red potato, 1-2 oz. bbq rib meat (lean), 1/3 cup leftover cole slaw (vinegar-type dressing), 1/2 cup fruit salad (canned peach, apple, banana, canned pineapple), about one bite chocolate chip pound cake

Supper--Red leaf and romaine salad topped with 1/3 cup kidney beans, 1/4 cup leftover red chili with beef, chopped bell pepper, tomato, and onion, and salsa (too much--hot!); 1-1/2 corn taco shells (75 calories); orange; 1/2 oz. roasted cashews

Saturday, November 14, 2009

Easy Lentil Soup

Our cooktop shorted out and the parts are on order, so in the meantime I have to cook with an oven, a microwave, and a rice cooker. Could be interesting. :-/ Made the lentil soup in the crock pot.


Small bag dry lentils, or half a large one
Two cups warmed broth (I had some skimmed from cooking country pork ribs for the family last night)
Quart or so of boiling water
One large onion, chopped
Large can diced tomatoes and juice
Salt, pepper, garlic powder, and hot sauce to taste

Combine all ingredients in crockpot and cook on high for about two hours. Done.

Verdict--Excellent. I think the pork broth adds quite a bit to it, but it would be okay with just water, and of course a veggie stock would be nice, too. :-)


Breakfast--Oatmeal cooked with an apple and toasted pecans

Lunch--Lentil soup, smoothie of frozen strawberries, kale, banana, and flax seed meal

Snack--Half ounce of mixed nuts in my purse, pear

Supper--Cup of canned beets; cup of fresh steamed broccoli with half a baked potato cubed into it and a tablespoon of creamy cucumber dressing (30 calories, 25 from fat, I think); red leaf lettuce salad with green onion and three sliced olive bar olives and a teaspoon or so of Asian ginger dressing, plus two ounces of rotisserie chicken breast on top

Friday, November 13, 2009

The Food Matters

This article (November 13 blog post), entitled "Gut Bugs Revisited" suggests that those who have difficulty maintaining a healthy weight may have different intestinal flora than do those who can maintain normal weight. The interesting thing to me was that mice with human "gut bugs" rapidly gained weight when switched from a low-fat high-veggie diet to a "Western diet" of high sugar and high fat, and that the metabolic pathway changed within just a day!

The good news is that though the study didn't investigate this, it seems to make sense that the changes can go the other way, as well! That's what I am discovering: a 1500-calorie day of "Western diet" leaves me feeling very deprived and doesn't lead to sustained weight loss, even when the regimen can be sustained; but a 1500-calorie day of nutritarian eating leaves me full and energetic, and I'm losing weight at over two pounds per week after over a month.

We'll see how the weeks and months to come turn out.

Scientific types who want to protest my conclusions, please recognize I'm just speculating and reading between the lines! :-)

Can I Avert a Cold?

I had a hint of a sore throat yesterday, and then I woke at 5am with a definite sore throat. So I got up and gargled with warm salt water and then used Lynn's concept of a jigger of lime juice last thing before lying down (I used fresh-squeezed lemon quarter with an orange quarter to make it go down), and I could feel the "medicinal quality" of that juice on my throat as I lay back down. Now in the late morning I still feel incipient cold, but a little hot tea (Earl Grey) with a small segment of a homemade biscotti a friend gave me, and taking it easy, plus some extra vitamins, may help. It would be great to find that I can forestall a full-blown cold through superior nutrition!

My food choices today are kind of based on what "sounds good" or therapeutic for the illness:


Breakfast--Smoothie of 1/2 red grapefruit, a banana, fresh kale, flax seed meal, and water and ice to blend. I think it's kind of "preppie"--pink and green! :-). Unfortunately, it wasn't enough calories, so a couple of hours later I had an apple and peanut butter.

Lunch--1/3 cup red chili from last night (includes about one ounce ground beef) with 1/2+ cup kidney beans over a big bowl of romaine, dressed with salsa, tomato, onion, bell pepper, and a tablespoon or so of lowfat plain yogurt

Supper--(A challenge because our cooktop is on the fritz!)--Baked sweet potato, green beans with several carrot coins, orange. Lots of orange things tonight!

At 8pm I still have a slightly scratchy throat, but I don't feel anything has gotten any worse today, and it's certainly better than when I awoke at 5am. We'll see!

Thursday, November 12, 2009

Chili for Company

Today we have guests for supper, so I made two pots of chili, beginning with dry beans. One is a white chili, below, and the other is a traditional beef and red bean chili with lots of tomato and celery and peppers and chili seasoning.


2 quarts chicken broth/stock
3 chicken thighs, skin removed
1 small bag dry navy beans
2 anaheim chili peppers, sliced into rounds, seeds removed
1 small onion, chopped
1-2 large cloves garlic, sliced
2 stalks celery, chopped
1/2 bell pepper, chopped
1 teaspoon coriander (mine is home-grown and home-ground)
2 teaspoons cumin
bouillon or salt to taste

Cook beans as directed on package, drain from soaking liquid but keep cooking liquid. Prepare chicken broth/stock ahead and cook chicken thighs in it. Combine beans and their liquid with stock and chicken, and then add chopped vegetables and seasonings and simmer until nicely done. Better the next day. This was a little runnier than I would like.

Verdict--Excellent. This seems like more a white bean and chicken soup than a "chili," but I enjoyed it. There is more chicken in it than I would normally make for myself, but we had company. Probably won't have any animal products tomorrow to be sure the three ounces or so here doesn't become a habit.


Breakfast--Smoothie of frozen honeydew and blackberries, fresh pineapple and a bit of its juice, two handsful of fresh spinach, flax seed meal, and water to blend.

Lunch--Tasty Bite Multigrain Pilaf (see yesterday's post--same amount today) with shredded carrot, chopped red and green bell pepper, green onion, and lite raspberry vinaigrette dressing; later a pear and a small cup of raisins, cashews, and dried apricots


Supper--WHITE BEAN CHICKEN CHILI with tomatoes, onions, and salsa for toppings; orange, carrots; very small slice chocolate chip pound cake with decaf coffee

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Nothing Special Today


1/2 package Tasty Bite Multigrain Pilaf (200 calories, 50 from fat, 4g fiber, 9g protein--the link shows slightly different numbers for a different-size package, perhaps even a different recipe)

1/2 small onion, chopped
1 large yellow squash, quartered lengthwise and then sliced
1-1/2 cups cabbage, chopped
1/4 bell pepper, chopped
tablespoon tomato relish (ours is homemade with peppers, onions, spices, and yes, sugar)

Variation: instead of tomato relish, try a minced sundried tomato (I actually looked for a jar of those in the cabinet and couldn't find them. :-) )

Heat pilaf according to package directions. Dry-saute onion to slight brownness, then add squash and cabbage, and finally pepper, according to desired doneness. Stir in tomato relish. Serve over pilaf.

Verdict--Very Good. The pilaf is chewy and spicy, and the sweet onions (from browning) contrast nicely, as does the sweetness of the tomato relish (also accomplished by the suggested variation with a sun-dried tomato).


Breakfast--Half an Arnold's Sandwich Thin, tablespoon or so peanut butter, small apple

Lunch--Leftover COMPANY SALAD BAR (see yesterday) with added romaine lettuce, 1/2 cup black beans, 4 olive bar olives (sliced), 1/3 cup EGGPLANT HUMMUS thinned with homemade tarragon vinegar; orange; still hungry an hour later so 1/2 potato with 3/4 cup broccoli, tablespoon plain lowfat yogurt, garlic powder, salt, and pepper

Supper--PILAF WITH SQUASH AND CABBAGE; red grapes; a bit of chocolate :-)

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Tardy Progress Report and Scary Smoothie


3/4 cup fresh pineapple (about 1/4 of the cored kind in the produce department containers)
small frozen banana
tablespoon or so flaked coconut
1/2 baked butternut squash
1/2 cup packed kale leaves
tablespoon flax seed meal
ice and water to blend

Combine all ingredients and blend. My ailing Braun blender died in the midst of this so I pulled out the new Oster Fusion (from Target) I had waiting, and it finished nicely.

Verdict--Very Good. I made just the pineapple, banana, and coconut for the kids, who jokingly asked if I was putting butternut squash in it, since I had that out on the counter. Then I went ahead and added it to mine and did the kale and flax seed, too. It comes out more as a puree than a smoothie, but the coconut bits are chewy and disguise the kale bits. The flavor is nice.


Breakfast--Steel-cut oatmeal (1 cup) with 1/3 cup tiny frozen blueberries and 1/2 oz. toasted almonds

Lunch--Leftover COMPANY SALAD BAR (mostly spinach for greens, radishes, bell pepper, red onion) with cut beets on top and a dressing made of one tablespoon of regular Ranch (70 calories, 60 from fat) and 1-1/2 tablespoons or so of plain lowfat yogurt (This was very satisfying, especially after a full day with no salad at all); 1/4 cup EGGPLANT HUMMUS on 1/2 South Beach Multigrain wrap (55 calories, 4g fiber); about 1/4 cup split pea soup (cleaning up crazy leftovers).

Snack--Pear and about eight pecan halves

Supper--SCARY SMOOTHIE; 3/4 cup black beans heated with tomatoes, onion, and salsa


I forgot to post it yesterday, so I get the extra pound reflected on today's scale. :-)
3 pounds down this week, for a total of 11+ pounds in four weeks and one day!

Monday, November 9, 2009

Optimizing Leftovers, Adding Animal Products

The last couple of days I've been adding a couple of ounces of chicken to my day's menu, in order to work a bit on the B-12 I'm missing from a mostly-vegan diet. But I don't want to go overboard with depending on meat as a major meal component, so I want to see about having just an ounce or two (or three if there's opportunity for a really nice piece of fish or beef, for example, at a restaurant) in a day. And if some days are all-vegan, that's fine. I've still been keeping my 1% milk for coffee in the mornings all along.


(Created to make use of already-prepared scrambled eggs the family didn't finish, plus already-prepared veggies from the COMPANY SALAD BAR yesterday.)

1/4 onion, chopped
several chopped grape tomatoes
1/4 small bell pepper, chopped
two small handfuls of fresh spinach
1 egg, either raw or pre-scrambled

Dry-saute the first three vegetables and when browned, add in the spinach and stir until wilted, then stir in the egg, either cooking the raw or just heating the cooked.

Verdict--Good. This makes a nice 1-1/2 - 2-cup serving of breakfast


1 cup broccoli florets (ours are the last from our plants this year!)
1/2 baked potato, cubed (leftover in my case)
Garlic powder, steak seasoning, and dry onion flakes to taste
Tablespoon of plain lowfat yogurt

Steam the broccoli and then drain off the water and add the potato pieces and seasonings and heat gently until potato is heated through. Add yogurt and stir to combine.

Verdict--Excellent for the speed of preparation. Nice comfort food, and though the yogurt is really optional, it has the "feel" of the usual butter-and-cheese or sour cream additions.


Breakfast--SPINACH SCRAMBLED EGG, orange (to help with iron absorption from the spinach)

Lunch--BROCCOLI-POTATO BOWL; apple; ounce of roasted edamame; about 24 chocolate chips and a teaspoon or two of peanut butter made into a Reese's-type confection by my domestic daughter. I've got to be sure to keep these out of reach / out of ken.

Supper--Yellow squash with onions; peas with mushrooms (these baked in the pan with the pork loin pieces for the family, so seasoned with pepper, garlic, salt, and tarragon vinegar and olive oil)

Sunday, November 8, 2009

Company Salad Bar

The salad bar today was a hit, and proof that you can feed a lot of people in a nutritarian-friendly way without making them feel funny about it. :-)


2 cups honeydew chunks
1/2 cup frozen blackberries (from our garden)
large banana
about 1/2 cup packed kale leaves
tablespoon flax seed meal
water for consistency

Blend all in the blender, enjoy. This made one very large serving.

Verdict--Very Good.


**Just for company
*For me, but just a bit

Appetizers: EGGPLANT HUMMUS with carrots; honey pretzels with dip **

Assorted greens in separate dishes--spinach, red leaf lettuce, iceberg, romaine
Green pepper slices
Shredded carrot
Sliced radishes
Halved grape tomatoes
Red onion rings
Diced chicken breast *
Julienned deli roast beef **
Slivered pepperoni **
Diced ham **
Devilled eggs **
Shredded cheddar **
Crumbled feta *
Olive bar olives *
Raisins **
Almond slivers *
Several bottled dressings *, plus homemade tarragon vinegar and olive oil **
Homemade sourdough bread *
Homemade apple muffins **
Butter for the bread **
Red and green grapes
Lemon for ice water

Dessert: Decadent caramel/chocolate cookie bars (brought by a guest) *
Coffee with milk * and sugar and sweetener

Arrange salad bar items in attractive containers in a logical order and invite everyone to enjoy!

Verdict: Excellent. Enjoyed by all.



Lunch--EGGPLANT HUMMUS (1/3 cup or so) with baby carrots; COMPANY SALAD BAR as above--I had about two ounces of chicken breast on my salad, a teaspoon or so of feta, two olives, and a scattering of slivered almonds, with a tablespoon or so of lite Italian dressing. I had about a half ounce at most of the sourdough bread, just enough for a few small bites. I had a small piece of the dessert, about 1 x 1.5 inches, and enjoyed it thoroughly and slowly with my coffee.

Snack--Banana with peanut butter and flax seed meal

Supper--1-1/2 cups split pea soup, pear

Saturday, November 7, 2009

Planning for Hospitality

Today we're making preparations for fifteen for Sunday dinner after church--our family of six, another family of five, and four college students. I decided on a salad bar--brilliant for nutritarian eating in a festive atmosphere--and I'm assembling ingredients and planning what to get at the grocery this afternoon.


Breakfast--Steel-cut oats with tiny frozen blueberries and lightly-toasted almond slivers, a dash of cinnamon and a pinch of sugar

Lunch--Split-pea soup (made with ham bone, onion, carrot, and bay leaf) and pink grapefruit

Supper--Chopped zucchini dry-sauteed with onion, mixed with leftover CHUNKY PASTA SAUCE and about two ounces of chicken; 1/6 acorn squash, with a few pecan halves and a dozen raisins or so

Friday, November 6, 2009



1/2 large eggplant, baked to softness and peeled (I had this left over from a couple of days ago--obviously it would make sense to bake a whole one and double the rest of the ingredients for the recipe.)
1 can chick peas / garbanzo beans, drained
2 cloves garlic, mashed
2 tablespoons tahini (260 calories!!!)
1/3 lemon (yes, I put the flesh in, too, but not the peel)
tablespoon dried parsley
water if needed to blend
dash of salt

Combine all ingredients in a blender and puree.

Verdict--Very Good. I made it a bit too thin (adding water), but it's a very satisfying snack with carrots to dip into it. The eggplant gives it a nice extra bite. The whole recipe is about 4 cups, and I estimate about 700 calories, so a generous half cup is under 90 calories.


Breakfast--Leftover blueberry, etc. smoothie from yesterday

Lunch--Salad of romaine, shredded carrot, onion, and red bell pepper topped with refried beans, black beans, and salsa; green grapes

Snack--EGGPLANT HUMMUS and carrots

Supper--Cabbage cooked in the browned bits left after sauteeing bratwurst for the family, but no remaining fat more than a glisten in the pan; 1/2 baked potato underneath, with a couple of tablespoons of plain yogurt on top; 1/4 cup sauerkraut; acorn squash with raisins and pecans (my dessert, really)

Snack--Pear and raw almonds (1/2 ounce or so)

Thursday, November 5, 2009

Satiety Trumps Reward

Definitely. The genius behind nutritarian eating is the double-benefit of eating high-nutrient-low-calorie foods--the nutrients satisfy the body's nutrient needs more fully than do low-nutrient foods, and the quantity of nutrient-dense food it takes to get enough calories more than meets the body's need for a sense of fullness and satisfaction. Click on the title of this post to see a scientific study that proves this not even from subjects' eating experience but just on their thoughts about pictures of foods and how much they'd fill them up. Think how much more they could recognize the principle if they were actually eating in a nutritarian approach!

The recipe below is my nutrient-intensive version of what I made for my family tonight. I plan to enjoy the slaw leftovers in the days to come, as well.


Slaw (makes about eight cups)
Six cups shredded cabbage
1-1/2 cups shredded carrot
1/2 chopped red bell pepper
2 tablespoons rice vinegar (unseasoned, though seasoned would be fine if you left out the sugar)
1 teaspoon sugar
1-2 tablespoons cucumber dressing (mine has 60 calories per 2 tablespoons, 50 from fat)

2 ounces cooked frozen breaded cod fillet (mine is about 80 calories, 25 from fat)
1 South Beach Living whole grain wrap (110 calories, 8g fiber)

Combine slaw ingredients and let stand for an hour or two, then warm the wrap (I like to pass it over my stove burner, back and forth, until it starts to brown a bit) and fill with a good cup of the slaw and the fish fillet, broken into little pieces.

Verdict--Excellent! I really enjoyed this, a healthy variation that inspires me for how to deal with some restaurant items. By the way, I've never had a fish taco before! :-)


Breakfast--Smoothie of elderberries, banana, peach (I freeze dud peaches in the summertime if they're too mealy to eat out-of-hand, as long as the flavor is decent.), orange, blueberries, and flax seed meal. This was sweeter than my usual smoothie--nice deep berry flavor, too.

Snack--Pear, about 1/2 ounce roasted edamame

Lunch--Leftover EGGPLANT ALMOST-PARMESAN (two slices) with CHUNKY PASTA SAUCE and no pasta, leftover QUINOA-MUSHROOM SOUP

Supper--BARELY-FISH SOFT TACO; one corn taco shell toasted and divided and one part spread with refried beans and salsa, the other with black beans and dried onion, both topped with diced tomato; honeydew and blackberries .

Though this supper felt really filling and perhaps "dangerous" to me, I realize the soft taco had no more than 250 calories, the other crunchy stuff under 200. And I'm really full! (However, about three hours later I was hungry, even a little dizzy, so I had . . . )

Snack--Golden delicious apple and <1 ounce roasted cashews

Wednesday, November 4, 2009

Ginger-Sprout Stir Fry and Eggplant Almost-Parmesan

For lunch today I just started pulling Asian-type ingredients out of the fridge to see what ideas presented themselves to me. Here's what resulted:


1-2 teaspoons sesame and/or peanut oil
quarter cup diced onion
sliced clove garlic
four or five shredded baby-cut carrots (or yes, about one large whole one)
half a large zucchini, chopped
soy sauce to taste
2-3 oz. cubed firm tofu
half a cup snow peas, chopped if desired
cup of mung bean sprouts
quarter cup cooked brown rice (that's just what I had left over)
2 tablespoons raw sunflower seeds
2 slices crystallized ginger, chopped

Cook the ingredients in a medium nonstick pan or wok in the order given, pausing as needed to have them all come out done to desired extent. Putting in the soy sauce early helps insure the tofu will absorb good flavors.

Verdict--Excellent! The crispness of the sweet snow peas and bean sprouts and the firm crunch of the sunflower seeds blend well with the satisfying softness of the tofu and zucchini, and the ginger adds a nice burst of flavor here and there. This made a BIG bowl.

(Adapted from The New Moosewood Cookbook (Mollie Katzen's Classic Cooking) )

half a large eggplant, in 1/2" slices
1/3 cup milk
1/2 cup combination of whole wheat bread crumbs and wheat germ
combination of basil, marjoram, thyme, etc.
sprinkling of parmesan cheese

Combine herbs with bread crumbs. Put milk in a shallow bowl and dip eggplant slices into that and then into the crumbs, then lay on a nonstick baking pan. Bake at 375 for 25 minutes or so, until soft but crispy on the outside. Serve with pasta sauce, either plain or on noodles, sprinkled with a bit of parmesan cheese.

Verdict--Excellent! I was very pleased with this--had two slices for my supper on a bed of whole wheat linguine with chunky pasta sauce over all and a sprinkling of parmesan.


1/4 to 1/3 cup pesto (mine has little oil in it)
large zucchini, chopped
onion, chopped
bell pepper, chopped
clove garlic, minced
jar of Ragu or other pasta sauce
can of diced tomatoes

Heat pesto in a pot, then add zucchini, onion, pepper, and garlic and stir while cooking to slight softness. Then add pasta sauce and tomatoes and simmer fifteen or twenty minutes. Serve over almost anything.

Verdict--Very Good. Just one of those everyday things to enjoy.


Breakfast--Leftover BERRY KALE SMOOTHIE


Snack--Banana with peanut butter and flax seed meal

Supper--EGGPLANT ALMOST-PARMESAN, CHUNKY PASTA SAUCE, half cup of whole wheat linguine

Tuesday, November 3, 2009

Hungry Morning


1/3 cup (dry) steel-cut oats (pellet-type grains, not flakes like regular oatmeal, which should cook less time)
1 cup water
1 apple, chopped finely or coarsely
a dozen pecan halves, toasted
dash of salt
sprinkling of cardamom

*This is just today's version--there are many variations, including with regular oats, or quick, if you like those (I don't)

Put oats and water together in a saucepan and bring to a boil, turning down to a simmer, then adding chopped apple according to how "done" you like it. Add salt and cardamom. Toast the pecan halves on a foil-lined tray in the toaster oven, on lightest setting, then stir and toast them again. (Or do it in a dry skillet if you prefer.) Break up the nuts with your fingers as you scatter them across the top of the oatmeal.

Verdict--Excellent. I really wanted this this morning, after a light day yesterday.


1/4 onion, chopped
clove garlic
small handful fresh spinach
1 egg and 2 egg whites
Creole seasoning
1/2 teaspoon parmesan cheese

Dry-saute onion and garlic in skillet until slightly browned, then add spinach and cook until wilted. Beat egg and whites with a fork and a teaspoon or two of water, mix in seasoning, and add to skillet. Either scramble eggs or let set into omelette form, sprinkling on parmesan at the end.



Lunch-- Compadres Restaurant--Mexican Salad (lettuce, cucumber, tomato, onion, avocado, and lime, and I added salsa for more "dressing," as well as a couple of bites of Glenn's burrito, mostly beans), a dozen chips or so, and salsa

Early Supper--<1/2 can Progresso Creamy Tomato-Basil Soup with 2/3 cup light red kidney beans, 1/6 giant honeydew melon with half an orange squeezed over it

Later Supper--SKINNY SPINACH OMELETTE, leftover salad from previous day with low-cal Italian dressing (1 tablespoon = 13 calories, 10 from fat)


From, an analysis of the day comes up with about 1400 calories, 53g fat (9g saturated)--this is more than usual, from the chips and avocado at lunch, 53g protein, 200g carbohydrate (44g fiber).

Monday, November 2, 2009

Progress Report, Kale Revisited, Dressing Up Canned Soup

Okay. This morning I gave the kale smoothie idea another try--I was craving citrusy flavors. It's still "rough" with kale to chew as I drink it, but I actually enjoyed it, especially as I got into it a bit. Betsy tasted it and said it seemed bitter to her, but I like the bitterness of grapefruit, and I thought they went well together. Here's what I did:


1/2 small pink grapefruit
1 tangerine
1 frozen banana
several leaves curly kale, stems removed
tablespoon or so flax seed meal

Combine all in a blender with ice and water and blend. I found that even a longer time of blending did not appreciably reduce the particle sizes for the kale. Maybe when I break out that new blender (about $70 at a local Target store--this link specifies 600 watts but my box says 1000) . . .

Verdict: Excellent. I wasn't so sure with the first couple of sips, but I really enjoyed the rest of it, and I'm even getting used to chewing with a smoothie. :-) This made one very tall glass, but I usually divide and save my smoothies into two servings--this was just one.


2 small or one large zucchini, chopped
small onion, chopped
tablespoon or two pesto (my homemade is low in oil)
can of Progresso Creamy Tomato-Basil Soup (130 calories, 7g fiber, 3g protein per serving)

Saute the zucchini and onion in the pesto until slightly softened, then add the soup and heat, cooking to further tenderness if desired.

Verdict: Excellent. I have a reputation for messing with packaged goods (like adding lots more noodles and vegetables to Hamburger Helper or frozen chicken alfredo), so this was a natural for me. I had half of this for my lunch.



Snack--less than an ounce of roasted edamame


Snack--two tablespoons of granola with raisins as I set out on a 40-minute walk

Supper--Salad of romaine and red leaf lettuce topped with diced cucumber, chopped bell pepper and tomatoes and red onion, 2 tablespoons raw sunflower seeds, about five or six snipped dried apricots, 1/2 cup light red kidney beans, and 2 tablespoons of cucumber dressing (60 calories, 50 from fat); orange


Down two pounds this week, for a total of eight-plus pounds in three weeks!

Sunday, November 1, 2009

Pantry and Grocery and Recipes

Renee asked me to detail what I have in my pantry and fridge and what I do at the grocery store, as well as sources for good recipes.

First, on the recipes, Mollie Katzen is author of The New Moosewood Cookbook (Mollie Katzen's Classic Cooking), which I've enjoyed for decades. I just googled the title and found to my joy that she has a whole website, and I'd say you can probably trust anything on there to be good. Now whether it's Nutritarian or not, well, let's just say that she has some awesome desserts in the cookbook that I won't be looking at anytime soon. Click on her name above to explore. In just clicking around a bit I found "Lentil Soup with a Hint of Fruit," "Swedish Cabbage Soup," and "White Bean and Collard Greens Soup" (with less oil if possible) very promising!

The Eat to Live book and the cookbook portion of Eat For Health   at have some very good recipes I've already tried here and even before. GARDEN STUFFED VEGETABLES is a great recipe, and I look forward to making it again when the bags of peppers are marked down at the grocery.

I tend to do a lot of cooking "off the cuff," often googling ingredients in combination to see what I can come up with (like CAULIFLOWER CURRY recently), then using the online recipes just for inspiration as I head out on my own. Cooking the Nutritarian way takes good advantage of this kind of instinct, since so many combinations of vegetables and fruits work so well in salads, stir fries, soups, and smoothies.

I'm a little wary of vegan websites, in part because of all the baggage that goes with being a vegan (usually earth-worship-level PETA activism and that kind of thing). I really don't see a lot of advantage in using all kinds of soy faux foods when a little bit of plain lowfat yogurt or pork or a grating of parmesan cheese is called for. No "tofurkey" for me for Thanksgiving! In fact, I was a little afraid my family would make fun of me for having tofu in my stir fry today. But I'm a Crunchy Con (see here, too) so I share a lot of territory with these folks, too. Nevertheless, the vegans have some good things going, particularly the raw food ones with their smoothies I'm happy to take inspiration from. As I find good recipes or sites I'll share them through this blog, as I have already.

Now to the groceries.

I think to maintain a somewhat varied Nutritarian way of eating, the pantry should always have these things:
  • canned beans of several types
  • dry beans of two or more types
  • salsa in reserve
  • peanut butter (I haven't yet experimented with almond butter and things like that)
  • nuts and seeds of several types (raw is best, but I like roasted ones, too--not eliminating salt yet)
  • dried fruits of several types (raisins, craisins, apricots, dates, . . .)
  • canned fruits of several types (pineapple, peaches, apricots, pears, all in juices if possible)
  • canned veggies if you like them (beets, corn, and peas are about the only ones I tolerate besides tomato things)
  • canned and jarred tomato products (diced, paste, and Ragu-type pasta sauces, V-8)
  • canned soups with the right numbers (vegetarian or high-fiber choices; Progresso lentil is one of my favorites)
  • canned tuna, salmon, maybe chicken breast if you use it
  • whole grains (oats, barley, brown rice, whole-wheat pasta, quinoa)
  • healthy crackers (Ry-Krisp, etc.)
  • lots of herbs and spices
  • vinegars (balsamic, red wine, white, cider, and I have homemade tarragon of several types)
  • good oils (olive, sesame, canola, peanut)
  • strongly-flavored things to use in small quantities (olives, capers, sundried tomatoes in oil, horseradish, sherry, white and red wine, beer, rum, liqueurs)
In the freezer:
  • fresh frozen fruits of all types for smoothies (We're blessed to freeze tart and sweet cherries, peaches, and blackberries from our garden. Be sure to keep bananas in here!)
  • bagged or boxed vegetables (green beans, peas, broccoli, mixtures, and corn are my staples, but I get asparagus, brussels sprouts, pearl onions, carrots, etc. sometimes)
  • fresh herbs you can't use before they'll dry out or spoil in the fridge or in the room (Robert Farrar Capon has in one of his cooking books a great idea I want to try with the last of our herb harvest--pack the fresh herbs into plastic freezer bags, tightly "rolled" and secured. When needed, just shave off some with a knife. This is great for chives, basil, cilantro, tarragon, and others that don't keep well dry.)
  • leftovers of great dishes you made too much of (I regularly save half of a smoothie for another day)
  • bread products you're using slowly (small whole-wheat bagels or tortillas, Arnold's Sandwich Thins, etc.)
  • plain lean fish and poultry and beef and pork to use or to feed the family
  • unhealthy things like meatballs, frozen lasagne, etc. to feed the family in a hurry (but feeding the rest of the family is for another post . . .)
In the fridge:
  • Condiments of all kinds (salsa, mustards, horseradish, jams and jellies, ketchup, etc.)
  • Tofu if you like it
  • Flax seed meal
  • ALWAYS a lot of fresh dark greens (It took me two weeks to get through a three-pound bag of spinach from Costco, but I finished off a head of bok choy for the family's lunch today, and this week I'm working on a bunch of curly kale. You don't want to have too much of the same thing too often, but you don't want it going bad while you're working through it all. So I say go with something new each week, go with something on sale, go with something you've got in mind for a particular kind of recipe.)
  • Carrots, peppers, onions, zucchini, yellow squash, radishes, sprouts, celery, cabbage (keeps a long time), any interesting veggies the store has on sale or that looks good. (I got jicama, snow peas, and mung bean sprouts yesterday.)
  • Fruits that refrigerate well (grapes, lemons and limes, strawberries, blueberries, e.g.)
  • Whole wheat or corn tortillas
  • Leftovers of large quantities of soup or skillet items you made earlier in the week, for convenient lunches and so forth. As you can see from the blog, I thrive on these!
On the counter:
  • Tomatoes, winter squash, some peppers, onions, and sweet potatoes and regular potatoes
  • ALWAYS have on hand oranges or other citrus, bananas, and apples, with more exotic ones as the season provides (pineapple, pears, plums, peaches, grapefruit, clementines)
At the grocery, besides the things I need for the family, I scan the health foods aisle for things I'm running out of (barley, flax seed meal) or interesting staples to have around (canned veggie soups). I check the frozen and fresh fish areas for things on sale I can enjoy. I check the deli for high-flavor things to add to salads, especially (olive bar items, feta cheese). And I spend a lot of time in the produce section, treating myself to things that look especially good and patting myself on the back for really good deals.

If you keep in mind that every day you need to work toward a pound of salad veggies raw and a pound of cooked veggies, a cup or more of beans, four or more fruits, a cup of grain or starchy veggie, an ounce of nuts, a tablespoon of flax seed meal, and that you want no more than a serving of animal product every other day or so, you know what you need to get and to keep on hand.

Does that help? :-)


*Click the title to find my pun--a "ceilidh."

Well, I don't know about kale in a smoothie. I got the curly kind and chewed a bit of it and thought, there's no way I can eat this in a salad, but maybe ground up in a smoothie. The only problem is, I don't have the vaunted Vita-Mix but just a regular blender, and my smoothie has lots of discernible chewy kale bits I chew after a mouthful of the liquid goes down. I saved half for another day, but I won't have it until I make sure it doesn't wreak havoc with my digestion! :-/


large frozen banana
a dozen frozen strawberries
optional--1/3 cup frozen elderberries (search posts for earlier note on these--don't eat raw!)
tangerine, seeds and peel removed (I figured somebody might wonder)
small handful curly kale, stems removed
tablespoon or two flax seed meal
water as needed

Blend all in a blender and serve. Makes two glasses

Verdict--Good. The taste is nice but the kale a bit tough even after blending. I looked it up a bit on the 'net and it seems that just over-blending can fix some of that. Kale has more absorbable calcium than does spinach (opposed by oxalic acid), so I should try, right?


2 teaspoons peanut oil
1/2 cup chopped carrot
1/2 small onion
small bell pepper, chopped
1/2 small head bok choy, chopped
teaspoon sesame oil (the dark, flavorful kind)
2 teaspoons grated fresh ginger root
1 clove garlic, sliced
2-3 oz. tofu cubes
small handful mung bean sprouts
snow pea pods, chopped if desired
2 teaspoons peanut butter
2 teaspoons soy sauce (I looked up Braggs Liquid Aminos and found it's pretty much a health-food-nut unnecessary expense, unless you prefer the flavor, of course!)
Chinese five-spice powder
A few roasted peanuts to garnish

Heat the peanut oil in a wok or large skillet, then add carrot and stir fry a bit to soften, then adding onion, peppers, and the white portions of the bok choy. Meanwhile, in a small skillet or saucepan, heat the sesame oil with ginger and garlic and add the tofu, sauteeing to brown the tofu. While that is cooking, to the large skillet add the bean sprouts and peas and stir fry until almost done. Then make a space in the center of the pan and drop in the peanut butter and soy sauce, stirring to combine, then incorporating into the whole skillet. Add the tofu to the large skillet and stir gently to combine, sprinkling on the five-spice powder (if you can find it in the stores!) and adding a few peanuts to the top of the dish when serving.

Verdict: Excellent! I actually made about twice this much of everything (except the tofu part) and after taking my portion of the vegetables out to add to my tofu skillet I added some leftover roasted pork cubes and a few leftover meatballs to the original large skillet for the rest of the family. Theirs was served with a choice of brown rice or spaghetti noodles or both, and I had sweet-and-sour and soy sauce and extra peanuts on the table. They loved it, too.



Lunch--ALL-ASIAN STIR FRY, locally-grown apple

Snack--3 tablespoons tuna salad (made with light mayo) on two Ry Krisp crackers (I was really hungry after only about 500 calories all day so far!)

Supper--(Got surprised by a spur-of-the-moment invitation, so I did the best I could) 3/4 cup or so of mixed veggie salad (zucchini, peppers, tomatoes, onions, mushrooms) with an oil-and-vinegar dressing, tablespoon or so of winter squash that I discovered had a lot of butter and sugar in it, half a piece of Italian bread; then at home I topped off with about two ounces of fish and veggies from the POLLOCK CREOLE WITH SPINACH I made the other day over 1/3 cup brown rice and half a banana.