Sunday, October 31, 2010

Happy Reformation Day!

I usually make a special meal for Sunday afternoons, a great time of rest and fellowship between church services and usually unencumbered by the typical rush of all those six work days. What a great idea God had at Creation! :-) 

Today is a really special Sunday, because we celebrate Reformation Day, this evening with a combined gathering of several local churches in our area--churches that share a common appreciation of the men (and women) who have served the Lord by preserving and preaching and suffering for the truth of the Gospel found in the Bible. Because Luther got the whole thing started, we tend to like to have German, fall-ish foods, too.  So I'm making for the family a pork roast with sauerkraut and red cabbage (from the garden!) and lots of nice herbs (from the garden!) and beer, and for myself a nutritarian version of Braised Red Cabbage with Apple

I found two versions of this recipe online, both of which say they come from Joy of Cooking.  But my ancient 1997 version uses caraway instead of fennel, and red wine vinegar (I used Riesling wine vinegar) instead of balsamic.   I tweaked it down to a teaspoon of olive oil instead of bacon drippings, and just a teaspoon or two of honey. (My 1997 version calls for a tablespoon or more, I think.)

To go with this fare I'm making some mashed potatoes from our garden. (I'll have a bit, and probably some braised kale or other deep green, and I think I'm going to bake a butternut squash with some toppings.)  I know people will want dessert, but that will have to be an afterthought.

For breakfast I made myself a wonderful


1 rib chopped celery (about 1/3-1/2 cup)
1/3 - 1/2 cup matchstick carrots
1 apple, coarsely chopped (I prefer a golden)
1 clementine (mine was tiny), broken into sections and then each section torn in two to release juice
1/2 - 1 small pear (mine was canned)
1-2 tablespoons plain nonfat or lowfat yogurt
1/4 teaspoon cardamom (well, I just sprinkled it, but that's how I do things)
several pecan halves, lightly toasted

Combine all the ingredients except nuts, which go on top. I let my salad sit for a half hour or so before eating, and I think it helped meld the flavors.

Verdict:  Excellent!  I was really craving this as I constructed it, and it was lovely. I could use more. :-)  I'm not into non-traditional breakfasts (well, a green smoothie is pretty breakfast-y), but I could see having this on shredded romaine or even spinach.  It's a legacy from the excellent pear-walnut salad I had earlier this week (mentioned in my last post).

Saturday, October 30, 2010

Ongoing Review: "Aggressive Weight Loss (non-vegetarian)"

In an effort to jump back into nutritarian eating more fully, with some quick jump-start results, I decided to try the "Aggressive Weight Loss (non-vegetarian)" plan available within the members' area at . This plan offers a week's menus with recipes, and I thought I'd review a few of the recipes, because they're definitely a mixed bag!  Where possible, I'm providing links to the recipes available outside the members' center.

The plan follows the six-week entry into nutritarian eating outlined in the Eat to Live books, here:

Some of the recipes are repeated for later meals, and I've mostly been following the recipes pretty closely (especially for me!). I haven't finished up my week yet, so perhaps I'll post a follow-up later.  But here's the deal so far . . .

  • Broccoli Oriental (sauce of a touch of sesame oil, garlic, soy  sauce [or liquid aminos], tiny amount of sugar and cornstarch)
  • Walnut-Pear Green Salad
  • Banana-Walnut "Ice Cream" (simple smoothie of frozen banana, a few walnuts [I confess I toasted mine], and a bit of milk to combine--I added nutmeg)

Pretty Good
  • Black Bean Mango Salad (blogging friend Ali has a a fancy twist on this recipe, but the original is a nice combo of the named ingredients with red bell pepper, lime, cilantro, garlic, corn, green onions, cumin, and chili powder marinated together and then served over romaine)
  • Black Bean Lettuce Bundles (I just used the ingredients to top a salad, subbing the orange-avocado dressing below for the avocado in the original recipe. A similar recipe is here, but leave out the oil.)
  • Blueberry Orange Smoothie  (no need for the dates--plenty sweet)  

Not Bad
  • Quick and Creamy Vegetable-Bean Soup (includes canned tomato soup, broccoli, spinach, carrot juice, white beans, onions, tomatoes, basil, garlic powder, and then blended cashews and pine nuts for creaminess)
  • Special Oatmeal (too much fruit!  But I liked the coriander. This link also has a reference to and photo of the anti-cancer soup below.)
  • Spaghetti Squash Primavera (squash served separately from the rest, and I tossed mine with some pesto instead of the pasta sauce)

  • Dr. Fuhrman's Famous Anti-Cancer Soup  (not very inspiring, but the mushroom addition at the end is nice, and I'm glad to have plenty frozen for quick meals later)
  • Eat Your Greens Fruit Smoothie  (boy is this green, and muddy green, too -- I'm better at making these myself, and I'd rather have the extra greens content in my salad, so it doesn't overwhelm the drink)
  • Avocado Orange Dressing (maybe it's better with the papaya, but I used some canned apricots as a sub--just a blend of avocado, orange, papaya, and a sweet vinegar)
  • Scrambled Veggies and Eggs (again, I'd rather have some of the veggies on the side and taste the egg more, especially since it's a rare inclusion on this menu--only two animal product meals this week)

Emily Boller mentions a number of these items in her review of Dr. Fuhrman's Health Getaway. I look forward to trying some of her favorites in that listing, as they're in the Eat for Health book, I believe.

Footnote on Surviving This Menu Out in the World

At a ladies' retreat at church today I took a peek at the offered lunch and had to duck out and walk six blocks to a convenience store / gas station and scan the shelves--I'd been hoping for a lentil soup or something.  The closest working thing there was pork and beans (not bad--140 calories a serving, 15 from fat). But then I noticed they had a sub station with wraps, and I saw I could get a veggie wrap (whole wheat) with some good ingredients in it. But I stood in line for about ten minutes behind a single person ordering a LOT of deli meat (odd store) from a slow clerk. I finally gave up and grabbed the beans, took them back to church and heated half the can in the microwave and grabbed some banana chunks from the continental breakfast spread (which also had o.j. and donuts I left alone). It was enough--and the whole focus of the retreat was on contentment, so that works, doesn't it?!

Sunday, October 17, 2010

Crock Pot Chuck Chili

I just have too much fun with titles, sometimes. Forgive me.  "Chuck" refers to method, not to meat. However, my version did have some leftover roast beef people didn't eat in their sandwiches earlier. I am convinced this would be perfectly wonderful without any of it, so I'm writing the "recipe" that way.  I just "chucked" things into the crock pot and let it bubble all afternoon. I made this a couple of days ago, so I hope I remember it well enough:


Into a large crock pot set on high, "chuck" the following:

2 large onions, chopped (ours are very strong, from the garden)
A dozen roughly-chopped roma tomatoes or smaller quantity of others
About 3 ribs of celery, chopped
Some leftover cooked-down tomato puree or paste (see previous entries) -- I think I had a cup or so
About 3 tablespoons chili seasoning (I had the last of a container of this to use up) or larger quantities of the following I also added
About 2 teaspoons each chili powder and cumin
About 1 teaspoon garlic powder (mellower flavor than fresh garlic)

Let this simmer for a few hours, and then in the last hour or two, add the following:

4-5 cloves garlic, chopped/smashed/minced
3 assorted fresh bell peppers, chopped (I used red and yellow)
2-3 16-oz. cans red kidney beans, mostly drained but not rinsed (One husband around here is only tolerant of kidney beans, so I kept the quantity smaller.)

Adjust seasonings and serve as is or over rice, or cook down further and use as a burrito filling. I provided for the family shredded taco cheese and a mixture of sour cream and yogurt to dollop on top, but these are certainly not necessary.

Verdict:  Excellent, and especially nice for a hardly-think-about it meal with lots of leftovers for later.  Of course you could do all sorts of additions--corn, black beans, fresh cilantro (Would you believe I was too lazy/tired to get any cilantro from the garden? But if I told you what I do all week, you'd understand.)

Saturday, October 16, 2010

Amazing Eggplant Enchiladas

I just served Roasted Vegetable Enchiladas with Mole Sauce via Ali, the Vegan Epicurean.  Although I was forced to use ricotta instead of tofu for my family :-) , I followed the recipe pretty closely otherwise.  Hubby's verdict?  "Those are great!  That one's a winner!"  He will tell you that he likes vegetarian things when they're done right, which of course I try to do!  Still, they make fun of me if I do tofu for much of anything, unless I don't tell them. :-)  I doubled the recipe for five of us (including three men, essentially, since the 12yo is growing like a weed) and have about 40% of it left for another day. Yay!

Small details: I used some of the homegrown tomatoes that I'd cooked way down in recent weeks, so I didn't have to cook the sauce as long, and since I had no sesame seeds nor pumpkin seeds, I used some sunflower seeds and a bit of tahini for the sauce. My garnish was simply chopped tomatoes, and mostly just for me.  (I caught two of the guys melting some cheddar cheese on top of their second servings.) I think the idea of cooking the enchiladas on top of sliced fresh tomatoes is brilliant--thanks, Ali!