Thursday, November 24, 2011

Thanksgiving, Continued

Here are a couple of other things I made for Thanksgiving, in addition to a nutritarian-friendly dressing of whole-grain dried breads, lowfat homemade cornbread, celery and onions, dried cranberries, currants, sage, marjoram, and thyme, plus stock:

Orange-Apricot Glazed Brussels Sprouts
4 cups fresh brussels sprouts
1/2 cup orange juice
4-6 dried apricot halves, snipped into small pieces
2 teaspoons crumbled rosemary leaves

Steam brussels sprouts and set aside. In a saucepan large enough to hold the sprouts, boil orange juice until reduced by half, adding the apricots and rosemary during the process.  Once the apricots are softened and the juice reduced, add the sprouts, stirring to coat with the glaze.

Verdict:  Very Good.  I had some of these cold when others were breaking out the leftovers in the late evening.

Crisp Asparagus Spears
1 bunch slender asparagus, tough ends cut or snapped off
1/3 cup Amazing Creamy Garlic Dressing (see previous post)

Lightly steam asparagus, leaving still very crisp, then plunge into cold water.  Arrange in serving dish and provide dressing on the side as a dip.

Verdict: Very Good.  You just can't go wrong with this condiment.

Clear and Elegant Gravy
3 cups high-quality stock, defatted
1/2 cup white wine
2 teaspoons cornstarch and a little water to dissolve (may use more for thicker consistency)

Cook down the stock until 1/3 to 1/2 the original volume, then add the wine and cook down a bit more, adding the dissolved cornstarch near the end to thicken a bit. The idea is not to have a thick and gloppy gravy but to give the naturally-thin stock a bit more body for serving over potatoes, dressing, etc.

Verdict: Excellent.  The trick is in the stock, no doubt. It must be a high-quality thing, never bouillon or (horrors!) canned stuff or sloppily-thrown-together vegetable or meat water.  It is beyond my expertise to explain stock well myself, as I do it by instinct and taste and sight. I'll have to leave you to your own instincts or investigations.

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Here's To A Healthy Thanksgiving!

Having begun the 2011 Holiday Challenge of Dr. Joel Fuhrman this week, I am committed to making Thanksgiving as healthy as possible.  So here are a few things I'm doing for our feast.

Most important of all, I am alert and aware of all the things for which I am thankful, not being in a food coma already this week--I mean, to get in all the treats that are available for Thanksgiving, you really need a week!  Pumpkin rolls, egg nog, cute frosted cookies, pies of every sort, chocolate treats (though I associate chocolate with Christmas instead), an enormous turkey, creamed this and that, dips and cheese balls and punches and sauces . . . it's all too much!

First strategy: Avoidance - purchase or make less-tempting-to-me versions of favorites. For example, I purchased brown-and-serve rolls from the grocery instead of making the heavenly ice-box rolls that are a family tradition. Yes, we love them, but why not put off having them until maybe Christmas, when one missing family member will be here?  Also, I'm skipping making a pecan pie because that's my favorite. We'll have pumpkin and apple, and I'm going to find or dream up a date-and-pecan kind of treat that will keep me happy--I'm thinking a ball/truffle kind of thing.

Second strategy: Indulgence - purchase the nicest versions of fully nutritarian items, like unsweetened coconut, fresh pineapple, gorgeous pears, brussels sprouts on the stalk, and nuts and dried fruits for special treats.

Third strategy: Creativity - make dishes nutritarian-friendly to begin with or make my own versions to serve alongside the versions the family will have.  With that goal in mind, I share a few of the things I've made today . . . (no verdict yet on the ones I haven't tried beyond initial tasting)

Mashed Potatoes
2 cups boiled white potatoes
1/4 cup Amazing Creamy Garlic Dressing (see below)
2 tablespoons dried chives
pepper to taste

Mash the potatoes, mix in the other ingredients, and serve. I put mine in a small casserole dish to reheat for Thanksgiving and after.

Amazing Creamy Garlic Dressing
1 cup raw cashews
3 cloves garlic
juice of one lime
1/2 - 1 cup water

Whirl all in a high-powered blender until completely smooth, and store in a jar in the fridge.

Verdict: Excellent.  I have enjoyed this on salads this week, and when I put it on steamed collard greens last night the family was sure it was butter.

Simple Skinny Sweet Potatoes
1 cup baked sweet potato
1/3 cup minced fresh pineapple
dash each cloves, ginger, and cinnamon, with more cinnamon for the top
1 tablespoon chopped pecans

Mash sweet potato with the pineapple and mix in spices, then put into a non-stick-spray-coated custard cup and top with pecans and more cinnamon

Elegant Ambrosia
3 quarts Valencia or Navel oranges (make that about 6 pounds oranges, which yields 3 quarts of sections)
2/3 cup unsweetened flaked coconut, toasted or not, as you prefer
1/3 cup Cointreau (optional)

Peel and section the oranges, then tear each segment in two, to release the juice somewhat. If you're really OCD, remove all the membranes, but I think they include important nutrients. Add coconut and toss, then pour Cointreau on and toss again.  Refrigerate at least overnight to let the flavors meld, stirring occasionally.

Verdict: Excellent!  This is one of my all-time favorite holiday dishes (especially for Christmas), even without the Cointreau, though I've traditionally had it with sweetened coconut. I usually serve it at the table with the meal, but for Thanksgiving this year I'm serving it as a dessert, so I won't notice the pie I'm not eating!  It's better as the days go by, so that's why I make so much to begin with.

To be continued . . .

Friday, November 18, 2011

Jewel Salad

My lunchtime salads are pretty routine for me, and if you search through "salad ideas" from the tags, you'll see a lot of the same things going on: base of lots of dark green lettuce, assorted other veggies for crunch and variety, a cup or so of beans, a half ounce or so of nuts or seeds (or some blended into a dressing), and some canned beets or diced fruit or occasionally dried fruit.  Yesterday I made a "micro salad" of all of that kind of thing, including some kale, and everything was chopped very small.

In an effort to simplify and to quit being dependent on the lazy answer of SAD dressings (as I have resorted to in recent weeks months), I'm working to make sure that the salad is moist enough (without seeming just soggy) and flavorful enough. Yesterday's salad was just right with diced pear and a sprinkle of balsamic vinaigrette.  And here's what I did today, a beautiful salad that reminded me of rubies:

Jewel Salad

4 - 6 cups red leaf lettuce and romaine, torn in small pieces
1/2 cup diced canned beets
3/4 cup black beans
1/3 cup red grapes, halved
1 green onion, chopped (or red onion would work, too!)
1 clove garlic, pressed or minced on top
1/3 - 1/2 oz. sliced or chopped nuts (I used pecan meal, lightly toasted)

Carefully toss all ingredients together and enjoy a 400-or-so-calorie giant and filling lunch.

Verdict:  Excellent.  And beautiful, too!  I realized one of the things I miss from bottled dressings (or from the blended nut/seed ones) is a strong bite of garlic, and I thought I'd experiment with just putting pressed garlic on top to mix through the salad, and it worked beautifully.  Garlic provides a deep, rich flavor and fullness to a salad.

Quick and Satisfying Supper

Last evening I made a quick and satisfying supper I wanted to share:

Sherried Peas and Mushrooms

1/2 onion, chopped
8 oz mushrooms, sliced
16 oz. bag frozen peas
Tablespoon of sherry

Water-saute the onion and mushrooms until softened, then stir in the bag of peas and cook on medium until the peas are done, stirring occasionally--no need for additional liquid.  Just before serving, stir in the sherry.

Verdict: Very Good.  This was a hearty and satisfying flavor, keeping me from missing the creamed tuna and noodles the rest of the family had with it. :-)

Clementine-Fennel Green Beans

1 pound fresh green beans, trimmed and broken or cut into 2-inch pieces
juice from 3 small or 2 regular clementines
1 tsp. fennel seeds, crushed

Steam the green beans and then dress with the clementine juice and fennel seeds. I ate this at room temperature as a salad, but it would be good warm, too.

Verdict: Very Good.  I like the citrus combination with fennel seed--it's a "bright" flavor

I had about a cup each of these dishes, and an apple with sliced almonds, for my supper.

Friday, November 11, 2011

My Salad Today

I love the concept of Pinterest but don't dare delve into it just now.  But sometimes I just want to share great stuff. So here's the salad I'm enjoying for lunch today . . .

Essentials Pear Green Salad

4 cups packed mixed baby greens
1 cup broccoli slaw
1/4 small red onion, sliced
1 large red pear (green will do!), diced
1/2 oz lightly toasted raw cashews
1 T. bleu cheese crumbles (optional for vegans)
a few shakes red wine vinegar

Toss all ingredients together and enjoy the luxury.

Verdict: Excellent!  This is such a bright, fresh combination, and yes, it would still be good without the cheese, if necessary.

Tuesday, November 1, 2011

Leftovers Surprise

Today I launched into grading for my first quarter of my writing class with 64 online students, and with hubby away at suppertime and some easygoing kids in the house, I didn't need to do more than paw through the leftovers to figure out what to make us for supper.  Here's what I wound up with, presented with the hope that it will give you hope for your leftovers!

Middle-and-Far-Eastern Bowl

Assembled from:
Brown rice
Tasty Bite Madras Lentils (1 pouch)
Cooked cauliflower (2 cups)
Black beans (1/2 can)
Falafel dough/batter (which is it, really?)
Asian Green Pepper Salad* (see below)

First in the bowl goes some brown rice. I combined the lentils, cauliflower, and black beans and microwaved them, then browned little "patties" of the falafel mixture in a skillet to kind of crumble on top.  And on my serving I put some of the pepper salad, which made a beautiful garnish.

Verdict: Pretty good. This made enough to serve four generously. The falafel part could easily be left out, or substituted with hummus. The peppers on top were great.  Now for the peppers recipe . . .

Asian Green Pepper Salad

4 large green peppers, cut into matchsticks
1/4 onion, minced
1 stalk celery, diced fine
1 T. rice vinegar (I used the kind with sugar)
1 T. sesame oil
1 T. roasted sesame seeds (in the spice aisle at an Asian grocery)
1 T. snipped cilantro

Combine all ingredients and refrigerate until ready to serve.

Verdict: Excellent. I really like this combination of flavors, and it makes a great garnish on the above leftovers even two days after making it.

While I'm on surprises, I'll share a great salad I enjoyed today:

Black Bean and Pineapple Salad

Mixed baby greens and romaine lettuce (I used about four cups packed)
1/2 small onion, sliced
1/2 can black beans
several chunks fresh pineapple, cut into small bits
1-2 tablespoons creamy dressing of your choice (optional)

Combine and enjoy!  Verdict: Very Good.  This would be nice more dressed up, but it was just a quick lunch for me today.

Sunday, October 9, 2011

Almond Joy Dessert

I made up a great little frozen dessert for Sunday dinner today. I didn't measure, but the plan below is a good one to start from.

Almond Joy Dessert
(Serves 3 or 4)

3 frozen bananas in chunks
2-3 T. cocoa powder
1/4 - 1/2 cup milk of your choice
4 T. unsweetened coconut flakes (I used Bob's Red Mill)
1 ounce blanched sliced almonds

Put the frozen bananas in a high-powered blender with the cocoa powder and milk and blend until the proper consistency (like a Wendy's Frosty, if I dare say so)

Spoon into dessert dishes and top with the almonds and coconut, then pop into the freezer until a bit more firm.

Verdict: Excellent!  Even the guys in the house like it!

Gorgeous Chard

I don't have a photo of our own chard from the garden we had for lunch today, but it was gorgeous. Even cooked (chopped and sauteed with a squeeze of lemon) it was pretty, and the flavor was satisfying, too.

Two cups of raw chard have just under 14 calories--1 calorie from fat, the rest divided between carbs and protein, and as much fiber as protein. These 14 little calories give you 88% of the RDA of Vitamin A, 36% of Vitamin C, 15% of Magnesium, and 13% of Manganese, with 8% of Potassium. That's a lot of food value! Eat your rainbows!

Photo from 6 Foods You Should Be Eating--But Probably Aren't!

Saturday, September 10, 2011

Moroccan Eggplant-Chickpea Stew and The Latest Green Smoothie

Subscribers to received this week a recipe for "Moroccan Spiced Eggplant and Chickpea Stew," and I made the most of our garden bounty today with that for supper, with alterations, of course.  The original recipe is fairly bland and needs a little more sweetness (raisins) AND hotness (fresh hot pepper), as well as the bite of vinegar in the hot sauce I added. You can see the original at the website in the recipes section if you're a paying member, or you can see a similar recipe here.  Here's my version:


1 large onion, chopped
2 carrots, chopped
3 large cloves of garlic, minced
1 tablespoon fresh grated ginger
1/2 green pepper, chopped (The original called for red, which would be pretty, as would yellow)
6 small Japanese eggplants (1 large one is fine, but I liked the coin-like slices of mine)
2 large tomatoes, diced (You may want to save one of them to add late in the cooking to retain discernible pieces)
water to give the right consistency (I added probably about three cups)
1 teaspoon each cinnamon and cumin
1/2 teaspoon each coriander (fresh-mortared is great!) and paprika (I think you could leave this out--it didn't add much to mine)
1 minced hot pepper, 1/4 tsp dry cayenne pepper, and/or a dash or two of hot sauce to taste (I used all three, but not a lot)
1/4 - 1/3 cup raisins
1/2 tsp salt if you need it as much as I (and my family) did :-)

Water-saute the onion and carrot and garlic until softened, then add the other ingredients in turn, waiting for the spices until the pepper is softened, and simmer for at least 30 minutes, up to an hour, perhaps reserving the raisins and part of the tomato and the salt (taste it all first!) until the last 15 minutes of cooking. I suspect this will be better the next day or two or three.

Verdict: Very Good. My husband thought it was Excellent!  We ate this in small bowls at supper, with other things on the side, but it would be very nice over rice or couscous or with a flatbread on the side.

Green smoothies can actually come in all kinds of colors, including a deep, dense purple brown from lots of dark berries. Those are pretty ugly, however delicious. But I really like it when a green smoothie is just pretty.  Today's was bright, vibrant green from the addition of golden fruits:


1 frozen pear (I put the whole fruit in the freezer and then microwave briefly to make it possible to slice down against the core on three or four sides to separate the fruit from the stem and seeds)
several chunks of fresh pineapple
several chunks of frozen mango
2 large kale leaves
about two cups water

Combine all ingredients in the Vita-Mix or other blender and blend until the kale is smoothly incorporated with only tiny discernible flecks. Add a tablespoon of flax seed meal to the first of two tall glasses of this concoction and enjoy!

Verdict: Excellent, as green smoothies usually are.  The nice thing is that I can taste at the end and add a little of this or that to correct the flavor. Usually I find a new smoothie experiment needs a bit of citrus to brighten it up.

Monday, August 29, 2011

Swamp Salad

It doesn't sound too good, does it, "Swamp Salad?"  But that's really what it's like.  And like many nutritarian foods--think green smoothies and pureed bean dips--it can quickly become a favorite, a craving, even!  I was really hungry at lunch today, so I had more of this than I  usually would have--see the notes.

It started with a hankering for some Tasty Bite Madras Lentils I have had my eye on in the cabinet lately. (I used them in a previous post, too, as I have several Tasty Bite products.) I knew they'd be spicy and comfort-food-y with a lot of sauce for the amount of lentils. They do have a bit of oil and cream, but it's only 50 calories of fat per 150 calories (with 7 grams of protein and 5 grams of fiber) of the product. My idea grew from there to the kind of salad I read of many nutritarians making--with soup on top instead of dressing. That's what makes it a swamp. :-)


About 4 cups chopped green leaf lettuce
1/2 small onion, minced
1/2 small bell pepper, minced
1 diced tomato
1/3 cup fresh corn kernels (optional)*
1 package (or 1/2 package if you're not as hungry as I was today) Tasty Bite Madras Lentils

*But then this salad is really a method suggestion, so everything is optional, interchangeable, inspirational

Toss together all the veggies, and pour the warmed pouch of lentils over the top. Stir, savor, and be satisfied!

Verdict:  Excellent!  Of course this salad has endless variations, limited only by what sort of soupy stuff you're willing to put over  your salad.  Or, think of it this way:  instead of topping pasta or rice or couscous or a tortilla with a savory (or any!) sauce, put that stuff over a salad and make it really nutritious.

Tuesday, August 9, 2011

Zucchini "Fries?"

Is it appropriate to call a food "fries" if there's no frying involved?

I have to get creative to deal with all the produce coming in now, like the 30-pound bucket of cucumbers dh hauled up from the garden last night.  Okayyyy . . . Did I mention I'm the main cucumber consumer in the house and dh doesn't even like them?

And of course there's always zucchini.  I made a zucchini frittata (Joy of Cooking) the other day, and a stir-fry with sausage--no recipes here for obvious reasons.  But here's a nutritarian-friendly dish I created last night, vaguely inspired by some recipes I've seen lately, like this one from Vegan Mama for eggplant fries.


1/2 cup plain lowfat yogurt (soy should be fine)
1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
tablespoon minced fresh basil leaves (or dry if necessary)
a few grinds of pepper
a sprinkle of salt (optional)
4 medium zucchini, sliced lengthwise into about sixths and then halved, for finger-sized spears
2 large slices whole-grain bread, in crumbs
1-2 tablespoons parmesan cheese (or nutritional yeast if you do that, or omit altogether and try another spice or herb with the crumbs)

Combine yogurt, garlic powder, basil, pepper, and salt and allow to stand while preparing the zucchini. Coat each zucchini spear with the yogurt mixture and set aside on a plate until all are done. Then roll the spears in the mixture of crumbs and parmesan until partially coated on all sides, and arrange on a large cookie sheet which has been smeared with a bit of oil or sprayed with non-stick cooking spray. It might be a good idea to add the crumbs to a plate in batches so they're not all moistened by the end of the process, and do note that you won't have enough crumbs to completely coat the spears--but getting enough to hold the zucchini off the cookie sheet surface will allow for a crispier result. Slide the pan of prepared spears into the fridge for a little while and pre-heat the oven to 425 degrees. Bake for about twenty minutes, until the zucchini is tender and the crumbs are crispy.  Serve with a sauce like the lemon-dill sauce in Vegan Mama's recipe above.  I mixed horseradish sauce with more plain yogurt and that was very nice, too.

Verdict: Excellent!  We really enjoyed these, a great way to use up that zucchini!  This made VERY generous servings for four and would easily feed eight people a moderate serving.

Now to use my friend Pam's Bang Bang Chicken recipe, with variations, to work with some of those cucumbers!  Her recipe, from the book Extending the Table, has a sauce component similar to this one on video:  Bang Bang Chicken.  I will report later . . .

Saturday, August 6, 2011

Salads Redux

I've just had a delightful salad for lunch, made possible by earlier salads I've made this week.  Here are the components, then my combination for today:

From The Joy of Cooking (1997), pp. 218-219. This amazingly simple combination of rice vinegar, toasted sesame seeds, and a little sugar, in which slices or chunks of cucumber are marinated, is excellent on its own. I scored the cucumbers with a fork and cut them lengthwise into sixths and then crosswise into little chunks.


1/2 cup raw cashews, lightly toasted if desired
1/4 cup chopped onion
1/4 cup balsamic vinegar
1 clove garlic
1/2 - 1 cup water

Combine all ingredients in blender and whirl until cashews are smoothed into the liquid.

Verdict:  Excellent.  I like my dressings thin, so I used the full cup of water. I had it first on a salad of home-grown leaf lettuce and arugula, with cucumber, canned beets, canned red beans, and a few raisins.


Today I created a salad of home-grown leaf lettuce and arugula, sliced red onion, and halved red grapes, then added a portion of the cucumber salad and a drizzle of the balsamic dressing.  The combination is outstanding--I think a judicious touch of fruit in a savory salad is a magic secret ingredient!

Monday, July 25, 2011

A Bit of Wisdom

In describing how her life used to revolve around doing a Martha-Stewart-type holiday season, Emily Boller shared some wit and wisdom I should keep in mind as the school year approaches:

Overachievers need a lot of food to keep them going! 
I like to focus on 'being' now instead. It removes the overachieving insanity.

How about you?

Monday, July 11, 2011

Today's Salad

I have a mixing-bowl-sized salad almost every day for lunch, and though it's pretty similar most days, I try to make interesting variations.  In general I start with about the equivalent of a romaine heart in quantity of two or three different dark lettuces, then add a half cup to one-and-a-half cups chopped other vegetables, a cup of beans, and often a fruit of some sort, then I top it with a nut- or seed-based homemade salad dressing.  Here is today's:

Torn-up green leaf lettuce and romaine
Handful of broccoli slaw (convenience item)
snipped scallion
1/2 small bell pepper
1/3 chopped cucumber
1 cup rinsed canned black beans
chopped white-flesh nectarine
1/2 cup Creamy Asian Dressing

The ingredients are pretty specialized to my kitchen, but use it for inspiration from yours!

2 T. natural peanut butter solids*
2 T. roasted sesame seeds (the kind sold in big spice containers in Asian groceries -- equivalent tahini is fine)
1 clove garlic
flesh and zest from a small lime
1/2 to 1 tsp. soy sauce or equivalent
2 T. spiced peach preserves or chutney or similar sweet fruit concoction
about 1 cup warm water
(1 T. or to-taste amount of tarragon or other vinegar)

Blend all ingredients in Vita-Mix until the seeds are incorporated and smooth.  Taste and adjust ingredients as needed. This is the point at which I added the vinegar.  Makes about 1-1/2 cups, a half cup a good amount for a giant salad.

Verdict: Very Good.  The toasted sesame seeds and the preserves and the lime and vinegar as well as the garlic create that great marriage of flavors I like in a nut-based dressing--fresh, deep, peppery, and--this time--sweet.  I'm enjoying this whole salad as I create this post.

*The stuff left at the bottom of the jar when all the oil is gone, the stuff that won't spread and seems pretty useless. Use it for this!  Of course regular-consistency peanut butter would be fine, too.

Friday, July 8, 2011

Cabbage Part 2

After the cabbage rolls (see last post), today I had the partly-cooked inner portion of my gorgeous giant green cabbage to work with, plus the fresh small red potatoes from the produce place. Vegans will have to think "veggie stock" when reading this recipe.  We loved it!


1 chopped onion
2 chopped stalks celery
1 large clove garlic, minced or mashed
1 small cabbage (or the inside of a giant one left over after making cabbage rolls), raw or blanched, roughly chopped
4 oz chopped mushrooms (optional)
4-8 plum-sized new potatoes, chopped bite-size
2 turnips, chopped (optional)
2 quarts quality stock (I used defatted chicken and turkey, but veggie stock is fine!)
1 teaspoon fennel seeds, lightly crushed
garlic powder and dehydrated onion flakes, if desired, and to taste
black pepper to taste
1-3 cups packed chopped or torn kale leaves
salt if you must

Dry- or water- or stock-saute the onion and celery until softened a bit, then add the garlic and cook a bit more, then dump in the cabbage, optional mushrooms, potatoes, and optional turnips as you get them chopped, topping off with the stock and enough water to cover all the veggies in the pot.  (Mine was up to the tippy-top of a 6.5-quart pot.) Add the fennel and some pepper and garlic powder and dried onion if desired, bring to a boil, and simmer for about 20 - 50 minutes, until the potatoes are tender, adding the kale near the end of cooking time, depending on how wilted or fully-cooked you like it, and correct seasoning.

Verdict: Excellent. It helps that I started with an excellent stock, and I confess that it had some salt in it, but I usually cook with no additional salt, and my tastes have acclimated to it--it happens!  The family loved this, too, and the cold leftovers smell great this morning.

I added turnips only because I had two completely dried-out ones in my onion bowl and wondered if I could rehydrate them -- worked great!  I fished them out of the pot near the end of cooking and snipped them up (still a bit tough) and added them back into the pot. Turnip greens could easily be substituted for the kale, and carrots would be another nice addition, but I wanted to have the green color more prominent.

I served this with a gorgeous fruit salad of watermelon chunks, black raspberries, blueberries, and chopped mango with a little squeeze of lime. Lovely.

Wednesday, July 6, 2011

Moosewood Mutation

Sometimes cooking is such a creative adventure!  This morning I accepted a friend's invitation to visit The Apple Castle in New Wilmington, Pennsylvania, a local produce store that celebrates its 150th anniversary this year.  Even out of season their Melrose apples are excellent, and I got several interesting items to try, including Skinner's Vaporizing Salve and "No-Bite-Me," as well as some Three-Pepper Lemon hot sauce, pickles, licorice all-sorts, sorghum molasses, local dark honey, red potatoes, a few tomatoes, and a GORGEOUS giant green cabbage.  That cabbage was my inspiration for supper.

UPDATE: The "No-Bite-Me" doesn't seem to be very effective. I put some on before going out about 10 p.m. for some fireworks, and I swatted at least three mosquitoes from my arms in the first five minutes. Now perhaps the stuff slows them down so they're swattable?  I'm willing to try again . . . but as Lifehacker says, DEET is pretty much the only way to go.

I was thinking of a soup using the potatoes and cabbage, but then I came across "Stuffed Cabbage" in the 1992 Moosewood Cookbook. That recipe, p. 155, calls for ricotta cheese, so I decided to play with it a bit and try to use some leftover hummus and kidney beans, plus diced zucchini, to approximate the substance of ricotta for the filling.  I also wanted to cut down on the fat and left out the butter (for the veggie saute) and the 3/4 cup minced cashews (optional) in the original recipe, but I increased the carrot and celery.  I also reduced the soy sauce substantially. So this is a nutritarian improvement on what was originally a great recipe. (I seem to remember making it years ago.) If you need help with techniques, please refer to the original recipe.


1 large head green cabbage
1 medium onion,  chopped
2 stalks celery, chopped
2 carrots, chopped
1 zucchini, chopped
1 clove garlic, minced or pressed
1/4 cup raw sunflower seeds, sliced almonds, or combination
1-1/2 cups mashed beans (white are probably best--I had a combination of leftover dry hummus and kidney beans)
1 small apple, chopped
1/4 cup raisins or currants
juice of one lime or lemon
1-2 tsp soy sauce (or tamari)
fresh-ground black pepper

Core the cabbage and boil it for about 10 minutes in a big pot of water, then carefully pull off 12 of the outer leaves.  While the cabbage is boiling, prepare the filling:  dry-saute or water-saute the onion, celery, and carrot, then zucchini and garlic. When tender, add the seeds or nuts and the beans, then the apple, raisins, citrus juice, and soy sauce and pepper. Taste and correct the seasoning.

When the cabbage leaves are cooled (keep the remainder of the cabbage for another purpose), divide the filling into 12 portions and roll it up in the leaves, beginning at the base and folding in the sides, then place the rolled pieces into a 9x13 dish you have sprayed with cooking spray or a light smear of oil. Bake covered* at 325 for about 30 minutes.

*I forgot to cover them and they came out fine--plenty moist.

The original recipe calls for a cashew-ginger sauce (with honey, vinegar, and garlic, to make two cups) on top of the rolls. I substituted a similar sauce thrown together from an existing mustard-tahini sauce with the addition of maple syrup, ginger, and peanut butter, to make about a cup, and my husband said he'd prefer the cabbage rolls without the sauce, or with just a dab.

Verdict: Very Good.  I really enjoyed these and am thrilled I have leftovers for another day.  I think the mashed beans and zucchini replaced the ricotta very nicely, and I'm glad I left out the original recipe's honey and used half the amount of sauce called for. The filling seemed a little skimpy for the size of the leaves I had, but the final product is fine in proportions of cabbage and filling.  I did use a sauce but did not cover these while they baked, and I think I had mine in the oven shy of the 30 minutes, though they heated through nicely. Without sauce two of these equal 1/6 oz. nuts/seeds, 1/4 fruit, 1/4 cup beans, and about a cup of cooked veggies. You MIGHT want to try a traditional tomato sauce on these, but not too much, and probably sweetened with a date or raisins in the food processor.

Tuesday, July 5, 2011

Real-Life Survival and Celebration on Vacation

Hubby and I celebrated our 25th wedding anniversary (today!) last week with a wonderful trip to the Boston area. We had five full days of eating out in one form or another, and I thought I'd cover some things that worked well for me without mentioning too much about getting off-track from nutritarian eating.

In my carry-on I had two clementines, two apples, a sandwich bag of almonds, and a sandwich bag of several types of dried fruit, plus a small bag of green grapes.  When I returned I had one of the apples in the car on the way home from the airport, and the other is still withering in the bag.  We had the citrus the first day, and most of the grapes (discarded the others), and a few pieces of the nuts and dried fruit through the days.  I liked the feeling of knowing I had these things for when other choices weren't good ones.

We found a grocery the first evening and I bought some nice peaches and a box of Hodgson Mill muesli, plus some strawberries, I think, plus a little jar of peanut butter and I think some crackers to put it on (we had such a good time I've forgotten!). I also got sugar snap peas and carrots combined in a little bag, and I kept them on ice. Even without a fridge in our room we had a little coffee maker, and for breakfast three days I added hot water to a little muesli and a cut-up peach and was good to go for many hours. The fourth morning our hotel (Best Western Plus Plymouth) provided breakfast (and I was out of peaches), so I had their lovely untreated melon fruit bowl with a boiled egg and a slice of whole wheat toast.

Don't trust the waitress or the chef. In one family-type Italian restaurant I ordered a veggie-strong chicken dish (and it did have a lot of veggies) but asked that it be prepared with as little additional oil as possible. No go. It was covered with sauce (kind of a garlicky one, but not an Alfredo). On the other hand, at Sam Diego's Plymouth I ordered a vegetarian burrito and asked that they omit the cream cheese inside and the cheese on the outside, and the chef took the clue and also left off the sour cream, giving me extra guacamole, I think. A nice touch!

Fish is often the best choice in a restaurant, if you can get it without added oil or as little as possible for the recipe.  At Legal Sea Foods at Long Wharf in Boston I had a deliciously light luncheon-portion Cajun-spiced pollock with diced mango, pineapple, and jicama, alongside asparagus and some jasmine rice.   Yes, I noticed that Legal Sea Foods had a "vegetarian box," but I was at Long Wharf in Boston on the first day of my anniversary trip! :-)  At The Franklin Cape Ann (which we kind of stumbled into when another great restaurant we'd enjoyed 18 months ago seemed to have disappeared) we shared the amazing Grilled Asparagus Salad and I got the Pan Seared Atlantic Haddock.  Only now as I look at the website do I see that they have a vegetarian menu, too.  If I were visiting again, I might try anything on that menu (though skipping the mozzarella salad).  On the other hand, they have an English pea soup listed there with both crispy bacon and creme fraiche!  So perhaps they don't know what they're talking about when they say "vegetarian."  Probably my favorite find as a nutritarian from the sticks (and an hour from the nearest Whole Foods Market) was the WF directly next door to the Cambridge church we visited on Sunday morning, so I experienced the "Whole Paycheck" phenomenon with a big salad bar container that cost me $15!  I couldn't finish it, but it was delicious and about 95% nutritarian.  That was nice. Now that I've mentioned just about every other place we ate, I have to mention Rang Indian Bistro in Stoneham. Gorgeous, delicious food, including Aloo Tikka Chat for an appetizer, and I think I got the Dal Makhani.

I'm glad I'm not a "drinker."  Hubby and I shared a glass of wine at one dinner and a glass of sparkling wine at another, and we even had a first for us and each had a mixed drink in a hotel lounge one late afternoon. I'm glad to have enjoyed these drinks but also glad to have them be so special and not a routine part of life. I have enough challenges with other calorie options out there!  Weight Maven has a good post on this idea of specialness here.

My eating degenerates over the days of a trip.  I start with the best of intentions and practices, and the availability of amazing fun foods and the celebration mentality kind of get to me.  So I had a wrap (grilled veggies with some cheese) sandwich in the airport on the way home, and a donut from the airport Dunkin Donuts afterwards, then both a Diet Coke (my first of the trip!) and salty packaged snacks on the plane. My last hurrah, I guess.  The scale was up a few pounds the first day home, but I'm thankful that just a week later I'm down a pound from when I left.  I'm especially thankful that because I eat mostly nutritarian I didn't have a lot of detox to go through upon my return to nutritarian eating.

It was fun, but it's good to be home!  Our grocery stores (even in the sticks) are paradises of produce compared to what's "out there" on city streets and in restaurants and airports!

Salad Dressing Variation, Banana-Raspberry Soft Serve

With a giant salad my usual lunchtime centerpiece of the day, I like to find easy and delicious variations.  I keep coming back to a combination of a nut or seed or butter thereof, citrus juice, and garlic.  Today I made a new dressing inspired partly by "Hail to the Kale" in Chef A.J.'s and Julieanna Hever's video, linked here


2 dates
clove of garlic
2 oz. almonds
grape-sized piece of ginger
zest and flesh of half a small lime
1 to 1-1/2 cups water

Combine all ingredients and whirl them in the Vita-Mix. A 1/4-cup serving made with 1-1/2 cups water is 1/3 oz. nuts. 

Verdict: Excellent. Creamy and yet with full coverage of the salad when made with the larger amount of water suggested.  Is it strange that I like the garlic aftertaste?  I had this on a salad of artisan lettuces and green leaf lettuce, chopped cucumber, red bell pepper, and scallion, with 3/4 cup home-cooked pinto beans, and a fruit cup on the side.



We are blessed to have black raspberries growing on the side of an old barn adjacent to our property, and hubby and kids have gathered a couple of gallons of them so far, I think.  For Sunday dinner I made a coulis (1 pint raspberries, 3 T. sugar, 2 tsp. lemon juice blended in the blender and then pushed through a sieve) to serve on vanilla ice cream.  For me I just added to the coulis-coated blender container 1-1/2 bananas and a little water (and, I confess, a dollop of ice cream) to get the consistency right.  I got a beautifully rosy product very similar to soft-serve ice cream (or facsimile thereof) and every bit as satisfying as what the rest of the family were having.  That helps make nutritarian eating more workable.  (By the way, I think it would have worked better with more banana, as there wasn't enough to form up correctly around the blades, necessitating the water and possibly justifying the ice cream addition.)

Bananas are magic in the Vita-Mix.  With a chocolate craving last week I put a heaping tablespoon of cocoa powder and a little instant decaf coffee into a quarter cup or so of hot water to dissolve, then added them into the blender with 1-1/2 bananas, for a completely satisfying dessert treat.

Verdict: Excellent on both of these, as well as a toasted-walnut variation I've tried in the past.

Monday, June 20, 2011

Salad Party Boats

I can't find my own post about the original idea for this, but I saw in a magazine the idea for portable Caesar salads:  romaine lettuce leaf "boats" with fillings like croutons and other things you'd see in a Caesar salad.  Last night we had some friends over to watch the sunset (well, just to visit, since it was cloudy, but the deck was nice anyway), and I put out some quick foods to feed the six of us.  I created my own version.


Romaine lettuce leaves of various sizes, left whole
Diced cucumber
Diced radishes
Snipped green onions
Chopped tomato
Dressing of your choice (I used a variation on my usual Lemon-Tahini Dressing, to which I added some grated ginger)
Optional: croutons of whatever sort you like

Put these ingredients and whatever else strikes your fancy in attractive serving dishes, and each diner will assemble his own. Into the depression of a single romaine leaf, spread some hummus to anchor the addition of the pieces of the other ingredients, then drizzle a little dressing over the top.  It should then be eaten by hand in a kind of open-faced burrito sort of way.

Verdict:  Very Good.  I really enjoyed mine, and I could see this being a standard "funky salad" offering when we have people over. Of course the nutritional profile will change according to the ingredients used, but it makes for a great option for nutritarian and other guests at a party.  Nutritarians might prefer to be issued a mixing bowl into which to break up their romaine leaves, or they could just be polite and eat like other folks for this one meal. ;-)

Depressing, But I'm Not Giving Up!

Dr. Arya Sharma posts this:  "Why Diet and Exercise is Not a Treatment For Obesity."

It turns out that "keeping it off" is much harder for those of us who have had to lose it.  I'm almost 20% lighter than my highest weight, but I have a distance yet to go.  But like my dad always said, "Life is not fair."  :-)

Telling final quote:  "Whoever said that treating obesity was simply a matter of ‘eating less and moving more’ (ELMM) probably also believes that they [sic] can live forever by simply breathing less."

Wednesday, June 15, 2011

Triple-A Salad and a Cookbook Tip

Hubby has the two kids who are home this summer out working in the fields, but supper is ready to go whenever they show up here.  I baked sweet potatoes, broiled chicken legs, sauteed turnip greens, and created this Triple-A Salad:


1 cup broccoli slaw (packaged or make your own--just shreds or matchsticks of broccoli stem with some carrot and probably a bit of cabbage)
1/2 cup matchstick carrots (packaged or make your own)
2 stalks of celery, chopped
2 radishes, sliced thin (I quartered the slices)
4-6 snipped-up dried apricot halves
1 navel orange, diced (making sure all the juice goes in the bowl!)
1 small apple, diced
1 teaspoons grated fresh ginger (or 1/2 tsp dried, if you must)
1 oz toasted chopped almonds (Get it? The bold items are the A's. :-) )

Combine all ingredients and let sit for a half hour to combine flavors.

Verdict: EXCELLENT.  This is another variation on a theme I've come to enjoy--a crisp, bright salad of cruciferous veggies and fruit, along the lines of a carrot salad. Most of the ones I've made include the base of broccoli slaw or cabbage slaw, carrots, dried fruit (currants are nice), and apple or pear with some kind of citrus. Nuts really dress it up.

Here's a tip:  The Joy of Cooking (1997 edition) has a recipe on p. 281, "Lentils and Tomato Sauce With Elbow Macaroni and Fried Onions," and Egyptian/Syrian dish that can be easily adapted to nutritarian purposes. Its distinctive is a lovely seasoning of cumin, coriander, and allspice in a diced-tomato and onion sauce over pasta.  I served it with a topping of raita (cucumber and a little honey with fresh mint in plain lowfat yogurt).

Saturday, June 11, 2011

What's in a Name?

I've been calling myself a "nutritarian," or saying that I follow "nutritarian principles," for a while now. I like the fact that the word, coined by Dr. Fuhrman, I believe, focuses on the goal of this eating style--to get in the most nutrition possible per calorie. But it's unfamiliar and confusing to people.

I've also told people that I eat "mostly vegan," but that sounds like I have an ideology that shuns animal foods. Plus, a lot of vegans eat junk--processed vegan junk food. I don't mind it that I'm contributing dramatically less to the factory-farm food industry (See Food, Inc., available in different versions on YouTube), but I have no ethical/moral/aesthetic problem with animal foods. I eat small amounts of meat and dairy and eggs when I'm eating healthy, and more than that when I'm just indulging. Michael Pollan, whose books I haven't read, seems to have a reasonable approach. 

Another term has been going around among the blogs I read, "Plant Strong."  I like that concept--it captures the idea that we should be eating mostly plants, focusing on those. But it doesn't necessarily shun animal products.  An emphasis on "whole foods" is also a good one, though that tends to go the way of people eating the WHOLE pig and such--not quite what I have in mind.

If anyone's out there reading, what are your thoughts about these terms or others and how well they describe what YOUR eating plan is?


Despite my silence here, I've been keeping daily food logs for months at . I've decided to post again here--if not every day, then when I have something interesting to share from a day's menu, in the way of a recipe or method. This is a summer endeavor--I may cave to time pressures again in the fall.


2 tsp olive oil
8 oz. bag frozen Italian-style green beans (the flat, diagonally-cut ones)
1 red bell pepper cut into strips (I used the delicious long "Ancient Sweets" in a plastic bag)
1/4 cup chopped onion
1 clove garlic
big tablespoon pesto (mine is frozen homemade from last summer)
big handful (2 oz?) fresh spinach
grated asiago cheese to garnish

Heat the oil in a pan and add the green beans, stirring a bit before adding the pepper, onion, and garlic, then pesto, and finally spinach at the end to wilt it.  The idea is to leave the peppers and onion the slightest bit crunchy and colorful.  

Optional: I tossed my portion of this with whole grain penne and topped it with a little jarred marinara heated with a dash of wine

Verdict:  VERY GOOD.  I really enjoyed this satisfying recipe for supper. (I had about half of it with 2/3 cup pasta and a couple of tablespoons of marinara and a grating of asiago.) It's probably fine to omit the tiny bit of oil and the asiago, but you need something in the way of the pesto to perk it up, especially with no added salt. 


1 peach and 1 nectarine, pits removed
1 navel orange, peeled
3 hand-sized leaves of kale
a tray of ice cubes and a cup or so of water

Combine in blender (Vita-Mix is best!) and whirl until smooth, with little flecks of nectarine skin.

Verdict:  VERY GOOD. It's good this way but has a slightly sulfur cast. I threw in a couple of chunks of fresh pineapple to improve the second glass. Lemon would probably fix it, too.  This makes over a quart, and I add a tablespoon of flax seed meal to my first glass.

Doesn't look like much for breakfast?  Remember it's over a quart of smoothie, sweet and refreshing, so it's satisfying and filling, for sure. I ran the nutrition on this recipe (including flax, not counting pineapple), and it's under 250 calories, with 7 grams of protein (about the same as a small egg), 4 grams of fat (mostly from the flax), and 10 grams of fiber. It has over twice the RDA of Vitamin C, almost all the RDA of Vitamin A, half the RDA of copper and manganese, and at least a quarter of the RDA of Vitamin B6, magnesium, phosophorus, thiamin, and niacin.  And it's all fresh ingredients, the flax seed meal the only processed item. Having this at 8 a.m. will have me properly hungry for lunch about noon.

Thursday, June 9, 2011

I'm a Winner!

Life has been really busy the last several months, and creative nutritarian cooking (or assembling?) has not been my first priority. Perhaps with the summer months . . .

But I had to stop in and share an exciting announcement:  I was chosen as First Runner-Up in the Holiday Challenge Contest at Dr. Fuhrman's website,!  Read all about it here!

My prize is a set of DVD's from last year's week-long immersion retreat, plus a booklet of recipes from that event, plus a Platinum Membership to extend my current membership at the website.  I'm excited and now I need to keep going!

Saturday, April 9, 2011

Puny DiGiorno Personal Pizza vs. Powerful Pear Salad!

Today at lunchtime my 13yo asked if he could have a Digiorno Small Pizza. I looked at the label and said he could have half--390 calories!  It's a puny thing, about six inches in diameter, though the box indicates two servings (unlike the one 790-calorie serving labeled on the website).  His little puny half-pizza nets 390 calories, 18 grams fat (7 of those saturated), 16 grams protein, and 3 grams fiber, plus almost 750 mg sodium.

While that was cooking for him I made my lunch salad:


4 cups torn leaf lettuce
1 diced bosc pear
2/3 cup broccoli slaw
1/2 cup matchstick carrots
1/2 cup navy beans
1/4 cup chopped onion
1/4 cup chopped green pepper
1/2 oz toasted sliced almonds
2 T. plain lowfat yogurt
1 T. light honey mustard salad dressing (25 cal, 1 g fat)
dash each of cinnamon and powdered ginger

Combine all vegetables and fruits, top with yogurt and dressing and spices, then toss. Top with almonds and eat right from the mixing bowl.

Verdict--EXCELLENT. This is a beautiful sunshiny salad with a bright, fresh flavor. I think some lemon juice in the dressing would be good in the future.

Here's the nutrition comparison (and I calculated mine in my head after I made it, figuring it was about the same as the little puny half pizza--I was right!):

Powerful Pear Salad
430 calories, 10 g fat (1 g saturated), 19 g protein, 22 g fiber, and 210 mg sodium (half of that from the tiny tablespoon of bottled salad dressing!)

Puny Personal Pizza
390 calories, 18 grams fat (7 of those saturated), 16 g protein, 3 g fiber, and almost 750 mg sodium.

The pizza serving weighs just 140 g. (about 4.7 oz.) and my salad weighs 650 g, about 22 oz., or 1-1/3 pounds!  Which is more satisfying, do you think? 

In other nutrients here's the score:

  • Pizza has 13% of daily Vitamin A and 15% of calcium (all that cheese, don't you know?), plus 5% each of daily iron and Vitamin C.
  • Salad has 147% of Vitamin A and 31% of calcium (only 1/6 of that from the yogurt), plus 36% iron and 234% of Vitamin C.

Everybody agrees that salad is more nutritious than pizza, but that much more?!  Yes, indeed.

I just told the pizza consumer to have an apple. That will give him 72 additional calories, double his lunchtime fiber intake, and triple the Vitamin C.

Another win for the nutritarian approach to eating.

Thursday, February 10, 2011

Drive-By Post

Just thought I'd stop in and share an amazing and funny and true and inspiring blog post by Robin at "Lean to the Sun":


Monday, January 31, 2011

Fun With Curry!

Boy, I had a good time experimenting with things for supper tonight. I created a plate with a serving of couscous* (cooked in plain water) topped with chopped steamed collard greens topped with SWEET RED LENTILS topped with CURRIED YELLOW SQUASH topped with COCONUT YOGURT.  The combination was Excellent!

Flexible serving sizes, but at least eight

16 oz. can diced tomatoes with juice
1-2 cups red lentils (they are tiny and cook very quickly)
2 T. dried minced onion
2 T. diced dried pineapple
1/2 teaspoon allspice
1/4 teaspoon cloves
water sufficient to cook lentils and mostly cook off by the end -- 1/2 to 1-1/2 cups

Combine all ingredients with 1/2 cup of the water and bring to a boil, then a simmer, until lentils are done, about ten minutes, adding water as needed to keep lentils submerged but not soupy at the end.

Verdict: Excellent, especially with the other items mentioned above. The sweetness works beautifully with the heat of the curry.
Flexible serving sizes, but about four

2 teaspoons oil
2 small onions, diced
1/2 green pepper, chopped
2 large crookneck squash, cubed
2 teaspoons red curry powder

Saute onion, then pepper, then squash and garlic in oil until slightly softened and browned on the edges, then stir in curry powder and cook on low until desired texture--not too soft!  Serve over a grain or lentils or chopped steamed greens or whatever you have!

Verdict: Excellent.  The heat of the red curry powder (McCormick) was just right, especially in combination with the things below.

Topping for 4-6 servings

1/2 cup plain lowfat yogurt
1/8 - 1/4 cup shredded coconut
1 teaspoon minced candied ginger

Combine and serve as the final topping on a hot and savory curry.

Verdict: Excellent. Just the thing to cool the dish and provide a little sweetness.

*I know rice would be the expected ground for this creation, but I didn't have 90 minutes to wait on brown rice in my rice cooker, and couscous takes just five minutes. :-)

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

Southern Comfort Food

Today I'm enjoying for lunch a combination that perhaps only a gal from Dixie could love, but it's nutritarian friendly and I highly recommend it!


In Three Parts:
  • Bob's Red Mill Yellow Corn Grits (Polenta)--1/4 cup cooked in 3/4 cup water
  • Black-eyed Peas--about 3/4 cup
  • Turnip Greens (or other chopped cooked greens like collards or mustard greens)--1/2 - 1 cup
Arrange these three components in three divisions of a large, wide bowl, then dress with chopped onion and a little vinegar (I like the malt type) on the greens.  Eat in a variety of combinations of grits and peas, peas and greens, greens and grits . . . you get the idea.

Verdict:  Excellent.  I am quite hungry this lunchtime, and I had the greens and peas on hand, already cooked. The grits cook up in no time, and they're 130 calories, 2 grams of fiber, 2 grams of protein, 27 grams of carb for this size serving.

This recipe reminds me of a "favorite" cookbook whose cover always makes me laugh:

Monday, January 24, 2011

Ginger-Apple Oatmeal and Three-Month Progress Report

This morning it was four degrees below zero and I wanted a warm and comforting breakfast, so I made this:

Serves 2

1 cup water
1 large Braeburn apple, cut into chunks
1/2 cup old-fashioned oats
2 teaspoons grated fresh ginger
1/2 teaspoon cardamom
1/4 teaspoon cinnamon
tiny sprinkle of salt

Start the water boiling in a small pot on the stove, and cut up the apple into the water, then add the oats and stir occasionally, cooking on low until the oats are the desired consistency.  Add ginger and spices near the end of cooking. 

Verdict: Very Good.  Simple, sweet, and ginger-spicy.  I topped mine with roasted unsalted pistachios.  I have oatmeal two or three times a week, usually. It's best fresh, but I often make extra and just reheat quickly for subsequent breakfasts.  This is typical of my usual method, though I have done variations with dried blueberries, dried peaches, fresh pears, frozen blueberries, frozen peaches, and occasionally some sliced banana. I change the spices to match the fruit--including the above seasonings as well as nutmeg, allspice, cloves, and occasionally a dash of vanilla.  For the top I try different nuts (cashews, pecans, walnuts, almonds), usually toasted, and usually about half an ounce.  Dr. Fuhrman counsels that those trying to lose weight have no more than a cup of grain and an ounce of nuts/seeds per day.  This breakfast (one serving) provides half of that allowance of each, leaving some leeway in the rest of my day to enjoy grain or nuts.

I've spent the last three months pursuing a nutritarian lifestyle based on these daily parameters outlined in Dr. Fuhrman's book (recently updated) Eat to Live: The Amazing Nutrient-Rich Program for Fast and Sustained Weight Loss 

one ounce nuts or seeds
one cup (200 calories) whole grain or starchy vegetable
goal of one pound raw veggies
goal of one pound cooked veggies
goal of one cup beans
at least four fruits
1 T. flax seed meal

(I add 1-3 oz. animal product--usually fish or chicken--zero to three times a week, and though Dr. F. allows up to 2 oz. avocado per day,  I usually have only 1-2 oz. per week.)

No or absolutely minimal added oil, salt, sugar, white flour

I do still drink coffee (mostly decaf) with a little 1% milk in it, and I usually have 50-100 calories of "extras" in a day--a little feta cheese, a bit of ham in the beans I cooked for the family, a little jelly on a cracker, a dollop of lowfat plain yogurt on a curry dish.

I also had several weeks of indulgence--limited ones for a couple of days at Thanksgiving and more treats for a couple of weeks at Christmas/New Year's.  That stalled my progress in weight loss, but by a week into the New Year I was basically at the same point I'd been a few days before Christmas, and that was okay.

In three months of nutritarian eating, with reasonable deviations, I have lost 25 pounds. I have not felt uncomfortable hunger and always have the option to have more beans, greens, or fruit to help with that. I exercised regularly at the beginning of that time but schedule and weather have gotten me out of it lately. I look forward to more regular exercise in the weeks to come.  And I plan to keep losing weight, because I need to.

Saturday, January 22, 2011

Feta Fusion Rice and Beans

I had my first outing to a Whole Foods Market in Pittsburgh the other evening and brought home a number of lovely things, including golden and regular beets I made into a beautiful dish last night with a recipe from Moosewood Restaurant Low-Fat Favorites: Flavorful Recipes for Healthful Meals. It calls for a simple dressing of vinegar, lemon, and toasted sesame seeds, and the beets were gorgeous in wedges.

This evening I needed a quick supper while grading final exams, so I brainstormed this:

Makes 1 serving

1/2 cup rice (I used white but would usually use brown)
1/2 - 1 cup black beans (another color would work fine, too)
1/2 tomato, diced
1/3 cucumber, diced
1 scallion, chopped
2 T. Mediterranean Feta Salsa (from Whole Foods Market--a blend of feta, oregano, onion, tomatoes, kalamata olives, etc.)
2 T. hummus (I used Whole Foods Lemon Hummus), optional

Heat the rice and beans, then toss in the rest of the items and enjoy!

Verdict:  Excellent.  I really enjoyed this satisfying supper.  This includes no more than 1 Tablespoon of feta--I believe in the nutritarian option of using small amounts of animal products to enhance mostly-veggie dishes. Dr. Fuhrman says that if 90% of our calories come from whole plant foods, we can have these variations on the side.

Thursday, January 13, 2011

Breakfast Salad?

I am a traditionalist. I like breakfast in its recognizable forms, especially--hot or cold cereal, eggs and grits, waffles, citrus fruits, cheese toast, bagels, that kind of thing.  On a nutritarian life plan only the hot cereal and citrus fruits make the cut.  So I have oatmeal two or three times a week and green fruit smoothies the other days, and that works pretty well.  I've thought "yuck" when I've seen other nutritarians' breakfast reports including leftover chili, big salads with tomatoes and vinegar dressings, and so forth.

What's a girl to do?

Well, I think about what I expect from breakfast--warm comfort or bright flavors--and I go from there.  Several times I have actually made a breakfast salad, based on what sounds good as I approach the kitchen, and one successful recipe, Apple-Carrot Salad, was a good option a time or two--my recipe was accepted on the Member Center recipe collection on

This morning I probably had that recipe in mind when I put together this one, a nice variation, that sneaks in some green veggie as well:

(Serves one)

1 cup broccoli slaw
1/2 cup shredded or matchstick carrots
2 dried apricot halves, snipped (optional)
2 tablespoons plain lowfat yogurt or substitute
1/4 teaspoon cinnamon
1/8 teaspoon powdered ginger (fresh would be fine, better, probably!)
1 pear, diced
1/2 oz. toasted slivered almonds (optional)

Combine broccoli, carrots, and apricot snips. Top with yogurt and spices, stirred together on top of the salad and then combined.  Dice the pear over the top and stir to combine, then top with the almonds.

Verdict:  Excellent.  The veggies and nuts are crunchy, the pear meltingly cool and sweet, and the occasional apricot bits chewy and sweet. This is kind of like a deconstructed smoothie, with broccoli instead of greens. I added my daily flax seed meal to this, and it blends in nicely.

Thursday, January 6, 2011

Clean-the-Kitchen Curry

Since October I have been living a pretty consistent nutritarian lifestyle, but I have also been quite busy. Many times the foods I have made have not really qualified as "recipes," and sometimes I have but I just haven't been able to post them.  I do keep this blog in mind and hope to begin posting more frequently.

For supper tonight I made a spectacular curry, if I do say so myself! :-)  I'm going to type up the recipe as I recall it, for posterity.

Clean-the-Kitchen Curry

2 teaspoons peanut oil (I actually used 1 T. but could have cut it)
3 cubed small potatoes
1/2 cup baby carrots
1/2 chopped onion
3 medium cloves garlic, sliced
12 oz. frozen green beans, chopped into one-inch pieces
1 cup cauliflower florets
1/2 cup chopped green pepper
2 cups stewed tomatoes (mine were from our garden, reduced, with basil)
1 teaspoon coriander
2 teaspoons cumin
1-2 T. red curry powder
small dried hot pepper
1/2 cup light coconut milk (75 calories -- I used 2/3 cup but could have cut it)

Saute potato, carrot, and then onion and garlic in oil, add green beans and cauliflower, then pepper, and when nearly tender add tomatoes with spices and hot pepper.  Near the end, taste and correct seasoning, then add coconut milk.

Serve over rice or lentils, with condiments like raisins, green onion, apple with lemon and fresh ginger, toasted coconut, toasted almonds, and diced tomatoes. (I had mine on lentils and offered the family a dish with roasted pork to add to theirs.)

Not counting the condiments or the base (rice or lentils), the recipe analyzes as follows:
1100 calories
41 grams fat (13 saturated, 11 polyunsaturated, 16 monounsaturated)
175 grams carbs (35 grams fiber)
26 grams protein

Per serving (1/4 of recipe makes a LARGE serving)
253 calories
10 grams fat
44 grams carbs (9 grams fiber)
7 grams protein

Vitamin A - 40%
Vitamin B6 - 53%
Vitamin C - 106%
Vitamin E - 13%
Calcium - 9%
Copper - 45%
Iron - 11%
Manganese - 33%
Niacin - 23%
Pantothenic Acid - 21%
Phosphorus - 20%
Potassium - 23%
Riboflavin - 17%
Selenium - 2%
Thiamin - 23%
Zinc - 12%

Interesting that that serving also contributes 400 grams of water, or about 1-1/2 cups :-)

The 2/3 cup of lentils I had this on top of raises the one serving by
150 calories
1/2 gram fat
25 grams carbohydrate (10 from fiber)
12 grams protein

The lentils also add significant (more than 20% RDA of) potassium, phosphorus, iron, and manganese, with more than 10% of thiamin, vitamin B6, copper, magnesium, and zinc.

That's a pretty powerful supper!  400 calories, 10 grams fat, 70 grams carbs (19 from fiber), 14 grams protein

OK, I've analyzed that to death. I just have to do that from time to time. :-)