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. :-)