Sunday, August 30, 2009


Today I harvested carrots in the garden. They are remarkably easy to grow and rich in beta carotene, fiber, nutrition and flavor. Our carrots are short and stubby due to the clay soil here, but like humans, it takes all shapes and sizes. I hope you enjoy these carrot recipes.

Carefree Carrot Bread

This is a healthy and filling breakfast option or snack. It's also great for using up carrots.


1 1/2 to 2 cups shredded carrots
2 egg whites
1/3 cup pumpkin puree (or applesauce)
1/2 cup honey (or 3/4 cup brown rice syrup)
1 cup wheat flour
1/2 cup all purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon cinammon
1 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 cup nuts
1/2 cup raisins
1/2 teaspoon salt

Pour into greased bread pan. Bake 60 minutes or until toothpick comes out clean.

Carrot Curry Soup

This soup is delicious served hot or cold.

Combine in a large soup pot:

1 lb chopped carrots
1 large onion
2 tomatoes
5 cups water
1 teaspoon salt
1 1/2 teaspoon curry powder
1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper

Bring to a boil. Lower heat and simmer until carrots are soft. Puree in a blender.

Stir in 1/4 cup plain yogurt.

Serve with tortillas, cornbread, crackers or whatever you fancy.

Saturday, August 29, 2009

Beet the System

What's the deal with beets? Beets used to be those yucky canned things that our parents tried to force us to eat about twice a year. No more! Over the years, I have learned to love the "cellar vegetables" and beets are a staple. Who knew that beets would grow well in the tropical Houston summers?

Beets are full of nutrients, fiber and flavor. They can be steamed, boiled, baked and served raw. They are delicious on salads, in soups, with potatoes or can stand alone. And don't forget the yummy beet tops. They are a healthy green that can be prepared and used similar to spinach.

Here's my recent tiny harvest of beets.

Colorful Couscous

What to do with beets? There are lots of delicious things to do with beets, but I thought I would use them to add some color to couscous.

1 cup grated or chopped beets
1 cup cherry tomatoes (honey tomatoes used here)
1 cup couscous
1 cup steamed asparagus (edamame, green peas or broccoli)
3 oz crumbled goat cheese
1/4 to 1/2 cup chopped pecans (pine nuts or walnuts)

Cover couscous with 1 1/2 cup boiling water. Let sit until all water absorbed. Mix in the other ingredients. Enjoy as a salad or side dish.

Friday, August 28, 2009

Healthy Nuts!

I love nuts. I love eating them raw, mixing them into cereals, baked goods, salads and anywhere else they seem to go. Nuts are a grown-up discovery for me. I grew up thinking that nuts were some processed over salted food you buy in a can.  I buy them raw in the bulk section and munches on them. I like them as a quick protein source.

The top 5 healthiest nuts are:

1. Almonds
2. Walnuts
3. Pecans
4. Brazil nuts
5. Cedar nuts

Check out the bulk section in your store and find a nut to substitute for junk food. Enjoy!


Wednesday, August 26, 2009

Don't Buy Any Food You've Ever Seen Advertised

My food obsession has moved beyond cooking and into the realm of just thinking about food. I think about ingredients, farming, processing, marketing and distribution of food. Author Michael Pollan is a recognized "food expert." In this interview, he discusses the processed food industry.

He says, "My new suggestion is, if you want to avoid all this, simply don’t buy any food you’ve ever seen advertised. Ninety-four percent of ad budgets for food go to processed food. I mean, the broccoli growers don’t have money for ad budgets. So the real food is not being advertised. And that’s really all you need to know."

It reminds me of what my father says, "If you have to read the label, chances are you shouldn't be eating it."

Maybe the challenge is to go label-less for a week, to shop the perimeter of the grocery store and focus on food, pure unadultered food.

Hit the link to listen to the interview or read the transcript:

"Omnivore's Dilemma" Author Michael Pollan's New Advice on Buying Food: "Don't Buy Any Food You've Ever Seen Advertised"

Shared via AddThis

Tuesday, August 25, 2009

Crispy Cucumber Salad

This is a delicious and zesty recipe adapted from The New York Times Cookbook . This salad can be served with almost any dish, but really goes well with Thai food.


1 pound sliced cucumbers (approx 4 cukes)
1/3 cup rice vinegar
2 tablespoons honey
3/4 cup water
1 tablespoon dill weed
1/2-1 teaspoon red pepper flakes
garlic salt to taste

optional: red pepper, onion, garlic

Monday, August 24, 2009

Shout Out To Suburban Spoon

Thanks Sara for inspiring me to get in the kitchen and write down my creations. Tonight I made one of Suburban Spoon's delicious pasta recipes. Of course, I did not have the right ingredients so I made a a few substitutions: whole wheat fusilli and edamame. I also added red pepper for some color. Click the link and give this recipe a try!

Pasta with Asparagus, Peas and Goat Cheese

Saturday, August 22, 2009

Do Some Good and Grow Your Brain

Have you ever played the rice game? It's a great way to spend a little extra time. For every answer you get right, 10 grains of rice are donated to the UN food program. There is a subject for everyone: Art, Chemistry, Language, Math, English and Geography. I have to warn you- It's addictive!!!

Help end world hunger

Superfoods - Recipes for Healthy Foods -

Check out this article on Super Foods- these are many of my favorite foods and are often included in my recipes. It's the weekend and it's a good time to get cooking!!

Superfoods - Recipes for Healthy Foods -

Posted using ShareThis

Wednesday, August 19, 2009

Great Grainy Granola Bars

These are a homemade alternative to the pre-packaged versions. You can make a batch and freeze them for later or eat them fresh now. You'll feel good knowing what goes into them, saving money and not wasting packaging.

Preheat oven to 350


2 cups Mighty Morning Muesli
2 tablespoons oat bran
3 egg whites

1/3 cup brown rice syrup (or 1/4 cup honey)
2 tablespoons pumpkin puree (or applesauce)
2 tablespoons walnut oil

optional: 1/3 cup blueberries

Press evenly into a greased 9x9 or 9x13 baking pan (alternative is to line with parchment paper). Bake 35 to 40 minutes. Let cool and cut into bars.

Tuesday, August 18, 2009

Performance Peanut Butter Banana Muffins

Get up and go with these muffins! They freeze well and one muffin will pack in a lot of nutrients and energy to get your day started. Adapted from Deceptively Delicious.

Preheat oven to 350


1/3 cup honey
1/2 cup natural peanut butter
1/2 cup pumpkin puree
2 soft bananas (super ripe)
1 egg white
2/3 cup whole wheat flour
1/3 cup white flour
2 tablespoons wheat germ
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt

Spoon batter into greased (or papered) muffin tin. Makes 12 muffins. Cook 15 to 20 minutes, until toothpick comes out clean.

Monday, August 17, 2009

Power Polenta

This tastes and feels like comfort food but it's good for you.


1 cup coarse cornmeal
4 cups water
2 teaspoons parsley
1 teaspoon pepper
1/2 teaspoon salt

Bring mixture to a boil in sauce pan. Reduce heat to low, cover and stir frequently until thick. Approximate time is 30 minutes. Remove from heat.

Grilled Polenta (optional):

Press into greased bread pan. Chill until firm. Slice into 1 inch pieces. Grill in oven until brown and crisp.

Veg Mix:

Combine the following in a glass pan:

1/2 cup cabbage
1 cup cooked black beans
1 yellow or green squash
2 tomatoes
1 small onion
1/4 cup sliced black olives
2 teaspoons water
salt and pepper to taste

Back at 375 until vegetables are soft.

Serve vegetables over polenta. Garnish with grated sharp cheddar cheese and capers. Nice served with sliced avocados.

Sunday, August 16, 2009

Nutrition in the Kitchen

Want to teach your children healthy habits and get them excited about cooking? Check out this FREE childrens cookbook online from Childrens Hospital of Pennsylvania.

Click on the following link to get cooking!

Tangy Rice and Aparagus Salad

This dish is great for leftover rice and to have in the fridge for a quick bite to eat. Adapted from The Savory Way.


one cup of rice (I made this with short grain brown rice), quinoa or couscous.

Combine with:

2 tablespoons sesame seeds
1/2 cup chopped tomatoes
1 pound chopped steamed asparagus

Dress to taste with Tangy Dressing:

1/4 cup chopped yellow onion
2 tablespoons rice vinegar
2 tablespoons walnut oil
1 tablespoon soy sauce
1 tablespoon balsamic vinegar
1 tablespoon honey
1/4 cup water
1 teaspoon powder ginger
2 minced garlic gloves
handful chopped cilantro

Thursday, August 13, 2009

7 Healthy Reasons To Enjoy Chocolate--Without the Guilt!

This article puts my chocolate passion into perspective. Check out the article below.

"Special" Chocolate Brownies

I have a complete love of chocolate. In fact, my day is not complete without some nibble of the cocoa goodness. Here is my almost guilt-free recipe for dark chocolate brownies. I use them as my daily fix. Adapted from The Sneaky Chef.

Preheat oven to 350


2 egg whites
2 tablespoons walnut oil
6 tablespoons agave nectar (honey, maple syrup or brown rice syrup)
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
3/4 cup pumpkin puree
1/2 cup whole wheat flour
1/2 cup white flour
1/4 cup wheat germ
2 tablespoons flax seed
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
1 teaspoon cinnamon
2 teaspoons instant coffee granules

Flatten into greased 9x9 pan. Bake 12 to 14 minutes.

Wednesday, August 12, 2009

Food for Everyone

We are blessed to have plenty (and sometimes too much) to eat. When I was in New York City, I visited the Action Center to End World Hunger which is a multimedia exhibit concerning root causes of poverty and hunger. There is enough food in the world, we just need to use our resources better. Check out Mercy Corps to find out what you can do to help us have food for everyone: you can give an hour, a day, a week, a year, a lifetime. Just click on the Action Center link to get started! Thanks, L

Saturday, August 8, 2009

Holy-Guaca-Mole Salad!!

This is a really satisfying mexican salad. Once again, I'm the Chunky Chef, so I am too lazy to smash guacamole all together.

1 head small romaine lettuce (or any flavorful lettuce)
1 fresh avocado
2 tomatoes (romas are nice)
1/2 yellow onion
1/2 bunch cilantro
1 lime
1/2 teaspoon garlic salt
1/2-1 teaspoon red pepper

Cut up all the vegetables and toss with lettuce. Add salt and pepper. Squeeze lime over the salad and serve!!

Tuesday, August 4, 2009

Former FDA Commissioner David Kessler:

Former FDA Commissioner David Kessler: "The End of Overeating: Taking Control of the Insatiable American Appetite"

Shared via AddThis

Really, Really Thinking About the Way We Eat

I was listening to the radio yesterday and this interview completely captured my attention. These two consumer and food experts discuss how the American palate has been "dumbed down" to these three ingredients: sugar, salt and fat. We have become addicted to these ingredients in food to the point of losing all appreciation for truly tasty food. And the food industry knows it and exploits this to every extent. Food is manufactured to satiate instantly the palate's desire for sugar, salt and fat. Did you know that bacon has 18 ingredients? Really, what should be there besides meat and salt??

Think about re-aligning your palate and savoring your foods.

:) L

Monday, August 3, 2009

Homemade Cornbread

Adapted from the Joy of Cooking. This cookbook is the best for staple recipes.

Preheat oven to 425.


3/4 cup all-purpose flour
2 1/2 teaspoons double-acting baking powder
2 tablespoons of maple syrup
1 1/4 cups yellow or white stone-ground cornmeal (chunkier is better)
1 egg
1 tablespoon plain yogurt (fat free or low fat is good)
1 cup of milk

Combine ingredients. Do not over mix!! Bake in greased 9x9 pan or muffin tin pan for 20 to 25 minutes.

Mexican Corny-bread Casserole

I made this recipe up about 10 years ago. It can be prepared super quickly and when you have the bare minimums in the pantry. Here is the super speedy version. If you have a little more time, you can make the chunkier version.

Preheat oven to 400 degrees

Super Speedy Version

  • Empty two cans of black beans into a casserole dish. (rinse and drain first). Can easily substitute pinto beans.
  • Stir in salsa to make a wet mixture.
  • Prepare one pack of Jiffy Corn Muffin Mix.
  • Pour cornbread batter over the beans.
  • Bake in oven until cornbread is golden brown and toothpick comes out of cornbread clean. (30 plus minutes).

Chunky Version

Mix in the following chopped ingredients into the beans:

  • Make homemade cornbread.
  • Pour cornbread batter over the beans.
  • Bake in oven until cornbread is golden brown and toothpick comes out of cornbread clean. (30 plus minutes).
You can serve this dish with salsa, brown rice, avocados, tortilla chips, etc.

Mighty Morning Muesli

I started making my own muesli several years ago. It's a lot cheaper than store-bought muesli and has less fat and no high fructose corn syrup. You can add or delete ingredients to your taste.

3 or 4 cups old fashioned oats (you may toast them for a stronger flavor)
1/2 cup flax seed
1/2 cup wheat germ
1/2 cup raw pumpkin seeds
1/4 cup sesame or sunflower seeds (or both)
1/2 cup nuts (i like pecans)
1/2 cup raisins, dried cranberries, figs or any other dried fruit
1 tablespoon cinammon (may also use ginger powder, nutmeg or allspice)

optional add-ins:

brown sugar to taste
protein powder

Put ingredients in sealable container. Shake. Nice served with fresh fruit and milk or plain yogurt.

Sunday, August 2, 2009

Sassy Sesame Noodles

These are nice when served with the Crunchy Cabbage Salad. This recipe is adapted from The Sneaky Chef.

Sesame Sauce

1 tablespoon brown sugar
3 tablespoons low sodium soy sauce
1/4 cup tahini (sesame paste)
1/4 cup rice vinegar
2 to 3 smashed garlic cloves
1/2 teaspooon wasabi powder
red pepper to taste
1/2 cup grated carrots
1/2 cup green onions
1 cup shelled edamame
2 tablespoons sesame seeds

Mix sauce and toss with 1/2 to 1 pound whole wheat spaghetti, linguine or fettucine.
Serve warm or cold.

Honey Poppyseed Dressing

Scrumptious salad dressing, adapted from

Combine in a jar and shake:

1/4 cup olive, canola, or walnut oil
1/4 cup honey
2 tablespoons apple cidar or rice vinegar
1 1/2 teaspoons poppyseeds
1 teaspoon sesame seeds
1/4 teaspoon paprika
1/4 teaspoon worcestershire sauce

Crunchy Cabbage Salad

This is one of my all-time favorite creations. You can add anything to this salad, especially crunchy foods.

Grate or chop and combine:

Purple cabbage
Green onions
Red peppers
Shelled edamame
Raw pumpkin seeds
Sunflower seeds

Stir in Honey Poppy Seed Dressing. Enjoy!!!

Brawny Banana Bread

This is a high fiber high density banana bread. It's also full flavored.

Preheat oven to 350 degrees


3/4 cup whole wheat flour
1/2 cup all purpose flour
2 tablespoons wheat germ
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
1/2 cup agave nectar (brown rice syrup, honey or 1/4 cup maple syrup)
2 egg whites
2-3 soft bananas
1/2 cup pumpkin puree (or applesauce or yogurt)
1 teaspoon vanilla extract

Pour into greased bread pan. Bake 55 to 60 minutes, or until risen and toothpick comes out clean.

Yummy Yogurt Pie

This is a nice summer treat that is creamy and refreshing. Use any flavor yogurt and any fruit for your pie. I like to blend peach yogurt and plain together to give a little punch

1 quart low fat or fat free yogurt
1 1/2 cup chopped berries or cherries
1 banana (optional)
1 mango sliced

Mix 1/2 of fruit into the yogurt. Pour into High Five(r) Pie Crust. Freeze until 2/3 firm. Place remaining fruit on top of pie. Freeze until pie completely firm. Cut and serve.

High Five(r) Pie Crust

This recipe makes a delicious high fiber pie crust with a satisfying crunch.

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.


6 tablespoons whole wheat flour
6 tablespoons white flour
6 tablespoons oat bran
2 tablespoons wheat germ
1/4 cup agave nectar (brown rice syrup or honey)
1/4 cup pumpkin puree (or apple sauce)
2 tablespoons walnut oil
1/4 teaspoon salt

Mix until dough consistency. Add more flour as necessary. Press into glass pie pan and bake for 10-15 minutes, until crisp.