Monday, November 30, 2009

Post Thanksgiving Recovery

The problem with Thanksgiving indulgence is that is seems to extend way beyond Thanksgiving Day.  I have been eating like crazy for 5 days!  Really, I ate chocolate cookies for breakfast on Saturday and strawberry cheesecake for breakfast on Sunday morning.  Even the dog overindulged!!  It's time to get my nutrition sorted out before we start again for Christmas.  I stumbled across this article the other day and thought it has some good advice.  Good luck to all!

Thursday, November 26, 2009

Oh My Gosh- I Am In Love With These Chocolate Cookies

I confess- I am a complete addict to these chewy chocolate cookies.  There is no comparison.  I found this recipe in the NY Magazine website.  I made two small modifications:  I substituted pecans and I reduced the vanilla.  They are so good that we made a batch yesterday, ate them all and made another batch today.  Yum!

Here's my version.

Preheat oven to 350F.  Line two baking sheets with parchment paper.  Trust me, this step is necessary or you'll lose half your cookies on the baking sheets.

Mix together:

3 cups powdered sugar
1/2 cups plus 3 tablespoons of cocoa powder
2 1/2 cups pecans
1 teaspoon vanilla
4 egg whites
1/4 teaspoon salt

Once mixed, drop by spoonfuls onto baking sheets.  Bake 14 minutes.  Cookies will be shiny on the outside and chewy on the inside.  Enjoy!!

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Open Your Eyes Oatmeal

On chilly mornings, it's nice to start your day with a hot, healthy breakfast.  I love oatmeal!!  It's nutritious and so versatile.  Just prepare the old fashioned oatmeal according to the following:  2 cups of boiling water to 1 cup of dry oats.  Then add an fruits, nuts, seeds, etc.  Here's today's version:

Wheat bran
Pumpkin seeds
Flax seeds
Sesame seeds

Cook and serve.  You can sweetened with a little bit of honey, maple syrup or agave nectar.

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Crazy Cranberry Polenta

Here's a twist on Thanksgiving cranberry and cornbread dishes as adapted from The New York Times.  I like it best as a dessert.

Boil 4 cups of water.
Add 1 cup cornmeal.

Cook, stirring frequently, until thickened.  Stir in one cup of fresh cranberries.  Press into a glass dish.  Chill into refrigerator until firm.  Slice and serve drizzled with agave nectar, honey or maple syrup.

Sunday, November 22, 2009

Amazing Apple Pumpkin Sweet Potato Puree

I found this recipe on the New York Times website and it looked tasty and healthy.  And it is!  Here is my version of this yummy Thanksgiving dish.

Microwave in a glass bowl with one inch water until soft:

1 pound peeled sweet potatoes
1 pound fresh pumpkin (with seeds scraped out)
2 large cored apples

Scoop out pumpkin guts.  Combine all ingredients in a food processors and add:

1 tablespoon walnut oil
2 ounces goat cheese

Puree until blended and soft.  Turn into a glass baking pan.  Sprinkle with pecans and goat cheese.  Bake at 350F until warmed through.  Enjoy!

Thursday, November 19, 2009

Stuffed Acorn Squash: Suburban Spoon Scores Again

So, my fellow blogger buddy, Suburban Spoon, posted this great recipe about a month ago on Meatless Monday.  You can find the recipe here:

I was inspired!  Here's my version.  Thanks Sara.

Cut an acorn squash in half.  Microwave in a glass pan with an inch of water until guts are soft.

Saute in a pan with safflower oil:

1/3 cup cooked rice
2 tablespoons chopped pecans
2 tablespoons sunflower seeds
2 tablespoons raisins
1/2 cup chopped apple

Stuff acorn with the rice mixture.  Enjoy!

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Terrific Tapioca Pudding

You might have noticed that bubble tea has been the rage for the last years.  Those mysterious, scrumptious tea "pearls" are tapioca!  Tapioca originally derives from Brazil, but is now found all over the world, especially in Southeast Asia.  Tapioca is a starch extracted from the cassava root and is sold as powder, flakes, meal or "pearls."  It is gluten free, protein free and often used as a thickening agent.  When I was a kid, all I ever knew about tapioca was that it was sold in those pre-made pudding cups and those were yucky!

A couple of years ago, I started making my own tapioca pudding and discovered that it is divine!  You can find tapioca pearls in most grocery stores and especially in Asian and Indian shops.  This recipe is super simple, scrumptious, great for guests and can be served warm or cold.

You can prep the pearls the night before or cook them the same day in with the rest of the ingredients.  I like to prep the night before so I have less chance of burning the pudding.

Place in a jar, close the lid and let sit overnight:

1/2 cup tapioca pearls
water to cover the pearls

Drain excess liquid and combine in a pan:

tapioca pearls
2 cups milk
2 tablespoons agave nectar (or sugar)
1/4 teaspooon vanilla extract

Slowly bring to a boil, stirring constantly.  Turn heat to low, simmer until pearls are soft and milk is a little bit thickened.  Garnish with fruits, seeds, nuts, coconut, etc.  Serve and savor!

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Angry Moms

Recently, I read about filmmaker Amy Kafala's movement to reform our schools' cafeterias.  She was trying to teach her children about healthy food choices and nutritious meals but was being undermined by the school cafeteria's daily offerings of junk food to children.  Amy and activist Susan Rubin started the Angry Moms movement to bring more healthy food into school cafeterias and they documented their efforts in the film Two Angry Moms.  

I love this idea!  Everyday, I counsel families on nutrition and healthy lifestyles, only to be disappointed to hear about what the school cafeteria serves.  So, if you would like the schools to offer healthy foods and teach our children about healthy eating, check out the Angry Moms website at  This website has nutritional information, hints for healthy lunch boxes, and healthy kids facts.  If you are really motivated, you can obtain a copy of the movie and host a screening in your neighborhood.

So, let's get started on reforming our schools cafeterias and helping our kids grow up healthy!

Sunday, November 15, 2009

Lovely Lentil Rice Soup

According to my friend, Janette, lentils are the new super food.  I always knew they were tasty, full of protein and fiber, but she read about their anti-cancer properties.  So, there is one more great reason to eat lentils.  And did you know that there are dozens of different types of lentils?  This is my staple lentil soup recipe and I like it because it can easily be embellished or is comforting on its own.  So, curl up with a nice hot cup of lentil soup.

Saute in a large soup pot:

1 tablespoon olive oil
2 carrots
2 leeks
1 onion
2 garlic cloves


1 cup cooked lentils
1/2 cup cooked rice
2 teaspoons dill
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon pepper
4 cups of water

Bring to a boil, then lower heat and simmer for 30 minutes. Serve it up!

Saturday, November 14, 2009

Ballyhoo Banana Curry

Bananas are a tropical fruit and you make think they are out of season, but not in crazy Houston!  I picked these bananas from my father's banana tree.  Since these are home-grown, I decided they deserved a special recipe, so I invented this curry.  It is a surprisingly nice combination of sweet, salty and spicy.  I hope you enjoy it.

Sautee in a large pan:

1 tablespoon olive oil
1 large onion
2 cloves garlic
1 1/2 cups cooked lentils
2 teaspoons curry powder
1/2 teaspoon tumeric
1/2 teaspoon fresh grated ginger
2 small hot peppers
1/2 teaspoon salt

Add 1/2 cup water and 3 to 4 very ripe bananas.  Bring to a boil, then lower to a simmer.  Simmer 20 minutes, then add fresh or frozen peas.  Simmer until peas are soft.  Serve over rice and garnish with coconut.

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

The Kind Diet

I'm in love with my new food book, The Kind Diet, by Alicia Silverstone.  I know what you're thinking-  she's that California actress who probably doesn't eat and is best known for being Clueless.  So not the case!  Alicia follows a vegan, macrobiotic diet and focuses on happy, healthy eating.  It's a well-written book with thoughts on life, nutrition, the environment and with great recipes.  The book is not judgmental or critical, it is inspiring and motivational. 

I recently made the Lentil Sweet Potato stew that was tasty and comforting.  So, check out the book at your local library or book store and be inspired!

Here's a nice article from The Daily Green on Alicia and The Kind Diet.

6 Principles of Alicia Silverstone's 'Kind Diet':  She's beautiful. She's healthy. She's happy.... And this is how she does it.

Monday, November 9, 2009

Hooray for Hummus

Hummus has become the "It" food over the last few years.  Hummus is the Arabic word for chickpeas.  It is a staple in the Mediterranean diet and is good for you:  hummus is rich in iron, vitamin c, folate and vitamin B6.  Pre-made hummus is abundant in stores, but I like to make my own- it's cheaper and contains only the raw ingredients. 

Combine in a food processor:

2 cups of cooked or canned chickpeas (garbanzos)
1/3 cup tahini (sesame paste- can be optional)
1/3 cup fresh lemon juice
2 minced garlic cloves
2 tablespoons olive oil
1/2 teaspoon salt

Puree into a medium paste.  You may add water to achieve desired consistency.  Garnish with olive oil, salt, pepper, paprika or parsley.  Serve in wraps, on chips, crackers, tortillas, on bread or even on a salad.

Sunday, November 8, 2009

Shopping Spree at the India Grocers

To celebrate the end of the Eat Down, I went on a mini-shopping spree at the India Grocers.  I love shopping at ethnically different grocery stores- the different colored foods, the smells, the foreign names are fun and fascinating to me.  Here are today's finds:  lentils including Moong, Masoor, Urad, tapioca pearls, ganesh papad (Indian tortillas), Dhosa mix (lentil pancakes), garbanzos, tumeric and snacks.

If you have an ethnic grocery store in your area, check it out and try some new foods.  Don't be afraid to ask questions, most people like to share their cultures and foods with you.  So, get out there!

Update on the Eat Down

Whew!  As you may remember, I embarked on an EAT DOWN two months ago.  As far as eat downs go, this has been the longest in my history.  Perhaps I have been storing food for the apocalypse.  Thankfully, it's done.  I'm out of brown rice, couscous, lentils, millet, quinoa, cereal, chips, crackers and most canned foods.   It was good to get the pantry cleaned out and to be creative with the recipes.  Now, I have the fun of restocking the pantry.  This time I am going to build up the pantry with more whole grains, legumes and less processed foods.  I consider it a chance to start again a little healthier.

Have you done an Eat Down yet?  Give it a try!  You'll be surprised at how creative you can be.  Then, build up a little healthier.

Thursday, November 5, 2009

Zoom Zoom Zoom Zucchini Pancakes

It's a simple recipe and they're delicious as breakfast or dinner pancakes.  They're sort of like potato pancakes, but lighter.  Serve them with fruit, sour cream goat cheese or whatever you like!

1 pound zucchini
1 egg
1/2 medium onion
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
pinch of pepper

Puree in food processor.  Cook on medium-high heat.  These are pretty wet, so let them stay on one side for a really long time before you flip them.  Enjoy!

Wednesday, November 4, 2009

I'm a Quitter

About two months ago, I took the plunge:
I quit soft drinks.  And I feel great.

I used to get this weird high from drinking a liter of diet soda.  And then came the crash.  I knew that I didn't need the caffeine and the artificial sweeteners couldn't be good for me.  And what about my bones?  I was spending money on a product that was weakening my bones!!!

Oh, I was contributing to environmental detriment:  production, transportation and disposal of a unnecessary product.

What Soft Drinks Are Doing to Your Body

It's good to be a quitter!  So check out this article about soft drinks and start spending your money on something that's good for you.

Photo from:

Tuesday, November 3, 2009

Buzzworthy Butternut Squash Soup

I love fall's comfort vegetables and I can't think of a more flexible vegetable that butternut squash.  It is delicious as a dessert, soup, spicy curry, mellow pasta topping or alone with a drizzle of walnut oil.   This recipe is adapted from Sundays at Moosewood Restaurant.

Combine in a large soup pot:

2 cups chopped and peeled butternut squash
1 large honeycrisp apple
2 large carrots
1 large yellow onion
2 bay leaves
1/2 teaspoon sea salt
1/2 teaspoon black pepper
1/4 teaspoon nutmeg
1/4 teaspoon cinammon
1/4 teaspoon thyme

Cover vegetables with water.  Broil to a boil, then simmer on low until all vegetables are soft.  Puree in a blender  Salt and pepper to taste.  Delicious garnished with chopped chives, green onions or cilantro.  Savor with your favorite rice and green vegetable.

Monday, November 2, 2009

A Little Word on Soups

Soups are the ultimate busy person's food because they mostly cook themselves, they reheat well and they freeze great.  I love to make soups because it is so easy to get creative with whatever is in the pantry and fridge. 

Some soup staple vegetables:

any type of squash
potato (all types)

Some pantry soup staples:

sea salt


large chopping knife
chopping board
large pot
wooden spoon

So dig in that pantry or fridge and throw some stuff in a pot and get cooking!  Don't be afraid to experiment and get creative.  Anyone can make soup, so get started!