Making every bite count

14 November 2007

broccoli is delicious

I had a terrible weekend. From Thursday night to Sunday afternoon, I didn't cook a single meal. Not since Korea or vacation have I had such a run like that. And I wasn't exactly making smart meal choices. I was a bit depressed and incredibly stressed, which tends to break my willpower.
I had: eggplant parmesan at Bella Luna, extra spicy drunken noodles at Rise and Shine, a calzone from Portofino, (oh, the shame and embarassment) a Taco Bell seven-layer burrito (it is vegetarian, but still!!!), pizza from Dewey's and a Buddha bowl from Shanghai Mama's! Huh?
I've been redeeming myself since then. Pumpkin soup and kimchi fried rice (a bit of a misnomer, considering there's only 1 teaspoon of sesame oil in the entire dish), pomegranates, pumpkin seeds, chickpeas and fibery dumplings, and now... broccoli with salmon salad.
What a great idea! Instead of lettuce or another green with chicken, tuna or salmon salad, why not broccoli? It's SO full of fiber and nutrients.
No guilt when you eat an entire broccoli crown.
Instead of mayo or other fatty dressings, I used a yogurt and vinaigrette dressing.
1/4 c low-fat yogurt (35 calories; 1 g fat)
1/2 t Dijon mustard (free)
2 t red wine or cider vinegar (free)
1 t dried tarragon (free)
1/2 t dried thyme (or 1 sprig fresh thyme) (free)
1 t flax seed (adds crunch and Omega-3 fatty acids!) (17 calories; 1 g fat)
Mix ingredients together. Season with salt and pepper.
Mix in one can tuna or salmon. (Trader Joe's cans wild Alaskan salmon -- 60 calories and .5 g fat per serving)
Per serving: less than 80 calories ... about a gram of fat... but if you eat the whole dish, it's still only 232 calories or so. Add a cup of steamed broccoli (30 calories total and NO FAT!)
Another favorite new snack: apple slices (1 large apple=100 calories) dipped in 2T hummus (50 calories; 2 grams of fat).

11 November 2007

just another Sunday...

Myra's Thai Pumpkin Soup, kimchi fried rice, pumpkin pies... details to come... I'm tired after all that cooking and baking.
And to think, it all started with just one pumpkin!

04 November 2007

Mushroom loaf with stuffing

My favorite part of Thanksgiving is stuffing. My mom always makes an extra batch just for me. It will be easy to make vegetarian: swap vegetable broth for chicken broth. Ta-da!
I also use whole-grain bread instead! (yay, fiber!)
But the definition implies that stuffing is only part of the story. What good is stuffing without a stuffee?
Round up:
4 portobello caps (100+/-; no g fat!)
3 slices of whole-grain bread, toasted (240; 3)
1/4 c onion (20; 0)
1/4 c celery (20; 0)
3 cloves garlic, chopped (12; 0)
1 T olive oil (120; 13.5)
2 handfuls of herbs, chopped (sage, thyme, rosemary, parsley) (almost no calories, no fat)
1/2 c vegetable broth (10; 0)
total: (522; 16.5)
Remove stems from portobello caps and chop them. Heat olive oil in pan over medium heat. Then add vegetables and garlic. Cook until golden brown, about five minutes. Add herbs and cook another minutes. Add vegetable broth and scrape bottom often. Chop toasted bread and mix into the veggies and broth. Mix well and season with salt and pepper to taste.

Set aside.

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Grease a loaf pan and put two portobello caps in the bottom. Cover with the stuffing and top with the final two mushrooms. Bake 30 minutes.

Slice and serve with gravy.

2 T wheat flour (25 calories; .5)
1 c vegetable broth (20)
3 cloves garlic (12)
1/4 c onion (20)
1/4 c celery (20)
2 T olive oil (240; 27)

1/4 c soymilk (20; 1)

handful chopped herbs (same as above: parsley, sage, thyme, rosemary)
total: (357; 278.5)
Heat olive oil over medium heat, then add garlic and vegetables. Saute for about five minutes, add herbs, then the flour and cook another two minutes. Add vegetable broth and soymilk and let cook until it reaches the desired consistency (about 5-7 minutes). Correct seasoning with salt and pepper. Serve over mushroom loaf!

Makes 2-4 servings! (2=430 calories; 22.5 grams of fat)
(4=220 calories; 11.5 grams of fat)

traditional turkey and gravy with stuffing:
200 calories for 1/2 cup stuffing
300 calories for 1/3 cup gravy
225 for 3 ounces of white and dark meat turkey


Notice how I don't post for a couple of weeks, then I write a half-dozen postings at once? Yeah, me, too.
Thanksgiving is coming soon, and for a newly converted vegetarian, I'm a little sad. Thanksgiving was my favorite holiday, but what will I do without turkey, stuffing, gravy and all the fixings!?
Thanksgiving at my mom's usually comprises:
turkey and gravy
mashed potatoes
deviled eggs
my sister Rachael's cranberry-orange relish
Gramma Penelope's bacon salad
Gramma Penelope's yeast rolls
and so on...
Well, it looks like my new Thanksgiving meal will be a few items short. I'm missing a main dish.
I'm not a woman who gives up easily.
So over the next few weeks, I'll be working on replicating those dishes. I've already made a pretty yummy turkey replacement.
Fred approved!

healthier quiche

I heart kale. Seriously, it's an *amazing food. The USDA ranks it No. 1 in antioxidants, and it has phytochemicals that help prevent cancer.
It has calcium, iron, Vits. A, K and C, beta-carotene, lutein, etc. It kicks broccoli's and spinach's asses.
And in 2 cups there is 3 grams of fiber (yay, fiber! that's 10% of your RDA) and only 70 calories.
I made a quiche with kale instead of spinach one night recently. And I omitted the crust (I sprinkled some oatbran on the bottom of the pan instead.), making it even healthier!
Here's the recipe, with -- per Katie's request, the calories etc. Congrats on the reaching the halfway mark!
3 eggs (210 calories; 12 g fat)
1/4 soymilk (30; 1)
1 slice pepper jack or cheddar cheese (80; 6)
1 T oat bran (25; .5)
2 c kale (70; 0)
(total: 415; 19.5)
season with salt, pepper, thyme, parsley, etc. (0 calories!)

Chop kale. Steam kale in a pot with 1/4 c water. Cook for 2 minutes. Drain kale and mix with other ingredients. Bake at 350 until the top is golden brown.
(*p.s. Most of my nutrition info comes from "The 150 Healthiest Foods in the World.") Read up on it.

my second favorite breakfast lately!

In the summer, I ate oat bran and a sprinkling of flax seeds over plain, low-fat yogurt* and fresh or frozen berries.
I was addicted to berries, but I seem to have overloaded. That's actually beneficial because berries are out of season. I'm trying to stick to seasonal food for the most part. Sigh. I miss my green zebras!
Now, I'm into oatmeal. Warm, filling, stick-to-your-ribs oatmeal. And not that sissy, overly sweet, chalky, runny crap that an old man in a hat tries to pass off as oatmeal. Nope, I cook thick oats on the stove with a 50-50 mix of soymilk and water. No sugar, sometimes a drizzle of local honey or real maple syrup. Usually a handful of dried blueberries or other dried fruit.
On days when I'm running late, or when I need a late-night snack, I eat cereal. For months, a year even, I have sung the praises of Trader Joe's Soy and Flax Clusters. They're still fabulous, but now I'm into something retro, something I remember from my childhood.
(And, turns out that even then I somehow knew that dietary fiber was important. Fiber, people! Get your 25 grams daily! At least.) Quaker Crunchy Corn Bran was my No. 1 favorite cereal as a kid, no lie. (90 calories in 3/4 c; 5 g fiber!!! What kind of a kid loves Corn Bran? Me, that's who!)
Ever notice how long it takes me to get to the point. Well, the point is here:
I also loved Cinnamon Life as a kid. And Wheat Chex, the best of the three Chex. (Check the nutritional info. It's true!!)
Now I mix the two, because I feel somehow less devious by doing so.
Seriously, a not so bad-for-you treat. Either or both.
* Many nutrients need some fat to be absorbed into the body. That's why low-fat dairy is better than fat-free. Also, I hate the dry mouth feel of fat-free dairy.

can you believe it?

Check out those carrots. Wow-za!

The only reason I want to ever settle down and have a house is to have a vegetable garden where I can grow purple carrots, green tomatoes, blue potatoes and pink beans! Yes, there are yellow carrots. And they are organic. And they cost the same as the orange carrots did. They only had the "baby" version (actually whittled down big carrots), but I would eat them in any incarnation. They taste a little less intense than orange carrots, but they are delicious.

What's the difference between orange carrots and the others?
Red carrots derive their color mainly from lycopene [same pigment found in tomatoes], a type of carotene
believed to guard against heart disease and some cancers. Yellow carrots
accumulate xanthophylls, pigments similar to beta-carotene that support good eye
health. Purple carrots possess an entirely different class of
pigments—anthocyanins—which act as powerful antioxidants.