Monday, January 16, 2012

Another year and it's filled with SNOW (well, right now it is...)

I"m still here!

I've been off playing around on Etsy and Pinterest, collecting wish lists and recipes and flitting about. But I'm back, and as tuned into healthfulness as ever. The holidays were good to me; I only ate a wee bit of sugar (damn my friend's homemade peppermint bark - it was killer good!)

So my 2011 New Years resolutions were to find the beauty that goes with aging and continue to embrace a healthy lifestyle. I think I managed to do both, and I'm carrying them over to 2012! I'll try to add more activity, since that's my biggest challenge, and cut down a bit on the animal fats, since I've been pretty lax this winter, but overall, all is good.

My favorite food blog right now is I Breathe, I'm Hungry - which has supplied me with a bunch of "To Try" recipes of late. Tonight I tried her Caramelized Brussels Sprouts & Chorizo and it was wonderful!!

Here's what her's looked like. Mine looked almost as good, but I suck at food photography!

Saturday, September 10, 2011

Summer's ending and I STILL don't have a kitchen!

So construction on the new kitchen edition began at the end of April. We managed to keep a working range and oven until July, but we've now been without either for over two months. It's getting old. Who knew having so many kitchen gadgets would come in so handy. The electric frypan has saved my sanity (along with the microwave, roasting oven and hotplate.) However, cooking is still a beeyatch and I want to bake, dangnabit! I am hoping for a finished kitchen in a month - month and a half - tops. I hope.

I've created a couple of on-the-fly recipes that once I have a kitchen I can suss out the actual measurements and write down and share. I made a kick-ass sweet potato and brussel sprout hash that was AMAZING! And I figured out how to transform one of my favorite pre-health dishes, Win's Shrimp and Spaghetti (which I often made with langostinos instead of shrimp or without "meat" at all) into an equally delightful, whole-foods dish. Yummers! Both dishes can easily be made gluten free, vegetarian or vegan. I can't wait to share!

In the meantime, have you tried Raw Revolution bars yet? They are delish, vegan, gluten free and refined sugar free. I've had the Chocolate & Cashew, Raspberry & Chocolate and Coconut & Agave Nectar. All wonderful. Available in B'ham at the Food Co-op and in the Seattle area at Whole Foods and area PCC's among other places. Check out their website for stores.

Tonight I'm making mushroom quesadillas. YUM!

Saturday, June 11, 2011

Recipes - Vanilla Crisps

Tried my first recipe from the cookbook "Baking with Agave Nectar" by Ania Catalano. This recipe is called "Vanilla Crisps" in the book, but mine did not come out crispy at all. It may have to do with the fact that I only had 1/4 cup of Arrowroot powder, so I subbed 1/4 cup of white whole wheat flour. I just made them today, so maybe they'll crisp up in time... I also added about 1/4 cup of chopped, toasted pecans. Very tasty. I'll have to follow the recipe next time and see if they come out crispier.

Vanilla Crisps (vegan; no sugar)

1 c. whole wheat pastry flour
1/2 c. arrowroot powder
1 t. baking powder
1/2 t. sea salt
6 T. canola oil
2 T. vanilla extract
1/2 c. light agave nectar

Preheat oven to 350F. Line two baking sheets with parchment paper (I just used silpats).

In a bowl, mix together the flour, arrowroot powder, baking powder and salt. In a separate bowl, combine the canola oil, vanilla and agave nectar and whisk together thoroughly. Combine the 2 mixtures until just blended. Drop the batter by the teaspoon onto the prepared baking sheets. Bake for 7 min. or until slightly golden. Do not over bake. Let cool on the baking sheets for 5 min, then transfer to cooling racks to cool completely. Thees cookies crisp up after cooling.

A Momentous Occassion. With rhubarb.

This week I finally hit the 50# mark, which has been my first big loss goal. Woot! It's funny, because I've always thought, "well, when I lose (blank) lbs, I'll let myself have (blank)." But when I get there, I don't want to mess it up. Now that I'm firmly devoted to the whole foods lifestyle, I don't even want to mess with it. I can really imagine a life without white sugar now. Yay! And while I promised myself that if I lost 20 on top of the main goal of 50 (that's 70#s if you're counting) I'd send myself to Hawaii (solo!), I don't think I'll actually do that (kinda pricey). Instead, I think I'll go to Red Robin and have some fries. With ranch. We'll see.

In the mean time, my search for happy foods continues. I've recently checked out a few really cool new books, and I'll be posting recipes when appropriate. Here is my new favorite springtime drink, Rhubarb Spritzer, from the cookbook "Lucid Food" by Louisa Shafia.

Rhubarb Spritzer

10 stalks fresh rhubarb
2 cinnamon sticks
Honey to taste (I used agave)
Sparkling water, seltzer or champagne, for serving (I love it with lemon/lime Zevia)
4 strawberries, thinly sliced (for garnish)
1 sprig mint (for garnish)

Slice off the leaves and brown parts from the rhubarb and discard. Rinse the rhubarb stalks and slice into 2 in. pieces. Put the rhubarb slices and cinnamon sticks in a pot and cover with water. Bring to a boil and simmer until the rhubarb is soft, 3-4 min.
Strain out the liquid through a fine-mesh strainer or cheesecloth, pressing as much liquid out of the rhubarb pulp as possible. Whisk in the honey (agave) tasting to adjust sweetness. Discard the cinnamon and cooked rhubarb and let the liquid cool.
To serve, pour into glasses over ice and top off with seltzer, sparkling water, champagne or lemon/lime soda. Garnish with strawberries and mint, if desired.


Wednesday, May 25, 2011

Survey of dietary restrictions

Here's a nice overview of different dietary restriction lifestyles from the Cheap, Healthy, Good blog:

Can you identify yours or do you take what works for you from a few of them like I do?

Saturday, April 23, 2011

Recipes - Foolin'

Last weekend we harvested our first rhubarb of the season. I had mixed feelings about this because, while I love rhubarb, I love rhubarb with lots of sugar. Super-tart is just not my thing. What's a sugar-free girl to do? Agave to the rescue! I also added about a teaspoon of honey, but it would be fine without.

But once the better-without-sugar rhubarb sauce is made, what to do? You can just eat it. It's really very good. But I was craving rhubarb ice-cream (darn you, Mallard's!), so I needed sweet, tart and creamy without sugar or an abundance of fat. While I usually avoid processed foods whenever possible, this was a time when only one thing would do: Sugar-Free Cool Whip. I present to you:


2 cups chopped rhubarb
1/4 orange juice
agave nectar (or other sweetener) to taste
Sugar Free Cool Whip

Cook rhubarb and orange juice over medium heat, stirring frequently, until rhubarb breaks down and you have a sauce (apple-sauce consistency). Sweeten to taste. Let cool.

Fold desired amount of rhubarb sauce into desired amount of Cool Whip. Freeze for at least an hour. Enjoy!

Friday, April 15, 2011

Recipes - Pasta w/ Smokey Roasted Sweet Potatoes and Pancetta

Had this for dinner tonight and I am a very, very happy camper. This recipe is from Mark Bittman's Food Matters cookbook (see the Really Good Resources link above).

Pasta with Smoky Roasted Sweet Potatoes and Pancetta
  • 3 sweet potatoes, peeled and cut into 1-inch cubes
  • 4 bacon slices or 4 ounces of pancetta, chopped
  • 3 tablespoons olive oil
  • salt and black pepper
  • 2 teaspoons pimenton (smoked paprika)
  • 1 red onion, chopped
  • 8 ounces any cut whole-wheat pasta (I used fusilli)
  • 1/4 cup chopped fresh chives (didn't use)
  • 1/4 cup grated Parmesan cheese (didn't use)
Heat the oven to 400.  Put the sweet potatoes, pancetta and oil in a large roasting pan, sprinkle with salt and pepper and toss.  Roast, stirring occasionally for about 30 minutes.
Remove from oven, dust with the paprika, add the onion to the pan, stir and continue roasting for another 15 minutes.
Cook pasta in boiling, salted water.  Drain and reserve some of the cooking water.  Remove the roasting pan from the oven and stir in a bout 1/2 cup of the cooking water, scraping up any browned bits.  Add  pasta, chives and cheese to the pan and toss to combine.  Serve hot or at room temperature. 
Serves 4