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Food: Healthy Broccoli Cheese Soup

February 26, 2014

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This soup has about 250 calories per 1 cup serving (before the cheese topping), is filling and healthy. It is slightly adapted from a Moosewood recipe. It would be best served with some sourdough bread if that is in your calorie budget/food plan.

2 tbsp butter
1½ cup onion, chopped
1 waxy yellow potato, peeled and chopped
1 bay leaf
1 tsp salt
1 bell pepper, diced
4 cups broccoli, chopped plus 1 cup florets rough chopped and steamed
2½ cups veggie stock or water
2 cups 1% milk
½ cup fromage blanc
pinch nutmeg, pinch cayenne
1 cup grated sharp cheddar
salt and pepper to season
Optional toppings:  grated cheddar, scallions, fromage blanc, etc.

Melt butter in large pot,  sauté onion and bay leaf with salt over medium heat until onion is clear. Add bell pepper, broccoli, potato, and stock. Bring to a simmer, cover, and continue cooking for 10 minutes, stirring occasionally, until broccoli is well cooked. Discard the bay leaf and purée the soup in batches, adding cheese into the blender at the end. Stir in fromage blanc and spices, bring almost to a boil, top with optional florets (plus cheese or other toppings), and serve.

Food: Heart Healthy Steel Cut Oats (Happy Valentine’s Day!)

February 14, 2014

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In perhaps my lamest Valentine’s Day post ever, I give you Alton Brown’s recipe for Steel Cut Oats (with minor modifications). He says it serves 4 at 142 calories each, but I’d say it serves 2, so that would mean this is about 300 calories (before toppings). This took a good 45 minutes to make, but it’s worth it on a weekend. And my Valentine said it was the best oatmeal he’s ever had, so that’s a pretty good endorsement.

Ingredients:
1 tablespoon butter
1 cup steel cut oats
3 cups boiling water
1/2 cup whole milk (you could definitely substitute 1% or skim milk here)
1/2 cup plus 1 tablespoon low-fat buttermilk

Optional toppings:
brown sugar, cinnamon, berries, greek yogurt, peanut butter, jelly, etc.

In a large pot, melt the butter and add the oats. Stir for 2 minutes to toast. Add the boiling water and reduce heat to a simmer. Keep at a low simmer for 25 minutes, without stirring.

Combine the milk and the buttermilk with the oatmeal . Stir gently to combine and cook for an additional 10 minutes, or until it reaches a consistency you like. Spoon into a serving bowl and top as you like.

Food: Macaroni NOT Cheese from Engine 2

February 12, 2014

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Several of my coworkers are taking the “Engine 2 Challenge,” which involves following a plant-based, basically vegan diet for a month. I’ve been trying several of the recipes (when someone at work makes them) and so far I’ve had a great vegan chili and an equally great vegan sloppy joe (both were heavy on lentils). Someone suggested I try the Macaroni NOT Cheese, since regular mac is a favorite of mine. Below is the recipe from the Engine 2 Site, with my notations.

1 onion, chopped
1 cup cashews
1/3 cup lemon juice
1 1/3 cups water
1/2 teaspoon sea salt
4 ounce jar roasted red peppers, drained
3 tablespoons nutritional yeast (THIS IS IN THE BAKING AISLE AND COSTS $6)
1 teaspoon garlic powder
1 teaspoon onion powder
16 ounces whole grain elbow pasta, cooked

Instructions:

Sauté onion on medium heat in non-stick skillet with a little water or low sodium vegetable broth for 5 minutes, until translucent.

In a food processor, combine the onions, cashews, lemon juice, water, and salt. Gradually blend in roasted red peppers, nutritional yeast, garlic powder, and onion powder.

Thoroughly toss the sauce with the pasta.

Bake in the oven for 20 minutes until golden brown on top.
(THROW DIRECTLY IN THE TRASH. THE END.)

Welcome to Weight Loss Month, AND Turkey Chili

February 6, 2014

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I’m pulling out all the stops for this year’s Annual Weight Loss Month Or So. (See all my gluten free entries for the theme of last year’s Annual Weight Loss Month Or So.) This year I’m using my new FitBit Force (thanks mom!) in conjunction with the Lose It! App I’ve been using for the past year minus the last few months.  I’m going gluten-reduced, and focusing on increasing any possible daily activity (hence the fitbit) and eating lots of greens and low fat protein. Oh, and as much hot yoga as I can get to, because I love it. (Insert shameless plug for CorePower Yoga here.) This chili has approximately 200 calories per 1 cup serving (not including toppings), is easy to make, and filling. Plus, beans are good for you.

1 tablespoon olive oil
2 carrots, chopped
1  yellow onion, chopped
1 red or green pepper, chopped
2 teaspoons ground cumin or latin spice blend (available in most grocery stores, try Whole Foods)
1 pound ground turkey (leanest you can find)
1 (28-ounce) can crushed tomatoes
2 cups water
1  chipotle chile in adobo sauce (seeded and chopped)
juice from 2 limes
Salt and black pepper
1 can black beans and 1 can kidney beans (or whatever combination of beans you like), drained

Optionally toppings:
Avocado, chopped (or guacamole)
Scallions, chopped
Cheddar cheese, shredded
Non fat greek yogurt or sour cream

Put the onion, pepper, and carrots in a large pot with the oil, cook over medium heat, stirring occasionally, until vegetables are soft. Add the spice mix or cumin and stir until incorporated. Add the turkey, raise the heat and cook until meat is no longer pink. Add tomatoes, lime juice, water, chipotle, and salt. Cover and simmer at least 30 minutes. Add beans and cook, partially covered, at least 10 minutes longer.This can be eaten immediately but is best when left on low heat for a few hours. Season to taste before serving with more salt, pepper, or lime juice.

 

It’s My Birthday

January 23, 2014

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It’s my birthday. Here are some things:

After 34 years I’ve finally realized that new year’s resolutions are no good for me because a) my resolutions usually involve eating less cake but my birthday is less than a month away and necessitates cake and b) January kind of sucks and I just want to eat meatballs and wear fat sweaters.

I periodically find gray hair now, and I. Hate. It.

I feel 10 years older, thank you very much, but in a good way.

Last year I learned how to get married, and not just in the “what color flowers for the bouquet” way. The cat and I learned how to live in a tiny space with a wonderful man and his wonderful dog. Hopefully this year I’ll learn how to buy a house with said man and dog. I learned how to build a team from scratch and to open a business with that team, and to work harder than I ever have. I learned how to do yoga in a very hot room. I learned that I miss writing on a regular basis, and that I need to get back to this blog. I learned, again and again, how awesome and supportive my friends and family are.

And I got to wear a fabulous, fabulous dress.

It was a good year.

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STILL GOOD: Veggie Skillet Cakes with Green Goddess Dressing

December 14, 2013

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These are really good, and a lot healthier than regular potato pancakes with sour cream. The original recipe comes from Whole Foods Market, and you can see below for the ways I messed it up the first time, and then the tweaks I made to the original recipe and cooking method, and the addition of Green Goddess Dressing.

Ingredients:
3/4  teaspoon chili powder
2   (8-ounce) russet potatoes, peeled, shredded and squeezed of excess moisture  (SQUEEZED WITH A PAPER TOWEL. MESSY. USE REGULAR TOWEL.)
4  tablespoons unsalted butter
2   parsnips, shredded
1  large egg, lightly beaten (DID NOT BEAT)
2   carrots, shredded
1  teaspoon fine sea salt (USED WHATEVER SALT I HAD)
1/2  cup finely diced red onion (ONLY HAD YELLOW ONION)
1/8  teaspoon grated nutmeg (WAS OUT OF NUTMEG AND DIDN’T WANT TO BUY MORE FOR LIKE, TWO DASHES OF NUTMEG.)
1/4  cup unbleached all-purpose flour
1  large egg white, lightly beaten (WHAT? NO.)

Melt butter in a small saucepan over medium-low heat, until it begins to sputter and is covered with a layer of foam, 2 to 3 minutes. Remove from heat and wait until sputtering stops. Skim off and discard foam; pour clarified butter into a small bowl, leaving behind any milky liquid. (THIS SEEMED LIKE A STUPID EXTRA STEP. JUST MELTED SOME BUTTER.)  

In a large bowl, combine the vegetables and onion. Sprinkle with flour, salt, chili powder and nutmeg, and toss to coat. Stir in egg and egg white.  (I JUST USED TWO EGGS AND MASHED EVERYTHING TOGETHER WITH MY HANDS.)

Brush a large skillet with clarified butter and line just the bottom with parchment paper. (PAIN IN THE ASS.)  Brush the paper and sides of the skillet generously with 1 tablespoon more clarified butter. Heat the skillet over medium heat until hot. Pour in vegetable mixture and press gently. Cook, running a spatula around the edges of the skillet occasionally, until bottom is very brown, about 12 minutes.  (BOTTOM WASN’T GETTING BROWN, GOT IMPATIENT*. TURNED UP HEAT.) *THE START OF ALL PROBLEMS, ALWAYS.

Place a round platter upside down over the top of the skillet. Grasp sides of the skillet and platter with oven mitts and invert pancake onto the platter. (THIS SEEMED LIKE A LOT OF ACROBATICS. BUT I DID IT!) Press back in any stuck bits of pancake. (PLENTY OF STUCK BITS) Wipe the skillet clean, place parchment back in the skillet and brush generously with clarified butter. Slide pancake back into the skillet (browned-side up) and continue to cook over medium heat, loosening edges with a spatula and shaking the pan occasionally to loosen the bottom. (STARTING TO SMELL SOMETHING BURNING, BUT PANCAKE LOOKED OK.) Cook until bottom is browned and crisp and pancake is cooked through, about 12 more minutes. (AT ABOUT 10 MINUTES REALIZED PARCHMENT PAPER WAS ON FIRE. HAD TO REMOVE) Invert the skillet again to remove pancake. Cool 5 minutes before cutting into wedges. (PANCAKE WAS MORE OF A HASH AT THE END, AND A LITTLE CHARRED. BUT STILL GOOD.)

MY EASIER, LESS HEALTHY, PARCHMENT PAPER FREE VERSION:

Ingredients:

1 red onion, sliced
2 parsnips, peeled and grated
2 carrots, peeled and grated
2 russet potatoes, peeled and grated, squeezed and drained of excess liquid
2 scallions, diced
1/4 cup parsley, chopped
1 tsp chili powder
1/2 tsp nutmeg
3 eggs
1 cup flour
1 stick butter

Add all ingredients except for butter to a bowl, mix with your hands until eggs and flour are incorporated. Heat a non-stick skillet on medium and add 1/4 stick of butter. Drop mixture by heaping spoonfuls (you can make these as big or as small as you want, depends on how long you want to spend cooking) into skillet, and cook over medium heat until both sides are browned (at least 5 minutes per side, depends on how big you make them). Press frequently with spatula to keep them in pancake form, but if these fall apart you can just cook them into a hash and they are just as tasty. Let skillet cool between batches and add more butter before each batch. Top with Green Goddess Dressing, recipe follows.

Green Goddess Dressing:
2 cups 0% (fat free) greek yogurt
2 scallions
juice of one lime
juice of 1/2 lemon
salt and pepper
4 gloves garlic
at least 1 cup chopped basil, have two cups available so you can adjust if it is not basil-y enough

Throw everything in a blender and puree.  Add more basil if you want. Puree again. The end. This should last 4-5 days in the fridge.

Feast: Dinosaur BBQ, Syracuse NY

December 10, 2013
photo by dave copeland

photo by dave copeland

Dinosaur BBQ is now a chain with 7 locations, but back in the day the original, in Syracuse, NY, was not the place you’d take your wife for dinner before a weekend with her friends and their babies. In the last ten years it has gone from biker bar to group hang out spot, but the decor is still pretty honky tonk, with license plates and signs that read “temperance ignored here” on the walls.

The food is quick and rich – brisket, pulled pork, ribs, fried green tomatoes, deviled eggs, cornbread. I had brisket and pulled pork with a side of mac and cheese and coleslaw, and while it was all good, I particularly enjoyed the brisket- tender without being fatty – and the mac and cheese. Most BBQ joint mac is dry and tasteless, but this is something you want a full bowl of. Judging by the amount of hits you get by googling “Dinosaur BBQ mac and cheese recipe,” it looks like many have tried to imitate it, and for good reason.

If you’re driving through Syracuse, this is a must stop destination. Otherwise, you might want to try the Harlem or Brooklyn locations.

photo by dave copeland

photo by dave copeland

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