Thursday, January 28, 2010

Tofu And Pinto Bean Soup


It's almost Friday, which means the weekend will be here soon, and that's generally a good thing. However, my classes begin again on Saturday and I work on Sundays now, so Thursday is actually my weekend. I've spent the day doing yoga, baking apple pie (following the elimination diet guidelines of course), and generally being a happy hermit in my apartment. I'm at a bit of a standstill with my diet, as many of my symptoms (headaches, fatigue, flushed cheeks) came back yesterday and I can't figure out what triggered it. Is it something I ate? Is it a delayed sign of detoxification? Since I haven't figured it out, I'm holding off on adding any more foods to my diet until the symptoms go away. Right now I'm in phase two, and I've added lemons, but am waiting before I add in tamari. In the meantime, I want to thank you all for your support. The truth is, if I wasn't blogging about this, I would have given up and bought a hunk of cheese days ago! Just by reading, you're all keeping me honest, and helping me to get healthier.

Now, today's post is NOT an elimination diet recipe. I made this soup weeks ago, but never had a chance to post it. Since today's the last day to post my recipe for Go Ahead Honey, It's Gluten Free, I decided I'd take a break from elimination diet recipes to give you my Tofu and Pinto Bean Soup. The theme this month is stews from around the world, so I'm not sure this really counts. Personally when I think of anything with tofu, I think of my hometown of Northampton in Massachusetts. But this was inspired by my recipe for Spanish Rice and Beans, so if I'm reaching, I could say this is from Spain. In a roundabout way. Well, either way, this is a hearty vegetarian soup that's good for cold nights and would go great with a warm hunk of bread and a salad.


Tofu and Pinto Bean Soup
Print-Friendly Recipe

Ingredients:
7 oz tofu (1/2 container), crumbled into pieces
1 1/4 cups dried pinto beans, soaked overnight, then simmered in water with the top on for 4 hours - save the cooking liquid (for a faster version, use canned beans)
1 14.5 oz. can diced tomatoes
2 carrots, chopped
1 zucchini, chopped
1 green bell pepper, chopped
3 radishes, finely diced
2 garlic cloves, diced
12 green olives, cut in thin slices
2 tsp. olive oil
1 tsp. coriander
1 tsp. cumin

Directions:
  1. Heat olive oil in a soup pan. Add carrots and garlic. Saute, stirring occasionally about 3 minutes.
  2. Add green peppers. Saute 1 minute.
  3. Add zucchini and saute another 2 minutes.
  4. Add radishes. Saute another minute.
  5. Add tomatoes with their liquid.
  6. Add pinto beans and 1/2 cup of cooking liquid. Add 1 1/2 cups of water. Add spices.
  7. Stir and allow to come to a boil. Turn heat down to low and simmer with top on for 30 minutes.
  8. Add green olives and tofu and simmer with top on another 30 minutes
Serves 4.

This post is linked to Friday Foodie Fix where the ingredient of the week is...beans! So if you need a recipe for those beans in your pantry, check it out! Shirley of Gluten Free Easily is hosting this month's Gluten-Free Lifestyle Blog Carnival, so be on the lookout for her post with great recipes and tips from the blogosphere! And stop back here this weekend for an elimination diet, phase two apple pie recipe!

Update: This post is linked to a delicious chili cook off. Stop by Miz Helen's Country Cottage for more chili recipes. 

Thanks again for keeping me away from the cheese! I'm craving it, but I'm resisting!

Sunday, January 24, 2010

Elimination Diet Phase One Recipe: Vegetarian Soup For The Soul


Another soup? Really? I'm starting to think I should rename my blog, The Daily Soup. I hope you'll bear with me as I can't seem to stop making soup. There's just something so comforting about it, especially in the winter. This particular soup is a great phase one recipe for the elimination diet I'm following, but don't be turned away if you're not following that diet. This soup tastes so good, I'm making another batch for dinner tonight. In fact, I can honestly say that this is my favorite soup that I've made so far. The best thing about it is that it's extremely healthy for you and is a great low-fat, low-calorie soup to have as a side with your dinner. This would also be a great idea for anyone trying to lose weight and looking for something comforting they can have at night without adding too many extra calories. And if you're just looking for a delicious soup to feed your family? Be assured that it got the thumbs up from my boyfriend too. After tasting a sip, he said, "Oh my God! Why does that taste so good?!" I love when I make something that gets a reaction like that out of him!



Vegetarian Soup for the Soul
Print-Friendly Option

Ingredients:
1 sweet dumpling squash, baked*
1/2 sweet onion, diced
2 carrots, chopped
2 celery stalks, chopped
1 garlic clove, minced
piece of fresh ginger about an inch thick, zested or grated
1/2 cup fresh parsley, chopped
1 Tbsp. olive oil
Sea salt to taste

* To bake the squash, I cut it in half, scraped out the seeds, and baked it upside down in an inch of water at 4oo degrees for an hour. It made about one cup of squash. Sweet dumpling squash has a delicate and sweet taste that works wonderfully for this soup, but if you can't find one, I'm sure any type of winter squash, like an acorn or butternut, would work fine too.

Directions:
  1. Heat the olive oil in a pot over medium heat. Add the onions and garlic, and saute until just beginning to turn translucent, about 2 minutes
  2. Add the carrots and celery. Saute another 2-3 minutes.
  3. Add 4 cups of water. Add the ginger into the soup.
  4. Bring to a boil. Turn to low and simmer for 3o minutes with the top on.
  5. After the soup has simmered, put the squash in a blender with 1 cup of the cooking liquid. Blend until even. Add to the soup and stir in.
  6. Add parsley. Add salt to taste. Simmer another 5 minutes
Serves 4

And before I forget: in elimination diet news, I've cut maple syrup, dates, and agave nectar out of my okay food list. Although these are all items that are allowed in phase one, I realized after a couple of days of having them that they were triggering my urge to overeat and binge on sugar. So before I move on to phase two, the maple syrup is going to the back of the fridge, the agave nectar to the back of the cupboard, and I won't be buying any more dates for now. I'm a bit disappointed that I can't handle these items, but I know myself well enough to be assured I'll do better on the diet without them.

This post is linked to What Can I Eat That's Gluten Free, Meatless Mondays and :

Thursday, January 21, 2010

Sunshine, Vision Boards, And An Elimination Diet Update


I've been relishing my last week of freedom before classes start up again. It's given me the time to do the elimination diet, work on grad school applications, and even better, go to more yoga classes. This morning, I arrived in class to find a larger group than normal. There weren't many spots left, so I ended up across the room from where I usually place my mat. My yoga class is in a big, light studio with large windows. Shades block the sunlight, but I noticed that my mat was placed exactly where the light would shine in from the one shade that wasn't closed. I moved my mat a little, and figured it would be fine. But halfway through the class, I found myself getting a little bit annoyed and antsy because the light was shining directly in my eyes. I was literally doing yoga in a pocket of sunshine. I was going to get up and close the shade, but then I remembered something. So I smiled, relaxed, and continued through the class in the sunshine.

What did I remember? My vision board. At the beginning of the month, I made a vision board for 201o and tacked it up in a prominent place on my wall. Last night, I wanted to declutter my apartment, so I started looking for things I didn't need. I found a folder of magazine cutouts, leftovers from the vision board. Rifling through them, I put them all in the recycling bin, except one, a boldly printed word: SUNSHINE. Grabbing some tape, I put it right in the middle of my vision board. This morning, I realized I had been given exactly what I asked for. So I basked in the sunshine, and gave thanks.

In elimination diet news, I've been eating a lot of avocado salads, veggie sushi, and quinoa. I noticed that the same ingredients that I can drink easily in a smoothie will bother my stomach (that rib pain again) if eaten in a salad. So I guess it's not just about the food, but how it's prepared. Frankly, it's not going to stop me from eating salad though. After hearing about enzymes and probiotics from a few bloggers, I decided to try raw sauerkraut as an alternative to pills while I'm on the diet. Today, I stopped at the store and bought some, a bit apprehensively I'll admit. My only experience with sauerkraut is that it smells funny. I was amazed to find out that I loved it though, and actually had to force myself to stop eating it. Sunflower seed butter has also been a great find for me, although at $8.00/jar, there's a good chance I won't be buying it again. But it's worked it's way into many of my phase 1 meals and snacks, including:


Dates dipped in sunflower seed butter and dried coconut,


and broccoli sauteed with garlic, ginger, and...yep...sunflower seed butter!
Somehow it worked.

And coming soon? A new elimination diet phase 1 recipe using the sweet dumpling squash above. And this one's so good (and good for you), you'll want to make it whether you're on the elimination diet or not!

Wednesday, January 20, 2010

Don't Burn The Veggie Stock!

This has little to do with food or my elimination diet, but it's so funny I had to tell you. Yesterday, as I was writing up my update on the elimination diet, I also started to simmer some veggie stock. I put the lid on, set the timer, and sat on my couch to write. Not too much later, I started smelling something burning. Thinking it was coming from the open window, I ignored it. The smell got stronger though, and I started thinking it was one of my neighbors burning something. I began to get annoyed at whoever was causing the horrible smell.

Then I remembered my stock.

I jumped up and bolted for the stove, and lo and behold, there was my pot, water boiled down, top stuck to the pot. I turned the stove off and took the pot away from the heat. Feeling silly, and thinking there was something wrong with the fact that my smoke alarm never went off, I sat back down to keep writing.

Five minutes later, I heard the sirens. Eyes wide, I looked outside, and sure enough...there were three fire trucks pulling to a halt outside my door. I opened my apartment door just in time to see a firefighter run up the stairs past my door. "Wait," I called. "I think you're here for me! I just burned some food on the stove."

Red in the face, I told the five strapping firemen that everything was fine, and a neighbor must have called when she smelled the smoke. Apparently, my neighbor is more proactive than I am, as I just sat there and did nothing when I thought the smell was coming from elsewhere. Luckily, they didn't seem upset, and just told me to be careful. Lesson learned, I thought.

Next time I smell smoke, I'll check my own stove before assuming the smell is from someone else.

Tuesday, January 19, 2010

Elimination Diet: Day Four

I've been struggling for a couple of months with a general fatigue that has not seemed to respond to dietary, sleep, or stress changes. Until now. For some reason, I didn't include this fatigue in my list of reasons for trying the elimination diet. Perhaps because I assumed that it was a vitamin deficiency and didn't think eliminating something from my diet would be the answer; rather, I thought I needed to add something in. But I'm starting to think I might be wrong.

2pm is generally about the time when I begin to fade. But on the first day of my elimination diet (during the smoothie cleanse), I suddenly had a burst of energy right around then. Unfortunately, after that I also got a horrible headache that sent me to bed early. On Sunday (still doing the smoothie cleanse), I woke up feeling very weak and woozy. I spent most of the day on the couch drinking smoothies and water. Until 2pm. Then suddenly I started to feel better and have more energy. Not as much as the day before, but still enough to force me out of the house for a walk in the rain.

On Monday, I had to work all day, so I brought my lunch and dinner as usual. I found myself in a great mood, and feeling energized all day. I didn't experience my normal early afternoon crash, and had no problem working until nine. I was very excited to eat again, but found that I couldn't eat much; nor did I want to. The last time I tried fasting, I caved and ate udon noodles to break the fast. That was such a shock to my system, I felt like a log all day! This time, I wanted to treat my body right and eat light throughout the day. I started with a green smoothie. Have I mentioned that I can't eat bananas right now? Unfortunately for me, I am really not a fan of smoothies without bananas. Eventually, I found a combination of spinach, lettuce, apple, and frozen raspberries that works for me, but I would be lying if I said I love it.


I also made vegetarian sushi that tasted like my own little piece of heaven. Seriously. I'm having it again for dinner tonight! In fact, I had to remind myself of that when I wanted it for lunch today (I had a salad with lentils instead). Instead of just using rice here, I mixed brown rice and quinoa together. Then I used avocado, baked sweet potato, and raw carrots for the filling. So simple and easy to make! I had a couple of pieces of these with my smoothie for breakfast Monday morning, then noshed on them all day.


I also made some lentils with carrots, and a salad of lettuce and herbs with carrots, pears, and avocados. Yum! However, I noticed two things after I ate the salad. One, I started feeling a little tired, although not as much as usual. Two, my left rib pain started acting up, and I was actually in a lot of pain by the time I left work. I'm eating salad again now though, so I can see if the same thing happens.


And as for today? I'm still feeling pretty good. I had a smoothie and some sweet potato for breakfast, then got in a good hour and a half of yoga. After that, I had a delicious pear with sunflower seed butter. I've never had this before, and I had to search to find a brand that didn't have any form of sugar in it, but I think I like it. It's like peanut butter. With a twist. For lunch, I just had my salad, and I keep reminding myself to drink water, as I often forget.

Before I head off to get more errands done, I also want to mention something interesting that came out of the smoothie cleanse that I would not have expected. I've always had a fear of being hungry, in large part because I went through a phase in high school where I would get so nauseous I would vomit if I didn't eat every couple of hours. In retrospect, I think I must have been going through some sort of growth spurt, and just needed to eat more. But ever since then, the second I feel a twinge of either hunger or nausea, I immediately find something to eat. If there's nothing to eat, I panic. My biggest concern about doing the smoothie cleanse was that I would experience that same nausea and not be able to keep the smoothies down. But that didn't happen at all. I barely felt nauseous, and I realized that my body can go without food much longer than I give it credit for. I think...just maybe...I got over my fear of being hungry. And this is a very good thing.

Saturday, January 16, 2010

Elimination Diet: Day One


You know what I really want right now? A maple cinnamon snickerdoodle. You know what I can't eat right now? A maple cinnamon snickerdoodle. Or anything, for that matter. I'm on day one of The Whole Life Nutrition Elimination and Detoxification Diet. For today and tomorrow, I'll be dining on green smoothies, green smoothies, and more green smoothies. My first day is almost over, and for that I'm grateful. As the day wears on, I find myself imagining all of the wonderful things I can eat when this portion of the diet is over. I actually want the weekend to be over just so that I can eat again! Sad, right? But it's made me more appreciative of phase 1 of the diet, the most restrictive phase. It doesn't seem restrictive to me now though! I can have sweet potatoes, quinoa, sunflower seed butter, avocados and more! Sounds downright decadent to me! I'm thinking sweet potato nori rolls, carrot and lentil soup, and maybe a sweet quinoa berry salad for Monday. But really, I should stop thinking about it because it makes me hungry. The hardest part is that I have to work all day on Monday, so I have to prepare all my meals on Sunday. Cooking without eating? Oh man. That's a tough one.

So why am I doing this, you ask? And what exactly is this elimination diet? Good questions, both, and ones I've been asked a lot lately:

What is the elimination diet?
I'm following an elimination and detoxification diet planned by Ali and Tom at Whole Life Nutrition. You can click here or read their cookbook for specific details, but basically this is a 28-day food plan designed to eliminate foods that your body may be having a reaction to. You start by first doing a two day smoothie cleanse and then a week of limited foods, thereafter progressing through phases of the diet in which specific foods are reintroduced. By slowly adding in these foods, you can determine if your body has a reaction to any of them, and therefore determine what foods you should be avoiding in general.

Why are you doing this diet if you already know you can't have gluten?
Although cutting out gluten has made a significant difference in my health, there are some issues I still have that I'm hoping to eliminate through this diet. Becoming gluten-free has shown me what a difference food can make to my physical and emotional health, so I'm more than willing to believe that food could be the culprit for my other issues as well. Some of these problems are:
  • Bloating
  • Flushed cheeks...I can't seem to pinpoint what foods cause this, but it generally seems to happen right after eating
  • Obnoxious and constant post nasal drip
  • While the pain under my left rib that I always associated with IBS has significantly improved, it still occasionally flares up, sometimes in response to stress, other times after eating
  • Daily headaches...these only started a few months ago, so they could also be a vitamin deficiency due to eating gluten-free, but I take vitamins daily now and it doesn't seem to make a difference
Ok, so now that you know all about my body's various ailments, let me ask you a few questions: Have you ever done an elimination diet like this? What did you think? Was it helpful? If you discovered any food sensitivities, did you successfully eliminate them from your diet or do you still eat them?

And on a side note, Chocolate Covered Katie is hosting a vita-mix giveaway! Wouldn't that be fun to have? Stop by to enter her giveaway!

Hope you're enjoying your weekend!

Friday, January 15, 2010

Maple Cinnamon Snickerdoodles


I made a lot of gluten-free cookies over the holidays, but my favorites by far were Kimberly's snickerdoodles. My only problem was that they were so chock full of sugar that I could feel the rush the second I ate them. I often get instant heartburn when I eat something I really shouldn't, and unfortunately, these cookies caused that reaction. I knew with every bite that it was too much sugar and not enough substance for my body. The recipe was so good though that I wanted to use it to make a healthier version.

What I ended up doing was replacing the sugar with maple syrup, an egg with flax seed meal, and tapioca flour with amaranth flour. The result was a soft and chewy cookie that I think I might actually like more than the original! And I didn't feel an immediate sugar rush with these! Now don't get me wrong...these cookies may be slightly healthier, but they're also still slightly indulgent. So they're really only for special occasions.

And what would be the perfect occasion to make these? A birthday! Tomorrow will be the first day of my elimination diet, so I certainly won't be eating these. But it's also my friend, Paco's birthday. Paco has Celiac Disease, and it was on his advice that I first tried eating gluten-free. So without his encouragement, I may never have discovered that gluten was the source of my depression. So thanks, Paco, and happy birthday! Hope you enjoy the cookies!


Maple Cinnamon Snickerdoodles (click here for the original recipe)
Print-Friendly Option

Ingredients:
1/2 cup butter
1/2 cup shortening
1 cup maple syrup
1 egg
1 Tbsp. flax seed meal
1 3/4 cup sweet white rice flour (a.k.a. glutinous rice flour)
2/3 cup potato starch
1/3 cup amaranth flour
2 tsp. xantham gum
2 tsp. cream of tartar
1 tsp. baking soda
1 tsp. cinnamon
1/4 tsp. salt

Directions:
  1. Cream the butter and shortening together.
  2. With a whisk or hand blender, completely mix in the maple syrup, egg, and flax seed meal.
  3. Stir in the rest of the ingredients until completely mixed.
  4. Chill dough in fridge for an hour.
  5. Preheat oven to 400 degrees.
  6. Form the dough into balls with your hands, and place on a greased cookie sheet. Don't flatten the balls, as they will spread while they bake.
  7. Bake for 8-10 minutes, until the edges just barely begin to brown.
Makes about 2 dozen cookies.

Now that I've made these and know the recipe works, I imagine I'll play around with it some more and try to add healthier flours and cut down on the maple syrup. But not this month...this month I'll be cooking and baking elimination diet style! Check back tomorrow to see how my first day of the smoothie cleanse goes.

This post is linked to Calling All CookiesFight Back Fridays, Tempt My Tummy Tuesday, and Slightly Indulgent Tuesdays.

Tuesday, January 12, 2010

Gluten-Free in San Diego: Cafe Athena

I think that everyone has (or should have) a restaurant that they consider their secret find. A restaurant with amazing food, a great staff, and good prices. And for some reason unknown to you, there's never a wait. I'm always torn between worry that my favorite restaurants will close down because no one else ever seems to frequent them, and worry that they will be discovered for the hidden gems that they are, and I'll have to wait in line to get in.

Cafe Athena is one of those secret finds. This is honestly one of my all-time favorite restaurants. Although, upon looking at their website, I found a list of all the awards they've won for best Greek restaurant. Apparently, it's not as much of a secret as I thought. Still, I've never had to wait for a table, so I consider this my secret San Diego restaurant. My sister, Shani, took me there years ago, and every time I visit her in San Diego, I ask to go back. For this visit, I did a little research on gluten-free restaurants in San Diego, and was surprised to find that Cafe Athena was listed as a gluten-free friendly restaurant. Could it be!? My favorite restaurant was also an easy place to eat out without fear of cross-contamination? I couldn't pass that up!

Upon arriving at the restaurant, I let the server know about my dietary restrictions. Without needing any other information, he immediately went to grab an allergy menu. I was very impressed to see that in addition to listing their non-gluten items, they also listed which items were dairy free, soy free, egg free, etc.

I ordered the:

TARAMOSALATA
A mousse of imported red caviar delicately blended with potatoes, olive oil and lemon juice. Garnished with celery and carrots.



L
ENTIL SOUP
A popular soup, made with carrots, celery and tomatoes.


and
YALANDJI GRAPE LEAVES

A favorite Greek appetizer with filling of rice, fresh tomato, red pepper, onion, mint and pomegranate molasses. Served chilled.




And it was all amazing! As delicious as always and gluten-free as well! What could be better? If you live nearby or are visiting, it's worth the drive to check out this "hidden" gem.

This post is linked to What Can I Eat That's Gluten Free.

Sunday, January 10, 2010

Goodbye L.A., Hello San Diego!

Happy Sunday! Tomorrow's the last day of my vacation, and I'm not relishing going back to the cold...


Again, I'd like to say that vacation should last forever...

On Thursday night, Grace and I ordered in from Fresh Brothers. For those of you in the L.A. area, it's pretty good gluten-free pizza. Not the best I've ever had, but then again, I've lived in New York City for the last five years, so I can be a bit of a pizza snob. My only complaint about the Fresh Brothers pizza was that I could tell it was a rice crust, and that's really not my favorite. I want my crust to taste like normal pizza crust, like at Risotteria in Manhattan. But that's just me being critical. Would I order from them again if I lived in L.A.? Most definitely! Sometimes you just want to lie on the couch, eat pizza, and watch True Blood. And in that case, Fresh Brothers pizza would be perfect.

On Friday, Grace and I said goodbye to L.A. and hello to San Diego! My older sister, Shani, and her husband just bought a big beautiful house. They have limes, tangerines, mint, rosemary, even a little apple tree. Eventually they want to have hens and maybe even goats one day! Imagine how much fun they're going to have cooking here! Shani made us a delicious juice with apples, carrots, beets, and celery. I don't have a juicer at home, so I was very excited to start my day out with fresh juice. I also remembered reading about making juice pulp crackers on Choosing Raw, so I thought that might be a fun idea.

My sisters weren't so sure about it. The idea of eating juice pulp actually gave Shani goosebumps!


Since our juice was sweet, we added some cinnamon and paprika to the mix. Then we added flax meal (about half the amount of the pulp) and a handful of chopped up cashews we had in the fridge. I'll admit our crackers weren't raw because we baked them at 200 degrees to save time. But they were still really fun. I loved the texture, although the flavor was only so-s0. Dipped in greek yogurt though? Loved it! Since I think it's difficult to find gluten-free crackers that I like at an affordable price, this is something I would make all the time if I had a juicer.


Yesterday, I made a modified version of my Basil Thai Noodles for a quick lunch.


But the food highlight of our weekend was our sushi dinner! Like I said, Grace is a sushi master. Well, at least compared to me. We made vegetarian sushi with avocado, carrots, sweet egg, sauteed portabello mushrooms, and cucumber. Yum! I took pictures of her rolls because the ones I made didn't look as pretty. I have to work on my sushi skills when I get home!



What else? I was very excited to be featured on this week's Flipping Fast Fridays at The Crazy Kitchen! Flipping Fast Fridays is a delicious monthly blog carnival dedicated to healthy food made in under 30 minutes. And Chelsey's got some great looking gluten-free recipes, like her Apple Muffins and her Angel Shine Cake! I highly recommend browsing around her blog for healthy ideas!

So what's on the menu for today? My mind is on the brown sugar flavored ice cream in the freezer, but that doesn't seem quite appropriate for breakfast. I'm off to scrounge around in Shani's fridge and see what I can come up with. What are you having for breakfast today? Or if you're on the east coast, perhaps the question should be, what did you have for breakfast today?


Thursday, January 7, 2010

Vacation Bliss And Shrimp Scrambled Eggs

Ahh vacation. Sweet, sweet vacation. If only we could all be independently wealthy and stay on vacation all the time. Wouldn't the world be a happier place? Wouldn't we all be just a little bit nicer to our loved ones? Or as my sister said, "I liked myself a lot more last week when I was on vacation. I liked my husband more then too."

Vacation for me so far has been a couple of days of bliss in my little sister, Grace's, sunny apartment just minutes from the beach in L.A. And I literally mean minutes as it's just down the street. Yesterday I took an hour long walk along the beach; today we're planning on going to yoga. When I'm not outside, I'm generally lying on the couch in vacation mode, marveling at the sunlight streaming into her apartment. What amazing pictures I could get if I had this kind of light in my apartment! But alas, it's not so sunny where I live.

Is there any way I can make vacation last forever?

Do you remember the last time I was in California? I wasn't sure then if gluten was really a problem for me so I went off my gluten-free diet. Big mistake. This time, I'm gluten-free all the way, and it's smooth sailing. Grace and I went to Trader Joe's first thing when we arrived and got some necessary items. I even found out there's a gluten-free pizza place nearby, although I doubt we'll find the time to go. But it's nice to know it's there.

Grace's garden salad

Last night, I tried to make shrimp potato pancakes for my sister and her boyfriend. They didn't stick together though, so I added more eggs and turned them into scrambled eggs. I figured they were a failure and not worthy of being posted, but Grace's boyfriend loved them and said they should definitely be in my recipe index. At first I thought maybe he was just being polite, but when there were no leftovers, I knew he meant it. I thought I had made enough for 4-5 people, but I didn't take into account how much guys can eat.

So without further ado, here are my Shrimp Scrambled Eggs. We ate them for dinner, but they're going under my recipe index as breakfast.


Shrimp Scrambled Eggs
Print-Friendly Option

Ingredients:
1 medium sweet potato, grated
1 small potato, grated
1 red bell pepper, diced
1/2 medium onion, diced
21 cocktail shrimp, minced (i know, very precise right?)
2 tsp. dried basil
1/2 tsp. salt
1/2 tsp. sriracha sauce
1/2 tsp. curry powder
1/4 tsp. garlic powder
7 eggs
small handful of grated cheddar cheese

Directions:
  1. Over medium high heat, saute the onions about 1-2 minutes, until they just start to become translucent. Add the red peppers and saute another minute. Pour into a big mixing bowl.
  2. Add the rest of the ingredients to the bowl except the eggs and cheese. Stir everything until completely mixed. Whisk 3 eggs and stir into mix.
  3. The mix makes a lot, so unless you have a really big pan, I suggest cooking this in two batches. Pour half of the mix into a nonstick pan over medium high heat and saute about 3 minutes on one side. Turn over. Whisk 2 eggs and pour over the top. Allow the eggs to begin to set and then scrape the sides with a spatula and fold the mix over itself a few times to allow the eggs to cook evenly. Add half of the cheese and fold in. Remove to a serving dish.
  4. Repeat step 3 with the other half of the mix, the last 2 eggs, and the rest of the cheese.
Serves 3-4

Tomorrow we're off to San Diego to visit my older sister, Shani. We have a girl's night in planned for Friday night, so we'll definitely be cooking something deliciously healthy. Grace is a sushi whiz, so I'm thinking maybe we can convince her to work her sushi magic. Any suggestions? What are your favorite snacks for when it's just the girls? (If there are any guys reading this, I apologize for assuming all my readers are female, and would be very excited to know there's a guy reading my blog...a guy who isn't my boyfriend because that doesn't count).

This post is linked to Food on Fridays.

Sunday, January 3, 2010

Mediterranean Halibut And Asparagus


I often find myself wanting to bestow words of weight loss and health wisdom to my readers when I am not feeling particularly wise myself. Only a few days into the New Year, I'm finding myself still craving the holiday sugar. Although all my cookies and pies are gone, I'm reminded of how addicted my body gets to sugar when it has it. Every day I wake up thinking, "No sweets today, no sweets today," but by the afternoon, the cravings start. I've always been aware that my body's reaction to sugar is really strong, but I'm noticing the same problem with a lot of my clients as well. The New Year is here, and we all want to start off on the right foot, but the sugar withdrawal keeps sucking us back in. "Cookies!" It calls. "Pies! Chocolate!" It makes me think of that scene in Mannequin where Hollywood is complaining about the doughnuts calling to him at night. "Hollywood! Oh Hollywood! Come and get me Hollywood!" It's comical, but for many of us, not so funny in reality.

So what do I do about this sugar addiction? Going gluten-free was easy for me because my emotional reaction to gluten was so severe and obvious. Going sugar free? Not so easy. Not such a clear line for me. But one I'm seriously contemplating as I sit here eating a gluten-free cookie and wondering where my willpower went. I think the sugar ate it.

I'll be doing the Whole Life Nutrition elimination diet in the next month or so (I'm going on vacation next week so I'll start soon after I get back), and I'm hoping to get some clarity on my feelings about sugar. If nothing else, the detox from sugar should help eliminate my cravings. But right now I'm feeling rather addicted, and frustrated that I keep eating something that makes my body feel so uncomfortable. Were I the kind of person that could eat a small piece and then be done for the day, I would gladly eat a cookie every day, but the more I eat sugar, well...the more I eat. Period.

Until I start the elimination diet, I'll be doing my best to cut out sugar. As a client reminded me, you just take it one day at a time and eat as healthy as you can. I had two cookies today, and they didn't make me feel very good. But I stopped at two (I'd better go brush my teeth so that that statement remains the truth!) rather than three or four. And I made a very healthy late lunch of sauteed halibut and asparagus. My mom made a simple salad dressing of hummus, olive oil, and lemon juice when I was home, so I decided to use that as the base for this recipe. It turned out delicious and light. And made me feel much better than the cookies. I should remember that the next time those cookies start calling to me.


Mediterranean Halibut and Asparagus
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Ingredients:
1 lb. halibut (deboned)
1 bunch of asparagus, rinsed and tough stems broken or cut off
5 oz. salad greens (You can buy the prewashed bags which are the perfect amount for 4 servings)
1/2 cup hummus (of course the brand you use will make a difference so buy a flavor you love. I used Trader Joe's Mediterranean.)
juice of 1/2 lemon
1 Tbsp. olive oil
2 Tbsp. fat free plain greek style yogurt
1/4 tsp. ground black pepper
1/4 tsp. paprika
4 kalamata olives, dices
3 sundried tomatoes, diced

Directions:
  1. Whisk together the hummus, lemon juice, olive oil, yogurt, black pepper, and paprika. Stir in the olives and sundried tomatoes.
  2. Spray a large saute pan with oil and heat on medium-low. Place fish and asparagus in the pan. Pour sauce over. Put top on and saute 6-8 minutes.
  3. Turn the fish and asparagus over and saute another 6-8 minutes with top on (the time will depend on how thick your halibut steaks are).
  4. Prepare four plates with a bed of salad greens. Top with asparagus and halibut. Spoon the drippings over the salad greens for dressing.
Serves 4

I'm leaving for L.A. and San Diego on Tuesday to visit my sisters, so I'll be coming to you next from sunny California! I have some gluten-free friendly restaurants picked out, and I'm hoping I can cajole my little sis into making me sushi. If you know of any great gluten-free restaurants in L.A. or San Diego, I'd love to hear of them!

This post is linked to Fight Back Friday at Food Renegade and Foodie Friday at Designs by Gollum.

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