Friday, December 16, 2011

LiveScience: Good food gone bad

I don't usually send you to read articles, stories or blogs. There's a lot out there for you to choose from. But in this case, LiveScience got it right!


Read it. Live it. Love it.

Organic Maple Syrup

You might be asking... Why maple syrup? Why organic?


It's the same reason I'm always telling you to avoid any foods that are white. You know, white sugar, white salt, white flour.. you get the idea. Those foods are processed to the extreme. Their trace minerals and micronutrients are completely removed and a few of our government-regulated vitamins and/or minerals are added back.

Why? The food is ruined already! You've heard of the 'diseases of the rich'? Well, America is rich. And it's sick. The reason? Processed foods.

Taken from: :

100% maple syrup provides is an excellent source of manganese and a good source of zinc! The trace mineral manganese is an essential cofactor in a number of enzymes important in energy production and antioxidant defenses. Endothelial membranes low in zinc are much more prone to injury. Additionally, studies have found that in adults deficient in manganese, the other trace mineral amply supplied in maple syrup, the level of HDL (the "good" cholesterol) is decreased. Zinc and manganese are important allies in the immune system. Many types of immune cells appear to depend upon zinc for optimal function.

A 1/4 cup serving of maple syrup - which is a surprisingly large amount! - can vary from 150-200 calories (depending on the grade/darkness). So, enjoy without guilt!

A few quick serving ideas from :

Maple syrup, used in place of table sugar as a sweetener, gives tea and coffee a unique taste.

Pour some maple syrup on oatmeal topped with walnuts and raisins.

Add maple syrup and cinnamon to puréed cooked sweet potatoes.

Combine maple syrup with orange juice and tamari and use as a marinade for baked tofu or tempeh.

Spread peanut butter on a piece of whole wheat toast, top with sliced bananas and then drizzle maple syrup on top for a sweet, gooey treat.

Friday, December 9, 2011

Mexican throw-together casserole

Want to eat more and weigh less? Eat like this!


Trying to make a yummy, melt-in-your-mouth, warm, hearty, low-fat dinner... I had to plan ahead (about an hour)... but it was definitely worth it!

Red beans
OPTIONAL: Taco meat (made from frozen burgers - or use TVP or boca frozen crumbles)
Frozen corn
Rotel (in a can)
2 medium potatoes, your choice
5-7 small corn tortillas
Enchilada sauce (we used green)

I made red beans from scratch but you don't have to. (However, I recommend it because it's easy, with no additives, no added salt!) Just cover beans with a few inches of water. Bring to boil. Keep on medium boil for 1-2.5 hours, depending on your elevation and how many you're cooking. Just check on the beans every 45 minutes - 1 hour. Taste a bean. Are they done? If not, just keep going. Add more water as needed. See how easy that is?

Now, here's where the preparation is needed. Just rinse and dice your potatoes. (Smaller pieces cook faster.) Now, bake at 375 or so, for 30 minutes. Turn your potatoes. I've also found that it helps to put water in the pan, or put a cup of water in the oven when baking. This will keep your potatoes moist. (This time I just filled the baking pan with water halfway up the potato pieces.) No, really. It works!

Cook your TVP or thawed boca burgers (that you've cut into small pieces) with taco seasoning. You can find a recipe to make your own online or use a premade package. (Just be careful because those are full of all kinds of preservatives and ingredients you can't pronounce!)

While that's all cooking, you'll want to slice up your tortillas. Open your rotel. Drain/rinse your beans. Get your corn out of the freezer or shave it right off the cob.

Can you see how easy this is?

The only thing you're waiting on is the potatoes. So, once they're mostly cooked just start layering:


Spread a thin layer of oil in your bowl to prevent sticking. Then go to town! We started with corn tortillas, then layered a bit of everything else. Don't forget to put a few spoonfuls of enchilada sauce in each layer. More corn tortillas, more layers. Then a top layer of tortillas again. Top off with a few spoonfuls of enchilada sauce again.

Preheat oven to 375.

Cover with foil and bake 20-30 minutes. With the glass container you can watch for the sauce inside to boil. When that happens, remove foil and bake until brown on top (another 20 or so minutes). Top with Daiya if you want - but it's not really necessary.

I thought there would be leftovers -- but trust me, there is no way you could leave this dish alone. We certainly didn't. So, go ahead and stuff yourself.. guilt-free.


Fun with yogurt


I love yogurt. All the time. As a snack, as a meal, whatever.

Silk has many flavors of yummy yogurt. But my favorite thing is to make my own flavor combinations! I start with the plain but you can start with vanilla (because it's sweetened already.)

Try adding granola.

Add 100% fruit jam or jelly.

Use fresh fruit.

Add nuts, buckwheaties, cereal or anything crunchy.

Not sweet enough? Add a little raw sugar or agave.

Thursday, December 8, 2011

Personalized healthy granola

In an effort to curb my husband's snacking habits, I try to make sure he has a small container of healthy snacks to bring to work every day.

This one is actually great for dessert any day - and an in-between meals healthy snack. Plus, you get to use YOUR favorite ingredients. Anything goes. Trust me, you can't do it wrong.


Cascadian Farms organic chocolate granola
Fried organic banana chips (under the granola box, hard to see)
Dried fruit of any kind (I love raisins because they're 100% natural but Tyler won't eat them!)
Roasted, salted cashews (or almonds or peanuts or soynuts or whatever you have on hand)
*I even added roasted pumpkin seeds from our Halloween pumpkin carving experiment

See the small container? That's as much as he gets everyday. You can buy those almost anywhere now. Set your proportions and stick to them!

Even healthy food can pack on the pounds in excessive amounts. Small containers will keep your portion sizes down.

Chocolate + cherry cranberries + nuts or seeds = A tastegasm any time of day!


Last-minute baked veggies

We wanted savory veggies with dinner but, as happens a lot lately, I didn't prepare anything in advance. So, what did I do?


After checking the fridge, freezer and spice cabinet to see what we have.. here's what I came up with!

1/2 block tofu, diced to preference (optional - can use seitan or leave out completely)
3 large stalks celery, diced
2 large carrots, diced
2 med-large potatoes, diced
1/2 c green beans (frozen)
OJ concentrate
Soy sauce
Desired spices

Basically I diced the easy-to-cook veggies larger (celery), and potatoes (since they take longer) smaller.

Toss with 1 T oil. Add 2 T frozen orange juice concentrate. Douse with soy sauce. Shake.

Now add spices: salt, pepper, paprika, garlic, thyme, basil, rosemary (ir desired).

Mix. Shake.

Put in your trusty cast iron skillet. To keep your veggies moist, add about 1/4 inch of water in the pan. Now cover with foil. Bake at 375 degrees, covered with foil, for about 1/2 hour. You can use this time to prepare a pilaf or bread or whatever you want to have with your veggies.

After 30 minutes or so, check your veggies. Pierce the harder-to-cook (potatoes or carrots) with a fork. Almost done? Now is when you remove the foil and bake again for 10-15 minutes to brown.

Check the veggies every 10-15 minutes. Turning each time. This will brown everybody and make them taste absolutely delicious:


Does it get any easier?

Drink THIS

Afraid of gaining weight this holiday because you're constantly drinking high-calorie (not to mention unhealthy high-sugar, -fat or -artificially flavored) drinks? Have no fear.. this beautiful drink will save the day - and your waistline.


Children and adults alike shouldn't be drinking straight juice, right? Even if it's 100% juice, it's still very high in calories and practically completely deficient in fiber.

What can you enjoy, guilt-free this holiday (and all year long)?

A beautiful glass
100% juice (frozen or not)
Carbonated water (less than a buck for 2-liter bottle)

Presentation is part of enjoying your food. Use a beautiful glass. Try it!

If using 100% frozen juice concentrate, add 1 teaspoon-ish to the bottom of each glass. Let it melt.

If using juice, you can enjoy your drink almost immediately! Just put 1-3 teaspoons of juice concentrate in your glass and top off with cold carbonated water. Enjoy!

*Or start using 1/2 glass juice and 1/2 glass carbonated water if you're trying to wean yourself off of high-sugar drinks. You can gradually lower the amount of juice.