Sunday, August 29, 2010

Great Northern Cream of Tomato Soup with Chopped Kale

I've tried a few different tomato soups and even made my own.  I still wanted something different and I took ideas from a few different recipes and combined it with one of my own. 

I was also tired of adding soy milk to everything.  Not that I don't enjoy the flavor, it's just after a while, everything begins to have that same base flavor.

So here's what I came up with and it's the best tasting I've had so far.  I'm sure there are other tomato soup recipes that are just as good and even better.

1 large onion, chopped
3 cloves garlic, smashed
2 carrots, chopped
1/4 cup V8 juice, low sodium
3 lbs. roma tomatoes halved
2 cups water
1 cup V8 juice, low sodium
*2 Tablespoons tomato powder - recipe below
 1/2 cup chia seeds
1 jar roasted red peppers with liquid
3 cups white northern beans
fresh basil to taste
fresh garlic chives to taste
3 large kale leaves, chopped
Black pepper to taste or crushed red pepper flakes

In a large dutch oven pot, saute the onion, garlic and carrots in  the 1/4 cup V8 juice a little at a time as if you are water sauteing stirring and adding the V8 for about 8 minutes on med/high heat.

Add the halved tomatoes to the pot with the water, the 1 cup V8 juice and the tomato powder.  Simmer on low until they cook down and some of the liquid has cooked off, at least an hour.

Add the soup to the vitamix and blend with the chia seeds and roasted red peppers.  Only fill the blender half way when blending hot soup.  The chia seeds add to the creaminess and also work nicely as a thickener.  If you find your soup is too thick, add a little more V8 or water.

Add the northern beans.  You could use any bean really.  I'm going to make this soup again this week and try it with pinto beans for variation and use the crushed red pepper.  I'll probably top the soup with some chopped avocado at serving. 

Chiffonade the kale after removing the stems.  Then chop as you would parsley and add to the soup.  Upon serving add some fresh basil and chives.

Let me know if you try some other variations.

*Tomato Powder

My food co-op sells sun-dried tomatoes in small plastic bag.  I dumped the contents into my vitamix and blended away and the results are a nice tomato powder.  Store in a container for future use.

Thursday, August 26, 2010

An abundance of pears!

I was given around 40 pears .........what a wonderful blessing.  Most were already ripe, some weren't.  I had to think fast about what I was going to do with all that delicious fruit.

After eating a couple, I knew they'd go bad before we were able to finish them off, so I thought about making a cake with them.  But then there would still be most of them left.

So I decided to return to the drawing board.  Applesauce came to mind and I thought, "why not pearsauce?"  So I peeled half of them, cored and chopped away and threw them in a pan.  I  cooked them down and decided to leave them in pieces rather than sauce them.

I added spices - cinnamon, nutmeg, ginger, cloves and allspice.  I used mostly cinnamon with a dash of  the others.  Wow, so yummy!!!  Dh loved it and you don't add sugar.  They have plenty of their own.  We've eaten it as is and it's a delicious dessert.

A couple days later I rolled some in a tortilla.  Wow, that almost tasted like I was eating a pear pie, similar to the SAD pies like you get at the fast food places.  I heated the tortilla so that it was a little crunchy.  My next try will be half of a whole wheat pita stuffed with some pearsauce.  I make the pita crunchy by throwing it in the toaster for hummus, so that's what I'll do for the pearsauce too.

This turned out to be a simple delicious dessert.  And it's a nice change from fruit smoothies or fruit ice cream from the VitaMix.

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

Chocolate-Blueberry Cake

I meant to take a picture of this cake, but after baking I couldn't wait to try it, so picture-taking took a back seat.  I'll have to make it again and add a picture later.

Those who eat SAD (Standard American Diet) will love this healthy fact I'm sure you'll all fall in love with it. And especially if you're a chocolate lover, you've got to try this recipe.  Even my dh loved it!

So click on the link and you'll be convinced just by the picture this is a decadent-delicious cake dessert.

For those following E2L closely and don't allow themselves maple syrup or agave, I found a recipe for date syrup.   It's a recipe I've seen posted in a couple different places and I'm not sure who to give the credit to.

Date Syrup (Iraq)

(12 servings)

    * 1 cup pitted Medjool dates
    * 1 cup water
    * 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
    * 1/4 teaspoon cinnamon

In  a medium saucepan, bring water and dates to a boil. Reduce heat to low.  Cover and simmer for 15 minutes. Add vanilla and simmer for an  additional 5 minutes.

Allow mixture to cool to room temperature.  Place mixture in a blender with the cinnamon. Pulse until smooth and  completely blended.

Store in a sealed container in your refrigerator. Warm the syrup before using.

I used maple syrup, but want to try the date syrup next time I bake it.

Thursday, August 5, 2010

Besan Pizza with Roasted Vegetables

I've been super busy this summer.  I helped dh at work as a volunteer.  His counter girl had brain surgery and I filled in for a couple months.  With the economy as it is, they couldn't hire a temporary.

And then summer kind of took over, but now I'm hoping to post more frequently.  I've got a new recipe I'm posting below. 

 I found this online, but I forgot to bookmark it and couldn't find it tonight, so I'm going on memory.  I'm going to make it again tomorrow and will report back if it doesn't come  out the same as the first time.  I do recall the recipe had you add the tomatoes and onions afterward, but I added it to the batter.  I used roasted onions and grape tomatoes.

The Pizza Dough - makes 2 servings

1 cup chickpea flour
1 cups water
1/4 cup onions (mine were roasted)
1/4 cup tomatoes chopped (I used grape tomatoes for their sweetness)
1 Tablespoon fresh chopped rosemary

I sifted the flour and added water slowly using a whisk to mix. It's easy to lump so beat well if it does. Add the rest of the ingredients. I let it sit for a few minutes.

I poured half the batter in a hot, cast-iron skillet. I wiped a small amount of oil just so the batter wouldn't stick or if you'd rather, you can use a non-stick skillet.

When it looks like it needs turning (just like a pancake) flip it onto the other side and allow to sit for a few minutes more. When done, remove and plate, then pour the rest of the batter in and do the same thing.

I found the garbanzo bean flour at Walmart.  It's also called Besan or Chana Dal Flour.  When I purchased it I had no idea at all what I'd do with it.  I stuck it in the freezer for a couple of months, took it out and decided it was time to do something with it. 

There was a lot of talk about lentil flour pizza at the member's center website, so that's where I got the  idea to use the garbanzo bean flour as a pizza crust.

Here's a picture of a package of the flour if you want to know what it looks like.  I usually eat 1cup of beans each day as a minimum, and one serving will be equal to the 1 cup beans.

I was roasting vegetables in the oven so when done I topped the pizza with a good portion and added some spaghetti sauce on top.  MUCHO YUMMY!!! Dh loves this recipe too!

I guess I could have traditionally put the spaghetti sauce atop the pizza crust first, but I decided to layer the veggies first.  I don't really think it matters much, but you can layer however you desire.  Either way it will be delicious.

To roast the vegetables, I used Japanese eggplant, onions, mushrooms, zucchini and bell peppers, but you can use any variety of vegetables you like.  I used a very small amount of oil to coat them evenly and tossed them onto a sheet pan.  I ended up using three because I got carried away and cut up so many vegetables. When roasting, make sure you have them as one layer and try not to have them touching each other as much as possible.  That way you get a good roast, otherwise they'll steam.

I roasted them at 450 for about 20-30 minutes.  Half way through I flipped them with a spatula.  I really love eating vegetables this way.  They have such a depth of flavor when roasted.  I've added butternut squash, sweet potato, small new potatoes, etc for variety.  Hope  you'll give this recipe a try as you, "Eat To Live"!

Friday, April 16, 2010

Hojo Spaghetti Squash Casserole

I got the idea for this recipe from a friend at Dr. Fuhrman's membership website.  
Her name is Holly and she inspires me and so does another member over there; Susan.  They both come up with new recipes all the time.  

Holly made a delicious pesto spaghetti squash recipe that I absolutely loved.  Dh didn't like it so much so I decided to try something he might like.  I can't lose with something spicy so here's my attempt at making something tasty and nutrition for my Dh.  :) 

You can find Holly's recipe on my blog.

Hojo Spaghetti Squash Casserole
1 large spaghetti squash
6 garlic cloves, minced
2 15 oz cans diced tomatoes low or no sodium
1 16 oz can of tomato sauce
4 teaspoons crushed red chili flakes or to taste
2 teaspoons italian seasoning
2 teaspoons onion powder
2 teaspoons garlic powder
1 teaspoon Braggs liquid aminos
1 jar pimentos
1/2 cup unsweetened dried coconut
1 cup nutritional yeast
1 cup frozen peas thawed
2 cups cooked red lentils
1/2 cup slivered almonds

Preheat oven to 375.  Prick the squash really well so it won't blow up in the oven.  Bake for one hour in a shallow baking dish.  Allow to cool

While the squash is baking, water saute the minced garlic for a few minutes in a large sauce pan.  Add the canned tomatoes, tomato sauce, red chili flakes, italian seasoning, onion and garlic powder and the braggs liquid aminos.

Allow to simmer on low for twenty minutes.  Turn off heat.  Add pimentos, coconut and nutritional yeast when it's time to top the spaghetti squash.

When it's cool enough to handle, slice in half lengthwise.  Remove seeds and fibrous strings and throw away. 

Take a fork and pull the squash by forking the edge and bringing it toward the center all around.  You'll have beautiful spaghetti strands.

Place the spaghetti squash into a 7x11 rectangular glass baking dish.the baking dishspreading it evenly.

Next add the red lentils spreading them evenly over the squash and then the thawed peas.

If you haven't yet, add the pimentos, coconut and nutritional yeast to the tomato mixture.  Pour the sauce on top and spread evenly.  Add the almonds and bake at 350 for 35 minutes.  I served this with a spinach salad.

Monday, March 22, 2010

Tropical Delight

I've been making this ice cream all week.  Both Dh and I love it.  It's rich, sweet and oh so creamy.  If you like pineapple and banana, you'll love this.  If you're not fond of coconut and or pecans, you  can leave them out.

I tried different variations with this.  You may have to test this to see what works best for you.  I tried with the pineapple unfrozen and both bananas frozen, but it came out too soupy.

So I tried with everything frozen and it was really too hard to blend.  So I've found that the following works best.

To freeze the pineapple, I drain the canned (large)chunks in a colander really well.  I used a cake pan and stood them up so I'd have more room because you need to make sure that they aren't touching one another. 

I stuck them in the fridge in the morning so they'd be ready for our after-supper ritual. 

The week before it was chocolate ice cream and the week before that it was strawberry.  :-)  I think next week I'll try to do a pistachio ice cream.

If I had to choose a favorite, it'd be really hard to choose one, but I might have to choose the chocolate, over the Tropical Delight . . . . .  but they're really neck in neck because they're both so delicious. 

Tropical Delight

1 - 20 oz can drained pineapple chunks frozen - directions explained above
1 overripe small frozen banana cut into pieces
1 small overripe banana not frozen
3/4 - 1 cup of organic unsweetened vanilla soy milk
4 Tablespoons unsweetened coconut from health food store (optional)
4 Tablespoons pecans chopped (optional)

Blend in the vitamix until completely incorporated and serve.   Makes 4 servings.  Halve it for two people.

Without coconut and pecans it's 127 calories per serving.

With coconut and pecans it's 193 calories per serving.

My Dh's preference is with the coconut and pecans, while my favorite way to eat this is without both of them.  I love the tart taste of the pineapple mingled with the sweet smoothy texture of the banana and the soft creamy taste of the soy milk with a slight hint of vanilla.  But either way it's delicious.  Hope you enjoy it!

Sunday, March 21, 2010

Better Than Lara Bars

I visited a blog recently that isn't vegan, nor is it E2L compliant.  But it has some good looking recipes that are vegetarian and/or vegan and will appeal to many nutritarians who eat a more healthy diet or those who follow Eat To Live, McDougall, or the Engine 2 Diet.

Some of the recipes can be adapted to eating the E2L way by omitting the salt and oil.  Some of the baked goods can be adapted as well.  There's some great looking soups that appeal to me, but the next recipe I'm trying will be the brownies. 

Okay, back to the bars.  :)

They're easy to throw together and if you follow her suggestions with the foil and wax paper, it makes it so much easier and less messy.  Hope you'll give these a try.  I think you'll be thrilled with the results.  You can vary the dried fruits, nut and seeds which I'll do the next time I make them.

You could add these to your children's lunch.  I'm sure they'll love them.  Have them help you make them and add their favorite dried fruits and nuts.

These would be great for on the go, after working out at the gym or before.  They'd be great if you go camping or trail walk. 

I'm looking forward to trying some of her other recipes soon! I hope you will too and leave a comment here as to what you decided to try and whether or not you liked it.

Eat For Health, Everyone! :)

You'll find the recipe here:

Wednesday, March 10, 2010

Think That Bagged Salad's Safe?

Do you wash your already-prepared salad greens (including the ones that say they've been double or triple washed) that you purchase from your local grocery store?  You just might wish you had after reading this article from Consumer Reports.

Consumers Union has recently tested bagged salad greens and also greens found in plastic clamshells sold in supermarkets.  The results of this study may surprise you.

Bacteria was found in samples taken that are common indicators of poor sanitation and results also showed fecal contamination. In fact, some levels of samples tested were rather high.

National brands such as Dole, Earthbound Farm Organic and Fresh Express along with regional and store brands had at least one package with high levels of total coliforms or enterococcus.

The Food and Drug Administration needs to set stronger safety standards for fresh produce. Consumer's Union is supporting a Senate Bill that would require them to do that. It's called the Food Safety Modernization Act, Senate Bill 510.

You can find the full article here:

They suggested purchasing packaged greens as far as possible from their use-by date because they had less contamination. They also suggested washing the greens even if they say triple-washed, but their comments say that washing will remove extra dirt and not bacteria.

I've done a little research and found that Truth or Fiction reported, "Research published by the Journal of Food and Science in 2003 showed effective results of using hydrogen peroxide to decontaminate apples and melons that were infected with strains of E.coli."

Some websites I've researched recommended 1/4 cup of 3% hydrogen peroxide added to a sink of water while cleaning greens, fruit and vegetables. I haven't found anything official yet as to the correct amount to use, but I'll keep researching. So for now I'll use the 1/4 cup until I find anything that says differently.

Saturday, March 6, 2010

Making juice with the vitamix

Want to make juice, but don't have a juicer.   Here's your answer to fresh, delicious juice using your vitamix with Raw Foodist, Rene Oswald.

Thursday, March 4, 2010

That's my darling minpin, Bandit.  He's so spoiled . . .  and . . .  hyper . . .  and . . . he rules the house.

Our kids and grandkids live in another state, so we choose  to lavish all of our love and attention on this little guy who gives so much love back to us.  He brings us a lot of joy and happiness and fills the void that's there from not having our family living close by.

I've got some recipes I've been wanting to share with you, but this past month I've been voluntarily helping my husband at his work.

He's a manager for a heavy equipment rental store and his counter girl had surgery the beginning of February. I've been filling in for her and will be until she returns.

With the economy like it is, they aren't hiring anyone to fill her position so it's either my dh goes nuts trying to juggle everything that needs doing, or I go in and help out. I decided I wanted to help him as much as I possibly can. He's already on overload as it is.

I've been going in around noon and staying for three to four hours. For many, this would be an easy task. But I've got fibromyalgia and osteoarthritis so it's been a little difficult this past month, with pain, weakness and lack of energy.

I've over-indulged in some off plan foods. Just tonight I had too much cashew butter. I'm thinking I'll need to throw it out. I hate to do that though because it's expensive, but I don't want the temptation around either. When I first began E2L, I even froze the stuff thinking that would prevent me from spooning the sweet, yummy, creamy butter into my mouth. It didn't work so I threw it out. I've been doing fine having it around the past six months or so, but not lately.

I've also been struggling with diet coke. You'd think I'd have kicked it by now. But it still comes around to haunt me and I cave in. I kicked it once, I know I can do it again.

I think I justify drinking it because I'm tired all the time and think I need a caffeine kick. I think it's also become a comfort food. I enjoy the taste and it makes me feel better. Water just doesn't do the same thing.

I hope this doesn't sound like I'm complaining. I'm not. I think I'm just unloading my frustration with myself, so that I can readjust my thinking and head in the right direction again.

I came up with another chili recipe. And I made cornbread to go with it and it's a vegan recipe from Susan's website. I'll try to post it tomorrow.

I tried a black-bean burger which I liked, but dh didn't so I'm on the look out for a bean or veggie burger he'll like. The black-bean burger had great flavor to me, but for dh, it was soft and moist and that's not what he likes as a burger substitute. So I'm looking for a texture that's more dry and even crusty on the outside if that's possible.

If any of you know of a recipe like that, I'd appreciate recommendations. There have been some recommendations from fellow nutritarians at the member's website. So I'll start with those and keep trying until my quest is accomplished. I'm determined and I'm sure there's an alternative burger out there somewhere that will meet the requirements I'm looking for.

So hopefully I'll be back tomorrow with  a recipe or two.  Eat to live y'all!

Monday, February 22, 2010

Grocery Store Wars

I thought maybe you could all use a chuckle.  :-)

Thursday, February 18, 2010


 FoodNews: Shopper's Guide to Pesticides

At the yahoo E2L group, one of the members referenced this FoodNews website that lists the worst and most contaminated produce. 

At the link above you'll find more information on the Dirty Dozen and the Clean Fifteen and the full list of vegetables and fruits that have been rated from worst to best. 

You may want to bookmark it for future reference.  You can also, if you prefer, download a pdf version or an iPhone app at their website.

 The list of the most contaminated produce has changed since Dr. Fuhrman wrote his book, Eat To Live.  This may be of importance to you if you purchase organic produce from his list because some things have changed.

 Dr. Fuhrman's dirty dozen included five items that are no longer on the top twelve list. 

 Dr. Fuhrman's List

  1. Strawberries
  2. Bell peppers
  3. Spinach*
  4. Cherries - USA
  5. Peaches
  6. Cantaloupe - Mexico*
  7. Celery
  8. Apple
  9. Apricots*
  10. Green beans*
  11. Grapes - Chile
  12. Cucumbers*
*No longer one of the top twelve

New list
  1. Peaches - 100
  2. Apples - 93
  3. Bell peppers - 83
  4. Celery - 82
  5. Nectarines - 81
  6. Strawberries - 80
  7. Cherries - 73
  8. Kale - 69
  9. Lettuce - 67
  10. Grapes - Imported - 66
  11. Carrot - 63
  12. Pear - 63
  13. Collard Greens - 60
  14. Spinach - 58
  15. Potato - 56
  16. Green beans - 53
  17. Summer squash - 53
  18. Pepper - 51
  19. Cucumber - 50
  20. Raspberries - 46
  21. Grapes - domestic - 44 
  22. Plum - 44
  23. Orange - 44
  24. Cauliflower - 39
  25. Tangerine - 37
  26. Mushrooms - 36
  27. Banana - 34
  28. Winter squash - 34 
  29. Cantaloupe - 33
  30. Cranberries - 33
  31. Honeydew melon - 30
  32. Grapefruit - 29
  33. Sweet Potato - 29
  34. Tomato - 28
  35. Broccoli - 28
  36. Watermelon - 26
  37. Papaya - 20
  38. Eggplant - 20 
  39. Cabbage - 17
  40. Kiwi - 13
  41. Sweet  peas - frozen 10
  42. Asparagus - 10
  43. Mango - 9
  44. Pineapple - 7
  45. Sweet corn - frozen - 2
  46. Avocado - 1
  47. Onion (best) - 1
Note: We ranked a total of 47 different fruits and vegetables but grapes are listed twice because we looked at both domestic and imported samples.

Tuesday, February 9, 2010

Simple Salsa

Last night I came home and fixed a huge salad for supper.  I also boiled a pound of jalapeno peppers to make some salsa for dh.  He loves the stuff  and adds it to almost everything he eats.

 What I normally do is to add an onion and some garlic into the pan with the peppers, but this was one of those times I didn't. I let those green-hot beauties boil for about ten minutes and then cut off the heat and let them cool while I ate supper.

Afterwards, I destemmed them and plunked them into my Vita-mix canister.  And by the way, when I do use onion and garlic, I leave the garlic cloves whole and cut the onion in forths.  But as I said previously, I didn't add them in last night so I reached for the onion and garlic powder allowing them to pour like sand into the canister until I think I've added enough. 

Everyone's different when it comes to taste.  My dh is more of a plain and simple with some of his food and salsa's one of those foods.  If you wanted more flavor, you could add tomatillos, cilantro, oregano, cumin, etc., but for dh, onion and garlic makes him happy. 

I don't add salt like I use to, but the 28 oz  can of diced tomatoes I dumped on top of the peppers have 220 mg per 1/2 cup serving.  So that's not too bad for someone cutting down on salt.

I try to have only 300 mg of added sodium per day, but dh is not quite there yet.  So I've adjusted my eating habits somewhat to accomodate what he's able to handle and although he's cut down on his sodium intake quite a bit, he's not ready to follow Dr. Fuhrman's recommendation just yet. 

So at this point I turn the dial from low to high real quick and flip the power button off.  We like our salsa a little chunky, but if you want yours less chunky or completely smooth, you'll need to leave it on a little longer. 

Also, this salsa is really hot.  You may need to experiment with your ratio of peppers to tomatoes.  I have a friend who would make this and she added some tomato juice because it was just way too hot.  But that makes it more liquidy.  So it really depends on what you like.  You may want to try 1/4 of a pound of jalapenos to a 28 oz can of tomatoes.   Even that may be too hot for some. 

I use the home-made salsa every night when I roll up a flour tortilla with pinto beans in the center topped off with this fiery-hot stuff.  This is for dh's breakfast in the morning.  He's not quite ready for a green smoothie. 

I also peel and orange and drop it into a Ziploc bag and there are cans of low-sodium V-8 juice in the fridge and he takes one of those with him too.

Sometimes the jalapenos we get here don't have a lot of heat and maybe that's true for you too.  Dh is always disappointed when they end up mild so I  add some hot chili powder to give the salsa some heat.  If any of you try the salsa recipe, I'd like to hear how it goes. 

Thursday, February 4, 2010

More on making life easier.

Remember the food saver from the previous post.  I showed you how you can remove the air from canning jars and store your cut up veggies for two or three days.

Well I only have the wide mouth sealer and haven't bought the regular size sealer yet.  But you can still remove the air from the regular jars without it. At least you can with the smaller jars. 

There's a 3 canister set that came with my food saver.  A small canning jar will fit into the largest size canister as shown in the picture. You attach the plastic tube to the lid on the canister and also to the food saver vacuum machine. 
Then you push the canister button and it'll take all the air out of the pint size jar. I plan on getting the regular mason jar sealer, but until I do, it's nice to be able to seal the small jars.  The jar in the picture has some brown rice in it.  You can store all your rice, legumes, whole wheat pastas, etc. this way, but you'll want to use the quart size and not the pints.

There are bags that you can purchase for the food saver and they also have a rolls of plastic in two different sizes.  It's sides are sealed and the top and bottom are loose to be sealed by the purchaser.  As you can see in the picture, I used bags to freeze some lasagna.  What I did was cut the lasagna into individual portions and froze them overnight on a cookie sheet.
The next day I sealed the lasagna in single and double portions.  If my dh and I both want lasagna, I'll pull out the double portion, but if just one of us will be eating the lasagna, I wanted the single portions available too.

I actually had fun operating the machine.  I felt like a kid playing with a new toy.  :-)  The directions say that you can place the bag in boiling water (not to exceed a certain temperature -  and no I don't remember what that is at the moment), or you can place the vacuum sealed lasagna in the microwave.  I don't think I'll do either.  I'll probably let them defrost and remove them from the bag onto a plate and heat the food in the microwave.  The bags can be washed and reused, but not if you've boiled food in them or put them in the microwave.

The only problem I see with reusing them is that you need three inches at the top for sealing so the food size would end up becoming less and less.  I guess I have some experimenting to do.  :-)

Wednesday, January 27, 2010

Make Life Easier

Have you been a vegetarian/vegan for a while?  Are you getting tired of chopping veggies every night?  Is there an easier way? What about convienence when you get home and don't feel like getting out the cutting board and knife?

Here's what I do to make life a little easier.  I cut up romaine and let 'er roll in my salad spinner.  I also shred some green cabbage and do the same. 

I have a rubbermaid plastic container that I drop all that beautiful green phytonutrients into.  Here's a picture so you get an idea of what I mean.  That is enough greens for about three days.

I also have a foodsaver.  I really love that appliance and don't even do enough with it yet.  I'm kinda slow when it comes to getting all my ducks in a row, but I eventually get there.
I thought I'd let you see what I'm talking about in case you're interested in getting one.  And no, I don't make a penny on any of the gadgets or appliances I recommend.  I just love them so much and find them useful and want to pass that information on to my fellow E2Lers, vegans and vegetarians.  Well actually anyone that might be interested.  Can't leave behind the SAD eaters, can I.

So what I do is fill up quart size mason jars.  The wide mouth type, not the regular.  Not only is it easier to get the veggies into the large size opening, but I also only have the wide jar sealer, not the regular size.

Well let me show you more of what I do.  You know the chop wizard.  I've talked about it before a few months ago.  I love that kitchen tool.  It makes my life so much easier, and it will yours too.

The food processor only shreds or slices.  I can chop veggies in the bottom, but sometimes it's hard to get them just the right size you want.  And I really like the uniform size of chopped vegetables I get with the chop wizard.  Here's a video in case you want to see it in action.

I had mine for almost 4 years and I broke it.  It was my fault, not the product.  I was so bummed.  I went to two of my local Walgreens because that's where I purchased my first one,  but neither one of carried it anymore.

So I thought I'd check out Bed, Bath and Beyond.  Golly gee they made my day!  Still $19.95 plus tax.  So I hurried home with my new, old kitchen tool and got to work on a few on my regular salad fixings.

I chopped away on some carrots, celery, broccoli, cauliflower and cucumber with that chop wizard.  After each vegetable, I stuffed a jar full of 'em, placed on the cap and put it aside until I had all five jars full.  Next step was to take them over to the foodsaver and begin sucking the air out of 'em.  It takes at the most, 30 seconds. 

So once I have them all done, I refrigerate the jars and have fresh chopped veggies when it's time to prepare my supper salad.  The only thing I add that's not already chopped is grape tomatoes, walnuts and an apple.  Next time I do the chopping, I'll chop a jar full of walnuts so I won't have to do those either.  That means I will be chopping only the apple.  I may even give them a try and dip them in some lemon juice so they don't turn color. 

I also add some type of bean, usually garbanzo beans to the salad and that doesn't require chopping so it makes my supper salad preperation so quick, easy and convenient.

Make your life easier and give it a try.  If you don't have the foodsaver I'm sure using the jars would still be helpful.  Some of the jars are used up within 3 days.  Some a little longer, but only a day or two more.  So you might be able to get away with not having to use the foodsaver.

My next task will be freezing some of my cooked items and using the foodsaver so that they'll last so much longer in the freezer.  That will allow me to make lasagnas, stir fries; any healthy dish and have plenty of frozen suppers so that when I don't feel like cooking, I won't have to.

I hope these have been some helpful hints for you.  They are time savers for me.  I have fibromyalgia and osteoarthritis and when I have a bad day, I don't want to prepare or cook anything.  So I'm trying to get a head of the game so that I don't cave into eating SAD foods.

Eat to live, everyone!  :)

Monday, January 25, 2010

Mini Crustless Tofu Quiches

I made these the other night so that I could have something other than a bean buritto in the refrigerator already prepared for dh's breakfast.

They were so delicious that I want to recommend that you all give them a try.  I forgot to take a picture, but Susan's photo is always much prettier than mine anyway.

Here's the beauties.  They taste as good as they look and were so easy to prepare.

The nutritional yeast added a nice flavor for a cheesy taste.  I didn't have fresh herbs, but the dried gave these great flavor and I used the recommended tahini, but omitted the salt.  I also used the regular muffin pan and sprayed it with olive oil as recommended.

I hope you'll try these.  I can't recommend them any more highly, they're that good! 

Mini Crustless Tofu Quiches

olive oil spray
1 teaspoon minced garlic
1/2 cup bell pepper
1 cup chopped mushrooms
1 tablespoon minced fresh chives (or one green onion)
1 teaspoon minced fresh rosemary (or 1/2 tsp. dried, crushed)
black pepper to taste

1 12.3-ounce package lite firm silken tofu, drained of water
1/4 cup plain soymilk
2 tablespoons nutritional yeast
1 tablespoon cornstarch (may sub another thickener such as arrowroot or potato starch)
1 teaspoon tahini (preferred) or cashew butter
1/4 teaspoon onion powder
1/4 teaspoon turmeric
1/2-3/4 teaspoon salt

Preheat the oven to 375 F. Spray 12 regular-sized muffin cups well with non-stick spray. (I used silicone cups like these.)

Lightly spray a non-stick skillet with olive oil and sauté the garlic, bell peppers, and mushrooms over medium heat until the mushrooms just begin to exude their juices. Stir in the chives, rosemary, and freshly ground black pepper, and remove from the heat.

Place the remaining ingredients into a food processor or blender. Process until completely smooth and silky. Add the tofu mixture to the vegetables and stir to combine. Spoon equally into the 12 muffin cups: it will fill regular muffin cups about halfway.

Put the muffin pan into the oven and immediately reduce the heat to 350 F. Bake until the tops are golden and a knife inserted into the middle of a quiche comes out clean--about 25-35 minutes depending on your oven and muffin cups (silicone will take longer than metal, so if you're using a metal pan, check it at 20 minutes). Remove from the oven and allow them to cool for about 10 minutes. Enjoy! They're light, so plan on making more of these—or serve hearty side dishes—if you're serving more than 3 people.

4 mini-quiches contain: 96 Calories (kcal); 3 g Total Fat; (23% calories from fat); 11 g Protein; 8 g Carbohydrate; 0 mg Cholesterol; 459 mg Sodium; 2 g Fiber

Wednesday, January 20, 2010

Soy - Is it healthy or not?

Over the past decade, the research regarding the health benefits of soy foods and soy constituents has increased at an amazing rate. In many ways, it seems soy research has produced more questions then answers. The findings of many human studies are often inconsistent and contradictory.
Evidence does suggest that Americans would benefit from replacing some animal protein in their diet with soy protein. Decreasing the percentage of animal protein in the diet is desirable. The link between animal products and many different diseases is strongly supported in the scientific literature. Soy products can be useful in moving toward a plant-centered diet with less saturated fat, less animal protein, more plant protein and more fruits and vegetables. Soybeans are rich in protein and the amino acid content makes them a complete vegetable protein.

There is evidence to support the role of soy protein and isoflavones in lowering cholesterol levels and thus, reducing the risk of coronary heart disease. In October 1999, FDA approved the following health claim for foods containing soy protein: “A diet low in saturated fat and cholesterol that includes 25 gm of soy protein may help reduce the risk of heart disease. These soy components include trypsin inhibitors, phytic acid, saponins, isoflavones, and fiber. Since the FDA health claim was approved, ongoing studies have shown that the hypocholesterolemic effects of soy protein while relevant, are quite modest. The American Heart Association issued a statement in January this year saying that after analyzing 22 studies, an association committee found large amounts of soy in the diet reduced LDL cholesterol only 3% and had no effect on HDL cholesterol.(1)

Soybeans contain two groups of phytochemicals: saponins and isoflavones, that contain health benefits. Isoflavones are classified as phytoestrogens as they can have very mild estrogenic effects under some conditions or anti-estrogenic effects as they block the body’s hormonally active compounds. Because of this, soy isoflavones have been and are continuing to be studied to determine their relationship to conditions and diseases of particular concern to women. These include effect on menstrual cycle, menopause symptoms, osteoporosis, breast cancer, and mental decline associated with menopause and aging.

Eastern or Asian populations have a lower incidence of hormone-related diseases, such as breast cancer, uterine, and prostate cancers, cardiovascular disease and osteoporosis. It has been suggested that soy consumption is one reason for this difference in disease incidence. Women who were born in Asia, but migrated to the US had low risks of breast cancer; possibly due to their early exposure to soy. But obviously soy is only one of many factors that influence cancer risk and now we know it is the effect of many contributing factors that make a diet cancer-protective. At this time, consensus is building that soy food intake during adolescence, a time when breast tissue is most sensitive to environmental stimuli and carcinogenesis, may reduce the risk of breast cancer later in life. (2) Beyond adolescence, the results on soy and breast cancer are more difficult to discern, especially since dietary influence on cancer is greater before adulthood compared to after.

The intake of dietary and/or supplemental soy, particularly soy isoflavones, however is a concern in breast cancer survivors because there is fear that soy isoflavones may have detrimental effects in women with breast cancer or those with a history of breast cancer due to the estrogen-like effect of isoflavones. Concerns are based primarily on the estrogen-like effects of isoflavones and the results form one rodent study which showed that in immunocompromised mice with their overies surgically removed to abolish estrogen production, certain soy products and isoflavones stimulated the growth of exisiting estrogen-sensitive mammary tumors.(3)
To summarize, there are two contradictory claims being made about soy. One is that soy is protective against breast cancer and should be recommended for consumption by healthy women and breast cancer patients. The other is that soy is harmful for women with a history of or at high risk for breast cancer and because of this should be avoided by such women. There is actually a lack of convincing evidence to endorse either claim. Beans in general have dramatic benefits to protect against breast cancer. A healthy diet includes a variety of beans, and not a disproportionate share of calories from any one food. Some soy beans or tofu added to a healthy diet should not be expected to be a risk or offer significant benefit.
Extraneously to the issues above, there is internet chatter and opinions from health writers who have an agenda to vilify soy as a dangerous food. Soy may not be a super-food (such as broccoli) but the preponderance of evidence does not suggest that eating moderate amounts of unprocessed (edamame or soy beans) or lightly processed (tofu or soy milk) soy creates hypothyroidism or causes cancer. Processed foods, because of their low nutrient levels, high amount of salt, acrylamides and other toxic additives should not be considered healthy. Vegetarians and vegans who eat tofu-turkey, soy burgers, soy ice cream, soy hot dogs, soy cheese and other soy-derived processed foods on a regular basis are certainly not eating a healthy diet. Isolated soy protein is a heavily processed food with a low nutrient-per-calorie ratio. The key to good health is to eat unprocessed foods because their nutrient per calorie density is high.

Lastly, there are some legitimate health concerns from soy-based infant formulas.(4) Why should that be a surprise, since the beneficial health effects from breast milk is not even closely approximated by infant formulas. The fact that soy formulas may be worse than cow’s milk based formulas because of higher aluminum content or high isoflavone content does not criminalize the soy bean.


1. Erdman JW. Soy Protein and cardiovascular disease. 2000; Circulation, 102:2555. Soy Protein Shows Little Effect on “Bad” Cholesterol. American Heart Association scientific statement. January 17, 2006. Available at:

2. Shu XO, Jin F, Wen W, et al. Soybean intake during adolescence and subsequent risk of breast cancer among Chinese Women. Ca Epidemiology Biomarkers and Prevention 2001; 10:483-488.

3. Hsieh, C., Santell, RC, Hasleam SZ, Helferich WG. Estogenic effects of genistein on the growth of estrogen receptor-positive human breast cancer cells in vitro and in vivo.

4. Setchell KD, Zimmer-Nechemias L. Exposure of infants to phyto-oestrogens from soy-based infant formula. Lancet 1997; 350(9070):23-7. Miniello VL, Moro GE, Tarantino M, Natile M, Granieri L, Armenio L. Soy based formulas and phyto-oestrogens: a safety profile. Acta Paediatr Suppl. 2003; 91(441): 93-100. Badger TM, Ronis MJ, Hakkak R, Rowlands JC, Korourian S. The Health Consequences of early soy consumption. J. Nutr. 2002; 132(3): 559S-559S.

Is there a value of high-fat foods

Tuesday, January 19, 2010

Glycemic index - Fruits

My husband has diabetes and is on the Engine 2/Eat to live journey.  It's mostly Dr. Fuhrman's approach, but he does eat more grains that what Dr. Fuhrman recommends. 

His blood pressure and blood glucose are coming down nicely and it's only been 2 weeks since he's changed his diet.  We are both pleased that they're coming down so fast.

Today he checked his blood glucose and it was up more than we'd like it to be.  It was the day before also, but not so much that we thought it bothered us.  So we traced back over the past couple of days and see what he'd eaten over the weekend too since he ate some SAD foods, but we just couldn't figure it out.

Then I remembered that the only thing different was that I bought a fresh pineapple and we cut it over the weekend and he's been eating it.  It's so yummy and delicious.  :-)

So I decided to see where pineapple sits on the glycemic index and found that it's placed in the high category.  We were happy to find the culprit, but not happy that it was the fresh pineapple.  :-(

So for us, pineapple will sit on the grocery shelves until his levels are more nomalized and he's off medication.  Well...........maybe once in  a while we'll get it for a treat!

So I thought some of you may be interested and decided to post the glycemic index for fruits.  I hope it's helpful for some of you.

Eat to live!

Cherries 22

Grapefruit 25

Prunes 29

Apricots, dried 30

Apple 38

Peach, canned in juice 38

Pear, fresh 38

Plum 39

Strawberries 40

Orange, Navel 42

Peach, fresh 42

Pear, canned 43

Grapes 46

Mango 51

Banana 52

Fruit Cocktail 55

Papaya 56

Raisins 56

Apricots, fresh 57

Kiwi 58

Figs, dried 61

Apricots, canned 64

Cantaloupe 65

Pineapple, fresh 66

Watermelon 72

Dates 103

Saturday, January 16, 2010

Green Pea Pesto Spaghetti Squash

Isn't that basil beautiful .  I found it at my local Albertsons.  I've never seen such large basil leaves.

The amount of basil in the package was a nice amount too.  I packed a 1/2 cup full and still had a little left over.  It wasn't cheap though, so I may end up growing a nice, large  plant inside near a sunny window.

Usually the store has plenty of parsley and other herbs, but not basil so this was a treat to find such a large amount for this new recipe I wanted to try.

A member of Dr. posts new recipes each week and  the spaghetti squash  was one I've wanted to try for a while.  I made it last night and WOW.  It's a new favorite.  :-)

It's also the first time I've ever tried to cook this particular squash and I really loved it so much that I think I'll look for some other recipes for this new favorite vegetable.

I had so much fun cooking this squash.  I was experiencing a sense of exploration and discovery.  hee hee  I almost thought that I might have chosen a dud because I cooked it for the amount of time it said and when I tried to remove the insides, there was no spaghetti.  So I cooked it for a little longer and when I tried a second time I had strands.  :-)

What I noticed is that there was a difference in the skin when it was ready.  When you prick the outside and place it in the microwave, the outside is hard and unyielding.  But afterwards, when it's been cooked for the proper amount of time, the outside becomes pliable and soft.  But watch out because it's extremely hot.  I used a pot holder to hold it while I scooped out all the spaghetti.

 The recipe called for a medium size squash, but I just got whatever they had at Albertson's.  They all looked pretty uniform to me, so I didn't know if I had a small, medium or large one.  :-)

 After I finished scooping out all of the spaghetti strands from it's shell, (I had a blast doing that) I had quite a volume of the stuff.

But some of the  squash is blended with the pesto sauce, so I didn't worry about it.  I figured it would work out fine even if there was more than the recipe called for.

The author of the recipe used a 1/2 cup of chopped tomatoes, but I noticed one of the other members used a can of tomatoes, so that's what I did too.  For one thing I didn't have but 1 tomato and for another, it didn't seem like that small amount would be enough tomato for the pile of squash I had. 

The pesto is so easy to make.  I used my food processor thinking it would be quicker and easier to clean, but next time I'll try using my vitamix and see which way I like better.  The vitamix will puree it smoother and creamier, but the processor is so much easier to remove the creamed mixture than the vitamix would have been.

The pesto called for green peas, some of the spaghetti squash, basil and pine nuts.  I didn't have any so I used walnuts instead.  I love pine nuts so the next time around I'll make sure I have some on hand.

Once the sauce is blended, you spread it on top and bake the dish at 350 for about 30 minutes.

I let it cool while I my dh and I ate supper.  Afterward, I sliced and plated a serving.  I just wanted to try a small amount because I was already satisfied with the huge salad I'd just eaten.  But once I ate that first piece, I just had to have another.  :-)

I've tried many different recipes while doing E2L, and this was one of the more simple and easy ones.  That's probably one of the reasons I enjoyed making it so much.  :-)

I'm asking the author if I can post the recipe here in case there is anyone who would like to try it.  It's a winner!

So ............. eat to live everyone!

Holly (Hojo) at Dr. Fuhrman's membership website gave me permission to post her recipe, so here it is.  Many thanks to her.

Green Pea Pesto Spaghetti Squash

    4 main dish servings, 6 side dish servings

1 medium spaghetti squash
1/2 cup tomatoes (I used a can of tomatoes)
2 tsp oregano
1/2 cup frozen green peas
4 cloves garlic
1/2 cup fresh or frozen basil
1 1/2 - 2 oz. pinenuts (I used walnuts)

Cook spaghetti squash by preferred method. I like to pierce it several times and microwave for 4 minutes, then cut it in half & scoop out the seeds, put the halves face down on a dinner plate & microwave for another 8 minutes or so, until soft.

Once cooked, remove strands from one half of squash and add to a lightly sprayed 6x9 rectangular baking dish (or similar size) along with a little squash from the 2nd half. Stir in tomatoes and oregano.

In a high powered blender add the green peas, garlic, basil, pinenuts and the remaining squash. Blend until smooth & creamy.

Spread pesto across the top of the spaghetti squash and place in preheated oven. Bake at 350* for 30 minutes, until pesto seems to have firmed up some.

Delicious!  :-)

Sunday, January 10, 2010

Portobello mushroom burger

All week I've made some E2L recipes either from, Eat To Live or from the Eat For Health Cookbook
Today I decided to try something different.  I made a portobello mushroom burger for my dh.
I, of course had to have one too.  hee hee  I also included some baked sweet-potato fries with the burger, and oh what a treat!  Both of these recipes are from, The Engine 2 Diet which my husbands been reading.  If you read yesterday's post, you know he just started eating a heathy diet on Monday.   The burger was very filling; I almost couldn't finish it. 

The picture above is a toasted whole-wheat thin bun, spread with hummus on both halves.  I topped one side with torn romaine pieces with a slice of tomato on top of that.  There's no sodium in the buns and only a very small amount of fat.  Not perfect, but not bad either.  My hfs doesn't carry buns or rolls, or if they did they weren't on the shelf.

The picture to the left has some carmelized onions atop the other half.  I water sauteed one onion which wasn't part of the recipe, but since my dh loves onions, I decided to add them to the burger for added flavor.  There was extra onion left over after topping both burgers so next time I'll probably use a small onion instead.

The recipe had you oven roast the mushroom.  I only used a little vegan worcestershire sauce and not the tamari sauce or the beer.  It came out of the oven with quite a bit of moisture, so I was glad I decided  to toast the bun.  I think next time what I'll do is marinate the portobello for a couple hours in some balsamic vinegar, onion powder, garlic powder, and whatever else strikes my fancy and then grill it .

The portobello is now on the bun.  I thought about what else I should add to the burger, but decided it was already going to be stacked high enough without being too cumbersome so I decided not to add salsa or avocado which I really wanted to do. :) Next time I will definitely be adding the salsa. 
If I and dh were at our goal weight I'd also add the avocado, but since we aren't, that would have been way too much since we add avocado every other day to our evening salad.

The sweet-potato fries were delicious, even though the texture wasn't crunchy like a fry.  But they were oh so sweet.  I could have made a meal with only the fries.  :)  The picture to the left is 2 medium sweet potatoes cut up into fries.  They just barely fit on the pan and that was the largest one I had. 
I baked them in the oven for a tad too long - the ends were a little over cooked.  Here again I altered the recipe a bit.   I added some seasoning to coat them for some added flavor.  The recipe recommended using a casserole dish, but I didn't think they'd cook right if I did that. So I sprayed a sheet pan with an olive oil spray to help the potatoes to not stick to the pan and it worked pretty well.

All in all it was a very tasty dish, and we both enjoyed it.  We will be eating this again with the added changes I mentioned. 
Portobello mushroom burger

4 Portobello mushrooms, rinsed
Low-sodium tamari
Vegetarian Worcestershire sauce
Splash of beer (optional)
Cracked pepper to taste
1 large red onion, sliced into thin rounds
4 whole grain buns
Dijon mustard or Healthy Homemade Hummus

Tomato slices, lettuce, spinach, or other favorites

1.Preheat oven to 450º
2.Snap the stems off the mushrooms.
3.Place the mushrooms face-up on a baking sheet.
4.Splash a few drops of tamari and Worcestershire (beer splash is optional) into each cap.
5.Place the stems into the caps.
6.Cook in a casserole dish for 10–15 minutes, until the mushrooms are soft and filled with liquid. Enjoy the stems as starters!
7.Cook the onion rounds on high heat in a sprayed skillet for 5 minutes, stirring often, until wilted and brown.
8.Spread the buns with Dijon mustard or hummus.
9.Place each mushroom on a toasted bun with cooked onion, tomato, lettuce or spinach, and your favorite fixings.
10.Serve with healthy fries.

Sweet Potato Fries

2 sweet potatoes with skins on, scrubbed and sliced into strips (I peeled mine - next time I'll leave the skins on and maybe they'll crunch up a bit.)

1.Preheat oven to 450º
2.Place the potato slices on a sprayed baking sheet and cover with aluminum foil.
3.Cook for 30–40 minutes, turning once.
4.Remove the foil after 20 minutes to allow the slices to brown.

Saturday, January 9, 2010

6 Week Challenge

Many of us over at the yahoo discussion group decided to join forces and partner in the 6 week challenge.

For some it's their first time, while for others it's a decision to begin again, to begin fresh with the arrival of the new year.

There's been a lot of energy with so many beginning the first of the year.  There's been lots of questions, answers, struggles, victories, and, of course, loss of weight.  But maybe even more important, there are some friendships being made and a spirit of support and encouragement has rained upon the this special group of E2Lers.

I've been eating for health/eating to live for over 3 years now.  I've lost most of my extra weight, but would like to shed the rest and arrive at my goal weight of 123 pounds.

My Dh has been reading, The Engine 2 Diet and has chosen to get rid of all the meat, dairy, oil and unhealthy processed grains and starches.  We pilfered through the kitchen cabinets/pantry finding all the SAD (standard american diet) foods and gathered them all.  My shelves are almost empty.  :)  I'm thrilled!  Now my refrigerator and freezer are buldging at the seams.  hee hee

Monday, January 4 began with a whole wheat bean burrito with homemade salsa for my Dh, and for me - I started out with my usual green blended smoothie. 

Smoothie Recipe

3 large kale leaves, stems removed
1-2 cups frozen spinach
1 cup stawberries
1 cup blueberries
1 TB ground flax seeds
1/2 dropper full of dha
1 TB chia, hemp or sesame seeds
1/2 frozen banana
1 cup unsweetened soy milk
enough water for 64 ounces of smoothie

This is my usual recipe that I pretty much stick to.  Sometimes I'll add some broccoli sprouts.  And occasionally I'll change the strawberries to a tropical fruit mix and the blueberries to a mixed berry.

I have lots of parsley growing and thought I might throw some of that in the blender too.  I want to up my crucifers, so I might add some of the broccoli stalk too. 

If any of you want to do that too, just make sure you peel the stalk first.

So I drink half of this in the morning.  The rest I'll drink later in the day or for breakfast the following morning. 

For lunch I prepared Dr. Fuhrman's vegetarian chili recipe in the Eat To Live book page 222.  The only thing I did different was to use yellow onion instead of red, I didn't add raisins or dates either, but added 2 cups of frozen corn.  We ate on this for most of the week, and afterwards we ate either an apple or an orange.  Dh is eating more grains/starches than I am, so with his soup he ate either a whole-wheat pita, or a whole-wheat tortilla.

Thursday I made Dr. Fuhrman's Asian Vegetable Stir Fry.  You can find this recipe in his Eat For Health book page 205.  I've eaten this a couple times already, but it's my Dh's first time and we both loved it.  It was so delicious and very filling.  We almost couldn't finish the suggested serving. 

I pretty much followed the recipe.  I didn't have bok choy so I used cauliflower instead.  One thing I will change the next time will be to add the sesame seeds to the stir fry instead of adding them to the baked tofu cubes.  There was too much waste.  I don't know if you can see it in the picture, but much of the seeds were on the foil and not the tofu.  Either that or I'll use 2 tablespoons instead of 4 and see if that makes a difference.

We finished the stir fry today at lunch.  Tomorrow I'm making a portobello burger with sweet potato fries.  Dh saw this in the Engine 2 Diet book and asked me to make this recipe next.  I'll post pictures if I remember to take them and let you know how well Dh is doing with eating for health. 

He's always been a meat and potatoes kind of guy and for him to want to eat healthy is such a shock to me, but I am so excited and feel so blessed to be able to share a healthy eating journey with my best friend. 

Eat to live!  John 6:58