Happy Thanksgiving and Check It Out! (5)

First, to my American readers, may you have a wonderful holiday with lots of terrific food and great company!

For those of you dieters who aren’t American and for those you dieters who will have to return to real life tomorrow, here are  interesting recipes that focus on vegetables and beans plus an article about our food preferences.

The Carnivore’s Guide to Vegetables by cookbook writer, Marc Bittman. Bittman is great at providing a recipe and then showing different ways to alter to suit you, family preferences, what’s in your fridge and so on. Here are four recipes, each with variations.

40 Magnificent Mushroom Recipesat the Wise Bread web site, is a compilation of recipes and great ideas for using mushrooms—for example, Vegan Mushroom Risotto, Mushroom Paté, and Mushroom Tikka Masala. Yum!

Beans, beans, and beans! Martha Rose Shulman at the New York Time has two great-looking bean recipes: Three-Bean Soup and Rainbow Quinoa Salad With Fava Beans and Herbs. I haven’t had a chance to try them, but her recipes are always good and reliable.

Finding New Tricks To Get More Satisfaction Out Of Low-Fat Foods, an article from NPR that reports on an interesting study about the thickness and creaminess of foods and how they affect our taste buds and appetite.

 

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(A Little Bit of) Squash Heaven

Dear fellow-dieters,

Here’s the bad news. My weight has been gradually inching in the wrong direction (along with my hips!) even though my thyroid is fine and I’m tracking my food, staying within plan, and exercising 3-5 days a week.

So, yesterday at the WW weigh-in, I brought in my food tracker so the leader could see that I was a faithful dieter who should be losing weight. The diagnosis? Too many carbs among the fruit, cereal, and baked goods that I ate.

Some people, the leader said, can’t throw off carbs easily, adding that she was one of them and I was clearly another. I can’t print here what I thought about that (several not-nice words came to mind.). But I clearly need a carb-rev-up button. Is there anyone else out there who considers their body Enemy Numero Uno?

The solution = vegetables, vegetables, and more vegetables.

The creative wheels began to turn, and I remembered those Spiced Sweet Potato Rounds. Why not add that wonderful spice blend to cooked, mashed winter squash instead? The result was a vegetable

  • Lower in calories/carbs than sweet potatoes
  • As filling as sweet potatoes
  • Equally delicious!

Voilà! (A Little Bit of) Squash Heaven. Truly.

Yours in the uphill climb,

Claire

P.S. Re the photo: I was trying for a sprinkled paprika topping, but got a little carried away.

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Baked Turkey-Quinoa Meatballs with Cucumber Raita

I gave a luncheon on Saturday for six in which I did NOT cater to my gluten-eating, okay-with-lactose friends in any way.

Rather, I served a meal that I felt everyone would like, but it was designed—from soup to nuts—for the two of us who had gluten and dairy sensitivities.

Minority rules! Way to go!

Challenge #1: The original recipe—Incredibly Healthy and Tasty Quinoa and Turkey Balls at the FeedRight for People blog—called for chopped olives. Big problem. The spouse is opposed to olives of any shape, colour, or taste. (Where did I find this man? you may well ask.) On the other hand, I love olives and knew they would add terrific flavour to the dish.

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Dieter’s Tomato-Tofu Sauce

Everything But the Kitchen Sink!

Everything But the Kitchen Sink!

Ubiquitous (being found everywhere) is not a word I get to use very often, although I really like the way it sounds: the tart, hard consonants b, q, t and the soft vowels.  The word reminds me of a crunchy, well-textured salad…but I digress. Ubiquitous is the perfect descriptor for tomato sauce, which is used in almost every North American kitchen.

In fact, prior to being a food refashionista, I always had jars of tomato sauce on hand. I used to make my own sauce back in the olden days when stores only stocked lousy-tasting canned sauces, but I had stopped because there was now such a good choice on the grocery shelves. Unfortunately, as we know, these choices are full of sugar, oils, and additives; healthy eating meant getting off the fast-food track and going back to basics.

So what makes this a dieter’s sauce? No meat, no oil, no sugar, no tomato paste—just tofu and loads of vegetables. And this is one of those recipes that invites variations, so have fun! 

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Ah, Joy! – On Losing 1 Pound After 1 Year of Dieting

Ah, joy!

I know that most of you are watching your weight and may be on some type of diet.

Which is why I’m convinced that you’ll know exactly how I felt when I stepped on the scale at a Weight Watcher meeting last week and discovered that I had finally lost 1 lb. after 1 year of dieting.

Who takes 1 year to lose 1 lb.? A person with a thyroid problem, that’s who.

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Blueberry Buckle Sans Streusel

A “buckle” belongs, I have discovered, in the early American family of fruit cobblers with names such as crisps, crumbles, grunts, slumps, soakers, and pandowdy (ies?).

(I just can’t help thinking about the First Household. George, grumbling: “This cake is a mess!” Martha, spritely: “It’s a new recipe. I call it a slump.”)

Anyway, a buckle was a blueberry cake with a streusel topping of flour, butter, and sugar that buckled or crumpled when baking.

Well, here’s the good news, dieters! In this recipe, the top—not streuseled to save calories—buckled anyway. The cake rose as it baked and then sank and cracked along its own internal geological lines as it cooled. How authentic is that!

In other good news, these low-calorie squares taste splendid—moist and fruity—with a blend of millet and garfava flours. Why the new blend? 1) Millet has a sweetness and texture I like. 2) Garfava flour is an easy-to-find bean flour, a mix of chickpea and fava bean flours. Bean flours up the protein of a baked product and add fewer carbs and hence calories.

Bon appétit!

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Become a GF, LI, WW Food Activist!

Being away from home and travelling to new places is always an eye-opener.  At home, I know where all my resources are; in another city, I have to search and ask.  One result of our travel was that I became a gluten-free, lactose-intolerant, weight-watching activist. I wanted to find healthy food in general and food I can eat in particular—in, for example, restaurants, hotels, and airports.  The question was: how could I best do this?

The answer came to me in a museum where my husband and I, tired and hungry, stopped at its cafeteria for a snack. The choices were cookies and cupcakes, pretzels and potato chips, and assorted drinks.

Much against my will, I bought the only snack I could tolerate although it meant throwing my diet out the window: potato chips.  And much against my dislike of being labeled a complainer, I decided to speak up.  “Would you consider carrying gluten-free products?” I asked. “I can’t eat most of what you have.”

After agreeing with me that their selection was poor, the sales clerk said, “We should have something.  So many people are having gluten problems, aren’t they?”

I had noticed that the cafeteria didn’t make its own food, that everything was packaged, and nothing required refrigeration.  “You could carry Larabars,” I suggested.  “Some of them are gluten-free and dairy-free.”

She got out a pencil and paper.  “Could you spell that?” she asked.

I don’t know if the museum cafeteria has stocked the bars but, at that moment, I’d taken my first step into GF activism.  In speaking out, I’d compelled an establishment to acknowledge a lack of GF products and think about an alternative.

Since then, I’ve made a point of talking to people in hotels, restaurants, and food markets about food selection at their place of business.  Here are some of my strategies for raising awareness and encouraging managers to rethink their food purchases:

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Sweet and Savoury Roasted Beets

A confession: I’ve always liked beets but rarely cooked them—partly because they’re messy and partly because the spouse is not enamoured.  “Well,” I say, “Too bad for him.” 

I’ve decided to make beets part of my “DIY Roasted Vegetables” diet strategy, namely, to always have cooked veggies available for snacks and general noshing.  

The result was this easy-to-make, very colourful, and deliciously sweet dish with a tang of savoury, thanks to some sharp cheese. Continue reading

Cucumber Blueberry Mint Salad

This salad is “an end-of-summer delight”—a combination of savoury cucumber (now in season) and sweet blueberries (still on the shelves) whose flavours only work together when they are textured with the fresh tang of mint. 

I know this because I made it without mint earlier in the summer, and the spouse who had never seen the original recipe said, “This would benefit from some mint, don’t you think?”

Anyway, I say “end of summer” because the temperature reached 30° C (86° F) today, and it sure as heck didn’t feel like the second week of September.  We used to get a first frost in early September but those days seem to be long past.

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