Back to the Blog!

It’s been awhile and my apologies, but life (in its inimitable way) intervened and disrupted my blogging. Part of this disruption was a flu that flattened me and left me unable to smell anything for about three weeks. The only things I could taste were sweet and sour. Not helpful for a food blogger. However, I kept on trudgin’ and here’s what I learned.

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Point Values for Commonly Used Seeds

Back in June, 2011, I started realizing that seeds could carve a deep hole in my daily WW points. I knew about the high fats in nuts, but I wasn’t sure about seeds. This was during the height of the chia seed craze, and they seemed to be in every recipe I looked at.

Research on chia seeds confirmed my worst suspicions: 2 tbsps. = 3 points (see note at bottom) because of the high quantity of fat in the seeds. True, chia seeds contain healthy fat but, unfortunately, WW doesn’t distinguish between good and bad fats when assigning point values. Clearly, I wasn’t going to be sprinkling chia, or any other, seeds around with happy abandon.

I wrote about the seed problem in what has turned out to be the 2nd most popular post on this blog, To Chia or Not to Chia: This is the Seed/Nut Question. I attribute part of this popularity to the fact that the WW Pocket Guide doesn’t include point information on seeds—nuts, yes; seeds, no.

But I hadn’t really delved into all the seeds or provided an easy basis for comparisons among the seeds. My remedy is a “Point Values of Commonly Used Seeds” chart which uses 1 tbsp. as the common quantity.

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Roasted Veggies Redux or “How will I gorge on vegetables today?”

I haven’t talked about roasted vegetables recently, but that doesn’t mean they’re far from my mind. Uh-uh.

As any dieter knows, the only food we don’t have to eat in moderation is vegetables. In fact, we’re encouraged to eat those veggies the way we used to eat chips, mmm, and cookies, yum, and ice cream, delish!, and…but, ahem, I digress.

Back to vegetables. I have many new readers to the blog, and I thought it would be helpful to re-visit roasted vegetables because they provide a really good solution to that never-ending diet question:

How will I gorge on vegetables today?

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Quinoa Pudding: Basics and Variations

Mango-Banana Quinoa Pudding

The fruit season is just upon us here in Canada, and I’m looking forward to expanding my list of quinoa puddings.

These desserts are a low-cal favourite in our family. Or to put it another way: the spouse eats them faster than I can make them.

These recipes are all variations on the same theme: cooked quinoa, puréed fruit or squash, milk, eggs, spices/extracts, and sweetener. Once you know the basics, it’s easy to try new ones.

I thought it might be useful to bring my favourite recipes together in one post so you can see how they work. I’ll keep adding to the variations as I make them and, if you create one worth sharing, let me know and I’ll post it here.

For Weight Watchers: The point value depends on the milk that you use, but the recipe makes roughly 10 ½-cup servings with a point value of about 2 per serving.

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No-Peel Kabocha Squash “Fries”

2012 is my year for making new vegetable friends. I’ve overcome my fear of strange root vegetables with odd or ugly outsides—for example, celeriac and yucca—which have all turned out to have mild and even sweet-tasting insides. And I plan to get to know chard and kale a lot better.

For this recipe, I ventured outside my squash “comfort zone”—butternut, acorn, pumpkin—and bought a round, yellow-and-green striped gourd called a kabocha. I put it on a kitchen counter, and there it sat for a long time. Occasionally we would stare at each other.

The kabocha seemed quite happy while I dithered. It’s interesting that trying out a new food is a lot like being compelled to learn a new software product. Denial is high, but resistance is futile.

And thank goodness for that because these fries are delicious—both peel and flesh. They are sweet and slightly salty with a flavour somewhere between butternut and pumpkin. And they’re versatile: good hot and cold; good as a snack or side dish.

Enjoy!

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DIY Roasted Vegetables Medley

That autumn thing is happening again.  Every once in a while we have a day with a chilly breeze, and the nights are always cool.  It’s no longer light until 9:00 or 10:00 o’clock in the evening.  And the vegetable stores are outfitted with pumpkins, squashes, and gourds.  When it comes to dieting, this is my season for hearty soups (see So Very Vegetable Soup) and roasted veggies.

Now, the thing about making a roasted vegetable dish is that what goes into it depends on what you like and what you have in the refrigerator.  Just about any hardy vegetable (does not fall to pieces) will do.  And the nice thing?  This dish doesn’t use exotic, elegant, expensive vegetables.  Nope, if you’re thinking “humble,” “cheap,” and “peasant fodder,” then you’re in the right mind-set.

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