Wednesday, October 31, 2018

Toast Topped with Yogurt

My new favorite meal is my home baked multigrain sourdough bread toasted with plain Greek yogurt spread on top. I sprinkle kosher salt and a few grinds of fresh black pepper.

Tuesday, October 30, 2018

Home Sweet Home

One of my favorite things to do in the cool weather is to bake a soup. I just took out my largest ovenproof pot and filled it with lentils, chopped celery, carrots, potato, onions, garlic, ginger, olive oil, and 2 chicken bullion cubes and water. I placed it covered in the oven and am baking it at 350 F for a few hours. The aroma is home sweet home, delicious beyond belief.

I just checked on the soup after 2 hours of baking. I added more water, tasted it and decided to add the last of my fresh basil, frozen corn, red chili flakes, black pepper, kosher salt, and Adobo. It's delicious and now it's more like a vegetable stew than a soup.

Alice in Wonderland

I am like Alice in Wonderland when it comes to my body. My perception is always changing.

Makes a Difference

"Any healthy choice you make, no matter how small, makes a difference. The more healthy habits you add, the more steps you take toward better health."— Donald D. Hensrud, M.D., M.P.H.
Stock your pantry.

Monday, October 22, 2018

Vitamin D and the Brain

Boston Globe Article

Eat a Healthy Breakfast

Boston Globe Article

Swimming and Cooking

When I am not swimming laps to save my life I am often found in the kitchen cooking and baking. This is part of my seasonal cycle of mood swings. I am either swimming to lift my mood or cooking to celebrate it. Of course there are lots of other saving and celebrating activities in my life. I have noticed when I am not swimming regularly I am home in the kitchen cooking.

I also seem to think that because I swim and walk my dog for miles I will not gain weight but this is a myth and has been proven wrong countless times. I never seem to get it until I can't close my jeans. Still in denial I tell myself "They must've shrunk in the wash, from now on I'll only use cold water!"

Before I was swimming regularly I used to completely lose my appetite so on top of being low I was not eating anything. Then I wasn't able to sleep! That was awful. So swimming not only lifts my mood it gives me appetite. I just have to be realistic about my tendency toward exuberant portions and second and third helpings. I am lucky that I don't like sugary or deep fried foods but the foods I love I eat with abandon. Even healthy food can add up and on most days my fridge is only a staircase away.

Lapses and Plateaus

Dealing with lapses

A lapse occurs when you revert to your old behaviors temporarily. If several lapses have occurred in a short time, it's tempting to think your weight-loss plan is too challenging. Not to worry; a lapse is just a short-term bump in the road. Following these tips will help you regain ground:

Don't let negative thoughts take over. Mistakes happen, and each day is a chance to start anew.
Take another small step. Changing your life doesn't happen all at once. Keep in mind that changing behaviors in small ways can add up to a big difference in your life.
Ask for and accept support. Accepting support from other people isn't a sign of weakness, nor does it mean that you're failing. Get support from others when you have difficult days.
Plan your strategy. Clearly identify the problem, and then create a list of possible solutions. If one solution doesn't work, try another until you find one that does.
Work out your frustration with exercise. Keep it upbeat and even fun — don't use physical activity as a punishment.
Recommit to your goals.
Review them to make sure they're still realistic.

Although lapses can be disappointing, they can also teach you a lot. Perhaps your goals are unrealistic or certain strategies don't work. Most importantly, realize that all hope isn't lost when you lapse. Just recharge your motivation, recommit to your program and return to healthy behaviors.

Brown Rice with Stir Fry Cabbage + Beef

Over the weekend I made a pot of brown rice in my electric pressure cooker. I rinsed the rice and measured the water using my trick (water up to below the knuckles). I set it for 19 minutes and cooked it with a bloop of olive oil and dash of Adobo. I sauteed fresh garlic in olive oil and added chopped fresh cabbage from the BIG APPLE farm and sliced carrots. Then I pushed the vegetables aside and sauteed a pound of stir fry beef from Jamie Sullivan at SHAW'S MEATS. I added sriracha sauce and soy sauce. It was fabulous. I love the sweetness of cabbage.

Portions and Hockey Pucks


Thursday, October 18, 2018

Spinach Stuffed Mushrooms

After a few weeks of reading recipes I decided to dive in without one.

I preheated the oven to 350 and stemmed the crimini mushrooms.

I poured a generous amount of olive oil in my 12 inch cast iron skillet and heated it up. Meanwhile I chopped a bunch of fresh garlic cloves and a dash of red chili flakes. I added a pound bag of chopped frozen spinach and helped it defrost in the pan by breaking it up. I added the chopped mushroom stems. I crushed a sleeve of (generic Ritz) crackers and added them and then I added grated Romano cheese and Adobo and freshly ground black pepper. I added a bit of kosher salt.

I filled the mushrooms and baked them in a skillet for 20 minutes. I only had 9 mushrooms so I baked the leftover filling in another skillet at the same time to eat with rice.

I made brown rice in my electric pressure cooker and it was ready in 19 minutes.

A fabulous dinner with a glass of sauvignon blanc.

Friday, October 12, 2018

Spontaneous Spinach Alfredo

There was nothing in the house except egg noodles and frozen spinach, evaporated milk, fresh garlic, Adobo, grated Romano cheese and olive oil. Guess what? That's all I needed to make a terrific supper. I pressure cooked the egg noodles for 4 minutes using a little bit of salt and olive oil and just enough water to cover the noodles. At the same time I microwaved the frozen spinach in a glass covered casserole dish with one can of evaporated milk. Meanwhile I chopped 6 cloves of garlic. When the noodles were done I fast-cooled the pressure cooker in the sink under cold water and drained them in a colander. I added a generous amount of olive oil to a large pot (I used the bottom half of the pressure cooker), and sauteed the garlic. As soon as the garlic was golden I tossed in the warm spinach/evaporated milk mixture with a good amount of grated Romano cheese, sprinkles of Adobo and red chili flakes, black pepper and salt. I added the noodles and stirred. Done! Delicious! My husband had seconds. I think this would also be great with sauteed mushrooms...

Monday, October 8, 2018

Chef Michael Smith's Country Bread Recipe

Here it is!

New Habits

All of us approach the process of personal change a little differently. But anyone can take a cue from these key principles as you work to adopt new habits.

4 ways to make new habits stick

Now that you're making positive changes in eating and exercising, learn how to make them stick.

Build confidence.
Focus on strategies that play to your strengths and your skills. Consider how you have succeeded in the past, and build your plan from there. Past experiences — good or bad — are learning opportunities and should be seen as a useful tool in tackling new goals with optimism.

Create a routine. An eating or activity schedule can create a better sense of control. Make sure your schedule is one that truly works for your life and not one you can follow only for the short term. That’s why it’s important to set realistic goals — the more successful you are, the easier it will be to stay motivated.

Focus on what you're adding to your life.
Try not to fixate on what you’re giving up, whether it’s certain foods, habits or a little extra TV time. Focus on things like the delicious, healthy meals you are eating and how energized you feel after a workout. Celebrate success as you notice even the smallest positive changes in how you look and feel; it will give you the momentum you need to keep going.

Make your program your own. Take a day off from exercise, or enjoy one of your favorite foods once in a while. The more you make your program work for you, the less likely you are to rebel against it. Figure out what it takes — within reason — to make your healthy lifestyle pleasurable and sustainable.

By following these principles, you can enjoy a lifetime of healthier living — and a healthy weight!
-Mayo Clinic

Friday, October 5, 2018

Baked Beans

I adapted this recipe and used what I had on hand...olive oil in place of bacon BBQ sauce in place of sugar, syrup and ketchup. I added a can of tomato paste and more molasses.
They came out great!
1 pound dried great northern beans
1/2 pound thick-sliced bacon strips, chopped
2 large onions, chopped
3 garlic cloves, minced
2 cups ketchup
1-1/2 cups packed dark brown sugar
1/3 cup molasses
1/3 cup maple syrup
1/4 cup Worcestershire sauce
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon coarsely ground pepper

Tuesday, October 2, 2018

Corn Oil Pastry Crust
READY IN: 15mins SERVES: 6-8
YIELD: 2 crusts UNITS: US

2 cups all-purpose flour
1 dash salt
1⁄2 cup vegetable oil (corn is the tastiest)
5 tablespoons cold tap water (EXACTLY 5!)


Measure the flour carefully and put it in a medium-sized bowl. Add the dash of salt and stir it with a fork.
Pour the oil in and stir and "cut" it with a fork until you've got clumps varying between pea-sized and lima bean-sized.
Distribute the cold water over the mixture and stir and mash with the fork just until it all balls together.
Wipe your countertop with a damp cloth and spread a piece of wax paper on it. The paper should not slide -- if it does, dampen the counter a LITTLE more.
Form a little more than half of the dough into a disk and place it on the wax paper. Cover it with another piece of wax paper.
Roll the dough with a rolling pin from the center out in all directions, keeping it as circular as possible.
Periodically do the following:
peel off the top piece of wax paper, then lay it gently back on top of the crust.
using the bottom piece to lift it, turn the crust over, peel off that piece of wax paper, lay it back down again and continue rolling.
Continue the peel-replace-flip-peel-replace technique until your crust is about two inches bigger than your pie pan. IMPORTANT: Peel-replace-flip-peel -- then use the bottom piece of paper to lift the crust and place it over your pie pan. Gently peel off the wax paper.
Use the same technique to roll the top crust.
As you prefer, you can leave the top crust whole, cut it into strips for lattice, or whatever.
OPTIONAL: Brush the top crust with milk and/or sprinkle it with sugar.
Bake according to your pie directions.

review by holly_ann_hodges

This is a great recipe I've been using for years, but I want to say the 'exactness' of it doesn't matter for me. Maybe in the UK the flour I'm using is a bit different than others, but these proportions are far too wet. I usually leave out some oil and water (reserving maybe a fifth of the oil and a tbsp of water), mix and add more if needed. Alternatively you can just mix it and add more flour as needed, but using this exact recipe is far, far too wet, like paste. If you keep the oil/water proportions about the same but just use less liquid, it still works like a dream. I've even subbed some melted butter if I'm in the mood. Usually I'm a stickler for butter-rich baking recipes but this crust is fabulous in taste, texture and ease of use.

(from another review:)
I also chilled the oil, and chilled the pastry before rolling. Keeping everything cold keeps the gluten in the flour "short" which is necessary for tender pastry. Unlike bread where you want your gluten stretched out.

Sunday Night Apple Pie

A friend gave us a bag of apples that were very ripe so I had no problem deciding to peel them for making an apple pie. When my husband dug out the two plastic dough scrapers I realized why. They were the perfect tool for picking up the piecrust dough off of the wooden board. We followed the Joy of Cooking recipe and followed advice for temperature: 450 for ten minutes and then reducing the temps to 350 for 35 minutes. I used a crust guard on the rim. The pie came out great. We had pie for dinner with cheddar cheese and white wine!