[Sweet Potato and Ginger Salad–recipe below.]
Ah, yes, life is sweet. Not so much in the “I’m a celebrity, I haven’t a care in the world, I’m revoltingly rich, beautiful and vacuous” kind of way; but more in the “every which way I turn I see or think ‘sweet,’ most recently the chocolate chip blondies I devoured last week” kind of way. Also in the “I’m finally finished marking for the semester and it feels so sweet to be able to breathe for a few days before it all starts up again next week” kind of way. But I wouldn’t want to forget the “blog readers are truly some of the sweetest people in the world and the principal reason I’m so thrilled to be back here and blogging again” kind of way, either.
I have to tell you, as a rule, I consider myself pretty lucky in the friends department. I mean, I’ve made some really great pals over the years (in fact, I’ve known a few of my friends even longer than I’ve known my younger sister!–take that, Oprah and Gayle).
But you know what? Ever since I started blogging last year, I’ve been repeatedly amazed at the level of support, compassion, and just basic goodwill that abounds among blog readers and writers, rivalling any of the best friendships out there. I can’t tell you all how much I appreciate that you keep coming back to read and comment (even when I disappear for a spell) and how much I enjoy my forays into reading all my favorite blogs out there as well. And so, without disintegrating into pure mush, please accept my heartfelt thanks, and a big virtual bear hug. Truly, sweet.
And now, on to our other “sweets” of the day. . .
First: My diet, temporarily an official “No-Sweets” Zone.
Forget the term, “yo-yo dieter.” With me, it’s more like a “bungee-jump” dieter. Up, down, Up, down. Waaaaay up, waay down (and note how the “waay” down is smaller than the “waaaaay” up–in other words, a net gain). Seems the more I diet, the more my weight rebounds upward after a fall. Recently, it struck me that I am more or less at the same weight I was when I began this blog (at which point my goal was to lose 40 pounds!!). Still, like die-hard smokers who wish to quit, we overly zaftig people who wish to lose weight must persevere! I’m thankful that 90% of the food I put in my mouth is healthful and very nourishing. The other ten per cent, well. . . that explains the weight gain.
Several times on this blog, I’ve mentioned the anti-candida diet I endured a few years ago when my symptoms got truly out of hand. Well, I’ve decided it’s time to return to that diet as a way to rid myself of the sweets addiction once and for all (I think of it as the “Chunky Monkey on my back“). This time, the cleanse will be somewhat shorter than previously (which lasted 2 years!).
What does this mean for the blog? Not much, I’m hoping. Most of my eating habits already fall in line with this new regimen (about which I’ll blog anon–this post will be long enough without fitting it in today). The restrictions represent a new and–truth be told–somewhat exciting culinary challenge for me: can I concoct appealing, delicious dishes, even some alluring desserts, all within the bounds of the diet? And afterwards, can I learn to consume dessert as a regular part of my menu, yet in moderation and sans cravings? Only time will tell (and so will I, right here on this blog).
Second: Announcing Sweet Freedom!
As I mentioned last time, I’ve been working on this project for a while now (just about a year–even before I started this blog!). After I closed down my full-time baking business in 2006, I decided to begin working on a cookbook containing recipes for my most popular products; because I’d been running the business for a few years, I already had a full compliment of proven recipes at the ready. So in August 2007, I began mailing out cookbook proposals to various publishers (I eventually heard from two who expressed an interest in the project, only to decide against it after months of correspondence). And then, as I plowed my way through yet another set of student papers last week, I wondered: why not just publish this book myself? And so, I averred, I shall!
Now, before I go on, yes, I do recognize the irony of doing a dessert book when I’ve just sworn off desserts. But as I said above, my goal, ultimately, is to be capable of incorporating healthy desserts into my diet, in moderation–and these happen to be just that kind of dessert!
I also know that there are scads (not to mention oodles, a plethora, loads and a real glut) of bloggers’ cookbooks already out there right now. Who needs one more? But when I started receiving emails from people asking if I had a cookbook, and when my former customers asked if I’d consider printing up my recipes so they could bake their treats at home, and when I thought of all those existing recipes just lying idle in a filing cabinet. . . well, I just couldn’t leave them to such an ignominious fate.
Mine will be a dessert-only book, and everything in it is compatible with the NAG diet that I try to follow all the time. Many of these recipes are already familiar to my former customers here in Toronto, so when the book is published, they’ll be able to bake the same muffins, cookies, and cakes that they used to buy at local health food stores. And once I made the decision, I got really excited about sharing the recipes and “doing them up right”!
The book, called Sweet Freedom, will contain recipes for a wide variety of baked goods and other sweet treats, all in a style similar to those you find on this blog (in fact, a few of the DDD recipes will also find their way into the book). However, the majority of the cookbook’s 100+ recipes will be new, having not appeared anywhere else. All the recipes are made with without wheat, eggs, dairy, or refined sweeteners; many are gluten free, soy free, and corn free as well (I’ll tag each recipe according to the category into which it fits). In other words, these are sweets that even people with food sensitivities (like me) are free to enjoy! Eventually, I plan to post a full Table of Contents with the names of all the recipes, but for now, if you’d like a peek at some photos of goodies from the book, I’ve started a blog that’s devoted just to that. I’m aiming for a publication date late this year or early next year; I’ll keep you updated occasionally on this site, too.
In the meantime, I’d love to hear from you all about what you’d look for in a “good-for-you” baking book, or whether you’ve got specific items you’d like to see in it. And it you’ve ever tried any of the desserts from this site, I’d love your feedback on the recipes. Just leave any thoughts, ideas, or suggestions in the comments section, or send me at email at dietdessertdogs AT gmail DOT com.
And finally: A sweet (potato) ending to this post. . .
I couldn’t very well leave without posting a recipe, could I? I actually mentioned this dish way back in my second blog entry, but since there were only two readers that day (no, literally, two readers), I thought it was worth repeating. This is a salad from Everyday Food magazine, and it’s both simple and delicious. I like it so much that I’ve made an entire meal out of it, in fact. The trick to its appeal, I think, is that Martha advises us to bake the sweet potato rather than boil it–and that seems to make all the difference.
Sweet Potato and Ginger Salad
This salad is filling and satisfying, with a tangy ginger and dijon-based dressing to complement the yielding sweetness of the potatoes. I enjoy this most at room temperature, but it can be eaten cold or hot as well. Great for a picnic or party table.
2-1/2 pounds (about 1 kilo) sweet potatoes, peeled and cut into cubes (2-3 medium potatoes)
2 Tbsp. extra virgin olive oil
3 Tbsp. (45 ml.) fresh orange juice
1-1/2 Tbsp. (22.5 ml.) extra virgin olive oil
1-1/2 Tbsp. (22.5 ml.) grated fresh ginger
1 Tbsp. dijon mustard
4 green onions, sliced
Preheat oven to 425F ( C). In a large bowl, toss the potatoes with the 3 Tbsp. olive oil; season with sea salt and pepper, to taste. Roast until just tender, about 35 minutes.
In the bottom of a large bowl, whisk together the juice, 1-1/2 Tbsp. oil, and mustard. Add potatoes and green onions and toss to coat well. Serve warm, cold, or at room temperature. Makes 4-6 servings.