I know I promised a final installment to the Dole Summit recaps (and I’ll be posting that one next), but I just had to share this amazing smoothie that I guzzledcreated this morning!
After spending the past three days with a miserable cold (damn you, recirculated airline air), I woke up today feeling marginally better and craving something substantial–but also comforting. This drink hit the mark perfectly, since it combines a few of my very favorite things: breakfast; chocolate; my VitaMix; quick; and easy. I mean, with a quintet like that, how can you go wrong?** For me, it’s just what the doctor naturopath ordered.
I adapted this recipe from one I came across in Ladies Home Journalmagazine (May 2012 issue). I loved the concept of a mocha/nutella mix, but wasn’t crazy about the 305 calories, 15 grams (!) of fat, 6 grams of fiber and only 7 grams of protein in each serving.
My version replaces banana with pear (and if you can do banana, please feel free); coffee with Dandy blend; and nutella with the base ingredients of hazelnuts and raw cacao. I also used some chocolate rice protein powder to increase the nutritional content.
This low glycemic, dairy-free and whole foods version clocks in at 275 calories per serving, with 11.5 grams of fat, 12 grams of fiber and 12.5 grams of protein. I’d say that’s an improvement. . . and it seems to have given the boot to my cold today, too. Way better than a musical serenade, any time.
This smoothie is a perfect combination of dessert-like flavors with nutritional value. Quick and easy, it provides a good balance of healthy fats, carbs and protein. I keep cored, quartered pears on hand in the freezer for just this type of recipe.
1/2 pear, frozen
2/3 cup (160 ml) rice milk, plain or chocolate
2/3 cup (160 ml) water (use ice if your pear isn’t frozen)
3 Tbsp (45 ml) whole hazelnuts, lightly toasted
1-1/2 Tbsp (22.5 ml) chia seeds
1 tsp (5 ml) Dandy blend or other instant coffee substitute
1 serving chocolate rice protein powder (I use Nutri-Biotic)
** Actually, there is one quintet I’d rather be greeted with in the morning (which we heard live a few years ago). But giventhat the HH was born without a “romance gene,” I’d say there’s no chance he’ll be arranging a private concert for me any time soon.
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Hope you all had a fantastic holiday! Over here in the DDD household, we’ve had a wonderful time the past few days, what with the HH on holidays between Christmas and New Year’s.
(“Yes, Mum, we’ve loved it, too! It’s great to have those extra trail-walks. . . and play time. . . and. . . ooh, whatever that yummy food is called! Um. . . do you think I could have some more of that stuff?”)
After scrambling at a cougar’s pace (that would be the feline kind, not the Courtney-Cox kind) the last few weeks to complete my work at the college (ie, marking last-minute assignments and over 170 exams within the space of 4 days); keep up with writing commitments; and buy gifts for my loved ones (then wrap and give said gifts to their intended recipients)–on Christmas Eve, finally, I began to unwind, think about some serious chillaxing, and prepare for a fabulous festive feast (including triple alliteration, no less).
“Yeah, Mum, chillaxing is great this time of year! I’m feeling toasty warm over here by the fireplace. Oh, and by the way, I’m happy to help with leftovers. . . you know what I’m talking about.”
This year, the HH announced once again that he would like a tradtional turkey dinner. As regular readers of this blog likely know, my honey is a devoted carnivore. Most days, this state of affairs presents no problem at all: we coexist peacefully; he eats his meat at lunch time, or orders off restaurant menus when we dine out; or he cooks his own steaks or hamburgers and consumes my dinner as his side dish. (For a good description of how another vegan-omni couple works it out in a similar way, see JL’s recent post). A huge turkey, however, is another matter entirely.
“Yeah–turkey–that’s what it’s called! So, did I hear you say, ‘turkey,’ Mum?”
One thing I love about the HH is his full acceptance of me–quirks, blemishes, and all, including aspects of myself that even I find difficult to tolerate. Neurotic tirades about germs, disease, airplanes, strange noises in the house at night, having to wash the dishes just so–et cetera–are all met with (mostly) patient, even responses or calm rebuttals. In the nearly-15 years we’ve been together, my sweetie has witnessed my physical proportions vacillate wildly a half dozen times, bouncing between an initially svelte, mini skirted physique to that of an engorged beach ball (nearly 200 pounds at the height of my candida woes in 2009). And not once–not even in a whisper–has he ever uttered a negative word about my weight, acted less affectionate, or suggested that I might like to go on a diet.
And so, on Christmas Day, after sleeping in and chasing the lethargy with a shot of coffee (the HH) and matcha tea (moi), we opened our presents in front of the fireplace. And then the HH got to work cooking his turkey.
After he popped it in the oven, he played sous-chef for me, chopping veggies, sautéing onions, slicing potatoes and trimming brussels sprouts.
[Perfect gluten-free stuffing waiting to go into the oven.]
["That's pretty nice music, Mum! Perfect for listening while waiting for more turkey. . . "]
Throughout the day as we reclined and prepped, we snacked intermittently on this cranberry-crusted cashew goat-cheese log I’d made (simply whir about half of them in a blender to create a paste, then mix with the remaining whole berries and press the mess into your cheese; bake at 250F/120 C for 20 minutes to set). Heavenly!
[Cranberry-Crusted Cashew Goat Cheese on oat crackers. . . almost made me forget about the meal!]
My final menu included Fava Bean Balls (I loved the flavor but not the texture–I’ll keep working on it and post the recipe once I perfect it) with Apple-Cranberry Sauce; Creamy Whipped Kabocha (processed with soaked raw cashews and a splash of lemon juice for a sour-cream effect); Scalloped Potatoes adapted from Alta’s recipe; our favorite brussels sprouts; gluten-free stuffing (loosely based on this recipe); and onion gravy. It was an incredible, indulgent, celebratory meal, and we relished every bite. In fact, I even enjoyed it again the next day for lunch:
The HH savored his turkey, too, alongside all the same sides as me. And because it was far too much for the HH alone, he shared amply with The Girls, who, it seemed to me, reacted much the way Marilyn Monroe did to a moving camera, or William S Burroughs did to a bag of cocaine on the table, or a gas stovetop element does to a lit match. In fact, I’d say that Chaser still gets that “crazy eye” look any time someone utters the word, “turkey.”
["What? What's that you say? Oh, no, Mum, you're totally wrong about that. No way, Mum. Oh, I can stop any time I want. Really. No problem. No worries. It's just that I like turkey. I choose to eat turkey. I mean. . . hey, by the way, is there any more? I mean, I wouldn't mind some turkey. . . I'd actually love a little turkey. . . just a little. . . just one piece. . . . "]
For dessert, I attempted my very first Sticky Toffee Pudding, combining recipes from both Angela and Lexie. The result was a thick, dense, spiced cake rendered gooey and sticky from soaking in toffee sauce, with a hefty scoop of Caramel Ice Cream alongside, also doused in more sauce (sorry, no photo–we lapped it up pretty quickly). While The HH loved the dessert, I would have been happier with just the ice cream and sauce.
By this morning, I was ready to revert to lighter fare and more of my regular routine. Ever since you all weighed in on what you’d like to see here, I’ve also been thinking about quicker, easier dishes for the Flash in the Pan series of recipes.
This breakfast is a hybrid of a classic chia pudding and a breakfast smoothie. It can be prepared the night before and left in the fridge to soften and plump up overnight. The pudding combines some of my favorite smoothie ingredients (rice protein powder, avocado, rice milk, cacao) with the texture of a pudding, resulting in a high-protein, high Omega-3 meal-in-a-bowl that provides a whole host of other health benefits as well. Pillowy soft, luxuriously creamy and rich tasting, this breakfast is a quick way to acquire a full serving of protein in what tastes like a dessert. It’s a great way to use up those ripe avocados on your countertop, too.
I can’t think of a better way to cap off the holiday feasting. Can you?
“Well, Mum, if you really want to know, I’s say that another slice of that turkey would do just fine. . . but chances aren’t looking too good at the moment. I may as well just give up on it for now. . . *Sigh*.”
And finally. . . your opinion, please!
I loved learning what you’d like to see on the blog in 2012 (and please feel free to keep those ideas coming in the comments!). For now, I’ve got a more immediate question for y’all (I already asked this one on Facebook, so if you answered there, thanks!): The HH and I have been invited to the home of a friend of a friend for a New Year’s Eve bash. All I know about this gent is that he’s a true gourmet who loves to cook and eat. I’ve been asked to bring a sweet treat and am considering the following three (note that they’re not ACD friendly or gluten free–but then again, these are for a crowd of conventional eaters).
A great no-cook, prepare-ahead breakfast that you can pack up and bring to the office for those mornings you have no time for a nourishing meal as you rush out the door. It makes a great light lunch, too, alongside a crisp, fresh salad.
Place everything but the chia seeds in a strong blender and blend until perfectly smooth. Pour into a container and stir in the chia seeds. Allow to sit for 5 minutes, then stir again to ensure that all the seeds are submerged. Cover and let sit in the refrigerator overnight. Stir again before serving. Makes 2 servings. Will keep, covered, in the refrigerator for up to 3 days.
Happy Monday, everyone! It’s also the beginning of the final month of the year–a perfect time for some announcements and updates (plus a request for your help–see last item in this post!). With so much going on here at DDD these days, I thought I’d take the opportunity to collate some items in a single post. But I warn you, this is a long’un–so grab a Carob Chai Latte (or, if you prefer, a glass of Holiday Nog), put your feet up, and read on!
Yes, that’s right: it’s been so chaotically busy over here that I completely neglected to post the winner of last week’s giveaway! As I mentioned last week, the book is great for anyone who eats gluten-free, and also contains a good number of vegan recipes. And I loved the Beet Tagine! A random selection from all entries resulted in a winner:
Number 8: Rick–the Health Sleuth! Rick’s comment: “I have never had tagine, omg i would love this cookbook! please add me to the contest!”
Congratulations, Rick! Please email me at dietdessertdogsATgmailDOTcom with your full name and address, and I’ll be sure the book gets out to you asap!
I’m giddy with excitement that I’ll be among the presenters at the brand new Nourished food bloggers’ conference, coming to Chicago in April 2012! The conference is the brainchild of Amy Green from Simply Sugar and Gluten Free, plus Jen Cafferty, the woman behind the Gluten and Allergen-Free Expos and the blog Gluten-Free Life. The conference is the first of its kind, “tailored exclusively to the needs of those on special diets, writing about special diets, and niche bloggers.” These days, that includes more and more of us!
Some of the confirmed speakers who will guide you toward more fun, effective and popular food blogging include Susan Voisin of Fatfree Vegan Kitchen (one of my vegan blogging idols!), Silvana Nardone of Silvana’s Kitchen, Dianne Jacob of Will Write for Food and Cybele Pascal, renowned allergen-free cookbook author. I’m thrilled that I’ll finally get to meet so many of my blogging colleagues at the conference as well–and I do hope I get to meet some of you, too!
Free Ticket Giveaway! I’d love if you can make it out to Chicago next April and join in the event. The conference founders want you to be there, too, so they’re holding a giveaway for a free ticket to the conference, until Decmeber 8th! There’s still time to enter to win a free ticket. Hop over to the Nourished blog and leave a comment to enter.
III. Osteopenia Update:
Holistic Approach, -1.3; Conventional Approach, -2.2 (or, a Funny Thing Happened on the Way to the Bone Density Test)
Some of you may remember my outrage a couple of years ago when my doctor unceremoniously informed me that I had osteopenia (a decrease in bone density that can be a precursor to osteoporosis). As a person who studied holistic nutrition and takes pains to eat a balanced diet of whole, natural foods, I was appalled that I could even fall within that category (or anywhere else, in fact, since I’d probably fracture a hip or something if I did fall). Last year’s results were even more dire: my T Score clocked in at -2.2, just a hair’s breadth away from full-on osteoporosis!!
As a perpetual student who’s been accustomed to doing well on tests, I was really ticked off at that abysmal score. Since I was in the midst of battling candida with my amazing naturopath at the time (I’ve subsequently continued the battle on my own), the first thing I did at our next appointment was ask how I could reverse the diagnosis. (I had asked the same question of my family doctor as well, of course, but her response was: “There is no way to reverse it. The best you can hope for is that it doesn’t get worse. And if it does get worse, we’ll have to put you on Fosamax.”).
Well, um, no thank you. Instead, my naturopath explained that “It’s not always what you’re eating that matters so much as how much you absorb from what you’re eating.” In other words, women who take 2000 mg of supplemental calcium a day could still end up with osteoporosis if their bodies aren’t able to absorb and actually use that calcium.
As a result, my naturopath designed a specific nutritional plan which I’ve been following for the the past year. The plan aims to (a) clear out as much of the candida as possible (I’m about 90% there); (b) improve my digestion; (c) increase my intake of the minerals essential for a healthy bone matrix through supplements; and (d) increase my intake of specific foods that help to build bones as well. I also committed to exercising 6 days a week, walking and lifting weights every day.
So, how did I do? I’m happy to report that I’ve been totally consistent taking my supplements; I endeavor to drink wheat grass juice daily (I actually like the taste of the fresh stuff); and I consume dark leafys at least once a day. I’ve managed to keep up with the exercise routine about 80% of the time as well (I will occasionally slip to 4 or 5 days a week).
I had my latest bone density test a couple of months ago. I found it odd that I didn’t hear back from the doctor’s office, so I decided to take the initiative and call them. The secretary (who read out my numbers to me over the phone) was clearly astounded when she compared them to last year’s digits: my score had risen from -2.2 to -1.3, moving me to the low-risk group (less than 10% risk for fracture)! Whoo hoo! The Mighty Kale triumphs again!*
I must admit, I’m not sure which was more satisfying about the results: the fact that my bones are now stronger (which means I needn’t worry as much about falling while walking the dogs over ice and snow in winter); or (once again) proving to my doctor that natural, nutrient-based “medicine” can work as well as, or better than, the conventional kind.
For once in my life, I don’t mind being called “dense.” To celebrate my healthier status, I whipped up this calcium-rich smoothie the other day. Combined with cranberries and pears, it’s both festive and nourishing. Hooray for holistic medicine! (See recipe at end of post).
IV. A Question–for All of You.
This last section is directed at all of you–all of the wonderful and much-appreciated readers who visit DDD on a regular basis. More than anything, I write this blog for all of you. Without your presence here, without you showing up regularly and reading; without your insightful, witty, supportive and empathic comments; without your feedback and input, this blog would really have very little reason for existing at all.
With the new year just beyond the horizon, I’ve been feeling a little restless with the blog and thinking about implementing some changes. In some ways, it seems I’ve lost sight of the original cornerstones of DDD and the types of posts that served to build the blog from the beginning. Too often, the focus has shifted toward events and giveaways–and, while I really do enjoy the latter, I don’t want to overlook the former.
So, I’ve decided to ask you what YOU would like to see on the blog. I’m posting three questions below, and I’d love to know your answers to one, two or all three, as you like. Instead of a survey, I’m asking that you simply leave your ideas in the comments section, and feel free to write about anything I may have forgotten to mention as well. Here goes:
Question One: If I revamped the blog, which sections or aspects of the blog are essential to keep? (Wellness Weekend? Stories? Recipes? Giveaways? The Girls’ input?) Let me know what you’d like to see remain as fundamental elements on the blog, or what you’d want to see more of!
Question Two: Is there anything on the blog you feel could be eliminated? (Wellness Weekend? Stories? Giveaways? Tabs at the top of the page? –etc.) If there’s something you feel isn’t necessary, is merely taking up space or simply bugs you, take note of it in the comments as well!
Question Three: Is there anything not already here that you’d like to see added to the blog? Is there a particular feature or specific content that you wish I’d add? If so, let me know!
I plan to introduce some updates and changes to the blog in the new year. Look forward to improvements and a sharper look as well!
Thanks, everyone, for your help! I can’t wait to hear what you think and read through your ideas.
And if you’ve made it this far, I think you deserve a reward! How about a big, frosty Cranberry Smoothie? Enjoy!
“Mum, a new look for the blog is a great idea. But you’re not seriously thinking of getting rid of US, are you?! Besides, ‘Diet, Dessert and HH’ just doesn’t have the same ring to it. . . . Mum?”
Calcium-Rich Cranberry Smoothie
A snap to whip up, this smoothie makes a refreshing breakfast (or any time) drink, with just the right amount of sweetness. Sesame seeds are high in calcium, as are almonds, and both will add creaminess to this drink as well.
1 cup (240 ml) unsweetened soy, almond, rice or hemp milk
1/2 cup (120 ml) cranberries, fresh or frozen
1/2 pear, cored (you can keep the skin on)
2 Tbsp (30 ml) sesame seeds
2 Tbsp (30 ml) raw natural almonds
1 scoop plain or vanilla rice-based protein powder (I use BioNature)
1 1-inch (2.5 cm) piece of fresh ginger, peeled
15-25 drops plain or vanilla liquid stevia, to taste
Place all ingredients in a blender and blend until smooth. Drink immediately. Makes one serving.
* When my friend Eternal Optimist, who has also been diagnosed with osteopenia, heard about this reversal of fortune, she decided immediately to go on the same regimen. I can’t wait to see how her results turn out next year.
This past month, Kim and I chose Asparagus as our SOS Kitchen Challenge key ingredient, and set out a true “kitchen challenge”: could anyone actually come up with a (tasty) sweet asparagus-based recipe? Well, I’m thrilled to report that several of you rose to the challenge quite admirably!
The asparagus recipes flowed in all month, with many arriving down to the wire. Here are some of the highlights (you can find links to all these recipes and more in the linky list below):
Thanks to everyone who participated this past month. We were thrilled with every one of your 22 entries.
Kim and I are currently putting the finishing touches on the kickoff post for May. . . a favorite ingredient that is used frequently on both our blogs. And we’re certain that everyone, wherever you’re located, can participate equally this month! Stayed tuned for the annoucement in a day or two.
[Sometimes, you just want a dish that's "no fuss." I've decided to offer a mini-post every once in a while, for a dish that comes together incredibly quickly or else is so simple to make that no recipe is required. Here's today's "Flash in the Pan." (For other FitP recipes, see "Categories" at right).]
[THE GIVEAWAY IS NOW CLOSED. THANKS TO EVERYONE WHO ENTERED!]
If you take a gander through this blog’s archives, you will notice that there are certain ingredients–while fairly common in North America and even beloved by many–that don’t often appear in my recipes. For instance, you won’t find much pomegranate, buttercup (aka kabocha) squash, persimmon or fresh fennel (though that last one is about to change since I recently discovered that I now I like it).
Mostly, the paucity of recipes is caused by my reluctance to use those foods mixed in with other ingredients. I love them so much that I want to experience their uniqueness without distraction or interference, sort of the way the HH listens to classical music (he is one of those rare individuals who actually sits still and listens to music. . . while doing nothing else at the same time).
For me, pineapple falls into this “I want you all to myself” category as well. Consequently, I was particularly excited to reach the second stage of the ACD because it meant re-introducing a few fruits–apples, pears, berries–plus pineapple, one of just two so-called “sweet” fruits (along with papaya) that are permitted because they contain digestive enzymes (bromelain in pineapple and papain in papaya). This means they don’t encourage a lot of fermentation, which can lead to more yeast.
As soon as I was “allowed,” I bought the largest, most fragrant green and gold pineapple I could find, toted it home, then trimmed and sliced it. I sat down at the table as if I were about to listen to my own classical concert, then slowly savored each and every chunk, happily slurping the sweet, tart pieces as the juices trailed down my chin and over my fingers. (The Girls were also pleased to share the fruuit’s core, with plenty of their own slurping going on as well). Pure, clean, and absolutely gratifying.
Then, last week while chatting about favorite juice combos on the DDD Facebook page, a reader mentioned pineapple as an ingredient she often used. I got to thinking that I really needed to expand my culinary horizons a little and take the leap to allow eating pineapple in some other way than merely on the tip of my fork.
What I came up with was a smoothie (okay, maybe not as great a leap as, say, eloping, or gender reassignment, or quitting my job to become a circus acrobat, but a leap nonetheless). The result was this heavenly breakfast concoction that combines all my favorite ingredients from a classic carrot cake.
While I kept this recipe fairly light on greens, on a typical morning I normally include double or more of what I mention here. But if you’re new to greens in smoothies, you might like to start with the lower end of the leafy spectrum.
The smoothie made a refreshing and satisfying breakfast, and is also a great way to use up leftover cooked carrots. And, of course, it’s a way for me to expand the number of recipes containing pineapple on the blog.
DDD In Your Kitchen this Month:
Wow, you folks have been cooking up a storm! I love when readers make my recipes and tell me about it. Here’s a list of the culinary creations you’ve made in the past few weeks based on DDD recipes.
If you’ve tried a recipe and I miss it here, please let me know about it in the comments and I’d be happy to add it next time.
As always, thanks to everyone for letting me know how you like the recipes! I love hearing from you.
And finally, A WEEKEND GIVEAWAY:
[THE GIVEAWAY IS NOW CLOSED. THANKS TO EVERYONE WHO ENTERED!]
While shopping at my favorite health food store today, I came across a sale on my favorite chocolate bars. My immediate thought was, “Yay–chocolate!” (because that’s what I always think every time I see chocolate), immediately followed by, ”Oh, wait, I can’t eat these particular bars” (as they contain evaporated cane juice). But before I could shed a tear, it occurred to me: that doesn’t mean that some of YOU can’t enjoy these bars! So I scooped up four of them, and want to send one each to four of you! *
To enter, simply leave a comment here telling me which bar you’d like the most. On Sunday evening after midnight my time, I’ll choose four random winners. Please come back Monday to check if you’ve won! I’m sorry, but I cannot contact the winners. If I don’t hear from any of you by the following Friday, I’ll choose someone else.
* Disclaimer: I purchased the bars with my own money and will also cover mailing costs. Cocoa Camino did not ask me to provide this giveaway, nor did they ask me to say anything about their bars. I just happen to love them and want to share!
I know that pineapple isn’t a component of all carrot cake recipes, but the carrot cakes I liked the most were always those that included it. Similarly, you can omit the coconut if you’re not a fan. The walnuts add Omega-3s add more protein.
2-6 leaves mild-tasting lettuce (to your taste)
1 large carrot, steamed
1 Tbsp (15 ml) lemon juice
1/2 cup (120 ml) fresh or frozen pineapple chunks
1 Tbsp (15 ml) unsweetened shredded coconut
2 Tbsp (30 ml) raw walnut pieces
1/2-inch (1 cm) piece fresh ginger, peeled
7-10 drops plain or vanilla stevia liquid, to your taste
1 tsp (5 ml) cinnamon
1 scoop of your favorite plain or vanilla protein powder (I used SunWarrior vanilla)
1 cup (240 ml) unsweetened soy, almond, rice or hemp milk
Combine all ingredients in a high-speed blender and blend until perfectly smooth, scraping down sides a couple of times if necessary (for a cold smoothie, add 2-3 ice cubes). Pour into a large glass and garnish with a sprinkle more cinnamon, if desired. Makes 1 serving.
I have to admit, it was reassuring to read all the like-minded comments on my recent “I Hate Winter” post (even though it meant that a bunch of you are also having to endure it, too). Thanks, all. Despite my best intentions to abolish my abhorrence of winter, the Season of Slush and Ice just keeps on giving me more reasons to loathe it: this time, a flu bug that’s been dogging me since Monday. Dizziness, fever, chills and general malaise have been my constant companions for the past couple of days. Come to think of it, I retract the word, “dogging” to describe winter’s effect on me–I wouldn’t insult The Girls by associating them with it in any way.
“Thanks, Mum. We appreciate it. And, you know, if you’re feeling chilly in that big, soft bed of yours, we don’t mind if you break the rules just this once and let us hop up there with you to keep you warm.”
Luckily, I had received an email last month from the affable Nicola of G-Free Mom, inviting me to participate in her D-Tox January event, “a month of juices, smoothies and gluten free soups.” As a survivor of Stage 3 breast cancer, mom to a child on a special diet and owner of a hypoallergenic dog, Nicola knows about eating healthfully! Her intention for D-Tox January is to amass a list of fabulous detoxifying, nourishing and delicious recipes that anyone can enjoy–one new recipe each day of the month. At the end of January, she’ll add a linky to this post, where you can share your own recipe for a juice, smoothie or healing soup.
Nicola will choose one contributor from the entries to win a copy of Rebecca Katz’s book, One Bite at a Time: Recipes for Cancer Survivors and Their Friends. As Nicola points out, the book is a great resource for anyone who wants to eat healthier foods, whether cancer has touched their lives or not; and most of the recipes are gluten free.
Since I’d already prepared this smoothie for breakfast a couple of weeks ago, it came to mind again this morning when I needed something quick and detoxifying. I called it “Groovy Green Smoothie” because the particular shade of green reminded me of a psychedelic collage The Nurse used to have hanging in her bedroom as a teenager. As a quintessential Child of the Sixties, The Nurse was involved in all things “hippie.” The oldest of the three siblings, she was awarded the coveted bedroom in the basement, sequestered away from the rest of the family and complete with a private bathroom. She would spend hours with her friends locked in that room as they listened to rock n’ roll or did whatever hippies did in those days. Occasionally The CFO and I would be watching TV in the family room and catch a few muffled giggles or the craggy wailing from a Janis Joplin album (her voice rendered even more gravelly by the cheap record player my sister had) emanating from beneath the closed door.
And on the bedroom wall was a collage made from magazine clippings that The Nurse stuck on a bristol board and framed. I clearly remember one image of a Twiggy-like model with spider-leg false eyelashes, glittery lipstick and a sleeveless paisley sheath in shades of neon turquoise, fuchsia and sky blue. The background was a shimmering shade of chartreuse–just like that smoothie you see, below.
I knew that sipping on this green drink would be both comforting and nourishing, the perfect antidote to winter’s harsh chill. It did perk me up a bit, long enough to write this blog post. And if that’s not groovy, I don’t know what is.
Blog News and Updates: I’ve finally updated my Recipe Index pages (both of them) so that you can search for recipes up to the beginning of this month (I’ll add the January recipes at the end of the month). Yay!
The SOS Challenge for this month is also still running until the 31st. We’d love to see your recipes made with coconut oil! If you’ve got a recipe to share, link it up on our SOS page and you might win some coconut oil of your own.
Groovy Green Smoothie (suitable for ACD Phase II and beyond)
[This year, I decided to offer a "Festive Freebies" series in which I give away some of my favorite food products. . . hand-picked by me! These are things I already love and actually eat (or use) regularly, and which I'd love to share with you. Here's my fourth Festive Freebie--click here to enter!]
All the way from Australia–our winner is SUSAN from Kittens Gone Lentil! Here’s Susan’s comment:
The book I am most keen to get my hands on at the moment (though there are several) is Party Vegan by Robin Robertson. I love her books and recipes, and I love menu plans and putting together themed dinners, so this book just sounds like heaven!
CONGRATULATIONS, Susan! I can’t guarantee you’ll get it by the holidays (Australia is pretty far away from here. . . ) but I’ll be ordering your book as soon as I hear from you with your full name and address and you can Party Vegan through the new year! Please email me at dietdessertdogsATgmailDOTcom before Friday to receive your book!
These treats would make a great holiday gift for anyone who’s new to the kitchen, whose busy schedule prohibits too much baking, or who is interested in healthier, yet still deliciously homemade-tasting, cookies. And they are one of my all-time favorites.
Click here to read my review and enter the giveaway. [Note: I am required by the rules of BlogHer to place my giveaway on a separate page. Sorry for the extra clicks, everyone!]
III. A Quick Smoothie Recipe
I’ll be back later with last month’s SOS Roundup and those winners, too, but in the meantime, I’ve got another breakfast recipe for y’all. Breakfast (as you might recall) is my favorite meal of the day, and I never tire of new breakfast options. Here’s a really quick and refreshing smoothie recipe I enjoyed earlier this morning.
I was feeling like oatmeal when I first got up today [groaner alert]–funny, I don’t look like oatmeal. . . well, actually, maybe that’s not entirely true these days–but knew I just didn’t have the time to cook it up. So I concocted a festive smoothie that includes a touch of oats along with a protein kick and some seasonal cranberries. Yes–raw cranberries. The result was creamy, filling, and tart yet not lip-puckering. It offered just enough sweetness for my taste with only a few drops of stevia, but sweeten as you like. The recipe will be included in my upcoming ebook on ACD-friendly breakfasts.
This is a great smoothie for those in Stage 2 of the anti-candida diet. It provides a good amount of protein to offset the carbs in the smoothie, and since cranberries don’t “count” as a fruit, the smoothie includes the natural sweetness of pear as well.
1/3 cup (80 ml) fresh or frozen unsweetened cranberries
1 cup (240 ml) unsweetened rice, almond or soy milk
small handful raw walnut halves (about 6)
1 Tbsp (15 ml) brown rice protein powder (not flavored or with added ingredients–I use NutriBiotic, which is rice protein and nothing else)
This month’s SOS (Sweet or Savory) Kitchen Challenge asked readers to whip up dishes with spinach, and wow, did you ever take on this challenge with gusto! We received a dozen fantastic, creative recipes to try that all highlight the super-healthy leafy green. And yes, a few desserts are included as well!
Thanks to everyone who entered the challenge this month. As always, if you’ve submitted a recipe and I forgot to include it here, please let me know asap so I can add it to the list.
Here’s what’s on the menu with spinach:
THE SAVORY CONTRIBUTIONS:
Our very first entry was from Janet at Taste Space (Toronto) –a colorful and delicious Quinoa and Butternut Squash Spinach Salad with Cranberry and Pear. Well, I think the title tells you everything you need to know–doesn’t that just sound delectable? This savory salad is also a bit sweet with the pear and cranberries. Suitable for gluten free, vegan, sugar free, egg free and dairy free diets.
Jacqueline of Tinned Tomatoes (Dundee, Scotland) offers up a great recipe for Spicy Spinach and Potato Curry adapted from a recipe she found in one huge tome of a cookbook. Her pics look great (and check out the gratuitious cuteness of her new baby, Cooper!) This recipe is suitable for gluten free, soy-free, vegan, and ACD diets (contains coconut milk).
Kiersten from Full of Beans (Charlotte, NC )’s vegan Coconut Curried Chickpeas and Spinach looks like the perfect quick weekday dinner. I love a good curry, and with chickpeas AND spinach, you can’t go wrong with this one! Vegan, soy-free, gluten free, ACD-friendly and otherwise nut-free.
She also “uncooked” some gorgeously green Spinach-Hemp Flatbreads on which to spread it. Unlike many other dehydrated flatbreads, these remain soft, perfect for sandwiches. These both are vegan, dairy free, gluten free, raw, and sugar free.
Mom at the Gluten-Free Edge (Georgetown, Texas) decided that her Spinach Mushroom Pie should undergo a vegan revamp for this month’s entry! This is her remake of a long-time favorite recipe, and it worked out beautifully. The recipe is gluten free and vegan.
Chaya from The Comfy Cook is back this month with a fabulous Oriental Rice Pizza. This savory dish is filled with veggies and is a snap to make with its rice-based crust. It’s gluten free, sugar free and dairy free.
Johanna of Green Gourmet Giraffe (Melbourne, Australia) offers a cheezy spinach-based soup this month with her Pumpkin, Bean and Spinach Soup. While the recipe itself looks delicious, half the fun of the recipe is Johanna’s recounting of the experimentation that led her to it. And doesn’t the concept of tofu croutons just sound fabulous?
Valerie of City Life Eats (Washington, DC) has created a Lemony Spinach Pepita Pesto. With a unique combination of ingredients, this pesto would be delicious on more than just pasta. It’s gluten free, vegan, nut free, sugar free and ACD-friendly.
Aubree Cherie, who blogs at Living Free (Kennett Square, PA), decided to move out of her usual spinach zone with these Almond Spinach Biscuits. A great savory biscuit with a hint of sweet (dried cranberries), these treats were gobbled up by her significant other in no time. Definitely a fun (and delicious) recipe. Gluten free, sugar free, vegan and ACD-friendly.
My event partner, Kim at Affairs of Living, cooked up a fabulous Creamy Spinach and Celeriac Soup for those days when you crave something rich and healthy at the same time. The recipe is vegan, gluten free, sugar free, ACD friendly, soy free and nut free.
My savory contribution this month is a Classic Tofu Quiche recipe that I’ve had for years but never thought to post. The millet crust helps to make it quick, easy, and delicious! It’s gluten free, sugar free and vegan.
THE SWEET CONTRIBUTIONS (Yes, even spinach has a sweet side!):
Rachel from My Munchable Musings (WA) treated us to two sweet recipes this month! First up are these Spring Picnic Cupcakes, her take on the classic Strawberry and Spinach Salad–in a sweet mini confection! She’s also included a great bit of additional history and nutritional information about spinach here. These are wheat free, sugar free and vegan.
Rachel also created these adorable Green Thumb Print Cookies, that are gluten free! I love how the strawberry sits perfectly in the thumb print–seriously yummy looking. These are gluten free, sugar free and vegan.
Kim’s second contribution this month is her Invisible Spinach Smoothie. While you may have enjoyed smoothies with spinach before, this quick and easy recipe contains another veggie that you might not expect. Vegan, ACD-friendly, gluten free.
Finally, my sweet contribution is this Green Monster Muffin. Based on the concept of green smoothies, these muffins offer up spinach in a slightly sweet, hearty breakfast baked good. I’ve used chopped apples, but you could add in raisins or even chocolate chips to the mix if you like. Vegan, sugar free, gluten free.
Thanks again to everyone who played along this month. Enjoy these recipes until next month, when Kim–our hostess for June’s Challenge–will announce the new SOS ingredient.
A couple of nights ago I went out to dinner to Live Organic Food Bar, a fabulous café that was the first all-raw restaurant in Toronto (it has since introduced some cooked foods to the menu–and wine). Since my office mate at the college is retiring, I took her out to celebrate (or mourn–sniff! boo hoo! Where will I acquire my gossip from now on?).
I’ve always loved the food at Live. My dinner that night: a “Green Kick” juice (pear, kale, ginger, dandelion, lemon); raw pecan “tempura” sushi appetizer; “The Manwich” sandwich (Reubenesque, in a rice wrap instead of Ezekiel bread), and an individual pot of Japanese green tea. Sounds delish, no?
The restaurant’s story is an inspiring one: almost a decade ago, Jennifer Italiano, a self-taught chef, opened the first location of Live in the hip and grungy student haven of Dupont Street near George Brown College. The space she could afford was tiny, no larger than a phone booth (for those of you too young to remember phone booths, that’s about 100 times smaller than Kanye West’s ego). I had the honor of attending a cooking demo put on by Jennifer when she had just started out, and was blown away by how innovative and tantalizing her recipes were (sort of like my baked goods will be if I get on The Ellen Show!). In fact, that demo was the first time I tasted what is my still favorite way to serve dandelion greens: Bittersweet Salad.
In the same spirit, I thought I’d stretch my own culinary creativity a bit and try out something new with beets, the star player in the SOS Kitchen Challenge (which I’m co-hosting with the uber-cool and culinarily prolific Kim from Affairs of Living). Since the event focuses on either sweet or savory dishes, I thought I’d post a second recipe using this month’s ingredient, beets. And since my first submission was for savory beet burgers, today’s is for a sweet and refreshing beet-based smoothie.
This smoothie was fabulous. The leafy greens and deep magenta of the final product both herald spring, something of which we’re in dire need today (what?? April 17 and it snowed this morning???). And the gentle nudge of lime here creates a really light yet refreshing flavor, perfect for a quick breakfast. Unlike my typical smoothies, this one isn’t extremely thick; more like a light sunshower than a downpour (which, considering it’s still not snow, doesn’t even sound all that bad at the moment).
It’s not too late to enter the challenge! If you have a beet-based recipe that you’d like us to include, you can send it along until April 20th. Check all the details here.
Brilliantly Beet Smoothie
If you’ve got ready-baked beets in the house, this is an amazingly quick and nutritious breakfast. I’m sure raw beet would be equally (perhaps more) healthful; I just haven’t tried it yet. Let me know if you do!
1 medium beet, baked until soft, peeled and cut in chunks
1 cup (240 ml) mixed fresh or frozen berries (I used blackberries, blueberries, raspberries and strawberries)
3 large or 4 medium kale leaves (in keeping with the color scheme, I used purple kale)
1/2 medium cucumber, peeled and cut in chunks
juice of 1/2 lime
1 scoop of your favorite plain or vanilla protein powder (I used Vanilla SunWarrior)
1 cup (240 ml) plain or vanilla rice milk
5-10 drops (or 1 packet dry) stevia
Place all ingredients in a high powered blender and blend until smooth. (Note: if you use fresh berries, you may wish to add 1-2 ice cubes for a cold smoothie). Drink immediately. Makes 1 large or 2 small servings.
Thanks, everyone, for your great comments on yesterday’s post! Honestly, I hadn’t thought that the “beeteroni” (thanks, Leah) was as far “out there” as it turned out to be, but am glad you liked the idea. This ACD really does spark some unusual culinary adventures!
[Quick housekeeping note before today's post: I've been working on updating the blog and finally added a "Press" page with links to the blog and cookbook, for those who are interested in such stuff (see Ricki keep interrupting the hosts on Rogers' daytime TV show!). I'll also be adding a candida-related page (with more info about my diet, treatments, resources, etc) in the next few weeks, and will be updating my blogroll. If I already read your blog and it's not on the list, or if you've got a blog that relates to one of the topics on my "Blogs I Read" page, please let me know with an email at dietdessertdogsATgmailDOTcom. Thanks!Okay, now on to the blog post. . .]
Do you love a challenge?
As a kid, I’d welcome almost any dare and embrace fresh challenges with gusto. Whenever the teacher solicited a volunteer to work out a problem on the blackboard (nerd alert! nerd alert!), I was the first to shoot my hand in the air. One time, my 3rd grade class was given a punishment to write a 200-word essay because two boys had been chattering incessantly at the back of the class (thanks, Norman and Sheldon). To eight year-old me, this presented a fun opportunity. I worked and re-worked my writing, counting articles and changing verb tenses until I achieved exactly 200 words. (Of course, my teacher didn’t notice, but at least it made the assignment more interesting). The next year, after my parents brought home a cocker spaniel, I spent every day after school with him for a month, a pile of dog biscuits by my side, enunciating an elongated “rrrrrroooolllllll” over and over ad nauseum until he finally picked up on the command (thanks, Sweeny).
Later on, once anxiety and insecurity hit in my teens and 20s, everything shifted. In those days, I preferred the anonymity of introversion, backing away from challenges as steadfastly as Salinger backed away from publicity. More than once, anxiety prevented me from accepting a promotion, leaping at an opportunity, or trying a new activity. Challenges passed me by like “Out of Service” subway trains gliding through the station.
And these days? Happily, I’ve settled somewhere between the two extremes (thanks, therapy).
So when I received an email from Elizabeth of Don’t White Sugar Coat It telling me about her (along with 4 other bloggers’) Super Breakfast Bowl Challenge, I knew I had to join in. The challenge asks you to use one of five atypical ingredients in a breakfast dish (and we all know how much I love atypical ingredients!), then send the recipe to the group as an entry for the event (and to possibly win some prizes). This week’s ingredient is avocado.
As it turned out, I’d just had a huge glass of a new apple-based smoothie I concocted this very morning! While most smoothies contain some variation on banana and/or berries, the only fruits I’m allowed to consume at the moment (thanks, ACD) are apples, pears and berries, and berries had featured prominently in one too many breakfast drink already. So–what the heck–I threw an apple into a smoothie. And some green stuff. And ended up with a green smoothie that tastes like apple!
This baby is what Angela at Oh She Glows would call a “Green Monster” (courtesy of leafy greens and avocado). Nothing monstrous in this glass, however. It’s very creamy–velvety, even–with a slight sweetness and pronounced apple-cinnamon flavor; the greens aren’t detectable. Apples provide soluble fiber (to keep those cholesterol levels healthy), avocado contributes heart-healthy monounsaturated fat, cinnamon stabilized blood sugar levels, pumpkin seeds offer immune-boosting zinc, and green leafys add, well, pretty much everything (but mostly some great minerals). With its additional boost of protein powder, this smoothie truly is a complete meal.
If you’d like to join the challenge, head on over to Elizabeth’s blog (or any of the four others). And I’d love to hear about your favorite smoothie combinations as well–please feel free to mention them in the comments.
Apple Pie Smoothie
The ingredients in this smoothie are very flexible–liquid, you might say–so feel free to substitute your own favorite fruit or greens for those in the recipe.
1 medium apple (I like Gala, Crispin, Pink Lady), cored and cut in chunks (no need to peel if you have a strong blender)
1/3 to 1/2 of one medium cucumber, peeled and cut in chunks
large handful of spinach, kale, lettuce, or other mild leafy green
1/2 medium avocado
2 Tbsp (30 ml) raw pumpkin seeds or walnuts
1-2 tsp (5-10 ml) cinnamon, to your taste (I like a lot of cinnamon)
1/2 tsp (2.5 ml) ground ginger
10-15 drops stevia liquid or 1-2 Tbsp (15-30 ml) agave nectar or maple syrup
1 cup (240 ml) plain or vanilla soy, almond or rice milk, very cold
1 scoop of your favorite protein powder, plain or vanilla (I used SunWarrior)
Place all ingredients in a high powered blender and blend until perfectly smooth (you can use a regular blender, but will likely have to blend in batches, or else use a bit more liquid). The smoothie will be very thick (I like to eat it with a spoon as a pseudo “pudding”), but if you like it thinner, add more milk or water until desired consistency is reached. Consume immediately. Makes one massive or two regular servings. And it really tastes like apple!
Note: made this way, the smoothie isn’t extremely cold. If you prefer a chilled smoothie, ensure that your apple and cucumber are refrigerated before using, or add a few ice cubes to the mix when blending.