Tuesday, April 11, 2017

Tomato Soup

This tomato soup is extremely nutrient rich, flavorful & low calorie. It satisfies my hunger for whenever I am craving something rich and savory. I keep about ¼ of the pot unblended to give a slight chunkiness to the texture. This gives your mouth something to chew that easily breaks down and provides a balance to the overall enjoyment. You can add or subtract ingredients or spices as you like to make it to your taste. I feel that the 1T. of butter and 1T. of olive oil add significantly to the flavor and to the proper breakdown when sautéing the onions and garlic & also a little fat is good for the brain! If you don’t want the fat however you can just sauté them together in a small amount of chicken stock until transparent.


Sunday, October 26, 2014

Glorious Apples

Today was the first real rain of the season. It was also the first time of the year that I turned on the heat. Rain, warmth, and a sack of golden delicious from my landlady's apple tree that she brought by a week ago. I've been eating them but not fast enough. So today I made the most glorious apple cake. It was very quick to throw together and easy to make. It's rather impressive at 3" tall with its caramelized crisp top and almost custardy moist interior. I added some sherry to the apples when mixing in the sugar. Also added some maple sugar left over from when I lived in Vermont years ago. Funny how you haul this stuff around with you and never use it until one day 6 yrs. later it sort of leaps off the shelf into an apple cake.

Well the point I want to make is that even though this is not diet material, it's a great cake and needed to happen. It's the best apple cake I've ever made. So why do I have all this guilt around making it? Because some sick voice inside my head keeps telling me that I can't enjoy things that are sugary, contains fat and are high in calories. Well too bad. I am enjoying a delicious slice and then the rest gets divided between my son and my landlady, who will both adore it. Even though some foods are not meant for a diet, they are good for your soul... and that makes it all worth eating.

Saturday, August 16, 2014

Letting Go

What happens when life overwhelms you? You learn to let go. I can't even begin to pick up the pieces where I last left off so I'm letting it go... completely. I'm letting it go and starting fresh. A new beginning with a new outlook and new goals based on what I now know about myself that I didn't before.
What I now know:
  • Staying the course will get you to where you want to be.
  • Changing life long patterns is a life long commitment
  • Beets, carrots and watermelon are low in calories but high on the glycemic index.
  • Counting calories will throw me under the bus.
In A Nutshell:
A lot has happened since April 17th. I lost more weight and gained it all back and more. I have decided to start fresh with my goal to lose 100 lbs. I'm not going to beat myself up over getting off track. I've learned A LOT about how I eat and why many of the foods I've been using to lose weight with are not good choices for this. I only weigh myself once a week. Getting a support system is a good thing.
And Last But Not Least:
Don't put off till tomorrow what you can do today.

Thursday, April 17, 2014

Behold... glorious carrot soup

Growing up I pretty much hated eating carrots, with the exception of carrot cake. They were so dull and uninspired. My mom served them steamed in a big bowl with butter and nothing else. She would sometimes cut them up in a salad of iceberg lettuce and French dressing and because of this, it wasn't until much later in life that I even considered eating carrots at all.

It all started with the rabbits. Before my son I had rabbits. Lots of them. All my friends had rabbits because of me and we would set play dates for our bunnies to get together and make even more rabbits. Being the doting "mom", I always had plenty of carrots around. The local stores would save the trimmings from the vegetables for me to pick up weekly. This included things like older carrots, carrot tops, outer leaves of lettuce, imperfect apples and strawberries.  Due to all the carrots around, I started eating them myself. I usually ate them raw and pickled in rice vinegar with other vegetables. I love this! That was about the time I started to make carrot soup. I'd had some at a restaurant in San Francisco that was absolutely fabulous and began to use the carrots to make the occasional carrot soup. Then I discovered different varieties of carrots at the farmers market and started buying carrots just for the soup. The Nelson variety is the one to get. They are noticeably sweeter with a finer texture than super market carrots, although super market carrots work fine also.

The smells of the carrots cooking with curry spices, bay leaves and chicken stock is so therapeutic. The bright orange color is gorgeous and the taste is divine. Even people who do not like carrots usually love this soup. Even kids love this soup. The combination of flavors change during cooking to meld into a unified taste all it's own. I've added things like cumin, turmeric, orange juice, potatoes and cayenne in the past for variations but honestly, the basic version of this recipe is still my favorite. I like it with just a few chunks and not all pureed so I remove about 1/2 cup of the vegetables to chop a little finer and re-add back into the pot after the vegetables have been pureed and before the milk and parsley are added. This soup pairs great with a side of crusty sourdough bread and butter. So healthy and flavorful. Yum!

Thursday, March 27, 2014

Making Amends

Well no one ever said that losing weight was easy. We all know what it is that we need to do to lose weight but doing it so darn hard at times and have to admit that I have run astray! The thing is to get right back on track and don't beat yourself up over it...

Stay true to your goal and visualize. There are always going to be things thrown your way that make it difficult to diet but if we are really committed to our goals, we find a way to work around them. The most dangerous thing we can do is make excuses for why we can't stay the course. I've been in this mode for a couple of weeks now and I can see where it is time to get back on the program.

I've been in bread mode lately, which is not the best thing for a diet, but absolutely fascinating to me. It all started with my completely random discovery of Tartine bakery in San Francisco while looking for a place to park. I found a space conveniently located right in front of Tartine's and thought that I would eat lunch there after my meeting, (clueless as to the caliber of bread and pastries they produce). 

Tartine country bread is unsurpassed in flavor and texture. In fact the bread is so good that I have become completely obsessed with baking. It just so happened to coincide with my search for the perfect banh mi roll. I have this vision of what it should be and many come close but none are "it"...yet. Having fallen under the spell of sourdough, I've ventured into the world of wild yeast baking and am stuck with it for awhile. Don't think there's a wild yeast diet yet, but I'm working on that.

In honor of my fathers 86th birthday today, I'm adding this recipe for a tomato bread salad. He told me years ago that this was his favorite food to eat growing up. His mother was a fabulous cook and utilized a garden to feed her family. He talked about her home made ketchup and her cream pie also as being favorites. I remember thinking, how on earth could a tomato and bread salad be your favorite meal... until I tried it one day. The flavors of the warm, ripe tomatoes coupled with the homemade bread and additional ingredients is simply delicious! This does not keep well and should be eaten within the same day of making.

Tomato Bread Salad


Ripe tomatoes, (one per person), cut into chunks, stale sourdough bread cut into chunks or torn into pieces, basil, garlic, champaigne vinegar, fruity olive oil, sea salt, fresh ground black pepper, sprinkle of sugar.


Place cut tomatoes in large bowl and sprinkle with vinegar, a little sugar, salt and pepper. Add bread chunks and combine with tomatoes. Drizzle olive oil over mixture and add basil to taste. Cover bowl and set aside for at least one hour to allow flavors to develop and the bread to absorb the flavors. Adjust oil and seasonings and serve.

Thursday, March 13, 2014

The Missing Link

I've been struggling with my weight loss again. Not because I'm eating unhealthy, but because I've reached a point where it's becoming difficult to burn the fat through diet alone. I gained 4 lbs. over the past two weeks. The beauty of this blog is that it gives me a means to measure my progress and a format to hold me to my weight loss goals. I can see that there is something missing and that something is exercise.

There was a time when I used to work out at a gym 3-4 mornings a week heading off to my job. I mostly would spend 40 minutes on the elliptical machine, staying on until I burned 500 calories. It kept my weight down and I felt pretty good. There isn't a gym in my area that would be convenient for me to go to and honestly, I'm looking for other forms of getting exercise that don't require committing to a membership.

My favorite form of exercise by far is riding my bike. Up until a year ago, I rode my bike on average 40 miles per week. I've been on a number of bike rides since moving here but living in the mountains makes for some pretty strenuous hill climbs that can be really difficult. I haven't quite figured out how to fit bike riding into my schedule yet. I'm going to work on that...

All I know is that I need to get some exercise back into my life on a regular basis. I ordered a cute tank top from a company, Lola Getts, a couple of weeks ago. They manufacture a line of work out wear sized specifically for plus size women. I've been wanting to buy this cute top for a while and when I saw it go on sale, I jumped on it.

One of my co-workers gave me a body ball for my birthday years ago. Honestly I have not used it until now. I love it! It's great for stretches and is something I can utilize at home. There are a number of exercise videos on U-Tube for strength training with the body ball. They're all around 15 minutes long and so it makes for a very accessible workout. All I have to do is connect my lap top to my TV and I'm ready to roll.

Ready to get back with the program...

Sunday, March 2, 2014

Yogurt Up

There have been a number of new products surface in recent years that are fantastic. These reusable BNTO canning jar adapters from cuppow make it easy to put together your own healthy concoctions. They’re great for salads and flavored yogurts. They're fantastic for diets, so you can pack your own healthy food items on the go.

I absolutely love yogurt and eat it every day. It helps keep my digestive track in order and keeps my complexion clear and smooth. It’s loaded with protein, calcium and nutrients. The probiotics and B12 are beneficial to maintaining a healthy immune system.

Buying flavored commercial yogurt has become a circus. With a zillion varieties to choose from, there is a lot of competition and most of them are loaded with junk ingredients. There is so much added to them in the way of chemicals and artificial sweeteners that the commercial processing in many instances diminishes the benefits. I've taken to buying a good quality plain yogurt, (or making it myself), and adding my own flavors. I like adding homemade jams, chutneys, fresh fruits and granola for a much more nutritious and fresh taste.

My favorite way to make yogurt is in a crock-pot. It’s easy and economical. I use a good quality whole milk and save some from my previous batch to use for the culture. The first time you make it you can use some store bought yogurt for the starter culture. Just make sure the yogurt you use has active bacteria, (Nancy’s, Brown Cow or Mountain High are all good brands). The website Creative Simple Life has a great tutorial for this easy crock-pot method.

She mentions another interesting method in her blog using mason jars and a cooler. I have not tried this method but it looks easy. Either way you go, if you eat a lot of yogurt... homemade yogurt tastes great and is far more economical than anything you can buy.