Wednesday, January 19, 2011

Listening in

In anything that we do we should always listen to our body. It tell us when we are tired, when we are thirsty, when we are weak and what foods we should eat and not eat. Listen carefully. It is telling you this for a reason.

An example: if you crave a banana, maybe your body is telling you that it needs potassium or some other nutrient that a banana can provide.  I am finding that the more I listen to this inner voice the better I feel. Now, that doesn't mean when my body craves a Dairy Free Newman O that I run to the store for a bag of Newman O's. I know that there is really no nutritional value in a Newman O, I am just having a sugar craving.  So, I eat a banana or an apple to cause that urge to subside. If it doesn't, then I will have a square of Enjoy Life chocolate and leave it at that.

Lately my body has been telling me that all it wants to eat is lima beans, brown rice and asparagus. I decided to listen to it. Although that combo might seem bland to probably everyone, every time I eat it I find it to be absolutely delicious. I feel refreshed and today I dropped down to a weight I have been trying to reach for quite awhile now. So, if you are not already doing so, listen to your body and see what happens.


  • For the lima beans, bring 2 cups water and 1 cup lima beans to a boil. Add a dash of salt while cooking. Cook for 20 minutes.
  • For the asparagus, toss with olive oil and garlic powder and cook on 375F for ~17 minutes.
  • For the rice, bring 2 cups water, 1 cup rice and a 2x2 inch piece of Kombu (seaweed) to a boil, then  reduce it to low temp and cook until the rice has soaked up the water in the bottom of the pan (approx. 25 minutes on simmer). 
Note: I add shoyu to the rice to give it some more flavor and I eat the seaweed for pure delight.

Tuesday, January 11, 2011

Kukicha Iced Tea

I love tea. Love tea! On the 16th of January (2011) I will be one year soda free. I replaced my soda cravings with tea and have found that I don't miss the sugar filled water they call soda one bit.

In the north you would order tea and it would be unsweetened and come with a side of sugar packets. In the south you ask for tea and they put a syrup flavored drink in front of you that only has an aftertaste of tea.  In my unhealthy days I had no problem drinking sweet tea. It wasn't until I started making sweet tea at home that I realized how much sugar actually goes into 1 pitcher of tea. Its pretty scary. So one day I decided I would not add sugar to my tea and try to drink it plain. It took all of a day to get used to it without sugar and now I wouldn't drink it any other way.
The following recipe is for the tea that I drink on a regular basis. It is a healthy alternative to soft drinks and/or sugary drinks and, well, it is absolutely delicious and refreshing.

Tools:  gallon pitcher, large pot, tea infuser or metal coffee filter (used specifically for tea)
Cook Time: 10 minutes
Steep time: minimum 1 hours

1/2 Tbsp loose leaf organic Kukicha

Bring a full pot of water to a boil. Just when you start to see large bubbles forming, turn off the stovetop and place the tea in the water. Let tea sit in the pot for at least 1 hour. Fill pitcher halfway with water or ice. Place tea diffuser or a metal coffee filter over pitcher and pour tea through filter to remove twigs. Add additional water to the pitcher, to fill, if needed.

Note: If you can't find loose leaf tea you can buy organic kukicha in tea bags at some natural food stores. Eden brand makes a good Kukicha box tea.

Sunday, January 9, 2011

Pasta Semplicistico

This is my favorite pasta recipe. I am not a huge fan of spaghetti sauce or the calories that come with spaghetti sauce so I came up with this recipe to alleviate that.

Prep time: 15 minutes
Cook time: 15 minutes
Tools: Cutting board, sharp knife, frying pan, mixing bowl, medium sized pot, fork, tongs

1/4 block tofu (firm or extra-firm)
2 Tbsp sun-dried tomatoes
1/3 c mushrooms
1/2 box whole wheat pasta
1/4 c onion
2 cloves of garlic
1 Tbsp olive oil
1/2 Tbsp oregano
1/2 Tbsp italian seasoning

Make pasta noodles, per directions on the box. While noodles are cooking, finely chop the mushroom, garlic, onion and sun-dried tomato. In a frying pan, add oil and turn stove onto medium-high. Add the chopped vegetables. Stir regularly. Cook until onion is soft, approx. 5 minutes. In mixing bowl, add tofu. Use fork on tofu to make it into crumb size pieces. Add vegetables to tofu. Mix. Add spices/herbs. Mix. Strain pasta. Turn off burner. Put pasta back into pot and place on burner. Add the tofu, vegetable mixture to pasta and mix together.  Use tongs to remove pasta from pot and place onto plate. Enjoy!

Note:  I find that using tofu with pasta gives the pasta a ricotta cheese texture and is in no way overpowering to the meal. When cooking vegetables I always keep a small glass of water next to the stove in case the oil in the pan burns off before the onion is fully cooked. That way the vegetables don't burn to the pan and you don't increase the amount of fat in your meal by adding more oil. I buy my spaghetti noodles at Walmart in their gluten free section (usually in the baking aisle). Tofu you can get almost everywhere these days. In Walmart you can find it in the produce section.

Tuesday, January 4, 2011

Quinoa with Vegetables

I am going to be honest, quinoa is not one of my favorite grains.  I know how good it is for you, so I experiment a lot with this grain in order to try and make it more appealing to my tastes. This recipe is good as both a side or a quick snack. I serve it warm or cold.

Prep time: 10 minutes
Cook time: 20 minutes
Tools: Sauce pan, large frying pan, wooden spoon, cutting board and sharp knife

1 c Quinoa
3/4 c Corn
1/2 c Carrot
1/2 c Onion
1 Garlic clove
2 Tbsp Rice vinegar
1/4 c Cider vinegar
1 Tbsp dijon (optional)
1/2 Tbsp sesame oil
1/2 Tbsp olive oil
Chili Powder, to taste (optional)

Directions: Place 1 c Quinoa and 2 c water in sauce pan. Bring to boil. Once boiling, reduce temp and simmer for 10-15 minutes. While cooking quinoa chop carrot, onion and garlic clove. Add oil to frying pan and turn stovetop onto medium-high heat. Add carrot, onion, garlic and corn. Mix occasionally for 5 minutes. Turn stovetop down to medium-low heat. Add rice vinegar, cider vinegar, dijon, chili powder and pepper. Mix thoroughly. Lastly, add quinoa to frying pan. Mix thoroughly and then enjoy.

Monday, January 3, 2011


This is one of my favorite things to make. I think of it as a universal condiment. It is great on its own, with tortilla chips, on sandwiches, in burritos, and so much more.

Prep time: 10 minutes
Tools: Mixing bowl, Potato masher or fork, sharp knife, spoon
3 avocados
1/4 chopped onion
2 cherry tomatoes
1/4 tsp pepper
1/4 tsp salt

Directions: Core the avocados (cut around avocado - cut on the longest circumference - pull apart. With the knifes blade hit the nut quickly and with some strength - knife should be stuck in the nut- twist, this should loosen the nut from the avocado. Dispose of nut). With spoon, dig out meat of the avocado and place in mixing bowl. Add onion, tomatoes, pepper and salt. With potato masher or fork, mash ingredients together until you reach your desired consistency.

Note: Choose avocados that give a little bit when you put pressure on the outside of the skin.

One use for Guacamole:
I love mexican food and one of the easiest, fulfilling meals are burritos.

Prep Time: 5 minutes
(all are optional)
Refried beans

Directions: Layer ingredients down the center of tortilla (the amount of each ingredient used is based on your tastes). Enjoy!