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CT Diet

31 Dec

“Yes, but first you have to…”

I follow this blog about minimalist living.  That simply means getting rid of stuff, and not only material stuff.  There are so many advantages to this that there isn’t enough space to sum it up in a few words.  Check out becoming minimalist.

BUT… There was one other thing I wanted to minimize and that was the size of my body.  I had put on a few pound over the last few years and wasn’t getting very far with my efforts to stuff cheeseburgers into my face and lose weight at the same time.  Go figure.

Then, one day while perusing the minimalist blog there was a link to a zen site.  This site had something to do with health and for the life of me I can’t find it again, but I did take away from it a diet/eating plan that not only makes sense but is easy to follow and effective.  The diet is the Crap Ton Diet.  I’m not sure if crap ton is one or two words but I did look it up and a crap ton equals four shit loads.  That’s a lot!

Soup3

So here is the gist of the diet.  You can eat anything you want but first you have to eat a crap ton of veggies.  That’s it.  Simple and to the point.  That also goes for snacks.  Want a dish of ice cream?  Fine.  But first you have to eat etc.  Glitches with this diet.  You always have to have a ton or four of veggies on hand and you have to do a bit of prep.  

Cob

You also get the bad news that M&M’s are not a veggie.  Nothing’s perfect!

Loveya – The Grandma

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Cabbage Soup Magic

15 Jan

“I decided I’ll never get down to my original weight and I’m OK with that.  After all, 7 pounds 6 ounces just isn’t reasonable.”  Malcolm West

I know.  I said I wasn’t going to do this recipe thing and then here I go!  Is there no one you can trust.

But I have a reason.  (Don’t they all!)  Someone sent me this cabbage soup recipe.  You know the one where all you eat is this cabbage soup and you loose a ton of weight but you can’t go out in public because of the flatulence.  Well I took this recipe and left out some of her ingredients, namely the red pepper flakes and cayenne, and added some sun-dried tomato hummus that I got at HyVee from their hummus bar.

Humor me.  There is such a thing as a hummus bar.  Not a good bar to get picked up in unless it’s by another hummus lover.  On second thought…

cabSoup

INGREDIENTS:

2-3 T olive oil, I used grape seed because that’s what I had on hand

1/2 head of cabbage, chopped

1 cup celery, onion, and carrot, diced – that’s a cup of each

1 green bell pepper, diced

3 cloves garlic, minced (that means chopped small)

4 cups chicken or veggie broth

14 ounce can diced tomatoes

1 t oregano

1 t basil

1 t salt

1 to 2 T sun-dried tomato hummus

DESTRUCTIONS:

Heat oil in large pot and sauté celery, onion, carrot and green pepper until slightly soft.  Give it about 3 to 5 minutes

Stir in garlic then add broth, tomatoes, and cabbage.  Bring to boil and reduce heat.  Simmer until cabbage is tenderish.  Stir in seasonings, taste, and adjust seasonings.

What about the hummus, you might be asking.  I actually put the 1 to 2 T in the bottom of my soup bowl just before I ladled the hot soup into the bowl.  Then I mixed it in and enjoyed a cabbage soup that I could actually eat more than once a day without invoking divine assistance.

Did you notice the square bowl in the picture?  That was a gift to me after I got rid of my boring, blue bowls that I’ve been using for years because I owned them.  Not a great reason to continue to live with something, a fact I learned from the book about creating a tidy house that I wrote about a few bog entries ago.  Pay attention!

Great thing about a square bowl is that you can drink the last few drops of soup from the corner of the bowl, a feat not possible with a round bowl, which should need no explanation after all the modern math we were exposed to.

Loveya – The Grandma

 

Beet Salad

4 Mar

“It is not necessary to change.  Survival is not mandatory.”  W. Edwards Deming

Side note.  Got a call from one of my sons this morning.  He recommended a book that I might find helpful.  It’s about avoiding Alzheimer’s.  Pause for thought.

Todays recipe has to do with fermented food.  When visiting with a group and sharing something I’d heard about the benefits of eating fermented food, one of the women made a face as if she were wearing a tight girdle and said she didn’t see how anyone could eat anything fermented.  “Isn’t that food that’s rotten,” she asked.

I asked her if she likes sauerkraut, and of course, she said she loves it.  Also pickles and yogurt, but not together.  Bingo!

Here is a simple and delicious recipe to get fermented foods into your diet.  Look up the benefits on Google.  You’ll be amazed and delighted and just chomping at the bit to eat a bunch of fermented foods everyday.

Warning.  Yogurt with fruit already in it is crap.  Did I day that out loud?!  Too much sugar.  Buy plain yogurt, put on your big girl/boy pants, and put your own fresh fruit into the yogurt.  The microbes in your body that are hungry for such nourishment will thank you.

INGREDIENTS:

Roasted beets – organic, roasted beets available at Costco.  You don’t even have to do the work

Sauerkraut

Olive oil

DISTRUCTIONS:  Roast beets if you bought them fresh.  DO NOT USE CANNED BEETS.  Beets are easily roasted by placing them into parchment paper (sans greens) and then into foil with about a tablespoon or two of water.  Place in oven, 400 degrees, for one hour.  Allow the package to cool and then slip the peels off of the beets.

Chop the beets into chunks and place into your Ninja food chopper.  Throw in some sauerkraut (Bubbies is the best) along with a tablespoon or two of sauerkraut juice from the jar.  Chop it.  Place it in a bowl.  Stir in a bit of olive oil.

beet salad

Yes, I sprinkled a bit of chopped parsley on top for color.

Let me assure you that everyone who’s tasted this salad has nothing but praise for it.  I usually serve a small serving over baby greens.  Sometimes I add some other little salad, such as the old stand-by, black bean and corn with olive oil and lime juice salad.  

Feed your microbes.  Live long and prosper!

Loveya – The Grandma

Love It Pizza

28 Feb

“It is no measure of health to be well adjusted to a profoundly sick society.”  J. Krishmanurti

This pizza recipe is adapted from Everyday Paleo by Sarah Frangoso.  If you do not have a copy of this cookbook in your collection you are a loser.  Scratch that.  I meant to say that you should really consider the purchase. It’s a great cookbook.

However, I did dramatically change the recipe to accommodate things in my pantry.  This is my version.

CRUST;

2 cups almond flour

2 eggs

3 T extra virgin olive oil

1/4 t baking soda

1 t garlic powder

1 T Italian seasoning – oregano and basil if you don’t have an official blend of Italian seasoning

TOPPINGS:

1 pound Italian sausage – I bought bulk at Whole Foods

1 small onion, diced

2 small tomatoes, diced – or use canned well drained

peppers – I used the package of frozen red, green, and yellow, about a half cup

1/2 cup sliced black olives – I used sliced black olives

1 cup organic, gluten-free marinara sauce

DISTRUCTIONS:  Preheat your oven to 350 degrees.  Mix all the crust ingredients together with a spoon until you can easily get in there with your hands.  Did you remember to wash your hands?  Good.  Form the dough into a ball.

Place the dough onto a round pizza pan or a cookie sheet that’s been lightly greased with olive oil.  Press the dough into the pan getting the dough as thin as possible.  Bake the crust for 20 minutes while you prepare the toppings.

At this point I chopped and diced.  I also squeezed the pork sausage into little flat pieces so they’d be ready to pop onto the crust and they would be thin enough to cook through.  True confession – I did not have an entire pound of the Italian sausage because it looked so good that I fried up a patty the previous day as part of my lunch.  Still had plenty for the pizza.

After the crust has been in the oven for 20 minutes top it with the marinara sauce, then the sausage, and then pile on the veggies.  Bake an additional 25 to 30 minutes.

Pizza

I love this pizza.  It had all the pizza flavor without cheese and gluten.  And think of all the other things you could top it with to make it your very own favorite.  I’m going to make it the next time I entertain the ladies.  Knowing my lady friends I’ll probably make two.  We are still ardent members of the clean plate club!

Loveya – The Grandma

Surprise Soup and Grilled Cheese

5 Feb

“Stay close to anything that makes you glad you are alive.”  Hafiz

Well today I’m not actually going to teach you how to make a grilled cheese sandwich, but rather, how to serve a grilled cheese sandwich if you have the misfortune to make it the way that I do.  

Also going to talk about soup.  That is usually the answer to almost all questions of what’s for dinner.  And yes, hearty soups can be made without the addition of carb heavy foods such as macaroni and potatoes.  Are we getting ready for bikini season or what!  In my case it’s the or what.  I have a bathing suit with enough support to hold up a bank.  Did that make any sense?  Too much caffeine.  

Surprise soup is so named because I had a half cup of chicken broth, a half can of diced tomatoes, and some celery in the fridge.  It was time to use them before they would be relegated to the compost pile (the celery) so I decided to thaw some frozen soup from the freezer, add my fridge finds, and make a brand new soup for us to “enjoy”.

Fortunately, I found some carrot ginger soup in the freezer, or so I thought.  Your right.  I don’t label my freezer treasures knowing that I’ll easily recognize whatever is in there.  The treasure turned out to be chunks of butternut squash in chicken broth.  

INGREDIENTS FOR SURPRISE SOUP:

Celery, whatever you have, diced

Medium onion, diced

Butternut squash in chicken broth

1/2 can diced tomatoes

1/2 cup leftover chicken broth

Any leftover meat, diced, optional

DISTRUCTIONS:  Saute the celery and onions in a little coconut oil.  Add the rest of the ingredients.  Simmer in a covered saucepan until the veggies are tender.  Serve with grilled cheese sandwich. 

SurpriseSoup

Lovely to look at and delicious.  Husband actually began to devour it before it cooled.  Very unusual for him.

My point is that soup isn’t rocket science and can be made quickly and easily.  It’s also a great way to use up bits of this and that that are hanging around in the fridge and freezer. On to the grilled cheese.

GRILLED CHEESE – is two pieces of bread with cheese in between.  The butter in my house is generally too hard to spread so I just put a chunk in the bottom of a small skillet and fry the sandwich in the melted butter.  But this is where it gets tricky.

On occasion I forget to turn the sandwich in a timely manner.  That means I have to serve the sandwich with a certain side up, hoping my inquisitive husband, Greg, won’t look at the bottom of the sandwich.

GrChezGuess which side I served facing up?  I am so clever!

Loveya – The Grandma

Chili Cha Cha Cha

1 Feb

“No diet will remove all the fat from your body because the brain is entirely fat.  Without a brain, you might look good, but all you could do is run for public office.”  George Bernard Shaw

Chili is one of those dishes that has 1000 varieties.  Really?  It’s my blog so I get to say what I want.

Truthfully, variations with chili are seemingly endless. Here’s a basic recipe that will allow you to dash off in various directions, rethink ways to serve chili, and stock your freezer with chili for a quick-thaw meal.

INGREDIENTS:

1 T coconut oil, or other oil appropriate for browning meat

1 pound meat – I used ground turkey in this version

1 onion, chopped

2 cups diced carrots

2 cups diced celery

1 to 2 cups diced peppers – red, yellow, or green or a combination thereof

Large can diced tomatoes

1 T chili powder, more or less

1 T ground cumin, more or less

1 T cocoa powder (Yes!  This is the secret ingredient that will make you chili sing!)

S&P to taste

DISTRUCTIONS:  In a large kettle or skillet brown the meat in the oil.  Add the chopped veggies and cook until the mixture is nice and hot.  Add the tomatoes and spices.  Season.  Mix.  Cover.  Cook on low heat until the veggies are tender or dump the mixture into a crock pot and cook on low until you’re darn good and ready to eat.  Check seasonings one more time.  Was that so difficult?

Other things that could be included in chili are corn, lima beans, or any other kind of beans that you like.  You’ll notice that my recipe does not contain beans.  Just a personal preference but it still tastes like chili.  

chili1

This is not the entire batch of my chili, but simply a small portion that I’m heating up for breakfast.  Breakfast!  Yes.  I really enjoy a small amount of chili or any other kind of soup for breakfast.  Or it could be a lunch.  Just plop on an egg or two, cover, and cook until the eggs are done to your liking.

Chili2

Feeding a crowd?  Use a large skillet and festoon the mixture with eggs for everyone!  

Loveya – The Grandma

Mushrooms in Red Wine

9 Jan

“The peanut is neither a pea nor a nut.” NARQ

So what does the above quote have to do with a recipe for mushrooms in red wine.  Nothing.  I just want to tell you about the mice in our house and the impact on our neighborhood environment.

Whenever mice come in for the winter they generally head for the kitchen drawer that houses jar lids.  Your guess is as good as mine.  The solution to this visit is to set a mousetrap baited with peanut butter.  Problem.  I don’t eat peanuts so I don’t have any peanut butter.  I do have almond butter and, luckily, it works wonderfully.

Part two of mouse visits is the role my husband, Larry, plays in this drama.  It’s his job to check the drawer when he gets home and dispose of the new mouse-of-the-day.  He does this by tossing the mouse out into the snow and magically, by morning, the mouse is gone.  It’s our firm belief that the neighborhood cats, roaming at night, enjoy a midnight snack.

So here’s the problem.  Our neighborhood cats are now accustomed to mouse with just a touch of almond butter.  Is mouse infestation just around the corner unless we find a way to get almond butter on each and every neighborhood mouse?  And you thought you had problems!

So the next question on the agenda is why make a holiday dish, Mushrooms in Red Wine, after the holidays?  You could make this dish because someone gave you a bottle of red wine and you’re not quite sure what to do with it.  I’m making it because it will be a nice addition to my leftover pot roast or to some hamburger patties.  Oh, how festive.  Or lastly, in my world, I’m making it so the house will smell like booze when my husband gets home and he’ll be so worried about me that he’ll forget to complain about his job.  Whatever.

MushB4

Mushrooms with parsley and thyme.

You will notice, when I finally get to the recipe, that the type of mushroom is not specified.  I therefore chose to use three types of mushrooms – button, shiitake, and oyster – because that’s what was available in the produce section and those are the easiest to spell.  (Don’t forget the second “i” in Shiitake.)  This will also give me a chance to report on which mushrooms seem to work the best.  

INGREDIENTS:

1 pound mushrooms

3 cups of pinto noir (or some kind of red wine that isn’t sweet)

3 sprigs fresh thyme

2 sprigs fresh parsley

1 cup chicken stock*

S&P

DISTRUCTIONS:  First, you’ll need to clean the mushrooms.  That means you’re going to remove the stems and wipe off the crowns of the mushrooms to remove any obvious dirt.  You might want to simmer the mushroom stems in some water and make a mushroom stock.  Just a thought.

Place all of the ingredients into a heavy bottom saucepan and simmer, covered, for several hours.  When you finally remember that you have mushrooms simmering on the stove, remove the cover and continue to simmer until the liquid is reduced and slightly thickened.

Remove the parsley and thyme.  Store in the fridge (the mushrooms, not the parsley and thyme) until party/meal time when you’ll want to reheat and place on the buffet in a small crockpot or chaffing dish, or pour directly over your hamburger patty.

Mush2

This was today’s breakfast.  A hamburger patty topped with mushrooms in red wine sauce, with a nod to the word, sauce.  The sauce never thickened.  But it was luscious.  I can’t imagine serving a crockpot of these mushrooms just to nibble on, but I can imagine reheating some cooked chicken in the mushrooms and red wine liquid.

Loveya – The Grandma

* I get my chicken stock by roasting chickens in a crockpot (12/9/13 post) and using the liquid that forms in the bottom of the crockpot.  Extra broth can be frozen.