Monday, November 30, 2009


After several days of indulging a bit, we all felt like a "fresh breakfast" on Sunday. We started the day with some apple/persimmon/carrot/lemon juice. It was delicious, and the color was gorgeous. We are very lucky as we have a friend with a persimmon tree, so we had a whole big bag of persimmons. We are also lucky to have a friend with a lemon tree...

Next we had sprouted protein bread with avocado, cucumber slices, & basil. The cucumber slices and the basil smelled so fresh, almost like summer. It was a nice change to the heavier, warm foods we have been eating for a while now.

Questions: How do you "balance out" your meals? Do you sometimes feel like something "fresh" after eating a lot of cooked foods? And, it's the final day of our flossing challenge! So you sure flossed today, right?

Be well,

Friday, November 27, 2009

Thanksgiving Leftovers Makeover

[Edited: I am submitting the Turkey Mushroom Pea Pie recipe (below) to Natasha's 5 Star Makeover Challenge.]

I hope all of you who celebrated Thanksgiving had a nice day yesterday. We had a very nice day even though the toddler’s sleep schedule was completely “off.”

This morning, the teenager and I got up at 4:00 a.m. to hit some stores by 5:00 a.m. We got some good deals, and it was fun having some one-on-one time with him. I am realizing more and more that it’s only a few more months until he is off to college… I also realized this morning that teenagers can be extremely patient when it comes to waiting in a line if it’s for something they want. We ended up standing in line for over an hour to buy two video games ($5/each).

I mentioned before that I’m not the biggest turkey fan, but I do like the dishes I make with the leftover turkey. Last night I made some turkey soup after hubby carved all the meat off the turkey. He actually watched some videos online and did an awesome job carving the turkey this year!

I cooked the bones in about 10 cups of water for 2 1/2 hours with plenty of rosemary and thyme. Every once in a while I skimmed off the foam that built on the top. Then I took out the bones and strained the soup. I also skimmed off the fat after the liquid had cooled a bit. I sautéed some onions, garlic, celery, & carrots and added the soup back to the pot. Lastly, I added some cut up turkey meat. I really enjoy a cup of turkey soup in the morning the day after Thanksgiving!

I also made some Turkey Mushroom Pea Pies with a mashed potato topping.

I started by sautéing 8 ounces of mushrooms. Then I added some frozen peas and cut up turkey meat. I finished the sauce with a few tablespoons of half and half.

I filled my small ramekins with the mixture.

Then I topped the ramekins with leftover mashed potatoes.

I baked the pies in a 375 degree oven for about 20 minutes, until the potatoes got a bit of color.

Questions: Do you like to “make over” your leftovers? Did you hit the stores this morning? Did you get any great bargains? And, finally, you are still flossing, aren’t you?

Be well,


Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Garlic pasta with Creamy Mushroom Sauce

The other day I bought some fresh garlic pasta at the Farmers’ Market. We haven’t had a white sauce in a while, and I thought mushrooms in a creamy sauce would go well with the pasta.


  • 1/2 pound fresh garlic pasta
  • 8 ounces mushrooms
  • 3 big hand-fulls of spinach
  • 3 cloves of garlic, minced
  • basil
  • 1/3 cup half and half
  • Parmesan cheese
  • salt & pepper to taste

I started by sautéing the sliced mushrooms in a bit of olive oil. After the mushrooms cooked for a few minutes, I added the minced garlic and the spinach. I cooked everything until the spinach was wilted and then added the half and half and cooked everything for a few more minutes. Here is a picture of the finished sauce.

And here is the sauce mixed with the pasta. I also tossed the sauce and the pasta with some Parmesan cheese.

And here is an individual plate with a bit more Parmesan cheese and some basil.

Question: What’s your favorite pasta sauce?

Be well,


Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Tofu Fun

The other day I bought some marinated tofu at the Farmers’ Market for an easy dinner. I sautéed some onions, garlic, mini sweet peppers, mushrooms, carrots, & celery for a few minutes and then added the tofu until it was heated through. I seasoned the stir fry with just a bit of low sodium soy sauce, sesame oil, and sesame seeds. I served the tofu over brown rice.

The toddler was busy “sorting” his food: tofu in one bowl, everything else in another.

And then he swirled the pepper rings around his fingers.

After he was done exploring his food a bit, he finished every last bite and had another bowl (which he sorted again…).

Well, this is a short week, so I’m not planning a lot of meals:

Tuesday: Garlic pasta with creamy mushroom sauce & a salad.

Wednesday: Kabocha soup.

Questions: What are your strategies to keep Thanksgiving healthy? What’s your favorite part of the Thanksgiving meal? I like mashed potatoes, gravy, & stuffing. And, you haven’t forgotten about the flossing, have you?

Be well,


Monday, November 23, 2009

Eat What You Want

"Oh, really?," you ask. "So I should just have the double cheeseburger and fries?" Well, not exactly. At least not all the time. Plus, if you have a cheeseburger, maybe have half a burger and a salad to go with it instead of fries...

While I don't advocate to eat anything we want without planning and watching our portions, I think it's important that we eat what we like. So often I hear people talk about things they "should eat" because they "are good" for them. But they don't really like these foods. So they eat some of the "oh so good for them" foods, and then they go on to eat what they really like. In my view, that's not very productive.

When I met hubby, he had food very clearly divided into "good foods" and "healthy foods." Unfortunately, the two categories rarely merged in his mind. He literally ate "healthy foods" so that he then could eat the "good foods" he really wanted to eat. It took him quite a few years to realize that healthy food can taste great...

We hear so much about "super foods" and "wonder nutrients" that it's easy to think we should eat certain foods because they are good for us. And if we like these foods, great. But if we don't like them, we should remember that there are so many fruits and vegetables out there that it's possible to find nutritious foods that we truly enjoy. There is no reason to eat foods "just because they are good for us." Food should be enjoyed and celebrated...

I think we should make sure we experiment and figure out what fruits and vegetables we truly like, and then make note of how we like them best (raw, sauteed, baked, roasted, steamed...) and with which condiments and flavors (lemon, garlic, different herbs, soy sauce, hot sauce...). Also, so often we think we don't like something but haven't tasted it in years. Maybe we didn't like the way the food was cooked the last time we tasted it. I would suggest to give it another try! You never know, you may find that you love Vegetable X after all...

Questions: What is one food you don't like? When was the last time you tasted it? How was it prepared? Are you willing to give it another chance?

Some foods I used to not like (but love today) are: Brussels sprouts, beets, apples (we had too many of them because my parents had several apple trees), and bananas (I didn't like that they are "mushy"). Today, these foods are some of my favorites; I'm so glad I gave them a "second chance!"

Be well,

Saturday, November 21, 2009

Enjoying the Very Last Fruits of Summer & Some Awards

Well, even here in California the tomato season has finally come to an end. This week, we enjoyed the very last tomatoes that we bought at the Farmers’ Market. They were delicious, and we enjoyed every bite! I said it many times before: tomatoes are my all time favorite food!!!

In the last few weeks, I have received a couple awards. Thank you to One Fit Foodie, My Little Space, & Simply Life! I enjoy each of these blogs a lot. And I truly love this blogging community. My blog has truly enriched my life, and I so enjoy having you all in my life. Over the past few months, life has been truly challenging, and my blog has allowed me to focus on the positive things life has to offer. I enjoy reading and commenting on blogs (although I have unfortunately not been able to comment as much as I’d like to in the past few weeks), and I look forward to your comments, encouragement, and friendship every day.

Okay, here are the awards I got. First, a few weeks ago, I received the Kreativ Blogger Award from Naomi at One Fit Foodie. I love Naomi’s blog, so if you haven’t checked it out yet, head over there!

Award Naomi One Fit Foodie

I am supposed to share seven things about myself with you. I already shared quite a bit about myself with you in this post and this post; here we go again:

  1. I hate being cold. At night I wear several layers of clothing and really warm socks (at least in the fall and winter).
  2. Growing up, I always wanted to one day own a house with a palm tree in the yard (there were no palm trees where I grew up). I don’t have a palm tree in my yard, but there are many palm trees all around me where I live now, so I feel I sort of accomplished this goal…
  3. We don’t have T.V. anymore, but I recently discovered Hulu and that there are lots of mindless T.V. shows to be watched… There are also some not so mindless shows…
  4. I don’t really like turkey, but I love stuffing, mashed potatoes, & gravy.
  5. I studied Latin for five years.
  6. San Diego is one of my favorite cities to visit.
  7. I like younger men. Hubby is a bit younger than me… ;)

I also got the following award from My Little Space:

Appreciation_Awards (My Little Space)

Thank you My Little Space! If you haven't yet, check it out!

And finally, Simply Life gave me another award:

love_ya_award1_simply live

Thank you Simply Life blog! Again, an awesome blog, check it out if you haven't yet!

Again, thanks to One Fit Foodie, My Little Space, & Simply Life for the awards, and thank you to all my readers for your friendship. So why don’t we all try to get to know each other a bit better? I would love it if you left a comment and told me something new (to me) about yourself. And yes, I’m also talking to all my readers who never comment! Let us know who you are!

Questions: What is something I don’t know (yet) about you? And you aren’t forgetting to floss, are you?

Finally, if you haven’t had a chance yet to find out why Holly is collecting money for a well in Cambodia, head over there now.

I hope you are enjoying your weekend!

Be well,


Friday, November 20, 2009

Portion Control Revisited

I eat healthy foods; at least most of the time. Yes, I have an occasional "treat," but I can honestly say that I stay away from too much salt, sugar, fat, and too many processed foods. The majority of my meals consist of whole, unprocessed, and whenever possible local, organic fruits and vegetables. I almost always start my meals with a salad and drink plenty of freshly made vegetable juice almost every day.

If there is one area where my diet needs improvement, it's portion size. It's no wonder that in one of my very first posts, I asked, "What's A Portion?" And I wrote about it again here, here, and here.

Over the past few months, I have once again focused my attention on portion size. And I think this time, I'm actually more successful than in the past. In fact, for the first time in a long time, I have lost a bit of weight, and I was able to buy jeans in a smaller size the other day.

Here are a few things that have helped me keep my portions under control:
  • eat regularly and don't get too hungry
  • take healthy snacks to work and outings
  • start lunch and dinner with a big salad
  • use a dessert plate instead of a giant dinner plate
  • plate food in the kitchen to avoid mindlessly reaching for a second helping
  • eat cereal, soup, etc. out of a coffee cup
  • be especially mindful when eating "problem" foods (for me), such as pasta (I used to eat soooo much pasta....)
One purchase that came really in handy are the ramekins I bought a few weeks ago. Remember them?

I originally bought them to make mini apple crisps, which I have made quite frequently since. I love the built-in portion control in this dessert...

Soon I started to use them as a serving dish for all kinds of foods. The ramekins are small enough to make a little bit of food seem like a lot more. And there is just something about having a "bowlful" of food and finishing it. It's satisfying!

Here is a ramekin with some nonfat plain Greek yogurt and blueberry preserve.

And here are my favorite organic chips. There are 16 chips in one serving. Counting them out and putting them in a ramekin has been really helpful. In fact, it feels like I'm eating a lot of chips... What a difference to eating them straight out of the bag!

And here is 1/4 cup of granola with some milk. 1/4 cup of cereal looks like "nothing" in a bowl or even a coffee cup. But in the ramekin, it is actually a nice portion.

And finally, two very small scoops of mint chocolate chip ice cream....

Question: What are your portion control strategies and "tricks?" Please share!

Be well,

Thursday, November 19, 2009

Mommy Make Juice, Please!

The toddler has been obsessed with making juice lately. He gets so excited when we make juice, and his favorite juice seems to be apple/carrot juice these days, at least that's what he keeps asking for. But he actually doesn't mind all sorts of veggies (spinach, kale, Swiss chard, Romaine, cucumbers...) in his juice and is truly fascinated by the veggies and fruits going in the juicer and juice coming out...

The other day I had not planned on making juice as I was out of greens, but since the toddler asked for juice, I made apple/carrot/lemon juice. I am happy to report that because of the toddler's obsession with juice, the juicer gets used quite frequently in our house!

And I still love drinking my juice in a pretty glass...

Questions: Are you getting enough fruits and veggies these days? What's your favorite way of eating them? Besides vegetable/fruit juice, I love big, "interesting" salads...

And, there is no denying that the holiday season has started. Here is a picture of the toddler a few weeks ago when the Christmas tree in front of our gym went up.

In the spirit of the season, Holly is raising money to build a well in rural Cambodia. It's an awesome cause. To find out the background of why she is doing this and to donate money click here.

Be well,

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Big Boy Lunch

Over the weekend, hubby and the teenager went out to lunch while the toddler was taking a nap, and I was catching up on work. While they didn't bring us back any food, they did bring us back some pictures... They went to a Korean lunch buffet, and from what I heard and saw, they really enjoyed their food (it seems like they eat a lot more meat when I'm not around...).

I'm glad you guys had a good lunch and some "big boy bonding" time! :o)

Question: When was the last time you had some special, one-on-one bonding time with someone special in your life?

Be well,

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

A New Recipe & Weekly Meals

Last week, I made another new recipe: Chickpea Stew with Dill from the Chickenless Kitchen blog. The stew was delicious, and since it is easy to make, I'm sure it's going to make a regular appearance in my kitchen. I think it's also a recipe that you can play with and don't have to follow exactly. What made the stew especially good was the dill and the lemon juice. I was not very lucky this year with my little herb garden as nothing grew except for the rosemary and the thyme, which have been there for a few years. Since I don't like to buy herbs that I "should" be able to grow myself, we haven't had dill in a long time. But I broke down and bought some dill. And I used lots of it in the recipe. We all loved it.

Basically, I started by sauteing four carrots, four large cloves of garlic, & a few celery stalks and then added a little less than half a teaspoon cumin and lots of dill. Then I added the chickpeas (I used a shortcut and used two cans of organic garbanzo beans, drained & rinsed) & crushed tomatoes (I used a whole container of Pomi - great suggestion by Chickenless Kitchen!), juice of one lemon, and about a cup of vegetable stock. I seasoned the stew with a bit of salt and pepper. After everything simmered for about 20 minutes, I had a lovely, flavorful stew. I think you could also add onions and sweet potatoes as well as other veggies. Or maybe even some organic chicken!?!

I served the stew over some brown rice.

Okay, and now on to this week's meals:

Tuesday: Salmon Cakes on a bed of spinach salad

Wednesday: Chocolate Covered Katie's Favorite Fall Curry

Thursday: Veggie Burgers on whole grain buns with avocado, tomatoes & lettuce

Friday: Carrot Ginger Soup with homemade garlic & rosemary croutons

Questions: Do you like beans? What are your favorite beans? And those of you who are participating in the November Flossing Challenge, you are still flossing, aren't you?

Be well,

Monday, November 16, 2009

Fun at the Farmers’ Market

It’s sometimes easy to forget how lucky we are in California to have access to year-round Farmers’ Markets and that the growing season is so much longer than in other parts of the country. For example, I just took the very last tomatoes off our plants the other day…

We go to several Farmers’ Markets most weeks, but I haven’t taken any pictures in a long time as chasing after a very excited toddler and taking pictures at the same time just isn’t really an option…

So over the weekend, I dug out an old friend in the back of the trunk: a stroller. At first the toddler was almost in disbelief; I think he was in fact too shocked to say his usual "no way"when I put him in...

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But once I got him a pretzel he was much happier… And since he ate almost an entire pretzel by himself, I was able to take some pictures without too many interruptions…

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The variety and quality of the produce is truly amazing, especially considering that it’s November!

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And here is what we got:

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  • Kabocha
  • Pomegranate
  • Lemons
  • Grapes
  • Tomatoes
  • Garlic
  • Peppers
  • Radish

I see some fresh salsa in our near future!

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And I also got some “splurge” items:

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In addition, we also got some organic whole grain bread, some pretzels, and some marinated tofu.

I truly enjoy shopping at Farmers’ Markets and getting to know the farmers and vendors. It makes me feel connected to the food we eat, and I feel truly fortunate that we live in an area where we get to shop at a Farmers’ Market all year long.

Questions: What was your last fun food shopping experience? What was the last interesting/new (to you)/amazing food item that you’ve bought?

Be well,