Carrot Ginger Soup and High Heels

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2014 has been a special year for Angela.  She turned sixteen and discovered high heels.  Today Angela walked for four hours in four-inch heels without killing herself. She’s short like me so she likes having the height. I can definitely understand that. Podiatrists may say that heels are bad for you, but sometimes the height is worth the pain. Occasionally we look at pictures of really gnarly bunions and hammer toes to try to get ourselves to kick the high heel habit but in the end we succumb to the need not to look like a little teapot, short and stout.

I look taller than Angela only because I hadn't yet begun enabling her high heel addiction.

I look taller than Angela only because I hadn’t yet begun enabling her high heel addiction.

It’s hard to give up our vices. Heels, web surfing, eating while already full… why must the things that destroy our physical, emotional, and intellectual wellbeing always be so hard to quit? 2015 is coming, and with it the annual “new year, new you!” rubbish. In truth the New Year is mostly an opportunity for gyms and pyramid schemers (cough cough, Herbalife, cough cough) to make some extra coin.

First of all, why wait until the new year to change? Second, why try to make such huge and impossible changes? Wouldn’t it be more sensible to make gradual changes to minimize misery?

Subsist on nonfat cottage cheese and romaine lettuce? Exercise vigorously for two hours a day? More like an exercise in futility. I’m not going to resign myself to sneakers and flats or abandon my bags of salted nuts and my daily dose of staring out the window. No, I’m going to eat lots of veggies…

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I should follow in Angela’s lead. It was always a struggle to make her eat meat, but not veggies!

…and here and there, a few slices of good old-fashioned high-glycemic-index bread as well.

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Trying to be healthy shouldn’t be torture. As the kids say, “you feel?”

So in the spirit of being healthy without having to suffer, let’s drink some veggie soup. I love soup. It’s warm and hearty and delicious, and even though San Francisco winters aren’t exactly cold, soup just gets me in the winter holiday mood. And most importantly (let’s be honest), it’s easy to make. You don’t have to spend forty-five minutes stirring or spend hours mincing.

Today’s carrot ginger soup was absolutely delicious. But don’t take my word for it! Try it yourself!

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Carrot Ginger Soup Ingredients:

7 medium carrots, peeled and chopped
1 large onion, chopped
1 clove garlic, chopped
1 inch ginger root, peeled and sliced
1 small potato, sliced (optional, I omitted)
2 tablespoons olive oil (can use less or omit if desired, I used the full amount)
6 cups organic chicken broth or vegetable broth
A dash of ground cumin, paprika, coriander and oregano

Preparation:

Use a soup pot, heat olive oil on high and sauté garlic, ginger and onion until aromatic, about 3 to 4 minutes. If desired, you can omit the olive oil and use cooking spray or a splash of liquid instead.
Add carrots and stir for another 3 minutes. Add spices and stir for another minute.
Add broth and bring to boil. Reduce to simmer for about 10 minutes. Let the soup cool for a few minutes before pureeing it in batches in a blender. I used my Vitamix.

 

Drooling, Drooling, Drooling

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烤红薯泥配香脆麦片核桃

The first time I learned about ohsheglows.com was from Angela.  She used to send me daily emails with healthy recipes for me to try when she was in Andover.  Obsessively.  I must have received no less than a hundred recipes from Angela, often with “drooling” as the subject.  I found one of her emails today that said “mmmmm… drooling,” another one said “drooling drooling drooling, 10 min before timer goes off hurry” and a third one simply stated “I’m drooling.”  I have been re-reading her emails and cooking some of the dishes that she drooled over in front of her computer screen. 

This recipe from ohsheglows.com is truly mouth-watering.  I never knew yam could taste this good! 

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Ingredients:

FOR THE SWEET POTATO MASH红薯泥:

4.5-5 pounds sweet potatoes (approx. 4-5 large) 4到5个红薯

1 1/2 tablespoons vegan butter (I omitted this)

1 1/2 tablespoons virgin coconut oil 椰油

2 1/2 tablespoons pure maple syrup, or to taste (I used 2 tablespoon)枫叶糖浆或蜂蜜

1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract香精

3/4 teaspoon cinnamon桂皮粉

1/8 teaspoon ground nutmeg肉豆蔻

1/2 teaspoon fine grain salt, or to taste盐

FOR THE CRUNCHY NUT CRUMBLE香脆麦片核桃:

1 cup rolled oats (use certified gluten-free if necessary)麦片

1 1/3 cups pecan halves, chopped (I used walnuts)核桃

1/3 cup almond meal or almond flour纯杏仁粉

1 teaspoon cinnamon桂皮粉

1/4 teaspoon fine grain sea salt盐

2 tablespoons virgin coconut oil, melted椰油

2 tablespoons vegan butter, melted (I omitted this)

2 1/2 tablespoons pure maple syrup (I used 2 tablespoons)枫叶糖浆或蜂蜜

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Directions:

Peel and roughly chop sweet potatoes into large chunks. Place into a large pot and cover with water. Bring water to a boil, reduce heat to med-high, and gently boil for 10-20 minutes, until the potatoes are fork tender. Drain.

Preheat oven to 375F. Lightly grease a 2.5 quart (10 cup) casserole dish and set aside.

Prepare the crumble topping: Pulse the oats in a food processor until coarsely chopped. In a medium bowl, stir together the chopped pecans, oats, almond meal/flour, cinnamon, and salt. Pour on melted coconut oil, melted butter, and maple syrup. Stir until combined.

Once cooked and drained, place sweet potatoes into a large bowl.

Mash potatoes with the butter and coconut oil until smooth. Now, stir in the maple syrup, vanilla, cinnamon, nutmeg, and salt. Adjust to taste if desired. Spoon into casserole dish and smooth out.

Sprinkle the crumble topping all over the sweet potato mixture, evenly.

Bake, uncovered, at 375F for 16 to 23 minutes, until the dish is hot throughout. Plate and serve immediately with a pat of vegan butter or coconut oil. (I didn’t need any vegan butter or coconut oil when serving the dish and it tasted heavenly.)

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When the yam was baking I overheard Audrey, who was sick at home today, facetiming her math class on the iPad.  I couldn’t help but to take some pictures of her.  I assume her class could only see her face on the screen.

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Two Salads Everyone Must Make To Be Complete

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Both Peter and Audrey have social engagements this weekend.  Angela and I are having a quiet Friday evening by ourselves.  I miss Peter and Audrey.  It’s strange how when they were home we would often be doing our own things and not really talking to each other all that much, but I have been thinking of them nonstop now that they are not home.  I suppose that’s just the way things are with people you love – absence always looms larger than presence. 

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Audrey and her friend Erika at the Palace of Fine Arts

I looked at what Audrey posted on her snapchat – happily laughing with her friend and munching on “real food.”  No nagging from Mommy.  No healthy alternative for snacks. A couple of days ago, when Angela and I were tinkering with a recipe in an effort to make it healthier, Audrey exclaimed with vehement disgust that she would not eat this healthy food anymore.  She was sick and tired of the 100% whole grain, sugar free and low fat alternatives.  She wanted real food.  Audrey was right.  What’s wrong with white rice or white bread now and then?  What’s wrong with a  piece of crumbly, buttery cookie or a cream filled cupcake once in a while?  Nothing, really.  Everything in moderation.

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For dinner tonight, I made two easy dinner salads that were perfect for the warm autumn day.

The curried Tuna Salad recipe is from a book called James McMair’s Salads, that was a wedding gift from 22 years ago.  I was new in the city and wasn’t working.  I cooked and I waited for Peter to come home. That was all I did everyday besides walking or reading.  I made all the salads in the book a number of times through out the early years of our marriage, but I’ve long forgotten about it. It caught my eye today when I was cleaning out the shelf and it brought back a lot of memories.  Those were the days I used real butter and real Mayonnaise, and Peter often sneaked back for lunch and more.

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Ingredients:

1/2 cup plain yogurt (I used plain nonfat Greek yogurt)

1/2 cup Mayonnaise (I used more plain nonfat Greek yogurt)

1 tbsp freshly squeezed lemon juice

2 tbsp high-quality hot or mild curry powder

1/4 cup cashews or macadamia nuts

1 lb. fresh tuna fillets, grilled or poached, cooled, and flaked, or 2 cans (7 oz each) tuna packed in water, drained and flaked

1 cup finely chopped unpeeled apple

1/4 cup finely chopped sweet pickle or pickle relish

1/2 cup raisins or dried currants, plumped in hot water for 15 minutes and drained

2 tbsp minced green onion, including some green tops

Minced fresh parsley, or preferably flat-leaf type, for garnish

I halved the recipe today.

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I made the spaghetti squash salad with leftover squash and quinoa from the refrigerator.

Ingredients:

2 1/2 cups of cooked spaghetti squash

1/2 large English cucumber

1 tomato, large

3/4 cup cooked quinoa

1/4 cup parsley

1 1/2 tbsp lemon juice

1 tbsp olive oil

1/3 cup macadamia nuts

salt and pepper to taste

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Spaghetti Squash Lasagna

Our mother needed a break today, as all mothers occasionally do. Audrey is cooking dinner, which terrifies me, and I am writing today’s blog post.

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Tonight’s dinner is vegetarian spaghetti squash lasagna. This healthy lasagna is low-carb, reduced-calorie, paleo (depending on what marinara sauce and cheeses you use), “clean” (depending on your very subjective definition of “clean”), high-protein and veggie-packed! Hey, I think I hit all the buzzwords! Seriously, though, this lasagna is delicious but far far better for you than your usual starch- and fat-laden junk from Olive Garden or whatever.

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The idea of spaghetti squash lasagna is not a new one, but given our great love for all things spaghetti squash and all things lasagna, we thought it would be appropriate to make our own recipe and share it with everyone.

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Spaghetti Squash Lasagna

Serves 3-4 hungry people

Ingredients:

  • 3-4 cups cooked spaghetti squash (we microwaved the halved squash for about 8 minutes)
  • 1 cup marinara sauce (we used Francesco Rinaldi no-salt-added tomato sauce)
  • 15 oz ricotta cheese (we used Trader Joe’s Fat-Free Ricotta)
  • 1 oz or 1/4 cup parmigiano reggiano, shredded
  • 6 oz or 1.5 cups mozzarella shreds (we used Lucerne Fat-Free Mozzarella, which has 9 grams of protein per ounce, about 50% more than regular mozzarella!)

Directions:

  1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees Fahrenheit.
  2. Layer the spaghetti squash, marinara sauce, ricotta, parmesan, and mozzarella in an oven-safe casserole dish, making sure that the topmost layer is a cheesy layer!
  3. Cover the dish with aluminum foil and bake for about 20 minutes.
  4. Remove the foil and broil until the cheese bubbles.
  5. Eat!

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make salad with the leftovers!

make salad with the leftovers!

Spaghetti Squash Lasagna, 中文 Translation

今天我们的妈妈很累,所以妹妹做了晚饭,我得写今天的博客。对不起,我的中文不好。

我们今天的晚餐是健康的烤宽面条,其实一点面也没有。最近美国人不喜欢吃面粉,因为他们都觉得麸质是有毒的。当然麸质没有什么不好的,我常常吃面筋,可是面粉其实没有什么营养,而且吃面粉会让你的血糖提高,所以吃这种没有太多碳水化合物的食品会让你健康,对你的小蛮腰好。

我不知道你懂不懂我的中文。我的父母不知道我的中文这么差,因为我考AP中文考了一个五(最高分)。其实,谁都考了一个五,化学考试也是的。请别告诉他们,我中文是很马虎的。哈哈哈,我是老虎,妹妹是马,我们最的事当然都是很马马虎虎的。

成分:

  • 差不多710 mL意大利面条壁球 (谢谢,Google 翻译)
  • 237mL 防切将
  • 425 g 乳清干酪 (谢谢,Google 翻译)
  • 28 g 干酪 (谢谢,Google 翻译。不知道你对不对。)
  • 170 g 无肥马苏里拉奶酪

用这些成分做lasagna,有没有那么难!快吃!很好很强大!

我们在养这个草泥马,真可爱!

Piggy Sunday

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Sunday morning.  Glorious blue sky.  Everyone in the family still slumbered while I drank my tea and looked out the window at the humming birds flitting about my little lemon tree.  I must have been a peasant in my last life.  I always wake at the first light of dawn, which is something I quite enjoy.

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These muffins are low sugar and low calorie but you will absolutely love them

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Breakfast muffins inspired by the recipe from minimalistbaker.com

2 eggs

2 medium ripe bananas

3 Tbsp maple syrup

3 Tbsp unsweetened vanilla or plain almond milk

1 tsp pure vanilla extract

1 tsp baking powder

1 cup almond meal (ground from raw almonds)

1/2 cup + 2 Tbsp oat flour (ground from GF oats)

I added 1 cup blueberries

Having put the muffins in the oven and the oatmeal on the stove I flipped the page of New York Diaries to Oct. 11th.  “At home all day — writing private letters.” —President George Washington was having another relaxing day 215 years ago today.  It amazes me that our founding father, who arguably has achieved more for America than any other presidents in history seemed to have a life.  Yesterday 215 years ago he was strolling in a Mr. Prince’s fruit garden in Flushing, which he described “The shrubs were trifling, and the flowers not numerous. “ Later on that day he had dinner with Mrs Washington, Mrs. Adams and Mrs. Smith at a tavern.

The world was smaller then, I suppose.  Unlike today’s presidents, he had no global wars to launch, no international media damage to control.  The word China connoted mostly dinnerware and the term Middle East wasn’t invented yet.     

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This is absolutely the most delicious bread I have ever had

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Almond flour zucchini bread recipe at the end of blog

As I was reading Washington’s diary, a whimsical idea came to me: why not try something the early settlers of America ate? I couldn’t find much that sound healthy or palatable, but there was an original recipe for Pumpkin from plimoth.org I found quite entertaining.  It was written by John Josselyn,  the author of Two Voyages to New England. 

John Josselyn called this recipe a “standing dish” suggesting that this sort of pumpkin dish was eaten everyday or even at every meal.

“The Ancient New England standing dish.

But the Housewives manner is to slice them when ripe, and cut them into dice, and so fill a pot with them of two or three Gallons, and stew them upon a gentle fire a whole day, and as they sink, they fill again with fresh Pompions, not putting any liquor to them; and when it is stew’d enough, it will look like bak’d Apples; this they Dish, putting Butter to it, and a little Vinegar, (with some Spice, as Ginger, &c.) which makes it tart like an Apple, and so serve it up to be eaten with Fish or Flesh: It provokes Urine extremely and is very windy.”

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Just for fun, I decided to give it a try, regardless of the warning that “It provokes Urine extremely and is very windy”.  Pumpkins are in season and they make everything golden.  So why not?

Modern version of it, of course, doesn’t take all day:

Trader Joe’s washed, peeled, cut sweet pumpkin, microwave on high with two tablespoon of water for 10 minutes.

Mash with coconut oil, a pinch of salt, 2 1/2 tablespoon xylitol, a little ground ginger and 1 tablespoon apple cider vinegar.

The result was interesting, and quite pleasant — tangy, sweet.  Almost a dessert.

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For the meat eaters in the family, I made carnitas with the recipe below.  Thank God for slow-cooker.  We were so stuck in the Blue Angel traffic that we didn’t get home until dinner time.  And the carnitas was just cooking itself for me.  The aroma of the pork was so enticing that Audrey, who had been vegetarian for over a month, decided that she would allow herself to eat meat on Sundays.

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http://allrecipes.com/recipe/slow-cooker-carnitas/

Angela baked miso tofu for herself.  It’s a simple dish that she has made many times. 

Spread the miso paste on the tofu and baked it at 375 F. 

Sprinkle green onion, sesame seeds and crushed chili on top.

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Isn’t she cute?

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Hydration makes you cuter, I think

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Thank you EcoJarz for sending us your jar lids! Audrey loves ’em 🙂

Almond Flour Zucchini Bread Ingredients:

2 zucchini (grated and drained)

1 teaspoon salt

1 cup almond flour

1/2 cup oat bran

1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder

1/2 teaspoon cumin

1/2 teaspoon paprika

1/2 teaspoon guar gum

3 large eggs

1 purple shallot

1sprig rosemary

2 sprigs thyme – fresh stems removed and leaves minced

1 tablespoon olive oil

Preparation:

Pre-heat oven at 350

Grate the zucchinis and leave in a bowl.  Mix in 1/8 teaspoon of salt and let sit for 10 minutes.  Squeeze the water out of the shredded zucchini.

Saute sliced shallot, chopped rosemary and thyme with olive oil 

Mix dry ingredients, and then in a separate bowl mix all wet ingredients before mixing the dry and wet ingredients.  If the dough feels too dry, add a tablespoon of milk.

Bake for about 30 to 40 minutes.