Tuesday, December 15, 2009

Monday 12.14.09

Usually my weekdays are pretty straightforward... recently it has been not so.

TE has been working at one place in the early morning and he goes to the office in the afternoon/evening-- I get to ride in with him (which is great) but because of that we have been rushing around more than is typical in the mornings and yesterday we did not have time for breakfast/lunch prep...

Monday- 1733 calories (+63)

Breakfast- 540 calories
Ordered at our favorite local coffee shop/bakery
1 medium coffee
2T whole milk (no skim options) - 20c
1 ham, egg and cheese croissant - estimated 450c
1 Russian tea cookie (oh my, I am glad I am too intimidated to make these- that would be dangerous given how much I love them)- 70c

Snack- 80 calories
Green chai tea
Christmas cookie (sugar type with rainbow sprinkles) - 80c

Lunch- 485 calories
1c Special K Red berries cereal- 120c
1/4c Fiber one cereal- 30c
0.5oz slivered almonds- 85c
1c Skim milk - 90c
Kashi crackers- 65c
1 blood orange- 45c
1/2 apple- 50c

Snacks- 390 calories
1 Fiber one granola bar, chocolate- 150c
1 dark snickers bar- 240c (I know!!! Where did this come from? I was food shopping and was starving- I needed something to keep my spending in check- it was this or a 280 calorie bag of chips... it did fill me up and I will say that I do not need to eat another one for a long time.... good choice I think)

Dinner- 238c
Fiber one English muffin- 100c
2tsp whipped cream cheese- 30c
1T whitefish salad- 50c
1/2c sliced cucumbers- 8c

Batter from the beaters of the Pear Upside Down cake I made for TE's work bake off- 50c ?! that should not even count :) but I know, I know....

This cake is sooo not CR, but it looked goooood! Photo coming soon- be sure to check back :)
Mel made it too- she inspired me!

Monday, December 14, 2009

Weekend Edition

Saturday- 1723 calories (+53)

Breakfast- 508 calories
1/2 piece of toast- 50c
1tsp Brummel and Brown yogurt butter- 25c
1/2c tomato sauce- 70c
2 eggs, poached- 160c
5oz spinach, steamed- 33c
1/2T olive oil- 50c
Pumpkin oatmeal cookie- 90c
2c Coffee
1/3c Skim milk- 30c

Snack/lunch - 290 calories
Pumpkin oatmeal cookie- 90c
Grilled cheese:
1 piece of oat bran bread- 100c
1 slice reduced fat pepper jack cheese- 50c
2tsp Brummel and Brown- 50c

Party Food-255 calories
6oz Wine- 150c
Date with bacon- 100c
Cracker- 5c

Dinner- 670 calories
1/2 Cuban panini- ~420c
French fries (again!?)- 250c

Sunday- 2046 calories (+376)

Breakfast- 436 calories
Multigrain oatmeal (1/2c dry)- 140c
1/4 of a medium apple- 25c
2T dried cranberries- 70c
1T Maple syrup- 100c
1T skim milk- 11
2c Coffee
1/3c skim milk- 30
0.5oz Chopped pecans- 100

Lunch- 705 calories

Post run meal-- it took us 1.5hrs to make it out of the small town where we ran a 5k -- the roads were not used to accommodating 5000 extra people (plus spectators!) so it took a while and we were huuuungry- not a good factor for planning meals- I did feel though that this choice was a better one over the Ruben I was eying :)

Everything bagel- 300c
3T scallion cream cheese- 135c
1T smoked whitefish salad ~50
2 slices tomato- 5c
1 slice onion
1/2 bag sour cream and cheddar ruffles- 150c
1 Lindt chocolate- 70c

Party food/Dinner*- 915 calories
12oz Wine- 305c
3 Pinwheels ~50c each
3 Artichoke phyllo cups (total guess) ~100c each-- I will be getting this recipe for you readers from Heidi, they were amazing :) I had to stop myself at 3!
1 chocolate truffle- 70c
3 small Sugar cookies- ~90c

*It is amazing how quickly party food calories add up- I felt I was really restraining myself from eating more- but with alcohol the calories quickly go up.

So much for reigning it in this weekend... At least it was fun!

Friday, December 11, 2009

Friday 12.11.09

Well today was more typical than yesterday. Still need to work in more veggies to help get back on track... tomorrow?!

Friday- 2095 calories (+425)

Breakfast- 240 calories
1 pack of high fiber Maple Brown Sugar Oatmeal pack- 140c
1 serving of dried fruit/almond mix- 100c
White berry blossom tea

Snack- 225 calories
Coffee 12oz
Skim milk 1/3c- 30cal
Cherry Pie Lara bar- 190c

Lunch- 580 calories
2 slices oat bran bread - 200c
1T Peanut butter- 100c
1T reduced sugar blueberry jelly- 50c
1 small banana- 90
1oz Kashi crackers- 130c

Leaving me 600 calories for dinner!

Which was not enough- considering that it was the first night of Hanukkah and I had to eat some fried foods...

- 1050c
French fries- 270c
Burger (6oz)- 420c
1/2 Bun- 120c
Ketchup- 50c
Mustard- 3c
Tomato- 6c
American cheese- 100c
Red wine- 3oz- 80c

I plan to make up the difference this weekend.... even though I have 3 holiday parties to attend... this should be interesting.

Thursday 12.10.09

So there was this one time (at band camp), dietitian LR and I were sitting and discussing how my habits had changed since entering the study and things/meals I did not eat anymore. I don't remember all of my answers (a good idea for another post)- but I do remember listing two things I missed:

1) cake (I have since remedied my portion control when it comes to cake) and
2) drinking wine and snacking (cheese and crackers?) instead of dinner

LR thought that cake was easier to incorporate into a healthy diet (and I agree) and was not too enthusiastic about the wine as dinner option (understandably). So for today's edition of yesterday's foods, LR you may want to look away... No, I am not proud. But in the effort of keeping this blog real and honest- this is what I ate...

Thursday - 1460 calories

Breakfast: 50 calories
Coffee- 2c Skim milk 1/2c
*Not typical, I usually eat breakfast..

Lunch- 420calories
2 Slices oatbran bread - 200c
1T peanut butter- 100c
1T reduced sugar blueberry jelly- 50c
1/2 oz Wheat thins- 70c

Dinner- 990 calories (!!)
Red wine- a bit more than half of a bottle (!!) estimated 500mL- 430c
Cheese: 330 calories
~1oz Havarti
~1oz Cheddar
~1oz Brie
Crackers, about 5- 70 calories
Sliced French bread- ~2oz- 160c
Chicken sausage- 100calories

Wednesday, December 9, 2009

What happens if....

...you gain 4+lbs when you are in the CALERIE study?

1) They politely suggest that you go back on packaged food- beginning with lunches only. And you agree. It is a good idea. You have one meal you don't have to think about and it provides nice structure to the day.
I was surprised at how far you can stretch 475 calories. The packaged lunch was 1-300 calorie frozen entree (amy's burrito, a lean cuisine, or a kashi meal), salsa added 25 calories-

1-100 calorie salad (bean and tomato, lentils and feta, or orzo - not pictured), and 75 calories of either string beans or broccoli (that is A LOT of veg).

I spread it out all afternoon and I did not need a snack on most days, freeing up a lot of calories for dinner/pre-dinner snacking. I vowed to continue the frozen vegetable addition into my daily meals, but I have yet to actually do it.... I have, however, cut down on my alcohol drinking calories.

2) You feel VERY guilty about the slip in compliance. And it is a major slip- because this is real weight. That means 14,000 extra calories! Ouch. I hope they were worth it...

3) Finally, you get down to it and realize that you only have 2mo (or the rest of your life) left, and slip-ups are a normal part of life- so you get back up on the horse.

To do that, I am utilizing my blogging audience. I am going back to my daily recording (boring) blog posts. I need some additional accountability. I also need some of my own self-imposed structure. I need to know that I will be able to do this for myself when the dietitians and counselors are gone and it is just me. I need to find out how this diet will work for me. For my health. For the long haul.

I guess you can say this has been a long time coming. I have been in an eating/diet/recording funk for a while now. It was easier before to keep things under control though because of a number of stress related reasons-- but now my body has adapted to my high stress level and I am normally hungry.
So now I have to adapt.
I have the tools, I can do it!
I hope! :)

Sunday, November 15, 2009

Saturday brunch, Sunday dinner

Mark Bittman move aside, there is a new star/obsession: Deb over at smitten kitchen. Yes, I know that I (and so many others) have been singing her praises for a long time now- but mostly that was for baked items. Today, I am singing about eggs.

In tomato sauce.
Served over fresh toast.
And a side of kale.
And bacon.

Can you think of a better brunch? Me neither.
*TE wants me to give credit here to our dear friend Dave, who made a similar huevos rancheros breakfast for us this summer and inspired our brunch theme this weekend
**Also, this is not a "Liz-size" serving. A "Liz-size" serving would be: one piece of toast, one egg with sauce, 2 slices of bacon and a 1/2c of sauteed kale.

Oh, and I am also singing about sweet potato gratin.

I will admit, I was not sure about gratin. Is it a side dish? A main dish? A brunch dish? A dinner dish? I am no more clear about when to serve gratin, but if they are all as tasty as this one, I will continue to make them for any occasion (I ate it tonight as a side dish for dinner).

Now, you do spend a lot of time prepping the Swiss chard, but trust me- it is worth it! The contrast between the bite of the chard and the sweet potatoes is divine. And the Gruyere cheese. I had to stop myself from eating an entire ounce while I was grating it... so good.

I did use a few of my calorie saving tricks to lighten up the recipes (a bit):

For the poached eggs:
No cheese needed
For the gratin:
Cooked onions and chard in 1tsp butter and chicken broth as needed
Used whole milk instead of heavy cream (maybe next time I will try 1% or 2%)

I hope you enjoy them as much as I did!

Friday, November 13, 2009

Snacking Tips

I am a snacker and I like to eat often.

I usually get stuck eating the same things all the time: Fiber One granola bars/Lara bars, fiberful fruit leathers, 100-calorie popcorn bags, yogurt and granola/cereal... You get the idea.

I also get bored with food, so my latest helpful diet tips will relate to snack ideas!
Complete with calorie information:

  1. Medium apple and 1T peanut butter- 170cal
  2. 10 baby carrots, 4T Sabra hummus- 140cal
  3. Red Pepper slices (1/2 of medium pepper), 4T baba ghanoush- 115cal
  4. Hard boiled egg- 80cal
  5. Kashi crackers and Laughing cow wedge cheese- 165cal
  6. 15 grapes, light string cheese- 105cal
  7. Stacy's pita chips (my favorite) with salsa/dip (150-200cal)

Want more ideas?
Hungry Girl lists their favorite snacks. I am a fan of some of these...

Do you have a favorite healthy snack?

Thursday, November 12, 2009

Savory Muffins

So I realized when I was looking through my blog recipes- I do not have many meals/foods I can just go to for an easy, tasty, diet-friendly recommendation. I have a binder full of my go-to meals so I decided to recapture them here. Also look for new tags on old posts for easy perusing :)

This post will be dedicated to a recipe for Savory Breakfast Muffins. First I made these as instructed... Photo courtesy of Eating Well... My muffins do look pretty similar to these photos!

  • 2 cups whole-wheat flour
  • 1 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1 tablespoon baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground pepper
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 1/3 cups buttermilk
  • 3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
  • 2 tablespoons butter, melted
  • 1 cup thinly sliced scallions, (about 1 bunch)
  • 3/4 cup diced Canadian bacon, (3 ounces)
  • 1/2 cup grated Cheddar cheese
  • 1/2 cup finely diced red bell pepper
  1. Preheat oven to 400°F. Coat 12 muffin cups with cooking spray.
  2. Combine whole-wheat flour, all-purpose flour, baking powder, baking soda, pepper and salt in a large bowl.
  3. Whisk eggs, buttermilk, oil and butter in a medium bowl. Fold in scallions, bacon, cheese and bell pepper. Make a well in the center of the dry ingredients. Add the wet ingredients and mix with a rubber spatula until just moistened. Scoop the batter into the prepared pan (the cups will be very full).
  4. Bake the muffins until the tops are golden brown, 20 to 22 minutes. Let cool in the pan for 5 minutes. Loosen the edges and turn the muffins out onto a wire rack to cool slightly before serving.
Per muffin: 217 calories; 9 g fat (3 g sat, 4 g mono); 50 mg cholesterol; 24 g carbohydrates; 9 g protein; 3 g fiber; 339 mg sodium; 113 mg potassium.

The end result was, eh. They were fine. Very strong pepper flavor, not much cheese flavor. And maybe a little dry.

The second time was also good, less fiber than the original- but these will be the ones I will make again.

Liz's Savory Breakfast Muffins

2 boxes of Jiffy Corn Muffin Mix, made as directed
1 bunch of chopped scallions
1/2c chopped red pepper
30z Canadian Bacon

Mix, Bake, Enjoy!


Calorie information is similar, if not less, than the original.
And the muffin is much more moist and enjoyable!

Wednesday, November 4, 2009

Long time, no post

Wow, I actually had a whole month with no posts. And September was not too stellar either.

So what has been going on with me?! Who even knows...

Stress. I blame the stress.

I have not wanted to think about anything. I have not been cooking (baking- yes! cooking- no!) or planning or anything that this blog is dedicated to...

But slowly I am getting back into it. I had a day last week where I made 6-servings of pasta and meat sauce for lunches/dinners and egg white crustless quiches for breakfasts. Then I had a week where I made 2 smitten kitchen cakes. Spurts. I work in spurts. But it is coming back to me. Healthy, balanced eating. Not just eating for calories.

And soon I will be back with insightful blog posts that will help me get through this, through future rough patches, and through my future post-CALERIE. Oy. Only 3 months left. Where did it go? Wasn't it August not too long ago?

Thanks for sticking with me!

Monday, September 14, 2009


This is the first installment of the diet tips series, in an effort to prepare me for my future without counselors and dietitians on call...

Handling Weekend Eating

1) Plan ahead.

Too busy to eat at home? Pre-pick out healthy choices out that won't break the calorie bank.

I have "regular" food items I order at typical fast food restaurants (which I know the calorie amounts- check out Calorie King). I also carry around bars with me so that I never get too hungry and make rash decisions.

That being said- sometimes you don't want fast food. Or you happen to pass by a new restaurant you've heard about and have been wanting to try. There is no easy answer for that situation.

Initially when I started the study I would mostly order salads out. That got old, fast. Now I order what I want (within reason) and try to not eat the entire entree (takes practice and is not easy-- I am not always perfect at it). I also offer to share my food.

2) Plan pleasures other than food and drink.

I know, not the easiest. It is fun to go out and have drinks with friends. It is fun to try new foods and eat out. Last year for my birthday, TE and I planned a camping/hiking trip with our friends. This year... I don't know. It is easier to just say- "let's meet at a bar" everyone can get what they want, come and go as they want... It takes a lot of effort to coordinate people.

That said, my tip would be for balance. If I know I am going out that night, I eat light (high fiber) meals during the day, and try to plan the number and type of drinks I will have. Also, I try to add in non-food centered activities for the day.

It does help though to try to change your thoughts about celebrations-- trying to do something active whenever possible is not only good for CR but it helps make you feel good about yourself!

3) Don't skip meals

This is an important lesson- getting too hungry is bad for portion control and for decision control. And getting too hungry is bad for keeping friends :)

Breakfast. Bars. Snacks. B.B.S.

So here are some of my favorite CALERIE tips for weekends, going out, etc.
-Do not arrive at dinner parties hungry
-Offer to bring a CR friendly dish
-Stay away from chips and dip (and for me: the cheese plates!)
-Do an alternate activity other than eating (taking pictures, doing dishes, set up, clean up)* This is my favorite, most used tip
-Drink light beer (I also alternate alcohol with seltzer/diet soda)
-Choose one "treat" and take a moderate amount (cake!?)

And these are the tips I am currently working on:
- Eat slowly, drink slowly, be mindful of what you are eating
- Fill up on low calorie items first
Reasonable?! I think so...
Just don't do as I am doing here: A pre-CR birthday celebrating Liz ("I will have one of those, one of those and one of those!!!" Haha!) So young, so naive!

Friday, September 4, 2009

Thinking on my feet

I am not very good at thinking on my feet.

Wednesday was my interview with the NYT magazine reporter. He was very nice and is writing an article on CALERIE for the food issue which should be out the second weekend in October.

I prepped answers to some of his questions ahead of time- knowing that I ramble a lot, rarely making it to the point I want to make. So I thought that if I had those answers planned out, it would leave little room for my strange side tangents -- Of course that was not the case :)

I keep thinking about what I said throughout the interview though, and random thoughts hit me like "Oh no, I talked for 3min about how I was curious about my reaction to mosquito bites changing/improving by being on this diet." (Inflammatory responses are supposed to improve in animal models of CR) But really?! Yeah sure- that was a fleeting thought at some point, but not something I regularly think about.

Oh- and I said my least favorite test of the study was the glucose tolerance test. Really!? I know it is gross- but people do it all the time. It is essentially orange tang!! I have never been good at taking liquid meds-- but I don't think it is the actual test that I don't like-- it is the fact that on that day I can't eat until 2pm. The muscle and fat biopsies are much more invasive/uncomfortable- why didn't I choose those?!

Also- I got asked the one question that everyone asks me: "Are you going to have a big feast once the diet is over?" I do not have a good answer to this question. I was honest enough with him- saying that I hope not, but that my friends and family may have other plans/ideas. Then I rambled on and on about food as a reward and the focus of happy celebrations- and how I went on a camping trip for my birthday last year because that was fun alternative to the typical calorie centered "going out to dinner/bar" celebration.

The kicker was my answer to the big question at the end (I did not prepare for this one...): "Do you think this is a diet that most Americans can/will do?" I had and still have no answer to this question- but of course that did not stop me from rambling on and on about how "maybe the longer my friends and family see me living a "normal life" while doing CR the more feasible it can be" ...but really I only know one friend who actually wants to do the diet- so maybe not...

Then I made a reference to how on a day to day basis- it really is not much different than weight watchers (in terms of counting/measuring)- which led us into a big discussion about weight loss vs. longevity, motivation, and the intangible/immeasurable goal of a "long life."

Maybe there are no good answers. Maybe I should talk more about CR (ha!)...

But in the end, I guess I can relax a bit- the fact is that the reporter has interviewed a lot of participants between 2 different study locations, the researchers, nutritionists, and study coordinators. The chance that my random, rambling thoughts make it into the article are probably small.

It was a good experience though and will give me a lot to keep thinking about...

Tuesday, August 25, 2009

The Cake

It is 11:30pm and I am awake because I am too full to fall asleep.
Tonight, we ate the birthday cake. Yes, the one and only-- the best birthday cake.

Making it was quite the adventure. Not too difficult- but probably would have been easier if I had:
1) a sifter
2) more counter space, and
3) larger mixing bowls

But, alas, I survived! The cake got rave reviews from all consumers and even the people walking by me on the street as I carried the cake to the car commented how pretty it was :)

I will not repost the entire recipe here, because I actually followed it to the letter! This strict adherence, required a trip upstairs to my neighbors apartment, because I ran out of vanilla extract. I obtained said extract, a glass of wine, and returned to my baking (in my new apron, courtesy of my wonderful little sister!).
If this were any other recipe, I probably would have substituted the 1tsp of vanilla that I was short, for something I did have; coconut or almond extract. I am sure the result would have been quite different so I am glad I stuck to the recipe.
I was considering making a different icing. I made everything last night, so I "tested" the scraps of cake left after leveling with the icing Deb recommends, and I was not sure. It had a wonderful, rich chocolate flavor- but with the sour cream... it was a bit sour. I was worried it would be off-putting to my friends. But my mom gave me some good advice to "be a purist and stick to the recipe."

I did Mom, and thank you-- everyone loved it. (I also did not have time tonight to make a new icing...) :)
So without further delay: the pictures!
The finished product:
The cupcakes I made--- OK, I did not follow the recipe to the letter... I made 2 8in round cakes, and 6 cupcakes... you caught me :) But I needed to bring my upstairs neighbors a treat for saving me on the vanilla front!
The cake in action! Lovely!
A happy birthday girl!
The inside of the cake: Next time I will also level the top layer and the sides... it does make a difference!

And that is it! I hope you enjoyed it as much as I did!! :)

New Ideas

I am starting to freak out that I only have 6 months of this study left.

I know- look back- who would have ever thought I would not want this study to be finished?!

CALERIE has become such a huge part of my life: the monitoring, the study researchers/dietitians, the FOOD, everything... what will happen when it is just me?

I am at a point now that I feel great-- I have learned so much about myself and about basic nutrition (even though I thought I was already very well versed in both before the study started)-- but this anxiety about not being able to maintain is threatening my last precious months.

So I decided to spend the next 6mo writing about diet tips that I have learned along the way that should help me maintain after February, 2010. Confidence builders. Yep.

And if I need help and support from the CALERIE staff, I still have it-- not that I think they will be changing their email addresses and phone numbers once I finish :)! So stay tuned for the upcoming new and improved adventures!

Tuesday, August 18, 2009

Soul Food

I was going through my computer and realized I have some meals that I have not blogged about yet- so here we go!

My ultimate easy-happy meal is pasta with meat sauce. I like beef but really after 7 years of being a vegetarian-- I would be happy eating no beef other than ground beef. I know it is the worst- but I do not care if it is 95%lean- I love it as much as 80%.... maybe...

My favorite part of this meal is the sauce. The noodles are really just a vehicle for sauce.
The diet has taught me that 2oz of pasta is a very small amount-- to get around this, I just add whatever greens I have on hand to bulk up my meal. In this dinner I used petite Brussels sprouts. But anything would work- asparagus, broccoli, green beans.... anything.

Here is the recipe:

Pasta, Veggies and Meat Sauce

1lb 95% lean ground beef
Victoria brand marinara sauce (my personal favorite, feel free to use any variety)
1 15oz can of diced tomatoes
Hot pepper flakes to taste

2oz Pasta (Barilla Plus or Ronzoni Smart Taste are my favorites) per serving
1c green veggie per serving

Brown meat in large pan, drain fat
Add sauce, diced tomatoes and salt and pepper to taste
Cook until hot

Cook pasta according to directions, at the last 3-5min of cooking pasta- add the green veggie

Serve with 1c of sauce and 1oz of shredded Parmesan cheese!

Wednesday, July 29, 2009

Not Your Typical Tuesday Night

“The beet is the most intense of vegetables. The radish, admittedly, is the more feverish, but the fire of the radish is a cold fire, the fire of discontent not passion. Tomatoes are lusty enough, yet there runs through tomatoes an undercurrent of frivolity. Beets are deadly serious.”
- Tom Robbins, Jitterbug Perfume

This weekend we picked up our dear friend's, T&S, CSA share (a local farm share) of vegetables- because they were away. We got a few great items, which reminded me of one of my favorite books quoted above:
Included in our vegetable share; kale, radishes, 3 ears of corn, beets, peas, 2 tomatoes, 2 yellow squash, 1 green zucchini, 1 light green zucchini/squash, 1/2 pint of blueberries, and 3 apples. Quite a bounty!

TE cooked his amazing Escarole and Bean soup with the kale and a mix of white and red beans on Sunday night.
We decided to thank T&S by cooking them dinner, where we served a meal using some of the veggies we got in the box!
So in light of my recent obsession, I pulled a few recipes from smitten kitchen! I will say that the food was well received, and looked and tasted amazing!

First I made a watermelon salad, inspired by Deb's

Chopped Watermelon and Vegetable Salad.
serves 4

  1. 1/4 of whole watermelon, balled
  2. 1 yellow bell pepper, chopped
  3. 1/3 of seedless English hothouse cucumber
  4. 2 scallions
  5. 1 ripe tomato
  6. juice of 1 lime
  7. 1c fat free plain greek yogurt
  8. 2T chopped basil
  9. 1 oz feta cheese
Combine all the fruits/vegetables (#1-5) and divide between 4 bowls
Combine yogurt and chopped basil and divide (2T ish) between each salad
Squeeze the lime over the salads
Top with 1/4oz of feta cheese

Next I made the Lemon Zucchini Goat Cheese Pizza. I even made my own crust! She rocks. It was great!
275 calories/serving
serves 4

1c Bread flour
1/2c Wheat bran
1tsp salt
3/4tsp dry active yeast
1T olive oil
1/2c +2T lukewarm water

Mix dry ingredients together, then add the oil and water
Kneed the dough on a floured surface
Put it back into the mixing bowl and spray to cover with olive oil (I used my misto)
Cover with saran wrap for 1hr
Re-kneed and cover on counter with saran again, let sit for 20m before rolling out


Preheat pizza stone and oven to 400

4oz herb and pepper goat cheese
Juice of 1/2 lemon
Mix together and spread over prepared crust

Slice 2 squash (1 yellow and 1 zucchini) using mandolin (which made mine a bit thinner than Deb's, since we only have one setting on ours)
Place into mixing bowl and add salt to remove excess liquid from squash (20m)
Place over goat cheese and crust
Squeeze remaining lemon over squash
Bake at 400 for 10 minutes or until done

TE also made a wonderful poached red snapper with onions and lemon, and S brought fresh beans from her garden!

We finished the meal with S's infamous blueberry cobbler, which was in the form of a pie last night :)

Definitely not your typical Tuesday night!

Friday, July 24, 2009

Guava Cheesecake

This cheesecake was very, very popular: It got the most votes in our summer lab cook-off.

Again- the New World Kitchen never steers us wrong :) There are only 15 dessert recipes in this book- so you know the ones that made it in here are good. I can not wait to try more.

As it is with any cheesecake- this was so not CR (I only tried a spoonful) so I am not going to calculate the nutritional information- no one needs to know. We all know how bad cheesecake is for you :) But if you ever have a need for cheesecake- bake this one. It is so worth it!
Here is the recipe (as I made it of course)

Guava Cheesecake with Gingersnap Cookie Crust

1 sleeve of gingersnap cookies (2 cups of crushed cookies)
6T Butter

1lb Cream Cheese (I used 1 regular and one 1/3 reduced fat)
3/4c granulated sugar
4 large egg yolks
1c Sour cream (I used low fat- but why bother at this point?!)
1 vanilla bean, split lengthwise
12oz guava jelly (my normal supermarket actually had this!)

For crust:
Preheat oven to 350°F. Stir cookie crumbs and butter in medium bowl until evenly moistened. Press mixture onto bottom of 9-inch-diameter removable-bottom cheesecake pan with 3-inch-high sides. Bake crust until deep golden, about 12 minutes. Cool completely. Reduce oven temperature to 325°F.
For Filling
Preheat oven to 275°F
*Place a Pyrex dish filled with water into oven (*my addition) for humidity

Beat cream cheese with electric mixer for 4min, until soft and no lumps remain
Beat in the sugar and process until smooth
Beat in egg yolks one at a time, then beat in the sour cream, scraping down bowl as necessary
Using dull side of knife, scrape seeds from vanilla bean and add to mixer bowl
Beat to combine
Add half of the guava jelly and beat until smooth
Pour batter into prepared pan (with cooled crust) and bake at 275°F for 15min
Turn oven down to 250°F and bake for another 45min
Turn off oven and leave cake in warm stove for another 45min-1hr*
(I needed a bit more baking time for whatever reason... my oven is not good at low temps apparently)

Let cheesecake cool completely at room temperature, then cover and refrigerate until chilled and firm

Spread cheesecake with remaining guava jelly and refrigerate until ready to serve (I added a bit of water to my jelly so that it was easier to spread. Maybe guava marmalade is a little better to use for that purpose)


Thursday, July 23, 2009

Cashew Chicken Curry

Cardamom Pods

Recipe from Cooking Light

Originally I made this dish for Mel's birthday extravaganza last October. We both love Indian food- but since I am on a diet I figured I could make (with our friend Anisha's contributions) a healthier dinner feast than what we could order at our favorite local restaurant. I made this chicken cashew dish that turned out a bit bland for my liking, so I vowed next time I would use more spice. This time I did-- and it was great! Here is the recipe how I made it:

Serves 6-1c portions (or more if you are eating family style)

  1. 2/3 cup cashews, toasted
  2. 2/3 cup fat-free Greek-style yogurt
  3. 1/4 cup tomato paste (I used one whole small can of paste)
  4. 2 tablespoons white vinegar
  5. 2 tablespoons garam masala
  6. 1 teaspoon ground coriander
  7. 1 teaspoon grated peeled fresh ginger
  8. 1 tablespoon ground red pepper,
  9. 1 tablespoon sweet paprika
  10. 1 tablespoon smoked hot paprika
  11. 3 crushed cardamom pods
  12. 2 garlic cloves, chopped
  13. 4 -5 skinless, boneless chicken thighs, cut into bite-sized pieces* (about 20 ounces) (I forgot to cut mine this time so after cooking the stew for a while I shredded the meat)
  14. 2 3/4 cups finely chopped onion (2 large)
  15. 2 green cardamom pods, lightly crushed
  16. 1 (2-inch) cinnamon stick/ I used 1tsp ground cinnamon
  17. 2 cups fat-free, less-sodium chicken broth
  18. 1 cup organic tomato puree (I used crushed tomato)
  19. 1 teaspoon sweet paprika
  20. 1/4 teaspoon salt


1. Combine first 12 ingredients in a blender or food processor; process until smooth. Combine nut mixture and chicken in a large bowl; cover and refrigerate 3 hours or overnight.

As you can see I did this in a bag and it had imperfect coverage of the chicken due to the fact that the marinade is so thick... It did not alter the final product taste though.

2. Heat a large Dutch oven over medium-low heat. Coat pan with cooking spray. Add onion, cardamom, paprika, salt and cinnamon stick to pan; cover and cook 10 minutes or until onion is golden, stirring often.

Mmm... onions!

3. Add chicken mixture to pan; cook 10 minutes, stirring frequently. Stir in broth, tomato puree, scraping pan to loosen browned bits. Cook 1 hour or until thick. Remove from heat. Garnish with fresh cilantro, if desired (I do not- eeeww!).

Nutritional Information (approx since I eliminated a few things like half and half, breast meat...)

Calories: 340 (36% from fat)

Fat: 13.6g (sat 3.4g,mono 5.8g,poly 2.6g)

Protein: 36.7g

Carbohydrate: 18.7g
Fiber: 3.8g
Cholesterol: 91mg
Iron: 3.2mg
Sodium: 435mg
Calcium: 83mg
I served this with brown basmati rice with fresh cooked peas!

Wednesday, July 22, 2009


I love my newest favorite blog:


To say I am smitten is an understatement. What hooked me was the birthday cake recipe.
Seriously- how much more could you want!? Beautiful pictures (really, really beautiful), and amazing food. Sign me up!

I am going to make the birthday cake.

And I will take pictures of it.

And it will not even compare to Deb's photo quality. But I am going to try out some manual settings on my Canon SD750 to see how I can improve my food photography skills.

So stay tuned for some new recipes- I made a fabulous cashew chicken curry dish last night. And my labmate Christine made me another batch of granola bars for feeding her cells. I love them so much, that I think I am going to seek out things I can do for her so that I can keep getting them! Haha! Thank you Christine!!

Tuesday, June 23, 2009

Counting the ways

I love Fiber One granola bars, that is :)

You would think after a year and a half of almost daily chocolate fiber one granola bar ingestion, I would get sick of these buggers. Sure there have been times when I have eaten less of them, or changed up flavors (apple cinnamon being a distant 2nd favorite), but no other food has had such a constant presence in my diet.

I have two favorite breakfasts (Special K red berries, fiber one, and almonds and kashi waffles with peanut butter and apple butter) if you want to argue about their presence being competitive. But being that there are two breakfasts already reduces their competitive edge.

I have tried other granola bars. My last trip to BJs, I purchased Kashi Chewy bars. I have had them before (the nut and fruit ones?) and they are fine. A bit dry and not sweet enough. I am probably going to go through another BJs size box of fiber one bars before I finish these.

I realize that my favorite fiber one bars have not only high fructose corn syrup, but also have high maltose corn syrup. This may be the reason behind my intense love of them-- they are super sweet.

Anyway- that is all for today. I am gearing up for some new vegetarian recipe entries for my parents who are beginning a "somewhat" vegetarian diet. I am going to their house this weekend with plans to show them at least 3 different ways to cook tofu! Stay tuned :)

Friday, June 19, 2009

New Leaf

It is a strange new world with CR recently.

I have been recording, thinking about food (I have even been enjoying my cookbooks again!), and loving the food prep!

Keeping track of numbers in my head over a long period of time has always been a problem for me; for example - I was a swimmer in high school and we would have to count laps during practice- my lane would never let me go first unless it was sets of 100's (4 laps) because I would never be able to keep track of anything higher than that.

Also, in my job before I started grad school, I had to count chromosomes (humans have 46) while looking through a microscope. I would select cells where I could divide the chromosomes up into 3 or 4 groups by eye so that I would not lose track of which ones I had already counted...

Learning disability? Maybe... needless to say I have found ways to get around it so that I can do what I need to do.

So how does this relate to CR? I have found a new way to count my calories in my head-- I am now thinking about my meals in blocks of 400 calories. Breakfast: 400, Lunch: 400, Dinner: 400, Snacks: 400. Easy! So much less thinking, especially if I can design meals to fit that structure.

Also this has made food recording in my PDA less stressful. I have not been recording the exact food that I am eating, as long as the calories are the same. When I eat a kashi meal, and it has 360 calories I find my listing for the Amy's burrito (300cal) and say 1.2 servings. Easy peasy! I may be adding in some "generic" 400 calorie recipes to make it even better :)

I think this new way of recording will help me get on my way to be more independent and free from my PDA when this is all over (I only have 7-8months left!!). The time has really flown by... so crazy.

New upcoming posts will include my 400 calorie meal ideas.

Also I will be telling you all about how my new exercise regimen affects my hunger (I am doing 2 sprint triathlons this summer- one with a fellow CALERIE participant!). So far, so good. :)

Tuesday, June 9, 2009

Black Bean Soup- YUM

I will not gush about this soup.

It is amazing.

It takes a lot of time.

It is TOTALLY worth it.

Black Bean Soup With Roasted Squash
From the New World Kitchen (seriously we have not made anything from this cookbook that was not to.die.for.). You need to buy this book if you like making good food.
Makes 12cups
Serves 8
455 cal/serving (I was close... the CRON-o-Meter may have been off with the ham hock)
See additional nutritional info below

Recipe is as we made it

6oz bacon
1T olive oil
1 Scotch Bonnet Chili (may or may not have been??)
3 cloves of garlic, thinly sliced
1 large vidalia onion
1 medium red bell pepper, diced
3 stalks of celery
1T cumin (called for 2T toasted and ground cumin seeds)
2 bay leaves
1c Spanish dry sherry (very important)
5c canned black beans, rinsed (called for 2c dry beans soaked overnight)
1 smoked ham hock (also very important, must be smoked)
3qt Chicken stock (we added it then had to remove some so everything could fit into our 5qt dutch oven)
Salt and pepper to taste

For the Squash (Calabaza)
2lb calabaza (we used an acorn/winter squash) peeled and cut into bite size pieces
2T melted butter
2T sugar
1tsp salt
0.5tsp fresh ground pepper

For the Crema
1c Sour cream (we used lowfat)
juice from 1/2 lime
salt to taste
0.5tsp toasted ground coriander seeds

1) Cook bacon in olive oil (seems counter-intuitive to me) in large soup pot over medium heat, until crisp
2) Stir in chili pepper and garlic
3) Turn up heat to medium high and add the onion, bell pepper, and celery- stir to coat
4) Let veggies caramelize (10min)
5) Add cumin, bay leaves and sherry- bring to simmer and cook until the liquid is reduced to half
6) Add the beans, ham hock, and stock
7) Skim the impurities off the top and reduce heat to medium-low
8) Simmer until the beans are tender, but not mushy- 1-1.5hrs

In the meantime prepare the squash
1) preheat oven to 350
2) Combine all the squash ingredients and stir to coat
3) Place on roasting pan and roast until squash is fork tender (30-40min)

For the crema:
whisk together all ingredients in a bowl and chill until ready to serve

9) Remove bay leaves from broth
10) Scoop 2.5cups from the pot and puree in blender (this gives the soup more body)
11) Simmer for additional 30m

Enjoy soup topped with creme!!

General (34%)
Energy | 455.1 kcal 27%
Protein | 29.7 g 59%
Carbs | 45.4 g 35%
Fiber | 9.3 g 37%
Fat | 17.7 g 27%
Water | 534.4 g 20%

Vitamins (40%)
Vitamin A | 900.4 IU 39%
Folate | 251.6 µg 63%
B1 (Thiamine) | 0.9 mg 82%
B2 (Riboflavin) | 0.4 mg 34%
B3 (Niacin) | 8.4 mg 60%
B5 (Pantothenic Acid)| 1.7 mg 34%
B6 (Pyridoxine) | 0.7 mg 56%
B12 (Cyanocobalamin) | 1.2 µg 48%
Vitamin C | 35.7 mg 48%
Vitamin D | 2.0 IU 1%
Vitamin E | 1.0 mg 7%
Vitamin K | 10.1 µg 11%

Minerals (51%)
Calcium | 128.5 mg 13%
Copper | 0.8 mg 88%
Iron | 5.4 mg 30%
Magnesium | 133.8 mg 43%
Manganese | 0.8 mg 44%
Phosphorus | 445.6 mg 64%
Potassium | 1436.1 mg 31%
Selenium | 26.1 µg 47%
Sodium | 2095.2 mg 140%
Zinc | 3.7 mg 46%

Lipids (21%)
Saturated | 6.0 g 30%
Omega-3 | 0.2 g 22%
Omega-6 | 1.7 g 15%
Cholesterol | 56.7 mg 19%

Monday, June 1, 2009

Nothing To Say

The diet has not been easy the last few months. I still have had no motivation for recording. I have planned out meals better/eating better and I have started estimated general calorie amounts a little more- but even my modified recording techniques seem like too much for me right now... I keep telling myself- this is life, if I want to keep my weight off, stay healthy, and succeed in lifelong dietary restriction- this is what I need to figure out.

I sound so whiny at our meetings. I have no reason as to why I can't/don't want to/am not doing things well- I know what I need to do- why is it so hard to do?? I feel like I need to go back onto packaged foods to "shock" myself back into the mindset again- but then I think about it and I know what to do, I know how to do it- I should just do it. Ugh.

Last week was a model week. TE and I planned out our whole week worth of food, and we totally stuck to it. I felt really good about it- but this week: TE is traveling, I am crazed: eating canned soup/frozen burritos/anything that does not require thought/more money-- doing the whole week-long planned food was great but it gets expensive... We bought enough stuff for 2 weeks but only 1 week's worth of fresh stuff (meat and veggies)- so week 2 after a big food shopping is always less satisfying...

I will return in a week hopefully with a new can-do attitude! Let's hope!! :)

Tuesday, May 12, 2009

Friendly Support

Things are a bit slow on the CALERIE front. I am lacking motivation to record/track/monitor my food intake and to make matters worse- my Palm Centro that is my cell phone/pda/mp3 player died Friday.

Not just a little dead: won't turn on- and if it does turn on it keeps trying to sync, so I hooked it up to the computer and nothing, no connection, then it dies again. I am hoping I can get my stuff off it before I have to send it away to get fixed- but things do not look promising...

But there is one shining moment (with regards to my food prep/consumption) I am happy to report :)

My labmate, Christine, made me an energy bar snack as a thank you for processing some of her samples (I was also doing mine so she totally did not have to thank me so well- but I am not complaining!!). I can not find the recipe online but she packaged the bars up and gave me the original recipe with the nutritional information and everything! Totally sweet :)
*Recipe is from a Fine Cooking publication: Eat Smart. Recipe is not available to the public- enjoy!

Other fun fact about Christine: she is also very interested in the CALERIE study and is currently on the waiting list in case someone drops out of the study.

Energy Bars
130 cal/bar
5g Fat
5g Protein
2.5g Fiber

Cooking Spray
1c Quick cooking rolled oats
1/2c Shelled unsalted raw sunflower seeds
1/2c toasted wheat germ
1/4c whole grain pastry flour or whole wheat flour
1/2c dried apricots
1/2c raw almonds
1/2c raisins
1/2c pitted dried dates
1/2c nonfat dry milk
1/2t ground cinnamon
1/3c pure maple syrup (she used agave nectar instead)
2 large eggs

  • Preheat oven to 350 and coat a 9x13 baking pan with cooking spray
  • Place all ingredients except the syrup and eggs into a food processor and pulse until everything is finely chopped.
  • Add syrup and eggs and pulse until mixture is well combined. It will resemble a coarse paste.
  • Transfer to a baking pan and spread evenly to cover the bottom.
  • Bake until lightly browned, about 20min.
  • Allow to cool for 15min, then cut into 24 bars
Thank you Christine!! They are so yummy!

Thursday, April 23, 2009

April Inspired

There is no easy/nice way to post this so I am just going to write it and hope that the message is not misconstrued.

April is a girl who writes a CR blog-- full of recipes, CR tips and other diet/personal stories-- much like this blog, but with the one exception that a ton of people read her blog!

I first found her blog when I enrolled in this study and wondered how people actually maintain a CR diet. I tried out her cauliflower soup recipe and while I did not love it- it was decent. I did not make it again though.

I still read her blog to keep up with the life of someone else who is restricted- but I will comment that none of her recipes have struck me as anything I would make. We all have our own tastes. In her defense, she does CRON (a CR diet where you eat all your vitamins/nutrients) because it makes being restricted easier for her. If you are going to embark on a CR diet you need to find a way to do it that will work for you- no one is going to have the same eating preferences- and it is a personal adventure on how to feel full/satisfied while eating less.

So recently I was reading her blog and was intrigued by one of her recipes: clam chowder. I recently went to BJs and bought a stack of canned clams and I am a bit "over" pasta with clam sauce right now- so this seemed like a great way to use the leftover clams.
I modified it a bit because TE recoils like I am killing him if I even mention "cream of mushroom soup!" Also I wanted to use a more natural product than canned condensed soup.
So here is what I did:

Liz's "April Inspired" Clam Chowder

2 bags/1 box of Frozen Corn Chowder, thawed
2 bags/1 box of Frozen Cream of Spinach Soup, thawed
2 cans of chopped clams (3.5oz ea)
1c frozen shelled edamame, thawed
6T shredded Parmesan cheese
Red pepper flakes to taste

Mix and aliquot into 3 containers for lunches! Microwave when ready to eat and enjoy!

It turns out that TE was so mortified watching me make this he did not eat it anyway (it does look gross- see below!) but I loved it!!

After this adventure into April's cooking- I was inspired to stuff something (if you look around April's blog she stuffs pretty much everything- peppers, cabbage, eggplant....). I was also reading Eating Well and they had an online recipe/article about stuffed mushrooms. That was all I needed! I was making stuffed mushrooms. I would say that this concoction was more inspired by EW, I will give additional credits to April, the queen of stuffing veggies.

Stuffed Mushroom Caps
~125 calories per cap

4 Portobella mushroom caps
1c Full fat cottage cheese
1 10oz package of frozen chopped spinach, thawed and squeezed to remove water
Seasonings to taste (I used fresh thyme and red pepper- of course)
2 reduced fat string-cheese sticks

1. Preheat oven to 350°F. Coat a rimmed baking sheet with cooking spray/tin foil.
2. Place mushroom caps, gill-side up, on the prepared pan. Sprinkle with salt and 1/8 teaspoon pepper. Roast until tender, 10 to 15 minutes.
3. Meanwhile, mash cottage cheese, spinach, and seasonings in a medium bowl.
4. When the mushrooms are tender, carefully pour out any liquid accumulated in the caps. Return the caps to the pan gill-side up. Mound a generous 1/2 cup cottage cheese filling into each cap and sprinkle with the "string-ed" cheese. Bake until hot, about 10 minutes.

*Served here with a Quorn Gruyere cutlet! Yum!

Nutritional Info:
Clam Chowder
1/3 Recipe

*Not perfect (vitamin wise) because CRON-O-Meter does not have the soups in it and I was too lazy to add them.
Energy | 354.2 kcal 21%
Protein | 26.2 g 52%
Carbs | 25.2 g 19%
Fiber | 4.7 g 19%
Fat | 17.5 g 27%
Water | 304.8 g 11%

Vitamins (31%)
Vitamin A | 1676.7 IU 72%
Folate | 163.8 µg 41%
B1 (Thiamine) | 0.4 mg 41%
B2 (Riboflavin) | 0.4 mg 34%
B3 (Niacin) | 2.9 mg 21%
B5 (Pantothenic Acid)| 0.4 mg 9%
B6 (Pyridoxine) | 0.1 mg 8%
B12 (Cyanocobalamin) | 28.0 µg 1167%
Vitamin C | 32.6 mg 43%
Vitamin D | 0.0 IU 0%
Vitamin E | 0.2 mg 1%
Vitamin K | 0.3 µg 0%

Minerals (43%)
Calcium | 322.5 mg 32%
Copper | 0.4 mg 46%
Iron | 11.5 mg 64%
Magnesium | 67.1 mg 22%
Manganese | 1.0 mg 56%
Phosphorus | 358.1 mg 51%
Potassium | 833.2 mg 18%
Selenium | 16.7 µg 30%
Sodium | 1140.4 mg 76%
Zinc | 2.6 mg 32%

Lipids (29%)
Saturated | 4.7 g 23%
Omega-3 | 0.5 g 44%
Omega-6 | 3.7 g 34%
Cholesterol | 40.5 mg 13%
Stuffed Mushrooms
1/4 of recipe
Energy | 124.5 kcal 7%
Protein | 13.4 g 27%
Carbs | 9.4 g 7%
Fiber | 3.3 g 13%
Fat | 4.7 g 7%
Water | 189.0 g 7%

Vitamins (35%)
Vitamin A | 8456.9 IU 362%
Folate | 128.8 µg 32%
B1 (Thiamine) | 0.1 mg 13%
B2 (Riboflavin) | 0.7 mg 62%
B3 (Niacin) | 4.2 mg 30%
B5 (Pantothenic Acid)| 1.6 mg 33%
B6 (Pyridoxine) | 0.2 mg 18%
B12 (Cyanocobalamin) | 0.4 µg 15%
Vitamin C | 3.9 mg 5%
Vitamin D | 0.0 IU 0%
Vitamin E | 2.1 mg 14%
Vitamin K | 264.3 µg 294%

Minerals (27%)
Calcium | 236.1 mg 24%
Copper | 0.5 mg 51%
Iron | 1.9 mg 11%
Magnesium | 69.5 mg 22%
Manganese | 0.6 mg 35%
Phosphorus | 283.3 mg 40%
Potassium | 716.9 mg 15%
Selenium | 20.3 µg 37%
Sodium | 323.3 mg 22%
Zinc | 1.4 mg 18%

Lipids (6%)
Saturated | 2.2 g 11%
Omega-3 | 0.1 g 8%
Omega-6 | 0.2 g 1%
Cholesterol | 16.6 mg 6%

Wednesday, April 22, 2009

Passover Seder

OK OK no more Passover after this. I promise.

It's just that I cooked for what seemed to be forever- so I needed to finalize it all :)

These are photos from Mel's house- we did the Seder there- it was quick and fabulous considering Mel was sick and I was overtired.

We almost had our own Elijah: TE's cab driver! TE left his cell phone in the cab on his way back from the airport and "Elijah cabbie" kindly returned it within an hour of him leaving it!

How's that for Passover spirit?!?

Our crafty Seder plate! Note our shankbone :) The King enjoyed it later!

Dairy free appetizers-- Mel made an amazing eggplant, roasted red pepper dip (on the right)

Matzoh ball soup and the infamous gefilte fish course

Main dinner of brussel sprouts and brisket! Yum!

The King's BFF "Devil," as we will call him here, found the Afikomen (of course!)

Tuesday, April 14, 2009

Gefilte Fish

I am finally ready to blog about this experience.

Making gefilte fish is traumatic.
Well at least it was for me-- the drama queen!
This recipe tasted much more fresh and yummy than the jarred/doctored gefilte fish- but I like that stuff well enough not to need to make mine fresh every year.

So now onto my traumatic experience:
First- I had to special order my fish (pike, whitefish and carp are no longer regularly stocked in supermarkets), and so I ordered it from a local fish store that is located in a very rich part of town (read: fish would be overly expensive: like $80 for 3lbs of ground fish).

I am sure you are all asking yourselves the same question: why did she do this?!

The whole reason I was doing this was to use my new-to-me-family-heirloom meat grinder that I inherited from my Bubby and Pop-pop who used it to make their own gefilte fish back in the day- but as I was on the phone with the fish monger-- he clearly noted my inexperience with fish meat preparation and suggested that I have them prep it for me. I gladly conceded. But now with my whole justification for this adventure gone, I just had to get on board that this was an experience- all Jews should make their own gefilte fish once in their lives**, right???

So I picked up my fish meat and went home for the cooking marathon, day 2. TE was traveling for work so I had the house to my self... which was a good thing considering the chaos/stench that was about to unfold.

Armed with my recipe in hand, I got ready to dig into another night of playing with raw meat with my hands... ugh.

Gefilte Fish
Made 15 pieces
160 calories per piece
  • 7 to 7 1/2 pounds whole carp, whitefish, and pike, filleted and ground*
  • 4 quarts cold water or to just cover
  • 3 teaspoons salt or to taste
  • 3 onions, peeled
  • 4 medium carrots, peeled
  • 2 tablespoons sugar or to taste
  • 1 small parsnip, chopped (optional)
  • 3 to 4 large eggs
  • Freshly ground pepper to taste 1/2 cup cold water (approximately)
  • 1/3 cup matzah meal (approximately)
*Ask your fishmonger to grind the fish. Ask him to reserve the tails, fins, heads, and bones. Be sure he gives you the bones and trimmings. The more whitefish you add, the softer your gefilte fish will be.


1. Add fish stock (4c) and 4c of water to stock pot

2. Slice 1 onion in rounds and add along with 3 of the carrots. Add the sugar and bring to a boil. Cover and simmer for about 20 minutes while the fish mixture is being prepared.

3. Place the ground fish in a bowl. In a food processor finely chop the remaining onions and the remaining carrot. Add the chopped vegetables to the ground fish.

4. Add the eggs, one at a time, the remaining teaspoon of salt, pepper, and the cold water, and mix thoroughly. Stir in enough matzah meal to make a light, soft mixture into oval shapes, about 3 inches long.

5. Remove from the saucepan the onions, skins, and return the stock to a simmer. Gently place the fish patties in the simmering fish stock. Cover loosely and simmer for 20 to 30 minutes. Taste the liquid while the fish is cooking and add seasoning to taste. Shake the pot periodically so the fish patties won't stick. When gefilte fish is cooked, remove from the water and allow to cool for at least 15 minutes.

6. Using a slotted spoon carefully remove the gefilte fish and arrange in a 9x13 baking dish on top of sliced onions (skins on) and carrots. Season generously with salt and pepper.

7. Bake at 350 for 15-20 minutes.

8. Remove from oven, allow to cool and place into a sealed container.

9. Eat gefilte fish cold served with hard boiled eggs and horseradish

**I will never do this again. My apartment smelled so so bad for about a week- they do not warn you ahead of time about that fact. Here is your warning. Do this if only if you live in a place where you can keep your doors/windows open for 3-4 days after the fact.

Wednesday, April 8, 2009

Passover Meatballs

Just a short entry to give additional proof I am crazy. I hate. hate. hate. playing with raw meat. Hate. It skeeves me out beyond you could know. That was the reason I became a vegetarian back in high school. Ugh. But whatever craziness has infected me- I did not mind making these meatballs... Liz has officially lost it.

Passover Meatballs
Makes 20 meatballs
230cal for 2 meatballs

2lbs 93% Lean ground beef
1.25c ground matzo (4 sheets)
1/2c grated Parmesan cheese
1 egg
3T chopped parsley (quite coarsely apparently)
Salt and Pepper to taste

Mix ingredients thoroughly with hands (!!) and shape into balls.

*You can cook these at this point but I froze mine...

Place on cookie sheet lined with wax paper and freeze. Once the balls are frozen place in freezer bag/container.

Energy | 229.7 kcal 14%
Protein | 28.3 g 57%
Carbs | 9.6 g 7%
Fiber | 0.3 g 1%
Fat | 7.8 g 12%
Water | 63.7 g 2%

Vitamins (18%)
Vitamin A | 46.5 IU 2%
Folate | 10.2 µg 3%
B1 (Thiamine) | 0.1 mg 7%
B2 (Riboflavin) | 0.2 mg 22%
B3 (Niacin) | 5.4 mg 39%
B5 (Pantothenic Acid)| 0.7 mg 15%
B6 (Pyridoxine) | 0.3 mg 26%
B12 (Cyanocobalamin) | 2.4 µg 101%
Vitamin C | 0.0 mg 0%
Vitamin D | 1.8 IU 1%
Vitamin E | 0.4 mg 3%
Vitamin K | 1.3 µg 1%

Minerals (23%)
Calcium | 66.8 mg 7%
Copper | 0.1 mg 10%
Iron | 3.2 mg 18%
Magnesium | 25.1 mg 8%
Manganese | 0.1 mg 5%
Phosphorus | 235.3 mg 34%
Potassium | 309.3 mg 7%
Selenium | 26.7 µg 49%
Sodium | 135.9 mg 9%
Zinc | 6.5 mg 81%

Lipids (14%)
Saturated | 3.7 g 18%
Omega-3 | 0.0 g 4%
Omega-6 | 0.4 g 3%
Cholesterol | 91.3 mg 30%

Passover Part 1

I have been cooking up a storm.

I don't know what has inspired me- procrastination maybe?? But I am cooking like it is going out of style- which maybe it is since I can not seem to cook and work at the same time- I am either focused on school or focused on food. Food. School. School. Food. Exciting...

The focus of my cooking attention is Passover. I have not kept Passover in quite a few years. I used the excuse that I was a vegetarian and beans/soy/etc. are not kosher so I could not "really" keep it so why try at all?(I know, I know...) I usually always do a Seder though- since many of my non-Jewish friends seem to enjoy it... And it makes my mom happy.
So without making a plan for Seder festivities, I went to the supermarket and purchased a ton of food for Passover. I also special ordered fish so that I can make my own gefilte fish. --What got into me?? I am still not quite sure. It is something though.

So Monday night I made a brisket and meatballs. And a non-Passover casserole for my friend Rachel. TE had to work late and by the time he got home (at midnight) the kitchen was clean and the apartment smelled like wonderful braised beef (a stark contrast to the current smell)! We will be eating the brisket tonight at Mel's so I will report back on how it tastes- but from the smell and sampling I already did, I think it is going to be a success!

Here is the recipe from epicurious with photos:

Beef Brisket with Merlot and Prunes
Serves 8 (?)
Approx 450 cal/serving

  • 1 4-to 4 1/2-pound flat-cut (also called first-cut) beef brisket, trimmed of most fat
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 14 1/2-ounce can diced tomatoes in juice (preferably fire-roasted)
  • 1 cup Merlot or other dry red wine
  • 2 pounds onions, sliced
  • 4 medium carrots, peeled, thinly sliced
  • 16 garlic cloves, peeled
  • 1 1/2 cups pitted large prunes (about 8 ounces)
  • 1 tablespoon finely chopped fresh thyme
  • 1/2 cup plus 1 tablespoon prune juice
  • 3 tablespoons plus 1 teaspoon balsamic vinegar
  • 2 tablespoons chopped fresh Italian parsley

Position rack in bottom third of oven and preheat to 325°F. Pat brisket dry; sprinkle all over with salt and pepper. Heat oil in heavy extra-large skillet over high heat. Add brisket and cook until deep brown, about 7 minutes per side. Transfer brisket, fat side up, to large roasting pan. Add tomatoes with juice and wine to skillet. Remove from heat, scrape up any browned bits, and pour mixture over brisket. Distribute onions, carrots, and garlic around brisket. Add prunes and thyme; drizzle with 1/2 cup prune juice and 3 tablespoons vinegar. Sprinkle lightly with salt and pepper. Place pan over 2 burners and bring to boil. Cover pan with heavy-duty foil; place in oven.

Photo taken before putting into oven:

Braise brisket until tender, about 3 hours 15 minutes. Uncover and cool 1 hour at room temperature. DO AHEAD: Can be made 2 days ahead. Cover with foil and chill. Bring just to simmer over 2 burners before continuing.

Remove brisket from roasting pan, scraping off juices. Place on work surface;cut across grain into 1/4-inch-thick slices.Spoon off fat from top of pan juices.

Place 1 cup vegetables (no prunes) and 1 cup braising liquid from pan into processor and puree. Return puree to pan. Add remaining 1 tablespoon prune juice and 1 teaspoon vinegar to pan. Heat sauce; season with salt and pepper.

Overlap brisket slices in 13x9x2- inch glass baking dish. Pour sauce over brisket, separating slices to allow some sauce to flow between. DO AHEAD:Can be made 1 day ahead. Cover; chill.

Rewarm brisket, covered, in 350°F oven for 30 minutes. Sprinkle brisket with parsley; serve.

Calorie information was calculated with help from super-dietitian LR!! Thank you!

Thursday, April 2, 2009

Bittman Inspired Beet Salad

I know. We are getting stalker-ish.

At least MB has inspired us to make a few new meals!
This is aiding our vegan efforts and lets us "give the goats a break" (and make Liz very happy!)

Bittman Beet Salad
Makes 7-8 servings, 160cal/serving

9 Beets (baked roasted in aluminum foil for 1+hr)
1/3c Olive Oil
6 cloves of garlic
1/3c Chopped walnuts

Roast the garlic cloves in oil for 5min (ish) then add the chopped walnuts and toast for another 5minutes.
Process in food processor until the consistency is like a thick salad dressing (we did not use orange juice like he recommended... next time)
Mix over chopped roasted beets.

We served these beets with:

Soy Lime Baked Tofu
Makes 5 Servings/90 cal per serving

1 14-ounce package extra-firm, water-packed tofu, drained
1/3 cup reduced-sodium soy sauce
1/3 cup lime juice

1. Pat tofu dry and cut into 1/2- to 3/4-inch cubes. Combine soy sauce and lime juice in a medium shallow dish or large sealable plastic bag. Add the tofu; gently toss to combine. Marinate in the refrigerator for 1 hour or up to 4 hours, gently stirring once or twice.
2. Preheat oven to 450°F.
3. Remove the tofu from the marinade with a slotted spoon (discard marinade). Spread out on a sprayed large baking sheet, making sure the pieces are not touching. Roast, gently turning halfway through, until golden brown, about 20 minutes.

Both served on top of:
1c blanched (boiled for 2m) beet greens
1c blanched kale
1/2 of a blood orange

Such a yummy lunch and very healthy! If anyone wants the nutrition breakdown of any of the individual parts let me know.
Here is the nutrition info for 1 serving of the salad.

Energy | 359.8 kcal 22%
Protein | 18.1 g 36%
Carbs | 39.5 g 30%
Fiber | 12.9 g 52%
Fat | 17.8 g 27%
Water | 488.7 g 18%

Vitamins (46%)
Vitamin A | 28969.0 IU 1242%
Folate | 163.7 µg 41%
B1 (Thiamine) | 0.4 mg 34%
B2 (Riboflavin) | 0.6 mg 55%
B3 (Niacin) | 2.7 mg 19%
B5 (Pantothenic Acid)| 1.0 mg 20%
B6 (Pyridoxine) | 0.6 mg 43%
B12 (Cyanocobalamin) | 0.0 µg 0%
Vitamin C | 133.4 mg 178%
Vitamin D | 0.0 IU 0%
Vitamin E | 5.3 mg 35%
Vitamin K | 1765.1 µg 1961%

Minerals (48%)
Calcium | 380.7 mg 38%
Copper | 0.8 mg 86%
Iron | 6.6 mg 37%
Magnesium | 166.5 mg 54%
Manganese | 1.9 mg 106%
Phosphorus | 184.6 mg 26%
Potassium | 2125.4 mg 45%
Selenium | 4.2 µg 8%
Sodium | 1016.9 mg 68%
Zinc | 1.7 mg 21%

Lipids (25%)
Saturated | 2.3 g 12%
Omega-3 | 0.7 g 62%
Omega-6 | 3.1 g 28%
Cholesterol | 0.0 mg 0%

Tuesday, March 31, 2009

Dear Mark Bittman,

My husband is your biggest fan. We love the Minimalist articles in the NYT. I know this is not news or unusual. Last night we made your latest recipe for Tortillitas with Shrimp.

I am now your #2 fan.
I have loved your no-knead bread best and have thoroughly enjoyed most of your articles, but before last night did not fully understand all of the adulation.

Today: I am on board.
You rock.

My dinner last night got overwhelming praise from my foodie husband, and it was quick, tasty, and so so easy! Most people may not have chickpea flour in house- but we do- and we had frozen shrimp and fresh herbs. It was perfect.

Thank you for a fast, easy dinner that restored my confident love of cooking.

Liz- your newest groupie

PS. I am still working on my food photography skills, so I apologize that my picture does not do your recipe justice. And what I mean by "working on-" is thinking about how I can make the picture better about 30 seconds before I need to take it...

Tortillitas With Shrimp

1/2 cup chickpea flour

1/2 cup white flour

1/2 teaspoon baking powder

Salt and freshly ground black pepper

Water (1-1.5c)

1/3 cup chopped onion or scallions (I used ~1/4c scallions)

About 1/2 cup raw shrimp, chopped, or scallops or other shellfish or fish

2 to 3 tablespoons chopped chives, parsley, thyme or cilantro (I used 3T parsley)

Olive oil (used 1.5Tbsp).

1. In a bowl, combine flours and baking powder with salt and pepper. Add a little more than a cup of water and stir to combine; consistency should resemble pancake batter (if batter is too thick, add more water, a little at a time). Stir in the onions, chopped shrimp and herbs.

2. Put a large nonstick skillet over medium-high heat and film its bottom generously with olive oil. When oil is hot, pour in half the batter until it fills center of pan; spread gently with a spoon to form a large pancake.

3. Cook about 3 minutes, or until pancake is set around edges; flip pancake and continue cooking for another 3 minutes, then flip it again and cook for another 30 seconds or so, until it is crisp on outside but still moist inside. Remove from pan and serve immediately, while remaining batter cooks.

Yield: 4 or more servings (we just made 2 pancakes).

For 1 serving (1/2 recipe)
Energy | 386.7 kcal 23%
Protein | 26.0 g 52%
Carbs | 38.8 g 30%
Fiber | 3.8 g 15%
Fat | 13.5 g 21%
Water | 83.8 g 3%

Vitamins (37%)
Vitamin A | 1003.2 IU 43%
Folate | 170.2 µg 43%
B1 (Thiamine) | 0.4 mg 36%
B2 (Riboflavin) | 0.2 mg 21%
B3 (Niacin) | 4.5 mg 32%
B5 (Pantothenic Acid)| 0.5 mg 11%
B6 (Pyridoxine) | 0.2 mg 17%
B12 (Cyanocobalamin) | 1.0 µg 41%
Vitamin C | 13.4 mg 18%
Vitamin D | 129.2 IU 65%
Vitamin E | 2.7 mg 18%
Vitamin K | 116.8 µg 130%

Minerals (32%)
Calcium | 72.7 mg 7%
Copper | 0.5 mg 55%
Iron | 5.2 mg 29%
Magnesium | 81.2 mg 26%
Manganese | 0.6 mg 36%
Phosphorus | 287.4 mg 41%
Potassium | 440.3 mg 9%
Selenium | 44.9 µg 82%
Sodium | 144.9 mg 10%
Zinc | 1.9 mg 24%

Lipids (30%)
Saturated | 1.9 g 9%
Omega-3 | 0.6 g 52%
Omega-6 | 1.8 g 16%
Cholesterol | 129.2 mg 43%