Monthly Archives: April 2015

Recipe: Deviled Egg Potato Salad

Who doesn’t love deviled eggs AND potato salad?  Exactly what I thought.  So how about potato salad made WITH deviled eggs?  I just made this recipe today, and honestly I don’t think I’ll ever go back to a traditional potato salad recipe again.  This dish serves eight and uses only two eggs, so you’re getting good protein but not at the expense of too much fat.  Light mayo helps to keep the fat grams down as well.

I like potatoes that are colored as opposed to white because they generally have more carotenoids and flavonoids (cancer-fighting substances) than plain white potatoes.  For that reason, I used Yukon Gold potatoes–their yellow flesh is tastier and healthier than their white-flesh cousins.  See this link for more info – World’s Healthiest Foods – Potatoes.   I also left the skin on to get more fiber benefit.

Ingredients:

  • 1 quart vegetable broth (I use the Better Than Bouillon brand)
  • 2 lb Yukon Gold potatoes, cubed
  • 2 hard boiled eggs ( * To make PERFECT hard boiled eggs with no gray/green ring around the yolk,  see my note in Step 2 of the Directions)
  • 2 tsp garlic powder
  • 2 tsp onion powder
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • 4 gherkins (sweet pickles), diced fine (or 1/2 cup of pickle relish)
  • 2 stalks celery, diced
  • 1/2 cup red bell pepper, diced
  • 2/3 cup light mayo
  • 2 tbsp yellow mustard
  • 1 tbsp hot pepper or cider vinegar or pickle juice (depends on your taste–I used the hot pepper vinegar)
  • Paprika

Directions:

  1. Boil the potatoes in the broth until done, 10 to 15 minutes
  2. While the potatoes are cooking, start the eggs.  FOR PERFECT HARD BOILED EGGS, put the eggs in a pot deep enough to fully cover them with water.  Bring the water to a boil, and let the eggs boil for 1 to 2 minutes (longer for larger eggs).  Then remove the pot from the heat, cover with a lid, and let the eggs sit for 10 minutes.  Then run cold water over them, and throw in a few ice cubes to ensure they cook no longer.  When ready, proceed as usual to peel the shell.
  3. Pour drained potatoes into large bowl.  While they’re still warm, add the garlic powder, onion powder, and salt and pepper to taste, and toss.
  4. Add the pickles, celery, and bell pepper to the potatoes and toss
  5. Dice the eggs and put them in a small bowl.
  6. Using a fork, smoosh the eggs until the whites and yolks are crumbly.  Add the light mayo, mustard, and vinegar or pickle juice, and mix well.
  7. Add the egg/mayo mixture to the potatoes, and fold it in until the potatoes are evenly covered
  8. Sprinkle paprika over the top and serve warm, or chill in the fridge to serve later.
  9. Makes 8 servings.

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Recipe: Brussels Sprouts with Pasta and Parm

As promised, here is my delightfully savory and healthy recipe using tender Brussels sprouts and heart healthy pasta.  My favorite pasta these days is Barilla White Fiber because one 56 gram (2 oz dry) serving has almost a quarter of the recommended daily fiber intake.  The pasta is low fat and has added vitamins and minerals to make it an all-round good choice of carbs.

Brussels sprouts add one of the most nutritious cruciferous vegetables to your diet and, cooked properly, load you up with vitamins and minerals as well as cancer-preventing substances.  You can halve small sprouts or quarter the large ones, but my favorite method is to slice the sprouts in even widths.  They cook more evenly and quickly that way; it’s important to not overcook Brussels sprouts because that robs them of their nutrients.

This recipe serves six if used as a side dish or four if a main entree.

INGREDIENTS

  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • 4 shallots, diced (can substitute one small onion if necessary)
  • 1 lb Brussels sprouts, trimmed and sliced
  • 1 cup vegetable stock, homemade or store bought
  • salt and pepper
  • 12 oz Barilla White Fiber spaghetti (other brands and other pasta shapes can be substituted)
  • 1-2 tbsp olive oil
  • 1/2 cup grated Parmesan cheese, freshly grated if possible
  • 1/3 cup fresh basil or parsley

Heat olive oil in a large pot or wok over medium heat.  Add garlic, shallots and sprouts, and cook until shallots and garlic turn pale gold and soften a bit.  Add stock and season with salt and pepper as desired.  Simmer for 5-10 minutes, or until Brussels sprouts are fork tender.

Meanwhile, bring a large pot of salted water to a boil and cook pasta al dente according to instructions.  Drain, reserving 1/2 cup of liquid.

Return pasta to pot.  Add the vegetables, additional olive oil to taste, and the 1/2 cup of pasta water, and heat on low heat for a few minutes.  Add cheese and herbs, toss to combine, and serve.  And enjoy a delicious dish that is good for your health.

 

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Switching Gears: Let’s Talk About Food!

I have been talking about the process of writing since I set up this website, and I think it’s time to broaden my topics to one of my very favorite things. Actually, it’s a combination of related activities–cooking, eating, and learning about nutrition.  It might help to briefly share some of my history and perspective.

I’ve always been an easy-to-please eater.  I like most foods, and although I appreciate a well-prepared meal with high quality ingredients, I have not shied away from pizza at the ballpark or lunch at the food court, if those were the best options available.

As I got older, I started getting more interested in what I was actually putting in my body.  Everything we eat and drink, and breathe for that matter, becomes a part of what we are.  It’s absorbed into our digestive system, our lungs, and our bloodstream, and it has the capacity to affect our organs, our skin, our hair, our eyes–everything that makes up our physical existence.  For that reason, it’s important to be aware of what we ingest.

That said, I’m not promoting that people outright shun pizza at the ballpark or tacos from the food court.  I’m a firm believer in “all things in moderation.”  Splurging for an ice cream sundae or a mushroom cheeseburger from time to time is not going to kill anyone.  But MOST OF THE TIME, we should be making an effort to eat things that have a positive nutritional effect on our bodies. For simplicity, my goal is that for every “splurge” meal I have, I will make a strong effort to ensure that all other meals for the day are relatively healthy.  Some days, everything I eat is pretty healthy, and on occasion, my intake for the day is not all that healthy.  But on average I’m sticking to my goal.

My eating habits have evolved a bit a couple of times in my life.  The first was probably when my husband Emmett and I started eating sushi, way back in the early 1990’s in a suburb of Atlanta called Morrow, at a place called Mo Mo Ya, which was a really great restaurant.  Sushi became one of my favorite meals, and I still try to have it once or twice a week.  It’s expensive, so you have to watch for deals, and at times you might find that some grocery stores have decent fare at decent prices.

The other big change to my eating habits started in 2003, when my mom had to have triple bypass surgery for blocked arteries.  For that surgery, the medical team essentially cracks open your chest to do what they have to do.  And while Mom made a full recovery and lived another four years, the indication was that one factor contributing to her problem very likely was diet.  In fairness, some of it likely was hereditary too, because practically all of my family on both sides have died from heart problems.  But the hospital staff guided Mom to a heart healthy diet to try to prevent or at least minimize further problems.

Well, warranted or not, that was when I decided that I was going to go to great lengths to avoid having to have MY chest cracked open.  So I decided to take steps, granted they were baby steps, toward becoming vegetarian.  What happened in 2003 was that I gave up beef that Christmas.  The following Christmas I gave up pork.  And two years later at Christmas 2006, I gave up poultry (it took me two more years because I loved turkey sandwiches!).  This change of habit also worked hand in hand with my spiritual development–I started studying Buddhism on my own in 1995 and had come to believe that killing animals for food should be avoided.  I also believed that factory farming was having an extreme deleterious effect on the environment, which means that at that time I had accumulated three reasons to not eat meat.

So I do not include in my diet any beef, pork, poultry, lamb, or any other land or air based animals.  However, here we are in 2015, and I have not been able to convince myself to give up fish or seafood, even though I do try to stick with fish that are being harvested in a sustainable way.  For example, I dearly love Chilean sea bass but choose not to eat it because it’s endangered.

To sum up, before I start launching into recipes and other food topics in my next blog post, I am now what I think would be referred to as a lacto/ovo/pescatarian.  Which simply put means I eat a vegetarian diet except for fish, eggs, and dairy, and even the dairy I limit to a certain degree because I drink almond milk instead of cow’s milk, and I try to avoid dishes made with heavy cream.  I do still eat cheese, cottage cheese, and yogurt.

I would love to hear anyone’s comments on this post.  Talking about food and nutrition is one of my favorite things to do.  Next up for this blog is one of the best Brussels sprouts dishes I’ve tasted–it’s delicious!  And if you’re not a BS fan, never fear because I have all kinds of vegetarian tricks up my sleeve.

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Book Signing & Supporter Appreciation Tour

The Book Signings that Dad and Caroline and I held at City Hall on Friday, March 27, and at the Summersville Arena & Conference Center on Saturday, March 28, were a great success!  We were so happy to greet so many old friends with whom we laughed and hugged and shared a multitude of memories.  We were also thrilled to meet the new friends who dropped by and introduced themselves.

Thanks so much to all who stopped by to visit.  And thanks as well to all of you who could not make it and dropped a note of explanation.  We missed you but will catch you next time!

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