Traveling food

I took the time to prepare food for my flight, knowing that I would leave mid-day and arrive late in San Antonio, where I’m teaching and mentoring with Saybrook University’s School of Mind-Body Medicine at the residential conference. I made a big salad, a frittata, and a small chopped salad. I ended up eating the chopped salad for lunch, with a bag of baby carrots for a snack, then the big salad for dinner. The frittata stayed in the hotel room refrigerator and made a great breakfast this morning.

1.24.2013 Selene's meals

1.23.2013 Selene's meals

1.22.2013 Selene's meals

1.21.2013 Selene's meals

1.20.2013 Selene's meals

My experiment last week with saving all of my planned indulgences for one day and just eating what I wanted that day was interesting (see 1.19.2013, the next photo). When I’m generally avoiding bread and baked goods, that’s what I’m drawn to, along with high fat foods like halvah and cheese. I’m not sure it works for me to eat that much of those things all in one day. I may return to a more moderate pacing on planned indulgences, though so far this week I seem to be satisfied with just the healthy choices I’ve been making. I will wait and see how it goes over the next few days.

1.19.2013 Selene's meals

Fighting illness

I notice that I hardly ever say “I have a flu” – I’m more likely to say “I am fighting a flu.” That feels more true to what I experience. My body is fighting something, more or less successfully. This time it seems relatively successful, as it’s only been two days, and I’m feeling somewhat better rather than worse. One day of feeling achy and tired and feverish and unable to focus was the worst. I’m not well yet, but on the upswing. So glad I got a chance to get to the Farmer’s Market before the worst hit, so I had plenty of fresh fruit and vegetables to sustain me!

Turkey pot pie with pumpkin crust

Found a wonderful new recipe for using up that leftover turkey, from Clean Eating magazine, with a few adaptations. I used frozen mixed vegetable, a combination of shelled edamame, carrots, peas, beans, and corn, along with the onion and celery I had on hand. Also used butter for the crust – and it’s a wonderful crust!

Turkey Pot Pie with Pumpkin Crust

1 1/2 cups  white whole wheat flour
2 teaspoon  dried sage
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon sea salt
2 tablespoon  butter
15 ounces pumpkin purée
1 teaspoon olive oil
180 grams onion , chopped
394 grams mixed vegetables
88 grams celery, chopped
2 tablespoon  white whole wheat flour
1 cup 2% reduced-fat milk
1 teaspoon dried tarragon, crushed
1/2 teaspoon sea salt
1/4 teaspoon fresh ground pepper
1 1/2 lb cooked boneless, skinless, turkey breast, chopped
cooking spray

1. Prepare crust: In a food processor, combine flour, sage, baking powder and salt. Add butter and process until crumbly. Move mixture to a bowl and add pumpkin puree, stirring until blended. Knead a few times with hands until dough comes together and is soft and slightly sticky. Do not overwork dough. Cover and refrigerate 30 minutes, up to 1 day.

2. Prepare filling: In a large saucepan, heat oil on medium-high. Add onion and saute, stirring occasionally, until softened. Add celery and frozen vegetable mixture and cook, stirring frequently, until slightly tender, about 10 minutes. Sprinkle flour over top and stir to coat. Stir in milk, bring to a simmer and reduce heat to medium-low. Cook until milk thickens into a sauce and coats vegetable mixture, 5-8 minutes. Stir in tarragon, salt, pepper, and turkey and remove from heat.

3. Preheat oven to 375 F. Coat a 9 x 13-inch baking dish with cooking spray. Spoon filling into dish in an even layer.

4. Transfer dough to a lightly floured work surface. Using a rolling pin dusted with flour, roll dough out to a 1/4-inch-thick, 9 x 13-inch rectangle. Set rolling pin at bottom edge of dough and gently roll dough onto pin so dough drapes over top. Lift rolling pin over baking dish and gently unroll dough over filling. Shape to fit container. Cut 6 slits into crust to create steam vents. Transfer to oven and bake for 25-30 minutes until filling bubbles and crust is lightly browned. Let cool 5 minutes before serving.

Servings: 8

Preparation Time: 35 minutes
Cooking Time: 25 minutes
Total Time: 1 hour

Oven Temperature: 375°F

Calories 283.8
Total Fat 6.58g, Saturated Fat 2.68g, Cholesterol 46.64mg, Sodium 1271.87mg, Potassium 651.9mg, Total Carbohydrates 36.39g, Fiber 7.37g, Sugar 9.41g
Protein 21.75g

Source: Clean Eating November/December 2011

The Evolution of Leftovers

My mother taught me that leftover cooking is all about creativity. When you get tired of having warmed up leftovers as is, it’s time to turn them into something else. So leftover cooked vegetables might go into a frittata or casserole or soup, leftover grains or beans might turn into soup. In fact, just about anything can turn into soup.

The kitchari (a combination of rice and mung beans and spices) recipe I cooked up several days ago was more dry than I like my kitchari, so after serving it a few times to Rene’ with dinner (he likes to have grains with dinner; I only have them sometimes), I decided to mix it up into something else last night. Small cocktail shrimp were on sale at Whole Foods when we shopped there yesterday (they are the only place in town that carries the kind of dry cat food our boy cat, Beren, eats – and he was nearly out), so I bought some and put them together with the kitchari, onion and garlic (basic pantry staples for me – I always have them on hand) and what I had in my refrigerator ready to be used up: celery, zucchini, orange peppers, and some sprouted lentils (from New Natives). Delicious!

Some leftovers never make it to the evolution process. I had some of the roasted cauliflower from the night before as a snack – and then went back for seconds and finished it all up. A satisfying snack, along with the pumpernickel bread I had baked a few days ago and the almond date spread I’d put together to satisfy a craving, and a hard-boiled egg to make sure I had enough protein in the meal.

Almond Date Spread

128 gram almond butter
85 gram deglet noor dates
1/2 cup So Delicioius coconut milk, unsweetened

Place almond butter and dates in food processor or blender. Begin to blend, adding coconut milk in a stream. Blend until the texture is as smooth as you like it. Refrigerate. Use as a dip or spread. Nice with apple slices.

Servings: 6
Yield: 1.5 cups – 1/4 cup servings

Nutrition Facts
Calories 170.07
Total Fat 11.77g
Saturated Fat 1.08g
Sodium 1.39mg
Total Carbohydrates 14.7g
Fiber 2.95g
Sugar 10.75g
Protein 5.67g

Holiday Indulgences & Curry Yogurt Dressing

The holiday season with its wealth of treats has begun, and my Sunday eating reflects it! I definitely had more of the Gianna’s cookies than I needed, along with a few yummy tartlets, and just too much food in general.

I am so grateful that my appetite does balance itself out, so I found myself not all that hungry on Monday, and ate fairly light. My approach to eating is never an all or nothing deal – I eat what I want to eat, but usually in moderation, with planned indulgences that are a small part of the overall picture of my nutritional intake. When I stay aware of what I am doing, and make conscious choices, and pay attention to what my body tells me, this works very well.

Tracking my intake, through these pictures and through writing it down much of the time (I’ve used DietPro in the past, I’m now experimenting with’s MyPlate) gives me the information I need to keep my eating supportive of my health and fitness.

Curry Yogurt Dressing

A creamy dressing for salads, made with yogurt and mayonnaise with spices. You can substitute other herbs or spices, and use various kinds of vinegar instead of the lemon juice.

1/4 cup Greek Yogurt – Plain, Nonfat
1/4 cup Mayonnaise
2 tbsp Lemon Juice
1 tsp Curry Powder

Serves: 5
Yield 5 ounces, 2 Tblsp. per serving
Nutrition Facts
Serving Size: 1 oz
Calories 80, Total Fat 8.86g, Saturated Fat 1.61g, Cholesterol 4mg, Sodium 75.45mg, Total Carbohydrate 1.24g, Dietary Fiber 0.14g, Sugars 0.65g, Protein 1.08g

Balance Over Time

Any given day of eating can look out of balance or not so healthy if you look just at what was eaten in that 24 hour period. It’s the balance over time that makes the difference. Sunday we had an alumni gathering with potluck snacks, and my Meal 2 eating was scattered over an afternoon. I found myself hungry and craving after that, and ate considerably more than I usually would in one day. Back on track Monday, and my body finds it’s own balance – I just wasn’t as hungry, and didn’t really want anything other than protein, vegetables, fruit, and nuts. I am grateful that if I listen to my own body, balance returns.

The Expense of Real Food

A friend sent me a link to a Mark Bittman article,  “Is Junk Food Really Cheaper?” that is worth reading, particularly for those who claim they can’t manage to eat real food because it is so much more expensive than processed food. It may be more “expensive” in terms of your time – it does take more time to slice up my red bell pepper from the farmer’s market, and put together my own salad with the fresh ingredients I have on hand (plus a few canned or bottled ones, like the artichoke hearts I put in my salad, and a few that I have prepared in advance, like my vinegared red onions). But in terms of price, taking time to cook up various whole grains, vegetables, and proteins is LESS expensive than fast food or packages of snack foods.

The Midwestern Contrast

Over dinner last night my photo-taking of food grew into a quite a bit of laughter as the conversation turned to the comparison of the plate of my friend with midwestern eating patterns (lasagna and a very white looking salad) and the other choices at the table (like my arugula beet salad and chicken breast). She’s been watching my photo collages and wishing she ate like that, but it just doesn’t happen easily for her. She requested more easy cooking tips for getting vegetables into her eating, and I promised that once I’m home I will share more of those. So, watch this space!

Making the healthy choice

There are many stages of awareness and understanding of how to eat healthfully (not to mention a variety of ideas about what that means!), but once we have chosen a path towards supportive eating, there is still the issue of actually making the right choices in the moment.

The first step to shifting a habit of eating foods that we know are not supportive to fitness and health is to recognize what is happening when we veer away from making the choices we had planned. The key is to gather enough consciousness in that moment of choice-making to stop, and have planned in advance some activity or something you can say to yourself to remind you that you have a choice here. When you notice yourself falling into whatever it is that sidetracks you (anger, loneliness, impatience, etc.), you might say “Oh, yes, here I am again at that point where I could start to go wrong. Let me see if I can make a better choice this time.” You might write in your journal, or read something inspiring, or go for a walk, or take a few deep breaths and remember the things you are grateful for, or whatever else you can imagine might help you stay centered and able to make a conscious choice.

Just remember that you can become aware, you can take some deep breaths and you can tell yourself that a small step in the right direction AT THAT MOMENT can make a difference.

Smoothie as workout indicator

You can usually tell when I’ve done a serious resistance training or interval training workout by the smoothie that shows up on my daily photo collage. There are the odd days when I just can’t manage a smoothie afterwards and make do with the best substitute I can for an easily absorbed food with 2:1 carbohydrate to protein ratio (I did this a few days last week during the workshop intensity). But my post-workout nutrition of choice is a smoothie. I tend to use whey protein with fruit and either almond milk or coconut milk (not the creamy kind in cans – it’s available in the refrigerated section or the milk alternatives section – I usually get So Delicious). So you can see that Thursday I got back to my workouts after Monday-Wednesday off (though I did go for a walk through the Skyote Mountain land with my husband Rene’ on Wednesday).