Monday, February 28, 2011

Let's Talk about Health, Calories and Weight

So I was talking to a friend of mine today about weight. It was a discussion including adults and children. I mentioned that I hadn't weighed myself in over 25 years, and she said "Wow, you're lucky."

Funny, in relation to my weight or body size, I never thought so. Since my teens, I have always thought of myself as "the-chubby-one." But actually, right now, I am not, and haven't been for the last 8 years or so.

Back to our conversation. As we continued to talk she said that a nutritionist once mentioned that a child's snack should be around 50-70 calories. Again, I mentioned that I never count calories

So, what's changed since I was a teen? What's different on our experiences? Our stories?
It's true that I never look at the calories on a label, but I sure do spend time reading labels. So do my kids (8 and 5 years old) What do I read?
I read what is actually IN the product. Where is "sugar" listed because the closer it is to first the more sugar is in it. Are there any hydrogenated or partially hydrogenated oils? Or vegetable oils (a tricky code for transfats)? Or soy lecithin?
What is the ratio between things that I recognized as food and others that I don't. It all seems daunting and impossible, but when you take the time, even ask your kids to look for some of these items, you WILL find brands, or products within brands, without all that, OK, I have to say it, CRAP.

When you eat food that is as close as you can, in that moment, come to a food in its natural form, you don't need to count calories. Your body knows what to do with the food you are putting into it. That means, it will tell you when you are full, and you will hear and eventually listen. Your body will tell you when a food isn't agreeing with you, and you will hear it and eventually you will cut down or not eat that food anymore because you won't desire it. I bet if you pay attention next time you eat someth8ing like that, you'll discover that it tastes great for a few bites and then slowly, you start to feel a bit, icky, then tired and sad... Try it and see.

Why? Our bodies are not fabricated by us. We are not 'man-made". So what our body knows how to process best is not 'man-made" but nature made. Personally, I go as far to bring this belief to my skin, the largest organ in our bodies. Anything that goes on it, goes through it, and goes in it. So almost exclusively, whatever I put on my body, if pressed, I could eat.

Fat is one way our body protects us from things it can't handle. It wraps it up in fat and puts it somewhere- hips, belly, legs, chin, etc. Take out part of the need for that protection- "man-made" food, and take away your body's need to make fat.

If you think about most 'diets," you spend your time simplifying what you eat. Usually down to clean proteins, vegetables, maybe some fruits and nuts. All nature made food.

Think about what you are reading for. Look for the real food. Eat your way to feeling great.

I'd love to hear your comments.

Wednesday, February 23, 2011

Onion, Mushroon and Feta Tarte Tatin

Basically this is a main course dinner version of the French upside down apple pie.
It can be vegan based on the kind of cheese you use, or if you use any at all. It can be "cheesed-up" is you use Stilton or a strong blue cheese.

As I retired vegetarian, I loved this dinner. My family... well, I recommend you serve it to older children with more varied tastes! I think I will keep it a a starter or for lunch with my girlfriends!

Onion, Mushroom, Fennel and Feta Tarte Tatin

1 puff pastry, defrosted and rolled out if necessary or made of GF recipe or use spelt
3 onions
2 large fennel
2 Tbsp olive oil
2 1/2 cups/12oz/200gr chestnut mushrooms
4 Tbsp/50gr roasted pine nuts
1 cup/250gr broken up feta or blue cheese
1/2cup/125gr ricotta cheese (optional)
sea salt &     pepper

Pre-heat oven to 180C/375F.
Line a large quiche pan with baking paper.

Slice onions into 6 wedges.
Take branches off fennel and slice of bit of the bottom. The slice into 6 wedges, like the onions.

Place olive oil in a large frying pan, saute onions and fennel, until onions are softened and lightly colored. About 20 minutes.
Meanwhile, break up your cheese into to smallish chunks. If using the ricotta, mix it with the chunks.

Add the mushrooms and salt. Saute for 5 more minutes, stirring now and then. Taste to adjust salt & pepper. Pour into the prepared quiche pan. press to flatten a bit. Spoon cheese over onion mixture. Cover with pastry, tucking edges inside/under.

Bake for 35-40 minutes, until pastry in golden. I checked mine around 25 minutes and had to cover the pastry with a piece of foil as it was already golden brown.
let sit for 5 minutes before you turn it upside down on a large plate/platter.

Serve with a green salad....

Tuesday, February 22, 2011

Chocolate Chip Brownies

Sounds decadent? INDULGENT even? It is! That's what this blog is all about. LOVING what you eat in all the senses of the word Loving it during the making, loving the eating, and loving how you feel after you have eaten it. This is a no-sugar, no egg, no dairy recipe!


Chocolate Chip Brownies

2 cups flour (I use spelt/epeautre)
1 cup cocoa powder
1/4 tsp seasalt
1 TBL + 1 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp baking soda

3/4 cup melted coconut oil
1 cup maple syrup
1/4 cup almond butter
1/4 cup soy milk
2 Tbl liquid vanilla extract
1/4 cup espresso or water

1 cups chocolate chips
1 cup roasted walnuts or almonds (optional)

Pre-heat oven to 325F/165C.
Oil a square baking pan.
In large bowl, combine all DRY ingredients.
In another bowl or large measuring cup, whisk together all WET ingredients.
Pour WET into DRY.
Mix until just blended.
Blend in chocolate chips and nuts, if using.

Pour into pan. Shake pan to make flat.
Bake for 20-30 minutes. Check at 20 min, when you really smell the chocolate. Then add on baking minutes slowly. They can easily go to overcooked.

Leave in pan to cool throughly. They longer they stay in the pan the more brownie-lke dense they will get.

Oh yes.... Sometimes, when i am in a really festive mood, I add a "Rocky-Road" kind of topping. In a small bowl I mix up chopped nuts, coconut, and cut up marshmellows and sprinkle on top after 15-20 minutes of cooking.

Gingerbread (Pain d'Epice) Muffins

This is an adapted recipe from on of the original whole gain baking books from the 80s - Uprisings. I have been inspired by their recipes for years, indeed I think I understood the art of recipe adaption from the wisdom I learned in this book.

Gingerbread Muffins

2 cups whole wheat flour (I use spelt/epeautre)
1/2 cup dry milk powder (I use soy milk powder)
1 1/2 tsp baking soda
1 1/2 tsp baking powder
2 TBL ground ginger (more or less to taste)
2 tsp cinnamon (kanel)
1/2 tsp ground cloves (girofle)

2/3 cup molasses (sirop de melasse)
1/3 cup honey or agave syrup or rice syrup or barley syrup
1/3 cup vegetable oil (I use de-aromatised sunflower oil)
1 egg
1 cup water

Heat oven to 350F/170C.
Line muffin tins with muffin papers.

Mix dry ingredients in a large bowl.
Whip molasses, honey, oil, egg and water in another bowl or large measuring cup.
Stir wet ingredients into dry. DO NOT over mix.

Fill muffin tins 2/3.
Bake for 12-15 minutes. When you will smell their gingery wonderfulness, check them. Check them by touching one of the middle ones to see if they spring back.
Let them cool halfway in the tins, take out and finish cooling on a rack.

Great with Chai or Rooibos or well, anything.
Last time we made them my 8 yr old daughter sold them at the local park with lemonade! She made 14euro/$ that afternoon!

Thursday, February 10, 2011

Chocolate Chip Muffins

These are a AWESOME dairy free, sugar free, wheat free snack.
Makes 12-13 large muffins!

DRY Ingredients
1.5 cups whole flour (I use whole spelt)
2 cups white flour (I use spelt)
1/2 tsp sea salt
2 Tbsp baking powder
1+ cups chocolate chips

WET Ingredients
1/2 cup vegetable oil
1 cup barley malt or rice syrup or maple syrup or agave syrup
3/4 cups soy milk
3/4 cups fresh pure water
2 Tbsp liquid real vanilla

PreHeat oven to 325F/165C.
Line muffin tins with paper liners or brush with oil.
In a large bowl mix all dry ingredients except Chocolate Chips.
In a seperate deep bowl or very large measuring cup blend all wet ingredients together.
Pour into dry and blend until just mixed. Do not over mix!
Then add the chocolate chips, blend barely.
Fill muffin tins until almost full.
Bake 20 minutes until golden brown.
Let muffins sit in pan until cool.


Wednesday, February 9, 2011

Mexican Baked Eggs

I know this is straying from my typical ingredient list. But it is a great cold day,
I-want-to-cook easy and delicious recipe! I use it as a dinner food as we eat bread & avocado for breakfast.

Best is to use free range, organic (bio/AB) eggs. Yes, they do make a difference. You can even use only EGG WHITES to drastically cut down on fat and cholestral. Actually, I think it's better this way! If you do, substitute 2 egg whites for 1 whole egg. I plan 2 eggs per person, including kids.

You can also substitute a jar or 2 of pre-made salsa for the tomatoes and green chilis for a truly simple, 10 minute prep meal.


1 large red onion, diced small (yellow or any other kind of onion works too)
2 medium cloves of garlic, minced or grated (optional)
2 Tbl olive oil for cooking
1/4 cup chili peppers sliced thin (optional)
1 can diced tomatoes or 6 fresh tomatoes, diced small
1 TBl cumin powder
6-8 whole eggs or 12-16 egg whites
salt & pepper to taste
1- 1.5 cups Monetrey Jack or Emmental grated cheese (to your liking)

Preheat oven to 350F/175C. Grease a 10inch/30cm baking pan. I like to use a glass Pyrex pan.

Heat pan on medium heat. Add olive oil. Saute onions and garlic until soft. About 5 min. Add cumin, chilis if using and tomatoes.
Pour into prepared baking pan.
Crack eggs on top, keeping yolks whole.
Sprinkle with salt & pepper.
Top with grated cheese.

Bake for 15-25 minutes. Keep watch after 15 min as egg yolks can quickly go from soft adn gooey to hard and over cooked.

Serve immediately with a large green salad.

Sunday, February 6, 2011

Moroccon Veg Stew

Serve with couscous.


2 Tbl olive oil
2 med-lg red onions
4 lg carrots cut in 1 inch/5cm pieces
2 large potatoes cut in 1nch/5cm pieces
1 small butternut or "potimarron" pumpkin squash cut in pieces
1 small eggplant/aubergine, cut in pieces
1 med courgette/zucchini, cut in pieces

4 Tbl ground cumin
1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
1/2-1 tsp cayenne pepper (optional)
1/2 tsp ground coriander or cardamon
1/4 tsp ground nutmeg
1/4 tsp ground anise (optional)
1/4 tsp ground cloves
Salt & Pepper

3 cups veg or chicken broth (low/no salt)
1 can diced tomatoes
1 can chick peas, rinsed well

In a large Dutch oven (Cocotte) or heavy-bottom pot, heat oil over med-high heat. Saute onions until soft. Stirring occasionally. 5 minutes or so.

Add spices and cook until you can smell them, about 1 min.
Add carrots, potatoes and pumpkin/squash, salt & pepper. Stirring until the begin to brown, about 5 minutes.
Add broth and tomatoes until veg are just covered. Taste and season with salt & pepper.
Bring to a gentle simmer & cook, uncovered for 20 min.

Add eggplant/aubergine and courgette/zucchini. Stir to combine. Cook about 20 min until tender.
Stir in chickpeas, taste & seasona gain with salt & pepper if needed. Cook until chickpeas are warmed through, about 5 min.

Serve with couscous or rice. Top with freshily chopped coriander if desired.