Archive for June, 2010

The Apple Doesn’t Fall Far From The Tree

June 18, 2010

My son’s school had a book fair set up in the library. Apparently he saw a book that caught his eye and asked his dad for some money to buy it. Imagine my surprise when he comes up to the cash register with a cookbook of healthy money saving recipes. I asked him if he was sure that this is the book he wanted. He said Yes. I am going to cook the items and make money this summer. He proceeded to show me that each recipe had a dollar amount attached to it. He then stated that he would cook the recipe and have us, his family, pay for our meals. (What a clever idea.) I explained that we were his test subjects and he can’t charge us but he could cook and charge our neighbors. We have an amazingly wonderful group of neighbors. I thought of our immediate neighbors who are retired seniors and my other friends who have small kids. I told him. I’m sure they would love to not have to cook and instead enjoy one of his home cooked meals. He liked that idea. His first recipe was for a Broccoli Orzo Salad. I thought it was quite nice. What surprised me even more was that he liked it. He is a kid that doesn’t like salads. It just proves that if a child has a hand in cooking it he will be more likely to eat it.

Broccoli Orzo Salad reformatted from the Eat Well, Save Big Cookbook

Hardware- knife, cutting board, slotted spoon, colander, 2 large bowls (one with ice and cold water), whisk, lemon juicer, measuring cups, can opener, microplane zester, serving bowl, salad tongs,

Software- 1/2 lb orzo pasta (it looks like big grains of rice), broccoli florets, 1 C jarred roasted red peppers, Kalamata olives, 15 oz can of low sodium cannellini beans, 1 C shredded parmesan cheese, 1/2 C fresh basil leaves, chopped into ribbons. (you can use kitchen scissors)

2 b finished later. please check back


Fitness is the other half of the Equation

June 12, 2010

As you know eating healthy is something I try to do everyday. I pack my kids lunches with all the right foods. Teach others about how to get your kids and you to eat healthier and like it. Yet, some part of the formula was off balance for me. I consider myself a pretty active person. I take Tai Chi classes, Hip Hop boot camp, and belly dance. I even started playing tennis again. Yet it still is not enough. Nor consistent enough. So… with a friend’s encouragement… I signed up for Extreme Boot Camp. Yes, I am now one of the crazy people running all over town, doing jumping jacks and sit ups in the park. Did I mention that I hate running. It does help that I have my friend suffering with me. After all misery loves company. I have to say though, I was very proud of myself for not collapsing after the first day. And I was pleasantly surprised that although I was sore, it wasn’t terrible. I may survive this yet.

I encourage you to add a 30 minute walk into your day, play some music and dance around with wild abandonment, play tag with your kids, or whatever makes you want to move.

I am in my second week of boot camp. I can hardly believe it but I am able to do the 2 mile run without walking, well, Mon and Tues. runs anyway. I have to admit that I feel very empowered by the end of the hour class. I like the instructors. They don’t yell at you the whole time. They are doing the runs with us. And they seem like nice people. The students are all shapes and sizes. So don’t feel that you have to be in top shape to do something like this. I certainly am not. I am noticing that I am getting toned and stronger. And as I am typing this, I’m not sore. That must be a good sign.

Ok. I had to come back to add that today’s workout was really painful. I guess I was getting ahead of myself so the instructor, mind reader that he is, decided to make today killer lunge day. I’m going to feel it tomorrow.

I am at the half way point. I have decided that this boot camp is like having a personal trainer so that I can pretend to live the life of a celebrity. Although they do have a personal chef and driver as well. If I won the lotter, that is what I want a chauffer. Yesterday my son came to join me for the Friday class. It was another killer lunge and strange push ups day. He did excellent during the class. He kept right up with a veteran boot camp guy that I call “the Machine”. And he beat me. My son thought it was so much fun he asked if he could come back on his birthday. Isn’t that a funny one. Ah, the boundless energy of youth. Well, this morning he asked if I was sore. I told him I’m not. He said his thighs and calves were very sore. So even though he was faster since I’m not sore… I think I’m in better shape.

End of week 4. It was a hard week for me because my original coach. We’ll call him Mr. M left on a trip and we have a sub. I was really fond of Mr. M. He was motivating and changed up the work out program so we not bored and also working on different muscle groups. I liked the days when we had relays or obstacle courses. I really hope he comes back. Having a good trainer is important but having a good trainer that you enjoy working with is even better. To celebrate finishing week 4 I brought my son’s favorite summertime drink to class. Watermelon juice. It is refreshing and perfect for a hot summer day. Not to mention it has the antioxidant lycopene, lots of vitamin C, vitamin B, potassium, lots of water and since it is pureed,  all the fiber.

Beginning of Week 6. I can hardly believe it is almost over. Half of the people have dropped out and we who are left are the tough ones. Today Mr Marine was saying how we have earned so much respect by making it. On our run he said that I am the best runner in the group. Isn’t that funny. I still hate running but I’m so competitive. I told him my son wants to join me and he said yes and he would tone it down for him. I told him he didn’t need to my son was able to hang with the best of them. And can you believe it Mr. Marine asked if he was as good as me. Boy, do I feel empowered. But not empowered enough to do another session. Atleast not right away. I really want to try Zumba.

Watermelon Juice

Hardware- Blender, knife, cutting board, wooden spoon, paper towels, pitcher

Software- whole watermelon

  • Wash the outside of the watermelon with soapy water.
  • Place a damp kitchen towel under a cutting board to prevent it from slipping and also so soak up the juice so it doesn’t spread all over the counter.
  • You can also place a paper towel on top of the cutting board to keep the melon from slipping around while you try to cut it in half.
  • Remember to never have your hand or fingers in front of the knife blade. Your knife could easily slip on the watermelon’s smooth rind.
  • Carefully, using a smooth bladed knife cut the melon in half. Put one of the halves aside.
  • Remove the paper towel.
  • lay the melon on the cut side so it doesn’t wobble around.
  • Cut it in half again and continue to cut parallel lines. then lay the semi circles on their sides and cut off the rinds. Throw these in your compost pile.
  • Cut the watermelon flesh into chunks and put them in your blender.
  • Put the lid on and blend away.
  • If your blade gets stuck, simply stop the motor and move the watermelon pieces around with your wooden spoon.
  • Put the lid back on tight and blend again.
  • Transfer your frothy drink to a pitcher.
  • Pour it in a tall glass over ice cubes and enjoy.

Guilt Free Ice Cream

Part of the boot camp experience is writing down what you eat in a day. Ice cream happens to be a huge weakness of mine. While trying to make a quick smoothie, I accidentally created this pleasant surprise. I hope you like it as much as I do. It has sweetness, creaminess, and the chill of ice cream w/0 the fat. You get protein and creaminess from the yogurt and antioxidants and vitamin C from the berries and potassium from the banana.

Bananas are a great fruit to have on hand. When I notice that they are getting very spotty and over ripe, I peel them and stick 2 in a sandwich ziplock bag and freeze them. Label it 2 bananas before you stick it in the freezer. Then you can use it for smoothies, guilt free ice cream, or to make banana bread (just let them defrost first for banana bread).

Hardware- mini blender (I use something like the Magic Bullet), spoon, bowl or ice cream cone

Software- 4 frozen strawberries and or blueberries, 1/2 a frozen banana, nonfat plain greek yogurt (I like fago brand), squeeze of honey


  • Put the berries, banana, and 2 tablespoons of yogurt in the blender. Add the squeeze of honey.
  • Make sure the lid is on tight
  • Blend till smooth.
  • Scoop it out into a cup or cone and enjoy

Oven roasted Cauliflower

One of my boot camp classmates needs to add more veggies to her day. Here is an easy and tasty cauliflower dish. Since it is summer and super hot, you can do it on the grill in a foil tray or in a toaster oven with a bake setting. (my mom even sets the toaster oven outside on the back porch so as not to heat up the house.) But, in the winter it is great to make in the oven because it heats up your house and makes it smell good.

Hardware- tray to roast the cauliflower in, cutting board, knife, foil, bowl, measuring cups, lasagna dish

Software- 1 large head of cauliflower (look for uniformed whiteness, no browning), 12 0z of low sodium chicken broth, dried bread crumbs (store bought or homemade-take your stale wheat bread and pulse it in a food processor or blender), dried oregano, dried basil, blended fresh garlic, fresh flat leaf parsley, black pepper,  grated parmesan cheese.


  • Preheat oven to 350 F
  • Rinse of the cauliflower in a large bowl of water. Since I’m in L.A., I then dump that water on my flowers and lawn.
  • Cut off the florets as close to the bottom of the stems as you can. If a floret is large cut it in half.
  • Spread them out on a lasagna dish. In the bowl mix together the garlic and chicken broth.
  • Cover with aluminum foil and seal the edges.
  • Bake in the oven for  25 minutes or til a fork can pierce through a floret with just a little resistance. You don’t want it to be mushy.
  • Meanwhile, mix together in a bowl the bread crumbs, oregano, basil, parmesan cheese, and olive oil.
  • Rinse off the flat leaf parsley and pick off the leaves.
  • Either with a pizza cutting wheel or scissors chop up the parsley leaves
  • Add the chopped leaves to the bread crumb mixture and stir
  • Remove the foil and sprinkle the bread crumb mixture generously on top of the cauliflower. Return to the oven without the foil to crisp up the bread crumbs. Once they are lightly brown, carefully remove the dish. Cheers.

With summer here I though of doing it on the grill so you don’t heat up the house. If you are doing it on the grill, use a foil tray or make a foil envelope and uncover it once you add the bread crumb mixture. Instead of oven roasting it you will be steaming the cauliflower in the chicken broth. Then opening it up just to crisp up the bread crumbs. If you do it this way, let me know how it worked for you.

Angelic Deviled Eggs

Usually deviled eggs are made with all the egg yolks and mayo. Mine are angelic because we swap out some of the yolks and all of the mayo. You want some yolks because egg yolks not only give your deviled eggs the yellow coloring but they also help to prevent Macular degeneration in the eyes.

Hardware- small pot with lid, bowl of ice water, egg slicer, tablespoon, teaspoon, mixing bowl, slotted spoon,

Software- number of eggs that will fit into your pot (for me it is 6), 2-3 teaspoons of greek nonfat plain yogurt, 2 pinch kosher salt, 1/2-1 teaspoon sweet pickles chopped or sweet relish without the juice, fresh cracked black pepper, paprika, 1/4 teaspoon yellow mustard, small drizzle milk, rinse and finely chop 3 baby carrots.

Normally you want really fresh eggs for cooking but this is an instance where an older but not expired egg is best. Reason being that eggshells are porous. They let air and moisture in and out of the egg. Eggs have an inner membrane just beneath the shell. As the egg gets older and it is hard boiled, the air between the shell and that membrane expands and you will notice that the shell won’t stick to the hardboiled white part of the egg. So you won’t be pulling the white off along with the shell when you peel it.


  • Boil the eggs in the pot. Remember start with cold water on med low for 5 minutes to bring the water and eggs up in temperature. Then turn up the heat to med. Once the water starts to boil set your timer for 1 minute or count for 60 seconds.
  • After the timer goes off, turn off the heat and let the eggs sit in the water for 15 minutes.
  • As soon as the timer goes off, carefully scoop out the eggs with the slotted spoon and put them in the cold ice water to stop the cooking process. Using this method prevents the darkness that often is on hard boiled egg’s yolk.
  • Take your eggs out of the water and peel them. Put them back in the bowl of water just to wash off any tiny eggshells that you might have missed.
  • Cut the eggs in half lengthwise.
  • Pull out the yolks of 4 eggs and put them in a mixing bowl. Give the other 2 yolks to your dog or throw them away.
  • Chop up 2 of the egg halves using your egg slicer or a fork and add it to the bowl. This adds more protein to each egg halve and bulks up the mixture.
  • Add the greek yogurt, relish/pickles, mustard, carrots (I like the color and crunch),salt and a couple of turns of pepper
  • Mix well
  • Using a teaspoon scoop the mixture into the egg whites so it makes a gentle mound. Or you can get fancy and put the mixture into a piping bag and squeeze it in the whites.
  • Place them on your serving plate
  • Either sprinkle the tops of the yellow mixture with paprika or cracked black pepper
  • If you aren’t going to eat them right away, put them in a tupperware and stick them in the fridge.


2 b continued. please check back