Sunday, December 1, 2013

Asparagus and Potato Soup

It's definitely a warm soup kind of Autumn here in Massachusetts. I've been making a lot of bean and lentil soups lately, but yesterday I looked in my freezer and realized I've been collecting the woody asparagus ends for quite some time now, and it's probably time to do something with them. I eat at least a pound of asparagus every week, so I had probably 200-300 ends saved! I went online and learned making asparagus stock is as easy as boiling the leftover ends in water for about an hour and suddenly you have a delicious vegetable stock that's basically free. I happened to have onions, garlic, and potatoes on hand, so I made the easiest and cheapest soup ever! Oh, and by the way, my husband even loved it enough to have seconds. That's definitely a bonus!!

Asparagus and Potato Soup

Simmer asparagus ends in fresh water for an hour, or until mushy. Strain. Discard ends and keep the stock. Set aside until ready to add to soup, or let cool and refrigerate for up to 5 days.

Add some olive oil to a large soup pot that's heated to medium. Add one diced onion and sauté for about 5 minutes. Add two or three minced fresh garlic cloves to the onion and sauté for another few minutes. Meanwhile, dice up a bunch of washed, but unpeeled potatoes. Keep adding to the onion and garlic mixture. I probably used about 12 medium sized potatoes.

Season the mixture with salt and pepper and add a couple bay leaves. Pour in enough asparagus stock to cover the potatoes by a couple inches. Bring to a simmer and cook until potatoes are very tender, about 30 minutes or so. Blend with an immersion blender or let cool for a few minutes before blending in batches in a blender or food processor. You may need to reheat the soup and season with salt and pepper to taste after blending.

Serve with warm crusty bread and top with freshly steamed or sautéed asparagus spears.

I have enough soup to last me two lunches and two more dinners and it probably cost me no more than two dollars to make. The crusty bread I bought to go with it cost three dollars, but it was so big that I have enough to go with the lunches, plus it was GMO free. Talk about affordable!


I do not ever peel my potatoes because that is where the most nutritious part of a potato is. Why throw away the best part?!

Wednesday, September 11, 2013

Fried Rice- A Staple Meal

The weather this summer prevented me from craving Asian themed meals and instead I've been enjoying Spanish flavors. But with Autumn upon us I figured I should brush up on my fried rice skills.

It is one of the easiest and quickest dishes to make, especially if you already have cooked rice and leftover veggies and/or meat. It is also extremely versatile. You can add whatever your heart craves. Don't be afraid to try new veggies or even tofu!

What you will need for a successful fried rice:

Cooked rice- I always use Lundberg Farms Organic Brown Rice for my meals
Organic Tamari Sauce- found next to the soy sauce in store (gluten free is available also)
Non GMO canola oil
Eggs from happy chickens
Protein- beans, tofu, chicken, beef
Veggies- asparagus, carrots, corn, peas, snow peas, spinach, broccoli

The first thing I usually do is cook the egg. Get your frying pan nice and hot on medium to medium high heat. Whisk your egg in a bowl. Add a small amount of oil to the pan-just enough to coat the bottom. You don't need as much as you think. If the pan is hot enough, a small amount will spread out nicely. Add the egg to the pan and swirl it around a bit by picking up the pan, not touching the egg itself with a utensil. It will only take a minute or so to cook through completely. It should slide right out of pan, so set it aside until later.

Next up is the veggies. If they are not cooked yet, sauté them in another small amount of oil. Every veg is different, so cook according to how long it takes to be done to your desired texture. For instance, you wouldn't want to cook broccoli and spinach together because spinach takes only about 30 seconds to wilt down. But carrots and broccoli take about the same time to cook, so you can start them together.
If your veggies are already cooked, you can skip this part.

Your protein is next, so if you have raw chicken or beef, you should cook it now. If I still ate meat, I would cut the meat into bite sized pieces, season it with pepper and then sauté until cooked. If I was using tofu, I would have this made ahead of time (see recipe in a previous post) and if I was using beans I would have them ready to go into the pan for the next step.

And now for the moment of truth! Make sure your pan is still nice and hot and add another small amount of oil. Have everything ready to put into the pan in the following order: Meat, veggies, eggs and then rice. Mix together and then add in your tamari sauce. Tamari is like soy sauce, but more concentrated in flavor so you don't need as much to get the desired flavor. Go easy with it at first to get the right amount for your taste buds. Mix everything at a fast pace for 30 seconds to a minute, trying to prevent the rice from sticking to the bottom. I usually use a metal spatula and continuously mix from the bottom of the pan up. When everything is heated through and mixed together, it's done. It goes quick, so be prepared to kill the heat and get it off the burner.

I am always surprised how much this makes. It's kind of like when you are cooking pasta for 1 or 2 people and you always make too much! But it's ok, because I always have enough for lunch the next day.

Usually on Sundays I make a big batch of rice, cook up some vegetables and make the special delicious tofu since these are the most time consuming tasks. It makes life so much easier when I need a quick meal during lunch or dinner. If you feel frustrated with making this at first, don't give up. Once you get the hang of it and what works in your kitchen, you will make this frequently. It is a wonderful way to use up leftovers because you can really use anything you want and make a great balanced meal.


Saturday, July 27, 2013

I don't wanna name my diet!

Now that it's been five months of drastically changing the food I eat regularly, I think it's time to list all of the items I've been eating from day to day. It's almost easier to just say what I don't eat, but the inevitable question is always, "So what do you eat?" or "How do you get enough protein?". I don't have a name for the "diet" because I don't think it needs to be labeled as anything but a new way of life.

I will quickly recap what I don't eat:

1. Gluten- bread and pasta
2. Dairy- milk, cheese, and butter
3. Sugar and artificial sweeteners
4. Meat- beef, pork, chicken, turkey, etc.
5. Coffee
6. Processed foods such as canned soup, cereal, and frozen dinners, etc.

Here is a list of my favorite things to eat. There are many more options you can choose from so go crazy with as many whole foods as possible to spice up your diet. I feel like I have only started to get this figured out, but so far it's totally worth it and I recommend it to anyone!


Organic Tea- regular black, green and chai
Lemon juice in water with honey
Alcohol- I now refrain from beer due to gluten
Homemade organic almond milk
Ginger Libation- new fave alcoholic drink

Staple grains

Organic whole brown rice
Organic steel cut oatmeal


Organic apples (I have one every day)
Frozen organic mango, pineapple, strawberries for smoothies
Organic berries of any kind
LEMONS!!! The juice of at least one lemon every day


Organic spinach- always in the fridge
Asparagus- by far my favorite veg ever, nothing compares
Collard Greens- great to throw in a smoothie


Wild caught salmon
Wild caught cod or haddock
American shrimp
Tofu- see recipe in previous post
Eggs from happy chickens
Sunflower seeds


Organic gluten free tamari sauce for stir frys
Non GMO Canola oil
Extra Virgin Olive oil
Raw Local Honey- my fave is from Warm Colors Apiary in South Deerfield, MA
Organic Free Trade Chocolate- check out TAZA chocolate made in Somerville, MA
Plain seltzer water
Spices- all are probably ok- just avoid any that may have MSG added

There it is in a nutshell. It is a drastic change from the way most Americans eat, I know. If you decide to do this, you will probably get a lot of crazy stares and comments, but I guarantee you will feel so good you won't care what they say.

On Sundays I usually make a batch of rice, oatmeal, and tofu for the week. It takes some time, but then during the week it's easy to throw together a quick meal if those things are already made. I eat a lot of omelets with spinach, rice and other veg. I also have stir frys quite often. I usually switch from an Asian theme to Mexican theme spices. I have just discovered organic non-GMO tortilla chips at BJ's and it makes me happy!

Corn and soy are the biggest culprits when it comes to GMO's. They have been genetically modified and the effects on humans have not been tested yet, but they cause HUGE issues with mice. Please stay away from processed foods because almost everything contains soy and/or corn.

Have you seen the soda aisle at the grocery store? It's giant. It's also full of sugar, artificial sweeteners and other things you can't imagine. Please don't drink energy drinks, sports drinks and vitamin water. It's not worth it.

Another thing I hear a lot is that it's too expensive to eat this way. I completely disagree. I haven't actually done the math, but it's either the same or less than what I used to spend on food. I buy a lot of these things in bulk either at Whole Foods or believe it or not, BJ's. I barely ever go to a regular grocery store and I think that's why my costs are down. Unless you are buying sale items, which are usually processed, you pay a lot more at grocery stores.

As a side note, my allergies are gone, my energy level is through the roof, and my mood has been amazing these past few months. Knock on wood, I haven't had a head cold or been sick since last November!

Remember to try and buy LOCAL or AMERICAN!!!

I am happy to answer any questions anyone has, so feel free to contact me.

Happy eating!!!

Saturday, May 11, 2013

Baked Tofu with Tamari

This tofu recipe is so easy and delicious, you will wonder why you've waited so long to try it! Tofu takes on the flavor of what it is cooked with and in this case we use tamari to flavor it. Tamari is a more concentrated version of soy sauce so you don't need to use very much to get a rich flavor. Make sure you buy organic because soy is one of the most genetically modified foods out there.

Tofu itself is also made of soy. I always buy organic extra firm Nasoya brand that is non-gmo. In this area, Big Y sells it the cheapest at $2.00 per package. One package usually lasts me about four meals. I use it in salads, omelets, and stir frys. It tastes like cheese to me.

For this recipe there are only four ingredients: tofu, tamari, organic canola oil, and pepper. Pre heat your oven to 350 degrees.

Start by pressing some of the water out of your block of tofu. In a large dish place a couple of paper towels inside and set the tofu on top. Place another paper towel on top of the tofu and then top that with a piece of plastic wrap. Top that with a sauce pan with a can or jar of anything in your cupboard. This gives it some weight to help press the tofu. Let it stand for at least 15 minutes. You will be surprised how much water comes out!

The next step is to cut the tofu and season it. First, cut the tofu block in half as shown below. Then slice each half into four pieces. You will end up with eight slices of tofu. Pour enough tamari on the tofu to cover each piece and season with pepper. Let it marinate for about 5 minutes and you will notice the extra tamari liquid will be soaked up into the tofu! Keep turning the tofu pieces to make sure they are evenly seasoned.

Next, line a baking sheet with aluminum foil and pour a small amount of oil on the foil. Spread the oil so it is evenly covering the foil. Then place your tofu pieces on the baking sheet. Put it in the oven for 10 minutes and then flip each tofu piece. Put back in the oven for 30 more minutes and leave it alone.
Presto!! Baked tofu!!
Just cut up the pieces any way you like and put in a salad as shown here. It is a great source of protein, and can help fulfill the body's needs if you are a vegetarian or just trying to cut down on animal meats. Some studies also show that eating tofu can even decrease your cholesterol. Since I gave up cheese, this tofu has really helped me deal with the loss of one of my favorite foods!
I hope you enjoy this tofu, especially if you've never tried it before. Give yourself an hour to make it and you can have it in a few meals ready to be made quickly and easily during the week.

Sunday, April 28, 2013

It's not a diet, it's a new way of life!!

These days I have a whole new attitude when it comes to food. You may think I'm crazy, and OK, maybe I am a little, but there is no way I can go back to eating the way I used to. Just to clarify exactly what I mean, let me tell you a little about my dietary limitations.

*I have given up coffee completely and I now drink black or green tea. They say tea has less caffeine and has antioxidants in it, especially if you drink green tea.

*I no longer consume dairy products such as milk, cream, cheese, and butter. They are high in saturated fat and contain less calcium than originally believed. I have noticed that I haven't had a single outbreak of acne, which at my age was terribly annoying!

*I do not eat beef, chicken, or pork products. I have actually had a total of 3 steaks since this all began, but haven't gone near chicken or pork. I do not feel deprived and I rarely crave meat at all.

*I am also gluten free, so no wheat products such as bread, pasta or desserts made with flour. This isn't really difficult for me at all because I found an organic brown rice that I have been eating with basically every meal, and I do allow myself dark chocolate pieces.

*No processed food with ingredients like high fructose corn syrup, soy lecithin, aspartame, etc. Whole foods are the way to go.

What the heck do I eat everyday, you ask?  A most delicious and healthy menu! I start with a cup of black tea in the morning. On my way to work I eat a bowl of steel cut oatmeal with fresh fruit such as cut up organic apple and some cinnamon and honey. When I get to work, I sip on a smoothie that I made fresh with my amazing Ninja blender. Usually it is made with mango, banana, strawberries and lemon juice. It is so refreshing. For lunch I have leftover stir fry with rice, vegetable, egg and another protein such as tofu or fish. I also sometimes have a salad with spinach, rice, vegetables, and egg. Dinner is an veggie omelet or a lovely baked fish with rice and a vegetable.

So far I have not felt deprived. I feel the opposite! I can eat as much as I want and with the growing season upon us, I am so excited to try new fresh vegetables that are coming out. I feel great about not eating meat for the most part. People ask me if I don't eat meat because of the animals. At first it wasn't about that at all, it was really just a chance to cleanse my body. But now, it is both for my health and the animals'. If I know where the meat is coming from, I have less of a problem with eating it, but most of the meat that's available in stores are from places we have no idea what goes on. It's easier for me to buy organic vegetables and eat eggs from happy chickens, than it is to worry about where meat and dairy comes from. My body is changing for the better. I have a ton of energy, my mind is sharper, and I have lost weight.

I recommend trying this for at least a week or two. My original plan was to do this for two weeks to cleanse my body of toxins and then go back to eating the way I was. Instead it became a new way of life for me and I am so glad. It is definitely challenging at times, but I don't get all bent out of shape if I have a cookie or a steak now and again. Most of the time I stick to it because it feels good and these days I want to feel as spectacular as possible. Who knows how long we have on this great Earth? I want to live it the best I can for as long as I can!

Sunday, April 21, 2013

I Am A Lazy Composter

I eat a lot of fruits and vegetables these days. I am basically a vegetarian, although I do eat fish and eggs. I don't know what you call me, maybe a "no meat eater?" Anyway, I have a lot of veggie waste and I am a terrible composter to date. Today that changed! My husband is SO cool, I explained the idea that I read about a year ago, he went to Home Depot and put the idea into place almost immediately.

My problem is that I am essentially lazy, like most people, when it comes to garbage. Sure, we recycle a heck of a lot more than before, but I am guilty of throwing out compostable items such as banana peels, asparagus ends, and egg shells. All of which make awesome compost.

The idea is to keep unsightly and smelly compost piles concealed and protected from snooping wildlife. Get two large (30 gallon) galvanized steel garbage cans. Please make sure they are made in the USA. Drill holes in the lower 1/3 of the cans for drainage and worm entry. Dig a hole for each can in the ground so that they are out of the ground only enough to be able to secure the lids. Fill the first can with kitchen waste and yard clippings. You don't even have to turn the waste because the worms are supposed to do the work for you! It will most likely take months to fill the first can. I have yet to see how long it will take, but the article I got the idea from said it could even take a year! Once the first can is full, you leave it alone and start filling the second can. By the time the second can is full, the first can should be full of wonderful compost! Then you just shovel it out onto your land as desired and start all over again.

Since I have so much waste everyday, I have a smaller can that I am keeping by the back door that I can fill and then empty into the larger cans when I have time. Remember, I am lazy when it comes to this stuff, so I am making this as easy as possible. Thank God I have a husband who is handy and willing to fulfill my "honey-do" list.

On a totally unrelated subject, I tried coffee for the first time since February 12. It was terrible!!! I had a couple sips, made it into iced coffee, and still couldn't drink it. I can't believe it. I was utterly addicted and unable to function without it before. I do still drink tea in the morning, but it's not the same. I challenge you to try quitting coffee if you have ever had the desire to and thought it wasn't possible. It IS!

Sunday, March 3, 2013

Change is good

YES!!! Today is Sunday and yes it is snowing but I am still going to hike! Why should a little snow flurries ruin my workout?

My eating habits are completely different than before. It's been 2 and a half weeks and I still feel awesome, other than the slight hangover I have from indulging in 80's rock n roll and Malibu and cranberry drinks last night. I have reintroduced grains, but I am still gluten free. So I've been making a batch of organic whole brown rice and steel cut oatmeal to use in meals for a few days. I also have some quinoa in my cupboard that for some reason I haven't used yet.

It's definitely a change, but I feel so great that it's worth it. I will take you through a normal day of eating. When I wake up I have a cup of tea, plain. I am basically having it for the caffeine. I don't want to give up that boost in the am. On my way to work I have oatmeal with honey, pecans, and a fruit, such as pear or apple. When I get to work I have my mango smoothie, which is so delicious, I am sad that I never knew how amazing mango is before now. For lunch I have been having a salad with organic spinach and greens, and anything that seems to be left in the fridge. So avocado, rice, apple, carrots, tofu, and sweet potatoes, or whatever else looks good. I make my own dressings with olive oil and lemon juice, or balsamic, or even soy sauce. They are SO much better, and cheaper than store bought. For dinner, it's been some sort of fish or tofu, with veggie stir fry with rice.

I've been left quite satisfied with this menu this past week but I want to change it up a bit this week. I think I am going to roast some root veg, like parsnip, beets, and maybe garlic and do something with them. Maybe I will get into that quinoa.

Some people may think this sounds so weird to eat this way and all I have to say to them is that I feel great. I have lost my bloated belly and have a ton of energy. As humans we have gotten away from eating properly and I feel that we are so bombarded with information and temptation every day that we either forgot how to eat, or never knew how to in the first place. It distresses me to know that this goes on and the people I love could have a shorter life or lack of quality of life because of their diet.

Ok, that's my peace for today- I am off to hike!

Be well my friends!

Wednesday, February 20, 2013

I've been fleeced!!

I know, I know, it's been quite a while since I've written. Well, life has been crazy as usual, but now I have my very own laptop and office to be a bona fide regular blogger! I've been doing a lot of research, soul searching, and trying new ways of thinking regarding one of my favorite things in the world. FOOD!!!

Honestly, I have no idea what prompted me to look up a body cleanse, but I did. There are all kinds of them out there. I was looking for a cleanse I could do over a three day period, no crazy flush outs for me, thank you very much. I wanted to do it naturally, with food. I came across The Whole Living Action Plan. It's actually from a Martha Stewart magazine! The plan intrigued me and I figured it was definitely worth trying.

At the same time as I was preparing for my cleanse to start on Ash Wednesday, I was reading a book called "Cure the Incurable" and boy did this read really open my eyes to the way we have been fleeced! I feel betrayed. I cannot believe how far away we are from eating the way we were meant to and we have no idea how bad it is. I thought I was a healthy eater and cooker before. I was so wrong.

So today is day 7 of my "cleanse". I feel amazing. I have been eating fruits, veggies, nuts and beans the whole week. I splurged a little and had two eggs and some baked tofu. (BTW if you think you don't like tofu, the recipe on the cleanse website is to die for). I have to admit I am going a bit crazy because coffee is not on my list of drinks, but I am allowed tea so it's been just fine. Mango smoothies in the morning, salads with avocados and beans for lunch, and something new for dinner. Tonight I made Jamie Oliver's Fish Pie which was so delicious.

One issue that I am shocked over is the fact that milk, yogurt, and cheese don't contain the calcium we are lead to believe is in them. The best source of calcium comes from fruits, veg, and their peels. Pasteurized dairy products lose 90% of their original calcium, yet we are made to believe that it's the best way to get our calcium! What's worse is that the "healthy" yogurt you think you are eating has a ton of sugar in it, which depletes calcium in the body. I've actually decided to skip my plain yogurt with fresh fruit and go with a freshly made fruit smoothie or oatmeal made from rolled oats with fresh fruit from now on, since the whole purpose of my eating yogurt was for the calcium.

It takes a lot to change the way we eat. It's especially difficult when you have no clue that what you are eating isn't the best thing for your body to thrive on. I have decided to take a stand and live longer. I want to be around for a long time and if eating clean, fresh, organic food is going to help me, that is what I am going to do. This year I am signing up for the Farmstand Membership at Red Fire Farm so that I can enjoy fresh, organic fruit and veg this summer. I am SO excited about that. I have to admit that I am pretty psyched about being able to cut fresh wildflowers whenever I want with my membership for FREE. Yay! I am also striving to be meat free. Don't get me wrong, I love a good steak or burger now and then. But from now on, I am either buying local meat or nothing at all. The thought of what treatments animals are given and that I am then eating makes me cringe.

On to Day 8!

Be well my friends.

The cleanse link:

The book link:

Fish Pie link:

Red Fire Farm link: