Random Thoughts of a Disordered Mind

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Anne’s Gazpacho Recipe

Gazpacho is a classic dish of the Andaluz region of Spain. Some recipes make a thin base soup to serve with chopped veggies. Others make a thick soup without additions at table. Me, I like thick soup AND added veggies! I’ve been making this recipe since college; it most closely approximates what I ate in Spain during my semester there. I make it often in the summer when fresh veggies are plentiful and hot food loses its appeal. This is a great Noom green food that’s easy, filling, and refreshing. Enjoy!

1 med. Onion, quartered
1 med. Cucumber, peeled and sliced in chunks
1 med. Green pepper, cut into chunks
1 qt canned tomatoes

1 qt tomato juice (can use V8)
1 can beef consommé  (NOT broth or stock)
¼ C. lemon juice, or juice of 1 lemon
Salt & pepper to taste
Dash of Tabasco

Puree onion, cucumber, pepper, and tomatoes in food processor (or blender). Pour into large bowl. Add tomato juice, consommé, lemon juice, Tabasco, salt & pepper. Stir well.

Let sit at room temp for 3 hrs, then chill 6-24 hours before serving.

Serve cold with bowls of the following chopped veggies:  cucumber, tomato, green pepper, onion, and croutons.  Makes thick base soup.

Yield:  11.5 one-cup servings of base soup + chopped veggies.
65 calories/cup


Learning to Like Brussels Sprouts

Bowl of Brussels SproutsI’m still working my way through In Defense of Food. I have to say that reading it during a lunch period makes me hyper-aware of what I’m eating while people see me with the book on the table.

As a result of what I’m reading, and after reading Lori‘s comments on her blog about her consultations with the nutritionist, I decided that it would be good for me to start eating more organic food and things with ingredients I can pronounce. I won’t pretend that my pantry’s been transformed but I did make a concerted effort to shop using those principles last weekend on my grocery runs.

I’ve been pining for Whole Foods and Trader Joe’s, both of which I visited frequently when I lived in Boston. But pining for them doesn’t make them magically appear on the roads I travel so I decided I needed to branch out and I did some web research to find some options. My first stop was at Edge of the Woods, a new (to me) natural foods store. It was a good sign to see a bustling parking lot and once inside the store, I actually ran into a colleague from work who affirmed my shopping choice.

I stocked up on whole wheat couscous, polenta, a few flavors of Larabars (the cherry ones are to die for), some boxes of organic butternut squash soup, and lots of organic produce. Most shocking to me was adding Brussels sprouts to the cart – I’ve never in my life bought one and have only eaten them once! They are really cute, like little cabbages, and since friends have enjoyed them for years, I decided to try them because, well, why not?

Since roasted vegetables are a staple of my foodplan, I decided to roast these little green things, too. I cut off the bottoms and peeled away the outer leaves, then cut them in half lengthwise and tossed in a bowl with drizzles of olive oil and balsamic vinegar, salt and pepper, and then just baked at 400 for 40 min., giving them a little turn in the middle. They turned out very nutty and tasty and I ate the entire bowl of them with a sprinkle of Parmesan cheese.

I’ve managed to string together a whole week of planning and eating balanced food, and I’m down 2.4 lbs without even being very hungry. I’m paying attention to what I eat instead of just reaching for whatever’s handy and it makes a difference. Gee, who knew?

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Potatoes Could Not be Easier

PotatoesHere are some concoctions from my friend Arlene who has this to say about potatoes:

Potatoes are one of my favorite foods. They fit nicely on both CORE and FLEX. They come in a portion that you can buy, see, measure, understand and enjoy.

A 4 ounce bakes down to a 3 ounce cooked potato and is 1 point. Adjust the points for a larger potato. Be honest. Weigh them!

Here are some of my ideas for potatoes…

My favorites are the red bliss potatoes. I usually buy them about 4-5 ounces each potato. You could buy Idaho or Maine potatoes, though usually these are larger, maybe 6-10 ounces. There are also Yukon Gold potatoes, (they even taste buttery) Fingerling potatoes (they are more gourmet and are more expensive) or you could buy an all purpose potato.

Scrub potatoes (I usually bake about 10 of them on a weekend so I can have “encore presentations” during the week). Dry potatoes with a paper towel and then spray with a squirt of cooking spray and rub all over the skin. This makes a crispy skin.

Poke the potato with the tines of a fork. Put in a preheated 400 degree oven, right on the oven rack. Bake about 60-65 minutes until they feel a little flexible when you squeeze them with your “potholdered hand.”

I eat them first as a baked potato. Sometimes I open them, and use a little “I can’t believe it’s not butter” Spray. Sometimes I use a fancy mustard or a little BBQ sauce on my baked potato. I wrap the rest in foil and put them in the fridge. I use them rest of the week.

I use two potatoes at a time. That way I portion control what we are eating. It’s an easy trick and then there are no seconds to tempt us.

I dice up two potatoes, dice a small onion, a stalk of celery, dice a dill pickle and two tablespoons fat free mayo… you have potato salad… Add any seasonings that turn you on. You could also add a chopped hard boiled egg and maybe a drop of white wine vinega

I chunk two potatoes, put in a sprayed microwavable dish, top with my favorite salsa and heat about 1 minute. This is a great side dish. In addition to or instead of salsa, heat some canned beans (vegetarian, pinto, kidney cannelli) and top the potato. This is now a meal that has protein. You could add some cooked chicken or meat or tuna fish to this potato.

I sometimes dice up 2 potatoes and sauté them in a large fry pan with some cooking spray. You could add mushrooms or peppers or onions and sauté them all together. Now add either 4 eggs, or equivalent amounts of egg whites or egg substitutes. Now you have an omelet or a frittata. Top with a tsp of grated parm cheese..Yummy for lunch or dinner.

But my favorite way to make “Special spuds” is…..

Take the baked potatoes and slice them about 1/8 inches thick. Cover a cookie sheet with foil. Spray the foil with cooking spray. Place the sliced potatoes (one layer) on the cookie sheet and now spray the potatoes with cooking spray. Next season with a combo of salt, pepper, garlic powder, onion salt, basil, oregano, dill…any or all of the above. Put in a 400 degrees preheated oven for about 15-20 minutes until crisp and golden. Serve immediately. You can serve them with ketchup, mustard, salsa, marinara sauce. This is our most favorite side dish of potatoes. And because I only slice 2 potatoes, we are eating a controlled portion.

You could also slice up your potato, put it on a pizza pan, add your pizza sauce, toppings and some fat free or low fat cheese and have a potato pizza.

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Roasted Vegetables

This is one of the staples of my week. I usually fix a large batch on the weekend and eat them all week long, as a side dish, added to salads, mixed with couscous and turkey (yum!) or even added to WW frozen pizza.   Vary flavors and quantities to suit what's fresh and what you like.  Here's my favorite mix:

3 large sweet onions, coarsely chopped
4 peppers (different colors), coarsely chopped
grape tomatoes (at least one small container's worth)
3 sweet potatoes, peeled, thickly sliced, and cut into quarters

Add 3 Tb. olive oil, sea salt, and fresh ground pepper and toss to coat.
Spray 2 large pans (jelly roll size or other with edges) with cooking spray.
Divide the veggies and spread into the pans.  Bake at 450 for 40 minutes,
turning half way through.