Nourish Your Body
With Fabulous Homemade Food

Try Something Different: Interesting New Foods


Baby San Marzano tomatoes over a mix of brown Jasmine and brown Volcano rice, with green onions

 

Maybe it’s just a shift in my own awareness, but I’ve noticed over the past couple of months that there are many new foods available that I’ve never seen before.

This started about a month ago when I went to a movie near our local Whole Foods. Larry and I don’t usually shop at Whole Foods because it’s not the closest natural food store and prices are higher, but when we’re in the neighborhood we’ll buy a few things we can’t get elsewhere. So we went in a after the movie and found organic parsley roots! This is actually the root of the parsley plant and comes with the parsley on top. You can fix them in many ways, but I just ate them raw and they were delicious!

That same week we found organic Okinawa purple sweet potatoes at our usual natural food store. They were delicious so the next time we went shopping we tried organic white Murasaki sweet potatoes, which were divine. Read about the nutrition content of these sweet potatoes vs the orange variety.

Then shopping over the weekend we found Volcano Rice (Lotus Foods) which is grown on volcanic soil and so has a lot of minerals not usually found in foods. This rice is nutty, all different shades of brown, and so nutrient dense that I can only eat about a tablespoon at a time. So I mix it with my standard organic brown Jasmine rice and it’s wonderful.

Also this weekend we found fresh baby San Marzano tomatoes at Trader Joe’s. San Marzano is the prized Italian tomato from which all canned Italian tomatoes and pasta sauces are made. The flavor is amazing. But I don’t buy canned food because of BPA linings so I was thrilled to find fresh San Marzano tomatoes.

And also a Trader Joe’s organic heirloom Navel oranges.

There is such a bounty of fresh wholesome organic foods available now in so many places, every meal can be a culinary delight.

I remember many years ago when I wanted to eat fresh fruits and vegetables and I gave up because the fresh produce tasted so terrible. Not any more! Take a look.

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Christmas Sweet Potato Salad


 


Last week I told you I changed my diet . I created this recipe specifically for that diet, but anyone can enjoy it.

I call this salad “Christmas” because it’s red and green, but also because I made it on Christmas morning. But you can eat it anytime.

A few days before Christmas, Larry and I decided to leave on Christmas morning to go on a roadtrip, adding a day to our previously planned trip to visit friends who live in the Blue Ridge Mountains..

There was food in the refrigerator that would not last a week, so I got up early and started preparing leftovers into yummy things we could eat on the road and stay on our diet that was working so well.

This salad was the first thing I made out of leftover sweet potatoes, beans, and vegetables.

So good! Larry and I both loved eating it on the road.

This recipe calls for Jersey sweet potatoes, which are yellow, not orange. They are kind of a cross between a sweet potato and a yam. My local natural food store sells them most of the year. Maybe yours does too. The sweetness of the potato is part of the charm of this salad.

Canellini beans are white kidney beans, very popular in Italy. They are especially creamy. I buy them at my local natural food store and cook them myself. White navy bean would be a good substitute.

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A New Way To Eat

Dear Readers,

A few months ago I dramatically changed the way I eat.

Last summer I had a blood vessel burst in my left eye, which required two surgeries—a consequence of many years of elevated blood sugar and a lifetime of overweight.

I struggled and struggled with trying to handle both these conditions. I failed to control them even though I stopped eating junk food years ago, have been eating organic for more than a decade and have been eating a low-carb/paleo diet that is the recommended diet for these conditions. But they didn’t work, One endocrinologist dismised me as a patient after I followed Dr. Bernstein’s ultra low carb diabetic diet to the letter and my blood sugar still didn’t go to normal. She accused me of cheating.

I love to cook and I love to eat, so this was very difficult, but I stuck with it.

When the blood vessel burst in my eye, I had to do something different, but what? I was already doing everything that was recommended.

And then one of my readers wrote to me—a retired ophthalmologist. He gave me a diet specifically for eliminating diabetic retinopathy. He said, “You must do this diet to save your life.”

It was difficult at first because this diet is not widely known or available. There are no current books or websites with any information about it. But I researched and researched and pieced it together and in the first month I lost 13 pounds and my blood sugar went down 100 points. Larry went on this diet too and lost a similar amount of weight and his blood sugar fell too.

And this happened while we were eating delicious, easy-to-prepare food all day long. We love this food and could just eat this diet for the rest of our lives.

At first I couldn’t believe this diet would work. I read a scientific paper that talked about the diet and showed pictures of changes in eyeballs. This was not the standard diabetic advice. After all those years of eating the low carb/paleo diet, I couldn’t believe what I was reading.

But I tried it and my weight just went down, down, down. And my blood sugar just dropped.

The second month was December, so it was more difficult to stay on the diet. Of course I wanted to eat when I went to parties. So I stayed on the diet at home and then ate whatever I wanted when I went out, as an experiment. And by the end of the month my blood sugar was exactly the same and I had gained only two pounds, which I lost in two days when I went back on the diet in January.

I also learned some other things about food while doing this diet that apply to everyone. Things I’ve never read in books or experienced before.

I now feel I have a diet that will serve my body and taste buds well for the rest of my life.

I want to tell you about this diet, but it’s more than I can say in a post. So I’m working on an ebook which should be ready by the end of the month. At that time I will be redoing this entire blog around this new culinary viewpoint. You will love it. I promise.

My body looks so different that everyone who sees me notices. They all ask what I’ve been doing and when I tell them my results, they all want it.

Just as soon as the ebook is ready, you all will be the first to know.

I just want to let you know…food can make all the difference in health. Which foods you eat, how they are processed and prepared, and portions can all make a difference. You’ll see very soon.

Debra 🙂






Winter Solstice Cake

This recipe is actually from my past, but it was so delicious I still think of it today.

At the time I had two girlfriends with whom I would celebrate the seasons. We usually would get together and eat seasonal foods, some from our gardens depending on time of year, and we do various things appropriate to celebrating the season.

I particularly love celebrating Winter Solstice because it’s about the return of the light of the sun after the cold dark winter, and with the sun comes the return of food that nourishes all the rest of life. Winter Solstice was celebrated in all cultures in pre-Christian times. For me, it’s a nice way to connect with Nature with my friends.

In 2011 year had our Winter Solstice gathering on Solstice eve, the night before Solstice. Linda had read something about having a birthday party for the Sun, to bake a cake with an image of a Sun on it, and sing Happy Birthday to welcome the rebirth of the Sun in the new year. She asked me to bake and decorate a cake for the occasion.

I thought about this cake for days in advance and considered many different options. What cake to bake? How do I get an image of the sun on top? I considered using yellow icing to pipe or paint a sun, and creating a sun with careful placement of golden raisins. But everything I thought of didn’t seem quite right.

Then on the very day that the cake was needed, the perfect cake just came to me. I knew exactly what to do, what elements to bring together that would be exactly right in every way. I made a gluten-free almond cake, topped it with mascarpone cheese* instead of sugary frosting, then “painted” a sun on top with ginger-orange marmalade fruit spread (sweetened with grape juice concentrate). The translucent marmalade caught the light and made the Sun “shine.” For a final festive garnish, I sprinkled the top with curls of lemon zest, from a lemon I picked off the tree in my backyard. I gave the Sun eight points with a beeswax candle at each point to represent infinity and the infinite continuation of the return of the Sun year after year.

It was a truly stunningly beautiful cake, and amazingly delicious too. With the fresh lemon zest, the cake just smelled like winter in Florida, where citrus trees are everywhere, in almost every backyard.

I was happy that this cake captured the spirit of the Solstice, in the place where I live. Everyone loved it. I think I need to make this cake again.

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Cranberry Cherry Cheesecake

cranberry
Here’s a lovely holiday dessert that you can serve in slices or individual ramekins.

This three-layer dessert has a date-nut crust, a ricotta cheesecake and a beautiful topping of red cranberries and cherries—all sweetened with low-glycemic date paste.

I think it would look even prettier with pomegranate arils sprinkled on top like sparkling rubies, but I didn’t think of that until after I took the photo.

Very delicious.

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Holiday Treats

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Holiday Treats

Here are some of my favorite holiday recipes for cookies and candies made gluten-free with natural sweeteners. Enjoy them yourself, give as gifts to family and friends, share them with co-workers, take them to parties. My gift to you for the holidays.

GINGERBREAD STARS DIPPED IN CHOCOLATE WITH HIMALAYAN SALT – This is my favorite holiday cookie, loved by everyone else I know too.

CHOCOLATE CRINKLE COOKIES + CHOCOLATE PFEFFERNUSSE – These are so delicious. Pfeffernusse is an old German cookie with black pepper.

COCONUT BUTTER CANDY – So easy to make and healthy too.

TOFFEE – This tastes just like toffee made with sugar, only better.

ENGLISH TOFFEE – My version of that famous “almond” candy so popular for the holidays.

SWEET & SALTY CARAMEL POPCORN – Great for parties, It’s like that famous popcorn treat that comes in a box.

CHEZ PANISSE GINGERSNAPS – Very buttery and decadent.

CHOCOLATE GLAZE IN WHICH YOU CAN DIP ANYTHING – During the winter, my favorite fruit to dip is fresh orange segments. Sooo good.

ALL-PURPOSE GLUTEN-FREE, SUGAR-FREE, DAIRY-FREE DOUGH FOR COOKIES, CRACKERS, PIE CRUST AND MORE – Try this recipe for your cut-out cookies.

SUGARPLUMS – From The Night Before Christmas..these are the sugarplums that dance in their heads.

ALMOND SHORTBREAD FOR CUTOUT COOKIES AND OTHERS – This dough is more difficult to work with, but more flavorful.

COCONUT SNOWBALLS – Made with coconut and coconut and coconut…a lovely winter treat.
 

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Chocolate Crinkle Cookies + Chocolate Pfeffernusse

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The first time I ever saw these cookies—many years ago in my white flour, white sugar lifetime—I just had to make them. I think they are a perfect winter cookie because they look like snow has fallen all over this deep chocolate cookie.

This version is gluten-free and made from natural sweeteners. So if you are going to eat sweets, this is one of the better choices.

And after I made them, I suddenly thought of an old German Christmas cookie called Pfeffernusse, so I made another batch and added ground back pepper. When I was a child, a friend of mine from a German family always had them when I visited her house. It wasn’t until just now, looking up how to spell this cookie that I learned it’s a gingerbread cookie with pepper! So this Pfeffernusse is not traditional, but delicious just the same.

The proportions are slightly different to allow the Crinkle Cookies to melt and to allow the Pfefferneusse to hold in a ball.






Turkey Taco Salad

For dinner on Day 1, I had created this Turkey Taco Salad.

I have a philosophy about salads:

  • They can be “one bowl” meals.
  • They should have a lot of raw greens.
  • They should contain sufficient protein for a meal.
  • They are a great way to make a healthy version of almost any food you love.

I love the flavor of Mexican tacos. And this has all the flavor of a taco, without the fried corn shell or the cheese. It’s all in the seasoning of the turkey. And then you make it into a big salad.

I made enough turkey for four salads. As long as I’m cooking, I might as well make enough for later. Then all I have to do is heat it up or nibble it cold. I make a point to always have a protein ready to eat in the refrigerator.

Now I have to tell you, at lunchtime yesterday my friend David came over at lunchtime. He didn’t come for lunch, he just was riding his bike past my house and stopped in. I was making lunch and he hadn’t eaten, so I offered him some of this turkey I had cooked the night before. He loved it so much he asked me how to make it. (And, he loved that I was eating a big salad. He wanted one too and happily munched a big bowl of lettuce and kale and whatever else he found in my refrigerator. He commented that he loved this big salad and I had transformed his thinking about what he might eat.)

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Spiced Pickled Beets With Red Grapes and Pomegranate

Spiced Pickled Beets With Red Grapes and Pomegranate
 

The spiced pickled beets in this beautiful salad are made by fermentation, not vinegar. This way they are filled with natural probiotics that aid digestion.

It’s very easy. You just put all the ingredients in the jar and let it sit for three days and that’s it.

I’m going to give you a recipe for Spiced Pickled Beets. Then serve them in a bowl with sliced-in-half red grapes and pomegranate seeds on top. So good in so many ways.

I’m eating these almost every day for a mid-afternoon snack. I think a jar of these Spiced Pickled Beets would make a great holiday gift

 

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Thanksgiving Dinner

Thanksgiving day

 

I know it’s still two weeks until Thanksgiving, but really, aren’t you already thinking about what you are going to make? I am.

I’ve gathered up all my Thanksgiving recipes here for you. Take a look.

AMAZING ALMOND FLAXSEED QUICK BREAD – A great substitute for corn bread if you don’t eat corn.

BUTTERMILK CORNBREAD, CORNBREAD STUFFING, AND STUFFING SOUFFLE – This is the real thing, made gluten-free from 100% cornmeal.

THANKSGIVING GREEN BEAN CASSEROLE – This is that famous casserole, but made better from scratch.

BAKED SWEET POTATOES AND YAMS – No need for marshmallows on the yams.

THREE GLUTEN-FREE GRAVIES – Here are three different and all delicious ways to thicken your turkey gravy without wheat flour or cornstarch.

CARAMEL APPLE BREAD PUDDING – Here’s a wonderful change from pumpkin pie.

PUMPKIN PIE FOR EVERYONE – There’s no crust on this pie and no sugar, but it tastes sweet and everyone at your table should be able to eat it.

TWICE BAKED PUMPKIN – This is twist on twice-baked potatoes, where you roast the pumpkin, scoop it out, and bake it again with additions.

MY ROSS FAMILY MASHED POTATO SALAD – This is my favorite family recipe—mashed potatoes with potato salad ingredients added. Delicious!
 

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