The garden is in!

Here's our 24' x 14' garden, all planted:










Marilyn planted collard greens, kale, swiss chard, tomatoes, bell peppers, eggplant, asparagus, brussels sprouts, kohlrabi, dill, lettuce, chives, basil, parsley, and green beans. I just tilled, and will start harvesting in about a month. We'll have a second planting of spinach, kale, lettuce, cilantro later in the summer, for the cooler Fall weather.

this weekend's cooking

As you can see by my recent posts, I had some fun in the kitchen this weekend even though I didn't spend too much time in there as it was a good outside weekend. I don't want to spend much time in the kitchen this week as I have lots of work to do, and I wouldn't mind playing too, though work will probably win out, unfortunately.

So I made a big pot of bean "soup" to take care of my cooking needs for the week. I will still be making lunch for Marilyn (house mate) and Kenny (work collaborator), but I'll still save time by not doing additional cooking for myself. I plan to make micro-salads in the morning divided into 3 portions for brekky, lunch and dinner. That plus beans at lunch and dinner, plus whatever fruit I want to add should take care of me. I made a yummy fruit salad today. I'm addicted to the cheap strawberries we're getting right now.

I also made salsa and guacamole for Marilyn, and a nice easy veggie soup made with potatoes, canned tomatoes, peas, corn, onion, herbs, and ground sunflower seeds. This cooked up real quick in the pressure cooker. The soup is not as nutritious as Dr. Fuhrman likes (because of the potatoes) so I think I won't post it here. I think I can remember for next time.

Today's microsalad

This is a combination I've been having a lot lately because strawberries have been cheap and delicious! I vary the amount and type of greens so today's is just an example. Sometimes I used kale or cabbage instead of bok choy or lettuce. I also don't measure things out specifically, this is just what they came out to be when I weighed them.

Ingredients:
Romaine lettuce, 4.6 oz
broccoli, 1 stalk (peel the outer stalk layer)
cauliflower, 1/2 lb
spinach, 4 oz
bok choy, 8 oz
1 lb strawberries (big box)
6 oz blackberries (small box)
another fruit if you want, e.g., pear, apple, orange (peeled, deseeded, sliced)
juice of 1 lime
1 oz fresh squeezed orange juice
2 Tbsp seeds, grind if desired (e.g., flax which you need to grind, chia, hemp, sunflower)

Chop the veggies in a food processor using the s-blade. trim the strawberries, then chop them with the other fruit in a food processor. They will liquify but I like them chunky so I don't fully puree them. Do it to your desired chunkiness. Combine everything except the seeds in a large bowl. I then dish them out into 3 tupperware bowls to have with brekky, lunch and dinner. They are like dessert even though they are loaded with veggies! I wait to add the seeds until mealtime. It seems fresher that way.

Here's a picture of one bowl with a small spoon in it.





fruit salad

There is no specific recipe for fruit salad. It's just whatever delicious fresh fruits you want to cut up and serve in a bowl! This is the season for my favorite combination:

1 lb (box) strawberries
1 large banana
6 oz box fresh blueberries
1 ripe mango (for me in Wisconsin, it seems the best ones are the little yellow ones from Mexico. The big green/red ones come to us very unripe and mine usually rot as they ripe).
1 Tbsp fresh-squeezed orange juice (optional)

peel and cut the mango into small pieces. same with the banana. cut up the strawberries. combine everything in a big bowl. It is a taste of heaven.

This week's beans

This week will be busy and I need to spend less time in the kitchen, so I decided to make fancier beans, adding the healthy cooked vegetables Dr. Furhman recommends, and do less cooking each day.

Ingredients:
1 lb beans (this week it's some small whitish variety from Rancho Gordo)
juice from 5 lbs carrots--I noticed this was about 36 oz
2-4 cups water
1-2 onions (sweet vidalia are in season right now, yum)
2 parsnips (optional but good, I happened to have them)
1 lb shitake mushrooms, chopped (I left off the stems this time, though I might try next time since they cook for a while--maybe that will tenderize them).

Rinse the dry beans. Combine everything in a big pot the day or night before--add water to cover by a few inches. Let soak overnight in the fridge. Cook the next morning for 2-4 hours, until desired tenderness. Adding water as needed. These taste sweet and fantastic. As I said in another post, they are kind of like baked beans! Here's the big pot of cooked beans:















Here they are divided into 11 1-cup servings (minus 1 that I ate). I'll have these for lunch and dinner along with my micro-salads.









Each 1-cup serving as 206 calories, 11g protein (18% of calories), 40 g carbs (78%), and less than 1 g fat (4%).

salsa

















This is simple and yummy. It makes a great soup too!

Ingredients:

1 16-oz can tomatoes (or 1-2 tomatoes from the garden when available)
Small handful fresh cilantro, or to taste
chunk of zucchini, peeled, and cucumber, peeled. about 3" long each, or a few oz total
1-2 Tbsp red onion or scallions or any kind of onion (i.e., not much)
1/2 red or yellow or orange (or green) bell pepper
juice of 1/2 lemon (less or more to taste)
sweet corn (optional)
peas (optional)

Blend the tomatoes and zucchini/cucumber in a blender. Add in the lemon juice onion, bell pepper and cilantro and pulse to chop but not puree. If you want, add some sweet corn and/or peas.

You can make a double batch, eat a bowl for yourself as soup and serve up the rest to your guests with killer tostada chips (yes, I'm willing to poison my guests with their favorite foods), or you can make healthy chips by slicing and baking corn tortillas (unsalted); 5-10 minutes at 350 F works for me. Or eat with fresh veggies--peppers, celery, carrots.

Getting the garden ready

We got a lot of early spring crops in our garden that just grew back with the weeds: spinach, dill, mustard greens, kale, chives and mint. But it's time to plant, so I harvested a bunch of them, then Marilyn weeded the garden, and I tilled it:


















Now we are ready for planting, yea!

Lest I give the impression I do a lot of yard work, I will admit this is one of the few tasks I do in the yard. I also turn over the compost and spread it in the garden twice a year (did that yesterday). And I harvest the produce. This tiller is a great piece of equipment, even though it uses gasoline and pollutes. It makes life so much easier and does a much better job than we can do with a pitchfork. Our garden has grown to 24' x 14'. It's great!

Easy no-bake "Baked beans"

This is one of those accidental inventions. I was saving time by preparing my beans the night before and then cooking the next morning. And when they were done, they looked and tasted like baked beans! with no added sugar!

Ingredients:
Juice from 5 lbs of carrots
1-3 cups water
1 lb (16 oz, 453 g) white or yellow beans
1 medium onion
2 parsnips (optional)

The night before: Rinse the beans. Juice the carrots and add to the beans. Add water to cover with an inch or two on top. Chop the onion and add. Peel and chop the parsnips and add. Let them soak overnight in the fridge. Next morning: put on the stove and cook for 2-4 hours, to desired tenderness. You'll probably need to add 1-2 cups water. The carrot juice makes them look orange, just like baked beans:














The carrot juice and parsnips make them nice and sweet. Yum! The parsnips even look kinda like those blobs of bacon you get in the canned beans, but they don't taste like it! (which for me is a good thing).

Note: you can make this with any other kind of beans and just call the result "sweet beans" or something. I think I'll be making this a lot.

spring food

The produce at the co-op has changed with the spring season and it is wonderful. The fresh strawberries from California have been cheap and delicious. They really taste better this time of year. This is one fruit you should buy organic (see this post from diseaseproof.com). I've been buying these as often as I can get to the store, because the season (when it's really good) is temporary. I've been eating them with blackberries which have also been good.



















I've also been enjoying sugar snap peas, and local spinach and lettuce greens and arugula. We had local asparugus but that is gone again. But the California asparagus is good right now. Sadly, the local carrots disappeared from the store a few days ago. We get them about 9 months of the year, so that's good. I bought some California carrots and they tasted like chlorine even though they are organic. Yuck. So I think I'm done with eating raw carrots for a while. Maybe I'll juice them and add them to beans. We've also had morel mushrooms for a couple of weeks. Those were great! I'm still trying to adjust my tastes to like shitake mushrooms because Dr. Fuhrman says they are way more nutritious than the white button, cremini and portabella. So I welcomed the morel mushrooms. I just got some fresh California zucchini today--I'll see how that tastes this week. The bok choy, kale, and collard greens are usually wilted by the time we get them here in Wisconsin. But today's baby bok choy looked good so I bought several. I can't wait to get kale and collards from our garden, or locally--those are much better. It's fun watching the California, Florida, and local produce start to come in with the spring/summer season. You can tell when it's fresh and abundant because they are cheaper and often on special. I used to think that meant there was something wrong with them, but I had it all wrong--that's when they are best.

This week's updates

I'm not spending as much time in the kitchen as I have a new obsession: road and mountain biking. This week, some days were mostly raw, with micro-salad for brekky and lunch, and cabbage salad for lunch and dinner, along with fruit and seeds in various forms (frozen, or fresh strawberries) for extra treats. Other days I had micro-salad for breakfast and lunch, and cooked veggies for lunch and dinner.

There were several good posts on Dr. Fuhrman's Disease proof blog the last few weeks. For example, a quick overview of what foods to eat (health-promoting) and what to avoid (disease-promoting); junk food desensitizes the brain; refined carbs increase heart disease risk; and several good posts by Emily Boller with success strategies and interviews. Also, there's a great radio interview with Dr. Fuhrman here.

cooked veggies

I don't use recipes much, so this is just an example of what I made today from food in my fridge.

Ingredients:
1/2 medium eggplant, peeled and chopped
1 small (or bigger) onion, chopped
1 16-oz can tomatoes
4-8 oz shitake mushrooms
1 bunch kale, chopped
brussels sprouts, 12 oz in this case
1 parsnip, peeled and chopped
1 Tbsp sunflower seeds + 1 Tbsp sesame seeds, ground
1/4 cup raisins (I'm guessing--I added an unripe white peach instead and didn't like it, so next time I will try raisins or an apple)
1 cup beans
1/2 tsp each of some spices--I tried cumin, garam masala, and curry (felt like an Indian flavor)
fresh herbs if you have them--right now, it's cilantro, chives, and dill
1 Tbsp flavored vinegar (e.g., spicy pecan, or pomegranate balsamic)

Combine everything in the pressure cooker except the raisins, beans, ground seeds, and tomatoes. Cook for 2 minutes at high pressure, let set for a few minutes before letting out pressure (cooks them longer). Then add the raisins, beans, and tomatoes--also helps cool it down. It's pretty good. I'm not sure what spices work best, was just experimenting.

Breakfast micro-salad

Here's a salad I made several times this week. It was so filling I often spread it out to lunch even though it has under 500 calories.



















Maybe it doesn't look the greatest but it takes a longer time to eat if you don't chop it down with the food processor. I like it both ways.

Ingredients:
Lettuce and/or spinach, 5-10 oz
cauliflower and/or broccoli (optional), 0.5-1.5 lbs
Fresh herbs if you want (e.g., chives, dill, cilantro), optional, I just do this when I have some in the garden
lime juice, from one lime
fresh berries if in season, otherwise frozen (16 oz)--This time of year it's fresh strawberries and blackberries, very yummy. But I don't shop every day so other days it's frozen cherries and blueberries or banana, etc.
1 orange, peeled
1/2 cup edamame (optional)
1 Tbsp seeds (e.g., sunflower, chia, flax, hemp) (optional)

I chop everything except the seeds, edamame and lime in the food processor. I grind the seeds in the coffee grinder, juice the lime, and add them. You can chop the edamame in the food processor too.

ice cream????

Sometimes I like my "ice cream" chunky. Here's some frozen mango, banana, and cherries topped with 1 Tbsp sunflower seeds. It was yummy. Frozen fruit tastes great. And without blending them, you get to taste the flavors separately.




healthy black bean salad

Despite all the healthy stuff in here, my guests enjoyed it too. I brought this to a potluck tonight.

Ingredients:
1 lb dried black beans (I was out, so used Rancho Gordo vaquero beans--they are black and white), or 2 cans
1 bunch kale, frozen
juice of 1 lime
flavored vinegar (optional)
1 stalk broccoli
1-2 cups cauliflower
1 red bell pepper
fruit--10 oz frozen or fresh mango, or apple, orange, pear in any combination, maybe 12-16 oz total
some cilantro and/or chives
10 oz bag of frozen corn
1 tsp cumin
1/2 tsp cinnamon

Cook the beans if dried (soak overnight first, cook for a few hours), drain. Add the corn which will thaw the corn and cool the beans. Remove the kale from the freezer and crinkle right away with your hands (shatters into small pieces so save chopping time!). Add the lime juice and some vinegar to the kale. Chop the rest of the ingredients in a food processor, combine everything in a big bowl. Serve and enjoy!

I forgot to take a picture of the final product but here's the beans and the corn before draining:




















and here's the veggies after chopping in the microprocessor:




















Then they were all combined. It was good and filling!