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Kick start your day with a good breakfast

Sweet Potatoes for Breakfast?!

Hell, yeah! Darshana Thacker, the author of Forks Over Knives Flavor!, convinced me with her Sweet Potato Cornmeal Pancakes.

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Obviously those are squashes, not sweet potatoes, but are they photogenic, or what?! 

Redolent of cinnamon and allspice, sweetened by applesauce, crunchy with cornmeal… these are going to set you up for a productive morning. The recipe below made 10 pancakes, so I froze some. This morning, I heated up a couple and, instead of maple syrup and blueberries, I spread a little creamy peanut butter on one and strawberry jam on the other… even better!

One caution: unless you’ve got a big griddle or pan, this doesn’t go quickly. Oh, how I wish I had a fancy stove top with a griddle built in, but I made these two-by-two in a small frying pan and that’s a rather tedious exercise. That’s why making extra to freeze is great; re-heating takes no time at all and, boom!, you’re off to the races!

“These delicious, satisfying pancakes…have the same spices that you find in all-American pumpkin pie; in fact, you can substitute pumpkin purée for the puréed sweet potatoes….

Makes 6 to 8 pancakes                                                                       Ready in 30 minutes

¾ cup cornmeal (or whole wheat flour)

¾ cup oat flour (or whole wheat flour)

2 TBSP cashew flour (or almond flour)

2 tsp baking powder

½ tsp ground cinnamon

¼ tsp ground allspice

¼ tsp sea salt

1 (15-ounce) can sweet potato purée (about 1 ½ cups)

1 cup unsweetened, unflavored plant milk (or water)

½ cup applesauce

Pure maple syrup

Blueberries or sliced bananas, for serving

  1. Combine the cornmeal, oat flour, cashew flour, baking powder, cinnamon, allspice, and salt in a large bowl. Whisk together to distribute the ingredients.
  2. Whisk the sweet potato, milk, and applesauce together in a medium bowl. Add to the bowl with dry ingredients until no flour is visible.
  3. Heat a non-stick sauté pan or non-stick griddle over medium-low heat for 3 minutes, until it’s hot. Use a 1/3-cup measuring cup to scoop the batter and pour it onto the sauté pan or griddle. Cook for about 2 ½ minutes, until the tops of the pancakes appear dry. Use a spatula to gently lift and flip the pancakes. Cook for another 2 ½ minutes, and remove to a warmed serving plate. Repeat with the remaining batter.
  4. Serve the pancakes hot, with the maple syrup and fruit.”–from Forks Over Knives Flavor! Copyright (c) 2018 by Forks Over Knives LLC
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Harper Wave October 2018 $29.99 hardcover

 

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Heads up!

7 Sundays

Howard Books; $26 hardcover

On December 4, Alec Penix’s Seven Sundays: A Faith, Fitness and Food Plan for Lasting Spiritual and Physical Change hits bookstore shelves. I’m giving it a test drive and it is terrific!

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Alec Penix, celebrity trainer 

I’m on Day 11 of 43, so Alec and I are still in the honeymoon period (and I’ve already demurred a lot on the exercise part, though the Worship Walks are no problem for this long-time New Yorker who can do a mile in less than 20 minutes).

Every day, he and his co-author Myatt Murphy ask the reader to work on Alec’s Pillars of Promise, to “concede,” “honor,” “offer,” “sleep,” and “exercise.” That stands for CHOSEN. You do have to surrender to God in this program, but as I transition from my lifelong–so far–Catholic faith to Presbyterianism, I’m happy to think more about that relationship.

There are no recipes in this book, though there is a lot on nutrition and a whole process by which you toss out the processed junk foods in your diet and slowly but surely substitute them with whole foods.

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Wholly delicious! 

This recipe from Reader’s Digest’s Foods That Harm Foods That Heal certainly fits into the Seven Sundays plan! Bake. Share. Repeat! 

Carrot Ginger Yogurt Muffins

Makes 12

Prep Time: 10 minutes

Cook Time: 25 minutes plus cooling

Healing Foods: flour, ginger, chia, oats, carrots, apples, yogurt

Ailments It Heals: arthritis, blood pressure, hives, interstitial cystitis

1 cup whole wheat flour

1 tsp ground ginger

1 ½ tsp baking soda

½ cup brown sugar

¼ cup chia seeds or flaxseed

½ cup rolled oats, plus extra to sprinkle

2 packed cups finely grated carrots (2 medium carrots)

1 packed cup grated apple (1 medium apple)

1 egg

½ cup low-fat plain yogurt

½ tsp vanilla extract

  1. Preheat oven to 350˚ Coat 12 standard-size muffin cups with cooking spray or insert paper liners.
  2. In large bowl, sift flour, ginger and baking soda. Add sugar, chia seeds, and oats. Mix to combine, then mix in carrots and apples. Make a well in center of mixture.
  3. In small bowl, whisk together egg and yogurt. Stir in vanilla. Add to well in large bowl and stir together until mixture is just combined (do not overstir).
  4. Spoon evenly into muffin tin. Sprinkle each with extra oats.
  5. Cook for 20 to 25 minutes, or until golden brown on top and a wooden pick inserted in center comes out clean. Cool in tin for 10 minutes, then transfer to wire rack.

Per muffin: 118 calories, 4 g protein, 22 g carbohydrates, 3g  fiber, 2 g fat, 0 g saturated fat, 16 mg cholesterol, 186 mg sodium

From the book FOODS THAT HARM FOODS THAT HEAL, reprinted with permission by Trusted Media Brands, Inc., Copyright © 2018. All rights reserved.

I’m sharing this recipe with my friends in the New York Walkers Club, a group of about 50 men and women of all ages who race-walk under the direction of an inspiring, funny, friendly, dedicated professional athlete named Lon Wilson:

“Baking is what I do on weekend mornings when I’m not race-walking around Central Park. It took me years to learn the patience successful baking requires, but now that I’m better than I was (I’m always impatient to taste the results)… Wow! What a contemplative, sensual experience it is. Using whole foods, enjoying how the kitchen smells as they come together In the oven, and best of all sharing the treats with friends and family make baking a healthy way to spend quality time.”

 

 

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Guten Abend!

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On the route du vin, Alsace 

Nostalgia time! Chuck and I took a marvelous trip to Brussels, Alsace, and Germany many years ago. Oh, the raclette, the riesling, the saucissons, the wursts, the potatoes, the ham!

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Cochem, Germany 

The scenery! I would go back in an instant. We have a friend in Hamburg… it’s a dream of mine to someday pay her a visit.

Tonight, we’ll just have to make do with a choucroute. Chuck got wursts, sauerkraut, and pickled beets from Schaller & Weber which, with the Heidelberg restaurant, is the last vestige of the old Yorkville, what was once Manhattan’s thriving German neighborhood. It was still there when I first came to NYC in the late ’70s: the Bremen House, Cafe Konditorei, Cafe Geiger, the Elk Candy Company…. all gone.

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I use this Simple French Cooking book for quiche, shortcut pastry, tuiles, choucroute, chicken and tarragon… it does the job when you have a little time and a big yen for the flavors of France.  Or in this case, that disputed territory that changed hands more often than the Globetrotters pass a basketball.

Sauerkraut’s the ingredient of the moment, what with its fermented probiotic benefits. Straight out of the jar, it’s pretty overpowering. But it turns so sweet when its flavor melds with a tart apple, apple juice, onion, a bay leaf, thyme, bacon, and the wurst. It makes you realize that time and warmth will soften just about anything!

 

 

 

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No bread–day 2

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This looks pathetic, but tasted delicious. The egg was fried to perfection in unsalted butter, as was the grilled tomato. Really, a grilled tomato is one of the best things in the world. No English or Irish fry-up is complete without it. For years, until their cuisines were improved by new chefs with an interest in quality ingredients and a wider variety of techniques, the only thing worth eating on a trip to either exquisitely beautiful country was breakfast.

Eat Move Sleep by Tom Rath reinforced my own doctor’s advice to consume less bread: “According to one expert, eating two pieces of whole wheat bread increases your blood sugar more than eating two tablespoons of pure sugar…. As one of the world’s leading researchers on obesity put it, the next time you consume buttered toast, consider that the butter may be healthier than the bread.”

Rath’s book is filled with safe, sensible advice on nutrition, exercise, and what too many experts ignore–at our peril–how to sleep well. So, that’s my rant for this evening. Good night!

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No bread for Lent…

except for the host at Mass, of course. This self-denial has a secondary advantage. (I never claimed to be a terrific Catholic–well-meaning, maybe, but good? No). I eat way too much bread: a piece of whole wheat under melted cheese for breakfast, two pieces of whole wheat in my sandwich at lunch, and whatever’s in a break basket at a restaurant for dinner. (This week, it was the most luscious naan at Sahib in Curry Hill: 104 Lexington @ 27th Street. Note to self: remember this place, the food was delicious!)

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Crunchy peanut butter on crisp, sweet apples is a satisfying combination.

My own doctor has said, “Make bread a treat.” Well, for 40 days, I’m going to take a break from bread altogether. Who knows? I may learn to love tuna salad on crispy greens, hummus on kale chips, and a slice of cheese without the salt and crunch of a cracker. It’s worth trying: 40 days should be more than enough to change a habit.

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Falling Temperatures

Happy Fall! 43 degrees F this morning…perfect! The corgi and I couldn’t be more comfortable. For twelve years old, she’s pretty frisky–especially when there’s kibble dust to be Hoovered up.

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And I got oatmeal: oats for fiber, almonds for protein, raisins for iron, and I read somewhere that cinnamon fights inflammation. I’m reaaaaady to ruuuuumble!

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Ready for October Unprocessed!

C Street, Seaside Park, NJ

C Street, Seaside Park, NJ

Just came home from another wonderful week on the Jersey Shore: swims in the clear, warm ocean, pints of beer at Bum Rogers Crabhouse, plates of scrapple at Betty & Nick’s, ears and ears of fresh corn and slice upon slice of juicy, sweet tomatoes from local farms.

I’m at a serious transition moment at my day job. How I wish I could make a life that included scenery like this every day.

The beach at Brighton Avenue

The beach at Brighton Avenue

With the chance to stop and watch the little fish.

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In the past week, with time to think and read, I’ve had 10 solid ideas for potential cookbooks: now I start the research to write the proposals. If anything, it brings me in contact with other creative people who love food and eating well. There’s Andrew Wilder, for example, whose blog EatingRules.com encourages us to join his crusade “October Unprocessed.”

I’m excited to try it. Why don’t you?

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If only…

NEWPORT

I had those abs today. But alas…time and gravity will have their way with us!

Why, if God made whole wheat healthy, can’t I eat it every morning?  A simple piece of toast with a little butter and a slice of cheese or a tablespoon of peanut butter? How bad could that be?! But no, God had to make our metabolisms slooooooow down as we age, so the pleasures of our youth put unnecessary pounds on our bones. Not fair!

I try to be creative at breakfast since I’ve forsworn bread and butter. A thick slice of grilled tomatoes does go well with a poached egg. Eating peanut butter on apple slices brings you right back to that long-ago rush to get the school bus. Good jam mixed into oatmeal is a treat. Any other suggestions?

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Home or Away?

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Yes, it’s Saturday, and a holiday weekend no less, but I have to spend a few hours at the office. In that neighborhood, we have a Crumbs Bake Shop, a Pret-a-Manger, a Chipotle, a Europa Cafe…which to choose for something delicious? Hmmm…burrito or Girl Scout Chocolate PB Creme cupcake?

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An egg-and-bacon breakfast baguette or blueberry yogurt parfait?

Each of these choices is over 400 calories (a fully loaded burrito is more like 900!) If I make a poached egg on a grilled tomato with whole wheat toast, it’s only 350.

Say it with me now: It’s always best to eat at home!

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For lots of delicious ideas for breakfasts under 400 calories, go to 3 Fat Chicks!

 

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Hungry Before Noon?

What do you eat to keep yourself going until lunchtime? I always have protein in the morning, but somehow salty protein works better for me than sweet. This morning I had yogurt, blueberries, and a small handful of lightly salted nuts and I am counting the minutes at 11:30am until I can have my soup and salad. This doesn’t happen when I have cottage or hard cheese, eggs, and meats. What’s up with that?

I think it’s the carbs that boost your energy in the short-term: low-fat yogurt has 45 grams of carbs per serving  (39 of them sugars) while shredded mozzarella has 0. The cheese has a lot more saturated fat (20% vs. 8% for the yogurt). I’m not a nutritionist, so this could be wildly off the mark, but I think I’m on to something.

Here’s a valuable article from Weight Watchers that explains how to build a better mix of nutrients in the morning:

“It’s important to combine some protein along with some complex carbohydrates to provide sustained energy throughout the morning,” says Bonnie Taub-Dix, MA, RD, a Long Island–based dietitian in private practice. Opt for no-fuss choices like a slice of cheese on whole-wheat bread, egg whites on toast, whole-grain cereal with low-fat milk, even half a turkey sandwich .

¡buenos días

¡buenos días

Read the whole piece for more sensible advice to keep us from feeling starved.

 

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