Blog posts categorized as: Food & Drink

I’m on day 3 of my L.E.A.P diet…

Jan 20, 2010

Some of you may have read a while back that I had food allergy/sensitivity testing done. And there are about a million things I can't eat anymore, including tomatoes, garlic, lentils and all sorts of other good stuff. So, for the last couple of months I've cut out all my "red" and "yellow" offenders. But didn't start my prescribed super strict rotational diet, or L.E.A.P (lifestyle eating and performance) diet until this past Monday.

Now, having to cut out many of the foods I love was traumatic enough. But now, due to this restrictive diet, I've also had to start eating fish in order to get enough protein. I've been a vegetarian for 20 years, so this is no easy task for me. But, I can be really stubborn and shrivel away to a string bean, or I can eat some fish for 6 weeks. So, there ya go.

What I've discovered about this diet is that I'm going to have to end up getting really, really creative in the kitchen. So I figured I might as well blog about it...and maybe you folks and help me out! Who knows, maybe I'll come up with some really good recipes.

Here is what I'm allowed to eat, on a rotating system for at least 6 weeks, but should try to continue longer. I eat what's on day 1 list, then day 2, then day 3, then I can go back to day one...and repeat. There is no deviation from the list. If it's not on the list, I can't eat it. Period. No processed foods.

Day 1: Egg, Garbanzo bean, pinto bean, sole,amaranth, tapioca, oat, buckwheat, asparagus, peas, lima beans, onions, bananas, olives, papaya, raspberry, strawberry, American cheese, cottage cheese, cheddar cheese, bows milk, whey, yogurt, cashew, olive oil, sesame seed, Ginger, honey, leek, turmeric, vanilla

Day: 2 Tilapia, barley, kamut, spelt, weat, carrot, celery, mushroom, zucchini, avocado, blueberry, cantaloupe, honeydew melon, pear, cocoa, goat's milk, hazelnut, pecan, walnut, cane sugar, cumin, maple, parsley

Day 3: Salmon, tuna, crab, quinoa, rice, white potato, eggplant, lettuce spinach, apricot, cranberry, grapefruit, peach, coffee, tea, almond, sunflower seed, basil lemon, mint, mustard, paprika

Day one is definitely the best! But you start to look forward to the one or two things you really like on the other days. For dinner on Monday I had a big bowl of oatmeal with some milk, honey and lots of fresh bananas and strawberries. Mmmmmm. Yesterday, I bought some goat's milk and some raw cocoa (cant' have any additional ingredients, like soy lecithin or sweeteners, etc.). Made myself a cup of hot chocolate. It was actually really good.

Last night, I made tilapia for the first time (remember's been 20 years!). Using the ingredients I'm allowed to eat, I made a blended marinade/sauce from some goat's milk, cumin, salt, a piece of cantaloupe and some parsley. Covered the fillets with the sauce and bake/steamed it with Julienned carrots, zucchini and mushrooms. Because I can have hazelnuts, I found hazelnut oil to use. Which is very tasty! Also cooked some barley pearls and served the fish and veggies over that. The husband liked it...It was ok for me. It's going to take me a while to get used to this fish thing! But the tilapia is not toO "fishy" so that's good.

Today I made light tuna with lemon juice, basil, green peppers, and a little mustard. Served with lettuce and spinach. I went looking for sunflower oil to use as a salad dressing, but haven't been able to find it yet. Anyone know of a good local source?

That's my challenge to make decent salad dressings and mayo...Wish me luck!

Time to make pepper relish…

Oct 26, 2009

Back to those peppers taking over my refrigerator...last night I managed to get the first batch of pepper relish made and canned some up. I still have bowls of peppers in the fridge and plenty yet out in the garden...but it's a start!


Pepper relish has plenty of vinegar in it, so it's not mandatory that you have to process the jars, but, if you want to store them for a long period without refrigeration it's a good idea to go ahead and water-bath process for about 10 min. 


There are lots of different ways to make relishes with peppers. My mom makes a highly blended pear/pepper relish that is to die for. So you can be creative about mixing other ingredients. I kept this one pretty straightforward.

Lots of peppers (mild, hot..and one habanero! You can mix whatever peppers you like)
A few cloves garlic (I'm not crazy about onions, but they are what most people use)
1 Tablespoon of sea salt
2 1/2 cups organic apple cider vinegar or red wine vinegar.
2 cups organic sugar (less if you want a not-so-sweet relish)

  • Food process or hand chop (with gloves!!) the peppers. Remove seeds.
  • Place peppers, garlic (or onions) and salt in a 6 quart pot. Cover with boiling water and let sit for 10 min.
  • Sterilize your canning jars in the canner with water boiling (you don't have to process your jars if you're just going to keep them in the fridge, but you should still sterilize the jars or run through dishwasher first)
  • Strain water off peppers and place back in 6 quart pot. Add vinegar and sugar to peppers and bring to a boil. Let simmer for 20 min.
  • Pack pepper relish into sterilized jars. Pack down to press air bubbles out. Wipe lip of jar clean with dishtowel. Place lid on jar and secure ring, not tightly, onto jar.
  • Place jars into water bath canner and process for about 10 min. Start counting processing time when water comes back to a boil. 
  • Or, just fill jars and place in the fridge. Again, the relish will last a long time in the fridge even without canning.
Super yummy!!!!


It’s a Pesto Party!

Oct 23, 2009

It's getting chilly out there folks...that means that very soon, all that beautiful basil out in the garden is going to take a nosedive. You know what that means right? Time to make Pesto...lots of it! I started making batches last night and will continue to do so until we get a frost. Basil can suffer from cold damage at temperatures of 40F or below, so just remember to use it before it gets too cold.


Here is one bunch I picked last evening. A few different varieties mixed in there. Sweet basil is the large-leafed variety. 'Sweet Aussie' the small green leaves, 'Pesto Perpetuo' the small variegated leaves and some 'Purple Ruffles', the dark purples leaves. All basil varieties have a different flavor and fragrance so its nice to have several to choose from.

I'm not very recipe oriented when it comes to making pesto.  I just sort of throw it together. Have on hand some garlic, EV olive oil, Parmigiano-Reggiano, roasted pine nuts, a little salt and LOTS of basil leaves. I use my one "as seen on tv" gadget purchase, my Magic Bullet, LOL, to make my pesto. It's all I use it for but it's totally worth it! I quarter a couple cloves of garlic, throw in a table spoon or so of pine nuts, a pinch of salt, a healthy helping of olive oil, a few chunks of the cheese, then stuff the jar full of basil. Pulse this combo (or process in food processor) until it reaches your preferred consistency. You'll just need to adjust the ingredients to reach the flavor you like best. Some prefer more or less garlic. Then, you can simply freeze portions of pesto in an ice cube tray, covered with plastic wrap. Once the cubes are frozen, put them in a freezer bag and seal. You can keep it for about 6 months in the freezer. That should keep you in homemade pesto until next spring, when you can plant fresh basil plants. YUM!

Fresh Peppers = Skillet stuffed peppers for dinner…

Oct 18, 2009

It's that time of the fall season where I find myself overrun with peppers. Peppers of all sorts. Which is wonderful, but then I'm in a rush to use them and preserve them. I've been picking them for days and, like the "squash incident" of summer '09, they are starting to take over my refrigerator! Tomorrow evening I'll be making a batch of pepper relish to can...mmmmmm.


This evening I decided to take a few of the nice large bells and make stuffed peppers for dinner. For me anyway, the husband won't touch 'em! His loss! I made the filling from Quinoa, black beans, tomatoes, peppers and seasoning. Topped with some Fiscalini cheddar I found in the fridge. As I'm gluten free right now, I topped them off with some polenta instead of bread crumbs. Pre-heat the oven to 350, then bake for 30-40 minutes, depending on the heat of your oven and till the peppers are tender. YUM.


I’m going to sail my zucchini boat away….

Jun 9, 2009

Here is what happens when you forget to stay on top of your zucchini/squash begin to find zucchini the size of boats in the garden! Ah, but the good thing about zucchini is that the rind doesn't get tough on you past the size of a cucumber like most summer yellow squash do. You can let these babies get huge and they still taste great...and you can float them to the Bahamas, which is where I wish I was floating away to right now! Or Paris..Paris would be good...but I don't know if my zucchini could get me that far...hmmmm...


Anyhoo, this is a really outstanding bush type zucchini I'm testing. For those of you who have limited space, or haven't had much success with the vineing types of squash/zucchini, try sticking with "bush" types. They make plants about 2 1/2 feet tall and wide, so they are great for containers or small space veggie gardens. I fried up some of this zucchini two nights ago and it twas superb...MMMMM, nothing like summer vegetables giving me the excuse to eat something fried. Now I have to go run it off!!

Nikki Teases You with Talk of Potatoes

Jun 5, 2009


Ok, so I lost my camera yet again and have no proof, BUT I harvested about 5 lbs of potatoes. I figure it's a standard grocery plastic bags worth. I planted Yukon Gold back in February or so and decided to pull them out tonight.

My 5 year old immediately screamed for potato chips, but I think I'll be roasting them. I plan on eating all of them at once. I imagine they will be THAT delish! I just toss with olive oil and lemon pepper from this guy. Btw: he'll be at North Haven Gardens this Sunday for Farmer's Market for 10am-2pm.

So, here is what happened. Les, maybe you can explain a few things...
  1. the green plant part was turning brown and falling over. I got maybe 3 blooms on all the potatoes I planted. What's up??? Should I have left them longer? The plants were just too ick.
  2. none of the potatoes were actually found in the straw. they were below the straw, half in the soil. (i planted them in a 4" trench about 5' long.) But, my soil is pretty good. Nice and crumbly. I've been amending obsessively for about 3 years.
  3. I had mostly about 3"-4" in diameter potatoes and a handful of .75" ones.  
  4. of the 10 or so potatoes i planted, only about half produced plants. 
So, there you go. I have potatoes. Now, if I could just figure out where my dang camera was... 

Lovely dinner salad…

May 30, 2009

Ok, I do actually have things other than squash in the garden right now! This was my dinner last evening...still harvesting the last of the salad greens, baby style. Pulling the last round of carrots young as it's getting quite hot here now. Peppers, Swiss chard, basil and the first an orange cherry tomato. YUM. All varieties are test subjects for OG magazine, so you know the drill, can't tell you what they are or else I'd have to kill ya. Exceptions: 'Spicy Globe' basil and 'Big Bertha' pepper. The carrot is a long and slender type which, in our soil/climate, needs to be grown either in containers or raised beds. I usually grow the stubbier heirloom Chantenay types because they are easier to grow here. But this variety is doing well so far. The tomato is super tasty, although plants are kind of wimpy.


Here comes trouble

May 14, 2009

Let me just confess that a respectable percentage of my reason for blogging here is to get free advice from Leslie without driving her to acquire a restraining order.

Having said that, I'll introduce myself. I'm Julie, and my oldest child has referred to me variously as a "salad geek," a "compost-obsessed weirdo," and a "crazy chicken lady." Which is probably all the introduction I need. Mine is not the garden of a professional horticulturist, by any stretch. It's full of nutty experiments -- straw-bale raised beds, cucumbers growing on the compost bin, and hey, what happens if you bring home all the stale bread from church and stick it in your compost tumbler right before leaving town? (Answer: rats have amazing teeth.) I have three little helpers and one very busy husband who's always willing to help but seldom available. I aspire to create this in our patch of East Dallas, but for now I'll settle for a really good homegrown salad, like the one I made for dinner last night.

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