Month: March 2009

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The weekend has gone by slow, maybe because the week is so fast paced.  I did manage to get some things done but of course all non-school related.  My nephew who’s 11 months old keeps on calling me on his mother’s cell phone.  He’s called me at least 5 times now and he always manages to only call me.  Seems like he just misses his favorite aunt.  🙂  So my aunt has taking over most of the cooking.  She has to keep asking me what I can and cannot eat.  Last night I had my first dish that was mostly compromised of chicken.   Yummy

In the beginning of my quest I thought I would continue on with this new eating style after two weeks but I really don’t see that big of a difference with myself.  To be brutally honest, I’ve probably managed to be 90% off of sucrose only because people fail to put it in their ingrediants.  I’m going continue on with it till my two weeks are up since that was my goal.  I do want to keep somethings, like including  more variety of veges and fruits and start trying different grains and lentils.  Widen my scope of food instead of being limited to what we routinely eat.  I just can’t hush up the little baker inside of me.  My uncle is requesting my Cardamon Cookies that I made for him last time so I’ll probably baking up a storm Thursday night.  And since the sister has finalllly found her camera, I’ll be posting pics up again.

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Day 6 & 7

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It’s been raining cats and dogs for the past couple days.  I’ve been driving my dads car because my car was out of fuel and I just didn’t have time to fill up.  Today I forced myself to make time and fill up.  It started raining again and it was super sunny outside too but no rainbow.  I flipped on my wipers and automatically turned them off because I was use to my old sucky wipers.  I didn’t hear a dreaded noise and was like oh, I’ve got new ones!  I happily turned them back on and let them do their thing, peacefully wiping away.  (I get so happy over these little things.  It was the highlight of my day.)

I got some leeks today from Whole Foods but I still have yet to figure out how and where to use them.  And I’m almost done with my kale.  I can’t wait to finish it and start experimenting with other vegetables.  I was trying to figure out next weeks menu in my head and obviously eating what I had this past week would be the easy way out but boring.  I thought I was plum out of ideas but as I was walking through Whole Foods, I was reminded that there’s so much that I haven’t tried so that leaves a lot of room of messing around in the kitchen.  I stood in front of the bins today at Whole Foods and wrote down all the different kind of beans and grains they have so I can look them up.  Ever heard of wheat berries?  So not your typical berry.

I made poached eggs yesterday morning and it was quite easy.  It was kind of like a soft boiled egg but so much faster.  I had it where my yolks were running but next time I’ll cook one egg longer to see what it’ll be like.  I also made kidney beans and ate it with some brown rice.

Poached Eggs

Fill a pot of water 3 inches of water and set it to boil.  Crack your egg in a shallow bowl.  Once the water comes to a boil, reduce it to a soft simmer.  Carefully slip the egg outof the bowl and into the water.  You can cook the egg 2 minutes for runny whites and yolk, 4 min for runny yolk, 6 min for a full cooked egg.  Once you are done, get a slotted spoon and place your egg on a paper towel to absorb the water.  Let it rest for 2 minutes and season it with salt and pepper.

Traditionally poached eggs are eaten by placing it ontop of an english muffin and topped with hollindaise sauce.

Savory Red Beans

1 can Kidney Beans

1/2 onion

1 tomato

1/2 tsp salt

curry leaves

1/2 tsp red pepper

1/2 tsp paprika

1/4 turmeric

1/2 coriander

1/2 cumin

1 lemon

Chop the onion thinly and sautee it in oil in a pot for a couple of mintues, don’t brown the onions.  Chop the tomatoes and add in with curry leaves.  Add all spices in, salt, paprika, turmeric, red pepper, corainder, cumin.  Mix it well.  Add in some water, 1/4 cup and the kidney beans.  Squeeze in the lemon.  Easy savory dish!

Day 4 & 5

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I’m so excited I’m almost half way to my goal!  Going without sugar is really not that bad of a horror story.  I think I had some cravings the day before but I was easily able to battle it by produce shopping. I got strawberries, bananas, french prunes, a huge pomelo, longans, apples, and mangoes.  Now for those of you who don’t know what a pomelo  is, it is very similar to grapefruit but is less tart and there’s a huge spongy later between the outside skin and the inside fruit.  Ripe pomelos are generally yellow, but this picture shows green pomelos.  pomeloThe pomelo I got this time isn’t as sweet as my last pomelo, probably because it wasn’t fully ripened.  Now a longan is very similar to lychee.  It literally means dragon eyes in Cantonese because when you peel the outer layer to get to the fruit, there’s a translucent layer with a black seed in the middle which resembles an eye ball.  I don’t like lychee but I decided to give longans a chance but they failed me.  They had this funny sweetness to them.  I brought them to work for everyone to try out and my c0-worker happily ate them all for me.

longan_b

I’m getting a better handle on this oatmeal thing.  I still need to measure out exactly how much water I need to make it cook properly without me checking on it constantly.  On a better note, I made some rocking Split Pea Soup today.  The sister ate three bowls without me.  Oh ya, blame her for no pics because she’s too lazy to find her camera for me.  I’m try to remember everything I put in it.  It was realllllly easy and will be a quick go to for me when I’m busy.

Split Pea Soup

1 cup split peas

3 tbs oil

3 tbs barley flour (you can use regular flour)

1/2 onion

3 mushrooms chopped

1/2 cup carrots chopped

2 stalks of celery chopped

3 springs wakame

1 zuchinni chopped

6 cups water

3 pieces of roasted chicken + drippings (I used the chicken left over from my luncheon)

3 springs of fresh thyme

1 1/2 tsp salt

1/2 tsp paprika

Heat oil in a pot and thinly slice up your onions.  Sautee them in the oil.  Add in chopped mushrooms, celery, and carrots.  Stir in flour.  If it starts to burn, add a little water in to make a paste.  Add zucchini and let it cook for a couple of minutes.  Then add in the water, wakame, split peas, chicken and drippings, salt, paprika, thyme.  Let it cook until the peas become mushy and blend in to the soup, forming a thick soup.

Enjoy with crackers or toasted bread.  I ate it without that and it was scrumptious.  Perfect for cold nights.

Day 3

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Today was a busy day, starting at 6 am.  Somehow I managed to not have breakfast till 1130.  It took awhile to get the oats cooked and I had some burning issues as well.  I had to keep on adding water to fully cook the oats.  They are steel cut oats, not rolled oats which many people are use to.  I got breakfast going on the stove and I decided to cook some dinner while I was at it.  I’ve gotten into a habit of cooking earlier in the day versus in the evening.  It’s so much easier when you have more energy.  When evening time rolls around, I don’t have much motivation to make dinner.  It’s much better when you have food ready.  Unless you’re one of those people who want food right off the stove (which usually results in a burned tongue for me), this is the best way to go.  I don’t have pics unfortunately since I’m having trouble finding the camera but will post some soon as they make everything prettier.

Steel Cut Oats

1/3 cup steel cut oats

2 cups water

dash of nutmeg

dash of cinnamon

1 banana

dash of flax seeds

handful of currants (any dried fruit)

Start by getting the water to boil with cinnamon and nutmeg.  Once the water is boiling, add in the oats and boil for 5 minutes.  Reduce to a simmer and let oats cook until soft.  Keep checking and stirring to make sure there’s enough water in the pot.  Add water as needed.  Once the oats are cooked, there should be a little water left, not too much.  Pour into a cereal bowl and add in your currants (or dried fruit), banana, and flax seeds.  Let it sit for 5 minutes before eating.

You can add honey to make it sweeter but my bananas were pretty ripe and lent a very sweet taste so honey wasn’t needed.

For dinner I decided to make Daal Chawwal aka Lentils and Rice.  It’s one of my favorite dishes and is such a sinch.  I’ll post up soon how to make Khaati Daal (it roughly translates to Sour Lentils but that doesn’t sound yum but it really is.  It’s a typical dish you might find at a hyderabadis house).  Khaati Daal is even easier to make, without the hassle of caramelizing onions.

I usually mix my own spices and use only a teaspoon of Shaan Masala  but I couldn’t find the one for Daal in my fridge so I had to do with out it.  It turned out the same so I guess I will just leave it out next time as well.

Daal Chawwal (Lentils and Rice)

1 1/2 cup mixed lentils (not any of the green ones)

1/2 an onion sliced thinly

1 tomato

handful of curry leaves

2 tsp salt

1 tsp cayenne pepper

1/4 tsp haldi

1 tsp ground cumin

1 tsp ground coriander

1 lemon

1 tsp garlic

1 tsp ginger

2 green peppers, quartered

In a pot, fill it half way with water.  Wash the lentils and add it to the pot to cook.  While the lentils are cooking, in a skillet, caramelize the onion (it really helps when its thinly sliced.  Makes it go faster) until it turns a red/brown but don’t let it burn.  Chop tomatoes and add it in.  Next, add in the garlic, ginger, and curry leaves and let it cook for about a minute.  Add in remaining ingredients.  Once the lentils start getting soft, add in the mixture from the skillet and let it cook until everything comes together.  Add more lemon to taste.

For the rice, rinse one cup of brown rice and add it to a pot filled with 3 cups of water.  Add a teaspoon of salt.  Boil the rice until the rice is cooked and/or there is no more water.

This is the easy way to make rice, (I hate the rice cooker) known as boiled rice.  There’s another way with adding in some spices but I wasn’t in the mood for that.  I’ll probably post it with some other dish.

The sister decided to be mean, and baked some brownies while I was at work.  I came home to a yummy smelling house only to find a tray full of brownies.  I was severly tempted, but somehow kept away.  I even stayed away from taking a sip of her tapioca the night before!  One sip can turn into two, and three and I would fall of the horse.  Suprisingly I haven’t had any crazy cravings.  I was actually quite hungry throughout the day today even though I ate decently with snacking on fruit in between.  I think a trip to Wel-Farm is due tomorrow since I’m running out of fruit. Wel-Farm has cheap produce and always has a variety of fruit which I enjoy trying out.  Sometimes I get a little too fruit happy but I will try to keep myself in check tomorrow.  Can’t wait.

Day 2

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I spent last night at a friends place and we snacked on grapes and rasberries at midnight.  Well she had some cookies and a glass of milk but ofcourse I passed on that.  For breakfast her mother made eggs with whole wheat homemade chapati.  I want to try poaching an egg since I’ve never had one before.  I believe I’ve had eggs every other which way except for a poached egg.  I’ll try it out for breakfast sometime this week.

Not long after we got home I started making some lunch.  I put a fillet of catfish in the oven to bake with chipotle seasoning, salt, and pepper while soba noodles were boiling in a pot full of water.  I wanted something more than noodles and fish so I grabbed my skillet and sauteed 1 tsp of garlic.  I added one spring of green onion and two sliced mushrooms to the mix.  To hit it with some flavor, I splashed in some tamari sauce.  With the tons of kale in the fridge, I chopped up a handful and threw it in.  I covered the skillet so the kale would steam to wilt and soften the leaves.  After that was done, I layered the noodles with the fish and kale/mushroom mixture that I made.  The sister and I dug in and enjoyed a scrumptious meal, finished off with some pear and mango that I had cut up.  We decided to go out for dinner since the sister wants some sushi.  I’ll probably stick to miso soup since sushi has white rice.

So far this is going pretty good.  Tomorrow I’ll be cooking in the morning for the whole day since I won’t have time later on in the day.  Spring break was too short but to think that I’ve only got 14 days of school left is pretty awesome.  Toodles for now.  Time for some yoga.

Day 1

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My last sugar-filled food I ate today was frozen yogurt from McDs.  I headed over to Whole Foods after that and spent quite some time there, trying to figure out what I need and where it is.  Some lady saw me at the bins and started asking me questions, thinking that I actually knew something. Ya right.  I didn’t get much, just some basic things that I could easily build on.   Here is what I got:

Split Peas

Barely Flour

Brown Rice

Steel Cut Oats

Spicy Southwestern Soup

Wakame-Japanese Sea vegetable.  It has minerals that reduces lentil cooking time and adds savory flavor

2 Fillets of Cat Fish

Soba Noodles/Buckwheat Noodles-A delicacy in Japan rich in rutin which helps with varicose veins.  People spend a fortune in buying vitamins that contain rutin.

Now the Spicy Southwestern soup wasn’t a can.  Just a bunch of mixed lentils and beans in this bin.  I got about a cup to try it out.  I came home and started boiling 1 cup of it with 5 cups of water.  Chopped up 3 springs of wakame and kept on adding things like celery, broccli, carrots, green onions, some ginger, mushrooms, lemongrass and a little rice.  I’m going to let it simmer for an hour and possibly add in some Tamari sauce if it needs some more seasoning.  The house smells deliciousss.  Can’t wait for some dinner.

Experiment

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So I finallllly finished Sugar Blues and wow it’s an amazing book.   To be honest, it was kind of boring at first when it was talking about the history of sucrose but as it started talking about how your body reacts to it, it’s mind blowing.  This book was recommended to me when I was at my sister’s place and I had cooked lunch for a friend of hers.  It was below zero that day and I offered her some green tea (sorry I don’t do black tea/chai) to warm her up from the harsh outside cold.  I asked her the usual question, “How much sugar do you take?” and she replied with a negative, drinking her tea without any sweeteners.  I found this to be a little out of the ordinary (usually people reply with something over 3 teaspoons!) but I didn’t inquire farther.  Later on in our lunch date, we were talking about how I was studying nutrition and she brought up the fact that she doesn’t take sugar after she read Sugar Blues. At that point, I was taken aback.  I knew too much sugar was bad for you, but eliminating it totally out of your diet was quite astonishing.  She proceeded to tell us the positive results she saw with herself and it got me thinking.  It wasn’t until I finished In Defense of Food by Michael Pollan until I seriously considered reading this book of hers.  Pollan opened my eyes to a side of nutrition that isn’t taught at school and showed me a whole new world.  All this calories counting, fat is bad, low carb diet, what is the answer to obesity was taking up too much of my time when it actually had a very simple answer.  “Eat food.  Not too much.  Mostly Plants.” And when he talks about food, he means REAL food.  I’m sorry, having monocalcium phosphate in my food sounds like I’m eating chemicals, not food.

So Sugar.  Did you know that intially, “blood was used to clarify the juice of the sugar cane.  Eventually that method was replaced and charred animal bones were used to bleach the sugar.”  That’s pretty nasty.  Actually, reallly nasty.  I wonder what they bleach sugar with now because you know it naturally doesn’t come in white crystallized form.  And in England in 1816 it was illegal for a brewer to have sugar in his possession because it meant that he might contaminate the drink with sugar.

Another interesting fact is that Russia, China and Formosa make their cigarettes out of air-dried tobacco like the American Indians did and there’s no correlation between smoking and lung cancer in those countries.  Whereas in America, Britain and France, air-drying is not used.  Instead flue curing is used which is a method to speed up the drying process and ferments the natural sugars of tobacco.  In simple terms, this just means there’s unnatural sugar production with this process.  They also add sugar during the blending process.  Britain produces cigarettes that have the highest sugar content in the world.  They too have the  highest rate of lung cancer in the world.  No wonder the American Indians didn’t have issues with lung cancer.

sucrose

Anyho, I’ve decided to conduct an expirement and give Dufty benefit of the doubt.  I’ve decided for the next two weeks to stay away from all processed food, including white flour, rice, and sugar starting Saturday as I need a day to shop and get myself started.  I will have to raid Whole Foods and Wel-Farm tomorrow.  I know that it’ll be hard, especially when I have to eat at someone’s house and not offend them plus cravings.  This means no tapioca drinks either since theyre loaded with sugar. 😦  Dufty gives some suggestions at the end of his book, but they’re a little too gung ho for me.  I’ll post some of things that I make and any changes that I see with myself.  Two weeks might be too short to see any results, but I don’t even know if I can last a week.  This might seem a little crazy, but it won’t hurt and I’m up for the challenge.

Now I can finally start Twinkie Deconstructed.

Oh and side note, if you decide to make the apple pie in my previous post, to avoid oven mess, place a rack below the pie pan and line the bottom rack with foil so it can catch all the drippings.  Voila! Easy clean up.  I wish I had thought of it before.  :/