Tag Archives: Vegetable

Can I Eat That? Random Leaf Stirfy

2014 April 004This week we ate the first fruits of our garden!  The turnip plants were about four inches tall and I thinned them and tossed the rejected plants into some stirfry with delicious results.  For you non-gardeners out there, “thinning” plants means pulling (or cutting) the extra baby plants from a row to give the plants that remain room to grow.  The “baby” plants are what you see sold in stores in plastic bags and labeled…wait for it…baby kale, baby spinach, baby arrugula, etc.  Baby plants are popular because they’re tender and sweeter than the grown up plants.  Ever eat overly mature greens (spinach, kale, turnip, etc)?  If it weren’t for the wilting, you could make shoes out of them.

2014 April 002I used to pitch the pulled plants along with the weeds, but then I discovered that you can eat them!  You can eat the leaves of turnips, radishes, beets, and broccoli, as well as the obvious “leaf” plants such as lettuce, spinach, chard, and kale.  When I found out that we can eat the whole plant, I was thrilled.  My kids were not.  I’m under no delusions: my present goal is not to make my kids like vegetables; that will come in time.  My goal is to convince them that they can eat a green leaf from the garden and not die.  I suppose I’m trying to convince a few of you readers as well.

Let’s do a quick science class review.  The parts of a plant?  Root, stem, leaf, flower, fruit, seed.  Depending on the plant, you can eat some or all of these parts.  Quick quiz!  Ready?

Which part can you eat from a carrot plant?
Root.  Nice work, too easy.

2014 April 003Green bean plant?
Fruit and seeds.  Excellent.  The bean is actually the seed pod (fruit) and as the pod matures, it gets thin and tough and the seeds inside become hard; these seeds are what we see in the stores as dried beans in bags or canned beans (think Baked Beans, black beans, kidney beans, etc).  Cool, huh?  This summer I’m going to plant some dried black beans from the store and see what happens.

Turnip, beet, or radish?
When it’s young, you can eat the whole plant!  Root, leaves, stem.  Once it flowers, the plant is so tough; you’d be hard pressed to choke down any part of it.

Now, I’m not suggesting that you run outside and begin eating anything green in sight.  No, that would be crazy.  When you find a plant you think is edible, you should first Google it and base your consumption on unverified comments from an unqualified person on a random website.  (I’m kidding! Although that’s exactly what I did….) What I am suggesting is that you try a new vegetable this week!

“See, I am doing a new thing!
Now it springs up; do you not perceive it?”
Isaiah 43:19a

Chard Leads To Brownie

unnamedThis week Stephanie Eusebi had a great idea on her blog, Stephanie Eusebi Nutrition and Wellness: Swiss Chard Wraps. ( Click here to see her recipe and step by step instructions.)  I love tortillas, but I haven’t been buying them a lot lately for one reason: a medium sized tortilla can be 120 calories.  That’s the equivalent of a brownie and I’d much rather have the brownie.  That’s why I’m going to try Stefanie’s chard substitution.  I can eat my meal AND eat a brownie after dinner and I’ll still come out even calorie-wise, better off nutrient-wise, and way better off chocolate-wise.  (Should I skip the brownie?  Of course!  But this is a long term healthy lifestyle, not a crash diet…there will be days I need that brownie.)

P1010371For those of you not familiar with chard, it’s a big, slightly bitter leaf.  Mmmm, sounds appetizing, right?  Here’s a picture of it growing in my garden.  Pretty, isn’t it?  I started thinking beyond wraps to other tortilla dishes I could substitute chard in: burritos, tacos, and enchiladas. Ole!  Seriously, if you have taco seasoning in your filling, will you even taste the difference?  Taco seasoning is potent packet powder.  Will you care if you can taste the difference if you get to eat a brownie guilt free afterwards?

It’s a small change, but it can make a big difference in your diet, your health, and your brownie intake.  I think we have a winner!

“Those who trust in their riches will fall, but the righteous will thrive like a green leaf.” Proverbs 11:28

MAGIC BEANS! For Weight Loss

surpriseTired of snacks that don’t satisfy? Tired of spending a fortune on diet foods that don’t taste good and don’t fill you up? Try MAGIC BEANS!
MAGIC BEANS! come to you in a nifty paper packet. Simply add soil, water, and ultraviolet light to your MAGIC BEANS! and PRESTO! You’ll be snacking on MAGIC BEANS! in no time!
In a store you’d pay four dollars per pound, BUT you can grow a bushel of your own MAGIC BEANS! for less than two dollars!
Email me now and I’ll send you your very own MAGIC BEANS! for only $19.95. But wait! There’s more! If you keep reading, you’ll realize I’m full of crap!
P1010356MAGIC BEANS! are: ta ta ta taaaaa….green beans! Even if you’ve never gardened before in your life, I want you to give growing your own green beans a try this summer. Here’s why:
1. They taste better freshly picked.
2. They are SO cheap when you grow your own.
3. Beans store nitrogen in their roots as they grow; this means that they can grow in relatively awful soil. Most other veggies need good soil, but beans are hard core.
No kidding, when my husband and I bought our house ten years ago, we bought a tree and a shovel and went outside to plant it. Our soil was so hard that we had to buy a pickax to dig the hole. But the very next year we started a garden and our beans grew well.
2013 Summer 605Why am I blogging about this now? Because in a couple of weeks the weather will be gorgeous and you will have plenty of pent up energy and inspiration to do projects like prepping a small patch of dirt for your bean plants. Don’t worry, this is not turning into a gardening blog, but if you’ve never grown your own vegetables, give it a try. You’ll love them even more when you taste them home grown!
“Now the Lord God had planted a garden in the east, in Eden; and there he put the man he had formed.” Genesis 2:8


Image of the woman loving her Magic Beans is from http://blog.shelbysystems.com/2011/07/what-reaction-are-you-looking-for/

New Recipe! Fried Cabbage

2014 Feb 070My brother gave me this recipe months ago, but I’m just sharing it now for two reasons.

1. I kept forgetting to buy cabbage.  I’ve never known what to do with it, so I was in the habit of passing it by in the store.  Poor cabbage.

2. After I started making this, I kept forgetting to take a picture of it until it was too late.  It was always long gone before the camera came out.

Do my kids like it?  I’m not sure.  I’ve never shared it with them.  Call me selfish, but that’s the truth.  I offered once, but they said “Ew, what’s that?” and I said, “Cabbage.  You’re right, it’s gross.  Here, let me eat yours.”

I’m sure there are many variations that can be created with the cabbage/bacon base, so let me know if you stumble upon a wonderful new combination.  When your vegetables taste like bacon, you really can’t go wrong!


Fried Cabbage

(Careful: wait until the pan is cool before you lick it clean.)


2 slices bacon or turkey bacon

2014 Feb 0675 cups shredded/sliced cabbage

1 cup onion, canned corn, or both

salt and pepper to taste

1. Fry the bacon.  Remove and cut into little pieces.

2. Add the veggies, cover, lower the heat, and cook 20-30 minutes or until the cabbage is soft.

3.  Add salt, pepper, and bacon.

Be A Better Loser

I’m a pretty good loser, but with help, I’m a great loser.  Help can be an app, a website, a book, an accountability partner, a support group, or a lock on the fridge.  For me, it was Loseit.com.

2013 Summer 605When I first started losing weight, I didn’t want help.  Don’t give me a list of rules.  Don’t tell me any foods are off limits.  Call it stubbornness, call it arrogance, call it refusal to let go of a baking addiction…the point is, I wanted to do it on my own terms.  Also, on my bad days, I did NOT want to have to tell someone how bad I was.  My shame is my own, thank you very much!  But after four months of losing weight and two months of plateau-ing, (P.L.A.T.E.A.U. stands for Please Let my Attempts Take Effect…ARGH!! U’ve got to be kidding me!  Really body?  All this effort and the scale doesn’t budge?) I was ready for help.

P1010980Loseit.com is a free, easy, online calorie diary of sorts.  You know it’s quick and easy if a stay at home mom with four computer-crazy little kids can use it.  When I sit down at the computer, I have about 70 seconds before the boys swarm all over me, asking for a turn.  One of them will actually climb up the back of my chair and onto my shoulders.

Anyways, you create an account, telling them how much you weigh now, your weight goal, and if you want to lose 1, 1.5, or 2 pounds a week.  I love the realism here; notice that you may not choose to lose 20 pounds per week.  They calculate how many calories you should eat each day to reach your goal.  You type in a food and it tells you how many calories that food has and adds it all up for you.  So easy!  No math skills needed!

P1010979You can also create custom foods (such as a favorite homemade soup recipe or how you take your coffee) and name them.  Whole meals can be repeated with one click; useful if you eat the same thing for breakfast five days a week (like coffee, juice, and oatmeal), and previous meals are automatically saved and available to add; useful if you have leftovers for lunch the next day or you cook similar dinners every week.

You can also enter any exercise you do which ADDS calories to your daily allotment.  They even include housework and gardening.  If there’s chocolate in the house, my home gets a good cleaning!

Loseit even has a community feature where your friends and family can join as friends and see one another’s progress and leave comments.  It’s a great way to stay encouraged and be held accountable….as much as you want to be!

P1010981By the way, I am not being paid to talk about Loseit.  I wish I were.  If anyone would like to pay me, I would enjoy that.

So, how does this help?

Imagine that you’ve lost fifteen pounds and need a new outfit to go out with your girlfriends.  You have $80 to spend on clothes and your favorite brand of jeans is on sale for $40. At the store you find a fabulous shirt that you love, but it costs $60.  If you buy the shirt, you can’t buy the jeans.  So, you have to choose: marvelous shirt and mediocre jeans OR spectacular jeans and second rate shirt.  No, put those credit cards back in your pocket!  In this metaphor, debt turns into love handles!

That’s what Loseit does for me; it helps me budget.  I want to eat marvelous everything, all day, all the time.  But that’s how I gained my weight in the first place.  So, a budget example: After entering my breakfast, lunch, dinner, and exercise, I have a whopping 150 calories left for snack time.  I want to have a brownie and a cappuccino, but I can’t do that and stay within my calorie budget, so I have to choose: a brownie and tea OR carrots and cappuccino.

Not so bad, is it?1

Loseit has shown me where my calorie bombs were hiding; those foods that seemed innocent, but in reality have a lot higher count than I imagined.  Muffins, for example, and spaghetti.  The first time I entered my breakfast of muffins into Loseit, I cringed: the muffins used up almost half of my allotment that day!  Score one for the learning curve.  And over time I’ve learned which foods I can fill my plate with and still have room for treats.  (Vegetables!  Not surprised?  What, have you been reading my blog or something?)

Loseit is not the only website out there, but it’s the one I know.  The point is, at some point most of us will need some help, be it encouragement, accountability, or a dose of reality.  So, when you’re ready, don’t be afraid to get help!

“Note this: Wicked men trust themselves alone…and fail; but the righteous man trusts in me, and lives!” Habakkuk 2:4

Slurp This, Not That

P1010196Not all soup is created equal.  That’s like saying all chocolate is the same.  I extol the merits of soup and its ability to help you lose weight or maintain a healthy weight, but I feel the need to define “soup”.  To avoid confusion and – in the spirit of this blog – to keep a positive spin on things, we’ll call good, healthy, diet-friendly soup “sexy soup” to distinguish it from all the other “soups” out there that are worse for you than an Italian hoagie.  (Note: Italian hoagies are awesome BUT I don’t recommend eating them several times a week if you want to lose weight…unless you bike the five miles to and from the hoagie shop.)

Sexy Soup IS:

Mostly vegetables and water,

Going to maintain a liquid state in the fridge and not congeal into some sort of glop,

Less than 150 calories per 1 cup serving,

Tastes so good your kids will eat it.

2013 october 010Cream of Broccoli Soup, for example, is not Sexy Soup.  If you remove the water, it’s really a block of cheese with one stem of broccoli added for color.  Have you ever seen it when it’s cold?  It’s Jello.   But if you love cheese Jello like I do, then try this trick: Cook a bunch of broccoli and mix it in, about half soup and half broccoli (and water if you need to thin it out a bit).  It won’t be quite as thick as the original, but at least it won’t be misleading to keep the word “broccoli” in the title anymore, and you’ll have calcium oozing out of your pores.2013 october 015

Canned soup is convenient, but it’s not Sexy.  Some of the soup companies have created healthy lines of soup: “100% Natural”, “Light”, “Heart Healthy” and so forth.  Not a bad idea, and these soups are on track calorie-wise, but each ONE cup serving gives you about 700 mg of sodium.  That’s 30% of the sodium you should consume in an entire day.  If they have less sodium, they add more sugar, as much as 3 teaspoons in a ONE cup serving.  I don’t add that much sugar to my coffee, and I like it sweet!

Let’s not forget the main reason we love soup: it’s a warm, comforting, delicious way to eat lots of vegetables.  Most canned soups don’t give you a lot of veggies; you usually get what you see on the label’s picture…a whole three carrot slices per can.

How do you make Sexy Soup that’s satisfying and rich without adding loads of dairy, salt, or sugar?  The trick is to make the water feel like not-water in your mouth.

Option one: when the soup is cooked, pour half of it into a blender and blend it, then return it to the pot.  Your “broth” is creamy, but there’s something left to chew.  Note: this is a great way to get veggies into kids; if they pick out the carrots they can see, they still slurp down the ones they can’t.

2013 october 014Option two: add purees.  Don’t pitch your decorative pumpkins!  Did you know that pumpkins were a vegetable before they were décor?  You can eat them!  Not after you carve them, light a candle in them, and leave them on the doorstep for a month, no, but even in November and December, an unopened pumpkin can be cooked and consumed.  Bake or microwave it, scoop out the now soft insides (not the seeds), puree it in a blender, and freeze it in little ziploc baggies to add to soups.  Purees of cauliflower, yellow summer squash, and carrot also work for Sexy Soup.2013 october 012

Option three: add potatoes or rice.  Potatoes and rice tend to thicken a broth when simmered for a while.  Just make sure most of the soup is made up of colorful plants.

Option four: cheese or milk.  If you add dairy, follow the Rule of Thumb for your veggie:fat ratio.  One thumb of fat/dairy per one hand of veggies.  Choose a strong cheese that you can taste; if a mild flavored cheese blends in too well, you may as well leave it out.

Option five: blend all of the soup and pour it into a large plastic martini glass.  Put on sunglasses, heels, and lip stick, then sit by a pool and sip it through a straw.  Sexy is as sexy eats!

“Give us nothing but vegetables to eat and water to drink.” Daniel 1:12