Tag Archives: Side Dishes

More Uses for Shredded Broccoli Stalks: Microwave Crackers


Ready for the microwave

It is 5:26 pm. Friday, March 25, 2011. Why am I stating these mundane facts, this useless information? It’s the only part of reality I have left. Everything else feels hazy, blurry, wrong somehow….

I have spent the past 4 days sitting inside my apartment, becoming increasingly disassociated from everything that defines normality. I don’t think I ever sleep anymore, just drift in an out of consciousness. But who am I to say? Perhaps I am asleep right now. It makes me wonder how my cat passes the hours. Alone. With nothing more than the waving trees to gaze at through the window.

There is deepening sense of…in the pit of my stomach. It escapes a single-word classification, but if I were forced to pick one it would be, quite simply, wrong. Something’s missing, something bad is about to happen, there’s no future for me, what am I going to do with the rest of my days?

I know it’s no one’s fault but my own. After all, I was the one that wanted this: a semester “off”. I just never realized it would turn into this. This half-life that is becoming increasingly dreamlike.

Worst of all, I think my my hands are changing color!

Broccoli-Carrot Crackers
makes about 7-8 crackers

crackers 2

  • About 1/4c. broccoli stalks, coarsely grated
  • About 1/4c. carrots, coarsely grated
  • 1/4c. pureed fat-free cottage cheese (or mashed)
  • Spices and seasonings to taste (for these, I used Mrs. Dash + a few pinches of garam masala)

→Mix all the ingredients in a small bowl.

Spread thinly on wax paper, parchment paper or, if you’re like me/want to be environmentally-friendly, opened up cereal bags.

Microwave on high for about 5 minutes, checking every minute or two.



Mix ‘n Match Cake (Healthy AND Low-Calorie)

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Breakfast of Champions: Lemon-Raspberry Parfait

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I have a confession to make: I’ve been eating a lot of cake/brownies/cookies lately. It makes me feel incredibly guilty, which, from a logical standpoint, doesn’t make much sense. If one were to take into account all the ingredients, they wouldn’t find a single guilt-worthy one. After all, what makes a plate of steamed broccoli “healthier” than pureed steamed broccoli in a cake?

I suppose it’s more about the psychological connections we have with certain foods. I remember my friend telling me once that, every time he ate something “unhealthy,” he would follow it up with something “healthy” like “broccoli”. Of course, being the kind of person that puts broccoli in my cake, my first question was what he would do if the cake was made out of something “healthy” (like broccoli). Not being one to obsess over every bite of food, he shrugged and let the issue pass, but I haven’t been able to let go of it since.

Whenever I eat a “healthy” version of a typically “unhealthy” food, my id and superego begin to battle it out in a dialogue reminiscent of the 1930s comedy sketch, “Who’s on First?” It seems neither one can understand the other and neither one cares to try. As a result, I am left guilty and confused about whether or not I should consider my baked goods “unhealthy” or “healthy”.

I guess the only question that really needs to be answered is why I care so much.

Things to think about:

  1. How do you define healthy? Is it macronutrient composition? Raw food? Calories? Is it more a “feeling” based on what you associate the food with?
  2. Based on your definition, how do you (or how don’t you) moderate unhealthy vs. healthy foods?
  3. Where would you put a cake made out of broccoli on the spectrum?

For the parfait:

  • Lemon Cake: Sponge cake seasoned with lemon zest
  • Whipped Cream: Try my version made with sugar-free, fat-free pudding
  • Raspberry Sauce: Mix low-calorie raspberry yogurt with water until it forms a saucy consistency

Adventures in Molecular Gastronomy: Vegan, Low-Calorie Sponge Cake

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Slightly Sweet but Always Stringy Spaghetti Squash

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Healthy, “Any Way You Like” Cookies (Microwave-Friendly)

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Thank you.

“What’s in the Freezer” Veggie Dip

dip and nori

Topped with chopped tomatoes! Mmmm

I was watching a cooking show today while I worked out. It made me kind of happy and kind of sad all at once, because watching the “chef” explain how innovative it is to BAKE onion rings made me feel like I deserve my own cooking show (or at least my own cooking short). Then I got really sad because I realized I never would.

Then I changed the channel, which made me feel a little better, but not really. But I guess that’s just life, isn’t it?

The show, which was about “healthified” fast food, did make me think about dips, which in turn made me come up with this cheesy spinach dip. There was also the fact that I was/am completely out of fresh vegetables and, if I wanted anything other than a peanut butter sandwich or a brownie, I was going to have to go to my freezer.

So out came the bag of frozen cut leaf spinach and then the 3 pepper/onion blend (as always); toss some garlic in there too, why not?; then saute a little and add a bit of fat-free cheese. Seriously, nothing could be easier.

Nori with dip

Toasted Nori with Cheesy Dip

Ooey, Gooey Cheesy Dip That Doubles as a Vegetable Serving
servings variable

  • Frozen chopped leaf spinach
  • Frozen 3 pepper/onion blend
  • Minced garlic cloves
  • Fat-free cream cheese
  • Fat-free mozzarella cheese
  • salt, pepper and spices of choice (garlic powder, onion powder, italian seasoning, etc)
  • Parmesan cheese, optional
  • Veggie Beef-style Crumbles, optional

→Spray a pan with nonstick spray. Dump the veggies and garlic into this pan. Saute them for a little bit until garlic is fragrant and onions are lightly browned.

Put this in a bowl. To this bowl, add a handful (good size pinch?) of fat-free mozzarella cheese and little bit of fat-free cream cheese. Mix it around. Keep adding cream cheese (or mozzarella) and mixing until it reaches the consistency you want. The cream cheese just helps the veggies stick together to form a “dip”.

Add a couple pinches of spices and seasonings of choice. You know what to do now.

Serve with chips, nachos or, as I did, toasted nori (which holds up surprisingly well considering the thinness).

Popeye would be jealous.

The Adventure Continues: Sprouted Wheat Finds it’s Soulmate in the Pistachio

Pistachio and Sprouted Wheat Pita

Truly a match made in heaven

All philosophical musings and deep words have been pried out of me by this miserable excuse of a day. So, in an effort to keep this blog from becoming a complete vehicle for my pointless rants, I’m going to try to avoid saying too much. I think I’ve already said too much.

I don’t know if you remember the pistachio butter I made awhile back or that I said it was insanely strong. I did though and it was. I am happy to report I have found a most perfect of uses for it. Green sprouted wheat berries. Opposites attract and these two are certainly opposites in flavor; but, don’t forget, birds of feather flock together–for that we have the intensity of said flavor.

It’s a match made in heaven.

Pistachio and Sprout Pita

Opposite, yet alike-the definition of perfect


Memories of food: Vegan Chocolate Crepes

As a general rule, I try to avoid cooking things that remind me of my past. The few times I did, I gained nothing more than nostalgia or a strange variety of metaphorical heartburn that stretched from my leg to my chest. Sometimes, though, I can’t stop myself. This, like the Gulab Jamuns I made awhile back, was one of those times.

As much as I would like to blame it on the very old container of fat-free cottage cheese sitting in my fridge, I can’t. Yes, I wanted to find a use for it, but, as most dieters know, cottage cheese has a myriad of uses (the least of which is crepes). And I never even liked crepes (even though I ate them quite a bit over the years).

Of the few things that have lasted through the ups and downs in my weight (and corresponding eating disorder), crepes is one. They, like the Guess watch I so adamantly refuse to give up, have seen me through my childhood obesity, my high school emaciation, my “regaining” of lost weight, and every little ounce that came between.

I still vaguely remember that first day of the third grade. I had just started a brand new school whose only foreign language option was French, which, thinking back, I find slightly surprising considering foreign language was required.

To welcome the students to her class on this first day, our French teacher decided to make a traditional French food: crepes. I watched her, barely interested, while she dipped the electric crepe maker into the eggy sort of batter; she flipped the appliance, checking the crepe for doneness; when a certain point was reached, she grabbed a white paper plate from her stack and shook the crepe maker, causing the strange looking thing to flop on to the plate.

“Who wants to try one?” she yelled. I, for one, did not. There was something about the way they hit the plate, something about the texture of the batter, something about the the white-ish yellowish color that resembled old white underwear desperate for some bleach. Yes, there was something very wrong with these.

Then she started laying out the toppings. Strawberries were first with their mouthwatering almost blood red color and dotted texture. Then bananas-creamy, sunshine yellow flecked with dots of brown like birds in the sky. Then light, airy whipped cream for clouds. And, then, there was…

chocolate: sweet, sensual, creamy heaven. Nutella, to be exact, which, at the time, I didn’t know was a mix of chocolate and hazelnut. The moment I read the words “nut” and “chocolate” on the package, I was sold. Our French teacher, wanting us to experience the culture of her county, forbade any eating of toppings without crepes.

Lured by the possibility of chocolate, nuts AND strawberries, I forced myself to try one. As I suspected from its appearance, the crepes tasted rubbery-like skin or, at least, as one would imagine skin to taste. I didn’t care though. I was a kid; I didn’t have to worry about budgeting calories…if even part of something was good, I ate it. Oh how did I eat it!

Crepe after crepe, year after year, pound after pound, I ate it. Until I was so big, so miserable, my mom felt the need to resort to such negative reinforcement as calling me a fat bitch. So it went for a few years…crepe after crepe until all I wanted was to be thin.

And, well, it’s all downhill from there.

Chocolate Version

Vegan Crepes #1: Chocolate
makes 2-3 crepes

  • 1/2 T. mashed fiber one (4 grams)
  • 1 T. cocoa powder
  • 1 T. all purpose flour
  • 1/4 t. guar gum
  • 1/4 c. milk

Vegan Crepes #2: Banana (Microwave-friendly)
makes 2-3 crepes

  • 1/2 T. mashed fiber one (4 grams)
  • 1 T. banana flavored protein powder
  • 1 T. all purpose flour
  • 1/4 t. guar gum
  • 1/4 c. milk

→Mix all the ingredients together, beating well. Make sure it is a uniform liquid.

Allow to stand for a minute or so, until mixture is like very thin-cake batter. If it becomes too thick, you might need to add a little warm water.

On a non-stick skillet sprayed very well with cooking spray, pour the batter. Quickly shake the pan or move it around in circles. You want the crepe VERY thin. Using a large skillet pan, this mixture should make at least 2 crepes.

When the edges look dry, flip it over. (This is a feat indeed).

Alternatively, spread the batter very thinly on parchment paper. Place a few paper towels underneath and nuke until done (4-5 minutes). The microwave method is a lot messier, a lot more time consuming and a lot more prone to over/undercooking. But you don’t have to worry about the flip.

Top with desired topping. If you want, you can puree some cottage cheese with sweetner and make a “blintz”.


Uses for Mushy Quinoa: Add Cheese!

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