March 20, 2009
First, the blog news: I’ve got a new blog home! (Well, almost–we’re about 95% moved in and unpacked so far. . . we’ve still got to add a virtual top coat of paint, rearrange some html furniture and hang some digital pictures before the rest is up and running over the next week or so, but everything is on site and functional!). Please drop by to check it out, and don’t forget to change your Google Reader, other subscription info and blogrolls (it’s also much easier to subscribe to this new site, so hope that helps–and note that the page tabs are now across the top of the page, not on the right as in this site!). I’ll be transferring over there for good by next week. And now–ta da!–here’s the new home of
The site was set up and arranged by Blain Smith of 13 Infinite. It’s been a pleasure to work with him on this–Blain’s communication style is easy and relaxed, yet always professional. He’s also been very accommodating and incredibly quick about responding to all my emails regarding the site (not to mention very patient with my sometimes endless questions and requests!). If you’re looking to set up a new blog, I’d highly recommend him.
Next, the cookbook news: my cookbook finally has a cover!
(I’m guessing you might recognize some of those photos? And I know, the red, white and blue looks very patriotic,no?) 😉
Finally, the Double Giveaway News!!
I am very excited for this giveaway because it’s the perfect melding of my new blog, my new cookbook, and a product I love!
In honor of the cookbook’s cover being finalized, I decided to throw another giveaway to celebrate–add a new blog home, and it’s really a reason to party! (Get those chandeliers and lampshades ready!)
So here’s the scoop:
WHAT YOU CAN WIN
PRIZE ONE: ANYONE IN NORTH AMERICA CAN WIN (again, a HUGE apology to my overseas readers–shipping costs prohibit overseas delivery. BUT I DO PROMISE THAT THE NEXT GIVEAWAY WILL ABSOLUTELY INCLUDE ANYONE ON THE PLANET!)
Win a quart-sized jug of Coombs Family Farms Pure Maple Syrup!
[This is a photo of the glass bottle I received–the quart jug prize is four times this big!]
Yes, the prize is the same amazing maple syrup I wrote about in my previous post. And when the people at Coombs Family Farms heard how much I loved their syrup, and how much my readers wished they could taste some, they said, “Okay! Let’s give some away!” Who am I to argue? I said, “YEEEE-AAH.”
With a full quart (about a liter) of pure maple syrup, you can bake every maple-based recipe on this blog, and probably all the maple-based recipes in my new book, too! And I can’t wait for one of you to sample this extraordinary product as well, and tell me what you think!
PRIZE TWO: THOSE IN THE TORONTO AREA CAN WIN (to ensure freshness, it has to be within the general Toronto area, or you must be willing to meet me within Toronto–I am really sorry it can’t be everywhere! sniff!)
A custom-baked chocolate layer cake from the Sweet Freedom recipe–made to your specifications!
After I posted about the cake I made for my friend Eternal Optimist’s birthday, I was touched by so many positive comments about the cake. This is the same recipe I used for several years when I baked birthday cakes for kids with food sensitivities to wheat, eggs, dairy and refined sugar–and was a regular hit with the kids and adults alike (low-gluten, but not gluten free). The 9-inch layer cake serves 10-12 people comfortably.
Now, I’d love for a lucky reader to sample this chocolately, moist and light cake, too! And you get to design the frosting/filling, plus whether you’d like a message on the cake as well. (We’ll choose a mutually convenient delivery time so that you can even plan to serve the cake to family, friends, or party guests!)
Here’s what you can choose:
Chocolate layers with vanilla pastry cream filling and chocolate buttercream frosting
Chocolate layers with all chocolate–filling and frosting
Chocolate layers with sweet potato truffle filling and chocolate frosting
Chocolate layers with chocolate filling and sweet potato truffle frosting (the cake in the photo above)
Message of your choice in any color frosting (or no message–it’s up to you).
I’ll deliver the cake freshly baked and frosted so it’s ready to serve!
HOW TO ENTER:
Entering couldn’t be easier–simply click on over to my new blog home, take a look around, then let me know either:
1) what more you’d like to see on the blog (any other features you’d like me to add? Something you’re missing from the old blog? –etc.) OR
2) what you like best about the new blog if you can’t think of anything you’d like to be different.
FOR A CHANCE AT TWO EXTRA ENTRIES, simply mention the contest on your own blog, if you have one, and link to this very page on the new blog (ie, this page).
Don’t have a blog? You can still earn two extra entries! Simply browse through the Recipe Index on the new DDD and choose a favorite recipe that uses maple syrup (some of the links haven’t been shifted to the new blog yet, so you might still be in the old blog when you click on a recipe title–I’m in the process of changing them all over). Then comment again, letting me know which one you like best, and why–and you’ll be entered two more times.
Please be sure to include a valid email address so I can get in touch with you if you win.
Please post your comments on the new site to be eligible to win (that way I can keep track of all the entries in one place). 🙂
HOW IT WILL WORK:
Once the contest closes, I’ll choose two winners from a bag of names. The first Toronto-area name I withdraw will win the cake. Then all the other names go back into the bag for the maple syrup draw, and the second name I choose wins that.
DEADLINE AND ANNOUNCEMENT:
Deadline for entries is midnight, March 31, 2009, Toronto time.
Winners will be announced first thing on April 2, 2009 (I wouldn’t dare post contest winners on April Fool’s Day!).
I loved baking up a storm for the previous giveaway, and was thrilled with Lisa’s kind words about the Sweet Freedom goodies.
I can’t wait to get baking on this cake for you this time round as well. And even if you can’t win the cake, you’re still eligible to win the syrup–so you can then bake your own delectable treats!
HAPPY SPRING, EVERYONE!
March 14, 2009
DIET, DESSERT AND DOGS HAS MOVED!
If you’re reading this, you’ve landed on the old site. Please visit the shiny, new Diet, Dessert and Dogs by clicking here.
As always, thanks for reading. I look forward to hearing from you on the new site!
(“Um, Mum, you are taking us with you, aren’t you? Because (and sorry to have to tell you this), we actually have more fans on this blog than you do.”)
* Or, Give Pods a Chance!
[Okra pods, in the raw]
I have a confession to make. I haven’t told you all about this yet because, quite frankly, I was afraid you’d reject me. Move that cursor elsewhere, and click. At best, roll your eyes. Maybe snort in disgust. Maybe gag, even.
But I’ve decided it’s time. I mean, really, what kind of lasting relationship can we have without full disclosure?
So I’m just going to come out and say it:
I love okra.
Are you running for the hills yet?
Oh, I know what you’re thinking: Okra? That polygonal pod that’s a staple in gumbo, and mostly reviled? That much-maligned member of the marrow family (but cocoa is in that family, too!) that most people reject without so much as a nibble? That pariah of the produce aisle that’s often referred to as gluey, viscous, slimy or mucilaginous–with seeds that remind you of those bowls of peeled grape “eyeballs” we all stuck our hands into at Halloween when we were kids?
Yep. That okra.
I adore okra’s long, lantern-shaped pods, the vibrant green skins with just a hint of fuzz and the wagon-wheel innards when you cut them across. I love the mild, slightly woodsy flavor and the pop of the seeds in your mouth. I could eat okra every day, and never tire of it.
I think it’s heartbreaking that okra gets such a bad rap. Okra is like the pimply nerd at school–the reject, the Carrie, the Napoleon Dynamite , the Ugly Betty. The last kid to be chosen for the baseball team. The scrawny kid on the beach who gets sand kicked in his face. The pink-and-too-frilly kid who takes her dad to the prom. The computer geek nobody wants to date so then he quits high school and starts some computer company run from his parents garage and redeems himself by becoming the richest guy in America. . . oh, wait. That would make him Bill Gates, wouldn’t it? And then he’d actually be much sought after, wouldn’t he? Well, heck! To my mind, that IS okra!
[A bit of spice, a bit of bite, a bit of lemon zest: an endearing combination.]
I think we should give okra the accolades it deserves. Let’s nurture its low self-esteem. Let’s compliment its grassy hue and lovely symmetry, tug its cute little tail at the narrow end and make it blush. Sure, it was born a green vegetable (already at a disadvantage compared to, say, watermelon). And then there’s the goo factor. But sometimes, with a recipe that takes our humble ingredient and pushes it to be its best, well, that little green lantern can really shine. That’s what I wish for my buddy, okra.
In these recipes, okra is elevated to something that transcends its reputation. It’s like okra gussied up for a date. Okra getting an A+ in physics. Okra at its best self–I know, like okra after taking one of Oprah’s “Be Your Best Self” weekends! (Just imagine the introductions at that seminar, sort of like David Letterman’s ill-fated attempt at hosting the Oscars: “Okra, meet Oprah. Oprah, okra.”).
Besides, okra has much to offer us. Described by WholeHealthMD as having a taste that “falls somewhere between that of eggplant and asparagus,” it’s a good source of Vitamin C and several minerals; and the seeds offer up protein in every pod, along with 4 grams of both soluble (known to help keep cholesterol levels in check) and insoluble (great for regularity) fiber in a one-cup (240 ml) serving.
[Still slightly al dente in this photo; cook a bit longer if you’re an okra neophyte.]
These are two of my favorite okra dishes, ones that we consume fairly regularly here in the DDD household. The first is another adaptation from my dog-eared copy of Flip Shelton’s Green, a Moroccan Spiced Okra-Quinoa Pilaf. I’ve made liberal changes to this one, including altering the base from rice to quinoa. The spices are subtle with a barely detectable undertone of lemon zest in the mix. Served sprinkled with chopped nuts, this pilaf is a meal in a bowl all on its own.
The second dish comes from one of my all-time favorite cookbooks, Indian Cooking Course by Manisha Kanani. Again, I’ve made a few alterations to the original, which asks you to dry-cook the okra on the stovetop; I’ve found that adding chopped tomatoes and allowing the tender pods to stew in the juices produces a more appealing taste and texture. Although a masala curry, this one isn’t the least bit spicy, yet is still rife with the flavors of tomato, cumin, coriander and fresh cilantro. It’s a perfect side dish for Indian food, of course, but we also enjoy this as an accompaniment to burgers or cooked grains.
So go ahead, give okra a try! Who knows? You may even like it. And don’t worry, the secret will be safe with me.
Moroccan-Spiced Pilaf with Quinoa and Okra
adapted from Flip Shelton’s Green
adapted from Indian Cooking Course by Manisha Kanani
© 2009 Diet, Dessert and Dogs
March 11, 2009
I’m going to be dashing around town for the next couple of days, doing cooking classes (short notice, but if you’re in the Toronto area, I’ll be at the Bayview/Sheppard Loblaws tonight at 7:00–would love to meet you!), and then my friend Babe is coming to town tomorrow, so I won’t have much time for cooking (except for other people, that is).
When we were undergraduates, my friend Babe had a roster of what she called “permadates.” These were straight guys who were no more than friends, but were willing to stand in whenever a male presence was required–at a work function, say, a family wedding or bar mitzvah, a school reunion, etc. She’d call up the permadate and he was always happy to receive a free meal, free booze, and maybe some dancing in exchange for allowing Babe hang on to his rippled bicep and elbow for the evening. A win-win!
I think the same concept extends to foods as well. Don’t we all have our own favored dishes, the go-to recipes that we whip up when we need something that will impress, will look good and taste good–and which won’t expect any “favors” at the end of the evening? These are the “permadishes,” the old standbys that never disappoint.
I’ve been relying a lot on “candida standbys”–simple foods that are compatible with the ACD–this week. A lettuce wrap here, some baked tofu (without soy sauce, of course) there, here a roasted veggie, there a baked sweet potato, raw almonds and pumpkin seeds everywhere.
Then I realized I’ve already got quite a few candida-friendly dishes right here on this blog–dishes that are already in my repertoire, but happen to be suitable for the ACD. These are great for anyone who’s battling candida, but even more, for anyone who’s seeking a cleaner, less toxic, anti-inflammatory, immune-boosting diet as well.
Until I cook again, I’ll leave you with some of these reliable favorites. Nothing like a good permadish to get you through a busy week!
- Raw Almond-Veggie Pâté (omit miso if you’re sensitive)
- The Perfect Guacamole
- Cheela (Chickpea pancakes)
- Avocado Mayonnaise
- Lentil-Tomato Spaghetti Sauce (omit the spaghetti, of course!)
- Roasted Garlic and Pumpkinseed Pesto
- Balti Tofu and Chickpeas in a Thick Creamy Coconut Sauce
- Kitchari (an anti-candida stew)
- Quick and Easy Tofu Masala (omit mushrooms for ACD)
- Sweet Potato and Kasha Burgers (use non-fermented soy sauce, such as Bragg’s)
- Cauliflower, Parsnip and Bean Mash
- Kale and Avocado Salad
- Dandelion-Potato Salad (some diets permit potatoes in moderation)
- Spiced Cauliflower Soup
- Easy Millet and Red Pepper Pilaf
- Sweet Potato “Fries”
“Mum, how about considering us permadogs? You know you can count on us. And of course I always rely on my big sister to take good care of me, too.”
“Aw, zip it, Chaser–you’re making me blush.”
March 8, 2009
As always, thanks for reading. I look forward to seeing you at the shiny new Diet, Dessert and Dogs!
“Um, Mum, we are coming with you, aren’t we? Because (and sorry to have to tell you this), we actually have more fans than you do on this blog.”]
These days, I try to be a little nutty every day.
Of course I don’t mean “nutty” as in “I missed my plane so I’m going to become a minor celebrity on YouTube” nutty. Or “I think I’ll switch careers at the pinnacle of my success and adopt the mien of a skid row bum from another planet” type of nutty. And certainly not “just drop me in the middle of the Sahara without any food, water or shelter, and see how I hold up for a week” sort of nutty. While it may be true I do, on occasion, exhibit behavior one might characterize as “nutty” (at least that’s what the HH keeps telling me), I was referring to the toothsome, bite-sized, healthy-fat-and-protein-rich kind of nutty. An “Uncle S.” kind of nutty.
You see, I’ve had a fairly rocky history with nuts–and I blame it all on my Uncle S.
One of my favorite relatives, Uncle S (along with Aunty M) lived upstairs in our family’s duplex during my childhood. We kids would scoot out the door, up the stairs and into their home without a thought or an invitation, assuming it was simply the top floor of our own place. Aunty M would greet us, hand over some homemade cookies, and then we’d go seek out our uncle.
I have to admit, I didn’t fully appreciate Uncle S’s unique charms until I was an adult. An unrivalled prankster, Uncle S was a puckish, Punk’d prototype whose myriad tricks were relentless. Case in point: every Sunday, our family would pile into Uncle S’s taxi (this was before my dad acquired a car) for an outing in the countryside. We’d drive for a while, after which, like clockwork, Uncle S would begin to hem and haw: “Gee, I don’t remember passing that tree over there. Maybe I took a wrong turn. You know, I’m not exactly sure where we are–maybe we’re lost. Ricki, which way should I go?” Given that I was only four or five at the time, I had no idea; but, also like clockwork, Uncle S’s musings sent me into paroxysms of anxiety, certain I’d be wandering forever in the woods, never to see my own home, bed or Barbie dolls again.
Once I grew older, I could appreciate Uncle S’s humor, his always jovial and somewhat michievious expression, reminiscent of the Pillsbury Dough Boy (although not in any way chubby). In fact, I’d say Uncle S resembled a cartoon character more than anything else: having lost his hair as a young man, his shiny dome was encircled with a fluffy white fringe that snaked round the back of his neck and behind his ears. His nose, slightly bulbous at the tip, was, like his cheeks, often flushed pink, and he wore a perpetual half-smile on his face.
Uncle S had a favorite expression, “No Fun!” which he used the way one would utter, “No Way!” or “You’ve Gotta Be Kidding Me!”. The CFO and I found this endlessly amusing. To wit:
Ricki: Uncle S, my goldfish had babies and now we have four fishies.
Uncle S: No Fun!
[Ricki and The CFO erupt in peals of uncontrollable giggles, hands clamped over their mouths].
The summer my mother died, it seemed only Uncle S could lighten the moribund shroud of silence in the hospital waiting room where our family sat in stunned silence. Uncle S would ramble on, his words always infused with optimism and hope. One evening, as we all sat lost in resigned torpor, Uncle S was positioned across from me and the CFO, an absent, bemused expression on his face. The CFO leaned over to me and whispered, “Hey, doesn’t Uncle S sort of look like Bozo the Clown?” That smile! That fringe! That nose! Why yes, yes he did–and with that, Uncle S unwittingly bestowed on us a truly priceless gift: the only moment of unrestrained hilarity in an otherwise unbearable summer.
Ah, yes, you’re wondering about the nuts.
Uncle S loved to eat nuts. In particular, he was never without his glass jar of Planter’s Dry Roasted peanuts, which he carried with him wherever he went. Another open jar was stationed on a TV tray beside his armchair so he could munch as he enjoyed the Ed Sullivan Show. He’d pour a small mound into his open palm, then tip it into his mouth with a quick flick of the wrist as if tossing a ball for a prize at the midway. Then he’d plow ahead with whatever it was he’d been saying, mouth open and chewing, oblivious as the ground up bits of nut began to escape his mouth in little bursts of beige spray as he spoke. (In fact, those Planter’s nuts and an opened can of peas and carrots–spooned straight from the can, cold–are pretty much all I ever remember him eating).
For some inexplicable reason, I decided nuts were not my thing back then.
I’m happy to report that my nut aversion was finally overcome when I came across Elaine Gottschall’s Specific Carbohydrate Diet (geared toward people with Crohn’s, Colitis, or other bowel diseases) while studying nutrition. Her recipes employ nut flours (basically just ground nuts), and I began to experiment with them back then. Almonds tend to be the most versatile (and mildest in flavor), but almost any nut will do–pop it in a food processor and blend to a mealy consistency.
To some extent, I’m following the ACD for the next month or so to heal my gut and encourage a little digestive rejuvenation. This means eating less gluten, fewer grains, and more fruits, vegetables, and legumes. These pancakes were an auspicious first attempt.
Made mostly with almond meal and a smidge of chickpea (besan) flour, they nevertheless retain a light, airy texture and a refreshing lemon tang. Neither the almond nor the chickpea asserts itself too prominently, so the flavor remains mild. I served these last week (before eschewing all sweeteners) with a splash of organic maple syrup from Coombs Family Farms that I received as sample (more on that in an upcoming post) and they were, quite simply, delicious.
I may not be nutty enough to consume a jar of Planter’s peanuts just yet. Still, these little treats are a healthy step in the right direction.
Grain-Free Lemony Almond Pancakes (and ACD variation)
TO VIEW THE COMPLETE RECIPE, PLEASE VISIT THE NEW DIET, DESSERT AND DOGS, BY CLICKING HERE.
Last Year at this Time: Week at Warp Speed and Easy Dinner
© 2009 Diet, Dessert and Dogs
March 4, 2009
Diet, Dessert and Dogs has moved!
If you’re reading this page, you’ve landed on the old site. Please visit the new location by clicking here–and don’t forget to update your readers and blogrolls!
As always, thanks for reading. I look forward to seeing you at the shiny new Diet, Dessert and Dogs!
“Um, Mum, we are coming with you, aren’t we? Because (and sorry to have to tell you this), we actually have more fans than you do on this blog.”]
[Thanks to everyone who left such sweet comments and encouragement for the hellish week of marking! (And I know I still owe some of you emails. . . coming soon!) Some of you who are students noted that you’d be doing as much work on the other side of the red pen. Whether students, parents, teachers or the lucky few whose only connection to academia is reading about it in the newspapers–hope you all survived the past crunch week or so of midterms, study week, or finals. Now get ready, ’cause there’s a lengthy return post ahead–on to the food!]
[Base of rice and buckwheat; sautéed rapini and chard with onions and garlic; tahini-miso sauce; sprinkled with hemp seeds.]
I’m sure we’ve all met her (or perhaps we are her?): that woman who’s incredibly competent at dispensing affection, comfort, nurturing or support–yet seems to ignore her own emotional needs and physical well-being.
Well, I admit it, I’m as guilty as the next gal. Ten days away from the DDD home base had me reflecting often on this whole notion of self-love. Actually, that was only one among a plethora of topics on which I mused during the hiatus, which included (but was not limited to) the following:
- how much I miss blogging when I’m away. I was struck by a true sense of void during this time, and it astounded me. Honestly, who are “they” who post studies about the Internet and prophecies of doom regarding how it diminishes social skills or limits interactions with other people? Seriously. In some cases, I’m in contact with blog buddies more often than my “in-person” friends (some of whom live only five minutes away). Don’t let anyone tell you that the society of bloggers isn’t a bona fide community of lively, vibrant, and very much interactive people–all of you!
- how many different ways one can answer the same exam question (more than you might think, but not quite as many as the meaning of life, the universe and everything).
- how to create a tasty, grain-free breakfast pancake. I wanted something that didn’t require refined, or even whole-grain, flour–and I found it! (more on that anon).
- how this &%$!!?* winter refuses to retreat, even though it’s March already and why are you still hanging around, Mr. Jack Frost, can’t you tell you’re not welcome anymore and nobody wants you here, so just go away and don’t come back, ya big bully!
- how, with the economy as bad as it is, I’m hoping the HH and I might still save for our dream home (okay, I’d be willing to cut some of the frills and just be happy with a daydream home). And while we’re both incredibly lucky to still be gainfully employed, on the topic of saving money and stretching a dollar, I’ve been mightily inspired by the frugal and fantastic Melody over at MeloMeals.
- why, once again, I have been willing to risk my health, well-being and future for the evil (and truly, ephemeral) charms of that sepia seductress, chocolate.
[Oat groats and amaranth base; grilled eggplant and grilled marinated tofu; broccoli, avocado and green onion; orange-fig sauce.]
Yes, folks, it’s time to focus on the “diet” portion of this blog yet again.
When I first began to ponder how I’d spend my break from the college, I considered traveling to a new locale, attending a retreat, picking up old hobbies like sewing or knitting–but it never occurred to me I’d get sick instead. Then, at my annual checkup last week, I discovered that my old candida afflction has reared its yeasty head yet again, and this time, with a potency that could rival the combined superpowers of the X-Men.
I’ve decided that in order to rid myself of this recurring problem once and for all, I’ll need to return to the anti-candida diet (ACD). I’ll be facing a highly restrictive diet and a few detoxes or cleanses along the way (no wonder I’ve been avoiding it). But I’ve had it with the persistent cycle of diet, dessert and destruction (you thought I was going to say “dogs,” didn’t you? heh heh!). To paraphrase that seminal queen of weight loss, Susan Powter, “the insanity must stop!” (And what the heck ever happened to her, anyway?).
I’m going on an anti-candida diet so I can be healthy. So I can move more easily, and feel comfortable in my own body. So I can express a little more self-love and self-care through my diet and lifestyle. (Anyone familiar with Sally’s fabulous blog already knows what I mean by this: treating my body, mind and spirit with the kindness, reverence, and care it deserves.) So I can enjoy a social life without being fixated on food. Oh, and so I can lose 40 pounds by my highschool reunion this May. **
My last “true” candida cleanse occurred nine years ago, and in the interim, my eating habits have slowly reverted to those that got me in trouble in the first place (chocolate too often; sweets too often; wine too often). After reading the diet on this site (which is slightly less ascetic than the regimen I followed before), I think it’s doable (the only recommendation with which I disagree is to use aspartame or aseulfame, so I’ll just omit those).
To those of you who’ve been reading for a while, I understand if you’re skeptical, and I apologize. After all, I’ve tried more than a few times to cut chocolate and sugar from my life. Well, I’ve learned it’s never a great idea to publicly declare such a complete lifestyle overhaul on the blog, because later on, if you don’t meet your lofty goal, your initial vow is indelibly there for all the internet to see. With that in mind, I’ll restrict my candida commentary to the Progress Tracker page (may as well give it a new use, as I long ago stopped recording my weight over there).
And since I’ve already done a bit of baking over the past couple of weeks, I can intersperse the spartan dishes with more interesting fare. If I play my screens right, you folks will barely notice a difference.
[Rice and brown lentil base; spinach leaves and steamed sweet potato wedges with chopped green onions; topped with almond-curry sauce.]
The first step is to prepare the system with a week or two of clean, whole-foods eating that doesn’t worry about yeast or fermentation (yeast and fermented foods will be cleared out next). Rice or noodle bowls are a great place to start.
[Barley and amaranth base; grilled red pepper strips and onions; steamed broccoli; sprinkling of cashews and sunflower seeds; topped with tahini-miso sauce.]
Meals-in-a-bowl like these have become very popular at health-food restaurants and stores around North America. There’s a local haunt that serves an amazing bowl called, appropriately, “The Mish-Mash Bowl.” Every meal contains either brown rice or quinoa, topped with your choice of four toppings from three categories (protein, veggies, or good fats), then drizzled with your choice of one or two dressings.
My own variation on the Mish Mash is a quartet of at least one healthy grain plus a protein, healthy fat, and complex carbohydrate (ie, veggies). I was amazed at how satisfying–and how filling–a clean, healthy bowl can be. The marriage of fresh, colorful veggies with chewy grains and the crunch of nuts or seeds is entirely enchanting (almost as enchanting as that vixen, chocolate–though in a different way, of course).
In putting these together, what I discovered rather quickly is that “the sauce makes the bowl.” A grain bowl sans effective topping is sort of like a perfect outfit without the right shoes or accessories–it may be good quality, it may be tailored , it may even sport a designer label, but without the proper accoutrements, it’s just a length of beige, beige, beige.
With a winning sauce, however, these bowls are stellar; they’re delectable; they evoke impatient yearning; they’re Zagat-worthy. And, much like those lines of toddlers’ clothing that allow the kids to dress themselves by choosing one top and one pre-coordinated bottom, they’re fun to mix and match, just to see what comes up.
The combinations here are simply starting points to get you going; play around with different grains, legumes, nuts, seeds, veggies, and sauces. Use these sauces with any combination you please, or go with my mixes–either way, you’ll be treating yourself with love.
**I asked this question entirely tongue in cheek–so please, no need to send me emails detailing how unhealthy a 40-pound weight loss in 8 weeks would be! I have no intention of actually losing that much. Besides, at the rate I’ve been going this past year, a FOUR pound loss by May would be nothing short of miraculous.
Almond and Curry Sauce
Orange Fig Sauce
© 2009 Diet, Dessert and Dogs
February 21, 2009
[Okay, so the post title is a bit obscure (I was alluding to Four Weddings and a Funeral)–but with the Oscars coming up in a couple of days, and with my having seen, hmmn, let’s see–a total of “zero” of the movies, I wanted to make reference to that grand little Golden Guy in some way or other in this post. ]
It’s almost time for midterms at the college where I teach, so I’m afraid I’ll be MIA from the blog for a little while (not to be confused with the recently balloon-bellied, singing-at-the-Grammys, went-into-labor-and-gave-birth-the-next-day MIA). But before I bid you all adieu, I thought I’d mention three festivities leading up to said exams.
Shindig One: The most recent celebration we enjoyed here in the DDD household was an intimate birthday dinner for my friend Eternal Optimist (consisting of just the EO, the HH, and me).We three enjoyed a spectacular, yet simple meal of Potato-Miso Soup (Alisa’s uniquely delicious recipe: satiny smooth, rich and slightly yeasty from the hint of miso–in fact, this was the second time I’ve made this in a week!); trusty Tagine of Quinoa with Chickpeas, Olives and Prunes (always a hit around here); garlic sautéed rapini and collards; and a special b-day cake (chocolate layers with sugar-free chocolate buttercream frosting (both from Sweet Freedom) and the Sweet Potato Frosting I wrote about a while back.
[Alisa’s Creamy Potato Miso Soup]
It was grand to spend a leisurely evening together fêting a dear friend. The EO also brought along her own pooch, another border collie cross, and The Girls were in heaven. (“We love having our friends over, too, Mum! Except next time, there should be a cake that we can eat as well.”)
Shindig Two: In addition to the birthday, the dinner was also occasion for a spontaneous mini-celebration in honor of the cookbook finally reaching the publisher. After numerous delays in formatting and glitches with the cover, it’s finally on its way! My publishing rep called yesterday to confirm that she received the files and their part of the book’s production will begin next week. YIPPPPPPEEEEEE!! (Of course, this means it will still take about three months before the book is in print, but it is out of my hands at this point). I can’t even begin to express what a relief that is! So we had a little toast in honor of Sweet Freedom last evening as well.
Shindig Three: Despite mountains of marking, I’ll be peeking in periodically at the Academy Awards, that shindig to beat all shindigs, that tribute to all things silicone and Juvéderm and Botox, that massive glitterati ego-massage that will take place on Sunday evening. From the Barbara Walters interviews to the Joan Rivers gaffes to the melodramatic and slurred acceptance speeches, I love it all. And even if I haven’t actually seen any of the movies, who cares? That’s not what the Oscars are all about, anyway!
Before I depart on break, I thought it might be fun to leave you with a little midterm quiz of your own to ponder while I’m away (and the best part–it doesn’t matter whether you know the answers or not!). I’ll reveal the “correct” responses when I get back (though with a bit of sleuthing, it should be fairly easy to find them before then).
[Chocolate birthday cake in all its uncut glory]
A Diet, Dessert and Dogs Mid-Term Quiz
Instructions: Please answer each of the following questions. Note that this is an open-blog test; answers can be found in previous entries. Please double space your answers.
1) DDD stands for:
a) The 2009, eco-friendly version of the pesticide “DDT”
b) Pamela Anderson’s bra size (now that she’s had a breast reduction)
c) a cutsie way to refer to “3-D” movies
d) the name of this blog.
2) “NAG” refers to
a) the HH’s endearing nickname for me;
c) a healthy way of eating that includes whole, unprocessed, organic foods.
3) Ricki’s favorite food is:
d) all of the above
a) Lon Chaney
b) Lewis Carroll
c) Love Chocolate!
5) Complete this phrase: “Rocker Guy (He of the —)”
a) broken guitar
b) off his rocker
c) rock collection
d) black leather pants
6) Ricki loves blogging because:
a) of all the amazing people she’s “met” in the blog world
b) it’s always fun to read other blogs and learn about new foods
c) reading your comments on her blog is the high point of her day (truly)
d) YOU GUYS ARE SIMPLY THE BEST!
I’m sure you all got an “A”! Have a great time at the Oscars, all, and see you in a week or so! 😉
Last Year at this Time: My Favorite Mistake: Savory Filled Breakfast Crepes
© 2009 Diet, Dessert and Dogs