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Posts from the ‘Nutrition’ Category

Mares Eat Oats and Teens Eat Oats

My friend Julia sounded worried.

“I just don’t know if we’ll have enough food to satisfy them…” she said.

You should know that Julia is married to a gorgeous six-foot-something Texan, has views on chilli, has written and edited cookbooks, has worked in test kitchens of food magazines, cooked in fabulous French restaurants, makes wedding cakes with her daughter and throws parties for 50 without batting an eyelash.  So I was surprised to hear her voice quaver at the thought of feeding my two teenage boys.

“Julia, it’s fine,”  I said.  ” Don’t worry.  Anyway, I always have a bag of oats for them.  They can each have a bowl of oats and milk if they get hungry. ”

Lady Bracknell’s “HANDBAG ?” was nothing compared to Julia’s “OATS? OATS? What, do you mean OATS?  Katy, they are boys not horses!”

“I dunno, Julia.  They’re tall and sort of massive, they don’t talk much, they look down their noses at me,  when I ask them a question they tend to snort, they stamp around a lot, occasionally they run really fast, but mostly they like to stand there eating — they kinda seem like horses to me.”

Watercolor by K. McElhiney

Watercolor by K. McElhiney

“But OATS?  RAW?”

“Well, think of it as really, really pared down muesli…besides, it fills them up.”

By now, Julia was laughing outright at my unorthodox teenage nutrition program.  She can laugh all she wants, because I know that any day now she’ll be buying a bag of oats for her handsome young ‘horse’.  Some days, you just don’t have time to whip up another pan of lasagne or roast a side of mastodon and a bowl of oats has to do.  Frankly, a bowl of oats provides an excellent amount of fiber and a smattering of vitamins and minerals.  As an added bonus, there is some research suggesting that oats lower cholesterol and stabilize blood sugar levels. Bring on the oats!

In the meantime, if plain raw oats and milk seems outlandish to you, you can ease your way into the idea by making some European-style Muesli; just toss some oats and nuts in a food processor and give it whirl.   After I have made a big batch, I portion out a single serving and soak it over night in some plain kefir or almond milk or whole cow’s milk as well as some grated apple (in the fall and winter) or berries (in the spring and summer). In the morning it’s smooth, yet a bit crunchy and infused with the flavor of the fruit.  It’s kind of like cold porridge.   Of course, if the weather is chilly, there is nothing to stop you from pouring some warm milk over your muesli for a bowl of nutty, fruity hot cereal.


On Winter Cleansing

We are barely into the New Year, and already I’ve heard people talking about cleanses and detoxes and other extreme eating regimes they are planning for January or February, so I’m just going to come right out and say this: Read more

Indian Summer in a Bowl


Tomato-Ginger Soup with Lentils

I never promised you a rose garden, but I did make some vague assertion that I was going to post some lentil recipes featuring shades of India.  A soup I made the other night bows in that general direction.  This is a soup where tomatoes meet ginger.  I’ve had enough of the tomato-basil combo to last me until next summer.  This alternative tomato-ginger duet is perfect for celebrating crisp bright days perched on the edge of winter.

Briefly, I sautéed a large chopped onion in a mix of coconut oil and extra virgin olive oil (although you could use either exclusively), and then added a good dose (2-3 tablespoons) of finely grated fresh ginger, some ground cumin, some ground coriander, a clove or two of minced garlic, 5 or 6 tomatoes from the autumn farmers’ market, a squirt of tomato paste (I like the kind in a tube), a handful of red lentils for substance, salt, pepper and some water. I let this all cook for half an hour or so.  Then I pureed it with my handy-dandy immersion blender (you could use a food processor, Waring blender or non-electric, old-fashioned, manual food mill with equal success, but more mess).

Finally, I let it sit for about half an hour. Sitting is essential for any soup — it helps pull all the flavors together.  I served it with a good sprinkling of my favorite flakey sea salt, some toasted sesame seeds and a swirl of full fat, plain yogurt.  Indian summer in a bowl.

Sexy Lentils


IMG_1693Beluga . . . Parisian nibble . . . Kashmir . . . Roman Holiday . . . unctuously delicious . . . moistest chocolate cake . . . I’m guessing these words and phrases don’t automatically conjure up lentils for you.  But that is all about to change.

We are going to banish the wet-wooley-hiking socks reputation that has dogged the lovely lentil and rehabilitate the image of this nutritious gift from the garden. Long the victims of sludgey brown casseroles, lentils have been relegated to the slag heap of cuisine for decades. Sure, the occasional chef has tossed them into his confit of duck, but for the home cook, lentils have suffered from the curse of miserly good-for-you-ness. But no more. Today’s post begins the renaissance of the perfect pulse.

To start with we are going to ignore the lentil’s goody-goody two shoes rep, so I want you to pay no attention to the fact that lentils are Read more

The Secret about Kale


Increasingly, I hear conversations that go something like this:

Fred:  I don’t eat carbs any more — they make me feel so bloated.  

Ginger:  I know!  I have a kale smoothie every morning; it’s so much better than all those carbs.

Fred:  Oh, that sounds good.  I had this great kale salad for lunch yesterday — I feel so much better when I don’t have carbs at lunch. 

Just so we’re all clear on this . . . KALE  IS  A  CARBOHYDRATE!  There are three categories of macronutrients that we humans consume: protein, fats and carbohydrates. Most food has a complement of these nutrients, as well as water, fiber and splatterings of micronutrients (vitamins and minerals and such). Kale is no exception — there are small amounts of protein and some trace fatty acids in kale, plus vitamins and minerals, but it is primarily a carbohydrate. In fact, most fruits and vegetables are primarily carbohydrates. If you are eating lettuce and radishes, you are eating carbs. If you are eating blueberries and Brussels sprouts (not together, I hope), you are eating carbohydrates. Swiss chard, collards and spinach?  All carbs. Have I made my point? I hope so, and I hope that you will continue to eat a range of these wonderfully healthy plant-based foods. Read more

A Fishy Issue

Watercolor by Jana Bouc


Eat fish!  Don’t Eat Fish! It’s good for you! It’s bad for you!  Fish is great, long live fish! There is no more fish, stop eating fish! OH MY WORD, there is a lot of craziness surrounding this issue.   People are understandably confused which leads to food anxiety and that’s not good.   Let’s go through some of the major issues surrounding this fish problem and see if we can sort out some sensible guidelines:

There is general consensus that fish is: Read more

Garnish Away!

I was shocked, shocked recently to hear a friend say that she never buys parsley — “Why bother,it’s just for garnish.” Quel blasphème! She might as well have told me that you don’t need a little black dress in your closet. Without parsley, my fridge feels positively naked. Parsley is much, much more than a garnish. It is rich in Vitamins A, K*and C, as well as a good source of iron and folic acid. In fact, a cup of parsley has more iron than a cup of Read more

Ruminating on Ruminants

Image by Leslie Kuenne

The grumpy adolescent boy looked at the kale and quinoa on his plate and then stared me down with indignant brown eyes.  Mum, you’re going to have to choose between your cute little vegetables and me.  I’m a growing teenage boy and I NEED MEAT.

My own offspring was reading me the Riot Act. Never mind that I had been preaching the gospel of less meat, more lentils, less meat, more greens, less meat, more carrots, kohlrabi and cabbage.  Possibly because of all my preaching (he is a teenager after all) this progeny was begging for a steak, a hamburger, meatballs, OMG, Mum, SOMETHING with meat in it!   Since this is a kid who will happily munch on fennel, endive and sushi, I figured he wasn’t being finicky.  I put it down to a growth spurt and gave him some beef. Read more

Snack of the Month – Almonds

We always have almonds in the house, and lately I’ve begun stocking raw almond butter — like peanut butter but better!

A handful of almonds is a great snack, filled with heart-healthy monounsaturated fats as well as Vitamin E, magnesium and Read more

Halloween Goodness

Halloween is over (and I’m not even going to go into the issue of what to do with the candy because you know what needs to be done….) The point is that there are still pumpkins to be had in the market, their seeds begging to be rinsed, roasted and eaten. These crunchy gems are a great protein-rich snack, Read more