Thursday, September 29, 2011

Let Your Food Be Your Medicine: Foods That Help Lower High Cholesterol

 I received an email today from a friend who is trying to lose a few pounds and has just learned that she has high cholesterol. Lauren always asks the best questions, so I asked her permission to post the question she emailed me and my response.

Lauren's Question: My cholesterol is high. Any advice for good low cholesterol foods or cholesterol reducing foods?

My Response: Yes. Kris also has high cholesterol. We're managing it be feeding him the following foods:

1. Dark Chocolate: must be higher than 80% pure cocoa. Add to a handful of almonds or walnuts for a healthy snack.

2. Oatmeal for breakfast 2 times a week. Use the 5 minute Organic Oatmeal recipe, Ultrasimple Diet Nut Shake and the Almond Milk Banana Smoothie Recipe. Be careful with the bananas though because they are sugar and calorie dense.
Add 2x the amount of flax seed meal that the recipe calls for. Also go a bit heavier on the almonds since they naturally reduce cholesterol too.

3. Add Flax seeds, flax meal and flax seed oil to protein shakes, salads, dressings etc. whenever you can.

4. Add 2 tbsp of cocoa powder with your coffee in the morning. I know it sounds crazy but cocoa powder really does lower your cholesterol.

5. If you like fish, add a can of sardines or tuna to your favorite salad. Both these fish will increase HDL and lower LDL. 
6. Nuts 
7. Coffee and Tea

8. Red Wine

9. Alliums- Leeks, Onions, Garlic, Green Onions, Scallions, Shallots and Chives

10. Fiber rich Fruits and veggies: Avocado, Shitaki Mushrooms, Watercress, Apples, Peas, Kale, Grapefruit, Oranges, Spinach, tomatoes, Squash, Strawberries, Asperigus, Prunes, Pears. All of these veggies are a great source of soluble fiber and will therefore help to keep your cholesterol in check.

11. Egg Whites- A great source of simple protein and a very heart healthy alternative to beef and pork(both of which significantly increase inflammation in the body and increase bad cholesterol). 

* Check back on Sunday for some delicious meals that will keep your heart healthy. Since cholesterol lowering foods work best when eaten together, I will be assembling some scrumptious menu items that include several of the above mentioned foods. Until then, have a glass of wine or a cup of green tea and toast to your health! 

Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Chris' Ricotta Cheesecake

Okay, so for those of you who follow me it may seem somewhat hypocritical that I am now condoning a white food, since one of the cornerstones of myfoodplans is that you NOT EAT WHITE FOODS. However, I too am a mere mortal, and as such, I sometimes need some sugar. The real basis to the myfoodplans diet is to delight in unprocessed home-cooked meals which are both flavorful and healthy. Also, you can easily substitute the sugar in this recipe with honey or agave to lessen its caloric impact. To be clear, I am not promoting the shameless consumption of sweets by recommending this recipe. I am simply suggesting that if you must eat something sweet, better it be home-made and very satisfying to your palate.
This recipe was perfected by my dear friend Chris Salter. Chris has been responsible for feeding my family some delicious fare in the past...from Garlic and Butter Soaked Bay Scallops to a Seared Tuna Salad Nicoise that I'm still dreaming about. The cheesecake Chris served at my house on Sunday night was delicate and slightly citric in flavor. I highly recommend this dessert as a light and more flavorful alternative to its dense and high calorie chubby cousin the New York style cheesecake. So here's this week's installment of myfoodplans sweet treat. Enjoy!

                                     Ricotta Cheesecake  

                                                                Photo by Kris Callen

From the May 2011 issue of Bon Appetit 
  • 2 15-oz. containers whole-milk ricotta
  • 1 Tbsp. unsalted butter, room temperature
  • 1 Tbsp. plus 1 cup sugar
  • 3 Tbsp. unseasoned dry breadcrumbs
  • 2 8-oz. packages cream cheese, room temperature, cut into cubes
  • 2 large eggs
  • 2 Tbsp. salt-free matzo meal
  • 1 Tbsp. fresh lemon juice
  • 2 1/2 tsp. lemon zest
  • 2 tsp. vanilla extract
  • 1/8 tsp. kosher salt
  • Powdered sugar (for dusting)
  • special equipment

    8"-diameter springform pan with 2 1/2"-high sides


  • Put ricotta in a large fine-mesh strainer set over a bowl. Drain for 30 minutes.
  • Arrange rack in lower third of oven and preheat to 350°. Grease an 8" springform pan with 2 1/2"-high sides with butter. Mix 1 Tbsp. sugar and breadcrumbs in a small bowl; sprinkle over buttered pan to coat. Tap out excess crumbs.
  • Transfer ricotta to a processor. Purée for 15 seconds. Scrape down sides of processor; purée until smooth. Add cream cheese; purée until smooth. Add the remaining sugar and all other ingredients; purée, scraping down sides occasionally, until smooth, about 30 seconds. Scrape batter into prepared pan.
  • Bake cheesecake until golden brown and just set, about 1 hour 15 minutes. Transfer to a rack and let cool in pan (cake will fall slightly). Refrigerate uncovered until cool, about 3 hours. Then cover and chill overnight.
  • To serve, wrap a warm towel around pan to release cake. Remove pan sides. Dust with powdered sugar. Cut into wedges.

Note: To dress this cake up, serve with fresh raspberries  a dollop of whipped cream on the side.

Saturday, September 24, 2011

3 Delicious 100 Calorie Soups and 4 Mouth-Watering Entrees

This week's menu is something to celebrate. 3 budget friendly soups that are under 100 calories and take no more than 30 minutes to prepare. In addition, the ingredients for each of these soups cost under $7.
 All the ingredients for this week's menu can be purchased for under $50. Save time, money and unwanted calories with myfoodplans. Enjoy!

1. Cream of Mushroom and Barley Soup

2tbsp butter
2tbsp olive oil
1 large onion coarsely chopped
3 cloves of garlic
2 ribs of celery
1 large carrot
1 pound baby bellas (cremini mushroom)
1/2 cup barley
6 cups of chicken, beef or vegetable broth
1 cup heavy cream
Salt and black pepper to taste
1/4 cup chopped  Parsley for garnish

1.Saute onions, garlic, celery, carrots in butter and olive oil for 3 minutes on medium high stirring frequently. Add mushrooms, barley and broth. Boil for one minute, turn down heat, cover soup and simmer for 35minutes. Meanwhile, chop parsley for garnish.
2.Working in batches, blend soup with the center portion of blender top removed to allow steam to escape. Remember to cover the hole on blender top with a towel and place your hand over it while blending. Pour heavy cream into the blender while pureeing soup.
3.Return blended soup to pot and heat for 3-5 minutes before serving to thicken. Ladle soup into bowls and sprinkle with parsley. Enjoy!

2. Creamed Spinach Soup
Inspired by 1000 Low Fat Salt Sugar Cholesterol Healthy Recipes 
1 tbsp olive oil
3 cloves of garlic, chopped
1 yellow onion, diced
1 leek, sliced
2 yellow potatoes, diced 
6 cups chicken broth
2 bay leaves
10-16 oz spinach
salt and pepper to taste
4 tbsp half and half or heavy cream

1. Heat oil in a soup pot and add garlic, onion and leeks. Saute for 3-5 minutes stirring constantly.
2. Add potatoes, broth and bay leaves, season with salt and pepper, cover, bring to a boil and reduce to med-low heat and simmer for 25-35minutes.
3. Remove bay leaves and add spinach. Cook for 3 more minutes. Remove soup pot from heat and allow to cool for 10 minutes.
4. Using the blender, Puree soup in batches, taste and season as desired.
5. Ladle soup into bowls and top each with a tbsp of cream.

3. 10 Minute Spicy Black Bean Soup

26oz. Can of black beans (drained and rinsed)
1/4 of a large onion (chopped)
1/2 a green bell pepper (chopped)
3 garlic cloves
2 cups of white wine and herb chicken broth
1-2 chipotle peppers in adobo sauce
1/4 cup of canned crushed tomatoes

1. Sauté sofrito (garlic, onions and green peppers). Add beans, chipotle peppers (whole) and broth.
2. Simmer for 5 minutes. Blend soup in batches.
3. Add a scoop of brown rice or sour cream to the soup and serve:)


4. Mangu (A Dominican Delight! Mashed Green Plantains topped with pickled onions and Fried Eggs over easy)

3 unpeeled plantains, cut into pieces
1 quart water
1/4 cup olive oil
1 whole sliced red onion
1 1/2 tablespoons salt
4tbsp Canola Oil
4-6 Jumbo Eggs
  1. Toss a whole sliced red onion in vinegar and set aside. Place plantains and water in a saucepan. Bring to a boil, and cook 20 minutes, until plantains are tender but slightly firm. Drain, reserving 1 cup of the liquid. Cool plantains, and peel.
  2. Heat the olive oil in a skillet over medium heat, and saute the onion until tender (2-3 minutes).
  3. In a bowl, use a fork to mash the plantains with the reserved liquid and salt. Set aside.  
  4. Heat canola oil in a frying pan and gently break each egg into the pan. Spoon hot oil over the top of each egg to create a thin skin over  the yolk. When the edges of the eggs appear crispy carefully remove them from the pan.
  5. Plate a large spoonful of mashed green plantains and top with an egg and pickled onions.

5. Camarones al Ajillo (Cuban Lemon Garlic Shrimp) served with Brown Rice
Inspired by A Taste of Old Cuba

1 cup Spanish olive oil
16 large shrimp
10-14 garlic cloves
1/4 cup fresh lemon juice
1.5 tsp salt
1/2 tsp pepper
2-3 sprigs chopped parsley

Heat oil until fragrant. Add shrimp and garlic and saute for 2-3 min. Add lemon juice, salt and pepper. Saute two more min. Transfer to a dish and sprinkle with parsley. Spoon over brown rice and serve.

6. Broccoli Chicken Casserole 

4 skinless, boneless chicken breast halves
1 pound broccoli florets, cooked
1.5 cups of cream of mushroom and barley soup
1 tablespoon mayonnaise
1 cup shredded Sharp Cheddar cheese
1/2 cup panko

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C).
  2. Boil chicken until tender (reserving liquid for soup) and shred or cut into bite size pieces. Meanwhile, steam broccoli until crisp but tender.
  3. In a small bowl mix together the soup and mayonnaise. Set aside. In a 9x13 inch baking dish layer the chicken, broccoli, soup mixture, and cheese. Sprinkle panko over the top and bake in the preheated oven for 25-30 minutes. 

7. Spanish Chorizo Golden Potato Bake
 Inspired by 1000 Low Fat Salt Sugar Cholesterol Healthy Recipes 
 1 lb golden organic potatoes
 4 tbsp olive oil
 1 sliced organic yellow onion 
 2 cloves of garlic
 14 oz. canned chopped tomatoes
 3-4 medium or one large skinned and sliced chorizo  
1 green bell pepper cut in strips
1/2 cup pitted black olives 
8-10 Jumbo Eggs
1 tbsp chopped fresh parsley for garnish 
salt, pepper and paprika to taste

1. Preheat oven at 425F. Boil diced potatoes for 10min. Drain and set aside.
2. Sautee sliced onion and garlic in olive oil in a large saute pan for 2 min. Add tomato sauce and cook down for 10 minutes. Stir in potatoes, chorizo, bell pepper, paprika and olives. Cook for 5 more minutes while stirring constantly. Transfer mixture to a lightly greased glass baking pan.
3. Make 8-10 small hollows at the top of the potato mixture. crack one egg at a time into each hollow. 
4. Place pan in preheated oven for 5-8 minutes or until egg whites appear white and a bit stiff. Sprinkle casserole with parsley and serve hot!


Wednesday, September 21, 2011

Deb's Avocado and Date Chocolate Fudge

It's no secret that chocolate is a happy mood food. So, it should have come as no surprise to me that while cleaning out the pantry this morning, I discovered that my 12 year old daughter's been dippin' into the dark chocolate chips. If, like Livi, you're a food aficionado with a soft side for anything and everything sweet, you'll be pleased to know that myfoodplans has officially started posting some healthy sweet treats.
Our first sweet recipe comes to us courtesy of Deb. Deb is a beautiful former gymnast and food enthusiast that I recently met. While exercising together, she shared this avocado based raw chocolate fudge recipe with me. I've since researched some variations and come up with a sincerely healthy and delicious, guilt-free snack for all of you to enjoy.
Thanks for the inspiration Deb! 

1/4 cup pitted medjool dates, soaked
1/8 cup pure maple syrup, honey or agave
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/2 cup mashed avocados 
1/4 cup unsweetened cocoa
2 tbsp water
Sea Salt(optional)

Blend dates with maple syrup, agave or honey.  Add vanilla and water and blend until smooth. Add avocado and cocoa powder, process until creamy. Sprinkle with sea salt and store in a sealed container  in freezer for a minimum of 3 hours or until it hardens. Cut into cubes and serve.

Note: This recipe may also be used as a healthy raw vegan frosting for brownies, cupcakes and cookies. Adding 1/8 cup water magically transforms fudge into a decadent chocolate mousse.

Sunday, September 18, 2011

What's for dinner this week? 7 of my best recipes: Romano-Coated Chicken, Ginger-Soy Salmon, Warm Spinach Salad, Bacon Topped Creamy Leek and Lima Bean Soup and so much more!

The myfoodplans weekly menu items are designed to help you start taking charge of your weight. I've provided you with exciting, diverse, unique and delicious meals. If you follow the menu and make whole natural food choices throughout the week, in 7 days you'll be one step closer to your ideal healthy weight. Remember that 90% of your weight is determined by what you put in your mouth, NOT how well you perform at the gym,  bootcamp, Zumba or yoga class. Ultimately, weight loss is always determined by healthy food and beverage choices. Drink 8-12 glasses of water and try to drink 1-2 cups of green tea per day. Here's your prescribed menu for the week. Enjoy!

1. Savory Pork Chili 

1.5-2 pounds of ground pork
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 large yellow onion, chopped
2 large garlic cloves, minced

1 celery stock, finely chopped
1 bell pepper, finely chopped 

1-28oz can of chopped tomatoes 
4 tbsp. tomato paste 
3-4 cups of chicken stock 
1 tsp coriander
1 tsp chili powder
1/2 tsp ground cumin
1/2 tsp dried basil
1/2 tsp dried oregano
1/2 cup dry white wine (optional)

salt and pepper 
chopped fresh cilantro 
sour cream to serve 

1. Heat oil in a soup pot over medium heat. Add pork and season with salt and pepper and cook till no longer pink.  Add onion, celery, bell pepper and garlic and cook for 5 minutes till onion is softened. 

2. Add tomatoes, tomato paste and chicken stock. Stir in next 6 ingredients and season with more salt and pepper to taste. 
3. Bring to a boil, reduce heat and simmer for 30 minutes or until vegetables are tender. 

4. Ladle into bowls and top with sour cream and cilantro.

2. Romano-Coated Chicken with Warm Spinach Salad 

1 tbsp butter
4 boneless, skinless chicken breasts
1/2 cup finely grated Locatelli Romano Cheese
Freshly ground pepper

1. Pre-heat oven to 325F.
2. Heat butter in a heavy skillet over med-high heat and brown chicken breast on both sides. Cook each breast for 5 minutes on each side.
3. Spread Locatelli Romano out on a plate and season with pepper. Turn breasts in cheese to coat completely and arrange in a baking dish.
4. Place chicken in the oven and bake for 10-15minutes until completely cooked through. Serve warm and enjoy!

Warm Spinach Salad 

2 (10 ounce) packages baby spinach, rinsed and dried
1 red onion, thinly sliced
1 1/2 cups toasted, chopped pecans
8 ounces crumbled goat cheese 
1 1/2 cups balsamic vinegar
2 teaspoons honey 
1 clove garlic, crushed
1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper
2/3 cup olive oil

  1. In a large bowl, arrange spinach and red onion slices and top with toasted pecans and crumbled goat cheese.
  2. In a small saucepan, warm the garlic in the olive oil to allow its flavor to diffuse into the oil. Then add honey, vinegar and pepper. Whisking constantly, bring almost to a boil, remove from heat and cool until just warm. Pour over salad. Serve immediately.

3. Crystallized Ginger-Soy Salmon with Brown Rice

1/2 cup low-sodium soy sauce 
2 tablespoons honey 
2 cloves garlic, finely chopped 
1/8 cup of chopped crystallized ginger 
1- 1.5-2 lb salmon filet 

  1. In a glass baking dish, combine the soy sauce, honey and garlic. Pierce salmon with ginger throughout. Add the salmon to marinade, skin-side up. Cover and refrigerate for at least 60 minutes but preferably over-night. 
  2. Heat broiler on high. Transfer the salmon to a foil-lined broiler pan, skin-side down. Broil until the salmon is the same color throughout and flakes easily, 7 to 10 minutes. If desired, pour the marinade into a small saucepan and boil for 1 minute. Spoon the sauce over the salmon. serve with brown rice and your favorite vegetable side.

4. Curry Carrot Coconut Soup 
( From Fall 2004 Issue of O Magazine)

  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 medium onion , chopped
  • 1 rib celery , chopped
  • 1 clove garlic , chopped
  • 2 pounds carrots , scrubbed but unpeeled, cut into 1/2-inch thick rounds
  • 1 tablespoon curry powder
  • 1 teaspoon ground or fresh ginger
  • 5 cups reduced-sodium chicken broth
  • 1 cup plain nonfat yogurt or light coconut milk , optional
  • Salt and freshly ground pepper , to taste

1. Heat the oil in a large saucepan over medium heat. Add the onion, celery, and garlic and cover.   Cook, stirring occasionally, until the onion is golden, about 5 minutes. Add the carrots and stir well. Stir in the curry powder and ginger and cook, stirring almost constantly, for 30 seconds.

2. Add the broth and bring to a boil over high heat. Reduce the heat to medium-low and partially cover the pot. Simmer until the carrots are very tender, about 30 minutes.

3. In batches, transfer the soup to a blender, process until smooth and pour the puréed soup into a large bowl. (If you have an immersible hand blender, you can purée the soup right in the pot.) Return the puréed soup to the pot. If desired, stir in the yogurt or coconut milk and stir over low heat just until the soup is very hot; do not simmer. Season the soup with salt and pepper. Serve hot.

5. Latin Baked Chicken Thighs with Baked Sweet Potatoes, and a Romaine, Pickled Beet and Goat Cheese Salad

Latin-Baked Chicken
(Cooking Light, June, 2010)

  • 1/4 cup fresh lime juice
  • 3 tablespoons less-sodium soy sauce
  • 2 tablespoons honey
  • 2 tablespoons minced chipotle chile in adobo sauce
  • 8 (4-ounce) bone-in chicken thighs, skinned

  • Directions: Preheat oven to 400°. Combine lime juice, soy sauce, 2 tablespoons honey, and chipotle in a large bowl. Add chicken, and toss well to coat. Let stand for 10 minutes at room temperature. Arrange the chicken on a broiler pan coated with cooking spray, reserving marinade. Bake at 400° for 15 minutes. Place reserved marinade in a blender, and process until smooth. Place pureed marinade in a small saucepan. Bring to a boil, and cook 3 minutes. Brush chicken with half of cooked sauce; return to oven and bake an additional for 10 minutes. Brush chicken with remaining sauce; bake an additional 10 minutes or until a thermometer registers 165°.
Sweet Potatoes:
4 Sweet Poatoes
2 tbsp honey or agave
2 tbsp butter
1 tsp sea salt

 1. Scrub sweet poatoes, dry and place in the microwave 2 at a time on top of a white paper towel.        Microwave for 6-8 minutes on high.
2. Carefully remove potatoes from microwave and cut a zig-zag patern into the skin with a knife. Place thumb and pointer on each end of potato and squeeze together.
3. Flavor with honey or agave,  butter and salt and serve along side your favorite entree.

Teresa's Romaine, Pickled Beet and Goat Cheese Salad

 1 head of romaine lettuce
1 jar of pickled beets
4 oz. crumbled goat cheese
1 tbsp. olive oil
1 tsp sea salt

1. Wash and chop lettuce and  cut beets into one inch cubes.
2. Combine lettuce, pickled beets in a bowl and toss in olive oil and salt mixture.
3. Plate salad,  add crumbled goat cheese over top and serve.

6. Leek and Lima Bean Soup topped with Crumbled Bacon, Sour Cream and Green Onions
JUNE 2005

  • 3 bacon slices
  • 2 cups chopped leek (about 2 leeks)
  • 4 cups fresh baby lima beans
  • 4 cups fat-free, less-sodium chicken broth
  • 1 cup water
  • 2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 1/2 cup thinly sliced green onions 
  • 1/2 cup sour cream

  • Cook bacon in a large saucepan over medium heat until crisp. Remove bacon from pan, reserving 1 tablespoon drippings in pan. Crumble bacon; set aside. Add leek to drippings in pan; cook 7 minutes or until tender, stirring frequently. Stir in beans, broth, and water; bring to a boil. Reduce heat, and simmer 10 minutes or until beans are tender.
  • Place half of the bean mixture in a blender. Remove center piece of blender lid (to allow steam to escape); secure lid on blender. Place a clean dishtowel over opening in blender lid (to prevent spills), and process until smooth. Pour pureed bean mixture into a large bowl. Repeat procedure with remaining bean mixture. Stir in lemon juice, salt, and pepper. Ladle about 1 cup soup into each of 8 bowls; top each serving with 1 tablespoon onions, 1 tablespoon sour cream, and about 1 teaspoon bacon.
7. Vegetable Stir-Fry 

3tbsp olive oil
3 large onions, sliced thin 
2 eggplants, cubed
1/2 lb zucchini
1/2 lb mushrooms (halved)
3 cloves of garlic
14 oz can chopped tomatoes
7 sundried tomato pieces, diced
2 tbsp soy sauce
1 tbsp olive oil
1 tbsp rice vinegar
ground pepper
sea salt
7-10 fresh basil leaves

1. Heat olive oil in a large pan and add onions and eggplant. Cook down for 5 minutes.
2. Add all remaining vegetables(including sundried tomatoes) to the pan and cook down for 15 more minutes stirring occasionally.
3. Add soy sauce, olive oil and rice vinegar to the veggies and bring back to a boil for 1 minute. Take pan off the heat, season with ground pepper and sea salt and garnish with basil leaves. May be served over brown rice.

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

Shortened Weekly Menu for 9/14-9/18

Hi Everyone! Here's the myfoodplans shortened weekly menu. I have received a few requests for Sunday as our new menu start date. Due to school and busy work schedules, it makes the most sense to publish menu options on Saturday morning so that readers can shop over the weekend and prepare some of these tasty meals ahead of time. Look out for a new weekly menu on Saturday morning! For now, I hope you enjoy some of my meal ideas.

1. Greek Herbed Turkey Breast with Mashed Cauliflower

 Serves 4
1/3 cup olive oil
1/4 cup fresh herbs(basil, thyme or parsley)
1 boneless turkey breast half(approx. 1.5 lbs.)
salt and pepper 

1. Preheat oven at 250F
2. Combine oil and herbs in the blender and mix until smooth, green and thick 
3. Place turkey in a roasting pan and spoon or brush the oil mixture until fully coated. Sprinkle liberally with salt and pepper.
4. Place the turkey breast in the oven and bake for approx. 90 minutes or until the juices run clear when the breast is pierced with a knife. 
5. slice, serve and enjoy!

Mashed Cauliflower

  • 1 medium head cauliflower, cut into florets
  • 1/4 cup fat-free milk
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil or butter
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/8 teaspoon white pepper


  1. Place cauliflower in a steamer basket; place in a saucepan over 1 in. of water. Bring to a boil; cover and steam for 8-10 minutes or until tender. Cool slightly.
  2. Place the milk and oil in a blender or food processor. Add the cauliflower, salt and pepper; cover and process until blended. Transfer to a bowl. Serve immediately.

2. Golden Potato Leek Soup 

4 large leeks
One pound of organic Yukon Gold potatoes
3 tablespoons of butter
4 cups of chicken stock
White pepper

1. Remove the roots from leeks. Halve leeks lengthwise and clean them under running water. Cut them crosswise into thin 1 inch strips.
2. In a large soup pot, saute leeks in melted butter for 7 minutes stirring occasionally. Peel and cube potatoes and add to leeks along with the stock.
3. Bring soup to a boil. Lower heat and simmer for 15-20 minutes(until the potatoes have softened).
Season with salt and white pepper. Serve and enjoy:) 

3. Avocado Soup topped with crumbled Applewood Bacon or Turkey Bacon 
  1 small onion, finely chopped
    2 tbsp Olive oil
    1 med. avocado
    2 teaspoons soy sauce
    2 1/2 cup of water
    2tbsp lime juice
    sea salt

   1 lb of applewood bacon or turkey bacon


Place bacon on a foil-lined cookie sheet and bake for 10-13 minutes at 350F. Meanwhile, saute the onion until its transparent. Peel avocado and remove the pit.  Combine the onion, avocado, soy sauce and water in a food processor or blender and beat well.  When the mixture is smooth put into a saucepan and let it come to a boil.  Simmer for 2 or 3 minutes.  Add lime and sea salt to taste and serve right away. Garnish with crumbled smoked bacon or turkey bacon.

4. Savory Beet Soup
(From Cooking Light October 2004 Issue)


  • 1 teaspoon olive oil
  • 1 cup chopped onion
  • 4 cups fat-free, less-sodium chicken broth
  • 2 cups water
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 3 medium beets, peeled and halved
  • 1 medium potato, peeled and halved crosswise
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 1 teaspoon lemon juice
  • 8 teaspoons reduced-fat sour cream


  • Heat the oil in a Dutch oven over medium-high heat. Add onion; sauté 3 minutes or until tender. Add broth and next 6 ingredients (through bay leaf). Bring to a boil; reduce heat, and simmer, uncovered, 20 minutes or until beets and potato are tender. Discard bay leaf.
  • Place one-third broth mixture in blender or food processor; process until smooth. Place pureed mixture in a large bowl. Repeat procedure twice with remaining broth mixture. Return pureed mixture to pan. Warm soup over low heat for 5 minutes or until thoroughly heated. Remove from heat, and stir in lemon juice.
  • Combine 1/2 cup soup and the sour cream, stirring with a whisk. Divide soup evenly among each of 8 bowls. Top each serving with 1 tablespoon sour cream mixture; swirl sour cream mixture using the tip of a knife.

5. Thai Chicken Salad with Peanut Dressing 
(From Cooking Light April 2011 Issue)

  • 6 cups torn romaine lettuce
  • 2 cups shredded skinless, boneless rotisserie chicken breast
  • 2 cups fresh bean sprouts
  • 1 cup shredded carrots
  • 3/4 cup sliced celery
  • 2/3 cup light coconut milk
  • 1 tablespoon brown sugar
  • 2 tablespoons creamy peanut butter
  • 1 tablespoon fresh lime juice
  • 2 tablespoons lower-sodium soy sauce
  • 1/8 teaspoon ground red pepper
  • 2 tablespoons
  • 4 lime wedges (optional)


Combine first 5 ingredients in a large bowl. Combine coconut milk and next 5 ingredients (through red pepper) in a small saucepan; bring to a boil. Reduce heat, and simmer for 5 minutes or until mixture thickens slightly, stirring occasionally. Remove from heat, and cool for 2 minutes. Pour warm coconut milk mixture over lettuce mixture. Sprinkle with peanuts; serve with lime wedges, if desired. Serve immediately.

Friday, September 9, 2011

What's for Breakfast?

At 185lbs my usual breakfast consisted of a bowl of cereal, an apple bran muffin and coffee with cream and sugar. Still, I couldn't for the life of me understand why I was so heavy. What I know now is that the refined sugars and excessive carbohydrates I was taking in were making me more hungry throughout the day.
Breakfast should include whole grains, lots of protein and plenty of fruits and veggies. Here are some of my favorite breakfast meals and your new weekly breakfast menu....

Day 1: 2 Eggs with Sauteed Kale, Portobello Mushrooms and Yellow Onions:

Eggs with Simple Sautéed Kale, Yellow Onions & Mushrooms

  • 2-3 Jumbo Eggs
  • 3-4 cups kale, torn into bite size pieces
  • 1-2 cups sliced baby bella mushrooms or shitake mushrooms
  • 1 small yellow onion, coarsely chopped
  • 1-2 tablespoons olive oil
  • salt & pepper, to taste (go easy... enjoy the flavor of those marvelous veggies!)

In a heavy cast iron pan, or your favorite heavy skillet heat your oil until a drop of water will sizzle. Add the mushrooms & onions and sauté for several minutes until they are just slightly tender, but still have some "bite" to them. Add your kale and gently saute for about 5 minutes
until the kale is bright beautiful green. Crack 2-3 eggs over top the veggies and cover the pan for 2 minutes. Season with salt and pepper and serve immediately.

Day 2: Dr.Hyman's UltraSimple Diet Ultra Shake:
        UltraSimple Diet UltraShake
  • 2 scoops of rice protein powder (the average is 2 scoops, but you should follow the directions for the serving sizes of the product you pick)
  • 1 tablespoon organic combination flax and borage oil
  • 2 tablespoons ground flaxseeds
  • Ice (made from filtered water), if desired
  • 6 to 8 ounces of filtered water to desired consistency
  • 1/2 cup of frozen or fresh noncitrus organic fruit, such as cherries, blueberries, raspberries, strawberries, peaches, pears or bananas

Day 3: Organic Oatmeal topped with Apples, Nuts and Cream:

           5 Minute Organic Oatmeal with Cream, Nuts and Fruit
  • 1/2 cup of organic oatmeal
  • 1 cup of filtered water
  • 1 medium granny smith apple 
  • 10 almonds or 2 tbsp almond butter
  • 2tbsp agave 
  • 2tbsp organic 1/2 and 1/2
Combine 1/2 cup of organic oatmeal with one cup of filtered water. Cook in microwave for 3 minutes. While the oatmeal is cooking dice one whole granny smith  apple. Remove oatmeal from the microwave, top with diced apple, almonds, agave and 1/2 and 1/2. Sprinkle oatmeal with cinnamon and serve!

Day 4: Easy Eggs Florentine:

Super Easy Eggs Florentine

  • 1 onion, finely chopped

  • 1 tablespoon unsalted butter

  • 2 (10 oz.) boxes frozen leaf spinach, thawed

  • 4 ounces cream cheese

  • 2/3 cup milk

  • 1/2 teaspoon salt

  • 1/4 teaspoon black pepper

  • 4 slices of Fitness Bread or Ezkiel Bread

  • 8 large eggs

  • Preparation

    • Heat skillet with 2tbsp of canola oil.  Meanwhile, cook onion in butter in a nonstick skillet until soft. Add spinach, cream cheese and milk. Cook until creamy. Add salt and pepper. Cover, keep warm.
    • Toast bread. Break 4 eggs at a time in heated skillet.  Cook for 1 minute. Loosen from bottom of pan with a spatula. Flip and cook to desired doneness. Remove with spatula. Top toast with spinach mixture, followed by 2 fried eggs. Makes 4 servings. 

     Ezekiel Bread can be found in the freezer section of most grocery stores or
    Mestemacher Fitness Bread, 17.6-Ounce Packages (Pack of 12) can be found in your local health food store or click the link to order it now from Amazon.

    Day 5:  Teresa's Hemp Protein Shake:
           Teresa's Tasty Banana Berry Shake
    Combine all ingredients in a blender and mix at medium high speed. This recipe makes 2-3 servings. Take the left-overs to work or refrigerate save remaining shake for a mid-morning or mid-afternoon snack

    Breakfast beverages:

    I always drink 16 oz. of water as soon as I wake up to flush all the toxins and waste from my system. Following the water, I drink a green tea and an hour or so later possibly a coffee sweetened with agave and lightened with organic 1/2 &1/2. 

    Thursday, September 8, 2011

    5 Weight Loss Rules!

    Rules and Planning..that's right weight loss requires discipline and dedication to your cause. Follow these 5 simple rules and you're sure shed some serious weight this week.

    Rule #1: Hydrate. Drinking 8-12 glasses of water a day will help you feel full and flush the fat and waste right out of your system. Bring a water bottle(preferably a glass bottle..want to avoid those pesky BPA's) to work, school or in the car and drink yourself thin!

    Rule#2: Avoid those white foods! Pasta, white rice, refined sugar, white bread and potatoes are making us all fat! White foods are over-processed and have almost no nutritional value. They are hard to digest and get stuck in your gut for weeks and even months. Don't believe me? Stop eating these foods for just one week and post how you feel. I guarantee you will be healthier and have more energy!

    Rule#3: Avoid all obviously greasy and sugary foods. Cupcakes and corn dogs are yummy, but if you want to fit into those skinny jeans you must give them up until you reach you weight loss goals! The best way to avoid these foods is by cooking at home for the first few weeks of your diet and packing snacks in your purse or murse if your going to be out of the house for more than 2 hours.

    Rule #4: Stop eating at least 2 hours before you go to bed. It goes without saying that everything you eat before you go to sleep turns into fat. In our house, we have dinner between 4pm and 6pm. After 6, I don't eat anything else. If I happen to get hungry,  I drink some iced or hot green tea sweetened with a little agave.

    Rule#5: "Dine like a king in the morning, a prince at noon and a pauper at night." I think this rule is possibly the most important one of all. If you want to be trim, pay attention to regulating your blood sugar by eating a hearty protein-rich breakfast. My breakfast usually comprises about half of my total caloric intake for the day. Lunch is also important. Get lots of veggies in at lunch. Soup and salad with a side of protein is a great way to do this. Dinner is thinner. Don't go crazy eating all your calories at the end of the day. Usually I do soup for dinner. It's filling and easy to prepare.

    If you have any questions or comments please leave me a comment. I would love to hear any weight loss suggestions you may have.

    Wednesday, September 7, 2011

    Weekly Menu for 9/7/2011-9/14/2011

    I've put together some of my favorite meals for you to enjoy. These foods are satisfying, nutritious and low calorie. Please fell free to comment on your favorites and least favorites as you try them throughout the week.

    1. Healthy Stuffed Green Peppers


    1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
    2. Combine quinoa and chicken stock in a saucepan. Bring to a boil and reduce heat to simmer for 15-17 minutes until all of the liquid is absorbed.
    3. Meanwhile, cut the tops off of the bell peppers, remove the seeds and set aside in a baking dish sprayed with cooking spray. Chop the tops of the peppers (will add to the meat mixture later).
    4. Heat the olive oil over medium high heat in a large sauce pan and saute the garlic.
    5. Add chopped onions and peppers. Saute 2-3 minutes.
    6. Add the ground turkey, worcestershire sauce, salt and pepper to the pan. Cook until the meat is browned.
    7. Add the tomatoes and tomato paste. Stir to combine. Cook until most of the liquid is absorbed (5 minutes).

    2. Curry Cauliflower Soup 
    Original recipe found in Vegetarian Times Magazine


    1. Heat the olive oil in a large pot and saute the onion until its golden brown and soft. About 5-7 minutes.
    2. Stir in the apple, curry, garlic and cook for 2 more minutes or until the curry powder turns a deep yellow shade.
    3. Add the cauliflower and veggie broth. Bring to a simmer and cover.
    4. Reduce heat to medium-low, and simmer for 20 minutes, then blend in a food processor or blender. I used a hand held emersion blender.
    5. Stir in the honey and vinegar.
    6. Season with salt if desired.

    3. Eggplant Souffle
    • Cooking spray
    • 4 cups (1-inch) cubed eggplant (about 1 pound)
    • 1 cup chopped red bell pepper (about 1 medium)
    • 1/2 cup chopped red onion
    • 1/2 teaspoon salt, divided
    • 1 1/10 ounces all-purpose flour (about 1/4 cup)
    • 2 cups fat-free milk
    • 5 tablespoons grated fresh Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese, divided
    • 1/8 teaspoon ground red pepper
    • 4 large eggs
    • 3 large egg whites
    • 1 tablespoon chopped fresh oregano
    • Chopped fresh parsley (optional)


    • 1. Preheat oven to 350°.
    • 2. Heat a large nonstick skillet over medium-high heat. Coat pan with cooking spray. Add eggplant, bell pepper, and onion; sauté 5 minutes or until tender. Stir in 1/4 teaspoon salt; sauté 5 minutes. Set aside.
    • 3. Weigh or lightly spoon flour into a dry measuring cup; level with a knife. Place flour in a medium saucepan; add milk, stirring with a whisk. Bring to a boil over medium heat, and cook milk mixture for 1 minute or until thick, stirring constantly. Add 3 tablespoons cheese, stirring until cheese melts. Remove from heat; stir in remaining 1/4 teaspoon salt and ground red pepper. Let stand for 15 minutes.
    • 4. Combine eggs and egg whites in a medium bowl, stirring with a whisk. Stir in oregano. Gradually add hot milk mixture to egg mixture, stirring constantly with a whisk. Fold in eggplant mixture; pour into an 11 x 7-inch glass or ceramic baking dish coated with cooking spray. Sprinkle with the remaining 2 tablespoons cheese. Bake at 350° for 30 minutes or until puffy and set. Garnish with parsley, if desired. Serve immediately.
    4. Gazpacho, Sauteed Garlic Shrimp and Brown Rice
    • 1 hothouse cucumber, halved and seeded, but not peeled
    • 2 red bell peppers, cored and seeded
    • 4 plum tomatoes
    • 1 red onion
    • 3 garlic cloves, minced
    • 23 ounces tomato juice (3 cups)
    • 1/4 cup white wine vinegar
    • 1/4 cup good olive oil
    • 1/2 tablespoon kosher salt
    • 1 teaspoons freshly ground black pepper


    Roughly chop the cucumbers, bell peppers, tomatoes, and red onions into 1-inch cubes. Put each vegetable separately into a food processor fitted with a steel blade and pulse until it is coarsely chopped. Do not overprocess!

    After each vegetable is processed, combine them in a large bowl and add the garlic, tomato juice, vinegar, olive oil, salt, and pepper. Mix well and chill before serving. The longer gazpacho sits, the more the flavors develop.

    Camarones al Ajillo (Cuban Lemon Garlic Shrimp) served with Brown Rice
    Inspired by A Taste of Old Cuba

    1 cup Spanish olive oil
    16 large shrimp
    10-14 garlic cloves
    1/4 cup fresh lemon juice
    1.5 tsp salt
    1/2 tsp pepper
    2-3 sprigs chopped parsley

    Heat oil until fragrant. Add shrimp and garlic and saute for 2-3 min. Add lemon juice, salt and pepper. Saute two more min. Transfer to a dish and sprinkle with parsley. Spoon over brown rice and serve.

    5. Easy-Peasy Creamy Tomato Basil Soup
    1. Heat oil in saucepan over medium heat. Add onion and garlic; cook 5 minutes. Add tomatoes, sugar, vinegar, basil, bay leaf, and broth. Cover, and simmer 10 minutes. Remove bay leaf.
    2. Puree soup in blender or food processor until smooth. Strain through fine mesh strainer into sauce pan; return to simmer. Remove from heat, and stir in half-and-half. Season with salt and pepper, if desired. Garnish with basil.

    6.  Greek Chicken Soup with Pistou
    • 1 tablespoon olive oil
    • 1/2 pound boneless skinless chicken breasts, cut into bite-size pieces
    • 1 onion, finely diced
    • 3 (14.5 ounce) cans chicken broth
    • 1 (14.5 ounce) can whole peeled tomatoes
    • 1 (14 ounce) can great Northern beans, rinsed and drained
    • 2 carrots, sliced
    • 1 large potato, diced
    • 1/4 teaspoon salt
    • 1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper
    • 1 cup frozen green beans
    • 1/4 cup pesto
    1. Place the olive oil in a large saucepan and heat over medium-high heat until hot. Add chicken; cook and stir about 5 minutes or until chicken is browned. Add onion; cook and stir 2 minutes.
    2. Add chicken broth, undrained tomatoes, northern beans, carrots, potato, salt and pepper. Bring to a boil, stirring to break up tomatoes. Reduce heat to low; cover and simmer for 15 minutes, stirring occasionally. Add green beans and cook for 5 minutes or until vegetables are tender.
    3. Ladle soup into bowls, top each with 1 teaspoon pesto and sprinkle with parmesan cheese.

    7. Grilled Pork Tenderloin with fig compote, tossed salad and sweet potato on the side

    ¼ C  Merlot
    2 T Balsamic Vinegar
    1 shallot, finely minced
    dash Worcestershire
    salt and pepper
    2 pork tenderloins, sinew removed

    Combine first 5 ingredients. Place tenderloins and marinade in ziploc bags,marinate for two hours. Prepare grill to medium high heat. Cook for about 9 to10 minutes. Turn and continue to cook for another 9 to 10 minutes or until porkis medium-rare and still juicy inside. Let meat stand for 5-8 minutes, sliceagainst the grain. Serve with fig compote. Serves 4.
    Pairs well with Lambert Bridge Merlot and Crane Creek Cuvee

    Fresh Fig Compote¾ C figs, cut into 8 pieces
    1 T balsamic vinegar
    ½ shallot, minced
    2 T basil, chiffonade
    1 t Lambert Bridge Merlot
    salt and pepper
    Combine all ingredients, except basil. Season with salt and pepper.Immediately before serving mix in the basil.

    Tossed Organic Field Greens with Sauteed Mushrooms and Onions

    • 1 large container Organic Girl Field Greens with herbs
    • 1 (8 ounce) package crumbled feta cheese
    • 1 (4 ounce) can sliced black olives
    • 1 cup cherry tomatoes, halved
    • 1 red onion, halved and thinly sliced
    • 6 fresh mushrooms, sliced
    • 1/4 cup grated Romano cheese
    • 8 ounce olive oil and vinegar seasoned with Italian herbs

    1. Heat a large skillet over medium-high heat. Place the onions and mushrooms in the skillet, and cook, stirring frequently until lightly browned.
    In a large salad bowl, combine lettuce with feta cheese, olives, tomatoes, onion, mushrooms, and Romano cheese. When ready to serve, toss with olive oil and vinegar mixture.

    Simple Sweet Potatoes
            4 Sweet Potatoes
            2 tbsp honey or agave
            2 tbsp butter
           1 tsp sea salt
    1. Scrub sweet potatoes, dry and place in the microwave 2 at a time on top of a white paper towel. Microwave for 6-8 minutes on high. 
    2. Carefully remove potatoes from microwave and cut a zig-zag pattern into the skin with a knife. Place thumb and pointer on each end of potato and squeeze together.
    3. Flavor with honey or agave, butter and salt and serve along side your favorite entree.