Living Lite

Light and Creamy Mashed Potatoes for the Thanksgiving Table

November 21, 2017

Marion Burros’ Streamlined Mashed Potatoes

(Excerpted from "Diet Simple: 195 Mental Tricks, Substitutions, Habits & Inspirations")


Potatoes have more potassium than any raw fruit or vegetable, even a banana. Potatoes contain half your requirement for Vitamin C. They rank 5th out of 42 vegetables tested for antioxidant capacity, coming ahead of broccoli, cabbage, and tomatoes. A 5.3 ounce serving of potatoes have only 110 calories. Potatoes could sustain your body healthfully with just a few dairy products and oil added. Think of all the cultures through hundreds, if not thousands of years, which survived on potatoes... Scandinavians, Russians, Irish, Peruvians... You get the picture!


I can’t imagine a better comfort food!


Serves 6


1 pounds unpeeled thin-skinned potatoes (Yukon Gold or other boiling potatoes), scrubbed and sliced 1/4 inch thick

2 Cups Nonfat Buttermilk, or more

Salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste


1. Cook the  potato slices in water to cover until tender, about 10 minutes. Do not let them get so soft that they start to disintegrate; that makes them watery. Drain and mash the potatoes - peel and all - in a food mill, through a ricer, or with a potato masher.

2. Stir in the buttermilk until the potatoes become creamy. Season with salt and pepper.


NOTE: The potatoes can be refrigerated, if well covered, but they are best when fresh. To serve, place in a glass dish, cover wtih plastic wrap, and reheat in the microwave for about 8 minutes on high. Stir once or twice while reheating. If the potatoes become too dry, stir in additional buttermilk. Use waxy potatoes for boiling like Red Bliss or fingerlings. Yukon Golds are all-purpose.

Streamlined Mashed Potatoes is excerpted from Cooking for Comfort (Simon & Schuster 2003) by Marion Burros. Burros is a columnist and writer for The New York Times since 1981, she lives in New York City and outside Washington, D.C.

Click here to share your thoughts.

Baked Apples with Roasted Nuts and Dried Fruit

November 13, 2017

The most popular fruit in the United States, apples are a great source of fiber and vitamin C. Apples also contain quercetin, a compound that may help prevent cancer and heart disease, also xeaxanthin, important for eye health. Be sure to eat the peel. The majority of nutrients are in the skin. At the market, choose firm apples with no soft spots or bruises. Be sure to wash apples under clean, running water before eating. (excerpted from the "Fruit and Veggie Glossary" in Diet Simple Farm to Table Recipes: 50 New Reasons to Cook in Season!)


Apples and their pear cousins are the only locally grown fruit from now until... May or June! But don't despair. Apples are a versatile fruit, come in many shapes, sizes, colors, flavors and textures. They can be eaten "as is" or incorporated into sweet or savory recipes. Think waldorf salad, apple crisp, apple cakes, caramel apples, hard or soft apple cider, Thanksgiving stuffing, German potato salad, applesauce, poached apples in wine sauce. Grate apples into your pancakes, coleslaw, muffins, and loafs. Chop apples and toss them in your tuna or chicken salad. Use apples any time you want an alternative color, texture or flavor in a recipe or menu. You get the idea! My Baked Apples can be eaten as a dessert, a snack, an appetizer, or a satisfying end-of-day refreshment with tea.


Katherine's Baked Apples with Roasted Nuts & Dried Fruit

excerpted from "Diet Simple: 195 Mental Tricks, Substitutions, Habits & Inspirations" 



A traditional yet simple and healthy dessert.


4 servings


4 large apples

1 C water, sweet white wine or apple juice

8 tsp sugar, brown sugar or maple syrup

1 tsp cinnamon mixed into the sugar (optional)

1/2 C chopped nuts or dried fruit (optional)


Peel the top half of the apples and, using a apple corer or melon baller, core the apples. Put about 1” of the water in a baking pan. Place the apples in the pan, blossom end down.  Sprinkle about 1 tsp of the sugar in the cavity of the apple and 1 tsp around the  top. If desired, stuff chopped nuts and/or dried fruit into the cavity.


Bake uncovered for about an hour, or until apples are very tender. Cool and serve warm or at room temperature, or refrigerate. Serve with sweet or sour cream or nonfat Greek yogurt.


Only about 90 calories each!

Click here to share your thoughts.

A Fall Menu for Guests with Dietary Food Restrictions

November 7, 2017

Cooking for special guests with food restrictions can seem an ominous task. It often means that none of your favorite special occasion recipes work, risking disappointing your guests with a less than delcious meal.

 I was recently faced with entertaining a friend who couldn't eat grains, starch, sugar, dairy, eggs, legumes, peanuts, almonds, garlic, or alcohol ... You get the picture! But my friends said I did it well, so I thought I would share my menu with you.

First, since my food choices were limited, the recipes were likely going to be fairly simple. so choosing the best ingredients was paramount. Obviously, that meant I bought just about everything from the local Farmers Market.

As Hors d'oevres, I served Guacamole Stuffed Cherry Tomato Halves. On most diets, vegetables are unlimited, so you can't go wrong with them. My quacamole was simply mashed avocado with salt and pepper. You can stuff the cherry tomato halves with anything - tuna or smoked salmon salad, tabouleh, etc. I also served pistachio nuts in a side dish (always with a spoon to prevent spreading germs).

Guacamole Stuffed Cherry Tomato Halves (Photo by: Katherine Tallmadge) Guacamole Stuffed Cherry Tomato Halves

As the first course, I served Butternut Squash Soup with Curry and Ginger, always a hit. I created this recipe years ago, because I couldn't find a butternut squash soup recipe with no cream. Of course, this made it perfect for this special menu. All I had to do was to excluded the garlic.

As the main course, I served a crab cake, topped with a tiger shrimp and 2 scallops as decoration. All bought that day from Stachowski's in Georgetown. The guests were overwhelmed with the freshness, sweetness and delicacy of the seafood. And I confirmed that nothing in the crabcake was verboten. With most of these diets, protein is not limited, but I chose seafood to be on the healthier side. My side dishes were Haricot Vert sauteed in olive oil with sweet onions and red peppers. And for color, golden and red beets simply boiled with salt and sliced, were served alongside.

Red and Golden Beets (Photo by: Katherine Tallmadge) Red and Golden Beets

Of course, I really wanted dessert to be special. But I was limited to fruit. Hmmm...  I've eaten roasted fruit, like apricots and peaches, and sauteed fruit in butter and brown sugar. The butter and brown sugar were out, so I decided to roast fruit, which I had never done before. I looked up a few recipes, found fresh pineapple and fresh figs at the grocery store and thought long and hard about what I could roast them in. Could they be roasted alone? I couldn't find any recipe this simple and I was afraid to try it. It seemed that the fruit would need some kind of fat and sweetener to make it special. But I couldn't use butter or sugar. Instead, I chose coconut milk, hazelnut oil, and a little honey. I tossed the fresh pineapple pieces and fig halves, in a bowl with the mixture, added pecans, and placed them on a cookie sheet with parchment paper (nothing sticks to it). Roasted til the pineapple was golden brown.

But that wasn't enough. I needed something creamy with it... ice cream or whipped  cream were out of the question. But I heard that coconut milk was popular with the alternative dieting crowd (even though it riases bad cholesterol more than anything else!),  so I looked up how to make something creamy out of it. Turns out, it gets nice and fluffy when whipped with a beater. I served it alongside the fruit. And it was a hit!

Roasted Fresh Pineapple, Figs and Pecans Tossed in Honey, Coconut and Hazelnut Oil (Photo by: Katherine Tallmadge) Roasted Fresh Pineapple, Figs and Pecans Tossed in Honey, Coconut and Hazelnut Oil

With a willingness to experiment, try new recipes, and to please your friends who want to eat great food but may be on special diets, it's worth it to take your cooking into a new direction. My dinner was probably hit and miss. But my friends appreciated my effort and I'm sure enjoyed at least most of it!

2 Comments   Click here to share your thoughts.