Living Lite

This Week's Seasonal Batch Recipe 'Cauliflower Vichyssoise'

November 29, 2018

My second weekly batch recipe, based on what you can find at your Farmers Market this weekend is Cauliflower Vichyssoise. It is a take on the French Classic Vichyssoise - leak and potato soup - substituting most of the potatoes for cauliflower. Even though Vichyssoise is usally served cold, in the winter I serve my Cauliflower Vichyssoise warm.

Batches are all about making the most of the time you spend in the kitchen and easing some stress from your life. I feature batch recipes in my books, Diet Simple and Diet Simple Farm to Table Recipes. Batches are your favorite delicious, quick and easy meals made ahead of time so that you always have something in the freezer or refrigerator, ready to eat on a moment’s notice. And, believe it or not, it actually saves time. 

Blending the cooked cauliflower, leaks, and potatoes with the Cuisinart Smart Stick (Photo by: Katherine Tallmadge) Blending the cooked cauliflower, leaks, and potatoes with the Cuisinart Smart Stick

Soups are some of the best "batches" in the cold dark days of winter. They're warm, filling, psychologically satisfying and sate the natural urge for comfort food in the winter. Eating soup also makes it easier to lose weight. How?

Classic studies have found that soups are effective weight loss foods. As long as the volume of a food is high (when water or air are incorporated into the food), people can feel full with fewer calories. In one study, researchers varied the water content in three different first courses to see how it would affect peoples’ intake at the main course. The study subjects were fed either 1) chicken rice casserole, 2) chicken rice casserole served with a glass of water, or 3) chicken rice soup – basically the casserole with water/broth added. The researchers found the subjects who ate the soup consumed 26 percent less, about 100 calories fewer, at the main course, compared to the other conditions, even though all three conditions provided the same amount of calories. As I always say, "A calorie isn't always a calorie!"

Researchers surmise that a large food volume caused by water, even without added calories, helps us feel more satisfied for several reasons. It causes stomach stretching and slows stomach emptying, stimulating the nerves and hormones that signal feelings of fullness. Also, visually seeing a large volume of food can increase your ability to feel satisfied by it, even though the calories are relatively low. Finally, the larger a meal and the longer a meal goes on, studies show, your satisfaction declines and you lose interest in completing it. Water is the component in food which has the largest influence on how much you eat. This study, and many others like it, find eating a high-water-content, low-calorie first course, such as soup, enhances satisfaction and reduces overall calorie intake.

Cauliflower "Vichyssoise"
excerpted from Diet Simple Farm to Table Recipes: 50 New Reasons to Cook in Season

Cauliflower is in the species of foods called “brassica.” The brassica family of foods has extremely high nutritional values and contain high levels of antioxidants and nutrients such as vitamin C, selenium, calcium, potassium, folic acid and choline - important for the brain, as well as soluble fiber, which reduces cholesterol and helps level blood sugar. Brassica, a huge category of foods including broccoli, cabbages, mustard seeds and greens, also contain potent anti-cancer compounds which help detoxify carcinogens in the liver before they continue to circulate in your bloodstream. These compounds also aid your immune response with anti-viral and anti-bacterial properties.

4 to 8 Servings

Ingredients

1 Tbsp Canola Oil
2 Leeks
1 Head Cauliflower
1 Medium Potato
6 Cups Chicken Stock (or vegetable stock), fat removed
1 Cup 1% Milk
Salt and Freshly Ground Pepper
8 leaves Fresh Parsley, Chopped

Slice the white part of the leeks, cut the cauliflower into florets and set aside. Heat canola oil in an iron skillet over medium heat. Add sliced leeks, stirring frequently for about ten minutes until soft. Stir in the stock, cauliflower and potato. Reduce the heat, cover and simmer for about twenty minutes or until vegetables are soft. When mixture has cooled a bit, puree with the  The Cuisinart Smart Stick... No mess, no fuss! (or blender or food processor), add the milk. Serve hot in the cool weather, cold in the hot weather. Add salt and freshly ground pepper to taste. Garnish with chopped parsley.

700 calories in the entire pot of soup

 


Click here to share your thoughts.


This Week's Seasonal Batch Recipe: Thanksgiving Turkey Veggie & Barley Soup

November 22, 2018

The second best part of Thanksgiving is leftovers! I try to encourage my clients to focus on healthy leftovers, of course, but perfection is never possible or even a healthy objective. One Thanksgiving, I saved the French Apple Cake dessert for breakfast the next morning (It's better for your weight and health to eat the most fattening food earlier in the day - Sometimes, it's all about STRATEGY!). It was one of the best breakfasts of my life!

This is the first recipe in my "Seasonal Batch Recipe" series. My advice: Make the most of the time you spend in the kitchen and ease some stress from your life by batch cooking. I feature batch recipes in my books, Diet Simple and Diet Simple Farm to Table Recipes. Batches are your favorite delicious, quick and easy meals made ahead of time so that you always have something in the freezer or refrigerator, ready to eat on a moment’s notice. And it actually saves time. When you get home from work in the evening, just zap the batch in the microwave and Voilà! Instant delicious, nutritious dinner.

Studies show you’re more likely to eat whatever is in your environment. If you surround yourself with yummy, healthy, wholesome foods, that’s what you’ll end up eating. It’s simple physics: You naturally take the path of least resistance. So why not make things easy on yourself? Plan to make a few batch meals, or even just one, this weekend so you and your family will have their home-made favorites at your fingertips all week long. 

Let's take advantage and start batching with America's favorite holiday-for-leftovers! 

Thanksgiving Turkey, Veggie and Barley Soup

Adapted from Michel Richard's Chicken, Mushroom and Barley Soup, excerpted from Diet Simple: 195 Mental Tricks, Substitutions, Habits & Inspirations

 

4 servings

 

Nothing could be simpler or more delicate than this dish.  The flavors are rich and earthy. It contains all the elements of a complete meal.  It’s nutritious and filling to boot.  I feel honored that Michel Richard provided this recipe for Diet Simple.  It fits perfectly as something you can cook, store in the refrigerator and eat for several meals and is a wonderfully delicious addition. 

 

Ingredients:

2 Tbsp Olive Oil

2 Small Onions, Peeled and Diced

1 Pound Thinly Sliced Mushrooms, or other Vegetbles

2 Quarts Unsalted Turkey Stock (defatted)

2 Tablespoons Light Soy Sauce

6 Tbsp Pearl Barley

4 Cloves Garlic, peeled and minced

Salt and Freshly Ground Black Pepper to taste

About 1 pound, boned, skinned and sliced Turkey into bite-size pieces or small slices

About 1-1/2 Cup (about 3 ounces) freshly grated Parmesan Cheese (Optional)

 

Heat the oil in a heavy medium saucepan over medium-low heat.  Add the onion, cover and  cook until translucent, for about ten minutes, stirring occasionally.  Add the mushrooms - and/or other leftover vegetables. Increase heat to medium-high and cook uncovered until lightly browned, for about five minutes, stirring occasionally.  Add the turkey stock, soy sauce, barley and garlic.  Simmer gently for 45 minutes to cook barley and blend flavors.  Season with salt and pepper.  (This can be prepared ahead, cooled, covered and set aside at cool room temperature for up to four hours or refrigerated for several days.)

 

To serve, bring the soup to a light simmer, add turkey, reduce heat and simmer just until the turkey becomes warm, for about two to three minutes.  Ladle into four soup plates.  Pass Parmesan, if desired.

 

Nuritional Analysis:

Calories 320

Total Fat 5g

Saturated Fat 2g

Cholesterol 70mg

Sodium 1,100 mg

Total Carbohydrate 26g

Dietary Fiber 6g

Soluble Fiber 1.20 g

Omega 3 Fatty Acids 0.1 g

Sugars 1g

Protein 34g

 

Nutritional Analysis with Parmesan

Calories 500

Calories from Fat 200

Total Fat 22g

Saturated Fat 9g

Cholesterol 100mg

Sodium 1800mg
Total Carbohydrate 28g


Click here to share your thoughts.


Create Your Holiday City Garden - In Pots!

November 20, 2018

My Container Garden Lines the Entry of my City Home (Photo by: Katherine Tallmadge) My Container Garden Lines the Entry of my City Home

This is the first part of my series on container gardening, because not only is being in nature, among trees, flowers, and fresh air, beautiful - but it is also critical for your physical and mental well being. And, of course, you can create your own bit of nature on your own deck, front stoop, or windowsill... even through the winter, which can be especially challenging, but exciting! I've been inspired by my Swedish mother who literally created forests wherever we lived, including today on her condominium's back deck. Here's how you can do it... and stay tuned for more ...

Being a city girl - without a yard - I've made it my mission to create a beautiful and lush forest boundary, every season of the year, separating my home from the city's stark pavement just a few feet from my front door, and from the city's grit, trash, noise, wires, meter boxes and pollution. How? Now that I'm on my third container garden, I've realized: Anything can grow in pots! Who wouldn't love having a beautiful lush garden year-round no matter your circumstances? Imagine... sipping your coffee with the paper, looking out onto a serene sea of nature - from your own townhouse, condo or apartment!

My favorite (Photo by: Katherine Tallmadge) My favorite "bird's nest" outside my front door, filled with evergreen succulents and surrounded by flowering vines - even now in the Fall!

Would you believe I have filled my container gardens with huge evergreens such as six foot magnolias, mountain laurels, hollies, and boxwoods, with heavenly bamboo, and succulents. Also, deciduous trees and shrubs including a ten-foot weeping willow arching over the walkway to one of my decks, pink and white variegated Japanese maples, pink, blue, lavender and white hydrangeas, violet azaleas. All mixed in with an abundance of annual and perennial flowers and herbs. I concentrate on varying shades of green, contrasting textures, and diverse sizes of leaves and plants. I focus on pinks, blues, and lavenders for subtlety, which I beieve is more pleasing in a small garden.

Even if you only have a deck, a front stoop, or a few feet of brick, you don't have to lose out on this essential pleasure. You can create your own "secret garden."

"A garden is as necessary to the human spirit as water and food are," wrote Rebecca Cole in her book, Potted Gardens: A Fresh Approach to Container Gardening. "A garden is a place where much more than a seed can grow. It is a place of solace, exploration, and experimentation," wrote Cole. And research bears this out.

Luis Mármol, Dumbarton Oaks Horticulturist and Garden Designer on the terrace overlooking the kitchen gardens at Dumbarton Oaks (Photo by: Luis Mármol) Luis Mármol, Dumbarton Oaks Horticulturist and Garden Designer on the terrace overlooking the kitchen gardens at Dumbarton Oaks

Studies show being among nature is critical for your health. For one, it "enhances immune function," according to a study in Frontiers in Psychology.

"The benefits of nature span a remarkable breadth of health outcomes with evidence for ... reductions in ... all diseases ... from cardiovascular disease, improved healing times, self-preceived general health, reduced stress, reduced respiratory illnesses and allergies... a reduced risk of poor mental health, improved social cohesion, and improved cognitive ability," according to the American Journal of Public Health.

Take these first 5 steps to creating your Autumn container garden, according to Luis Mármol, Horticulturist and Garden Designer:

1. Drainage: Either make sure your pots have plenty of holes on the bottom, or if there is only a small hole, raise the level of the pot with bricks, a piece of slate, or anything that will help the water drain through more freely. Potted plants need to be watered frequently, even through winter. If they dry out, since their roots have nowhere to go to find moisture, they will die quickly. If you don't have enough drainage, all of this watering causes deadly root rot, a common problem in pots. Proper drainage also wards off freezing the pot. This is especially important when you have expensive terra cotta containers.

Container by Luis Mármol - Echinacea, Kale, 'Scarlet' Cabbage, Strawflower, Viola, Chrysanthemum, Saxapahaw, Agastache (Photo by: Luis Mármol) Container by Luis Mármol - Echinacea, Kale, 'Scarlet' Cabbage, Strawflower, Viola, Chrysanthemum, Saxapahaw, Agastache

2. Mulch: It will protect the tender plants through the winter, but different plants might need particular protection. Surround tender herbs with gravel to help protect them from the cold winter and promote drainage. Use shredded leaves around the base of trees and shrubs, trying to keep the trunk free of mulch. "Don't create a mulch scarf for your tree," says Luis. For rosemary, if it is in one single container, place 3 or 4 bamboo sticks on the edge of the pot, then wrap the pot with burlap, making sure the top is open so the plant can breathe while reducing the chance of freezing. If the plant freezes, the strong winter sun, unprotected by tree canopies, can destroy the plant. An analogy Luis likes to use, "In the summer, you wake up with the drapes closed, but in the winter, the drapes are open."

3. Be Bold! "Think outside the 'container!'" as Luis says. Use colorful gourds, hay, cornstalks, pine cones or turkey feathers for Thanksgiving. Make the holiday theme be your temporary blooming flowers. Try holiday bulbs and use strings of lights through the darkness of winter. Add white birch branches to brighten, or red-twigged dogwood branches for colorful contrast, as did the Golden Triangle Business Improvement District (BID), "stretching from in front of the White House to Dupont Circle," an organization for which Luis consults. Make sure your decorations are organic. Avoid plastic, as it can crack or fade and make your display look less natural. 

Winterberry loses its leaves but maintains bright red berries through the cold, dark days of winter (Photo by: Wikipedia.org) Winterberry loses its leaves but maintains bright red berries through the cold, dark days of winter

4. Color: Think of adding colorful seasonal peppers which last until the first frost and straw flowers, which tolerate some frost. Plant violas because they will come back in early spring (as opposed to pansies that are not as reliable). Protect the root systems with mulch, which could be as simple as shredded leaves.

5. Think ahead: Include plants that will bloom through the winter or will  have winter interest, such as Skimmia, Heather, and Kale. Evergreens are important for your winter garden, and do well in pots, but keep them interesting... Little Gem Magnolias, Mountain Laurels and Boxwoods. Soft Touch Hollies and Nandinas splash red berries through winter, Sweet Box display fluffy white flowers, Pyracantha sport bright orange berries (but watch out for thorns!) ... I really love evergreen ferns, which can be placed wherever you need fillers, and to hide less attractive pots.

More next time ...

Luis Mármol's Fall container with Red Twig Dogwood. The leaves will provide Fall color, but in the winter, the branches will become fiery red - with Johnny Jump Up Violas - at Dumbarton Oaks (Photo by: Luis Mármol) Luis Mármol's Fall container with Red Twig Dogwood. The leaves will provide Fall color, but in the winter, the branches will become fiery red - with Johnny Jump Up Violas - at Dumbarton Oaks


Click here to share your thoughts.