Sunday, September 28, 2014


Over the past few years I have written about diets, making changes in my eating style and approach, eating a more plant based diet, exercising and general nutrition.  I have also recognized that for my metabolism I need to include cardio into my daily routine if I want to lose any weight or even maintain my weight if I am overindulging.  Cardio for me includes using machines or apparatuses such as an elliptical, rower or rebounder.  Increasing my heart rate is key to budging the number on the scale.  Even though I walk every morning with my best four legged friend, the cardio is needed.

In June I decided I needed a nutrition coach to help me be accountable and lose those persistent ten or so pounds that have been my companion for the past decade.  This companion comes and goes and as I have gotten older, it is getting harder to get rid of these companion pounds.

I did find a nutrition coach who does not live in the same city as me.  The coaching has been done through telephone calls.  It has been a slow process to lose these pounds.  I call them my Velcro pounds.  I literally need to peel them off to see progress.  To help with accountability, I write down everything I eat and the exercising I do.  I don't find that difficult as I am an old hand on recording food consumption and exercising.  This diary gets shared with my coach who reviews my progress.

I had an 'ah ha' moment last week.  I get so focused on eating properly and exercising but I realized that I needed to focus on the smaller things, the smaller picture.  I needed to watch and count the extra bites or in other words, my pennies.  By counting my pennies the dollars would look after themselves.

Counting pennies is an analogy to watching the extra small bites or snitches of food.  Taking in an extra 100 calories or so can stall progress for me on losing those ounces (or grams if you use metrics).  I was consuming a few too many almonds, my Saturdays were a challenge at times between sharing a muffin with the DH while out getting a latte and sampling at Costco and I was not paying enough attention to the balance of carbohydrates and protein at supper.  I was likely having an extra ounce of protein at supper when I was having two servings of carbohydrates.  

For this past week I have been telling myself to watch the pennies, and the dollars will look after themselves.  The 30 or 40 calories of extras can add up during the day.  

As the tee shirt in the photo says, 'remember where you come from' and I would add, remember where you are going in order to see some positive outcomes.  I am hoping to build the dollars over the next number of weeks.

Sunday, September 21, 2014


To cook rice, I have been using a few different methods.  I stopped using the pot on the stove to cook rice some time ago.  I didn't have luck or timing in making sure the rice didn't boil over or that it would stick to the bottom of the pot.  I started to use either a rice cooker or the oven.  The rice cooker was the basic cooker with the glass lid and steam hole.  There would be a mess around the counter where the cooker sat as when the rice was cooking away in the nonstick bowl, the steam and the liquid would be spewing out the stem hole and sometimes around the glass lid.  And when the rice would be finished, there would be a rice crust on the bottom of the cooking bowl.  The oven method was easy, no overflow of steam, liquid or rice and no rice crust on the bottom of the corel casserole dish that I used to cook the rice.  But heating an oven and using it to just cook rice seemed a little much.  

Recently I was describing my rice cooking experience to a friend of ours.  He promptly provided me with information and rationale on the rice cooker that he has been using for the past ten years.  He said that this was the best cooker and that the quality of the rice made was very different from the basic cooker I have been using.  I was intrigued about the model he recommended - Zojirushi.  I started to do my own research on what is the best rice cooker and I read a number of reviews.  The Zojirushi rice maker did get high marks.  Reading all of the information prompted me to buy a new rice cooker.  

I did buy a Zojirushi rice cooker and I bought a model made in Japan.  There are many different models made by this company.  I bought one that has advanced fuzzy logic technology and is the 5.5 cup capacity.  The technology figures out the time required to cook the rice.  The cooker has multi menu cooking functions for different kinds of rice and also for porridge.  The times will change depending if you are cooking white rice, sweet rice, brown rice and quick rice.   I am looking forward to testing the cooker to make steel cut porridge.  The cooker also has a steamer basket.   The design of the rice cooker is interesting.  It looks like a tub and has a handle that you use to lift and carry it around.

Last night I made basmati rice and I think it was the best rice I have ever made.  The rice was fluffy, each kernel was separate from the others, it was not gummy and there was no mess around the counter.   I am looking forward to try brown rice and sweet rice made in this cooker.  The reviews I read said that this cooker makes excellent brown rice.  Rice does take longer to cook in this style of cooker versus the basic rice cooker.  It took 50 minutes to cook the basmati rice.  I did make a bit of rice in order to have left overs.

Cooked basmati rice.

Sunday, September 14, 2014


Over the past few years, I have posted recipes for both crisps and cobblers.  With needing to make a gluten free dessert and knowing that my company likes sour cherries, I decided to experiment and make a topping that included both ground almond flour and oatmeal.   I took a recipe for a cobbler and adapted it.  I had nothing to lose and besides, it is always fun to experiment when company comes.  Of course it is easier when your company is family.

For the filling, I used half a cup of splenda.  For the topping I used almond milk instead of buttermilk or dairy milk.   Since I had blackberries to use as they were getting soft, I used those in the topping.

The company loved the dessert.  It was just about inhaled and not too many leftovers.

Just out of the oven.

Not much left!



4 cups of fresh or frozen pitted cherries
¼ cup white sugar or splenda
¼ cup brown sugar
2 tsp almond extract
1/8 tsp salt
2 ½ tbsp ground almond flour


1 ½ cups quick cooking oatmeal
½ cup ground almond flour 
1/3 cup sugar or splenda
2 tsp baking powder
½ tsp salt
½ cup butter, chilled and cut into pieces or coconut oil
1 cup buttermilk or one cup of milk with 1 tbsp of vinegar (soured milk)
1 cup blackberries or blueberries or other berries


In a mixing bowl, comine all of the ingredients for the filling.  Oil an 9 X 13 baking dish.   Place the filling into the baking dish.

To make the topping, combine the oatmeal, almond flour, sugar, baking powder and salt in a bowl.  Add the butter and using a fork or pastry blender, mix the butter into the dough until it is crumbly.  Pour the milk over the flour mixture and mix it together.  Fold in the blackberries or blueberries.  Using a wooden spoon, spread the dough on top of the fruit. 

Bake at 375 degrees F for 50 minutes or until the  dough is golden brown and the fruit mixture is bubbling.  Let cool and serve with ice cream.  Store leftovers in the fridge.   Serves 6 to 8 depending on appetites.

Saturday, September 6, 2014


This year after the garden got planted, the sparrows decided to eat the young shoots of the beets and swiss chard plants.  With those plants gone, we had space to fill.   I have never planted celery before but after talking to a person working at a gardening centre, I thought I would give it a try.  About 10 plants were put in the garden.  They all survived.  Ten large bunches of celery is a lot to eat.  Some has been given to friends and we are busy eating celery.  I got the idea to make celery potato soup from a neighbour who was going to use the celery I gave to her, to make this kind of soup.   I made this soup as the appetizer for a supper meal.  With zucchini being plentiful in the garden, I added a small chopped zucchini to the soup.  One needs to be creative in using zucchini.

The soup was enjoyed by all and the DH even went back for a second bowl.


2 tbsp oil
1 large onion, chopped
1 pound celery, chopped
12 ounces of potatoes, chopped
1 small zucchini, chopped - optional
6 cups of broth such as chicken or vegetable
1/2 tsp dry thyme
salt and pepper to taste


In a large soup pot heat the oil on medium high heat.   Add the onion and celery and reduce heat to medium heat. Saute for five to seven minutes.  Stir occasionally.  Add the potatoes and zucchini if using.  Continue to saute for another five minutes.  Add broth, thyme and salt and pepper.  Heat to a boil, then reduce to a simmer and cook for about 40 minutes.   Turn the heat off and using a hand blender puree the soup.  Adjust seasonings if required.  Serves 6.

Monday, September 1, 2014


If I have fresh corn, I prefer using it to frozen or canned corn in salads.  With access to fresh corn now because of the season, there are so many options to use corn other than just as fresh corn on the cob with butter, salt and pepper.  Of course butter, salt and pepper on fresh corn is always delightful.  I like the combination of edamame beans with corn and cilantro in this salad.

2 ears fresh corn or 1 1/4 cups cooked corn kernels
1/2 cup shelled edamame
1/4 cup sweet onion, chopped
1/4 cup coloured pepper, diced
1 tbsp fresh cilantro, finely chopped 
1 tbsp olive oil
1 tbsp lemon juice
salt and pepper to taste pepper


Cook the corn if using fresh corn.  If you can, grilling the corn on the barbeque provides a great taste and the grill marks add to the salad.

Combine all of the ingredients in a bowl.  Refrigerate if not serving right away.  Serves 2 to 3.