Tuesday, May 18, 2010

Birthday Details and of course the food

We started the day slowing yesterday morning by going to bed without the alarm set. There is something wonderful and indulgent about sleeping in on your birthday. Next we took our time getting to breakfast and enjoyed a lazy morning. It was perfect. After breakfast we finished chatting and Dan went upstairs to his home office to get ready for his conference call. This gave me a chance to get in a workout and make myself presentable. Good thing he was upstairs for quite a while. ;-)

The weather did not cooperate for my birthday. It has now been raining since Sunday night.  However having a spring birthday this sort of thing happens more often than not so I am used to it. We are expecting rain until Wednesday. This is typical of weather in the mid-Atlantic this time of you. At least the little plants I put in yesterday will enjoy it.

We considered heading to Annapolis for the afternoon but the gray skies will not make for good photos and that was what I had I mind. Annapolis is such a lovely old town that I have not spent enough time photographing. I may take a day and do that on my own when we have a little sun. There is also a Sur La Table there that I have been wanting to check out for a while now.

My hubby bought me jewelry for my b’day as usual. I have not had a chance to take a picture yet. I will try to do that today to include in tonight’s post.

Birthday wishes:

I was stunned by the number of people that left birthday wishes. Thank you so much to all of you for taking the time to do that. It was very thoughtful and each message made me smile.

My food day:

As promised I tried to keep track of my food today. Nothing spectacular to eat today until we got to dinner. I will tell you that I really enjoyed the cannelloni last night. However I paid for it by a little upward tick in the scale this morning which I realize is temporary. It was worth the price though. ;-)

10:00am – breakfast

½ cup oatmeal
1 cup water
1 cup mixed frozen berries (blueberries, raspberries and Marion berries)
1 tablespoon ground flaxseed
1 tablespoon walnuts, chopped
Sprinkle cinnamon
Double green tea with fresh sliced ginger and ascorbate C
Green drink powder (1/2 serving)

2:00pm – lunch

3 cups mixed baby lettuce
2 – 3 tablespoons salsa
1 scoop super flavorful fat free hummus (approx 3/4 cup)
1 teaspoon raw pumpkin seeds

6:00pm – dinner salad course

3 cups mixed baby lettuce
¼ English cucumber
3 tablespoons salsa
1 larger scoop super flavorful fat free hummus (approx 1 cup)
6 grape tomatoes, sliced in half
1 teaspoon raw sunflower seeds

7:00pm – dinner main dish

2 zucchini cannelloni stuffed with almond feta, spinach and walnut pesto and artichokes on sun dried tomato marinara (recipe below)

9:00pm – snack

Double green tea with sliced ginger and ascorbate C
Fresh juice (recipe below)
Green drink powder (1/2 serving)


Dan and I seriously considered going out to eat tonight for my birthday. But we are having dinner out on Wednesday with my girlfriend Deirdre so we decided to stay home. However this didn’t mean we weren’t going to splurge. After all birthdays come only once a year so why not live it up. Dan had beautiful raw cannelloni at "105 degrees" in Oklahoma that I have wanted to make healthier for some time. Since I had soaked almonds in the refrigerator I thought that would make a perfect dinner tonight. I did not time myself but I think I was in the kitchen well under 45 minutes and I made everything this evening. Here is what I did:

Zucchini cannelloni stuffed with almond feta, spinach and walnut pesto and artichoke hearts on sun-dried tomato marinara
Makes 6 cannelloni


½ zucchini, shaved thinly top to bottom on the smallest setting of your mandoline (I sliced the entire zucchini the leftovers will got in my lunch salad today)
1 recipe for almond feta - no oil
1 recipe sun dried tomato marinara
3 canned or frozen and defrosted whole artichoke hearts cut thinly, into approximately 8 pieces each

Spinach Pesto Ingredients:

6 ounces spinach
1 garlic clove, peeled and smashed
1 lemon, zested (use organic only)
½ cup of walnuts (or what is necessary to create a thick texture)
Salt and pepper to taste


Make the almond feta and sun dried tomato pesto according to the recipe directions and refrigerate separately.

To make the spinach pesto combine the spinach, garlic and lemon zest in your food processor and process until uniformly fine. Add walnuts a few at a time until the texture gets creamy and thick. Add salt and pepper to your taste and refrigerate.

Cover you counter with a sheet of plastic cling film. You will use this to help roll the cannelloni. Lay the thin strips of zucchini in the cling film. Overlap the strip by ¼ or a third and stop when the sheet of zucchini is approximately 8 or 9 inches. Much large won’t fit well on a plate.

Place a little of the almond feta on one edge of the zucchini, followed by the spinach pesto and the artichoke pieces. Using the plastic wrap roll the zucchini and fillings like you are making sushi.   You want the roll to be fairly tight.

Using the plastic wrap move the cannelloni to a bed of the sauce. Serve cold.

Nutritional Information, per cannelloni:

Amount Per Serving
Calories - 308.16
Calories From Fat (54%) - 167.22

Total Fat - 19.98g
Saturated Fat - 1.75g
Cholesterol - 0mg
Sodium - 477.12mg
Potassium - 2167.66mg
Total Carbohydrates - 25.5g
Fiber - 11.91g
Sugar - 6.91g
Protein - 16.77g


Dan loved this tonight. He thought it was better than what he had at 105 degrees. At much fat as this has it is much lower in fat than the original recipe. This dish was so popular it may show up more regularly at our house, at least for Dan. I think next time this will be an appetizer (1 roll) versus as an entrĂ©e. I highly recommend this to anyone that is looking for a celebratory meal. It came together quickly and was better than the sum of its parts. I would make this for dinner guest omni or vegan no doubt about it. As I said earlier this has much more fat than most of my recipes but when you want to indulge this is a great way to do it.

Next Recipe:

After dinner we were both full. I am sure it was those 40 grams of fat in the cannelloni. But I wanted us to have more nutrition. Since we had picked up some organic spinach I decided we NEEDED a mug of fresh juice. Here is what I made:

Fruit and Veggie Juice with Beet
Serves 2


½ pound baby spinach
5 carrots
1 apple
½ lemon
1 inch fresh ginger
1 beet
2 wheat grass shots (we juice the fresh wheat grass and freeze it in ice cube trays and used 2 cubes)


Cut the larger objects into pieces that will fit in the juicer. Place the frozen wheat grass into juice catch container so the fresh juice will fall onto it and slowly melt it. Juice the fruit and veggies. Serve the juice cold.

Nutritional Information: **

Amount Per Serving
Calories - 178.19
Calories From Fat (6%) - 9.98

Total Fat - 1.2g
Saturated Fat - 0.2g
Cholesterol - 0mg
Sodium - 263.43mg
Potassium - 1553.23mg
Total Carbohydrates - 40.9g
Fiber - 11.4g **
Sugar - 21.1g
Protein - 6.24g

** Note the fiber can’t be right because the veggies were juiced. The other measurements may have been impacted but I have no idea in what way.


Dan and both liked the addition of the beet to the drink. The color is beautiful and the beet taste is very mild. Not to mention the wonderful nutrition the beet adds. This will be our standard fresh juice for the foreseeable future.

Each serving of this juice contains approximately 44,450IU of vitamin A, 60mg of vitamin C, 195mg of calcium, 4mg of iron, 310mcg of folate, 575mcg of vitamin K, 155mg of phosphorus, and 140mg of magnesium. For those of you that have been wondering why we are drinking fresh fruit and veggie juice this is why. The nutrition is amazing. However it also tastes really good. Dan and I both enjoy it.

Other notes:

Today I need to spend a little time in the kitchen. I am going to make more broccoli and onion flax crackers. I am also making another batch of almond feta – no oil and sun dried tomato marinara so Dan can have raw pizza as part of this lunch this week. We are almost out of fat free hummus so that is also on my to do list today. Additionally I need to do some work on my last Cornell course and a little house work and catch up on my nutrition reading. But other than that I am a lady of leisure today. ;-)

I will check in with you later today with an update on what I make for dinner tonight. I picked up some beautiful fresh shitakes so there may just be a little Asian food this evening. I hope you are all having a great Tuesday. Mine is gray and rainy so I will probably stay home today. As my hubby likes to say “stay dry cotton candy melts in the rain.”I roll my eyes every time he says it but it is cute in an over the top way. He always makes me giggle.


  1. I'm so glad you had a wonderful b'day:) and your cannelloni looks amazing!

  2. Janet,

    Thanks! There was not a chance it would be any less than wonderful since Dan took the day off to spend with me.

    The cannelloni are very simple and much better than the sum of the parts. Dan really enjoyed them. I thought they were very good, a nice treat every once in a while.


  3. Sounds like a terrific birthday. Now if only Dan had been the one to make your dinner ;-)

  4. Heather,

    LOL, Dan make dinner. That is a good one. We would both starve if Dan had to cook. He can make reservations but dinner, not so much. Unlike at your house my hubby doesn't cook. He could cook 20+ years ago when we met, but that skill was lost long ago.

    talk to you later,

  5. Ali,
    That Cannelloni is riculous! I wish I had some right now. I could almost taste it through your picture!!!
    I am going to soak some chickpeas tonight and make some fat free hummus for this weekend, I think I am just going to have to make this asap.
    Do you think the fat came from the walnuts? I am also making some walnut parmesan this week so I am wodering if I can cut the fat content a little!


  6. Brandi,

    The fat was the almonds (in the almond feta) and the walnuts. At least it was healthy fat, but still fat. I really enjoyed the cannelloni, but it is definitely a special indulgence not something I will eat regularly. Dan will get it more often since we still need to a put a little weight on him.

    The only way I can think of to cut the fat in nut dishes is to use less of it. If I think of anything else I will let you know.

    We eat the fat free hummus all the time. It adds fiber and protein to our salads without fat. The mouthfeel is different because it doesn't have fat, but I prefer it now. When we have hummus with oil all I can think of is how much fat it must contain. Scary stuff.

    I will try to get some pics of the jewelery today.

    talk to you later,

  7. So pleased you had a nice day. The eats look great as usual. The cannelloni are especially beautiful but I think they might be too rich for me. Was wondering if you make your own salsa? Do you have a recipe?

  8. Emma,

    They are rich you are right. Dan loved them, but next time they are going to be an appetizer not a entree. I mentioned to him maybe making a 1/2 roll and you should have seen his face. If you eat this as part of an otherwise clean meal I think you will be fine (from a GI perspective). I was surprised it didn't bother me. ;-)

    I make salsa in the summer, but during this time of year I buy organic jarred salsa. Salsa is very simple to make. It is in essence tomato, onion, garlic, hot peppers and spices. I have not documented my salsa before but when I make it next I will post it.

    talk to you later,

  9. The canneloni do come together nicely. I love the addition of the artichoke...these look great. Thanks for posting the method...great summer cuisine!

  10. Rose,

    You are very welcome. They were quite tasty. I liked the artichokes but roasted peppers would have been a great addition too.


  11. Those cucumber cannelloni sound absolutely fantastic! What an interesting idea!!!

  12. Jolene,

    Thanks! I hope you give the cannelloni a try.


  13. Just catching up on blog reading--so happy VERY belated birthday! What a great day, sleeping in, jewelry, yummy dinner! The canneloni looks fantastic. And I love your juice--that's almost exactly what I drink on a regular basis. I also freeze my wheatgrass when I juice it. But do you find that the defrosted cubes aren't *quite* as yummy as the fresh stuff? I get little clumps of green, too, in the cubes. . . not the most appetizing.


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