Monday, September 13, 2010

Monday a Book Review and a Different Sort of Salad

Like most Mondays I have more to do today than I can possibly get finished in one day. Since I try to spend as little time on tedious things on the weekend so that I can spend more time with Dan that means Mondays are hectic.

As usual this morning started making fresh veggie and fruit juice for Dan to take to work. Recently I have been prepping the veggies and fruit and he runs them through the juicer while I make his breakfast and pack his lunch. We make a good morning team.  By making the juice together the process moves much faster.

Once Dan left for work I exercised and then got myself some breakfast. I like to listen to my body and give it what it wants (within reason of course). This morning I wanted grapes. I grabbed a bunch of fresh grapes from the refrigerator and that was my first meal.

I did also have 6 walnut halves to go with the grapes to make this more satisfying as well as to make certain I absorb the fat soluble vitamins in the fruit. As I mentioned before I don’t to try to memorize what vitamin or mineral is in what food. Instead I just eat a little healthy fat with all my meals which I find to be much easier to manage.

After my snack/breakfast I decided to do a little cleaning since I haven’t done much since Thursday due to having Dan home. I still marvel at how I managed to get things done at home when I worked 80+ hours a week. However I do know I had very different standards of what was acceptable back then. I think we all have to make allowances when time is short.

Later while I was taking a cleaning break and trying to make my way through my email boxes (which are entirely out of control at the moment) I stumbled on a women’s health conference being held in Baltimore on November 20th. There are some interesting sessions so I immediately signed up and they have already contacted me regarding having vegan food available for me. So far I am impressed, now if the speakers are as good I will be a regular at this annual conference. Here is the link to the conference in case any of you that are local are interested in attending. They are also holding the conference in Naples and Palm Beach.

Lunch today was in two parts. First I had a small tureen of leftover roasted butternut squash, broccoli and red pepper soup.

A few hours later I made myself a huge salad that consisted of: 1 head f romaine, 3 Roma tomatoes, ½ cucumber, ½ cup salsa, ½ cup cilantro hummus and a few raw pumpkin seeds. The size of this salad was enough to keep my satisfied for hours.

Review: "The Complete Book of Raw Food” editor Julie Rodwell

I also found time to finish reading “The Complete Book of Raw Food” this afternoon. While it was fresh on my mind I wanted to review if for all of you.

The book is certainly comprehensive in regard to raw food. If that is something you are interested you I would suggest you see if you library has this book. One of the things I liked most about this book is that it is a compilation of many raw food chefs/cookbook offers. Additionally it contains over 375 recipes. The book is categorized as follows:

Part 1: The Raw Kitchen

1. The Right Ingredients
2. Essential Tools
3. Juicers and Juicing
4. Sprouting and Greening
5. Dehydrating
6. Advice from the Pros

Part 2: Recipes

7. Salads and Dressings
8. Soups
9. Snacks & Sides
10. Smoothies, Shakes & Juices
11. Bread, Crackers & Chips
12. Raw Milk & Cheese Substitutes
13. Breakfast, Lunch & Dinner Entrees
14. Spreads, Sauces & Dips
15. Cookies & Other Sweets
16. Pies & Cakes
17. Ice Cream & Puddings

I particularly liked the soaking and sprouting chart in the book that covers anything I could think of that you would like to sprout. Each topical area in the recipe section has many items to choose from.

What I don’t like is that many of the recipes use copious amounts of oil, sodium and even healthy fats like nuts and seeds. While I do use healthy fats I try to keep our intake at healthy levels which is not how I would describe many of the recipes in the book. Also one thing that confused me is that many of the recipes tell you to start at 145 degrees for the first hour or so and then reduce the heat. *shakes head* This left me a little confused about the actual definition of raw food since the various raw authors I have read don’t seem to agree.

Overall it was a good read and would be useful it you want to eat more raw food. I think this is a book that is better to get from the library if you have that option.

Later in the afternoon I had a big handful of edamame from the freezer. I knew I was hungry and protein seemed to be what I was craving. As I have said before I try to listen to my body but that idea has its limits. If my body says cake, cookies or frozen dessert I disregard it. Those things provide little if any nutrition so I know it isn’t that my body needs it but more that it just wants it. I don’t listen to the “evil little voice” as I call it. In the past when I wanted a cookie I would get one, or five. That never served me well so I don’t do that anymore. Once I was able to focus on eating healthful food I find it reasonably easy to avoid foods that aren’t in my best interest. I try to view each meal as an opportunity to provide my body with as much nutrition as possible. Keeping that idea in mind seems to work well for me.

Dinner tonight was a simple salad but this one is topped with cooked veggies and seitan sausage. Here is what I made tonight:

Marinated Potatoes and Tomatoes with Seitan
Serves 2


4 cups new potatoes, microwaved until just cooked, then cut into bite sized chunks
1 lemon, zested and juiced
2 tablespoons Dijon mustard (I used the grainy country variety)
4 large Roma tomatoes, cut into bite sized chunks
1 Sweet Italian seitan sausage, cut into thin slices
black pepper to taste
2 heads of romaine, shredded
¼ cup fresh tarragon (optional but adds a lot of flavor so I highly recommend you use it or another fresh herb like parsley, thyme, basil or a combination)


Preheat the oven to 400 degrees.

While the potatoes are still hot dress them with the lemon zest, lemon juice and Dijon. Add the tomatoes, seitan sausage and black pepper to taste.

Spread the potatoes, tomatoes and sausage on a silpat or parchment lined baking sheet. You want the food in a single layer so it heats evenly. Bake until everything is hot and the tomatoes are lightly cooked. This took 12 minutes in my oven.

Top the shredded romaine with the baked veggies. Top the salad with the fresh tarragon.

Nutritional Information:

Amount Per Serving
Calories - 420.57
Calories From Fat (5%) - 22.21

Total Fat - 2.73g
Saturated Fat - 0.27g
Cholesterol - 0mg
Sodium - 248.29mg
Potassium - 2790.27mg
Total Carbohydrates - 86.76g
Fiber - 15.33g
Sugar - 10.25g
Protein - 22.23g


This dish was full of flavor and much more filling than I expected. It was so filling I ended up giving Dan part of my salad I couldn’t finish it. I have the tarragon listed as optional but I highly recommend that you include it since it adds tons of flavor to the dish. Even Dan, who isn’t a mustard fan, liked this salad and the flavors of the potatoes.

After dinner we watched “Thintervention” for the first time. I am not sure how to react to this show. Do any of you watch it? Is there always a lot of whining and excuse making or does it change as the season progresses?

I saw this sign and had to take a picture of it. I may have to make one for my kitchen to remind me of this simple but very powerful idea.

That is going to be it for me tonight. I need to get a few things accomplished before I turn in. I hope everyone had a great Monday.


  1. When I took the class on making raw crackers & breads, Lenore, also started the dehydration process at a higher temp then turned it back. I can't remember why (I'll go check my notes when I get home) but I remember her saying that while there was some controversy, she chose to start at the higher temp and still considered her food to be raw.

    Many of the raw cook books I've read use LOADS of oils. I was amazed!

  2. Hi Neca,

    I have seen the start high and back down method in raw recipes before but it makes no sense to me. If the claim is that temps over 118 kills enzymes then why is 145 acceptable initially? I would love to hear what you wrote in your notes from the class.

    The amount of fat and oils in raw food is the biggest concern I have about it. I don't see how that can be healthy.

    I hope all is well with you,

  3. Very interesting technique preparing those potatoes. Sounds like flavors that I would love. This gives me something to do with all those new potatoes that my CSA keeps bringing, I can't keep up! I wish they'd bring me more green stuff :)

  4. Sarah,

    If you add a marinade to the hot potatoes they will absorb the flavor better. I hope you like it as much as I do. Bummer on not getting enough green stuff from your CSA.


  5. I read that particular book (also from the library!) - it was good, but I preferred " Living Cuisine: The Art and Spirit of Raw Foods" by Renee Underkoffler. Have you checked out that one? I loved her detailed descriptions on various foods!

  6. Neca,

    Thanks for the raw cookbook tip. I have not read that one yet. I will go online now and see if my library has it. Thanks for the suggestion!


  7. Sounds like an interesting book! I would like to know more about raw foods. I will have to see if our library has that book. Thanks for doing the review.

    I've never seen "Thintervention". Actually, I've never heard of it. :o)

    Your salad with the potatoes on it looks delicious!

  8. Very good information about not always listening to your body. I find that the hungrier and more tired I am, the worse foods I want. (Nachos, ice cream, french fries) I listen to my body, but I try to give it what I think it needs, too.

    The mustard dressing with potatoes and sausage sounds really tasty.

  9. Michelle,

    The book had a lot of ideas in it. It is worth checking out just for that.

    Thintervention is on Bravo. I saw it for the first time last night. I liked the focus on exercise but the whining was a little annoying.

    The salad worked out well. Sometimes I feel like having spuds, that was last night. ;-)


  10. Jessica,

    I think you nailed that. The hungrier I get the worse the choices I make too. I also find that hormonal shifts seem to have an impact. It is not always easy to disregard that little easy voice.

    I think as wives, mothers and girlfriends we need to set the nutritional example. Men and children and not likely to eat healthfully without us, at least not the ones I know. I always wonder why mothers give in and feed their families unhealthy food when they whine for it. How is it loving to do that? *shakes head* It must be me since most people do it. :-/

    The potatoes are good by themselves or on a salad. I added them to salad to increase the nutrition.

    hope you are having a good Tuesday,

  11. I have never heard of "Thintervention"--is it something you got from Netflix? It sounds interesting!


  12. Courtney,

    Thintervention appears to be about a small group of overweight and obese individuals that are whipped into shape by a couple of high intensity trainers. It is a television show on the Bravo network. I like that it appears focus heavily on exercise. I have only seen one episode so I haven't decided what I think about it yet. ;-)

    talk to you later,


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