Saturday, December 18, 2010

Cruciferous Veggies, Dental Surgery and Black Bean Soup

It was absolutely balmy Friday morning when we got up it was 26 degrees. *rolls eyes* Can you believe this weather? It is more than 20 degrees colder than normal here and I am not enjoying it even a little.

The gym didn’t open again until 11am. Needless to say we didn’t start our morning at the gym.

Since we had oatmeal yesterday we were back to green smoothies again today. I feels so good when I make smoothies with kale for breakfast. If it were a little warmer we would still be having them every morning. There is something about starting the morning with raw kale that works for us.

For those of you that are wondering why put kale in your smoothie I thought I should explain it. Warning I am about to get technical. Kale (unlike spinach) is part of the cruciferous vegetable family. Consuming cruciferous vegetables has been associated with a reduction in cancer. Results of cohort studies suggest that we should all be consuming five servings of cruciferous veggies each week.

Cruciferous vegetables contain glucosinolates which are water-soluble. Additionally glucosinolates are precursors to isothiocyanates. How much isothiocyanates are formed depends on how the vegetable is processed. Cooking methods that use less water (steaming or microwaving) are thought to reduce the glucosinate lose. Additionally high heat cooking seems to inactivate myrosinase (the enzyme that catalyzes glucosinolates). Isothiocyanates (example sulforaphane) are thought to reduce the incidence of cancer two ways. The first is by helping the body to eliminate potential carcinogens. The second method of action is by enhancing the transcription of tumor suppressor proteins.

What does all that mean? Basically what it means to me is eat plenty of cruciferous veggies which are lightly cooked or raw. I hope that helped to explain why you are seeing kale in our smoothies.

What if you don’t like raw kale, then what can you do? My first thought is add broccoli sprouts to your sandwiches and salads. Broccoli sprouts are reported to be an excellent source of sulforaphane containing much more than raw full grown broccoli. If you can’t find broccoli sprouts I would suggest broccoli salad (using lightly cooked broccoli). Dan loves raw broccoli and cauliflower with dip or hummus. Collards are also a member of the cruciferous veg family which is why I first started using them as a flat bread replacement. I hope this gives you some ideas for how to work raw or lightly cooked cruciferous veggies into your diet.

Poor Dan I felt so sorry for him Friday. He went to the dentist in the morning to have them look at why his bite was changing (at 56). He left the dentist minus two wisdom teeth. I had two of mine removed 30 years ago and it wasn’t pleasant. However like usual Dan is being quite the trooper and isn’t taking pain meds though he filled the scripts. I knew he wasn’t feeling quite himself when he left work early.

Before Dan came home I made myself a quick lunch of a microwaved sweet potato topped with marinated artichokes, salsa, cilantro and raw pumpkin seeds. I always try to use sweet potatoes instead of white potatoes because they have more nutrition. We tend to think of white potatoes as treats here. As I always say the pumpkin seeds were added for good fat and to make it easier to absorb the fat soluble vitamins.

Not long after Dan called to tell me what happened at the dentist I decided to start a pot of black bean soup. I was expecting him to need pureed food and this works well as a smooth soup so I made a batch. I thought I would flavor it like chili and that worked well. I used the same standard seasonings except I omitted the chipotles because I wasn’t sure about spiciness and oral surgery. Here is what I did:

Black Bean Soup
Serves 6


1 pound of black beans, dried and picked through
3 bay leaves
8 cups water
12 cloves garlic
1 large red onion
28 ounces diced tomatoes
1 tablespoon cumin
1 tablespoon chili powder
1 tablespoon oregano
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1 tablespoon cocoa powder
freshly ground black pepper to taste
2 chipotles in adobo, diced (I omitted these tonight because of Dan’s oral surgery but otherwise they would have been included)
cilantro for garnish


Cook the beans in water with the bay leaves until the beans are tender. Add the remaining ingredients (except the cilantro) and simmer for at least 30 minutes or longer to allow the flavors to marry.

If you have not had recent dental surgery puree a portion of the soup (somewhere between ¼ and 1/3) and add that back to the soup to thicken it.  Or you can do what I did for Dan and puree the entire batch.

To serve top the soup with fresh cilantro. You could also top it with a fresh salsa, avocado or cashew crème fraiche.

Nutritional Information:

Amount Per Serving
Calories - 311.25
Calories From Fat (5%) - 14.24

Total Fat - 1.7g
Saturated Fat - 0.38g
Cholesterol - 0mg
Sodium - 41.49mg
Potassium - 1585.21mg
Total Carbohydrates - 59.45g
Fiber - 22.4g
Sugar - 5.54g
Protein - 18.54g


This soup has a nice flavor and is simple to prepare. It is a good soup on a cold night. Dan had two big mugs of this which I pureed completely.

After dinner since Dan skipped lunch he had two bowls of strawberry banana soft serve. I am not kidding when I say he could and frequently does eat this every day.

Much to my surprise Dan isn’t experiencing and pain or swelling after the dental surgery. I haven’t been able to convince him to take a Tylenol or any pain reliever. To everyone that offered suggestions on Twitter thank you so much for everything. I suspect I will need your suggestions tomorrow. Sarah thank you for all your ideas I appreciate all your advice.  :-)

Happy Thoughts:

Friday was an odd sort of day. Like many days at our place I expect one thing and end up with something completely different. Here are my happy thoughts today:

• Removing the wisdom teeth on one side dramatically improved Dan’s bite. Who knew they changed when you are in your 50’s? It is also wonderful that the surgical site doesn’t seem to be bothering him. I am very thankful for that.

• The felines were doing their best to help daddy feel better. As you can see Dan loves Nicco (aka Binky). Those two are great friends.

• As you can see Binky is also doing his part to keep mommy warm. Our cats love to cuddle and be close to their human parents. I find this so endearing. We both adore our fur kids.

• I was very thankful for my Vitamix today since we I needed it to make food Dan could eat.

Signing Out:

Today is going to be a busy one at our house. I need to get a lot of thing accomplished since Christmas is quickly approaching and I am not ready yet. *sigh*

Dan doesn’t think he needs his food pureed today (Saturday) but I don’t agree. I need to come up with an idea for the mid-afternoon meal with my parents. Soup is probably going to happen since that is easy to make in both a smooth and chunky form without much trouble.

I hope everyone is having a happy and healthy weekend. I will talk to you again tomorrow.


  1. Hope Dan feels better quickly. Wisdom teeth removal is no fun. Furbabies are the best for acting as heated blankets ;-)

  2. Happy thoughts for a speedy recovery...Friday was weird for us to...a friend has Parkinson's and we're helping out for a few days...extra stress. i need to start putting raw kale in my smoothies, too. thanks, ali!

  3. Heather,

    Much to my surprise Dan is doing fine. No swelling and no pain. He says he only feels a little pressure. Amazing isn't it?

    Fur babies are the best little heaters. LOL

    I hope you are having a great time with your sis,

  4. Aimee,

    Thanks for your happy thoughts. Dan is doing remarkably well actually. He had his first "solid" food about an hour ago. I gave him a small salad and he didn't have any trouble with it. He is much tougher than I am. ;-)

    Sorry to hear about your friend. I hate to hear about people struggling with something chronic. Hugs to you both!

    Once I learned what I did about raw kale I felt compelled to add it to our smoothies. Once I know something it is hard for me to unlearn it. ;-)

    enjoy the remainder or your Saturday,

  5. aaawww poor Dan - wishing him a speedy recovery

  6. I hope Dan feels better! How sweet of your kitty's to cuddle with him to make him feel better. Mine always cuddle with me when I am sick as well.

  7. Jhe'anell,

    Thanks so much I will let him know. He is doing much better than I did when I had two wisdom teeth extracted. Clearly Dan is a lot tougher than I am. ;-)

    I hope you are having a good weekend,

  8. Carissa,

    Thanks I will let Dan know. He seems to be feeling little pain which I find remarkable. I hope he isn't just being stoic. ;-)

    Our fur babies love to cuddle but it is especially cute when you don't feel well isn't it?


  9. Poor Dan! Glad to hear he's doing better, though. Funny, a friend of ours went to the dentist on Wednesday and had his widsom teeth out, too. Weird!

  10. Ricki,

    That is crazy! I thought wisdom tooth extraction was something that always happened when you were in your 20's. Shows you what I know about dentistry .... not much apparently, LOL.

    Dan is doing extremely well IMO. He is my miraculous healer. ;-)

    I hope you are having a good weekend,

  11. The food still sounds great, whether Dan's able to chew or no. Definitely not the usual mashed potato or ice cream some people have when their teeth are healing.
    I remember one time last year I had an impacted molar and it hurt to even eat bananas!

  12. Foodfeud,

    When it hurts to eat a banana that is terrible. I am so sorry to hear it was that bad.

    I was thinking about mashed sweet potatoes actually but wanted to be a little more creative. ;-) The black bean soup is now gone and I made two additional "creamed" soups today. My poor Vitamix has been working overtime. But Dan is doing great which I am very happy about.

    talk to you later,

  13. Just catching up on the weekend posts, I was away from the computer all weekend. Actually all of our twitter exchanging on Friday were done on my cell phone (which is clunky and not always precise, but glad it worked!!). Glad to hear Dan is still doing great! That's really amazing that he didn't swell at all. Sooo glad for him :)

  14. Sarah,

    I am shocked by how well Dan is recovering from the dental procedure. I understood every message on Friday. Thanks again for all your advice. I was worried how it was going to go. ;-)


  15. I am happy to read all the updates and see that Dan is doing better. I had mine out in May and I was miserable for 4 days. I got them out on Wednesday and was hardly ready to return to work on Monday. I bet some black bean soup would have made me feel better :)


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