Category Archives: Nutrition Consulting

Movin’ On Up to April Menus

Moving on from March, here’s the online order form for DDoW April 2015. Please go to the DDoW Order page, scroll down to the embedded form and fill out what you’d like. Here’s a quickie summary of what’s cookin’.

April 6 -10th
1) Organic Tempeh & Stir-fried Shredded Potatoes in Black Bean Sauce (v gf)
2) Sesame-seasoned Organic Brown Rice & Bok Choy (v gf)

April 13-17th
1) Organic White Bean & Kale Soup with Sage (v gf)
2) Organic Quinoa, Red Bell Pepper & Cuke Salad in Dill Dijon Vinaigrette (v gf)

April 20-24th
1) Caribbean Coconut Curry of Organic Lentils & Plantains (v gf)
2) Organic Millet & Spinach (organic) Pilaf (v gf)

Roast Beets & Cabbage Salad (my photo).

Roast Beets & Cabbage Salad (my photo).

April 27 -May 1st
1) Organic Chickpea & Barley w/ Kalamata Olives (v, not gf)
2) Roast Beet & Fresh Cabbage Salad in Horseradish Vinaigrette (v gf). An antioxidant powerhouse. Bam!

 

 

And, We’re Movin’ On Up

I am moving to a new house in St Paul !  Please note my new home & business address effective April 20th: 620 Desnoyer Ave, St Paul 55104. [One Dish at A Time’s base of operations remains at GIA Kitchen.]  Well, there are no sofas but I do have a fabulous new dining table and cool chairs. I have my priorities, you know.

Other “Moves”:

  • Just taught a community ed cooking class titled “Power Up with Beans & Greens”. The students and I made 5 dishes. They took home lots of practical tips, several recipes and food samples to share. One student wrote:

    “It was a great class. I’m already putting some of the principles to work and have been enjoying the dishes I brought home and doing interesting things with them. I combined the white beans and kale dish with chicken broth and cut-up chicken — it was delicious. “

  • I’m scheduling private cooking lessons with a new cooking coaching client to help her adjust to a vegan diet. More about my lessons.

  • I’m currently planning menus for catering gigs in May, including an engagement party, a graduation picnic and a volunteer dinner.

    I’m available for more catering this summer, so please kindly refer me to your social networks! 

 

 

 

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Designing with Food and Plants

This past Tue I was fortunate enough to meet the force of nature that is Richard Moody, local go-to fashion maven and man about town. I provided a light repast for the monthly meet & greet of the Twin Cities’ chapter of Fashion Group Int’l, a design networking association. Richard serves on its board.

FGI event 4-16-13 at Phillips Garden.

Guests at FGI “Kick Off Your Heels and Come Into the Garden”  4-16-13. I’m way in the back, top left. Richard in green teeshirt is in front of me and Matt is next to him. Photo by Phillips Garden.

He brought the event to the gorgeous tropical-industrial office of Phillips Garden, winner of Minnesota Monthly magazine’s 2012 Best of the Twin Cities – Landscaping award, in the heart of Mpls’ Phillips neighborhood. [Full disclosure: I’ve been a close friend of Matt the general manager at Phillips for decades.]

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The brightly colored marinated salads, full of oranges, reds and greens, perfectly complemented Phillips’ incredible table display. Photo by Phillips Garden.

Guests enjoyed some lovely herb-infused wine (courtesy of Phillips) and the gluten-free whole-foods spread I brought:  Kalamata Olive Polenta Squares, Roast Sweet Potato & Black Bean Salad in Lime Cilantro Vinaigrette, SuperFood Slaw in Grapefruit Ginger Vinaigrette, roast almonds, gluten-free crackers and fresh organic Pink Lady apples and navel oranges. I chose not to serve sweets or cookies this time. Feel free to use this menu for your next party!

Until I figure out how to snatch pix from Instagram, for close-ups of dishes, see Richard’s http://instagram.com/p/YLyfS8wXNX/  and  http://instagram.com/p/YLs5Q7QXGZ/ .

Incredibly lush, and partially edible table display. See how many edibles you can spot.

Incredibly lush, and partially edible table display. See how many edibles you can spot. Photo by Phillips Garden.

Phillips Garden staff discussed their aesthetic, their design process, and how its business is based on listening carefully to its clients. They also talked about how to bring the garden inside your home with terrariums and using herbs & veggies decoratively indoors, as well as in outdoor landscaping.

In fact, Phillips Garden and I make a great team. We share an aesthetic of ‘clean’, high-contrast and sustainable creations. We’re not into masking with embellishment, which often devolves into kitsch. (Sugar, cheese, and creamy dressings & sauces can all mask flavors & textures).

Tracy presenting at Phillips Garden 4-16-13.

Tracy presenting at Phillips Garden 4-16-13.

When it was my turn to talk about One Dish at A Time, I related my mission to connect people to real food, my whole-foods & 5-senses aesthetic, and how I customize for clients with different needs. Since the theme was a look forward into summer, I recommended marinated salads as the perfect summer meal — fresh, locally available, inexpensive ingredients in endless combinations that are easy to make in bulk for the whole week. (Easy, that is, if you maintain a sharp knife. See below.)

Pretty in Pink: assembled salad of sliced cauliflower, cooked beets, kohlrabi that was marinated with beet, and albacore tuna, on romaine/spinach, with fresh mint vinaigrette. Any vinaigrette will do.

Pretty in Pink: assembled salad of raw cauliflower, sliced cooked beets, kohlrabi marinated with beets and albacore tuna, on bed of romaine & spinach, drizzled with fresh mint vinaigrette (any vinaigrette will do.)

Designing with Food.  Every time you make a meal or a dish, you are designing.  What results depends on your goal and priorities: ease, quickness, comforting vs “new” tastes, nutritional value, and purpose (family dinner vs cocktail party). We’re not on a reality TV show, so don’t worry about being judged harshly.

For FGI, I started with a goal of serving a healthful, light meal that is all gluten-free and mostly vegan, and, not too much work. 

 

My design tool box consists of 

  1. Whole (unprocessed) foods: beans, grains, tubers, veggies, meats, nuts, fruits and a bit of dairy. Butter & small amounts of good cheese to enhance, but not to take main stage. Same with cream and sugars. (That’s what desserts are for.)
  2. Palette of flavor, texture, color and seasonality. Velvety polenta and a crunchy slaw. Soft sweet potatoes, black beans and crisp bell peppers all spiked with tart lime juice offers sweet and savory in the same bite.  Deep green kale and bright orange carrot.
  3. Nutritional factors: total complementary proteins, complex carbs, fiber, and good fats. Lots and lots of fiber.
Another marinated salad, Broccoli Edamame Salad, paired with Sesame Roasted Eggplant & Black Rice. (my photo)

Another marinated salad, Broccoli Edamame Salad, paired with Sesame Roasted Eggplant & Black Rice. (my photo)

The great thing about whole foods is that which pleases all our 5 senses also happens to be the most nutritious!  So just go for the color and texture and it will be fine.

 

I also talked about my literal tool box: sharp knives and wide wok spatulas (to toss those marinated salads). Brandishing my $5 Asian chef’s knife, I sliced a raw beet very thinly and peeled a grapefruit. Then, I told everybody to take those cheap coarse-grained tubular sharpeners that come in the block sets and STICK ’em… in the ground as stakes for straggly seedlings. Or tents. More about knives and sharpener recommendations in my post “Tools Make the Man (Person)”.

Aunty Oxidant and friends at Moving Planet 9-24-11

Demoing slaw at Moving Planet event 9-24-11

To see these me in action with knives, sharpeners and boldly colored vegetables, come to the Brooklyn Center EarthFest this Sat, 1-4pm, at Brooklyn Center High School; and at East-Side St Paul Neighborhood Green Fair on April 27, 12-4pm outside City Academy school.  I’ll be demoing and handing out samples of my famous superfood Firecracker Slaw (see recipe). More on my community demos.

Thanks again to Richard Moody & Hazel Matthys of FGI-Mpls and to Phillips Garden for a lovely evening. That greenery is balm for the soul — especially now that it’s snowing again.

Jump Off the [Carb] Cliff

We have met the enemy. And it is us. Whether that’s the reality-TV spectacle of Congress playing chicken on the “cliff” of another financial crisis, or our modern interpretation of “Holiday” which means indulgently surrounding ourselves with cheap carbs & sugar for an entire 6 weeks instead of say, an indulgent 3 days — it is still, and always, Us. Sigh.

MC Escher's lithograph "House of Stairs" (from Wikipedia.com)

MC Escher’s lithograph “House of Stairs” (from Wikipedia.com)

And so January rolls around, somehow always a little sooner than expected, like recycling day. Apparently the fiscal cliff will come around again in a couple months as well. It’s like we live inside an Escher print.

Coulda, woulda, shoulda. We could have averted this course. We could have sliced up our credit cards. We could have not based a fat silo of the financial banking industry on easy paper profits as well as not creating actual, punitive deterrents. I could have graciously refused that box of lovely home-made Xmas cookies, or better yet, divvied it up and given it away. I could have walked away from the sale aisle and not ended up with bags of cheap and cheaply made stocking stuffer doo-dads, which I rationalized since they were ‘gifts’.

[Yes, I am confounding these rather different things, because I personally experience them similarly, as a form of psycho-emotional (spending/ buying/ eating) and physical (sugar & carbs) addiction.]

But wait! We still can!  Let’s just jump off the cliff of addictive consumption and start over. The Carbohydrate Cliff, the Consumption Cliff, the Fiscal Cliff, you pick. 

Jumping not your thing? Use scaffolds, which works better for some. (I like scaffolds. They are a good way to reach the ground without hurting oneself as much.)

Portabello, Lentils & Spinach. GF, DF, no grain, good carbs.

Portabello, Lentils & Spinach. GF, DF, no grain, good carbs. Dish of the Week for Jan 28th.

Focusing on the Carbohydrate Cliff, this means reducing and avoiding processed carbs & refined sugars. As my coaching/catering/ delivery clients know, I’ve been touting the path of Low & Good Carbs since I started this venture and have wholly based my menus on whole unprocessed grains, beans and veggies. Hence, I never offer any kind of pasta. And, as I meet more people interested in the Paleo diet and learn about it myself, I will be including more non-grain options.

Now to the plug. “How shall I start, Tracy?”, you are asking. Well, you can make things easier on yourself and start ordering Delivered Dish of the Week!  Healthful, slow-food vegan dishes at your doorstep!  Order online at this website.

You can also sign up for one of my hands-on, super-fun Cooking Classes. I’m teaching a Soup class on Jan 10th at Harvest Moon Co-op, classes at Valley Natural Foods in Feb & March, and, I’ll be launching classes at GIA Kitchen (dates TBA). You’ll get practice, recipes and tips galore, plus food to take home. See “Nourishing Soups” post for the link to register.

Like One Dish at A Time on Facebook!

Like One Dish at A Time on Facebook!

In the meantime, I invite you to subscribe to this blog and follow my “One Dish” Facebook postings for a steady flow of inspiration and tips.

Best wishes for 2013!

Spice is the Variety of Life

Herbs & spices for sale in Provencal, France. (Copyright (c) 123RF Stock Photos)

And herbs, too. Basing my weekly offerings on our northern seasonal harvest means, yes, repeatedly using the same seasonal veg  presented in as wide a variety as I can manage. See my blog’s Menu Archive of weekly Delivered Dish of the Week for a list of dishes cooked over past 2 yrs and those dishes coming up. I try hard to keep it interesting and not repeat within 3-4 months.

2 dishes x 10 weeks =30.  Thirty. Different. Vegetarian. Utilitarian. Dishes. And not one pasta among them. (I don’t do pasta or couscous.)

How?

1) By relying on many different spices & herbs versus using many ingredients, which is expensive. I include condiments in this spice category.

2) By relying on the 40-some kinds of whole grains and beans that I have ready access to here.

(Thank you large chain, co-op and ethnic grocery stores in our fair Twin Cities!)

After all, what’s the difference between Cajun dirty rice, Mexican arrozo, Spanish paella, Chinese fried rice, Indian biryani or pulao, Middle Eastern rice pilafs, and Southeast Asian nasi goreng? The spices. Otherwise, they’re all technically the same: gluten-free, dairy-free rice dishes.

So, along with dried herbs & spices, I stock my pantry/refrigerator with interesting, intense condiments from around the world. In particular, sauces, pastes and spice mixes that I can’t or don’t want to make the effort to replicate. These make it very easy to add much variety to your repertoire. (Think curry powder and meat rubs). I don’t use them on top of finished dish, like ketchup atop a plain hotdog. I use them to flavor sauces & marinades for grains, beans, vegetables and meats. More like cooking the hotdog in ketchup & relish.

Romesco Beans ‘n Rice. Romesco is a nut and red pepper-based sauce from Catalan, Spain. (my photo). 

Jamaican Jerk-spiced Millet & Beans  (my photo).

Case in point, I have jerk seasoning mix. Therefore, a dish this week is Jamaican Jerk Beans & Rice.  Counting those examples above, that’s 8 different, cheap rice dishes I can whip together with stuff in my pantry. That’s not even including meals with plain rice, which I do actually make now and then for Chinese/Japanese/Korean entrees.

Then, substitute different whole grains or noodles for rice. Add different kinds of beans and various vegetables — we’re still talking about just the one dish, not even the whole meal. We’re still talking cheap ingredients. We’re not even yet factoring in meats! Now, DO THE MATH. 

You know you know this. I’m just reminding you.  And, since you may be free to use dairy, meat & seafood, you can make an even greater variety  than DDoW offers!

 

This week, make a trip to a co-op and get tiny bags of spices and herbs from the bulk aisle. This is much cheaper than buying bottles especially if you just want to test-drive a new one. Next, pick up 3 bottles of  sauces/pastes. Besides your local big box, Trader Joe’s and Asian grocery shops are good places for inexpensive and interesting condiments and sauces. Pastes are concentrated and therefore are a better value.

Swad brand Mint Chutney, a tangy mildly spicy Indian condiment. Try this in a sandwich or mix into plain pasta!

In my pantry: 

  • bottled Dijon and grainy mustards
  • tahini and peanut butter (yes, nut butters are a condiment)
  • orange marmalade (also a condiment)
  • bottled lemon and lime juice (must-haves)
  • black molasses (great in marinades, sauces)
  • mixed peppercorns
  • mushroom, veggie, beef & chicken bouillon
  • herb pastes /pestos (see recipe for Cilantro pistou)
  • miso paste
  • pureed ginger paste
  • tomato paste
  • Korean red pepper paste  (sweeter than you’d think)
  • Moroccan Chermoula paste (see recipe)
  • Mint or cilantro chutney sauce

    ground Indian curry and garam masala mixes

    Chinese Black bean sauce

    Chinese hoisin sauce

    • teriyaki sauce
  • Cajun spice mix
  • Jamaican Jerk spice mix (bottled sauce also)Chinese black bean sauce
  • Thai curry pastes (Mae-ploy brand is good-value and has more varieties, while Thai Kitchen brand’s 2 kinds are gluten-free.)
  • mango chutney (a jam, really)
  • Indian mint and cilantro ‘chutneys’ (those tangy green sauces served with samosas)
  • peanut sauce (the one served with Vietnamese egg & spring rolls)
  • sweet chilli sauce (ditto)
  • Tabasco (red & green)
  • Sriracha “Rooster” hot sauce
  • Plus basics to make sauce or soup like veggie broth, chicken broth and coconut milk.

Now, GO FORTH and Multiply … your meals.

“I have my mother who is an Irish-Italian, and my father who is African, so I have the taste buds of an Italian and the spice of an African.” ~ musician Alicia Keys (explains why I like her)

Down the Rabbit Hole

It is so easy to slip down the Rabbit Hole into the dizzying Wonderland of Starch.

That goofy Alice with her yo-yo weight issues. First, it’s the quick-fix “Drink Me Potion” aka liquid diet food substitutes. She drops pounds immediately but doesn’t have strength or energy to even turn the doorknob. Now Alice is hungry and feeling deprived and, in a typical rebound, scarfs a box of “Eat Me Cakes” (not likely the whole-wheat applesauce kind). She bloats and balloons to giant size and again, can’t get out of the house. She gets head-aches.

This woman needs to get herself to a meeting of Cake-eaters Anonymous.

Moreover, what does the schizo Mad Hatter serve at tea? Pastries & cake. “Off with their heads!”, orders Wonderland’s Queen of Hearts, another unstable personality. What did infamously unsympathetic queen Marie Antoinette say about her starving French masses? “Let them eat cake.”

Crabby, confused, hyper-sensitive, prone to over-emotional fits and angry flare-ups. Obviously, these poor people are in the throes of processed flour & sugar addictions!

[Oh, I hear you, sister. And the dang holidays are approaching!]

So, what to do? Learn to love chewy, satisfying, low-glycemic whole grains. Go beyond brown rice. I’m talking about wheat berries, oat berries, barley; and on the gluten-free side, quinoa, millet and buckwheat groats aka “Kasha”, and different red and red-brown combo rice.

Autumn is the perfect season for cassoulets & stews with different kinds of whole-grain pilafs. And now the heretical: Refrain from serving bread on the side. I know, it’s so nice to mop up sauce with crusty bread, I get it. I’m not saying never eat it.

Case in point: I have a client who wants to better control her carb intake. Cake is not her “eat me” temptation, it’s pasta and bread. In a recent coaching session, we discussed “scaffolding down” from these processed carbs, and substituting whole grain pilafs and salads. She’s never cooked grains, so, in our next cooking lesson, we’re going to make 3-4 kinds for her to try. I’m bringing my pressure cooker.

Once she learns the basic method of boil & simmer — it’s the same for all of them — she can start using these instead of white rice and pasta. These pack more nutrients per serving and make you feel more full. Plus, then you’ll have cooked whole grains on hand for other wholesome dishes.

Wheat-berries with Lentils & Collard Greens. Grains took only 15 min in pressure cooker (my photo).

 For instance, Google “wheat berries” and up pops up several nice salads and soups right away. Go to www.vegetariantimes.com’s huge database for more inspiration.

If you love bread, try to save it for sandwiches, where it has a noble and practical purpose.

And then, we’ll treat ourselves to cake.

Super-food Stews

Black-eyed Peas, Carrot & Collards in Smoked Paprika Sauce, over brown rice (here pictured w/ Sriracha hot sauce on top). A super-food one-pot meal.

Black-eyed Peas, Carrot & Collards in Smoked Paprika Sauce. Served this very simple hearty stew on Fri night for 70 folks; and it’s on the lesson plan for 2 “Super Food” cooking classes this week.

Taking advantage of seasonal veg, it’s a very “clean” yet intensely flavored, toothsome one-pot meal that is vegan, gluten-free, low-fat and low-glycemic, high-fiber and nutrient-dense. Plus, your day’s Vit A and more.

Here’s the Recipe. This is technically a ‘cassoulet’, ie a braised dish with broth. Serve over brown rice or other whole grain, with hot sauce on side.

Making this for a family quantity, say 2-3 quarts, it’d take less than an hour esp with canned Black-eyed Peas. I used farm-fresh veggies from the market, of course, but, flash-frozen will do too, and would shave off another 15 min of prep time.

Btw, Black-eyed Peas have 6g protein per half-cup, in top 4 of legumes (winners are kidney beans & soybeans). Don’t have black-eyed peas? Fine — use any canned beans or lentils. (Search this blog for more posts about BEP, my favorite neglected step-child bean.)

Of course, this is a perfect autumn vegetarian entree. It would also be terrific with a small amount of chicken, pork, kielbasa, or turkey brats, and yes, left-over bacon. Sweet potatoes, potatoes, or squash as well but, refrain from making this into a carb-fest (ie increasing glycemic load). Keep a high veg to carb ratio.

More nutritional info:

 

  • 1 cp cooked sliced carrots contains 54 cal, 4.7 g fiber, 1.2 g protein, 5.4 g sugars, 537% RDI vit A, 9.4% RDI Vit C, 4.7%  calcium, 5.5% folate, 2.9%  iron, 26% Vit K.

 Estimated glycemic load = 2 (of 100/day target).
  • 1 cp cooked collards has 49 cal, 5.3 g fiber (10% RDA), 2 g protein, 308% RDI vit A, 58%  Vit C, 27% calcium, 44%  folate, 12% iron and 1045% Vit K. Estimated glycemic load = 4 (of 100/day target).
  • 1 cp canned black-eyed peas has 160 kcal, 6 g protein, 34 g carb, 8 g fiber, and notably, 6.7% RDI iron and 15% folate. Estimated glycemic load = 20 (of 100/day target).

    [RDI = Recommended Daily Intake]

 Some of my coaching clients are trying low-carb regimens. Ok, then skip the grains, not the beans.Beans are the best kind of complex carbs AND provide serious protein, so do NOT omit. You’ll just get hungry sooner if you do.

Scroll the Recipe page for more Super-food recipes!

 

Dorm Cooking 101

If you know some young adults headed off to a college dorm or apartment, launch them properly with a cooking lesson and a basic understanding of nutrition. Many 18-26 yr olds subsist on take-out & fast food, sweet sodas, syrupy lattes and energy drinks. They think cooking means baking a frozen pizza and boiling pasta with nuked bottled sauce.

One cannot live on pizza alone. Sorry. (Stock photo off web.)

It’s not their fault they grew up in a “convenience-food culture” that is based on cheap carbs & sugar. But, this is not real food. It does not provide good fuel for busy young folks (or older folks either) who need their brains and bodies to perform at maximum capacity. In the short term, their wallets and grades and sports performance will suffer. Eventually, their health will, too (more $$).

Young vegetarians generally don’t have a good grasp of nutrition and usually do not eat enough protein. Young women in particular, given their concern with weight.  And, a light green salad or two at best do not really meet the 4-5 daily veg recommendation.

Everybody needs a foundation of basic cooking skills. Like reading, driving and managing money, these practical skills equip one for a lifetime.

Caroline learns to snap off stems from fresh green beans for Salad Nicoise, a salad that keeps for a week. I’m in the background. (Photo by Brad Dahlgaard.)

With a few basics, young adults can increase & include complex carbs like whole grains and beans in their food lifestyle, let alone veggies. THIS is fuel for brains and bodies.

Book a cooking lesson with me this year! Launch them with a cutting board, a knife and a crock pot, and they’ll be set. My lessons focus on easy dishes, efficient batch cooking and dishes that keep or freeze. And I tailor to your preferences and requirements.

 

See previous posting for more about Cooking Lessons and a suggested menu.

For instance, they’ll find crock pots are a god-send for all kinds of dishes from vegetarian & meat stews & soups to homey pot roasts. Think ravenous young men. $15 bucks gets them a whole roast w/ potatoes — or a hamburger & fries w/ soda.

With a crockpot, you could wake up to real oatmeal and even mashed sweet potato pudding for breakfast. Fuel.