Chef Salad ala Spoon

Barry, the omnivore, hadn’t been eating any fresh salads in the past couple of months because it was just too difficult for him to spear with a fork. I don’t know why I didn’t think of this sooner but maybe it’s because I think of green salads aesthetically, as well…different hues, textures and shapes of fresh, crisp greens tossed together, garnished with jewel-toned vegetables and other interesting add-ins. I would never consider chopping them into fine ribbons…until now. And as long as I include meat and cheese, he’s a happy man. So, for this combo I used romaine, spinach, ham, chicken, provolone, shredded carrot, hard boiled eggs, tomatoes and kalamata olives. A hearty, yet summery, spoonable dish!

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Barry, Me & Tai Chi

I am not a scientist. I am not a health care professional. But all my life I have been very intuitive. Something is telling me that tai chi will help Barry…a lot. Tai chi, meditation and good nutrition. Seems like common sense. And, indeed, if I go online, I can find examples that will back me up. So…while it’s clear to me, it’s actually Barry that has to embrace the concept. I’ve been challenged in presenting it to him in just the right way so as to be convincing…not new-agey but grounded in science. I can be bossy, too. Sometimes that helps but one must use it judiciously.

I bought “Tai Cheng” from I was impressed with the results our son, Noah, was getting from P90X, another program sold by the same company, so I had an established level of trust and confidence when I ordered “Tai Cheng” for Barry, even though I had never seen a preview or recommendation.

It’s good. Barry, who is starting to experience some rigidity in his joints, is loosening up and increasing his range of motion in just the first week. I’m starting the second week and I feel the muscles in my core and am very aware of keeping my posture aligned. The workouts, to start, are only 35 minutes long, so it’s easy to stay motivated and, as you start to feel the difference, you WANT to workout!

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Tai Chi Increases Balance in Parkinson’s Patients

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Petite Ratatouille…So Grande!

This dish, so simple to make and so tasty, was a perfect way for me to use up my remaining zucchini and tomatoes from the previous week’s assortment of vegetables from my CSA. I always have a jar of Trader Joe’s kalamata olives in my pantry and with the only other ingredients being water, salt and pepper…tada! An amazingly colorful, flavorful and low calorie side dish that can be eaten hot or cold. I only baked it for an hour and 15 minutes at 300. The veggies were tender but not mushy, pleasing Barry, who does not approve of al dente vegetables. Served with a slice of crispy sourdough it was a meal in itself.

3 medium zucchini, about 1 1/4 pounds
12 ounces small cherry tomatoes: use a mixture of red and yellow if possible
16 kalamata olives, about 3 ounces

1. Preheat oven to 300 degrees F.
2. Wash zucchini and trim ends. Cut in half lengthwise. Cut into 1/2-inch-thick half circles. Place in a large bowl.
3. Wash cherry tomatoes and cut in half. Add to bowl. Add olives, pitting them if you wish, and mix thoroughly.
4. Pour 1/4 cup cold water over vegetables. Add a large pinch of sea salt and freshly ground black pepper. Mix again.
5. Place in a shallow 9-by-11-inch casserole. Bake for 2 hours, stirring every 30 minutes.
6. Transfer, with any juices, to a serving bowl. Add salt and pepper to taste. Let cool. Serve at room temperature or serve cold.

Recipe by Rozanne Gold. Healthy 1-2-3

If you follow the link to Dr. Hoffman’s website and click on “Diet” in the menu, you’ll find a wealth of healthy recipes. That’s where I found this one and a whole lot more!

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Whole Corn Chipotle Polenta

As promised from my previous post:

3 1/2 C reduced-fat milk
1 1/2C fresh corn kernels
1 chipotle chile in adobo sauce
1 1/2 C water
1/2 tsp kosher salt
1 C yellow cornmeal
1/2 C shredded cheddar
3 T Greek yogurt (I adore Cabot’s)

  1. Combine 1/2 cup milk, corn, and chipotle chile in a blender; process until the corn is coarsely chopped.
  2. Combine remaining 3 cups milk, 1 1/2 cups water, and 1/2 teaspoon salt in a medium saucepan; bring to a simmer over medium-high heat. Gradually add cornmeal, stirring until blended. Cover, reduce heat, and simmer 11 minutes or until thick, stirring frequently. Add corn mixture; cook an additional 2-3 minutes, stirring frequently. Remove from heat; add cheese and yogurt, stirring until cheese melts.

Another idea for serving this recipe would be to pour the mixture into a loaf pan, refrigerate until cooled completely, then slicing into 1/2 inch pieces, brown in a little oil or butter, top with a basted egg, some red chile sauce (I always use New Mexican chile to make the sauce. I really think it makes a difference.) and shredded cheese. Yum!

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Polenta Partying on a Plate

Polenta, along with eggs, I regard as perfect foods. Simple and nutritious. Versatile and affordable. Cornmeal and water mixed together and cooked briefly until thickened. You might be wandering around the tundra and as long as you had a packet of corn meal and  a flint, you would eat. Fire up some dried yak chips, melt some snow and you’re in business.

Polenta can bridge your day from breakfast to dinner: as a hot cereal or, after being refrigerated, sliced and browned in a little butter and drizzled with maple syrup. Substitute vegetable or meat stock for the water, add some seasonings and shredded cheese and you have a fine side dish or foundation for sauces, vegetables and ground or shredded meat.

This meal came together with a chipotle polenta topped with black beans, chorizo (removed from casings and browned in skillet), shredded cheese, sliced ripe olives, fresh corn, diced red onion and diced tomatoes. Voila! Nutritious and delicious and…spoonable!
Recipe for Chipotle Polenta to follow.

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Happy Redskins Fan

The pulled chicken sandwich was a HUGE success. I’m sure the Redskins’ win contributed to the overall euphoria as well. And the Svedka.  I did serve it with my go-to coleslaw (recipe to follow), that I had discovered in Gourmet Magazine years ago, easily 20. At the time I remember thinking, wow, this is so simple and it’s in Gourmet! Oven-baked potato wedges completed the meal and Barry pronounced it perfect!

Simple Coleslaw

1/2 head cabbage, shredded
1 carrot, grated
1/2 onion, chopped fine
1/2 C mayo
juice from 1 lemon
salt & pepper to taste

Mix first three ingredients. Blend mayo, lemon juice, salt & pepper. Toss with cabbage mix. Ideally, the dressing should lightly coat the cabbage but if you like a creamier slaw, adjust the ingredients accordingly.

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Parkinson’s Disease and Glutathione

Some excellent info on a ground-breaking therapy, including a diet for degenerative diseases. Thank you, Wendy!

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Summer Repast

I was compelled to join a CSA  (Community Supported Agriculture) this year. Tuesdays, after work, I brave the Beltway to pick up an array of organic fruits and vegetables at the public library, most of them familiar, some completely new to me…like kohlrabi (it’s really good peeled, cut into cubes, tossed in olive oil and oven-roasted ’til tender). Yesterday, fresh-from-the-field sweet, sweet corn was in the mix. Four cobs, still in their husks, tossed in the microwave for seven minutes, rearranged halfway through, turned out perfect. Butter wasn’t even necessary.

Served them with brown sugar-glazed Alaskan salmon fillets and mixed green salad. I chopped the greens, red onions, cucumbers and tomatoes into smaller pieces for Barry, who easily scooped the mixture out of a bowl with a spoon. The fish, tender and flaking beautifully, was handled with ease.

To make the glaze mix 2 tbs. dark brown sugar, 1 tsp. salt, 1/2 tsp. ground cumin, black pepper to taste and 1/4 tsp dry mustard. Rub on the top of 2 pounds of salmon fillets. Heat oil in a heavy skillet and place fish sugar-side down. Cook for approximately four minutes, being careful not to let the skillet get too hot. You want to keep the sugar soft and not let it caramelize. Flip over to skin side and cook an additional 1 – 2 minutes. Would be excellent paired with a dry white Spanish wine. Enjoy!

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Pre-Game Dinner Plans

Redskins pre-season game this Thursday and Barry has requested a sports fan classic: barbecue pulled chicken. Okay, it’s usually pork but this recipe uses chicken thighs. Sounds tasty and, since it’s a sandwich, easily consumed. I’ll make my standby recipe for coleslaw and call it a day!

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