Practical, healthful eating and living.

Fresh Strawberries May 11, 2013

sliced strawberriesStrawberries are in season and the bright red berries have been greeting me at every grocery store the last few weeks. Sometimes I’ll go through a container right away, but most of the time I’d rather have just a couple as a quick snack, or one or two sliced over my breakfast oatmeal.

Strawberries tend to spoil quickly. Here are some tips to help them last 3-4 days.

1. If the weather is generally cool; below 70 degrees, don’t refrigerate. Just let them sit in the container they came in on your counter, but keep them out of sunlight.

Serving suggestion:

  • Slice a few over a fresh spinach salad. Use a balsamic vinaigrette dressing. Complementary ingredients: sliced boiled eggs, walnuts, sliced red onion, sliced mushrooms, alfalfa sprouts, dried cranberries or raisins, feta, Gorgonzola or blue cheese crumbles.Strawberries in bowl

2. If the weather is warm; over 70 degrees for most of the day, then I recommend slicing and adding a little sugar. The sugar helps preserve the berries. You don’t need a lot –only about a tablespoon or two for a pint of berries. It depends on how sweet you like them. Be sure to use a glass or ceramic bowl (metal may alter the berries’ flavor). Mix well, then cover the dish and store in the fridge.

Serving suggestions:

  • Mix into plain yogurt topped with granola.
  • Spoon over hot or cold cereal.
  • Top a scoop of frozen yogurt or vanilla ice cream.
  • Top fresh pancakes.

3. Freezing is also an option. Again, slice and sugar the berries. Use a freezer-friendly container, but not metal. Cover and freeze. When defrosted, the berries may be a little softer, but will have lots of flavor.

Serving suggestions:

  • Blend into smoothies, yogurt or into home-made ice cream mix.
  • Mix into hot cereal.
  • Top fresh pancakes.


Gluten free chocolate almond joy bars March 2, 2013

IMG_0578More than anything, I wanted a creative outlet today. One of my favorite things is to find a recipe for something I’ve never made before, get all the ingredients, then see how it turns out. Today’s new recipe is adapted  from one of my favorite gluten free blogs, Elana’s Pantry.

One thing I like about gluten free baked goods is that there’s usually a lot of protein in the mix. That means I’m full after one or two bites! An indulgence I can’t go overboard on because a few bites is all I want and need.

Note: this bar is not as sweet as a traditional cookie or candy bar. Feel free to add an extra teaspoon or two of sugar if you have a sweet tooth.


  • 4 eggs
  • ¾ cup coconut milk (Coconut has healthy fats; I use regular instead of low fat. If you have any left over, it keeps well in either the fridge or freezer.)
  • 2 teaspoons almond extract
  • ¾ cup coconut sugar (or 1/2 cup regular sugar)
  • ½ cup blanched almond flour  (Trader Joe’s is a great source)
  • ½ cup coconut flour (Buy as much or as little as you like from the bulk flour bins at your local food coop.)
  • ¼ teaspoon salt
  • ½ teaspoon baking soda
  • ¼ cup unsweetened shredded coconut (might be hard to find in a traditional grocery store. Try Whole Foods or a food coop.)
  • ¾ cup chocolate chips
  1. In a large bowl, whisk together eggs, coconut milk, almond extract and sugar
  2. In a smaller bowl, combine almond flour, coconut flour, salt and baking soda
  3. Mix dry ingredients into wet with a handheld mixer
  4. Stir in ½ cup of the chocolate chips
  5. Grease an 8 x 8 inch baking dish
  6. Pour batter into dish, then sprinkle shredded coconut and remaining chocolate chips on top
  7. Bake at 350° for 30 minutes
  8. Cool for 1 hour
  9. Serve

Gluten-free chocolate chip scones February 2, 2013

choc chip scones

I am indebted to Elana Amsterdam, whose blog, Elana’s Pantry, has become my go-to source for easy, satisfying gluten-free recipes.

First of all, her recipes’ ingredient lists are usually short and simple. Whereas the typical gluten-free baked goods recipe from other sources requires multiple types of flour and expensive xanthan gum, Elana’s come out beautifully with usually one type of flour (often coconut or almond), mixed with a few eggs, shortening and natural sweeteners like honey or agave syrup.

It’s been the coldest week of the year in my wintry city. In need of a baked good for a potluck tomorrow, I pondered between two of Elana’s recipes. One was an almond-flour slightly sweet drop biscuit, the other was the recipe below for chocolate chip scones of coconut flour. Luckily, I had both types of flours on hand and had the luxury of deliberating. Since I hadn’t had a chance to try the chocolate chip scones yet, I succumbed to curiosity knowing that in case I didn’t like the way they turned out, I’d have a back up. Luckily, they were delicious and I am certain my potluck crew will love them! So easy that making a second batch was no trouble at all.

Note: The instructions reflect how I made these, which is slightly different than the instructions on Elana’s site.

Gluten-free Chocolate Chip Scones

  • ½ cup coconut flour
  • ¼ teaspoon sea salt
  • ¼ teaspoon baking soda
  • ¼ cup vegan shortening
  • ¼ cup honey
  • 4 large eggs
  • ½ cup (about 3 ounces) chocolate chips
    1. Combine coconut flour, salt and baking soda
    1. Mix in shortening, honey and eggs
    2. Fold in chocolate chips
    3. Scoop batter onto a parchment paper or silpat lined baking sheet
    4. Bake at 350° for 10-14 minutes
    5. Cool and serve

Summer Break June 12, 2011

Filed under: Easy food prep,Recipes,Uncategorized — beansandyoga @ 4:16 pm
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So glad you stopped by.  Web sites are taking on a greater presence in my day job lately so my creativity has been landing there, rather than here.  But I’ll be back.  In the meantime, please enjoy some of my favorite summer recipes!

Ukrainian Gazpacho

Cannellini all’ Insalata

Marvelous Meusli

Favorite Summer Salsa

Curried Quinoa


Follow the Nutrients February 15, 2011

Filed under: Uncategorized — beansandyoga @ 8:50 pm
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When you crave something, have you ever thought that maybe it’s the nutrients in that food that you’re craving? Sometimes, if you stop and think about what nutrients ARE in the foods you’re craving, you can then start to look for super healthy foods that have the same nutrients.  For instance, if you crave a hamburger, maybe your body is telling you it needs more iron.  But if you don’t want the fat associated with a burger, perhaps you could have a big spinach salad.  This week, I’m amused to find I’m craving spinach, mushrooms and eggs.  Is it because I’ve been indoors so much? Do I need more vitamin D (eggs)?  Do I need more potassium (mushrooms)?

So I brought home a bag of baby spinach salad, a package of sliced mushrooms and a dozen eggs.  As soon as I got home, I made a dish of pasta covered in sauteed mushrooms, garlic and onions, added to canned tomatoes.  The spinach was added during the last moment of cooking; just enough to wilt it ever so slightly.  Delicious!

The next day I made a fresh salad of spinach, raw mushrooms, chunks of thawed mango from a Trader Joe’s frozen pack, sliced almonds and dried cranberries.  Topped with a boiled egg, I was in heaven.  A salad like this is wonderful with a poppy seed dressing, blue cheese, or an Asian ginger/sesame blend.

It just so happened that there was enough of each to last at least another day, so the next dish was an omelet of sauteed mushrooms, and lightly sauteed spinach.  Each meal less than 15 minutes, except for the actual boiling of the pasta.  (More like 20 minutes; not too bad.)


Calories vs. Nutrition January 2, 2011

Filed under: Uncategorized — beansandyoga @ 9:44 am

Nutrition, long forgotten, is making a come back.  Left in the dust by meaningless calorie counting, nutrition waited quietly in the background as people became distracted with calories, neglected to feed themselves well, got sick, then became dependent on prescription drugs.  A sad cycle.

This past year, nutrition finally began to get the attention it deserves.  Michael Pollan’s book, “In Defense of Food,” released age old secrets on how to eat healthfully.  Life Time Fitness has started RevolutionaryAct. com, offering 101 revolutionary ways to be healthy.

As for myself, I continue to cook most of my own food.  I continue to pursue exercise in a form that’s fun and engaging, to the point I forget I’m working out. Why? Because working out CAN be entertaining.  You won’t catch me on a treadmill, no.  You WILL catch me on a bike trail outdoors, cross-country skiing, or in a yoga class.

The benefits? I feel good.  I’m still a size 2.  I break away from computers/media while working out, which allows me to hear my own thoughts.  An hour a day of connecting with how I’m feeling emotionally is a great deterrent to depression or seasonal affective disorder. (I live in a winter-dark climate.)

So pick a starting point and see what happens if it become a habit! Here are some ideas:

  • Take a 20-minute walk outdoors at least once a week.
  • Unplug from media, cell phones, computers etc. for 30 minutes each day.
  • Start carrying strategic snacks with you, like almonds, dried apricots and chocolate.  (Yes, I consider chocolate a health food.)
  • Buy fresh fruit in season, when it tastes good and prices are down.  I find that apples and oranges sold individually are generally of better quality than pre-packaged bags.
  • Pick up one new fruit or vegetable to try each time you shop.
  • Put nutrition first!
  • Quit counting calories.
  • Go for food in its natural, unprocessed form.

How to save time shopping & cooking November 7, 2010

Filed under: Uncategorized — beansandyoga @ 10:27 am

So many people ask me how to break out of bad eating habits.  They say they don’t have time to cook.  They eat out often, or rely on convenience foods.  Cooking seems intimidating.  One trick that’s helped me is to take note of what foods I’m craving.  Barbecue? Macaroni and cheese? One of mom’s favorite recipes?

Most foods are only “bad” if they’re mass produced and filled with additives.  Almost any home-made version cuts the chemicals, and allows you to customize the flavor to your liking.

If you have a recipe, it’s not hard to put all the ingredients on a shopping list.  Pick up all you need, then set aside one day of the week or month (whichever fits your schedule), and make your recipe.  Actually, most things can be doubled, so make a large batch to ensure left-overs.  Left-overs are only bad if they weren’t that great the first time around.  Lots of foods, especially stews, get better after sitting a day or two in the fridge.  Or freeze the extra in small containers large enough for just one or two servings, only.  That way, you’ll always have something good on hand to grab and take along to work.

Some foods that work well as large batches:

  • Barbecued chicken
  • Roast beef
  • Home-made vegetable soup
  • Chicken paprikash
  • Beef stroganoff
  • Macaroni and cheese
  • Egg bake/egg casseroles
  • Steel cut oatmeal