Thursday, September 29, 2011

A Rainy Afternoon

It's 4 o'clock on the afternoon and I'm happily crunching on sweet Chinese dates called jujubes.  It's their season.  They are only around for a few weeks and now seems to be the peek.  At least these are the best ones I've found all month as I've been scouring Chinatown to find them.  When I lived in Santa Monica I didn't have to go to Chinatown, I could buy as many organic brown little gems as I could carry from the Wednesday outdoor market.  The farmers and I always ate too many and joked how we didn't care even if we got a bellyache from going overboard.  There is something addictive about them, more than any other fruit I've ever eaten.  Funny though, I don't like them dried. 

It's been a slower day.  New York seems shut down for Rosh Hashana and I'm enjoying the quiet and currently the sounds from a thundershower.  I've got potato's and leeks simmering for 12 minutes in just a small amount of water and a pinch of sea salt.  When they are done and cool, I'll add thinly sliced fennel, lemon juice and olive oil and leave it in the fridge until dinner.  It's my side for a honey mustard chicken I'll prepare later.  I'll do something with the arugula waiting for me too.  I better stop eating Jujube's.

Monday, September 26, 2011

Sometimes making something out of nothing is more than okay

I love the "I don't really have anything to eat" that turns into a gourmet dinner.  I came home tonight knowing I had little more than lettuce in my fridge and a half of an avocado that needed to be consumed before it had to be tossed.  I was getting ready for a simple salad and grain meal and call it a night.  I didn't feel like shopping or eating out after this very busy day.

When I opened the fridge - I also had a sweet potato and way up on a shelf - yes, a can of Eden organic black beans.  Fortuitously the mail had delivered my ivory teff today so you can just imagine what my incredibly wonderful dinner was.  Yes, I lightly toasted some teff and cooked it up into creamy goodness.  While that was taking its 20 minutes to cook, I pan roasted the sweet potato in small chunks, tossing it onto the quickly assembled salad with a nice ume vinaigrette.  It was delightful to look at and wonderfully satisfying.  Now I'm all set with a mug of licorice tea to dig into some homework. 

Sunday, September 18, 2011

From The Archives - Rut Removal

Originally from September 2008

“Shipping is a terrible thing to do to vegetables.  They probably get jet-lagged, just like people.”  ~Elizabeth Berry

“Red meat is not bad for you.  Now blue-green meat, that’s bad for you!”  ~Tommy Smothers

Tip of the Month
Are you back from vacation or back to school?  Maybe you’ve just run out of ideas to put on your plate?  This month I thought we could fall into some fun, and use the tool I call “Rut Removal”.   I get stuck in ruts sometimes where I make the same few meals over and over.  Then I get tired of those foods.  Occasionally, I get so tired of them, I don’t even want to see them again – ever!   Rut removeal requires knowing you are in a rut and then taking some actions to get yourself into a space where preparing food is fun again.  Every day we are not exactly the same person we were the day before.  You get to decide who you would like to be.  Most people create the same stuff with the same thoughts day after day.  Over time they might mature and find they see things differently.  You can accelerate it by playing with seeing things and feeling things differently all the time.  In the beginning of the new movie Elegy, the professor tells his students that when they read War and Peace again years later, the story will be different.  The words in the book do not change, but we do.  (I’m paraphrasing I hope you know.)  So getting out of a rut can be as simple as revisiting your old cookbooks and getting some new ideas of what you might like.  The gorgeous pictures in Gourmet or Bon Appetit magazines can spark your imagination too.  Swapping out ingredients to make the dishes healthier or more to your palate is usually a fairly simple thing to do.   I also get ideas from looking at menus or visiting a restaurant and not just experiencing what I order but I look around at the plates nearby and just sort of take notes. 

Mixing up your ingredients is a great way to get out of a rut.  How often do you purchase the jicama or plantains?  What have you done with a rutabega lately?  Taking home different produce items or ordering a grain like Hato Mugi barely – (makes your skin glow by the way.)  for a salad that everyone will ooh and ahh over.   I just ordered 5 lbs.  so I can create with this easy to digest grain over many meals.  Taking home new ingredients forces you to come up with something new.  The plantains might spark a cuban meal or you could make croutons for a salad like they do at Hugos restaurant.  If you have never been there, use your imagination as to what that might be.  Croutons are really just roasted up chunks of bread or in this case, plantain, with spices - in the oven.  Perfect for this changable time of year in a salad with romaine, black beans and what ever else you enjoy.


Cabbage and Quinoa Salad

Here is a simple salad that can change with your mood.  Add grilled tofu, tempeh, chicken or beef for a heartier meal or grilled vegetables for a different feel.  If you choose coconut oil you’ll have more of a Caribbean flavor and if you choose flax oil you’ll get your omega 3’s.  See what else you might like to add into this already complete meal dish.

½ small cabbage, shredded
1 medium to large carrot, shredded
1 small fennel, sliced into matchsticks
1 large green onion, chopped
oil (of your choice and to taste.)
Sprinkle of sea salt
Apple cider vinegar (drizzle in to taste.)
½ lemon
Cooked quinoa (cooking up 1/3 C will yield about 1 C. and that is a good amount.)
Blanched & Roasted Almonds (optional)
Nori Sprinkle for garnish (optional)

To cook the quinoa:
Place 1/3 C. rinsed quinoa in a pot with 1 Cup of water and a very small pinch of sea salt.  Bring to a boil.  Place a lid on the pot and turn the heat to low.  Simmer for 20 minutes or until all of the water is gone.  Allow to cool.

To Blanch and roast almonds:
Toss the almonds into boiling water and boil for 2 minutes.  Strain and rinse under cold water.  Peel the dark skins off the almonds.  Place on a baking sheet in a pre-heated oven (350ยบ) for 10 – 15 minutes until they turn slightly brown.

Place the cabbage, carrot, fennel and onions in a bowl.  Mix in the sprinkle of sea salt with your hands.  Add oil, vinegar to taste.  Add the cooled quinoa and squeeze in the juice from the lemon.  Place in the fridge to cool.  Before serving add any additional items.  Sprinkle each serving with Nori.

Light and Luscious Barley Salad

Try this with any grain and veggie combo you like.  Hato Mugi barley is Japanese pearled Barley.

1 C Cooked Hato Mugi Barley
1 – 2 carrots chopped and blanched
2-3 Scallions or a small bunch of chives chopped and blanched
Dressing:  2 parts flax seed oil to 1 part ume vinegar.

Mix all the ingredients and serve on a bed of blanched kale.
Add blanched corn kernels as well or use red onion in place of scallion.

Story Time (names are changed, stories are true)
Janie was stuck in a rut with her food, mostly out of fear.  She was so afraid of being fat that she ate the same few things all the time.  Special K with non-fat milk for breakfast, or a small yogurt.  One piece of fruit for a snack.  Salad for lunch, and dinner was a fish or chicken or meat usually plain, grilled, with steamed vegetables.  She hardly touched carbs and avoided oils and fats like they were lethal.  She used supplements to fill in the gaps.  Her body started revolting on her though, from such a limited diet and she was not happy emotionally either, but she pretended to be as much as she could.  All of this looks like healthy food to many, only it’s a whole log of acidity going on, and not enough fiber either.  I asked her to try a little more whole grain, a little more oil and a lot more variety in both foods and styles of cooking.  In just two weeks, Janie blossomed.  She felt better and looked better than she had in years.  Her energy skyrocketed and she didn’t gain any weight, in fact she looked even sleeker yet with a healthy glow and vibrancy that was far sexier than the pinched pale version of herself that I’d spoken to at first.  Variety in food can be a wonderful thing!

Fun Food Facts
The sweetest kale is said to be after a frost so get ready for some hearty greens this fall.  There are so many varieties of kale, you are sure to find your favorite.  It’s a vegetable that gives us more strength and is especially good for the lungs and intestines.  Kale also contains lutein that is known to ward off macular degeneration and is just plain good for the eyes.  It also may be effective for warding off some types of cancer as well, especially of the colon.  Piling on the greens for better health all around is a good practice. 

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

Late Summer/Early Fall Recipes

Rain then sun, hot then cold, it's hard to keep up with the weather just now.  One minute a nice cold salad feels great and the next you might be wanting a comforting thick soup.  That's when Fast and Easy recipes come in handy so you can make what strikes your fancy at the drop of a hat...

Here are a couple of ideas:

Broccoli & Corn Salad
The amounts in parenthesis are approximate for one person.  
Make as much as you would like.

Broccoli  (1 stalk)
Sweet corn (1/2 ear)
Veganaise or other mayonnaise (2 Tablespoons)
Ume plum paste (1 tsp.)

Peel the stems of the broccoli.  Cut off the end of the stalk where it is the woodiest but keep the rest of the stem.  Chop both the stem and florets.
If using fresh corn on the cob you may steam the corn first and then cut the kernels off the cob.
Bring about an inch of water to a boil in a pot.  Add a steamer basket on top and place the vegetables in it.  Steam for 5-10 minutes until the broccoli is soft and the corn is done.  Remove from the steamer and place in a mixing bowl.  Combine 1 tsp. Ume paste with 2 Tablespoons of Veganaise.  Depending on how much broccoli and corn you use you may need more or less of the dressing.  Mix the dressing with the vegetables well.  

10 minute meal – Pasta Salad delight

This makes a great lunch or anytime quick meal Make as much or as little as you want.  I love a dressing of 1 part Ume vinegar to 2 parts Flax Seed Oil.

green onions
red onion
snap peas
brown rice fusilli pasta
1 can organic beans (pick your favorite)
Thyme (fresh or dried)
Your favorite salad dressing

Chop equal amounts of each vegetable into small pieces.  While you are cutting the vegetables, bring a pot of water to a boil.  Blanch each vegetable separately and set aside all together in a large bowl.  Using the same pot of water, cook the pasta.  Drain the pasta when cooked and toss with the vegetables.  Add a small amount of beans.  Add your dressing and mix.  Serve on top of the blanched kale instead of mixing it in if you wish.  Sprinkle with Thyme or any other herb you like.

Cauliflower Onion Soup

1 Cauliflower
1 onion
Shoyu or white miso to season
Parsley or Green onion to garnish

Slice the onion, and cut the cauliflower so you can easily break the florets to fit in your soup pot.  Place the vegetables in the pot and cover with good quality water.  Bring to a boil and then turn the heat to low, place the lid and on and simmer for 15 minutes.  Blend in the blender adding seasoning to taste.  Garnish with parsley or green onion.  

Baking Powder Biscuits

2 cups unbleached white flour (or 1 1/2 C. White and 1/2 C. pastry flour)
4 teaspoons non-aluminum Baking Powder
1/2 tsp. sea salt
6 tablespoons oil (safflower, olive or other)
2/3 cup plain soy milk (about)

Pre-heat oven to 450°
Mix the dry ingredients together in a large mixing bowl.
Stir in the oil with a fork.  The dough will be like pebbles.
Add the soymilk to make a soft dough.
Turn out the dough onto a floured surface and knead gently for 30 seconds. Roll out to 1/2 inch to 3/4 inch thickness.
Cut into rounds of desired size and place on greased baking pan
Or cookie sheet with parchment paper on top.
Bake 12-15 minutes.


Balsamic Vinegrette on fish

I have also used Apple juice or beer instead of water and apple cider vinegar instead of balsamic. 

1 1/2 lbs. fish
1/4 Cup Fresh parsley leaves, chopped (or use any herb you like)
2 Tablespoons prepared mustard
1/4 Cup Balsamic Vinear
1 Carrot, chopped small
1 Celery, chopped small
1/2 red onion, chopped fine or 2 green onions
1-2 Tablespoons olive oil
1/4 tsp. sea salt

Heat a pan over medium heat and add the oil.  Add the fish and veggies and flip the fish after a couple of minutes to cook each side.  Stir the Vinegar and mustard together and a bit of water if needed to pour over your fish and vegetables.  Sprinkle with salt and herbs.  Cover and simmer on low heat until the fish is cooked through. 

Saturday, September 10, 2011

On Letting Go

First - if you purchased the buy 3 get cookbook 1 for free we talked about last week, you have to email me after you purchase at and send me a copy of your purchase and I will email you the 1st cookbook I did. I can't see who purchases what or anything from there so the only way I would know you did get yourself some of the paperbacks or downloads from there is if you tell me.

Okay - so now a little bit on letting go.  My client asked me the other day, "how do you let go?"  She wants to.  She would like to let go of all sorts of ideas and thoughts that are getting in her way.  She wants to have the experience of letting go and feeling some relief. 

I have tried the image of holding water as tight as she could in her fist and then opening the fist to let it go.  Most of the water escapes anyway but her clenching fist gets tired working so hard and then she can feel the let go when she doesn't have to clench anymore.  Somehow that just didn't translate for her.

Another analogy I used was allowing her to see that she can simply let go of one thought by replacing it with something else.  Imagine you are walking down the street and have some not very nice thought about a person ahead of you.  You feel the anger inside of you and hear yourself calling them names.  By catching that and turning it around into some other idea like maybe they had a bad day, just got fired or are really really tired you might find the first thoughts have been left behind. 

Letting go can be that simple.  It's your own brain you are taming with letting go, not some magical machine you need to learn how to take parts out of.  Don't think that you need to forgive or have everything all worked out to let go.  You can simply move on and stop dragging your past into your now so that you keep recreating some past event presently.  Let that go and enjoy this moment and what you want to have now.  Don't waste your energy on things you can't control.  Being mad about the weather for example is probably not doing much to the weather.  Let the weather do its thing and try to enjoy the changes. 

Letting go of weight means that you don't go back to old habits and patterns that brought all of that extra weight on in the first place.  Let go of what you think "should" happen.  I used to believe I was entitled to dessert every night.  That was how I was raised and I didn't feel happy if I didn't get a treat.  I let that idea go.  Now desserts are even more special when they happen but I am free from the have to's, must be this way's and shoulding on myself.  Well, at least when it comes to dessert.

Thursday, September 8, 2011

Who Wants Free Books?

Use the code SEPTEMEBER when you check out today at and you will get 20% off.

Email me with your receipt when you purchase 3 or more books/cd's from that page and I'll send you the Fast and Easy Healthy Cooking I.  This was the book that started it all.  The simple and easy to do recipes that my actor friends liked.  The ones Candace Silvers began asking for and then launched me into teaching. 

So get 20% off your entire order at plus get a free book if you email me with your receipt showing you purchased 3 or more of the items listed.  Yes, you can purchase the same item more than once and still get Cookbook I for free.  Yes, it doesn't matter if you order the downloads or the paperbacks, either counts. 

This is only good through September 9th, so hurry and don't miss your chance to get these recipes.

Tuesday, September 6, 2011

Risk Light

So many people are afraid to lose.  I wonder if that is some of the reason why shedding pounds becomes a struggle.  I emailed a friend about a speed dating thing that only cost $15 and she came back with all sorts of questions that showed me her fear.  Is it legit?  Where is the company? How do you know who will show up?  Sheesh, if she can't risk a few dollars and a little time than she gets to stay stuck in being lonely.  I'm not saying she might meet the man of her dreams on this very outing but she could have some fun or make a new friend or at the very least be putting energy out towards what she says she wants.  Her fear of loss keeps her stuck.

Life is risky.  You've got to take actions and see what happens and often without knowing what the outcome will be.  Bigger risks often have bigger payoffs.  If you are not willing to risk at all, you box yourself in and can even cause yourself harm.  The folks who eat mono diets don't get enough nutrients and those that over supplement can literally poison themselves in the name of trying to be safe. 

While your own experience may not be this extreme - where might you risk to have just a tad more fun or zip in your day?  Would you be willing to try some new foods and let go of some old ones?  Would you be willing to attempt a new sport?  I went rowing for the first time last week and while I was pretty lousy at it at first, by the end I found a rhythm with it.  This week I'm giving indoor rock climbing a try.  I met a man who won't do such things because he figures if he gets injured and can't work, his life is over.  The odds are greater he'll be fired for doing boring work since he can't bring himself to live a little.  Food is the only area he seems to be adventurous in and then he worries about getting fat so he starves in between adventures.  Then wonders why the weight sticks around on his poor body that is struggling with his conditions. 

Lightening up is not just a slogan.  It's having things be more fluid, fun and free.  It is not about putting yourself in danger but rather giving things a go that can bring more life into your life.  Step out and Risk Light... I want to hear what you are up to.

Monday, September 5, 2011

20% off paperbacks or downloads

Use the code September305 at checkout and get 20% off all books and Cd's at

Get paperback copies for yourself or start stocking up for gifts.  Paperback recipe books are great stocking stuffers. (yeah, I don't usually think that far ahead but why not...???)  Take advantage of the savings today! 

Saturday, September 3, 2011

Do you want change? Are you willing to remodel?

I used to be such a self help junkie and I read books, got inspired and nothing happened. I went to seminars, had private sessions and I wanted to believe the promises, but still nothing much changed. I didn't want to give up the struggle because that was woven into my identity. Then I learned a little about identity. Who we believe ourselves to be and how it keeps us in the problem.

A beautiful friend of mine is remodeling her home in Westwood, CA. It's a big project and it doesn't sound like it is always fun. In fact, things go wrong, they take more time and effort than she might have thought they would. It is something she has to think about and work on each day, instead of just letting someone else do it. I know when it is all done she will have an incredibly beautiful place because that is what she creates. She doesn't give up in projects like this. She rolls up her sleeves and she stays in the game. I'm sure other people might give up or not have it turn out the way they want and just settle.

How many people do settle with their physical body or their relationships or their jobs? How many people settle and let go of their dreams to just live day to day with the pain of not having what they want? They've let their identity slip into a place of discomfort knowing they could be living a different life but that would take effort.

Having your body be what makes you happy often takes effort until how you eat, what you eat and how you move around becomes part of who you are and no longer is effortful but easy for you. Just like my friends new home - Decide what it is that you want. Take actions to get it. Keep going even when it feels overwhelming and then celebrate when you reach that dream.

Then you will get a new dream but you will still have to maintain what you created. She isn't going to build this house just to then let it sit in disrepair after a few months. She will make sure it stays as lovely as she envisioned it with regular cleaning and fix-ups. You don't change your eating and exercise and then just let it all go - or have you? Stop it then, and get committed to who you want to be and allow yourself to shift your identity to be that from now on. Then you can just go play on the next dream and the next.

Often when you shift all areas of your life will shift along with that when you really step into being who you enjoy being. It's a much more fun game to play than struggle. Give it a whirl and let me know how you are getting on.

Thursday, September 1, 2011

When a grain is not a grain

Not all grains are equal. They each have their own personality. Most people have decided oatmeal is a good thing to eat for breakfast and never branch out beyond that. Oats though are sticky, heavy and warming. Great for wintertime or a cold thin person who wants to gain some weight. I love oats added to a cookie batter or used as a binder for something like a lentil loaf but if I wanted to lose a few inches I'd choose something else for that first meal of the day.

Millet is the only alkalizing grain and has a lovely flavor. I only like it cooked with extra water though or else I find it dry. Using millet like polenta gives you more nutrition than the corn flour product and it is tolerated better by those with intestinal issues. Cous cous is another one that people confuse with whole grains. It is really more of a pasta than a grain which is why it cooks in just five minutes. Better to use quinoa and get a power protein packed whole food than just a convenient filler.

Jobs tears barley is a grass not a grain because it only has one layer instead of three but it cools and reduces inflammation and pain, has anticancer properties and can strengthen the spleen, pancreas and stomach.

Brown rice is the most ubiquitous and bonds to toxins perhaps better than any other grain and carries them out of the body. It also can be cooked in so many ways or eaten plain or as pudding or breakfast cereal. Just eat the cooked variety for the full benefits rather than rice crispies or chips...