Tuesday, 28 August 2012

the end the end (for reals)

So friends, as my blogging becomes more sparse, I have decided to end the health nut. It's been a lot of fun to write, and the blog has provided a great outlet over the past couple of years, but my heart is just not in it anymore.

I never intended to run this blog like a business...it's sole purpose was for educating (and entertaining), not making money. You might have also noticed that I ended my Foodbuzz affiliation-while it was a good partnership, lately the ads are not for products that I would ever support.

So thank you so much for reading, and all the best to each of you in whatever adventures lie ahead. I'll be keeping a tumblr at healthnutem.tumblr.com, so head over there if you want to keep up with me.



Sunday, 26 August 2012


Here was a fun meal from last week.  This was the first time I've had pasta in about 4 years.  If you think I'm crazy, you are probably right.  But aren't the crazy people the most interesting ones in your life?   Be grateful for us!  

Here's the pasta I used--it's a brown rice penne, and I didn't notice that it tasted any different from the usual but then it has been 4-5 years since I ate pasta...

I just cooked up summer veggies from the fridge:  patty pan squash, sweet red frying pepper (like a red bell pepper), onion, mushrooms, and fresh basil.   I enjoyed it!

my favorite breakfast now

This breakfast is comfort food to me.  I have southern roots and I used to love grits and cream of wheat.  This is reminiscent of both.  Ahead of time, I mix equal parts of buckwheat (medium cut), corn grits, and oat bran into a bowl and mix that up and store it in the fridge.

Then each morning I take out 1/4-1/3 cup depending on how hungry I am, add 1/4 cup soy or almond milk (unsweetened) and twice the amount of water as the cereal.  I also add 1 tsp of chia seeds and, occasionally, 1 tsp of maple syrup.  It's delicious without them also.   Note:  I just bought some almond milk and will probably start using that instead of soy milk since I use soy milk in my soy yogurt and want some variety.

 I stir everything up in my bowl, microwave for 2 minutes, stir again, and then go do something else for 10 or more minutes.  I usually make house-mate's smoothie and go get the paper and nibble on spinach since I use that in the smoothie.  Then I probably will add a little more water, microwave for another minute, add a little fruit if you want (1/2 banana, or 1/4 cup blueberries); let cool some, and then enjoy eating it.

Today I tried an experiment by trying to make waffles out of this.  It was a pretty hilarious disaster because I don't know how to use a waffle iron, but I think there is hope for this.  I will keep experimenting and report when I get something good.  I also tried adding a tsp of cocoa powder to this and it was very good too!

Hi there

It's been two weeks since my last post.   I've been meaning to post and have taken lots of pictures of food.  I went on a long weekend vacation last week.  It gave me the opportunity to test-drive some new vacation food prep ideas, such as Jeff Novick's fast food meals--I think he calls them SNAP.  I just googled that and found a link:  A Simple and Nutritious Plan (SNAP).  He gives lots of examples in his Fast Food video.  I'm going to watch that again this week to prepare for my upcoming longer vacation in September.  Anyway, I tried this out on vacation and it was indeed a snap.  That plus microwaving potatoes plus having my favorite cereal for breakfast took care of me easily.  Here's an example of one:

The ingredients were a can of chickpeas, a can of tomatoes, some frozen corn, frozen peas and carrots and a couple of containers of already-made brown rice.  This is the ideal meal when traveling.  The grocery store I went to did not have a great produce section, but you can always from frozen veggies in a grocery store.   I tried some different seasoning mixes--Mexican was good.  Next time I will bring several more and experiment more with them.

Here they are mixed into two bowls
 then I put them in 4 smaller containers for lunch and dinner for a couple of days, along with a potato.  The potato was more of a floater to hold me over if a meal was late or if I wanted some energy before mountain biking--it's a great easy to eat snack food.  I love plain potatoes.  Sometimes I cut it up and add some parsley, other seasoning (mexican etc) and soy yogurt, other times just eat it plain.

Fall is in the air and my food choices are in transition too.  I've just started eating butternut squash and boy is it good!   We're getting local apples and cabbage.  Fresh sweet corn will be leaving us.  Here's an example of my transition meal from lunch today:

that's cabbage an apple and cinnamon at top left, boiled in a little water.  Top right is 1/2 baked butternut squash mashed up with 1/3 cup almond milk and cinnamon.  and of course sweet corn.  It was  delicious.

The collards in my garden are very healthy and the fear of winter is making me want to eat a bunch of collard wraps this week (eat them fresh that is, rather than frozen from my freezer in winter).  So I made up some Jeff Novick burgers today (the curry one) and will make some white bean red pepper hummus tomorrow, and I have some cooked brown rice on hand, and I'm making a batch of soy yogurt, and  I'll have some other fresh veggies to add to make some nice collard wraps all week long!   and I'll make some potatoes and butternut squash and my favorite cereal for breakfast.  I'll post about that next...

Sunday, 12 August 2012

weekend food prep

Housemate has canned about 48 pints of tomatoes so far.  This week two of them didn't seal so I had some tomatoes to use up.  I decided to make a chili.  You can find the recipe at this link, scroll down to the third recipe.  I like it.  Here is the pot cooked up:

I cooked up a batch of brown and forbidden rice and combined the chili and rice into bowls to freeze for later.  I also wanted to try it with polenta.  So I cooked up some polenta (corn grits):  1/4 cup dry + about 2/3 cups water.  I heated that in the microwave for 2 minutes then let it sit for about 10 minutes.  it got nice and thick.  I divided it into 2 servings with the chili.  

I harvested a bunch of collards and kale from the garden.  Here are four large bags ready to freeze.

I cooked up some greens, onion and tomato for a daily serving in my breakfast (or elsewhere) next week.   and froze those in individual servings.

Last week's food

It was more of the same but I haven't got tired of it yet.

Monday lunch was a leftover "burger" from our cookout, corn on the cob, green beans and carrots, and sliced tomato.  The burger is topped with salt-free mustard, cucumber and tomato.  My drink is water that the carrots and beans were cooked in.  I admit, that's going a little far but it tastes pretty good.

The weather turned cooler and I started panicking about summer and the corn season ending, so I started eating 2 ears of corn!  I don't get it every day so it probably evens out.  Here it is served with some broccoli, and a small baked potato topped with parsley and home-made soy yogurt.

This time the corn was served with beans, sliced tomatoes and baked kohlrabi (sliced).

Today I cooked up some okra (from the farmer's market, a rare treat here), tomato (from the garden), and a cut up potato (baked last night), and a little parsley and basil.  very good.

Breakfast had a new twist this week.  I combined oat bran, buckwheat and corn grits in equal amounts, cooked that up (1/4 cup dry), and added in the greens I made the previous weekend (kale, eggplant, tomato).  I like this.

My weekend breakfasts were treats from the farmer's market.   Saturday it was melon (like a cantaloupe), blueberries and soy yogurt:

Sunday it was a peach, blueberries, and soy yogurt:

Dinners were usually beans and rice (from last weekend's food prep), a salad, maybe a small potato.

On the bad behavior side, I overate blueberries and carrots this weekend.   You might think that would be hard to do, but I succeeded.  The carrots were from the farmer's market and were very sweet.   Having eaten them all, the temptation is gone now.  sigh.

Wednesday, 8 August 2012

adventures in yogurt making

One of my culinary goals this summer has been to make my own yogurt, especially after being frustrated with the lack of organic options at the store (Stonyfield Organic is actually owned by Dannon).  

I browsed through numerous blogs with complicated steps from ovens to coolers to mini incubators...but this method is the simplest and has worked every single time (ok, so twice). 

  • crockpot (I got mine at a thrift store for $10)
  • kitchen thermometer
  • heavy saucepan
  • cloth canning bag or cheesecloth
  • half gallon 2% milk
  • starter-plain yogurt of your choice (must have live, active cultures)

1) a:  turn crockpot on high. b) use local//organic milk- 2% or higher is better 

2) heat milk on medium until it reaches about 185-190 degrees F. 

3) place pan in a sinkful of cold water (apparently there was some dishsoap hanging out in my sink) and let cool until at ~100 degrees F. 

4) stir starter into 1 cup of milk. you need 1 T starter per 2 cups of milk (usually about 4 tablespoons). pour the remainder of the milk into heated crockpot and switch crockpot off. 

5) add starter + milk mixture to milk in crockpot and stir. place the lid on crockpot and cover with a towel overnight.

6) in the morning, take the whole crockpot and stash in the fridge for 2-4 hrs. You can strain the yogurt after this step if you want to. I use a cloth bag I found in the canning aisle to drain about half the yogurt before mixing it all together. 

7) add fresh fruit, cinnamon, and agave or toppings of your choice. 

I like this recipe because I can control the sugar content and customize flavors based on my fruit preference of the day. The Michigan peaches have been amazing and are my favorite addition lately.

Let me know if you try this! It seems like a lot of steps, but it's really not, and once you've done it a couple of times you won't even need the recipe anymore. 

Monday, 6 August 2012


I have very simple tastes I think.  So this may not appeal to others as much as me but this was just what I like:  corn grits, buckwheat and fruit:

I used 1/8 cup corn grits, 1/8 cup buckwheat, added 3/4 cup water, cooked in the microwave for 2 minutes; stirred, let cool while I heated up my frozen fruit (fresh Wisconsin fruit from the farmer's market).   Cooked the cereal for another minute.  added the fruit; let stand for another 10 minutes or so to cool and cook a little more.    This is my favorite breakfast so far.   I ordered some oat bran and when that arrives I might try a mixture of all three, but it's hard to imagine I will like it more than this.  I've always loved grits.

Sunday, 5 August 2012

practice makes flow

A friend pointed out this article to me from Mark Hyman:


I really like this article.  He suggests a 90:10 rule to keep you from falling into the trap of perfectionism, which can lead to trouble when you fall of the wagon for whatever reason.  He talks about Hungarian psychologist Csikszentmihaly's concept of flow, in regards to your general life as well as your eating style.  I read Csikszentmihaly's book with the same title and thought it was very good. Also, Hyman reminds us that our ultimate goal is to be happy.  Nice article.   

Weekend cooking

I made my usual pot of beans and rice this week.  I cooked up a half pound of dried beans--this week I chose white.  I added some dry-fried onions, tomatoes from the garden, oregano, and at the end fresh basil from the garden.  It's good.  I cooked up about 4 cups of brown/forbidden rice.  I combined the beans and rice into single-serving bowls and froze them for later in the week (tomorrow will be leftover "burgers" from today's cookout):

While preparing the beans, I chopped up an eggplant; then I decided that is too much eggplant for the beans so I changed my mind and decided to make a big batch of greens--kale in this case.   So I fried up the onion, eggplant, added kale and water and tomatoes and oregano, and added fresh basil at the end.  I froze this into single-serving bowls to freeze also.  So now I can have a serving of cooked greens every day if I want.  That will save cooking time!

My meal plans are pretty similar to last week:  cooked cereal and fruit for breakfast; then some combination of corn on the cob, potato, cooked veggies (I also have broccoli and green beans and carrots in addition to the ready-made greens), rice and beans, and salad for lunch and dinner.  I mix and match depending on my schedule.


We had a cookout today!  I'm still enjoying the novelty of this.  I roasted the corn on the grill and it was fabulous.  We shucked it, soaked it in water for about 20 minutes, wrapped it in foil, then put it on the grill with the meat (for others).  It takes about the same time to cook.  I also had a Jeff Novick burger with "ketchup" (chopped tomato and grape), "pickles" (sliced cucumber, d'angou pear vinegar and dill), and no-salt mustard; and Jeff Novick's potato "fries" with a little soy yogurt and "ketchup" (added after I took the picture.  Housemate had a bratwurst and potato salad with her corn.   This was very enjoyable!

I later had a big salad for dinner to get some greens in.

Saturday, 4 August 2012

Informative websites

I just found this, where Jeff Novick compiles most of his articles:


Here's a  Q and A with Dr. Esselstyn:


freezing fruit

I don't know why I never thought of this before.  It's only for a short time of the year when we get a lot of fresh local fruit in Wisconsin.  Today the farmer's market had watermelon (seedless yellow dal), cantaloupe, blueberries and peaches.  And they were all as good as it gets.   Tonight I was concerned that I would either have to eat a lot of fruit the next 2 days or it would go bad.  Then I realized I could freeze it.  So I cut it up into a big bowl.  There was a lot of liquid so I realized freezing it into one big bag would make it hard to chop off an individual serving so I dished it out into single serving bowls.   I'll put these in my morning cereal every morning!   My morning cereal has been buckwheat lately.  I'm thinking of trying oat bran and corn grits this week.

breakfast in 2.5 secs

I've never been a huge fan of french toast (maybe it's the weird texture the cooked egg forms on the bread?), but I had a request for stuffed french toast and this recipe popped up quite conveniently on the g.reader earlier. I'm trying to be more adventurous with new recipes, so french toast making began...

stuffed french toast (starring farmers' market peaches)

     3-4 tablespoons cream cheese
     2 teaspoons cinnamon
     1 tablespoon powdered sugar 
     1 teaspoon vanilla extract

4 slices bread (I used cinnamon raisin Ezekiel bread)
2 eggs
1/4 cup milk
1-2 teaspoons cinnamon
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
fresh peaches (or other fruit of your choice)

Warm cream cheese and stir together with remainder of filling ingredients. Whisk egg, milk, cinnamon, and vanilla extract together. 

Dip 1 slice of bread into egg mixture. Spread filling and place peaches on top. Dip another slice of bread into egg mixture and place on top of first piece. Cook evenly on both sides in frying pan until desired doneness. 

The verdict? Pretty delicious, even for a non-french toast fan. And the recipe takes about 10 minutes, so  you'll be off to the beach in no time (way waay before anyone else gets there). 

Or the farmers' market. After which you may decide to make sandwiches featuring all the vegetables you just bought with fresh bakery bread, homemade hummus, and red pepper aioli

I love summer; as much as some of the weather has been borderline unbearable, I know I'll be complaining when it's -3 with 2 feet of snow. So thankful to be able to take advantage of fresh food and  days full of beach and sunshine. This mostly happens on the weekend, which is part of the reason I look forward to Friday so much.

Happy weekend. Hope you are outside and eating something delicious!

Friday, 3 August 2012

This week's food

This was a very busy week for me with lots of work and little sleep.  Fortunately food prep was a breeze, the deadline ended at 5 pm today, and tonight was celebration, relaxation and watching the olympics.  Hopefully I'll get a good night's rest so I can go mountain biking tomorrow.

My photo taking was random but here are some excerpts from my meals.  Breakfast was cooked buckwheat cereal (takes only a couple of minutes in the microwave), cinnamon, and fruit.  I like this a lot.  I use frozen fruit that I prep for housemate's smoothies, so it cools off the buckwheat, which is nice in the summer.

Lunch or dinner (depending on my schedule) this time of year is an ear of corn, a veggie or salad, and a starch.  I love it.  Here are some examples:

steamed broccoli and potatoes:

Salad and baked potato.  I had forgotten to get lettuce at the store so I used spinach, some kohlrabi (or cucumber), tomatoes from the garden, basil from the garden, a little ground flaxseed and some fruit/balsamic vinegar.  very good.  A couple of times at dinner and lunch I had a salad with spinach (still didn't have lettuce), mushrooms cooked for a minute in the microwave with nutritional yeast and date balsamic vinegar, tomatoes, and a cut up yellow squash.  That was also very good.

Here's some classic comfort food (peas, potato and corn).

Today I had greens and 1/2 sweet potato.  The greens were really good:  Start by dry-frying the onions, then add water, kale or collards, a tomato from the garden and basil from the garden.   I loved this lunch.  The greens I harvested on the weekend and froze to they were easy to prepare--hammer on the frozen bag which shatters them, pour them into the fry pan--takes about 30 seconds!

I didn't take pictures of my beans and rice.  I cooked up some black beans last weekend with a little eggplant (because it was there), tomato, green bell pepper, oregano, cumin;  cooked up some brown and forbidden (black) rice.  Let them cool, combine the rice and beans into single serving bowls, froze a bunch of them, left some out. This makes for an easy component of a meal each day.   The other part was the usual: a small baked potato or 1/2 sweet potato (they are big), and cooked greens or a salad.

So that's all there was to the food prep:  easy, delicious and healthy.  And there were lots of raw carrots and cooked kohlrabi sticks (I'll post on that soon).

Today when the deadline was over, I celebrated with housemate.  I had previously told her my idea of not having forbidden foods anymore, just eating very little of the unhealthy foods (like one bite of ice cream), so she suggested going out for ice cream.  Thankfully I only rarely have a desire for unhealthy foods, and today wasn't one of those days, so I brought my own favorite treat:  frozen fruit and soy yogurt.  Here I am at the ice cream shop with our treats.

Then my other celebration was...

popcorn! while watching the Olympics.  Air popped of course.  I've had very little popcorn the last 5 years (was not considered healthy), except for once or twice when I was "bad".  It's pretty bland without salt and butter, but I could get used to it.  Your taste buds adapt after you try something a few times.   It smells good popping.  It was fun and that's the most important thing tonight.