Healthy foods — list

Periodically I research healthy foods — to take a list to the market to remind me to buy vegetables from around the color wheel, and as a guidepost for planning recipes. Then I misplace it and have to re-create it.

Here’s my latest list:

Fiber: 25+ grams/day

Low GI — <55 GI
Low <10
Intemediate 11-19

Brussels sprouts
collard greens
bok choy
Chinese cabbage

swiss chard


almonds, Brazil nuts, cashews, hazelnuts, macadamia nuts, pecans, pistachios, walnuts, and peanuts


Legumes — weekly intake of six servings (3 cups) of legumes
Legumes are inexpensive, nutrient-dense sources of protein that can be substituted for dietary animal protein

Beans — adzuki beans, black beans, soybeans, anasazi beans, fava beans, garbanzo beans (chickpeas), kidney beans and lima beans
Peas — green peas, snow peas, snap peas, split peas and black-eyed peas


Fruits & vegetables — recommend eating a variety of fruit and vegetables daily

NOT potatoes — they don’t count!
Peppers — hot and sweet

Daily consumption of 2 cups (4 servings) of fruit and 2½ cups (5 servings) of vegetables are recommended for people who consume 2,000 kcal/d, while 1.5 cups of fruit and (3 servings) and 2 cups (4 servings) of vegetables are recommended for people who consume 1,600 kcal/d. In both cases, consumption of a variety of different fruit and vegetables is recommended, including dark green, red, orange, yellow, blue, and purple fruit and vegetables, as well as legumes (peas and beans), onions, and garlic.

Dark green
broccoli rabe
collard greens



bok choy; Chinese cabbage
Broccoli rabe
Brussels sprouts
Green beans
Peas (a bean, but still)
Snow peas
Swiss chard

Red — peppers
Sweet potatoes
carrots (eat with fat)

Purple —Eggplant
White — Onions
Especially: Maitake, Shitake and Cremini

Onions, garlic, shallots, leeks

Squash — winter and summer
Jerusalem artichokes


Limit brown rice to 1/2 c cooked


salmon (Omega-3’s)

red beans, kidney, pinto

Umeboshi plum paste
Whey protein powder — isolate
Paleomeal by Designs for health, is one recommended brand


Early summer salad — cauliflower

When Spring hits full-on and it’s time for some warm weather dinner (or lunch) salads, there’s still not much available in the northeast.  But there’s California cauliflower, so enjoy this!


Cauliflower, 1 head
red onion, 1/2
shallot, 1
hot pepper, 1
red pepper, 1
carrots, 2-3
Artichoke hearts, 1 can (packed in water, not soybean, etc oil)
lemon juice
apple cider vinegar (I like Bragg’s)
olive oil
smoked paprika
Optional: garbanzos; blanched green beans, chopped parsley
Grape tomatoes


Prepare dressing:
Squeeze juice of one lemon, and strain into medium bowl.  Add cider vinegar, about 2-3 T.  Slice onion thinly and add to vinegar/lemon; chop shallot and mix in to macerate.

Put in large bowl: Rinse and cut cauliflower into florets. Wash peppers and dice.  Peel and cut carrots. Drain and rinse artichoke hearts; dry, cut into quarters or half and add to bowl. If using, drain and rinse canned garbanzos and add in.

Remove onions from lemon/cider and add to bowl with cauliflower.  Whisk into liquid:  dash of cayenne, bit more smoked paprika, and 1 t cumin.  Add S&P.  Whisk in olive oil, increasing liquid volume by 3.  Taste with carrot. Add grape tomatoes to individual servings (you won’t want to refrigerate tomatoes with leftovers).

Lime pie and its friends

Lemon meringue pie, key lime pie, or The Amazing Lee Bros. Sour Orange Pie. They seem like large endeavors, and that tricky meringue to boot, right? Here’s what I recently learned: there are two ways [there’s a 3d way — frozen, see Nora Ephron] of making these citrus pies: the complicated-curd-on-a-stove-whisk-in-butter way (which is not *that* hard, just a wee stressful tempering the eggs) or the super-simple: mix some juice with sweetened condensed milk and egg yolks, and you’re good to go. Every single time it sets up right!

And then instead of meringue — whipping the egg whites and broiling or tracking down a torch (yeah, right!), just whip some heavy cream with a bit of confectioners sugar and plop it on top and into the refrigerator and you’re done! And besides, doesn’t everyone prefer to see whipped cream on the pie set before them?! Indeed.

So here’s the technique: Juice some limes (or lemons or sour oranges), crack some eggs and separate to use 5 yolks, stir in some sweetened condensed milk and put into pre-baked pie shell and bake for oh, 15 minutes. Remove from oven to let it set for about 1/2 hour, and then pop into the refrigerator and add your whipped cream perhaps with some appropriate zest decorating the top.

What to do with the whites? Coconut macaroons are an easy choice. I’m thinking if I can dig up a recipe I came across, oh here it is! chocolate pavlova with chocolate mousse. Because it’s spring and a girl can’t help but keep her winter poundage! Or to not get into an endless cycle of using yolks, then whites in a recipe that also calls for yolks, then having leftover whites . . . try this or this which features whipped cream with mascarpone on top, a fave of mine, or perhaps Nigella’s coffee pavlova.

Here’s my recipe for Lime Ginger Cream Pie

Preheat oven to 350 degrees (standard or convection oven)

juice of 6 limes, about 3/4 c, strained
1” piece of ginger, peeled and finely grated
5 egg yolks
14oz can sweetened condensed milk

1-1/2 c almond flour

3 T sugar
pinch salt

3 T (1.5 oz) butter, melted [or 1-3/4 c almond flour with 2 oz butter for insurance that crust is not skimpy if you use a larger pie plate]

Combine almond flour, sugar, salt with whisk in a bowl, then stir in melted butter. A pastry blender and a spatula work here. Press contents into pie pan, and bake about 20+ mins until just turning golden.  Remove from oven and either let cool, or jump on in and make the filling.

Put pie dish on a sheet pan.
Juice and strain limes into measuring cup. Add grated ginger.
Separate egg yolks, putting yolks into large-ish bowl.  Whisk egg yolks 1 minute or so by hand. Stir in condensed milk and whisk to combine well, then stir in juice. Mix it all around, and then pour into pie shell.

Put pie pan on sheet pan into oven, and bake about 15-20 minutes, until it’s just starting to set. Put on cooling rack and let cool for at least one hour.  Then cover and refrigerate for at least four hours or overnight. Best within 24 hours, but it’s fine sitting around and waiting for its whipped cream topping.

Whip 1 pint (or less) heavy cream until getting thick, then add a couple T confectioners sugar and whip to soft or medium peaks (not firm! — too dry).  Top chilled pie with cream, and grate some appropriate zest on top and serve.

The Life I picked blog
Bittman How to Cook Everything (ten? year anniversary edition) — lime pie

p.s. Here’s another variation


Baking a cake is not a big deal.  Really.  If you can bake a cake from a mix, you can bake a much more delicious chocolate cake by using this recipe for everyday cocoa cake.  You don’t even have to frost it — just sprinkle with some confectioner’s sugar and serve with a beverage.

One of the problems in my view with American desserts is that they are too sweet.  Think: pecan pie.  One or two bites and your palate is weary from all that sugar.  If you use less sugar, you can actually taste the flavors.  From a cake mix box, there is no natural flavor to appreciate, so sugar is dominant.

Next time you need/want to bake a cake, check out of the library Rose Levy Beranbaum’s Cake Bible or Rose’s Heavenly Cakes and bake a simple yellow cake.  You will be happy.  Here’s a good one to start.

In the meantime, if you want a project that will reward you, try this Donauwelle recipe (pictured) when you have part of two days.  It’s not difficult, just has several steps.  And it will reward you not just in taste — which is superb, like the best Vienna pastry — but in confidence as well.

Winter salad — Watercress, pears and blue cheese

A delicious, elegant dinner party first course.  I served for Thanksgiving.  Pears are in season; watercress is a welcome bright green as Winter is setting in in the Northeast US.




Pears – D’Anjou

Blue cheese

Walnuts – roasted and cooled (375 degree oven for 8 mins until fragrant)


Shallots, minced; soaked in apple cider vinegar to cover

Lemon juice

Walnut oil

Olive oil


Shake in bottle; refrigerate up to a couple days. Remove before using to come to room temp.

Salad assembly:

Wash and dry lettuce and watercress; remove thick stems if needed

Cut pear in half and core with corer, or cut into quarters and slice to remove core.

Cut quarters into quarters  or thirds lengthwise to make moderate-size wedges.

Toss greens with vinaigrette. Place on individual plates. Lay pears in pretty way grouped together on side of plate. Sprinkle walnuts and blue cheese on top. Drizzle more dressing on pears, etc.

Late Summer Fruit Salad

Let’s say you want to try to watch your calories/waistline after months of saying “yes” to every ice cream opportunity. Try fruit salad! Fruit is still fresh, local and flavorful in the Northeast. From poaching fruit for apple and pear tarts, I happened to use the reduced poaching liquid for an impromptu fruit salad. Sublime.

Here’s a re-creation:

105 g water (approx 1/3 c.)

15 g sugar (approx 1 T)

juice of ½ lemon, divided

2” piece vanilla bean, cut in half lengthwise, seeds scraped into pot with water, then pod thrown in too


  1. Heat water and sugar in small pot to dissolve. Stir with wooden spoon. Add ½ of the lemon juice and all of the vanilla beans and pod, and cook for about 6 mins. Let sit out to steep or put into refrigerator to cool quicker.
  2. Cut up:

½ melon, cut into large chunks

½ pt strawberries, hulled and cut in half

½ pt blueberries

one apple, quartered, cored, peeled and cut into medium chunks.

  1. Mix sugar syrup, fruit and squeeze lemon onto apple, and mix.
  2. Refrigerate for at least an hour to allow flavors to blend. Take out at least ½ hour before serving to warm up a bit; though cooler than room temp is desirable.


Other options to explore:

Omit vanilla; use lemon verbena and/or mint

Try stronger flavoring such as cinnamon stick (& star anise?) with or without vanilla bean

Weeknight black bean tacos

Watching calories and carbs but wanting to max out flavor and spice, I devised this quick and easy taco recipe.  From thought to dinner plate in under 25 minutes!

Black beans — a delicious foundation of this dish — get their flavor amped up by sauteing with onion, hot peppers and garlic.  I like Eden brand no salt added.  (I add my own sea salt for flavor.  Ordinary canned beans are loaded with hidden sodium.)

For corn tortillas, I recommend Food For Life brand, sprouted corn tortillas, which I pick up at my local food co-op.  Some day I will actually buy extra to keep on hand in the freezer!


1 can (15 oz) black beans (Eden is good brand; w/o added salt)

½ onion, chopped

½ t ground cumin

red pepper flakes; hot sauce

3 cloves garlic, minced

1-2 serrano peppers, chopped finely


corn tortillas (2/person)


grated cheese, such as Cabot pepper jack (Monterey jack); queso blanco or fresco

salsa (I like Green Mountain Gringo)

lettuce, chopped (optional)

sour cream, watered down if desired (optional)

avocados or guacamole (optional)



Chop onions, garlic and hot pepper. Heat small-ish sauté pan, add 1 T grapeseed or other neutral oil. Saute onions, then cumin, garlic and pepper and pepper flakes in neutral oil for about 5 mins.

Stir in beans. Add a bit of water, stir, cover and cook about 10 mins. Add hot sauce as desired.
Meanwhile: grate cheese, ready salsa, lettuce, etc.

When beans are almost done, heat small sauté pan; brush tortillas with neutral oil, and heat, stacking in pan and turning on all sides, together if desired, until heated through, a few minutes.

Layer on each tortilla: beans, cheese, salsa, avocados, sour cream and lettuce. Fold over tortillas. Yum!

Yield: 4 tacos

Nutrition per taco: 31 g carbs (without avocado); 360 cals; 20 g fat

(avocado adds 4 g carbs for ¼ fruit; 72 calories)