A Longevity Diet? Learning From the Blue Zones | Senior Planet

Summary:

  • high carbohydrate diet centered on whole grains
  • beans
  • eat less
  • eat more earlier in the day, less at night
  • drink alcohol
  • socialize

In my 20’s I was vegetarian for about a year and a half.  I managed to drive everyone around me crazy with my soapbox rants about how eating fast food burgers were the root cause of rain forest clearing for livestock grazing in Central America.  I’ve mellowed with age and no longer rant endlessly about the health benefits of a plant based diet.  I eat almost anything I want, just more of some things and a lot less of other things.  On a weekly basis, approximately two thirds of my meals are meatless.  Bean burritos are a staple, along with homemade bean soups and hummus.  Plenty of fresh fruit and vegetables, complex carbohydrates, some good craft beer.  I eat differently than I did growing up.  But I guess that’s obvious given my history of losing over 200 pounds.

Good article and audio.  Check it out.

via A Longevity Diet? Learning From the Blue Zones | Senior Planet.

Peanuts May Lower Cardio Death Risk – Medpage Today

Nut (predominantly peanut) consumption is inversely related to all-cause and especially cardiovascular mortality in African-American and Chinese men and women.

The inverse association of nut consumption and mortality is unrelated to baseline metabolic conditions.

It’s a cardiovascular intervention that literally costs peanuts.

via Peanuts May Lower Cardio Death Risk | Medpage Today.

This is great news.  My unique preference for peanut butter and pancakes turns out to be scientifically heart healthy given my ethnicity.  More peanut butter and jelly sandwiches, Pad Thai with crushed  peanuts, spring rolls with peanut dipping sauce, and Reese’s Peanut Butter Cups.

Update 03.04.15

I ate a mini peanut cup last night.  The jar of dry roasted peanuts was moved from the cupboard to my office.  I have absolutely zero guilt.  It’s for my heart.

Butternut Squash Enchilada Casserole

Butternut Squash Enchilada Casserole

1 T olive oil
1 butternut squash (1½ lb.), halved and seeded
1 medium sweet onion, diced (1 cup)
1 4.5 ounce can diced green chiles
1 clove garlic, minced (1 tsp. )
3 oz. cream cheese
1 tsp. ground cumin
½ tsp. ground nutmeg
Enchilada sauce (homemade or canned)
8-12 corn tortillas
2 cups shredded sharp Cheddar cheese

1. Preheat oven to 350°F. Place squash cut-side down on baking sheet. Roast 45 minutes, or until soft. Allow to cool, scoop into a bowl and mash.

2. Heat oil in saucepan over medium-high heat. Add onion, and sauté until soft. Add chiles and garlic. Cook 1 minute.

3. Stir in mashed squash, cream cheese, cumin, and nutmeg. Turn the heat off and mix well.

4. Preheat oven to 350°F. Spread 1 cup enchilada sauce over bottom of 13- x 9-inch baking dish. Layer tortillas followed by the squash mixture, then cheddar cheese. Repeat, ending with cheddar cheese as your final layer on top. Bake for approximately 30 minutes or until the sides start bubbling and the cheese is melted and gooey.

5. Serve with your usual Tex-Mex sides and condiments. Extra cheese, sour cream, sliced avocado, green onions, jalepeno peppers, salsa, chips, beans, rice. Or a side salad works too but not as satisfying.

I sometimes forget this blog is about recipes.  I get off on a tangent like mislabeled seafood or nasty who knows what’s in them chicken nuggets from China.  FOCUS!  It’s about the food, the recipes, and the memories.  A long, long time ago in a galaxy far, far away I used to make a squash enchilada  casserole when fall rolled around and the hard squashes started appearing in the market.  I was always amazed at how tasty this dish was without any meat in it.  Like all great family recipes this one exhibits the following classic characteristics.

The kids didn’t like it when they were little and I never wrote the recipe down.  I’m sure if I wanted to waste an hour or two I could find the original recipe yellowed and faded, taped to a 3 x 5 card somewhere.  I also know that when I find the original recipe it won’t be how I make it now.  Why bother looking? I do recall the original recipe called for some cooked potato added to the squash mixture.  I also recall the original did not have green chilies in it.  So here you go. This recipe is from memory.  I hope it tastes good.

I can’t believe this is my 100th post.

TIPS

 If you like (or need) an extra kick, sub a heartier pepper for the green chilies.  Need protein?  Add a can of black beans, rinsed and drained, to the middle layer of the casserole.  Monterrey Jack would be a nice sub for the cheddar.  Or Smokey Chipotle Cheddar might work too.  (I have a chunk of this in the fridge and it’s looking for a recipe).  But most of all, have some fun with this recipe.

Update 11.17.14

I know, two days after posting and I’m making changes already.  Step 4 –  for the middle layers, tortillas, squash mixture, cheddar cheese, repeat.  No enchilada sauce.  The red sauce goes only on the bottom of the pan and on the top layer of tortillas.  The final layer is tortillas, enchilada sauce, and shredded Monterrey jack cheese.  Yellow corn tortillas are fine but I used white corn tortillas.  I only needed ten tortillas.  You’ll get eight generous servings from this casserole.  I made some quick enchilada sauce with a 28 ounce can of diced tomatoes and some chicken stock.  You can leave out the chicken stock if you’re a picky vegetarian.  You can leave the cheese off too but I won’t take any responsibility for how your casserole turns out.

Whole Wheat Pumpkin Pancakes

Whole Wheat Pumpkin Pancakes

1/2 cup whole wheat flour

1/2 cup all-purpose white flour
1/2 cup quick-cooking rolled oats
2 tablespoons brown sugar
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon salt
2 beaten eggs
1 cup low fat milk
2 tablespoons cooking oil
1 cup canned pumpkin

1/2 teaspoon pumpkin pie spice

In a medium mixing bowl stir together flours, rolled oats, sugar, baking powder, baking soda, and salt. Make a well in the center. In a small mixing bowl combine egg, milk, pumpkin, spice mix and oil. Add egg mixture to flour mixture all at once. Stir batter just till blended.
For each pancake, pour about 1/4 cup of the batter onto a lightly greased preheated griddle or heavy skillet. Cook several pancakes at a time over medium heat for 2 to 3 minutes, or till the tops are evenly bubbled and the edges are dry, then turn and cook until golden brown on the second side. Repeat with remaining batter.

An unused cup of canned pumpkin stored neatly in a tiny plastic container  sat at eye level in the fridge for nearly a week.  This was really starting to bother me.  I really didn’t want to throw away perfectly good pumpkin.  Worse, I hoped the squash wouldn’t spoil before I figured out what to do with it.  Muffins?  Bread?  I just couldn’t make up my mind.  Eventually I settled upon pancakes.  Those with a keen eye will notice that this recipe is pretty much my standard pancake recipe with pumpkin in it.

Memo to Family:

This is a new recipe.  So don’t try to remember when I first made everyone orange colored pancakes.

Crispy Black Bean Tacos with Feta and Cabbage Slaw – (NOT) Bon Appétit

via Crispy Black Bean Tacos with Feta and Cabbage Slaw – Bon Appétit.

There are a bunch of clipped recipes in the cookbook holder by the stove.  This Bon Appétit recipe has been there since 2009, February 2009 to be exact.  We love this recipe for a quick and healthy meatless meal.  Earlier today I glanced at the recipe to make sure all ingredients were on hand because you always have at least one ingredient missing.  I just don’t want the missing ingredient to be missing after I start cooking.

Wait a minute!  This isn’t how I make this dish!  OK, full stop.  No more writing.  I will make my tacos tonight and then write the recipe down.

6:41 PM CST update

I’ve left the link to the original recipe.  I was right.  I make this dish differently than I did five years ago.  So here we go.  I also made some fresh guacamole and to be perfectly honest, the flavors are intense, the textures varied, and it…is…HEALTHY.

1 15-ounce can organic black beans, drained, rinsed
1/2 teaspoon ground cumin (maybe more)
3 teaspoons extra virgin olive oil and 2 teaspoons canola oil
1 whole lime juiced, 1/4 lemon juiced

1/4 cup diced red onion, 1 clove garlic minced

pinch oregano, dash celery salt (trust me on this one)

2 cups organic green cabbage, thinly sliced
2 green onions, chopped
1/3 cup chopped fresh cilantro
4 white or yellow corn tortilla shells, crispy
1/3 cup crumbled feta cheese
Your favorite hot sauce or salsa

  1.  Drain and rinse the black beans, set aside.
  2. In a small saucepan, saute the onion and garlic until soft.  Add oregano, cumin, and garlic. Saute until the spices are fragrant.
  3. Add the well drained black beans.  Add lemon juice. Heat until warmed through.  Mash the beans with a spoon but leave it chunky.  Season with celery salt. Set aside.
  4. In a medium mixing bowl, whisk the olive oil and juice of one lime.  Season to taste with salt and pepper.  Add a dash of sugar to cut the acidity if needed.
  5. Add the green onions, cilantro, and cabbage.  Mix well and set aside.

This recipe will make enough for 4-6 tacos.  If you need more servings, double the bean recipe and buy more taco shells. You will not need to double the cabbage slaw portion.  You’ll have plenty.

Construct your tacos.  Place some beans in the taco shell, followed by salsa, feta cheese, and slaw.  If you are using guacamole, put in on your taco last.

TIPS –

We recently discovered La Tiara authentic Mexican taco shells from Gladstone Missouri.  Yeah, I was thinking the same thing as you until I tried these shells.   Use fresh cabbage and not the bagged sliced slaw next to the bagged salads.  In a pinch, go ahead and use the bagged stuff.  But once you use fresh cabbage, you won’t go back to the bag version.  This taco recipe is perfect for a Meatless Monday.  May I suggest oven roasted sweet potatoes and corn for sides?

Going Greens: Edmond’s Upward Harvest lives the gospel of local, sustainable growing practices – News OK

via Going Greens: Edmond’s Upward Harvest lives the gospel of local, sustainable growing practices | News OK.

Upward Harvest Home.

I was at the market the other day and I saw potted plants strategically located throughout the fresh produce section.

Why is the grocery store selling plants?  Indoors, no less.

I really didn’t give it much more thought until I stumbled across this article in the local paper.

How cool is it to have an organic hydroponic farm in your town?  Read the article and check out the video.

Kind of makes the earthquakes bearable.

Sort of.

Rocky Top Coleslaw – Food Network

I love coleslaw but most of the prepared slaw  in the markets are just OK.  One day I decided to make my own coleslaw and found Bobby Flay’s recipe on the Food Network site.  It didn’t take long for me to make my usual adjustments and now the recipe is my own version of Rocky Top.  It’s coleslaw so you have to keep it simple.  Use a bag of pre-shredded coleslaw from the market.  The quantities for the dressing are all reduced from the original recipe.  I’ve substituted garlic powder for fresh garlic and celery salt for celery seed and salt.  Who has champagne vinegar laying around?  I use apple cider vinegar.  All dressing quantities are estimated.  Let your taste buds be your guides.

via Rocky Top Cole Slaw Recipe : Food Network.

Cole Slaw Dressing:
1 cup mayonnaise
1/2 cup sour cream
garlic powder (to taste)
2 tablespoons apple cider vinegar
1 tablespoon granulated sugar
1 – 2 teaspoons celery salt
Pepper

Can you visualize a huge scoop of this coleslaw on top of a cold turkey meatloaf sandwich?  I thought so.

Yogurt Pancakes

In the cookbook collection sits several old paperbacks.  As is the case with many cookbooks, they sit on the shelf quietly waiting for the right time to be opened once again, it’s owner searching for then finding that one recipe, the sole reason why that book sits on the shelf for many years.  This book is a paperback, the pages yellowed from age, its spine cracked held together by a piece of aged tape.  Not surprisingly when taken off the shelf the book opens almost by itself to the desired page.  It is the only page in the book that gets read because it holds the only recipe in the book we use.

Before there were whole wheat pancakes, there were yogurt pancakes.  The yogurt adds a hint of sweetness and makes a truly tender, delicious pancake.  The weekend before #1 and his wife moved to Rhode Island our wonderful daughter-in-law asked,

“Can you make yogurt pancakes for breakfast?”

The answer of course, was yes.  But the book was part of my wife’s collection when she was single, copyright 1978, Yogurt Cookery by Sophie Kay.  How did wonderful daughter-in-law even know about this recipe?

As with most recipes that manage to hang around for a long time, changes were made, and our recipe is an adaptation of Kay’s Fluffy Pancakes.  So I can honestly say these pancakes are a family recipe.  Make a lot when you make these pancakes.  Yeah, they’re that good.

How did she even know about this recipe?

 

Yogurt Pancakes

1 cup all-purpose white flour

3/4 cup vanilla yogurt
2 tablespoons light brown sugar
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 egg beaten
2 tablespoons canola oil
1/2 cup low-fat milk

In a medium mixing bowl stir together flour, sugar, baking powder, baking
soda, and salt. Make a well in the center. In a small mixing bowl combine egg, yogurt, and oil. Add
egg mixture to flour mixture all at once. Stir batter just till blended.

For each pancake, pour about 1/4 cup of the batter onto a lightly greased preheated griddle or heavy
skillet. Cook several pancakes at a time over medium heat for 2 to 3 minutes, or till the tops are evenly
bubbled and the edges are dry, then turn and cook until golden brown on the second side. Repeat with
remaining batter.

Tips

The milk amount is estimated.  You want enough milk to make a batter that’s not too thick or too thin.  Too thick = glob.  Too thin = crepe batter.  But you do want a consistency more towards the crepe batter.  Real maple syrup.  No substitutes.  You can serve with fake butter but real maple syrup is mandatory.  We served these pancakes with a choice of real maple syrup or maple cream.  Add  eggs any style and some breakfast meat.  Yum.

Portabello Mushroom and Spinach Frittata

Portabello Mushroom and Spinach Frittata

Yum!

We were in Texas this past weekend.  While in Fort Worth, my sister-in-law kept threatening to make a frittata for breakfast.  We all told her, no.  We’re having a huge lunch.  We ate a lot today already.  Please don’t make a frittata.

The frittata was never made but I’ve had frittata on the brain since.  So I made one tonight.  I found a basic recipe and then went off in the direction of whatever was in the fridge.  Yesterday I bought some baby portobello mushrooms and fresh spinach.  Why not?  I’ll post the recipe if it tastes good.  That’s right, we haven’t eaten yet.

But if this frittata doesn’t hit the mark, that’s right, no recipe.

UPDATE 04.02.14

The filler was killer.  I’m posting the recipe.

  • 8 large eggs
  • Salt And Black Pepper
  • 1/4 cup Grated Parmesan
  • 3 Tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 small yellow onion,  sliced thin
  • 1 clove garlic minced
  • 2 handfuls fresh baby spinach
  • 2-3 large baby Portobello mushrooms, sliced medium thickness
  • 1 roma tomato, sliced, deseeded

Preparation Instructions

Preheat the broiler.

  • Beat together the eggs with the salt and pepper.  Stir in the Parmesan and set aside.
  • In a medium oven-proof non-stick skillet, heat 1 T olive oil over medium heat. Add the onions and cook for several minutes, stirring frequently, until the onions are soft and golden brown. Add mushrooms and saute until the shrooms start to release their liquid.  Add spinach and garlic, and stir to cook with the shroom/onion for a couple of minutes.
  • Lower heat to low and continue to saute until the vegetables have stopped releasing their liquids.  This will take 5-10 minutes.  Set aside and cool.
  • In the same skillet, heat remaining olive oil on high until just smoking hot.
  • Pour in the egg mixture and occasionally tilt the pan to allow some egg to drip to the bottom of the skillet. Lower heat to low.
  • When the egg mixture begins to set, add the vegetables and distribute evenly.  Add the tomatoes on top.
  • Simmer on the stove top until almost fully set.  This will take 10 – 15 minutes.
  • Pop the skillet under the broiler until the eggs are set and  remove once you achieve a nice browned top.
  • Allow to cool in the skillet for 10 – 15 minutes.  When cool, transfer to a serving plate.  Slice.  Eat.