I Do Not Drink Coke

Coca Cola Stain Glass Tulip Glass a

Today I was listing some glasses that were in a box I recently purchased at an auction.  This set of Coca Cola Stain Glass with Red Tulip are so pretty.  It got me thinking….when was the last time I drank a Coke?

I told you back in 2011 that I was a die-hard Coke fan.  I used to drink a regular Coca Cola or a Diet Coke with Lime almost every afternoon.

I dramatically reduced my Coke intact in late 2012 and early 2013 as I mentioned in this post.  It is amazing that I no longer eat any of those snacks in that photo.  I still would love to eat the Nature Valley Sweet and Sour Almond Nut Bar, but haven’t had one since late August.  Not sure how it would taste if I did eat one.  All of them are loaded with sugar. After a lot of research, I realize how bad sugar is for me.

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I also listed these White Evergreen Pine Coca Cola glasses today.

Then I reduced my sugar intake in February of this year.  Do I still eat sugar?  Yes, but not nearly as often.  My sugar mostly comes from the fruit I eat, but I will sometimes eat it when I am outside my home.  I rarely eat it when I am home.  That is a good thing. I still love sweet things, but it is amazing how things are tasting sweeter and sweeter to me.

So when was the last time I had a Coke?  I have had only a handful of Coca Cola’s this year, with my last one that I shared with my Mom at an auction sale in Jun or July.  The funny thing is it didn’t taste right at all.  I would say that I have broke my Coca Cola habit.  I am not a fool, and therefore, I know that if I started to drink it again for a few days, the habit would probably come back quickly.

Part of my process in breaking the habit was making sure I was drinking plenty of water a day, drinking green tea, and finding a healthy substitute if I really need something besides water.  My current favorite is a tall glass of water with about a tablespoon of Organic Apple Cider Vinegar, a tablespoon of lemon juice and a drop or two of Stevia. Something about the bite of the ACV cures my craving for a soda pop.

Now that I have broken my habit, I tell myself, “I don’t drink Coke.”  For some reason saying that instead of “I can’t drink a Coke” gives me the control and the power not to feel sorry for myself. It is my choice, and a choice that I know is so good for my health.

How about you have you given up a food or habit that is bad for you?  Do tell.

Pumpkin and Squash Recipes

Pumpkin

I have to share a couple more recipes I found online that I tried and enjoyed.  It is fall, so I have pumpkins and squash.  I wanted new ways to use them and not only display them around my house.

The first is the Pumpkin Pie Protein Smoothie.  I found it on The Lemon Bowl.  I love pumpkin pie, just not the crust or all the sugar.  This seemed like a great substitute.  Check it out to see if you want to try it. I really enjoyed the change. I didn’t add any stevia…the apples and protein powder added enough sweetness, so try it before you sweeten.  I will also even lower the clove next time. I am not a huge fan of clove, so a little less might make it perfect.

The other recipe is Butternut Squash Soup.  I found this recipe on Dr. Frank Lipman website.  I was a little worried.  I have never tried a squash soup before, but it was delicious fresh as well as left over and reheated.  I could taste the onions which made it extra delicious, yet my son said all he could taste was the squash.

If you are looking for some new fall recipes I encourage you to try these recipes and see what you think.  Then tell me, did you like them?

Cabbage Onion Kale Recipe

Cabbage Onion Kale Salad

I have been trying new vegetable recipes.  Picked up Kale, onions and cabbage from our CSA this weekend, so when I saw this recipe today from Amy Meyers MD website, I had to try it.

I wasn’t sure how nutmeg, ginger and cinnamon would taste on vegetables other than pumpkin or squash…it really worked well.  The kale wasn’t bitter at all, and the cabbage and onions almost had a sweet taste.

So if you are looking for a recipe for kale and cabbage go check it out.  Let me know if you try it, and if you like it or not.

How To Freeze Broccoli

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I mentioned before that this year was joined a local CSA, It is called Riverbound Farms. We have enjoyed the yummy, fresh vegetables we can choose each week.  Because we also have a large garden, sometimes I choose several of one item, so I can store it away for later use.  This time it was broccoli.  Look at those heads.  We plant broccoli, but ours never are even close to this size.  Neither are the ones we have purchased in the past in the grocery store.  These are only 3 of the 5 heads I froze.

1.  Wash the broccoli and cut it up.

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2.  Soak your cut up broccoli in a brine of a gallon of water to 4 teaspoons of salt for 30 minutes.  I need to pause and let you know that I found these instructions online. When I saw this step I thought…my broccoli is so clean, I washed it well, I can skip this step.  Well, when I boiled the broccoli there were worms that came out.  So please don’t skip this step.  I had to spend more time cooling it and slowly picking each piece out of the water to make sure there were no worms.  I learned on my second batch.

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3.  Boil water, when it comes to a hard boil, add the cut up broccoli.  Cover and boil for 3 minutes.  Don’t forget to set your timer.

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4.  Then cool off broccoli in an ice bath to stop cooking. Another side note….I have been meaning to clean out my refrigerator’s ice machine.  I used all my ice for this process of three batches, so it was easy to clean.  Another “to do” off my list.

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5.  Spin off excess water in salad spinner.  This was my idea.  Extra water can cause food to freezer burn quicker, so I used my salad spinner to get rid of that excess water.  In case you are wondering, I purchased this salad spinner early this spring and have used it so many times.  My greens stay a few days longer when I use it.  It is a Large Zyliss Salad Spinner. After not having one for so many years, I really do wonder how I got by without it.

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5 Use a vacuum sealer if you have one.  I don’t, so I just used ziplock bags. I filled the amount I wanted and closed.  I left a small hole in the end.  Inserted a straw and sucked the remaining air out, pulling the straw out and sealing it to keep air out. Not sure if you can tell in the above photo but the one on the left is the one I sucked all the air out.  I think it will help it last longer.

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6.  Step back enjoy the completed project and put into freezer.  Big M loves steamed frozen broccoli so it will be nice to have organic, not overly processed broccoli when we want it.

Have you ever tried freezing broccoli?  Any tips to share?

Italian Style Grilled Eggplant

Italian Style Grilled Eggplant

Another week, another new vegetable to try.  Our CSA pickup included eggplant this week.  I have always wanted to try eggplant but just never did.  When the vegetable is sitting on your kitchen counter, you finally decide that you have to find a recipe for it.

We were having grilled hamburgers, so I made Italian style grilled eggplant.  I found the start of the recipe here.  I used coconut oil instead of olive oil.  I did not grill the tomatoes.

They weren’t bad.  Too me they didn’t have much of a taste. I enjoyed them, but not where I had to have more.  I have another eggplant, so I need to find another recipe to try. It was a success in that I am no longer afraid to eat eggplant.

Do you have a recipe for eggplant?

A Morning in the Kitchen

Chopped Zucchini

It’s July, so that means the garden is producing.  I spent the morning in the kitchen.  The first thing I did was made 2 batches of zucchini bread.  In the past I used my food processor to chop up the zucchini. It was time-consuming, and I usually ended up with small chunks.  It worked, but once in a while you would find a piece of zucchini in the bread.  I decided to grind it in my Vitamix.  Yes…smooth, creamy zucchini. Perfect for the bread.  It turned out delicious.

For those of you that know that I have reduced my sugar intake, the zucchini bread was my normal zucchini bread recipe with 1 3/4 cups sugar.  I will probably eat a small piece, but it is more for my boys.  They are 18 and 15.  They aren’t on the no sugar bandwagon, so I still make them their yummy treats.  They are making some changes in the diet, but not as much and Big M and I are doing.

Coconut Butter

I had heard about coconut butter, so I decide to make my own.  I used about 2 1/3 cups shredded coconut that was not defatted.  I ground it in my Vitamix.  The butter turned out yummy.

Cashew Butter

Since that was a success I put two cups of cashews in my Vitamix and made cashew butter.  Ok, this was even more of a success. Everyone loved it.

Coconut Cream

I then went back to coconut.  I had just purchased a container of coconut cream.  We are moving away from dairy.  We found a big chunk of coconut at the bottom.  So I decide to try my Vitamix.  Failure.  It ground it up but it made it a very weird texture almost curdled looking.  Won’t be doing that again.  I need to find out why the chunk was at the bottom and what to do about it.  Anyone else use coconut cream?

Ground Dill

Our dill was looking beautiful, so I had pick dill and dried it for a little over 2 hours.  Normally I scrunch it up with my hands and spend time picking out the larger pieces.  It can be time-consuming.  Out came the Vitamix again. I ground it briefly, and it looked like a course powder…no large pieces of stem left. Quick and easy.  Now I have dill for the remainder of the year.

Rainbow Chard

I was done around noon.  I was hungry.  Since I had my Vitamix out I decided to make a  green smoothie.  I had just picked up some rainbow chard from our CSA.  It looked yummy.  Never have eaten rainbow chard before.  I added a couple of leaves without the stocks into my smoothie.

Rainbow Chard Smoothie

 

It turned out delicious.  It was slightly more bitter than kale when I took the first couple of sips. However, I got used to it and enjoyed my healthy, green smoothie.

It was a productive morning in my kitchen. It is official. I am hooked on my Vitamix. It can do anything I seem to need in the kitchen, except the dishes.