This morning I posted a rave review of Tosca Reno’s Eat-Clean Diet Cookbook. Why rave? Because it’s one of the first healthy-eating cookbooks I’ve tried that caters to those of us who are addicted to high-flavor foods, rather than bland, uninteresting stuff. Yeah, I know there’s a huge market for the latter, so I can’t in good conscience mark books down for catering to it, but damn it’s so good to find a book that caters to people who don’t want to sacrifice an awesome variety of tasty foods in order to be healthy!
We have at least three more book reviews coming out this week, two of which are also cookbook reviews. Stay tuned for a review of the Ghirardelli Chocolate Cookbook, among others!
Seriously, Tosca’s books have helped us enjoy our healthy eating enough that we’ve been able to keep up with it. And that’s great, because it’s helped me immensely. Finally one of those medical scans showed something; my gallbladder is contracting sluggishly. Not a clear-cut case of it needing to come out, so instead of referring me directly to a surgeon my doc is sending me to a gastroenterologist for another opinion. Eating so well using Tosca’s suggestions and things we’ve derived from her books has made me healthy enough that I can actually indulge in a treat now and then—like a small serving of chocolate bread pudding from the Ghirardelli cookbook—with only mild repercussions.
I’ve always had trouble getting myself to eat salads. They’re too much work to make interesting (i.e., include a variety of ingredients); they aren’t very good; etc. I have a new way of handling that, though. I prep some ingredients early in the week. For example, we take some hothouse (seedless) cucumbers, wash them, and run them through the food processor’s slicing disk. Then we stick them in airtight plastic containers in the fridge. I shred or slice some carrots, or buy them pre-shredded, and do the same thing with them. I’ve also started buying baby spinach instead of or in addition to lettuce, because it doesn’t go bad as quickly and it’s really good. Instead of buying large tomatoes I buy small pearl or grape tomatoes.
Anyway, this makes it much easier to toss together a salad quickly that contains plenty of interesting and delicious ingredients. I often add a few nuts or cubes of cheese; you can chop those in advance and store them too. And of course a small amount of dressing works wonders, too. Now you have a salad with lots of flavor that takes just a minute or two to create, no chopping necessary. And since you have containers of cucumber, carrot, spinach, and tomatoes on hand, you can easily toss a handful onto your plate any time you have anything else as well.
That’s good advice for salads. I have the a version of the problem– I buy salad ingredients because I like salads, but they often go bad before I use them. If they’re easier to toss together on the spot, it’ll encourage me to use them… instead of forgetting that they’re rotting away in the crisper drawer.
That’s exactly the problem I tend to have. Using the food processor to quick chop it up at the beginning of the week has made a big difference for me. And, using things other than lettuce (spinach, cabbage) because they last better.
Great idea with the salads! I used to eat more salads, but ever since all these health scares with lettuce and spinich, I’ve been wary of it. Also, I’ve been reluctant to buy lettuces shipped from CA and AZ based on what I read in The Omnivore’s Dilemma….the high price (ecologically) of growing them, packaging them, and shipping them is so high compared to the calories contained in lettuce. I do miss it though.
Tara: I’m just so lame that if I don’t make things easy I know either I won’t bother at all, or I’ll make my salads too boring and then I’ll get sick of them. I’ve almost entirely switched to baby spinach from lettuce; partly because it doesn’t go bad as quickly (so less waste); partly because it’s so nutritious; and partly because it’s so versatile—it can go in soups, stews; be tossed over a little heat with olive oil, salt, & garlic; tossed onto some fried eggs and cheese as they’re finishing (and lidded for a moment to wilt it)… so I get a lot out of it.