Tag Archives: snack

Doing The RIGHT Thing!! Leading By Example: Cooking Day With Molly

My friend Julie is crazy.  Like in all the very BEST ways, crazy.  I’m so proud of her latest post to Facebook it nearly brought me to tears, I was forced to drop everything and brag about her in this post.  But first, a little health education, as if you actually thought I could write about this topic and not go all geek on you!!

In case you have been living in a cave for oh, say 50 years.  We are in the midst of an obesity epidemic. In ancient historic times a person’s weight was the gauge of their social standing. A thin person often meant poverty and a plum family equated to the fact that they were doing well enough to have plenty to eat. This is not the case now. Our culture is producing the first generation of obese children with the highest risk factor of developing diabetes. The National Institutes of Health estimate that over sixty five percent of Americans are either overweight or obese and the number is climbing. With the rise of obesity, the diagnosis of type-2 diabetes has also been increasing.

We are a nation obsessed with all the wrong types of foods and are constantly being marketed to buy and consume copious amounts of junk and fast food. The American Diabetes Association has been expressing alarm at the fact that approximately twenty one million people have diabetes with a potential of around another fifty four million diagnosed with pre-diabetes (an increased elevation of the blood glucose levels but not at a level to be officially diagnosed as type-2 diabetes). The  are alarming.

Diabetes is a dangerous disease, however, type-2 diabetes has been related as a lifestyle disorder. This means it can start at an early age with a high fat and high sugar diet that lends to the disease progress. By the time of later adult hood, the body functions are set in place to have type-2 diabetes.

Here’s what all the fuss is about:

Over two thirds of the adults in the United States twenty or older are considered to be overweight or obese-
All adults total: 68 percent; Women: 64.1 percent. Men: 72.3 percent

About one third of the adults in the United States twenty or older are considered to be obese-
All adults total: 33.8 percent; Women: 35.5 percent. Men: 32.2 percent

5.7 percent of adults in the United States twenty or older are considered to be extremely obese.

There has been a steady increase in obesity in all ethnicities, genders, ages and education levels. The prevalence of obesity in the United States has increase from 13.4 to 35.1 percent in adults age 20 to 74. Since 2004, while the prevalence of overweight is still high among men and women. There aren’t any significant differences in documented rates from 2003, to 2004; 2005 to 2006 and 2007 to 2008. There hasn’t been any change in obesity prevalence in women from 1999 to 2008; 2009-2010 official statistics have not yet been released, but I’m predicting an increase.

The increase in obesity in children in a 2003-2006 study showed 12.4 percent of children ages 2-5 and a 17 percent of children aged 6-11 were overweight.  Most studies show that there is an increased mortality rate associated with obesity due to all sorts of preventable diseases and recently, even the National Cancer Institute links obesity to CANCER!!!!

If we as a community and a culture are going to encourage a healthy life for future generations, and change these alarming statistics, we have to stop buying prepackaged and premade products from manufacturers that really don’t care about us.  Their job is to sell us product people!  We need to pull the junk food from the schools and replace it with healthier choices (this I could talk about for hours-vending machines in schools still selling regular soda!!? It’s an outrage and a totally separate blog rant later).  We also need to begin learning to eat right and less in volume, no matter where we are.  Lastly, we need to cook at home with our kids!!!!!  I applaud you Julie ( you too Molly! ) for taking steps in the positive direction for change.  I love that you begin with a very humble and also misunderstood veggie, Brussels Sprouts.  Listed below is Julie’s note from FB, keep up the good fight gals!

(Statistics not immediately sited in text were taken from the Centers for Disease Control website:  cdc.gov).

Julie:  So, I’ve been inspired by Cooking Light Magazine and their “12 Healthy Habits of 2011” program (check out their website…it’s a pretty cool thing they’re doing!)  January is the month of adding more vegetables into your diet.  Clearly this will only benefit my effort of weight loss (and my SparkPeople program) so I went to the store today with a mission to get some veggies, try a NEW veggie, and prepare some stuff that will get me through the week.

My new veggie:  Brussels Sprouts.  Yes, Erin, I’m trying Brussel Sprouts.  (I know…you’re tearing up 🙂  I’m linking the recipe that I’m going to use.  (I’m hoping that the link works.)


And, Molly and I created a Three-Bean Vegetarian Chili.  It has butternut squash in it.  Which just happens to be one of my FAV veggies 🙂  Here’s that recipe.


It’s going to be a veggie filled month, I just know it 🙂

(If I tag you, it’s because you’re either a foodie or a diet buddy, or just b/c I adore you.)

I dream in ice cream.

Really, I do.  I could eat chocolate ice cream with crushed peanuts and bananas until I vomited.  Then I would start all over again.  I can’t explain ice cream’s hold on me.  I have always, always loved ice cream.

I can remember when I was a kid, my Grandma Helen would take me to the deli on occasion and we would get ice cream.  Every time Gram would get strawberry, but I would struggle making a choice, selecting very carefully a new flavor that I was sure was the best.  We would walk around eating our cones and within minutes, I would be asked by Gram if I wanted a taste of hers, I of course, would share a taste of mine, and then as if it were scripted, I would end up with her strawberry ice cream cone.  Meanwhile, she struggled to figure out what things like bubblegum, blue moon and superman tasted like as she was stuck holding the newest and greatest flavor I had rejected in lieu of the ever tasty tried and true strawberry.  I have since, moved on to chocolate.

In the middle of grading papers, it hit me.  Must.  Have.  Chocolate.  Ice.  Cream.  Mr. Wonderful, because he is well, wonderful, perked up and offered to drop everything and make an ice cream run.  I couldn’t let him do that (could I? no.)…so I went to the pantry and to Google.  “Chocolate Pudding Recipe” entered and like magic the interwebs returned a number of recipes.  I combined a few pudding and ice cream recipes (basically the same ingredients) to make this one, which satisfied my craving for chocolate goodness, sans bananas and peanuts, which I didn’t have on hand.  I forget how delicious REAL pudding is just out of the fridge.  It’s worth the 20 minutes of effort, with 5 minutes of stirring to get this velvety consistency.  Another bonus, most of the items you probably have in your pantry and fridge right now.  Go on, make your midnight snack before bed, you will thank me later.

Mexican Hot Chocolate “Pudding”

  • 2 C half and half*
  • 2C skim milk *
  • 4 T cornstarch
  • 1 tsp cinnamon
  • 2 hot chili peppers dried, whole
  • 1 tsp ancho chili powder
  • 1/2 C Splenda or sugar
  • 1 tsp vanilla
  • 1 tsp espresso powder
  • 8 ounces semi-sweet chocolate chips
  • 2 whole eggs
  • 1/2 C cocoa powder
  • 1 tsp salt

*You could use 4 C of whole milk if you like also.  To make vegan, omit both milk products and go with a soy replacement, just make sure it’s not labeled “light”.  Coconut milk would be delicious in this too!


Combine cocoa powder, espresso powder, Splenda, spices and peppers in a thick walled saute pan, slowly add the milk and half and half while whisking so as to avoid lumps.  Bring to boil, reduce to simmer, keep stirring for 3-5 minutes.  Remove from heat, add vanilla.

In heat resistant bowl, whisk eggs together with a small amount of the hot mixture, tempering the eggs, add the remainder of the chocolate mixture to the eggs, combine.  Lastly, add the chocolate chips, whisk until melted.

Pour into bowls, coffee mugs, ramekins, whatever you have lying around the house that you can fit a spoon into, wrap in plastic wrap and pop in the fridge.  If you want to avoid the “skin” which I happen to think is gross, but Mr. Wonderful loves, press the plastic wrap down to the pudding until it touches and wrap up.   I tossed a few in the freezer in ziploc containers so as to mimic the frozen delish that is ice-cream.

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Fresh bread, 45 minutes, no yeast. Really. It’s yummy too!

Turns out you can make bread that tastes good, without much time, yeast or overloading your very busy napping, I mean working, schedule on a Sunday afternoon.  I forget that I own this cookbook until I see that someone else has dug out a keeper of a recipe from it.  I made more potato soup this afternoon in the crock pot from basically what we had in the fridge, 6 baking potatoes, 2 small yellow onions, a handful of baby carrots, 4 dried chiles, fresh thyme, a little half and half, and some skim milk while we were busy with grading, laundry, cleaning, etc and this quick savory bread was the perfect compliment to that delish dish.

Olive Oil and Salt Quick Bread
Adapted from Mark Bittman’s How To Cook Everything Vegetarian


  • 1/3 cup of extra virgin olive oil
  • 3 cups all purpose flour (I used whole wheat flour)
  • 1 tablespoon baking powder
  • 1/2 – 1 teaspoon salt, preferably sea salt
  • 1 cup of warm water

To Do:

  1. Heat the oven to 375 and grease an oven proof dish or skillet – 8-9″ is probably best.
  2. Put the flour, baking powder, and salt in a food processor. Turn on the machine and slowly add the olive oil and most of the water.
  3. Process for 30 seconds. The dough should roll into a ball and barely sticky.  If it hasn’t come together yet, add remaining water a tablespoon at a time, processing for 5 seconds each time.  If you want to add herbs, cheese, whatever, to the dough, do it now.
  4. Put the dough into the pan and flatten it until the dough fits to the edges.  Flip and press again. Cover tightly with foil and bake.
  5. After 20 minutes, remove the foil and sprinkle the top with coarse seat salt and herbs (if you like). Bake for another 20 minutes. The top will be golden and it will spring back when touched.

Second Chances

Here’s to second chances.

Recently I had the opportunity to accompany my friend Missy to Chicago with a group of gal pals for her Bachelorette Party, second chance style.  I’ll get to the food part in a minute, because it was GRAND; but first, the bride.  As a group my core contingency of friends has endured many complexities in the past two – three years.  Everything from a parent death, to domestic violence, to a handful of divorces, from first born babies to depression and back again, we faced these challenges as a group and hoped for the day where we could FINALLY celebrate a second chance.   This trip to Chicago was the first of many second chances.  Cheers to Missy and her pursuit of her happy ever after.

Back to your regularly scheduled blog post.  Speaking of cheers.  What goes best with cocktails?  Fabu food of course.  On this second chance tour, we used a pink goblet (32 oz) to procure free beverages, and a bridal veil to elicit many unique looks from passers by.  We even had a flash back to 22 when some of us made our first BIG mistake, and decided that we are glad to be in the range of 30 years old finally.  The food however, the FOOD WOW!  We did a bang up job in the dine out category.  Our visit to Opera Chicago was a really, really good choice by Fancy Nancy.  At Opera, from the veg side of the menu, we enjoyed mushroom won-tons with a green salad and miso dressing,  veggie egg rolls with a teriyake reduction, Kung Pao tofu, Malaysian vegan flat bread, and Hainanese Kaipong (cooked in a Lotus leaf which Missy tried to eat for additional fiber!!).  All beautifully plated and wonderfully light and tasty.  Asian fusion Chicago style is not to be missed at this place.  Do NOT forget to sample the pickles and spicy nut mixture they put on your table.  That was the best pre-dinner bite I’ve had in a long time.  Beware the Thai chili pepper if you are not in to spicy with the sweet.  Please visit.

For breakfast the following morning, we got up at the crack of 8:30, and made our way down to perennial fave, The Bongo Room.  The wait on a typical weekend is well into the 2 hour arena, but if you get there early, when they open at 9am, your wait is nill as I guess Chicagoans don’t like to eat before then and consequently you get a table lickity split.  We agonized over the menu and finally ordered the sweet potato black bean burrito, special eggs benedict (veggie), the breakfast burrito, chorizo omelette, and of course two very special pancakes:  red velvet and walnut with vanilla creme’ anglaise, and white chocolate, caramel and PRETZEL.  I’d honestly like to see a cracker jack, popcorn pancake soon…oh, they have a dish that our new found friends at the table next to us ordered, banana, oreo, chocolate pancakes that looked like a must try for next time.  Eat here, but drink your coffee while you wait from Starbucks across Randolph.  Caution:  The Bongo Room has lackluster coffee.  I’d opt for the fennel bloody Mary instead.  Cheers.

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This is NOT about a recipe…this post is about a snack.

My name is Adri and I have a problem.

This is what I will say when I find the True Delights Multigrain Fiber Crisps Quaker Oats support group with their 12-step program.

I can’t stop eating these things.

My fave are the blackberry pomegranate flavor, I just can’t stop eating them.  I mean, 3 days ago, I bought 3 bags…and today, I have no bags left.  I’m gonna say it’s a pack a day habit. Now I have to return to my dealer, Target to get another hit/bag.  The ingredients list doesn’t say “contains crack” but I feel like the little Quaker guy might be lying.

Happy snacking.  Did I mention they are perfect beach food?  Snack on.