Monthly Archives: March 2012

Slow Cooker Thai Tofu Soup

This week has been a momentous one for me — my daughter turned 21 years old. In a way, it feels like my birthday too, because my life certainly has never been the same since she came along and I became a mom. I still remember the nurse handing her to me, groggy with anesthesia after an emergency c-section. I remember wondering over her tiny toes and inhaling her sweet baby scent from her soft scalp. Now here she is, all grown up, and celebrating her landmark birthday with that customary American rite of barhopping.
It seems she grew up overnight. And yet, as much as I sometimes pine for that sweet baby girl I held in my arms, I enjoy her just as much as an adult. I love being able to show her the world as an adult, particularly the world of travel, and I’m excited to take her wine tasting for the first time at my favorite Portland wine bar.
So I guess my words of wisdom for all you moms out there is to cherish those younger years because they are gone far too quickly. But also enjoy every stage of life your children bring to you because every one is precious and brings its own adventures.
Happy birthday Jordan, I love you so much!
Tip of the Week:
Shake Things Ups
Our bodies are smarter than we give them credit for. Once we start a fitness routine, our muscles quickly adapt and become accustomed to that routine. Pretty soon, exercises that once challenged your body become commonplace and lose their effectiveness. This can cause your weight loss and fitness gains to plateau.
Try changing up your routine every 6-8 weeks. Swap in some new moves, try a new activity, and/or change around the order of your routine. For example, if you typically start with cardio and end with strength, try reversing that. It will not only keep your body challenged, but it will also keep your fitness routine interesting for you.
Recipe of the Week:
Slow Cooker Thai Tofu Soup
14 oz. firm tofu, cubed
6 cups homemade salt free vegetable broth
1 tbsp fish sauce
2 tbsp reduced sodium soy sauce
2 tbsp brown sugar
2 tbsp peeled, grated fresh ginger root
3 cloves garlic, minced
1/2 onion, thinly sliced
4 carrots, peeled and julienned
3 heads baby bok choy, chopped
2 stalks lemongrass (white part only)
1 kefir lime leaf
9 crimini (brown) mushrooms, chopped
1 red bell pepper, julienned
1 can coconut milk
cilantro, chopped — 1 tbsp per servingDirections:
Add the tofu, broth, fish sauce, soy sauce, brown sugar, ginger root, garlic, onion, carrots, baby bok choy, lemongrass and kefir lime leaf to the slow cooker. Cover and cook on low for about 8 hours.

Before serving, saute the mushrooms and red bell pepper over medium heat in a skillet coated with nonstick cooking spray. Cook until the mushrooms have released their water and reduced in size. Stir into the soup, mix in the coconut milk.

Serve topped with a sprinkling of cilantro.

Serving Size: Makes 8 servings of about 1 cup each

Nutritional Information: Calories 111.2, Total Fat 3.5g, Cholesterol 0.0mg, Sodium 340.5mg, Total Carbs 14.1g, Dietary Fiber 2.6g, Protein 7.3g

Chicken Pot Pie

I don’t like to espouse political views on here, my goal is to unite and inspire people around healthy living, not to divide along political lines. That said, something very troubling happened this week.
As you know, there has been a big controversy both in the press and on capitol hill around the topic of birth control. Now the fact that insurance provided birth control is such a controversy is puzzling to me; after all, insurance companies already cover treatment for erectile dysfunction (i.e., Viagra) for men, so it seems unbelievably sexist to me to not provide birth control for women.
This week, the controversy has swirled around the proposal to require health insurance companies to provide birth control free of cost to their female subscribers as a preventive measure. This seems fairly common sense to me — every child deserves to come into this world wanted and in order to achieve that, every woman should have access to birth control regardless of income level. A female law student, passionate about this topic, testified to this end before Congress. Then a certain nationally famous, conservative political commentator went on his radio program and, over the course of several days, implied that this student is a prostitute and a slut for wanting to use birth control then further taunted her to post videos of her sexual exploits online for all to see.
Really? Have we completely regressed as a society? This is the same sort of irrational hatred that Margaret Sanger faced when she became an outspoken proponent for birth control in the early 1900’s — her mere use of the term “birth control” in an article for a woman’s magazine in June 1914 was deemed to be “obscene, lewd, and lascivious” and she was indicted for nine violations of the Comstock Law. That was almost 100 years ago!
Since that time, women have gained the right to vote. We threw away our girdles and burned our bras. We fought and won rights under Title VII, Title IX, and the Equal Pay Act. We have made entry into traditionally male dominated careers. We are no longer just nurturers in the home, but leaders in the business world as well. We have come a long way, baby!
So how is it that there is not more of an outcry to this conservative blowhard? Listeners should be turning him off, advertisers should be pulling their ads from his show, the broadcaster should be shutting him down. To do anything otherwise is to condone this antiquated, sexist attitude.
Okay, off my soapbox now and back to your regular programming…
Tip of the Week
Fill up on Fruits and Veggies
It’s fairly common knowledge that fruits and veggies are a staple of any healthy diet. But I hope I’ve shown you that in order to be healthy you don’t have to purely eat rabbit food. That said, you should be incorporating fruits and/or vegetables into every meal. In fact, best practice is to have at least half of each meal made up of fruits and/or vegetables.
Fruits and vegetables are full of vitamins and nutrients that your body needs be healthy, but also they are generally lower in calories and fat than meat, dairy, and processed grains. When you are trying to lose weight, they make a great, low calorie way to bulk up your favorite dishes without going overboard on calories.
For example, on Sunday mornings I traditionally made some sort of egg dish, bacon and toast for the family. Now, by adding things like spinach, mushrooms, onion, and sundried tomatoes to the scramble I can use just 1 egg per person, cutting a tremendous amount of fat and calories from the meal while adding in essential nutrients like iron, vitamin A and vitamin C.
Give it a try. Get your 5 servings of fruits and veggies and a day and see how you feel.
Recipe of the Week
Chicken Pot Pie
  • 1/2 onion, diced
  • 2 medium carrots, peeled and chopped
  • 1/4 tsp coarse sea salt
  • freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 large russet potato, peeled and diced
  • 6 crimini (brown) mushrooms, sliced
  • 6 boneless, skinless chicken breast tenderloins (or 2 boneless, skinless breasts), diced
  • 1/4 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1 cup skim milk
  • 1 cup homemade, salt free chicken broth
  • 1 tbsp tarragon champagne vinegar (can substitute white wine vinegar and increase amount of tarragon below)
  • 1/2 tsp dried thyme
  • 1/2 tsp dried tarragon
  • 1 cup frozen petite peas
  • 1/4 cup chopped Italian parsley
  • 1 sheet puff pastry, defrosted
  • 1 egg white, beaten

Preheat oven to 400.

Heat a deep skillet on medium heat and coat with nonstick cooking spray. Add the onion and carrot, tossing to coat with the spray. Add the salt and pepper and cook until the onion is transparent. Add the potato and mushrooms and cook just until the mushrooms have released their water and reduced in size. Add the chicken and cook until the outside is slightly brown but still pink in the middle. Stir in the flour, ensuring the vegetables and chicken are thoroughly coated. Stir in the milk and broth and cook – stirring frequently – until the mixture has reduced down and thickened to the consistency of gravy. Remove from heat and mix in the vinegar, thyme, tarragon, peas and parsley. Turn into a deep round baking dish and set aside.

Use a rolling pin to roll out the puff pastry so that it completely covers your baking dish. Stretch the pastry over the top of the dish and trim off any excess around the edges. Pinch the edges to seal. Use the excess pastry you cut off to cut out designs – such as the leaves and berries seen in the picture – and place in the center of the pie. Pierce the top of the pastry with a knife or fork to create vents. Brush the entire top with the egg white. Bake for 25-30 minutes until browned and cooked through.

Serving Size: Makes 8 servings

Nutritional Information: Calories 239.9, Total Fat 7.9g, Cholesterol 6.9mg, Sodium 269.5mg, Total Carbs 29.7g, Dietary Fiber 3.3g, Protein 14.1g