The Flat Belly Diet is a diet with four meals a day. The idea is that you eat around 1600 calories a day, and each meal has a MUFA (monounsaturated fatty acid). MUFAs are the good fats. My mother has been on this diet before, and she lost fifteen pounds and kept it off for almost six months, but some unwise eating around the holidays has her on the diet again. She and I recently bought the Flat Belly Diet Cookbook, and we’re going on the diet for Lent. We’re going to try to post one or two recipes a week, and we’ll track them on this site. I felt vindicated when I saw the book had a recipe for tofu chocolate mousse, even more so when I saw that mine was healthier.

It’s an easy diet to follow, and it’s delicious. You’re allowed to have chocolate, but limit yourself. I don’t think there’s a single thing I miss while on this diet. It does eliminate bacon, but I’ve long been a fan of turkey bacon and chicken sausage. I like them better. Caveat: One part of the diet I don’t follow: low salt. I’m on a high sodium diet for health reasons. However, Katie’s going the low salt route, so you can follow along with her.

I’m going to make a list of things I need to get in my kitchen. These aren’t integral parts of the diet, but they’re ingredients that come up frequently that I seem to be running low on.

Egg whites
Sun-dried tomato
Lean ground turkey
Safflower oil (or flaxseed)
Low-sodium beef broth (I want to make my own)
Dried beans ( Great Northern, garbanzo)
Alfalfa sprouts
More tofu! (I’m going to use it in place of things I don’t like, like feta, so I want soft and silken)
Canola mayo
Low fat plain yogurt
Whole wheat tortillas
Whole wheat pasta (angel hair, rotini, and linguini)
Instant brown rice
Low-sodium vegetable broth (again, I want to make my own)
Slivered almonds
Smoked Paprika
Water chestnuts
Italian turkey or chicken sausage
Bean thread noodles
Reduced fat mozzarella
Dried plums

Green beans
I Can’t Believe It’s Not Butter!
Frozen blueberries
Tomato (you can never have too many!)

Last night, I was on a mission. I had a bet with Katie, and while I often back down from a fight, I never back down from a bet. The candidates: A sixteen ounce package of silken tofu and a fourteen ounce package of soft tofu. The rules: Tofu must be the main ingredient. The bet: I would make Katie like tofu….five dollars were on the line.

Tofu is one of those intimidating foods that people avoid. It’s too healthy, it’s too…weird. Tofu is fermented bean curd. This sounds scary, but it’s significantly less frightening when you remember that cheese is fermented milk curd. And as we know, cheese is all kinds of delicious.

My first recipe: Tofu Chocolate Mousse. For those unfamiliar with it, silken tofu is soft, creamy, and tastes slightly like olive oil. That’s it. I slit open the package and drained the liquid into the sink, then tossed my hapless victim into the food processor. I blended it until creamy, then melted two tablespoons of semisweet chocolate chips. I drizzled them in, then microwaved 3/4 cup of fat-free milk. In the warm milk, I mixed in two tablespoons of Splenda Baking Blend and two tablespoons of cocoa powder, regular old Hershey’s stuff. This was drizzled into a running food processor, and made the mousse creamy rich. I then added three more tablespoons of cocoa powder, and two tablespoons of cornstarch. You, my dear reader, can adjust the cocoa and sweetener to your personal preferences, but I like mine deep and dark and barely sweet. The mousse should now be very thin, because it hasn’t set up yet. Push it through a fine sieve over a bowl. If you want to make tofu fudgsicles, now is the time. Put it in the fridge overnight, and in the morning the starch will have hydrated, and you will have a deep dark fudgy bowl of delicious and craving.

My second recipe: Tofu Veggie Dip. It doesn’t take much to put soft tofu into a dip. I sliced up two small yellow onions into thick strips, and sauteed them on very low heat for half an hour. I dumped the caramelized onions into the food processor with my tofu, and pulsed repeatedly while drizzling in fat-free milk. You can use any dairy here. Sour cream would be nice, plain yogurt would be nice, unsweetened soy milk would be fine. Even cottage cheese could play well with tofu. I added two tablespoons of lemon juice to cut the tofu smell, then pushed it through a sieve, much like the last recipe. I then mixed in a regular old packet of vegetable soup mix and put it in the fridge for two hours so the flavors can blend.

Needless to say, Katie likes tofu now, and it’s going to become a regular staple in our house. With a little food-savvy and a little work, tofu is healthy without tasting like it.


December 17, 2009

Forever 21 doesn’t exist near me. Admittedly, not a ton does; we’re not a very commercial region. Things I love: (sorry it’s not formatted pretty, WordPress is being weird today)

and especially this purse

I love idiy, and they’re giving away an “L Letterpress” Combo kit by Lifestyle Crafts. It’s a $149.99 value!

Here’s the giveaway link:

I would absolutely love to win, since it would be perfect for Operation Quiet Comfort! Though our card project isn’t on the main website, as it’s under construction, sending cards to wounded soldiers is a project I’ve been involved in for 5+ years.

Of course, I’d love the kit for myself, too…custom wedding invitations would be wonderful!

In the kit:
Epic Six Tool and Accessories (combo kit only)
L Letterpress Tool with Packing Mat
Ink Brayer with Base
Letterpress Paper
Printing Plates
Printing Plate Adhesive
Paper Placement Guides

How cool would it be to win?

Wannabe Food Blogger

August 5, 2009

 I love to cook. I love to eat. I’ll try anything once. But I don’t have the time or followthrough to churn out an interesting blog day after day. And for me, the selling point of a recipe is a lovely photo, and that’s something I can’t deliver. I’m living with two kids and two adults, a mismatch of dishes and utensils, and it’s all I can do to make sure the dishes get done.

And when I cook for the family, it’s usually almost gone by the time I remember I should have taken at least a picture of someone’s plate. I don’t cook for the boyfriend because he’s a picky one. He pretty much gets cupcakes from a box with canned frosting and couldn’t be happier. I wish I lived surrounded by adventurous palates. But even if I did, adventurous ingredients are hard to find here in Nowheresville, USA. We don’t even have a post office in my town, let alone a Trader Joe’s or a WholeFoods. What unique perspective could I offer?

I’m limited. But one day, I will fulfill my dream. My husband will build me a lovely house with a spacious kitchen and I will buy a decent camera and cook to my heart’s content.

I truly admire many food bloggers. I make my rounds daily, salivating over lovely recipes. Often, I make the recipe, and it turns out fabulously, but I have neither the camera nor the extra set of hands to photograph such endevours, and for that matter my kitchen is a mess with an outdated color scheme and not a ton of natural light.

I wish I could be a food blogger. They have a fellowship, Bakerella and Deb and Ree (PW) and all the rest of the greats. I feel like I know them. However, I don’t. Which is sad, because I’m sure we’d be great pals. I’m a wannabe food blogger.

the high end of low

June 1, 2009

new manson album. love blank and white.

Religious people are sometimes nuts. Ebver seen Jesus Camp? How many nuts are on youtube?

Our Cabana Trip84 Our Cabana Trip169 Our Cabana Trip67 Our Cabana Trip279 Our Cabana Trip307


May 18, 2009

Looking for a good recipe for fideos. And absolutely craving a dish I had in Mexico…

In a town in Morelos, sequestered inside the barbed wire compound, was a lovely oasis with a lemon and lime orchard, poinsetta trees, mangoes, and lovely red buildings. There were green swathes of lawn, and bunkhouses filled with quietly sleeping girls. There was a dining hall, filled with eager appetites and humble Mexican cooks who introduced us to things we had never considered. Shredded carrot salad with vinegar and spices that I have yet to replicate. Cactus, greygreen like a cafeteria nightmare and yet like nothing I’ve had since. On a trip to Tepotzlán, we tried flower ice cream. I wish for rose ice cream that clear and perfect. But nothing can compare to my yen for the creamy arroz con pollo in that dining hall. I know; traditional dish. Something well known. Something eaten and ignored times before in the States. But I tell you, I yearn for that chicken. It was bone-in chicken, something we never have at home, and the creamy sauce made that meal. I can’t begin to guess what made it different, but I swear I will never have a more comforting, satisfying dinner. Maybe it could never taste the same without bright Mexican skies and the voices of my new friends from around the globe, the day of work and sweat and adventuring, climbing pyramids and bargaining in street markets.

I got a Pandora. Nifty, eh?


I discovered after a few hours that you can only make 100 stations.


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