Roast Poblano pepper under broiler until skin is black, put in paper bag for 10 minutes to sweat. In the meantime roast sweet potato in 365 degree oven until soft (about 30 minutes). Using a paper towel pull blackened skin off of the pepper, core and strip seeds out and slice into strips. You can do these steps earlier in the day or night before for faster dinner prep later. Mash sweet potato in a bowl with salt, pepper, paprika and a little chili powder. Drain black beans and rinse. Heat all these items in the microwave if they are cold. Butter a tortilla on one side and set buttered side down on a plate, on ONE HALF of the UN-buttered side of the tortilla, spread the sweet potato, layer black beans, Poblano pepper strips, green chilies, fresh spinach and Jack cheese. Set buttered side down tortilla in medium heated large frying pan and fold over. Fry until tortilla turns golden brown and then flip over and brown other side, by that time the cheese has melted. Slice into wedges. Serve with your choice of low fat sour cream, salsa or sliced avocado.
Berry Good Smoothie
½ Cup Chai Tea
½ tsp Vanilla extract
Can make or buy in carton, I use “Oregon Chai” brand)
½ to a Cup of Mixed berries (blueberries, Raspberries, boysenberries)
Optional addition soy milk or yogurt
Or skip the tea and additions and just use water
Blend in a blender
Peach / Mango
½ to 1 container Vanilla Yogurt,
OR ½ Cup Vanilla Soy Milk
OR just water with maybe teaspoonful of vanilla extract added
½ Cup to 1 Cup Frozen Peaches
OR Frozen Mango
OR both combined (that’s what I do)
1/4 tsp Anise seeds optional ( I like the flavor)
Blend in a blender.
Talked to my Aunt and Uncle today and they reminded me of something. When I started to really get serious about eating better food, something odd happened. The more whole grains and vegetables I ate the less junk food I wanted. Although this intuitively makes sense, I don’t know if it’s just me or a medical fact. Whatever the reason it is good to know. To my family I jokingly call our favorite foods (burritos and spaghetti) junk food. When I have those meals though, later on that night, I do feel a lot more like having chocolate, chips or any kind of snack. I blame it on the white flour and cheese but it could be all in my head. The jury is out but the subjects look very guilty and I am suspicious.With that in mind I developed a healthier burrito that is great when the weather is hot because there is very little cooking. It’s very satisfying and in spite of the white tortilla- (and you could certainly use whole wheat) no cravings later.
I found something that I consistently like to eat for breakfast on the weekdays. It’s become my routine. Every morning I have my homemade Granola. Here is another recipe where I deviate from worrying about calories and focus more on health and satisfaction but it seems to be working. Granola is something we are always told to stay away from because it isn’t a diet food. Well, I am not on a diet, I don’t believe in diets, I believe in eating well, being sensible and reducing my portions. The basic recipe for this granola came from a book but I added spices and every nut/grain that I thought would work. The result is very healthy and really delicious. I have 2/3 of a Cup every morning with 2% milk. That doesn’t sound like a lot but the whole grains keep me fine until lunch. The recipe looks overwhelming with all the ingredients but once you have them in the house it’s easy to prepare. I just get out a big bowl and start dumping the dry ingredients in. Then I use a glass measuring cup for the honey, heat it up in the microwave to make it easier to mix and add the vanilla and oil. To me, it’s worth the time to get these grains and nuts in my diet with something that tastes this good and it isn’t adding any weight to me.
On my quest for a lower calorie, whole food diet everything I eat these days has become an experiment. For example, I see how little dressing I can put on my salad and still feel fine about it. Some days I’m okay with a sprinkling and other “what the heck” days I pour it out. Here is something I started doing that helps me on those latter days. If you don’t like vinegar, it may not work for you.
I make the “Good Seasons Zesty Italian Salad Dressing” adding Balsamic Vinegar instead of white AND I reverse the oil and vinegar amounts. Of course oil is the fattening part of the dressing. It ends up being 1/4 Cup of Oil to a 1/2 Cup of Balsamic. I’ve tried those low cal store-bought dressings and they are awful. I am sorry but salad dressing needs some oil to be good. Today was a good day because my vegetables were so fresh I didn’t need a lot of dressing. No one is going to be satisfied with a salad for lunch is the veggies are less than tasty and sweet. It’s one of the reasons I grow a garden. I am lucky that I have the place and time (barely) to do it. Still, I don’t have that kind of culinary perfection all year. So what to do in the dead of winter? Surprisingly (maybe not), organic vegetables in the supermarket come really close to having that garden fresh taste. Especially carrots, once you tried organic you’ll never go back. If we have to eat more veggies it’s essential that they be freshest we can find because the flavor will encourage us to go back for more and we won’t need a gallon of dressing to cover it up.