I just love the farmers market during Summer.  This is not my fave season, although if you have friends with a beach house — as it turns out I do —  life is certainly greatly improved.  But, goodness, the market is lush with fruits and vegetables for the most healthful cooking.  And, living.

Of course, we are in the middle of peach season – yummy.  Eaten in the hand, or sliced into whole grain cereal and a dash of nutmeg, or macerated in cognac with a scrape of vanilla bean.  And, that’s if you aren’t going to cook cobblers, pies, crumbles.

Summer Wonders

Summer Wonders

This weekend, at the Union Square greenmarket in Manhattan, I happened upon the cutest little tomatoes.  Larger than cherries, smaller than standard.  With a deep orange/red color and topped with a dash of burgundy.  Wonderful.  I cut them up and added them to my sautéed fairytale eggplants, with some roast chicken.  And a crumble of James Brown blue cheese from the Cato Corner farm.

I would show you that dish, but gee, it seems to have disappeared.  But, here are some of my market goodies sitting on my NYC kitchen windowsill.

 

This is the time of the year when I cook up some of my grandmother’s garden vegetable dishes: with fresh green beans or zucchini. When I was growing up, you could not get me to eat them.  Now, they are not only redolent and evocative of my youth, they are simply delicious!

Grandma’s Green Beans

2 Tomatoes (Beefsteak are fine, no sense overpaying for heirlooms at this time of the year)

3 handfuls of Green beans (look for those flat Roma beans – but any type or color will work)

2 or 3 smallish Potatoes (I like the little Yukon Golds — starting to see the first picks of the season)

3-4 T. Extra Virgin Olive Oil

Cut up the tomatoes, put them in a saucepan first — they create most of the liquid you will need for this dish.  Cut up the potatoes into biggish chunks then toss in the green beans. I remove the ends – cook’s choice.  Drizzle on the olive oil, pour in (maybe) a couple of tablespoons of water, salt and pepper.  Put on the lid and cook at a low, slow simmer.  20-30 minutes or so.  This is no al dente affair.  More like a vegetable stew.  I let the potatoes determine the length of the cook.  If you pick a potato that can stand up to the cook, you should be fine.

Buon appetito!

 

 

I am back at one of my favorite retreats. Well, I guess at this point, it is my Favorite, back East anyway. Forget the “one of” part. Kripalu. It is a yoga retreat in the Berkshires, a short drive from Lenox, Mass. It is a former monastery that has been turned into a school for Yogis and Aruyrvedic practitioners. It is also a place for visitors looking for wellness programs, or just a little R&R. You can practice yoga here three times a day, and do this wonderful moving form they call Yoga Dance. The yoga dance is very tribal, very primal, sweat-inducing, and LOTS of fun.

I arrived after a four-hour bus drive, sat next to a cool woman who commuted back and forth between her apartment outside of Boston and the Vermont woods where she lived with the boyfriend she met on You-Tube. When you leave the highly caffeinated world of Manhattan and land anywhere bucolic, it takes awhile to adapt to the deafening din of silence. Crickets in NYC mean no one has come to your nightclub. The smells, the views, the sounds of silence can be intimidating. I walked around, made myself at home in my spartan room (happy to see that the unknown roommate with whom I was to share the room had not arrived yet). A gentle yoga class, a delicious vegetarian dinner, some quiet time in the sun room until three 20-somethings came in to gab. Even then, I wasn’t in the mindset to be the librarian and “shhhhhush” them. I just went to my little room and fell asleep.
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There is a funny thing we weight losers do.  If we should find ourselves gaining weight (and who hasn’t) we find ourselves saying “I have gained a few pounds.”  Or, we will detach the weight loss from ourselves by saying “the weight won’t come off.”  As if it is a separate entity.

So, I am here to say that I have gained 15 pounds.  Not a “few” pounds.  Not “some” weight.  But, let’s be exact here.  15.  Fifteen.  One-five.  I have decided that it is important to say that.  I know I am not alone.  I want to show some courage here and acknowledge it.
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This was one of my favorite cross-cultural confusions while in Denmark.  One morning, while rushing to get out of the apartment for some not typical sightseeing in the Danish countryside, I asked my friend if we might have a little breakfast.  What do you usually have for breakfast, I asked.  He replied that he generally had a filling, but pretty boring breakfast cereal with milk.  We went into the kitchen and poured the cereal into our bowls.  It was called Havregryn. My friend didn’t really know the English name for Havre Gryn.

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avocado

My Saving Grace

Hail, the mighty avocado.  This one fruit singlehandedly saved me on my weight loss journey.  Did you know that it is 7000 years old?  Cultivated in Central America and brought to the New World in the 19th Century.

From WebMd:

It’s true that avocados are high in fat — one reason they’ve earned the nickname “butter pear.” A medium-sized avocado contains 30 grams of fat, as much as a quarter-pound burger. That’s why diet experts have long urged Americans to go easy on avocados in favor of less fatty fruits and vegetables. But now nutritionists are taking another look. They’re finding that most of the fat in an avocado is monounsaturated — the “good” kind that actually lowers cholesterol levels. Thanks to this new understanding, the U.S. government recently revised its official nutrition guidelines to urge Americans to eat more avocados.

I almost started a riot at my Weight Watchers® meeting when I discussed my very own “avocado diet.”

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Kids eatingOne of my Weight Watchers® leaders, Michael, always uses the phrase “a close relationship with chicken, tuna and cottage cheese“.  Of course, that is just a clever way of pointing out a common peril of DIET mentality.  That you have to eat diet food.  Only.  All the time.  Same time, same chicken/tuna/or cottage cheese.

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gluttonySo you made that resolution and the first day of your DIET – January 1st, year 2010 (010110) went swimmingly.  The resolve of the resolution was strong.

Next day, or make that next night, Saturday night, you’re wondering “what the heck was I thinking?”  And, then reality bites.  You get hit with the NIGHT MUNCHIES!!

There are many theories of how to deal with that time at night, when you’ve pretty much eaten what you’ve determined would be a reasonable amount of food.  Yet, you really want to eat that (fill in the blank).

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