Tuesday, March 13, 2012

Calorie Density

Nutrition Data (http://nutritiondata.self.com) provides nutrition label data for every food, including per portion calories and weight. Calorie density is calculated as calories divided by weight. Notice that the result calorie density is independent of potion size.

- Calorie Density = Weight / Calories

Because portions are typically weighed in metric grams, convert to pounds (454 grams = 1 pound.) This formula can be plugged into a spreadsheet table. As an example, compare raw to cooked broccoli. Notice calorie density is about the same whether raw or cooked.

- Broccoli, raw (calorie density) = 31 calories / 1 cup chopped (91 g) = (454 grams per pound) 31 calories / 91 grams = 155 calories per pound
- Broccoli, cooked, boiled, drained, without salt = 98 calories / 1 stalk (280 g) = (454 grams per pound) 98 calories / 280 grams = 159 calories per pound

My rule of thumb of vegetables is 200 calories per pound. Some are more; most are actually less.

My rule of thumb for starches is 500 calories per pound. Some are more; some are less.
My rule of thumb for fruits is 200 calories per pound. Most are actually more; some are less.

Friday, March 9, 2012

My Favorites

These are my go-to recipes I make by habit from memory.

- Split Pea Potato Soup
- Black Bean Soup
- Minestrone Soup
Spicy Carrot Soup
- Butternut Squash Soup
Beat Potato Soup
- Dal Soups

- Cole Slaw (Cabbage Salad)
- Tomato and Cucumber Salad
- Cucumber Salad
Lemon Rice
- Mango Rice

- Spud Burger
- Veggie Burger
- Rice and Beans Wrap
Pita Pizza
- Spaghetti and Spicy Red Cabbage Sauce
- Spaghetti and Marinara Sauce
- Potato Dumplings
- Brown Rice

- Hummus
- Salsa
- Sauerkraut
- Marinara Sauce
- Spicy Red Cabbage Sauce

- Simple Fruit
- Oatmeal and Fruit
- Microwave Potato Chips
- Baked Tortilla Chips

- Citrus Infusion

Thursday, March 8, 2012

Cucumber Salad

My Czech grandmother used to make cucumber salad. She soaked the cucumber slices in white vinegar, while I prefer lemon/lime and rice vinegar, and she used sugar, which of course I don't.

1 cucumber, sliced paper thin.
1/4 onion, sliced thin
sprig fresh dill, chopped fine (optional)
1 tbsp lemon/lime juice
1 tbsp rice vinegar
1/8 tsp black pepper
1/8 tsp salt

Prep: Peel the cucumber and slice paper thin. My grandmother would score the outside with a fork to make a pattern before cutting. Some recipes remove the center seeds, which I think wasteful.
Chill: Mix and let the vinegars and any seasonings soak with the cucumber and onion, best 1+ hours refrigerated. Serve chilled.

Tuesday, March 6, 2012

Marinara Sauce

The Italian name marinara refers to Italian sailors, who brought the tomato back from America. In those days, common sailors were of necessity mostly vegetarian, since plant based provisions were cheap and stored well. If a ship did keep animals onboard, they were only for the officers table. Marinara sauce was a meatless sauce.

Marinara sauce is a tomato sauce. While tomato is the main vegetable, flavor comes from base and thickening starch comes from Italian zucchini squash. Seasoning comes from garlic, bay, oregano, marjoram and basil. With the main tomato flavor, a base is really optional. I think it adds complexity. Don’t over do onion or bell pepper.

1/2 onion, chopped (option)
1 celery, chopped (option)
1/2 red bell pepper (option)
2 cloves garlic
1 bay leaf
1 tsp oregano
1 tsp marjoram
fresh basil (optional)
1/4 tsp black pepper
1/8 tsp salt
1 can tomatoes
2 green zucchini squash or yellow squash (optional)
1 can tomato paste (optional)

Brown onion and sweat chopped base vegetables. Add garlic and spices, tomatoes, squash and tomato paste. Simmer low 1-2 hours. Best to cook very slowly.

Friday, March 2, 2012

My Plate 2

1. Food Groups
2. Dishes
3. Meals

Some work is required for every meal, in preparation and cleanup. This keeps most everyday meals simple. Most meals are just one or a couple of dishes. And most dishes are just a couple of food groups. It is unlikely that any plate will contain all the food groups, except feasts and holidays, like buffet and restaurant meals.

In the daily meal cycle of breakfast, lunch, dinner and snack, there is opportunity for either simplicity or variety of food groups, and a simplicity or variety of dishes, including both raw and cooked preparations.

My plate typically is 1 pound of 50% starch and 50% either fruit or veggies, for 350 calories. (Plate = 1 lb; 50% starch and 50% fruit or veggie; 350 calories.)

Breakfast, lunch, dinner and snack total 4 pounds, for total 1400 calories. (B+L+D+S = 4 lb; 1400 calories.)

Food Groups
Foods are grouped into categories of healthy plants and tolerated animals. These are whole foods. Plant foods are sorted by light, moderate and heavy energy density. This is the amount of calories of energy per pound of food. Moderate foods provide just the right amount of energy for their weight, while light and heavy foods need to be balanced against each other. Animal foods are only mentioned for completeness.

1. Fruit (Light, 200 calories per pound)
2. Veggies (Light, 200 calories per pound)
3. Starches (Moderate, 500 calories per pound)
4. Bakery (Heavy, 1000-1800 calories per pound)
5. Nuts & Seeds (Heavy, 2000-4000 calories per pound)
Animals (Tolerated)
6. Meat, Fish
7. Dairy

- Fruit has abundant fiber and water, and low sugar-based energy density. Fruits include apples, bananas and oranges.
- Green and yellow veggies have abundant fiber and water, and low starch-based energy density.  Veggies include onions, carrots, celery, tomatoes and cucumbers.
- Starches have abundant starch and less fiber and water than green and yellow veggies, and moderate starch-based energy density. Soaked and cooked grains have moderate energy density, despite high energy density if dry. Starches include rice, wheat, corn, potato and sweet potato.
- Bakery is dried foods, and high starch-based energy density. Bakery includes breads, crackers, rice cakes and popcorn.
- Animal foods have no fiber or starch, and high fat and protein-based energy density. Dairy also has high sugar-based energy density.

Dishes are the heart of meal planning. The major dish categories uses a common method of preparation, whether raw, sauteed, simmered, or baked. Within a category each recipe records a unique combination of ingredients and preparation.
1. Salad (200)
2. Sauce (200)
3. Soup (350)
4. Stew (350)
5. Combo (350)
6. Starch (500)
7. Bakery (1000)

A typical combination is 50% starch with 50% either veggies or fruit. For example, oatmeal and fruit soaked in water is roughly 50% starch and 50% fruit.

- My soups are 50% veggies and 50% starch. For example, split pea soup is roughly 50% onion, carrot, celery and 50% pea and potato.
- My stews are 50% veggies and 50% starch. For example, cauliflower potato curry is roughly 50% onion tomato and cauliflower and 50% potato.
- My plate typically is 1 pound of 50% starch and 50% either veggies or fruit, for 350 calories. (Plate = 1 lb; 50% starch and 50% veggie or fruit; 350 calories.)

Breakfast - Lunch - Dinner - Snack

B: Rolled Oats Apple and Banana Soaked with Water
Note this is essentially a raw grain fruit salad. Starch is 500 calories per pound, and fruit is 200 calories per pound, so breakfast averages 350 calories per pound.

L: Cucumber Tomato Green Onion Tangerine Salad with Lime Rice Vinegar Dressing
L: Split Pea Sweet Potato Soup
Note salad is raw veggies, not lettuce. Salad is 200 calories per pound.
Soup is veggies at 200 calories per pound and starch at 500 calories per pound, for average of 350 calories per pound. Subtoal for lunch is 275 calories per pound.

D: Onion Cabbage Grape Sauce
D: Potato Oat Dumplings
Sauce is 200 calories per pound. Starch is 500 calories per pound. Subtotal for dinner is 350 calories per pound.

Total is only 1000 calories. A couple of snacks, either fruit or microwaved potato chips, brings my daily total closer to 1500 calories. Or inclusion of some baked goods.