Thursday, October 30, 2008


Its cold outside these days and I just want some hot soup! Last week I had an almond obsession, I wanted everything with almond or cashews. I dug up all my almond cake recipes and baked a few... it was kind of cold outside then too.

Have you ever thought that maybe our bodies crave what we need? Since I was old enough to understand anything about food, I picked up on the notion that my body tells me what it needs. Almonds, cashews and most other dry fruits are great to have in the fall because the way they metabolise in our bodies, generates heat (warmth). They also help build up a layer of fat which further insulates us in the cold weather.

Similarly, I've had random cravings for orange juice, steak, green beans. Now normally, people have cravings for unhealthy or junkie food items like chips and ice cream. I often crave McDonalds french fries... this is different; obviously. I don't mean to imply that just because you have a craving, you should indulge. Filter! Recognize! Differentiate! I think you get the point. We should listen to our bodies when there might be a genuine need for some nutrient. Or even if you're going to eat out and you have to pick a restaurant, let your body do the talking. There might be a reason why you feel like Sushi instead of Mexican!

Wednesday, October 29, 2008

Something a little different - Pumpkin Sabzi

Back in the early 90's I was fortunate enough to live overseas. In Karachi (Pakistan), people visit weekly outdoor bazaars where they can purchase fresh produce directly from farmers or their representative. In a sense this is an old school version of a farmers market, usually being the only place one can purchase fruits and vegetables. Grocery stores and delis are few and far between.

Thanks to the nature of this system, I was exposed to eating fresh vegetables and fruits IN SEASON! No flash frozen, cold storage or manufactured fruits and veggies. This in turn exposed me to some foods I had never thought of trying or even ever seen before. This brings me to a recipe you pumpkin lovers might enjoy!

Pumpkin Curry (vegetarian)

1/4 of a medium/large sized pumpkin- peeled, cleaned and diced into 1" pieces
2-3 tbspns cooking oil
1 medium sized onion, sliced
1 tspn cumin seeds
1/2 a cinnamon stick
1 tbspn salt
1 tspn crushed red pepper
1/2 tspn crushed garlic (optional)
1 Roma tomato diced (optional)

1/4 cup water

In a large skillet add cooking oil (what ever you use regularly). When warm but not hot add the cumin, crushed red pepper and cinnamon. Let the cumin brown slightly (do not burn). Add the onion and stir. Let onion cook till they wilt or start to become not brown. Add the pumpkin, garlic and salt. Stir well and add some water, just enough to steam, then cover. Let cook for about 10min stirring a few times in between.

After 10-12 minutes, add the diced tomatoes and re-cover. Cook the curry, stirring occasionally, until the pumpkin is soft and somewhat translucent. Tomato should be completely dissolved and pumpkin so soft that it melts in your mouth (it should not be chewy but soft enough to mush with your tongue).

Its simple, quick and delicious! The optional ingredients make this more of a curry, but you can keep it simple and more fresh tasting without the garlic and tomato. I hope you enjoy it.

It's Pumpkin Season!

Pumpkins are great in so many ways, each year I learn something new about them! It’s not even November yet and I’ve already tried pumpkin spice coffee, pumpkin cheesecake, pumpkin spice beer (trust me I am NOT a beer drinker but this was pretty good) and pumpkin bread. I dug up all my pumpkin recipes in preparation but have yet to start cooking.

I went shopping a few weeks ago and walked by the seasonal aisle. There were displays for pumpkin filling, flour, chocolate chips, holiday cake and cookie ingredients. It prompted me to pick up a couple cans of pumpkin. I came home all ready to bake but ended up postponing due to the arrival of some last minute house guests. To make a long story short, that weekend I ended up going to the vet with my two sick kitties. The doctor told me that because I give my cats all natural foods, they may not be getting enough fiber. She recommended that I add pumpkin to their food since it is high in fiber. Imagine that, one more reason why pumpkin is good for you (and your pet)!

I came home and started to give my kitties pumpkin mixed in with their normal food, they loved it and it really helped. I actually tried some pumpkin straight out of the can mixed in with yogurt; it was pretty good and helped me as well! Out of curiousity, I Googled ‘pumpkin as fiber’ and was surprised to see how many sites list pumpkin as being high in fiber and a great alternative to taking pills or fiber supplements. Turns out that each ½ cup serving of pumpkin (fresh or from a can) has 3.4 grams of fiber. If you want to compare, a ¾ cup of cooked oatmeal has 3.9 grams of fiber. That’s nearly 20% of your daily recommended amount (
R.D.A varies person to person based on weight and individual body needs)

Who knows what I’ll learn next year, but for now I’m happy with my new find. Make sure you check back from time to time, I'll be posting some great
recipes and articles that you might enjoy.