Saturday, May 26, 2012

Strawberry Surprise

Sunny days on the deck are a thing of the past in Duluth - at least during the last seven days of torrential rains. So it was fun to see these photos I had taken earlier this month of a delightful pureed strawberry surprise.  I had enjoyed sliced strawberries with balsamic vinegar prior to my need for pureed food, so when I recently heard of adding black pepper to that already delightful combination of flavors, I was fascinated to try it with pureed strawberries.  Definite Pzazz!  Be bold with your life and flavors.  

1 cup sliced strawberries
2 teaspoons sugar
1 teaspoon balsamic vinegar (high quality)
   (add a bit more if desired)
freshly ground pepper

Puree  the strawberries, sugar, and balsamic vinegar in the blender.  Add freshly ground pepper to desired taste.  Don't be timid.  It really is delicious!

Servings per recipe: 2                              
Serving Size: 1/4  cup                        
Calories: 42
Total Fat: 0 g
Cholesterol: 0 mg
Sodium: 1  mg
Total Carbs: 10 g
Dietary Fiber:  4 g
Protein: 0

Tuesday, May 15, 2012

Mango Coconut Dessert

Have you heard of an ataulfo mango?  My friend, Christal, shared one with me a few weeks ago and I was delightfully surprised by the lack of fibrous texture in this delicate golden yellow mango that is about half the size of the typical mango.   The texture was smooth and almost buttery.  So I purchased one a few days ago and looking at it this afternoon, I realized it needed to be used..... promptly.  I love how a mango turns frothy when pureed.  I also love the white violets blooming in the wooded part of my yard this morning.  
Ataulfo mango 

1 ataulfo mango                                                        
1/4 cup plain non-fat Fage yogurt
2 teaspoons unsweetened finely shredded coconut          

Peel and slice the mango.  You should have about 3/4 cup slices.
Peeled ataulfo mango
Puree it with the Fage yogurt and coconut in the blender.  

Servings per recipe: 1
Serving Size: About 1 cup
Calories: 140
Total Fat: 3 g
Cholesterol: 0 mg
Sodium: 25 mg
Total Carbs:  24 g
Peeled and sliced ataulfo mango
Dietary Fiber: 3 g
Protein: 7

Monday, May 14, 2012

Cucumber Spinach Frothy

Salads say "summer is here", and indeed, the forecast is for 70 degrees again today, and I am desiring a salad. But salads pose a high risk of causing a digestive tract blockage for me, so I made the next best thing - a green frothy drink.  Previous summers, I have "juiced" raw green vegetables, which extracts the fiber from them, and the juices made peace with my digestive system quite easily. But making green smoothies with raw vegetables is a bit of a new experiment for me, and now available because I have a VitaMix.  While the smoothie includes highly pulverized/pureed fiber, and meets my gastroenterologist's guideline for my food (if it can squeeze through a tube of toothpaste, it is safe for me to eat),  it is not cooked, so I am curious to see if my system will tolerate it or not.  While I know it won't create a digestive tract blockage, it may just race through my system.  If you don't see anymore posts on this blog for smoothies with raw green vegetables, you'll know the answer to that question without my having to bore you with the gory details. 

Sitting on the sunny deck sipping this nutrient-rich frothy drink nourished my joy today and gave me a much needed taste of summer.   

2 cups chopped cucumber (1/2 of a very large cuke)
1 cup loosely packed fresh baby spinach
1/2 cup water
lemon juice to taste

Preparation:   This is where the VitaMix really works wonders to sufficiently pulverize the vegetables so I don't need to worry about a possible digestive tract obstruction.    Put the cucumber, spinach, water, and lemon juice in the mighty VitaMix and process until it is frothy.  Sip in the sunshine, with clean, green gladness.

Servings per recipe: 1
Serving Size: 1 3/4 cup            
Calories: 53
Total Fat: 0
Cholesterol: 0 mg
Sodium:  32 mg
Total Carbs: 12 g
Dietary Fiber: 3
Protein: 3 g

Thursday, May 10, 2012

Blueberry Mint Smoothie

Before Tom goes fishing each year, I make a ritual of cleaning out the freezer in anticipation of making room for a new batch of walleyes.  So this year when I was cleaning the freezer, I discovered two bags of organic blueberries and you would have thought I had won the lottery.  YeeHa!   I had struck it rich! At least rich in delectable, beautiful blueberries.  And today the temperature in Duluth was nearly 70 degrees, prompting me to make something refreshing.  Time to whip up something new. What did I have to compliment the taste of the blueberries?  Ah...the mint that is quickly growing in my herb garden would be perfect, along with some kefir. 

If you aren't familiar with kefir, it is a cultured milk drink, and a great source of probiotics.  Probiotics are helpful for digestion, as well as for the immune system.  My favorite brand of kefir is Nancy's Organic Low-fat Plain kefir.  This particular brand contains 13 live culture strains.  I don't tolerate normal milk products, but cultured milk products are entirely different. Like yogurt, the live cultures in kefir are helpful for digestion and I need all the help I can get.  

But as I sat on the deck in the warm sunshine sipping this delightful smoothie, I wasn't thinking about it's nutritional and digestive merits.  I was simply savoring the moment.  

1 cup plain low-fat kefir  (or less if you like a thicker consistency)
1/2 cup frozen blueberries, thawed
About 6 -8 fresh mint leaves

Process it all together in a blender, making sure the blueberry skins and mint leaves are completely pulverized.

Servings per recipe: 1
Serving Size: 1 1/4 cup
Calories: 180
Total Fat: 4 g
Cholesterol: 20 mg
Sodium: 151 mg
Total Carbs: 26 g
Dietary Fiber: 3 g
Protein: 11

Sunday, May 6, 2012

The Carcinoid Cancer Foundation

First daffodil of 2012
I have one single daffodil blooming in my front garden today midst the fog and the 45 degree weather.  It signals hope and persistence to me, as it pokes its way through the brown downtrodden soil, appearing in its cheerful bright yellow.  The encouragement for how to live is apparent.   There are also peony stalks heralding the coming of full beautiful blooms several weeks from now.  Patience, persistence, and cheerfulness - attributes I need to cultivate further in my life. So many of life's challenges - cancer, finances, remodeling projects - provide opportunities for growth if I am open to them and trust the process for awakening, rather than for particular outcomes.    

In my quest for more insight into living well with my type of neuroendocrine tumor, I discovered another fabulous organization, the Carcinoid Cancer Foundation.

Emerging Peony
The website for the Carcinoid Cancer Foundation includes comprehensive and up-to-date information about the varieties of neuroendocrine tumors, as well as information about physicians who specialize in these types of tumors.  It also provides information about support groups, treatment, clinical trials, national conferences, and a wide variety of other resources. Access to professional presentations on this site has been a great source of education and intellectual invigoration for me. Ah, yes, hope, persistence, patience and cheerfulness  can be found in many and varied forms.