Tuesday, March 31, 2009

Vegetarian Month = Over

So vegetarian month has finally come to a ceasefire. So what did I learn? I kind of liked it. It forced me to enter a lot of new cooking territories that I previously hadn't explored. We didn't end up eating bean burritos or pizza every night and still managed to be healthy. Overall, I feel healthier and more energetic and will probably not go back to being full-time carnivore. Hopefully you, our small dear reader crowd has been inspired to think outside of the box and focus on what you are putting into your body as well.

Apparently, someone else was on a veggie kick this month too! Today my friend Kelsey sent me this link that contains one month of vegetarian dinners: My Recipes Vegetarian Month. This sure would have come in handy! I will definitely be trying some of these recipes out and if they turn out good I will post them.

Here are some other vegetarian / vegan blogs that I have discovered lately that you may find interesting:

101 Cookbooks
Chef Erik
Chow Vegan
Crazy Sexy Life
Modern Beet
Vegan Guinea Pig
Vegan Yum Yum
Veg Cooking Blog
Vegetarian Organic

Vegetarian / Lifestyle books that I have read, am still going through (or haven't gotten to yet):
Skinny Bitch
The China Study
In Defense of Food
Vegetarian Cooking for Everyone

I have a backlog of vegetarian recipes I have tried or created, so keep expecting more. I also have a review of SLO's best vegetarian sandwich coming soon!

Monday, March 30, 2009

Blue Cheese Vinaigrette

This weekend we hit up Nepenthe in Big Sur. When ordering our entrees, the waitress asked if we wanted blue cheese dressing on our salad as if that were the normal thing to order there, so we just went with it. I am not usually a fan of Ranch dressing on salads; I prefer dressing of that consistency to be used as a dip. To our surprise, when the salads came out, it was their "house" blue cheese vinaigrette. Now I see why she assumed we would want it. It was delicious! I didn't ask them for their recipe, but I came across this version online that is claimed to be close. I tasted it last night and it is almost on the spot. Enjoy!


1/4 cup red wine vinegar
1/4 cup olive oil
2 t Dijon mustard
2 cloves garlic, pressed
salt and freshly ground black pepper
1 T fresh basil leaves, finely chopped
1/4 cup crumbled blue cheese

A simple salad of red leaf lettuce and tomatoes. We also added sliced cucumber.

Blend all ingredients together except for the blue cheese. When ready to serve, add cheese and whisk. Toss with salad greens.

This recipe will make about 3/4 cup.

Sunday, March 29, 2009

Spring Chicken

Sorry I am ruining vegetarian month a few days early (I heard Nat had a steak this weekend so I don't feel that bad!). I get about three cooking magazines per month in addition to a stack of cookbooks. I made a goal this month that at least once per week I am going to actually cook something out of these wonderful reads. Tonight Dave and I made chicken that we adapted from the April 2009 Bon Appetit, which highlights using fresh spring ingredients. It was so good that I can't wait until my lunch tomorrow when I get to have it again!

1/4 c finely chopped fresh Italian parsley
1 T finely chopped fresh tarragon
1 T minced shallot (I used the whole thing)
2 t grated orange peel
1/2 t grated lemon peel

1 package boneless skinless chicken thighs (trimmed and coated with salt and pepper)
2 T (+) olive oil
1 T butter

1 bunch green onions, finely chopped, discard the dark green parts
1/4 small white onion, finely chopped
1/2 bunch slender asparagus spears, cleaned and trimmed into thirds
3/4 c vegetable broth
2 T cream fraiche

Mix first five ingredients in a bowl and set aside. Heat olive oil in heavy skillet. Cook chicken thighs about 3 minutes on each side until cooked all the way through. Remove from heat and put on a plate covered with foil to keep warm.

Add butter and onions to pan. Cook until translucent (about 4 min). Add asparagus and saute 1 minute longer. Salt and pepper to taste. Add vegetable broth to pan. Simmer about 4 minutes until veggies are fully cooked. Add herb and lemon mixture to pan. Add cream fraiche to pan. Cook an additional 2 minutes on low until sauce thickens. Remove veggies with slotted spoon and set aside with chicken. Cook sauce a few more minutes until bubbly.

I served the chicken, veggies, and sauce over wild rice pilaf with a steamed artichoke on the side. Delicious!

Friday, March 27, 2009

Headed to Big Sur for the Weekend

Here is something I wrote a year ago this week. Every year Garret and I go camping in Big Sur for our anniversary. These are two of our favorite places to eat there. We will be hitting them up again.

Nepenthe Restaurant
We went for an early dinner. Waited outside by the fire and had some local brews. Dinner included Filet Mignon with mushroom white wine ragout and garlic mashed potatoes, maple duck glazed with ginger mango sauce and cappuccino creme brulee. The restaurant has a spectacular view from almost any location on the premises as well as an indoor and outdoor fireplace. The ingredients and wine list are all local and fresh.

Ripplewood Resort Restaurant
We stopped here to get coffee on the way home and ended up having a full-on gourmet breakfast. From the outside it looks like a gas station / convenience store and we were expecting Denny's on the inside. Instead it was quite charming. The wait staff boasted an eggs Benedict special which was probably the most beautiful eggs Benedict I have ever seen— eggs on top of an English muffin with Hollandaise sauce, sauteed mushrooms and fresh avocado slices. It was also served with hash browns that appeared to be made from a mashed potato base. I got the huevos rancheros with egg whites which was also wonderful. This restaurant was a great place to discover after a 10 mile hike the previous day and a freezing cold night of camping.

PS: We will probably be cheating on our vegetarian diet for the weekend. I can't justify driving 1.5 hours, hiking all day and roughing it for a veggie burger :)

Thursday, March 26, 2009

Burrito Stuffed Bell Peppers

I commonly stuff bell peppers with anything from meat loaf to jambalaya. This time, I stuffed them like a burrito. These are delicious, healthy and easy.

4 red bell peppers, seeded and sliced lengthwise
2 cups cooked bulgur
1 can pinto beans
1/2 cup pico de gallo (see recipe) + more for topping
1/2 t cumin
1/2 t chile powder
1/2 t coriander
salt, pepper and hot sauce to taste
1/3 cup extra sharp cheddar + more for topping
sour cream for topping


Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Boil a pot of water and in a steamer attachment, steam the bell peppers for 4 minutes each. Set aside to cool.

In a medium bowl add remaining ingredients except for sour cream and stir. Place peppers into a greased pyrex and spoon in the stuffing. Top with more cheese and cook for 20 minutes at 400 degrees.

Remove peppers from oven and top with sour cream and more pico de gallo. Serve warm.

One half of a pepper is almost a good enough serving for one person if you are serving a salad or another side. They are more filling than they look, but definitely save well for leftovers if you cook and add toppings the next day. I think they would also be great with sliced avocado on top.

Tuesday, March 24, 2009

Green Veggie Alfredo Pasta

Garret's mom used to make him fettuccine Alfredo a lot growing up, so in our earlier dating years, when eating on a college budget, I tried making him fettuccine Alfredo for the first time. My mom taught me to make Alfredo sauce from a roux and needless to say, the fettuccine turned out more like paste than pasta. He ate it anyway, but has since taught me "his" way of making the sauce, which is unexpectedly from cream cheese. I haven't tried making it the roux way since; this is great and much easier.

two handfuls green beans, trimmed
one bunch spinach
2 - 4 servings noodle pasta
1 tsp canola butter
8 ounces light cream cheese
1 clove garlic, crushed
3 T milk
1/4 c Parmesan cheese, plus some for topping
1/8 cup toasted pepitas
1/8 cup manzanilla olives
salt and pepper and red pepper flakes to taste

Bring a two pots of water to a boil. In one, blanche the green beans and set them aside, then steam the spinach in the same pot and set aside also. Boil pasta according to directions.

In the meantime, add butter, garlic and cream cheese to a sauce pan. Stirring with a whisk, add milk and Parmesan and stir until smooth. You may need to add more milk as it cooks.

Drain pasta and toss with sauce, vegetables and remaining ingredients.

I have been using Trader Joe's Multigrain Pasta with Flax. It has a really nice taste and texture as well as adding extra nutrients and protein. I'm usually not a fan of wheat pasta, but this stuff is GOOD!

Monday, March 23, 2009

Tomato Basil Lasagna

When you can get fresh colorful basil and tomatoes you can't pass a dish like this up! It's a little lighter than traditional hearty meat lasagna, but equally delicious. Make sure to use a high quality tomato sauce that you really enjoy!


1 small box 8" lasagna noodles
5 Roma tomatoes, sliced thick
1/4 cup balsamic vinegar
1 small bunch basil, chopped
12 ounces ricotta cheese
2 eggs
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 jar vodka sauce
1 ball fresh mozzarella
Italian seasoning, cracked pepper and salt


Grease an 8x8 inch pyrex pan with olive oil. Preheat oven to 375 degrees.

In a bowl, mix together ricotta, eggs, garlic and spices until fluffy. Soak the tomato slices in balsamic.

Pour a small amount of the sauce into the pan and cover the entire bottom of the dish. Add lasagna noodles- about 4- on top of the sauce and then add another layer on top going in the opposite direction. Spoon all of the ricotta mix onto the noodles and spread with a spatula. Layer the basil on top of the ricotta followed by a layer of sliced tomatoes and a layer of mozzarella. Spoon another light layer of sauce on top. Next, add another layer of noodles in the same pattern as the first layer. Top this with more tomatoes and then pour the remaining sauce on top. Finish off with another layer of cheese and a sprinkling of seasonings.

Bake for at least 45 minutes and serve.

I found that Trader Joe's makes neat little 8" 'no boil' noodles that don't have crinkles on them. These layer really nicely in lasagna and cook nicely without breaking. I would serve this with a little green salad. Leftovers are nice with some extra vodka sauce spooned over them.

Sunday, March 22, 2009

Honey Whole Wheat Bread

I've never made bread from scratch before, minus the bread maker when I was young. Cooking Light had an issue a few months back highlighting many different variations of bread that made me promise I was going to try to make it soon. I couldn't find the issue today, but I decided to try to make this one because it is versatile...went great with the potato leek soup I made for dinner and I'm certain it will make a great turkey sandwich for work tomorrow!


1/2 t sugar
1 package dry yeast
2 t warm water

2 cups 1% milk
3 T canola oil
3 T honey
1 t salt

3 c all purpose flour
3 c whole wheat flour


In a small bowl, combine yeast, water, and sugar. Let stand 15 minutes until it looks like this:
Meanwhile, combine milk, honey, salt, and canola oil in a small saucepan. Cook over medium heat until warmed and honey fully dissolves in liquid mixture. Remove from heat and cool to room temperature. Add yeast.

In a large bowl, combine the flour and stir with a whisk. Add the liquid and stir until a sticky dough forms. Pour dough onto a large surface covered in 2 T all purpose flour. Knead until dough is no longer sticky. Add up to 2 more T flour if necessary.

Pour into a large bowl coated in cooking spray and cover with plastic wrap. Let stand 20-25 minutes until dough rises and if you gently press your finger into the dough, the indentation will stay. Punch down the dough, cover and let sit an additional 15 minutes.

In bowl, slice dough down the center with a knife. Remove half and place on flour covered surface. Cover the remaining half so it does not dry out. Roll dough into a 7 x 14 rectangle. Roll dough into a roll, eliminating bubbles in the dough as necessary. Place seam side down into a metal loaf pan (I used 8x4) coated in canola oil. Repeat with the remaining dough. Cover and let sit 30 minutes. Dough will double in size.

Place dough into a 400 degree oven. Cook for 10 minutes and turn down heat to 325. Cook an additional 35 minutes. Slide a knife around the loaf to remove from pan. Place on a towel lined cooling rack. Can be served immediately.

Saturday, March 21, 2009

Pico de Gallo

I use this a lot, so I figured I would give it an individual post before I started adding it as an ingredient to other recipes. Pico de Gallo is great in burritos, tacos, on baked potatoes and just great alone on chips with a cold beer or margarita :)


two roma tomatoes, diced
1/2 a white onion, diced
1 small bunch of cilantro, chopped
1 seranno pepper, finely chopped
juice of one lemon
salt and pepper to taste

Add all ingredients to a bowl and refrigerate for an hour to let the flavors blend. Makes about 2 and a half cups.

Depending on your tolerance for spicy you can add more or less serrano. If you aren't into spicy food, remove the seeds from the pepper.

French Toast

French Toast


1 egg
1/4 c low fat milk
1 t vanilla bean paste (or just vanilla if not available)
1 t cinnamon
4 slices french bread (I got the hot at 4pm kind from local grocery)
1 banana
1 T powdered sugar
2 T syrup
1 T butter
1 t canola oil


Add butter and canola to frying pan over medium heat. Let melt. Meanwhile, mix egg, milk, vanilla paste, and cinnamon in a shallow glass bowl. Quickly dip french bread in liquid mixture (both sides). Add to frying pan. Cook about 2 minutes each side being careful not to burn. Plate and top with banana slices, syrup, and powdered sugar.

Thursday, March 19, 2009

Quinoa with Chickpeas, Vegetables and Feta

I thought I should balance out Mel's non-vegetarian dish with something new I created tonight. I had a bunch of vegetables lying around and thought this might make a nice light meal with some quinoa. Quinoa (pronounced Keen-wah) is an ancient food that is not yet well known in North America. It has been cultivated in South American Andes since at least 3,000 B.C. and has been a staple food of millions of native inhabitants. The ancient Incas called quinoa the "mother grain" and revered it as sacred. My quinoa recipe turned out really colorful and hearty enough that it didn't really need a side dish.

I have been reading a few vegetarian cookbooks (Vegetarian Suppers and Vegetarian Cooking for Everyone by Deborah Madison) that taught me how to cook these grains. These books are really helpful when it comes to the basics of vegetarian cooking. They show how to create virtually anything just like a basic Betty Crocker cookbook would. So far, the vegetarian month has gone easier than expected. I dont' feel that it has changed our lifestyle all that much. Besides the occasional cheeseburger craving, (after almost three weeks), I don't really even want or desire meat anymore. I don't think that this will result in full-blown vegetarianism at the end of this month, but more serve as an eye opener as to what else there is out there to cook besides meat-centered meals. On another side note, I have been reading a book called The China Study which proclaims that for better overall health and less chances of cancer and other diseases, that humans should make meat proteins less than 10% of their diet- more on that later.


2 cups vegetable broth
olive oil
1 cup quinoa
2 garlic cloves, minced
1/2 a white onion, diced
1/2 cup asparagus tips
1 zucchini, diced
1 can chickpeas
1/4 cup grape tomatoes
1/8 cup kalamata olives
1/8 cup pine nuts
1 bunch watercress, diced
feta cheese for topping
salt, pepper, fennel seeds, oregano, cayenne to taste

Boil vegetable broth in small sauce pan. Add quinoa, turn down, cover and cook for 15 minutes.

Meanwhile, sautee onion and garlic in large fry pan. After a few minutes, add asparagus, zucchini and chickpeas. When quinoa is almost cooked, add remaining ingredients to heat and season to taste. Pour cooked quinoa over vegetable mixture, stir well and season to taste. Serve topped with a little feta cheese.

Serves 4.

A Proper Mathews St. Patties Day Meal

Sorry Nat, I had to break the vegetarian thing because I had beef on the 17th! As Nat explained, it has been tradition in my family for many years to make the following: corned beef, cabbage, carrots, red potatoes in some format, and mint chocolate cookie cake. I have included some photos as well as basic instructions below. My new married family got to enjoy it this year!

Corned Beef


1 corned beef brisket
2 smashed garlic cloves
2-3 large containers of beef or vegetable broth
1 Guinness

In large crock pot, add corned beef, beer, and garlic. Add beef or vegetable broth until roast is fully covered. Cook on the lowest setting (mine had 10 hours as low) all day. When side dished are prepared, remove from crock pot, assemble on platter, and shred with two forks. Remove fatty layer as necessary.



1/2 head of cabbage sliced into thin wedges
3 slices smoked apple wood bacon, cut into small pieces
1/4 cup finely chopped onion
2 T water
1 T apple cider vinegar
1 pinch white sugar
salt and pepper to taste

Fry bacon in large skillet (with sides) until crispy, remove and place on a paper towel. Add onions and cook until translucent. Add cabbage, water, sugar, salt and pepper. Cook on medium heat about 15 minutes. Prior to serving, toss with vinegar and bacon pieces.

Roasted Carrots

6 large carrots, cut in half lengthwise and quartered
zest of 1 lemon
1 t lemon juice
1 t honey
1 T chopped fresh tarragon
1/8 cup olive oil
salt and pepper to taste

Whisk together all ingredients except carrots. Toss carrots into liquid mixture. Pour into Pyrex baking dish. Bake in 400 degree oven about 25 minutes until roasted and tender to a fork.

Mashed Potatoes

6 small red potatoes, quartered, with skins on
3 T butter
1/2 cup warm milk
1/2 cup light sour cream
1/4 cup finely chopped fresh chives
salt and pepper to taste

Cook potatoes in salted boiling water about 25 minutes until fork tender. Drain. Add butter. Mash with potato masher until fluffy. Add warm milk, sour cream, and chives. Whip until desired consistency is achieved. Add more or less liquid depending on desired fluffiness.

Chocolate Mint Cookie Cake

1 pint whipping cream
5 T powdered sugar
1 t vanilla
1/2 t peppermint extract
1 box of Nabisco Famous Chocolate Wafers

Put whipping cream and a metal or glass bowl in the freezer for 15 minutes, remove. Whip with small electric mixer until cream starts to form. Slowly add sugar, vanilla, and peppermint extract. Taste and add more sugar or mint if necessary. Continue to whip until it is firm, but be careful to not let it turn into butter. With a spatula, add whipped cream on top of 1 wafer cookie. Stack and assemble cookies until it will balance on its side. Continue adding cookies until entire box is used. Use remaining whipped cream to cover the outside of the cookie stack. Cover with plastic wrap and chill at least 8 hours. Remove from refrigerator 10 minutes prior to serving. Slice at an angle. Enjoy!

Tuesday, March 17, 2009

Beer Cheese Soup with Roasted Potatoes and Leeks

My family has very few holidays where we religiously create the same meal, but Saint Patrick's Day has always been one of them. Typically, we have corned beef, cabbage, potatoes, carrots and chocolate mint cake and revel in our semi Irish heritage. This year, trying the whole vegetarian thing, I had to come up with something new that still felt Irish. I have always seen versions of Beer Cheddar Soup in cooking magazines and decided to take a crack at making one that had a little substance. Overall, it was pretty good, but I still kind of missed my corned beef with mustard!

olive oil
4 russet potatoes, chopped, skin on
4 cloves garlic, peeled
2 carrots, peeled and diced
1/2 a beer- I used Hefenweizen
1/2 cup vegetable broth
1/2 cup milk
1/4 cup Parmesan cheese
1/4 cup extra sharp cheddar cheese + some for topping
1/2 white onion, finely chopped
1 leek, finely chopped- remove dark green leaves
1/2 bunch chives, minced
salt and pepper to taste

Preheat oven to 375 degrees. In a pyrex pan, mix potatoes and garlic with a little olive oil and roast for an hour.

When potatoes are roasted, add to a soup pot with carrots and liquids. Simmer for 20 minutes. Turn off heat and blend soup with an immersion blender until smooth, but still a little chunky. Turn heat back on to low and stir in cheese.

In a frying pan, sautee the leeks and onion until tender and add these and the chives to the soup. Season to taste.

Serve soup topped with cheese and chives and a little cracked pepper.

Thursday, March 12, 2009

Fresh Braised Greens and Lentils over Toast

I have been sick for a few days now and I decided I needed some fresh air tonight so I walked down to SLO's Farmer's Market. (For all the people who know what a gem this is- you're jealous right now). Tonight I found a lady who had these amazing baskets of fresh greens for salads, stir fry, you name it. I ended up getting a mix of them that consisted of chard, kale, pea shoots, broccoli rabe, etc. and created this for dinner. BTW- I got all this below for less than $11!


splash olive oil
2 garlic cloves, smashed
1/2 red onion, diced
2 handfuls fresh greens
1/2 cup dried lentils
1/2 cup vegetable broth
1 t balsamic vinegar
1/2 cup diced stewed tomatoes
1/2 t whole seed mustard
1/4 cup dry red wine
salt and pepper to taste

fancy bread cut into slices
Parmesan for sprinkling


Add olive oil through greens to a hot pan and sautee. Add lentils through wine and let cook covered until lentils set up, about 30 minutes or longer.

Meanwhile, slice bread and place in oven at 400 degrees to toast.

Serve lentils over toast and sprinkle with cheese.

I purchased my bread from House of Bread. It was Basil Parmesan Bread which had a swirl of cheese and herbs inside. I discovered tonight that they have "day olds" on sale for $2.50 which is still much cheaper and more value than much of anything you can get at the grocery store. Tonight we definitely "ate local." This amount was just enough to feed two people along with a little salad and wine. Tonight I recommend Bishop's Peak Rock Solid Red.

Wednesday, March 11, 2009

Chow Mein Soup

For lack of a better name, this is what I'm calling it. Our family LOVES Hop Sing's (0f Folsom California) vegetable chow mein. My mom recently invented this soup recipe which is very similar, but a little more healthy and perfect for a cold day!

6 cups of vegetable broth
1 package soba noodles (usually near the produce, buy them raw and fresh)

1 T canola oil
2 large carrots, coarsely chopped
3 stalks of celery, coarsely chopped
1 white onion, chopped
4 garlic cloves, minced

1 cup sugar snap peas
1 cup bean sprouts
2 cups diced bok choy
2-3 stalks of green onion, finely chopped

salt and pepper to taste
pinch of red pepper flakes
1 T Tamari soy sauce

Add oil to large sauce pan and heat, saute onion, garlic, celery, and carrots until translucent. Salt and pepper to taste. Add broth, bring to a boil. Cook noodles in mixture according to package directions. After noodles have cooked fully, turn down the heat to a simmer. Add peas, bean sprouts, bok choy, more salt and pepper (if necessary), red pepper flakes, and cook five more minutes.

Serve in bowls and garnish with chopped green onion and soy sauce. Enjoy!

How to Cook Grains

Grains can be tricky. Being vegetarian this month, I have discovered a whole new uncharted territory in the cooking realm. (I mean really, groats? millet?) I have been buying grains in bulk, but the problem with that is— no directions! I created this little chart to have something consolidated for reference that has all this information in one place. Enjoy! More recipes using these grains to follow!

(click on chart for full size version)
Unused grains can be kept in an airtight container out of direct sunlight for 3-4 months.

Tuesday, March 10, 2009

Pistachio Creme Brulee

I love pistachio anything... I think it started with my childhood love for pistachio pudding and spumoni ice cream. I also love creme brulee so I guess this recipe was a natural progression. My next baking adventure will be a pistachio cheese cake.


1 3/4 cup half and half
3 large egg yolks
1/3 cup raw sugar
1 vanilla bean, split and seeded
5 ounces chopped pistachios

sprinklings of refined sugar

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

In a sauce pan heat the half and half with the vanilla bean and pistachios just until it starts to boil. Cover and let ingredients steep for at least 20 minutes. Bring mixture back to a medium heat. Strain this mixture into a glass measuring cup.

In a bowl, mix eggs and sugar together until creamy. SLOWLY pour (temper) the hot milk mixture into the bowl while vigorously whisking. Pour mixture into about 6 ramekins. Take some of the remaining pistachios from the strainer and sprinkle them into the brulees.

Place brulees in a glass dish with a water bath (hot water half way up the ramekins) and cook for 25 minutes. When brulees are set, remove and refrigerate for at least 3 hours. This can be made a day in advance if you like.

To serve, sprinkle brulees with refined white sugar and caramelize with a torch. Top with some crushed pistachios if you like.

Monday, March 2, 2009

Roasted Butternut Squash Spinach Salad

This salad is tasty, healthy and colorful and has a nice balance of salty and sweet. Below I have listed the ingredients for one dinner sized salad— multiply as necessary. It would also be fantastic with some sliced grilled chicken breast on top. If you are a blue cheese hater, I think that shaved Parmesan would be a nice substitution.

1/4 cup cubed butternut squash (fresh or frozen)
3/4 cup fresh baby spinach
2 T chopped walnuts
2 T dried cranberries
2 T chopped yellow bell pepper
a few shavings of red onion
1 oz crumbled Gorgonzola cheese
your favorite balsamic dressing (I like Annie's)

Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Line a baking sheet with foil and spray with olive oil. Spread out butternut squash and let roast for 15 minutes until tender. (I used the frozen variety- fresh may take longer to actually cook).

In a bowl, add remaining ingredients and top with hot butternut squash. Add dressing, toss and serve slightly warm.

Sunday, March 1, 2009

Going Vegetarian for March

Garret and I (and some other family members) have decided to try out being vegetarian for one month and see how it goes. A recent death in the family due to cancer has caused us to reexamine our lifestyles and to see what we can do to live healthier, better lives. I'm in no way saying that our family member died because of her lifestyle- we actually think her cancer was caused by certain environmental factors or exposures- but regardless, I have been reading a lot of articles on health and lifestyle lately and have learned:
  • About a third of the 12 most common cancers in high-income countries could be prevented through diet, exercise and weight control.
  • A study in the UK proved that 13,000 cancer cases in the UK were linked to being overweight or obese, and even more were linked to poor diet, drinking too much alcohol and not doing enough exercise.
  • The American Cancer Society and the American Heart Association currently recommend that if you do drink, you should do so in moderation, meaning one drink (12 oz. beer, 4 oz. of wine, 1.5 oz. of 80-proof spirits, or 1 oz. of 100-proof spirits) per day for women and two for men.
  • Obama and his brother are "nuts" about improving Americans' health overall. The administration has put an unprecedented one billion dollars into the economic stimulus package toward expanding community prevention programs.
Sources: Health Magazine via CNN.com, BBC News Health, wbctv.com

For the next month, we will feature more articles on lifestyle, vegetarian recipes and updates on how our experience is going.

Here are some guidelines we have set for the next month:
  • 4 hours or more of exercise per week
  • Drink more water
  • Drink no (or less) soda
  • Drink less alcohol
  • No meat— not even fish
  • Don't replace meat intake with just a bunch of cheese and refined carbs
  • Corned beef and cabbage will have to wait until April
  • Eat local and organic when possible (yay farmer's market)
You are welcome to join us in this one month "challenge!" Keep us posted on your progress and we'll keep you accountable.

*As another update, I created a recipe last night for Cooking Light's Annual Reader Recipe Contest, stay tuned!