Archive for March 2011

weekend cooking and potluck

I had a fun weekend of cooking and we had a nutritarian potluck too. It was great fun. I made Dr. Fuhrman's famous anti-cancer soup. It was good but I like my soups better. It makes a huge batch though, which is great. Here it is in my giant stock pot:

We had that at the potluck, and still had tons leftover to freeze into lunch-size portions.

For the potluck, Jim brought spring rolls and dipping sauces which were yummy. Colleen brought baked apples with a raisin cashew sauce. And Sue brought tomatoes and bananas. We enjoyed our food and gabbed for hours. Sue left me with large a ripe banana which I froze and then blended up for breakfast on Sunday--with nothing else! It's yummy.

On Saturday, after I made the soup and before the potluck, I made house-mate's smoothies for the week. But first I had a yummy fruit salad with some of the fruit.

On Sunday, we had soup and manna bread for lunch. Then at dinner I was back into my weeknight routine of making confetti salads for the next day. This is my last week of eating carrots. I have about 10 lbs left but they are probably not going to last for more than a week. It was a great year for local carrots. But the end of carrots is also the start of spring produce. The California strawberries were on special today and they are good. Soon we'll have local spinach and salad greens.

My weekday meals this week will be confetti salads, beans or soup, and manna bread for breakfast and lunch; and carrots and other veggies at dinner.

new cookbook

Chef AJ has published her cookbook Unprocessed. I haven't tried any of the recipes yet (just got the book last week) but have read the book cover to cover. It looks great. For one thing, the chapter on her story is amazing. Wow! What a turn-around she had when she replaced unhealthy (processed) food with healthy (unprocessed). She follows this with a few short chapters on why and how to eat healthy, concise, entertaining, and to the point. For another thing, she starts the recipes with desserts. That's my kind of cookbook. And finally, her recipes look easy to make, with usually less than 10 ingredients, and 1-2 short paragraphs describing how to make them. I'll tell you what I want to make: chocolate fondue. holy cow: peanut butter and chocolate. I might have to forgo the chocolate and just make it a peanut butter fondue.

banana bread

Not my recipe, another one from Virtually Vegan Mama. I'd like someone to make this and give me a piece. :) It looks good.

Senate Committee hears about home visiting in Washington

Evidence-based home visiting services help improve school readiness, child health and public safety in Washington, a panel including DEL Director Bette Hyde told the Senate Early Learning & K-12 Education Committee this morning.

DEL Director Bette Hyde and Thrive by Five CEO and President Nina Auerbach speak to the Senate Early Learning & K-12 Education Committee

During home visits, trained professionals offer information and support to expecting and new parents to help them in their role as their child's first and most important teacher. This support is particularly important in the first years of life, when a child's brain is growing and forming connections faster than at any other time, Hyde said.

In our state, several entities including DEL and our private nonprofit partner Thrive by Five Washington are working to leverage public and private dollars to support and expand home visiting services. Home visiting is a key strategy in our statewide Early Learning Plan and Birth to Three Plan to help support families and reduce risk factors.

Watch today's presentation below from TVW.

Read more about home visiting on DEL's website, and on Thrive's website.

Yesterday, DEL announced seven at-risk communities invited to participate in the next steps for a federal home visiting funding opportunity. This work is part of a $1.3 million home visiting program grant from the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services.

more desserts

ooh, just came across these too:

and Grab-n-Go Chocolate-Banana Oat Bars from the same. This looks even easier, more my style and she says she likes it better. I would just grind up some hemp seed to substitute for the hemp protein powder.

Quinoa, Apricot and Oat Muffin Clusters

Just saw this posted on virtually vegan mama's blog. I haven't tried it yet, but it looks good to me. hmm, I'm having a potluck next week. Maybe I'll try it out there.

Nutrtarian Potluck in Madison, WI

If you live in the area, you are welcome to attend our Nutritarian Potluck next Saturday!

Lunch and Dinner

You know that joke when someone presents a big bowl of food to a group and says, "this is mine, what are you having?" That's how I am with salads every day. I eat a lot of salads. I guess you could say I'm addicted. Today's ingredients are: romaine lettuce, kale, broccoli raab (first time!), broccoli, cauliflower, red bell pepper, cucumber, apple, cilantro, seed mixture, and d'angou pear vinegar.

Today I also had (or will have) some beans (yum!), a piece of manna bread (yum!), lots of carrots (yum!), and some orange remainders (weird yes, but yum).

Tonight I'll prep tomorrow's confetti salads since it's a work day tomorrow. I'm looking forward to that because I'll add mango and blueberries to it, along with the veggies (lettuce, kale, cabbage, broccoli raab, broccoli, cauliflower) and seasonings (seed mixture, vinegar, cilantro).

This week's beans!

This week's beans are so good! Wow, they taste like baked beans only without the added fat, salt, and sugar. I basically followed this recipe. I used rancho gordo cargamanto cranberry bean. They are kind of big and creamy, yet don't fall apart. But any dried bean would do. I chopped the onion and mushrooms in the food processor, out of laziness. This changes the texture compared to chopping with a knife. Either way is good. The mushrooms give the dish a kind of meaty texture. I dished it out into 10 bowls to freeze and take into work. Yum!

For fun I calculated the nutritional info per serving: calories, 234; protein 12 g (20%); carbs 45 g (77%), fat less than 1 gm.

This week's foods

I've been eating a lot of raw foods lately. It's mostly because I haven't been making the time to cook, but I also like it. I'm in a happy rut with these "confetti" or "micro" salads. My base is usually lettuce, baby bok choy, spinach, arugula, broccoli, cauliflower, kale, cabbage, sometimes red bell pepper, cucumber. Then if I go the savory route, maybe some tomatoes, beans, corn, spices (e.g., Mexican or Italian). Or go the sweet route, some yummy fruit like apple, grapefruit, strawberries, mango, blueberries, mango (not all of them, 1 or 2). Then maybe some cilantro and lime juice, and/or flavored vinegar and/or orange juice. Yesterday I had fresh strawberries and blackberries. Was that ever yummy. A few days ago I had an apple and grapefruit. On weekdays last week I had a big one of these salads for brekky and lunch. I've also been eating a ton of carrots. The season for local carrots will end soon. I'm on maybe the last 25 lb bag. They are sweet and yummy. My dinners lately have included large portions of carrots. I'm just having fun eating large quantities before they run out. The good news is, about the time they run out, we start seeing spring crops at the grocery store--local spinach and lettuce greens. So I'll have something new to look forward to.

About the only cooked thing I've been eating lately is beans. Today I prepped my favorite mixture of beans, carrot juice, onions and mushrooms, to cook up tomorrow. I also made housemate smoothies and my seed mixture. Tomorrow I probably won't feel like being in the kitchen much so will probably just scrounge on raw veggies and beans. And manna bread. I've had that the last few days. I think that's raw too.

manna bread

I've mentioned this brand of bread in previous posts. Here is the description from their website:

What is Manna bread? It is a cake-like, sprouted bread, yeast free bread, organic bread, free of salt, no oils, no sweeteners, no leavening agents. Manna is a moist and delicious, high in protein and fiber. Available in 9 delicious flavors.

I've posted before about the carrot raisin flavor. That is pretty sweet and more dessert like. Our co-op just started carrying their multi-grain version, with the following ingredients:

Sprouted organic wheat kernels, filtered water, organic brown rice, organic barley, organic millet, organic flax seed, organic rye kernels, organic soy beans, organic rolled oats, organic oat bran, organic cornmeal.

I really like this. It has a slight sweet taste even though it's all grains (and flax seed and soy beans? weird). It satisfies my desires to eat grains and bread-like foods, but I don't have desires to overeat it.

Washington among top in nation for child care center licensing

Washington once again ranks among the top in the nation for our licensing rules and oversight for child care centers, according to a National Association for Child Care Resource & Referral Agencies (NACCRRA) report released this week.

Washington ranks sixth in the nation overall for our center regulations and oversight. We ranked ninth in the last NACCRRA report, issued in 2009.

NACCRRA highlighted some of the strengths in our center licensing work, including: unannounced monitoring visits and complaint inspections; regulations that address all developmental domains as well as all basic health and safety standards; and an emphasis on parent involvement and information.

The Department of Early Learning licenses about 2,000 centers around the state, which includes school-age programs. View our state’s center rules and school-age rules here:

NACCRRA recommends that Washington:

  • Increase frequency of inspections of child care centers (we currently inspect once every 12 months for centers).
  • Require center directors to have a bachelor’s degree or higher in early childhood education or a related field.
  • Increase the education requirements for lead teachers to a child development associate (CDA) credential or an associate degree in early childhood education or related field (currently high school diploma or GED).
  • Increase annual training requirements to 24 hours, including CPR and first-aid (currently 10 hours).
  • Require fingerprints for checking individuals’ criminal history (currently our state only requires fingerprints for those who have lived in the state less than three years).

See Washington’s report card here:

NACCRRA also ranks regulations and oversight for family home child care in a separate report—the 2010 report is available here:

U.S. Education Secretary Arne Duncan joins Governor, legislators to discuss Department of Education proposal

U.S. Secretary of Education Arne Duncan has weighed in on our state’s conversation about how to build a more student-focused education system, first in a March 8 opinion piece in the Seattle Times and again today during a teleconference education roundtable with Governor Chris Gregoire and education leaders in the Washington Legislature.

Watch today’s education roundtable below.

The Governor has proposed a single state Department of Education to coordinate early learning, K-12 and higher education.

The bill currently being considered is SB 5639. The House has passed a bill, HB 1849, which would study the issue.

“To me, it’s just really encouraging that we’re putting these tough issues on the table and having thoughtful conversations about them,” Duncan said. “The more courage we can show in making these decisions—our children and ultimately our country desperately need our leadership now more than ever.”

Legislators visited the issue of early learning as a smart investment during the conversation. Rep. Pat Sullivan, D-Covington, asked Duncan how states can protect early learning in tough budget times.

“If we’re serious about getting educators at every level out of the remediation business, that means we have to have a lot more children enter kindergarten ready to learn and ready to read, with literacy and socialization skills intact,” Duncan replied.

Bean veggie soup

This is just beans, lots of veggies that Dr. Fuhrman always recommends, some grains, and carrot juice. Tastes real good.

1 lb beans
juice of 5 lbs carrots (or 1 quart store-bought)
1/4 cup hulled barley
1/4 cup brown rice
1/4 cup wild rice
1-2 onions
1 lb mushrooms
4 cloves garlic
1 stalk broccoli
1/3 cauliflower
1 zucchini
1 bunch kale

I soaked the beans overnight in the carrot juice in a big stock pot. If you prefer, you can soak them in water overnight, then rinse in the morning, then add the carrot juice. Start cooking the beans in carrot juice while chopping all the veggies. I used a food processor to chop them. Put them in a big bowl and stir them up. Once the beans have cooked for an hour or so, you can add the veggies and grains. Cook for another hour or two until the beans are tender.

Wow, I forgot to add spices and it still tasted great. You could add some oregano or thyme, heck I don't know, maybe some of those spice mixes like Fines Herbes, Herbes de Provence, Bouquet Garni.

This made a lot of soup. We ate lots (too much), then I dished them into 1-cup bowls to freeze and eat whenever I want. Here they are in the freezer. Oops I should clean out the freezer. I had a spill in there a while back. It's mainly hemp seeds but it's messy...

tomorrow's salad

Let's see if I can remember what went into this:

1 head lettuce
1/2 small head cabbage
1 stalk broccoli
1/3 cauliflower
1/2 cucumber
1 celery stalk
some spinach and arugula, maybe 1 cup packed each?
2 apples, cored

1 cup frozen corn
juice of 1 small orange and 1 small lime
2 Tbsp seed mixture (soaks up the juice)

Chop everything (except the last 3) in food processor and combine in a big bowl. Add the last three ingredients. The lime adds a nice zing. I wonder if cumin would be good in this. Or cinnamon...or pumpkin pie spice. It seemed good as it was so I didn't want to mess with it. Update: I did try pumpkin pie spice the next day and didn't like it so much--doesn't go well with the lime. Fortunately it didn't ruin it, but I don't recommend it.

Mexican Chopped Salad

Today's salad started with my usual veggies chopped in a food processor: romaine lettuce, kale, bok choy, cabbage, broccoli, and cauliflower. Stir in a giant mixing bowl.

Then I chopped 2 apples and a yellow bell pepper in the food processor and added those. I would have added cilantro but I didn't have any. Stir into the giant mixing bowl.

Then tomatoes from a 16 oz can (from our garden). beans. and 1 cup frozen corn. Stir into the giant mixing bowl.

I took the water from the can and added 3 Tbsp seed mixture, 1 Tbsp oregano, a sprinkle of chipotle powder, 1 tsp ground cumin, 1/2 tsp cinnamon, 1-2 Tbsp spicy pecan vinegar (any vinegar or lime or lemon will do), stirred that together and then stir into the giant mixing bowl.

I'm looking forward to lunch and dinner!

Breakfast was just nibbling on this and carrots and sugar snap peas while preparing.