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This crunchy carrot cake is light and lovely and since its wheat/gluten-free it is Kosher for Passover!

For best results, wrap the cake tightly in plastic after it cools and serve it the next day. It will keep for five days in the refrigerator if wrapped airtight.

Ingredients:
1 1/2 cups (1/2 pound) unsalted toasted almonds
1/4 cup raw brown (turbinado) sugar
1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1/8 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg
2 teaspoons grated lemon zest
4 large eggs
1/3 cup organic white sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
2 cups finely grated carrots (about 10 ounces or 3-4 large carrots)*
*It’s important to grate the carrots on the fine holes of your grater, or else they’ll remain too crunchy.

Directions:

1. Heat the oven to 350 degrees. Oil a 9-inch pan, (ideally springform lined with parchment).

2. Combine the almonds & brown sugar in a food processor and blend until almonds are finely ground. Add the baking powder, salt, cinnamon, nutmeg & lemon zest, and pulse together.

3. Beat the eggs until thick in the bowl of a standing mixer fitted with the whisk attachment, or with an electric beater. Add white sugar, continue to beat until the mixture is thick and forms a ribbon when lifted from the bowl with a spatula. Beat in the vanilla. Add the almond mixture and the carrots in three alternating additions, and slowly beat or fold in each time.

4. Scrape the batter into the prepared cake pan. Place in the oven, and bake one hour until firm to the touch and beginning to pull away from the pan. A toothpick inserted into the center of the cake should come out clean. Remove from the heat, and allow to cool on a rack for 10 minutes. Run a knife around the edges of the pan, and carefully remove from the pan. Allow the cake to cool completely, then wrap tightly in plastic.

Yield: Serves 10 to 12.

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Nutritional information per serving (10 servings): 209 calories; 13 grams fat; 1 gram saturated fat; 85 grams cholesterol; 18 grams carbohydrates; 3 grams dietary fiber; 135 milligrams sodium (does not include salt added during preparation); 7 grams protein

Recipe from the New York Times by Martha Rose Shulman.

Print a copy here (or in resources).

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As promised in last week’s Healthy Meal Planning post, here is the White Bean & Kale Ragout recipe that is one of our meal-time staples.   You can do it with the sausage or not, with the zucchini or not and I like to serve mine with a sprinkle of parmesan on top.  Remember to make extra and pack it for lunch or freeze!

Serves 4 (serving size 1 ¾ C each)

Ingredients:

1 Tbsp Olive Oil
½ C Chopped Onion
2 (4 oz) links of chicken/turkey sausage, cut into ½ inch slices*  (OPTIONAL)
1 Zucchini, quartered and cut into ½ inch slices (about 2 cups)
3 Garlic Cloves, peeled and crushed
6 Cups chopped trimmed kale (about ½ pound)
½ C Water or Low-Sodium Vegetable Stock (good for flavor if omitting sausage)
2 (16 oz) cans Cannellini/White beans, rinsed & drained or 4 cups pre-cooked homemade
1 (14.5oz) can diced tomatoes (low sodium, or NO salt), undrained
¼ tsp salt
¼ tsp freshly ground black pepper
Directions:

1. Heat oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat.

2. Sauté onion and sausage 4 minutes or until sausage is browned.

3. Add zucchini and garlic, cook 2 minutes.

4. Add kale and remaining ingredients; bring to a boil. Cover, reduce heat, and simmer 10 minutes or until thoroughly heated. Serve immediately.

Per serving: 467 calories, 10.2g fat (6.5g if no sausage), 28.5g protein (with sausage), 15.4g fiber
764 mg sodium

Cooking Light, January 2005

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Taught a great class last night at 18 Reasons about healthy meal planning and I wanted to share some key tips with all of you…

Tips for Healthy Meal Planning
•    Look ahead for extra-busy days and plan something quick for those days
•    During the week, plan simpler meals: one-pot meals, broiled or roasted meats, steamed vegetables, salads, fresh fruit desserts. Save sauces and multi-step meals for weekends.
•    Have a cook swap with your friends/co-workers or make cooking a meal together the fun activity you do one night (with a glass of wine?)
Efficiency tricks:
o    Read ahead in the recipe- so you can plot out what to be cutting while oven pre-heats, or chop 1 Cup of carrots when two recipes each call for ½ Cup.
o    Brown extra ground beef for dinner to use in another dish, like tacos, later in the week.
o    Cook two more chicken breasts and then cut some up for another meal such as stir-fry with vegetables and brown rice. Freeze or Refrigerate.
o    Cook extra rice, put it into a container, and refrigerate or freeze. On a busy night, microwave it, stirring occasionally, until heated through, then use as you would fresh.
o    Chop a whole onion or several cloves of garlic, even if you only need part of it right now. Store the rest for another meal.
o    Grate extra cheese and store it in a zippered plastic bag in the freezer.

3 Day Sample Menu for 2 people:
Night before- leave 7 Cups White Beans out to soak
Day 1
Bfast- Make big batch of oatmeal (2C), serve ½ C each with nuts & fruit, refrigerate 1 C
Lunch- Salad (pre-washed) with canned fish/beans, veggies, WW crackers
Dinner- Make big pot of simple white beans (7C), save bean liquid (1 C for bean dip),set aside 4 Cups to make Kale/Sausage/Bean Ragout (7C) (Recipe to come this week), Enjoy Ragout (3.5 C). Refrigerate the rest of the beans (2 C) and Ragout leftovers (aprox 3.5 C left). Cut up raw veggies enough for 2 days and put in ziplock baggies.
Day 2
Bfast- ½ C each Oatmeal from Day 1 w freshly added fruit & nuts
Lunch- Leftover Ragout (1 ¾ C each), side of cut up raw carrots & celery (“Crudite”)
Dinner- Make big pot of brown rice (4 C), serve 2 C of it with protein (fish, chicken, tofu etc), steamed veggies (fresh or frozen). Set aside 2 portions of protein. Make a rice  salad (try this one) with leftover 2 C rice. Blend remaining White Beans (2 C) with olive oil, lemon, parsley to make dip/spread for crudite or sandwich filling
Day 3
Bfast- WW Toast, nut butter, piece of fruit
Lunch- 2C Rice Salad, leftover protein on top, with Crudite and Bean dip
Dinner- Make a big pot(~14C) of Lentil stew (try this one), serve 2 C each w pre-washed salad, crusty WW bread.  Reserve 2 C for tomorrow’s lunch w sandwich, Freeze 4 Cups for future.

Menu Planning Resources:
Free:
www.simpleskillet.com (weekly menus- including budget, kid freindly,low carb, diabetic, vegetarian- plus shopping list)
www.eatingwell.com (28 Day diet meal plans at 1200, 1500 and 1800 kcals or customizable plans)
www.rachelraymag.com (weekly menu + shopping list)

www.familyeats.net (local Bay Area mom cooking healthy for her family of four, weekly menu+ shopping list)
Subscription:
www.myfoodmyhealth.com (specializes in health conditions and food allergies)
www.mealeasy.com (health conditions etc)

Here is a Weekly Meal Planner to fill out.  Feeling intimidated? No need to fill out the whole thing, just start with a few days or even just dinners. Give it a try!

Let me know of any time saving tricks you use, recipe/meal planning sites you love or just give a shout-out if you support planning to cook more for fun and health.

Have to chop garlic? Chop enough for several recipes and refridgerate

 

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