En español | I lost 40 pounds between the summer of 2004 and the spring of 2005, and it's because I didn't diet. For the first time in my 50-plus years, there was no plan to stick to and then go off of. Finally I'd found a pleasurable yet lighter way of eating, and it changed my life. Since then I've maintained my new weight, and I want to share with you a few of the delicious recipes that have helped me keep the weight off. You might be surprised that food this good can be so good for you.
Eating breakfast every day is important, but if it's full of refined white-flour and granulated sugar, I'm rooting around in the pantry by midmorning. Whole grains, on the other hand, are more likely to satisfy me until lunch, which is why I like to whip up these four-grain pancakes. There's just enough all-purpose flour in the mix to keep the pancakes light and fluffy, but there are three times as much combined cornmeal, whole-wheat flour and rolled oats — for a healthy 3-to-1 ratio of whole grains to regular flour.
Griddle up a fresh batch of these pancakes on the weekend, and freeze the leftovers in zip-close bags. Then when you're looking for a quick midweek breakfast, just pop a few in the toaster.
A healthy, substantial lunch is important too. Soup is my cool-weather lunch choice, and my favorites are the creamy ones. Fortunately, I've found a low-calorie, low-fat way to get my cream fix. At only 12 calories per tablespoon (compared with cream's 50), low-fat evaporated milk satisfies my craving without the guilt. Curried cream of tomato soup with chickpeas and spinach, made with the low-fat evaporated milk, is a creamy and nutritious meal in a bowl.
The spring catalogs are starting to arrive, and I'm eyeing the swimsuit sections, thinking, "I'm so glad I won't need to crash diet to get ready for the beach this summer!"
Makes about 16 4-inch pancakes serving 6 to 8
- ½ cup each: fine cornmeal, all-purpose flour, whole-wheat flour and old-fashioned rolled oats
- 1 teaspoon each: salt and baking powder
- ½ teaspoon baking soda
- 1½ cups low-fat buttermilk or kefir, plus 1/2 cup water
- 4 teaspoons agave
- 2 large eggs
- 2 tablespoons vegetable oil
- Vegetable oil for brushing the griddle
- Heat a large nonstick skillet or griddle over low heat while preparing ingredients. Mix cornmeal, flours, oats, salt, baking powder and baking soda in a medium bowl. Whisk buttermilk, water, agave, eggs and oil in a 1-quart measuring cup until thoroughly combined. Pour wet ingredients into bowl of dry ingredients; whisk until just mixed. Turn batter into the 1-quart measuring cup, stirring in a teaspoon or so of water if necessary to make a thick but pourable batter.
- Increase heat to medium and lightly brush skillet or griddle with oil. When oil starts to spider but before it starts to smoke, pour batter, about ¼ cup at a time, working in batches if necessary to avoid overcrowding. When pancake bottoms are golden brown and top starts to bubble, 2 to 3 minutes, flip pancakes; cook until golden brown on second side. Repeat, brushing skillet or griddle with oil between batches. Serve hot.
Curried Cream of Tomato Soup With Chickpeas and Spinach
Makes 6 generous cups, serving 4
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- 1 medium-large onion, chopped
- 1 tablespoon curry powder or garam masala
- 1 can (28 ounces) crushed tomatoes
- 1 can (15 to 16 ounces) chickpeas, drained
- Scant ½ teaspoon baking soda
- 1 cup low-fat evaporated milk
- 1 cup frozen chopped spinach, thawed (no need to squeeze out liquid)
- Salt and ground black pepper
- Heat oil in a Dutch oven over medium-high. Add onion; sauté until tender, about 5 minutes. Stir in curry powder; cook until fragrant, less than a minute. Add tomatoes, chickpeas and baking soda; bring to a simmer. Reduce heat to low and simmer, partially covered, to blend flavors, about 5 minutes. Stir in milk and spinach; reheat to a simmer, seasoning with salt and pepper to taste. Ladle into bowls and serve.
Seared Pork Tenderloin Medallions With Peach-Pecan Pan Sauce
Serves 3 to 4
- 1 pork tenderloin (1¼ pounds), cut crosswise into ¾-inch medallions
- 2 teaspoons vegetable oil
- Salt and ground black pepper
- 6 tablespoons chicken broth
- 2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
- 2 tablespoons peach fruit spread
- 1½ tablespoons coarsely chopped roasted pecans
- Heat a 12-inch nonstick skillet over low heat while preparing tenderloin and pan sauce. Place pork tenderloin medallions on a plate; drizzle with oil and turn to coat, seasoning both sides with salt and pepper. Mix broth, vinegar and peach spread in a small bowl.
- A couple of minutes before cooking, turn on vent fan and increase heat under pan to a strong medium-high. When pan is very hot (a seasoned nonstick skillet will start to send up wisps of smoke), add medallions to skillet. Cook, turning only once until well browned on both sides, about 8 minutes total. Transfer to a plate.
- Add pan sauce ingredients to hot skillet. Cook until reduced by half, adding any meat juices back to the sauce, usually less than a minute; stir in pecans. Arrange pork medallions on plates; spoon a little sauce over each portion, and serve.