Lowering Cholesterol Deliciously

In just a little over a month I will turn 30.

<gag> <puke> <cry> <pull out gray hairs>

But the number isn’t the only thing pissing me off these days. Because it’s not just the number. I’ve also been diagnosed with high cholesterol. Now, my “good” cholesterol is very high, thank you avocados. But my well-documented love affair with eggs and cheese couldn’t overcome my HDL.

So now I’m on fish oil pills (side note – what do dedicated vegetarians take to lower cholesterol?) three times a day. In the past three weeks I’ve eaten eggs only once a week (instead of my normal 4-5 times a week) and have lowered my twice+ a day habit of cheese to about once every other day or so.

But I don’t want to just cut things out of my diet. I’m also looking to add things that will actively lower my cholesterol. And that’s when I remembered the dessert my cousin, Lea, made me when I vacationed in Arizona last fall. Lea is a Wellcoaches certified wellness coach and specializes in weight loss and heart disease prevention. (About Lea)

I asked her to send more information on her muesli dessert, which is simply raw oats, raisins, chopped walnuts, chopped cashews, and semi-sweet mini chocolate chips swimming in Rice Dream vanilla rice drink. Most people would assume this is a breakfast treat, but Lea has adapted it as a healthy and filling dessert, which even helps her fall asleep.

Here’s more from Lea on how a nightcap of muesli can help you lose weight and lower your cholesterol (turning 30 or not):

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Cheese in the Far East

cheese in asia

Even though I’ve been home from Japan and Korea for about a month, I’m still seeing different friends for the first time and telling travel stories. I’m often asked what my favorite meal was or what country’s food I liked better or what was the craziest thing I ate. Often I mention the one instance 80 and I tasted cheese in the Far East as one of our best dishes.

We were shopping and strolling in the area near Seoul Women’s University. It was drizzling. Kinda chilly. Comfort was in need. It became our ritual to walk in, sit down and then leave restaurants if we couldn’t maneuver the menu or waitstaff. Because sometimes even hand gestures get lost in translation.

My co-worker Sherry told me about her sister’s views on Korean food while she lived in the country. The sister wasn’t fond of Korean food but enjoyed the country’s take on Italian food. 80 and I really did, for the most part, dine on each country’s cuisine. But at this moment, with seventy-five percent of our trip past, we needed something a tinge familiar. We needed cheese.

We walked into an Italian restaurant but then quickly left. We couldn’t communicate and weren’t up for the long batter of guesses. We snuck out. And instead we found college grub. Fusion college grub.

This place would fucking kill in the US. Huge bowls of hot rice, options of kimchi, veggies, chicken, whatever, then topped with melted mozzarella. Stir together with metal chopsticks. Awesomeness. Spicy, gooey, stomach-coating. Perfect drunk or hungover food. Plus, this place serves a side cup of broth to start. God I miss broth at every meal.

(PS–I hated Korean chopsticks: metal and thin. Hard to hold, become slippery easily. )

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The Search Continues: Bulk Bin #3387

Various Grains

The grains from bulk bin #3387 are about to be shown Who Is Boss. I’m tired of #3387 mocking me as I push past it to reach for properly labeled grains. I will figure out what the fuck this grain is and use that entire bag in one sitting. So. There.

In case you are wondering what I’m talking about, last week I pleaded for someone to come forward and name this unmarked grain I had sitting in my cabinet. To recap…

We had a few guesses:

NeeNee: really short grain brown rice or wheat berries
AW: some sort of barley
Maids: yellow dent corn from the Andes. Or Kamut.
dosdos, negged those guesses: I’m pretty sure farro is longer than that. Kamut’s pretty long and narrow. Wheat berries is a good guess but it doesn’t have the line down the middle splitting it in half like a little long booty…. I’m really leaning towards rice.
Danielle: Amaranth?
ajjelibean: Does raw sunflower kernels from Tree of Life sound familiar?

But no one could claim certainty and I have no idea what the Tree of Life is.

Although there were a few other tips. Olga from Mango & Tomato suggested I cook it like brown rice and Brit and westcoast thought I should think just a bit harder where I may have bought the grains to trigger an answer.

My guess is farro because I know that I’ve wanted to try it. But no one thinks that it looks like farro.

Oh well. So here is one last shot. Maids suggested that I show the mystery grain in comparison to other identified grains. See above. Please help.

Who are you bulk bin #3387?!?!

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Raw Is All the Rage


Tom Colicchio was seriously mean last week when he pounded Jacqueline about how she didn’t know the recipe of her (failed) chicken liver mousse after preparing it hundreds of times. Jackie – I feel your pain. I have simmered enough bulgur wheat over the years that I should remember the proportions of water to grain and its cooking time. In fact, the first recipe I ever shared on Endless Simmer was for a salad with bulgur wheat.

But I still googled for a recipe. And this is when I found an awesome idea: cook bulgur with chickpeas. Because I never muster the forethought of soaking and boiling dried beans days ahead of when I would consume them, I always turn to canned beans. I don’t think to prep them very much. But now, I will think different. The Second Lunch provided guidance to cook a big batch of this bulgur wheat and chickpea combo and save it throughout the week for a few different meals. It took her up on it. Her timing was right on. But more, the chickpeas became ultra tender and not chalky as they sometimes can be coming right out of the can. So thank you, The Second Lunch. I dedicate this salad to you.

Raw Kale Salad with Bulgur, Chickpeas and Avocado in a Cottage Cheese-Red Wine Vinegar Dressing

Sorry, I had to name everything in the title of this salad. All of the ingredients are too important not to mention. Amongst my friends raw kale salad is becoming a major topic of conversation. Raw kale is not bitter like some greens and can take a huge smacking of an aggressively flavored dressing; the green just won’t wilt under its weight.

I decided to jump on the trend. On top of raw kale add cooked (like this) bulgur wheat and chickpeas, chunks of avocado, scallions and salt and pepper. In a small bowl mix two spoonfuls of cottage cheese with salt, pepper and red wine vinegar and pour over salad. (I asked, it’s okay to add cottage cheese to salad.)

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Bulk Bin #3387

mystery grain

That’s all I got. #3387.

Ever since I cleaned out my fridge before vacation I’ve been on a kind of cleaning kick. It’s in spurts. And tiny spurts at that. But it’s better than my normal.

Yesterday as I searched for a grain for dinner I came across a ton of half empty bags. I’ve recently started saving glass jars. Jars from salsa, capers, tomato sauce, anything really. If I can get the label off after a dishwasher run then it’s a keeper. In a frenzy I whipped out my funnel and poured bags of arborio rice, lentils and quinoa into their own more shelf-stable (I think?) containers.

And that’s where I came across #3387.

I seriously cannot identify that thing.

I know we’ve asked a lot of you this week: what to do with garlic scapes, the best way to eat strawberries and how to get drunk off popsicles, but I really need one last favor.

There’s a jar and a sticky waiting for #3387. Help the grains find their home.


The Search is On: Name that Grain

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The True Purpose of Academic Achievement


I am officially dating a master.

80P graduated this weekend and because he will now have tons of time (um, besides the whole job search thing) he will be back to blogging. Okay, probably not. Maybe just picture taking. Anyway.

Momentous occasions, whatever the occasion, is really about the food. Fuck that MPP. Fuck that honors GPA. That’s not all that important when we get to use this event as an excuse to eat some really good food. 80’s parents were in town and the night before the ceremony they treated the master and his lowly BA-holding girlfriend to a lovely dinner at Restaurant Eve. The food was great but my favorite part were the sea beans. I’d never heard of them before and they were described as so salty they were like potato chips. SOLD! And salty and crisp they were, just like the ocean water that they grow near. They were green bean shaped, not black bean shaped. They were thin and dark green and so much fun to find on the fork, nicely contrasting with the soft flesh of fish.

After graduation we skipped the mob scene of the school’s brunch reception and went to Wagshal’s deli for sandwiches (and pickles!). But I only ate half my lox and bagel sandwich because we had 80’s classmate’s graduation bbq. See, everyone knows that graduations are not for the cap and gown but for good eats.

MCB, the host, provided kabobs and a few guests brought sides. I decided on couscous early on, as it’s become my party go-to. The problem, well not problem, but adjust-maker, was that I didn’t have all that much couscous  in the cabinet, which I didn’t check until 45 minutes prior to the party. But I did have Israeli couscous on hand so I went with it.

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What to Expect at 2pm

couscous salad

This past weekend my coworker threw a birthday party for her two-year-old son. Earlier in the week we spent some time finding invitations (um, am I the only one who’s never heard of the Backyardigans?) and more importantly, figuring out food. It was a 2pm party, which is kinda an awkward time.

How many meals have you had by 2pm on a Saturday? Would you have eaten breakfast? Breakfast and lunch? Lunch? Brunch? Nothing?


Also, what would you expect food-wise for a 2pm child’s birthday party? Just chips? Sandwiches? Just cake?

My coworker decided on bite-size, semi-substantial fare. Whatever that means. Well, actually, I can tell you exactly what it means: Chicken nuggets from Chick-fil-A, burger sliders (very impressed she found mini-potato rolls), waffle fries (frozen), spinach and artichoke dip (with pita chips and tortilla chips) and some party punch thing where she dumped a bucket of sherbet-like stuff into a bowl with Sprite. Oh, and of course cake (with Backyardigan decorations) and little ice cream cups.

We also wanted to serve a more grown-up side. That’s where I came in. She initially thought of a pasta salad type dish, but wanted something a bit different. Couscous! Still a side, but a bit more refined than pasta salad. Plus, I had a few winter vegetables that would be a much better fit for a grain than for pasta. (I think sweet potato and noodles are a bit much.)

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