Toasted Coconut Chips

This is one of the recipes in the Clean Snacks book referenced above. I will be using this recipe here because this book isn’t the only book that has a variation of this recipe.

In the coming blog entry I will feature another recipe that I think is even better. I plan on buying the Clean Snacks book. See whether you’d like to buy the cookbook too. I’m not a fan of the Paleo or Keto diets these recipes are linked to. Nor am I a believer that you must go on any diet to lose weight.

Only the recipes in this book are easy to make. Even though paleo and keto are in the title this didn’t deter me from checking it out of the library.

The author of this cookbook isn’t a nutritionist. Yet I can attest that the 2 recipes I’ve created from the book are tasty. The snacks here are healthier than potato chips or pretzels or a candy bar or can of cola.

Toasted Coconut Chips

2 cups unsweetened coconut flakes

1 tablespoon pure maple syrup

Pinch sea salt

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Preheat the oven to 300 F.

Line a large baking sheet with parchment paper.

In a large mixing bowl combine the ingredients.

Mix very well.

Pour the mixture on the baking sheet.

Bake for 10 to 12 minutes. Stir every 3 to 4 minutes until golden brown.

Cool completely.

I used coconut chips not flakes and this was perfectly fine. I buy the Fresh Direct coconut chips.

Center Cut Squash

The salmon filet was leftover from a Bento box I ordered for dinner one night.

The vegetable is the Center Cut Squash that arrived in the CSA box. It was the first time I had this veggie. The squash tastes almost like citrus and is juicy and tastes green.

How it was cooked:

I cut the squash in half the long way. Brushed with olive oil. Cooked at 350 degrees in the oven for 40 minutes or so.

Alas, I’ve stopped buying the CSA box because there’s too much food in it to use within five days.

Now that fall’s coming I will be buying individual vegetables like spaghetti squash.

Recipes to follow for Bok Choy plus vegan snacks.

Beet Salad

The word for beets in Italian is barbabietole.

The beets were in the CSA box with the other vegetables I used to make the prior meals.

This beet salad was for dinner one night. The heirloom tomatoes came from the box of organic tomatoes I bought.

To roast beets you cut off the top and bottom. You roast them at 400 degrees for 45 minutes in the oven.

I let the beets cool a bit after taking them out of the oven. Then I used a knife to cut around in a circle to remove the hard skin.

I used the onion that was in the CSA box too.

Eggplant Sandwich

This is my version of an eggplant-and-mozzarella “sandwich” you’d find in an Italian food shop.

The Italian eggplant arrived in the CSA box. I cut it into “coins” brushed each coin with EVOO and grilled them on the stove.

The oven I bought last Labor Day has a fifth burner that has a grill pan you can use above the oval burner.

I used the grill pan on the fifth burner to grill the eggplant coins for about 7 to 9 minutes or so. I didn’t keep track of the time. I viewed the coins to see when they were golden brown. I turned each coin over halfway through.

The mozzarella I used alternating with the eggplant to make a sandwich was the Galbani fresh mozzarella that comes sliced.

Again I don’t like to have a lot of cheese because doing so can elevate your LDL or “bad” cholesterol.

Bok Choy Joy

This is the first time I’ve cooked and eaten Bok choy. The vegetable was part of the CSA box I bought for this week’s dinners.

I used one head of Bok choy and could’ve used 2 heads. The recipe is tasty and I will feature it in a coming blog entry in the future.

With a ton of tasty vegetables on offer year-round I say: ditch the meat. Produce sold in-season is cheaper.

Colorful veggies are happy food. Feel-good greens can give you benefits instead of reaching for vitamins.

A lot of people take vitamins and that is their choice. I stopped taking supplements years ago.

In my estimation I think the decision comes down to what each of us as an individual needs to nourish our bodies.

Which might be different from the advice an expert peddles to the masses.

However I do adhere to some guidelines and I’ll talk about these guidelines in the future.

Caprese Salad

The Caprese salad above I had for dinner one night.

You’re not supposed to eat cheese. I read somewhere that the production of cheese contributes to greenhouse gas emissions.

I don’t have cheese often and it’s because having a lot of cheese can elevate your LDL–the bad cholesterol in your body.

I would like to publish a cookbook one day. It wouldn’t be a vegan cookbook.

There are ethical reasons for being a vegan.

Whatever eating plan a person adheres I stand by my life motto: No Judgments.

In one way I have done something differently: I rarely eat chicken and fish anymore. I usually have scallops for seafood and often shrimp.

More often than not I cook vegetables for dinner.

Simply reducing your reliance on food like meat that contributes to greenhouse gas emissions will go a long way in promoting self-health and the health of the planet.

I’m not going to sit around judging what people do though.

I have no desire to be an eco-cop policing people or an enviro-vigilante.

Human beings are doing the best we can with what we were given.

Even the buzzword “plant-based” should be enough of a change to make.

The blog entry coming up features another vegetable dinner that I used CSA box produce to cook.

This Week’s Food

For $12.99 I bought the tomatoes in the box below:

For $29.99 I bought a CSA box of organic vegetables as follows:

Jalapeno Peppers

Orange Carrots

Red Beets

Roma Tomatoes

Russian Banana Fingerling Potatoes

Sweet Onions

Baby Green Bok Choy

Italian Eggplant

I used the CSA box food plus bought heads of Boston lettuce to make a salad for dinner to start off the week.

The Bok choy I’ll have for lunch on Tuesday.

Photos are to follow of the meals I created with the food.

2020 SNAP Challenge

In 2018 and 2019 the Beyond Hunger organization hosted SNAP challenges.

A person who was well-off was challenged to use the customary SNAP benefit to buy food for one week.

The Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program is commonly called by its former name: food stamps.

The most recent challenge allocated participants to use $31.22 per person per week for 7 days total.

That comes out to about $4.46 per person per day.

Some rules apply:

The food cannot be bought at big box retailer like Costco or Sam’s Club.

You can use your own condiments and spices.

In most regards other than these two rules you must make do on $31.22 as one person for 7 days.

I’m not going to be able to meet this standard for a number of reasons:

First I have groceries ordered from FreshDirect which doesn’t accept SNAP benefits for payment.

Second the standard is impossible to live up to when you want to eat healthful food.

As it is for my lunch at my job I spend about $5.00 per day on food from a deli counter at a market.

This food is often a half-pound of beet salad or a Sicilian tomato-and-0nion salad or a container of soup.

The point is that people in America are going hungry.

I order 2 $5 donations–$10 total–with my groceries order so that the NY Common Pantry can give 4 pantry meals each to two people.

I have been “buying” this donation with my groceries since the start of June.

FreshDirect employees package the food and help deliver the boxes to people in need in New York City.

This as a humanitarian response to the food insecurity individuals started to face during the COVID-19 outbreak.

As a modified version of the SNAP challenge I’m going to photograph and document in the blog how I spent $29.99–$30 dollars in effect–on food this week.

The fact is–regardless of anyone’s political persuasion–we cannot continue to rob Americans living in poverty of their right to have enough money to buy food.

That people go hungry is a crime.

Again–giving every American a Universal Basic Income of $1,000 per month–would go a long way in terms of food justice.

Andrew Yang–who dropped out of the Democratic race for president–was my choice because his policy platform included a Universal Basic Income.

Spring Cleaning in the Pandemic

This is how I define the fancy word self-determination:

The right to choose how you want to live your life.

It’s as simple as that.

After the pandemic ends will you want to remain in a soul-sucking job?

Will you want to continue in an unhealthy relationship?

I say: time’s up on the status quo.

It’s time for each of us to decide for ourselves the kind of life we want to live, who we want to have in our lives, and what ideals we want to carry with us into the future.

I’m going to spring clean my mind with the help of a therapist to get rid of the weedy and overgrown thoughts that held me back.

My goal is to publish 2 books in 2021.

While everything has shut down and our lives have appeared to come to a halt:

It’s the perfect time to do spring cleaning.

“Out with the old–in with the new” rings truer today if you ask me.