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Faux Slaw

For the longest time, coleslaw kind of grossed me out. It was always this weirdly slimey mess of vegetables you'd get on the side of your turkey club sandwiches at diners. And not something I wanted to eat.

But at some point, I had some really good tangy, crunchy cole slaw. Probably from East Coast West deli or Max's Opera Cafe. And now, every so often, I get the craving for it. But just for one serving. Last night, I came up with a faux slaw that acted as a coleslaw stand-in snack while I played on the computer.

Faux Slaw

  • 1 handful shredded purple cabbage
  • 1 handful shredded carrots
  • 1 handful broccoli slaw
  • 1 TBSP Hidden Valley Ranch dressing
  • 3 or 4 turns of the pepper mill
In a small salad bowl, combine the veggies, add the salad dressing, combine until well-coated. Finish with the pepper. Fast, easy, tasty, and a little lower-calorie than a traditional coleslaw.

Surviving Thanksgiving Week

Thanksgiving has long been one of my favorite holidays. But the catch has always been getting through the week without having to go buy a new pair of jeans due to overindulging. Keeping that in mind this year, I planned some easy and low-cal casseroles to get us through the week, and leave me to freely indulge in all my turkey day favorite dishes.

First though, I need to do a shout out for my favorite side dish at this year's Thanksgiving dinner table: Martha Stewart's Sweet Potato and Sage Casserole. And yes, I brought home a hefty glad storage container full of it.

Black Bean and Corn Casserole

  • 1 medium onion, thinly sliced
  • 1 red bell pepper, thinly sliced
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 12 oz corn kernels
  • 3 eggs
  • 2 egg whites
  • 1/4 cup milk
  • 1/2 teaspoon hot pepper sauce
  • 1/2 cup ricotta
  • 1 can (15oz) black beans, rinsed/drained
  • 1/2 cup shredded mozzarella
  • 12 tortilla chips, crumbled

Preheat oven to 375. Spray your casserole dish (shallow and wide works better than a deep round for this) with your non-stick spray of choice (I use an olive oil spray.) Using a non stick pan on medium heat, cook the onion, garlic and bell pepper, stirring frequently, for 5 minutes or until both are softened. Remove from heat and stir in the corn.

Whisk the eggs and egg whites, milk, hot pepper sauce and ricotta together in a large bowl. Add the beans and the cooked vegetables. Spread evenly in your casserole dash, top with the cheese and the crushed tortillas. Bake until browned and bubbly. Serve with a dollop of sour cream and freshly ground pepper on top. Serves 6.

Turkey Tetrazzini

  • 1 1/2 cups reduced sodium vegetable broth
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1/4 tsp pepper
  • 1/4 cup sour cream
  • 1/2 cup frozen peas, defrosted
  • 1/2 cup frozen corn, defrosted
  • 1 lb ground turkey breast
  • 8 oz fettuccine, cooked per package directions, drained
  • 1 cup red onion, thinly sliced
  • 1/4 cup ricotta
  • 1/2 cup mozzarella
  • 1 cup milk

Preheat oven to 375. Spray your casserole dish (use a deep round if you want it more creamy, a shallow and wide dish if you like the crispy noodles) with your non-stick spray of choice (I use an olive oil spray.) Season the ground turkey with garlic powder, salt and pepper then brown in a non stick pan. Set aside.

Whisk broth and milk together in a medium-size saucepan. Stir in one tablespoon of butter. Cook on medium heat, stirring frequently, until thickened and boiling (8-10 min.) Add salt and pepper, remove from heat. Stir in sour cream and ricotta.

Add your noodles, vegetables and turkey to the cheese sauce. Stir together until everything is coated with the sauce. Pour into the casserole dish. Top with the mozzarella. Bake until browned and bubbly (20-30 min.) Serves 6.


Green Apple Book Binge

I live in a dangerous neighborhood. It's dangerous because Green Apple Books is within walking distance. For over 40-years, it's been San Francisco's best used bookstore. My particular weakness is their robust selection of food lit, and aisles of new nonfiction that appeals to Harper's magazine readers such as myself. My last trip there I was good and didn't bring anything home. This time though, despite my overflowing bookcases, I brought home a few books.

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The Omnivore's Dilemma
by Michael Pollan

It's almost embarrassing that I haven't read this yet. I can't count how many times this book has been name-checked in the NPR podcasts I listen to, blogs I read, etc. Although I do indulge in the occasional handful of cheetos and have a fondness for Kraft Mac n' cheese, I've made a conscious decision to try to think both locally and more healthfully about what I am eating. I've heard nothing but praise about how this book delves into the moral and social ramifications of our food choices as a nation.


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The End of Overeating
by David A. Kessler, MD

Several of my coworkers have been raving about this book by a former FDA commissioner. Did you know that brand name ketchup served with your salty fast food fries has corn syrup? According to Kessler, these ubiquitous combinations of salt, fat and sugar is no accident. The book presents research and examinations of specific foods produced by giant food corporations and restaurant chains to explain  how the desire to eat—not to be confused with the act of eating—is stimulated in the brain by the unholy trio of salt, fat and sugar.

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This Land is Their Land
by Barbara Ehrenreich

I've been a hug fan of Ehrenreich since I read her Harper's essay that became the book Nickel and Dimed (a firsthand account of life in low-hourly-wage America.) This book is a collection of short pieces that tackle current issues that contribute to the growing gap between the haves and have-nots (i.e. what used to be the middle class.)


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Pride and Prejudice and Zombies: The Classic Regency Romance - Now with Ultraviolent Zombie Mayhem!

by Jane Austen and Seth Grahame-Smith

Lewis just couldn't resist this one. I'll let you know how it turns out...