The Cultural Revolution Cookbook by Scott D. Seligman, pdf, 9881998468

  • Full Title : The Cultural Revolution Cookbook
  • Autor: Scott D. Seligman
  • Print Length: 168 pages
  • Publisher: Earnshaw Books
  • Publication Date: 
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 9881998468
  • ISBN-13: 978-9881998460
  • Download File Format: pdf


In 1969, millions of Chinese teenagers were forced from their homes in the city in order to live and work in the countryside as part of China’s Cultural Revolution. The work was backbreaking and rations were tight, but Sasha Gong has fond memories of learning to make simple, delicious country cooking. A collection of delectable, healthy, and easy-to-make Chinese recipes from the villages interspersed with a personal narrative and bits of historical context, this cookbook contains authentic Chinese dishes ranging from honey-braised duck to stir-fried rice made from ingredients found at local grocery stores. Chinese history buffs and foodies alike will enjoy discovering the integral connection between Chinese culture and food.



“A beautifully illustrated cookbook that documents the indomitable spirit of a people whose defining greeting is still ‘Have you eaten yet?’ Adorned with period posters and trivia that captures the absurdity of the time . . . the 80 homely recipes inspire with their simplicity and no-nonsense prose.” —Daven Wu, TIME

“The book’s use of propaganda posters from the period links the recipes and the politics in a wonderfully entertaining way.” —Judith Shapiro, author, Mao’s War Against Nature

“The book is by turns touching, funny and bemusing; the food triumphs over all.” —Christian Murck, President of the American Chamber of Commerce in China

“A scrumptious treat in every way. Peppered with delectable and little-known historical anecdotes, luscious food photography, and colorful, eye-pleasing Chinese socialist realist art, the book is a delight simply to flip through.” —Ted Plafker, author, Doing Business in China

“Gong and Seligman serve up both good food and history in an easily digestible format.” —John Frisbie, President of the U.S.-China Business Council

“This is a beautifully written book that you will savor both for its thoughtful reflections on history and its great recipes.” —John L. Holden, former President of The National Committee on U.S.-China Relations

The Cultural Revolution Cookbook mixes amusing anecdotes, engaging stories and sumptuous recipes to bring to life revolutionary China’s culinary history. The authors’ unique expertise in Chinese history, society and culture make this cookbook entertaining, informative and indispensable for any kitchen.” —Chris Billing, former Bureau Chief for NBC News Beijing

“Seligman and Gong manage to bring forth from the bitter legacy of the Cultural Revolution a delightful book of recipes that serves up not just breakfast, lunch and dinner but also much food for thought.” —Curtis S. Chin, former U.S. Ambassador to the Asian Development Bank

About the Author

Sasha Gong is an accomplished Chinese cook and the author of Born American: A Chinese Woman’s Dream of Liberty. She lives in Cambridge, Massachusetts. Scott D. Seligman is a historian, the author of Chinese Business Etiquette, and the coauthor of Now You’re Talking Mandarin Chinese. He lives in Washington, DC.



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family recipes, princess chicken, indian flat bread, cake dish, keto diet free, ween on my first nasturtium plants, but the plants were huge.

A boy on a dairy farm knows all about manure as fertilizer, so I amended my little plot with rich, aged chicken dung. My seed packet contained a number of large, round nasturtium seeds. I had no idea what this pea-like seed would produce and wouldn’t know until researching it later that nasturtium prefers lean soils for ideal flowering. Mine grew like a proverbial weed, producing massive, waist-high “shrubs” (I was twelve, remember). They didn’t flower much at all; it would be years before I would learn that vegetative growth from highly available nitrogen produces foliage at the expense of bloom. It hardly mattered, as my first attempt at growing something had produced colossal plants! This was my first lesson that if you want to get someone excited about gardening, their initial efforts need to be successful, exciting, and rewarding. My mom praised my gardening prowess—smart lady—and the following year that little plot was simply not enough and I was side-by-side with her in the vegetable garden.

Another life lesson on the value of gardening is the personal connections that it can facilitate. When I was around sixteen, my grandfather and I had reached the point of nearly despising one another until we bonded over gardening. I told him about adding Epsom salts to tomatoes and he was exuberant when his plants grew massively larger than mine. Just like my experience with the nasturtiums, he didn’t care that the yield was low, it was more about the success and the huge plants he grew. We competed over size and yield, discovered new vegetables, and delighted in sharing harvests with others. By the time I left for college my grandfather and I had become friends. I thank gardening to this day because two years later he died from a brain tumor.

The benefits of gardening are numerous. Ornamental plants provide opportunities for enjoyment, inspiration, creativity, and satisfaction. They add value, curb appeal, and outdoor living opportunities to homes, along with offering privacy and personality. Edible plants furnish healthy sustenance. Native plants supply food and habitat, sustaining natural systems. Gardening also evokes memories of loved ones, reminds me of childhood influences, and reconnects me to nature and my early development. Connections … it is my hope that they become part of your gardening experience as well.

I learned early to appreciate even the smallest of forest floor plants such as princess-pine (Lycopodium obscurum) and emerging ferns.


Successful gardens start with durable plants.


Fans of Stephen King will know that he connects with readers by talking directly to them using the affectionate term “Constant Reader” because he realizes they continue to read his books. I’m hoping that you use this book as a go-to gardening reference, thus becoming my “Constant Gardener.” Because gardening is experiential, I believe best advice comes from those who have dirt under their nails. I share advice based on as much actual experience as possible, mostly mine, but sometimes from other gardeners and horticulturalists. I have attempted to simplify complex topics, remove as much dryness as possible, and base as much on real life as I can.

I WILL TAKE YOU through the book as King does his Constant Reader and I hope we will develop a rapport that makes you excited about gardening.

The best incentive for long-term gardening is early success. If conditions beyond your knowledge and control frustrate you, you are likely to think you are a poor gardener (the proverbial “brown thumb”). Discouraged novices quit and never feel the satisfaction gardening can add to their lives. Here is an analogy. For a number of years I worked part-time in the camping department of a sporting goods store and outfitted many families that were going camping for the first time. In Wisconsin, the first outing is often Memorial Day weekend, which can be cold, rainy, and unpleasant. If I did not outfit newbies with the right tent, sleeping bags, and clothing, and it rained—the tent leaked, the sleeping bags got soaked, and they woke wet and cold—all those supplies probably never saw the light of day again. Gardening is much like this. If you aren’t outfitted with knowledge, the right plants, the correct tools, a basic understanding of soil science, and other factors, you may become an “unhappy camper” and give up gardening. After all, it isn’t something one has to do. Solving challenges should be rewarding rather than obstacles or failures, if one is forearmed with knowledge. My greatest reward in teaching is to see the look of relief on peoples’ faces when they realize an existing problem is not because they are poor gardeners, and enlightenment when they comprehend how to correct issues.

In the following chapters I will discuss the most basic concepts of good gardening practices in the Midwest. I want you to discover what makes the Midwest unique from the rest of the country and understand that variations exist within it. I will spend time on the most overlooked (yet most essential topic) of soils and culture, and cover pests and diseases. I’ll broach low-impact gardening and weave it all together with appealing design. Midwesterners face gardening challenges unlike other parts of the country, but we have our own plant palette of exciting plants indigenous to our region alone. The plant section contains more than two hundred selections of annuals, perennials, trees, and shrubs to round out the book.

Gardening is one of the most enjoyable activities available that connects us with the natural world. However, it presents many challenges for amateur and even advanced gardeners. It is implausible to think that one book will have every solution and even the best botanical/horticultural minds will never achieve a fraction of possible plant science knowledge. But don’t let that intimidate you. Just be aware that horticulture is not stagnant and it is beneficial to your own best practices to stay abreast of new information. Attend talks and events where professionals are willing to share new information, patronize independent garden centers that hire staff who stay current with new research, pick the brains of successful gardeners on home garden tours, build a library of garden resource books, and subscribe to regional gardening magazines. The Internet has come a long way with available horticultural knowledge but I still find it suspect and rarely use it as single source. Consider the credentials of the source.

It is my hope that this book will increase garden successes in spite of Mother Nature’s hindrances. Know there will always be some failures. Embrace them and make them learning experiences. Forge forward, Constant Gardener!

Gardening should provide amusement as well as enjoyment. Gomphocarpus physocarpus has a common name that is easy to imagine.

Acknowledging Your Roots

Gardening in the Midwest

The contour of the Midwest ranges from thousands of acres of flat prairies and plains to bluffs and escarpments formed by glacial action.

GARDEN EDUCATION IN THE MIDWEST must start with some introduction as to what makes it different from the rest of the country. Most of my gardening experience concentrated on field crops and vegetable gardening, until my early thirties when I moved to Madison, Wisconsin, and seriously started ornamental gardening. I embarked on the experience like most homeowners, believing that as long as I bought plants appropriate to the area’s cold hardiness zone, they would thrive similarly whether I was in New York or Wisconsin. After several years of watching rhododendrons and blueberries flounder, tea roses flower sporadically, and conifer foliage scorch in winter—all plants that had flourished with minimal care in New York—it dawned on me that there had to be more to garden success than zone. In my progression from amateur to professional, I have developed such conviction that regional differences truly are the most important gardening factors, all of my current teaching, writing, and speaking now reference it in some way.

When I started gardening as an adult and transitioned from vegetables to ornamentals, I had some past knowledge and experience. That is not true for many in the generations following my age group. Some of you may be starting at a disadvantage, with little plant and soil biology knowledge, much less the concept that regionality will heavily influence your gardening efforts.

The cliché “forewarned is forearmed” applies well to gardening, but education, education, education is even more useful. You will discover it is easy to find unlimited information about plant materials from books, magazines, Internet, classes, and other venues, but the first obstacle is to understand regional differences and put gardening information into that context. I guarantee that the basic information you learn about coral bells, for example, will need to be adjusted based on the area of the country where you live and garden. Variations in color, size, and form of ‘Georgia Peach’ will be dramatic enough that it may look like a different plant in Portland, Oregon, than in my Midwest garden. And survival—well that’s an additional factor!


The Midwest is unlike any other area of the continent for gardening and includes dramatically different areas with their own geographical, environmental, and cultural idiosyncrasies. That may seem both obvious and an understatement; however, I find that this basic fact is often overlooked by beginning, and sometimes advanced, gardeners. What exactly do we mean by “Midwest”? The term has as many cultural connotations as it does geographical, but for the purpose of this book, it describes an area including North Dakota, South Dakota, Nebraska, Kansas, Minnesota, Iowa, Missouri, Wisconsin, Illinois, Indiana, Michigan, and Ohio, along with southern Manitoba, Ontario, and Saskatchewan. I will continue to simplify this very complex and diverse area by referring to it simply as the Midwest.

A first-year Heuchera ‘Georgia Peach’ shines in Terra Nova’s display garden in Portland, Oregon.

The Midwest falls into two major ecoregions: the temperate broadleaf and mixed forest ecoregion, and the temperate grasslands, savannas, and shrubland ecoregion. Both stretch expansively from Canada to southern borders of our region, which means that even though the habitats are the same, they span hardiness zones. The characteristic habitat of the former is dominated by broadleaf trees and includes oaks, beeches, maples, and birches, with a mix of conifers including pines, firs, and spruces. The latter is a terrestrial biome whose vegetation consists of grasses and/or shrubs. So we start our regional breakdown knowing that whereas trees dominated the ecosystem of the eastern broadleaf and mixed forest region, to the west shortgrass prairies prevailed in semi-arid areas and tallgrass prairies dominated areas of higher rainfall. Soil types also define and separate vast areas of this region. Let’s break down our region further by geographic, climatic, and cultural factors.

A plant of the same age in my Wisconsin garden takes on a different color.

The expansive size of the Midwest creates significant variations in temperature, soil types, rainfall, humidity, and other climatic influences. Just within the state borders of Wisconsin, for example, there is enormous variation in geographical, environmental, and cultural factors. We see extremes in soil texture and porosity from hard-pan, acidic clay soils in the northeast to high-alkaline, limestone-based escarpments in the southwest, to pure sand in the central portion of the state. USDA cold hardiness zones range from 3 to 6. These are only a few examples of fluctuations within a portion of a larger region.

In order to break down the Midwest region further, I use five identifiable range designations that others have already named: South of the Boreal, Great Lakes, Prairie, Plains, and Lower Midwest. A range can be defined as the region throughout which a kind of organism or ecological community naturally lives or occurs, as well as the distance between possible extremes. Ranges cross state boundaries and vary considerably in expanse. Keep in mind, too, that transitional zones exist between the ranges, every range will have variable localities, and every locality will have its idiosyncratic microclimates. You now know why culture becomes the dominant theme of this book.

Few regions in the country vary as dramatically in climates as the Midwest, with cold hardiness zones from 2 to 7. Extreme heat and extreme cold, drought and floods, tornados and straight-line winds, humid and arid—the gamut runs amok here.

The Midwest: Geographic Historical Perspective

The Midwest was heavily shaped and influenced by glaciers that not only carved out the Great Lakes but also shaped the gently rolling plains. The retreating glaciers formed a massive lake whose dried bed now includes part of North Dakota and Minnesota’s Red River Valley. Glacier carving and retreat meant that the mountains of the Midwest would never be large; even the Ozarks are old, worn to rolling hills of clay and limestone. I marvel at bluffs and hills created by the nation’s largest river systems—the Mississippi, Missouri, and Ohio Rivers—carving and winding their way through rolling landscapes. The glacier carved these rivers and deposited debris that provides alluvial richness in one area but scraped, limited-soil rocky escarpment in others. In general, middle America is considered flat; even our highest mountains are called the Black Hills.

Although the Midwest doesn’t contain major mountain ranges, it possesses extremely large rivers and lakes.

The Midwest area covered in this book is truly “middle America.” Distinctively different topography and environmental variations define five large ranges within the Midwest. The lines that differentiate ranges here do not exist as distinct borders; rather there are transitional zones of gradual change from one range to another.

No clear lines separate ranges or regions. For instance, this Kansas City garden sits near the borders of what I define as Lower Midwest and the Plains. Temperatures may be moderate and springs early, but there are no guarantees that snow and ice won’t remain once plants start blooming.

South of the Boreal

I remember a history class description of the eastern half of North America when it was first discovered by our forefathers. The topography they faced was reportedly characterized by a squirrel’s ability to travel from the eastern seaboard to the Mississippi River, from tree to tree, never touching the ground. Old-growth forests are gone but this range—extending from south of Lake Winnipeg in Manitoba eastward into southern Ontario and northern Minnesota, Wisconsin, and Michigan—is reminiscent of the feeling they must have evoked. The northern border of this area is the boreal forest with vegetation composed primarily of conifers. Winters are long and annual precipitation is moderate to high. Those of us in southern Wisconsin joke with our northern neighbors that they have two seasons: winter and August.

Gardening in these climes develops appreciation for color intensified by cooler temperatures,
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Bonus Section Hot Couples!


Starring…Rice Cakes

Starring…Pudding Snacks

Starring…Laughing Cow Light

Starring…Frozen Fruit

Starring…Frozen Broccoli & Cheese Sauce

Starring…Broccoli Cole Slaw

Fast Food Combos

Dessert Duos

Protein-Packed Pairs

Breakfast Twosomes


Photographic Insert


Even though this book is filled with SIMPLE recipes, it was anything but easy to put together. The following people deserve credit, along with me, for helping put it together and for helping to make Hungry Girl so successful:

To the HG Editorial & Production Staff…

Jamie Goldberg—You bleed PINK. Your endless hard work and dedication to Hungry Girl are appreciated more than any existing words can express. I’m toying with the idea of making some up (or just choreographing an expressive interpretive dance). Thank you times infinity.

Alison Kreuch—Thank you for being you. You’re a bundle of energy and pretty much the Tasmanian Devil of the marketing & advertising world. (And I truly mean that in the best way possible.)

Lynn Bettencourt—You’ve been a tremendous asset to HG for more than three years now. Hope there are many more to come. Oh, and…CHICKEN!!!

Lisa Friedman—Friedman, you’re solid. And super-reliable. Thank you for ALWAYS being levelheaded, organized, and super-duper-nice.

Dana DeRuyck—You are AWESOME and talented and incredibly valued. Your energy always brightens up the HG HQ. You rule!

Callie Pegadiotes—We’re glad you found us in San Diego. LOVE having you as part of the team. Thank you for everything you do.

Jennifer Curtis—You STILL live too far away. Would you move already so you can work with us full-time? Pretty please…with Fat Free Reddi-wip on top?!

Lisa Foiles—You’re a Photoshop whiz. Thanks for making our emails beauteous and for the super-fast, fantastic work. Wish you were here with us in L.A.

Adam Feinsilver—You’re a video guru. Plain and simple. Thanks for bringing HG to life on the monitor. And for the silly fun at the office.

Special thanks to Elizabeth Hodson—It was extremely sad to lose you (the FIRST HG employee) as an official HG staffer in 2009. We miss you. You know you ALWAYS have an open invite to come back. Thank you for staying on as the official HG book designer and for helping to make this book our most adorable, gorgeous, and DELICIOUS one yet.

More Thank-Yous…

John Vaccaro—You continue to be an invaluable asset to Hungry Girl, but more importantly, you’re also an irreplaceable friend.

Neeti Madan—I used to say you’re the best agent on the planet, but at this point I am pretty sure you rule the entire galaxy. Thank you.

Matthew Shear and Jennifer Enderlin—I am the luckiest author to have you both. I sincerely hope we work together forever…

John Karle—You’re an awesome publicist. We’re in year three and going strong! Lots more fun to come…Thank you, thank you!

Anne Marie Tallberg—You’re amazing and so much fun to work with. And you never get frazzled. (How is that possible?)

John Murphy—We don’t work together as much as I’d like, but I love you anyway. (Air kisses…both sides!)

Advisors and Friends…

Tom Fineman—You’re the world’s most effective and likable attorney. Hands down.

Jeff Becker—I know you hate guilt-free food. But I still enjoy you. Thanks for all the advice and guidance.

Bill Stankey—Thank you for appreciating the things about me that should make you want to strangle me. Truly.

But Wait, There’s More…

Huge thanks to Jack Pullan, David Witt, and to Nanci Dixon and the amazing General Mills photography crew. Without you guys, the book wouldn’t have pretty pictures and fantastic illustrations. And to Val Pensky, for all the tour support and for being the best travel companion. To Gary Stromberg, for all of the INSANELY awesome stuff. To Eileen Opatut, for being super-smart and fun to work with. And to Pete Austria, for making me lift heavy objects from time to time.

The BIG Finish…

Thanks also to my amazing mom and dad, Florence and Maurice Lillien, for making me super-hungry. And to Meri Lillien, Jay Lillien, and to the Lillien and Schneider families—Love you all.

To Jackson—Thank you for keeping me warm while I email at 6am. You’re a lovely beast. To my close personal pals, the Hungry Girl subscribers—YOU TRULY ROCK. All 1,000,000 of you. Thank you!!!!!

And to my husband, Daniel Schneider—Thank you for always being there and for always being right. About pretty much everything. And also for continuing to make me laugh louder and harder every year. I LOVE YOU.

Hungry Girl 1-2-3

The 411 on HG 1-2-3…

Welcome to Hungry Girl 1-2-3: The Easiest, Most Delicious, Guilt-Free Recipes on the Planet. This is the THIRD HG cookbook and I LOVE it. I’m pretty sure you will, too. Why? Well, like our other books, it’s PACKED with great recipes for fantastic-tasting foods that are low in calories and fat grams. But this book is different, in some ways, and quite possibly the best of the bunch. (I hope we always keep getting better and better!) Here are the key things that make this book super-amazing and SO EASY to use…and, um, some other relevant stuff as well!

1. There are more fresh fruits, veggies, and lean protein in the recipes than ever before.

We listened, and they’re all here.

2. Fast and easy recipes.

The name says it all. It’s not like Hungry Girl recipes are ever THAT complicated—you know this. But the recipes in this book are crazy-simple to make. Like, easier than any other recipes anywhere. Really. There are entire chapters devoted to microwavable recipes, recipes with four ingredients or less, and recipes that require no cooking whatsoever!

3. So many meals!!!

In 200 Under 200, we loaded you up on snacks. This time around, there’s more of a focus on entrées. DELICIOUS ones.

4. New recipe format.

We decided it was time to make the leap. Now the ingredients are listed in the order they’re used, and each recipe starts off by listing some kitchen essentials along with the approximate prep and cook times. There are also lots of useful tips, plus notes on recipes that call for a common ingredient or two, so opened products don’t have to go to waste. Soooooo helpful!

5. Your crock-pot prayers have been answered.

You asked for more, and now you’ve got ’em. There’s an entire chapter devoted to crock-pot recipes. Party time!

6. Foil-pack recipes GALORE.

Wrapping stuff in foil and baking it couldn’t be easier. Our foil-pack recipes have become so popular, I thought it would be great to include a full chapter of them…so I did. There are even easy-to-follow instructions for adapting these recipes to be made on the grill. Yay!

7. Couples.

Our two-ingredient recipes have become so beloved, I wanted to carve out an entire section of the book for them. And that’s what I did. There are more than 60 food duos here!

8. Photos and POINTS®.

As always, photos for every single recipe in this book along with Weight Watchers POINTS® values* can be found at

Happy chewing!!!!

Lisa 🙂

Kitchen Staples and Recommended Products

We’re keeping things simple. Here are some frequently used HG basics to have on hand, plus some specific products we LOVE…


Splenda No Calorie Sweetener (granulated)

No-calorie sweetener packets


Whole-wheat flour

Old-fashioned oats

Nonstick cooking spray

Low-fat honey graham crackers

Rice cakes

Mini semi-sweet chocolate chips

25-calorie packets diet hot cocoa mix

Swiss Miss Diet

Canned black beans

Canned crushed tomatoes

Canned diced tomatoes

Canned pineapple packed in juice (crushed, rings, and tidbits)

Canned pure pumpkin



Fat-free liquid egg substitute

Egg Beaters Original

Light whipped butter or light buttery spread

Brummel & Brown, Land O’ Lakes Whipped Light Butter

Light vanilla soymilk (or another light vanilla milk product)

8th Continent Light

Blue Diamond Unsweetened Vanilla Almond Breeze

The Laughing Cow Light Original Swiss cheese wedges

Light string cheese

Jell-O Sugar Free Pudding Snacks

Fat-free yogurt

Yoplait Light, Fiber One, Fage Total 0% Greek yogurt

Reduced-fat Parmesan-style grated topping

Reduced-sodium/lite soy sauce

Sugar-free pancake syrup

Log Cabin Sugar Free, Mrs. Butterworth’s Sugar Free

Hellmann’s/Best Foods Dijonnaise

Fat-free or nearly fat-free franks

Hebrew National 97% Fat Free Beef Franks

Hoffy Extra Lean Beef Franks

Precooked real crumbled bacon

Oscar Mayer, Hormel

Turkey bacon or center-cut bacon

Pillsbury Crescent Recipe Creations Seamless Dough Sheet

House Foods Tofu Shirataki Noodle Substitute (stocked with the tofu)

Broccoli cole slaw

Mann’s Sunny Shores

Fresh Produce

Romaine lettuce


Bell peppers



Fuji apples


Boneless skinless lean chicken breast cutlets Shrimp

Fish fillets

Boca Original Meatless Burger (Vegan)

Ground-beef-style soy crumbles

Boca Meatless Ground Crumbles

Morningstar Farms Meal Starters Grillers Recipe Crumbles

Green Giant Just for One Broccoli & Cheese Sauce

Assorted vegetables

Unsweetened fruit

Cool Whip Free


Does anyone HAVE an actual breadbox anymore?

Light bread (40 to 45 calories and at least 2 grams of fiber per slice)

Sara Lee Delightful, Nature’s Own Light

Light English muffins (high in fiber with about 100 calories each)

Burrito-size tortillas with about 110 calories (high in fiber, low in fat)

La Tortilla Factory Smart & Delicious Low Carb High Fiber

Mission Carb Balance

Tumaro’s 8” Low in Carbs or Healthy Flour Tortillas

Flatout Light Wraps

chapter one

Swingin’ Single Meals

Meals for one are super-popular in HG-land!

The best thing about these recipes is that even though they were designed as single-serves, it’s easy to turn them into multi-serving recipes for a group. Just double, triple, or quadruple the ingredient amounts accordingly. Sometimes, you won’t even need a calculator. Yes, it really is that simple.

You’ll Need: baking sheet, nonstick spray

Prep: 5 minutes

Cook: 10 minutes

pizza luau

This pizza is sweet, fun, and DELICIOUS. And don’t even think about limiting it to lunch or snack-time. It’s great for breakfast, too!

* * *

PER SERVING (entire recipe): 230 calories, 4.5g fat, 808mg sodium, 34g carbs, 6.5g fiber, 9.5g sugars, 17g protein

* * *


2 tablespoons low-fat marinara sauce

1 light English muffin, split into halves

1 stick light string cheese

2 slices shaved deli ham (honey or regular), chopped

1 pineapple ring packed in juice, drained and chopped

1 tablespoon chopped red onion


Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

Spread 1 tablespoon sauce onto each muffin half.

Tear string cheese into shreds and roughly chop. Distribute cheese evenly over muffin halves. Top each half with ham, pineapple, and onion.

* * *

Extra, Extra!

Left with an open can of pineapple? Check out the Island Insanity Burger and the Crazy Pineapple Salmon Teriyaki!

* * *

Place muffin halves on a baking sheet sprayed lightly with nonstick spray. Bake in the oven for 8 to 10 minutes. YUM!!!


For a pic of this recipe, see the first photo insert. Yay!

You’ll Need: mixing bowl, blender or food processor, basic skillet, nonstick spray

Prep: 10 minutes

Cook: 5 minutes

am apple scramble

This isn’t your average morning meal, people. It’s got a whole slew of interesting and delicious stuff in it, and it tastes like scrambled French toast. Yum!

* * *

PER SERVING (entire scramble): 242 calories, 1.75g fat, 655mg sodium, 42g carbs, 6.25g fiber, 15.5g sugars, 17.5g protein

* * *


1 slice light white bread

½ cup fat-free liquid egg substitute

2 tablespoons light vanilla soymilk

¼ teaspoon vanilla extract

½ teaspoon cinnamon, or more to taste

2 no-calorie sweetener packets

2 dashes salt, or more to taste

1 cup peeled and finely chopped apple

3 tablespoons old-fashioned oats


Toast bread. Set aside to cool.

In a bowl, combine egg substitute, soymilk, vanilla extract, cinnamon, sweetener, and salt. Stir in apple and oats. Set aside.

Roughly tear bread and place in a blender or food processor. Pulse until reduced to small pieces.

Add egg-apple mixture to the blender/food processor and pulse until just mixed. (Do not over-blend.)

Bring a skillet sprayed with nonstick spray to medium heat. Add mixture and prepare as you would scrambled eggs, stirring and cooking for about 5 minutes, until solid bits form and mixture is slightly browned.

If you like, season with more cinnamon and salt. Enjoy!


You’ll Need: blender or food processor, bowl, skillet or grill pan with a lid, nonstick spray

Prep: 10 minutes

Cook: 15 minutes

tremendous top-shelf turkey burger

It’s HUGE and scrumdiddlyumptious—and great on a plate or on a bun.

* * *

PER SERVING (entire recipe): 184 calories, 6.5g fat, 502mg sodium, 12g carbs, 2g fiber, 4g sugars, 20.5g protein

* * *


½ slice light white bread

3 ounces raw lean ground turkey

¼ cup finely chopped mushrooms

3 tablespoons finely chopped onion

1 tablespoon fat-free liquid egg substitute

½ tablespoon finely chopped parsley

½ tablespoon Dijonnaise

½ tablespoon ketchup

¼ teaspoon crushed garlic

Dash salt


Place bread in a blender or food processor, and pulse until you have soft, fluffy breadcrumbs.

In a bowl, combine breadcrumbs with all other ingredients, and knead by hand until integrated. Form into a nice, big patty about ¾-inch thick.

Bring a skillet or grill pan sprayed with nonstick spray to medium heat. Place patty in the skillet/grill pan, cover, and cook for 5 to 7 minutes per side, until patty is cooked through. (Pssst…flip carefully.)

Serve on a plate, on a bun, over lettuce…whatever!


You’ll Need: bowl, skillet or grill pan with a lid, nonstick spray

Prep: 5 minutes

Cook: 15 minutes

outside-in cheeseburger patty

We’ve boldly placed Laughing Cow wedges where they’ve never been placed before. We’re adventurous like that.

* * *

PER SERVING (entire recipe): 179 calories, 6.5g fat, 502mg sodium, 1.5g carbs, 0g fiber, 1g sugars, 26.5g protein

* * *


4 ounces raw extra-lean ground beef

1/8 teaspoon garlic powder

1/8 teaspoon onion powder

1/8 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce

Dash salt, or more to taste

Dash black pepper, or more to taste

1 wedge The Laughing Cow Light Original Swiss cheese


Combine all ingredients except cheese in a bowl. Add as much salt and pepper as you like. Knead mixture by hand until integrated.

Form into a ball and, using your thumb, make a large, hollow indentation in the ball (past the center but not all the way through). Fill the hole with cheese and squeeze the meat to seal, making sure no cheese is exposed. Flatten slightly into a thick patty.

Bring a skillet or grill pan sprayed with nonstick spray to medium-high heat. Place patty in the skillet/grill pan, cover, and cook for 4 to 7 minutes per side, depending on how well done you like your burger. Heads Up: Don’t press on the patty with your spatula (your burger might ooze cheese!).

Serve however you like your burger…We like ours with ketchup and pickles between giant leaves of lettuce!


You’ll Need: large microwave-safe mug, nonstick spray

Prep: 5 minutes

Cook: 5 minutes

cheesy green eggs ’n hamwiches

Do not fear eggs that have a green hue. They’re just, um, different. Heads up: If you use egg whites instead of (yellow) egg substitute, your eggs will be alarmingly green. Consider yourself warned. (Pssst…Kids LOVE this recipe!)

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PER SERVING (entire recipe): 255 calories, 4.5g fat, 1,319mg sodium, 25g carbs, 5.75g fiber, 3g sugars, 30g protein

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1 light English muffin, split into halves

2 ounces (about 4 slices) 97 to 98% fat-free ham

½ cup fat-free liquid egg substitute

2 drops green food coloring

1 wedge The Laughing Cow Light Original Swiss cheese

Optional: salt


Toast muffin halves until they’re as crispy as you like. Place ham in a large microwave-safe mug, and microwave just until warm, about 20 seconds. Evenly top muffin halves with ham, and then set aside.

Spray the microwave-safe mug lightly with nonstick spray. Add egg substitute, food coloring, and cheese wedge, breaking cheese into pieces as you add it. Mix well.

Microwave for 1 minute. Stir and microwave for an additional 45
aloo, how much should i weigh, the cookie, custom cupcakes, list of ice cream flavors, enables you to cook tough, inexpensive meat cuts, such as brisket, chuck, shin, shanks, and oxtails, turning them into hearty stews and wholesome curries. Finally, slow cookers are energy-efficient and waste less energy compared to a traditional oven. It’s also likely you will cook meat and sides together instead of having to prepare them separately on the stove or in the oven. It’s a win-win!


Poaching and braising is by far the healthiest way to prepare foods, especially if you’re using the lowest setting on your slow cooker. Low cooking temperatures help retain more vitamins and minerals. Plus, tough meat cuts contain the largest amount of connective tissue high in collagen and elastin. Collagen is transformed into gelatin by cooking. It has several benefits:

• It can keep your joints, ligaments, tendons, and bones healthy, and it can reduce joint pain.

• It’s good for your gut and helps with intestinal permeability, a.k.a. “leaky gut.”

• It’s great for thyroid health and helps fight adrenal fatigue. Collagen is especially great for women with thyroid issues.

Step-by-Step Guide to Slow Cooking


Preheat the slow cooker while you prepare the ingredients. Most slow cooker recipes require basic prep work, such as slicing the vegetables and adding everything to the slow cooker. Browning and searing the meat and vegetables before slow cooking them is optional, but it will enhance the flavor of your dish.


1. Start by layering the firm vegetables, such as rutabaga and turnip, on the bottom.

2. Top with meat. You can use a large variety of meats, such as beef brisket, short ribs, chuck, pork shoulder, and lamb leg or shanks. Apart from tough meat cuts, you can use ground meat, chicken, fish, and seafood.

3. Add aromatics, such as onion, garlic, lemon juice, chiles, ginger, celery, and peppers, and add liquid ingredients, such as tomato puree, bone broth, or stock.

4. Add herbs and spices, such as paprika, cumin, chili powder, cinnamon, coriander, basil, oregano, thyme, rosemary, or parsley. Herbs will lose their flavor after prolonged cooking, and it’s good to add some more near the end of the cooking process.

5. Some vegetables may overcook and become mushy. If using medium-tender vegetables, such as broccoli and cauliflower, add them in the last 2 to 4 hours of the cooking process. If using soft vegetables, such as zucchini or chard, add them to the slow cooker near the end of the cooking process, during the last 1 to 2 hours.

6. Add dairy, such as cream, cheese, sour cream, and cream cheese, and coconut milk and cream, at the end of the cooking process, in the last 15 to 30 minutes. Prolonged cooking may result in the sauce breaking.



• Preheat the slow cooker. If you start with a cold slow cooker, you will need to add an extra 15 to 20 minutes to your cooking time.

• Use the right temperature setting. Typically, there are two temperature settings. The rule of thumb is to cook tender meats, such as chicken and fish, on a low temperature setting for 2 to 6 hours (depending on type and size). Cook tough meat cuts, such as brisket and shoulder, on low for 6 to 8 hours or on high for 3 to 4 hours (in some cases even longer). Warning: Not all slow cookers are equal. After trying three different brands, I realized that the temperature settings were not the same across all three of them. It may take some trial and error to get the temperature setting right, especially when making delicate recipes like cakes.

• If you are cooking a large meat cut that is more than 3 pounds (1.4 kg), cut it in half to ensure even cooking.

• If you are busy in the morning, prepare everything the night before, place it in the slow cooker dish, cover, and store in the fridge. When you wake up, take it out from the fridge and leave it on the kitchen counter for 15 to 20 minutes. This will allow the ingredients to come closer to room temperature before cooking in the slow cooker.

• Use a thermometer to check when your meat is cooked, especially if you cook large cuts of meat.

• If cooking tough meat cuts that require 6 to 8 hours of cooking, add most vegetables in the last 2 to 4 hours of the cooking process. Also, avoid cutting vegetables too small or they will overcook.

• Keep your food safe. Don’t leave the food in the slow cooker once it’s cooked. Let it cool down, place in airtight containers, and refrigerate or freeze. Most slow cookers will automatically switch to a “keep warm” mode that will keep the dish warm for a few more hours without spoiling, but it may overcook the dish if used for too long.

• Are you short on time? Simplify the preparation process! You can skip browning the vegetables and meat. Although browning is great for boosting the flavor, it is not essential in most recipes. Just throw all the ingredients in a slow cooker and let it do its job.

• Do you have leftover juices from last night’s roasts? Use them to cook your vegetables to boost flavor and nothing goes to waste.

• Use leftover bones and cartilage to make homemade stock or broth. Place them in a freezer bag and make a batch when you collect enough bones.

• Buy cheap meat cuts. The beauty of having a slow cooker is that you can transform inexpensive meat cuts, such as chuck and brisket, into delectable meals.

• Foods cooked at high altitudes take longer to cook. If you live at high altitude, add an additional 1 hour for every 2 hours of cooking.

• If converting your favorite recipe for the slow cooker, be sure to pick the right recipe. Most soups, stews, and casseroles are guaranteed to work. Pay extra attention if converting a dessert (see here for more tips).


• Do not underfill or overfill your slow cooker. Ideally, your slow cooker should be at least half full and no more than three-quarters full.

• Do not use frozen meat and vegetables. They slow down the cooking process and create an ideal environment for bacteria to thrive.

• Go easy on the liquids. Slow cookers have very little to no evaporation. If you’re adapting a stove-top recipe, you will need to reduce the amount of liquids. You can always add more water or liquids near the end of the cooking process if the sauce is too thick. Some recipes, such as Beef Short Ribs, will only need 1/4 cup (60 ml) of water. Using too much water will, in fact, draw more moisture from meat and will dry it out. Desserts and sweet treats need extra attention. It’s easy to get the liquids wrong, and your cake will be too moist or too dry.

• When the cooking is in progress, do not open the lid unless you need to add more ingredients (e.g., large roasts will need longer to cook compared to tender vegetables). If you do have to remove the lid (and in some cases you will need to), add 20 to 30 minutes to the cooking time.

• Do not use whole nuts when making a dessert that includes liquids. Whole nuts will soak up all the liquids and will become unpalatable. Recipes with little to no liquids, such as Spiced Macadamia Nuts, are fine.

• Don’t touch the outside casing of the slow cooker when it’s in process. It becomes very hot and you should only touch it with oven mitts. For the same reason, be sure to keep your cooker away from curtains, walls, and any other flammable items.

• Don’t place the hot ceramic bowl directly on your kitchen counter. Always place it on a cooling rack.


Desserts Are Best Cooked on “Low”

Delicate recipes, such as cakes and custards, are best prepared on low. Using the high temp- erature setting may result in uneven cooking and in some cases burned cakes, especially if you use nut flour and a smaller amount of liquids.

Turn the Bowl Halfway Through

Not all slow cookers cook evenly. To prevent uneven cooking or even burning, simply turn the bowl 180 degrees halfway through the cooking process to ensure even cooking. This is important if you’re making a recipe with very little liquid, such as Chocolate Chip Cookie Bites.

Parchment Paper for Easy Manipulation and Reduced Condensation

Some recipes call for a heavy-duty parchment paper that helps in three different ways. First, it will be easier to remove the cooked product from the slow cooker. Secondly, it reduces the risk of burning and sticking to the bowl. Lastly, it helps reduce moisture from excess condensation, because most of the condensation is dripping down the sides in between the food and the bowl. In my experience, if you’re using a heavy-duty parchment paper with an aluminum layer, you won’t need to use the method below to reduce the condensation.

Paper Towel for Reduced Condensation

There is very little loss of liquids in slow cooker meals, and some recipes require special treatment, especially desserts and some savory recipes. To avoid condensation and water dripping down the sides of the cooker and back onto the dish, place two layers of high-absorbent paper towel or a tea towel on top of the ceramic bowl, cover with a lid, and cook according to recipe instructions. While this is not needed in some recipes (such as Carrot Cake Oatmeal), it improves the texture of recipes where water drips down the sides directly into the dish and you don’t use heavy-duty parchment paper to isolate the dish from the moisture (see “Apple” Pie Crumble).

DIY Spacer

Some recipes, such as the Snickerdoodle Crème Brûlée, require a gentle cooking technique using a bain-marie (see here). In order to cook the custard evenly, the ramekins should not touch the ceramic bowl. You can either use a grid that is sometimes provided with a slow cooker, or make your own spacer. Simply squeeze a long piece or aluminum foil into a donut shape and press the ends together to close into a circle. Each spacer should hold one ramekin.


Some recipes, especially deserts, will require a gentle cooking technique called bain-marie, also known as water bath. To speed up the cooking process, always use boiling water for your bain-marie and pour it into the slow cooker before adding the ramekins to avoid accidental spillage into your dish.

Cut Your Cake Like a Pro

When making a cake directly in the slow cooker, you will end up with a rather unusual shape, which is best cut into 13 or 20 pieces. See here for an example of how to cut your cake.


Slow Cookers versus Dutch Ovens

This is my slow cooking routine in most cases: First, I brown the meat and aromatics in the Dutch oven. Then I transfer both to the slow cooker together with spices, herbs, and liquids. Then I add vegetables (usually in the last 2 to 4 hours of the cooking process). Sometimes, after it’s cooked, I crisp up the finished dish in the oven for a few minutes.

Although I love the convenience of browning vegetables and meat, and then cooking in the same pot, I prefer using a Dutch oven first and using the slow cooker afterward. Unlike a Dutch oven, it’s safe to leave your slow cooker on even when you’re not at home.

Tips for Pressure Cookers and Instant Pots

• Just like slow cookers, pressure cookers are ideal for making flavor-packed soups and stews, and turning inexpensive meat cuts into wholesome dishes. In general, almost every soup and stew that is suitable for a slow cooker can also be made in a pressure cooker.

• Although there is little evaporation with a slow cooker, you will need to use at least 1 cup (240 ml) or more of water when using a pressure cooker.

• If you use ingredients that require different cooking times, you can add them in phases just as you would with a slow cooker. The only inconvenience is that you will have to wait for the pressure to release and build up again.

• Thickeners (see here) and dairy should not be used when cooking in a pressure cooker. They should be added afterward.

• Cooking times are cut down dramatically when using a pressure cooker. If a slow cooker recipe takes 4 hours on high or 8 hours on low, it will need between 30 and 40 minutes in the pressure cooker (plus building up and releasing pressure, which will take another 30 to 40 minutes). The exact time depends on the size of the cut, and it can range between 10 minutes and 1 hour. You can find all times required for different meat cuts at

Healthy Keto Cooking


You should pay extra attention to fats because most of your calories should come from them. Unhealthy fats can do as much damage as excessive carbohydrates.

Healthy Cooking Fats

Use oils and fats high in saturated fats (SFA), such as pastured lard, grass-fed beef tallow, chicken fat, duck fat, goose fat, clarified butter or ghee, butter, virgin coconut oil, and sustainably sourced palm kernel oil.

Fats Suitable for Light Cooking and Cold Use

Oils high in monounsaturated fats (MUFA), such as extra-virgin olive oil, avocado oil, and macadamia nut oil, are best for cold use, stir-fries, finishing meals, or after cooking.

Fats Only Suitable for Cold Use

Oils high in polyunsaturated fats (PUFA) are only suitable for cold use, such as in salad dressings and mayonnaise. These include nut and seed oils such as walnut, almond, hazelnut, flaxseed, sesame seed, or pumpkin seed oil. When you use oils high in omega-6 fatty acids, increase your intake of omega-3 fatty acids, especially from animal sources.

Always Avoid

Not all fats are suitable for a healthy, low-carb diet and, unfortunately, the most commonly used oils are unhealthy. All of the following options should be avoided: vegetable oils and shortening; hydrogenated and partially hydrogenated oils; margarine; and sunflower, canola, safflower, soy, cottonseed, or grapeseed oil. They are highly processed, inflammatory, and prone to oxidation.

What Does Eating “ad libitum” Mean?

When following a ketogenic diet, you should be eating to satiety (ad libitum). Aim for an adequate protein intake (see here) and use fat as a “filler” to sate your appetite while keeping carbs low, at 20 to 30 grams of net carbs. It’s true that most people following the ketogenic diet don’t need to count calories because they don’t feel hungry and overeating is unlikely. The ketogenic diet is about getting the right amount of protein and fat to suit your individual needs: some people may be doing well on a diet with 60 percent of calories from fat while others may do better with a higher fat intake (typically during weight maintenance). Keep in mind that what matters is not relative percentages but grams of fat and protein per day. If you want to find out your ideal calorie intake, visit my blog at


Just like fats, proteins play an important role in a healthy keto diet. Always buy the best quality of protein sources you can afford.

Meat & Eggs

When it comes to meat, quality matters. If your budget allows it, opt for organic eggs and grass-fed, humanely raised meat. Grass-fed beef contains more micronutrients and more omega-3 fatty acids. Additionally, pasture-raised and grass-fed animals have a much better quality of life compared to those kept in large industrial facilities. There is no need to splurge on expensive meat cuts to get quality tender meat. Opt for the “less desirable” beef brisket, chuck roast, pork shoulder, or lamb shanks.

Warning: When using raw eggs (Quick Mayonnaise), you should use only fresh, clean, properly refrigerated grade A or AA eggs with intact shells due to the slight risk of salmonella and other foodborne illnesses. Avoid contact between the yolks or whites and the outside of the shell. Prevent any risks by using eggs with pasteurized shells.

To pasteurize eggs at home, simply pour enough water in a saucepan to cover the eggs. Heat to about 140°F (60°C). Using a spoon, slowly place the eggs in the saucepan. Keep the eggs in the water for about 3 minutes. This should be enough to pasteurize the eggs and kill any potential bacteria. Let the eggs cool down and store in the fridge for 6 to 8 weeks.

Fish & Seafood

Avoid farmed fish and opt for wild-caught, locally sourced, sustainable fish. Imported farmed fish are exposed to antibiotics and chemicals, and they are often stored in bacteria-laden ice. Many species of fish have become overfished due to destructive harvesting methods that have a direct effect on the marine life.

And it doesn’t end there. Our oceans are polluted and mercury levels in fish are higher than ever. Mercury is known to accumulate in fish and is dangerous to humans, especially pregnant women and young children, because it can damage the central nervous system. As a general rule, large fish that are higher up in the food chain are more likely to contain higher levels of mercury. The smaller the fish, the lower the mercury levels.

So what’s your best choice? Some of the best options according to the Seafood Watch Best Choices list are: Pacific sardines, Atlantic mackerel, freshwater Coho salmon, Alaskan salmon, canned salmon, Albacore tuna, and sablefish/black cod. All of the above are low in mercury and good sources of omega-3 fatty acids. To learn more about sustainable fish low in mercury, visit and get the free Seafood Watch app.

What is Adequate Protein Intake?

According to Jeff Volek, Ph.D., R.D., and Stephen Phinney, M.D., Ph.D., best-selling authors of The Art and Science of Low Carbohydrate Performance, you will need between 0.6 and 1 gram per pound (1.3 to 2.2 grams per kilogram) of lean mass. In most cases, this translates to 65 to 80 grams of protein per day, sometimes even more. The exact amount depends on gender, lean mass weight, and activity level.

Don’t get obsessed over your protein intake. Eating slightly more protein will not kick you out of ketosis or impair your progress. Studies in the American Physiological Society (Jahoor, et al., 1990) and The Journal of Clinical Endocrinology & Metabolism (Bisschop, et al., 2000) have shown that you would have to be eating huge amounts of protein to go into gluconeogenesis (converting protein to glucose). Remember, protein is the most sating macronutrient; it will help you feel less hungry and eat fewer calories. When you eat a high-protein meal, you body releases glucagon, which counterbalances insulin and plays a significant role in satiety. That’s why it’s imperative to eat adequate amount of protein if your aim is to lose body fat.

This doesn’t mean that you should overeat protein. Protein is not a particularly efficient fuel source and too much of it may raise your insulin levels. If you are insulin resistant or diabetic, be aware that not all protein sources are equal and some, such as whey protein, will cause greater insulin responses than others. Also, those who suffer from diabetic nephropathy, a type of kidney disease caused by diabetes, will need to eat less protein.


When following a ke


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