Monday, February 1, 2010

Where do we go from here?

In an attempt to better understand everyone I have spent the weekend reading, and re-reading, all of your comments and emails about your goals, frustrations and desires for better health. So far, the most common themes seem to be the following:

1. How to incorporate fast, easy and healthy recipes into your diets.
2. How to use food to promote good health and to help prevent or reverse disease.
3. How to fit in exercise for busy moms, working moms, and just overcommitted, busy people in general.
4. How to maintain good health during pregnancy and how to reclaim your body after pregnancy.
5. How to find the motivation to exercise and eat right when you are already stressed and overwhelmed and overcommitted.
6. How to lose weight without extreme and unhealthy diets and countless hours in the gym, as well as how to maintain a healthy weight while remaining emotionally calm and balanced.
7. How to bolster self-esteem, improve body-image and set a good example for our children.
8. How to kick unhealthy cravings, make better food choices and teach our children to do the same.

We are going to tackle all of this and more.

I have also had some interest in starting a book club to better understand and cope with emotional and compulsive overeating. If you are interested in this topic and haven’t emailed me yet, please do so. I hope to kick the book club off next week. We will select a new book each month or two to read and discuss.

For starters though, I thought we would look at how to include easy, delicious recipes into our diets that also promote good health. We are going to look at a few “super foods” over the next few weeks that are nutritional powerhouses. We will also try a few simple recipes for each super food and share our successes, or humorous blunders, with each attempt.

Remember, the more nutrient-dense, healthy foods we can include in our diets the better chance we have at staying healthy at the cellular level so our bodies can actually fight disease. Of course, I understand that food has to taste good too and be easy to make, so the idea here is simply this: super tasty "super foods," made super easy.

On Wednesday I will introduce you to the Full At Last Taste Test Team. Our team ranges in ages from temperamental 1-year old twins to a pork-fat loving 40-year old man. There are three finicky children (ages, 3, 4, and 6) a maniacal, health-obsessed tri-athlete, two stay-at-home moms and a 13-year old mutt that round out the team. Each recipe passes the lips, or attempts to, of the entire team and receives reviews from each. My hope is that this will lend credit to each recipe and help you decide whether or not it is something worth trying in your home. Please try these recipes on your own and comment with your thoughts so we can all benefit. We are in this together so your feedback is critical to our collective success.

And, without further ado … our first “super food” is … black beans!

Black beans are a fiber all-star, as are most legumes, and help lower blood cholesterol and stabilize blood sugar while providing a good source of protein and a healthy shot of anti-oxidants.

I typically make a double-batch of this black-bean hummus each week and use it for snacking (I love dipping baby carrots and raw bell peppers into it) as well as for the base of a super fast lunch (veggie wraps). When I run out of dinner options, I like to make a “Mexican pizza” with the remaining hummus and whatever vegetables I have on hand.

We will start with the hummus as it is the base for all three recipes.

Black Bean Hummus

1 garlic clove, peeled
2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
1 tablespoon tahini (roasted sesame seed paste)
1 teaspoon ground cumin
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 (15-ounce) can black beans, rinsed and drained
1 small jalapeño pepper, chopped (about 2 tablespoons)
Dash of crushed red pepper
1-2 teaspoons extra-virgin olive oil
Dash of ground red pepper

Place garlic in a food processor; process until finely chopped. Add lemon juice, tahini, cumin, salt, black beans, jalapeño pepper, and crushed red pepper; process until smooth.

Spoon bean mixture into a medium bowl, and drizzle with extra-virgin olive oil. Sprinkle with ground red pepper. (note: I often skip this step and it still tastes fantastic)

Serve with homemade whole wheat pita chips, blue corn tortilla chips (I like organic Garden of Eatin’ blue corn chips) and/or your favorite raw veggies.

Note: you can also buy fresh chopped garlic in a jar for a time-saver.


Vegetable Black Bean Hummus Wrap

Spread hummus on a 100% whole wheat tortilla. Fill tortilla with sliced bell peppers (high in vitamin C), cucumbers, sprouts (superb source of nutrients and contain concentrated amounts of phytochemicals that can protect against disease), lettuce and/or your favorite vegetables. Roll it up and enjoy.


Mexican Pizza

Black Bean Hummus
Shredded romaine lettuce
Black beans
Grape tomatoes, halved or chopped
Green chilies, chopped
Green onions, diced
Cilantro, chopped
Jalapeno, diced
Lime & Avocado for garnish

Heat tortilla in a pan until crispy.

Spread black bean hummus on tortillas.

Combine black beans, corn, tomatoes, green chilies, green onions, cilantro & jalapeno in a bowl and then spread the corn mixture on the pizza.

Spread romaine over the top. Garnish with diced avocado & lime.


  1. Can't wait to try the black bean hummus. I love making my own but I've always used chick peas.

    Do your kids really eat the Mexican Pizza? Mine wouldn't touch that conglomerate of goodness!

  2. Mine do not eat it (they are only 1) but my friend's 6-yr old loves it. You will meet her 3 kids on Wed - they are part of the "test team" - and, until last year, they were eating the typical processed food. It's crazy when you see the 180 they have done in their diet.

  3. I LOVE black beans. I cannot wait to try these recipes! Thanks Erin! :)

  4. I love black beans and these all sound fantastic! Thank you. Is there a chance you, or others, could post nutritional info on the recipes as well? I'm trying to watch my calorie intake, portions and now fiber, so it would be really helpful.
    Thanks again. Can't wait to try these!

  5. Can't wait to try these recipes out this week!!!

  6. Erin, I picked up a copy of "The Essential Best Foods Cookbook" this weekend which has lots of great stuff in it and recipes. (It was on super sale through Daedalus - $6.98) I was looking for more tasty vegetable recipes. Some of the recipes call for more off-beat ingredients, but most sound pretty accessible. So if you're looking for a book to use, you might take a look at it.

  7. These recipes sound (and look!) delicious. I don't have a food you think it would work to mash the beans by hand or possibly in the blender?

  8. Blender usually can work in place of a food processor and does, in fact, work for the hummus. HOWEVER, as Glennon learned ... do NOT put the spatula in the blender to scrape down the sides while the blender is actually in use. Pics of that tomorrow :)

  9. I, like my good friend & former teammate Abbey, love Love LOVE me some hummus! I'm happy to try adding some black beans to it! Think I'll make up the recipe & take it to Bunco to try it out on the ladies. (I also get my black bean fix when i get my naked burritos @ Qdoba...yummy AND good for you!)

    PS--Though I typically do not care for book clubs, I might be interested in this book club, depending on the book's topic...

  10. Thanks for the recipe-- I can't wait to try it.

    Black beans have been a favorite for all my kids. We often eat them with quesadillas or any other mexican-style entree. They are great finger food for babies and toddlers, even if the kids look pretty messy at the end.

  11. Erin- Those pictures are really tasty looking. I am going to try and make both recipes. I thinkmy oldest will do this kind of eating but my little one...well he is a tough one. Though I am of the parenting style, what I make you eat or don't eat. I am not a short order cook. NOT into the book club but I am into reading this blog and getting these really fabulous ideas and tips to keep me on track and healthy.


  12. I think I will try the black bean hummus. That I believe will be a crowd pleaser. Now the mexican pizza I may have to alter some but its worth a shot. It will certainly be better than the tacos we had for dinner tonight... Becky

  13. We eat very little processed food unless it comes from Trader Joe's. My kids just don't like mixed up food - casseroles, soups, etc. You know...all the EASY things! :)

  14. I made the black beam hummus tonight and I love it. I also got the blue tortilla chips (Garden of Eatin') and they were AWESOME too. Thanks again, Erin!!!

  15. I can't wait to try the hummus and other recipes! One of my favorite snacks from Whole foods is their black bean salsa! Umm, umm!

  16. Love me some black beans and love me some hummus! Thanks Erin.

  17. I am sitting here trying really hard not to cry. Damn PMS is getting the best of me this month.

    I think either I'm the only one thinking this or the only one willing to say this out loud. I look at these recipe's and 1, think, my kids won't eat this, they don't even like regular humus. 2, I have to go out and buy ALL these ingredients and how much is this 1 meal going to cost me when my kids won't even eat it?

    I don't mean to be a negative ninny but as much as I would enjoy these meals I really don't have the time, energy or money to do this.

    I feel defeated.

  18. as a side note because I don't want to look like a bad mommy, my kids eat vegetables, they LOVE vegetables and fruits and they eat a lot of them but they vegetables we eat are the kind that are in the bag and you put in the microwave for 5 minutes. Love love love how easy they make it. Fruits are another favorite, especially blueberries and strawberries and oranges but unfortunately these are the 3 most common fruits and also the most expensive but I buy them anyway because they love fruit.

    Will we be just learning how to cook vegetarian stuff or will chicken and meats be included in these recipe's too?