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Kettle Corn!

Posted by tinako on June 10, 2009

I watched a few episodes of my favorite cooking show last night, “Totally Vegetarian.”  I like it a lot, but it makes me feel like such a fraud.  All I can do is keep referring to my disclaimer.  Some people have very discerning taste.  They will taste a sauce and say, “Hmm, that needs another 1/4 teaspoon of allspice.  It’s all about balance.”  Sigh.  I can taste the macro flavors.  “This is too spicy.  That is not salty enough.  OMG how much lemon juice did I use?? – How do I fix that?”  I enjoy the finer flavors very much, but I don’t have the refinement of taste to know that another sprinkling of orange zest will make it perfect.  And I learned a new way to cook onions.  Onions!  When I watch that show I realize how clueless I am.  Which is good for me.

The first show I watched last night was on how to make street food, NY style.  She visited a vegan street food vendor and his stuff looked SO good.  She made three things you serve in hot dog buns, and I am anxious to try them.  The other show, she visited a commercial herb garden and they talked about salad herbs and made a salad.  One of the things they put in was wood sorrel, which grows wild everywhere.  If you don’t have this within 10 feet of your back door, you may be living on the moon.  It has a zingy, lemony flavor which gets stronger as it grows older.

A big crop they grow at the farm is pea greens.  They plant dwarf grey snow peas and harvest the tender tips for salads and garnish.  She said you can grow it in flats indoors in the winter, and I guess you can get more than one clipping from a crop.

Other herbs they put in the salad were bronze fennel fronds (which she said are difficult to find in stores, so you have to grow them), purslane (another weed, which I’m not sure I have – they chopped the whole thing up very very finely, the only thing they chopped), purple and African basil.  They tore some yummy looking bread into bite-sized chunks and threw it in the bottom of an enormous bowl, then squirted some olive oil on.  Then they dumped in all those herbs + some red leaf lettuce.  Then they put in some salt, balsamic vinegar, and olive oil and tossed it.  You have to eat it right away.

I sold my Chocolate Chip Bars this morning at a charity auction.  There was a little bidding war between a vegetarian and a person with food allergies.  The winner said they were good.

With all those baked goods floating around, the questions of how did I make all these desserts and stay slim, and how not to eat the whole darn pan came up.  The questions are definitely related, because I never eat the whole pan any more, but I can definitely relate.  There was certainly a time when I would eat a whole batch of whatever in one sitting.  I think I have two strategies.  One is that I am aware of what situations I can and cannot handle.  I do not sit down with an open bag of tortilla chips or nuts.  I cannot have a partially-served, unclaimed dessert lying around – I will keep wandering back for another slice.  I find that if I accept in advance that I am going to have one serving, I can take a serving in a bowl and go off with it, and that works well for me – I don’t feel a compulsion to come back and refill my bowl.  Which brings me to my second strategy, which is to pre-set a portion size, and it’s just not negotiable.  Like when I eat breakfast or lunch, I know what a serving is, I know what I need to eat so I’ll just be getting hungry at the the next meal.  I assemble the whole meal before I sit down, and that’s it.  That’s what’s on my plate and I’m done.  If I grab part one of lunch, figuring I’ll come back to the fridge to get my fruit afterwards, do you know what happens?  I come back and grab something besides fruit.  Something like leftover dessert.

So same thing with dessert, only here there is the added constraint of sharing with my family.  Don’t make big batches of something.  An 8 x 8 pan is plenty for 4-6 people.  When I made those brownies, if I had made them early and there were pieces missing when my kids got home, I would have heard, “Hey!”  If I cut them ahead of time and put them on another plate with a few missing, no one would know but me.  But I would know I had more than my share.  I would have felt pretty bad to steal brownies from a little girl.  I’m not saying you should feel bad, or that you can’t justify it in some way (“well, I made them!”).  I’m saying, if you don’t want to eat them and it helps, use some guilt.  I cut the brownies after dinner into 12 pieces and announced we each got 3.  My kids are old enough to count.  If I didn’t have to share with anyone, I would buy smaller pans, maybe use loaf pans, and make 8″ x 4″ batches.  If it looks like there’s twice as much dessert as we can reasonably eat, I explain that we can have the other half tomorrow, and again, I’m not going to eat my kids’ shares.  Or if there’s way too much or I think we’d enjoy it more with some time in between, I will put family servings in containers in the freezer.  I can resist these easily, but if I had trouble, I might write people’s names on them, or “do not open until…”

Portion sizes are somewhat flexible, but I know a reasonable size when I see it.  I want a size where I can enjoy it, but it won’t make me feel sick.  One cupcake or muffin.  In the case of brownies, it was pretty big, 1/4 of an 8 x 8 pan.

Make a big deal out of what you do have.  Don’t wolf it down while you empty the dishwasher.  Save it till you have time to savor it.  Make a nice pot of tea or coffee, easy on the (soy) cream and sugar.  Assemble a tray with the teapot, a nice teacup (even if you just own one), and a nice plate with your dessert.  Put away the rest of the dessert, visually accept the portion size you have set, and go out of the kitchen with your tray.  Read a fancy book or listen to relaxing music.  Enjoy your garden.  Make it last.  I have done this so many times that I can have just the tea and feel like I’ve had dessert.

Regarding making so many desserts and staying slim, in addition to the portion control I mention above, I do make a lot of desserts, as you can see if you skim the menu postings, but you are also seeing pretty much everything I eat.  I’m not stopping off at Dunkin’ Donuts, or picking up muffins at the grocery store, or having cookies at a school event.  That stuff isn’t vegan, so I’m not tempted.  I am really including pretty much everything I eat in this blog.  I don’t eat anything desserty until after dinner.  I don’t have chips in the house, I don’t eat crackers or sugary drinks.  The non-dessert food I do eat is all lower in fat and calories than its non-vegan counterpart.  Think of my cheeseless pizza, my rice and lentil burgers, my bean chili. I could easily get into a habit of picking up a vegan candy bar every time I go shopping – I know myself well enough to not start that habit.  One thing I never do is put myself down if I make a mistake.  I think about how I got into trouble and attempt to keep myself out of that situation next time.

I have stopped losing weight, and have gained a few pounds back, so I will be cutting back on desserts for a little while.  I will think about which nights it’s important for me, and which nights it’s not.  I can cut down to dessert two nights a week – I’ll put leftovers in the freezer.  Watch and see if I can stick to that.

Tamale Pie, Zucchini Corn Bread, Broccoli

Tamale Pie, Zucchini Corn Bread, Broccoli

This post is getting really long.  This morning I cooked those black beans I soaked overnight.  In the afternoon I made Tamale Pie with them, and froze the extra beans.  My parents were coming but I was going to be out right before dinner time, so I assembled the pie and put it in the oven on a timer-start.  This has a cornmeal crust, but I don’t know what else to serve with it so went with corn bread.  I looked for another recipe that I can make in a regular pan (for when I’m away from home) and came up with Zucchini Corn Bread.  It took a lot longer to cook because I think the frozen zucchini I used has the water forced out of it and so makes the batter wetter.  I got impatient and actually microwaved the whole thing on that plate for 2 minutes.  But it was very good, extremely tender.  I had the dry stuff and wet stuff mixed in separate bowls and ready to mix and pop in the oven, and I had broccoli cut and in my microwave pot.  We ate it all up.

Kettle Corn

Kettle Corn

For dessert I made Kettle Corn.  I know no one is going to run out and buy a Whirley Pop, but I really like this recipe.  It is light and crispy, not heavy like commercial kettle corn.  You can’t tell it’s not regular popcorn until you touch it.  I put this recipe through a nutrition program, hopefully correctly, and for 6 2-cup servings came up with 174 calories, 10 g fat, 2.3 g fiber, 8.5 g sugar.

Nutrition Facts
Serving Size 33 g
Amount Per Serving

Calories from Fat

% Daily Value*
Total Fat

Saturated Fat



Total Carbohydrates

Dietary Fiber



Vitamin A 1% Vitamin C 0%
Calcium 0% Iron 3%
Nutrition Grade C
* Based on a 2000 calorie diet

One Response to “Kettle Corn!”

  1. […] late and hadn’t brought with me.  I got bronze fennel because of the salad they made on Totally Vegetarian last year, and the lime basil because of a salad I had at a party last […]

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