By Catharine L. Kaufman – a.k.a. Your Kitchen Shrink
People don’t give up their favorite foods easily. That’s why even the most observant Christians look forward with certain trepidation to the 40 weekdays between Ash Wednesday and Easter, during which they are expected to deprive themselves of certain pleasures of the table—such as meat, cheese, eggs and butter.
As far back as the 15th century, the rich sidestepped this sacrificial restriction, by buying their way out of it. Often these ‘donations’ contributed to the building of religious edifices. One is even named for the purchase of the Church’s permission to eat butter during Lent: The Tour de Beurre (Butter Tower) of the great cathedral in Rouen, France, stands as proof to man’s refusal to stomach any self-denial when it comes to food.
Mardi Gras—or Fat Tuesday—is supposed to make the prospect of making do with leaner fare during Lent, more palatable by not only allowing, but actually encouraging excessive eating, drinking and uninhibited revelry. Many an overburdened digestive system, heart and liver pay the price for Mardi Gras overindulgence.
Here at the FreeRangeClub, we put our heads together, and found solutions that will, as the saying goes, let you have your cake and eat it, too. Although—to use another saying —too much of a good thing can still be harmful—here are a few tips to help you avoid both some of the discomfort and health hazards of Mardi Gras gorging.
1. If you have pancakes, waffles, breads, pizzas, etc., stick to whole grains—which are more filling (i.e. you’ll be full faster and eat less), more nutritious, and don’t give you the giant sugar-wallop that white or processed flour does. Also, since whole grains are higher in fiber, they facilitate digestion, go through the system faster and are less likely to leave you feeling bloated and sleepy. For variety of flavors, look for grain products made of WHOLE wheat, spelt, quinoa and rice.
2. SUBSTITUTIONS you won’t even notice: Use non-fat yogurt instead of sour cream. Top your waffles with egg whites whipped up in the blender with very little brown sugar, instead of whipped cream. Make quiches and pancakes with olive oil instead of butter. Build a sinfully delicious cake by layering whole-grain waffles with a filling of whipped fresh bananas, dark chocolate, raisins and a scoop of rice-ice-cream.
3. Here is a hearty but not gut-busting brunch for 4:
In the blender, assemble 6 whole eggs—or for less cholesterol, make it one-and-a half cups of egg whites—or compromise with 2 eggs and one cup of egg whites;
Add 1 teaspoon of dry parsley (or 1 table-spoon chopped fresh parsley, if you prefer); add 1/3-teaspoon dry basil, ¼ teaspoon turmeric, a pinch or shake of cayenne pepper.
Chop a medium-size onion (red if available) and sauté it IN A LARGE SKILLET or saucepan, over medium heat, in olive oil or grape-seed oil.
When it starts to turn translucent, add 2 cloves of finely chopped garlic.
Ten seconds later, add one whole tomato chopped into small pieces, ½ cup of diced green or red or yellow pepper, one fresh peeled and diced carrot, and a few broccoli florets.
Add 2 tablespoons of BRAGG amino acid liquid, OR same amount of soy sauce. Also add a tablespoon of Worcestershire sauce.
Mix well, turn heat down, cover and simmer until carrots have become al-dente.
If you wish, you may add ONE of the following:
6 strips of smoked salmon, OR 6 strips of grilled chicken breast, OR a handful of cubed yellow cheese (preferably goat cheese), OR a ½ cup of Feta cheese (preferably goat).
Froth up the egg concoction in the blender for 2 seconds, and pour it over the simmering mix in the skillet. Make sure the heat is low enough to keep it simmering without burning.
Cover, but keep checking.
When egg starts to harden, take spatula and very carefully, loosen egg-pie from the bottom of the skillet to prevent it from burning. Keep the lid on the skillet, to let the egg-pie cook through.
Slice in the pan and lift like a cake to serve.