French Women Don’t Get Fat

Hiya!

Though it’s been a while since I’ve shared anything, Cat Hair in my Coffee has definitely been on my mind. In fact, over the past several months, not posting on here has helped me realize something: my posts gave me something to work toward each week. If I wanted content, I had to do something. I had to try a new workout, a new recipe, a new TV series to binge preventing me from moving from the couch! So, over the past few weeks, I’ve been getting back into the habit of documenting my meals and trying to better plan my activities so I could make this, my beloved blog, a part of my routine again. Without further adieu…

A few years ago, while Alex and I were in Mason, Ohio, at the Cincinnati Tennis Tournament, we decided to take an afternoon and tour the town. While not an exceptionally large town, Mason certainly has no shortage of great shopping and dining! We poked our heads in a great little discount bookstore and proceeded to fill our arms to the brim with our selection. One of my great finds was a cookbook titled “French Women Don’t Get Fat” by Mireille Guiliano. I believe I paid $2.75 for it and maybe flipped through it twice over the years. After all, how many ways can one serve leeks?

Last week, I decided to bust out ol’ Mireille’s cookbook and give a few recipes a try. In her book, she puts a lot of emphasis on how French cuisine contains little sugar and few ingredients, cutting down on a lot of the unnecessary garbage that we put in American food. She begins each chapter with a little bit about herself and the French culture. The first recipe I wanted to tackle was very basic. A simple ratatouille would be a great replacement to our usual take-out lunch on Saturday, I thought! So, I got busy chopping and dicing, but took several liberties with my version. (I had some CSA veggies looking so sad in my fridge, so I had to throw some of them in!) A traditional ratatouille recipe contains eggplant, zucchini/squash and tomatoes. The nice thing about this recipe is that no stock is needed; the vegetables create their own broth when cooked down. Here is my version of the super traditional and Pixar-inspired Ratatouille.

  • 1 large zucchini, cut into 1/2 inch pieces
  • 3 Roma tomatoes, cut into 1/2 inch pieces
  • 5 fingerling potatoes, cut into 1/4 inch pieces
  • 1/2 cup of Swiss chard, chopped (from Round Right Farm)
  • 5 garlic scapes, diced (from Round Right Farm)
  • Olive oil, for coating the pot
  • Salt and pepper

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  1. Prepare the vegetables and set aside. Add the olive oil and garlic scapes and turn on medium to high heat. Lower the heat to medium-low after about 2 minutes.
  2. Add vegetables to pot and stir to coat veggies in the garlic oil mixture. Add a hearty dose of salt and pepper and let cook, covered on low heat, for about 1 hour. Serve with crusty bread and a sprinkle of Parmesan cheese!

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I feel like this is one of those healthy and extremely easy recipes that you can have on hand that feels semi-fancy. I also like how versatile it is. Don’t have eggplant? Sub in whatever veggies you have on hand!

The next recipe I decided to try out was one for Madeleines. Mireille’s recipe is actually for a chocolate version of these classic French cookies and required minimal effort to bake. I didn’t have the adorable little shell molds that typically give Madeleine cookies their cute shape, so mine were simply round. Unfortunately, I ended up eating more dark chocolate while baking than I actually enjoyed the cookies fresh out of the oven. I digress.
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For more of Mireille’s recipes, check out her website, or pick up a copy of her book! I promise, it won’t disappoint.

PS: I’ll be sure to add my ratatouille recipe to the dinner section of my recipe tab.

My Healthy Choice of the Day: I brought my Brooks PureFlow shoes to work and actually put my orthopedic inserts in! BONUS: I actually walked in them for 20 minutes! I’m taking baby steps toward fixing my spinal alignment. Thanks Advantage Health and Wellness!

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Pumpkin Oat Muffins

I got bored last Sunday and started fishing around for stuff in the kitchen to mix up. I had pumpkin, oats and a longing desire for it to be fall. I did a quick search online, found a pumpkin muffin recipe and started improvising. (The improvising stemmed from the fact that my mother threw out my baking soda two months ago when she helped me moved. I never forget.) Here is what I came up with.

Pumpkin Oat Muffins

  • 1 3/4 cup of oats 
  • 3/4 cup flour
  • 3/4 cup of canned pumpkin
  • 1/2 tsp pumpkin spice
  • 1/2 tsp nutmeg
  • 1/2 tsp baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1 stick of butter, room temperature
  • 1/2 cup of brown sugar (or other sugar substitute)
  • 1 large egg
  1. Preheat the oven to 375 degrees. Grab a standard 12 cup muffin pan and spray with a light cooking spray.
  2. In a large bowl, combine the dry ingredients, including the oats. Whisk together lightly.
  3. In a separate bowl, mix the egg, butter and pumpkin. Combine with the dry ingredients and mix until blended.
  4. Spoon the batter into each cup of the muffin tin and bake for 12-14 minutes. Serve and enjoy!

These muffins are very dense and are best served with butter or your favorite jam. I highly recommend an apple butter!

Christmas Tradition

After I left home, I decided I needed to start my own tradition around the holidays. I knew I’d always have the tradition of going home for the holidays and opening one gift on Christmas Eve, but I wanted something small that was just for me. So I took the traditional Chinese food on Christmas Day and decided to merge it with my usual holiday shopping trip.

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I headed to the mall today for my final shopping round-up and then headed to The Peking House to pick up some vegetables in garlic sauce and spring rolls (which were conveniently forgotten). As my tradition goes, the only way to eat the Chinese food is if I watch a Christmas movie along with it. My choice tonight: The Family Stone. This movie is hilarious, but incredibly sad. It’s about this totally crazy family who have trouble welcoming the neurotic girlfriend (Sarah Jessica Parker) of one of their own into the house. The cast is perfect and the setting is snowwy and cozy, which I think we could certainly use a little of this holiday season. Anyway, I highly recommend this movie, but keep a tissue nearby if you get emotional during sad movies.

After the movie, I got busy in the kitchen and whipped up some cake cookies with a butter pecan cake mix.

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I thought this would be a good fit for the cookie press, but I was very, very wrong.

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Only two actually turned out looking like the press mold, but that certainly didn’t affect the taste. Mmmm.

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My Healthy Tip of the Day: Some exercise is better than none, so if you only have 10 minutes, spend that 10 minutes doing some of your favorite moves. If you need some guidance, check out the short workouts on Cat Hair in my Coffee’s Fitness page.