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CALLIE’S CABIN: Spring forward with sunny foods

Cal Orey

This weekend, during “hump month” on Sunday, daylight-saving time will welcome us on the South Shore. It’s a time when we get another hour of light and a time when folks feel more energetic and more apt to shed unwanted winter weight. While the temps can drop to 20 degrees at night and soar to 50 degrees in the day, it’s confusing when making food choices. So, I whipped up a cold salad and warm custard to give me a taste of both winter and spring …

These happy foods came to the rescue for me this week, which was full of shakeups. Late Sunday night, for instance, after I took my Brittany duo outdoors (they were restless) I thought, “I wonder what it would feel like to have a significant shaker in my cabin.” Then, I got a flashback of my experience of the 1989 World Series major quake. Worse, my Siamese cat, Zen was anything but zen-like-he was meowing up a storm and wanted to eat, eat, eat.

On Monday morning while sipping a cup of Hazelnut Joe and fetching my emails, I was greeted with a ShakeMail from the USGS. A magnitude-4.0 earthquake rocked the San Francisco Bay Area, my home, and was widely felt all the way to Sparks, Nev. That night, I received a call from the producer of “Coast to Coast AM” because of my past quake prediction. At 10 p.m., it was me, the Tahoe granola girl “earthquake sensitive” dishing out a news segment to popular radio show host George Noory. He recalled my 2012 forecasts included West Coast tremors and a significant San Francisco earthquake on the Hayward Fault.

During exciting and stressful times like these, eating light and heart-healthy salads (thanks to the tuna and egg) and a small portion of calming, calcium-rich custard are a must-have. Salad and custard (similar to the quick-fix salad bar and pudding at the former South Shore Sizzler), are my best friends (after my fur kids) during uncontrollable events.

Tuna Spring Salad

2 cups Spring Mix European-style fresh baby spinach, baby lettuces, greens and radicchio

1 3 1/2-ounce can solid white albacore premium tuna in water

2-3 Roma tomatoes, chopped

2 boiled brown eggs, sliced

2 tablespoons Parmesan cheese

2 tablespoons red onion, chopped (optional)

Place prewashed salad greens in a medium-size bowl. Drain tuna, toss in salad. Add tomatoes and egg. Sprinkle with cheese. (If desired, add a splash of extra virgin olive oil and red wine vinegar.) Makes 2 servings. Pair with fresh, warm whole-grain French bread. Dip in olive oil, a pat of European style butter, or plain.

Mini Coconut Custard Cups

2 cups half & half

1/2 cup 2 percent, organic, reduced-fat milk

3 medium brown eggs

1/3 cup granulated sugar

1 cup sweetened coconut,shredded

1 teaspoon vanilla

Nutmeg (for topping)

Preheat oven to 375 degrees. In a mixing bowl, beat eggs. Add milk. Stir in sugar and vanilla. Fold in coconut. Pour custard in small round glass cups. Sprinkle with nutmeg. Place custard cups in a rectangle pan filled with water. Bake for 45 minutes or until firm. Cool. Top with fresh sliced strawberries or toasted coconut. Serves 6-8.

So, this salad (rich in vitamin A, fiber and protein) is quick to make (a plus since we get an extra hour of daylight for work or play), and budget-wise (I’m one of the financially challenged floundering survivors). Its earthy flavors and textures of fish, egg, and tomato will wow you. Forget heavy dressings (oil and vinegar are healthier), especially when spring is coming and you’ll shed coats/sweaters-the ones that hide extra pounds. The best part: Enjoying a small portion of warm coconut custard (like the spring sun) promises to satisfy sweet cravings. In an eggshell, you can have your salad and custard and eat them, too.

Motto: Go with the flow and eat right during shaky times. But wholesome treats are like a breath of fresh spring air as long as you indulge in moderation.

– Cal Orey, M.A. is an author and journalist. Her books include “The Healing Powers” series (Vinegar, Olive Oil, Chocolate, Honey, and Coffee) published by Kensington. Her website is http://www.calorey.com.


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