From time to time, ideas cross my mind, often in response to questions from friends, that are worth writing about, but do not individually merit full posts. This is the second post in a series devoted to such matters.
Tomato juice is an overlooked morning pick-me-up. Unlike most fruits, tomatoes are better for you when cooked so the juice form is excellent from the standpoint of nutrition. Lycopines, etc. It's also low in calories: just 30 for a 4-oz portion.
Of course, you can drink it as-is, but what I do is to start with great tomato juice, namely Knudson's organic, and make it into Virgin Mary mix. I spice it up by adding 1/2 tsp Worcestershire sauce, 1/2 - 1 tsp of Kosher salt, 1/2 tsp pepper and 1/2 tsp powdered celery seeds per quart. I add a few drops of hot sauce just before drinking but this is not for everyone, especially in the morning. The key is to use whatever spices you want and enjoy.
My friend Piglet gave me some almond milk to try, and I have to say it is surprisingly fresh and tasty. A nice, low calorie alternative to milk without the veggie taste of soy milk. Calcium is added. Note that this dish is sweetened with can juice, but still has only 30 calories per 4-oz serving. Lower-sugar versions have the same calorie count but higher carbohydrates, so I would stay with the full-strength version unless sugar, as opposed to carbs, is a problem for you.
I still have not figured out how to use this product apart from drinking it straight. It's quite thin. Doesn't appeal as a coffee sweetener, but might be great with bananas or other fruit in a smoothie. Ideas, please.
Vanilla Cardamom Yogurt
A great virtuous addition to fruit or berries, cooked or raw, is vanilla cardamom yogurt. I discovered this watching Michael Chiarello make his his Zinfandel poached peaches, and have been hooked ever since.
This takes about 5 seconds to make: simply add 1/2 to 1 tsp of cardamom powder to 1 small container of no-fat vanilla yogurt, preferably but not necessarily Greek style. That's it.