Beans & Greens Quesadillas

Five of the Daily Dozen (beans, greens, other vegetables, herbs and spices, whole grains).

This was of medium difficulty to cook and if not for the truth that I’m an exceptionally messy cook I might say it was easy.  Before sitting down for lunch, Tim looked around the kitchen and put on an apron preparing for after-lunch-clean-up like a soldier getting ready for battle. Before he could ask I answered, “No, I only cooked one meal.”

True to himself, Tim grabbed a leftover burger to eat with my new creation. Over the years his skepticism of cooking without oil and butter has waned. Waned but not departed. I suspect observing his kitchen, chard pieces on the floor, red onion skin next to the garbage can, and cloves of garlic diving into the garbage disposal to get away looked like a cyclone had dropped by. Nope. Just Edith.

“This is so good,” the man in the apron announces, “it’s hard to believe it’s healthy.”

The Savory Spice Blend is optional. I used it. I used 1T nutritional yeast (B12 and cheese taste), next time I’ll use 2T like the recipe calls for. I’d wondered if my mac&cheese failure was too much nutritional yeast, but at present moment don’t think that was to blame.


1 small red onion, minced
3 garlic cloves, minced
1 bunch chard
2 tomatoes, chopped
8 oz mushrooms, coarsely chopped
15.5 oz. salt free can of cannellini, drained and rinsed
2 T nutritional yeast
1 t chili powder
Savory Spice Blend
4 (10-inch) whole-grain tortillas


Heat 1/4 cup of water in a pot over medium heat. Add onion and garlic and softened, about 5 minutes. Add chard and tomatoes, and cook until greens are tender, five or so minutes.

While greens are cooking, mash beans and stir in the nutritional yeast, chili powder, and Savory Spice Blend if you are using it. If you like your quesadillas hot, add a healthy hot sauce to taste. Mix well.

Drain off remaining liquid from greens mixture and stir into bean mixture. Taste and adjust seasoning, if needed.

Divide the filling among the tortillas, spread evenly over half of each. Fold the top half of the tortilla over the filling. Press down lightly to hold it together. Place them in a large nonstick skillet or griddle over medium heat. Cook each side until browned.

Add salsa and enjoy.

Again, No salt, sugar, or fat.




Not A Sweet Solution

Food companies have a way of increasing profits at the cost of our health. Commercials show beautiful and fit young people with emotionally charged music—like “Taste the Feeling” and “Put It Together”—full of energy having a great time. Sure, we know that drinking diet soda is not going to change our physical appearance or happiness, but what we may not know is the damage, drink by drink, that is taking place inside our bodies.

Artificial sweeteners trick the brain, and it feels cheated and wants more sugar to get calories out of it. If people are given Sprite, artificially sweetened soda, or unsweetened carbonated lemon-lime water, and don’t know which they are drinking, later when offered a choice of M&Ms, spring water, or sugar-free gum, guess what they pick. Those drinking the artificially sweetened drinks were nearly three times more likely to take the M&Ms than those who drank sugar-sweetened or unsweetened drinks.

Susan E. Swithers, a professor at Purdue, reviewed and evaluated the most recent research on the effect of drinking diet soda. “Whether consuming high-intensity
sweeteners, despite having zero or low calories, may result in overeating, weight gain, or other health problems.”

From the Journal of the American Geriatrics Society, regular consumption of diet soda expands your waistline and is a potential pathway for heart trouble in older people.

What happens to your body when you drink diet soda from minutes to an hour?

First 10 Minutes: The acid attacks the enamel on your teeth, and the artificial sweeteners trick your body into thinking you just ate sugar which your taste buds love.

20 Minutes: Like the regular soft drink, it triggers insulin which sends your body into fat storage mode.

40 Minutes: The combination of caffeine and aspartame is addictive, similar to cocaine, especially if you drink it on a regular basis.

60 Minutes and After: Depletes nutrients, makes you hungry and wanting more. If this doesn’t get you off the diet soda, consider this: It will never quench your thirst as it dehydrates rather than hydrates. Lack of water can lead to brain fog, poor concentration, fatigue, and feeling irritable.

zebra and green tea

Time for a facelift. Using the same format for my newsletter for two years, I needed an injection of freshness. One change was to come up with a name for a column on the second page.

The Sunday Newsletter for Women is a three-page undertaking where I share what interest me, humor, health, wisdom, relationships, environment, and the many technological changes and its implications. Column two offers tidbits of information.

NPR, starting a Blog, faced the naming decision two years earlier. Their creative staff of many struggled and debated. Finally, they decided on “goat and soda.” Oh, how I wanted my column to be goat and soda. But, it wasn’t my idea, my column might say something about soda, but “goat?”

So, my creative staff of one came up with a plethora of ideas:

morning and wine (seriously? People start their morning with wine?)

email and news (boring)

coffee and learning (this smacks of a past era)

one more day (made me think of impending death)

tantalizing tidbits (column two many not always live up to this snappy little name)

Holding on to the idea of two or three words, the answer came in four words, zebra and green tea. Readers tell me they love sharing their first cup of tea/coffee with the Sunday e-newsletter. The striped zebra represents contrast, diversity of information. The green tea improves brain function. A match made.