Side Dish: Swinging back

Learning of an acquaintance’s diagnosis of breast cancer reminded me of a cookbook I’d gotten a few months ago, “The Back in the Swing Cookbook: Recipes for Eating and Living Well Every Day After Breast Cancer” by Barbara C. Unell, founder of nonprofit Back in the Swing USA, and cookbook author Judith Fertig.

While my acquaintance is still in the midst of her medical treatment, I’m sure when it’s over she’ll like information on eating and living well. This book, with its 150 easy-to-make recipes and positive options on feeling good every day, tries to do that.

It includes information on exercise, meditation and relaxation techniques, and lifestyle recommendations, plus “I knew I was back in the swing when” statements from breast cancer survivors.

The authors include nutritional breakdowns, but they don’t advise readers about following certain diet restrictions. Instead, they suggest consulting with health care practitioners on what is needed for gaining, losing or maintaining an optimum weight. Their book’s recipes are for what they call a “back to basics canvas.” They discuss evidence-based recommendations, the need for lean-protein and low-fat diets, and plant-based recipes.

Unlike most cookbooks, this one begins its recipes with a chapter on desserts. As the book says, “The sweet things in life, including desserts, can fit into healthy eating and everyday lifestyle.” Among that chapter’s recipes are brambleberry crisp, Persian rice pudding and celebration chocolate cake.

Other recipes include spiced blueberry applesauce muffins, Viennese spiced coffee, orange-cranberry chutney, Mediterranean tuna salad with roasted red peppers, vegetable chili, and lemony chicken and mushroom stir-fry with quinoa.

The book also offers menu planning ideas, a list of national resources focused on survivorship, medical and supportive care services, metric conversions and equivalents, and numerous full-color photographs.

“The Back in the Swing Cookbook” would make a thoughtful gift.

Cheramie Sonnier is The Advocate’s Food editor. Her email address is

Advocate-tested recipe

Potato Frittata Twist

Serves 4. Recipe is from “the Back in the Swing Cookbook: Recipes for Eating and Living Well Every Day After Breast Cancer” by Barbara C. Unell and Judith Fertig” (Andrews McMeel Publishing, 2012). “This recipe calls for baking potatoes, so plan on preparing them the night before,” the authors say. “If you don’t have baked potatoes on hand, prick the potatoes all over with a paring knife and microwave on high for 7 to 8 minutes, until tender. Then slice.”

11/2 tbls. Work of Art Drizzle (see recipe), divided

3 medium cold baked russet potatoes, thinly sliced

1 cup very thinly sliced jarred roasted red peppers

1/4 cup chopped fresh Italian parsley

2 large eggs

2 large egg whites

Salt and pepper

1. Place a large skillet over medium-high heat and brush the bottom with about 2 teaspoons of the Work of Art Drizzle. Arrange the potatoes, then the peppers in the skillet. Cook for 5 minutes without stirring, until the potatoes are warm. Drizzle on the remaining Work of Art Drizzle and sprinkle with the parsley.

2. In a bowl, whisk the eggs and egg whites with salt and pepper and pour over the vegetables. Cook, covered, without stirring, for about 8 minutes, until the egg mixture is solid when you shake the pan. Remove from the heat, slice and serve.

Nutritional analysis per serving: 173 calories, 2.5 grams total fat, 1 gram saturated fat, 30 grams carbohydrates, 8 grams protein, 3.6 grams dietary fiber and 66 milligrams sodium.

Work of Art Drizzle: In a small bowl, mash 1 large clove garlic, minced, with 1 teaspoon kosher salt until you have a paste. Stir in 3 tablespoons until the garlic blends in to the oil, then stir in 1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice. Makes 12 tablespoons, 20 calories each.