Survivors' book guides cooks interested in cancer-fighting foods

Detroit Free PressOctober 17, 2012 

Savory stuffed acorn squash takes advantage of the fall growing season and the antioxidant properties of squash.


During Breast Cancer Awareness Month, many will reflect on someone who has faced this nasty disease.

For me, it was my mother, Mary Selasky, who was diagnosed at the age of 42 (I was 17). She died five years later, in 1984.

One way to help prevent cancer, many sources say, is through eating foods with cancer-combating properties.

Many of the recommended foods include those that are whole-grain sources and antioxidant- and phytochemical-rich. Of course, it's no surprise that many vegetables fall into the antioxidant-rich category. Think cruciferous vegetables -- broccoli, cabbages and cauliflower -- and those that are carotenoid-rich -- carrots, leafy greens and squash.

Just out is "Kicking Cancer in the Kitchen: The Girlfriend's Cookbook and Guide to Using Real Food to Fight Cancer," a book that can help guide cooks seeking advice on ways to help fight cancer with food and a healthier lifestyle.

The book is by two cancer survivors -- Annette Ramke and Kendall Scott, both diagnosed with the disease at a young age. Ramke is a two-time cancer survivor. At the age of 36, she was diagnosed with breast cancer. Nearly two years later, doctors discovered she had ovarian cancer. Scott's diagnosis of Hodgkin's lymphoma came when she was 27.

Their book offers more than 100 recipes and a center color insert of more than a dozen of them. Most recipes are not complicated and are labeled with what side effects of treatment they may help relieve.


Makes: 4 servings

Prep time: 25 minutes

Total time: 1 hour, 25 minutes

1/2 cup brown rice, uncooked (or 1 1/2 cups cooked)

2 acorn squash

1 tablespoon olive oil

1/4 medium red onion, finely chopped

3 garlic cloves, peeled, finely chopped

1 small zucchini, washed, chopped

2 medium tomatoes, roughly chopped

5 crimini mushrooms, washed, finely chopped

2 cups loosely packed baby spinach

1 tablespoon paprika

1 tablespoon ground cumin

1/4 cup nutritional yeast

1/2 teaspoon sea salt

Dash of freshly ground black pepper

Cook brown rice according to package instructions.

Cut the squash in half from end to end. Scoop out the seeds and loose membranes (discard the seeds or roast them if desired).

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees.

To prepare the stuffing: In a large skillet, heat the olive oil over medium heat. Add the red onion and saute until it begins to soften. Add the garlic and saute 1 minute until it just beings to turn a very light golden brown. Add the zucchini, tomatoes and mushrooms and cook 5 minutes or until the vegetables begin to soften. Add the spinach, paprika, cumin, yeast, salt and pepper. Stir and let simmer for five minutes. Stir in the cooked rice and remove from the heat.

Scoop the stuffing mixture into each squash half, packing it well and mounding the mixture high. Wrap each squash half in foil and place on a baking sheet. Bake one hour or until the squash is tender and easy to pierce with a fork.

Cooks' note: To roast the leftover squash seeds, preheat the oven to 375 degrees. Place the seeds in a bowl of cool water and use your fingers to remove the squash membrane. Rinse the seeds and pat dry well. Add seeds to a bowl with a little sea salt, a dash of olive oil and any other desired seasoning, such as cumin, cinnamon or garlic powder. Spread seeds on a baking sheet and bake for 12 to 15 minutes or until they turn a light golden brown. Remove from oven and serve or store in an airtight container for about 1 week.

From "Kicking Cancer in the Kitchen: The Girlfriend's Cookbook and Guide to Using Real Food to Fight Cancer" by Annette Ramke and Kendall Scott (Running Press, $22).

Tested by Susan M. Selasky for the Free Press Test Kitchen. Analysis per squash halve.

289 calories (17 percent from fat), 6 grams fat (1 gram sat. fat), 53 grams carbohydrates, 14 grams protein, 381 mg sodium, 0 mg cholesterol, 11 grams fiber.


Use this as a side dish or serve it over brown rice, quinoa or whole-grain pasta for a meal.

Makes: 7 cups

Prep time: 10 minutes

Total time: 30 minutes

1 1/2 tablespoons olive oil

2 medium yellow onions, peeled, sliced in half moons

3 garlic cloves, peeled, finely chopped

1 1/2 teaspoons sea salt

1 cup cooked cannellini beans or canned, drained and rinsed

1 red bell pepper, washed, thinly sliced

1 small head green cabbage, thinly sliced

2 medium tomatoes, chopped

2 1/2 teaspoons dried oregano

4 teaspoons ground cumin

Salt and black pepper to taste

In a large skillet or wok, heat the olive oil over medium-low heat. Add the onion, garlic and salt; saute until soft, about 8 minutes. Add the beans, bell pepper, cabbage, tomatoes, oregano and cumin. Cover and cook over medium-high heat for about 10 minutes or until the cabbage is soft, stirring occasionally. Add the salt and pepper to taste. Serve as a side dish.

From "Kicking Cancer in the Kitchen: The Girlfriend's Cookbook and Guide to Using Real Food to Fight Cancer" by Annette Ramke and Kendall Scott (Running Press, $22).

Tested by Susan M. Selasky for the Free Press Test Kitchen. Analysis per 1 cup serving.

97 calories (30 percent from fat), 3 grams fat (0 grams sat. fat), 15 grams carbohydrates, 4 grams protein, 663 mg sodium, 0 mg cholesterol, 4 grams fiber.

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