Asian Style Slaw

Consider it your lucky week…two CABBAGE recipes!  I know I know, it’s like you hit the jackpot!  You can thank me later.

The boyfriend and I got to host two fantastic friends for dinner last weekend, a double-date of sorts.  I was in a minor panic at the thought of cooking for two foodies, but luckily everything was enjoyed (at least so they said).  On the menu was asian style slaw, stir-fried veggies in peanut sauce with tofu and/or chicken and brown rice.  And for dessert, a homemade pumpkin pie with gingersnap crust (not quite on theme, but it was two days after Thanksgiving and I wanted some pie!) and some delicious gelato our friends brought us.  The food turned out good, but the best part was the company.  And said company requested some recipes, so here’s the first.

Coleslaw is great to make for a crowd, because cabbage is a relatively cheap vegetable and once you chop it up it grows from a head of cabbage to a gigantic bowl full.  I just wish I had made this a day ahead because the flavors really marinated together, and the slaw was even better the next day.  If i wasn’t lazy I would have added a diced jalapeño or two to the mix.  Also, the addition of fresh cilantro really made the slaw pop with flavor, so this is one case where I would not substitute dried.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Asian Style Slaw - makes one ginormous bowl.

Time: prep time:20 minutes(much less if you have a food processor to chop). Once made let sit for minimum of four hours, best to leave overnight.

Ingredients:

1 head red cabbage, shredded

1 bell pepper(I used a yellow one but red, orange or green would work), chopped into small bite size pieces

1 small green apple, chopped into small bite size pieces

1 bunch fresh cilantro, removed from stems and roughly chopped

For the dressing:

1/3 cup pineapple juice

1/3 cup rice wine vinegar

2 tablespoons sesame oil (may substitute neutral oil like canola)

2 tsp brown sugar

spices:salt, pepper, cayenne pepper to taste

Garnish: more fresh cilantro, and chopped peanuts

Directions: Mix chopped veggies together in large bowl.  Mix dressing ingredients and add to veggies.  Allow to sit in the fridge, if possible stirring every hour(to prevent the veggies at the bottom from getting all the dressing).  I tasted mine to make sure there was enough dressing and ended up adding another splash of rice vinegar and a dash of salt.

I served with chopped peanuts and more fresh cilantro to garnish.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

I also ate three bowls of coleslaw the next day and gave myself quite the tummy-ache.  Whoops.

Happy Weekend!!!

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The Morning After……

No not the morning after that (get your minds out of the gutter). I mean the morning after a holiday weekend.  After turkey, trimmings, pie, and stuffing yourselves full of delicious treats.  If I could give one piece of nutrition-holiday advice it would be to not worry about a day, or even a few days of indulging.  Get back on track eating healthfully and moving, and don’t stress about those bites of potatoes and cookies.

You’re probably ready to eat some veggies….no?

brussel sprout stalk

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

MMMM…..brussel sprouts!!!  Have you ever seen brussel sprouts on the stalk?  That’s how they grow, but usually in the grocery store they are already picked off for your convenience.

Now before you all head running in the other direction at the sight of brussel sprouts, hear me out.  Brussel sprouts were my least favorite vegetable until I had them prepared like this.  And even the boyfriend loves them.  The sprouts turn sweet and crispy on the edges, and the sweet and spicy flavors play off each other beautifully.

Maple-Cayenne Roasted Brussel Sprouts

Serves: 4 as side dish. 2 sprouts lovers with leftovers

Time: 10-15 minutes prep, 35-40 minutes cooking

Ingredients:

~ 1 pound brussel sprouts (I used the whole stalk but that ended up being quite the bounty)

1 tbsp olive oil

1 tsp salt

1 tsp – 1 tbsp cayenne pepper (depending on how spicy you like it)

1 tbsp maple syrup

Directions: Preheat your oven to 375 degrees. Spray baking sheet with non-stick cooking spray.  Wash and cut up brussel sprouts.  If they are large, you probably want to quarter them, otherwise cutting in half is fine.  On baking sheet toss sprouts with maple syrup, olive oil, salt and cayenne.  Place in oven for 20 minutes.  After 20 minutes, flip them on pan and place back in oven for 15-20 minutes or until sprouts are “fork-tender” and golden brown.

Unfortunately-no photos of the end product  because I was too busy gobbling it up!

Let me know if you try this recipe.  I think it would look great on a holiday table, and can be jazzed up by tossing some pomegranate seeds or toasted pecans on top.

Thanksgiving is a time to feel grateful, give back to great , volunteer, discount shop, watch football, and eat lots of food. I hope you all had a wonderful holiday spent with the ones you love and thinking of those less fortunate.

p.s. sorry for the slow month of November over here.  I plan on whipping out my camera more often, and typing up some more posts for the upcoming few weeks and hopefully beyond.  Perhaps even a guest post or two will make its way over here.  Stay tuned.

 

 

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I have nothing to say…..

But other people do….

Pizza is a vegetable   *that’s just according to congress, not me.  I say always mostly eat your pizza with vegetables on the side*

A study showing that weight loss counseling helps people lose weight!! 

Interesting stuff…..

I’m learning lots more in school and I promise to share more yummy recipes and nutrition tidbits soon. Hope everyone is enjoying their week!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Birthday Brownie Bake-Off Weekend

When I found out my dad was coming to town just two days before my birthday I challenged him to a brownie bake-off.  My dad loves to bake and has about 4 recipes he claims are perfect and never makes anything else.  I prefer to try all sorts of new recipes and rarely make the same thing twice.  I thought we had a friendly competition going until I graciously called him the morning of and had a conversation like this:

“Dad, do you need anything from the store?”

“No, I have everything I am bringing up some chocolate”

“Oh do you have enough for both of us?”

“I don’t really think it’s fair for you to use my chocolate.  You can’t use my chocolate.  This is a competition.”

“Ok Dad, I’ll go spend $7 on chocolate.  I love you. Have a safe trip.”

“You’re going down Lisa muhahahahhahahahahha!!!!”

Or something like that………So much for friendly.  Turns out this was just going to be a competition.

The Goods

I used a recipe from the NYTimes for .

raw batter ready to meet warm oven

Pops getting in on the baking.  Yes, he travels with his own pan. He uses the recipe on the back of.

mixing the batter

pops with his pan

Once the brownies were done, we strolled down Newbury St, picked up some sushi and had a nice dinner.  Then the fun was over and it was back to the cutthroat competition.

it's a throwdown! brownies A and B

Everyone claimed to like both and said one was more fudge-y and one was more cake-y.  But I insisted on a vote.  Can you tell who won?

winner and looooooser

Still, everyone got to eat birthday brownies and ice cream.  And everyone said both were delicious-minus one (who is not to be named) who said bRJownie A was no good.  I made brownie A.  My boyfriend also decided that my brownies were not as good as my Dad’s.  Fine by me,  but I will NOT be baking for him anytime soon. :) All in all it was a fun contest and a delicious birthday desert, although I did miss eating frosting!  Maybe there will be some in my future.

love this girl-even though she voted for my dad too

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Spicy Spaghetti Squash

Hi everyone!  I can’t believe it is November 2, 2011.  Time flieeeeeeeeeeeeees!  I’ve been doing lots of school work and work work.  Also yoga, running and seeing great friends.  I hope everyone had a lovely Halloween last weekend and dressed up to the nines.  It was snowing/sleeting here in Boston so I dressed up like a farmer which meant I could wear a flannel shirt.  If you ate lots of candy for the sweet holiday you might want to try this recipe full of veggies to get some nutrients in your belly!

I saw this recipe for with Mexican flavors from Whole Foods the other day.  Since I usually prepare spaghetti squash like regular ol’ spaghetti (even though I don’t think it tastes like pasta) and dump marinara on top, I thought mixing in some black beans would be a fun thing to try. But unlike the Whole Foods original, I topped my squash with melty, gooey cheddar cheese-the extra sharp kind-and added some extra veggies we had like mushrooms and red peppers.  It got two thumbs up from the boyfriend (who is the least critical judge of food, but when he doesn’t ask specifically for meat I know he likes it).

Spicy Mexican Stuffed Spaghetti Squash Inspired by recipe

Serves: 4

Time: ~75 minutes

Ingredients

1 spaghetti squash-cut in half length-wise

1 tbsp olive oil

1 jalapeno pepper, diced

3 cloves garlic, diced

1 medium onion, diced

1 red pepper, diced

1/2 cup sliced portabella mushrooms

1/2 cup frozen corn, thawed

1 15 oz can black beans, drained and rinsed

1 tbsp dried cilantro

salt and pepper to taste

1.5 tsp cayenne pepper(optional)

4 oz cheddar cheese, shredded (optional)

for serving: salsa, corn relish, greek yogurt(instead of sour cream) or anything else you might like!

Preheat oven to 375 degrees.  Cut squash in half and scoop out seeds and guts(you can save the seeds and roast them for about 7-10 minutes @ 375 with spices and such) Place spaghetti squash, flesh side down on greased baking sheet and bake for 50 minutes.

While squash is baking, preheat large pan over medium heat.  Add olive oil.  Add onions and peppers, cooking for ~ 4 minutes until onions begin to turn translucent.  Add jalapeno, garlic, mushrooms, black beans, cilantro, corn and spices, including salt and pepper.  Continue to cook over medium heat-letting flavors mix together for about 5 minutes.  Turn heat to low and let bean and vegetable mixture simmer while squash is baking.

When squash is done, remove from oven and let cool until you can touch with your hands(about 10-20 minutes depending on how tough your hands are).  Scrape out the squash-it will come in strings like spaghetti, hence the name-and add the inside to the bean mix.  Leave about 1/4 inch of squash in the shell.  Put the squash and bean mixture back into the squash, and top with shredded cheese if using.  Place back in the 375 degree oven for about 10 minutes to melt the cheese.

Serve with toppings, and eat!

This photo was taken before toppings.  As you can see you can the portions are big!  But it’s all veggies and beans and squash with a tiny bit of cheese.  Good stuff. I hope you enjoy!

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The Produce Section

Part two of an installment on healthy and money saving grocery shopping tips.

Find part one here: Grocery Shopping

Typical grocery layouts have us walking right in to the fruit and veggie department but all too often people skip over these items.  For a variety of reasons-presumed cost, they “don’t like veggies”, etc.- this section of the grocery store gets overlooked.  Here are some tips for a great produce shopping experience.

Shop Seasonally: When items are in season they taste better and cost less.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

An abbreviated list:

Fall: apples, cabbage, onions, potatoes, winter squash

Winter: yeaaaa..nothing grows here in the winter :(  But farms store some root vegetables that are hardy like squashes, onions and carrots.

Spring: peas, asparagus, strawberries, cucumbers

Summer: tomatoes, corn, zucchini, peaches

For a longer list and to see seasonal foods in your area this by Epicurious is a nifty tool.

You get the idea though. Tomatoes in the winter taste like mealy mush. Tomatoes in the summer taste like amazing-ness and cost you less.  I also completely encourage shopping at farmers markets for produce.  Boston has some great markets including some in the winter in and now the .

If you don’t buy it you can’t eat it: Every meal should have some vegetable or fruit in it.  Even if you are short on time you can grab baby carrots to munch or grapes to eat after dinner.  Completely avoiding this section of the store is not recommended.  Likewise, if you buy fresh fruits and veggies you will be more likely to eat them because they will be in your home.  You can’t eat them if they aren’t there.

Be Picky!! Don’t just grab the first apple you see, it might be bruised or damaged.  I always hunt for the best I can find because you are paying the same price regardless of the quality.  Look for ripe fruits and vegetables without visible damage.

Pay Attention to Price: You’ll pay a lot more for broccoli if someone else has already cut it up for you.  Same with pre-bagged salads and other cut-up veggies.  If you’re looking to save money in this section, watch out for these items.

Beyond the Fruits and Veggies: many groceries also stock items like tofu, refrigerated salad dressings, hummus and dried fruits and nuts in this section.  In fact a recent discussed how more and more food companies want their products nestled in amongst the produce to give it a healthier glow.

Those are some tips for shopping around the produce aisle.  Hope this helps you have a happier trip to the store!!

 

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Happy Food Day

is today!! Happy Food Day!! What is food day you might ask? It is a day where people get together and celebrate food and how it can help build healthy, sustainable communities.  It is sponsored by the Center for Science in the Public Interest.

*There are six goals Food Day aims to achieve:
1.    Reduce diet-related disease by promoting safe, healthy foods
2.    Support sustainable farms and limit subsidies to big agribusiness
3.    Expand access to food and alleviate hunger
4.    Protect the environment and animals by reforming factory farms
5.    Promote health by curbing junk-food marketing to kids
6.    Support fair conditions for food and farm workers

*Source: 

To celebrate food day at the Mayor Menino, Boston’s mayor talked about what Boston is doing with food to promote healthy living in the city.

He shared three main pillars to incorporate food for successful and healthy communities.  Having access to reasonably priced foods, making them affordable to everyone()and building and utilizing a strong food economy are all keys to Boston’s  success.

One of the points the mayor made sure to hammer home was that Boston has so many great food resources: restaurants, food trucks, universities, hospitals, community gardens etc. and we need to make sure to all work together to achieve our goals.

Also of note, tomorrow kicks off , a city wide food drive celebrating its 25th anniversary.  Donate cans or make financial contribution.  You can find drop-off locations on the website, but it seems that most fire houses will be accepting cans. I

One thing was apparent from Mayor Menino’s talk: he loves food and he loves his city. And if we all work together we can make the city a healthier place to be.

Happy food day!!! And stay tuned to read full coverage of the event in the November issue of the .

 

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WhoNu cookies could be so “healthy”?

Grrrrrr. These cookies make me angry.  And cookies are supposed to make you happy so I have a problem with this.

They are relatively new, made by sun core products and come in 4 flavors.  They also boast added fiber, vitamin C, vitamin A, vitamin E, vitamin B12, vitamin D, calcium and iron.

So, you want to fortify a cookie and compare it to spinach and oatmeal? I don’t love that comparison but OK. Give your cookie a health “halo” and make people think it is really, really good for them. They are more likely to eat more cookies, which is good for the makers of WhoNu? but not good for the people eating all these extra cookies.

My biggest problem with these cookies is, they are made with partially hydrogenated oils.  Don’t ask me why they would take the time to fortify their cookies and make them “healthier” and market them as healthier and then continue to use trans fat in their production.  If you go to their website, they tell you a lot about nutrition facts but they don’t list their ingredients.  They can list trans fat on their label as 0 grams because the FDA allows that to be 0 as long as there is less than 0.5 g per serving.  So there may be about 1/2 gram of trans fat for every three cookies, we don’t know.

Just goes to show how deceptive food marketing can be.  I hope you enjoyed my friday rant.  And if you really want a cookie, I would recommend making over the weekend….they look really yummy!

Have a great weekend.


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Hot Potato

Oh the Potato.  It is beloved by most, hated by some, and is proving to be quite the hot topic.

 

 

 

 

Potato’s popularity took a hit with the low-carb fad of the 90′s.  It is a vegetable, but a starchy one-meaning it is higher in calories and carbohydrates than most veggies(broccoli, lettuce, celery etc.) Still eating potatoes with the skin provides vitamin C, potassium and some fiber.  I had a biology professor once say eating a potato was like eating sugar and there was no nutritional value to potatoes.  That was during my freshmen year of college(before studying nutrition) and it made me sad.  I grew up loving potatoes and was once laughed at for ordering a baked potato with a side of french fries (I think I was 10 at the time).  2 years later my biochemistry professor, who was a potato researcher, hailed the potato as a nutrient powerhouse and great addition to any diet.

Personally, I think potatoes are a fantastic addition to the diet.  They are naturally gluten free, inexpensive and nutritious when prepared in a .  The problem I see with potatoes is that they are mostly eaten in their deep fried state as french fries or tater tots, or as mashed potatoes smothered in butter and cream and salt etc.

What is prompting my potato talk today? I spotted an article in the NYTimes .  The U.S. Department of Agriculture had proposed reducing the amount of white potatoes served at lunch and cutting them out of school breakfast.  Their reasoning was not that potatoes are bad, but that children eat enough potatoes outside of school and don’t have enough exposure to other vegetables.  They also felt it would limit the amount of french fries and tater tots being served.  The opposition feels that it is too restrictive and the USDA shouldn’t limit any sort of vegetables in schools.  And the opposition won in the senate.

My final thoughts: most of us probably need more veggies in our diets, try and eat a variety of vegetables and think of the starchy ones more as grains (potatoes, peas, lima beans, corn) in your diet.

What are your thoughts on potatoes? And let me know what you think of the article if you read!

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A Weekend In Vermont

I LOVERMONT.  Seriously. Love. It. Especially in October.  There is nothing that beats:

driving up the highway staring at orange and red and yellow trees-unless you are driving and then eyes on the road.

People watching on Church Street. “Hi Catamount”

 

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Bumping into friends downtown. “Hi Jenny!!”

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Hiking up Mountains and getting covered in mud and not bringing your camera- but having borrowed cell phone pics that don’t nearly do the Green Mountains justice.

Mountain

 

Catching up with friends-newly engaged woohoo!!!

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Drinking local brews-straight from the source @ the alchemist and magic hat.

 

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Cheers!

 

Eating delicious food, that brings you back in time and using a recycled picture because you yet again forgot your camera. Seriously go if you are in Burlington/Essex/Winooski Vermont.

Thai food

 

Having a weekend away from the city with people you love. “Hi Christy!”

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See…nothing beats it!! Trips to Burlington are so much fun and fall is a perfect time to go.

But next time I will try to remember my camera at places outside of breweries.

 

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