Friday, July 30, 2010

get more greens!

Nothing better than fresh cilantro and basil from the garden, which were both incorporated into hummus from ED&BV. Dreena has some awesome recipes, and I hate to admit it, but when it comes to hummus, it really does help when you measure ingredients.

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I think this Cuisipro Herb Keeper is pretty cool. No one likes soggy herbs.

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Our lettuce is out of control! The back row is romaine, and the front is some kind of spicy green. I’m not really sure what to do with these, but they are strong. Maybe they’d be good in a sandwich?

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In the winter, it’s sometimes hard for me to want to eat cold salads when it’s equally frigid outside. Summer is a perfect time to welcome an abundance of greens into my daily eats.

Joanie’s Salad {named after its inventor}

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ingredients :: romaine lettuce, cashews, dried cranberries, shredded Swiss cheese, chopped apple and pear ::

dressing :: 2/3 cup sugar, 1/2 c lemon juice, 1 T chopped onion, 1/2 c. oil, 1 T dijon mustard, 1 T poppyseeds (I use half on whole bowl of salad) ::

Why should we even bother with greens?!

One of my fellow food editors {Megan of Making Love in the Kitchen} has a great post on different greens and their benefits, some of which include:

  • antioxidant power and phytochemical content
  • fiber
  • calcium content (watch spinach, which contains oxalic acid and can prevent calcium absorption)
  • B vitamins, vitamin A, C, K, iron and potassium

Happy 31st Anniversary to my fabulous mom and dad!

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Ok, so I know that cake doesn’t fit into the greens family, but this recipe for banana cake from Joy the Baker is amazing. Glorified banana bread {but lighter and fluffier} + peanut butter frosting. I halved the sugar, used half whole wheat flour, and subbed yogurt + 1 tsp baking soda for the sour cream.

Enjoy!

What’s your fave way to eat greens?

On the running front, it’s a little cooler this week, and I’ve managed to run a couple 5 and 6 milers followed by an easy 3.5 miles yesterday…definitely appreciate the cool down!

Happy Weekend!

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Friday, July 16, 2010

even a beet hater will like this…

First news of the day…I passed my RD exam or the national examination to become a registered dietitian! It’s been a long road of schooling [7 years!], and it’s nice to have the credential. I feel very blessed from all of the support of my family and great friends.

My mom and I visited the farmers’ market in town for some fresh produce this week. After being spoiled by the expanse known as Soulard in St. Louis, I was still pretty impressed by the offerings of my much smaller hometown. 

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Loved the abundance of local produce. Read about the benefits of eating local food here.

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We bought some homegrown carrots, which I think are much better than anything you can purchase in a grocery store {definitely not as slimy and gross as baby carrots}.

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We also bought some raspberries that are amazing. No blueberries because we can pick those ourselves. My mom usually freezes them to be enjoyed all winter long {and then I eat them on my oats whenever I’m home}.

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I have an extreme dislike for water chestnuts, jicama, and beets. Maybe it’s the texture? Anyway, after seeing the article, “beet recipes even a beet hater can love” in the New York Times (Toby Bilanow), I decided to expand my culinary horizons, using these beets from the farmers’ market.

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I chose a recipe by Martha Shulman for risotto with beet green and roasted beets. Anyone who’s ever made risotto before knows it’s basically like babysitting rice. However, the end result is definitely worth the in-between steps.

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photo credit: andrew scrivani [mine was much less aesthetically pleasing].

Beets* pack a lot of nutritional punch. Their reddish-pink pigment, called betacyanin has been linked to cancer prevention.

1 cup of boiled beets provides:

  • excellent source of the folate, a very good source of manganese and potassium, and a good source of dietary fiber, vitamin C, magnesium, iron, copper, and phosphorus.

1 cup of cooked beet greens provides:

  • a good source of protein, folate, pantothenic acid, phosphorus and zinc; a very good source of dietary fiber, vitamin A, C, E, K, thiamin, riboflavin, pyridoxine, calcium, iron, magnesium, potassium, copper and manganese.

So now I’m curious…do you like beets? Any fave preparation methods or recipes? I can’t say I love beets…yet, but they’re growing on me.

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Wednesday, July 7, 2010

what nutrients are in your food?

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After reading my post about asparagus pesto, Anna asked: “You say that asparagus is an excellent source of vitamin K, folate, vitamin C, vitamin A... etc. Are these for raw or cooked asparagus? I mean, I don't eat raw asparagus (don't know can you even do so??) and it would provide greater information for me to know the actual nutrients in the food I consume. I am not an expert on how well different nutrients keep after cooking -maybe you could tell us?”

Usually, I link to the food profile, so you can verify all this information for yourself. Asparagus and many other vegetables do retain nutrients after cooking…some are even improved after cooking. I like the World’s Healthiest Food website (they use Food Processor, a program we use in the nutrition and food science world a lot, to determine nutrient values). You can read about their food ranking system here.

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Another good site is the Nutrition Data website, where you can analyze recipes and enter foods based on preparation (i.e. boiled asparagus).

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I’ll try to be more specific about serving sizes and preparation methods in the future. Here is some general information about preserving nutrients in fruit and veggies*:

  • Choose local produce, which is picked at the height of its growing season and contains the most nutrients.
  • Chopping or slicing into small pieces increases the amount of surface area exposed to the air and allows for greatest nutrient losses.
  • Water soluble vitamins (B vitamins, Vit C) are more subject to destruction by heat and light than fat soluble vitamins (A, D, E, K).
  • Refrigerate fresh produce to prevent enzymatic action from degrading nutrients.
  • Use a small amount of water when boiling veggies or steam in small quantities.
  • Avoid overcooking produce, especially that which contains vitamin C.

*Source: USDA

The nutrition camp I’m helping to run this week has been going pretty well. Anyone who’s ever done any community programming before knows that this sort of thing requires a ton of flexibility and patience.

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We took the kids to a local organic garden yesterday, but I didn’t get any photos of it because I was too busy trying to prevent plant trampling and fist fights. Today, the kids got to try new kinds of produce, which they really enjoyed.

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I think it’s great to expose kids to new kinds of fruit and vegetables, but it really bothered me that the lunches they received as they were leaving were full of Corn Pops cereal, white pb & j without the crust, fruit snacks, and cookies [+ apples & cheese sticks]. Really? How am I supposed to teach kids appropriate nutrition when the government-subsidized lunches are so nutrient poor?!

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An afternoon in the 90 degree heat calls for banana blueberry fake froyo. Just blend frozen bananas and blueberries with almond milk and a tablespoon of almond butter for a delish (and dairy free) treat. I like to peel and cut the bananas when they’re overripe before tossing them into the freezer…then I always have frozen bananas ready for smoothies.

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Hope everyone is staying cool…the temps = crazy hot. I think we’re going to have a water balloon fight tomorrow! No one really felt like running around for games today. Any tips for tying 100 water balloons in record timing?

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Monday, July 5, 2010

1 vegan, one not…

Hope everyone had a great 4th!
In the great state of Michigan, the vegan recipe experimentation goes on. This is Dreena Burton’s (of Eat, Drink, & Be Vegan fame) recipe for black bean, quinoa, and sweet potato spicy croquettes topped with pumpkin chipotle cream. I don’t really know what a croquette is…but it reminds me of a game involving mallets and metal hoops [that I was never too fantastic at].
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Anyway, these croquettes represent a good source of protein (click here for info on quinoa, which is a complete protein) and fiber. Pumpkin seeds are a very good source of magnesium, manganese and phosphorus, a good source of iron, copper, protein, and zinc.
This week, I’m helping with a nutrition education day camp in my community…I think it’s safe to say that I’ve had plenty of experience doing this after the school education sessions during the dietetic internship. Hello, 14000 # of lettuce!
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We’ll be taking the kids to a garden and farmers’ market and talking about sustainability and the importance of buying local produce. Definitely reminds me of this day, when we prepped countless pounds of salad made from veggies grown in the gardens of local schools. Fortunately, our snack prep will be much…smaller.
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This recipe isn’t vegan, but it is vegetarian! We had a bunch of apricots and peaches ready to be used, so I adapted this cherry cobbler recipe from 101 Cookbooks.
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It’s definitely not super sweet, so I’d highly recommend adding a scoop of your favorite ice cream (milk-based or not). Plus, I just think cobbler calls for ice cream, no? What’s your fave cobbler filling? My first choice is always berries!
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I have an interview on Friday for a job that I’m really excited about…it’s {pretty much} perfect and involves nutrition, creativity, and communications…we’ll see how it goes.
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