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Have you gone apple picking recently? Or perhaps you’ve just noticed that

grocery stores and farmers’ markets are prominently displaying all kinds
of apples these days. Yes, it’s apple season again!

If you’re looking for new ways to make apples or just a few more good reasons to eat them, you can read up on it in this article I recently wrote for We the Eaters, a blog for food lovers.

If you’re in the DC area come on out to Joe’s Movement Emporium for an apple cooking demonstration on Thursday, October 29 at 7 pm. We’ll make a soup, a sugar-less snack and share a few recipes to take advantage of apple season! 

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Tabouleh – an excellent salad option for a hot summer day. It’s made with fresh herbs, tomatoes, olive oil, spices and can be eaten with pita bread, or atop romaine lettuce leaves. In the Middle East, fresh grape leaves are used as a scoop.

Tabouleh made with quinoa.

Tabouleh made with quinoa.

You can add any number of vegetables to tabouleh – according to taste; carrots, cucumbers, red or green onions are wonderful additions.

As you can see, tomatoes are a star attraction – and since they are in season right now and delicious varieties are currently available at your farmers’ market, why not pick up a few good tomatoes and try some tabouleh tonight?

Prep Time: 40-50 minutes

Ingredients:

  • 2 bunches of fresh parsley (1 1/2 cup chopped, with stems discarded)
  • 2 tablespoons of fresh mint, chopped
  • 1 medium cucumber, finely chopped
  • 6 medium tomatoes, diced
  • 1 tablespoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon black pepper
  • 1/2 cup bulghur, medium grade (can also use cooked millet or quinoa as gluten free options)
  • 6 tablespoons lemon juice
  • 6 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil

Preparation:

If using MILLET – add 1 cup of millet and a pinch of salt to 1-3/4 cup of water; cover and bring to a boil. Reduce heat, stir, place lid on the pan and gently simmer for 20 minutes. Then stir to fluff the grains and taste. It it’s still a little crunchy, add about ¼ cup of boiling water and leave over low heat so that it will steam covered for an additional 10 minutes.

If using BULGUR: place 1 cup of bulghar in a bowl and cover with 1 ½ cups of boiling water and a dash of salt. Cover bowl and set aside for 20 or 30 minutes. Fluff with a fork when all the water has been absorbed.

Combine all ingredients, adding salt, pepper, lemon juice, and olive oil last.

Serve immediately or chill in refrigerator for 2 hours before serving.

At the risk of sounding like a lyrical jingle from the Minnesota Public Radio show Prairie Home Companion, today’s blog is brought to you by ketchup. Ketchup you ask? If you’ve ever read the ingredients on any of the popular brands you know that most of them contain high fructose corn syrup, corn syrup, and natural flavoring. These aren’t necessarily the first things you might want to see your kids eat, but almost any kid in this country loves ketchup – and the salty, fried foods that we tend to occupy the space aside the ketchup. Read on for a tip on how to make this popular condiment a better eating experience for your little one.

photo by Lisa Missenda

photo by Lisa Missenda

Read the rest of this entry »

Inventing your own pesto is easy! Mix and match the herbs you like (or have on hand) as well as the nuts and/or seeds you prefer most and follow the basic instructions below:

  • 3-1/2 cup of herb leaves (basil, cilantro, anise hyssop, mint; you can also use the flowers of plants like basil, sage and rosemary.
  • 2-4 cloves garlic, peeled and chopped
  • 1/3 cup of roasted nuts or seeds (pine nuts, walnuts, almonds, sunflower seeds….)
  • 1/2 teaspoon sea salt
  • 1/2 cup extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1/4 cup Parmesan cheese, grated (optional)

To prepare you will want to put the leaves, garlic, salt and Cheese, if you are using it in a blender and mix until you have a paste. drizzle in the oil slowly and blend until you have the consistency you desire. Note that if you use a nut like cashew, you will get a somewhat creamy result, especially if you add a tablespoon of lemon.

Keep tasting your creation. If your pesto tastes a little bitter, try throwing in a little basil or nuts like almonds or cashews; any one of these ingredients will sweeten it up – without sugar. If it tastes a little too oily, you will want to throw in some more herb leaves. And if it just seems like it’s missing something a teaspoon of lemon may just be the right touch.

Let yourself explore until you come up with the perfect pesto! Let me know how it goes!

If you are not feeling all that adventurous, check out these recipes, and do let me knowhow it goes.

Rt. 1 Farmers Market and Bazaar. June 21, 2014

Rt. 1 Farmers Market and Bazaar. June 21, 2014

Celebrate the summer solstice by serving yourself some delicious salad greens!

Remember that long, cold winter? We thought we’d never see summer, but it’s here, and greens like lettuces, spinach and arugula are abundant. Now is a great time to find some delicious greens at your local farmers’ market. Or, better yet – pick some fresh from your very own garden.

The dressing you put on your greens will really make a difference, so don’t settle for something store-bought. Mix up your own; it’s easy, and YOU control the flavors!

Go to my recipes page and click on Three Salad Dressings to find easy ways to serve up your salad greens. These are the same recipes I shared at the Rt. 1 Farmers Market and Bazaar today, in honor of the summer solstice.

Bitter, but better for you; and a perfect side dish for holiday meals.

Photo: Bigstock

Photo: Bigstock

Brussels sprouts come from a family of vegetables called crucifers. They are called the flowering part of the plant grows in the same of a cross. Like other cruciferous vegetables, Brussels sprouts contain high amounts of glucosinolates, plant nutrients known to fight cancer. Brussels sprouts have a special combination of four specific glucosinolates that set Brussels spouts apart from other crucifers in their cancer fighting capacity. These glucosinolates also make Brussels sprouts bitter. Research shows that Brussels sprouts kill more human cancer cells than all other cruciferous vegetables (whfoods.com). They also contain high levels of vitamins C, A and K, as well as folic acid and dietary fiber.

Brussels Sprouts are best when freshly harvested, and should be cooked within a day or 2 of bringing them home.When shopping look for bright green sprouts with tightly wrapped leaves. If they look wilted or have a cabbage scent they have been around a long while after harvest and have lost most of their sugars and nutrients  (Robinson, 2013).

Steaming Brussels sprouts releases their nutrient power. It is only when they are old and overcooked that they off a strong sulfur smell. This smell and their bitterness may be why many Americans often leave them out of their daily vegetable choices.

I like to steam sauté Brussels sprouts in 1/3 cup of water and a tablespoon of butter. I add a little caraway seed and then serve them with a Dijon and maple syrup sauce. Delicious!

References:

  • Robbins, J. (2013). Eating on the wild side. Little Brown  & Co: New York.
  • The World’s healthiest Foods http:// http://www.whfoods.com/

 

Serves 6, approximately 1 ¼ cups each, 148 calories) This soup has a rich flavor and is super delicious. Preparing butternut squash isn’t the most fun. First, it’s difficult to cut into. I use a large knife and my lemon juicer to tap on the top of it….

juicer

Lemon juicer

Tap the top of the knife

Tap the top of the knife

Second, it “sweats” a sticky, sappy substance that stays on your hands like Elmer’s Glue (R) while you are working with it.  But, I have to say, its well worth it!

My classmate Josh Smith, MS serving up Butternut Apple Soup at St. Vincent de Paul's Church in Baltimore MD. Photo by Darriel Harris

My classmate Josh Smith, MS serving up Butternut Apple Soup at St. Vincent de Paul’s Church in Baltimore MD.
Photo by Darriel Harris

Ingredients:

  • 1 large butternut squash, about 2-3 lbs, peeled, seeded, and cut into 1-2 inch pieces
  • 1 large onion, peeled and cut into 6-8 large chunks (in my house we use fennel)
  • 3 garlic cloves, peeled (if you are shy about garlic, use 1-2 cloves, but don’t leave it out!)
  • 2 tart apples, peeled, quartered, and cored
  • 2 Tbsp olive oil
  • Mild chili powder
  • 4 cups vegetable or chicken broth

How to make it:

Preheat oven to 400 degrees. In a large roasting pan, combine the squash, apple, onion, garlic, and oil. Season with salt to taste and sprinkle with chili powder to taste. The more chili powder, the more “bite.” Roast for 45 minutes, stirring every 10-15 minutes, until veggies are tender and lightly browned. In a food processor, combine half of the roasted veggies with 2 cups broth and puree until smooth. Repeat with the remaining veggies and heat over medium heat in a saucepan, stirring occasionally. Add more broth as needed if soup is too thick. Add more salt and chili powder if needed for more bite.

Butternut squash is rich in beta carotene, a precursor to vitamin A. The beta carotene in the squash is more able to converted and used by the body as vitamin A when it is cooked with some kind of fat, so don’t leave out the olive oil!

Colorful breakfast!

Colorful breakfast!

Okay, so let’s make it a baker’s dozen for the protein-rich breakfast series.

Protein-rich breakfast #13

This is an illustration of the basic black lentils and greens recipe I posted at the end of January. This time I sautéed 1 cup of cooked green lentils in olive oil, added 1 chopped tomato, some cumin, coriander, black pepper and salt for about 5 minutes. Then I added 2 cups of chopped Lacinato kale. I put on lid on the sauté pan and let it cook for about 3 minutes until the kale was soft.

After dishing plates for myself and my husband, we still had about 1 serving left (for lunch). I added a few slices of avocado and voila – a beautiful breakfast that kept me satisfied from 7 am until 1 pm!

Key take aways:

1- Experiment with what you have — the January 30 recipe called for black lentils, I had green – so I used them. It also called for coconut oil, but I just received the gift of some great olive oil so I used it; and we had no spinach, but had just purchased some really fresh Lacinato kale – so I used it. Making variations on basic recipes like this flexes your creativity bones and turns you into a great chef!

2- Include some protein (even 1/3 cup of lentils) and it helps to keep you feeling satisfied throughout the morning. In my case, a protein rich breakfast helps me fend off cravings when I get a little stressed or distracted while I work.

Thank you for reading the Protein-rich breakfast series!

Protein-rich Breakfast #12Part of the protein-rich breakfast dozen:

Ingredients:

  • 1 block firm tofu
  • 2 to 3 teaspoon olive oil
  • 1/2 teaspoon tamari soy sauce
  • 1/8 teaspoon turmeric
  • 1 red onion, chopped
  • 
1/2 red bell pepper, chopped
  • 
1/8 teaspoon paprika
  • 1 tablespoon umeboshi vinegar
  • Dash of black pepper

How to: Press tofu to remove excess water — I usually do this by placing the block between 2 dinner plates and resting a tea kettle filled with water on top of the top plate for about 30-45 minutes. When I come back to it, I remove the tea kettle and tip the plates over the sink to drain out the excess liquid. Once the excess liquid is removed, crumble the tofu into small pieces. Heat olive oil in a frying pan.

  • Add tofu, tamari and turmeric and s
  • auté for 5 minutes.
  • Add onion, red pepper, paprika, umeboshi vinegar and black pepper.
  • Cook for 5 more minutes or until mixture thoroughly heated.

Garnish with alfalfa sprouts or fresh parsley.

 

This tofu scramble recipe was made available compliments of www.integrativenutrition.com, where I was trained as a health coach in 2009.

 

 

 

 

Protein-rich Breakfast #10: Part of the protein-rich breakfast dozen

Ingredients:

  • 1 cup quinoa (12.14 g protein; $7.99/lb)
  • 1 tsp cinnamon,
  • ¼ cup blueberries (1/2 gram protein; 4.99/cup)
  • 7 walnuts (4 grams protein; 6.99/lb).

How to: Measure out 1/2 cup of quinoa and rinse it through a fine mesh strainer – or a colander lined with a round paper coffee filter. Place the rinsed quinoa in a saucepan with 1 cup of water and a pinch of salt. Bring to a boil, reduce heat, cover and simmer for 20 minutes until water is absorbed and you see the spirals coming from the quinoa grains. Scoop out one cup of quinoa, sprinkle with teaspoon of cinnamon, 1/4 cup of blueberries and walnuts.

12.14 grams of protein; total cost $19.97 (you should have quinoa and other ingredients left over for future meals).

Note: Quinoa is a high protein grain indigenous to Bolivia. This grain is low in sodium and cholesterol, and is a good source of micronutrients, especially magnesium manganese and phosphorus. To read more nutritional data on quinoa see:  http://nutritiondata.self.com/facts/cereal-grains-and-pasta/10352/2#ixzz2GYzaPgWA

 

Health & Nutrition Counseling

An integrative approach to health and nutrition which includes Earth consciousness.

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