Tag Archives: Healthy

Making Friends out of Former Enemies

 

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Have you ever hated a certain food only to find you like it later? That’s been my case with things like mushrooms, raw tomatoes, and red wine.

I really feel that in order to say you don’t like something, you must try it in a variety of different preparations and flavor combinations before making a judgment. This has led me to conclusions that I just don’t like raw broccoli, but I loved it steamed, roasted or grilled! I love fresh mushrooms sauteed in butter, but not served out of a can. I like cucumber in gazpacho, but not chopped up in a salad or in tabbouleh. Or celery diced fine and stewed slowly in soup or dressing, but never, ever served raw!

Which leads me to this recipe I found in my most recent issue of Z-Life (a magazine I receive as a member of the Zumba Instructor Network).

Beet and Apple Salad.

First, I will share with you my first former enemy.

Beets.

Omg.

I have tried so many times to love beets. But every time it just tastes like I’m eating dirt. Red beets, golden beets, roasted, pickled (ew), doesn’t matter. Dirt.

But every time I prepare them I find I sort of like them even more. I can’t say that I love them, but they have found a place in my life. I will continue to prepare them in different ways and find, every time, that I like them a little more. This recipe is one of those that makes me like beets even more. Perhaps one day I’ll be a beet-a-holic?! That will be the day I make borscht.

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Beet and Apple Salad with Creamy Ginger Vinaigrette
Adapted from Z-Life
Serves 2-4

3 small beets (I used golden)
Oregano
1 apple (I used fuji. Ignore the fact that there are two apples in the pic. Unless you want more apple—then go for it!)
1/4 cup shelled pistachios
Creamy Ginger Vinaigrette (recipe follows)

 

First, peel the beets. I used a paring knife, and because I used golden beet instead of red, I didn’t look like a murder victim from CSI. But if red suits you, go for it.

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Then, slice the beets into half-moon slices. Wrap up in parchment paper (I used this method) with a sprinkle of oregano and roast for 20-30 minutes or until tender (I just shove a toothpick through the parchment and gauge the texture from there).

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Very quickly dump the beets into a bowl of water and ice and leave there for about 30 seconds. Some people call this “shocking” and it’s typically used to halt cooking and preventing green things from turning brown. I did it because I wanted my beets chilled when I mixed them with the apples. If you want warm beets with cool apples, omit this “shocking” step (hurr hurr).

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Slice apple into thin half-moon-ish slices. I use this manner of slicing.

Mix beets with apples. Then gently mix in the pistachios and the dressing. Serve and enjoy!

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This brings us to the second previously-hated item.

Mustard.

I have for many years proclaimed my disdain for mustard. My friends and I even have a year-long joke currently running where they will hide small packets of mustard in our house after we made the proclamation last year that we “are not a mustard family.” My disfavor came from the awful stench of mustard and the radioactive yellow shade of the French’s style I was exposed to growing up. However, to be frank, I’d never actually eaten it. But lately as I was reading over the ingredients on the bottle of my favorite store-bought dressing (Brianna’s Creamy Balsamic Vinaigrette), I realized that what made this dressing “creamy” and gave it a certain depth of flavor that couldn’t be found in regular oil + vinegar concoctions was the mustard. After doing much soul-searching, I bought a small bottle of Grey Poupon and vowed to start with baby steps. And that first baby step, this dressing, is a major success!

Creamy Ginger Vinaigrette

1/4 cup good quality extra virgin olive oil
2 tbsp apple cider vinegar
1 tbsp dijon mustard
1/2 tbsp honey
1/4 tsp ground ginger (I used World Market brand, which amazingly tastes exactly like a real root of ginger! Not many powdered varieties capture that sweet-spicy-citrusy taste)
salt + pepper

Combine all ingredients in a small jar or bowl and whisk well.

 

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Are there any foods you hated growing up that you now love?

The Most Important Meal of the Day

 

Ever since I graduated college I’ve pretty consistently made it a point to have breakfast every day. Some days it was bacon, eggs, and a homemade muffins. Other days it was a bowl of cereal, or a bag of trail mix as I walked out of the door. It may not have been much, but it was always something. I don’t think I really understood what a difference a good breakfast made until I began working with my holistic doctor. I knew that having breakfast would help me not be so starved and would pave the way for healthy choices throughout the day. But as I took my doctor’s orders in making sure every breakfast was high in protein and fat and devoid of grains, fruit, and sugar, I began to notice that on the days I ignored these rules I found myself sleepy and unfocused more often than not, and on days I did follow his orders, I was more likely to feel satisfied and alert most of the day.

Over time, though, I’ve adjusted these rules somewhat for the sake of variety and balance (and the demands of my more-active job), but not much. I still try to focus on protein and fat, but I do tend to include a small bit of whole (gluten free) grain or fruit. And since my work rarely requires me to be in before 10am, this usually gives me a good amount of time to prepare a quality, filling breakfast!

Here are some of my breakfasts from the last week or so. All taken on my iPhone, because I’m still nerding out over the fact that I can now take a photo on my phone and within 1 minute have it tweeted! (I’m aware that I’m grossly behind the times)

 

Omelet with goat cheese and spinach with a side of sweet potato hash and ice mint green tea…

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Scrambled eggs with salsa verde, leftover GF cornbread (Ashley’s recipe!), pomegranate arils, and more mint green tea (I love the tea pot Ed got me for Christmas!)

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Scrambled eggs, small green smoothie (banana, spinach, and Amazing Grass), and more mint green tea…

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Ed brought me breakfast in bed! Fried egg and apple slices… (and unpictured Tazo black tea)

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Blue corn tortillas with eggs, nutritional yeast, and salsa verde, with a side of orange and chai green tea with almond milk

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And for a change of pace… plain Greek yogurt with pomegranate, crushed almonds, and a little honey, plus a muffin on the side (made with mostly almond meal and a little teff flour and molasses—for iron and gingerbread-y goodness!). I don’t like to eat much yogurt because it doesn’t always agree with me, but it was on crazy-sale and I knew it would provide a bit more variety to my breakfast options.

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So obviously we have an egg lover in the house. Really, eggs and I have gotten real comfy. No, I do not dispose of the yolks. Contrary to what nutritionists have been trying to tell you for years, dietary cholesterol does not raise blood cholesterol. Saturated fat does, and eggs really don’t contain much of that. It’s so chock-full of other nutrients (and flavor!!) that it’s a shame to discard them. I frequently eat about two eggs a day.

 

This is what works for me for now. I don’t like to eat carb-heavy breakfasts because I get sugar highs and lows all day if I do that (even if it’s 100% whole grain!), and I usually will get a blood sugar headache (PCOS thing. Hypoglycemic symptoms.)

 

Do you like carb-centered or protein/fat-centered breakfasts? I honestly do miss the options in a carb-centered one, but I usually regret it later. Winking smile

 

IN OTHER NEWS! I begin teaching ZUMBA at my local YMCA next month! SO EXCITED!

Mexican Black Bean Lasagna

I conjured this up last night and oooooohhh myyyyy gossssh. It’s good. High in sodium for a single dish, but like anything else, everything in moderation, right?

  • 1 cup chopped onions
  • 4 large cloves of garlic
  • 1/2 cup chopped bell pepper
  • 1/2 cup frozen corn kernels
  • ~4 cups spinach leaves, roughly torn
  • 1 cup black beans, DRAINED AND RINSED
  • 1 tbsp dried (Mexican!) oregano
  • 6 oz whole wheat ready-to-use lasagna noodles (or tortillas. I had both, but chose to use the last of my lasagna noodles, which definitely made it lean more toward lasagna in flavor. I’m sure the tortillas would make it taste more like enchiladas)
  • 2 cups prepared enchilada sauce
  • 2 cups reduced fat Mexican-style cheese blend

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

In a medium-large nonstick pan set over medium heat, sweat onions and garlic until mostly translucent. Sprinkle with salt if needed to draw out moisture. Then add corn, bell peppers, black beans, spinach leaves, and oregano. Saute until everything is heated through.

In a medium casserole dish, spoon a few tablespoons of the enchilada sauce into the bottom just to cover the bottom. Layer like so:

1. 1/3 of noodles
2. 1/3 of remaining sauce
3. 1/3 of veggies mixture
4. 1/3 of cheese
5. 1/3 of noodles
6. 1/3 of sauce
7. 1/3 of veggies
8. 1/3 of cheese
9. 1/3 of noodles
10. 1/3 of sauce
11. 1/3 of veggies
12. 1/3 of cheese

Cover and place in oven for approximately 30-40 minutes, or until pasta is cooked through and cheese and sauce are bubbly.

Serves 4-6

(Nutrition based on recipe divided four ways)

10 WW points/463 calories, 15 grams fat, 1077 mg sodium, 56 grams carbohydrates, 11 grams fiber, 3 grams sugar, 23 grams protein

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