Posts tagged ‘healthy’
Man oh man is this stuff tasty. I have had a craving for some good, healthy granola ever since returning from Florida. I have had some early mornings lately and my breakfasts have been, well… sad. An afterthought. Something to hold me over until lunch. After a day off, I decided that I couldn’t continue to neglect my favorite meal for much longer! Since oatmeal takes too much time in the morning and hot breakfasts on increasingly warmer mornings are sounding less appealing, the thoughts of granola came to my mind.
Now I may have mentioned this in other posts before, but homemade granola simply cannot be beaten… once you get it right. It is harder than you’d think to get the wet to dry ratio to give you just enough crumbles and clusters! Too far one way and the granola is dry and lifeless, and too far the other and the result is tacky and hard to store! Once that problem is solved, the combinations of granola goodness become endless. Even better, you can control the amount of sugar you add so you can avoid the cloying sweetness that plaques many store-bought varieties. This batch of granola essentially served as a spring cleaning for my pantry, using up bits of bulk good items bought for other purposes and since forgotten. I will post how I made it below, and then write out what I think is a pretty good bare-bones builder for a make-your own granola!
Question: What are your favorite fruit & nut combos for granola?
Spring Cleaning Granola
based on a friend’s favorite granola recipe
(note: makes a very large batch, recipe can easily be halved)
6 cups oats
1/2 cup lightly salted sunflower seeds (if using unsalted, add a pinch of salt to the wet ingredients)
1/2 cup raw pumpkin seeds
3 cups chopped peanuts
3/4 cup maple syrup, 1/2 cup mixed in and 1/4 cup reserved
1/2 cup canola oil
1 tbsp cinnamon
3/4 tsp nutmeg
3/4 tsp ground ginger
1 tsp vanilla
1/4 cup brown sugar
1 cup dried fruit (I used a combo of dried blueberries and chocolate-covered pomegranate seeds)
Mix together all wet and dry ingredients in separate bowls. Next, mix the wet into the dry ingredients until small clumps form. Spread evenly on a lightly-greased rimmed baking sheet. Place in a 325F oven and bake for 15 minutes. Stir the granola, and bake for 15 more minutes. Add the remaining 1/4 cup of maple syrup over the granola, stir, and bake for 5 final minutes. Remove and allow to cool on the tray. Once room temperature, stir in desired dried fruit.
Bare-Bones Granola Builder
3 cups oats
1/2 cup seeds (sunflower, pumpkin, sesame, chia)
1 1/2 cups chopped nuts (peanuts, almonds, pecans, macadamia, walnut)
1/4 cup oil (canola, vegetable, olive, grapeseed, coconut)
1/4 cup + 2 tbsp liquid sweetener (maple syrup, honey, agave nectar)
2 tbsp brown sugar
Spices (cinnamon, nutmeg, ginger, allspice, cloves)
Pinch of salt (if nuts not salted)
1/2 tsp vanilla extract (or almond or anise, if you want to try something fancy!)
1/2-1 cup dried fruit (cranberries, blueberries, raisins, cherries)
Mix together all wet and dry ingredients in separate bowls. Next, mix the wet into the dry ingredients until small clumps form. Spread evenly on a lightly-greased rimmed baking sheet. Place in a 325F oven and bake for 15 minutes. Stir the granola, and bake for 15 more minutes. Add the remaining maple syrup over the granola, stir, and bake for 5 final minutes. Remove and allow to cool on the tray. Once room temperature, stir in desired dried fruit.
Nothing screams springtime like fresh ingredients and brightly colored veggies. As soon as the first warm day hits, I am craving salads, slaws, and anything on a grill. These fish tacos fit the bill perfectly! My boyfriend and I recently returned from an amazing Florida vacation, where we visited my grandparents and extended family, explored Ybor City in Tampa, and replenished our Vitamin D levels on the beach.
All of the sun kicked my veggie cravings into overdrive, and so I jumped at the opportunity to make a fun lunch for my grandparents!
Fish tacos seem to have become rather trendy these days, and come in several varieties. My requirements for a good fish taco are as follows: good grilled fish, not the fried stuff. Traditional corn tortillas, not flour. Avocado, in some form. Lots of cilantro. And a good, tangy, fresh cole slaw. Hold the mayo.
Simple, right? Still, many places don’t hold a candle to this homemade version. This recipe was inspired from bits and pieces of many that I have read, taking my favorite parts from all. Feel free to do the same with mine, or try out my version to let me know what you think!
16 corn tortillas
1 lb white fish fillets (use what is local to your region – I have used Cod in NE and tilapia in FL both with great results)
spices: paprika, chili powder, cayenne, garlic powder, salt, pepper
1 small head purple cabbage, finely sliced (you can also use green, but the color makes these fun)
1 bunch scallion, whites discarded
3 cloves garlic
3 tbsp lime juice (I used from a bottle, but fresh is always fun!)
3 tbsp cilantro, finely minced
1 jalapeno, finely minced (use 2 if you like more heat)
for avocado cream:
1/2 cup greek yogurt
1 tbsp minced cilantro
Assemble slaw first. Slice cabbage and scallions finely, then mince garlic and jalapenos. Combine with lime juice and minced cilantro. Add a pinch of salt if desired. Combine and refrigerate while preparing other components to allow flavors to combine.
Next, combine avocado, greek yogurt, and remaining cilantro in a food processor. Combine until very smooth. Cover in a small bowl and refrigerate.
Wrap corn tortillas in foil and place in oven to warm while cooking fish. Alternatively, place tortillas individually on a warm griddle after cooking fish for a crispier taco.
To prepare fish, begin by washing filets and patting dry. Season both sides with aforementioned spices according to taste. (More cayenne for the spice lovers, more paprika and chili powder for a deeper and sweeter flavor.) Salt and pepper to taste. Heat 1 tbsp olive oil in a large skillet with a cover. Add fish filets but do not crowd the pan. Cover and cook for 3-4 minutes. Flip, then cook for an additional 3 minutes, or until fish is flaky and cooked through.
To assemble tacos, take warmed corn tortilla and spoon avocado cream across the bottom. Top with slaw and a small piece of fish. Fold in half and enjoy immediately!
If seasons had personalities, I have decided that winter is mean and spiteful. It always decides to dump 18 inches of snow on you when you least expect or want it, canceling flights and travel plans and trapping you inside! Then you are cooped up and cold from all of the snow shoveling, there is nothing to stand between you and your insatiable carb-y comfort food cravings. Not like this happened to me recently or anything…
Comfort food does not have to be a diet deal-breaker, however. Take this rice bowl inspired by Post Punk Vegan Kitchen for example! The brown rice provides a starchy base to give the dish a healthy weight. The black-eyed peas and soy chorizo come together to give the warmth and heartiness that marks all good chilis. The original recipe doesn’t call for the chorizo, but I splurged at the grocery store in my pre-blizzard stocking up. I love the added flavor and texture that it gives the beans, which I successfully cooked in my slow-cooker! (Seriously, this trick is life-changing. Play around with this tutorial. You may never buy canned beans again!) The greens add volume and nutrition that is missing from many comforting favorites. My favorite part, however, is the hot sauce! I interpreted the sauce to use what I had on hand, and I could literally eat this from the food processor. I love anything spicy! There is so much flavor and heat to this dish that you don’t miss the cheese that marks many heavy winter favorites.
You can’t get me, winter blues!
Question: What do you crave when it is cold and snowy?
Spicy Winter Greens with Black Eyed Peas and Rice
inspired by PPK, serves 4-6
1 cup black-eyed peas, cooked in 4 cups water with 3 bay leaves for 5 hours on low in a slow cooker
1 package soy chorizo, crumbled
1/4 cup chopped fresh parsley
1 tbsp liquid smoke (optional)
Crumble the soy chorizo into a hot frying pan and brown. Add the drained cooked beans, chopped parsley, and liquid smoke and stir.
1 lb bunch collard greens, stems removed and cut into 1-inch pieces
1 small red onion, sliced
1 tbsp olive oil
2 tbsp red wine vinegar
1/2 cup water
1 tsp garlic powder
salt to taste
Saute red onion in olive oil until soft. Add half of the greens and all of the water and heat until wilted. Add the other half of the greens. Season with vinegar, garlic and salt. Cook over medium heat until greens are soft and water is evaporated.
1 cup raw cashews, soaked overnight
1/3 cup Frank’s Red Hot
1/3 cup water
1 tsp garlic powder
Drain cashews. Combine all ingredients in food processor and blend until smooth.
Fill bottom of bowl with 1 serving cooked brown rice. Top with greens and beans. Drizzle with 1-2 tbsp hot sauce. Enjoy!
There is so much in my life to be thankful for that it is overwhelming at times. Family, friends, boyfriend, health, roommate, home, school, mentors, opportunities. My life is beyond blessed, and I should remember to thank God on a daily basis instead of waiting for this season to roll around. This year, I am most thankful for a “big” family Thanksgiving again! Ever since my extended family relocated to Florida, Thanksgiving at my house has been a quiet affair. Not this year! My sister and I are both bringing home our boyfriends, and my best friend is bringing her husband and baby. We will have a table of 9 again! We will be eating on Saturday to accommodate schedules and travel, but it’s not the date that makes this day special. It’s the spirit of gratitude… and the food!
There have been numerous Thansgiving recipes and round-ups floating around the blog-world this past week. So many are drool-worthy, but most of you probably already have your menus planned. My family has a few traditional favorites that we always make, but we usually incorporate or swap out one or two new dishes each year! This recipe was inspired by some flavors that grace some of my Mom’s traditional Thanksgiving dishes. The lemon and thyme have a Thanksgiving earthiness that welcomes it at any holiday table, but the lightness of this dish makes it a great lunch option for the days leading up to or following Thanksgiving. I know my stomach always needs a rest after the heavy meal! Make this and serve it warm as a gluten-free option for guests, and then have the leftovers as a cold and light post-holiday lunch!
Question: What are you thankful for this year? What is your favorite dish at Thanksgiving? Is your menu set yet, or are you still looking for ideas?
Lemon Thyme Quinoa with Zucchini and Mushrooms
1 cup quinoa
2 cups vegetable broth (or water)
1/2 red onion, diced
1 tbsp minced garlic
1 tbsp olive oil
1 8-oz. package mushrooms, sliced
1 cup shredded zucchini
1/4 tsp pepper and pinch salt
1/2 tsp dried thyme leaves
2 lemons, juiced
Add quinoa to a dry pot and toast until you hear a faint popping noise. Add vegetable broth, bring to a boil, and then reduce to simmer until most of the liquid has been absorbed.
Meanwhile, cook onions and garlic in olive oil over medium-high heat for 3-5 minutes. Add sliced mushrooms and stir. Cook until soft, about another 5 minutes. Add in shredded zucchini and turn off the heat. Stir in salt, pepper, and thyme. Add the quinoa and stir well. Juice the 2 lemons over the dish. Turn the heat back on and cook for another 3-4 minutes until the remaining liquid has been absorbed. Serve warm or cold– tastes great either way!
My most recent rotation left me with a lot of free time. Desperately needed free time. I had literally been praying for weeks, “I just need time to relax and recover!” Yet, when I got my free time (finally), I had no idea what to do with it! I realized I have been so busy for the past year that I had forgotten how to “waste time” or just sit and be. I lost track of what my hobbies were, what I would do for fun or to relax. I ended up sleeping a lot, working out a little, and watching TV more than I care to admit. However, after 3 weeks, I finally feel back to “me”. I am reading a book for fun again. I have caught up on the news. I know at least one recent event not related to health care. I have caught up with friends, with family, with blogs.
And I have created. This might possibly be one of the best recipes to come out of my kitchen to date. I made it twice before getting it right to share with you. It was inspired by two different lasagnas prepared by friends – one a twist on traditional lasagna with an Indian flare, and one made gluten-free with zucchini noodles. I decided to combine both ideas with my own vegetarian flare, and the results were DELICIOUS. Seriously. My roommate and two house guests would agree. Every bite sings softly with curry and a hint of spice, with the warmth and comfort of traditional lasagna. Better yet, it is incredibly healthy with zucchini for “noodles”, tempeh in place of ground beef, and a lot less cheese than you would normally expect.
The best part of this recipe is its adaptability. If you are a carnivore, you can easily use 8 oz. ground turkey or chicken in place of the tempeh. If you like your pasta, use noodles instead! Add more chili flakes if you really want that spicy factor. A note on the tempeh– a quick Google search informs me that there are gluten-free varieties. The kind I used had some barley grains and so technically wouldn’t be safe for the gluten intolerant. However, if you are both gluten-free and vegetarian, there are varieties that exist and are safe for you! If you haven’t explored tempeh before, I would also recommend adventuring to the store and trying it. The flavor is mild and the texture mimics ground meat well in this dish. Have fun with this recipe and enjoy letting your creativity flow in the kitchen!
Indian Spiced Zucchini Tempeh Lasagna
1 tbsp olive oil
3 cloves garlic, minced
1/2 large white onion, minced
2 tsp curry powder
1 tsp garam masala
1/2 tsp corriander seeds
1/2 tsp black pepper
1/4 tsp salt
1/4 tsp red chili flakes
14 oz can diced tomatoes
1 tbsp tomato paste
8 oz package tempeh
2 medium zucchini
4 oz goat cheese
1/4 cup Greek yogurt
In a large pan, saute garlic and onions in olive oil until onions are very soft and begin to lightly brown, about 7 minutes or more. Stir the spices directly into the onions over low heat. Stir in the tomatoes and tomato paste and continue to cook over low heat. Meanwhile, in a small pan coated with cooking spray, crumble the tempeh. Cook for a few minutes over medium heat to slightly brown the crumbles. Stir the tempeh into the tomato sauce and reduce to lowest heat. Cook until the sauce is thick.
Meanwhile, slice the zucchini into long, thin “noodles” using a mandolin set on the intermediate thickness. In a separate bowl, combine goat cheese and yogurt until smooth. Spray an 8×8 baking dish with cooking spray. Begin with 2 layers of zucchini slices to create the bottom layer. Top with half of the tempeh mixture, and then another 2 layers of zucchini. (I criss-crossed my layers to create a better faux noodle). Spread the middle zucchini layer with half of the cheese mixture. Top with the remaining tempeh and another zucchini layer, and then coat the top with the remaining cheese mixture. Bake at 350F for 30-35 minutes, or until the inside is bubbling and the edges are lightly crisp. Cut into 4 squares and serve.
I spoke too soon! I may have mentioned that I rarely receive excited unknown veggies anymore in my Boston Organics box… well, the veggie gods must have taken that as a complaint and decided to throw me a curveball.
That, right there, is (not my own picture of) kohlrabi. I had no idea what this strange and questionable vegetable was until I googled it. I had heard of kohlrabi before but never actually seen it (or many recipes with it) and so was at a loss until 4 failed searches in. After reading a little bit about how the inside of kohlrabi can be eaten raw or cooked, I searched some recipes, which led me to this delicious creation from Epicurious. It looked simple and amenable to ingredients I already had in my fridge and freezer, so I decided to give it a shot!
The result? Amazing! Now, I might not be running out to the store for kohlrabi to incorporate into every meal. However, I would definitely make the trip to make this recipe again, and am looking forward to further experimentation should I happen upon this veggie in my box in the future! Kohlrabi has a great firm texture with a sharp, fresh taste. I almost want to compare it to a hybrid apple and potato, but that might be a stretch. Regardless, it worked great with the sweet corn and tropical flavors from the salsa I used, and really enhanced what would otherwise be a boring white fish. The key to the kohlrabi being edible and enjoyable is to peel it well– we used an industrial peeler and still ended with some of the thick, waxy coating in the finished product. Next time I know to be more careful! Also, though sources say you can enjoy it raw, I definitely preferred it cooked! Lastly, I made mini wedges instead of dicing the kohlrabi, which led to longer and more uneven boiling. Next time, I am going to dice the kohlrabi (and suggest you try it that way!) so that it is faster and blends into the compote better!
If you find yourself with kohlrabi or a craving for something new, give this recipe a shot! It comes together in less than a half hour, including prep time, so is great for a quick, healthy and delicious weeknight meal for two!
White Fish with Tropical Kohlrabi and Corn Compote
inspired by this recipe, serves 2
2 haddock (or other local white fish) fillets
salt and pepper to taste
1 tbsp olive oil
1 kohlrabi, peeled well and diced
1/2 cup corn kernels
1/2 cup tropical salsa (I used Mango Salsa from Costco)
Heat olive oil in a frying pan until popping hot. Add the fish fillets and season with salt and pepper. Cook 4 minutes, then carefully flip. Season again with salt and pepper, then cook 4-5 more minutes or until cooked through. Transfer fish to oven-safe dish and keep in a warm oven.
Meanwhile, bring roughly diced kohlrabi to a boil and cook until fork tender – about 5 minutes. Drain and mix with corn and salsa over low heat. Once warmed through and well combined, spoon mixture over fish fillets and serve.
Recently gone apple picking and have a sudden abundance of apples and no idea what to do with them? Or did the bargain bags at the grocery store simply look too good to pass up, but now you can’t stomach one more apple with your lunch? Yeah… me too! The hallmark of fall in New England to me is the apple craze that covers the region. Such an abundance of great, local fruit is too good to pass up! Even friends who never bake suddenly come running for ideas of what to do with their bounty. I haven’t had the chance to go apple picking this year, and am probably a bit late in the season. I gave up on the idea when a friend posted this on Instagram at the beginning of the week!
I have started getting more great local apples in my Boston Organics box, though! My most recent apple obsession is homemade apple chips. I have loved the store-bought variety for years, but they are so expensive and laden with hidden sugars if you aren’t careful. When I saw this idea, I could hardly wait for apple season! It is simple: take a mandoline to thinly slice your apples, coat them in cinnamon, and then bake them at 225F for 2-2 1/2 hours. The result is a naturally sweet, crispy fall snack that livens up your standard after lunch snack!
In case that isn’t enough for you, here are some apple recipes I tried out last year…
…and some recipes I have my eye on!
Question: What is your favorite apple recipe?
Sometimes, there is nothing more satisfying than making a delicious and healthy gourmet meal at home after a long day at work. Other times, I cannot stand to be on my feet for two more minutes and will gladly eat eggs or chips and salsa for dinner. Needless to say, my attitude towards cooking has been slightly bipolar over the past month while on my surgery rotation. The mornings are early, the days run long, and it is a physically demanding job. After running around on my feet all day, standing perfectly still while retracting or driving the camera in the OR, and constantly being questioned to flesh out my comprehension of disease and surgical interventions, more often than not I come home completely exhausted.
However, sometimes cooking a meal at home is exactly what the doctor ordered to remedy a stressful day. Cooking is my creative outlet. A place where I can experiment and the results will only cost food. The kitchen is now a place where I am confident that I know that I am competent, a feeling that is fleeting as a third year student. This recipe was born from a stressful day on my surgery rotation. My friend came for dinner to vent about our day, and we found solace and comfort in the creative process and constant attention that this risotto required. I have seen red wine risottos before, and had good results using farro as a base in the past, so decided to combine a few recipes I have made in the past to achieve this most delicious result. Hands down, this is the best recipe I have made all summer. It is perfect for the chilly fall evenings that are creeping around the corner, and can fix even the worst of bad days in just a few bites. I hope you enjoy this recipe as much as we did!
Red Wine Risotto with Farro and Mushrooms
8oz package mushrooms, sliced
4 cloves minced garlic
1 tbsp olive oil
1/2 cup red wine
1 small onion, diced
1 tbsp olive oil
1 1/2 cup farro (or arborio rice)
1/2 cup red wine
4 cups veg stock
1 tbsp dried parsley
shredded Parmesan cheese to taste (optional)
Begin by heating garlic and olive oil over medium heat. Saute mushrooms for several minutes, until they begin to soften. Add 1/4 cup red wine and simmer until liquid reduces. In a separate pot, saute onions in remaining olive oil. Add farro and remaining red wine. When all liquid has absorbed, add 1/2 cup vegetable broth. Cook over medium heat, stirring constantly, until all liquid has been absorbed. Add the broth in 1/2 cup increments until all of the broth has been added and absorbed. The farro should have a chewy but soft consistency when fully cooked. Stir in the mushrooms and parsley. Heat through for 2-3 more minutes. Serve over wilted spinach with Parmesan cheese to taste.
Who said soul food can’t be healthy? It has been my mission to find ways to make traditional Southern comfort food a little healthier since I started med school and got involved in a few nutrition focused student groups. Most of the patients I work with at the hospital are from minority communities, whether African American or Dominican, Brazilian or Cape Verdean. Food is an important part of culture, but unfortunately most diet-friendly recipes are not culturally friendly. This recipe is adapted from something I found at Eating Well. The original recipe is more universally friendly, since the bacon can get even the pickiest of eaters to try this casserole of Southern favorites. I adapted the recipe to make it vegan, with amazing results! The nutritional yeast gives it the cheesey flavor that makes grits great, and the greens have just enough spice to add dimension to the dish. The most important part of healthy meal makeovers is to remember that the result is a unique creation in its own right. The flavors and ingredients are there to mimic traditional favorites, not to replace them. Save the “real deal” recipes for holidays, and try this makeover for a new weeknight staple! This casserole proves, in either direction you take it, that cultural favorites can be adapted to fit an every day healthy lifestyle.
Greens and Grits
serves 4 as a main dish, 6 as a side
1 small onion, diced
4 cloves garlic, minced
1 tbsp olive oil
2 cups reduced-sodium vegetable broth
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 bunch collards, stemmed and chopped
1/4 – 1/2 tsp red pepper flakes
2 cups water, plus more as needed
1 cup grits (not instant) or cornmeal
1/3 cup plus 4 tbsp nutritional yeast
1 tbsp hot sauce
Saute onions and garlic in olive oil until onions are tender. Add the collard greens and broth. Cook over high heat until the broth boils, then add red pepper flakes and lower heat and simmer for 20 minutes or until greens are to desired tenderness. Meanwhile, preheat oven to 350F. In a small saucepan, bring water to a boil. Add the grits (for a traditional, crunchy texture) or cornmeal (for a smoother, more polenta-like style base) and salt. Stir until mixture is thick, then turn off heat – about 5 minutes. Mix in hot sauce, 1/3 cup of nutritional yeast and salt. Next, spray an 8×8 pan with cooking spray. Layer 2/3 of the grits mixture in the bottom. Top with the collard greens. Spoon the rest of the grits in loose chunks over the top of the greens. Sprinkle with remaining nutritional yeast. Bake for 15-20 minutes, until cooked through and slightly browned on the sides. Cut into 4-6 pieces and serve.
It has been humid this past week in Boston, and so I have been craving cold salads and anything frozen. Last summer, I made a heavenly frozen treat that I nick named “Monkey Bites.” When I got around to making them again this summer, I found a way to simplify and clean up the process.
Smart, you say, right? I’d like to say that I am always that on top of my game, but we all know that is not true. More often than not, I am prone to some pretty hilarious blonde moments. Take the time I walked into my grandparent’s glass door in Florida trying to look at the alligator in their lake. They were nice enough to tape a napkin to the door for the rest of the week so I knew my boundaries. In my defense, my grandma is a very clean lady…
When I am not walking into doors or saying silly things, I am at least coming up with creative kitchen ideas! The recipe is about the same: bananas, chocolate, and peanut butter. But the method is simplified and cleaned up with some handy grill skewers. First, cut the bananas into bite sized chunks. Then, thread a few onto a skewer and pop them into the freezer for an hour or two. When they are almost frozen, melt down some chocolate and peanut butter. This is much easier than creating a peanut butter layer on each individual banana piece but still gets you some chocolate and peanut butter-y goodness in every bite!
Then, take the skewers, and rotate the banana pieces in the chocolate, using a spoon to make sure they get fully covered.
Pop ‘em back in the freezer for 20 minutes, then slide ‘em off the sticks and keep in a Tupperware in the freezer! They make a good snack or small dessert bite, perfect for steamy summer days. Enjoy!
Question: Are you prone to blonde moments? Leave a comment telling your funniest silly story!
Smarter than a Monkey Bite
3 medium bananas, very ripe, cut into chunks
3 standard chocolate bars of your choice
2 tbsp peanut butter
6 wooden skewers
Cut the banana into pieces. Slide, with space, onto skewers and freeze. Meanwhile, melt chocolate and peanut butter over a double boiler. Cover each banana piece with chocolate mixture. Freeze for 20 minutes on the skewers, and then remove to a storage container. See text of post for more detailed instructions.