Posts tagged ‘healthy’
Time is flying faster than I can keep track of! I feel like I just started my third year clerkships, yet I am already 1 week away from finishing my first rotation. The weeks have been busy, so I am backlogged on a few things that have been coming out of my kitchen lately. Like these to-go oatmeal muffins – they have been sitting on my camera almost as long as the bananas were sitting on my counter top. I have a short window of ripeness during which I enjoy bananas, and so I often end up making banana bread if my bunch ripens too fast. I wanted something more substantial for breakfast than my typical quick bread, however, so I tried making mini baked oatmeal muffins. (They aren’t exactly muffins since they are rather dense, but I am at a loss for what else to call them…) They turned out well first shot, so I have been enjoying them over the past week for breakfast! They are whole grain and filled with protein, and low in calories at about 150 calories per muffin. I have been taking two each morning, eating one before rounds and one during mid-morning to keep me going. (Anyone else have insatiable morning hunger problems? No? Just me?) They could also be a great afternoon snack, and are good cold or hot. Suits my oatmeal, peanut butter, and wholesome food craving all in one bite!
Peanut Butter and Banana Oatmeal, To Go!
makes 10-12 muffins
2 cups rolled oats
2 medium bananas, overripe and mashed
2 cups milk of your choice
1/2 cup whole wheat flour
2 tbsp ground flax seed
2 tbsp agave nectar
2 tbsp vanilla extract
2 tsp baking powder
11 tsp peanut butter
Preheat oven to 375F. In a large bowl, combine all ingredients except the peanut butter. Coat a muffin tray with cooking spray. Fill 10 muffin tins halfway with oatmeal mixture. Spoon in 1 tsp peanut butter to each muffin. Fill the tins the rest of the way with oatmeal. If there is leftovers, fill 1-2 more muffins in the same fashion. Bake for 25 minutes or until the edges are golden brown. Immediately upon removing from oven, take a knife to loosen the edges of the muffins. Allow to cool for several minutes and then remove to rack to cool completely. Enjoy one for a snack or two for an on the run breakfast.
The only thing better than cooking a great dinner is having leftovers for the next day or week. I frequently suffer from food boredom, though, so have become quite creative in repurposing some of my recipes into new grab-and-go lunch creations. I highlighted some of my leftover makeovers last summer, and figured I’d keep up with this mini-series again this summer! Hopefully there will be more to come!
This repurposing is simple: it is basically the previous night’s dinner all re-bundled grab-and-go style. All I did was take a few spoonfuls of the leftover curried quinoa with greens, a spoonful of caramelized sweet potatoes, some chopped cucumber, and a stripe of Greek yogurt and mango butter. I rolled this all up inside of a wrap and then rolled that in foil. This lunch was surprisingly filling, thanks to the protein from the quinoa and the Greek yogurt, and helped me conquer a busy Saturday afternoon on the wards!
Raindrops and roses and whiskers on kittens – those might be cute and poetic, but don’t quite top my favorites list. I have been finding pleasure in the little things lately, like enjoying hot oatmeal instead of overnight oats on my one day a week off. Or taking walk breaks during my runs because my legs are fatigued from standing all day and I am enjoying the time in the sun as much as I am the exercise. Or counting my bike ride to the hospital as my exercise for the day if I am too tired or too busy to squeeze in a run, thankful that at least there is some movement in my day. I am also loving these suggestions about fitness for the
lazy busy girl!
I am still enjoying cooking, though I am doing less of that these days, too. With lunchtime conferences feeding me at the hospital 4 days a week, I have less need to prepare food that will make good leftovers. I miss my quality kitchen time, but am grateful for the amount of time (and money) the free lunches have saved me! Still, not all meals are provided and I love a good excuse to cook up some healthier, veggie-laden dinners when I can! This recipe combines some of my favorite things: sweet potatoes, quinoa, leafy green veggies, and Indian-inspired flavors. I found the recipe for Caramelized Sweet Potatoes with Quinoa and Greens on the Boston Organics website when I was lacking inspiration for my bunch of Swiss chard. I am glad this didn’t sit on my “to make” list for very long – it is too good to miss out on! I’d recommend trying this now, both because it is so delicious and because it will soon be too hot for oven caramelized sweet potatoes. The only change I made to the recipe is using 1/4 tsp dried ginger instead of fresh, and omitting the lemon juice and pat of butter. I loved the curried quinoa, and the sweet potatoes really add the great sweet note to complement the curry spice. Don’t miss out on the condiments with this one either – I had a spoonful of plain Greek yogurt, a bit of chopped cucumber, and a dollop of Trader Joe’s mango butter that added dimension and depth with each bite.
Running, resting, cooking and vegetables, these are a few of my favorite things!
Question: What are you loving lately?
Lunch to go. A necessity I had almost forgotten about during my self-induced sequestration for a few months to study for the boards. Now that I am out of the house most of the day for 6 days a week, easy grab and go lunches are essential. I made this layered salad recipe at the beginning of last week, and then just grabbed a jar each morning and threw it in my backpack as I was pouring my coffee. The recipe is loosely inspired by Angela‘s layered Whole Foods salad re-creation, and I am sure I will make many more variations on the theme. My basic framework for a layered lunch in a jar is a grain base (my favorite is quinoa, but pasta or rice would be good), a big veggie layer with some sort of flavorful dressing, and a protein on top (like tofu or edamame).
Luckily for me, there are plenty of lectures that seem to happen throughout the hospital each week that bribe attendees with free food, so my lunch-in-a-jar often became dinner at the bus stop after a 12+ hour day on my feet. Hot or cold, lunch or dinner, sitting or standing, this jar will keep you going for your busy weekdays!
Edamame, Broccoli Slaw and Quinoa Layered Salad
makes 6 lunches
1 cup quinoa
1 cup water
1 cup vegetable broth
1 tbsp lemon juice
12 oz package broccoli slaw
1 head broccoli, broken into florets
3 large carrots, chopped
12 oz edamame
for dressing (adapted from here):
1/4 cup olive oil
1/4 cup water
1 1/2 tbsp lemon juice
1 1/2 tbsp soy sauce
1 1/2 tbsp rice wine vinegar
1 garlic clove, minced
1 tsp ground ginger
1/2 tsp Dijon mustard
In a small sauce pot, cook quinoa in broth, water, and lemon juice. Bring to a boil, then reduce heat and simmer until all liquid is absorbed. Allow to cool. Meanwhile, prep and steam the veggies. Steam the carrots and broccoli florets for 3-5 minutes. Add the broccoli slaw and steam for one more minute. Remove from steamer. Steam the edamame separately. In a separate bowl, mix all dressing ingredients together. Pour over the broccoli slaw mixture and shake well. When ingredients are at room temperature, approximately, begin to separate into jars. Layer 1/2 cup quinoa, 1 cup vegetables, and 1/4 cup steamed edamame. Divide remaining dressing liquid between the 6 jars. When ready to eat, shake and eat straight from the jar or pour into a bowl to serve.
Stuffed. My brain is stuffed. I have learned more in the last week by observation on the wards and reading about my patients than I did during an entire year of medical school. I exaggerate, but it is true in some regards. My feet are tired, my back is tired, my brain is tired. But I am loving what I am doing – a good sign, right? I have only spent the last 6 years studying to get to this point! However, the point of this blog is about the food and not the medicine, so let’s get to the point.
Collard greens. Those are also stuffed. Or at least they can be! Collard greens are one of the less loved leaves here in the Northeast. Many people I have talked to either love them, thanks to good soul food, or hate them, since they can be bitter and difficult to cook. I love them! Collard greens do not have to be braised or stewed for hours with salty ham hocks to be enjoyable. They also make an interesting wrapper, creating a dish reminiscent of Polish stuffed cabbage. I combined a few recipes to come up with a good stuffed greens recipe that my friends and I enjoyed (even my veggie-averse friend!) I used fresh mint because that is what I had – it is interesting and unique, which I found enjoyable, but may not be for everyone’s palate since it is unexepected. For the less adventurous, just substitute basil and enjoy!
Collard Greens Stuffed with Sun-Dried Tomato, Goat Cheese and Mint Rice Pilaf
1 bunch collard greens, stemmed and halved
1 cup brown rice
2 1/2 cups water
1/2 cup sun-dried tomatoes (soaked in water for 20 minutes if dry)
2 oz goat cheese
1 small clamshell fresh mint leaves
1 tbsp dried parsley
1 small onion
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 tbsp olive oil
Wash and dry the collard greens. Prepare them by cutting out the large center stem, and then by cutting them in half (extending the cut from where the stem was removed lengthwise.) Steam the collard greens for 2-3 minutes, until bright green and just tender. Transfer quickly to a bowl of ice water. Meanwhile, cook rice according to instructions. In a saucepan, saute onion and garlic in olive oil until onion is soft. Add the sun-dried tomatoes and parsley and stir to combine. Stir in rice, fresh mint, and goat cheese once rice is cooked. Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Take a collard green half, spoon appropriate amount of rice mixture, and then roll like you are making a burrito, tucking in ends and securing sides. Place folded side down in a baking dish. Continue until all collard greens or stuffing is used up. Add a 1-cm layer of water in the bottom of the baking dish to keep the greens moist while baking. Bake for 12 minutes so that greens fully cook. Serve a few as a side, or many as a main dish with a side salad. Does not make for great leftovers.
Breakfast is my favorite meal of the day, and arguably one of the most important. Starting your day with wholesome grains and fruits sets the tone for your day’s meals, and wakes up your metabolism. I am never one to skip a meal, but it looks like hot breakfasts might be a luxury for me over the upcoming months! I am starting a new chapter in my medical school career: clinical rotations. This means I get to don my white coat and stethoscope, follow around the interns, residents and attending, and learn how to take care of patients. This also means that I have to be at the hospital at ungodly hours for rounds, at least for my first few rotations. Even this oatmeal loving girl might have to find some on-the-go options for the next few months!
In the meantime, I hope you all at least get to enjoy this pancake recipe! I made it for brunch last weekend, and despite a few cooking time and temperature problems, I think it turned out well! I adapted the recipe from How Sweet Eats to incorporate oats, since they are my breakfast staple. The pancakes are dense, but are hearty and filling and go great with fresh fruit toppings. If you are looking for a healthy pancake alternative, give this a shot!
Question: What is your favorite grab-and-go breakfast?
Oatmeal Greek Yogurt Pancakes
adapted from this recipe, serves 4-6
1 cup oats, processed roughly into flour in food processor
1 cup whole wheat flour
2 tsp baking powder
1 1/2 tsp cinnamon
1/4 tsp salt
1 can light coconut milk
1/2 cup soy milk
3/4 cup Greek yogurt
1 tbsp vanilla
1 1/2 tbsp honey
Mix together dry ingredients in one bowl and wet ingredients in another. Pour wet into dry ingredients and stir until well combined. On a very hot griddle coated in cooking spray, drop 1/4-1/3 cup batter per pancake. Once bubbles form, flip. (Note: these pancakes take slightly longer to cook per side than traditional pancakes.) Serve warm with jam and fresh fruit.
Despite being rather absent from the blog scene lately, I am happy to accept Sara @ My Less Serious Life‘s shout out for the Liebster Award. This is my second time being passed along this honor, and I am always happy to join in the fun! The award is passed between bloggers to recognize up and coming writers with less than 200 followers. After sharing 5 fun facts, you pass the award along to 5 more blog friends! First, the friends, then the facts!
1. Lauren @ Whole Wheat or Bust
2. Melanie @ Little Green Homemaker
3. Stefanie @ A Dash of Sugar and Spice
4. Kim @ Badger Girl Learns to Cook
5. Allison @ Allison’s Delicious Life
Now for the fun facts… This might be a challenge given the current monotony of my life!
1. I am a movie narcoleptic. If I sit down for a movie anywhere past 9pm and am remotely relaxed and/or reclined, I will fall asleep. Yet somehow, I will manage to wake up as the credits are rolling. I usually think I am sneaky enough that no one noticed, but that is never true.
2. I ran my first 5K on Sunday! I am participating in the Boston Athletic Association’s Distance Medley, which kicked off this weekend. I had been working on my speed with sprints and intervals, so was excited to clock in a pretty good time. However, the race was so crowded that I could hardly move for the first mile! After running a 10 minute mile amongst 7,000 other runners, I gave up all time goals and just enjoyed the sunshine and the fact that so many people were participating in such a fun event!
3. I failed at freezing leftovers last week for the first time ever. I thought I was being clever, freezing soup in my mason jars instead of more delicate plastic Tupperware. However, I filled the jars way too full and they cracked. Then I cut two of my fingers retrieving the glass and soup shards from the freezer. Smart. Lesson learned.
4. I also have been cooking a lot less, relying instead on salads, sandwiches and frozen leftovers. Except for when they explode in my freezer… then I have savory oatmeal for dinner.
5. I have been spending so much time in my
desk chair study throne in front of my computer that often the last thing I want to do during the last hour of my evening is come up with a blog post. I have mentioned before, but I am currently preparing to take the USMLE Step 1 at the end of May. This is the first part of my medical board examinations, and is essentially a 2 year cumulative final. It has been a stressful semester, and is culminating with what is ominously referred to as “Intensive Study Period.” Although my classes officially end Friday, I will spend the next month spending 12+ hours a day, 6 days a week chained to my study throne. I expect that my posts will be sporadic, but I will still be making time to cook, run, sleep and read a few posts now and then!
I can’t leave you without a recipe idea until the end of May! If you are in the Northeast and have found yourself with some spring dug turnips, then this soup is for you! I am more than thrilled that root vegetable season is on its way out and that more local variety is coming back, but this soup was flavorful and different enough to satiate my creative appetite! I adapted the recipe from the Boston Organics website to make it a little healthier, and accidentally vegan. The soup is hearty like any good chowder, and remarkably filling from the protein boost (thanks to tofu in place of cream). This is also the soup that caused my mason jar accident, and I am sad I will not get to enjoy the leftovers! Guess that just means I will have to make it again!
serves 6-8, adapted from here
2 tbsp Earth Balance
1 large onion, diced
1 lb parsnips, peeled and diced
1 lb potatoes, peeled and diced
2 vegetable bouillon cubes
5 cups water
1 block tofu, pressed and drained
salt and pepper to taste
1 tbsp dried parsley
In a large pot, saute the onions in the butter until tender. Add the parsnips and potatoes. Cover with water and dissolve the bouillon cubes. Bring to a boil, then cover and simmer for 10 minutes. Add the cubed tofu and simmer for 5 more minutes. Use an immersion blender to process into a smooth soup. Add parsley and season to taste with salt and pepper. Allow to stand for 1 hour before serving to allow the flavor of the parsnips to shine through.
Way back in February (where does time go?!) I won a give-away that Sarah at The Smart Kitchen hosted! I was so excited to win this, not just because it meant free yogurt and granola, but also because I am excited about the cause that prompted the give-away. To enter the drawing, you had to sign Jamie Oliver’s petition to demand healthier food in school cafeterias. I was a huge fan of Jamie Oliver’s Food Revolution reality show, and was happy to learn how to participate in this cause. Pediatric obesity is a growing problem in our country, and cannot just be tackled at home. As kids spend more of their time daily in school, it is important to know that they have healthy food to nourish them throughout the day.
In full disclosure, I was not the healthiest eater when I started high school. I would be known to call a soft pretzel lunch, or grab a package of Nutty Bars to hold me over through dance practice after school. Looking back, I don’t know how I got through the day on just salt and carbs! Obviously, I have come a long way since then! These Chobani yogurts and Love Grown granola would have been much healthier options for lunchtime and after school snacks, had I been wise enough to make healthier choices as a teenager!
I was happy to try out some different combinations with the goodies I received. I loved the Vanilla Chocolate Chunk Yogurt – it was like having Cookies n’ Cream fro-yo for breakfast. Combine that with some fresh berries and a handful of the Cocoa Goodness Granola… what could be better?
Frozen yogurt! My friend used to freeze single servings of yogurt all the time, so I knew I wanted to turn this into real fro-yo. I mixed in a few more chocolate chips to make this more like a dessert, and then popped it in the freezer overnight. I popped it in the microwave for 20 secs to take the chill off, and then enjoyed a healthy, single serving dessert.
I love the Orange Vanilla flavor as well. I used it in a Strawberry Mango Smoothie, and loved the extra flavor it added. I also love it for breakfast with a sprinkle of the Simply Oats Love Grown Granola. For as much as I liked the chocolate, the simplicity of this granola has really won me over. There is the perfect amount of clusters to sneak as a snack, and the lightly sweetened granola is perfect for breakfast. If the taste alone wasn’t enough to sell me, the simplicity of the ingredients was! With little more than oats, honey, agave, and a few mix-ins, I love this granola as a quick morning breakfast on days I don’t have time to make oatmeal.
So go sign Jamie’s petition. Learn about pediatric health and nutrition. And treat yourself and a kid you know to a delicious, healthy snack!
In honor of the last What I Ate Wednesday in March, I decided to green my meals for the day! Despite a day of studying hematology, I still managed to sneak in some fun, healthy meals and a quick run. Since I have to get back to the books, I will let the pictures do the talking! They are also the links to the original recipes, if you are interested in trying something out for yourself!
3/3 of my meals had a green veggie base – that is what I call a WIAW gone green success! To make things even greener, my roommate and I started composting yesterday! Since we are city folk with no yard, we never thought this would be an option for us. However, friends told us about Boostrap Composting, which delivers compost buckets to your door, and picks them up on a schedule. If you compost enough, you can get some of your own homemade fertilizer back! We are excited to venture into this new world of waste, and would love to hear more about your experiences if anyone has composted before!
Question: How do you go green?
There is a standing joke among a few of my friends that I eat “rabbit food.” Just because my favorite food group is vegetables and have compulsive buying problems when produce goes on sale does not mean that my food is fit for bunnies. Vegetables should never be bland! Health food is not the twigs and grass salads of old… Just ask my friends in my Bible study who enjoyed this salad with me! On first glance, it is a healthy shade of brown, and there are pieces of veggies sticking out of every spoonful. However, this salad is addictive. One guy told his wife, “See, I could eat something like this every night of the week!” Everyone loved it so much they asked for the recipe – good thing I took a few pictures to post on my blog. ;)
The salad was inspired by a Google search of Israeli cous cous salads, which led me to the Food Network. It combined some of my favorite summer veggies and flavors, and I could not pass up the craving since summer weather was premature in Boston this past week! (80+ degrees on Thursday, in Boston, in March?!) I decided to adapt it to use roasted instead of grilled veggies, and added some wheat berries for extra texture. This was such a good idea – the chewiness added a lot of depth to the texture of this salad. The result is a filling and healthy salad that will never be mistaken for “rabbit food” again! The leftovers are even better as the flavors come together, and are great over mixed salad greens for a little extra veg!
Great Grains Salad with Summer Vegetables
adapted from this recipe, serves 8-10
2 cups Harvest Grains Isreali cous cous blend
1 cup wheat berries
1/4 cup +3 T Balsamic vinegar
1/2 cup olive oil
2 T Dijon mustard
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 bunch asparagus, cut into 1-2 inch pieces
1 small yellow squash, roughly diced
1 small zucchini, roughly diced
1 cup cherry tomatoes, halved
2 T dried basil
2 T dried parsley
salt and pepper, to taste
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. In a large bowl, combine garlic, olive oil, 1/4 cup of the vinegar, and 1 T of the mustard. Stir to combine. Add cut vegetables and coat; let sit for 15-20 minutes. Spread vegetables onto a greased baking sheet, reserving leftover marinade. Roast vegetables for 10-15 minutes, stirring once halfway through. Meanwhile, prepare the cous cous blend and wheat berries, separately according to package instructions. Mix the grains, vegetables and remaining marinade together. Allow to cool. Before serving, mix together the remaining 3 T vinegar with 1 T mustard. Dress the salad, add the dried herbs, and season to taste with salt and pepper. Refrigerate and serve cold or room-temperature