Archive for October, 2013

LENTIL AND GRAIN SALAD

Lentil and Grain Salad (serves 6) LentilGrainSalad

I love this lentil salad because you can make substitutions to satisfy your desired tastes. I made this using Israeli couscous, spinach and toasted sesame seeds.

salad ingredients

½ cup dried lentils (about 2 cups cooked)

1 bay leaf

2 cloves of garlic

1 cup cooked brown rice or other whole grains (i.e., quinoa, Israeli couscous, millet)

1 cup shredded carrot

2 cups chopped kale  (can also use spinach, arugula or collards)

1 apple, cored and chopped

2-3 T toasted pumpkin seeds 
(can also use sunflower seeds)

salt and freshly ground black pepper

dressing ingredients

3 T olive oil

1 T balsamic vinegar

1 t Dijon mustard

1 t honey

directions

Put the lentils with the bay leaf and whole garlic cloves in a medium pot with enough water (or broth) to come up 2 inches above the lentils. Bring to a boil over high heat then reduce heat to low, cover and simmer until the lentils are tender but not falling apart, about 20 minutes. When the lentils are tender, drain and throw away the bay leaf and garlic. Rinse under cold water to cool the lentils.
In a small bowl, whisk together the dressing ingredients.

In a large bowl, combine all salad ingredients. Toss in the dressing. Season with salt and pepper and serve at room temperature.

(Adapted from a recipe found in “Healthy Recipes Food Day, 2013)

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MAPLE-GINGER-GLAZED ROOT VEGGIES

Maple-Ginger-Glazed Root Veggies (serves 4-6) IMG_1192

ingredients

1 lb carrots, peeled and cut into 1” chunks

1 lb parsnips, peeled and cut into 1” chunks

1 T extra-virgin olive oil

salt and freshly ground pepper

1 T freshly grated ginger

2 cloves garlic, minced

¼ cup pure maple syrup

directions

Preheat the oven to 4250F. Lightly coat a rimmed baking sheet with cooking spray. In a large bowl, toss the carrots and parsnips with the olive oil. Season with salt and pepper.

Spread the veggies evenly on the baking sheet and roast for 40-45 minutes, turning once, or until golden brown and tender.

In the last 5 minutes, heat a small saucepan over medium heat. Add the ginger and garlic and cook until fragrant for about 1 minute. Add the maple syrup and stir to combine. Simmer until thick, 2-3 minutes. Remove from heat. When the vegetables are done, transfer them to a serving dish and toss with the glaze.

(Adapted from a recipe found in Women’s Health, Oct, 2013)

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THE NEW TREND: “HEALTHY” JUNK FOOD

The other day I looked like a total freak going through the supermarket taking photos. Who does that? I did, because I’m noticing yet another food trend. The food industry is trying to, once again,  fool us by letting us think that their new products are “healthy”. This will allow us to feel much better when we’re eating “junk”. Please don’t be fooled.

IMG_1249The first thing I stumbled across was this package of vegetables sticks.  “Natural Vegetable Sticks”….. Really? “Natural” would be to just eat VEGETABLES!

How about this? Kale chips. And zesty nacho flavored to boot. Healthy?IMG_1248This is my favorite: Guacamole chips made with “REAL AVOCADO”. IMG_1253How can they insult us like this? If you’re dying for some guacamole, make some! RECIPE LINK: http://www.foodnetwork.com/recipes/alton-brown/guacamole-recipe/index.html

Finally, look at this: Sweet Potato Chips. I suppose the multigrain and the sea salt makes these healthy? You’re better off baking a sweet potato and adding a bit of butter and honey!IMG_1252

If you want to splurge and have some  junk food every now and then that’s okay. But please don’t make these non-healthy junk food items a part of your daily diet. Nutritionally speaking, they don’t have much to offer. Yes, I’m being nice. The bottom line is that they’re total crap.

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ORECCHIETTE, SCALLOP AND ARUGULA

Orecchiette, Scallop and Arugula (serves 4)  ttar_orecchiette_h

ingredients

12-ounces orecchiette (pasta shaped like “little ears”)

8 large scallops, cut into quarters

2 large handfuls of arugula, roughly chopped

2 cups cherry tomatoes

2 cloves of garlic, finely chopped

1/8 t crushed red pepper flakes

3 T extra-virgin olive oil, divided

salt and freshly ground pepper

1 lemon, cut into 4 wedges

directions

Cut the cherry tomatoes in half and squeeze out the seeds and juice.  Put the tomato pieces in a bowl and add the crushed red pepper flakes, garlic and 2 T of olive oil. Season with salt and pepper.

Heat 1 T olive oil in a thick-bottomed pan. Add the scallops. Season with salt and pepper and fry briefly until brown. Then stir in the marinated tomatoes. Cook only briefly to combine.

Cook the orecchiette in boiling salted water following the package cooking directions. Then drain and add to the pan. Stir in the arugula. Adjust seasoning if necessary.

Serve drizzled with olive oil and with a squeeze of lemon.

(Adapted from a recipe found in the “River Café Two Easy” cookbook)

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ME…..KEEPING IT SHORT AND SWEET?

While I am, indeed, a big talker, I find that the best advice often comes in very few words.  Too many words lead to the listener hearing “BLAH BLAH BLAH”. So I challenged myself to create a concise, “how to stay healthy” list, that would take all of a few seconds to read. I edited it down to these top 5:

  • Move your body every day. And as often as you can.
  • Eat plants. And eat a lot of them.
  • Don’t drink your calories. Drink water.
  • Pull on your bones to keep them strong. In the process, you’ll build muscle.
  • Do something that you LOVE to do. This will keep you mentally sound. healthy-heart

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MIDDLE EASTERN RICE PILAF

Middle Eastern Rice Pilaf  (serves 4-6) IMG_1129

ingredients

1 T butter

1 cup chopped onion

1 ½ cups basmati rice

¼ cup raisins or currants

2  T pine nuts

1 t ground cumin

½ t ground cinnamon

2 cups vegetable or chicken broth

minced parsley leaves for garnish

directions

In a large saucepan with a lid, heat the butter on medium-high heat. Add the onion and cook, stirring, until the onion softens for about 5 minutes.

Add the rice, raisins, pine nuts, cumin and cinnamon. Turn down the heat and stir the rice into the butter/onion mixture, coating the rice, for about 2-3 minutes. Add the broth, bring to a boil and then reduce the heat down to low and cover. Cook for about 15 minutes or until liquid is absorbed. Remove from heat and let rest for another 5 minutes. Then fluff with a fork and serve.

(Adapted from a recipe found in Mark Bittman’s cookbook, “How to Cook Everything Vegetarian”.)

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