Yes, the jar is empty... I know.
I had no plans of doing a product review today. But after I polished off an entire jar of Reese Grilled Marinated Artichoke Hearts, I decided that I must write about it.
I'm a fan of keeping healthy things stocked in my pantry that are versatile and aid in getting dinner on the table, like... yesterday (as in ASAP). I always keep a can of marinated artichokes, marinated mushrooms, roasted red peppers, capers, and a variety of pesto in my cupboard. All these ingredients throw a huge flavor punch to any dish. They are great add-ins to pasta, rice, quinoa, and salads.
My most recent discovery though is one of my new favorites. I opened a jar of Reese Grilled and Marinated Artichoke Hearts to put a few on a salad but when I sampled one I decided I wasn't making my salad after-all and I ate the whole jar of artichoke hearts. The awesome thing is how nutritious artichokes are for you. Artichokes are a good source of potassium, vitamin C, folate, magnesium and dietary fiber. They are also a superb source of antioxidants in the form of phytonutrients helping with liver function and maybe even aid in curing hangover.
Give these Reese Grilled Marinated Artichoke Hearts a try. They have an awesome right-off-the-grill flavor and aren't too sweet or salty. They are void of added preservatives and other junk I don't allow in my pantry. They are delicious.
**These opinions are my own. I have not been paid by anyone to review this product.
Resource: California Artichoke Advisory Board
I'm spending a couple days each week for a few months working at Polly's Country Market
in Chelsea, MI. It's been nice getting to know the management and staff at the store. Everybody is very friendly. As a part of the Chelsea Wellness Coalition
's community goals to boost nutrition in and around Chelsea I'm working to bring more nutritious options to the community's main grocery store. We've already added some fresh, homemade salads to the deli case and created some grab & go salads perfect for a quick, healthy and delicious meal. If you live in the area or you happen to be driving through please stop by and sample some of the new salads. Please give us your feedback. If you have suggestions, we'd be happy to see what we can do to accommodate your requests. Also, while you're shopping if you have any food and nutrition questions please come and find me (on days I'm there) and I'll be happy to help you while you shop!
I cooked a roast tonight. My husband came to the table and had the smallest portion he could have put on his plate. If you know him, you know he does NOT need to be on a diet. He's quite a healthy size so I wondered why such a small portion. I was asking this as he takes a bite and says "well, I didn't think this was going to taste so good. I normally don't like roast". He got up and put more on his plate. Yay for another good dinner that impresses the husband and the 14 month old.Ingredients:2 lb. beef chuck roast1 - 32 oz
can diced tomatoes2 large onions, sliced1 bulb elephant garlic, sliced (regular garlic I'm sure would be great too)1 t. dried rosemary1t. dried thyme1 T. dried basilpinch of salt and pepper (for searing meat)1 T. grapseed/canola or other high smoke point cooking oil
(for searing meat)1 T. olive oilFresh parmesan cheese for grating (optional)Directions:
- Preheat oven to 350° F.
- Pat meat dry, rub with salt and pepper (I like fresh ground pepper).
- Heat cast iron dutch oven over high heat and add oil.
- When the pot is really hot add the meat and do NOT move it or flip it until it releases nicely from the pan. This is how you know you have a good sear. A nice brown crust is so important for good flavor here!
- Remove roast after each side is seared and set it aside for a moment.
- Turn burner off and add tomatoes, olive oil, spices, sliced onion and sliced garlic. Stir to combine.
- Place meat on top of tomato mixture and put the lid on the dutch oven.
- Bake (technically a braise I think) in the oven for 1.5 hours at 350. Then turn oven down to 250 and cook another 1/2 hour or so. (I don't remember the exact timing but I don't think it matters anyway).
- You can check the meat to see if it's done. It should be fork tender and should flake apart easily.
- Top with a little freshly grated parmesan cheese and serve with a nice green salad and a baked potato for a deliciously balanced meal.
*Like always... I hope I didn't miss a step or ingredient. I'm horrible about that. Please let me know how your dinner turns out! I'd love to hear your comments. If you have a favorite roast recipe please share it too.
When I get a break from chasing my now walking one year old I've managed to work on a new workshop. I plan to offer a baby food making workshop and presentation in the very near future. I'd like to know what you would like to learn. What are your struggles in feeding your family? What about food, feeding and nutrition puzzles you the most when the time comes to start offering solids to your little ones? Do you have a picky eater and wonder how you will ever get him/her to eat a balanced meal? Please send me all your questions, comments and wisdom. I'm looking forward to working with you soon! Thank you in advance for sharing with me!
Spicy Vegetarian Quinoa and Peanut Stew - garnished with greek yogurt and cilantro
This is a great Meatless Monday recipe! It's super filling, full of awesome nutrition, warm flavors, and it's really good comfort food too. This is my go-to recipe on cold nights when cuddling up with a bowl of soup for a dinner + movie + fireplace dinner is mandatory. Spicy Vegetarian Quinoa and Peanut Stew
1-3 tbsp. Canola or olive oil
1 large sweet onion, diced
1 large sweet potato, diced
2-4 cloves of garlic, minced
2 tsp. thyme
1 tsp. cumin
4 cups chicken or veggie broth
1-2 cups cooked quinoa (you can use cooked brown rice instead if you'd like)
2 14-oz cans Mexican style diced, crushed or stewed tomatoes
1 14-oz cans garbanzo beans, drained and rinsed
3 medium zucchini, cut into ¼ inch pieces
½ cup of chunky or creamy peanut butter*cilantro*greek yogurt
- heat oil, cook sweet potato, zucchini, and onion
- add garlic and cook for 2 minutes
- stir in broth, thyme and cumin and bring to a boil
- reduce heat and simmer 5 minutes or until veggies are tender – stir often
- stir in tomatoes and garbanzo beans
- simmer another 5 minutes to heat thoroughly
- stir in quinoa (or rice)
- stir in peanut butter until melted evenly
- serve and garnish with cilantro and a dollop of greek yogurt
If you hate cilantro, visit http://ihatecilantro.com/
for a little laugh and maybe to get some cilantro-hating support.I hope I didn't forget any ingredients or steps in the recipe. It's a bad habit of mine. Please let me know how you like it. Also let me know if I missed a step.
Less than $20 of goods from Zilke's Vegetable Farm Stand
I'm really hoping that this phrase, "Know your farmer know your food", proves to define our future food culture instead of being a fun bumper sticker supporting the food fad of the decade. Here are a few reasons why I hope the local food movement and my local farmers are here to stay:
Yesterday my little family visited Zilke's Vegetable Farm Stand in Milan, MI. Twice actually. We forgot to ask if they had greens so we had to turn around and make another shopping trip back to their veggie stand. We bought a bushel of sweet potatoes. This sounds like a lot but we really love them and after talking to Vicki (farmer and farm owner along with her husband Tom), we learned that our sweet potatoes will last us a few months if we store them properly. In a cool, dry place that is. She suggested we dig a huge hole, bury a trash can, and layer our goodies between straw and cover with a lid. Our entire yard is clay and we're tired of digging holes for fence posts this year so we'll have to figure out plan B before it gets too cold out. For now our sweet potatoes, potatoes, squash and pumpkins will live in our 3 season room. Anyway,
we loaded up our car with all sorts of goodies including some birdhouse gourds which my husband, Jeff, has been looking around for. He has the gourds drying so that in a year or so he can use them to design and build some sort of musical instrument. I have no idea how he'll do that but he's got great workmanship for that sort of thing so I'm sure once he's all done it will be awesome. Earlier in the summer the Zilkes gave Jeff a whole box of volunteer gourds that were "not worth selling". Those are almost dry now. The term volunteer is used to describe plants that just pop up or weren't purposely planted, so to speak. But this is what is so great about building relationships with your local farmers. The Zilkes have been at the farm stand themselves between farming and actually talking with their customers. They answer questions. They offer advice on where to find great, safe canning resources. They go out the field to pick you lettuce, turnips, cilantro and arugula in the cold, windy weather because you asked for it and you're dying for some fresh greens. These are the kind of people farmers are. Friendly, helpful and caring people.Last winter I had a goal of visiting a hoop house in the winter. I wanted to see veggies growing in Michigan while we had snow on the ground.
I visited Capella Farm in Ann Arbor. The farm owner, Jennifer, gave me a tour of her hoop houses and her barn which housed the goats, chickens and turkeys (they all roam free in pasture too). She cares for her animals. One of the little goats even had his own little goat sweater because he wasn't always allowed to "snuggle" to keep warm with the rest of the herd. These are meat goats but they are treated well and cared for. They aren't just products or goods. They are living creatures that deserve to be raised with love and care. I love that this is what small farms all around are proving can be done.I can't wait for the next growing season to visit the farm stand again and also to start my own little backyard garden. I'm also excited to hear what the Zilkes have in store for us next year. Tom hinted towards some new CSA options that may be available next spring. I'm looking forward to the news! I get so much satisfaction from knowing where my food is from. From actually getting my hands in the dirt and harvesting my veggies. From meeting my farmers and picking my food fresh from the field. From building local relationships. It makes me happy to know I can feed fresh, nutritious food to my family. Food that is cared for by loving hands that take great care of their living creatures and land.Do you visit a local farmer's market?
Have you ever subscribed to a CSA? What would you like to thank your local farmer for?Local (Washtenaw County) farms:Zilke Vegetable FarmCapella Farm
Find local food: www.localharvest.orgwww.realtimefarms.comGood read:Animal Vegetable Miracle by Barbara Kingsolver
If you're a breastfeeding mom chances are you've worried at one point or another that you may not make enough milk to adequately feed your baby. Maybe you're back to work full time and you must pump to save milk for your baby while you're away. Whatever the reason you are looking to increase your milk supply here are a few things that may help:
- Eat a healthy diet rich in all the food groups avoiding processed foods
- Nurse frequently
- Drink fluids every time you nurse, at meals and frequently in between
- Get plenty of rest
There are some foods known as galactagogues. These are foods that may help increase milk supply. By doing an Internet search for "lactation cookies" or "lactogenic foods" you'll find a decent variety of recipes and articles telling you what you should eat to increase milk supply. In my searches the ingredients that seem to be most popular are flaxseed meal, brewer's yeast and oats. There are many others but I think these 3 are very easy to sneak into many recipes you're already making at home.This pancake recipe by Nurture Normally
is a great basic recipe to start with. I like the idea of making pancakes better than cookies (which seem to be most prevalent) because they are lower in sugar and fat and they are very versatile. The author gives you ideas to alter the recipe to fit your dietary needs and preferences also. When I whip up pancakes at home I make a large batch (like this recipe
) and be sure they are toaster sized. I freeze the pancakes in freezer ziploc bags and to reheat I let the pancakes sit out for about 5 minutes at room temperature to thaw and then I pop them in the toaster. You can top your pancakes with applesauce, fresh fruit, syrup or even spread them with peanut butter or other nut butters.If you're talented in the kitchen or even have some basic baking knowledge it's easy to add some lactogenic foods to some of your favorite, go-to recipes. Find a recipe for oatmeal bread, oatmeal muffins, oatmeal cookies etc. and add 2 tablespoons each of flaxseed meal and brewer's yeast to the your dry ingredients before mixing wet and dry ingredients together.For more information you can check out Kelly Mom.com which is a great resource itself. She has compiled a list of where you can find help too.
If you live locally The Breastfeeding Center of Ann Arbor
is a good resource too. It's important to get help early if you think you actually have low milk supply or other breastfeeding/lactation problems.What is your favorite lactation support recipe? Please share!
Tried several diets and none work? Sick of eating “diet” food? No worries. “Diets” don’t work for most people anyway. The best way to lose weight and keep it off is to make small changes that you can make into new good habits. By eating fresh fruits and vegetables regularly you’re off to a good start. Here are a few ideas you might be interested in making into your new healthy habits:
· Drop out of the “clean plate club”. Stop eating when you no longer feel hungry. That’s right. You are better off being finished with your meal before you actually feel full. You’ll eat fewer calories this way and feel better too.
· Stick to zero-calorie, high-quality H2O for your hydration needs. Liquid calories don’t help you feel satiated. Besides, wouldn’t you rather eat your calories instead of drink them anyway? Avoid nutrient-void beverages such as soda or pop, fruit flavored drinks, and Kool-aid. If you must drink sweetened or flavored beverages stick with 100% fruit juice, not from concentrate, or a glass of wine (that’s one glass not several).
· Enjoy fruits and vegetables at EVERY meal. The fiber and fluid in fresh produce will help you stay full and hydrated on hot summer days without making you feel weighed down. Fruits and vegetables are chock full of important things like vitamins, minerals and phytonutrients that help prevent disease and keeps us healthy. Fruits and veggies are also naturally low in calories so you can enjoy them in larger quantities with less guilt.
Procrastination got the best of me again but hey, I'm here now. I'm still working on my goals for the year as far as making lasting changes. Here is what I've done so far in 2012:
- Visited a hoop house - Capella Farm in Scio Township (January).
- Committed to buying more foods in bulk (February).
- Stopped using commercial cleaning products and started making my own laundry detergent, all-purpose sprays, window cleaner etc. This saves so much money and what I'm using now is less toxic to our environment and the things that live in it (March).
- Started attending pilates classes regularly (April).
- Planted a garden (May).
- Committed to getting my home child-proofed since Nathan is scooting all over and will be crawling and walking faster than I can keep up real soon (June)!
Our garden is growing! Which kind of surprises me since we don't get what most people would call adequate sunlight. Our property is basically in the woods. Please keep your fingers crossed all our hard work gardening pays off!
Pilates is still going well. I enjoy it and I feel so good after class. My instructors are so knowledgeable and friendly. The Movement Center in Ann Arbor is a great place if you're looking for a good pilates instructor or class.
My homemade cleaning products are proving to work well. Only problem is that the spray bottles I bought from Home Depot keep breaking. I don't know if it's the mixture making them clog or if they are just real cheap.
Nathan is keeping me busy. It's the best kind of busy though! What a fun little dude he is. Life is NEVER boring.What are you doing to make lasting, productive changes in your life?
OK. So it isn't still February but I did fulfill my goal for the month. I started buying my spices, flour, sugar and dry beans in bulk. I take my own containers and weigh them before I put the item in them at the store. Buying these staple ingredients in bulk really saves a lot of money. I'm also not throwing away packaging when I get home so I'm feeling better wasting less.
Locally (Washtenaw County, MI) you can buy many items in bulk at: Whole Foods, The Peoples Co-op, The Ypsilanti Food Co-op, and By The Pound. I'm sure there are more. If you know of other places, please comment and let me know!
Baby update: Baby Nathan is getting so big. It's so fun to be a (mostly) stay-at-home mom. In less than 2 months he will be 6 months old and we'll get to start solid foods, purees that is. I'm looking forward to cooking for him. He smiles all the time and makes life so much fun and exciting.