Guest post, Tammy Barnes
Guys, after years of working hard to further my career and having two children, a house to maintain, and a partner to support, I was utterly exhausted. More and more, I was watching my windows of time diminish, and taking care of myself became a thing of the past. Trapped between this sense of guilt for not doing more at work and a sense of not doing enough at home to make life a little less crazy for all of us, I felt stuck, helpless, and, frankly, sad. On top of all of that, I had recently been diagnosed with ADHD. I have a husband with ADHD, and thus, statistically one of our girls will likely have it. I needed to provide a foundation to give the additional support and attention for our kids to thrive. In essence, I needed time. I needed a way to save my time without spending a prohibitive amount of money to make that happen. Enter Meal Preppers.
After hours of searching for meal planning/grocery shopping/cooking healthfully when overwhelmed with life, I became… well, overwhelmed. I decided to do what so many of us finally do: ask Facebook! Fortuitously through that search, I met Courtney Stinson and Rachel Dreher, two hard-working women who really figured out a life hack in a major way.
Courtney had started this business called Savor Life Nutrition, which combined her skills as a registered dietitian with her vast experience in providing gastric tube feeding support to her daughter. One of her projects in development was a service called Meal Preppers. So because so much of our life is about lists now, I am going to give y’all (I am originally from Kentucky) a list of why I was excited about this service:
In sum, my experience with Meal Preppers was not only a great one, but one that I found personally inspiring. I am extremely excited to join the movement to build a sense of community through food. I plan to use the service again (and again and again…), and I definitely will plan to host one at my home. In pajamas. Please, Courtney? Inaugural home Meal Preppers Party???
This new blend is packed full of awesome ‘heart healthy’ ingredients!! Learn more about five of the beneficial ingredients in this recipe, and how they contribute to a happy, healthy heart! Don't forget to watch the video too!
Did you know there is an invisible and scentless enemy ready to strike? His name is Bac (bacteria) and he can make you and your family sick. You may also be surprised to hear Bac and his friends have already invaded your hands, food, kitchen, and utensils.
But do not worry! He can be conquered if you don’t take any whisks (risks) if you fight Bac by following the core 4 practices of food handling.
Wash your hands. Thoroughly wash your hands with warm soapy water for at least 20 seconds before and after handling food. It is important to take extra care to washing your hands immediately after handling raw meat.
Wash your utensils & work surface. Before starting food preparation sanitize your countertop and ensure all your cutting boards, knives, blender, and other food preparation utensils have been washed and dried.
* Check your blender's manual for cleaning instructions. Improper care can cause the seals to deteriorate and harbor bacteria.
* Re-clean all surfaces in between different food types, especially when using raw meat.
Wash fruits and vegetables. Even if you plan on peeling or cooking them! It’s important to wash produce with an inedible skin like melons, avocados, and oranges because when you cut them open, the knife can transfer bacteria from the outside to the part we eat.
Cross-contamination is how bacteria spreads. improper handling of raw meat, poultry, seafood, and eggs allows Bac and his friends to spread all over your kitchen.
Keep raw foods separate. Keeping raw meat, eggs, and vegetables separate is essential in preventing cross-contamination.
Use color coded cutting boards. Using one cutting board for fresh produce and a different cutting board for raw meat. To aid in preventing cross-contamination have a designated color for each category, like green for produce and red for meat.
Don't reuse surfaces or utensils. Never place cooked food (or food that does not require cooking) on the same surface raw food was once on or use a utensils for cooked food that was used on raw food, unless you thoroughly wash it with warm soapy water first.
Need more information? Check out the Get it Straight – it’s Safer to Separate guide by the Partnership for Food Safety Education.
Cooking food thoroughly. Cooking food until it reaches the proper internal temperature kills the bacteria responsible for causing food borne illnesses.
Best way to fight Bac. Use a food thermometer to determine your food has reached the proper internal temperature, insert the thermometer into the thickest portion of your cut of meat.
Poultry. Cook turkey, chicken, and duck to an internal temperature of 165°F.
Ground Meats. Cook ground beef, pork, and lamb to an internal temperature of 160°F.
Meat and fish. Cook beef, pork, lamb, and fish to an internal temperature of 145°F.
Eggs. Cook eggs to an internal temperature of 160°F.
Leftovers. Bring sauces, soups and gravy to a boil when reheating. Heat all other leftovers until they reach 165°F.
40° or Below. Keep your refrigerator at 40° or colder. Temperatures of 40° or below will slow down the growth of harmful bacteria, which grow QUICKLY in temperatures above 40°.
2-hour Rule. It is important to refrigerate or freeze perishable foods within 2 hours of purchase, use, or preperation.
Traveling Cold. The 2-hour rule applies to traveling too. ALWAYS use ice packs and a cooler. Pro tip - a full cooler will keep food colder than a partially empty one.
Thaw Safely. Never thaw foods at room temperature, always thaw and cool foods in the fridge, under cold water, or in the microwave.
Throw it out. Even in the fridge, food can harbor bacteria. Always follow the reheating guidelines and throw out food spoiled food. The Storage Times Guide will help you determine safe time limits for home refrigerated foods.
This recipe is a new favorite in our household. I'm normally not a fan of hiding vegetables, but my little guy loves mac-n-cheese so much that when he has mac-n-cheese anything else on his plate will go untouched, even cookies! So I decided to take the plunge and throw everything into the sauce. But don't be fooled, just because you can't see them, doesn't mean you can't taste them, and they are yummy. When looking at other "hidden veggie" mac-n-cheese recipes I found they all had no seasoning, cooking for toddlers does not mean something has to be bland - they like flavor too - which I made ours with all the seasonings I love mixing in with my cheese sauces. I hope you enjoy it as much as Daxton does!
12 oz box *protein plus pasta
1 vegetable broth concentrate pouch
3/4 cups water
2 medium carrots, cut into 1 inch pieces
1 cup chopped cauliflower
1 cup frozen butternut squash
3/4 tsp salt
1/4 tsp pepper
1/4 tsp mustard powder
1/4 tsp minced garlic
1/4 tsp paprika
1/4 cup whole milk + 2 Tbs
1 1/4 cups shredded cheddar cheese
4oz cream cheese
*I love using protein plus pasta because I feel like it stands up better to thicker sauces. Feel free to use your favorite pasta.
**I use sodium free stock b/c you can always add salt to a dish, but you cannot remove it. Sodium free products allows me to control how much salt my family consumes.
***I used about 2/3s of the sauce on my pasta and saved the rest for cheesy veggies and chicken we had the next day. When mixing the pasta and the sauce a little at a time until it reaches the desired cheesy'ness.
Fun Mix-ins to complete your meal:
When I do mix-ins I usually make the sauce less thick so it's more of a casserole consistency.
Broccoli & Pre-cubed ham: Chop up and steam 1 head of broccoli. Heat up small package of cubed ham in skillet until caramelize. Mix in to pasta.
Rotisserie Chicken & Peas: Shred up 1/2 chicken and mix into pasta with 1 cup steamed peas.
Happy cooking! ~ Rachel Dreher & Daxton
Using my Blendtec Blender:
1. cook/prepare ingredients (cook pasta or oatmeal, steam veggies etc.)
2. Add liquid to the blender.
3. Add soft foods like avocado or yogurt.
4. Add other ingredients.
5. DO NOT OVERFILL BLENDER. ONLY FILL TO TOP MEASUREMENT LINE.
6. Blend on WHOLE JUICE setting for one cycle.
7. Blend on SMOOTHIE setting for one cycle.
8. Let blend settle for 10 minutes.
9. Divide among straight sided mason jars and put on plastic storage jar lid.
10. Refrigerate 1 days worth of food and freeze the rest.
To heat refrigerated blend:
1. Remove lid.
2. Microwave on half power for 1 minute.
3. Replace cap and shake vigorously.
4. Remove cap and microwave for one more minute on half power.
5. Replace cap and shake vigorously.
6. Add additional liquid if needed to thin.
7. ALWAYS test temperature BEFORE feeding to prevent burns!
1. take food from freezer and place in fridge before bed (to be used for breakfast)
(If I forget to thaw in fridge, I use the defrost button on the microwave and defrost for 5 minutes)
2. Place previously frozen jar in microwave on defrost for about 3 minutes.
3. Shake vigorously.
I very rarely need to re-blend foods using this method. On occasion we'll have to re-blend because maybe a fiberous food wasn't soft enough before blending. Some foods just require more added liquid. Some blends will need to blend longer depending on the crunchiness and toughness of the foods like nuts for example.
Microwave times will vary depending on how cold/frozen your blend is and the power of your microwave. Always test the temperature of the food before serving heated food to children, loved ones, or patients!!!
Looking for recipe ideas? Try these:
Rachel Dreher has come on board to manage the business operations so Courtney has time to see more patients and clients. Rachel is a busy mom of a super active toddler named Daxton (the cute kid to the left). She's always excited to share her creative tricks of "how to mom" and her toddler feeding escapades. You'll start seeing posts by Rachel and probably some cute pictures of her adorable kiddo, Dax, here on the Lettuce Live Well blog very soon.
I, Courtney, have spent the last 3 years learning how to manage work and Life With Ellie. Raising a child with complex medical needs has shaped me and my career in ways I never would have forseen. I have taken my passion for food & nutrition and combined that with my experinence feeding Ellie to add blenderized tube feeding services to Savor Life Nutrition. I have also been learning how to manage mealtimes with my son, Nathan, who has ADHD and now takes medication which adds a whole new set of unique feeding challenges. I've learned to get creative in how I apply the Division of Responsibility at the table. Without the challenges my children have provided me, I wouldn't posess the knowledge or experience I have today. Funny how having children changes us in so many ways.
Deanna Denny, RDN will be in Chelsea, MI at Polly's Country Market this weekend sharing what she knows about simple crockpot cooking and how everyone can enjoy trick-or-treating, including those with food allergies. She'll have a surprise recipe and can answer any of your food and nutrition questions.
We're kicking off Wellness Weekends at Polly's Country Markets in Chelsea, Michigan. The events are sponsored by 5 Healthy Towns, Washtenaw County Department of Public Health, and Polly's Country Markets. Come see us for two weekends per month (occasionally the schedule may need to be adjusted but this is the goal) for nutrition tours, shopping advice by Registered Dietitian Nutritionists, samples, giveaways, games, and tips & tricks for getting delicious, nutritious food on your family's bellies.
For my second TV debut I polled dads on Facebook and asked "What meal do you want made especially for you on Father’s Day"? The answer was a unanimous "steak on the grill"!! There was of course some joking around because there seems to be this perceived notion that steak isn't "healthy". The thing is, if you buy the right cut and you prepare it in a way that prevents harmful substances and promotes eating more nutritious foods I think steak can be a great choice.
5 Tips For Healthier Grilling
First, let's learn a little about why it's important to keep health in mind while grilling. Cancer-causing reactions happen forming PAHs (polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons) when fat drippings hit the coals and the smoke sticks to your food. HCAs (heterocyclic amines) are the black or charring you see on your meat when you cook over high heat or if you have flare ups. It's important to know that this applies to all high heat cooking, not just outdoor grilling.
Argentine Steak Sauce/Marinade
Reserve half for marinating and half for sauce
Watch here for a demonstration and a few extra tips
1 bunch flat leaf parsley, thick stems removed (sub half cilantro for variety)
3⁄4 cup olive oil (high heat oil such as canola oil if using as a marinade)
1⁄4 cup red wine vinegar
3 tablespoons fresh squeezed lemon juice
8 cloves garlic, minced
1 tablespoon diced red onion or shallot
1 teaspoon dried oregano or 2+ tablespoons fresh oregano
1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1⁄2 teaspoon salt
Combine all ingredients in a food processor and pulse until combined.
Written with special guest, Caitlin Cunningham, dietetic student, Eastern Michigan University
We are excited to share with you our Easy Holiday Entertaining Cooking Demonstration! The holidays are a fun, stressful, busy, and often indulgent time of year. We want to show you how you can still enjoy your favorite classic dishes with a delicious, nutritious twist.
While grocery shopping last night for these ingredients I was reminded of how many nutrient-void, processed, convenience foods make their way to the Thanksgiving dinner table. What also makes me sad is the fact that this is normal for the majority of Americans on a daily basis. Today, Caitlin and I have prepped some recipes to make some of your favorite holiday-inspired dishes from scratch with REAL food and nutritious ingredients. Just so you know, this doesn't mean we'll be cutting any corners when it comes to flavor. We both believe it's okay to enjoy a little extra butter, use white flour, and even some sugar when recreating indulgent holiday dishes.
Stay tuned on Sunday, November 15th beginning at 1 P.M. as we demonstrate how to prepare easy and delicious holiday inspired dishes that you can share with your friends and family. We will be using Periscope and Google Hangouts to broadcast this cooking demonstration to you. See below for details on how to connect with us.
We'll try our best to stick to the following schedule (EDT):
1:00 - Ginger Cinnamon Cranberry Sauce & Fresh No-Cook Cranberry Relish
2:00 - Maple Walnut Apple Crisp
3:00 - Mashed Sweet Potatoes with Praline Pecans
3:30 - Sage Dressing from Scratch (Stuffing)
4:30 - Homemade Green Bean Casserole
Bonus - Chicken Piccata recipe attached too
We want to help you lighten up holiday recipes by teaching you how to swap out excess fat, sugar, and salt in exchange for flavorful, fresh ingredients, spices, and seasonings. We hope you can join in!
Additional tips to lighten up your favorites:
Periscope: @LettuceLiveWell & @Caitlin56772519
Twitter: @LettuceLiveWell & @CaitlinRD2B
Most people think of dark leafy greens as just a spring or summer food but did you know that greens such as spinach have a fall season here in MIchigan too? Join me and EMU dietetics student Nick Pomante in store to celebrate the nutritious, delicious bounty of fall. Learn new ways to eat spinach (and how to benefit from it’s rich nutrient profile even if it’s not one of your favorite foods) with our Enjoying Autumn Greens cooking demonstration followed immediately by the ever-popular Label Reading 101 event!
When: Monday, October 20th
Event start times of 10AM, Noon, & 2PM
Where: Polly’s Country Market, Chelsea, MI
Nick and I will be on-site from 10AM until 3PM to show you new ways to use one of the most versatile items in your fridge, spinach. Spinach has a mild flavor and versatile texture which makes it great for adding to your favorite dishes for an extra boost of nutrition and color. Discover the many health benefits and new ways prepare this versatile veggie to satisfy your taste buds and your body.
In collaboration with the Chelsea Wellness Coalition, we will be offering a 1-hour hands-on class teaching label reading at Polly's Country Market. We know nutrition facts can be confusing and daunting. We’ll help you understand what all the jargon really means and help you make informed choices when you shop for groceries. Nick and I will lead you through the store and teach you to evaluate foods based on whether or not the food can improve your overall health. You’ll also learn how to recognize not-so-healthful ingredients and how to get the most bang for your buck. We hope to see you there! Happy eating!
Seriously, nothing will taste better than this on a hot sunny day after an intense workout or digging in the garden. This blended drink is super refreshing. If you prefer, you can serve it "on the rocks" instead of blended. Just blend all ingredients except for the ice and serve the juice mixture over the ice.
Not only is this drink delicious, it's super nutritious too. Ginger is an amazing anti-inflammatory and can soothe an upset tummy. Citrus fruits like oranges and lemons are vitamin C superheros assisting in iron absorption and acting as antioxidants fighting cancer-causing free radicals. Dates are rich in fiber, polyphenols, and have a natural balance of minerals which may help in decreasing blood pressure. BONUS: There are ZERO added refined sugars in this recipe. All the sweetness comes from the fruit. You can't get better than that folks! Let me know how you like it! And, don't forget to pin it for later.
Eat deliciously, live nutritiously!
Finally I've come up with the words to describe how I feel about the conflicting viewpoints on farming and agriculture and how they solve the food problems of the world.
1. Add vodka to your dishwasher instead of your glass.
Here is why. If you look at the calorie breakdown of where we get our energy you'll see that alcohol can definitely impact your weight. I don't know about you, but I'd rather get my calories from solid food instead of liquids. Food makes you feel more satisfied than liquid when restricting calories during weight loss.
Carbohydrate (carbs) 4 kcal/gram
Protein 4 kcal/gram
Alcohol 7 kcal/gram
Fat 9 kcal/gram
So why put vodka in the dishwasher? Well, to replace the expensive, mystery chemicals that you are currently using as rinse agent in your dishwasher. About 2 years ago I became irritated enough with cleaning product companies not putting ingredients lists on their labels that I did my own research and concocted my own solution. I wanted the last thing that touches my dishes to be something edible just in case there are traces of it left on my dinnerware.
Vodka is a mild surfactant which means it creates a sheeting action to help the water off the surface of the dishes. You can find vodka very cheap and we know that it is edible however it isn't something I recommend consuming on purpose. If you need a drink, try a glass of wine... one glass. More on surfactants here.
Besides the surfactant, rinse agents typically also have ingredients to remove mineral buildup and limescale. Vinegar is known to do this very well and is also a food grade ingredient. Add a little to your dishwasher and then make a vinaigrette. More on the chemistry of vinegar here.
*Disclaimer: I've been using this solution for approximately 2 years in my dishwasher with great results however, I have not spoken with dishwasher manufacturers to make sure this solution is safe for dishwashers. I will not be responsible for any dishwasher malfunctions etc. if you decide to try this recipe.
2. Eat Outside The Box
This one seems simple but can be the most difficult to maintain with a busy lifestyle. Eating less boxed or packaged foods often means more food prep, meal assembly, and cooking. It also means less garbage (and recycling if you recycle) leaving your home for the landfill each week. Eating less packaged foods will likely buy you a healthier diet by naturally decreasing the amount of food additives, preservatives, trans fat, and sodium you consume in a day. I'd recommend shopping for, preparing, and eating:
More reasons to avoid packaged food... to avoid all the marketing shenanigans. If you're eating fresh, whole foods you're less likely to need to decipher confusing health claims too. There are some interesting studies being done in this area like this one from Brian Wansink and his team at the Food and Brand Lab at Cornell University.
3. Consume Less & Move More
In order to lose weight or to maintain a healthy weight you've got to eat well and move often. You can lose weight by dieting and you can lose weight by exercising. I recommend a combination of both for optimal health benefits. It's often easier for people to change the quality of food they eat rather than the quantity for many reasons. If you want to learn more, read the book Mindless Eating by Brian Wansink and/or find a qualified dietitian/nutritionist to help you.
Consuming less food = less waist. Consuming less stuff/food = less waste.
Many people drive places when they could easily walk or bike. It's easier to make the decision to walk to your destination if you think of that time you spend walking as exercise and a happy pill instead of lost time. Exercise makes us feel good by releasing hormones that improve mood. Exercise also makes us stronger and healthier. People who are more physically active score higher on the scale for quality of life.
Move more = less waist. Move more = consuming less (gas to power your car etc.)
So there you have it.
3 tips to help you reduce your waste and shrink your waste all at the same time!
1. Add vodka to your dishwasher instead of your glass.
2. Eat Outside The Box
3. Consume Less & Move More
Happy Earth Day!
(a few minutes late)
I've been extra busy today and needed a really quick lunch for me and my 2-yr-old. I didn't have time to cook or prep any fresh produce. We also didn't have any leftovers to reheat. Thankfully, I keep a variety of healthy canned ingredients in my cupboard for days like today.
I was inspired to make something with marinated artichokes because they came in their own "dressing". From there I looked to see what else would taste good with Italian flavors and would be visually appealing. I love when a really good recipe comes from having to scrounge the cupboards or fridge for scraps!
Here is what I found:
Canned, sliced, black olives
Marinated artichokes (missing from photo)
Beets, in water, no salt added
I almost always buy organic canned beans because they are usually lower, sometimes more than half as much, in sodium. Organic canned beans usually don't have unnecessary additives either and as a bonus, they're organic too.
National Nutrition Month® is coming to an end but that doesn't mean we should stop celebrating with delicious, nutritious foods. I hope this recipe has proved to you that good nutrition can come from a can. You don't have to slave over a hot stove for hours to come up with something you feel really good about feeding your family!
1 small can sliced black olives, rinsed and drained
1 jar marinated artichokes, chopped
1 can beets, in water, no salt added, drained and chopped
1 can chickpeas or garbanzo beans, preferably organic, drained
Combine all ingredients and serve immediately or refrigerate and let flavors mingle a little longer before serving.
Disclaimer: No toddlers were harmed in the feeding of this recipe. I promise he enjoyed every bit of it and even served himself a second helping.
P.S. I don't write about the foods my toddler eats to brag, but to show that, when offered (never forced) a variety of foods on a regular basis, kids enjoy eating all sorts of foods typically thought of as not being "kid friendly".
Taste Matters! I don't know anyone who enjoys or is willing to eat food they dislike on a regular basis. However, I know that many foods that people think they don't like may become more accessible to their taste buds if the offensive foods are paired with highly flavorful foods that are more enjoyable. March is National Nutrition Month® and the slogan is "Enjoy the Taste of Eating Right". This fits right along with my everyday mission which is teaching people to eat healthfully by eating the foods they enjoy and avoiding foods with the flavor palate and texture of cardboard at all costs!
Tonight for dinner I concocted some sort of skillet meal or casserole style dish that was mighty good. My fridge is getting bare and I had a limited variety of items to work with. I had some chorizo in my fridge which I had planned to use for a different recipe but then changed my mind and didn't make it. So, I needed a way to make a healthy meal around my chorizo.
The chorizo by the way was from Polly's Country Market in Chelsea, MI. I'm so happy to have access to freshly ground sausage which happens to be made right in the store. Thanks Polly's CM!
My husband "doesn't like" onion or kale or spaghetti squash but these happened to be the other items that needed using up this week. Plus, they are all highly nutritious and he needs to eat his veggies anyway! Even though my husband isn't a fan of these foods, I know if I mix them with strong flavors he really likes that he'll eat them anyway without complaint. Our meal tonight was rich in vegetables of different colors, quinoa which is very nutritious and high in fiber and some protein from the chorizo. I don't mind that chorizo tends to be relatively high in saturated fat because the rest of our foods have virtually no fat in them. I also believe meat should be more of a side dish as it is in this recipe than a main dish.
There wasn't much leftover and my 2 year old asked for seconds. I hope you enjoy this recipe as much as we did!
Chorizo veggie skillet/casserole
Yield: approx. 8 servings
1 spaghetti squash
1 cup uncooked quinoa
1 whole bunch of kale, chopped, remove and discard stems
1 onion, diced
1 lb chorizo (bulk sausage, remove from casing if in links)
Salsa (I highly recommend this recipe: http://www.mountainmamacooks.com/2012/01/quick-and-easy-blender-salsa/)
1. Cut spaghetti squash in half and roast cut side down in 350 degree oven until soft, approx. 30 minutes.
2. Cook quinoa according to directions, 1 cup quinoa to 2 cups water.
3. Brown the chorizo over medium-high heat. Drain on paper towels and set aside.
4. Add diced onion and chopped kale (a little olive oil if needed) to skillet and saute over medium heat until cooked (onions will appear translucent).
5. Add cooked squash (use spoon to scrape out of shell), quinoa, and sausage back to the pan with onion and kale. Mix together to create casserole and serve with your favorite salsa!
Add a side of your favorite fresh fruit and you've got one heck of a meal!
It's something I hear all the time... "you're eating that?" or "I thought dietitians don't eat _______?". Guess what? We're human too. We're not perfect and neither are our diets. I think I speak for most nutrition professionals when I say:
The quality of your overall diet is much more important than any one food or meal you eat!
Do NOT let one meal, one snack, or even a weekend splurge define your lifestyle and diet. Eating well is a way of life, it isn't a diet or something you do for a little while until you lose weight or hit your goals and then go back to old habits again.
That said, I eat paczkis. And I enjoy every single bite. When I eat foods like this though I go for quality over quantity. I chose my paczkis this year by reading an article on mlive about where to find the best paczkis in the Ann Arbor area. I wanted to find paczkis made from scratch with real, fresh ingredients. I chose Weber's based on the article's suggestions. Let me tell you... they were awesome! I'm very satisfied with my choice. I'll also be returning next year.
Now that I'm done drooling over my memory of how delicious that paczki was though I'm going right back to my normal way of eating. I'll be focusing on a plant based diet of many fruits & veggies, whole grains, beans, herbs & spices, and limited amounts of dairy, meat, & fish. I also always limit processed foods, additives, colorings, preservatives, sodium and sugar.
I challenge you to do the same. Fill your everyday-plate with nutritious foods that you enjoy but don't forget that simple, delicious pleasures like a paczki (that means one, not six) once in awhile doesn't necessarily mean you're "cheating". It just means you're practicing self control and enjoying comfort foods at the same time.
Your diet is not defined by the least nutritious foods you choose to eat... it's the sum of everything you choose to consume that counts!
Tell me, what is your favorite splurge and how do you "recover" and go back to "normal"?
Lunch needed to be quick today and my refrigerator is getting bare. I really need to go grocery shopping! Anyway, I quickly threw a really easy pasta dish and it was so good there wasn't even any left to take a photo of. The recipe follows:
1 box rotini pasta (whole grain recommended)
1 – 28 oz can stewed tomatoes
2 carrots, grated
½ sweet onion, diced
1 – 4 oz can sliced mushrooms
1 – 2.25 oz can sliced black olives
3 handfulls fresh baby spinach, chopped
2 T. olive oil
¼ t. salt
1 T. Oregano Basil & Tomato Spice Blend (such as The Gourmet Collection’s)
1. Saute onion and carrot in olive oil, add salt.
2. When carrots are soft, after approximately 5 minutes, add tomatoes, mushrooms, olives and spice blend. Cook covered over medium-low heat.
3. Cook pasta according to package directions.
4. When pasta is finished, remove sauce from heat and stir in spinach.
5. Serve pasta with generous helping of tomato veggie sauce.
AquaTally is a cool way to measure your daily fluids. Each time you fill the cup you can turn the ring on the outside to mark how many cups of fluid you've drank so far. It holds 2 cups and the adjuster ring also acts as a measurement indicator. The cup is dishwasher safe (top rack only), which for me is a must. It seems to be reasonably durable however I did let my 2-year old use it and it broke when he dropped it from high chair height. I'm assuming it was probably a fluke because my son has another similar cup that hasn't broken yet after several falls. Customer service has been great and sent me a replacement. I'll update our progress on it's durability later after we use it a little longer. The ring seems to stay in place and doesn't change numbers magically when you aren't looking which is important for accurate tracking. The company claims it can be used for hot and cold liquids. We have only used it for cold liquids for which it works great.
For people who find it difficult to drink enough fluids in a day I think this is an excellent tracking tool. It's satisfying to spin the ring around to the next number knowing you've made progress. It's like crossing chores off your to-do list. Fluid intake = accomplished!
How much water do we really need to drink? An article in NCBI states the average woman needs approximately 9 cups and the average man needs approximately 13 cups per day. So if you aren't drinking enough, get working on that and your body will thank you!
So there you go. If you like handy little tools to help you reach your goals... give the AquaTally a try. For a 25% discount use the code "Savor" at checkout from their website. You're welcome!
Although I did receive free product for writing this post, all views and opinions expressed on this blog are purely and entirely my own and based on my own unique experiences.
In all the hours I've spent in the kitchen preparing food I have never found a substitution for the avocado. You know when you stumble across a really delicious sounding recipe and you really, really want to make it at that moment? But you're tired and in your PJs so a quick trip to the store out of the question? Well, this is the ideal moment to come up with a substitution for whatever ingredients you need, but don't have. So, what can you use in place of avocado? NOTHING! Absolutely nothing. If you don't have avocado forget it. Find a different recipe. Nothing can replace it. Nothing can replace it's unique flavor, smooth texture and simple preparation! You can replace other foods with avocado though! Avocado is great in smoothies, shakes, sandwiches, baked goods, on salads, and plain. Not to mention the fact that no party is complete without guacamole dip and tortilla chips.
Nathan determined to finish the avocado all by himself -->
Avocados are also really good for you and definitely deserve a place on your weekly grocery list of staple foods. We eat avocados almost daily in my household. My two year old son, Nathan, can barely go a day without them. He's to the age now where I can give him a half an avocado with a spoon and he is thrilled to scoop it out of the shell himself. I don't mind he enjoys avocados daily in fact I'm thrilled my son loves so many nutritious foods. I know by eating avocados regularly that he is getting a great boost of vitamins, minerals and phytonutrients.
Some of my favorite ways to eat avocado:
Toast with avocado slices served with an egg cooked over easy and some simple sauteed spinach with garlic.
Avocado schmear on a sandwich filled with hummus, red pepper, lettuce or spinach and sweet onion.
Fresh avocado salsa (or chop the pieces larger and eat it as a salad) with tomato, sweet onion, nopalitas (marinated cactus), minced garlic, minced jalapeno, cilantro, and a little salt & pepper. Great served with grilled chicken or fish, or on top of tacos.
Plain sliced avocado aside some fresh fruit and whole grain crackers or pita.
Avocado half (pit removed) filled with sharp cheddar cheese and a drizzle of hot sauce - heat under the broiler until bubbly! Eat with a spoon!
Fudgesicle Frosty recipe by Blendtec. Also one of Nathan's favorites!
Avocados are definitely a super tasty food! Enjoy one today and benefit from the natural goodness of avocados! More avocado recipes and ideas can be found at www.avocadocentral.com.
Disclaimer and Disclosure:
Although I did receive financial compensation for writing this post, all views and opinions expressed on this blog are purely and entirely my own and based on my own unique experiences. For nutrition information on avocados, please be sure to visit the LoveOneToday website.
Authored by Courtney Stinson and the Chelsea Wellness Coalition.
The Chelsea Wellness Coalition and Polly’s Country Market in Chelsea are proud to announce year two of a Healthy Grocery Store partnership, intended to give Polly’s customers a heads up about healthy eating.
To kick off the 2nd year of the intervention, Registered Dietitian Courtney Stinson will lead “Label Reading 101” on Monday, October 28th. Stinson, Polly’s staff and several Eastern Michigan University Dietetics students will lead interested patrons around the store, providing customers with the educational tools they need to decipher deceptive advertising and confusing package labels so they can be knowledgeable, informed consumers.
Those interested in participating can meet near the Polly’s entrance where the blue 5 Healthy Towns banner is located. Teaching tours are FREE and start at 3, 4, 5 and 6 p.m. There’ll be free samples from Polly’s deli and tour participants will be entered into a raffle to win one of several Polly’s gift cards.
“Label Reading 101 is valuable for customers because everyone goes to shop,” Stinson said, “but few take the time to read labels and learn about what they are consuming. Understanding labels and food marketing can empower customers to make informed shopping choices.”
During the first year, Stinson worked with Polly’s staff to post 5H labels around the store to indicate healthier options and healthy lifestyle tips. She also worked closely with deli staff to improve their cooking and food prep skills to include fresh, house made items like the popular Southwestern Black Bean Salad. Stinson’s also been advising Polly’s staff on new and tasty food options. If customers have a special request, patrons can ask Polly’s staff, who will do their best to locate and stock the item.
“We’ll expand our labels, and continue distributing a quarterly Eat Better Newsletter to keep customers informed. The newsletters talk about Chelsea Wellness Coalition updates, what’s to come, and what’s happening around Polly’s,” Stinson added.
For more information about Label Reading 101 and the Healthy Grocery initiative, community members can contact Courtney at Courtney@savorlifenutrition.com.
I've been making smoothies quite frequently this summer since we've been getting a CSA box each week from Zilke Vegetable Farm in Milan, MI. We're loving all the fresh, local produce. Between what we get at Zilkes and what we pick up at Coleman's Farm Market on Carpenter Rd. in Ypsilanti we've always got a great assortment of seasonal and delicious ingredients on hand.
Nathan especially likes "smoo-nees" and asks for them frequently. He loves watching the ingredients whirl around in the blender. Something about thing that spin really get this kid's attention!
I don't measure ingredient when I make smoothies. I just add stuff to my blender in the order my blender manual tells me to (different blenders work differently). It's really hard to mess up a smoothie. And if you don't like how it turns out you can usually ad a little more of whatever you think is missing and just blend again.
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!