Tuesday, April 27, 2010


Oh my goodness. Ryan and I have been running around getting ready for the wedding since last friday so I haven't had much time to post anything or come up with any creative recipes.  And since I probably will not have much time to post anything decent for a little while longer, these quick snippets will have to do.

1.  Our pantry and refrigerator is almost completely High Fructose Corn Syrup free.  The only product we have with it is Ketchup. (More on this topic at a later date.)

2. Try Chobani Champions Yogurt, It may be made for kids, but it's the perfect size for an adult lunch box.

3. KCF Double Down, I highly doubt this is what Dr. Atkins had in mind when he said low carb.

4. Grill zucchini on your George Forman for a great side dish.  Cut in half lengthwise, brush on a little olive oil, salt, pepper and grill for 10 minutes.  1 zucchini per person should be adequate.

5. There are special times during the year or life when diets should get thrown out the window.  Weddings are one of them; bring on the cake and cream cheese mints!  In moderation of course...

Tuesday, April 13, 2010

Mexi Grains

While out on the road, Ryan came up with his own hotel version of mexican fare.  It consisted of microwaving a package of Uncle Ben's rice and then mixing it up with salsa, black beans, and a can of chicken. While I'm sure the sodium content is out of this world, it's 'healthier' than a plate full of fried chicken and biscuits.  While at home, we have created an even better version of what Ryan has dubbed "mexi rice."  Tonight I made it with quinoa instead of brown rice, but just about any whole grain can be used including bulgar or barley.  Here are a few reasons why we like quinoa: It cooks in about half the time compared to rice, has a more distinct flavor, the fun swirly shape makes it more visually appealing, it stays fluffy and does not get sticky.  Something I just learned tonight...quinoa is a seed not a grain; which explains why it is a complete protein.  It's also high in phosphorous, magnesium, manganese, copper, and folate; all very important in metabolism and a properly functioning body parts/organs.

My version of "mexi quinoa" or mexican style stir fry, goes like this:
Serves about 4 (more or less depending how hungry you and your dinner guests are)

Simmer 1 cup of water with 1 cup of your favorite salsa or picante sauce in a medium sauce pan.  Add 1 cup quinoa, cover and simmer low for 15 minutes.  Give the pot a good shake, take off the heat and leave the lid on so it stays warm and continues to steam.

Meanwhile...Saute' 1-2 chopped bell peppers and 1/2 large onion in a large saute pan or wok. (I start with the pepper and add the onion after a few minutes since I chopped it smaller).  When the onion starts to turn translucent add 1-2 chicken breasts cut into bite size pieces.

At this time add 3 garlic cloves finely chopped or pressed through a garlic press.  If you have it on hand, add a couple dashes of paprika, chili powder, cumin, and black pepper.   Stir and cook until the chicken is no longer pink in the middle.  Add 1 can drained/rinsed black beans.  (I used some that I had cooked a while back and stored in the freezer).  When the beans have warmed through, divide the quinoa into bowls and serve the veggie/chicken mixture on top.
 Let your guests or future husband add as much salsa, sour cream, or homemade guacamole as they please.  A fresh squeeze of lime juice or chopped cilantro would also be tasty. A serving(without the toppings) contains approximately: 495kcals, 11g fat, 63g carb, 37g protein, 10g fiber, and a whole lot of vitamin C thanks to the peppers.

Most of the ingredients for this meal where bought over a period of time so I had to guess on a lot of the prices but I'd say it comes out to $10 total or $2.50 per serving = 0.005 cents/kcal.  Leftovers freeze well and can be taken to work the next day for lunch.

Saturday, April 3, 2010

The Naked Chef

No, not me!  Jamie Oliver, that's who.  I first became infatuated with Mr. Oliver on the food network show 'The Naked Chef.' These days Ryan and I enjoy watching his new show 'Jamie at home' on the weekends.  He takes basic ingredients and makes the most amazing dishes out of them. A week or so ago I heard about something new...a food revolution.  Jamie is in Huntington WV (supposedly America's most unhealthy city) trying to make a change in the way people eat.  I had to get myself caught up and watched the first two episodes on Wednesday and just watched the third one with Ryan on Hulu.  While I've known there are major problems in the school food system, this show really brings to light how many hoops must be jumped through to change the way things are done.  People do not like to change; we are creatures of habit and change takes effort.  Some of the major issues I noticed while watching the show are:
-Too much food is being served, even if it is 'healthy.' What 6 yr old can eat 5 chicken nuggets, a big dinner roll, 8oz milk, 1/4c baked beans, 1/2c mashed potatoes with gravy, and 1/2c of fruit?  Might I mention they just ate a snack 1.5 hours prior.

-The elementary kids do not use silverware other than a spoon. (to eat sugary cereal and pudding)

-Potatoes should not be counted as a vegetable.  Especially when they are served every day.

-Chocolate and Strawberry milk do not need to be served at breakfast and lunch, plain is just fine.

-Two servings of 'grain' per meal is fine...but two servings of white bread should not be the standard.

-Pizza should not become a staple breakfast in schools. Scrambled eggs and wheat toast would be a much better option.

-Children and adults are so brainwashed that we will eat things we know are not good for us as long as it's in a familiar shape. (Ex: chicken nugget)

I may be a member of the American Dietetic Association, which supports the USDA, who together created the Food Guide Pyramid, which is used to structure school lunch menus.  But I do not support, what is being fed to our nations children.  And I'm not even a mom.

 You can lean more about Jami Oliver's Food Revolution at his website and sign the petition to help create more change in America's school food system.  If a famous chef from the UK is concerned about the state of our nations health, and willing to come over here to help us change; we should probably listen to what he has to say.  I'll get off my soapbox now...