Monday, April 30, 2012

5 Types of Green Salad

We moved this week, and after spending an entire Saturday morning unpacking what seems like endless boxes in our new apartment, we turned to the contents of our refrigerator to contemplate lunch. Thanks to our CSA box (which arrived on Friday) we had a fridge FULL of veggies! A raw salad seemed the easiest to prepare, and what we came up with was a truly green salad that filled us up for an afternoon of, you guessed it, unpacking more boxes.

Here's what we threw into the salad, but feel free to use whatever greens YOU have in your kitchen!

- Lettuce (we had Romaine and Leaf around)
- Broccoli
- Snap Peas
- Celery
- Avocado

We topped the salad with freshly ground salt and pepper, Californian Extra Virgin Olive Oil, and Balsamic Vinegar. This is my staple salad dressing, and is perfect for bringing a little zest to those delicious spring vegetables we have around right now. If Balsamic is too much for you, try some red or white wine vinegar instead.

For nutrition information on any of the vegetables I used (and many more!), check out World's Healthiest Foods. Simply enter the food you're curious about into their search bar, and you'll be given more nutritional information than you know what to do with. It's an awesome resource!

Monday, April 23, 2012

Spring Asparagus

There are many things that I love about spring, but one of my favorite things has to be the short-lived yet abundant asparagus season! It's everywhere in Northern California this time of year, and is delicious in so many recipes. Whether you throw it on the backyard grill, puree it in soup, or chop it up on a salad, there is no wrong way to eat the stuff. One of the easiest ways to prepare it has to be this recipe I stole from my boyfriend - he won't mind my sharing, it's delicious!
Raw, fresh, organic asparagus
- 1 Bunch of Fresh Asparagus, rinsed and ends cut off
- High heat oil (such as walnut or safflower)
- Parmesan Cheese
- Lemon Wedge
- Salt and Pepper

Finished product - it didn't last long!
- Over a medium heat stove, in a large frying pan, heat the oil.
- When hot, add in asparagus. They should sizzle a bit.
- Cook until desired done-ness, stirring often to avoid burning. This takes about 3-5 minutes.
- Removed from heat, squeeze lemon on top, sprinkle with salt, pepper and parmesan.
- Serve immediately and enjoy!

Monday, April 16, 2012

Chicken Soup with Matzo Balls!

One of my favorite weekend meals is to make an organic roast chicken. It makes the whole house smell delicious, and when cooked with root vegetables, you have a complete meal in one pan! The leftover meat works great for sandwiches, salads, For a pic, see my blog entry from Valentine's Day. One of these days I'll post my recipe for it, but today's post is about what I did with the chicken after we were done eating it...I made soup! This was my first attempt at making my own chicken broth, and I was very happy with how it turned out.

I used a recipe I found on the Weston A. Price foundation's website. They have a whole article called Broth is Beautiful that explains many of the health benefits of broth, and it included a yummy-sounding recipe for chicken broth. I have yet to try their beef and fish stock recipes, but those look good too! I followed the recipe, using the carcass from our roast chicken, though I omitted the feet and did not strain it at the end, except to remove the bones. Since the broth simmers away for pretty much a whole day, it was a great smell to have wafting through the house on a Sunday.

The broth was delicious on it's own, but in the spirit of the Passover holiday I wanted to try making matzo balls. I have such fond memories of delicious matzo balls, but for some reason I went the easy route and bought a matzo ball mix from the grocery store. Bad move. They looked great and had a lovely soft texture, but they had no flavor. Major disappointment. Next time, I am going to try this recipe for matzo balls, and I plan to add in the herbs and spices!

Monday, April 2, 2012

Ch-Ch-Ch CHIA!

Have you heard people talking about Chia Seeds? Or seen them on the shelves at your local health food store? This post is going to give you information on the teeny tiny little seed that packs a nutritious punch!

Indigenous to what is now Mexico, evidence suggests that Chia seeds were a staple in the Aztec diet during the 16th century. Despite the Aztec heritage, Chia seeds weren't seen much outside of Mexico until the Chia Pet became widely known in the 1980s. And it wasn't until recent years that people re-discovered that you can eat the seeds, and that they are really good for your health!

Some of the benefits are:
- Protein
- Healthy Fats (like Omega-3, and including ALA)
- Fiber
- Phosphorous
- Manganese
- Calcium
- Potassium
- Sodium
For more info, check out what Dr. Weil has to say about the seeds.

All that being said, you're probably thinking "that's great, but how am I supposed to eat chia seeds?" There are multiple ways, and it's also good to know that you can eat the seeds whole and still get the health benefits. This is in contrast to flax seeds, which must be ground in order for the body to absorb their nutrients. You can sprinkle the seeds onto salads or oatmeal, add them to your smoothie, or mix them into dough-like mixtures (muffins, breads, pancakes, etc.). They can also be used as a substitute for eggs in baking, soaking them to become a Chia Gel. For more ideas, I found this awesome page to share with you: 40 Ways to Use Chia Seeds!

However, one of the easiest ways that I prepare my Chia seeds is to make a breakfast drink out of them. The small amount leaves me surprisingly full and energetic. Just like the Aztec warriors, I'm ready for my day!

1. Using your favorite milk or milk substitute, mix about a teaspoon of Chia seeds into 6-8 ounces of liquid. This can be done in a cup, or a re-usable glass jar with a top.

2. Give it a good stir (or shake) and let it sit for at least 30 minutes. I usually make mine the night before and let it sit in the fridge.

3. When you're ready to drink your mixture, you can drink it as-is, or experiment with adding vanilla or cinnamon. Or try adding in some chopped fruit and/or home-made granola for a yummy treat!