Monday, December 20, 2010

can you do the cran-cran?

what happens when your flight to india gets postponed and you have an entire day to spend at home during the holidays?  you put the lentils on hold, and you post your favorite christmas recipes, of course!

bonus day = blog day.

so here it is, a nice warm bowl of delicious oats with a christmas twist: cranberries and vanilla.  mmm.

the goodies:

- 1/3 c. old fashioned oats
- 2/3 c. water
- 1/4 tsp. vanilla
- 1/4 c. of cranberries
- 2 tsp. splenda or sugar
- 1/4 c. unsweetened vanilla almond breeze
- 5 chopped almonds (optional)
- sprinkle of flax (optional)

the fun part:

#1.) add oats, water, vanilla, sugar and half of the cranberries in a bowl and microwave on high for 2-3 minutes (or until oats are cooked)
#2.) give them a nice stir and then top with all your other goodies: the rest of the cranberries, a drizzle of almond breeze, your nuts and your flax.

what your body will like:

antioxidants: these juicy jewels are bursting with little guys that want to fight off cancer, vision impairment and heart disease.  sounds like a pretty generous christmas gift to me. hooray for healthy holidays!

Friday, December 17, 2010

get crackin' on smart snackin'.

popcorn is one of those foods that you be wonderfully creative with.  once you pick your favorite toppings, you can turn your fluffy little treat into whatever you want!  

decrease the oil, increase the seasoning and you'll still get all the flavor without the bad behavior!

this smart snack can be enjoyed several ways.  take your pick!
#1.) put some in a small container along with handful of almonds and golden raisins for a midday snack. (or toss in some of your delicious left over chickpeas!)
#2.) cuddle up on the couch with your big bowl and watch a christmas movie.

the goodies:

- popcorn (I air popped about 1/2 cup)
- 2 tsp. oil
- 2 tsp. honey
- 1/2 tsp. lemon pepper seasoning
- 1/2 tsp. oregano
- 1 tsp. tarragon
- s & p

the fun part:

#1.) pop yo' corn
#2.) mix together your oil and honey and drizzle over the popcorn
#3.) sprinkle your spices and seasonings over, shake 'em up

what your body will like:

#1.) calories: popcorn is a pretty smart snack food if you ask me! alone, 1/2 c. of unpopped kernels are about 250 calories.. and this makes a biiig bowl.  the only place that it can start to add up is with the things you put on it - so be mindful. remember, 3500 calories = 1 lb of fat.. every little bit counts!  

#2.) satiety: since it's POPPEDcorn, you're getting more bang for your buck. 1/2 c. of food suddenly turns into 8.. magic! not to mention that popcorn is a whole grain, which means it hasn't been stripped of its outer coating: bran. bran = fiber. fiber = fullness.  

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

'tis the season to be... studying.

while you've been busy eating delicious recipes posted here, my exams have been busy eating me.  

studying - blogging = hannah.

but fear not, dear followers! picnics and pantries will be back in full swing soon enough.  just think about about how much I'll be able to add to the 'what your body will like' section with all my new fun facts.  nutritional assessment?  macronutrients? yes please! 

stay tuned, I'll be back to blog-bard before you know it.

Friday, December 3, 2010

blackberry hazelnut oat bars.

a tasty treat in 3 easy steps?  yippee! it's a piece of cake.  and by cake I mean bar.  blackberry oat bar that is. 

we're jammin', and I hope you like jammin' too! 

the goodies:

- 1 1/2 c. whole wheat flour
- 2 c. oats
- 1 1/2 c. hazelnuts
- 1 1/2 c. brown sugar
- 2 tsp. baking powder
- 1/4 tsp. salt
- 1 1/2 tsp. cinammon
- 1 c. softened butter
- 1 egg
- 1 c. blackberry jam
- 1/4 c. ground flaxseeds 

the fun part:

* preheat the oven to 350 degrees.

#1.) chop the nuts and toss them into your food processor along with all the ingredients except for the egg, jam and flaxseed.

#2.) take half of your oat-y mixture out, and in a separate bowl mix in your beaten egg.  spread this mixture evenly over an 11 x 15 greased cookie sheet.  bake for 10 minutes, or until firm and golden. 

#3.) dollop your jam and spread it evenly over your nicely baked crust.  sprinkle the remaining crumbly goodness over top, and bake for another 10 minutes.  remove from oven and sprinkle with flaxseed.

recipe adapted from: rebar cookbook  

what your body will like:

since these tasty bars err on the healthy side of things in the dessert realm, I thought we could focus on the health benefits of our favorite ingredient: flax. after you learn all these fun facts, you're going to feel like you're sprinkling your very own magical fairy dust onto your bars in that last step!

#1.) lignans: these feisty guys are linked to preventing hormone-related types of cancer (did someone say, 'movember'?). maybe next year instead of growing moustaches, all you handsome gentlemen could substitute some mo' flax instead? 

#2.) omega-3s: your body hearts omega-3s because of all their cardiovascular benefits. they lower cholesterol and blood pressure, and increase circulation.  omega-3s are essential, and as you might remember from our essential amino acid talk, these are nutrients that our body can't make on its own, so we need to get from the things we eat.  dig in!

#3.) fiber: I'll stop here.  we've gone over fiber enough in the last few posts.  but please, click here if you need a friendly reminder! 

Tuesday, November 30, 2010

keen on quinoa.

super[food] spanish quinoa.

this simple, delicious, one-pot masterpiece will have all quinoa skeptics come running back for more.  I promise!  so if you need a quick meal that requires minimal preparation and will last you for days.. taa daaa! 

now grab yo' quinoa, and:

        1. keep it warm and enjoy your balanced meal
        2. serve it as a side dish for a delicious mexican feast
        3. let it cool and eat it like a grainy salad
        4. take your left overs and toss 'em on a bed of spinach
        5. find another delicious variation and let me know!

the goodies:

- 2 c. uncooked quinoa
- 1 1/2 tbsp. canola oil
- 1 onion
- 3 cloves garlic 
- 2 tsp. chili powder
- 1 tsp. cumin
- 1 tsp. dried oregano
- 1 tsp. paprika
- 1 tsp. pureed chipotle
- 1/2 c. corn kernels
- 1/2 c. black beans (cooked or canned)
- 1 c. tomato sauce
- 1 3/4 c. broth

the fun part:

#1.) heat oil large sauce pan, and add the onion which has been chopped into bite size pieces.  once translucent, add the minced garlic and saute for another minute.

#2.) add the spices, and then the quinoa, stirring constantly for 3-4 minutes.  

#3.) add the remaining ingredients, (corn, beans, sauce and broth) turn up the heat and bring to a boil.  when the mixture begins to bubble, return to a simmer, cover and cook for 25-30 minutes.

#4.) when the liquid is absorbed, fluff with a fork. remove your pot from the heat and leave covered for another 5 minutes. 

#5.) now serve it to your friends and watch in amazement as you convert scoffers into quinoa lovers!

this is another one of those recipes that you can change around, depending on your preferences.  more veggies, fewer veggies, more spices, fewer spices - it's up to you!  the only thing you need to be careful of is that the quinoa to liquid ratio stays about the same.

what your body will like:

your body loves quinoa.  trust me.  I could really go on and on about all the fun nutrition facts about this darling ancient grain, but I will spare you and just provide you with the few things that may be of interest:

#1.) protein: unlike most other grains, quinoa has ALL the amino acids on its own to make a complete protein.  every cup of cooked quinoa boasts an impressive 9 grams of protein.  quinoa has an impressive amount of the amino acid lysine, which is essential for tissue growth and repair (hello muscle-men!). not to mention, in this recipe, you also have bonus protein with the beans.

#2.) magnesium: in light of serving this to someone who suffered a migraine the night before, I thought I would mention the magnesium content of this great grain.  magnesium relaxes blood vessels which can aid in the prevention of headache episodes.  see.. I told you quinoa would blow your mind!   

Thursday, November 25, 2010

crunchy munchies: roasted chickpeas.


this chick digs chickpeas.  

 this little discovery has changed my life.  snack foods that fill you up, and are tasty?  yes please!  better still, tossing your leftovers into your lunch or dinner adds a delicious crunch.  

so, follow these three easy steps and you've got chickpeas for: 
                  - snacking on when studying
                  - trail mix
                  - salads
                  - stir fry

in light of my upcoming adventure (t-24 days), I thought I would share my indian version. bhog keejeeae! 

the goodies:

- 1 can chickpeas
- 2 tsp. canola oil
- 1 tsp. cumin
- 1 tsp. garam masala
- 1 tsp. cayenne
- s & p

the fun part:

* preheat the oven to 400 degrees.

#1.) drain and rinse chickpeas, transfer to bowl and add remaining ingredients. shake, shake, shake.  

#2.) spread seasoned 'peas evenly in a single layer on a baking sheet or pan. 

#3.) bake for 30 minutes.  remove from oven, give them another shake, and put them back in the oven at 375 degrees for another 5-15 minutes - until golden brown 


mexican fiesta: 
cumin, chipotle puree, dried oregano 

if you're a sweetie: 
cinnamon, nutmeg, sugar/sweetener 

lemon juice, dried oregano, fresh pepper 

asian persuasion: 
sambal olek, soy sauce, ginger 

the possibilities are endless - you be the judge, you know your taste buds better than I do!

what your body will like:

#1.) fiber: we've talked about it before, and I'm sure we’ll be talking about it again… but there's no way around it.  fiber is our friend.  so load up on this fiber-fuel and you’ll be: 
-feeling fuller longer – 1 white chocolate macademia nut cookie instead of 2
-lowering your cholesterol – fat attack. 
-staying regular – how lady like!

#2.) protein: pair these bad boys with your favorite whole grain and you’ve got yourself a complete protein.  remember our fun math equations? legume + grain = protein!

Friday, November 19, 2010

white chocolate macadamia nut.

I like my cookies like I like my people: nutty, but sweet.  

the goodies:

- 2 c. all-purpose flour
- 1/2 tsp. baking soda
- 1/2 tsp. salt
- 3/4 c. melted butter
- 1 c. brown sugar
- 1/2 c. white sugar
- 1 egg
- 1 egg yolk
- 1 tbsp. pure vanilla extract
- 1 1/2 c. macadamia nuts
- 1 1/2 c. white chocolate

the fun part:

* preheat the oven to 325 degrees.

#1.) in a medium size bowl, sift together your whites: flour, baking soda and salt. set aside.

#2.) with your electric mixer, cream together melted butter, and brown and white sugars.  one at a time add the egg, egg yolk and vanilla extract.

#3.) gradually add the flour mixture to your batter, one scoop at a time. make sure your mixer is on slow speed so that the flour stays in your cookies - not all over the kitchen. (fun baking tip: draping a dish towel over your mix master can make sure that the flour doesn't get all over you as well!)

#4.) once the batter is ready (and not overmixed), stir in the chopped macadamia nuts and white chocolate by hand.  

#5.) pick your brightest, shiniest baking tray*, grease, and evenly space out spoon size dollops of your dough.  bake in your preheated oven for 12-15 minutes.  take them out when you think they could stay in for a couple more minutes.. 'cause we all know slightly undercooked, chewy cookies are the best.  

* bright shiny trays cook more evenly than dark-colored trays.  this prevents your cookies from browning too quickly on the bottom.  (if you inherit all your mom's old baking supplies like I do, lining your trays with heavy-duty aluminum foil will do just fine!)

what your body will like:

#1.) every second of delicious-ness.  
#2.) the hugs you'll get when you give them out to your friends.

recipe adapted from: crepes of wrath

Saturday, October 30, 2010

chow-down on chow-dow.

rain stinks.  but thankfully there are a few things that can make grey days a little bit better: 
1.) cute rain boots and a pretty umbrella 
2.) knowing that rain in the city means snow on the mountains 
3.) SOUP!

so turn that frown upside-down and warm up your house and your body with this delicious southwestern yam and corn chowder.

the goodies:

- 1 tbsp. canola oil
- 1/2 onion
- 3 c. yam
- 1 c. broth
- 3 c. water
- 1 tbsp. chipotle puree
- 1 tsp. cayenne pepper
- 1 tsp. coriander
- 1 tbsp. cumin
- 1 c. corn kernels
- 1 roasted red pepper*
- 1 jalapeno pepper
- garnish: salt, pepper and green onion

the fun part:

#1.) heat oil in large pot, and saute chopped onion until soft (ps. when chopping the onion, sharper knife = fewer tears!) add all 3 c. of yam and cook for about 3 minutes.

#2.) sass things up with the spices: add the chipotle puree, cayenne, coriander and cumin to pot, stir slightly and then add the water and broth. bring to a boil and then let simmer, uncovered, for 15-20 minutes until yams are soft.

#3.) if you're really lucky, like me, you can use your immersion blender in this step to puree the yams.  if not, transfer in batches to a blender or food processor.  

#4.) return your creamy concoction back to the stove and prepare it for meeting its new friends: corn, chopped roasted red pepper and itsy bitsy chopped up jalapeno pepper. cook all ingredients together on medium heat, while stirring, for 5 more minutes.

#5.) ladle into bowls, garnish with s&p and chopped green onion.  let your insides be warmed up by your delicious soup.

* make your own roasted red peppers! cut pepper in half and place both sides on a top rack under the broiler. rotate peppers several times until outsides are starting to blacken.  remove from oven, and cover the peppers with lid.  the steam will help you to peeeel off the blackened skin and leave you with soft, sweet and delicious roasted red peppers!

what your body will like:

#1.) vitamins & minerals
- vitamins a and c: immune boost and better eye-sight.
- potassium: trades places with nasty sodium inside your body.  good bye high blood pressure!

#2.)fat: uh oh, I said the f-word!  fat in your food doesn't necessarily mean fat on your body.  making smart choices and eating in moderation will allow you to reap all the benefits that this macronutrient has to offer: transporting vitamins, protecting organs, providing energy and most of all, giving flavor to your food - without putting on the pounds.  canola oil is always one of your best bets when cooking.  it's high smoking point will withstand high temperatures, and it is low in saturated fat and high in omega-3 fatty acids.  

Thursday, October 21, 2010

sweet treat.

attention: starving students.  the only thing sweeter than these baked peaches is the price of them!

what's better than a healthy version of a delicious classic?  a cheap and healthy version of a delicious classic, of course!  what do you do when you score a bag of 6 perfectly intact peaches for 99 cents?  make a delicious peach and blueberry crisp. what's the best way to top your warm, juicy fruits? with a sweet, crunchy, nutrient- filled topping!  

the goodies:

- 6 peaches
- 1 c. blueberries

- 1 c. old fashioned oats
- 1/4 c. maple syrup
- 2 tbsp. canola oil
- 1/4 c. ground flaxseed
- 1/4 c. uncooked millet
- cinnamon
- salt

the fun part:

* preheat the oven to 350 degrees.

#1.) grease and set aside a 8 x 8 pan.

#2.) cut peaches into bite-sized pieces and mix with blueberries.  toss in your ready-to-go pan.

#3.) prepare crust: mix all 'topping' ingredients together in a separate bowl.  distribute evenly over fruit.

#4.) bake for 30 minutes.  check on the bubbling-peaches/browning-topping status.  bake for longer if needed!

#5.) scoop into cute little mugs and hand them out to your friends.  sharing is caring!

what your body will like:

#1.) vitamin A: if you've been making your hands turn orange by eating too many carrots, why not switch it up and get some vitamin A from peaches?  in addition to improving your eyes sight late into the night, this charming vitamin will do wonders for your immune system.  no sick days for you!

#2.) non-glutinous: for all you celiac/gluten-intolerant kiddies out there, this is a crisp is a gluten-free zone!  millet is a delicious ancient grain that is full of purpose: fiber + complete protein + crunch.  really, what more could you ask for?  toss these seeds in, and you've got all of the above!

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

beans and barley.

okay, so here's the deal.  I love cooking.  but I also love math.  so what could be better than combining the two?  I think this recipe allows us to do both.  follow along carefully:

beans + barley = complete protein
beans + barley = delicious

complete protein + delicious = a pretty darn good meal!

the goodies:

- 3/4 c. uncooked barley
- 1/2 c. edamame beans
- 1/2 c. corn kernels
- 1/2 c. red cabbage
- 1/4 c. parsley
- 1 tomato

(adapted from ann lindsay's new light hearted cookbook)
- juice of 1 lemon
- 3 tbsp. of water
- 2 cloves of garlic
- 2 tsp. dijon mustard
- 1/4 c. olive oil
- pepper, pepper, pepper

the fun part:

#1.) cook barley* separately and let cool.

#2.) chop cabbage and tomato into delicious bite sized pieces, and parsley so that it is garnish appropriate.  add to large bowl with corn and edamame beans.  

#3.) prepare dressing in small bowl: squeeze in lemon, toss in minced garlic, stir in mustard, splash in water, grind in pepper.  slowly add olive oil in a steady stream, while whisking at the same time.

#4.) stir together cooled barley and veggies, and slowly add the dressing, to taste.  (chances are you won't need all the dressing, so you'll have an excuse to make another delicious salad soon!)

#5.) enjoy your yummy (and pretty) meal.

*cooking times for varieties of barley vary:

pearl barley: 1 c. barley + 3 c. water + boil + 45 minutes of covered simmering.  
pot barley: 1 c. barley + 3 c. water + boil + 60 minutes of covered simmering.  
hulled barley: 1 c. barley + 4 c. water + boil + 100 minutes of covered simmering.

what your body will like: 

#1.) fiber. barley, particularly the hulled and pot varieties, are excellent sources of soluble fiber.  soluble fiber will:
- increase satiety: making you feel fuller, longer.
- slows glucose absorption: decreases peaks in blood glucose levels after your meal. (good-bye, diabetes.)
- decrease cholesterol levels: how heart-smart!

#2.) protein. science: protein is just lots of amino acids linked together.  your body can make some all by itself (called amino acids), and your body cannot make some, no matter how hard it tries (called essential amino acids).  essential amino acids need to come from the things you eat.  combining legumes and grains makes sure you get all the amino acids you need to make the protein that your body so desperately wants! (basically: protein - animals + legumes + grains = complete! and no, I'm not a hippie.)

#3.) vitamins and minerals. more colors = more vitamins and minerals.  the first bite is with your eyes!