Blog Archives

Flexitarianism

At the Healthy Living Summit we were introduced to Dawn Blatner, an RD who wrote the book The Flexitarian Diet. In my previous post I discussed her action mantras that I am trying to instill in my lifestyle. And later for the keynote speech Dawn discussed her book and explained what a flexitarian lifestyle entails.

According to Dawn, a flexitarian is an individual who decreases their consumption of meat without excluding it entirely from their diet. She claimed that vegetarians weigh 15% less and by following a flexitarian diet you can drop up to 30 pounds in a year. (I like those statistics. Who wouldn’t mind losing that much weight?)

Dawn separated flexitarians into three categories: beginners, advanced, and expert. Somehow I’ve been eating a beginner flexitarian diet for quite some time since more than 1/3 of my weekly meals are meatless. I’m proud to say that I plan to become an advanced flexitarian in the next year (9-12 meatless meals a week). After I make the move cross country and settle into my new home in California, I plan to stock my kitchen with more vegetables, fruits, and beans. I’ll definitely need my action mantras to make sure I cook and avoid eating out as frequently as I did in the past…

It seems that meat and poultry are typically the most expensive items a grocery bill. By decreasing the amount of meat we purchase we can cut our bills and reduce greenhouse gases. To substitute meat in a recipe use 1/4 cup beans for each ounce of meat. If it is too tough to get rid of meat all together, cut the meat in half and add beans.

And if  you need to add to the taste, “brighten” the food with acid such as vinegar, citrus, or yogurt. Another great tip Dawn offered was to pair a food you like with an unliked food. By combining the flavors, you will begin to enjoy the unliked food and become comfortable adding it to your recipes.

If you want to steal some fantastic vegetarian recipes, I suggest checking out Laura, Sarah, or Cassie’s blogs. I’ll be scouring the internet for the next few months to find recipes that most satisfy my new cooking style (AKA simple and quick meals) and I hope to reduce my meat consumption.

Have some great vegetarian recipes? I’d love your suggestions! And what blogs do you read to get new recipe ideas?

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Chips for all!

Last Friday morning I was seated in a demonstration kitchen in Reading Terminal with twenty of my closest blogging buddies. FritoLay set up an event to discuss their chips, both the flavors and ingredients that go into making the perfect, crunchy snack.

Do not ask what cowboy hats or huge spatulas have to do with FritoLay...

Of course they began with a bit of propaganda. Did you know that three of their lines use only natural ingredients? And that these chips have just as much sodium as many other snacks? (These are the things I learned). I was definitely surprised by some of the statistics they were giving us.  I’m not sure if their presentation will change the way I view chips as a “healthy” snack, but it will definitely make me check more labels to see what ingredients I am putting into my body.

After the presentation, one of the head chefs started to whip up recipe ideas that the other bloggers provided. Some of the items were to be eaten with the chips, others were chip flavor ideas. First there were two coconut curries which were absolutely delicious. They also whipped up an avocado hummus that was phenomenal and bruschetta quinoa salad. I’m glad they gave us the recipes, now we’ll see if I can manage to make these dishes.

While cooking the chef discussed other flavors that had recently been born around the world. I had no idea that there was a Garden Tomato flavored Lays, but it is absolutely delicious (and addictive when slightly inebriated). Also, check out the flavors that exist in other countries; the UK has Chicken Tikka and Worcester Sauce chips.

Because it was absolutely fantastic and (seemed) easy enough to make, I wanted to share one of my favorite dishes. Here is a recipe to make bruschetta quinoa, this would be the perfect side dish for any meal (and I imagine you could eat it as a main dish as well).

Bruschetta Quinoa Salad

Ingredients:
2 Tablespoons Extra Virgin Olive Oil
2 Tablespoons Shallots, minced
1 Tablespoon Garlic, minced
2 Cups Grape Tomatoes, halved
½-1 Cup Vegetable Stock
1 Tablespoon Balsamic Vinegar
1/8 Teaspoon Salt, kosher
1/8 Teaspoon Black Pepper
1 Cup Quinoa, uncooked, make sure to buy a brand that is pre-rinsed to remove the bitter coating
2 Tablespoons Basil, julienned
¼ Cup Manchego Cheese, shredded

Instructions:
· Sauté the shallots and garlic in the oil
· Add the tomatoes and allow to blister
· Deglaze with the balsamic and allow to reduce
· Add the rest of the ingredients except the basil and cheese and simmer until the quinoa is cooked
· Fold in the basil and serve topped with the cheese

How do you feel about chips? Are there any companies you prefer to buy because of their “healthier” nutrition?

Want the recipes for the coconut curry or hummus? Drop me a line and I’d be happy to send them to you!

Chobani {Review & Giveaway}

I’ll admit it, I typically devour oatmeal for breakfast. At my office I would grab a cup on the way to my desk and consume it while checking my e-mail. But when I heard the buzz about Chobani, I had to try it. When I was living in London I chowed down on plain Greek yogurt frequently, but over a dozen flavor options? That was too much to pass up.

There were flavors I had never imagined; lemon and pomegranate in a yogurt? I’ll try anything once. So I piled all twelve containers in my fridge and began to taste test them one by one. First I brought the raspberry to work for breakfast. I should note I’m not a fan of raspberries or have not been in the past. Well this yogurt changed that, once I realized that the fruit was on the bottom (I’m a bit of a dunce), I began to really enjoy it. A refreshing change from my oatmeal past.

With several of the other flavors I chose to add granola or broken up graham crackers for a bit of a crunch. I’ve also seen other crunchy concoctions; supposedly peanut butter Captain Crunch tastes fantastic mixed in.  After eating it I found that I was satiated for several hours; I could go from breakfast to lunch without craving a snack.

It also makes for a perfect afternoon snack.  Around four when I was hankering for the good stuff less healthy snack options, I grabbed a yogurt and enjoyed the protein packed treat. Most flavors have 28% of your daily need of protein if not more (plain has 36%). And throw in some additional fruit for extra deliciousness.

The Verdict: Chobani makes a fantastic breakfast, snack, or ingredient. Really, you can consume it anytime of day. Spice it up by adding crunchy pieces or additional fruit. Use it to substitute sour cream or other ingredients in recipes. You can’t go wrong. I should admit, there were some flavors that I was less keen on, but that is to be expected with such a wide variety.

And now for the giveaway:
Chobani is an absolutely fabulous company and they want to offer one lucky reader a case of their own. You can receive a variety pack or get your favorite flavor.

Now here is how the giveaway works:
Check out the different flavors that Chobani has to offer and tell me what you’re most interested in trying. Or check out the recipes on their site and tell me how you’d use your yogurt.

Want an extra entry into the giveaway? Well here are a few options:
1. Follow Chobani on Twitter
2. Follow Me on Twitter
3. Like Chobani on Facebook (You can participate in their Groupie Game for the chance to win a weekend getaway)
4. Post a tweet about this giveaway, please include @RunningJewess @Chobani and a link to this post

Leave an additional comment for each extra entry.

The giveaway will be closing at noon EST on Tuesday, August 16th, 2011.

Note: Open to US entries only. The giveaway I received and the items I am distributing have been provided by Chobani. The opinion expressed in this post is solely my own.

Girl’s Night

Last month I attended my first bachelorette party, it was a relaxing evening in with homemade foods and great conversation. Oh, and there was also a Pure Romance consultant to entertain us. Well after this party I realized that I’d love to have my own. Very few of my friends have ever been to my apartment, so I invited a few gals over to check it out (before I leave), enjoy a feast, and giggle at the different toys the consultant was peddling.

Now I won’t call my mother neurotic, but that woman cleans like it is her job before people step foot in the house. Somehow, I’ve inherited this gene. Oy… I vacuumed three times in the past week and made sure to hide put away all loose items. And then it was time for food preparations. Every family holiday at our house, my mother prepared enough food for twenty. We only ever had ten guests. Yet another trait I’ve been lucky enough to gain.

On Wednesday night I began baking (in between bouts of cleaning). I stole a noodle kugel recipe from a friend and made my favorite butternut squash pie. Neither was difficult to make, but attempting to make them in conjunction was impossible. I concocted the kugel first. For some reason it didn’t feel right, but what do I know, I haven’t made kugel in years. Then onto the pie. I forgot how much effort it takes to peel a butternut squash, seeds and skin were distributed all over my floor in the process. After a slight immersion blender debacle (don’t lift it above the surface of the mix, it will get on your feet), I poured the batter into a graham cracker crust and threw it in the oven.

Removing both from the oven I was astonished. Man did my pie look good! I’ve made it plenty of times in the past, but this time it looked perfect. It took a lot of effort not to dig in immediately. This was a huge hit at the party, there is only a tiny wedge left to enjoy for dinner (it doesn’t stand a chance). Everyone was complimenting my bake-itude, so I thought I’d share the recipe with you fine folk.

Butternut Squash Pie
1 small butternut squash, peeled, cut in chunks & cooked in water until soft (about 25min.)
1 cup flour
1 ½ cups sugar
½ stick margarine, melted
3 eggs
¼ cup soy milk
1 tsp. vanilla
cinnamon
graham cracker crust

Preheat your oven to 350 degrees.
Prepare a graham cracker crust or be lazy and buy one like I typically do.
Mash butternut squash. Add all the ingredients & mix well. Pour into crust. Sprinkle cinnamon on top. Bake for 1 hour
If you prepare the night before, reheat in the oven at 350 degrees for 10-15 minutes until warm.

Of course, after all of my kitchen adventures, I had the dishes to look forward to…

How did the party go? Well it was a blast. Trying to fit fifteen people into my apartment was similar to a clown car, but we made it work. Everyone brought over food stuffs, which was sweet of them, but there were too many desserts and goodies to handle. Cupcakes from scratch, phallic cakes, the most amazing choco-chip oatmeal cookies. I had my fair share and tried to convince everyone to take it home (or just out of my home). There is a small stock pile of cookies at my place, but I’ll hide them from myself to make them last a week. Or just through the weekend. Whichever comes first…

As for the consultant, she was great. She nearly convinced me to join her ranks and go into business as a consultant (just what I need, right?). We all had a good laugh and I believe most people went home with new products of their own. What did I get? I’m not telling  ;)

What about you? How do you feel about prepping when you have guests? And what is your go to party dish?

Have you entered my Coach’s Oats giveaway? You should! Do it for a chance to win a week’s worth of oat deliciousness.