Category Archives: eating local

ask the nutritionist: breakfast on the go

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Breakfast is often times the first meal that we neglect, whether we are trying to skip meals or would prefer to spend the extra time sleeping. But as we’ve been told since we were young, “breakfast is the most important meal of the day” and there really is some truth to that. We’ve been “fasting” all night and we need some energy to focus and perform our best, whether it be at school, work, or play.

When I was in high school, eating breakfast, was like, totally not important to me. I was focused on the essentials: finding the perfect Abercrombie & Fitch outfit and making sure my bangs were curled just so.  My mother being oh-so-wise would make fresh waffles for my brother and I, which if we couldn’t eat whilst getting ready for school, we could take along in the car with us. Very Pleasantville of her, don’t you think?

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Abercrombie & Fitch is no longer cool (I don’t think?), my bangs no longer need curling and I’ve fully embraced breakfast. My day just wouldn’t be the same without it, nor would you want to be in my presence if it was missed.  Here are some of my breakfast staples – I often eat my meals in courses- an egg at home first thing and then something a little more substantial at work. I prefer splitting my meals up a bit, but obviously everyone will have different preferences!

Normal Breakfast:

  • First Course: Coffee and Coconut Creamer
  • Second Course: An Organic Egg (fried or hard boiled)
  • Third Course: Oatmeal & Peanut Butter, Hemp or Sprouted Bagel or Smoothie

Oddly enough, I rarely find the need to switch up my breakfasts, I love having a combination of proteins, fats and carbs. On weekends at home the taster will often make some omelets or something a little more exciting! (ie. bacon) But if you like some variety, here are some other ideas:

  • Cedarlane’s ready-to-go omelette
  • hard boiled egg and slice of sprouted bread
  • fruit, bread and peanut butter/almond butter
  • greek yogurt, cereal and peanut butter/almond butter
  • smoothie: almond/coconut milk, juice, spinach, fruit, amazing grass and/or protein powder, flax seeds, chia seeds, etc.

Do you eat the same things for breakfast or do you have to switch it up?

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Filed under ask the nutritionist, coffee, eating local, eggs, fats, protein, Uncategorized, whole foods, whole grains

Foodbuzz 24×24: Kids Cooking Club

Last week, I told you that there was something exciting happening soon at Camp Endeavor. My Kids Cooking Club proposal  was chosen to be a part of this months 24×24, sponsored by Foodbuzz, and our meal was Saturday night! The concept was to have a group of kids at camp come up with a menu for our Saturday night cookout. Once the meal was decided on, they would help prepare the meal for their fellow campers. Reminded me a bit of Dinner Impossible, but I was hoping for a little less stress.

Planning:

There was no problem in finding enough campers to help, in fact so many of them wanted to be involved that we decided to hold another Kids Cooking Club in a few weeks. I just can’t turn down kids who want to cook! After the group was decided on, it was time to get to work.

Armed with some cookbooks and a handout on planning a menu with a few ideas, we discussed how to build a menu, pick a theme and prepare food that everyone will like. They decided to go with an Italian theme and I couldn’t have been more impressed with the menu they decided on. Whoever says that kids will only eat mac & cheese hasn’t met these kids. The only steering I had to do was suggest a vegetable side instead of a starch – the spinach in the salad? Entirely their idea.

Menu:

  • Grilled Pizzas with Fresh Herbs and Veggie Toppings Bar
  • Romaine & Spinach Salad with Home-made Croutons & Dressing
  • Vanilla Ice Cream with Fresh Berries or Grilled Fruit

Shopping:

Most of the campers opted to go to the pool instead of to the store – a choice I would have made myself if given the choice – it was a hot day! Fewer people allowed for a quick and easy trip, just what we wanted considering what was ahead of us.

I even learned something new at the store from Emily! She taught me a way to tell if pineapple is ripe –  if the leaves pull out easily, the pineapple is ready to eat!

We also had an interesting dilemma in the pizza aisle. When comparing the whole wheat pizza crust vs the white pizza crust, I expected to show Emily the reasons why whole wheat is a better choice – more fiber, protein, vitamins, etc. Oddly enough, the nutrition stats were exactly the same and the ingredients? Essentially the same as well. I’m not sure if there was a mistake in the ingredient list, but the only difference in the crusts seemed to be the color. I let Emily decide which crust to go with and she decided on the Thin & Crispy because, “we’ve had enough whole-wheat.” Ahh, you can’t win them all 🙂

Preparing:

The plan of attack – with about 3 hours before dinner- was to make the ranch dressing first, in order to let the flavors meld together. We would then make the croutons, move on to the pizza toppings, which were all going to be sautéed, and finish up with the salad and dessert preparation. The actual pizzas would be prepared and cooked once we got up to the grill and right before dinner.

We chopped more fruits and veggies then I’ve ever done in an afternoon and also sampled a lot of fresh herbs, vegetables and fruits along the way. A few of the kids had never had fresh pineapple before and they were shocked at how delicious it is!

We sometimes overhear campers longing for certain foods – typically fast food and pop, but on our walk over to the grilling/lake area, I overheard them saying, “when I get home I’m going to have my Mom buy me 7 pineapples!” I can’t be certain, but I think I had a huge grin on my face at that moment. This is what I’m here for, to introduce kids to fresh foods and have them longing for pineapple, not pop.

The Meal:

When someone asks for the recipe to a salad, you know you’ve done something right. But I can’t take the credit for this one – the campers came up with this salad idea. The fresh herbs added some flavor they weren’t used to and the home-made croutons and ranch dressing made the salad a definite crowd-pleaser.

Our grilled pizzas were served along with a “toppings bar” where everyone could choose what toppings they wanted to add to their pizza slice – sautéed peppers, onions, mushrooms and olives were the choices and it was up to the campers if they wanted all or nothing, and everything in between. The pizzas turned out fabulous, the crispy crust was a perfect base for a mound of toppings.

The boys were still talking about the salad the next day and while not all of them were fans of the feta or fans of the dressing, they all tried it, and most loved it.

Dessert was a hit too, I often forget how good ice cream is with some fresh berries and I was introduced to how good it is with grilled fruits as well. Grilling the pineapple and nectarines caramelizes the sugars and turns it into an amazing treat!  It truly was the perfect ending to the perfect cookout.

Will we do it again? We just might have to. I don’t want to stop introducing cooking, fresh & wholesome foods to kids, one delicious meal at a time. Thanks to Foodbuzz for a wonderful evening!

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Filed under article, eating local, fruit, great meals, grocery shopping, ice cream, lose weight, salad, vegetables, whole foods, whole grains

what to do with 15 pounds of morels

Since all of my friends and family know I love food, I am the recipient of some interesting calls at times. I can handle, “what do I do with zucchini and onions” or “what should I do with truffle oil,” but the question I received last night stopped me dead in my tracks.

“What do I do with 15 pounds of morel mushrooms?” left me screaming expletives that I would never repeat in front of my mother. It just isn’t fair I wailed. I want to go out in the woods and forage for mushrooms but lets be real, even more than that, I want pounds and pounds of morels at my disposal that I don’t have to pay $50/pound for.

The call came from my brother who is currently 25 and single, a wild land firefighter, and living in Idaho. Don’t ask me to elaborate where in Idaho, all I know is that he lives 3 hours from the nearest grocery store, doesn’t have the internet and can’t get cell service to save his life. I’m not sure which of those situations is worst but I’m leaning towards the grocery store.

The upside of Idaho is that the shirt I bought him a few years back will finally come in handy for something.

But getting back to the mushrooms, when I asked him what he had already done with them I was reminded of the Forrest Gump Movie when Bubba is describing the many ways to eat shrimp.

Drew has already sautéed in butter, put them on pizza, deep-fried (yes, I was horrified too), breaded and sautéed and was simply running out of options. I requested that he overnight me a few pounds, but then I remembered that he would probably have to send them via horseback or something and that simply won’t cut it.

My immediate thoughts were to put them in a Quiche and include them in a pasta dish. But since I have access to things like the internet I told him I would see what I could find. As of no surprise, there are endless amounts of delicious-sounding morel mushroom recipes, so here is what I would make with a stash of morels.  Just in case you have a few pounds lying around 😉

Lasagna with Asparagus, Leeks and Morels

Fettuccine with Morel Mushrooms and Sage Cream

Scrambled Eggs with Ramps, Morels and Asparagus

Beef Tenderloin Steaks Stuffed with Morels

Creamy Mushrooms on Toasted Country Bread

Spring Vegetable Sauté

What would you do with a pound of morels?

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Filed under ask the nutritionist, cheese, eating local, eggs, farmers market, focus on, herbs, in season, Recipes, vegetables, website

Brat Fest

This weekend marks one of Wisconsin’s favorite holidays, Brat-Fest. Which means more brats are consumed in the next three days then most of the country can even imagine. But when in Wisconsin, complete with Capital Brewery beer, you know anything is possible.

The wonderful thing about this event – besides eating multiple brats, hot dogs and even veggie dogs is that the money made goes to support local charities. Something I’ll even eat a brat to, if for some reason I started needing excuses.

Growing up in Wisconsin, I certainly had my fair share of brats, mainly during the summer months, when grilling is a must, and brats are plentiful. I picked up these brats at the local Meat Market in my home town, because, let’s face it,  brats are just better when they come from Wisconsin. 😉

Enjoy your long weekend and if you are in Wisconsin, be sure to celebrate with a brat!

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Filed under eating local, in the news, protein, Uncategorized

asparagus with feta

I’m convinced that I could eat asparagus every single day – I love it that much. Usually, a bit of olive oil, garlic and salt is all it needs, but I do appreciate pairing it with some salty cheese every now and then. This most recent side dish used feta and it went perfectly with some grilled salmon.

I’ve never quite understood how people can claim to not like vegetables, but I’m fairly certain it’s just because they haven’t had veggies prepared correctly…they don’t know what they are missing!

Grilled Asparagus with Feta – 2 servings

  • 1 bunch asparagus, ends snapped off
  • 1/2 Tbsp olive oil
  • 2 oz feta cheese
  • salt & pepper

Heat grill to medium. Season asparagus with olive oil, salt and pepper. Grill for about 10 minutes, depending on size. Cut into thirds and crumble feta cheese over top.

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Filed under cheese, eating local, fats, great meals, in season, Recipes, Uncategorized, vegetables, whole foods

breakfast quesadilla

The Breakfast Quesadilla at the French Meadow Cafe has got to be one of my favorite items on the menu. Sprouted tortillas? Love. Eggs? Love. Spinach? Love. Cheese? Obviously.

It has been far to long since I’ve visited the cafe, but I was craving that quesadilla so I decided to make it myself. The taster suggested adding some peppers, onions and mushrooms to the egg mixture and I’m always happy to add some extra vegetables to meals – the more vegetables the better in my book.

While this may be called a Breakfast Quesadilla, I consider  to be a well-balanced meal anytime of the day. And I can tell you from experience that it happens to taste wonderful at dinner time.

Breakfast Quesadilla – 2 servings

Spray pan with cooking spray and add onions, peppers and mushrooms, stirring occasionally over medium heat. Add eggs and cooked until set, 2-3 minutes. Heat large pan over medium heat. Place one tortilla in pan and layer with egg mixture, spinach and cheese. Top with other tortilla and cook until cheese has melted. Slice and serve with guacamole, salsa and jalapeño sour cream.

 

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Filed under cheese, eating local, eggs, great meals, protein, Recipes, restaurants, Uncategorized, vegetables, whole foods, whole grains

earth day 2010

I like to be thoughtful of our earth year round, but I must say that the warm, spring days we’ve been having as of late make me appreciate mother nature so much more than blistery, below-zero days.  Springtime in Minnesota is really a sight to see, I swear the population increases by about 75%, but possibly it is just everyone returning to the outdoors after many months of  hibernation. 😉

My parents were “green” before it even turned into an everyday term and maybe, just maybe, I’ve picked up some of my “green-ness” from them. Because it was basically instilled in me, I had no other choice! I have very fond memories of my little brother taking the compostable garbage out to the compost pile – which he considered the WORST possible job on the planet. (It took all of 2 minutes to complete) But they did (and still do) everything they can to keep as much out of the landfills as they can.

I do the everyday “earth friendly” things like recycling, bringing my own bags to the store with me, buying organic (and local when possible), walking instead of driving as much as it allows and just being aware of what resources I’m using in general. Unfortunately, my 10th floor downtown apartment doesn’t quite allow for a compost pile, but all in good time, I do what I can right now.

I am a strong believer that little changes add up – just as I believe little changes in the foods we eat and movement we get can change our bodies and ourselves for the better – no matter how small the changes are, they are worth it!  Because of this, I’m willing to spend more money on food and household items that go the extra mile in either using or producing products that help protect the planet.  A few years ago I started replacing my cleaning supplies with more natural versions without the harsh chemicals – I love reading the 7th Generation packages that share things like this:

Doesn’t that just make you want to make the switch right now? Another small change that I recently implemented was bringing a water bottle with me to our trip to Colorado. I rarely buy drinks in plastic bottles at home, but never think twice about it while traveling. (I need water, right?) This little change saved at least 10 plastic water bottles from ending up in a landfill and if that doesn’t count for something, I’m not sure what does.

What small changes can you make?

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Filed under ask the nutritionist, eating local, grocery shopping, in my cupboard, in season, in the news, product review