Category Archives: Nutrition

One-Dish Meal: Spicy Thai Basil Eggplant Recipe

If there’s one thing I’m confident with in the kitchen, it’s a one-dish meal. I’m all for efficiency, simplicity and easy clean-up! While I love home-cooked meals, and don’t mind cooking them myself, I steer clear of complicating things.

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Here’s the deal: I do not love eggplant. It doesn’t have a ton of flavor, it can be very tough on the jaw, and it dries out very quickly.

But every vegetable deserves a fair chance in this world! I DO love ordering the eggplant dish at Thai restaurants, and that just flat-out baffles me. How do they do it?! It’s always soft, and edible, and flavorful (read: spicy!), and delicious. I order it without reserve; I know they’ll nail it and I’ll want another plateful for leftovers (because no, there are no leftovers).

I’m growing basil plant #5 in the backyard and it was begging for an excuse to be harvested. I picked up an eggplant at Trader Joe’s and thought, “Okay, let’s do-si-do one more time…”

Spicy Thai Basil Eggplant
Makes ~4 servings, or 2 big ones

2 Tbsp coconut oil
1 Tbsp minced garlic (~2 cloves)
1/2 red onion, sliced
1 eggplant, chopped into cubes
1 Tbsp sesame oil
Basil, to taste (~3/4 cup fresh leaves, chopped)
1 can(15 oz)  fire-roasted tomatoes
2-3 cups fresh greens: arugula, spinach OR kale (optional)
1 tsp cayenne pepper (or to taste)
Red pepper flakes, to taste (if you really like that spice!)
Optional: top with sunflower, sesame and/or pumpkin seeds

Heat the coconut oil over medium in a large sauté pan (or wok). Add garlic, stirring for 1 minute. Add red onions; cook and stir for 1-2 minutes. Add eggplant, tomatoes, sesame oil and seasonings (cayenne). Continue cooking this mix until the eggplant softens (8-10 minutes); add 1/8 – 1/4 cup water if it looks dry. Stir in the basil and greens; cook until softened.

Top with seeds for extra crunch, flavor and healthy fats!

2014-08-10 19.07.22Suggested summer pairing: Water + Watermelon Ale (not mixed together), to quench the spice and your thirst.

Eggplant, you’ve redeemed yourself! I think you have basil, spices and tomato juice to thank. But we’ll take it.

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What’s your favorite one-dish meal?

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Filed under dinners, food, Nutrition, recipes

LOVE (GF) Giveaway – Beans for Breakfast?

It’s no secret I love me some LOVE (Grown Foods), and every time the HQ team comes out with news for us it’s impossible to read it without a big ol’ smile! They are always so pumped about what’s going on, and their enthusiasm spreads far and wide!

In fact, it’s taken them so far that now the brand new Power O’s (gluten-free) Cereals are landing themselves right on the Whole Foods shelves! People are excited about having beans for breakfast – and why shouldn’t they be?! They’re essentially hidden in the form of adorable little o’s that taste delicious. Full of fiber, protein & other good things. And the Love team is so  pumped about this that they’re giving more cereal away fo’ free!

THIS IS LOVE:

Power Os Giveaway

Do ya want some?

Leave some love below & let me know – by Friday August 1!
(US & Canada residents only – please and thanks!)

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Find the LOVE team online @lovegrownfoods (tweeting & insta-ing) and in stores @WholeFoods markets! #beansforbreakfast #powerOs

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Filed under Giveaway, Nutrition

What I Ate Wednesday: RD Edition, Tagged & Delivered

There are a few reasons why I rarely, if ever, share food log-type posts, but there was once a time that you would see a few recipes here n’ there, some meal recaps and a lot of LGF love. In what was now probably more than a month ago, Anne asked if I would put up a “WIAW” post if tagged, and I said “sure!”. She tagged.

Dear Anne,
I apologize for severe procrastination here. Let’s still be friends!

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Without further ado: we breakfast.

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(Melissa, 10 points if you can name this exact location!)

This photo is a few weeks old, but mirrors what most mornings look like. I have a huge glass of water before anything else – but then it’s right to the coffee (usually black or with a splash of almond or soy milk), and the peanut butter. Banana? That’s just a peanut-butter vehicle. I do love me some potassium and fiber, though.

Grab a spoon, a napkin, and a healthy appetite for nut butter!

On occasion you’ll see oatmeal + cinnamon here, too. On another occasion, you might see scrambled eggs + avocado + veggie(s). Sometimes things get fancy!

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Now that I work from home, nothing has changed about my lunch routine. I chop up a variety of fresh vegetables, aiming for at least 2-3 colors in the mix, toss in some pumpkin seeds and sliced avocado, and when I’ve planned ahead, a hard-boiled egg.

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One big difference of this work-from-home business? My home came stocked with a lemon tree in the backyard. So lovely, so California. This beauty’s dressing came courtesy of this tree’s abundant supply – freshly squeezed juice, and a few chopped basil leaves.

Top this off with some Farmer’s Market strawberries and a piece of dark chocolate. Perfecto!

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On the dinner menu: Tuna steaks and cooked vegetables.

There is no shortage of greens in this house!We usually snack on kale chips and/or carrots + hummus while we cook – un-pictured, but you know what snacky foods look like.

WIAW_fish dinner

Poor photo, great foods.

This colorful plate came together courtesy of fresh-from-the-farm asparagus and tomatoes. Summer is the only time you’ll see fresh heirloom tomatoes in my rotation – I’m not sorry for being a tomato snob. After placing tomatoes on the “never eating!!” list for 21 years of life, I take their new spot on my “favorites!” list seriously. Dice one of these babes up and sprinkle some salt, pepper and balsamic on there? It’s simply the best.

Smeared on that fish you see a spicy green curry paste, courtesy of Trader Joe’s.

Dessert: usually another piece of dark chocolate, perhaps a handful of walnuts (my fave) and maybe some dried fruit. And maybe a peanut-butter dip. Maybe.

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What was on your menu yesterday?
Taking tips for fish-grilling, as we put together the Weber today!

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Filed under about me, food, Nutrition, what to eat

Eat The Green Spoon: Whole Food, GF, Home-Delivered Meals (DC, VA)

If someone offered to deliver a locally and sustainably sourced, gluten-free, chef-cooked meal to your door, would you turn that down?

Yah, I didn’t either.

eatgreenspoon_Meals

Hanson, owner and founder of The Green Spoon, personally reached out to see if I had any interest in taste-testing their meals. His pitch needs little to no pizzazz. The company’s values speak for themselves, and they speak loudly to the target demographics!

Do I want a gourmet meal prepared by a trained chef, that happens to also be gluten-free, sourced locally and sustainably, nutritionally balanced and, of course, full of flavor, delivered to my doorstep? Well, sir, I can’t think of a person who would say “No” to that question. So, yes, absolutely!

I was anticipating one meal. If the Chef was feeling generous or the kitchen had leftovers or some other luck-of-the-universe situation happened, maybe a meal for him, too.

I provided the address and he gave me a time of delivery; perfecto, I’ll be there! What I wasn’t expecting when I opened the door was a bag FULL of meals (see above). We didn’t need to cook for the rest of the week!

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thegreenspoon_infographic

Our sample meals included:

Mahi Mahi Napa Salad | Salmon with Mango Salad & Brown Rice | Grilled Rib-Eye with Tomato Relish & Balsamic Steak Sauce over Mashed Sweet Potatoes | Almond-Crusted Fish Sticks, Broccoli & Carrots (steamed) with Cauliflower Mash | Seared Halibut with Citrus “Soy” Sauce, Brown Rice with Bok Choy, Sweet Peppers & Cauliflower Mash | Chicken with Zucchini (GF) Waffles with Mixed Berry Agave Compote & Vegetable Medley

The Details:

Sources are listed for all foods.
Meals are organic.
Meals are gluten-free.
Produce is determined by seasonal availability.

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eatgreenspoon_fish

eatgreenspoon_fishsticks

A few of these were dinner, while a few were a very handy, healthy packable lunch. They’re easy to reheat and taste like they were freshly cooked, no matter how you warm them up (instructions included). Flavors between the protein, vegetables and starches were all very complimentary and we enjoyed the meal’s variety of textures and colors. Each sample received two-thumbs up from the respective taste-testers (my pescetarian tastebuds & the meat-eating fiancée).

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If you’re in the DC area, check these guys out! Order something. Branch out of your dinner-eating comfort zones!

They specify delivery zones and, as I’ve mentioned, bring it right to your door. While I’m not one to order weekly meals, I think this could be a creative solution to small dinner parties, or a date-night “in”, or perhaps fooling the family while they’re in town?

You decide how you’d like to enjoy your Green Spoon plate, but just know that you’ll be happy to support this crew.

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eatgreenspoondc.com

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Full disclosure: All meals were provided free of charge.

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Filed under DC, dinners, food, health, lunches, Nutrition

That One Time I Food-Logged

This is a story of the teacher becoming the student,  the coach becoming the athlete, the dietitian standing underneath the  magnifying glass and being all like, “Whoa. Do I REALLY eat that much peanut butter?!?”

Answer: Yes. Yes, I do. Own it; keep buying that extra jar at TJ’s so it never truly runs out. Crisis management is my forte here.

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As part of {marathon} training, the Coach requested a food log**. I suppose in some sense it was voluntary, and it was totally up to us (as the “athlete”) to do something or absolutely nothing with it. I could record, submit blindly (i.e. I don’t have a hard copy), and forget about it entirely. Or, I could say, “Hmm, whatcha think about all of that?. I haven’t done the latter yet, but I’m certainly not opposed to it. I hope that I am never so arrogant as to assume my diet is perfect, there is no room for improvement, and I hit every micro- and macro-nutrient need-nail on the head.

Confession: Rather, I know that the latter is absolutely not true. I’d applaud anyone who can honestly say that they accomplish this on a daily basis. And then I’d say “Dude, relax. Life’s too short, ya know.”

salsa

Replace “hate myself” with “stomach disagrees, entirely.”

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What did I learn?

Maybe it’s a good idea to pack a serving of pb for my oatmeal at work, and leave the jar at home! I’d certainly save a few dollars by not having to restock so often.

I don’t eat as much fruit in the winter. I probably already knew this, but as with anything, it becomes really clear when you write it down. I enjoy winter citrus fruits (mainly grapefruit), but try to veer from things I know aren’t in season yet (i.e. “on sale” strawberries that probably taste like nothing), so the options are limited! No doubt I make up for this in the spring and summer, so, we’ll just leave it at that for now.

I could revamp my work-snacks. I love me some Trader Joe’s one-serving trail mix bags, but that’s been a habit for a long time and there’s always room for more variety.

My system gets a LOT of veggies, and kale chips. Pats-on-the-back. It’s okay to brag, sometimes.

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I rarely ask clients to log their food; it’s a useful tool, yes, but it comes with a LOT of footnotes.

The con: No matter how many times you say it’s not for any judgment, and should reflect normal eating patterns, and should NOT change any decisions (that’s for us to work on later), it will never be a true representation of one’s diet. It’s just nearly impossible to log your intake without that nagging voice saying “…really? You want to write another handful of tortilla chips?” and/or your conscience responding, “You’re so right, annoying-voice! I’ll put them back in the bag.” It screws with you, and I understand every reason why (even more so, now).

The PRO: if you’re looking for some ways you can tone up this meal or that snack, making it stronger for fueling you and your health goals, this is one of the best ways to do it.

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If you’re ever tasked* with keeping a food log, keep that PRO in mind. If you’re concerned with some of your current behaviors or habits, and choose to do this on your own accord, add a few extra footnotes – hunger levels, stress, sleep, energy, mood, etc. Remember that eating is only one ingredient in the recipe for overall health.

*And remember that the health professional asking you to log (if applicable) isn’t perfect and (likely) doesn’t expect you to be either.

**I have only ever “logged” my food before as an assignment for classes in college. It was only ever for my eyes and my assessing; submitting it to someone else was a first for me.

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Filed under advice, health, learning, Nutrition