Monday, November 30, 2015

Stress Buster Snacks to Go

The holiday season is often full of deadlines and parties and high calorie foods and drink.  With shopping, travel, a full calendar and less daylight to deal with the tasks- it's good to be prepared with healthy snacks.  Dried fruits and nuts, properly portioned, provide fiber and vitamins and controlled calories that won't derail a diet.

Today I join the conversation hosted by about on-the-go snacking.  I took the above photo of the snack packs I made for a 1400 mile trip earlier in the year.  The little clementine tangerines are now in season.  They are easy to peel and good to keep handy for any hunger attacks between meals.  

I make healthy snack packs year round by packing snack size zipper bags with dried fruit and nuts, referring to the portion size on the label.  Pecans, almonds and walnuts are easy to eat in the car.  Raisins, dates, figs and apricots are good.  Did you know that dried plums (prunes) are sold individually wrapped?  I put  the whole bag of these in the car-always handy when I need them.  

While pistachios may take a little longer to shell, I often sit in the parking lot at my water aerobics class and take a few minutes to get some good fats and gain energy to last till my after workout meal.

I pack a carrier with snack packs in the middle and travel supplies (hand sanitizer, pen, coupons, etc.) on the outside

and store it between the seats in the car: offers several Healthy Snacks  handouts and sells nuts, flours, herbs and spices, seeds and more.

 "Go nuts this holiday!"

Saturday, November 28, 2015

Seafood Stewards

In planning weekly menus, I opt to choose fish as the protein source for one or two entrees per week.  I know seafood is a healthy choice for consumers, but is it a healthy choice for the species and the environment?  

Sustainable agriculture is healthy for consumers and species with no harm to the environment.  It supports the rural communities and is humane for the workers.

Guidelines for choosing sustainable seafood:

  • Look for the MSC label.  Seafood with the Marine Stewardship Council label comes from fisheries independently certified to standards and are well managed.


  • Some trusted retailers now partner with sustainable fisheries.  Look for information in the store and on the web sites.  Talk to the worker at the seafood counter.

  • Buy American when possible.  Look for information on the package and at the counter.

  • Eat an array of different species.  The salmon and scallops we crave is depleting quicker than flounder and haddock.  

  • Smaller fish are more plentiful and have less mercury.

  • Eat smaller portions of seafood, filling the plate with more vegetables and some grains.

My meal tonight features haddock fillets purchased frozen with the MSC label.  There were 5 fillets in the 1 pound package.  It's topped with a tomato-olive-parsley salsa and served over a brown rice and mushroom pilaf and sauteed zucchini.  The fillet was sprinkled with Herbs de Provence and baked in the toaster oven at 350 F. for 15 minutes.

Brown Rice and Mushroom Pilaf

Serves 3

Saute celery, carrots and onion in olive oil for 3 minutes.
1 teaspoon olive oil
1/4 cup celery, diced
3 tablespoon carrots, peeled and diced
2 tablespoon onion, diced

Add garlic and mushrooms.
1 garlic clove, minced
1 cup baby portobello, diced

In a separate pan, cook rice in water for 5 minutes.  Stir in sauteed vegetables.
1/2 cup instant brown rice
1/2 cup water






Friday, November 27, 2015

Stone Soup Guest Blogger

"The Day After: How to Tackle Thanksgiving Leftovers" is my fifth post on the Food and Nutrition Blog.   Stone Soup is a guest blog written by members of the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics.  Guest bloggers from around the world share with Food & Nutrition Magazine.  I have always loved this magazine-especially the photos and am so pleased they shared my post.

Thanks for your interest in my healthy meals!   

Thursday, November 26, 2015

A Thankful Day

What a great Thanksgiving Day we enjoyed at home in West Virginia today.  The weather was gorgeous.  Chris and Cassie joined us for a mid-day feast and fun conversation and company.  Bob and I assembled the edible arrangement, then he took advantage of the beautiful weather and hung Christmas decorations. I spent the morning in my favorite uniform.

Thanksgiving Menu

Spiced Hot Cider
Fruit & Cheese Kabobs
Coffee-Chocolate Covered Turkey
Cider & Sage Gravy
Apple & Onion Cornbread Stuffing
Garlic Mashed Potatoes with Greek Yogurt
Green Beans
Challah Bread
Oreo Pie

We cut our fresh turkey from Working H Farm  into pieces, first cutting out the backbone, flattening the breast, cutting off the legs and cutting out the thigh bone.  The turkey is first roasted on the bottom rack of a 400 F. oven for 30 minutes, then moved to the top and roasted at 325 F.  It's basted every hour and bakes to an internal temperature of 165 F. in just a little over 2 hours.  Removing the thigh bone allows the thigh to be sliced perfectly wih an electric knife. 

The spice rub recipe was from Aldis.   

Coffee-Chocolate Covered Turkey Rub

2 teaspoons instant coffee
1 teaspoon garlic powder
1 teaspoon onion powder
1 1/2 teaspoon chili powder
2 teaspoon baking cocoa
2 teaspoon brown sugar
3 tablespoon Earth Balance Buttery Spread

My stuffing was made with the yummy Apple and Onion Cornbread I made last week.  I froze 1/2 of the loaf to use today.  I didn't have to add much to this:

to get this:

Apple & Onion Cornbread Stuffing
(Serves 8)

Cube bread and toast in 325 F. oven.
1/2 Apple & Onion Skillet Cornbread

Saute vegetables in buttery spread for 6-8 minutes.
1 cup onion, diced
2 celery stalks, diced
1 carrot, peeled and diced
2 garlic cloves, crushed
2 tablespoon Earth Balance Buttery spread

Place cubed toasted bread in a bowl.  Pour the egg over the bread and stir.  
1 egg, beaten
Add the sauteed vegetables and stock.
1 cup turkey stock
Bake at 350 F. for 45 minutes.

My delicious Challah bread recipe is in a previous post.   I bake these in shaped baguette type pans (2 sizes) and they come out perfect.

The potatoes were cooked with garlic, mashed and mixed with Greek Yogurt and milk.  I almost forgot the green beans.  The fresh beans were cooked with 1 slice of Canadian Bacon from the farm store.

On the weekend I made the little placecards, wrapping sugar cones with burlap (I used a glue gun to adhere them), printing digital tags and attaching with a decorative pin.  Those are little plastic grapes.

So glad our son Chris and Cassie joined us today-that made the day.  Thanks to Chris for bringing the pie and taking home leftover meals!



Tuesday, November 24, 2015

Bean Float

The Soup Issue of Food & Nutrition Magazine is "stocked" full of delicious recipes for this cold and sometimes dreary season.  This Sausage and White Bean Soup is the 3rd recipe I've tried (all have been delicious) and there are at least 2 more I will make. To cook the beans from the dry state, I soaked them overnight in water, cooked the beans for 1 1/2 hours this morning, then made the soup with very little effort after arriving home this evening.  A few tips to cook dry beans from scratch include using 2-3 times the volume of water to beans and to drain and rinse the beans with each step.  Refrigerate the beans after cooking.

Sausage and White Bean Soup

(2 servings)

Soak beans overnight in twice the amount of water.
1/2 cup navy beans, dry
Drain and rinse.
Add water to the beans in a pan, in a ratio of 2-3 times the volume of beans.  Bring to a boil.  Cover and reduce heat to low.  Simmer for 1 1/2 hours.  Drain, rinse and refrigerate until it's time to make the soup.
Saute shallots and garlic in olive oil for 2-3 minutes.
1/4 cup shallots, diced
1 garlic clove, crushed
1 teaspoon olive oil

Remove casing from sausage link and crumble into pan.
1-4 ounce Italian sausage link
Brown for 2-3 minutes.

Add tomatoes, pepper, thyme, oregano and bay leaf to pan.
4 Romano tomatoes, cubed
Fresh ground pepper
1/2 teaspoon thyme
3 sprigs oregano
1 bay leaf

Stir in chicken broth.  Bring to a boil.
2 cups low-sodium chicken broth

Stir in greens and cooked beans.
2 1/2 cups chopped fresh spinach and greens 

Cover and simmer for 15-20 minutes.

I purchase most of my meat from Working H Farms Stare where they raise and butcher their own animals.

To subscribe to the Food & Nutrition Magazine, or give a gift subscription, click here.    This magazine is free to members of the Academy.



Monday, November 23, 2015

Mac'n Maple

Pumpkin Macaroni and Cheese with Maple Glazed Carrots was a fitting dinner on this very cold Monday the week of Thanksgiving.  The Mac and Cheese is a recipe from the American Institute for Cancer Research.  The carrot recipe is from Clean Eating Magazine.  Those are local carrots and parsley I purchased at Saturday's Farmers Market.  

I've posted the Pumpkin Macaroni and Cheese recipe before.  Our servings are a little smaller than the amount listed here.

The carrots cooked magnificently in my new cast aluminum pan.  

Maple Glazed Carrots

(Serves 2)

Saute carrots (covered) in olive oil over medium heat for 5 minutes. 
2 large carrots, peeled and sliced in 1/4 inch sticks
1 teaspoon olive oil

Add broth, cover and simmer for 5 minutes.
1/2 cup low sodium chicken or vegetable broth

Add maple syrup.  Sprinkle with fresh snipped parsley.
1 tablespoon maple syrup
2 tablespoon fresh snipped parsley

Saturday, November 21, 2015

Cranberry Custard Pie

Fresh cranberries are stocked only during the holiday season, so I've purchased several bags and froze so I'll have them after the season is over.  I simply pulled the cranberries from the freezer and chopped them in the food processor without thawing for this recipe.  The original recipe is from Food Network Magazine.  My pie is a smaller version (made in a 6 inch pan);  the crust is homemade and whole wheat and the sugar is reduced to only 2 teaspoons per serving.  (The product tastes sweeter as it ages, so I refrigerated the baked pie overnight and ate my first piece for breakfast).  Here's how I made it:

Cranberry Custard Pie

(Serves 5)

Combine flour and salt in a food processor.  Cut in buttery spread.  Slowly add cold water.  Remove dough onto a floured surface or pastry cloth.  Roll to a 7 inch circle.  Place in 6 inch pie plate, pushing up the sides and pinching edges.  Refrigerate 30 minutes. 
3/4 cup whole wheat pastry flour
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 cup Earth Balance Buttery Spread
1 tablespoon 2 teaspoon cold water
Egg, beaten (see below) 
Brush with beaten egg.  Cover with foil weighted down with dry beans.  Bake at 350 15 minutes.  Remove foil.  Bake an additional 5 minutes.  Cool completely.

Chop cranberries in a food processor.  Mix in 3 tablespoon sugar and lime zest.
2 cups fresh cranberries
3 tablespoon sugar
1/3 teaspoon lime zest

Beat eggs, milk and 1 tablespoon sugar.
2 eggs (some of this is used to brush the edges of the pastry crust before baking)
7 tablespoon evaporated skim milk
1 tablespoon sugar 

Fill cooled pastry shell with cranberry mix.  Pour custard mix over.
Bake at 350 F. 45 minutes.

Have a great weekend.  I'll be heading to an indoor Farmers Market here in Morgantown (potatoes, carrots and winter squash are on my wish list), then to a local bakery for a loaf of Multigrain Bread.

Friday, November 20, 2015

Farmers' Market RDs in Today's Dietitian

Dietitians offer tips and ways for others to get involved in Leesha Lentz' article in the November issue of Today's Dietitian.  I was one of the 3 RDs interviewed.  Here are a few excerpts:

"At farmers' markets, you usually have a very healthy clientele, so it's a great place to get involved.  It's also a great opportunity to get exposure as RDs."
 "Most RDs are planners, which is necessary when it comes to cooking demos.  I looked at what was in season each month to plan ahead.  May is Strawberry Month and the tomatoes are later in the summer.  Fall is a good apple season."
"Our mission is to improve the health of the people we serve.  When you make food from scratch, using healthful ingredients, that's definitely a big contributor to maintaining good health and wellness."

Read the full article here.  


Wednesday, November 18, 2015

Baked Gold

This cornbread with apples, onions and thyme will make a great Thanksgiving stuffing.  Baked in a cast aluminum pan, the bread was delicious alone.  The recipe was inspired by Bon Appetit.  Because the pan was non-stick, I did not have to use as much buttery spread.

Cornbread with Apples, Onions & Thyme

(16 Servings)

Melt buttery spread over medium heat in a 12-inch cast aluminum skillet that is oven proof.
1 cup Earth Balance Buttery Spread
Pour melted spread into a separate bowl.

Add onion to the skillet and saute for 4 minutes.
1 large onion, thinly sliced

Add apples, 3 tablespoon sugar and 1 tablespoon thyme to the skillet.  Saute 4 more minutes.  Place onion-apple mix in a colander to drain any excess liquid. 
3 apples, sliced thin
3 tablespoon sugar
3 tablespoon thyme leaves

Mix dry ingredients-cornmeal, flour, baking powder, salt and 4 1/2 tablespoon sugar together.
2 1/4 cup cornmeal, whole grain
1 1/2 cup all purpose flour
1 1/2 tablespoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
4 1/2 tablespoon sugar

In a mixing bowl, beat eggs and buttermilk.  Add melted buttery spread.
3 eggs
2 1/4 cup buttermilk
Melted buttery spread
Add dry ingredients and mix until smooth (no lumps).  Stir in 1/2 of the apple-onion mix.

Pour batter into skillet (oven proof).  
Top with remaining apple-onion mix.  Sprinkle with1 teaspoon thyme. 
1 teaspoon thyme 

Bake in 400 F. oven for 40 minutes.  Cool in pan on rack for 20 minutes.  To remove from pan, place another rack over the top of the skillet and invert.  The bread slides right out.  Invert onto cooling rack.  Cool an additional 20 minutes before tasting.

Serves 16 wedges.  (I froze half of the bread to use in our Thanksgiving stuffing).



Monday, November 16, 2015

Turkey Encores

That large roasted Thanksgiving turkey can serve as many as 30 portions.  Most folks look forward to a delicious turkey sandwich the day after the feast, but turkey fatigue sets in if you try and eat it all within a few days.  Freezing packets of the roasted meat gives homemade turkey meals for weeks to come.   

Safety Tips for Freezing Meat

  • Limit the time the turkey sets at room temperature after roasting.
  • Slice and chill in shallow layers and store in the refrigerator.
  • Freeze in 1 or 2 meal packets.
  • Only reheat once.
  • Thaw in the refrigerator.
  • Reheat to 165 F.
  • Use within 4 days of thawing. 

Creative Turkey Entrees

Turkey Pot Pie

Turkey Slider

Roasted turkey can be chopped and used in recipes that call for ground turkey. Just add an egg to the mixture so that it sticks together.

Turkey Sliders

(Serves 2)

Mix in mini food processor until turkey is ground.  Form into patties.
6 ounce roasted turkey
1 egg
4 baby bella mushrooms
1/3 cup fresh spinach leaves
2 tablespoon shallots
2 tablespoon oats
1 teaspoon balsamic vinegar

Heat olive oil in a skillet on stove top.  Over medium heat, cook burgers (covered) for 5 minutes.  Flip and cook 5 minutes more.  Test internal temperature to make sure the patties are at 165 F.

Serve on a grainy roll with tomatoes and Dijon mustard.

Grilled Turkey Sandwich

Balsamic Syrup 

Heat vinegar and honey to reduce to 1/2 the amount.
6 tablespoon balsamic vinegar
1 tablespoon honey

Spread organic buttery spread on one side of grainy bread.  Place bread buttered side down onto a grill or pan.  Add fresh sliced tomatoes with turkey, cheese, herbs, greens and vegetables of choice.  Drizzle each with 2 teaspoon balsamic syrup.  Top with the other slice of bread.  Brown one side, then turn and brown the second side.

What to do with the delicious stock in the bottom of the roasting pan?

Make Turkey Bouillon

The process is simple:
  • Strain the broth from the bottom of the roasting pan into a clean shallow pan.  I used a 9 X 14 inch cake pan with a lid. 
  • Refrigerate the broth overnight.
  • Remove the fat layer from the top of the broth and discard.  The fat rises to the top of the broth after cooling and is very easy to remove. 
  • Scoop the broth into clean ice cube trays and freeze overnight.
  • Remove bouillon cubes from ice trays.  Place in a storage container with a lid.  Freeze and remove cubes as needed.

Have a great holiday!



Sunday, November 15, 2015

Cornbread-Topped Chili

This simple chili is a great way to use bits of leftover meats and any vegetable.  Tonight I used roasted turkey as the meat and an assortment of fresh, canned and frozen vegetables I had on hand.  This recipe was inspired by Eating Well.

Cornbread-Topped Chili

(Serves 2)

Saute shallots in olive oil for 2 minutes.  Add chili powder and other fresh raw vegetables.  Saute 3 minutes, stirring occasionally.
2 tablespoon shallots, diced
1 teaspoon olive oil
1 tablespoon chili powder
1/2 cup carrots, peeled and diced
1/4 cup celery, diced
1/4 cup parsnips, peeled and diced

Add tomatoes, water and bouillon.  Heat to boiling.  Lower heat and simmer.  Add shelled edamame (I used the frozen version).  Simmer until broth is reduced.
3/4 cup diced tomatoes in juice
1/2 cup water
1/2 vegetable bouillon cube
1/3 cup edamame

Cornmeal Crust
Mix cornmeal, baking powder, salt and pepper.
1/2 cup whole grain cornmeal
1/4 teaspoon baking powder
Fresh ground pepper
Dash of salt

Beat together egg, milk, lemon juice and oil.
1 egg
1/4 cup soy milk
1/2 teaspoon lemon juice
2 teaspoon olive oil
Stir liquid ingredients into dry cornmeal mix.

Pour vegetable mixture into individual oven proof dishes.  (I greased with an olive oil spray).  Top with cornmeal batter.

Bake at 400 F. for 20 minutes.

 Enjoy your week!