Wednesday, March 30, 2016

Why I Write for Stone Soup

I spent most of my Dietetics career planning and feeding healthy meals to large groups of people.  My role serving 1400 meals a day and supervising 2 dozen food service employees was a challenge.  My goal to entice customers to choose healthy was a mission that took me two decades.  The food, the service and the surroundings could make or break a customer's day in the cafeteria just as they can influence family members in meals at home.  The job was detailed, tedious and sometimes frustrating. 

Planning, preparing and serving healthy home meals is enjoyable and rewarding. Retirement gives me time to create even more healthy recipes and meals.

Why do I write for Stone Soup?

  • I like to share my meals, recipes and photographs with an interested audience.
  • I stay abreast of the latest evidence based research to support nutrient and ingredients in meals and recipes.
  • I keep informed of the latest food trends.
  • I use foods in season.
  • I try new and different foods.
  • Every two months, the editor sends out "challenges" to bloggers, suggesting post topics for the next period.  The topics include topics I have to research. For example, one of the topics was "sustainable seafood".  I should (but didn't) know much about the topic.Now I'm better able to choose healthy seafood for me and the environment.
  • I've become a better writer.  In more posts, I include more "how tos" and "whys" beyond the recipe.
  • I renewed my authenticity in recipe writing and accuracy.  When my "pitch" was accepted for a carbohydrate conscious recipe in the diabetes issue of Food and Nutrition Magazine, I was sent a digital scale and tested, repeated, and followed detailed guidelines for international readers.
  • I love to create recipes, styled photo settings and posts.
  • I contribute to the profession.  Bob Schieffer, retired American journalist, summed it up when he said "Old people like to be asked their opinion".  This is my chance after retirement to contribute to the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics and feel worthy of the Registered Dietitian credentials.  

My latest post for Stone Soup:

    "A Bunch of Reasons to Cook Seafood in Banana Leaves"


From Stone Soup Bloggers:

Monday, March 28, 2016

My Skillet Breakfast: Oatmeal Souffle

My friend Lucy says "it's back on the wagon", as we head back to a normal routine after the Easter holiday. This breakfast is a perfect way to do just that.  The recipe, from Food and Wine Magazine, has high quality protein, whole grain, fruit and a whole glass of milk. 

Oatmeal Souffle

(Serves 1)

Combine oats, milk, sugar and salt in a saucepan.  Bring to a simmer and cook until thick, stirring occasionally.  Cool slightly.
1/3 cup dry oats
1 cup skim or soy milk
1 teaspoon brown sugar
Pinch of salt

Stir the egg yolk into the oatmeal.  Fold in the berries and lemon zest.
1 egg yolk
1/2 cup diced fresh strawberries
1/4 cup blackberries
1/4 teaspoon lemon zest

Whip egg white until stiff peaks form.  Gently fold the whites into the oatmeal.  
1 egg white
Scrape mixture into individual iron skillet.  Bake for about 20 minutes at 350F. until brown and puffy.  Garnish with a small amount of maple syrup.

Have a great week!



Friday, March 25, 2016

Grainy Berries & Fruity Berries

Wheat berries cooked in a sweet and spicy sauce, yogurt, fresh berries and nuts.  Can you think of a better breakfast parfait?  The berries are locally grown in Terra Alta, West Virginia, on the farm of my good friend Tom McConnell.  The recipe was inspired by Martha Rose Shulman.  

Wheat Berry Parfait

(Serves 2)

Bring berries and water to a boil.  Reduce heat, cover and simmer 1 hour.  Place in refrigerator overnight.
1/4 cup wheat berries
1 cup water

Add water, honey, spices and dried fruit to the wheat berries.  On stove top, bring to a boil.  Reduce heat, cover and simmer for 1 hour.  Remove lid the last few minutes to evaporate some liquid.  (Do not completely evaporate as the juice is very tasty).
1/4 cup water
1 teaspoon honey
1/4 teaspoon fennel seeds
1/8 teaspoon cinnamon
Dash grated nutmeg
1 tablespoon dates, chopped
1 tablespoon dried apricots, chopped

Layer yogurt, wheat berries and fresh berries in a bowl.  Top with chopped walnuts.
2/3 cup Greek Yogurt
1 cup strawberries, diced
1/2 cup blackberries
2 tablespoon chopped walnuts 

I was so please to see that Tom now sells several of his local farm goodies.  I've purchased his pinto beans and hard red spring wheat at WorkingH Farm Store near Friendsvile, Md.  He's added these wheat berries, wheat bran and more.  These products are also for sale at Fish Hawk Acres and Wild Ramp Stores. 

Here are the multigrain pancakes I made with Tom's Hard Spring Wheat for another tasty breakfast:  
                               Multigrain Pancakes

Enjoy your weekend!



Wednesday, March 23, 2016

Splendid Egg Colors as Nature Intended

Many of the colorful foods we're encouraged to eat also make pretty egg dyes without the artificial ingredients.  Red cabbage, turmeric and red wine make striking tones.  Instant coffee, saffron, cranberries and spinach add that one-of-a-kind tone,some with patterns.  The recipe was inspired by Earth Fare grocery store. 

Natural Egg Dye

Bring water, salt and vinegar to boil.
4 cups water
2 tablespoon white vinegar
2 teaspoon salt 

In separate containers, place hard cooked egg(s) and vinegar water.  Add natural ingredients for desired colors.

2/3 cup red cabbage, chopped
1 teaspoon saffron 
 3 packets instant coffee
2 tablespoon grated tumeric
3 ounce red wine

My eggs soaked with fresh chopped spinach turned a very light green.

I simmered fresh cranberries in the vinegar water and added to one container.  The result was a patterned-almost camouflaged look. Perhaps I needed to remove the berries and include the juice only.

Next year I'll try raw beets!


Tuesday, March 22, 2016

A Toast to Teff

Versatile teff is every bit as good for breakfast as it is for dinner.  When cooked with dates, cloves and honey, this breakfast porridge is sweet and filling, with a texture that reminded me of chia jam.  The recipe is on the Bob's Red Mill package.  

Teff Porridge with Dates & Honey

(Serves 1)

In a saucepan over medium heat, toast teff for 3 minutes, stirring constantly.
2 tablespoon teff

Add buttery spread, cloves and water.  Bring to a boil, lower heat and simmer for 10 minutes.
1/3 teaspoon buttery spread
2 whole cloves
3 ounce water

Stir in dates and honey.  Simmer for 5 additional minutes.
2 tablespoon dates, chopped
1 teaspoon honey

Serve with strawberries.
2 large strawberries, diced 

I bet this is good cold-layered in a parfait with yogurt and fruit!


Thursday, March 17, 2016

Spring Brunch Bird's Nest

These shredded potato nests can be baked ahead, then filled with egg yolks and baked for 10 minutes more on the day of the meal.  Served with a hearty bread and another vegetable or fruit, and with a glass of milk-this is an affordable, nutrient dense meal fitting for a special occasion.

Egg in a Potato Nest

(4 Nests)

Using a box cutter, shred potato into a bowl of cold water.  Add diced onion and set aside for 20 minutes.
1 medium potato, peeled
2 tablespoon diced onion
Place potato-onion mixture into a colander and drain.
Toss potato mixture onto a clean absorbent towel.   Roll towel with potatoes inside.  Squeeze and twist to remove any excess water.  Shake potatoes into a dry bowl.

Add 2 tablespoons of the egg whites to the dry potato mix.  Season with a no salt herb mix of your choice.  Mix.
4 eggs, separated
1/2 teaspoon no salt herb seasoning

Divide potato mixture into a muffin tin greased with an olive oil spray.  Push potatoes up the sides, leaving an indentation in the center big enough for the egg yolk.  Bake at 400 F. for 15 minutes.  Egg nests can be frozen or refrigerated at this point to serve later.
Place 1 egg yolk in each potato "nest".  Bake for 10 minutes at 400 F. until egg yolk is set.

What to do with extra egg whites?  Make macaroons! 


Tuesday, March 15, 2016

An Ancient Grain in a Modern Dinner Bowl

Shrimp, edamame, teff, spinach and carrots with a side of mango and a glass of skim milk.  Does it get any better than that?  The recipe was inspired by Clean Eating Magazine.

Sesame Shrimp Grain Bowl

(Serves 2)

Marinate shrimp in soy sauce, ginger, Miran, sesame oil and garlic. 
6 ounce jumbo shrimp, tail on, peeled and deveined
1 tablespoon soy sauce, reduced sodium
1 tablespoon grated fresh ginger
1 1/2 teaspoon Miran
1 teaspoon sesame oil
1 garlic clove, crushed

Teff and Edamame
Heat oil over medium heat.  Add garlic and teff.  Stir and toast for 3 minutes.
1 teaspoon sesame oil
1 garlic clove, crushed
1/4 cup teff

Add water.  Bring to a boil.  Cover and lower heat to simmer.  Simmer for 10 minutes.
1 cup water

Add edamame to teff mixture.  Simmer 10 additional minutes.
1/2 cup edamame 

Shrimp and Vegetables
In a 10-inch skillet, heat olive oil.  Add onion, carrots, garlic and ginger.  Cover and cook for 15 minutes. 
1 teaspoon olive oil
1/3 cup onion, diced
1/3 cup colorful carrots, peeled and diced
1 garlic clove, crushed
1 tablespoon grated fresh ginger

Add marinated shrimp mixture and spinach.  Saute for 5 minutes, turning shrimp after a few minutes.
3 cups fresh spinach, stems removed

Serve shrimp and vegetables over teff and edamame.

Garnish with toasted sesame seeds.
2 teaspoons sesame seeds, toasted



Sunday, March 13, 2016

Stuffed Flank Teriyaki-A Family Favorite

Practice does make perfect in cooking too.  I've been making this recipe for 40 years-usually on special occasions-and a few tweaks made it even better.  1)  When cutting the pocket, I made it from the side (the long end) verses the front.  2) I baked it twice as long and 3) I purchased the beef from a local farm-Working H Farms-grass fed beef with no hormones, steroids, antibiotics or chemicals.

Stuffed Flank Steak Teriyaki

(Serves 6)

Cut pocket in flank steak.  Combine soy sauce, oil, molasses, mustard, gingerroot and garlic.  Place meat in shallow dish;  pour marinade into pocket and over meat.  Let stand at room temperature 30 minutes, turning occasionally.
1-1 1/2 pound beef flank steak
1/4 cup reduced sodium soy sauce
2 tablespoon olive oil
1 tablespoon molasses
1 teaspoon dry mustard
1 teaspoon fresh grated gingerroot
1 garlic clove, crushed and minced

In a saucepan, combine water, rice, carrot, mushrooms and parsley.  Bring to a boil.  Cover; reduce heat and simmer 8 minutes.  
1 cup water
2 tablespoon wild rice
6 tablespoon brown rice
1 carrot, peeled and shredded
1/3 cup mushroom, chopped
2 tablespoon parsley, snipped
1/4 cup onion, diced

Drain meat, reserving marinade.  Stir 1/4 cup marinade into rice mixture.  Place flank steak in a foil lined baking dish.  Fill steak pocket with rice mixture.  Pour rest of marinade over steak.  Cover entire pan with foil.  Bake in 350 F. oven for 2 hours, turning steak over after 1 hour.

With an electric knife, slice meat across the grain.  Serve with juices.



Friday, March 11, 2016

Different Drum

This easy coriander and pecan coated chicken recipe was inspired by Food and Wine Magazine.  When I purchased the chicken from our local farm store, I initially asked for chicken legs, but the drumsticks cooked more evenly.    I will try this entree again! 

Coriander and Pecan Coated Chicken

(Serves 2)

Grind coriander and mustard seeds in a spice grinder or coffee grinder devoted only to spices.
1 1/4 tablespoon coriander seeds
1 teaspoon yellow mustard seeds

Mix ground spices, flour and lemon zest.
1/4 cup pecan flour
1 teaspoon lemon zest

Mist drumsticks with olive oil spray.  Dredge in pecan mixture, pressing to adhere on all sides.
4 drumsticks, skin removed
Olive oil spray

Heat olive oil in a cast aluminum pan over medium heat.
1 tablespoon olive oil

Brown drumsticks 8 minutes on one side.  Turn and brown on the other side for 5 minutes.  Transfer chicken to a 400F. oven and roast until internal temperature reaches 165 F. (this took about 10 minutes).

Happy Friday!



Tuesday, March 8, 2016

Grainy Breakfast Bowl

Hard to believe that bulgur parfaits can taste so good.  I layered 1/2 of the parfait the night before (no cooking necessary), then topped this morning for a nutritious breakfast in just a few minutes.  The recipe was inspired by Cooking Light Magazine.

Bulgur Breakfast Bowl

(Serves 1)

Add boiling water to bulgur.  Stir and soak for 7 minutes.  Drain excess water.
1/4 cup bulgur
1/2 cup boiling water

Stir almond butter and cinnamon into bulgur.
1 1/2 teaspoon almond butter, without salt and sugar
Pinch cinnamon

Mix yogurt, ricotta cheese and brown rice syrup.  
1/3 cup plain yogurt, non fat
1/2 teaspoon brown rice syrup
1/4 cup ricotta cheese, part-skim

1/2 cup strawberries, sliced

(The night before)  
Place half of bulgur in bottom of bowl.
Top with half of yogurt-cheese mix.
Top with 1/2 cup strawberries.
Place rest of bulgur on top.
Cover and refrigerate overnight. 

(In the morning)
Top bulgur bowl with rest of yogurt-cheese mix.
Finish with 1/4 cup strawberries and toasted almonds. 
1/4 cup strawberries, sliced
1 tablespoon sliced almonds, toasted


Monday, March 7, 2016

Mindful Monday Lunch with German Pancake

When I saw Brittany Poulson's recipe for Chocolate Strawberry German Pancake, I knew I'd have to try it.  Strawberry prices are falling and the berries are coming into season.  This single serving has 1 egg.  Combined with my glass of skim milk, the protein is just the right amount for my afternoon "lunch".  I made mine in an individual (6 inch) iron skillet.

Chocolate Strawberry German Pancake

(Serves 1)

Saute strawberries, buttery spread and syrup in a saucepan for 6-8 minutes.
1/2 cup sliced strawberries
3/4 teaspoon Earth Balance Buttery Spread
3/4 teaspoon brown rice syrup

In a 400 F. oven, melt buttery spread in 6 inch iron skillet.
1 1/2 teaspoon Earth Balance Buttery Spread

Mix flour, cocoa, sugar, salt, milk and vanilla.
2 tablespoon 2 teaspoon whole wheat pastry flour
1 tablespoon cocoa (not the Dutch process kind)
1 teaspoon sugar
Dash salt
1/4 cup soymilk
1/8 teaspoon vanilla

Beat egg, then stir into flour mixture.
1 egg

With pot holder, pull preheated skillet from oven.  Swirl melted buttery spread around sides of skillet.  Pour in batter.  Top with sauteed strawberries.

Bake for 15- 20 minutes.



Friday, March 4, 2016

Friday Fish and Farro

Eating fish on Fridays is a tradition for many, but about farro?  Farro is a whole grain with a nutty flavor and a good substitute for rice.  I buy it in small quantities at the local co-op, though I first purchased a bag of farro from the chain grocery store.  It reminds me of oatmeal.  This recipe is based on one in the current issue of Food Network Magazine.

Farro with Brie and Delicata

(Serves 3)

Saute shallots in olive oil 2-3 minutes.
1 teaspoon olive oil
2 tablespoon shallots, diced

Add dry farro and toast, stirring, for 1 minute.
1/2 cup farro

Add wine and saute for 30 seconds.
1 tablespoon white wine

Add water.  Bring to a boil, then lower heat to simmer.  Cook for 30 minutes, until all water is absorbed.
2 cups water

The tastiest way to cook the squash is to cut it in half, seeded, and roast.  I did not think to do that earlier when my husband baked his breakfast biscuits, so I microwaved it for 4 minutes.  Drain and stir into farro.
1 small delicata squash, peeled, seeded and cubed, cooked

Portion farro.  Garnish each with brie wedges.
2 ounce brie cheese, rind removed, wedged 

The haddock fillets are baked with mandarin segments, zest and juice, and sprinkled with thyme and minced garlic.

One of the highlights of the day was joining my friends and fellow RDs Betty and Anna for lunch.  Savoring the flavor of food is most enjoyable when eaten with friends and loved ones.


Thursday, March 3, 2016

Sunshine Cake

My favorite fruit of the season-Mandarins-adorn the upside of this mini version of the upside down cake.  The recipe was based on one in this month's issue of Eating Well magazine.  I made mine in a small 5-inch baking dish and cut the total sugars to 2 teaspoons per portion.  

Mandarin Upside-Down Cake

(Serves 5)

Beat egg and sugar in bowl of electric mixer.
1 egg
2 tablespoon sugar

Prepare baking dish by cutting a piece of parchment paper to fit the bottom of the dish.  Slide in place.  Mist it and insides of dish with an olive oil spray.
Melt buttery spread in a small saucepan.  Stir in brown sugar. Spread over parchment paper.  Place a slice of mandarin in center of sauce, then overlap slices to cover.
2 tablespoon Earth Balance Buttery Spread
2 tablespoon brown sugar
2-3 mandarins, peeled and sliced thing

Stir together dry ingredients.
3/4 cup whole wheat pastry flour 
3/4 teaspoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon baking soda
1/8 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon mandarin zest

Stir together liquid ingredients.
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 teaspoon vanilla
6 tablespoon skim milk
2 teaspoon mandarin juice

Alternately add dry, then liquid ingredients to egg-sugar mixture.  Stir just to combine.

Add batter to baking dish over the sliced tangerines.  Bake at 350 F. for 35-40 minutes, until pick inserted into center comes out clean.

Cool 10 minutes on wire rack.  Remove from pan, inverting bake upside down.

This cake is a perfect size for senior citizens and provides just the right amount of sweetness after a meal to prevent snacking later on.


Tuesday, March 1, 2016

In Like a Lamb Stew

A beautiful first day of March, a visit to the local farm store, and cool rise bread dough were precursors to this delightful meal.  I made the bread dough yesterday, let it rise once, then stored in a ziploc bag overnight in the refrigerator to await for shaping and second rise today.  I purchased the lamb today from the farmers who raise the animals-they sold it cut for stew as needed.  The recipe is from Fine Cooking Magazine.   

Lamb Stew with Potatoes & Green Olives

(Serves 4)

Brown lamb in olive oil on all sides, over medium heat, for 8 minutes.  Remove from pan and place in a bowl or plate covered with foil.
1 teaspoon olive oil
1/2 pound lamb stew meat

Saute onion for 3 minutes, stirring frequently.  
1/3 cup onion,diced

Add tomatoes.  Reduce the heat to low and cook, uncovered for 10 minutes.
1 16 ounce can petite diced tomatoes, without salt

Return lamb to pan.  Drizzle with the wine.  Stir and cook for 1 minute.
1/2 cup white wine

Add stock and bay leaf.  Bring to a boil, then reduce to a simmer.  Leave the lid slightly ajar and cook for 30 minutes.
1 1/2 cups low sodium beef broth
1 bay leaf

Add potatoes and olives.  Cook over low heat for 45-60 minutes with the lid slightly ajar.
2 medium potatoes, peeled and cut in 3/4 inch pieces
6 large green olives, stuffed with sun dried tomatoes

The bread was equally delicious.  The dough was portioned in 1 tablespoon balls, brushed with egg wash and rolled in seeds.  I place 13 balls total in this 4 1/2 inch baking dish, 9 balls on the first layer, then 4 balls on top.  
Those are Chia, Hemp and Sesame Seed toppings.  The sesame seed rolls were especially tasty!