Things like potatoes and butternut squash are the perfect solo dinner in a pinch. I keep a stash on the counter and pop one in the mic for a quick dinner at least once a week with a salad or some greens on the side. Prep/cook time is about 5 minutes. Can’t beat it. I went a little nuts at the store a few weeks ago and loaded up the cart with root vegetables. Maybe I had in the back of my mind that they’re nearing the end of their prime, or perhaps my intuition was spot on that it would snow on the first day of spring. And that I’d end up craving something starchy. I’ve been traveling a lot these days though and most nights I’m not even at home to use the mic. So those roots I bought were just taking up counter space. As of Tuesday I had three days to make them disappear before heading back to New York. So I decided to just roast them all. I had them for dinner on Tuesday, in a a salad on Wednesday and then an impromptu dinner of roasted potatoes combined with spinach, black beans and avocado. Not sure what you call that, but it was delicious.
Roasted Root Vegetables
Here’s what you need:
6 Yukon gold potatoes, cubed
1 large sweet potato, cubed
1 butternut squash, cubed
1 yellow onion, cut into crescents
extra-virgin olive oil
salt and pepper
Here’s what you do:
- Preheat oven to 400°.
- Combine root vegetables in a large bowl with the onion. Drizzle olive oil over the mixture and toss to coat vegetables with oil. Mix in a little salt and pepper. You can also sprinkle in some thyme or rosemary to add more flavor (optional).
- Spread vegetables out evenly on two baking sheet.
- Bake at 400° for 30-45 minutes, or until vegetables are browned.
Did you catch the first episode of Jamie Oliver’s Food Revolution on ABC Sunday night? I missed it, but I caught it on hulu.com. If you didn’t see it, go get caught up before the second episode airs this Friday at 7 p.m. Central. I’ll be setting my DVR. Watching this I was like a black woman in a Bible church. I may have actually shouted “Amen! ”Jamie Oliver is a chef from the UK, with a mission to revolutionize school lunches and home cooking habits. He goes to Huntington, West Virginia, the #1 unhealthiest city in America based on disease and death rates, with a charge to get people to eat better. His goal is to get them to cut the processed crap and go fresh, raw, real. Amen! It’s not going to be easy. When he arrives he’s lambasted by radio personalities: “we don’t want to sit around and eat lettuce all day” and finds he’s up against a fierce bunch of lunch ladies. He starts in the school cafeteria. Kids are eating pizza for breakfast, ladies are adding water to powdered chemicalized potatoes to serve with chicken nuggets for lunch, and there’s lots of fresh bread and fruit being thrown in the trash. He says: “If these were my kids and I saw the crap they’re eating and how much is being wasted, I’d be pissed off!” Amen!
And that’s the first step to change. So watch. Get pissed off.
Filed under culture, media
A classmate passed along this article about wellness coaches and I think it’s a great description of what they do. The article calls wellness coaches a mix of a life coach, personal trainer and counselor. They’re like the interpreters between the doctor who says, “you need to eat right and exercise 30 minutes a day” and the patient who hears, “yada yada yada.” The coach helps realistically put those words into practice for the individual. That means providing direction, figuring out how much they’re willing to change, and taking the first baby steps with them.
It’s exciting to see wellness coaches playing such an important and valuable role in healthcare. And what’s more exciting is to see insurance companies covering sessions with a wellness coach for people with certain chronic conditions.
IIN, where I’m going to school, is leading the way in this new approach to healthcare, or “wellcare.”
Read the full article.
It seems like every food or health blog I read these days is talking about kale chips. I eat kale. I’ve posted about kale. I usually saute it with some onions and garlic. The taste took some getting used to, but after a few tries I can honestly say I like it. After reading yet another blog post about kale chips I decided to see for myself what all the fuss was about. I tore up some leaves and spread them out on a baking sheet then drizzled olive oil over them and sprinkled on a little sea salt. As directed, I baked them at 350 degrees for 15-20 minutes. In a three roommate/judge taste test, kale chips got only one vote. Here’s Ashley about go in for her first taste…
I wish I’d gotten a shot of the face she made next. She wasn’t a fan. I wasn’t either. But Jen thought they were great. So, you might like them too. Regardless, it was fun to try. And it made eating greens a little more exciting. That’s key. If it’s not enjoyable, you’re not going to eat it. We’re not much different from the four-year-old versions of ourselves. So play. Mix your veggies in with your mac and cheese. Fashion your broccoli into a landscape. Put ketchup on your green beans (whatever floats your boat). Have some fun. We did making these. So give it a try! And who knows, you just might like it…
I just updated what’s under the About section to include more information on the school I’m going to and the work I’ll be doing as a certified health coach. Check it out.
People tend to think salad = lettuce. The word conjures up images of rabbits and skinny, unhappy people. No one wants to eat lettuce. And no one can possibly be happy just eating lettuce. So, for now let’s forget the word “salad.” It’s just too negative. “Bowl of stuff” is a more accurate description here. You think I have a problem with salad bars? It’s impossible for me to come in under double digits. I go for the heavy stuff. And it adds up. But loading up your plate with lots of stuff is the key to making it satisfying. Lately I’ve been making my lunch at home to save a little cash. This was lunch on Friday:
It’s got butternut squash, raisins, garbanzo beans, carrots, radishes, avocado and sliced almonds. This was so delicious and satisfying because it had a lot of heavy stuff and covered the taste spectrum: sweet, salty, creamy, crunchy. That’s the trick. And then change it up from day to day.
Here’s a DIY checklist you can follow to make your own…
*Change it up. Play. Be creative. Don’t be scared. It’s just a bowl of stuff.
- lettuce: spinach, romaine, mixed greens, etc. (the greener the better!)
- veggie/fruit: carrots, bell pepper, radish, broccoli, onion, snap peas, cauliflower, pear, strawberries, oranges, blueberries…. (you get the idea.)
- protein: chicken, shrimp, beef, salmon, garbanzo beans, black beans, kidney beans, edamame, tofu
- dry ingredients: walnuts, sliced almonds, pecans, sunflower seeds, pumpkin seeds, raisins, dried cranberries
- leftovers: quinoa, brown rice, pasta, roasted potatoes, sweet potatoes, squash, vegetables, avocado
- dressing: use your favorite dressing or make your own by just combining olive oil and balsamic vinegar (1:1)
- crackers (optional)
- Keep your pantry stocked with dry ingredients. Things like nuts, raisins and seeds add a lot of flavor. They’re also easy to keep in stock because they stay fresh.
- Chop your veggies in advance. Every week I say I’m going to do this, but never do. I should. Chop them up and keep them in containers in the fridge so they’re ready to go.
- Use leftovers. Whatever you had for dinner the night before could go in your bowl of stuff. Chicken. Rice. Broccoli. Roasted potatoes.
- Vary the tastes and textures. Cover the spectrum: crunchy, smooth, salty, sweet.
- Experiment. Don’t be afraid to try something that may seem a little out of the ordinary. If you like it by itself, there’s a good chance it will taste even better combined with something else.
Keep reading for recipes…
I love ordering risotto in a restaurant. It’s one of those fussy dishes that I’d never go to the trouble of making at home (or so I thought). I got the itch to try it and gave this recipe a whirl. Maybe it was the novelty, or the unknown of how it would turn out, or that I got a kick out of watching grains absorb broth, but I didn’t mind the constant pouring and stirring. I kinda enjoyed it. It was relaxing. For 40 minutes all I had to worry about was stirring and pouring and taking care of what was in the pan. It forced me to stand still and focus on one thing. Everything else in my mind and on the to do (read: school, work, wedding) could wait. I think I’ve found my new therapy…
And when it was done and ready to eat, the result was therapy in itself. All that doting was worth it. You could taste all the love that went in. A perfect meal to enjoy with the ones you love most.
What you need:
3 tablespoons unsalted butter (I cut this to 2 tbsp)
4 cups 1/2- to 3/4-inch cubes peeled and seeded butternut squash
1.5 teaspoon golden brown sugar
Salt and pepper to taste
6 cups chicken broth, or vegetable broth (I substituted 2 cups of water)
1 1/2 tablespoons olive oil
3/4 cup chopped onions
1 1/2 tablespoon finely chopped fresh sage
2 cups arborio rice
1/3 to 2/3 cup dry white wine. Use whatever you’ve got on hand.
2 tablespoons chopped fresh Italian parsley
Freshly grated Parmesan cheese
What you do:
Melt butter in large skillet over medium heat. Add squash. Sprinkle with brown sugar, then salt and pepper. Sauté for about 5 minutes, then cover; cook until almost tender, stirring often, about 10 minutes. Remove and set aside.
Add chicken broth to a large saucepan and bring to simmer; cover and set aside to keep warm. In same skillet used for squash, heat the oil and add the onion. Sauté until soft, about 4 minutes. Mix in sage and stir 1 minute. Add rice; sauté until kernels are white with translucent edges, about 4 minutes. Add wine; stir until wine evaporates, about 1 minute. Add 1 cup warm broth; simmer until broth is absorbed, stirring occasionally, 2 to 3 minutes. Add another cup of broth; simmer until almost all liquid is absorbed, stirring occasionally, about 3 minutes. Continue adding broth 1 cup at a time and cooking until rice is just tender and risotto is creamy, stirring frequently, about 20 minutes. Season with salt and pepper. Mix in parsley and squash. Cook until squash is heated, about 1 minute. Transfer risotto to large shallow bowl, or if you like, in hollowed-out squashes. Serve with the Parmesan cheese.