Food/Nutrition

/Food/Nutrition

Thanksgiving Turkey Leftover Recipes

What did you do with your leftover turkey from Thanksgiving? Have a second helping? Freeze it? Or did you say “what leftovers”? This Thanksgiving I already had two leftover turkey dishes in mind: Turkey Salad Sandwiches and Turkey Rice & Vegetable Soup. Both turned out awesome! Why? As in the last few years, I prepared the turkey in a crockpot. A crockpot? Yes. The turkey is easy to prepare, requires no basting, easy to clean up and most of all the meat was moist and delicious. No dry white meat. And in case you are wondering, our crockpot is 8 quarts and snugly fit an 11-pound turkey. That was plenty for our family. Second, the broth/stock that came out of the crockpot was incredible. Better than anything from a can and not as salty. All this talk about food is making me hungry. So here are the two recipes to check out. Enjoy!

Ingredients
8 ounces turkey breast, shredded and chopped
1/2 cup organic raisins
1 organic Gala apple, diced
1 stalk organic celery, diced
1 cup walnuts, crushed
1 tablespoon mayonnaise
1/3 cup plain yogurt
1 tablespoon lemon juice

Directions
In a large bowl, add the turkey, raisins, diced apple, lemon juice and celery. Mix well.

Spread the shelled walnuts evenly on a cutting board. Using a glass, metal or ceramic bowl, crush the walnuts. Be sure to press the bowl down at a slight angle away from you. Why do I crush the walnuts? To make them into smaller bite sizes and to extract a little oil. This will add to the creaminess of the turkey salad.

Next add the walnuts, mayonnaise and yogurt. Mix thoroughly. Why did I add both mayonnaise and yogurt? I ran out of mayonnaise. Plus I feel that yogurt gives it a fresher and brighter taste.

Your turkey salad is ready to enjoy.

Ingredients
16 ounces turkey meat (shredded and chopped)
1 cup rice, dry
3 organic carrots, peeled and chopped
3 stalks organic celery, chopped
1 yellow onion, chopped
2 cloves garlic, diced
5 cups homemade turkey stock
7 cups water
1 tablespoon thyme
1 tablespoon dill weed
1 tablespoon olive oil
salt and pepper to taste

Directions
Place a large pot on the stove top and set heat to medium-high. Add olive oil, onions and garlic. Saute for about 1 minute.

Next add the celery and carrots. Cook for about 5 five minutes, mixing frequently.

Add turkey, spices, stock and water. FYI my stock was super concentrated, very gelatinous and flavorful. So depending on your palette you may want to add more or less water at this point. This will also affect the consistency of the soup.

Bring to boil. Once boiling, add rice, lower heat to simmer and cover with lid. I let it simmer for about 90 minutes. The rice broke down more than I wanted to, but all in all I thought it was a success.

Thanksgiving Turkey Leftover Recipes2018-11-28T09:59:54+00:00

Buckwheat Soba Noodle Salad Recipe

Can you say delicious? This was a spur of the moment creation. I referred to the recipe on the back of the noodle package and also borrowed ideas from a few soba noodle recipes online. As always, I modified the recipe to suit my family’s tastes as well as what ingredients we had in our kitchen. Made for a light and tasty side dish. Enjoy!

Ingredients for dressing

2 tablespoons rice wine vinegar
1/2 teaspoon ginger powder
1 teaspoon honey
1 teaspoon sesame oil
1 tablespoon peanut oil

Ingredients for vegetables and noodles

1 teaspoon peanut oil
1/4 cup red bell pepper, seeded and chopped
1/4 cup mix of yellow and orange carrots, diced
1/4 cup snow peas
1 teaspoon toasted sesame seeds
12 ounces buckwheat noodles

Directions

Heat 4-5 quarts of water in large pot. Once boiling, add noodles and cook according to package directions. I like my noodles to have a little more chew to them, so I cooked them al dente. Noodles were then drained in a strainer and rinsed under cold water.

Heat peanut oil in a saute pan on medium-high heat. Once oil is hot, add the chopped red bell peppers and yellow and orange diced carrots. Stir frequently for 1-2 minutes. Then add snow peas. Continue to stir and cook for approximately one more minute. Remove skillet from heat and plate vegetables to stop cooking process.

In a small bowl mix together the vinegar, ginger powder, honey and sesame oil until combined. Slowly whisk in the peanut oil until the dressing is emulsified.

In a large bowl add the noodles, carrots, peppers and snow peas. Pour sauce over noodles and vegetables and gently mix to combine. Garnish with toasted sesame seeds. Ready to serve and eat.

Buckwheat Soba Noodle Salad Recipe2018-09-13T12:58:50+00:00

Deviled Eggs and Brussel Sprouts Recipe

Making food fun, eye-catching and appealing isn’t always about the recipe but about the presentation and the platter on which the food is served. Recently Heather bought a chicken-shaped platter with indentations around the edges and a depression in the middle. With a tiny chip on it, the price was reduced by 80%. A good find. The indentations were intended for deviled eggs (or at least we hoped so), but we weren’t quite sure what food would go in the middle. Crackers, a dip, veggies? Ah, yes! Vegetables. Heather had just gone shopping at Willy Street Co-op and picked up some organic Brussel sprouts. They look like little cabbages and have somewhat of a similar taste. So that’d what she prepared. Deviled eggs and Brussel sprouts. Very simple, healthy and delicious!

So the next time you’re entertaining guests or are invited to a party or just want to make a family dinner more fun, serve up some whimsy with a clever platter or tray.

Ingredients for Deviled Eggs
6 hardboiled eggs
1/4 cup total of Greek yogurt and mayonnaise mixed
1 tsp white wine vinegar
1 tsp yellow mustard
salt and pepper to taste
sprinkle with paprika to garnish

Directions
Cut hardboiled eggs lengthwise. With a spoon, gently scoop out yolks and place in bowl. Mix well with yogurt, mayonnaise, vinegar and mustard. Then refill egg whites with mixture.

Helpful tip: Do not set your filled eggs on serving platter until after you sprinkle them with paprika. Less messy.

For the Brussel Sprouts, we simply boiled them in salted water until tender. We let the flavor speak for itself.

Deviled Eggs and Brussel Sprouts Recipe2018-06-21T19:42:34+00:00

Steak and Sweet Potato Bowl with Avocado-Cilantro Sauce

Here’s another winning recipe from the January issue of the Willy Street Co-op Reader. The Steak and Sweet Potato Bowl with Avocado-Cilantro Sauce is a fusion of Asian and South of the Border ingredients. They perfectly compliment each other. So many wonderful flavors and textures it’ll be like a party in your mouth. Enjoy!

Ingredients
1 1/4 lb flank steak
1/4 cup soy sauce
2 tbsp canola oil, plus more for the pan
2 tsp honey
4 garlic cloves, crushed, plus 1 clove whole garlic, divided
1/4 tsp ground ginger
1 lb sweet potato, diced into 1-inch cubes
1 1/2 tbsp olive oil
salt and pepper to taste
1 large avocado, divided
1/4 cup packed fresh cilantro
1 1/2 tbsp lime juice
2-4 tbsp water
cooked quinoa, for serving
2 cup baby arugula

Directions
Combine the soy sauce, canola oil, honey, crushed garlic and ground ginger in a baking dish or container large enough to fit the steak. Add the steak to the marinade and refrigerate for 1-6 hours. (In place of the flank steak we sliced up a roast. Since we knew it was going to be more chewy, we marinated it over night.)

Preheat oven to 425 degrees F. Place the sweet potatoes on a rimmed baking sheet and drizzle with olive oil and season with salt and pepper. Toss to coat, then spread them in an even layer. Roast 25-30 minutes, until they are golden-brown and tender, giving them a stir part way through the cooking time.

Heat a large well-seasoned cast iron skillet over medium-high heat. Add a little canola oil to coat bottom of pan, and when hot, place the steak in the skillet. Sear steak for 2 minutes on each side for medium rare. (This totally depends on the thickness of the steak.) Transfer to cutting board and let rest about 10 minutes. Then slice into strips.

In the bowl of a food processor or blender, combine 1/2 the avocado, cilantro, lime juice, remaining clove of garlic and some salt and pepper. Pulse to roughly chop. Add 2 tablespoons more water, then process until smooth. Add 2 more 2 tablespoons of water to achieve a creamy consistency (if desired).

Slice the remaining half of the avocado. Fill four bowls with cooked quinoa. Top with handful of arugula, then the steak, roasted sweet potatoes and sliced avocado. Serve with avocado-cilantro sauce at table. Serves 4.

Steak and Sweet Potato Bowl with Avocado-Cilantro Sauce2018-02-22T09:29:29+00:00

Spicy Peanut Tofu and Bok Choy Rice Bowl

Willy Street Co-op’s monthly publication features many healthy and easy-to-prepare meals in their recipe section. This Spicy Tofu and Bok Choy Rice Bowl makes for a wonderful side dish or as a meal in itself. As always, me made changes according to our palates and what ingredients were available. Enjoy!

Ingredients
1/3 cup soy sauce
1/4 cup rice vinegar
2 tbsp Sriracha sauce
2 tbsp brown sugar
1/4 cup peanut butter, plus 1 tbsp
1/4 tsp salt
1 tbsp sesame oil
16 oz firm tofu, pressed and cut into 8 slices
1 large bunch bok choy, trimmed, roughly chopped
1 garlic clove, minced
4 cups cooked brown rice (we used white)
1/4 cup crushed peanuts
1/4 cup chopped scallions

Directions
Preheat oven to 400 degrees F. Line baking sheet with parchment. In a small bowl, whisk together the soy sauce, rice vinegar, Sriracha, brown sugar, peanut butter and salt until combined. (We left the Sriracha sauce out at this step since we were preparing this for the whole family and my boys can take only so much “heat”. So I added a little bit to my own bowl at the end. Also we halved the amount of brown sugar and omitted the salt since I felt that the soy sauce was salty enough for the dish.) Brush both sides of the slices of tofu with sauce. Some will be left over. Set the tofu on the prepared baking sheet and bake for 35 minutes, flipping halfway through the cooking time.

In a large wok or saute pan, heat the sesame oil over medium heat. Stir in bok choy and garlic. (We halved the amount of sesame oil since a little goes a long way. But we did add a couple more cloves of minced garlic. Yum!) Add the remaining peanut sauce and toss to coat. Saute about 5 minutes, or until greens are wilted and stalks are still crisp.

Scoop about one cup of rice into a bowl. Top with bok choy, two slices of baked tofu, crushed peanuts and scallions. Ready to eat!

Spicy Peanut Tofu and Bok Choy Rice Bowl2018-02-05T06:53:53+00:00

Heather’s Healthy Blueberry Muffin Recipe

Healthy recipe ideas often come from friends, family members, cooking magazines or just doing searches online. Yesterday my wife read Little Red Riding Hood by Lisa Campbell Ernst to our 4 year-old, Roy, for the umpteenth time. It’s a fun adaptation of the story I remember as a child. In this version, muffins play a significant role. And as luck would have it, there is Grandma’s Wheat Berry Muffins recipe conveniently placed at the end of the book. Heather and Roy took to the task of following the recipe while making some changes along the way. Primarily reducing the amount of sugar and fat. As Official Taste Tester of the Foxman household, I had to try one as soon as they came out of the oven. Fantastic! Unlike so many muffins you get at the grocery store or even some bakeries, these were not super sugary. The fresh blueberries offered the perfect amount of sweetness. The wheat flour added a nice hearty flavor and what I like to call “chew factor”. The sunflower seeds were the biggest surprise. They gave the muffins a nice texture and buttery flavor as I thoroughly chewed each bite. Very satisfying. Lastly, what made this muffin recipe a success for me was that my GI system did not react negatively. No bloat and no gas. Fortunately or unfortunately, my system is quite sensitive to oily and fatty foods. I guess that’s helpful for weight management. Another lastly, is that these muffins were the perfect size. When it comes to treats, don’t you just want a taste anyhow? Not an entire bowl or plate full. This recipe gets two thumbs up and I hope you give it a try!

Ingredients
2 eggs
1/4 cup melted butter
1/4 cup organic applesauce
3/4 cup brown sugar
1/2 tsp almond extract
1 cup wheat flour
1 cup all-purpose white flour
1 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp salt
2 cups organic blueberries
1/4 cup raw unsalted sunflowers

Directions
Turn oven to 350 degrees F. In a large bowl, mix together the eggs, butter, applesauce, sugar and almond extract. In another bowl, mix the flour, baking powder and salt. Add dry mixture to wet/egg mixture and stir just until combined. Gently stir in the blueberries and sunflower seeds. Fill oiled muffin tins 3/4 full and bake for about 20 to 25 minutes. These muffins taste best when shared. Makes twelve.

Heather’s Healthy Blueberry Muffin Recipe2018-01-19T12:32:35+00:00

Walnut, Chicken and Cherry Quinoa Salad

Quinoa Salad

The July 2017 magazine The Costco Connection featured a healthy and delicious quinoa recipe that reminded me of Thanksgiving stuffing. Since we had just picked up a 4.5 lb bag of organic quinoa, I thought we should give it a try. Why quinoa? It has nice flavor, it’s easy-to-prepare and is high in protein. To suit our palettes and to feed a ravenous family of five, I modified the recipe. So here you go!

Ingredients
2 cups quinoa
4 cups water
1 lb grilled chicken, chopped (I used boneless thigh meat which was grilled with poultry seasoning and dried thyme.)
1 cup dried cherries
1 cup celery, diced
1 small red onion, minced
1 cup toasted walnuts, coarsely chopped
garnish with fresh thyme (optional)

Dressing
1/3 cup olive oil (extra virgin if you have some)
1/3 cup white wine vinegar
Fresh ground black pepper, to taste

The recipe also called for 1 tsp of sugar and minced garlic which I omitted. I felt that the white wine vinegar and cherries would add enough sweetness (which they did) and raw garlic has a tendency to make me burp.

Directions
Rinse and drain quinoa in a strainer. Bring water and quinoa to boil in medium/large saucepan. Reduce heat and simmer, covered, for 12 minutes. Then add chicken pieces, cherries, walnuts, celery and minced onion. [This is a change from the original recipe that calls for adding the chicken, cherries, celery and onion after the quinoa has cooled. I wanted to slightly rehydrate the cherries and warm the celery and onions so their flavor was milder.] Mix well and let stand for 10 minutes. Fluff with fork and let cool.

Place the cooled quinoa mixture in a large bowl. In a separate bowl, whisk together olive oil, white white vinegar and black pepper. Pour over salad. Toss well to coat.

Ready to serve, eat and enjoy!

Walnut, Chicken and Cherry Quinoa Salad2017-09-21T11:11:14+00:00

The Dirty Dozen & The Clean Fifteen

dirty dozen

Clean 15

By now you have probably heard about EWG’s Dirty Dozen list and the Clean Fifteen. If not, don’t feel too bad.

Above I have included both produce shopper’s guides. The guides reflect “the overall pesticide loads of common fruits and vegetables.” The fruits and vegetables on the Dirty Dozen list have the most pesticide residues. If possible, buy these organic. The Clean Fifteen lists fruits and vegetables that have the least, if any, pesticide residues. It’s okay to buy these non-organic off the shelf. Why is this important? One of the main reasons is organophosphate, which is the basis for many insecticides and herbicides. According to the EPA (Environmental Protection Agency), organophosphates are “very highly acutely toxic to bees, wildlife, and humans”.

In 2012, the American Academy of Pediatrics issued an important report that said children have “unique susceptibilities to [pesticide residues’] potential toxicity.” The pediatricians’ organization cited research that linked pesticide exposures in early life to “pediatric cancers, decreased cognitive function, and behavioral problems.” It advised its members to urge parents to consult “reliable resources that provide information on the relative pesticide content of various fruits and vegetables.” (ewg.org)

How can EWG help? Started in 1993 the Environmental Working Group educates people about what’s in their drinking water, household cleaners, farming practices, pesticides used on produce and much more. They empower you to know your environment, to protect your health and to help you make better choices.

Remember that living a healthy lifestyle is not all about proteins, fats and carbohydrates. That’s an overly simplistic view of food. Try taking a more holistic approach. Think about where your food comes from. No, not the local grocery store. Before that. Where and how were those potatoes grown? How about the fish you baked last night? Conventional farming practices, for example, not only affect the food you eat but also the water you drink, the air you breathe, the people working on the farm, the landscape and nearby wildlife. These are just a few of the reasons we have begun to buy more organic foods for our family. Buying organic helps to support sustainable practices. For more information about this topic, please read the article The Case For Organic Fruits and Veggies. It’s a great starting point.

The Dirty Dozen & The Clean Fifteen2017-08-29T09:24:04+00:00

Is a Pro Bar Good for You?

Pro Bar
Of course, this is a loaded question. And you know my answer is “It depends.” It depends on what else you are eating throughout the day, what you are drinking, what types of activities you are doing, your health & fitness goals, etc. Remember, all food has nutritional value whether it’s an apple slice, cup of yogurt, turkey sandwich or a piece of cheesecake. So instead of going down that path, I’d just like to review the PROBAR – Superfood Slam that a client gave me to try after a training session.

Describing a Pro Bar is really a mouthful, literally. Har-har-har. The Pro Bar can best be described as a meal replacement bar along the lines of a Cliff Bar. At first glance, the bar appears to have a fair amount of carbs and fat. (See the Nutritional Info below.) Eric, 19 grams of fat!! Yes, mostly unsaturated fats derived from seeds, nuts and canola oil. And remember this is a meal replacement and may represent 20% or even 25% of a person’s daily caloric intake. The next time you eat a sandwich, bowl of soup or a plate full of food, look at your meal in its entirety. The calories can really add up. The Pro Bar is an all-in-one meal or snack.

Pro Bar nutrition facts

Pro Bar Ingredients_

How does it taste? I was pleasantly surprised with all of its nuts, fruits and seeds. It is complex and there isn’t one dominant flavor coming through. Plus, compared to many meal replacement and protein bars out there it doesn’t leave you with a synthetic aftertaste that gives you what I call “protein breath”. Texture wise, it has a nice “chew factor” and is not chalky or dry. So, yes, it tastes good. But it has too many carbs for my liking, leaving me with a “sweet” after taste. Meaning? Meaning that after eating the bar I wanted to eat something with carbs. Remember “Carbs beget carbs.” I would prefer a bar with less carbs and fat and more crunch. Hey, that’s a Cliff Bar. For me personally, a bowl of oatmeal topped with a handful of sliced nuts, diced fruit and seeds sounds better. On the plus side, I had no GI or stomach discomfort afterwards. What am I trying to delicately say? NO GAS and NO BLOATING. Again for those of you who have tried different drink mixes, shakes and bars, you know what I’m talking about. This is a big deal.

The Pro Bar has a many healthy ingredients that you may not have in your current diet. Granted, there is only so much that you can pack into a 3 ounce bar. In addition it is gluten free (great for people with celiac disease) and is organic. These two items separate it from the pack.

In conclusion, if you are looking for the convenience of a healthy, tasty, shelf stable meal, then this is right up your alley. Not for everyday eating, but just in case you forget to pack a lunch one day or are in a rush out the door. If that’s the case, I would focus on meal preparation and time management.

Is a Pro Bar Good for You?2017-07-05T11:03:28+00:00

Magnificent Midwest Morel Mushrooms Mature in May

There I go with more alliteration. Well it’s that time of year when morels spring out of the ground. The first year we moved into our house, a neighbor told me that he knew all the good places to find morels in our woods. Usually near dead or dying elm and apple trees. This year, however, my middle son found some right by our house near a dead lilac bush. Bruce pointed at the ground and initially thought it was some kind of wasp nest due to the mushroom cap’s honeycombed structure. Lo and behold, they were five untouched beautiful morels. What to do with them? Very simple. A quick sauté in a skillet with a little butter. Nothing fancy. At $40 per pound I don’t want to do anything to mess them up. Maybe a side of steak to go with them? Yum.

Morels 2017

Magnificent Midwest Morel Mushrooms Mature in May2017-05-08T13:44:53+00:00