Categories
Entrees (Vegetarian)

Let The Gardening Begin!

On the first day of Spring Nick and I took the first step in preparing our garden for the year. Last year the right side of our garden didn’t grow (picture below). We think it was because that side receives less sun than the left side (we’re so smart!).Let The Gardening Begin! 2

Because of this we planted the right side crops early this year, indoors (kale, spinach, cantaloupe).Let The Gardening Begin! 3

The rest of the seeds will be planted outside later in the Spring.Let The Gardening Begin! 4

I hear conflicting information from gardening gurus all the time (for example, some say plant spinach in cold weather, others say don’t…it’s confusing). I decided to order a gardening magazine this year just so we have some reliable information, rather than using word-of-mouth and the internet all the time. Hopefully we receive the first edition soon!Let The Gardening Begin! 5

We’re hoping our garden will be more successful this year, since we are starting earlier. Last year we didn’t even move into our house until May, so our garden didn’t get planted until late May, early June…too late! Considering what the garden looked like when we moved in (picture below) I think it was pretty impressive that we were even able to grow anything.Let The Gardening Begin! 6

This year Nick is even researching how to grow blueberries. I think that’s going to be more work than he can imagine…Let The Gardening Begin! 7

This year we’re also writing everything we do in our “gardening journal”. This way we know when things were planted, we know when they should start to grow, and we can go back to read our notes next year in case we need to make changes or do something the exact same way.Let The Gardening Begin! 8

QUESTION: Are you planting a garden this year? What will you grow? If no garden, what’s your favorite produce to buy at the summer farmer’s markets??

I’m most excited about the tomatoes we are growing this year. Last year we didn’t grow tomatoes (what were we thinking?!) so I’m looking forward to some tomato and mozzarella dishes this summer!

Categories
Entrees (Vegetarian)

Veggies, Veggies, Everywhere!

I thought I was the person in the house who was most excited about having a garden, but I thought wrong. Nick has become the “garden guru” and I swear he’s spent more money on our garden than he has on anything, ever, in his life. When I came home from Pittsburgh I was happy to see he had purchased a compost bin (I think this was money well spent).Veggies, Veggies, Everywhere! 10Veggies, Veggies, Everywhere! 11

He also moved our water bucket closer to our garden. When it rains the water will go through the gutters and drop into the bucket, which will then be used by us to water our garden! The compost will be used for fertilizer the next time we plant a round of seeds.Veggies, Veggies, Everywhere! 12

Check out our pumpkin and squash plants! They are taking over the entire garden.Veggies, Veggies, Everywhere! 13Veggies, Veggies, Everywhere! 14

Who needs canned pumpkin when you can grow your own? Hmmm…actually I DO! While this little guy (below) really excites me, and I can’t wait to puree it and add it to my oats, I still miss Libby’s canned pumpkin Veggies, Veggies, Everywhere! 15

Nick has estimated that we will be producing over 50 squash. Some are yellow squash.Veggies, Veggies, Everywhere! 16

And some are acorn squash (our favorite!).Veggies, Veggies, Everywhere! 17

I saw a commercial for V8 juice the other day, which claimed: “Drink one serving of V8 for three servings of vegetables!” Why would I drink V8 for three servings of veggies when I can enjoy them fresh and whole from the market or my garden?! Not to mention the fact that V8 is FIBER FREE.

This kale is from our garden. I added it to the skillet with some EVOO and roasted tomatoes.Veggies, Veggies, Everywhere! 18

The final product, over some egg whites, and sprinkled with some nutritional yeast. Perfect.Veggies, Veggies, Everywhere! 19

Categories
Entrees (Vegetarian)

A New, and Better Polenta!

Because I am not longer eating wheat, due to my fructose malabsorption, I have been exploring many new flours and grains. I recently made my first polenta from scratch, using cornmeal (not a whole grain, unfortunately). It was very tasty, but I wanted to try a new recipe that maybe had a little more “pizazz”. Astra Libris posted this recipe on her blog a few weeks ago, which I immediately wanted to try! I finally made it this week, and I was not disappointed.

Polenta, “Food For Laughter” Style

As I do with just about all recipes, I made some slight modifications to Astra’s recipe. I don’t have the money to go out and buy ingredients that I will most likely never use again, so I had to substitute some ingredients. To see her original recipe, click here.

Ingredients
(makes 2 large servings)

1/2 cup cornmeal
1.5 cups Almond milk (yes, I said almond milk!)
3/4 cup low sodium chicken broth
2 tsp oregano
1 tsp garlic powder
1 tsp pepper

Tomato “Sauce” Topper

1 can fire roasted tomatoes, seasoned with garlic
2 T plain Greek yogurt

Directions

Combine the first three ingredients into a saucepan and heat on medium. Bring to a simmer, stirring constantly. Heat until polenta starts to thicken (make sure you really work out the chunks of cornmeal at the beginning). Add the spices.

Once the polenta gets thick enough (basically once it gets to the point where there is no extra liquid, and it’s thick to your liking), grab a small saucepan to start making the tomato “sauce” topper. Add a can of tomatoes to the saucepan. Heat the tomatoes on medium heat until they reach a simmer. Add the yogurt, and stir. Meanwhile, be sure to continue watching and occasionally stirring the polenta.A New, and Better Polenta! 21

** Astra suggests blending the tomato “sauce” topper (tomatoes and yogurt) with an emulsion blender or other blender, but I didn’t not do this. **

Pour the polenta into a shallow bowl and then add a heaping scoop of the tomato “sauce” topper.

Nutrition Facts
(Recipes makes 2 servings, this is for 1 serving)A New, and Better Polenta! 22

It scored an “A” in nutrition, and an “A” in taste! Even Nick liked it  The sodium was 20% of the DV, which is not good, but hey, it could be much worse!A New, and Better Polenta! 23

Urban Active Fitness
Recently my colleague, Kyle, and I embarked on a new business venture. While our workplace wellness side of the business has been sort of slow, we decided to take advantage of the clientele at some local gyms. We are starting at Urban Active Fitness. Here are some pictures of this amazing facility:

Our advertisement table: Starting March 29th we will provide dietary classes for moms, the older generations, and to the general groups (general advice). We will also provide one-on-one dietary consults. Visit our website at www.imagination2burn.com.A New, and Better Polenta! 24

This place is huge. There are televisions everywhere. You sure feel “Urban” when you are in this place.A New, and Better Polenta! 25A New, and Better Polenta! 26
Basketball courts with scary man coming after me….A New, and Better Polenta! 27

A track that goes around the entire facility!A New, and Better Polenta! 28Coming Up

Tonight Nick and I are signing the papers to make an offer on our house. Am I nervous? HECK YEAH! Am I excited? VERY. I will update you later in the weekend. I will also be posting the answer to a question I received a while ago, regarding Agave Nectar and Carob chips vs. dark chocolate.

Thanks for reading everyone! Have a great weekend.

Categories
Entrees (Vegetarian)

Veggie Omelet and Nutrition Tidbit; Chia Seeds

Thanks for all of your fantastic comments about my issue with the “NOT SO HEALTHY” section in the grocery store. You all made such great points and some of you gave me a good laugh  Ironically I found this article today online, which focused on the same exact issue!!

I’ve been on a roll lately with my recipes for my 2010 cookbook. I’m now on to number 10. This means I’m right on target with my new year’s resolution of two new recipes a week!

Quick, Healthy, and Cheap Recipe #10
Veggie Omelet

Ingredients
2 eggs
1/4 cup fat-free milk
1/4 cup spinach
1 t oil (for the pan)
2 T plain Greek yogurt
1 T cheddar cheese
Dash of salt and pepper

Possible Modifications

  • Use egg beaters
  • Use any non-starchy vegetable, in place of spinach
  • Use 1% milk, soy milk, rice milk or almond milk
  • Add any kind of cheese
  • Use light sour cream
  • Use butter to grease the pan, instead of oil

Directions

Crack the eggs into a small bowl. Add the milk, salt, and pepper. Use a whisk to beat the eggs and milk until blended. Add oil to the skillet and turn on the heat to low/medium.

Heat the skillet for about 30 seconds. Add the egg and milk mixture to the skillet and cook for 2-3 minutes, or until eggs are “set but still shiny”. Add the spinach on top of the eggs in a single layer, then fold the omelet in half. Cook for another 30-60 seconds.

Take out of pan, place on a plate, and add a dollop of Greek yogurt and the cheddar cheese.Veggie Omelet and Nutrition Tidbit; Chia Seeds 30
Check out those layers of spinach! I served this on top of some quinoa.Veggie Omelet and Nutrition Tidbit; Chia Seeds 31

Rate: 9.5 out of 10
I love eggs. Period. Nick doesn’t like anything in his eggs, other than cheese and Red Hot, so he didn’t try this amazing creation.

** I used Omega-3 enriched eggs for extra healthy fats!**

Nutrition Tidbit
Chia Seeds

What are they? Chia seeds come from the Salvia hispanica plant, which happens to be a member of the mint family.

Origin: It is believed that Chia seeds originated in Central America, where the seeds were a staple of the Aztec diet (I actually remember writing a report about the Aztecs when I was in 3rd grade! I don’t remember Chia seeds though…haha).

How do you eat them?: You can eat them raw, or add them to a variety of dishes, such as bread, biscuits, other baked goods, oatmeal, oat bran, or smoothies!

Why have they become popular?: Chia seeds have recently gained attention from health enthusiasts due to their high amounts of omega-3 fatty acids (in the form of ALA, a precursor to the EPA and DHA found in fish oils). They also contain protein, fiber, minerals, and antioxidants.

Research: Studies have shown that including chia seeds as part of a healthy diet may help improve heart disease risk factors, such as lowering cholesterol, triglycerides, and blood pressure. However, there really aren’t many high-quality studies that have been done, and most studies have used either animal or a very small number of participants.

Bottom Line: If you like chia seeds, fantastic! Enjoy them as a part of your healthy diet. Don’t go out of your way to “try to like them” or to incorporate them into your diet as much as possible, as there are other foods with similar benefits, and which actually have reliable and valid research to back up their benefits.

Updates

  • Giveaway alert! If you want a chance to win a yogurt maker, baking pans, or a steamer, click the link here.
  • I posted new information about saturated fat on our Imagination To Burn
  • Don’t forget my own “Random Giveaway”, which ends on Friday. Check it out 

Coming Up

Tomorrow I’ll be sharing my new “must-have foods”. No, they will not all revolve around the FODMAPS diet, these will be foods that everyone can enjoy.

Thanks for reading, and have a great night/day!