Tag Archives: Vegetable

Energize Yourself with Food

9 Nov

The past few weeks we’ve been in the process of training our cat to use the toilet (again).  We almost got there last year, but with much resistance had to revert back to the litter box.  I look forward to the day I can finally throw out the litter box for good, and not have to clean up any litter for that matter.

Unfortunately for me, with the time change my cat Stoner decided that he still wanted to wake up at his normal time.  Normally he wakes me up at 4:45am, just a bit before my alarm goes off.  Monday morning 4:45 turned into 3:45am.  Usually I’d just put him in the downstairs bathroom where his litter box is and go back to sleep.

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Why am I telling this story?  Well because with the potty training he has to be supervised which meant I had to be awake.  Once awake I’m awake for good so I was quite the early bird Monday morning.

I was pretty productive for a few hours, but then my productivity dropped off around 9am and the tired feeling hit.  I’d already had my 1 cup of coffee and didn’t want to rely on more.  If I was home I’d take a nap, but at work that’s not an option.

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I opted for food to energize me.  Most of the time when I’m super tired I just crave carbs – pasta, bread or oatmeal are my go to foods.  But when I’m dragging tired I know one food that will actually give me lasting energy. 

Vegetables

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I’ve found that when I eat a spinach salad with nuts, fruits and/or other veggies I become instantly energized.  Same goes with green smoothies. 

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I put as much spinach in them as possible along with banana and peanut butter and after a few minutes of blending I have energy in a cup.

Vegetables are full of water which helps keep you hydrated.  Put that together with the enormous amount of vitamins and minerals you get from vegetables and it makes sense that they would be an energizing food.

Try this – the next afternoon when you’re ready to go for that extra cup of coffee, eat a small spinach salad with some sliced apples and almonds on it.  Drink a glass of water and wait 15 minutes.  I bet it gives you some energy. 

It’s worked for me any times.  Ever since I discovered this I try to keep an extra small salad at work with me just for this reason.  Vegetables really are my go to energy food.

What are your thoughts on this?  Do you think it would work for you?

Color your diet

22 Oct

If you were to think about your daily eats, what color would they be?

Green filled with salad, spinach, broccoli or avocado?

Overflowing with orange sweet potatoes, pumpkin, oranges, carrots, apricot and mango?

Purple?  Blueberries or eggplant anyone?

Red tomatoes, beets, strawberries or cranberries?

White onions, mushrooms and pears?

Yellow bell peppers and corn?

Brown bread, rice or whole grains?

Or is there a lot of beige?  Processed foods lacking natural colors?

It can be easy to fall into the processed foods rut.  Even if you know vegetables are important for your health, it can still be challenging to make sure your diet is full of many colors. 

Did you know only 26% of adults in the US eat 3 or more vegetables a day? source 

The recommendation (based on a 2,000 calorie diet) is 9 servings of fruits/vegetables a day.  Sounds like a lot huh?  Let’s see how this can be done.

Note – I eat 5-6 times a day but smaller meals.  Eating this way keep my energy levels stable and also keeps me from eating and arm and a leg at each meal.  After trial and error I’ve found this works best for my body.

Breakfast: Egg white oatmeal with blueberries and almond butter

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Morning snack: Curry sweet potato round with cottage cheese dipper

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Lunch: Pasta salad with a pear or plum

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Afternoon snack: Spinach and artichoke hummus with bell peppers/cucumbers and a side of grapes or apple

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Dinner: Ruby red mixed veggie hash with crockpot Italian chicken

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Possible evening snack: A piece of dark chocolate, a chocolate peanut cluster or fruit

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Looks like there are a lot of colors throughout the day.  Win!

Tell me, what colors are in your diet?  Are you part of that 26% that eats 3 or more servings of vegetables a day?  Want to be?

Ruby red mixed veggie hash with crock pot italian chicken

21 Oct

I felt pretty crummy last night when I got home from work.  I’ve been battling a head cold since the weekend when I did my 15 intervals in the cold outdoors.  When  40 degree wind goes in my ears it just gets to me… I really should have worn a hat or headband.  Lesson learned.

Usually when I’m feeling sick all I want is carbs – oatmeal, PBJs and crackers.  Last night was different.  Last night I wanted veggies.  It was the perfect choice because my produce delivery came that day too.

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The night before I prepped the crock pot with a whole chicken seasoned with Italian spices, sea salt and pepper.  I also coated it with a mist of olive oil too.  I had the butcher remove the skin so that I wouldn’t have to.  It definitely saved me some time.

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In the morning Jacob pulled the chicken out of the oven, set the crock pot for 6 hours on low and I came home to a wonderful smelling house.

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The chicken was out of this world tender.  Falling off the bones good.

Next up were my veggies and a whole lot of them.

Ruby Red Mixed Veggie Hash

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Ingredients

1 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
1 medium yukon gold potato, diced
1/2 an onion, diced
1/2 a red bell pepper, diced
1 small beet, grated
10 green bean, chopped
6 swiss chard leaves (or beet greens if that’s all you have), chopped – include the stems if you’d like
Sea salt and pepper to taste

Place a large skillet over medium-high heat and add the olive oil.  Add the potatoes to the pan and cook for about 5-7 minutes, stirring every so often. 

Add in the onion and bell pepper once the potatoes look half way cooked through. 

After 2 minutes add the add the grated beets and beans. 

Cook for another 2-3 minutes then add the swiss chard. 

Season with sea salt and pepper and cook until the swiss chard has wilted down a bit, for about 3-4 minutes.

This makes enough for 2 sides or 1 large meal.

Top with some chicken, or whatever protein you have on hand.

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Finish with some grated parmesan cheese to make it extra special.

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I feel better already.

Fresh produce galore and a simple chickpea salad

21 Aug

My regular CSA hasn’t been offering deliveries as often as I’d like.  I guess I’m an impatient person so I searched out an additional source of fresh produce.  

One of my husband’s friends told him about a local produce delivery company they use – Organics To You.  I’d actually looked into this company a while ago when searching for a CSA but thought that I would have an overflowing garden and make weekly trips to the farmer’s market.   

Neither happened.   

My garden is a bit slow to fill our fridge and the farmer’s market trips are interrupted with weekend get-aways.  I’m not saying that’s a bad thing but it was time to work around that.  

Our first delivery came on Wednesday and was unpacked immediately. 

I came home from work to find a fridge full of health on a shelf (or two).  

Tri-color carrots
Potatoes
Onions
Tomatoes
Green bell peppers
Zucchini
Apricots
Peaches
Plouts
Nectarines
   

 
Lettuce
Spinach
Cilantro
  

After admiring for a couple of minutes I removed a few items from the fridge and put them in their proper homes. 

Normally we wouldn’t be able to fill our shelves like we did which means our fridge was looking pretty bare.  Our freezer was too at the time so I used part of the bounty for my lunch the next day plus a great protein and fiber packed pantry item – beans.

Simple Chickpea Salad 

  

Ingredients

1 can chickpeas, drained and rinsed
1/2 bunch of spinach, chopped
2 golden beets, roasted and diced
1 medium tomato, diced
1/2 a green bell pepper, chopped
1/4 cup green onion, chopped
2 – 3 tbsp italian dressing

Combine all ingredients in a large bowl and stir.  

 You can eat this right away or save it in the fridge covered for 1-2 days.  The spinach will soften up a bit after being in the fridge but the flavors are even tastier then.

PS: Check out the Yogurt Battle at Family Fresh Cooking and vote for my curry chicken salad recipe!  Thanks 🙂

Zucchini Cakes

27 Jul

Zucchini

I keep seeing them everywhere… in gardens, the grocery store, at the farmers market and in my kitchen!  I prefer them in my kitchen 🙂

Zucchini is a wonderful vegetable to have in abundance.  Not only is zucchini (and other summer squash) a low calorie vegetable that can be eaten raw or cooked, it is a great source of  vitamin A, manganese, folate, potassium, vitamin C, fiber, copper and magnesium.  Vegetables provide so many nutrients to the body.  Those are just a few of the more prominent ones in zucchini.

There are many ways to eat zucchini.  You can dice one up raw to add to a salad, or to a veggie try.  They are delicious roasted with herbs and olive oil, or sauted in an egg scramble.  In many dishes, like a vegetable lasagna, zucchini is one of the many vegetables in the recipe.  Here I wanted to make the zucchini a star.

These simple zucchini cakes have limited ingredients in them, so the prep work is kept to a minimum.  To speed up the prep time some more use a food processor if you have a grating blade and grate them that way instead of by hand.  This recipe made 6 cakes but you can easily double the recipe to make more.

Zucchini Cakes

Ingredients

2 cups grated zucchini (about 1 medium zucchini – leave the skin on)
1 egg
1/4 cup finely diced sweet onion
1 clove of garlic, minced
1/2 tsp paprika
1/8 tsp pepper and sea salt
1 tbsp cornmeal

In a bowl add the egg and beat it until the yolk is mixed nicely with the egg white.  Add the remaining ingredients and stir until everything is combined evenly. 

If your zucchini is extra moist you may need to add some more cornmeal here to keep the mixture together better.

Heat a large skillet to medium heat and coat with olive oil spray.  Using a spoon or measuring cup pour the batter into the pan.  The cakes should be about 2-3 inches in diameter. 

Cook on the first side for about 3-4 minutes and flip.  They should be browned on both sides when the cakes are done.  Let them cool for a few minutes and enjoy either warm, room temperature or cold.  They keep for a couple days in the fridge.

These are great on their own as a side and would go well with a cool tzatziki sauce too.