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Trash Talk – Celebrate Earth Week!

3 simple things

Canopy Project – plant a tree, or donate to the Canopy Project; for each $1 you donate, they will plant a tree!
Go Paperless – online bill-pay & paperless statements are easy ways to save, save, save!
Recycle e-waste – each year tons of devices are pitched when they could have been recycled! Learn more & pledge to help.

Will you take a small step to help?
Visit the Earth Day Network

Mindful eating quest (part 3)

As my quest for mindful eating continues, I have explored consuming foods I traditionally do not eat. As I mentioned previously, I have not been a fan of yogurt, but I was determined to give it another chance. After some trial and error, I came to the conclusion that pre-sweetened yogurts were the most undesirable for me. Not only do they contain the added sugar I am trying to limit, they produce an undesirable taste on my palate. However, I have become a fan of plain Greek yogurt and have been eating in a variety of ways. Helping me to break out of my cereal rut, I pair plain Greek yogurt with granola (homemade so I can control the sugar content), add it as a garnish on my eggs and even mix it with avocado. At night, always looking for a taste of something sweet, I pair granola with slightly sweetened popcorn or make a shake with Greek yogurt, plain almond milk, banana & cocoa powder (still a work in progress). The point being I have opened my mind (and mouth) to new flavors and textures that I probably would not have done in my previous “mindless” eating life. However, my transition to mindful eating has not been seamless and like anyone with a busy schedule I struggle day to day with making smart choices. That said, we should certainly take pride in any small changes we make in our life that lead to better health. 

This chart from Appetite for Health is a great go to guide how to use Greek yogurt in ways you may not thought of.

Weekly Wisdom – Mediterranean Diet: Making it work for you (Part 1)

  • Do not fear fat ­ think extra virgin olive oil, avocados, and nuts. Research proves fat enhances the nutrients we absorb from food
  • Make veggies the star of your plate ­ find ways to have salads play a bigger role.
  • Embrace beans ­ add to salads, whole grain pilafs, pasta, etc.

Trash Talk – More ways to save: sports & exercise

Golf – golf loses about as many new players as it attracts each year, so if you are just starting, buy used, and/or begin with a half set of irons. As you improve, you can add!
Tennis – play outdoor, during daylight. Lighting a single tennis court can consume over 4,700 kilowatt­hours of energy per year – enough to power the average home for about 6 months!
Surfing / beach combing – stay on the appropriate paths, keep your vehicle on the road, & help protect the dunes by not climbing over them!

Source: The Green Book

Weekly Wisdom – Food Rules: Eat foods made from ingredients that you can picture in their raw state or growing in nature

  • Can you imagine the long list of Twinkie ingredients in their raw state or in the places they grow? No!
  • This rule will keep all sort of chemicals & foodlike substances out of your diet.

Source: The Green Book

Weekly Wisdom – Food Fears: Which ones should you worry about?

  • Farmed salmon ­ err on the side of caution & don’t eat more than once a month.
  • Arsenic in rice ­ eat no more than 1 ½­2 c cooked rice a week-­sub other grains such as quinoa, millet, wheat berries, spelt, etc.
  • Nonstick cookware fumes ­ breakdown only occurs when cookware is heated over 500 ° F; keep the burner below high.

April Recipe: Spring Pea & Mint Soup

Serves 10

4t - oliveoil
1c - shallots,minced
2t - garlic,fresh minced
8c - petite peas, fresh/shelledor frozen thawed
51⁄2c - chicken or vegetable broth
1⁄3c - fresh mint chiffonade
1t -salt
1⁄2t - pepper

  1. Heat oil in large pot over medium heat
  2. Add shallots & garlic,sauté until tender, 7 minutes
  3. Add peas & stir1min, add broth, bring to simmer
  4. Cook peas until tender,about 8 minutes
  5. Puree soup & mint in batches until smooth
  6. Return to pot, thin with more broth if desired, add s&p
  7. Ladle into bowls, garnish with chopped mint

Mindful eating quest (part 2)

It has been about 2 weeks since my quest to turn myself back into a mindful eater. As I mentioned in my previous post, I realized I spend half my days eating haphazardly while standing in my kitchen. The first few days proved to be challenging as I realized that it takes me great effort not to grab a piece of food every time I walked by the kitchen counter or stove. I would have a piece of food in midair before realizing that 1. I was not standing up and needed to sit down before I could eat or 2. I truly was not hungry. The biggest challenge for me has been making the time to prepare meals & snacks so that I do not grab the first thing in sight (which is usually chocolate). Some of my saving graces this past 2 weeks have been:

  1. Fresh baby spinach from the farmer’s market which I wash as soon as I purchase and then store in the salad spinner. I make a quick salad with lemon juice, a spritz of olive oil & balsamic vinegar. If I am in need of a protein I throw in some salmon or eggs.
  2. Cooked quinoa (or other grain of choice, I really like faro too). I cook up a batch of grains and store them in individual containers in the freezer. When I want to throw a quick meal together, I defrost a glass container and thrown in my toppings of choice (I like feta and lemon juice).
  3. Granola. My husband whips up a big batch of granola and this is a great snack for me paired with plain Greek yogurt. Normally I am not a fan of yogurt, especially the presweetened varieties, but I do like the plain Greek variety (also good with popcorn).
  4. Still allowing myself to have some chocolate during the day. Rather than mindlessly eating chocolate in front of the computer, I allow myself a dark chocolate square that I will only eat in the kitchen (remember I am being mindful).
  5. Not eating in front of the computer!

Here is our go to recipe for Crunchy Granola, adapted from Mark Bittman.

Ingredients

  • 6 cups rolled oats (not quick-cooking or instant)
  • 2 cups mixed nuts and seeds: sunflower seeds, sesame seeds, chopped walnuts, pecans, almonds or cashews (I use less)
  • 1 cup dried unsweetened shredded coconut, optional
  • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon, or to taste
  • Dash salt
  • 1/2 to 1 cup molasses
  • 1 cup raisins or chopped dried fruit, optional (I omit, personal preference)

Method

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. In a bowl, combine oats, nuts and seeds, coconut, cinnamon, salt and sweetener. Place on a sheet pan and put in oven. Bake for 30 minutes or a little longer, stirring occasionally. Mixture should brown evenly; the browner it gets without burning, the crunchier the granola will be.
  2. Remove pan from oven and add raisins or dried fruit. Cool on a rack, stirring once in a while until granola reaches room temperature. Transfer to a sealed container and store in refrigerator; it will keep indefinitely.

LocalHarvest.org

A beautifully written piece on what it means to ‘put the love’ in the food. If you don’t receive the LocalHarvest.org updates on what’s happening in your area, do so now-it’s great information!


LocalHarvest Newsletter, March 29, 2013

Welcome back to the LocalHarvest newsletter.

A little while back I was on a road trip and stopped at a coffee shop for a snack. I picked up one of the extra large cookies on the counter to see what was in it, and there, listed at the end of the usual ingredients was ‘love.’ I am sorry to say that my initial reaction included a tiny bit of eye rolling. It felt a little gimmicky – but it got me thinking. If we can put love into food, all sorts of possibilities open up, including how we think about good food.

We who appreciate good food sometimes struggle when it comes to describing it. Does it need to be grown within a certain number of miles? Does all organic food count? What if its parent company was a multinational? It gets complicated. Maybe there is some shorthand that would help, and maybe that shorthand is this: good food is grown and prepared with love.

What does that mean, exactly? How do we add love to our food? For myself, one important piece is simply paying attention to both the ingredients and the act of cooking. It’s the easiest thing in the world to throw together a quick supper while thinking a thousand racing thoughts about everything but the vegetables in my hands. But really, it is almost as simple, and infinitely more satisfying, to close the mental door on the day, focus on the task at hand, and take note of the fact that this food – this onion, these beans, this rice – this food right here will nourish me and my family, will become the energy that sustains us. Being mentally present and open-hearted changes what happens in the kitchen. It’s noticeable. My husband appreciates food and the effort home-cooking requires, and even when I’ve just thrown dinner together he looks at it and says, “Thank you for cooking, sweetie.” But when I’ve really put my heart into it, he’ll almost always say something like, “Wow, this is beautiful.” And it is.

So love changes food and the way we perceive it. I think this is one reason so many of us are drawn to farmers markets, farm stands and CSAs. Much of this food has been loved its whole life, and some part of us knows that. While not every farmer would use the word “love” in relation to what he or she does in the fields, I think it’s a fair descriptor of what’s going on when someone works for months to raise a crop, poring over crop rotations and seed orders, scraping weeds away from seedlings, sifting soil between their fingers to test the moisture, and getting up at 4:00 every morning to care for animals and load trucks and do the million other things necessary to bring in the harvest. Such work requires sustained attention, and usually, what people attend to deeply opens their hearts. Crops raised in this way, like meals prepared with care at home, are good food.

When we give our full attention to that which sustains us, whether we are growing, preparing, serving or eating it, that attention becomes a form of blessing. And we too are blessed.

Until next time, take good care and eat well.
Erin

Erin Barnett
Director
LocalHarvest

Weekly Wisdom – Food Rules: Eat only foods that will eventually rot

  • Food processing extends shelf life ­ often by removing beneficial nutrients
  • Processed foods = longer shelf life & less nutritious
  • Real food is alive, and it should eventually die
  • Note: most “immortal” food­like substances are in the middle aisle of the grocery

Source: The Green Book