Monday, January 31, 2011

Smoky Black Bean And Corn Chowder Recipe

The other day J came home and handed me a blank receipt with a list of ingredients written on it in black permanent marker. He said is was a delicious soup he had at a restaurant in Fargo and insisted I tried to "remake." With only knowing what was actually in the soup and not to what degree I started investigating recipes. I finally found one that with a few manipulations and "healthifying" efforts fit the bill.
Smoky Black Bean And Corn Chowder

1/2 cup yellow onions, chopped
1 cloves garlic, finely chopped
2 stalks organic celery (with leaves)
2 tablespoons butter (I use Land O Lakes whipped butter)
1/2 cup evaporated milk instead of cream
1/4 teaspoon black pepper, freshly ground
1 1/4 teaspoon sea salt
1 can whole kernel corn, drained
8 ounces black beans, canned, drained
3 cups chicken broth
5 slices turkey bacon or you could use Canadian bacon
1ish chipotle peppers (come in a can) - watch out these suckers are hot and people can add their own if they desire more heat
1 tsp cumin
chili powder (optional, I found there to be enough spice from the chipotle peppers)
Cook bacon to desired crunchiness in soup pot. Remove from heat and dice into pieces.
In a soup pot, saute onion, garlic and celery in butter until tender but not brown. Stir in salt and black pepper.
Add milk and chicken broth and bring to a boil, stirring constantly for about 1 minute.
Stir in drained corn, bacon pieces, chipotle pepper and drained black beans. Add cumin. Reduce the heat and simmer for 10 minutes or until ready to serve. Garnish with a spoonful of Greek yogurt. Makes 6 servings.

Until next time...
look good, feel good, do good

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

Perfect Roasted Chicken

A few weeks ago I decided to try my hand at preparing my first roasted chicken. As I peered down at my chicken I saw that it was 4 lbs. At the time, this was the same estimated weight as the baby in me :) I eagerly ran to show J what it felt like to hold 4 lbs. He wasn't so sure about comparing the chicken I was about to oil up and bake to my belly but I made my point.
Perfectly Roasted Chicken
from Barefoot Contessa
great entertaining recipe as it is simple to prepare, tastes great and looks impressive

1 (5 to 6 pound) roasting chicken
Sea salt
Freshly ground black pepper
1 large bunch fresh thyme
Few sprigs of rosemary
1 lemon, halved
1 head garlic, cut in half crosswise
2 tablespoons (1/4 stick) butter, melted - I used Land O Lake natural whipped
1 large yellow onion, thickly sliced
Olive oil
optional: veggies to roast
Preheat the oven to 425 degrees F.
Remove the chicken giblets. Rinse the chicken inside and out. Remove any excess fat and leftover pin feathers and pat the outside dry. Liberally salt and pepper the inside of the chicken. Stuff the cavity with the bunch of thyme, rosemary, both halves of lemon, and all the garlic. (I tied the herbs together with kitchen strings for easy removal). Brush the outside of the chicken with the butter and or olive oil and sprinkle again with salt and pepper.

Tie the legs together with kitchen string and tuck the wing tips under the body of the chicken. (As you can see I am not an expert in this, but in my own way managed to tie 'er's a video to help).
Optional: roast veggies like carrots, fennel, and onion around chicken. Coat with olive oil and leftover thyme and rosemary. I choose to prepare my roasted veggies in a separate pan so I could make LOTS!

Roast the chicken for 1 1/2 hours, or until the juices run clear when you cut between a leg and thigh. BEWARE: This made a mess of my oven...the grease splattering everywhere. Next time I will opt to loosely cover the chicken with foil and see how this goes. Place chicken and vegetables on a platter and cover with aluminum foil for about 20 minutes. Slice the chicken onto a platter and serve it with the vegetables.

Until next time...
look good, feel good, do good

Friday, January 21, 2011

Baby S Update - Week 35

Not that we're counting but...
31 days till Baby S's predicted due date!!!
J and I are so excited to finally meet him or her.
Besides the occasional heartburn, things are going really well and I feel great. It is crazy how much your belly grows in these last few weeks, but then again if you think about fitting a 20 inch and 6-8 lb baby in there you realize why. I swear it grew an inch alone last week! J makes fun of all the groaning and grunting noises I make trying to put on my shoes.

Week 34 and Week 35
Week 35 - feeling some rib kicks now

I am still rockin' and rollin' the workouts, mostly it's short running intervals on the treadmill mixed in with Crossfit Mom workouts.
There's also some up hill walking, cross country skiing, and rowing mixed in there.
Swimming feels the best since I'm pretty much one fin away from being a whale.
To get my nesting fix, J and I decided to order our crib

we have turned half the office into a nursery for now
(since were in the process of selling/moving)

we have also stocked up on a few gender neutral onesies that we found pretty irresistible

Until next time...
look good, feel good, do good

Thursday, January 20, 2011

7 Comfort Food that are Good for You

7 Comfort Foods that are Good for You
--By Zach Van Hart, Staff Writer
Comfort – A condition or feeling of pleasurable ease, well-being, and contentment.
Food – A substance you consume to produce energy, stimulate growth, and provide nourishment.

Put these two words together and people dream of fudge sundaes, turn to pot pie for pick-me-ups and fall prey to many other kinds of eating rituals. This is the power comfort foods hold. Unfortunately, it seems that most comfort foods console us with extra fat, calories and other ingredients that lack great nutritional value. But not all comfort foods are made this way. Here are 7 Comfort Foods that are actually good for you. Check ’em out.

Yogurt (with fruit)
The frozen variety tastes pretty similar to its ice cream counterpart, only with less fat. By adding fruit, you’re only adding more minerals and vitamins. Cool and soothing, this comfort food is a perfect snack, yet tastes sweet enough to ease your pain.

Fruit smoothie
This is the perfect cure for anyone with a sweet tooth. Amazingly, even if you don’t normally like fruit, you will probably still enjoy this blend of fruit, juice and yogurt. It only takes a few minutes to whip up in your blender and is a cool and refreshing treat during a hot, summer day

Chicken noodle soup
Would you rather have anything else when you’re sick? This blend of noodles, chicken chunks and veggies in a steaming hot bowl will take you back to your childhood. Remember to buy a brand with low sodium, or make your own at home. Check out my Chicken Noodle Soup.

Angel food cake
Sometimes, we all love a slice of cake. Warm and fluffy, every bite is better than the previous one. With angel food cake, you can enjoy a slice without feeling guilty about it later. Pretend it’s your birthday and have a slice, maybe even with some fat-free whipped cream.

Forget caffeine-charged coffee; oatmeal is all you need for a hot breakfast that will leave you energized for hours to come. Packed with complex carbs, oatmeal is easy to make and much healthier than a sugary cereal you might otherwise eat. A steaming bowl of oatmeal will make mornings your favorite part of the day. Toss in some fresh fruit to get that sweetness you crave.

Vegetable juice
Sometimes you need that kick. Vegetable juices, such as V8 and others, have enough kick to play in soccer’s World Cup. A blend of many vegetables, including tomatoes, it’s great when you’re not very hungry or when you're on the go.

Crock pot creations (anything that’s healthy, anyway)
One of the greatest food inventions of the 20th century, a crock pot can seemingly take any combination of ingredients and turn them into a great meal. Slowly cooked, whatever comes out is hot and tastes great. Throw in healthy meats and a bunch of veggies to make this comfort food good for you.

Until next time...
look good, feel good, do good

Monday, January 17, 2011

Leek, Potato, Parsnip and Cauliflower Soup

Leek, Potato, Parsnip and Cauliflower Soup
modified from Clean Eating Cookbook

4 T olive oil
1 yellow onion, peeled, coarsely chopped
4 leeks, trimmed, sliced in half lengthwise, coarsely chopped and well rinsed
2 parsnips, peeled and coarsely chopped
2 C cauliflower florets
5 medium Yukon gold organic potatoes, peeled and cubed
2 cloves garlic, peeled and passed through a garlic press (or chopped really fine)
1 tsp sea salt
8 C chicken broth
pinch of freshly ground black pepper
In a soup pot or Dutch oven, heat oil over medium high flame. Add onions, leeks, parsnips and cauliflower and cook, stirring constantly for 10 minutes or until veggies begin to soften. You may have to add a little more olive oil.
Add cubed potatoes, sea salt, garlic, and broth. Bring to a boil. Reduce heat and let simmer for 40 minutes or until all veggies are uniformly tender. Using a hand blender, puree soup (or puree in batches in blender or food processor). Adjust flavor by adding sea salt and pepper to taste.

Nutrients for 2 Cups: 227 calories, 8g protein, 36g carbs, 5g fat

Until next time...
look good, feel good, do good

Friday, January 14, 2011

Oatmeal Pancakes

Every Sunday when I was a kid my mom used to cook up a yummy brunch after church. Sometimes it was as simple as toast and eggs to as fancy as quiche, but my favorite brunches were when she made pancakes or waffles. I usually go to be the flipper and then had my fill at the table...easily polishing off a tall stack.
Man, I love pancakes! I look forward to carrying on this tradition with my family...which by the way...5 weeks till we meet Baby S!
Oatmeal Pancakes

3/4 C oat flour (grind 1 cup whole oats (not instant) in a food processor or magic bullet)
1 C whole wheat flour
1 T stevia or sugar
1 1/2 tsp baking powder
1/4 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp cinnamon
pinch of nutmeg
3/4 tsp salt
3 T butter, melted and cooled, I used Land o Lake naturally whipped
1 1/4 C buttermilk
1 C cooked oatmeal, not instant
1 T honey
2 large eggs
1/4 C finely chopped pecans or walnuts or almonds

Mix together the oat flour, flour, sugar, powder, soda, cinnamon, nutmeg and salt in a large bowl. In a smaller bowl, stir the melted and cooled butter, buttermilk, cooked oatmeal, honey, and eggs together. Gently fold the wet ingredients into the dry until just combined. Fold in nuts. Do not over mix.Heat griddle to medium-high heat. Lightly coat with oil or butter and cook pancakes to perfection.
Keep pancakes warm in an oven at 200F.

Fruit Sauce
I like to make a fruit sauce to go with my pancakes so I don't have to use as much maple syrup. Simply pour a bag of frozen berries into a small saucepan, add 2-3 T real maple syrup, heat until bubbling, reduce to simmer. Puree with a hand blender (careful not to splatter everywhere).

Until next time...
look good, feel good, do good

Wednesday, January 12, 2011

5 Suprisingly Healthy Foods

5 Surprisingly Healthy Foods for the New Year
Posted by Katherine @ 01.02.11
article borrowed from a fellow RD's blog
Since good health and losing weight are part of many New Year’s resolutions, I wanted to give you the scoop on a few foods that you don’t have to feel guilty about eating this year. (Or at least not too guilty!) Here are 5 foods that you might be surprised to learn are actually good for you.
1. Potatoes.

Hey, I hope you’re not still caught up in that ‘no carb’ craze. The truth is that many carbohydrates are good for you. Potatoes got a particularly bad wrap in the last decade. But the potato is a nutritious, versatile, and inexpensive food that has a place in a healthy diet. One medium-sized potato (with skin) has just 110 calories and is one of the best sources of potassium and fiber in the produce section. Baked, mashed, or roasted, potatoes make a wonderful side or a base for a healthful meal (just make sure to go light on the toppings).
2. Avocados.

If you love the creamy, rich taste of avocados but worry about the fat and calorie content, let me put some of those fears to rest. While avocados are higher in fat, most of it is “heart healthy” mono- and polyunsaturated fat. Concerned about calories? One-fifth of a medium-sized avocado has about 50 calories. Not bad considering these versatile fruits are nutrient-rich, containing nearly 20 vitamins and minerals. As long as you use moderation as your guide, avocados are a very nutritious―and tasty―addition to sandwiches, salads, and dips.
3. Pistachios.
Pistachios offer more than 30 different vitamins, minerals and phytonutrients including lutein and zeaxanthin, two antioxidants associated with a reduced risk of age-related macular degeneration. Worried about the fat and calories? Pistachios are one of the nuts lowest in calories and fat. (They have only three calories per nut―about half the count of most snack nuts.) Small and flavorful, pistachios make a satisfying snack as well as a healthful ingredient in many meals.
4. Eggs.
Once demonized as an artery-clogging food, eggs have been exonerated by new research and now have a place in most diets. Packed with nutrients, one egg contains 13 essential vitamins and minerals, high-quality protein, and healthy unsaturated fats for just 75 calories. While yolks do contain about 213mg of dietary cholesterol (the daily limit is 300mg), eating a whole egg a few times per week falls within heart-healthy guidelines if cholesterol from other sources―such as meats, poultry and dairy products―is limited.
5. Coffee.
Is cutting out coffee the best bet for your health? Not necessarily. Sure, if you drink too much, caffeinated coffee can give you the jitters or interfere with sleep. But you can also reap significant perks from coffee, both caffeinated and decaf. Studies show that drinking coffee regularly may reduce your risk of Parkinson’s disease, colon cancer, diabetes, and even headaches. Scientists also believe that coffee may play a role in improving memory and decreasing the risk of Type 2 diabetes. Multiple studies have shown that coffee drinkers are up to 80 percent less likely to develop Parkinson’s disease. In other studies, colon cancer was reduced by about 25 percent in individuals who drank at least 2 cups a day. While more research is needed, most health experts now believe that the health benefits of coffee outweigh the negatives.
Until next time...
look good, feel good, do good

Monday, January 10, 2011

Holiday Celebrations and Cuisine

For Christmas Eve I prepared this salad and dressing. It brought cheer to everyone's taste buds.
Spinach and Red Pear Salad
with Pomegranate Vinaigrette
Organic baby spinach
1/4 sliced red onion
sprinkle 0f blueberries (optional)
1 red pear, sliced into pieces
toasted walnuts
blue cheese
1/2 C pomegranate juice
3 T sugar, could try honey
3 T balsamic vinegar
1 T canola oil
1 tsp grated orange rind
Combine all ingredients in a small bowl or jar and whisk/shake together until blended.
calories for 3 T serving of dressing: 96grams

Quinoa, Couscous and Cranberries (recipe another day)

Mom made these feta, tomato, and cucumber kabobs for NYE. So light and delish!
Just soak the tomatoes and cucumber in a little olive oil and balsamic vinaigrette and viola...a super easy appetizer!
Dad splurged and surprised Mom with an edible arrangement....I loved the chocolate covered granny smith apples!
Christmas at the Schwertfeger's
the kids sharing the Christmas story before presents, so we can all remember what it is truly about

Anna sporting her Hawkeye jersey, complete with shoulder pads
Christmas at the Boisen's
Emmerson, Peyton, and their cousin Isla (far left)

Peyton passing out the presents

Emmerson scored on the ISU gear!

and Ironman/triathlon swag!

Peyton shows off her gifts....

and other people's gifts

Some attire from myself and Baby S.
Two things that I hold dear to my heart....veggies and the Cyclones!
NYE at the Schwertfeger's
with the Boisens and the Browns
fun games, good food, great company
Until next time...
look good, feel good, do good

Thursday, January 6, 2011

Celery & Pear Bisque

You know how I get about soups this time of year....I just can't get enough. So here is another scrumptious soup to add to your recipe rolodex.
Let's get to know the pear a bit so we can appreciate the health benefits it is providing us as we slurp down this soup.
Protection from Free Radicals
Pears are a good source of vitamin C and copper. Both of these nutrients can be thought of as antioxidant nutrients that help protect cells in the body from oxygen-related damage due to free radicals. Vitamin C stimulates white cells to fight infection, directly kills many bacteria and viruses.
Pears Promote Cardiovascular and Colon Health
Pear's fiber does a lot more than help prevent constipation and ensure regularity. Fiber has been shown in a number of studies to lower high cholesterol levels, good news to people at risk for atherosclerosis or diabetic heart disease. Fiber also binds to cancer-causing chemicals in the colon, preventing them from damaging colon cells. This may be one reason why diets high in fiber-rich foods, such as pears, are associated with a reduced risk of colon cancer.

Celery & Pear Bisque
from Bon Apetite
Prep: 30 min, total: 50 min
6 servings, calories 178
4 1/2 T butter (I used Land o Lake tub butter)
6 C thinly sliced celery with leaves - celery has no protective skin, which makes it almost impossible to wash off the chemicals that are used on conventional crops so choose organic if it can be found.
18 oz unpeeled ripe Bartlett pears, cored, diced (generous 3 cups) plus 1/2 C finely diced for garnish - again these are on the dirty dozen so choose organic
1 1/2 C chopped dark green leek tops
reserve one leek stalk (white part) and chop into soup
3 bay leaves
1 1/2 tsp chopped fresh thyme or 1 tsp dried thyme
1 1/2 T whole wheat flour
3 C or more of Watkins chicken broth
Melt butter in pot over medium-high heat. Add sliced celery, generous 3 cups diced pears, leak tops and one chopped stalk, bay leaves, and thyme. Cover; cook until celery softens, stirring occasionally, about 8 minutes. Toss in flour. Stir in 3 cups broth; bring to boil. Cover, reduce heat to medium low and simmer until celery is tender, about 20 minutes. Remove bay leaves from soup. Puree soup with hand blender or in batches with blender. Season to taste with sea salt and pepper. Thin with more broth if desired although mine was perfect. Rewarm before serving. Garnish with diced pears and any reserved celery leaves.

Until next time...
look good, feel good, do good

Tuesday, January 4, 2011

Sweet Potato Biscuits

Hope everyone had a Merry Christmas and Happy New Year! 2011 is going to be an amazing year....make it happy and healthy!

I am flattered to help bring in the New Year on Iowa Momentum Magazine's January cover!

These tasty biscuits are an absolute MUST make. They are paired perfectly with chili, tomato or tortellini soup. A nice twist on the traditional cornbread.

Sweet Potato Biscuits
recipe from Bon Appetite
Prep 20 min, total time 1 hour. Make 16-20.
Calories: about 170
1 large sweet potato peeled and pierced with a fork and steamed -preferably organic as potatoes are one of the "dirty dozen"
1 1/3 C whole wheat flour
2/3 C yellow cornmeal
1 T baking powder
3/4 tsp salt
1/2 C chilled unsalted butter, cut into 1/2 inch cubes (I used real butter for the flavor and the flakiness it gives however if someone tries a lower calorie option such as Land o Lakes, let me know how it turns out)
1/2 C buttermilk
1/4 C real maple syrup
1/2 C pecans, toasted and chopped
Preheat oven to 425F. Line baking sheet with parchment. Microwave potato until tender (can use a Ziploc steambag). Let cool. Blend 1 1/3C flour and next three ingredients in processor. Add butter; pulse to coarse meal. Add potato, buttermilk, and syrup; process to blend. Add nuts; pulse to blend. Sprinkle dough with flour. Pat into 8 1/2 inch square. Cut into 16-20 biscuits. Transfer to baking sheet. Bake until tester inserted into center comes out clean, 18-20 minutes.
Enjoy! I plan to bring to Thansksgiving next year!

Until next time...
look good, feel good, do good