Wednesday, July 23, 2014

Guest Post: Product Review: Garmin Forerunner 10-GPS Running Watch

I recently purchased the Garmin Forerunner 10 as a motivational tool to keep me running. I have
never been a runner before, having trouble completing just one mile, but wanted to make it a summer goal to get myself movin’. 

Since purchasing this watch, I have worked my way up to six miles straight. I want to share my opinion of this watch-turned-miracle-worker. I am not being compensated in any way for this review. 

Here’s my take:

Pros:
  • Easy to get on and off of my wrist
  • Comfortable fit while running
  • Large display which makes it easy to read while in motion
  • Lots of helpful and easy-to-use features including distance, pace, personalized interval (run/walk) running, virtual pacer, auto pause, personal records, and data saved from past runs
  • Easy connection to online analysis of your run including GPS route
  • Comes in fun colors—pink, purple, lime green
  • A light feature for your night runs
  • Displays the date
  • Battery life is good—needs to be charged every few days or after a long run
Cons:
  • Somewhat bulky for an everyday type watch
  • Can’t display the time while running with the distance/time showing
  • Can’t find location indoors—only for outdoor use
  • Depending on where you are, sometimes has difficulty finding location
  • Remembering to charge the watch
Overall: I really like the product and its motivational aspect. The pros outweigh the cons for me and I will continue to use this watch to improve my running. I would recommend this product. 

Guest Blog by Kaitlyn! 
Kaitlyn is a senior Nutrition and Dietetics major at Miami University. She is a summer intern for Grass Roots Nutrition and will be co-hosting the August 21-Day Real Food Challenge. She loves finding new, healthy foods to enjoy but her go-to favorite vegetables are mini sweet peppers!

Monday, July 21, 2014

{Recipe ReDux} A Spirited ReDux: Tequila-Lime Tacos

This month's Recipe ReDux Challenge was an especially fun theme - how are we including a little booze in our cooking?

"From plain Jane vanilla extract to fancy-pants elderflower liqueur, we like to keep a little liquor in the kitchen. Show us how you like to cook, bake or mix-it-up with spirits, extracts and other alcohols. A splash of vodka makes summer sauces shine – and liqueurs brighten desserts: What’s your healthy recipe with spirit?"
I reserved a Friday night for a fun taco party for a few friends! Because I am working from home, it allows the flexibility to make everything from scratch. I use the various chopping and mixing tasks as mental breaks from my computer and writing. A fun day!

As most of us don't have the flexibility to spend all day in the kitchen, just do what you can! Purchase your favorite tortillas, use frozen peppers and onions already chopped up, get some fresh pico de gallo from the grocery store. No big deal!

I had the opportunity to travel to Mexico after grad school and actually made corn tortillas in an outdoor kitchen with a real-live Mexican grandmother. There it is common to get the tortilla dough from town and to roll them out and cook them at home. As I don't have that opportunity, but still think that homemade are significantly more delicious than store bought, I use this mix and my handy-dandy tortilla press to make my own. Feel free to recruit friends to help with the tortillas!

Are these authentic, Mexican tacos? Probably not. Are they delicious? Absolutely!

Tequila-Lime Tacos
  • 2 pounds raw chicken or shrimp, or 1 pound each
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 2 tablespoons honey
  • 2 limes, juiced
  • 1/2 cup tequila
  • 1 teaspoon onion powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon paprika (smokey or sweet, per your preference)
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cumin 
  • 1/2 teaspoon black pepper 
 Smokey Sour Cream
  • 1 cup sour cream
  • 1 teaspoon smoked paprika
  • 1 lime, juiced
Sides and toppings
  • Corn tortillas - homemade is most delicious
  • Black beans (warmed and seasoned)
  • Cotija cheese, crumbled, if you can find it
  • Sauteed bell peppers and onions
  • Limes
  • Pico de gallo
  • Guacamole
  1. Mix marinade ingredients and pour over raw chicken and/or shrimp. Pop in the fridge for an hour or so to let the ingredients marry. 
  2.  Mix smokey sour cream ingredients and pop in the fridge.  
  3. Drain and rinse black beans and warm up - I used the slow cooker, but that's up to you! The stove or microwave are both good options. I seasoned mine with come salt, pepper, oregano, garlic and crushed red pepper. Plain is fine too!
  4. Cook your tortillas or warm those from the store - wrap in a damp paper towel and microwave until soft.
  5. Saute veggies until tender but not mushy - set aside.
  6. Preheat grill or grill pan. Cook chick and/or shrimp and then chop chicken into bite-sized pieces. 
  7. Set all ingredients in a buffet for assembly. What you choose to put in your taco vs. next to your taco is at your discretion :)



Saturday, July 19, 2014

Guest Post: Why I am LOVING Vegetarian Eating

What does the word “vegetarian” really mean? Well, according to Vegetarian Nation, there are SIX levels of vegetarianism. First, there’s vegan. Vegans do not consume any meat, fish, meat by-products, or animal by-products. Then there’s the lacto vegetarian, meaning no meat, fish, or eggs. And then the ovo vegetarian, meaning no meat, fish, or dairy. Then there’s the lacto-ovo vegetarian, which means exactly what is implies. Then the pollotarian, the pescatarian, and the flexitarian….have I lost you yet? With so many different levels of this word “vegetarian” that gets thrown around, it’s easy to get confused by what people mean when they say they have “turned vegetarian”. 

I was sitting in a summer class, about a week after the spring semester of my junior year of college ended, getting to know the other students around me. Being nutrition majors, we quickly made the conversation about food. One of the girls at my table claimed she had been “vegetarian” for many years now and loved it. I asked her why and her answer stuck with me. She simply stated, “Because I like how it makes me feel”. Other times that I have heard people talk about their vegetarian diet, they have been driven by other reasons such as the manufacturing process after watching a documentary. The word feel in her short reply changed my mindset on the whole idea of becoming vegetarian. I decided soon after that conversation that I wanted to at least give this whole “vegetarianism” thing a try.

I sit here now, almost two months later, still following the vegetarian lifestyle and loving every bit of it. According to the levels of vegetarianism that I listed above, I am considered a lacto-ovo vegetarian. Just to reiterate, this means that I have cut meat, red and white, out of my diet. I already don’t really like fish or seafood so this lacks on my plate as well. I still consume eggs and dairy products. Why have I kept it up? “Because I like how it makes me feel”.

So here’s the inside scoop. The actual truth without the confusing fluff. My personal thoughts and understanding of this multi-dimensional word “vegetarian”. Just a few simple ideas from someone who used to enjoy a burger and now appreciates a plate of veggies…

1.      It’s all about the feel. What do I mean by this? Energy. Mood. Lightness. Crispness. By adding more vegetables and fruits in my diet, I truly believe my overall state of health, physical, emotional, and mental, has been sharpened.
2.      I’ve lost a little weight. That’s always nice, right? I wasn’t looking to make any drastic changes but along with the plant-based diet came some added benefits. I don’t think I am necessarily seeing these changes from eliminating meat but I think instead from the ways in which meat is cooked (i.e. fried).
3.      I’ve been more in touch with my body’s needs. There are days that I wake up and know I need to make an egg in the morning. When I was eating meat, I was constantly in a state of grogginess that I only realized now, which made this ability nearly impossible. It’s actually really neat!
4.      I’ve learned a lot of new recipes and started to enjoy the naturalness of real food.
Like I said, these are only a few simple ideas from my journey thus far. I would definitely recommend a vegetarian diet for your own experience. I would suggest that if you want to try it out, do it for about two weeks to see how your body feels. I recall the two-week mark is about when I started to feel the refreshing effects and was sold on this new lifestyle.

Guest Blog by Kaitlyn! 
Kaitlyn is a senior Nutrition and Dietetics major at Miami University. She is a summer intern for Grass Roots Nutrition and will be co-hosting the August 21-Day Real Food Challenge. She loves finding new, healthy foods to enjoy but her go-to favorite vegetables are mini sweet peppers!

Friday, July 18, 2014

Recipe: Simple Zucchini Saute

It's that time of the year when zucchini, yellow squash and all kinds of summer squash are suddenly abundant. You harvest your garden's bounty, blink, and the plants are ready with more! 

Recipes, please!

Here is a super simple way to saute summer squash to have as a side dish. Or, fry an egg for the top and call it a meal. Or toss with some cooked whole grain pasta.

Summer Squash Saute
  • 1-2 tablespoons olive oil
  • one bell pepper, sliced
  • one onion, sliced
  • two small summer squashes (ex: yellow squash, zucchini squash, zephyr squash, patty pan, etc)
  • Fresh basil
  • 1-2 tablespoons balsamic Vinegar
  • Salt and pepper, to taste 
  1. Preheat a large skillet. Add olive oil and veggies and saute until they were done to your liking (I don't like them mushy). Pour into serving bowl.
  2. To the bowl, add some chopped fresh basil and a sprinkle of the balsamic vinegar. Toss to coat. Oh, and a bit of salt and pepper. Super simple and delicious!
Other options? Grill the veggies and then toss with the balsamic and basil. Or try other herbs. Or throw an eggplant into the mix. This is super flexible!

How are you eating zucchini lately?

Wednesday, July 16, 2014

Just One More

I think we can easily foil our goals and good intentions on the slippery slope of "just one more". This thought came to me this morning as I was snoozing "just one more time"...which slid into 4 more times.

Oops.

I think we fool ourselves with this too often: just one more bite, just one more cookie, just one more cuppa coffee.

How can we reformulate?

Awareness needs to come first. Where am I using this phrase?

Decide if this is supporting your health goals. No? Then shorten the phrase to "just one".
  • Just one snooze
  • Just one handful of almonds
  • Just one bite of ice-cream

Some folks do well with moderation - so one cookie or one snooze helps them to stay on track in the long run because they do not feel deprived.

Others do best with abstinence; just one will lead to just one more and just one more. If you feel that may help you best, "not now" may be the best phrase for you.
  • Just one snooze? Not this morning
  • Just one chip? Not today
So, my goal for tomorrow morning is to simply get up, and stay up, when the alarm goes off. Just one snooze? Not this morning.

Have a great morning!

Thursday, July 3, 2014

Guest Post: 5 tips that will change the way you think about salad


I have not been a huge fan of salads for most of my life.  I was just plain tired of eating Romaine lettuce with tomatoes, cucumbers, and ranch dressing.  After too many of these salads in my childhood, I never wanted to see another bowl of Romaine again!

Salads are a great way to pack fruits, vegetables, and other whole foods that many people do not get enough of into one meal in a delicious way.

However, there are a couple problems with salads.  First, there is the common assumption that all salads are a healthy choice.  Imagine a salad made with lettuce, fried chicken, and a creamy, packaged Caesar dressing.  Yes, it may technically be a salad, but this is not necessarily a healthful way to eat one.  

Another problem is that a salad made only with vegetables and without the proper protein and heart-healthy fats may leave you hungry in 5 minutes .

here many wonderful strategies to combat these potential pitfalls.  Salads can be delicious and satisfying if you find the right ingredient combination.  It takes some extra time and effort to construct the perfect salad, but it is well worth it!
After learning these things and experimenting with salad recipes, I have found a new love for salads.  Search for ideas online or in cookbooks.  Go to the grocery store and pick ingredients that you think will taste really good together.  You can make a salad out of absolutely anything your heart desires, so don’t let yourself be limited to things you have seen on salads before!

Here are some tips to help you make a mouthwatering salad:

1. Pick any delicious base ingredient.

Salads don’t have to have lettuce as the base.  Use quinoa, farro, shredded carrots, or chopped purple cabbage as a base instead.  Get creative because the opportunities are endless!

If you do enjoy lettuce, do it right and invest in a salad spinner.  After washing your lettuce, you want to get the lettuce very dry before making your salad because the dressing will stick much better to dry leaves.

2. Pump up the flavor.

Add an extra boost of flavor to your salad by mixing fresh herbs into the lettuce, topping with the squeeze of a citrus fruit or sprinkling on some spices or citrus zest.

For example, I recently added a Mexican twist to my salad by mixing finely chopped cilantro into the lettuce and topping the final product with a squeeze of a lime and crushed red pepper flakes.

3. Get imaginative with toppings.

You can literally add almost  anything to a salad.  Go to the grocery store and buy whatever looks good to you.  Or go to the farmers market with nothing in mind and find what you love and what’s in season.  When you get home, prepare your ingredients, put them in a bowl, add dressing and other toppings, and call it a salad!  In each salad, keep it interesting by adding contrasting textures.  For example, add creamy avocados with nuts or soft goat cheese with croutons.

  • Start with a foundation of veggies!
  • Don’t forget about cheeses like blue cheese, goat cheese, Gouda, cheddar, or Parmesan.
  • Try adding grains like oats, whole grain pasta, or bread crumbs as toppings.
  • You can also add some crunch with nuts (try almonds or walnuts) and seeds (try chia seeds, sunflower seeds, or sesame seeds).
  • Don’t be afraid to add fruit to your salad for an extra punch of sweetness.
  • Adding animal products to you salad can be another great way to make a salad more filling.  Try baked salmon or chicken or slices of hard boiled eggs.

4. Learn how to make a mean, homemade dressing.

Here is a basic recipe for a homemade salad dressing that you can scale up or down depending on how much you need.  Experiment until you find a combination you love.  

  • ½ cup of oil such as olive, sesame, avocado, peanut, grapeseed, peanut, or walnut oil.
  • ¼ cup
    • acidic juice such as lemon, orange, lime, or grapefruit
OR
    • vinegar such as balsamic, champagne, rice.
  • Any amount of flavoring such as garlic, shallot, mustard seed, soy sauce, honey, jam, ginger, fresh herbs (such as cilantro, thyme, and basil),, or spice (such as cumin and pepper).
  • Add some Greek yogurt (optional) to make it thick and creamy.

5. Use creative containers.

Just so you know, you don’t have to eat your salad out of a bowl.  Mix it up and eat your salad in a tall mason jar, a big plate, or even a large coffee mug.  Even though it won’t actually taste any different, sometimes mixing things up can make your meal more exciting!

Guest blog by Katie!
Katie is an intern at Grass Roots Nutrition and a recent graduate of Miami University with degrees in nutrition and zoology.  This fall, she will be attending the dietetic internship program at Bradley University in order to become a registered dietitian.  She loves running, traveling, and cooking healthy recipes with friends and family.  Her favorite foods are dark chocolate and cheese!


Wednesday, July 2, 2014

Why I Farm: Back Acres Farm

What is the significance of your farm’s name—Back Acres Farm in Brown County/Georgetown?
We live in an original log cabin that settlers lived in at the end of a very long lane which is 2/10th of a mile long. We make wine for ourselves and we needed to have a name to print on the labels.
Back Acre Farms was selected due to this long lane but it is also playful because it represents our back aches from farming. In fact, our mailbox has a hunched over farmer with a pitchfork in his hand. We’ve been farming since 1979; my husband always wanted to farm since he came from a family of farmers.

Displaying photo 1 (3).jpgWhat do you grow on your farm?
We grow a wide range of produce including tomatoes, zucchini, squash, beans, cucumbers, asparagus, sweet corn, peppers and strawberries. We do a fair amount of canning and sell those products too. We also make pickles and relishes and goetta, yogurt, granola, cottage cheese, and sweet Italian meatballs. We have 30-35 cows of all ages and upwards of 300 chickens---although we’ve lost some to the hawks who have gotten into the pens. We pay a USDA facility to “harvest” (or slaughter) our animals. We purchase our chickens from a special supplier in Pennsylvania so they are not de-beaked which is important to deter cannibalism. Our eggs are pasteurized and chickens are not fed antibiotics.

What do you wish people knew about farming?
We wish people understood how much work was involved and also the expense. We bought our job for $200k in the 70s. Tractors are expensive--$12k used up to $75k for a new piece of equipment. We just bought a potato planter and we really questioned whether we would reap the benefit when selling potatoes but we’re getting older and we can’t do without it. The cost to pay someone to grind our feed is high. We need to make a living and it has to be profitable for us. We do Home Delivery in Anderson, Pleasant Ridge and Northern Kentucky. We go to the Farmer’s Market in Northside on Wednesday and College Hill on Thursday.

For us: Life is work. Work is life. We never get away from our work. It is always there. Yes, there are days when I hate it and would like to go to work in air conditioning and leave my work behind. Last night I got up at 3 a.m. to finish yogurt and switch laundry. Food preparation takes a lot of time.
It takes dedication and effort to grow without pesticides or chemicals. We could grow soybeans or GMO corn but we prefer grass-based farming. Grass-fed meat is healthier for you. It is higher in omega-3 which is good for you. We are not conventional farmers; we don’t use sprays. We even quit going to local farmers’ meetings because our approach is different. We take a lot of time to really nourish the soil itself. Healthy soil = healthy animal = healthy people. Feeding the soil so it has nutrients is really important for keeping fields in good shape. We actually put mineral salt from the South in the ground and drinking water for healthy animals. Our chickens and hogs are fed organic vegetables and raw milk and grass. Jim grinds the feed fresh weekly. We purchased Herd Shares so it is legal to drink milk from our own farm.
 Displaying photo 2 (3).jpg
What are your future plans?
We will keep doing what we are doing as long as we can. We will try to expand the business slightly, but we continue to offer Meat, Eggs, and Produce. Word-of-mouth is our best advertising. 

What social media do you have?
My son created Back Acres Facebookpage

Displaying photo 3 (2).jpg


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