Monday, February 23, 2015

Grape Glazed Carrots

February is Heart Health Month and I am celebrating with foods that promote heart health! Concord grape juice is one of 'em!

I think that it is common knowledge that wine may promote heart health. Did you know that concord grapes have many of the same effects?

4 ounces of 100% juice = 1 serving. 

One common question I get as a dietitian is whether it is better to eat raw or cooked foods. The answer actually depends on the food and the specific nutrients you're referring to. The polyphenols in the concord grape juice and the beta-carotene in carrots are actually more bio-available cooked! This is why variety is so important - eat a good mixture of foods each day, in a variety of preparations, both fresh and cooked.

Know your farmer, know your food! Meet Tim Grow, a concord grape farmer!

Grape Glazed Carrots
  • 3/4 cup Welch's 100% grape juice
  • 2 teaspoons cornstarch
  • 8 medium carrots, peeled, sliced into 1/4 inch slices
  • 2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1/4 cup chopped walnuts, toasted
  • salt and pepper
  1. Bring  1 quart of water to boil in a medium saucepan. Add carrots, bring to a boil and simmer for 5 minutes or until tender. Drain.
  2. Meanwhile, in a small saucepan, thoroughly.whisk the grape juice, cornstarch, vinegar and olive oil together. When no lumps of cornstarch remain, turn heat to high and bring mixture to a boil. Simmer for 4-5 minutes or until mixture is thick. 
  3. Toss glaze with carrots, top with walnuts and serve immediately.
Note: the heart healthy fats in the walnuts and olive oil  promote absoprtion of fat-soluble nutrients, such as beta-carotene.

Recipe adapted from Welch's. 

Thursday, February 19, 2015

Roasted Broccoli with Lemon Tahini Sauce

I love steamed broccoli. It was a common veggie at the dinner table of my youth. These days, I love mixing it up! Last night I made roasted broccoli with a lemon tahini sauce.

Tahini is like peanut butter except it is ground sesame seeds instead of peanuts. It has an earthy, nutty delicious flavor. While most folks think of hummus, tahini is delicious in many other dishes as well!

Roasted Broccoli with Lemon Tahini Sauce
  • Non-stick spray
  • 1-2 pounds of fresh broccoli
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • salt and pepper, to taste
  • 1/4 cup tahini
  • 1 large (or two small) lemon, juiced
  • 1/4 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 2-3 tablespoons water
  • salt and pepper 
Optional: whole sesame seeds and/or crushed red pepper to garnish
  1. Preheat oven to 450 degrees and spray a large baking sheet with non-stick spray (or line with parchment paper). 
  2. Wash the broccoli in cold water and remove any leaves and trim off any dry ends. Cut into large florets and place on the prepared baking sheet. Drizzle with olive oil and sprinkle with salt and pepper. Toss to coat. 
  3. Bake for 8 minutes. Remove tray from oven and turn broccoli florets over. Return to the oven and bake 8-10 minutes more, or until broccoli is browned and fork tender. 
  4. While broccoli is roasting, mix tahini, lemon juice, garlic, salt and pepper. Add water until mixture is thin enough to drizzle. 
  5. When broccoli is roasted, drizzle with the tahini sauce and garnish with sesame seeds and/or crushed red pepper, if desired.
My husband and I served this as a side dish to some Aidells chicken sausages and spaghetti squash. We microwaved the spaghetti and tossed with a bit of butter, salt and pepper. The sausages just took a few minutes to brown
in our favorite cast iron skillet!

Monday, February 16, 2015

Tangy Concord Grape Barbecue Meatballs

Make the most of your meatballs by adding Welch’s 100% Grape Juice for an unbeatable tangy flavor as well as a boost in essential nutrients!  The concord grapes from the juice are power packed with polyphenols as well as a multitude of vitamins and minerals that are support your heart health in a delicious way!

Know your farmer, know your food. Meet Tim Grow, a concord grape farmer in Washington state. 

Tangy Concord Grape Barbecue Meatballs

For the Meatballs:
  • 1 lb. lean ground turkey
  • 1 large egg
  • ½ cup plain dry bread crumbs
  • ½ cup very finely chopped onion
  • 1 garlic clove, minced
  • 1 tsp salt
  • ¼ tsp pepper
  • ¼ cup Welch’s 100% Grape Juice
  • 1 tbsp Dijon mustard
For the Sauce:
  • ¾ cup Welch’s 100% Grape Juice
  • ½ cup ketchup
  • 1 tbsp Dijon mustard
  • 1 tbsp minced onion
  1. Preheat the oven to 350° F. Spray a 10- x 17- x 1-inch baking sheet with cooking spray.
  2. In a large bowl, mix the turkey, egg, bread crumbs, onion, garlic, salt, pepper, grape juice and mustard until blended.
  3. Moisten your hands and shape the turkey mixture into 1-inch balls. (It is important to make them all the same size so that they cook evenly.) 
  4. Place the meatballs on the prepared pan so that they do not touch.Bake the meatballs 15-18 minutes or until cooked through.
  5. In a large skillet, combine the grape juice, ketchup, mustard and onion. Bring to a simmer. Add the cooked meatballs and stir gently until the meatballs are coated with the sauce. Simmer 5 minutes. Serve warm.
Adapted From Welch's.

Guest Post by Madison!
"Nutrition and health have always been a passion of mine and I am lucky enough to apply this interest by majoring in Nutrition with a focus in Dietetics and minoring in General Business at Miami University." - Madison, Grass Roots Nutrition Intern

Saturday, February 14, 2015

Savory Spring Muffins with Goat Cheese Centers

This delightful, whole grain muffin recipe is adapted from my latest issue of Yoga Journal. They're whole grain, hearty and have a delicious surprise filling of goat cheese. Perfect for spring!!

Savory Spring Muffins

  • 1/2 cup asparagus, cut into small pieces
  • 1 teaspoon olive oil
  • 1 3/4 cup white whole wheat flour
  • 1/4 cup cornmeal
  • 1 tablespoon baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 6 tablespoons butter, melted
  • 1 large egg, beaten
  • 3/4 cup milk
  • 1/2 cup frozen peas
  • 1/2 cup parsley, minced
  • 3 ounces mild goat cheese
  1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Line a 12-cup muffin tin with paper liners.
  2. On a baking sheet, toss asparagus with olive oil and then bake for 10 minutes, or until vibrant green and fork tender.
  3. In a medium bowl. Stir together the flour, cornmeal, baking powder and salt. 
  4. Melt butter in a small heat proof bowl and then add the egg and milk. Pour this mixture into the dry mixture and stir lightly. Add the roasted asparagus, frozen peas and herbs. 
  5. Fill muffin cups half-way full with batter. Divide the goat cheese evenly between the 12 muffins and then top with the remaining batter. Bake muffins for 18 minutes, or until golden and springy. 

Friday, February 13, 2015

2 Ingredient Ginger Peach Ice-Cream - No added sugar!

Here is a creamy, low-calorie dessert that feels decadent without sabotaging your health goals!

I received the juicer mentioned below for free from Champion Juicer in exchange for 
writing this post. I was not otherwise compensated for my time.

I have had a lot of fun playing around with my new champion juicer. Recently I made pumpkin pie juice! I wanted to experiment with the homogenizing function of the juicer. The nutritional advantage is that this keeps the pulp in the product, ie, you don't lose any fiber! This is kind of like having a very high powered blender or food processor!

In the past I have used my food processor to make banana "ice-cream" by simply pureeing a frozen banana. Sounds too good to be true, but it actually works! I tried the same method with other frozen fruits, such as strawberries, but didn't have as much luck unless there were bananas involved too. The bananas gave the dessert a lovely creamy texture, even though the whole thing is dairy free. 

Because the Champion Juiceris so powerful, it is actually able to turn rock-hard frozen peaches into a velvety smooth mixture just like soft-serve! I added some fresh ginger for a flavor pop.

Step 1: set up your Champion Juicer with the blank. Use the dark funnel to make loading the fruit easier and set a bowl under the spout to catch your peachy dessert!

Step 2: Turn on the juicer. Use the plunger to push frozen peach slices and small pieces of fresh ginger into the feeding tube.

Step 3: collect the peachy goodness into a bowl and stir to ensure the ginger is evenly dispersed throughout.  Enjoy!

Disclosure: This recipe contains an Amazon Affiliate link which means I may make a small commission, at no additional cost to you, if you make a purchase. Thank you for your support!

Tuesday, February 10, 2015

Rise - daily coaching from a registered dietitian!

Have you heard of Rise? The nutrition app that lets you have a dietitian in your pocket?

Rise connects you with a registered dietitian right through your iPhone. Whether you’re looking to lose a few pounds, bulk up, fuel for exercise or just learn about healthier eating - your coach will help you meet your goals. Snap photos of your meals and your coach will give you the 1:1 daily accountability, feedback and tips you need to be successful. Rise is frequently featured by Apple as a top app, and has received praise from ABC, Wired, Harvard Medical School and more.

I am currently coaching clients through Rise and love it! How great to be able to check in with a dietitian each day? If you're interested in more info, click here. You can even select to work with me, a dietitian you know :) Check it out - the first week is free!

Monday, February 9, 2015

Pumpkin Juice

I received the juicer mentioned below for free from Champion Juicer in exchange for 
writing this post. I was not otherwise compensated for my time.

I have been having a lot of fun playing with my newest kitchen gadget: a Champion Juicer! This juicer has been around since 1955 and uses a washing machine motor - boy oh boy is it powerful! 

I like that this juicer is made in the US and can be used for things other than juice, such as frozen fruit purees that are a great ice-cream substitute as well as fresh nut butters. It isn't a one trick pony!

I first made some simple juices with just apples, carrots and as a combo. I loved how fresh they tasted! 

Next, I was ready to try to recreat a delicious juice blend that I had in Vermont when I was there for the fabulous Blog Brulee. It was a juice that tasted like drinking pumpkin pie. Yummy!

Disclosure: This recipe contains an Amazon Affiliate link which means I may make a small commission, at no additional cost to you, if you make a purchase. Thank you for your support!

Pumpkin Pie Juice

  • 1/2 of a small pie pumpkin, seeds removed and cut into wedges
  • 1 small sweet potato, peeled and chunked
  • 4 small apples
  • 2 inches of fresh ginger, chunked
  • Cinnamon powder
  • Fresh lemon juice (optional)
  1. Feed chunks of produce into the running juicer and use the plunger to keep things moving. Add fresh ginger to taste!
  2. Pour into glasses, over ice if desired, and sprinkle with cinnamon powder. Cheers to pumpkin juice!
Thank you Champion Juicer, for this fabulous gift :) More recipes coming coon!

Saturday, February 7, 2015

Splendid Salads: Winter Kale Salad with a Punch

I love baby spring the spring! With snow on the ground, I crave hearty fare. This salad fits the bill! It is delicious, had complimentary flavors (the sweet carrots, the salted sausage) and is great the first time you make it as well as any other time as a left over.

Winter Kale Salad with a Punch

  • 1 butternut squash, peeled and cubed
  • 1 12-ounce package chicken sausage, sliced (I like Aidells brand)
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • Salt and pepper
  • 2 small bunches of fresh kale
  • Balsamic vinaigrette, to taste
  • 3 small apples, cored and chopped
  • 3 carrots, shredded
  • 4 ounces Cabot sharp cheddar cheese, shredded
  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Toss butternut squash cubes with olive oil, salt and pepper and bake for 20-25 minute or until fork tender. 
  2. Meanwhile, remove stems from kale. Rinse thoroughly, dry and slice into thin ribbons. Place into a large bowl and toss with vinaigrette.  Massage dressing into the leaves (I know this sounds silly, but it tenderizes the leaves). 
  3. Toss apples, carrots and cheese into salad bowl. When squash and sausage are fully cooked, add to the bowl, toss to combine and serve!
Note: this salad is excellent leftover, too! Great to have for dinner one night and then enjoy for lunches later in the week. 

Friday, February 6, 2015

Why I Farm: Tim Grow of Grow Fruit Farm, a Welch's Concord Grape Farm

Tim showing us the grapes!
Last fall I was invited to Washington state to meet Tim Grow's (can you believe that is really his name?) and to tour his Concord grape vineyard. I was with a group of Registered Dietitians and got to learn all about Concord Grapes. What a treat! Tim also agreed to be featured in my Why I Farm blog. The pictures are mine from when I visited. Thanks, Tim!

What is the name of your farm? Does that have any special significance?
My farm name is: Grow Fruit, when we originally purchased our farm it had a few apples and cherries along with the grapes. Many farmers use a portion of their name as part of the business name. My Father already was using Grow Farms.

Where is your farm? What do you grow or produce?
My farm is located in SE Washington state, the lower Yakima Valley. I currently farm only Concord Grapes for Welch’s. Concord grapes are mainly grown here in Washington, as well as in New York, Pennsylvania, Ohio, Michigan, and in select locations within Canada. This is due to the unique soil and climate needed for the Concord grape to thrive. The conditions need to be just right to create the perfect Concord grape, which is a unique and hardy grape with seeds and a thick, dark purple skin.

Tell me about your farm.
My farm is about 250 acres of Concord Grapes which I grow for Welch’s. In fact, I’m one of Welch’s family-farmer owners. Many people don’t know this, but Welch’s isn’t a big corporation, but a cooperative of about 1,000 family farmers, many of whom have been working land that’s been in their families for generations. I currently farm approximately 110 acres of my Father’s farm which I lease and the remaining 140 acres I own.

Do you produce food year round?
We work on the farm year around, but the harvest season for Concord grapes is fairly short - just a few weeks in the fall. Our growing season starts in late March usually and the vineyard is ready for harvest by late September through October.

Have you always been a farmer?
My fondest childhood memories were helping my Grandparents on their farm after school. Spending time with them working in the vineyard never really seemed like work. Since they lived just down the street I was able to spend hours with them. They were Welch's growers as well. I had the opportunity to go to college and obtain a degree but I guess I have always been a farmer at heart. There is great satisfaction in owning a business: making decisions, solving problems and enjoying the cycle of the growing season. It seems to me there is great value in seeing the fruits of one’s labor. I purchased my  first farm in the early 1980’s.

What do you wish more folks knew about farming in general?
I would dare not speak about farming in general because such a topic is so broad. I can talk about Concord grapes and the farmers which grow those grapes for Welch’s. I think your readers would be interested to know that Welch growers are family farmers, not corporations. They farm Concord and Niagara grapes that have been in their families for generations, in some cases. Welch growers I know are wonderful stewards of the land and value sustainable farming practices to maintain the land for future generations. Welch farmers understand and value quality; they realize they are sharing part of themselves in each grape they grow and sell. This is why we pick and deliver our grapes to the processing plant within an eight hour timeframe to help preserve the grape’s flavor and nutrition. Your readers might also be interested to know that Welch’s 100% Grape Juice is made with no added sugar and is a great way to add more fruit to the diet. More than 40 Concord grapes go into each cup of Welch’s 100% Grape Juice.

What do you wish more people know about your farm, specifically?
My farm is special to me because it is where I have invested my life’s work, raised my family, Welch’s and my farm are a tie to my Grandparents and parents life work: it is my heritage.

What are your future plans for your farm?
My plans are to continue working on the farm as long as I am physically able. I plan to continue on growing my farm as opportunities present themselves with the hopes that one day my children will have the  opportunity to farm for Welch’s and have a heritage of their own to treasure.

Where can people buy your products?
The Concord grape is a regional and seasonal berry. So the best way to find my Concord grapes all year is by looking for Welch’s jams, jellies and juices in a store near you.

Tim, thank you so much for the tour and the interview - I learned so much! As an added bonus, on the way home from this trip I had a very important question asked of me....I said yes :)

Thursday, February 5, 2015

World Nutella Day: Nutella Berry Smoothie

Happy World Nutella Day!

I have enjoyed (ok, been obsessed) with Nutella since I was a kid. I have three siblings. For Christmas, my parents would put one bottle of Nutella into each of our stockings. We would write our names on OUR jar and hide it. Arguments about who stole a spoonful of Nutella ensued.

Because of this five star treatment, Nutella was priceless in my mind. I remember in college I was moaning about wanting Nutella and how I couldn't possibly afford a jar. My roommate looked at me and replied, "you know it is the same price as peanut butter, right?"


My life was changed for the better.

I still love Nutella and actually don't keep jars in the house too often because I have a bad history of having it by the spoonful...and another spoonful...and another spoonful.

Here is a delicious smoothie to enjoy on this holiday :)

Hope you love it!

Nutella Berry Smoothie

  • 1 cup milk
  • 1 cup frozen berry blend
  • 2 tablespoons Nutella
  • few ice cubes
  1. Pop everything into your blender and blend until smooth. Makes one large or two small smoothies. 

Tuesday, February 3, 2015

Guest Post: The Five Benefits of Kale You Need to Know

Kale has continues to receive positive press from all over the world! Kale has been sweeping the menus of local restaurants, sworn on by health professionals, and has even been popularized in
fashion trends. With all of this craze we can't help but wonder what is it that makes kale so great?

1. Kale is one of the most nutrient dense foods in the world 
Kale has an impressive resume of nutrients that are seemingly unmatchable by most other foods on the planet!  One single cup of kale attributes to a significant amount of your daily Magnesium, Potassium, Copper, Calcium, Manganese, and Vitamin B6.  Looking for a more impressive fact?  Only 1 cup of kale exceeds the recommended daily allowance for Vitamin A, Vitamin K, and Vitamin C!  Pretty impressive if you ask me.

3. Kale contributes to eye health 
Kale is an impressive contributor to eye health as well!  All of the Vitamin A in Kale is known to prevent optical disorders associated primarily with age by storing vitamins in the retina.  The carotenoids, lutein and zeaxanthin prevent UV light exposure while also preventing cataracts as well as atherosclerosis!

4. Kale supports weight loss 
40 calories per serving, kale is the perfect snack for cutting calories with 3 grams of protein per serving allowing for the sustainability given by a higher calorie option. 

5. Kale is jam packed with iron 
Are you a vegan, vegetarian, or just need more iron in your diet in general?  Kale is your answer.  Kale has more iron per calorie than red meat!  With all this iron you can guarantee that your body will perfectly oxygenated and full of red blood cells, not to mention having healthy hair, skin, and nails!

    Easy Kale, Orange, Banana Smoothie
    • 1 cup kale, stems removed
    • 1 banana, peeled
    • 1 orange, peels removed
    • 5 ice cubes
    • 1 cup water
    Put all ingredients in a blender and blends until smooth. 

    Guest Post by Madison!
    "Nutrition and health have always been a passion of mine and I am lucky enough to apply this interest by majoring in Nutrition with a focus in Dietetics and minoring in General Business at Miami University." - Madison, Grass Roots Nutrition Intern
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