Showing posts with label whole grains. Show all posts
Showing posts with label whole grains. Show all posts

Wednesday, August 7, 2013

Good grains: Grilled corn salad

This is a dish that celebrates summer in a bowl. There is just nothing quite like corn and tomatoes fresh from the garden. I did a minimal amount of ingredients and seasonings to that the sweet flavor of the fresh corn really shines through. I think you'll love it!

FYI, corn is a grain. Folks often tell me about how they're eating their veggies and then list corn among them. Corn is a whole grain, not a veggie. Nutritionally, it is the same as a slice of bread of some brown rice. Lots of good stuff in there, but a lot more calories than broccoli or carrots. Look for your plate to have a protein food, something whole grain and then fill your plate with veggies.

Grilled Corn Salad
  • 4 ears fresh corn
  • 1 cup cherry tomatoes, cut in half
  • 1/2 avocado, diced
  • 1/4 red onion, diced
  • Juice from one lime
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • 2 teaspoon chili powder
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  1. Shuck your corn and brush with olive oil. Grill (I used a grill pan) for 8-10 minutes or until charred a bit on all sides.Bring inside and let cool.
  2. When cool enough to handle, use a sharp knife to cut kernels from the cobs. Toss corn with the remaining ingredients and serve.
Reader Poll: what is your favorite way to eat fresh corn?

Wednesday, December 12, 2012

Sweet Treats: Whole Grain Maple Oat Scones

It is kind of strange how often folks hear that I'm a dietitian and immediately get a look of guilt or fear, as though they have suddenly been arrested by the food police.  Far from it. I became a dietitian because I like to eat. We do feel better when we eat well, but everyone enjoys a good treat now and again. I found this great recipe that I adapted from Eggs On Sunday for a weekend treat. The original recipe said that it made 8 scones. Since scones are all about the butter texture and flavor, I didn't actually want to mess with fat lowering substitutions. Instead, I focused on portion control and made 16 instead. They were still quite large and satisfying. Very crumbly and delicious. 

These scones are made only with whole grain oats and so are gluten free. I do not need to choose gluten free, and so when I was rolling out the scones, I used wheat flour. If you do need to avoid gluten, grind up some extra oat flour and set it aside.

Whole Grain Maple Oat Scones
  • 3 1/3 cup old-fashioned rolled oats (not quick-cooking), divided
  • 1 tbsp baking powder
  • 3/4 tsp baking soda
  • 1 tsp cinnamon
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1/4 cup brown sugar
  • 8 tbsp (1 stick) cold unsalted butter, cut into pieces
  • 2/3 cup milk
  • 1 tablespoon lemon juice
  • 2 tablespoons maple syrup
For garnish:
  • 1 tbsp milk
  • 1 tbsp maple syrup
  • 2 tbsp oats
  1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees and line a cookie sheet with parchment paper.
  2. Add lemon juice to milk and set aside. If you have buttermilk, feel free to use that, I never do so I use this mixture as a substitute.
  3. Place 2 cups of oats into food processor and grind until fine powder - you should have 1 1/3 cups oat flour. If you don't have a food processor, you'll need to buy oat flour. Use 1 1/3 cups. If you need to avoid gluten, grind some extra oats into flour and set aside for when you roll out the dough.
  4. Add remaining 1 1/3 cups oats, brown sugar, cinnamon, baking powder and baking soda.  and pulse food processor a few times. Having the more coarsely ground oats gives the scones great texture.
  5. Add butter pieces and pulse a few more time to chop butter.
  6. Add milk and maple syrup and run food processor until dough is mixed. It will be sticky.
  7. Place half of dough onto a board and roll into a circle. Use flour to prevent sticking. Use a sharp knife to cut into 8 wedges and place wedges onto a cookie sheet lined with parchment paper. Repeat with other half of dough.
  8. Mix milk and maple syrup and brush tops of scones using a pastry brush. Or, soak a paper towel or clean napkin. Sprinkle with a few more oats for flair and pop into the oven. bake for about 12-15 minutes or until browned on the edges and puffed up.
Note: I store baked goods in a pot to minimize use of plastic wrap.
Gather your ingredients
Action shot! Grinding the oats into flour
The course meal of ground oats, with the sugar and cinnamon added.
Add cold butter

Half of the dough, ready to roll out

Cut into cute wedges

Brush top with mixture of milk and maple syrup

Sprinkle with oats and pop into the oven
Ready to eat! Enjoy :)

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Monday, November 19, 2012

Sweet treats: Pumpkin muffins with oatmeal and chocolate chips

Winter squash - including pumpkins - are the stars of autumn. There are endless ways to prepare this hearty vegetable beyond pie. Using canned pumpkin is easy, but roasting fresh pumpkin tastes so much better and just takes some time and the work of a sharp knife and an ice-cream scoop.

Just like there are many different varieties of apples or pears, there are actually many kinds of pumpkins. Pumpkins that are intended to be carved for Halloween are technically edible, but their flavor is watery and bland. You can find small pumpkins called pie pumpkins (or sugar babies) in the grocery store now, but it is also worth your while to check out your local farmers market too. I have been thrilled with the flavor of two different blue pumpkins - the walls of the pumpkin are really thick and the texture is smooth. These kinds of pumpkin are similar in flavor to a butternut squash.

There are several easy methods to cook a fresh pumpkin outlined here - my favorite is roasting because of the caramel flavor that develops, but you can easily cook your pumpkin in the microwave, in a slow cooker or in a pot on the stove. Carefully cut your pumpkin into wedges using a sharp knife, use an ice-cream scoop to remove seeds and stringy bits and roast in the oven until well browned and very soft. Extra pumpkin mush freezes well.

This recipe for pumpkin muffins is 2/3 whole grains, has minimal oil and is delicious. You can freeze extras and pull them out for a fast kid-friendly breakfast or an afternoon snack. If 20 muffins is too many for your house hold, simply half the recipe.

Pumpkin Muffins
Makes about 20 muffins
  • 2 cups pumpkin puree
  • 1 cup packed brown sugar
  • 1/4 cup canola oil
  • 1/4 cup unsweetened apple sauce
  • 1/2 cup water
  • 4 eggs 
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla
  • 1 cup white flour
  • 1 cup whole wheat flour
  • 1 cup oatmeal
  • 4 teaspoons baking powder
  • 2 teaspoons pumpkin pie spice
  • 1/4 teaspoon nutmeg
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 cup chopped nuts
  • 1 cup dark chocolate chips
  1. Preheat oven to 375 and spray muffin cups with non-stick spray or line with paper muffin cups.
  2. Cook and mash pumpkin. Reserve two cups and save the rest for another recipe.
  3. To pumpkin puree, add  sugar, oil, apple sauce, water, eggs and vanilla. Stir or whisk until smooth.
  4. Add flours, oats, baking powder and spices. Stir just until moistened. 
  5. Add nuts and chocolate chips and stir just until mixed in. Do not over mix - this makes tough muffins.
  6. Bake for about 20 minutes, or until edges are lightly browned and a toothpick inserted into a muffin comes out clean. 
  7. Cool on a clean tea towel or cooling rack and enjoy. 
Freshly roasted pumpkin puree
Adding oats and flour

Ready to eat!

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Monday, August 27, 2012

Splendid Salads: shrimp corn and green bean salad

Your freezer can be your best ally for vegetables.
  • vegetables are already chopped for you
  • they can be more affordable then fresh
  • they are often a blend of colors; what gives vegetables and fruits their colors also gives them some of their nutrition, so a variety of colors is a variety of nutrients
  • vegetables to be frozen are picked when they're ripe; many "fresh" fruits and vegetables are picked before they're ripe so that they don't spoil during shipping around the globe. This means not only were fewer vitamins, minerals and phytochemicals developed during the growth of the fruit or vegetable, more are lost as they degrade while traveling to get to your kitchen.

This salad is a complete meal. The fresh parsley makes the whole salad seem fresh, even though most ingredients came from the freezer. Keep a pot of fresh parsley in your window and use it year round! Olive oil and almonds provide healthy fats, the shrimp is lean protein and the corn is your whole grain. Complete with lots of veggies from the green beans and tomatoes, lunch is served!

This quick meal that can come together in five minutes. Really! Pop some green beans in the microwave and by the time they're done, everything else is ready.

On your mark, get set, go!

Shrimp corn and green bean salad

  • 1 7.5 ounce box frozen green beans with almonds
  • 3 ounces frozen shrimp, peeled and devained 
  • 1/2 cup frozen corn
  • 1/2 cup cherry tomatoes
  •  one handful of fresh parsley
  • Olive oil and vinegar
  • Salt and pepper
  1. Remove green beans from plastic packaging and microwave in a glass or ceramic dish for 5 or so minutes (I don't like to microwave in plastic. Ick.)
  2. Thaw shrimp and corn under running warm water in a colendar
  3. Chop tomatoes and parsley
  4. Check microwave. Done yet? You're ready!
  5. Toss green beans with shrimp, corn, tomatoes, parsley and almonds. Use the same dish you microwaved the green beans in, no need to make more dishes. Drizzle on a bit of olive oil and vinegar to taste and add a bit of salt and pepper. Dig in!
Microwave green beans until tender in glass or ceramic dish
Thaw corn and cooked shrimp
Chop parsley and tomatoes
Drain green beans, add shrimp and corn
Add everything else and dig in!

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Thursday, July 26, 2012

Breakfast of Champions: Baked peanut butter and berry french toast

Breakfast of Champions: Baked peanut butter and berry french toast

French toast is a great way to turn stale bread into something extraordinary; and making baked french toast gets the work done the night before and you away from the stove. Baked french toast is a great brunch idea and is also a healthy and filling breakfast to have throughout the week.

For this recipe I started with a foundation of whole grain bread and bumped up the eggs from traditional recipes. More eggs means more protein and will keep you going until lunch. Try to find eggs from your farmers market so that you're getting eggs from happy hens and that are more nutritionally dense.

For this recipe, I cubed the bread; I like having it this way so that it makes it easier to select the portion you need. If this is a part of a brunch menu, you probably want smaller pieces. But if this is the main dish for breakfast, you're going to want a bigger piece.

Allergic to peanuts? Try almond butter instead. Allergic to almond too? Poor thing: try soy nut butter.

Baked peanut butter and berry french toast
Serves four; easily doubled - use 13x9 pan
  • 4 slices of your favorite whole grain bread
  • 4 eggs
  • 3/4 cup low-fat milk or plant based milk (soy, coconut)
  • 1/4 cup non-hydrogenated peanut butter
  • 1 cup fresh or frozen berries (thawed)
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract 
  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees and spray square pan with non-stick cooking spray
  2. Cube bread and place into prepared pan
  3. Using a whisk, mix together eggs, peanut butter, milk, vanilla and cinnamon in a medium sized bowl. It doesn't have to be smooth, I like having small chunks of peanut butter.
  4. Pour egg mixture over bread cubes. Top with berries (stopping here you can pop this in the fridge instead and bake in the morning)
  5. Pop into the oven and bake until egg custard is set; about 40 minutes. When is it done? The french toast will pull away from the pan a bit, the top will be browned and the whole thing will puff up a bit. Also, a knife stuck into the center will be pretty clean
Get your ingredients together!

Cubed whole grain bread

Peanut butter batter to soak the bread cubes
Berries on top!

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I like the pan below because it comes with a cover; this makes it easier to take this dish for an office party or brunch as your friends house! And if you don't have a whisk, it is a great kitchen tool!

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Thursday, June 14, 2012

Happy 1st Birthday to My Plate!

Happy 1st Birthday to My Plate!

It has been one year now since the USDA updated their nutrition recommendations, moving away from a pyramid to a plate. MyPyramid, released in 2005, had many good intentions, but turned out to be too abstract for most folks. I think MyPlate is more user friendly.

What are the main ideas? First of all, we need to use smaller plates. Fifty years ago, dinner plates were the size of our salad plates today! If your dinner plate more closely resemble serving trays, it is time to rearrange your cupboards to make those huge plates hard to get to. Use plates that are about nine or ten inches across. Smaller plates, bowls, cups and serving utensils can all contribute to reasonable portion sizes and a healthy weight.

We need to base our meals on produce; loads of fruits and vegetables! We can probably get away with not having vegetables at breakfast, but they need to be the star of the show at lunch and dinner. Go for a variety; a lot of what gives fruits and vegetables their color, also gives them their nutrition. Vary your color for a healthy meal! White onions, green broccoli and orange carrots all have different vitamins, minerals and phytochemicals to offer and have great flavor to boot!

Vegetable rainbow!

More fruit? All forms count (fresh, frozen canned, dried and 100% juice), but try to minimize your intake as juice. From the website, here are some tips for including more fruits throughout the day:
  • Keep a bowl of whole fruit on the table, counter, or in the refrigerator.
  • Refrigerate cut-up fruit to store for later.
  • Buy fresh fruits in season when they may be less expensive and at their peak flavor.
  • Buy fruits that are dried, frozen, and canned (in water or 100% juice) as well as fresh, so that you always have a supply on hand.
  • Consider convenience when shopping. Try pre-cut packages of fruit (such as melon or pineapple chunks) for a healthy snack in seconds. Choose packaged fruits that do not have added sugars.

Protein foods include red meat, chicken, pork and fish, but also beans and peas, processed soy foods like tofu tempeh and veggie burgers, seafood nuts and seeds. Proteins provide the amino acids your body needs to build and maintain muscle tissue, our red blood cells and immune system and more. Proteins also provide many minerals, such as iron, magnesium and zinc, as well as some B-vitamins. If you're selecting fatty fish, such as tuna, salmon and sardines, you're also getting the benefit of the essential fatty acids EPA and DHA.

Protein foods!

Most of us eat plenty of grain foods, (bread, bagels, cereal, rice, tortillas) but many of us could improve our level of whole grains. A grain is the seed of the plant and has three parts; the germ (food for the seed; loaded with nutrients), the bran (the hard outer coating; loaded with fiber) and the endosperm, what is left after refining a whole grain. Look for breads and crackers that have "100% whole grain" on the package, whole grain cereals and oatmeal for breakfast, and brown rice and quinoa with dinner. You can do it!

Lastly, on the side of the plate is a circle of dairy to represent a glass of milk, yogurt or cheese. Dairy is a good source of calcium, potassium and magnesium, all important for bone health. Dairy is also fortified with vitamins A and D. If you don't tolerate milk well, or chose a non-dairy alternative, that is a good choice too; just make sure that the soy or rice milk is fortified with these nutrients so that you're diet is well balanced!

On the website, I also really like their 10 Tips series for action oriented advice on various subjects like cutting back on sugary treats and adding more vegetables. Check them out!
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