Saturday, November 30, 2013

Thanksgiving and Beyond: Roasted Celery Root and Carrots

Happy Thanksgiving everyone!

On Thanksgiving morning we participated in the Tree's Greenville Turkey Day 8K for the second year. We both ran our fastest race and set a new PR! :-) Perhaps one of the reasons was because we woke up and it was only 25 degrees outside.. talk about motivation to finish!! So proud of everyone in Greenville who came out to support the race in the cold weather.


Trees Greenville Turkey Day 8K 2013

This Thanksgiving we were very thankful to spend the evening with friends who cook wonderful food! Our friends Adam and Amanda cooked up quite the spread with a bacon smoked turkey, mashed potatoes with poblano cheese, cabbage, green bean casserole, and Brussels sprouts. We were happy to bring a veggie side dish as well as a yummy apple crumble pie (check out the recipe for it here). For the side dish we figured we would try something different by bringing a Roasted Celery Root and Carrots dish from Food Network Magazine.  

This was our first experience cooking with celery root, a decidedly misshapen root ball that looks nothing like its cousin you find in the stores, and were pleasantly surprised when the first cut yielded a strong but familiar celery scent. This non-starchy vegetable is a fun replacement for a typical dish with potatoes, but beware: we had a difficult time finding it at our traditional grocery store, so be sure to check a specialty store such as Whole Foods

Check out the recipe below, it was very easy to make!


BLT Foodies: Roasted Celery Root and Carrots
Roasted Celery Root and Carrots
Yield: 8 servings
Adapted from: Food Network Magazine

Ingredients

3 pound celery root (celeriac), peeled and cut into 1 inch chunks
6 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
2 tablespoons fresh thyme
1 teaspoon smoked paprika
3 pounds carrots, peeled and cut into 1 inch chunks
2 tablespoons chopped fresh parsley
Salt (optional)

Directions

  1. Heat a rimmed baking sheet on the bottom oven rack and preheat the oven to 425 degrees.
  2. Toss the celery root with 4 tablespoons olive oil, 1 tablespoon thyme and 1/2 teaspoon smoked paprika (salt optional).
  3. Pile celery root onto heavy-duty foil and create a bag by bringing the ends together and crimp closed to seal.
  4. Place the foil bag on another baking sheet and roast in the middle of the oven for 25 minutes.
  5. Meanwhile, repeat step #2 with the carrots. Toss the carrots with 2 tablespoons of olive oil, 1 tablespoon thyme and 1/2 teaspoon paprika in a bowl (salt optional).
  6. Spread carrots on the preheated baking sheet and roast until tender for 35 minutes.
  7. After the celery root has roasted for 25 minutes, open the foil and spread on the baking sheet to roast another 15 minutes.
  8. When done roasting, toss the celery root with the carrots and parsley in a large bowl and serve!

The only down side to not preparing a large Thanksgiving meal is that you typically do not have a fridge full of delicious leftovers. We did, however, have the leftover apple crumble pie and vegetable dish. We decided to pair our leftover Roasted Celery Root and Carrots with some turkey bacon and fried eggs for a yummy Thanksgiving leftover veggie hash! This low carb hash has amazing flavor and you don't have to feel guilty about eating it! It was so good we had it two days in a row.

BLT Foodies: Roasted Celery Root, Carrot and Turkey Bacon Hash
Roasted Celery Root, Carrot and Turkey Bacon Hash
Servings: 2

Ingredients

2 cups Roasted Celery Root and Carrots (see recipe above) 
2 slices Trader Joe's Turkey Bacon
4 eggs
2 tablespoons Olive Oil
Smoked paprika (to taste)
Pepper (to taste)

Directions

  1. Heat the olive oil in a cast iron skillet over medium heat.
  2. Tear the turkey bacon into small pieces and add it to the skillet, brown lightly for about 2-4 minutes.
  3. Add the roasted celery root and carrots to the skillet and brown for about 7-10 minutes until bacon is fully cooked and vegetables are crisp.
  4. Push the vegetables and bacon to one side of the skillet.
  5. Fry 4 eggs over easy in the skillet, and top with smoked paprika and pepper to taste.
  6. Serve one cup vegetable mixture with 2 fried eggs on top.
  7. Enjoy!!

BLT Foodies: Roasted Celery Root, Carrot and Turkey Bacon Hash

Oh, and Lilly also <3's Carrots...

BLT Foodies: Lilly and her short-lived chew toy


Have a happy and healthy holiday season y'all!

Healthy Holiday Apple Crumble Pie

This year we decided to take a new spin on a traditional Apple Pie. In the past we have made a yummy Better Than Apple Pie - Apple Tart , but were looking for a new and healthy challenge. We found this simple recipe from Men's Health Magazine and decided to give it a go. The recipe uses one pre-made pie crust with no hydrogenated oils and has an oat crumble topping instead of another heavy pie crust. We will definitely make this simple, tasty apple crumble pie again!


BLT Foodies: Apple Crumble Pie
Healthy Holiday Apple Crumble Pie
Yield: 1 Pie

Ingredients

5 Gala Apples, peeled and thinly sliced
2 tablespoons sugar
1 tablespoon all-purpose flour
2 teaspoons ground cinnamon, divided
1 Trader Joe's pie crust (no hydrogenated oils)
1/2 cup old-fashioned rolled oats, ground in a food processor 
2 tablespoons whole wheat flour
1/4 cup packed brown sugar
2 tablespoons Smart Balance Tub Spread, melted

Directions

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
  2. Combine the apples, sugar, all purpose flour and 1 teaspoon of cinnamon in a large bowl. 
  3. Spread room temperature pie crust over a 9" pie pan and place the apples in the crust.
  4. Combine the ground oats, whole wheat flour, brown sugar and 1 teaspoon of cinnamon in a medium bowl. Add the melted Smart Balance spread and mix using your fingers until crumbs form. 
  5. Sprinkle the oat mixture over the apples for your crumble topping.
  6. Bake pie for 35-40 minutes until the topping is browned.
BLT Foodies: Apple Crumble Pie


Happy Holidays from BLT Foodies!

Wednesday, October 9, 2013

Kale & Mushroom Barley Risotto

Growing up in NY, I have a great appreciation for risotto. I have an even greater appreciation for those who slave over the stove for 45 minutes cooking risotto. 


NY State Pin map I made with a <3 around my hometown of Albany, NY
Oh how I miss the Italian food of upstate NY!

Up until yesterday, this was a dish I saved for holidays and unexpected days off from work... as those were the only times I could dedicate 45 minutes of my day to constantly stirring for the perfect dish. Don't get me wrong, it's completely worth it, but the recipe below is particularly appealing because of the time you save by using the slow cooker. I also used barley instead of the traditional arborio rice. Barley is a whole grain with more fiber to help keep you fuller, longer on a smaller portion than you may have with the arborio rice. The higher fiber content can reduce blood sugar spikes and decrease cholesterol as well - not to mention it was delicious!

Check out our Fall Kale & Mushroom Barley Risotto, a recipe I adapted from the RDs at Healthy Eats


Kale and Mushroom Barley Risotto from BLTFoodies

Kale & Mushroom Barley Risotto
Serves: 4-6

Ingredients
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 large sweet onion, chopped
3 cloves garlic, chopped
1 pound sliced mushrooms (I used button mushrooms)
1 1/2 cups barley
6 sprigs fresh thyme
4 large carrots, peeled and sliced into circles
3 cups low sodium vegetable broth
1.5 cups water
2/3 cup grated Parmesan cheese
1 tablespoon balsamic vinegar
2 cups frozen kale, cooked
Pepper

Directions

  1. Heat the olive oil in a large skillet or sauce pot over medium high heat.
  2. Add the chopped onions and garlic and season with pepper. Cook, stirring occasionally for about 5 minutes until onions are browned.
  3. Add in the sliced mushrooms and cook for 2 minutes.
  4. Stir in the barley and thyme sprigs, cook about 2-3 minutes.
  5. Transfer mushroom mixture into a 6 quart slow cooker and add in the sliced carrots, broth and water. Cover and cook on high for about 3 hours, until all liquid is absorbed.
  6. Once all the liquid is absorbed, discard the thyme sprigs. Stir in the kale, Parmesan cheese, vinegar and pepper. Mix evenly and until the risotto is creamy.
  7. Serve and enjoy!
What foods do you miss from your hometown? Tell us in the comments below!

Sunday, September 15, 2013

Sunday Morning Berry Walnut & Flax Oatmeal

This morning was a bit of a lazy-hazy Sunday morning and it is beginning to feel like fall with colder temperatures in the 60s.  (A big change from our 80 degree and humid South Carolina summer mornings)  It just seemed like the perfect day for this warm and hearty Berry Walnut & Flax Oatmeal!  We still have some fresh North Carolina Blueberries frozen from Happy Berry Farm (check out our other blueberry recipes here) and they were perfect in this recipe.  We've shared the recipe with you below :-)  Enjoy!

BLTFoodies: Sunday Morning Berry Walnut Flax Oatmeal
Berry Walnut and Flax Oatmeal
Serves 2

Ingredients:

2 cups Silk Unsweetened Original Almond Milk
1 cup Old Fashioned Oats
1/2 cup fresh or frozen blueberries
1/2 cup fresh or frozen raspberries
2 teaspoons flaxseed
8 walnuts, crushed
2 teaspoons cinnamon
1 teaspoon nutmeg

Directions:

1.  Bring the 2 cups of unsweet almond milk to a boil in a sauce pan.
2.  Add 1 cup of old fashioned oats, and reduce heat to medium.  Cover and cook for 7-10 minutes until all of the liquid is absorbed.
3.  Add cinnamon, nutmeg and flax seed to the oatmeal, stir well.
4.  Remove from heat, and serve 1 cup of oatmeal into 2 bowls.
5.  Top each bowl with 1/2 of the blueberries, half of the raspberries (1/4 cup in each bowl) and walnuts.
7.  Serve and enjoy!

Have a healthy week everyone!

Have you tried this recipe?  Leave us a comment below!  

Monday, September 2, 2013

Fig and Oat Bread

It's here!  Finally!  It's fig season in South Carolina.

Homegrown South Carolina Figs: BLTFoodies
Trevor and I got a bit anxious with our gardening this past year, and went ahead and planted a fig tree on a fluke warm weekend in late January.  Unfortunately, our South Carolina spring was not the best, and we had frequent temperatures below 40 degrees.  Despite this unfortunate weather, our fig tree survived!  And we could not be more excited.  

After much research on figs in the upstate Piedmont region of South Carolina, Trevor decided on a celeste fig tree.  Turns out, the celeste fig is known for it's cold hardiness. We sure put that claim to the test this spring!  The tree had buds in early summer, around May-June, and the figs just started to ripen within the past couple of weeks.  Ironically, after trying to convince Trevor to plant a fig tree for over a year, turns out we actually already had 2 fig trees behind the shed in the back yard!  So now with our abundance of figs, I have started to collect fig recipes for us to try this late summer/early fall.   Our celeste figs are decently sweet, and taste sort of like a plum and a strawberry mixed together.   Check out my fig Pinterest board here: http://pinterest.com/BrittanyChinRD/figs/

Our celeste fig tree: BLTFoodies

For our first bunch of figs we picked this labor day weekend, I decided to try this Fig and Oat bread recipe I found from Running to the Kitchen.  I love this recipe because it uses minimal saturated (bad) fat, and also does not have any added sugar!  It is sweet purely from the fresh figs and orange zest, which is perfect!  I made some slight changes to the recipe, but overall found it very easy and tasty.

No Sugar Added Fig and Oat Bread: BLTFoodies

No-Sugar Added Fig and Oat Bread
Yield: 1 loaf, about 8-12 servings

Ingredients:
1 1/2 cups whole wheat flour
1/2 cup Old Fashioned Oats
1 cup unbleached all purpose flour
1 1/2 teaspoons baking soda
1 teaspoon salt
1 1/2 cups almond milk (curdled with a squeeze of lemon juice)*
1 cup chopped fresh figs
zest of 1 orange
1/2 cup chopped walnuts
1 table spoon Smart Balance spread, melted
oats for topping
*almond milk with a squeeze of lemon juice mimics buttermilk with a lower fat content

Directions:
1.  Preheat oven to 400 degrees.
2.  Combine whole wheat flour, all purpose flour, oats, baking soda and salt in a large mixing bowl.
3.  Make a hole in the middle of the flour mixture and pour in the almond milk
4.  Loosely combine with a wooden spoon.
5.  Add chopped figs, orange zest and walnuts.  Fold in carefully with a wooden spoon.
6.  Once dough starts to form, transfer to a floured wood cutting board and gently combine until the dough forms a ball.  (Be careful of pushing on the dough too hard and smashing the figs)
7.  Spray a baking sheet with olive oil, and transfer the ball of dough onto the baking sheet. Make an "X" in the middle of the dough with a knife for added style.
8.  Brush the top of the dough with the melted Smart Balance spread, and sprinkle the oats on top of the bread.
9.  Bake for 35-40 minutes until a toothpick comes out clean, and top is golden brown.
10.  Serve warm with Smart Balance spread and local honey, or by itself.  Enjoy!

With the leftover meat of the orange, we decided to use our grapefruit mint and make Orange Mint Water!  Simply cut up the 1 orange you used for the zest in the Fig and Oat Bread recipe, and squeeze into a large pitcher.  Add the leaves off of 3-4 springs of fresh grapefruit mint.  Add water to the pitcher, stir and let sit for 30-60 minutes for flavors to infuse.   Serve in a perfectly southern mason jar!

Orange and Mint Water: BLTFoodies
For our next fig recipe, we really would like to use our dehydrator to dry the figs and use them as an appetizer with some brie cheese and local honey similar to this recipe .  Check back to see how it goes!  

If you have any fig recipes you think we should try, please leave the info in the comments below!

Until next time,
BLT

Monday, August 12, 2013

Happy Berry Farm: Blueberry Cinnamon Crumb Cake & Blueberry, Cucumber and Mint Salad

The summer this year in South Carolina has been quite unusual.  In the upstate we are actually hoping for typical sunshine and humidity, because all we have had this summer is rain.  This past Sunday, in the midst of finally decorating and completing house projects, I was asked by a friend to go blueberry picking at the local Happy Berry Farm in Six Mile, SC.  I have never picked my own blueberries before, and of course we love them, so I figured might as well get out of the house and try something new!

We had a wonderful experience at Happy Berry and didn't even realize that you can also pick blackberries, figs, grapes and other fruits at the farm too!  Hannah and Nicole turned out to be much better berry pickers than I am (I think I might talk too much while picking...), and they got nearly 3 pounds for only a few dollars!  

Our pickings from Happy Berry!

The "sin bucket" - they donate the money to charity.

Of course I couldn't wait to come home and start cooking and baking with the berries I had picked!  

First we made a delicious summer salad: 


Blueberry, Cucumber and Mint Salad - from BLTFoodies.blogspot.com


Blueberry, Cucumber and Mint Salad
Servings: 2

Ingredients
4 cups 50/50 mixed greens 
2 cups fresh blueberries, washed
1 cucumber, halved and sliced into half moons
2 Tablespoons fresh grapefruit mint
1/2 cup pecan halves
2oz goat cheese

Directions
1.  Place 2 cups of the mixed greens in 2 large salad bowls.
2.  Top each salad with 1 cup of the blueberries, 1/2 of the cucumber, 1 tablespoon of the mint, 1/4 cup pecans and 1oz of goat cheese.
3.  Top with your favorite vinaigrette dressing and serve!

Later in the week, we had family from Boston visiting in Greenville and we wanted to be sure to make a yummy dessert for them!  I found this easy blueberry cake recipe, and adapted it  with some healthier baking substitutions.  


Blueberry Cinnamon Crumb Cake from BLTFoodies.blogspot.com


Blueberry Cinnamon Crumb Cake

Ingredients:

The Cake
1 cup whole wheat flour
1 cup all-purpose flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 cup butter, softened
3 tablespoons olive oil
1/2 cup sugar
1 egg
1/2 cup almond milk
2 cup fresh South Carolina blueberries

The Crumble
1/2 cup sugar
1/4 cup whole wheat flour
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
1/4 cup butter, cut into cubes

Instructions
1.  Spray a bundt pan with olive oil spray.
2.  Heat oven to 375 degrees.
3.  In a medium size bowl, whisk the flour, baking powder and salt.  
4.  In a larger bowl, beat the softened butter, olive oil and sugar until light and fluffy.  Then beat in the egg and almond milk until smooth.  
5.  Mix the dry ingredients into the wet ingredients until combined.  Fold in fresh blueberries.
6.  Spread batter into bundt pan.
7.  For the topping: whisk the sugar, flour and cinnamon together.  Cut in the butter until crumbs form and sprinkle over cake batter.
8.  Bake for 40-45 minutes and cool on wire rack.  Serve and enjoy as a dessert or brunch option!

What is your favorite summer blueberry recipe?  Have you gone blueberry picking locally before?  Tell us in the comments section below!




Wednesday, July 3, 2013

Picnic Ready Sides: Low Carb Broccoli Slaw

This summer we have spent a good amount of time grilling and attending pot-luck picnics.   We wanted to take a minute to share low-carb broccoli slaw recipe with you.  With many of the traditional carb heavy picnic sides such as potato salad and pasta salad, the broccoli slaw is the perfect healthy side to bring for your next BBQ.  Strive to make your picnic just a little bit healthier this summer!
Low Carb Broccoli Slaw - BLTFoodies.blogspot.com

Low Carb Broccoli Slaw

Ingredients
Serves: 4

1 10oz bag Eat Smart Broccoli Slaw
1/3 cup Smart Balance Mayonnaise
2 Tablespoons fresh lemon juice
2 Tablespoons rice wine vinegar
1/4 cup raisins or dried cranberries
Pepper to taste
Almond slivers (optional)

Directions

1.  Pour 10oz bag Eat Smart Broccoli Slaw into a large mixing bowl.
2.  Add in the Smart Balance Mayonnaise, lemon juice, rice wine vinegar, raisins and pepper.
3.  Toss with 2 large serving spoons until salad is coated with dressing.
4.  Top with almond slivers for garnish if desired.
5.  Serve and enjoy!

Happy 4th of July to our readers!  As you can see, Lilly will be spending the day in her pool :-) We hope you enjoy your independence day as well!


Lilly of BLTFoodies.blogspot.com

Friday, June 21, 2013

Watermelon & Cucumber Salad with Feta, Sweet Onion and Mint

Summer is finally here!  In the Upstate, we have been battling below normal spring temperatures and an obnoxious about of rain and thunderstorms this year.  We are happy to put it all behind us and welcome summer!


Trevor and I enjoying summer in the park.
In honor of the first day of summer (todayFriday June 21st!), we have decided to share our new favorite summer salad recipe with you!  This is a great salad to bring with you to BBQs or get together since it only takes a few minutes to prepare.  Want to save even more time?  Prepare the salad the night before and pop it in the refrigerator, allowing the flavors to mix together for an even better salad the next day.  Your guests will love the freshness of this salad!


Watermelon & Cucumber Salad with Feta, Sweet Onion and Mint
Watermelon & Cucumber Salad with Feta, Sweet Onion and Mint
Adapted from Cooking Light June 2013

Ingredients:


  • 1/4 watermelon, cut into 1 inch pieces
  • 1 cup watercress, chopped
  • 3/4 cup Vidalia (sweet) onion, thinly sliced
  • medium English cucumber, sliced (we used ours from the garden! see below)
  • 4 tablespoons grapefruit mint (we used ours from the garden!)
  • 2 tablespoons fresh lime juice 
  • 2 teaspoons extra-virgin olive oil 
  • 1/2 cup reduced-fat feta cheese
Directions
  1. 1.  Combine the cut watermelon, watercress, onion and cucumber in a large bowl.
  2. 2.  Combine mint, lime juice and olive oil in a small bowl, and stir with a whisk to make the dressing.
  3. 3.  Add dressing to the watermelon mixture, and add the feta cheese.  Toss gentle.
  4. 4.  Serve and enjoy!
Fresh cucumber from our garden


What is your favorite summer salad?  Tell us below!


Thursday, May 23, 2013

Easy Spinach and Parmesan Egg Muffins

Hello everyone!  It has been again a while since we posted, and we apologize for that.  Many many things have been going on!  Now the semester is over, the move is done, the half marathon complete and house projects are on the way.  

We wanted to be sure to take a few minutes to share with you one of our favorite new breakfast recipes - baked spinach and Parmesan cheese egg muffins!  It's a great low-carb and gluten free recipe that takes only 15 minutes, and can be made the night before.   Egg's used to get a bad rap, but as a Registered Dietitian reviewing the literature, it turns out that the cholesterol in the eggs is not internalized into our own cholesterol.  Eggs are a great low saturated fat choice for breakfast and has a good amount of protein as well to keep you full! It's also a great option if you have company over, since the eggs are all done at the same time.  Enjoy!!


Recipe and photo by Brittany Chin, RD, LD



Easy Baked Spinach and Parmesan Egg Muffins
Serves: 8

Ingredients

10 eggs
1 cup frozen spinach, thawed
1/2 cup shredded Parmesan cheese
Pepper, to taste
Paprika, to taste

Directions
1.  Preheat the oven to 375 degrees.
2.  In a medium sized mixing bowl, beat eggs with a fork or whisk.  Add pepper and paprika to taste.
3.  Spray muffin tin with Pam Olive Oil spray.
4.  Divide thawed spinach into 8 muffin tins.  
5.  Ladle 1/2 cup of the egg mixture into the muffin tins over the spinach.
6.  Top with of Parmesan cheese (about 1/2 oz).
7.  Place in the oven on 375 for 15 minutes.  Once bake time is completed, broil for 2 minutes to brown the cheese.
8.  Let cool for 2-3 minutes.  Serve and enjoy with some fresh fruit :-)

Nutrition: 125 calories, 3.7g saturated fat, 1g total carb, 212mg sodium, 11.6g protein

Note: try with your favorite kind of low-fat cheese (such as feta or mozzarella) and whatever kind of vegetables you have available (peppers and onions, tomatoes, zucchini - almost anything!)

Friday, March 29, 2013

Colorado Vacation & Mexican Bison Stew

It seems like spring will never come!  Even in South Carolina we have continued to wear sweaters and boots all through March, and it is looking like we will be even to the beginning of April.

For our "spring break" (as I am now back in school mode) trip this year, we headed to Durango, Colorado with friends for a Wild Wild West Ski trip!  We are very grateful to have been invited on this trip with both old and new friends, and appreciated the hospitality of our hosts Amy and John.  Durango is a beautiful and quaint town in southern Colorado, right over the New Mexico state line.  We skied/snowboarded the fresh pow pow just about everyday, and we really grew to love Durango Mountain Restort/Purgatory, it had awesome green and blue trails for me and some really great blacks for the experts (like Trevor and Brendan).  The views were absolutely amazing, and Purgatory has both a front and a backside to the mountain.  By the second day, we were already fans of the back side of the mountain, with the wide open trails, less people and some cool tree skiing (for those crazies who can do that kind of stuff…ahem Brendan and Trevor).  Check out the amazing view from the top of the mountain:
T and B on top of Purgatory!
Each day after skiing we took part in the Forney tradition of "apre ski beers" by the fire outside the lodge.  The weather was gorgeous, sunny and in the 40s-50s each day!  Our favorite beer while we were there was the Durango Wheat from the Durango Brewery, incredibly refreshing after a day of skiing.  
Trevor, Vanessa, Brittany and Brendan having apre ski beers by the fire.
We not only skied/boarded Purgatory, but also Wolf Creek, which has the most snowfall of any mountain in Colorado, with an average of 465 inches per year!  Wolf Creek was a bit smaller, and the lodge sort of reminded us of the lodge in Hot Tub Time Machine, but man was it snowy!  It snowed the entire time we were at the mountain - with tons of fresh powder.  Trevor and Brendan ventured out and found some amazing bowls and even trekked their way to the peak to ski down some vertical chutes of untouched powder.  Check out Trevor's beard, I told ya it was snowy!
It wasn't all just about downhill skiing/boarding in Colorado, we also got a chance to get some  Xcountry skiing in too at Durango Mountain.  Trevor's first time on skis in 13 years!

XCountry Skiing around the lake
When asked what kind of meal we would like to prepare for everyone for "our dinner night," we thought of something that we can almost never find on the East Coast.  Bison!  Bison is a very lean meat with only 150-160 calories in a 3oz serving, 2grams saturated fat and is very rich in iron and protein.  These things were very important with us skiing for over 6 hours everyday!  We ended up purchasing bison stew meat from Sunnyside Farms in Durango, CO.    We decided to make a yummy Bison Mexican Stew with lots of veggies over cheese grits.  

Note: The one ingredient that we could not find for the recipe was chayote.  A chayote is a Mexican squash and though we could not find one in Durango, but I would highly recommend looking for one in South Carolina at Publix or your local grocery store.
Chayote at Publix
The recipe was adapted from the Delish.com recipe here .  Some key changes: we found that the bison meat only needed to be seared ever so slightly before cooking in the stew, bison is very lean therefore it should be cooked to medium to avoid a chewy texture and losing flavor (this is something we will have to practice).  If bison is not available, a lean cut of beef such as sirloin tips would be a great substitution, or even chicken!  Enjoy!



Mexican Bison Stew
Serves: 6-8

Ingredients

For the stew:
3 tablespoons chili powder, divided
1 teaspoon ground cumin
2 pounds bison chuck, cut into 2 inch pieces
2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil, divided
2 cups chopped onion
3 milkd green chiles, seeded and cut into 1/2 inch pieces
1 tablespoon chopped garlic
1/2 cup tequila
1 can no-salt added diced tomatoes
1 cup orange juice
2 tablespoons lime juice
3 cups diced chayote or summer squash
fresh ground pepper
8 lime wedges
1/2 cup fresh cilantro leaves
2 cups finely shredded cabbage
1 cup finely chopped red onion

For the grits:

1 cup uncooked quick-cooking grits
3 Tbsp Smart Balance Spread
3/4 cup low fat cheddar cheese
4 cups low sodium chicken broth


Directions

1.  Combine 1 1/2 tablespoons chili powder, salt, and cumin in a large bowl. Add bison and toss to coat

2.  Heat 1 tablespoon oil in a large pot oven over medium-high heat. Reduce heat to medium, add half the meat, and brown on all sides, 1-2 minutes, do not over cook! Transfer to a plate. Add the remaining 1 tablespoon oil and brown the rest of the meat. Transfer to the plate
3.  Add onion to the pot and cook, stirring, until starting to soften, 3 to 5 minutes. Add chilies and garlic; cook, stirring, for 2 to 3 minutes more. Add the remaining 1 1/2 tablespoons chili powder and stir until the vegetables are well coated. Add tequila (or water), scrape up any browned bits, and simmer until most of the liquid is evaporated. Stir in tomatoes, broth, orange juice, lime juice, and the reserved bison. 
4.  Return to a simmer, reduce heat, cover, and cook until the bison is easily pierced with a fork, about 15-25 minutes.
5. Meanwhile, while the bison is cooking prepare grits.  Bring low sodium chicken broth to a boil in a medium sauce pot.  Whisk in grits, reduce heat to medium-low and cook 5-6 minutes until tender.  Remove from heat and stir in Smart Balance and reduced fat cheese.  Set aside.
6.  Stir squash into bison mixture and cook until just tender, 5-7 minutes, depending on the type of squash. Season with pepper. Serve the stew with lime wedges, cilantro, cabbage, and red onion on the side, if desired. 

Overall, we had a great trip with John, Amy, Vanessa, Brendan, Ron and Laurie.  Thanks again for y'alls hospitality and we can't wait to return to the awesome town of Durango!!


The gang on our sleigh ride

Tuesday, February 12, 2013

Homemade Egg Drop Soup with Sweet Corn


Happy Chinese New Year!  

Being a second generation in a Chinese-American family, Chinese New year is a time I most vividly remember spending with my family going to our favorite family owned restaurant in Albany, NY.  We ordered family style and used the lazy susan on the table to "pass" our food around and share.  

This year I had plans to be in NYC for Chinese New Year and was looking forward to spending time celebrating with friends and family in NY.  But of course, it is winter and nor'easter Nemo came and quickly demolished those plans.  Looks like I will have to plan a trip this Spring to NYC for some good Chinese food, bagels, pizza and many many visits with friends/family!

With a free weekend in Greenville, I took this extra time to complete my first test in graduate school!  My midterm for BU's American Health System course was online and it feels SO good to have it completed :-) I'm now more than halfway through the class!

On Saturday, Trevor and I celebrated New Year's Eve at Lieu's Chinese Bistro on Woodruff Rd. in Greenville.  It wasn't exactly dim sum in Chinatown, but it was very good.  We ordered the Happy Family (minus the scallops, Trevor's request after the Xmas incident...), egg flower and sweet and sour soup, spring rolls, and the spicy cabbage.  It was all wonderful and we would recommend all of these dishes, though the spicy cabbage was even too spicy for Trevor!  If you chose to order a spicy dish at Lieu's, we recommend trying it mild first. ;-)

On Sunday, for New Year's dinner we made Trevor's mother's famous Chicken Almond recipe and egg drop soup.  It was a perfect New Years dinner and a great end to a long weekend!  Check out the egg drop soup recipe below, adapted from  Food Network.  This soup has a wonderful consistency to it and we sweetened it up a bit by adding some corn, I always love the little crunch and sweetness the corn adds!

Egg Drop Soup with Sweet Corn

Homemade Egg Drop Soup with Sweet Corn
Yield: 4 servings

Ingredients
4 cups low sodium chicken stock, plus 2 tablespoons
1/2 teaspoon grated fresh ginger
1/2 tablespoon low sodium soy sauce
1 tablespoon cornstarch
1 cup frozen yellow corn
2 eggs, lightly beaten
2 green onions, chopped for garnish
White pepper to taste

Directions
1.  In a large pot on high heat, bring the low sodium chicken stock, soy sauce, ginger and frozen corn to a boil.  
2.  In a small dish, combine the cornstarch and 2 tablespoons of chicken stock.  Stir until the cornstarch is dissolved.  
3.  Slowly pour the cornstarch mixture into the soup while constantly stirring.  Continue to stir until thickened.  
4.  Reduce heat to a low simmer.
5.  Add the beaten eggs slowly while stirring the soup in the same direction.  Egg will spread and feather.
6.  Turn off heat and season with white pepper to taste (be careful, it is spicy!)
7.  Serve a 1 cup serving in each bowl and garnish with green onion.  Enjoy!

Nutrition for 1 serving: 90 Calories, 2.5g Total fat, 0.7g Saturated fat, 180mg Sodium, 11g Total Carbohydrate, 1.2g Fiber, 6g Protein

Chicken Almond source: Susie Jones.

What is your favorite Chinese dish?  Tell us below!




Wednesday, February 6, 2013

"Diet" Book Review: RevItUp!

Hopefully this post will be the first of many diet book reviews!  As a Registered Dietitian, I am always looking to keep up with the latest nutrition literature to discuss with my patients.   There are many fad diets that are "quick fixes," such as the cabbage soup diet, the eat 3 grapefruits per day diet (Note: please do not do this without consulting your doctor/pharmacist grapefruits can actually counteract many prescription medications!), and the "Biggest Loser Diet," but what about a lifestyle diet that actually sticks?

January 17th is known to be the day that most people "drop" their New Years Resolution, which means people "give it a go" for only about 16 days.  Sound familiar?  If you, or someone you know, is looking for a great book that encourages more of a healthy lifestyle change and making changes at a reasonable pace then please pass this review on!

RevItUp! The lifestyle that diet puts you in the driver's seat by Tammy Beasley, RD, CSSD, LD is, in my professional opinion, a great book to help us get rid of the "diet rules" in our head, and replace them with factual nutrition information and science.  It is also an easy read with analogies that make you smile.

My first introduction to RevItUp! was at a conference in July 2011 where I saw Tammy speak.  She was a wonderful public speaker who was very engaging in describing to an audience of Health Coaches how her book on lifestyle change really works.


In Tammy’s book RevItUp! She describes a healthy lifestyle change that encourages mindful eating, exercise and journaling.  Tammy outlines an 8 week plan and encourages readers to log their foods/exercise/hunger/fullness in the log provided in the back of the book.  The 8 weeks are divided up into two phases both using the four F’s (food, fluid, foundation and fitness), Phase #1 Let’s get started, and Phase #2 Let’s accelerate! Tammy does a great job in the book of using the analogy of a car in relation to your own body’s metabolism and your new healthy lifestyle.  This analogy is very applicable to most people and she does a great job of making a linear connection between the importance of fueling your body correctly and fueling your car correctly. 

Have you ever thought about why you eat?  Do you eat because it is time to eat?  Or because you are at a party?  Phase 1 describes how recognizing your hunger and fullness is just as important as listening to your cars fuel gauge, in that it communicates to you when it needs fuel and when it is indeed full.  This is your foundation.  


I'm sure you have heard that breakfast is the most important meal of the day since grade school.  In the book, breakfast is compared it to “turning the key” in a car.  She explains that breakfast is “the key” and eating it is the act of “turning it.”  She asks readers to think about how they expect their body to “back out of the garage”(starting the day) without turning the key (eating breakfast)?? 

She then goes on to discuss “fuel groups” (food groups) and how to design a healthy meal.  She does a great job of keeping it comical and light by saying “proceed with caution” on high sugar/high fat foods such as bacon, alcohol and fried foods.  “Watch the speed limit” discusses the speed at which we consume meals/snacks and “Paint Your Portions” talks about how to use the portion plate in regards to fruit and vegetable intake.  Concerned about starting an exercise plan but know it is something that will make you healthier?  Check out the "Warm up your motor" section where the book breaks down exercise into a warm-up, exercise and cool down.  Examples of stretches are given along with tips of how to stay on track with your exercise goals!  The book encourages starting small, and building up to a certain exercise or a certain duration.


I have found many "diet books" have many rules, but one must ask what is the reward for following these rules?  Tammy also does a great job of encouraging readers to set rewards for themselves.  There is a page called “victory lap” where a reader can write down their accomplishments and awards.  Phase 1 also discusses the ever so confusing topic of carbohydrates, and breaks it down in way we can understand and also gives some examples of healthy snacks.  Fats are also discussed and their relationship to your cholesterol (if cholesterol is something you are watching).


Phase 2 is called “Let’s Accelerate!”  It's always great when books or providers can give information on healthy foods and exercise, but what about when "life happens?"  Tammy reviews some challenges such as dining out and skipping meals, and lists some healthy choices when tough real-life situations arise.  So you CAN go on vacation and still keep up with your new healthy lifestyle!  

Overall, this book is a great description of a what a REAL lifestyle change looks and feels like.  The author does a great job of using analogies that many can understand as most people deal with driving a car (and the complications thereof) each day.   In my opinion, the most important part of this tool is the final maintenance chapter/maintenance log, as it signifies that at the end of the book the “diet” does not end!  It is a lifestyle change and having a maintenance plan prevents the reader from falling back into hold habits.  This book works great to “break” the food rules that other strict diets do not allow and uses small steps to work towards a healthy lifestyle, healthy weight and body acceptance.  


All of the images in this post are from Tammy's website, which can be found at: revitupfitness.com. You can also follow her on Twitter @TamBeasRD!

Have you read this book?  If so, please share in your comments below.  What are your favorite "diet" books that you have read?  Please share your comments below and maybe it will be featured on the next diet book review!