2016

Zion Nat'l Park, Columbine

Eat

Quiche! It’s what’s for dinner. Or breakfast. ‘Cuz it’s got a potato crust!

Who doesn't appreciate a good quiche? Exactly! So when I posted a photo on Facebook of the local greens and eggs I was using to make 3 quiches (yep, that's 3),  and when friends asked about the recipe, I thought, "why not share this deliciousness with the rest of the world?", which led to this photo/recipe/post!   aficionado-farms-greens   I started with these gorgeous greens from local Evansville farmers Clint and Brandi at Aficionado Farms. This mixture of  green goodness, called Energy Mix, contains small leaf kale, chard, and spinach. Because the greens were still moist having been recently picked, no oil was needed--I only had to toss them in a pan with chopped garlic and salt until they wilted.     Ah, those eggs! Isn't the color of the yolk positively dreamy? They came from the very happy and healthy chickens on Turning Point Farm in New Harmony, IN, about 40 minutes up the road.  I mixed 18 of those jewels into the sauteed greens.eggs-greens To which I added whipping cream and grated cheese, so it looked liked this liquidy heaven:     greens-egg-cheese-cream Next up was the roasting of the veggies. Easy-Peasy --> just toss veggies of your choice with olive oil and salt/pepper. Bake at 350 for 20 minutes total, stirring things up at the 10-minute mark. roasted-veggies           The secret to this fabulous quiche is the potato crust, which is super easy and fun to make! Shred red potatoes and purple onion in a food processor; mix with egg whites; add salt and pepper, then bake. Bam! And while the crust is baking, that's your window to be making the filling and roasting the veggies. finished-crust The recipe below will provide the details so you too can create potato crust magic.  

Layer the roasted veggies into the finished crust and ladle in the filling. Note that the filling will ooze down into the cooked crust, before more baking. That's a good thing!

                                           egg-in-crust     pre-bake   Here are the masterpieces, assembled, prior to baking.             At this point, you can either freeze the quiche to enjoy at a later time or bake it. To freeze, since one of my containers had a matching lid, it went right into the freezer. For the other quiche which was prepared in a baking dish without a matching lid, I used heavy-duty foil that I crimped at the top, after having created a "tent" in the foil. This makes it less likely that the foil will stick to that rich filling, while the quiche is freezing. I'm giving that one to a friend who has recently had a baby. She'll simply thaw the quiche for 6 hours, then bake it. This meal, regardless of whether she eats it a 0300 or for dinner is rich with healthy fat, protein, micronutrients from the veggies, and it's full of flavor. Not to mention love...fridge-ready             And, viola! this is the finished quiche, cooked to perfection! Check out the recipe, below. Enjoy! xoxo baked-x-30-mins                   Robin's Quiche Recipe: Ingredients:            Crust:
  • 2 large red potatoes, grated
  • 1 small purple onion, grated
  • 1 egg white, beaten (add the yolk to the quiche filling)
  • ½ -tsp salt
Filling:
  • 4 eggs
  • 1 pint heavy whipping cream
  • 1 cup grated cheese
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • Sautéed greens
  • Sautéed veggies
  • Dill, fresh or dried
  • Salt and pepper
Preparation:
  1. Preheat the over to 400 degree; oil a 9-inch pie pan.
  2. Combine grated potato and onion, salt and egg white in a bowl, and mix well.
  3. Transfer to an oiled glass pie pan, pat into place, building up the sides.
  4. Bake for 30 minutes, then brush the crust with olive oil, and bake it for 10 more minutes. Remove from oven, and turn the temperature down to 375.
  5. While the crust is baking, roast or sauté the veggies lightly, and set aside. Sauté the greens, and set aside.
  6. Beat the eggs, add the cheese and cream, and blend well. Add the greens. Season with dill, salt and pepper.
  7. Remove the baked crust from the oven, line with sautéed veggies; pour over the egg mixture.
  8. Bake for 45 minutes, checking at 30 minutes; if the top is getting brown, cover with foil for the remaining of baking time.
  9. Test doneness with a sharp knife in the center; it should come out clean.
  10. Let the cooked quiche set for a few moments before cutting. Yum!
   

What is REAL food, really?

Eating real food simply means making choices from plant and animal foods that have been cultivated using methods that are minimally intrusive. Choosing vegetables and fruit, whole grains, legumes and beans, and animal proteins that have not been exposed to man-made chemicals, food coloring, or GMO techniques in the planting, growing, or post-harvest stages further defines REAL food.

All foods are available in this healthful, nourishing, and delicious REAL form. All foods are available in a less healthful, less nourishing, and perhaps less delicious PROCESSED form as well. I am not talking about organic so much as I am referring to foods that, once taken from the land and are being made ready for market, have been laden with salt and other sodium-based preservatives and flavorings, added food dyes, sugars (both real and artificial varieties), and fats--simply to "enhance" the shelf life, flavor, and marketability.

Sometimes REAL food may seem to be a bit more expensive at the grocery store than the more processed version; if this is your perspective, I urge you to consider the long-term expense of your health and well-being...investing your resources and forethought into bringing home health promoting foods as opposed to health depleting foods--now--will provide a benefit to you in the future.

Imagine this: a small plate that is filled 1/2 with fabulous veggies, 1/4 with a whole grain or other starch, and 1/4 with a sustainably raised animal protein. And then, for dessert: a baked pear, a 2-inch square of apple crisp, or a 1/3 cup serving of whole milk organic ice cream...Yum!

Making a conscious decision to avoid commercially processed meats (filled with colorings and high doses of sodium, not to mention growth hormones and antibiotics), veggies and fruits that have sweeteners, salt, or preservatives added, and factory-made desserts loaded with high fructose corn syrup and/or partially hydrogenated oils will get you on the road to eating REAL food. Travel wisely!

Gorgeous stuffed squash dinner warms a cold winter’s night

Look at this magnificent creation! The idea for this meal came from a recipe I saw recently in a Vegetarian Times mag; I was immediately attracted to the beautiful look of this dish, and the seasonal flare it would add to an early winter dinner in November. I departed from the original recipe at that point, mostly because we lost power during a snow storm, rendering the complicated stuffing a bit lofty for stove top cooking. Instead, I threw together a "chili" that was reminiscent of one on my long-time favorites from the original Moosewood cookbook. We enjoyed the chili by firelight the other night, during the power outage. The squash would have to wait... Tonight, I popped the leftover chili into the squash, baked it, and Voila! A masterpiece meal. Here's the loose "recipe"...



Chili Ingredients

  • 1 cup bulgar wheat
  • 2 cups tomato juice or canned tomato puree
  • onion
  • garlic
  • 2 celery stalks, chopped
  • 2 carrots, chopped
  • 2 cups frozen corn
  • red and yellow peppers
  • 15-ounce can of kidney or great northern beans

Chili Preparation

  • Bring tomato juice or puree to a gentle boil.
  • Add bulgar, stirring it well, until a gentle boil returns, cover the pot, turn to simmer for 5 minutes, then turn off the flame and let the bulgar sit for 20 minutes.
  • In the meantime, saute the onion for several minutes, add the peppers and cook for several more minutes until the peppers are soft.
  • Add the carrots and celery, and cook on a low flame for a few moments.
  • Add the chopped garlic, flavor the saute with salt and pepper, and take the saute off the stove. Keep the carrots and celery al dente!
  • Put the saute into a big pot, add the beans including the liquid in the can, add the corn, and gently heat.
  • Add the bulgar, stirring it all together.
  • Spice with cumin, cayenne, more pepper, and perhaps a tad of red wine.

Squash prep

  • Wash the squash.
  • Slice a bit off the bottom so the squash will sit evenly on a cooking sheet. Slice off the top, keeping the stem intact.
  • Scoop out the seeds and fiber strings.
  • Rub the outside skin and the inside rim with olive oil.

To finish

  • Scoop the chili into the squash.
  • Place the lid on top for a tight fit.
  • On a cookie tray, placed in a pre-heated 350 oven for 1 - 1 1/2 hours, or until the squash is soft to a fork poke.

Savor this gorgeous, hearty, healthy, and warming meal!

5 Tips for Managing the Holiday Goodie(s) Temptation

1.    Accept the fact that in your workplace and friends’ homes, on the counter tops at local markets, and just about everywhere, there will be bowls of candy, plates of cookies and fudge, and a plethora of pot-luck celebrations. It’s not about avoiding these temptations; it’s about creating a success plan that combines pleasure with honoring your health goals and well-being intentions. Give yourself permission to celebrate the season, and know that you can bring balance to your decision-making.

2.    Savor the Flavor! I am especially fond of this mindful approach to holiday splurges.  It’s simple: there’s a plate of homemade fudge at your office reception desk. They are made-from-scratch and chock-full of wholesome ingredients. These cubes of sweetness are likely cut into small squares because they are so rich, but if not, you can make your first mindful decision to cut a tablespoon-size piece. Take it back to your desk or to the break room. Cut it into 10 tiny pieces. Tiny. Admire the bounty of delight in front of you. Lean down to inhale the heavenly aroma. Take the first small piece and place it on your tongue, allowing it to begin to melt. You can see where I’m going with this—you are making the piece of fudge into a sensuous sensory experience, you are inviting your brain to participate by stimulating your senses: Sight, look at ALL those tiny pieces of fudge! Smell, rich, chocolate-y, nutty; Taste, as your tongue comes alive; Sound, as you exclaim your delight! Your brain will be infused with pleasure! Wait 5 minutes to repeat the sensory experience again. And again. And again, until over the course of an hour or more, you have fully engaged in the mindful enjoyment of eating a small piece of fudge. NOTE: imagine the contrast of grabbing a few pieces of fudge as you walk by the plate and take them back to your desk. As your emails load, you pop the entire first piece in your mouth, mildly aware of how good it tastes, prompting you to gobble the second piece, and possibly the third. Within 5 minutes, you’ve eaten three chunks of fudge, your brain has not been invited to the party, diminishing the experience of absolute sensory pleasure, and leaving room for more…and more.  See the difference?

3.    Visualize your success. Before you go to a party, or walk up the stairs to your office, or go to the salon to have your hair cut, see yourself as relaxed and confident. Know your intention: to enjoy yourself while staying true to your health and well-being commitments. A positive affirmation comes in handy here; “I am looking forward to mindfully savoring the foods and treats that I choose well”, or “I will eat and enjoy the veggies and salads that are on the table, then I will decide on what treats to savor.”

4.    Express gratitude, for the abundance of food that is available to you, and more importantly, express thanks to yourself for the savoring of the foods you have mindfully chosen. Say to yourself, “Thank you for taking time to eat that fudge slowly; I like your intention to take care during the holidays”, or even, “Hey, way to go!”. Every time your brain receives positive affirmation for a behavior, you are reinforcing the happy experience, and are more likely to choose that behavior again!

5.    Move your body regularly—walk, pedal, swim, skate, whatever is appealing and available to you. Ramping up your metabolism throughout the year is beneficial, and during the holiday season you will find it even more so. When you exercise regularly, having the occasional mindful splurge will not have as big of an impact as it could if your schedule doesn’t include routine physical activity.

Happy Holidays!

Roasted Cauliflower

Delicious and nutritious!

Ingredients:

  • 1 head of cauliflower
  • olive oil
  • a pinch of salt
  • a larger pinch of black pepper

Preparation:

  • pre-heat the oven to 400.
  • cut the head of cauli into 1/2 inch thick slices. Small pieces will break off of the slices, no worries--they'll taste just as fabulous!
  • place the slices on a cookie sheet or flat pan.
  • drizzle with olive oil, spreading the oil around on both sides.
  • sprinkle with a pinch of salt and pepper.
  • bake for 5 - 8 minutes, turn the pieces over, and repeat.
  • Enjoy the rich, buttery taste and crunchy texture! Let the kids pick up the slices with their hands to bite off delicious mouthfuls!

Note: I've been bringing home orange cauliflower whenever I find it at Briarpatch, my local natural foods co-op. It's got a fuller flavor than it's white cousin and offers an intriguing viewing variation.

This delightful side dish was introduced to me by my colleague and friend, Wendy Van Wagner of In the Kitchen.

BOO-Nanners, a Healthy Halloween Treat

This clever treat for children (and their parents!) is a delicious, healthy, and fun alternative to big-bag Halloween treats.

Boo-Nanners

Servings: 2 per banana

Ingredients:
*peeled banana, cut in half
*orange juice
*dried shredded coconut
*currants or raisins
*popsicle sticks

Preparation:
1. Sprinkle banana with orange juice
2. Roll in coconut, you may find it a little easier and neater to use a zip top bag for this step if the little ones are making these
3. Gently press in currant eyes
4. Place on popsicle stick

These boo-nanners can be frozen to be served as a popsicle or eaten fresh. Either way, the kids will love it!

Shared from California Wellness Task Force, Fit for the Holidays newsletter.

Holiday Survival: A Cooking and Eating Class

This is the cooking and eating class you've been waiting for! Back by popular demand, I am partnering with Wendy Van Wagner of In the Kitchen to present this special class--just in time for the holidays.

Do the holidays seem like a food-free-for-all? Around the family table at Thanksgiving, do you have to loosen your belt in between dinner and dessert? Do you stumble to the couch for a post-meal nap? Are you tempted by the endless supply of "goodies" that magically show up on December 1st--homemade cookies, fudge, caramel popcorn balls, veggies and rich dips, sweet and fruity punch (that you wouldn't drink any other time of year), parties, parties, and more eating parties...?

The Holiday Survival Cooking and Eating Class will support your intention to maintain a nourishing balance in your life over the holidays. We'll talk strategies for making sane--and still satisfying--choices at parties and family gatherings; how to shop for and cook healthy dishes for your own table and to take to parties; and how to bring a sense of balance by incorporating physical activity, positive affirmation, and the practice of quieting your mind.

All of this while we eat, drink, and be merry around the chop block table! Join in the fun on Thursday, November 11 at 6:00 PM, come away divinely satiated, and with confidence that you can Survive the Holidays! Space is limited, click here to register, scroll down to November 11th... See you there.

“Robin brings dedication, focus, passion, and intellect to whatever endeavor she is pursuing. She does not just talk about good health, she practices it thoroughly every day of her life. When she talks to clients about healthy lifestyle choices, they are able to see the effects of healthy choices by observing the woman in front of them!”
Arthur S., Client

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