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3 Things to Make this Weekend

Happy Friday! What are you up to this weekend? I’m headed to New Jersey for the day tomorrow to take my little dude to puppy class and to spend some quality time with my sister. I don’t anticipate much cooking, but you never know. Sunday is only half-scheduled. Here are a few recipes and ideas on my mind as of late.

fish dinner1.) Fish. Any kind at all. This time of year, it’s especially important to get enough omega-3′s to chase away the Seasonal Affective Disorder fairy. Cold water fish like salmon is an especially rich source, and actually very easy to cook. The other night I took a humble frozen fillet and made myself a lovely solo dinner. Sometimes it’s nice to make a fuss for yourself.  And by “making a fuss,” I mean wrapping some fish in some foil, baking it, and then laying it over a pile of reheated roasted veggies.

2.) In an ambitious moment a few months ago, I bought a bag of frozen hash browns at Trader Joe’s, telling myself I’d serve it with scrambled egg whites & veggies. Then my schedule got crazy and I kind of forgot about “fancy” breakfasts. Watch this will be the month I make it happen. In case I don’t, there’s always the option to make a casserole and freeze small servings. This Food Network recipe uses Greek yogurt to lighten things up without sacrificing that rich casserole-ish texture. Or so it seems. Someone want to make this and let me know what happens?

3.) Anyone else got any holiday (or just-because) potlucks coming up? I do! This list of healthy recipe ideas from FitSugar is a great jumping-off point if you’re stumped about what to bring.

What are you up to this weekend? Any recipes you’re planning to try? 

3 Things to Make This Weekend

Happy Halloween! Any fun plans this weekend? I’m working at the hospital but going to a pumpkin carving party on Saturday after my shift. If your weekend involves any kitchen-time, here are a few things you might want to try:

mini pumpkinAnything with pumpkin. Well & Good posted a great list this week.

Tortellini soup. Cold temps are on their way, and all I can think about (food-wise, anyway) is warm soup. This is one of my go-to recipes. I made a big pot the other day using porcini tortellini, sliced mushrooms, kale, and herbs de Provence.

One of these leftover-candy creations brought to you by Food 52. I’m personally digging the idea of homemade blended ice cream concoctions a la Dairy Queen Blizzards. I guess if you really want to “healthify” it, you could do with frozen banana soft serve…

What are you up to this Halloween weekend? 

Rustic Slow Cooker Chicken with RedPack Tomatoes

This post is sponsored by Redpack Tomatoes.

rustic chicken One of my favorite cold-weather foods is a tomato-based soup or sauce packed with veggies. As a kid, I used to eat a cup of my mom’s marinara sauce as a snack. Who are we kidding—I could still do that.

For the first few years I had my slow cooker, I mostly only used it for brown rice. Eventually, though, my curiosity and hunger coaxed me out of my rut, and it has since become one of my favorite kitchen appliances.

As part of their 2-a-Day Crockpot Giveaway, October 22-November 18, RedPack is  giving away 2 slow cookers every day on Facebook (https://www.facebook.com/redpacktomatoes) to help make it easier than ever for you to make comforting meals for your family.

This recipe was adapted from RedPack’s Rustic Italian Chicken.

Ingredients:

  • 4 boneless skinless chicken thighs or breasts
  • 1 carrot, diced
  • 1 small onion, diced
  • 1 stalk celery, diced
  • 1 cup sliced mushrooms
  • 1 28-ounce can RedPack crushed tomatoes
  • 1 small can sliced black olives
  • 1 tbsp garlic powder
  • 1 tbsp oregano
  • Salt & Pepper to taste

Directions

  1. Spray slow cooker with cooking spray.
  2. Add chicken and top with other ingredients.
  3. Cook on low for 6-8 hours.

I enjoyed mine over steamed kale with a side of crusty bread, but you can totally throw this over pasta, quinoa, or cauliflower rice.

What are your favorite cold-weather meals?  

3 Thing to Make This Weekend

Finally—it’s Friday again! Anything exciting on the agenda?

Halloween Costumes from the Kitchn

This Sunday, I’m looking forward to co-hosting an event with Farmigo in New Jersey. You can email info(at)jessicacordingnutrition(dot)com for more details.

Since I’ll be traveling to the ‘burbs, the only cooking happening will be at my mom’s house, but here are a few bits and bites that caught my eye this week online:

Halloween is coming! Next weekend! This actually means nothing to me except, well, how did  it get to be the end of October?

What are you looking forward to this weekend? What are you being for Halloween? 

 

 

Skinny Comfort Food: Creamy Parsnip Puree

parsnip pureeOMG, I totally just broke my rule about adding “skinny” to recipe titles. On a cynical nerdy level, I’m curious to see if my analytics shows me anything interesting in terms of whether words like “skinny” impact clicks per post.

Really, though I just wanted to share one of my favorite quick-and-easy recipes for fall that just so happens to be of the “sticks to your ribs but not your thighs” variety. That is a saying, right? If not, I just made one up.

Parsnips are one of those veggies  it’s easy to overlook, but this humble root veggie (looks like a white carrot) is packed with fiber, folate, vitamin C, and potassium. You can cut it into cubes and roast it or try it pureed—it’s a lot like mashed potatoes.

This parsnip puree is a great accompaniment to salmon, roasted veggies, or heartier items like meat loaf. I especially love it with this pumpkin turkey meatloaf. My computer’s autocorrect keeps trying to write “meat load.” Oh dear.

Anyway, this dish is super-satisfying and easy to make. Make it one of your weeknight staples this fall!

Ingredients: 

  • 1 lb parsnips, peeled
  • Water or low-sodium veggie broth
  • Salt and pepper to taste

Directions:

  1. Boil parsnips in water or broth until fork tender.
  2. Puree in a blender with a little of the cooking liquid until smooth. Season with salt and pepper to taste.

tk

A Small Collection of Joyous Things

Happy Sunday! Hope you’ve been having a great week. Every Sunday, I like to take a second to hit the Pause button and take stock of the small good things from the past seven days.

Mercury retrograde, which is going to continue until October 25th, can be a real pain in the ass because it screws with communication, technology, and travel. You might find it hard to make—and-keep plans because things keep coming up you need to address or be flexible about. However, there can be an upside to this.  In fact, it’s actually worked in my favor a few times this week. For example:

*Wednesday night I was supposed to go to a cooking class with a colleague. It got canceled at the last minute, and all the participants were told we’d be getting a refund. A couple of us girls popped into a nearby cafe for a much-needed glass of wine. Taking a chance in the middle of the workweek to gab about work, boys, and the Future was exactly what I needed.

*Thursday night I went to a much-needed yoga class and ran into a friend there. It was so nice to see her!

A few non-Mercury-related highlights:

*First things first: There is nothing like a nice, warm bowl of oatmeal in the fall. This concoction had pumpkin, apple, egg whites, chia, and flax seeds cooked in, and then I topped with with some crunchy PB & flax and chia and a big spoonful for homemade cranberry sauce. It was such a treat to enjoy before diving into my Saturday morning. pumpkin apple oats

*Gorgeous weather on Friday. I took a nice walk on my lunch break. I also had a little spare time between my shift and the hospital and a meeting downtown, so I got to walk around the Union Square Farmers Market and stock up on plenty of gorgeous fall produce!

* Speaking of produce, Trader Joe’s finally has raw beets! It’s the little things…Trader Joe's Beets

*I have a fun video project in the works and I can’t wait to share it with you guys.

* On Saturday, I avoided the news in favor of another yoga class and a day spent reading and cooking (and maybe binge-watching Gilmore Girls on Netflix—aka having it on in the background while I did stuff). I also made Chocolate Covered Katie’s Pumpkin Fudge Balls.

Today I’m participating in the Making Strides Against Breast Cancer walk with my mom, sister, and aunt. It’s a little bit of an emotional event, as my grandmother battled breast and ovarian cancer for many years before succumbing to the latter in 1999 at the way-too-young age of 61. Sometimes I wonder what things would be like if she were still alive—What kind of relationship would we have? How would I be different as a person if I’d had her influence in my life as a teenager and twenty-something woman? What would be the same?

As I’ve written before, my grandmother’s medical issues were such a central part of my life as a child that it would have taken a lot for me not to go into some sort of “helping” profession. Even though I’m far from perfect, I like to hope my efforts make a small, positive difference to someone.

What are you grateful for this week?

PS: Have you entered my Maple Hill Creamery yogurt giveaway yet?

3 Things to Make This Weekend

Irving Farm cappucinoGood morning. Happy Friday! How’s your week been? If you haven’t entered my Maple Hill Creamery giveaway, leave a comment on yesterday’s post to be entered in the drawing!

I’m looking forward to an actual 2-day weekend. It’s been a while, and I’m looking forward to recharging (maybe some yoga, avoiding the news) and to joining my family in this year’s Making Strides Against Breast Cancer walk on Sunday. If you want to make a donation to my team, you can do so on the event homepage. We’re The Jeanne Team : )

Depending how I feel Saturday, I might even try a new recipe. Here are a few I saw this week that looked great!

What are you looking forward to this weekend? 

Why I Love Yogurt + A Giveaway!

This week’s Thinking Out Loud post is all about the number-one reason I will never be vegan:  For about as long as I can remember, yogurt has been one of my staple foods.

As a kid, I was all about the Yoplait Thick & Creamy French vanilla yogurt with the foil top. Then in the mid 1990′s after my grandmother ‘s cancer diagnosis, the fridge was stocked with the Stonyfield Farms fruit juice-sweetened stuff. Brown Cow’s whole-milk maple yogurt also made an appearance at times. I’m ashamed to admit I ate a lot of Yoplait Light & Fit in high school and even into college, but there was also some Fage plain Greek yogurt around, which eventually led me to abandon the sugar-free bullshit stuff entirely.

Here are some of the reasons I enjoy yogurt (and/or kefir) almost every day:

  • Protein: Yogurt is full of satiating protein. An 8-ounce cup of yogurt has 12 grams of protein. Greek yogurt packs even more, usually around 20 grams per cup. That “water” in the container is actually whey, so stir it in to get all that protein.
  • Probiotics: Many yogurts are made with “good” bacteria that fight the good fight in the GI tract to promote good digestion and immune system function.
  • Bone Health: Yogurt is a great source of calcium and vitamin D to help build and maintain strong, healthy bones. It also has a lot of magnesium, and potassium. The vitamin B-12 in yogurt is helpful for pretty much all the things so that’s another plus.
  • Convenience: You can find yogurt in pretty much any grocery or convenience store. Even some gas stations and drugstores stock it. It can be enjoyed plain, mixed with various toppings, or on top of foods like waffles, pancakes, or grilled fruit. It can also be cooked into all kinds of dishes, from sweet baked goods to savory soups and sauces.

A few things to keep in mind when choosing yogurt:

  • Stay away from excess sugar. Even better, go for plain and flavor it yourself.
  • Look for probiotics and active cultures.
  • Opt for organic whenever possible.

Maple Hill Creamery recently contacted me about trying some of their grass-fed yogurt products. The company makes their yogurt from a local supply of milk from 100% grass-fed certified organic small farms near Stuyvesant, NY. They don’t homogenize, strain, or skim their milk. They also keep the sweeteners natural and to a minimum: think fruit purees and scant amounts of real maple syrup, authentic extracts, and organic sugar. A slower culturing process allows them to do without thickeners, and they don’t add any colors or preservatives.

Their yogurt has a smooth, creamy texture and a tart, barely-sweet taste. For anyone freaking out about the fact that this is whole-milk yogurt, bear in mind that fact that we need some fat to absorb the vitamins A and D in milk. Additionally, the omega-3 to omega-6 ratio in milk from grass-fed cows is higher than in those from cows fed hay, grains, and corn, so it actually has a more heart-healthy fatty acid profile more beneficial to humans. Also of note: one 6-oz container of plain yogurt has 120 calories-hardly something to be “afraid” of. I also want to point out that fat is digested more slowly than other nutrients, so it helps you stay full for longer. Oh, and then there’s that thing called “mouth feel.” Bonus.  

Maple Hill Creamery wants to give you the chance to try their yogurt too! 4 readers will get a coupon for a free container of grass-fed yogurt. All you have to do to enter the giveaway is to leave a comment below. Next week I will randomly select and announce a winner, so stay tuned!  

Check out more random thoughts from other bloggers at the Running with Spoons Thinking Out Loud link party, where stream-of-consciousness is the name of the game! Thanks to Amanda for hosting!
Thinking-Out-Loud2

5 Ways to Eat Kabocha Squash

In October of 2011, when I found myself single again after several years of cohabitation with another Sagittarius (one day I’ll learn…) cooking for one again was kind of challenging. I’d gotten used to making huge batches of stuff or at least not scrambling to come up with different ways to use up leftovers. Though I’d like to tell you I eventually changed my ways, I would be totally full of s*** if I said that. It’s hard to go back after living with a well-stocked fridge. Gone are the days of a fridge consisting only of cheese, white wine, and guava preserves (don’t ask).

One advantage to cooking for one is that it’s easier to anticipate how much you’ll need to buy, since you’re the only one who’s going to be eating xyz. There are some items that are easy to buy in smaller quantities, but for certain things like whole fruits and veggies or certain cuts of meal or fish, it’s not always doable. Take, for example, the much-loved kabocha squash. I like to think of kabocha as pumpkin’s sweet yet sassy little cousin. The Hip One at the (adult) Kids’ Tablee very Thanksgiving.

If pumpkin is

: )

Kabocha is

; )

kale saladAnyway. There’s really no getting around a whole squash. Sometimes a single gal will luck out and find a cute little one that’s good for a couple servings, but more often than not, when you buy one of these, you’re looking at a five-day commitment. And orange palms when it’s all over, thanks to the mega beta-carotene load. Some things are totally worth it, though, such as kabocha.

I like to start off with a simple steamed kabocha squash. I just prick the outside with a fork a few times and cook in the microwave for ~10 minutes at a time until it’s soft enough to slice open and scoop the seeds from. Then I just peel and cut the flesh (insides/squash-meat) into cubes for later use. You can totally do slices or chunks instead of cubes—I just hate the word “chunks.”

So now you’re got all this f***ing squash to use up. Awesome. Let’s chat on Day 3. Here are a few ideas to get you started:

1.)  As is, with roasted Brussels sprouts & pork chops (or tofu or fish or whatever)

2.)  Cut up and tossed into salad. I highly recommend warm kale salad for this one, but it’s also fantastic with arugula and goat cheese.

3.) In a smoothie. Add pumpkin pie spice, vanilla, and a date or 1 tsp maple syrup to milk and yogurt. Blend with ice.

4.)  In risotto. The kabocha sort of melts in as you cook it—nice!

5.) In oatmeal. Similar to the risotto, the squash blends right in. Add some spices, top with your favorite nut butter, and you’re good to go!

 

How do you deal with leftovers? 

A Small Collection of Joyous Things

Happy Sunday, and welcome to my weekly gratitude list, a series I started to focus on the joyful things in my life.

It’s been a busy week, but full of lots of small, good things.

1.) I went to visit Eli and my parents Monday. The little guy finally got a haircut. I miss him so much, but he’s having a ball out in NJ right now, so I’m happy about that. Jess and Eli October 6

2.) Thursday I went on a “Cook’s Tour of Chinatown,” which I’d signed up for through the 92nd Street Y. I was the youngest one there by decades, but it was so cool to visit different markets and get the lowdown on what to buy where. Can’t wait to go back and buy some odd meats and vegetables to play with. Of course, the only food pic I managed to take was of this black chicken: black chicken

The “BIG SILKY” is a little disconcerting, though.

I took a picture of this place too: foot hheaven

3.) I actually had time to make oats on the stovetop one morning this week. It was glorious. pumpkin oats with figs

4.) I also made cranberry sauce. Finally used up that bag in the freezer. cranberry sauce

5.) I actually found the energy to (gasp) socialize with other humans two nights in a row this week—what a concept.

6.) Lots of interesting projects have me in a positive groove about work.

7.) I’m seeing my family today, including some cousins I haven’t seen since…? Can’t wait!

8.) I have a giveaway coming your way soon!

What’s brought you joy this week? 

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