Shaved Brussels Sprouts Salad

Skip the foreplay and head straight to the recipe

I am extremely fortunate to be in a dietetic internship that satisfies my love of traveling and trying new things through a variety of rotations in different locations.  My most recent rotation was at a hospital in Chicago.  Not only did I realize that I enjoyed clinical dietetics–something I previously wasn’t so sure about–but I had a fantastic time in Chicago hanging out with family and friends I don’t regularly get to see!

While in Chicago I was also able to eat at some amazing restaurants. One such restaurant was Cafe Ba-Ba-Reeba, a tapa spot with a thirty year reputation for reliably providing delicious spanish cuisine.  Not only did Cafe Ba-Ba-Reeba satisfy the craving I’ve had for patatas bravas since my trip to Barcelona, but it introduced me to an AMAZING salad.  The salad consisted of shaved brussels sprouts, almonds, and manchego cheese with a light dressing that perfectly complemented  the heavier bread and potato dishes we had also ordered.

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Weeks later I still can’t stop thinking about this salad–yes, it was THAT GOOD.  Back in Cleveland and unable to get my fix, I’ve attempted to recreate it.  The dressing I made isn’t exactly the same and I added kale, but I’m really happy with how it turned out!

Shaved Brussels Sprout Salad Recipe

  • Servings: 4 side salads
  • Difficulty: easy peasy
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Ingredients:
Salad:
3-4 cups shaved brussels sprouts (can buy pre-shaved)Shaved Brussels Sprouts Salad
1 cup kale, cut into bite-sized pieces
1 cup carrots, julienned
1/4 of a large onion, finely diced
1/4 cup almonds, roasted and chopped
1/4 pound manchego cheese, shaved

Dressing:
1 1/2 teaspoon dijon mustard
1 tablespoon red cider vinegar
1/4 cup olive oil
1 teaspoon minced garlic (1 small clove)
salt & pepper to taste

Directions:
Notes on ingredient preparation:

  • You want the onion to be finely diced to achieve the onion flavor without any big bites of onion.  Alternatively you could grate the onion.
  • The manchego cheese is, in my opinion, the star of this salad and worth the extra few dollars.  But, if necessary you could substitute parmesan.  The cheese could be grated instead of shaved, but I like the bigger chunks of cheese.
  • Roasting the almonds is a must-do.  To roast, put almonds in a skillet on medium heat (no oil needed) until start to brown and be fragrant, about 3 minutes. Alternatively, place on baking sheet and bake for 10-15 min at 375 until brown and fragrant.  The almonds might also start to “crackle.”

1. Combine all salad ingredients in a large bowl.
2. Combine all dressing ingredients in a small bowl and whisk to emulsify.  Add salt and pepper to taste.
3. Toss salad with dressing.  This salad is tasty right after preparation, but this is one of those salads that is even better after it has sat for a little while because the sprouts and kale get softer and more flavorful as they absorb the dressing!

Super bowl….of soup!!!

{skip the foreplay and head straight to the roasted butternut squash soup recipe}

As we all prepare for this upcoming Sunday evening with Tom Brady, I want to encourage you to think about serving this truly SUPER BOWL of soup during the game! Delicious sunshine in a bowl, this soup only has 1 gram of saturated fat and less than 200 calories per serving**, but that’s not the only reason why it’s perfect for the game:

IMG_2345Vitamin A

Why it’s important: Eyesight (particularly night vision), immune function, gene expression, fetal development, red blood cell production

How much we need per day* (males/females): 900 µg/700 µg

Amount in a serving of this soup**: 1052 µg

(Some other good sources: Sweet potato, pumpkin, carrots, cantaloupe, spinach, kale, collard greens)

bottom line: you’ll still be able to see Tom–even if the lights go out

Vitamin C

Why it’s important: Wound healing, resistance to infection, antioxidant

How much we need per day* (males/females): 90 mg/75 mg

Amount in a serving of this soup**: 35 mg

(Some other good sources: Citrus fruits, strawberries, kiwis, tomatoes, sweet red peppers, broccoli)

bottom line: you can offer Tom a bowl if he gets scraped up during the game

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Iron

Why it’s important: Oxygen transport, infection resistance, DNA synthesis

How much we need per day* (males/females): 8 mg/18mg***

Amount in a serving of this soup**: 2 mg

(Some other good sources: Oysters, beef, lentils, tofu, chicken, kidney beans, potatoes with skin)

Eating vitamin C with iron helps increase the bioavailability of iron, or how well the body is able to actually use the iron that is taken in. Oh, and look at that; this SUPER BOWL of soup has both!

bottom line: Tom is hot.  Iron will help you catch your breath.

Magnesium

Why it’s important: Nerve impulse transmission & muscle contractions, energy production, DNA, RNA, and protein synthesis

How much we need per day* (males/females): 420 mg/320 mg

Amount in a serving of this soup**: 59 mg

(Some other good sources: Brown rice, spinach, almonds, lima beans, peanuts, swiss chard)

bottom line: you need your heart to be able to contract when it drops every time Tom is on the field

Here’s to hoping the Patriots are on offense most of the game! Happy Super Bowl everyone!

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Roasted Butternut Squash Soup Recipe

  • Servings: 5 servings
  • Difficulty: easy
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Ingredients:
roughly 24 oz prepackaged butternut squash cubes or a 1.5-2 lb whole squash
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 medium onion, diced
1 teaspoon garlic, minced (~1 clove)
3 medium carrots, peeled and chopped
1 small apple, peeled and chopped OR 1/3 cup applesauce
2-3 teaspoons fresh thyme
2 teaspoons ground ginger
32 fl oz box chicken or vegetable stock (~4 cups)
salt & pepper to taste

Directions:
1. Roast the Squash:
–Preheat oven to 400°F.
–Cover a baking sheet with aluminum foil.

If you bought a whole butternut squash:
a. Wash squash.
b. Cut squash in half and remove seeds and stringy bits (you can save the seeds to roast later if you’d like or just toss)
c. On the inside, flesh side of each half of squash, drizzle olive oil and sprinkle with salt and pepper.  Rub olive oil and s&p into the squash a little, making sure the oil covers all of the squash.
d. Place on baking sheet inside/flesh side down and place in the oven to roast for 30-40 minutes or until the squash is soft. (you can put the squash in before the oven is preheated)
e.  Allow the squash to cool until you can touch it and scoop the flesh out of the squash and into your soup pot and mix.

If you used pre-packaged squash:
a. Place on prepared baking sheet, sprinkle with olive oil, salt, and pepper and mix, so all sides of the squash cubes are coated.
b. Roast for 30 minutes or until the squash cubes are soft and slightly browned. (you don’t have to wait until your oven is preheated to start roasting)
c. Add roasted squash to your soup pot and mix.

2. While the squash is roasting, chop the rest of the ingredients.  Add the olive oil to large soup pot and heat on medium-high.  Add garlic, onion, carrots, and if using apple (not applesauce) add apple.  Cook until the onion is translucent.
3. Add chicken stock, thyme, and applesauce if you used that instead of the apple.  Bring to a boil and then reduce the heat, continuing to cook until carrots are soft and your squash is roasted.
4. Once squash is roasted and mixed with the rest of the soup, use either an immersion blender to blend the soup right there in the pot, or divide the soup into batches and use a blender.
5. TASTE!  Add salt and pepper as you’d like…I ended up adding probably a teaspoon or so of each.
6. Garnish with toasted almonds and extra fresh thyme.  Enjoy!

*These amounts are the Recommended Dietary Allowance (RDA). This is the average daily dietary intake amount of a particular nutrient recommended by the Food and Nutrition Board of the Institute of Medicine (in 2001) to ensure adequate stores of the nutrient for proper body function in a healthy person. (see a full RDA chart here)
**Recipe nutrition facts from USDA (www.SuperTracker.usda.gov).
***18 mg for pre-menopausal women is recommended and 8 mg for post-menopausal women is recommended.

Source: Oregon State University Linus Pauling Institute (http://lpi.oregonstate.edu/infocenter/)

Ugh. Leftovers

Leftovers are the WORST–at least that’s what I used to think!  Leftovers and I became friends when I had to start buying my own food and cooking for myself.  What caused this 180° turn around?  Realizing that leftovers offer pre-cooked quick ingredient add ins to create entirely new, DELICIOUS dishes changed my mind!

For example, leftover peanut butter frosting and chocolate ganache from a birthday cake I made just became peanut butter and chocolate ganache sandwich cookies in less than a half an hour!

Head over my leftovers recipe index for ideas on how to use up your leftovers!  But first, some leftover transformation tips:

TIPS TO TRANSFORM LEFTOVERS

1. Plan ahead
I find that a number of dishes like soups, stews, quinoa salads, lasagna, rice dishes, etc actually taste better the second day.  Plan to make extra of these and store in single serving containers for a quick lunch.  Alternatively, freeze leftovers for a later meal.

2. It doesn’t have to be a perfect match
Substitute ingredients for things you already have that are really similar. You have leftover cream cheese frosting and the recipe calls for cream cheese?  Omit the sugar in your recipe and you’re probably all set.

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Meat & Potatoes: leftover MVPs

3. Take advantage of being a “meat and potatoes” kinda person
Meat and potatoes offer a gazillion options for reuse in new recipes the next day. Mashed potatoes make a perfect topping for Shepard’s pie or simply pan fry them to make potato pancakes.  Leftover roasted, baked, or even lightly fried potatoes can be used in a hash the next day.  Leftover meat can be used in fried rice, stir fry, sandwiches, enchiladas, salads, omelets, casseroles…the list goes on and on.  You can find specific recipe ideas here.

4. “Everything but the kitchen sink recipes”= Whatever you have in your fridge
When a recipe calls for a variety of different vegetables or meats it is almost always okay to omit things you don’t like or have and/or substitute for things you do have.

Southwest Quinoa Salad
Kitchen sink recipes = just put in whatever you’ve got

5. Use the oven or stovetop instead of the microwave
Half the battle with leftovers is texture.  Reheating leftovers with the microwave is quick and easy but sometimes the final product has a mushy, gross texture.  An oven or stovetop will allow the food to heat, but not get mushy.  Other times, reheating causes food to dry out.  If this is the case, try adding extra stock or fat (don’t go crazy with the oil por favor!) while reheating.  If you are using the microwave, try not to over-reheat by opting for a shorter cook period and by frequently checking to see if the dish is properly reheated.  This is easier when reheating individual portions.  The other half of the battle is taste, which brings us to my final tip:

6. When something is bland the second time around, add some flavor!
If the dish tends to become bland when it is reheated, add some more of the seasoning that you originally used when making the dish.  Just salt and pepper can go a long way.

 

 

Morning Muffins

{skip the foreplay and head straight to the recipe}

My roommate is crazy.  Now, when I say crazy, I really just mean completely different from myself.  My approach to morning time is to sleep to the absolute last possible minute and not talk until a sufficient amount of time has passed and coffee has been drunk.  My roommate, however, is the definition of a morning person.  She is out of the door by 5am to go workout before work.  She doesn’t get up at 5, she leaves at 5.  Her alarm is set in the 4’s of the morning.  THE 4’S! On the reg.  THE 4’S! The sun isn’t up yet, but she is.  And she LOVES it.  I believe her to be insane and think she should probably talk to someone.
Banana Morning Muffins Now, understandably, my roommate likes to eat on the go or have a breakfast packed so she doesn’t have to come back home in between the gym and going to work.  Her go-to for a packed breakfast was overnight oats.  Lately, though, she has been complaining of being tired of oatmeal.  Here is something I understand and for which I have a solution.  I am the queen of quick and on-the-go breakfasts.  Why take the time to make and eat breakfast at the kitchen table every morning when that time could be spent still sleeping??  So this one is for you, my crazy, morning-loving roommate.  Added bonus?  These muffins are vegan, gluten free, ridiculously healthy, and, of course, DELICIOUS!

Banana Morning Muffins Recipe

  • Servings: 12 muffins
  • Difficulty: easy
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Ingredients:
1 tablespoon chia seeds
3 tablespoons water
3 super ripe bananas (I’m talking brown bananas with yellow spots kind of ripe!)
1/2 cup unsweetened applesauceIMG_2274
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 ½ cups oat flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon baking soda
½ teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4+ 2 tablespoons cup chopped toasted nuts of your choice (divided)
3 tablespoons oats (make sure they are gluten free oats if that is of concern)
1 tsp honey

Directions:
1. In a small bowl whisk together the chia seed and water to create a binding gel (this will serve to replace eggs in this recipe).  Whisk vigorously for a minute before putting the bowl in the fridge.
2. Preheat oven to 350°F. Line muffin tins with liners, parchment paper, or spray with nonstick cooking spray.
3. Sift together oat flour, baking soda, baking powder, salt, cinnamon, and 1/4 cup of toasted nuts.
4. In a separate bowl, peel and mash the banana.  Then beat using an electric mixer or your strong arm and a fork until the banana releases its sugars and is a liquid-ish mush.  Mix in applesauce and vanilla extract.
5. Take the chia and water gel mixture out of the refrigerator and whisk for another minute before adding to the banana mixture.
6.  Gradually add the flour mixture to the banana mixture, mixing in between additions.
7. Scoop batter into prepared muffin tins with a 1/4 cup measure.
8.  In a new bowl mix together the rest of the toasted nuts, oats, and honey to make a crumble.  Top each muffin with the crumble mixture.
9. Bake for 25-30 minutes until they become golden brown and pull away from the edge of the muffin tin.  A knife/toothpick will come out almost clean when inserted. To avoid mushy-bottomed muffin remove from the muffin tins to cool.  Enjoy!  They’re particularly tasty with some nut butter!

Inspired by Auntie Fee: LPT Salad

{skip the foreplay and head straight to the recipe}

My friend and I spent this afternoon watching Auntie Fee’s cooking videos on YouTube.  If you haven’t seen Auntie Fee in action, take a look:

She was recently featured in a segment on Jimmy Kimmel as well.   Auntie Fee swears (repeatedly) that parsley will make anything taste good, which got me thinking that maybe I should make something with parsley for dinner. The result is this Lentil Parsley Tomato Salad.

Now, forget Auntie Fee’s parsley and let’s just chat about how great lentils are for a second:  Considered a legume (think peas, beans, some nuts), lentils give you a lot of bang for your buck.  Just a 1/4 cup (uncooked) of lentils packs 8 grams of protein, 0 grams of fat, and 9 grams of fiber into less than 100 kcals AND will cost only about $0.10!  Tender and with a slightly nutty flavor, lentils will absorb most any flavor you want to pair them with making them perfect for salads, soups, mashed into dips, or used as an alternative to rice or potatoes.  Alone, lentils can be kind of bland, but cook in chicken stock–or I like to add some wine–season with salt and pepper, and you’ve got yourself a great sidekick to any meal!

I used green lentils but you could use brown.  I wouldn’t use red lentils, though, because they tend to get mushy when they’re cooked.  Make sure you sift through the lentils to ensure that there aren’t any small pebbles and you want to wash the lentils to remove excess grit.  Like with rice, you use a 1:2 lentil to liquid ratio to boil the lentils.  Which type of liquid you use to cook the lentils is really flexible, but using a chicken or vegetable stock in addition to water really helps to add some flavor.  I used a combination of chicken stock, red wine, and water to cook my lentils tonight.

The process of cooking lentils is the same as rice: bring to boil and then reduce to medium heat and let cook for 35-40 minutes.  While the lentils are cooking, chop parsley (use fresh, the cost will balance out because the lentils are cheap and it’ll taste so much better), a red onion, a couple of cloves of garlic, and tomatoes (I just sliced cherry tomatoes in half).  Quickly rinse the black eyed peas and white northern beans to remove all of the gross can juice (also cheap items btw).  Add everything to a large bowl (to save some dishes, go ahead and mix everything in the serving bowl).  Then just add in the apple cider vinegar, olive oil, salt, pepper, and the lentils when they are done cooking.  When they’re done, the lentils will be soft but will still hold their shape, and almost all of the liquid will be gone.  Just drain and discard any excess liquid.

This made a lot of salad because I just used a full can or bag of everything, but it will last for a while in the fridge and I bet it will only get tastier as it sits with the dressing.  It can be served hot or cold.  Maybe Auntie Fee has a future in the food show business after all if she’s inspiring dishes like this!

LPT Salad

  • Servings: 16
  • Difficulty: easy
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Ingredients:
1 lb bag of green or brown lentils, sorted and washed
2 cups chicken or vegetable stock
1/2 cup red wine
4 1/2 cups water
1 can great northern beans, drained and rinsed throughly
1 can black eyed peas, drained and rinsed throughly
1 pint cherry tomatoes, sliced in half
1 small-medium red onion, diced
1/2 cup finely chopped fresh parsley
1 clove garlic, minced (or more)
1/2 tsp salt (more or less to taste)
1/4 tsp ground black pepper (again, more or less to taste)
2 Tbs apple cider vinegar
3 Tbs olive oil

Directions:
1. Add lentils, water, chicken/vegetable stock, and wine to a large pot and bring to a boil.  Reduce the heat to medium and continue to cook until the lentils are soft but still hold their shape and almost all of the liquid has been absorbed.  This will take about 35-40 minutes.
2. While the lentils cook, combine the rest of the ingredients into a large bowl.
3. Add the cooked lentils (draining and discarding any remaining liquid), and mix.  Adjust salt and pepper to taste.  The salad can be served hot or cold.  Enjoy!