Sunday, June 12, 2011

Orange Chicken Stir Fry

I watched Jamie Oliver's Food Revolution Friday night, and on there they had a single dad of 2 boys who took his family out to eat fast food at least once a day.
Jamie had the Dad go get fast food at a fast food place they usually went to while Jamie and the boys made dinner. It was a race to see who could get it done faster, and cheaper.

The Dad took 45 minutes and spent $30
Jamie and the boys took 30 minutes and spent $22. They made chicken with fresh tomato sauce on top, a really yummy looking shredded salad with homemade vinaigrette, and a yummy looking lime drink.

I guess that doesn't include the time it takes at the store, but most of us try to only go to the grocery store once a week.

I was about to take my kids to Arby's Sat, cuz my husband has been out of town for over a week, and the kids were restless, but then I remembered Jamie's great example of cooking a homemade meal, and I put myself to the challenge.

I put all 5 of my kids in aprons and put them to work. 28 minutes later we had rice (white cuz we were doing it fast), with orange ginger chicken stir fry. My kids LOVED it. Not all of them ate every single veggie, but they tried eat one and they all at least liked one of them. I think the whole meal cost me about $5, and we had left overs.

To make the meal extra special, we used chop sticks. Have you ever seen those chopstick holders for kids? We used those too.

We did have a pot and pan to clean up, and some plates, but as soon as we get some more paper plates, things will be great around here!

Orange Chicken Stir Fry

Brown or White rice cooked

About 3 chicken breasts diced up
1 bunch asparagus cut into 2 inch pieces
handful of broccoli
2 small zucchini cut into 1 inch slices
Minced ginger
soy sauce
orange juice

While the rice is cooking, add chicken and 1 Tablespoon oil (we used olive and sesame) to a pan. After chicken is browned up (3 minutes?) add asparagus. After a couple more minutes, add the broccoli, and after 2 more minutes add the zucchini. Add about 1/4 C water, 1 T soy sauce, and about 1-2 T. ginger. I like the minced ginger that they sell in a tube that you keep in the fridge. Then add about 1/4 Cup of orange juice and cook till everything is done and juice is sticky.

Saturday, June 11, 2011

Food Imposters, plus a smoothie recipe!

My husband emailed me this link, which I found very helpful. It is a bit drastic of a list, depending on where you are at in your "food journey", but every bit of information helps for your decision of what will go into your body. Notice that these are these are not the worst foods, but the worst food that seem like they are good for you, but are NOT.

Here are seven of the worst healthy food imposters:

#1: Farm-Raised Salmon

There’s no comparison between farm-raised salmon and the wild variety. Farm-raised salmon have up to eight times the level of carcinogenic PCBs as wild salmon, and they’re lower in omega-3 fats. Plus, these penned salmon are fed grain and fishmeal, not to mention a ton of antibiotics, and they don’t have nearly as high nutritional value as their wild relatives.

In addition, wild salmon get their red color from astaxanthin, a powerful antioxidant that comes from their natural food source, krill. Farmed salmon get their color artificially from a color wheel.

#2: Supermarket Cereals

With few exceptions, most supermarket cereals are fiber lightweights. The overwhelming majority are loaded with sugar. Most have a very high glycemic impact, meaning they raise blood sugar quickly, contributing to mood swings and energy dips. Whole grains are better, but only marginally, and people who are sensitive to blood sugar fluctuations will still need to be careful.

The best cereals are old-fashioned oatmeal, and a few grocery store standouts, such as Fiber One and All-Bran. Most of the others? Not so good. Look for those that pass the “5 and 5” rule: less than 5 grams of sugar, more than 5 grams of fiber.

#3: Bars

Whether you call them energy bars, protein bars, granola bars, or breakfast, most are simply chewy versions of candy bars. They usually have very little fiber, lots of processed carbs, and a ton of sugar.

You’re better off “rolling your own” out of raw oats, chopped almonds, coconut flakes, raisins, and a dollop of raw organic honey.

#4: Frozen Yogurt

Frozen yogurt is a prime example of marketing triumphing over good sense. The only thing frozen yogurt has in common with real yogurt is that they’re both white.

Real yogurt—one of the healthiest foods on earth—is loaded with live cultures that support your digestive health. The live culture content of frozen yogurt is precisely zero.

What’s more, frozen yogurt is usually filled with chemicals and artificial sweeteners, which can cause cravings just like sugar. You’re better off with real, creamy, organic ice cream. Just don’t eat too much.

#5: Canola Oil

Sounds sacrilegious, but canola oil isn’t such a health bargain. Conventional canola oil is processed with high-temperature, mechanical pressing. It goes through caustic refining, bleaching, and de-gumming.

The high temperatures needed to extract the oil from the rapeseed plant make it’s highly touted omega-3’s rancid and foul smelling, requiring them to be deodorized, a process that can create trans fats. Unless it’s cold-pressed and organic, stay away.

#6: Egg-White Omelets

While these aren’t exactly unhealthy, they are utterly unnecessary. The whole concept of egg white omelets is left over from the 80’s obsession with low fatanything. And when it comes to eggs, it’s a huge mistake.

The yolk contains the superstars of eye nutrition, lutein and xeazanthin, which need fat to be absorbed properly. Egg yolks are also an important sourcephosphatidylcholine, an important nutrient for brain health.

And you can forget the fat issue. Half the fat in the yolk isn’t even saturated to begin with and the saturated part is good for you!

#7: Apple Juice

Apples, good. Apple juice? Not so much.

One cup of apple juice has zero fiber, 117 calories, and 29 grams of carbs, 27 of which are sugar (and your typical serving is a lot more than a cup). Sorry, but that’s not a health drink. It’s sugar water with apple flavoring.

The implications of giving our kids 8 cups a day of this stuff is just now beginning to be understood. An apple a day keeps the doctor away, but apple juice just may necessitate a few house calls in the future.

I think my favorite one is #7 about the juice. I think that we forget that when we make juice, we take out the fiber which means that the sugar is going to go straight to our blood stream. Smoothies are a great way to make kids feel like they are drinking juice when really they are having the whole fruit.

Smoothie Recipe

My favorite recipe has been this one. I have been making popsicles out of them too.

1 peeled and diced mango
Juice of one fresh lime
4 C. frozen strawberries
1 cup milk
1 cup plain yogurt
3 cups water
1 banana
1 t agave nectar

The kids have loved this recipe!

Agave plus lime juice also makes a great dressing on a fruit salad.

Friday, June 10, 2011

What is for dinner? Sweet Potato and Black Bean Burritos

This recipe is from my new cookbook that I got from my friend Casey for my birthday. All 5 of my kids ate it and liked it. One of them didn't eat much, but she says she liked it. It says that it takes 35 min to make and 30 min to bake, but I left out the baking part and it was a really fast meal with 1 pot, 1 pan, and a cutting board to clean up.

5 Cups peeled cubed sweet potatoes (this ended up being only 2 big ones)
1/2 teaspoon salt
2 teaspoons canola oil
3 1/2 cups diced onions (I did one large which was 2 cups)
4 large garlic cloves, minced or pressed
1 Tablespoon minced fresh green chile (I left this out since I didn't have any)
4 teaspoons cumin
4 teaspoons coriander
4 1/5 Cups cooked black beans (three 15 ounce cans, drained)
2/3 Cup lightly packed cilantro leaves
2 Tablespoons fresh lemon juice
1 teaspoon salt
8 eight inch flour tortillas
Fresh Salsa

Preheat oven to 350 degrees (or not)
Place the sweet potatoes in a medium saucepan with the salt and water to cover. Cover and bring to a boil, then simmer until tender, about 10 minutes. Drain and set aside.

While the sweet potatoes are cooking, warm the oil in a medium skillet or saucepan and add the onions, garlic and chile. Cover and cook on medium-low heat, stirring occasionally, until the onions are tender, about 7 minutes. Add the cumin and coriander and cook for 2 minutes longer, stirring frequently. Remove from the heat and set aside.
Ina food processor (I used my vitamix on a low setting), combine the black beans, cilantro, lemon juice, salt and cooked sweet potatoes and puree until smooth. Transfer the sweet potato mixture to a large mixing bowl and mix in the cooked onions and spices (I did this my pan that I cooked the onions in).

Option #1 Lightly oil a large baking dish. Spoon about 2/3 to 3/4 cup of the filling in the center of each tortilla, roll it up, and place it, seam side down, in the baking dish. Cover tightly with foil and bake for about 30 minutes, until piping hot. Serve topped with salsa.

Option #2 Spoon about 2/3 to 3/4 cup of the filling in the center of each tortilla, roll it up, and place it, seam side down, on a microwavable plate. Put a bunch of shredded cheese on top and microwave for 1 minute, or until cheese is melted.

Top with fresh salsa

Each serving has 8 grams of fiber, 20 grams of protein, and about 550 calories.