I had a birthday last month and The Grillmaster surprised me with a Vitamix blender. These things are crazy expensive, but I was amazed by everything it claimed to be capable of doing. You can even make soup in it – the heat from the motor warms the soup. I haven’t actually tried this yet, but I will soon.
Needless to say, we’ve been in smoothie heaven. We’ve made green smoothies, fruit smoothies and salad smoothies. You name it, we’ve probably tried it. This papaya smoothie is one of our favorite combinations so far. It’s the perfect thing to have about an hour before a workout. If the amount contains too many carbs for you, reduce the portion size.
If you don’t have a Vitamix, you can still make this smoothie if you have a blender capable of crushing ice. You may need to cut the fruit in smaller pieces and crush your ice some first. Refer to the instructions that came with your blender.
1 banana, peeled and cut in half
1/3 large papaya, peeled and cut into large chunks
1 orange, peeled and cut in half
1 apple, cored and cut in half
1 cup ice
Add all ingredients to Vitamix container in the order listed. Use the “Smoothie” setting and wait until machine stops. Pour into glasses and serve immediately.
Makes 2 servings
Per serving: 163 calories, 1g fat (0g sat), 0mg cholesterol, 3mg sodium, 42g carb, 7g fiber, 28g sugar, 2g protein
Nutritional Analysis: This smoothie is very low in Saturated Fat, Cholesterol and Sodium and it is a good source of Vitamin C, Dietary Fiber, Vitamin A, Vitamin B6 and Potassium. (Source: nutritiondata.com)
I won’t bore you with a long explanation about why I haven’t been blogging much lately. Suffice it to say that I’ve been busy unpacking, reading a lot about new ways to eat healthy and exploring Chapel Hill, NC where I now live. The farmers’ markets around here are just incredible!
When I stumbled upon rainbow Swiss chard and Lacinato kale at one market, I decided to try a twist on baked beans. Most baked bean recipes include brown sugar and are overly sweet. This savory version includes greens, tomatoes and fresh herbs instead.
Use whatever beans you have on hand – I used a combination of pink beans, pinto beans and cannellini beans. Use three cans, rinse two and include the liquid from the third. Better yet, soak and cook dried beans and use a little bit of the cooking liquid.
These beans and greens really pack a nutritional punch. They are low in cholesterol and saturated fat, but high in fiber, vitamins and minerals.
Baked Beans with Swiss Chard and Kale
Adapted from Food Network Magazine
1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
1/4 large onion, chopped
1 stalk celery, finely chopped
1 carrot, peeled and finely chopped
3 cloves garlic, minced
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
1/2 bunch of Swiss chard, stems/ribs removed and leaves chopped
1/2 bunch of kale, stems/ribs removed and leaves chopped
1/4 cup water
1 (15 ounce) can diced tomatoes, undrained
1 (15 ounce) can pink beans, rinsed and drained
1 (15 ounce) can pinto beans, rinsed and drained
1 (15 ounce) can cannellini beans, undrained
2 tablespoons chopped fresh parsley
leaves from a 6-inch sprig of thyme or lemon thyme, chopped
leaves from a 6-inch spring of fresh oregano, chopped
Heat the olive oil in a large skillet or Dutch oven over medium heat. Add the onion, celery, carrot and garlic. Season with salt and pepper. Cook, stirring occasionally, until the vegetables have softened, about 10 minutes.
Add the chard, kale and water to the pan. Cook and stir until the greens wilt, about 5 minutes. Add tomatoes and increase heat. Simmer for about 5 minutes. Add the beans and stir. Add the parsley, thyme and oregano and stir. Simmer for another 3 minutes or so.
Preheat oven to 375°F.
Coarsely mash about one-third of the beans in the pot with a potato masher. Season with salt. Transfer the bean mixture to a 2 quart baking dish, cover and place in preheated oven. Bake 45 minutes, then uncover and bake an additional 15 minutes.
Makes 8 servings
Per serving: 225 calories, 3g fat (0g sat), 0mg cholesterol, 324mg sodium, 40g carb, 9g fiber, 3g sugar, 13g protein
Nutritional Analysis: This bean dish is low in Cholesterol and Saturated Fat. It is also a good source of Vitamin A, Vitamin C, Vitamin K, Manganese, Dietary Fiber, Protein, Folate, Iron, Magnesium, Potassium and Copper. (Source: nutritiondata.com)
You can eat black-eyed peas even if the date isn’t January 1. Really, you can.
I’m trying to incorporate more legumes in my diet, things like beans, lentils and black-eyed peas. Legumes are low on the glycemic index scale and are a great low-fat source of protein. They are inexpensive while being rich in fiber, vitamins and minerals. At least three major health-based organizations – the American Diabetes Association, the American Heart Association and the American Cancer Society – all recommend legume consumption for optimal health. Dried varieties are best, but canned will do if you don’t have time to soak.
Legumes don’t inherently have a ton of flavor, so they can take on many different spice combinations. Here, the Indian flavors will wake up your palate. If you enjoy well-spiced food, but don’t necessarily like heat, skip the cayenne when you make this dish.
Make it faster: Substitute a high-quality curry blend for the coriander, turmeric, cayenne and cumin and/or use canned black-eyed peas. If using canned peas, rinse and drain, reduce the water to 1 cup, cut the cooking time in half and skip the salt.
What are your favorite legumes and how do you cook them?
Curried Black-eyed Peas
Adapted from Ruta Kahate via The Coastland Times
1 cup dried black-eyed peas
1 teaspoon ground coriander
1 teaspoon ground turmeric
1/2 teaspoon cayenne pepper
1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
1 tablespoon canola oil
1/2 large onion, diced (about 1 cup)
2 cloves garlic, grated (about 1 teaspoon)
1-inch piece of fresh ginger, grated (about 1/2 teaspoon)
1 medium tomato, seeded and diced small
2 cups hot water
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 cup canned light coconut milk
1 tablespoon lime juice
Rinse black-eyed peas and place in large bowl. Add water to at least an inch above the peas and let soak 8 hours or overnight.
In a small bowl, mix together the coriander, turmeric, cayenne and cumin. Set aside.
In a large saucepan, heat the canola oil over medium-low heat. Add the onion and sauté until the onion gets some color, about 10 minutes. Add the garlic, ginger and spice mixture. Cook, stirring constantly, for about 3 minutes. Add the tomato and stir over low heat until the tomato is no longer chunky.
Drain and rinse the black-eyed peas. Add to the onion mixture along with the water and salt. Bring to a boil, then reduce heat to low, cover and simmer until the black-eyed peas are tender, about 30 minutes.
Stir in the coconut milk and simmer, uncovered, for another 10 minutes or so. Just before serving, add the lime juice.
Makes 6 servings
Per serving: 154 calories, 5g fat (2g sat), 0mg cholesterol, 208mg sodium, 22g carb, 4g fiber, 4g sugar, 7g protein
Nutritional Analysis: These black-eyed peas are very low in Cholesterol and they are a good source of Folate, Thiamin and Manganese. (Source: nutritiondata.com)