Roanna Martin

"make [food] simple and let things taste of what they are." {Curnonsky}

Breakfast: Is it Everything it’s Cracked Up to Be?

I just came across this article on the BBC- speaking of the complexities of researching even the basic concept that eating breakfast is a healthful practice. Click on the link above to read the article.

Human research is wrought with confounding variables, as I am constantly discovering in the process of writing my thesis on home food gardening and the relationship between children’s weight and their fruit and vegetable intake.

I am, however, a huge proponent of eating breakfast. Kick-starting your metabolism with a good dose of protein and carbohydrates is the way to go, in my opinion. Plus, it’s a great chance to start out your day on way to 5-a-day (or more!) by incorporating some fruit.

What about you? What’s your favorite breakfast?

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Banana Bean Ice Cream

I love to be adventurous in the kitchen, and one of my favorite things to make is frozen desserts. Even when it’s cold outside- banana “ice cream” is quite scrumptious. A handful of frozen bananas, some skim milk, a dash of cinnamon, and a few drips of vanilla. Simple and decadent.

I’m also a big fan of my food processor. The thrifted Sunbeam Oskar has a sturdy little motor, and can create about 2.5 cups of hummus, various dips, and purees in a matter of seconds. 

Hummus… bananas… hmmm…. What if, instead of “Vanilla Bean”, I made “Banana Bean”?

To freeze bananas, peel them, and then cut into 1 inch chunks. Place on a metal cookie sheet with sides (a jelly roll pan works well) and place in the freezer for about a half day. Then place the frozen banana pieces in a plastic freezer bag. I have found that they will keep for about a month before they start to get brown. 

I actually froze chickpeas on the same sheet- I cook a whole big pot at once, drain, and then freeze them like this (once again transferring to a bag when they are frozen), so that I can pull out the exact amount I need.

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Banana Bean Ice Cream

Servings: 2

2 bananas, frozen

1/2 cup cooked garbanzo beans (rinsed)

1/2 cup skim milk

1/2 tsp cinnamon

1/2 tsp vanilla

Sweetener to taste ( I used a dash of stevia powder)

Place all ingredients in food processor and puree until smooth.

Scoop out and savor!

This isn’t a decadent ice cream, but it’s good. And it’s packed full of fruit and fiber at 6.5 grams- a pretty good chunk of the recommended 25 grams per day!

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Nutrition Facts 

1/2 of recipe, calculated with no added sweetener. It’s important to note that this is calculated with a medium banana- so  if the bananas you use are extra big or small, this will affect the nutrient content. It might have been a bit more accurate if I had weighed it.
198 calories
7 g protein
42 g carb
1.5 g fat
6.5 g fiber
(DietAnalysisPlus Software)
Speaking of frozen things, cross country skiing has been my preferred form of aerobic exercise these past few weeks. Fresh air, low cost, fun. If you’ve never tried it before, you totally should.
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Green and Gold

I needed a ray of sunshine tonight. Just a bit. It was dreary and drippy and my shoes got wet walking home from my rotation.

 Please don’t get me wrong- I was thankful for my raincoat, and my umbrella, and my warm home to dry off in. But my spirits needed an extra boost. In addition to exercise, nutrient-dense fruits and veggies are a great way to stave off the winter blues.

Every Wednesday night I gather together with a group of friends for dinner, and tonight I was asked to bring a vegetable side dish. I didn’t want to spend a long time cooking, and I was ready for something fresh and raw. 

I pulled a handful of carrots out of my mega-bag that I have been chowing down on the past few weeks.

I scoured the outsides well with a vegetable scrub brush. I don’t bother to peel my carrots- I buy organic carrots- because that way I get to keep a bit of the extra fiber and nutrients, and there isn’t as much waste.

Speaking of food waste, I just happened across this article about using carrot peels (byproducts of the ready-to-eat vegetable industry: aka baby carrots) to create an antioxidant high dietary fiber powder. Cool! But, I’d rather just buy whole carrots, and eat the entire thing, rather than buy pre-cut ready-to-eat baby carrots that create a lot of waste. That being said, if you want convenience food, baby carrots are still a MUCH better snack than a bag of chips!

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I haven’t costed it out, but I am nearly certain that it is cheaper per ounce to purchase whole organic carrots than pre-cut conventionally grown. And considering that I took me only 5 minutes to transform  the above pile into a full bowl of short, easy to munch on carrot sticks, this is a worthwhile way to pinch your pennies at the grocery store.
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To accompany my little Vitamin-A rich spears, I decided to make Green Surprise Dip. I first made this with my supervisor from Joshua Farm when we were giving a demonstration on fresh veggies to a group of moms at a local pre-school. 

It’s super easy.

I steamed and drained a handful of kale, and measured out plain yogurt, chickpeas, a bit of mayo, some garlic, onion, lemon juice, and  a of salt.

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Then I threw them in my handy-dandy food processor, and voila, I had a delicious dip.

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I modified the recipe slightly from the original. My onions and garlic were really strong (they’ve been stored for a while!), and I wanted to keep the concentrated green color so I actually reduced the amount of those three ingredients.

Here’s the recipe:

Green Surprise Dip

1 cup steamed kale, Swiss chard, or spinach

3/4 cup plain yogurt

1 cup cooked chickpeas

1/4 cup mayonnaise

1 clove garlic

1/3 cup onion, chopped

1 Tablespoon lemon juice, or to taste

1/4 teaspoon salt or to taste

The dip didn’t quite get RAVE reviews like an herb veggie dip that I’ve made before, but I really like this one. A bit more salt, and more experimentation with spices would perk it up a bit, but I was on a time crunch.

It only took 15 minutes from when I started cutting the carrots to when I had this dish assembled. But then I had to clean up- and that was another 12 minutes. With a few tunes playing and some dancing around my kitchen, it was a pleasure.

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Sprouts Harvest

 

So, after Day 5, came the day of harvest. I started a rotation at a rehab hospital yesterday, so that took priority over blogging yesterday and today- so sorry for those of you who were expecting the “sprout series” to wrap up earlier!

The tower was beginning to teeter, pushed askew by the  muscular mung bean sprouts at the bottom.

The Toppling Tower

The Toppling Tower

Here’s what each tray looked like immediately prior to harvest, which was exactly 6 days after the seeds were first place on their trays. There wasn’t a lot of broccoli left- I had snitched quite a bit to put in salads, wraps, and soups 🙂

Broccoli

Broccoli

At this point in time, the alfalfa is probably my favorite of these three varieties. It has a mild, slightly sweet flavor which is delightful to just eat plain. (Boring, I know, but I can’t always be gourmet!)

Alfalfa

Alfalfa

And these big guys. 

Mung Bean

Mung Beans

To save space in my refrigerator, I just put all of the sprouts in the same container. I think this is probably about 3 cups of sprouts. Including what I harvested earlier, I estimate that I got a little less than a quart of sprouts from 3 3/4 tablespoons (a wee bit less than a 1/4 cup) of seeds. That’s a pretty good yield for 6 days!

Mixed Sprouts

Mixed Sprouts

Tonight I wrapped a whole wheat tortilla with a generous spoonful of garlic hummus around a handful of sprouts, sauteed chicken strips, and some steamed kale. Delicious and simple dinner for 1!


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Sprouts Day 4

This is actually the post I should have put up last night… but after snapping photos of my sprouts I went to play soccer with some friends (a bit frigid, but fun nonetheless). I’m not a good soccer player by any stretch of the imagination, but I enjoy being active with friends. And then we went “ice skating” INSIDE the student union. The problem is that the “ice” was just a plastic mat of some sort, and it wasn’t very conducive to skating. I’m a pretty decent ice skater, but I could hardly keep my balance on that surface. Oh well, it just makes me look forward to real ice skating even more.

Anyways, those are my excuses for tardiness. Now on to the real reason for this post:

Broccoli

Broccoli

There is a definitive green in the broccoli sprouts now. You may notice that a few are missing. I start to harvest my sprouts as they are growing, because I find that I can’t eat an entire crop fast enough if I wait until it is full grown. So those missing sprouts got tossed in my soup for lunch.

 

Alfalfa

Alfalfa

Mung Bean

Mung Bean

Once again, there is a patch of sprouts missing- I took a pinch of the mung bean sprouts to add to my dinner- bowl of quinoa, black beans, home canned tomato sauce, and part skim mozarella cheese. With a peanut butter cupcake with chocolate icing for dessert 🙂


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Sorry that the lighting isn’t the best on these sprouts- I took the pic in a hurry.

 
IMG_1042Happy Saturday!

 


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Sprouts Day 3

Once again, not too much work going on here (on my part).

Just a few rinses today. Take a look at the growth!

 

Tower of Sprouts

Tower of Sprouts

 

Broccoli

Broccoli

Alfalfa

Alfalfa

The alfalfa definitely grew a lot in the past 24 hours…

Mung Bean

Mung Bean

And the mung beans have nearly filled  up the tray! Just a little over 24 hours ago they looked like this:

Mung

Mung

I hope you’re enjoying this little series on sprouting 🙂 Am I inspiring anyone?


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Sprouts Day 2

Day 2, and it’s time for a sprout update. There isn’t a whole lot of action, but subtle signs are starting to show…

Day 2

Day 2

I just finished giving my sprouts their second rinse for the day. Sproutpeople– a company I came across that has had a lot of experience in growing sprouts- recommends using water that is between 60-70 degrees Fahrenheit, and using a lot of water. Sproutpeople also doesn’t recommend the sprouter I have due to some functionality issues. But it’s been working just fine for me, and I don’t intend to go out and buy a brand-new one.

Rinsing sprouts 2-3 times daily gives them the proper moisture that they need to germinate and grow- creating the little nutritional powerhouses of protein, fiber, and antioxidants like vitamin C.

In addition, it is important to make sure that the water is drained off so that the seeds are not sitting in stagnant water to prevent growth of pathogenic microbes such as Salmonella or E. coli O157:H7.  Any food you eat could be potentially risky, so I simply recommending that you make sure to rinse regularly and follow basic kitchen hygiene. Because of the potential for growth of these organisms, the very young, elderly, and those with compromised immune systems are recommended to avoid consuming raw sprouts.

Mung Bean

Mung Bean

You can see the little sprouts starting to burst through the casing. It’s just a little… but it’s a start!

 

Alfalfa

Alfalfa

You can’t see too much happening here with the alfalfa seeds, but just wait another day or so.

Broccoli

Broccoli

And the broccoli has begun bursting out pretty rapidly.

All of the seeds have definitely swollen since last night.

I keep the sprouter in the middle of my kitchen. There isn’t very much natural light available, but they seem to do just fine. 

Note: Sprouts were featured in the Food and Nutrition Magazine by a few other dietitians last year if you feel like checking out what they had to write.