Peach Pineapple Crumble

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The second I saw white peaches in stores, I bought 3 pounds. I seriously love peaches, especially white peaches.

It just so happened that the first peach appearance of the summer happened to fall during a 10 for $10 pineapple special at Kroger.

Needless to say, I had a ton of peaches and a ton of pineapple. I also had some coworkers I wanted to spoil just a bit before my last day of work.

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Kristen asked me this weekend how I organize my recipes, and my method is somewhat unconventional. While there are things like Pinterest to help organize, I do most everything through email, so I go that route.

When I find a recipe online that I want to try, I copy and paste it into an email. I make the subject the title of the recipe and copy and paste the URL for the recipe along side the recipe title. I then send the recipe to myself and label it “recipe” in my Gmail inbox.

I can’t explain it, but this seems to work best for me. I’m able to comb my “stash” for recipe that include certain ingredients, like radishes, or collard greens, or…pineapple and peaches.

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I emailed this recipe to myself way too long ago, and thanks to my crazy recipe “organization” I was able to find it. :)

I am not new to crumbles, but the peach + pineapple combination was a first for me and…wow.

The slightly tart pineapple is perfectly complimented by the ever sweet peaches. The tender, soft peaches were offset by the firmer, meatier pineapple cubes. The diced fruit was liberally covered in a sweet, salty, and buttery crumble that only makes fruit taste better. The result is a nutrient-rich, high-fiber dessert that’s perfect for summer’s best.

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Peach Pineapple Crumble slightly adapted from Teenage Taste

4 medium ripe peaches, diced 1/2 pineapple, peeled, cored, and diced 3 Tbsp granulated sugar 1 Tbsp cornstarch 1/2 cup whole wheat pastry flour 1 tsp baking powder 1/4 tsp salt 4 Tbsp unsalted butter, cubed 1 cup old-fashioned oatmeal 1/4 cup brown sugar, packed

Directions:

Preheat oven to 350 F.

Toss diced fruit together in an 8-inch square baking dish. In a small dish, whisk together 3 tablespoons sugar, cornstarch, and 1/4 cup of flour. Toss the mixture with the diced fruit. Set aside.

In a medium bowl, whisk together remaining 1/4 cup flour, baking powder, salt and brown sugar. Add the cold butter cubes. Use your fingers to break up the cold butter cubes into the flour mixture. Add the oatmeal and toss together.

Pour the oatmeal mixture over the prepared fruit. Place in the oven and bake for 30 to 35 minutes, or until juices from the fruit bubble up around the sides of the pan.

Remove the crumble from the oven and allow to cool for at least 15 minutes before serving.

Yield: 6 servings (about 3/4 cup each)

Nutrition Information: 261 calories; 8.5 g. fat; 0 mg. cholesterol; 176 mg. sodium; 43.7 g. carbohydrate; 4.2 g. fiber; 2.0 g. protein

Result: Simple and refreshing…perfect for summer! I love that crumbles come together in a jiff, but have a very homemade taste. This crumble was not short on the crumble and between the whole heat pastry flour and oats (along with the fruit), this crumble is high in fiber and nutrients. Enjoy!

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 We are officially acquainted with a new vet in town (a University of Illinois grad!). Miss Lily made it just over a week before coming down with a major eye issue (inflammation? scleroderma?) and she suddenly developed a hot spot on her forehead (if you Google that, beware – not pretty!). Ugh.

I am biking downtown for the farmer’s market this morning. I must admit, with the heat…the workouts have not been happening, and I can tell in my energy level and sleeping that I need to get back in my routine!

Be well,

Rhubarb Chia Seed Jam

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Who’s the most influential man when it comes to nutrition? A household name. Someone with their own afternoon TV show. And books…galore. Does Dr. Oz come to mind?

I always enjoy talking to supermarket dietitian and personal friend, Gina, about the inquiries she receives at the store. She can almost pin-point based on a customer’s request if it is something Dr. Oz touts as the next best food that will save your life, cure cancer, or reduce cellulite. Or heck, all of the above! *eye roll*

I don’t know Dr. Oz and his claims well enough to determine their credibility, but I do know he speaks fondly of chia seeds, and rightfully so.

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Chia seeds are an unprocessed whole grain (seed) that offer up a great source of omega 3 and loads of fiber (11 grams in 2 tablespoons!) and antioxidants. A lot of people have heard of these powerful seeds, but may not know exactly what to do with them.

Unlike the very similar flaxseed, chia seeds do not need to be ground in order to receive their nutritional benefits. In fact, chia seeds are unique in that they act more like a gelatin and absorb water and other liquids readily. Outside of adding chia seeds to smoothies, or sprinkled on oats, jam seems to be a natural fit for chia seed use. The seeds are generally considered tasteless and take on the flavors they’re combined with perfectly.

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When my student shared stalk after stalk of fresh rhubarb from her backyard, I was happy to accept (thanks, Nicole!). With the move upcoming, I wanted something I could keep for a week and use in simple meals. I was also steering clear of the oh-so-0bvious choice of desserts. (Nicole made a killed rhubarb pie for our picnic!)

Though rhubarb most certainly requires a sweetener of some sort, I opted for a natural sweetener (honey) and kept it at a minimum. If you’re looking for something sweeter, just add to taste. Agave or maple syrup would work great, too. :)

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Rhubarb Chia Seed Jam

4 cups rhubarb, finely diced 3/4 cup honey 1/2 cup chia seeds 2 cups of water

Directions:

Bring all 4 ingredients to a boil, reduce heat and simmer about 10 minutes, stirring frequently to avoid burning. Pour into jars and allow to sit at room temp for 1 hour before refrigerating.

Yield: ~5 cups (40 servings; 2 tablespoons each)

Nutrition Information (per 2 Tbsp): 37 calories; 0.9 g. fat; 0 mg. cholesterol; 2 mg. sodium; 7.2 g. carbohydrate; 1.3 g. fiber; 0.6 g. protein

Result: A subtly sweet rhubarb jam that is simple to make and goes great on everything from oats to toast. For a sweeter jam, increase the amount of honey or add sugar, to taste. Chia seeds are the perfect way to make jam packed with nutrition. Feel free to switch out the 4 cups of rhubarb for the fruit of your choice. Berries, perhaps? Mmm! Enjoy!

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I think we’ll check out the farmer’s market this morning and cross our fingers for some beach weather. Only 1 more day without a bed!!! And still, plenty of chores to be done. I even have an assigned book to read about management before starting my job on the 9th! I should probably zap out of vacation mode and get on that!

Be well,

Spicy Kale-Stuffed Shells

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I talked to a lot of people on the phone yesterday. Somehow, there was time between cleaning every square inch of every room as the movers were loading all the boxes. Who knew you could get a blister from vacuuming? Reason #42,518 I HATE CLEANING. People who like cleaning…I bet you like  going to the dentist, too…huh? Whackjobs.

One of my phone conversations was with Kristen. She has big plans to visit the new pad on the days our belongings will be delivered. In a not-so-slick way she called to figure out if I will be cooking for her.

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My answer was obviously yes, assuming of course that we are able to locate and unpack all my kitchen items. It will likely end up that Kristen will earn her supper. She has been warned and she still wants to come. Bless her heart.

Kristen went on to share that while she was hard at work, she was able to pin FIFTY possible recipes for us to make. 50! She goes into describing them all, I instantaneously growl with hunger, and then slip into a brief moment of depression as every drawer and cabinet in my house is barren. My pantry looks BIG when it’s empty!

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I have no idea what we’ll make, but she tends to settle on all things pasta. I can’t blame her…what’s not to love about pasta? Well, wait. I can think of something. I can’t seem to find jumbo pasta shells in a whole wheat variety, but…that wasn’t going to hold me back from trying these.

It’s no secret that my love for quinoa had a rocky start. I wasn’t too keen on quinoa in the beginning, but I have come to find out that’s because of how I was preparing it. After this recipe (and one more – coming soon!), however, I can now say that kale and I can put our uncertain past behind us. We are bound for greatness now that we have an understanding.

Kale, for me, must be cooked.

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Before you think, “Nicole, this was just one recipe…maybe you really do hate kale.” I’m going to tell you you’re wrong. This recipe has a TON of kale in it and I loved every last bite. I no longer feel like a disgrace to vitamin K and vegetarian iron. I can make, eat, and love kale for the first time ever and that is pretty thrilling given all the nutrition I was missing out on.

I know there have got to be some others out there that are on the fence about kale. I know there are a lot of kale LOVERS out there. I know there’s a lot of CSA boxes and farmer’s markets that are chock full of kale. And now, I offer you this recipe solution for all your kale needs. You’re welcome in advance!

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Spicy Kale-Stuffed Shells adapted from A Couple Cooks by Pink Parsley

8 oz jumbo shells 3/4-1 lb kale, washed, stems removed, and roughly chopped 2 cups low-fat cottage cheese 1/2 cup (2 oz) Parmesan cheese, freshly grated 3/4 cup (3 oz) part-skim mozzarella cheese, shredded 2 Tbsp basil, minced 1 Tbsp extra-virgin olive oil 2-3 cloves garlic, minced 1/2 tsp red pepper flakes 16 oz can crushed tomatoes 1/2 tsp dried oregano Kosher salt Fresh ground pepper

Directions:

Preheat the oven to 375 degrees, and lightly spray a 9 x 13-inch dish with olive oil.

Par-boil the shells according to the package directions, boiling about 9 minutes. Drain, and set aside.

Meanwhile, heat a large skillet over medium-high heat. Add the kale and a splash of water, stirring the kale until it’s wilted and softened, about 5 minutes. Remove the pan from heat and transfer the kale to a large bowl. Add the cottage cheese, 1/4 cup Parmesan, mozzarella, basil, and salt and pepper to taste. Mix well.

Return the pan to the stove, add the oil, and heat over medium heat until shimmering. Add the garlic and red pepper flakes, and stirring constantly, cook until fragrant, about 30 seconds. Add the tomatoes, dried oregano, and 1/4 teaspoon of salt. Bring to a simmer and cook 5-10 minutes, stirring occasionally.

To assemble the shells, spread a thin layer of the tomato sauce in the bottom of the baking dish. Use a spoon to fill each shell with the kale-cottage cheese mixture, then arrange in a single layer in the dish. Pour the remaining sauce over the pasta, then sprinkle with the remaining 1/4 cup Parmesan.

Bake, covered with foil, 25-30 minutes, or until the sauce is bubbly and the cheese has melted. Remove the foil for the last 5 minutes or so. Let stand about 5-10 minutes before serving.

Yield: 28 shells (7 servings – 4 shells each).

Nutrition Information (per serving): 279 calories; 8.6 g. fat; 22 mg. cholesterol; 602 mg. sodium; 34.9 g. carbohydrate; 4.1 g. fiber; 17.9 g. protein

Result: These shells have a great texture and offer up lots of protein for a vegetarian meal with no meat substitute or beans! This is a great way to enjoy a pasta dish while still getting in tons of nutrition, fiber, and fiber without a boat load of carbohydrate. Tons of flavor and a hint of spicy…mmmm! Enjoy!

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 One of my other phone conversations was with my friend Mary. She said my house echoes it’s so empty!

Off for a run and coffee. Tonight, it’s saying farewell to Donna. I am gonna MISS her :(

Be well,

Penne in Roasted Beet Sauce

beetpasta1Mark’s (I mean…Mr. P’s!) family has a lot of great food traditions. His aunt married an Italian and thus, their holidays revolve around homemade raviolis in a rich chicken broth. They are heavenly. Mr. Prevention can down 3 bowls of ravioli before even moving on to the turkey and sides. I would say this is impressive…but I’m a dietitian. So I will just say…they are that good and it’s quite the sight.

Mr. Prevention’s family also serves beets at holidays. And it’s very clear at the holiday dinner table, you either love beets…or hate beets. I, am a lover.

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Consider then my eyes opening, wide as could be, after rolling across this recipe online.

Even a blind man could see this pasta’s beauty. That color is unmistakably beets. Stunning!

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When I pondered over whether or not to make this meal, I considered all of the farmer’s market goers and CSA recipients that often times receive produce they haven’t a clue how to use. Beets are one root vegetable that people are often a bit weary about trying or cooking with, and there’s simply no reason why!

Although…they can be a bit prone to staining hands, clothes and other objects. I wear gloves when peeling/cutting the beets in this recipe. Rest assured, my crappy counter tops did come clean…even without the help of bleach.

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But anyways, that time of year is rolling around and there’s absolutely no reason not to take full advantage of all the available local fruits and vegetables. I know for me, chard is one vegetable that has always scared me away. But this year, I’m bound and determined to find a chard recipe I love and adore.

While Mr. Prevention cannot attest to liking this pasta, that is because he didn’t even give it a chance. When I started prepping dinner (which, by the way…I did roast the garlic and beets 2 days ahead as noted below in the directions, and it worked great), Mr. P said, “Well then…I guess it’ll be a pizza night for me!” Oh well. I do think this was in part due to his dislike for beets, as well as the fact that he was in need of ending a pizza drought. Or at least that’s what I’d like to think ;)

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Penne in Roasted Beet Sauce slightly adapted from Bev Cooks, as seen on Apple A Day

6 medium beets, washed clean, stems removed 4 cloves garlic, unpeeled 6 Tbsp extra-virgin olive oil, divided 6 sprigs thyme 2 Tbsp balsamic vinegar 3 Tbsp sweet vermouth 3/4 cup (3 oz) Parmesan cheese, freshly-grated 3/4 cup low-sodium vegetable stock 1/2 cup half and half 1 lb. dried whole wheat penne coarse salt and freshly-ground pepper

Directions:

Preheat oven to 400.

Place beets and garlic on a large sheet of foil. Drizzle with 2 tablespoons of the oil and a good pinch of salt and pepper. Completely seal foil into a packet and place on a rimmed baking sheet. Roast for 40-45 minutes. Check for doneness; if beets can be easily pierced with a fork, they are ready. (This step can be done up to two days in advance. Just place the entire foil packet on a plate and keep in the refrigerator. Bring back to room temperature before proceeding.)

Peel beets of their tough skins. Cut into pieces and put into a food processor with juices and oil from the packet. Squeeze garlic from the peels and add thyme, vinegar, vermouth, 1/2 cup cheese and remaining oil. Pulse until mixture becomes smooth.

Transfer beet mixture to a small saucepan. Add the stock and milk or cream and bring to a light simmer. Add the remaining cheese. Simmer on medium-low while you prepare the rest of the meal.

Set a large pot of salted water on the stove and bring to a boil. Cook penne according to package instructions. Drain and return to pot. Pour the sauce over the pasta and toss to combine. Serve pasta garnished with additional cheese of your choice (I used goat), and sprinkled with poppy or chia seeds.

Yield: 8 servings (about 1 1/4 cup each)

Nutrition Information (per serving): 383 calories; 16.8 g. fat; 14 mg. cholesterol; 303 mg. sodium; 47.9 g. carbohydrate; 7.4 g. fiber; 11.4 g. protein

Result: A simple dish with lots of beet flavor and beauty! If you love beets, you’ll love this. If you don’t love beets or you’re on the fence…it’s probably not the right dish for you. The balsamic vinegar and vermouth add a fun touch with that creamy half and half to finish it off just right. The goat cheese is the perfect last touch. Simple, elegant, and healthy!

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We have some chores to do this morning. Donna and I were supposed to go hiking, but it is supposed to be cold and cruddy in Ohio this weekend. Instead, I’m going to hit the treadmill and we’re meeting for drinks this afternoon ;)

I think it’s pizza night in this house. Mr. Prevention has been begging for deep dish for the past week…literally. Non-stop.

Have a wonderful weekend!

P.S. Beet Hummus and Chocolate Beet Cherry Muffins are great, too!

Be well,

Money Matters: Grilled Corn Summer (Breakfast) Hash + Weekly Menu

I’m very familiar with the word hash when used as a verb. But as a noun, I wasn’t so sure.

hash [hash]; noun
1. a dish of diced or chopped meat and often vegetables, as of leftover corned beef or veal and potatoes, sauteed in a frying pan or of meat, potatoes, and carrots cooked together in gravy.
2. a mess, jumble, or muddle
3. a reworking of old and familiar material

This meal contains meat (bacon!), but it doesn’t have to. It certainly contains vegetables in the way of all things in-season: zucchini, corn, bell pepper, onion, eggplant…and potatoes. But I think potatoes are nearly always in season (they’re troopers through the cold weather).

Anyways, this summer hash is certainly a jumble of ingredients, and you can feel free to use just about anything and everything. I could even see this dish being turned into a fall hash with sweet potato, root vegetables, and may even…pumpkin!

Plus, this meal doesn’t have to be a breakfast dish. I served it as dinner and ate it for lunch throughout the week. It’s hearty, filling, stick-to-your-ribs food that is good any time of day.

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Grilled Corn Summer Breakfast Hash adapted from How Sweet It Is

4 slices of bacon, chopped 4 medium yukon gold potatoes, chopped into cubes 1/2 red onion, chopped 1 medium zucchini squash, chopped into half-moons 2 garlic cloves, minced 1 red bell pepper, chopped 2 ears grilled corn on the cob, cut off the cob 1 cup eggplant, diced 1 Tbsp olive oil 4 large eggs sea salt + pepper, to taste

Directions:

Heat a large skillet or 10 to 12-inch cast iron skillet over medium heat. Once hot, add chopped bacon and cook until crispy and fat is rendered – about 4-5 minutes. Remove bacon with a slotted spoon and drain on a paper towel.

Add potatoes with a sprinkle of salt and pepper to the bacon fat and cook for 8-10 minutes, stirring and tossing every few minutes.

Add all the remaining ingredients and cook 5-10 additional minutes or until cooked to desired doneness. While vegetables cook, heat another skillet on medium high and cook your eggs as desired, then set aside over low heat. Yield: 4 servings (~1 1/2 cups veggies with one egg)

Nutrition Information (per serving): 354 calories; 13.3 g. fat; 226 mg. cholesterol; 498 mg. sodium; 51.3 g. carbohydrate; 6 g. fiber; 16.5 g. protein

Result: Lots of summer’s best produce, with classic potatoes, topped with an egg to complete a meal…what’s not to love? With all the low-calorie, nutrient and fiber-packed vegetables this meal is health-conscious and very, very filling. There’s a great balance of complex carbohydrate, protein, and fat. It reheated really well for lunch throughout the week, too. Note: If you would like to make this a vegetarian meal, swap out the bacon for about 3 tablespoons of olive oil! Enjoy!

Money Matters: The red bell pepper ($1) and nitrate-free bacon ($0.38/slice) were the most expensive ingredients. The eggplant ($1.99/lb normally, though mine was “free” from the garden) came in at $0.75 as one of the more expensive ingredients, as well. Zucchinis are cheap at about $0.50 a piece. For organic potatoes, I paid $4.50/5 lbs, bringing the cost of the potatoes to $1.35 for 4 potatoes. The cheap protein source, eggs, is what really helps to keep the cost of this meal to a mere $6.77 total and the cost per serving at $1.69!

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Last week’s menu was all about corn after I got 13 ears from the farmer’s market. This week, the theme is eggplant. This time of year, eggplant is everywhere and it’s at its best! Plus, my garden has several ready to harvest ;)

Weekly Menu: August 28th-September 1st

Tonight is the championship game for my hockey team! I am hoping celebratory beers with the guys afterwards will be in order. Better stretch out my legs from yesterday’s grueling 5 mile run/walk. It’s a shame when one of the prettiest days of summer comes with one of the toughest runs in a while!

Question: Have you ever made a hash at home?

P.S. Check out my guest post over at Pursuing Balance on Dietary Compliance!

Be well,