Posts Tagged: Theresa Albert

Easy Ways to get Greens into Your Day

It is spring! And nothing says spring like the budding of green from the earth. I am not talking about the crocuses and daffodils, I am talking about the herbs and baby greens.

One of the best ways to get kids to eat veggies is to let them plant seeds and grow tasty herbs like mint on the window sill. In colder climates, these can be started in April in separate small pots and transferred to a larger group pot when the frost warnings have passed. A pizza pot is a great way to start!

Plant:
• Parsley
• Oregano
• Chives
• Basil
• Baby spinach

 

Cut a handful of fresh herbs to sprinkle on top of a cooked (or delivered) pizza. Before you know it, you will be growing enough to add to a salad each day. Graduating to baby kale, Swiss chard and mustard greens is only a step away and can be done mid season as they are hearty through fall. It doesn’t have to be a big ordeal or an expensive process, the idea is to bring on the green.

Other spring vegetables that should be honored this season are green beans, asparagus and leeks. The easiest cooking method is to roast them all together. Rinse leeks well under cold running water and cut into rings, and then place on a large baking sheet lined with parchment paper or foil. Rinse the tips of asparagus and lop off the woody ends and place on the same sheet. Rinse green beans and line up one end to even out the tips for trimming. Line up the other end and do the same to maximize the amount of bean and minimize the waste. Drizzle with a mere tablespoon of extra virgin olive oil and bake in a hot oven at 400F for 12 to 20 minutes depending upon the thickness and size of the veg. Stir once or twice so that the veg on the end doesn’t burn.

You can do a huge batch of these at a time and serve them in salads or as a cold side dish any time. Feel free to store in the fridge in glass jars in vinegar with a little sea salt like pickles. They go great on sandwiches or as a perk next to baked fish.

Working more vegetables into your day gives your body the spring clean that the house and garden are getting. Your skin and vitality will thank you.

About the Author

Theresa Albert

Theresa Albert is a Food Communications Specialist and Toronto Personal Nutritionist. She is @theresaalbert on twitter and found daily at www.myfriendinfood.com

How to properly clean your kitchen

How long should things last in the fridge? In the cupboard? What about cutting boards and wooden spoons? Do you throw them away? How do you know if they are still safe or if they are bacteria laden?

Here are the things you should do weekly, monthly and yearly to keep your kitchen safe and tidy.

Weekly:
• Clean out the fridge and toss any leftovers that have been there more than 5 days.
• Rotate your vegetable bin and roast whatever is left in there.
• Chop all fruits and either freeze for smoothies, cook for compote or make into a fruit salad. They will be more likely to be consumed and enjoyed.

Monthly:
• Label all containers in the freezer with dates & use up anything that has been there more than 3 months
• Toss anything more than 6 months old or anything that has freezer damage.

Yearly:
• Go through the spice drawer and throw away any that have been there for a year (or more, yikes!)
• And since it is Mabel’s birthday month, March is your “deal with scary dishes” month

Plastic containers
Pull out all your plastics and have the gang match up lids. If they don’t have a cover, toss them. Any with cracks or discolouring should go too.

If you are a yogurt tub re-user, know that the plastics used are not intended to handle the heat of the dishwasher or repeated washings as they can leach toxic substances. Buy decent dishes with lids and label them so they don’t go missing and you will be further ahead.

Water bottles and sippy cups need to be paired and managed just like the other plastics. Then, scrub a sink clean and fill w soapy hot water and a capful of bleach. Soak bottles for 10 min to kill bacteria they may have formed in cracks and let air dry.

Cutting boards
Wooden cutting boards can harbour bacteria and mold. They shouldn’t go in the dishwasher as that can cause splintering and drying. Instead, wipe down with vinegar after each use, rub with cooking oil and get a new one if you start to see black spots of rot or mold.

Plastic cutting boards can go in the dishwasher and, even though, they can look rough and discolored, they should be soaked in a sink of hot water with a cap of bleach on occasion.

I am not a big fan of anti-bacterial washes, soaps and sprays, they tend to do more toxic harm than good but a good old fashioned annual rotation of attention to a kitchen is in order.

 

About the Author

Theresa Albert

Theresa Albert is a Food Communications Specialist and Toronto Personal Nutritionist. She is @theresaalbert on twitter and found daily at www.myfriendinfood.com

Your Weekend Superfood Prep Plan

What if time is the barrier between you and your superfoods? Maybe it isn’t that you don’t want them or don’t like them but that you don’t have the time to work them into your routine. Your schedule is stretched to the max and it just won’t allow you to eat well, though you know that you should and believe in the benefits of a better diet.

What if I told you that there is a way to have it all at your fingertips when you need it? And that “way” would take you less than an hour on a weekend? If you knew that it would help improve your health, kick start weight loss and shrink your waistline, decrease stress levels and ease your schedule…would you do it?  Read on to discover how.

Here is the superfoods list of the top 10 performers in the category of anti-aging, anti-cancer foods:

(chicken bones)

Onions

Sweet Potatoes

Beets

Fennel

Red Pepper

Broccoli

Leeks

Watermelon

Kiwi

Blueberries

It is simple to have them at the ready as the foundation for every meal you will have this week. You are about to embark on a one hour journey of readiness and healthy meal plans using only your slow cooker and your oven. Store everything in the fridge and watch them all come together into multiple meals with minute effort.

Slow cooker:

(or stovetop but you have to watch it simmer for 3-4 hours)

  1. Place chicken bones and one onion halved (skin and all) into a slow cooker, cover with water, set on high. Walk away. 8 hours later, divide into 2-3 cup portions and place into fridge or freezer.

Oven:

Turn oven on to 400 F and pull out two large cookie sheets:

  1. Rinse sweet potatoes and beets under cold water, poke with a fork and place them whole into the oven on the bottom shelf for 45-60 minutes. (rinse and reserve greens)
  2. Chop two onions, spread onto cookie sheet and drizzle with 1 tbsp grapeseed oil. Place into oven on top rack for 30 minutes, stir once. Store empty into containers. (do not wash cookie sheet, reuse for bread croutons)
  3. Cut fennel in half, remove core and discard fronds. Slice bulb into strips and lay onto second cookie sheet.
  4. Chop or rip 3-4 slices of day old whole grain bread into crouton sized chunks, sprinkle with dried herbs and 2 tbsp extra virgin olive oil.  Empty onto onion cookie sheet and place back into the oven. Bake for 15-20 minutes. Allow to cool at room temperature before storing. Use for salads or soups.

Fridge:

Wash and chop and store in the fridge:

  1. Red peppers, broccoli and leeks. Store each in separate baggies to use as veggies and dip or within meals as below.
  2. Carve watermelon into cubes to use as a fruit snack or in smoothies.
  3. Peel and slice kiwi as above.
  4. Rinse and store blueberries likewise.

Now. What to do with all this prepped super food?

Chicken broth:

  • Sauce: simmer to evaporate into a jus for grilled fish or chicken. Stir in 1 clove of garlic and 1 tsp fresh herb as desired
  • Soup: 4 cups broth + 1 cooked sweet potato +1/4 cup cooked onion +1 tsp curry powder or 4 cups broth + 2 cups chopped broccoli + ¼ cup cooked onion + ½ cup cream
  • Pasta Sauce= ½ cup broth + chopped cooked fennel + can white beans + ¼ cup parmesan cheese

Side dishes:

  • Salad=Cooked fennel + sliced leeks + red pepper + balsamic vinaigrette
  • Mashed sweet potatoes = 2 peeled sweet potatoes + 1 tsp butter + salt and pepper
  • Pan fried beets with beet greens = peel and chop 3 beets, warm in a skillet with 2 tsp butter + chopped leeks + chopped beet greens.
  • Vegetarian= Leeks + oil + canned lentils pan fried

Healthy snacks:

  • Broccoli and Red Peppers with hummus
  • Fruit salad of kiwi, watermelon and blueberries + vanilla yogurt + cinnamon
  • Smoothie blend above ingredients
  • Freeze fruit on a cookie sheet to preserve for future smoothies

 

You want to be ready for anything that the week throws at you! Having all of these items prepped and in the fridge makes those decisions that much easier.  Do you do something similar? What tips can you share to get healthy foods into your diet easily and quickly?

 

About the Author

Theresa Albert

Theresa Albert is a Food Communications Specialist and Toronto Personal Nutritionist. She is @theresaalbert on twitter and found daily at www.myfriendinfood.com

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