• 29Apr

    It’s no surprise that New York City has a lot to offer for foodies. It’s been a real treat to explore the food markets here.  The local food companies, farms and people dedicated to sustainable food businesses are impressive.  I love the idea of getting to know where your food comes from, including the people who produce it. I’ve talked to folks at the market (like the owners of a bakery, a guy who makes pickles, brothers who grow mushrooms, a woman who has a passion for rooftop apiaries) and I can tell that they’re doing what they love. Their passion immediately shines through, and it makes me want to invest in their product and fresh produce.

    Atlanta’s local food scene is growing. There are farmer’s markets in almost every community, numerous CSA’s and specialty food markets. It’s never too late to start getting to know these local food producers. Georgia Organics has a useful tool on their website that allows you to search for local food by your zip code: click here to view it.

    So, the next time you’re thinking about a snack or a meal outside of your Good Measure Meal plan – think about choosing something from a local Georgia food company, market or farm. Your community will thank you!

  • 24Apr

    This blog was written by guest blogger, Margaret Lester, Dietetic Intern from Southern Regional Medical Center.

    Cook with it! Lemongrass Chicken is what’s on the menu next week at Good Measure Meals – alongside Edamame Risotto with Ginger Glazed Carrots.  I have eaten lemongrass in restaurants as a flavoring for meat, but have never cooked with it myself and until now, I had never even seen the actual food itself!

    The lemongrass plant grows in stalks with long grassy blades and can be used in a variety of ways.  Lemongrass looks a bit like a green onion to me, but it tastes fresh and mild and adds a nice aroma to food.

    The grassy blades at the top can be sliced thinly and added to soups, while the fibrous roots can be minced or grated for tea, cooked in curry, or used as a rub for meats.

    Lemongrass is widely used in Thai and Vietnamese cooking, often in teas, soups, and curries.  Locally, you can find fresh lemongrass at a specialty or Asian market

    If you want to cook with fresh lemongrass, purchase stalks that are thick, light green, and firm, not dried-out or wilted.  Cut off the top third of the stalk, as it is usually dry and fibrous (not delicious), and trim the root tip.  Now you’re ready to bruise the plant!

    I know what you’re thinking. “Bruising? No thanks!”

    But bruising releases the lemony aromatic oils.  To bruise, simply lay your knife flat across the stalk and smash (carefully) with the heel of your hand.

    Next, take out the tough pieces.  These can be used to flavor broths, but should be removed before serving as they are not to be eaten.   Slice what remains into thin rounds, removing the fibrous outer layer if necessary.  These thin rounds can be added to a lettuce salad or crushed into a paste and added to curries.

    Additional uses of lemongrass include preserving and herbal remedies.  Historically, lemongrass oil was used on ancient Indian palm leaf manuscripts to preserve them and prevent humidity from destroying them.  Lemongrass is also traditionally used in tea to treat cough and cold and is thought to soothe the digestive tract, used to treat stomach cramps and indigestion.

    Fun fact: The lemongrass plant is a relative of citronella, the oils of which is used in candles and sprays to ward off bugs.

    Grilled Lemongrass Chicken with Red Quinoa and Vegetables

    Recipe from Epicurious, adapted from Self Magazine

    Ingredients

    3 medium shallots, roughly chopped

    2 stalks fresh lemongrass (tough outer leaves removed)

    1 piece ginger (about 1 1/2 inches), peeled

    1/4 cup plus 5 teaspoons canola oil, divided

    1/4 cup fresh lime juice

    1 tablespoon tamari (or soy sauce)

    2 tablespoons light brown sugar

    1 1/2 teaspoons sea salt, plus more to taste

    1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

    1 teaspoon ground coriander

    4 boneless, skinless organic chicken breasts (about 5 ounces each)

    3/4 cup red quinoa

    1 1/2 cups chicken broth (or stock)

    Vegetable oil cooking spray

    1 pound fresh sugar snap peas, strings removed

    1 red bell pepper, cored, seeded, and thinly sliced

    2 tablespoons chopped fresh mint

    Marinade: Puree shallots, lemongrass, ginger, 1/4 cup oil, lime juice, tamari, sugar, sea salt, pepper, and coriander in a blender until smooth. Place chicken in a baking dish and spoon on marinade, rubbing it on all sides. Cover; chill 1/2 to 2 hours. Heat 2 teaspoons oil in a medium saucepan over medium-high heat. Cook quinoa until toasted, 3 to 4 minutes. Add broth; bring to a boil. Cover, reduce heat to medium-low and simmer until quinoa absorbs liquid, about 20 minutes. Turn off heat; let sit, covered, until ready to serve. Heat a grill pan or skillet over high heat; coat with cooking spray. Cook chicken, turning once, for 4 minutes. Reduce heat to medium. Cook, turning once, until a meat thermometer reads 165 degrees, 10 to 12 minutes. Remove chicken; let rest two minutes. Slice each breast on the diagonal into 1/2-inch pieces. Heat remaining 1 tablespoon oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Cook sugar peas and peppers until crisp-tender, about 3 minutes. Season with salt and pepper. Turn off heat. Add mint and toss. Divide quinoa among 4 plates. Top each with 1 sliced chicken breast and 1/4 of the vegetables.

    Per serving: 465 calories, 13.6 g fat (1.4 g saturated), 43.1 g carbs, 7.3 g fiber, 42.2 g protein

    Nutritional analysis provided by Self Magazine.

    Photo: http://eatwelleatcheap.blogspot.com/2011/10/how-to-mince-lemongrass.html

  • 22Apr

    It’s officially salad season – the time of year when the weather is warm and fresh produce is in bounty. Salads can be simple, consisting of a few ingredients, or complex and composed. The characteristics of a salad can vary depending on what’s in season, the personality of the cook, and the style of the meal. We had Salad 1 Course and Practicum this week in the chef’s training program at The Natural Gourmet Institute for Health and Culinary Arts. During this class, we prepared a huge variety of fabulous salads.

    Here are some ideas to consider when making salads at home:

    The base (or body) of the salad. The first thing that comes to my mind when someone says salad is lettuce, but the bulk of your salad doesn’t have to be limited to traditional salad greens. Here is a list of unique salad greens and ideas for other ingredients that can be the star in your salad:

    • Salad greens: spinach, romaine, mache, green or red leaf, mesclun mix, frisee, arugula, endive, radicchio, mizuna, escarole, baby beet greens, watercress, tatsoi…
    • Grains: whole wheat pasta, wild rice, couscous, quinoa, wheatberries, bulgur, brown rice, red rice, forbidden rice…
    • Beans and Legumes: black beans, chickpeas, black-eyed peas, lentils, adzuki beans, cannellini beans, cranberry beans, navy beans, red kidney beans, Lima beans, pinto beans…
    • Vegetables: carrots, potatoes, cabbage, peas, broccoli, corn, tomato, beets, green beans, cucumber, zucchini…
    • Fruit: berries, apples, pears, mango, pineapple, watermelon, cantaloupe, honeydew, oranges, grapefruit…
    • Meat and Seafood: egg, chicken, lobster, tuna, shrimp, salmon, crab, turkey…

    Add flavor and interest with a dressing or vinaigrette:

    Do you want added ingredients?

    • You don’t have to have any additional ingredients – your salad could simply contain only a base, but it’s nice to add some interest with additional ingredients.
    • Try vegetables (onions, scallions, carrots, mushrooms, jicama…), fresh herbs (parsley, cilantro, mint, basil, tarragon…), toasted nuts (pistachios, almonds, pine nuts, pecans, peanuts…) or cheese (Parmesan, goat, Gorgonzola, feta…).

    Hopefully, you can see how the options for different types of salads can become endless!

    My favorite salads are simple – usually fresh greens from the farmers market (such as watercress, frisee or arugula) tossed with a vinaigrette of extra virgin olive oil, fresh lemon juice, Parmesan cheese, sea salt and freshly ground black pepper.

    Need some inspiration? Check out Mark Bittman’s article from The New York Times titled ‘101 Simple Salads for the Season’.

    What is your favorite salad?

  • 18Apr

     

    My favorite way to add more veggies at breakfast - an egg scramble!

    Growing up, my parents weren’t coffee drinkers.  We didn’t wake up to the smell of freshly brewed coffee that I love, but rather to the sound of the morning news, the toaster and/or cereal being poured into a bowl.   Mom made sure we didn’t leave home empty-handed OR with an empty stomach.  I honestly can’t think of one single day when we didn’t eat breakfast.

    College temporarily changed my habits for four years.  Half the time I didn’t get out of bed until noon, and on the other days, breakfast was a very large heavily caffeinated travel mug of coffee loaded with cream and sugar to keep me awake and focused through 8 a.m. biochemistry lectures.  Fast forward to five day work weeks and the heart palpitations from caffeine overload (and perhaps my newly found knowledge via a degree in nutrition) soon had me rethinking my cream with coffee breakfast.

    As cliché as it sounds, breakfast IS the most important meal of the day for many reasons.  Why eat a healthy breakfast?  Kathleen Zelman, RD at WebMD.com has a few answers:

    · To get a more nutritionally complete diet

    · To improve mental performance in school and at work

    · For enhanced strength and endurance for physical activity

    · Breakfast eaters tend to weigh less than those who skip breakfast (and coffee doesn’t count as breakfast…)

    Is coming up with new ideas and having time to make breakfast a challenge?

    Try our new Spring/Summer menu to explore our new breakfast meals!  This week’s highlights:

    · Cashew Butter Oatmeal made with Steel Cut Oats served with Raspberry Sauce and Fresh Seasonal Fruit.

    · Tomato and Mushroom Frittata made with Chives, Parsley and Mozzarella Cheese with Breakfast-Style Sweet Potatoes aside Citrus Salad.

    · Whole Wheat Oatmeal Breakfast Bread with Flaxseeds and Walnuts aside Scrambled Eggs and Egg Whites with Applesauce.

    Are you currently on a dinner only plan with Good Measure Meals and having a tough time with breakfast?

    Consider changing to a 3 meal/day plan that includes breakfast.   If it’s too much food for you, share the food (and the cost) with your spouse, friend or neighbor!

    Looking for more ideas or prefer to make your own breakfast?

    Our cooking demo theme at the Cancer Support Community this month is Healthful Approaches to Brunch.  Along with guest dietitian Bonnie Dixon, we cooked up Cherry Pecan Bran Muffins, a Veggie Egg Scramble with Dill and Overnight Oatmeal highlighting the benefits of steel cut oats – Delish!   Click here to view all of our recipes from past cooking demos at CSC!

  • 15Apr

    Have you evaluated your grocery shopping routine lately? I recently relocated to a new city which forced me to evaluate mine.

    While living in Atlanta, I used to shop for food at the grocery store and farmers market once weekly. Transportation and storage was carefree. I had a car and plenty of space in the refrigerator and pantry for food.

    Sure the old routine had benefits, but it also had some downfalls:

    • Fresh produce has a short shelf life and because I only purchased it once per week, I would either run out of it by the end of the week or it would spoil before I could enjoy it.
    • I often bought items that I didn’t have a plan to use or I would use a small portion for a particular recipe and not use the food again. Sometimes these foods were left forgotten in the back of the pantry or freezer – sauces, cereals, grains, frozen vegetables and frozen berries.
    • The trip to both farmers market and grocery store took almost 2 hours which is a large chunk of my weekend time.

    I’ve had to totally rethink things since moving to New York City for culinary school. I don’t have a car, so I must carry everything I buy. That means I can only fill a few bags, which I have to carry several blocks, sometimes on the subway, AND up 3 flights of stairs. The storage space is very limited which also greatly reduces the quantity that I can buy. This means that I end up going on very short trips to the grocery store and farmers market about 3-4 times/week.

    This shift in mind-set is not necessarily a negative thing. The benefits of the new routine include:

    • Purchasing small quantities – this means all around fresher ingredients. I found that very small quantities are easy to access at stores that have self-service bulk food bins! This section is great for items like rice, nuts, cereal, dry beans, and dried fruit. This allows me to fill a bag with a small amount of product that weighs less then pre-packed foods and is easier to transport and store.
    • AND foods from the self-service bulk food bins tend to be less expensive! They are cheaper to package and market which saves the grocery and manufacturer money. This savings translates to the consumer.
    • I’m eating more variety and quantity of fresh produce all week long – which is healthier and much more satisfying!
    • I’m wasting much less food.
    • I look forward to the short trips to the store – it only takes about 30 minutes to grab what I need for a few days and go.

    I’m happy to have had this new found perspective on my food routine. We shouldn’t have to be forced to evaluate our grocery routine. I challenge you to evaluate yours now. Are you purchasing foods that you don’t really need? Does food often spoil before you can eat it? What behaviors can you shift to save money and reduce waste? Let us know!

  • 13Apr

    By Julie Shipkoski, MS, RD, LD, Food Services Manager

    After six months of dedicated research and development of over 100 new recipes, the first delivery of our new Spring/Summer Vegetarian Menu reached our customers on April 2, 2012.  Over 40% of the five week cycle of menus includes entirely new meals featuring delicious new entrées and side dishes.  As well, many of the existing meals also received makeovers through new combinations of foods. Overall, we’re excited about the incorporation of a broader variety of fruits, vegetables, whole grains and plant based proteins.

    We’re especially excited about the introduction of seitan to the menu.  In response to customer feedback, one of our primary goals in developing the new vegetarian menu was to develop replacements for all of the highly processed vegetarian meat substitutes in the menu, including Quorn.

    We prefer to prepare our meals from scratch, as much as possible, and to avoid highly processed foods to control the quality and the nutritional value of our products. For this reason and our commitment to deliver 100% customer satisfaction, our search began for a more natural source of protein that would still satisfy former omnivores’ cravings for their favorite comfort foods.

    Fortunately, our Executive Chef has extensive experience in this area as he’s developed numerous successful vegetarian products using textured wheat protein, more commonly referred to as seitan.

    Chief among seitan’s many functional benefits are its outstanding fibrous structure that replicates the look and texture of meat. It also has a neutral flavor profile with no aftertaste, and, thus requires less flavoring than traditional textured proteins and contains much less sodium.  Most important of all, it doesn’t contain a list of industrial-sounding ingredients like many other highly processed vegetarian meat substitutes.

    Seitan is a natural source of protein you can feel good about eating.  The same can be said for tofu in the menu.  In fact, if you had hours of time to kill, you could make seitan or tofu at home without any industrial chemicals or industrial processing methods.

    But why do that when we can do all the work for you?

    Here’s a preview of a few of the new Spring/Summer dishes containing seitan:

    · Maryland Style Veggie Cakes with Orzo Salad and Edamame Succotash

    · Vegetarian Jap Chae with Sweet Potato Noodles, and Snow Peas

    · Veggie Burger on a Whole Wheat Bun with Lettuce and Jalapeño Aioli served with Three Bean Salad

    · Kale, Cannellini Bean, and Seitan Soup served with Corny Cornbread and Smart Balance Spread

    While seitan is an excellent source of protein, we believe the best way to adequately meet your nutritional needs is to provide a wide variety of foods including fruits and vegetables, whole grains, beans, lentils, low-fat dairy, eggs, nuts and vegetable protein.

    In addition to lentils and bean sprouts, I bet you would never guess that we have 16 different varieties of beans and six varieties of peas on the menu ranging from traditional favorites such as kidney beans, lima beans, pinto beans, chickpeas and black-eyed peas to regional and heirloom varieties including edamame, cranberry beans, Anasazi beans, black turtle beans, and pigeon peas!

    Even better, all our beans, peas and lentils are purchased dried or frozen, never canned, allowing us maximum control over the quality of our ingredients, flavor profiles of our food and sodium content of our meals.

    Other new menu items on the Spring/Summer Vegetarian Menu:

    • 11 new starches including two new varieties of grains, farro cooked in the style of risotto and kamut cooked in the style of oatmeal with golden figs
    • Many new vegetable side dishes including Swiss Chard, Kale, Bok Choy, Mashed Parsnips, Chinese Broccoli, Snow Peas, Edamame Stir Fry, Green Pea Salad, and Moroccan Eggplant and Chickpeas
    • Fresh fruits including Cantaloupe, Pineapple, Melon Soup, Mango and Black Bean Salsa
    • 10 new egg dishes including Scrambled Eggs and Egg Whites, Egg White Omelets and Patties, Broccoli and Cauliflower Frittata, and Tomato Frittata
    • House-made, whole grain pancakes in 4 varieties including date, sweet potato, blueberry, and, my personal favorite, raspberry served with Chocolate Ganache
    • Greek Yogurt also makes its long awaited debut on the menu as a side dish at breakfast, as the main feature of our Breakfast Parfait, and as an ingredient in our Melon Soup. It’s also used as an ingredient in our Tzatziki Sauce served over Moroccan Vegetable Stuffed Portobello Mushrooms accompanied by Couscous Salad and Pita Bread.

    We hope you’ll enjoy all these new dishes and more as we begin working on the Fall/Winter 2012 menu. As always, please send us your feedback and requests so we can fulfill your culinary desires.

  • 09Apr

    Tomorrow kicks off week 2 of our new Spring/Summer menu launch, bringing along a couple interesting new flavors that are worth checking out!

    Cool Cantaloupe Soup (on Tuesday’s breakfast menu)

    Cool Cantaloupe Soup with a Hard Boiled Egg & Homemade Banana Bread

    I know what you may be thinking.  Soup for breakfast?   And it’s cold?  Really?

    Many cultures do eat soup for breakfast.  Gruel, a thinner version of porridge, was the staple food of the ancient Greeks.   In Japan, miso soup is quite common for breakfast.   And… as I have recently discovered, there are many soup bloggers writing about breakfast soups for the adventurous soul willing to try something new!

    I have to be honest.  When I think of cold soups, gazpacho is the first thing that comes to mind, not cantaloupe; however, after my first taste today (I was not the dietitian involved in the recipe development for these 2 dishes!), cool cantaloupe soup is wonderful!  It’s a refreshing blend of cantaloupe, Greek yogurt, and cinnamon that may remind you of melon yogurt.

    Peanut Stew aside Oasis Indian-Spiced Basmati Brown Rice Blend with Vegetables (Thursday’s Lunch)

    I do love Indian food and this dish did not disappoint when I ate it for lunch today!  It’s not as spicy as I would prefer (you can always kick it up a notch with your own seasoning) but the stew is a great blend of flavors made to satisfy my taste buds.  Serve the stew on top of the rice and vegetables and enjoy!

    Want the nutrition facts for these dishes?  Check them out on our website!