• 30Oct

    The holidays are fast approaching, and if there’s one thing I know about the holidays, it is that they are difficult waters to navigate in the food department.

    First of all, there’s the fact that with the time change and darker evenings, it is really difficult to work up motivation to exercise
    before or after the average 9-5 work hours. Not to mention the cold (or the Hurricane Sandy winds).

    Then there are all the parties. With food. With holiday food – desserts, cheese-laden casseroles, spiked warm drinks – easy, rich foods to nab from an hors d’oeuvres or snack table….every time you walk by.

    Plus, there’s football and tailgating, reunions with friends, and reunions with family – and all the ensuing rollercoasters of emotional stressors that those interactions inevitably bring.

     

    The holidays are fast approaching, and I know myself and my tendency to just throw my hands and all my healthful eating patterns up in the air in a big “Who cares!/Resistance is futile!” bluster. I usually always do, and then I find myself all the way into Easter season realizing that summertime beach trips are just around the corner, and what the heck happened to my waistline and my health and my self image during the winter holiday months, anyway?!

     

    Mindful eating is a choice, and it is a conscious choice. Mindful eating doesn’t mean being restrictive so as to deny myself treats and tastes of my favorite (and rich!) winter foods and drinks during holiday times. It doesn’t mean comparing myself to or subconsciously competing with my friends in a sort of “holier than thou” way with the things I choose to order or eat in a group setting. It doesn’t recognize “good” foods or “bad” foods - just food choices, to be mindfully considered and selected in healthful moderation.
    To me, mindful eating takes work and is a lifestyle change. And now – with Halloween knocking at our door, at the beginning of the holiday season – now is the time to start practicing this change.

     

    Here’s a graphic way to understand change. Picture a hill of damp sand with a marble on top. If you give the marble a nudge in one direction, it will roll down the hill, forming a slight groove in the sand. Each time the marble gets nudged in the same direction, it will slide into the groove and the groove will deepen until you only have to place the marble on top of the hill for it to plop right into the groove and plunge downward.

    Now suppose you decide that you want the marble to roll down the other side of the sand hill. You’ll have to place the marble on top of the hill and push it in the other direction
    because if you don’t, it will slip automatically into its old groove. If you push it only once or twice in the new direction, its inclination will still be to return to its old groove. So initially, you’ll need to push the marble in the new direction over and over until a new groove is carved out. Eventually when your old groove and the new groove are about even, the marble will have the potential to roll either way. To ensure that it will always go in the new direction, you’ll have to keep gently nudging it until the old groove fills up with sand and the new groove is deeply carved. Then the marble will naturally fall into the new groove every time (Koenig 28-29).

     

     

    (Koenig, Karen. The Rules of Normal Eating: A Commonsense Approach for Dieters, Overeaters, Undereaters, Emotional Eaters, and Everyone in Between! Carlsbad, CA: Gurze Books, 2005. Print.)

  • 23Oct

    Part two of our series, ”Why in the world do we want our customers to eat these things?”

    Following are two more food items included in this week’s meals.  We thought you might like to know what nutritional value they bring to our new Fall/Winter 2012 menu.

    Roasted Brussels Sprouts

    O.K.  It’s time to finally let go of our childhood prejudices against this poor little vegetable. We know there are probably some of you who “don’t like Brussels Sprouts,” but we’re really confident you’re going to love the taste of these sprouts, with their carmelized fall flavors. They’re roasted, not boiled like in your dinnertime nightmares of yesteryear, so we know you’ll be pleasantly surprised. Just give them a try!
    Now, why should you eat Brussels Sprouts? They are exceptionally rich in protein, dietary fiber, vitamins A, C, E & K, minerals and antioxidants.
    They are an incredibly nutritious vegetable that offers protection from vitamin A deficiency, bone loss and iron deficiency.

    And, admit it, these mini cabbages are pretty darn cute.
    Cherries

    CHERRIES!

    Yes, hallelujah, cherries are good for you.  They are one of the very low calorie fruits, yet are a rich source of nutrients, vitamins and minerals such as potassium, Iron, zinc, copper and manganese.  Potassium is a heart-healthy mineral.  Cherries, especially tart cherries, are exceptionally rich in anti-oxidants and have anti-inflammatory properties.  These “stone fruits” are also high in fiber and contain vitamin C.  But let’s be honest, the best part is that they’re actually just really delicious.

     

  • 22Oct

    Happy almost-Food Day, everyone! That’s right, Food Day 2012 falls on Wednesday, October 24th this year – a mere three days from now – and we’re gearing up around GMM headquarters for a big party.

     

    But hold up a second. Food Day? Food Day? Like we really need to throw a party for the culprit behind America’s huge obesity crisis?

    Yep, we do, and here’s why:

     

    1. Real food is never the culprit. Think of real food as just that – “real.” Natural ingredients like unprocessed fruits and vegetables, whole grains (instead of processed grains), natural sweeteners (instead of refined or artificial sugars), and locally/humanely raised and slaughtered meats.

    Eating “real food” strips away all chance for encountering the preservatives and additives for prolonged shelf life, all of the hard-to-pronounce ingredients that trail down so many nutrition labels in our supermarkets. “Real food” hearkens back to the kind of food and cooking that our great-great grandparents probably knew. Imagine loaves of bread with just four ingredients! Imagine vegetables plucked and washed right around the corner before you pick them up to purchase! Imagine milk and yogurt made in dairies with your same zip code and not shipped across multiple states or over-sweetened and over-pasteurized to disguise their true, full flavors.

    No, real food isn’t the culprit behind obesity. There are many culprits, and one of them is the quick, mindless consumption of highly processed foods. Eating “real food” forces us to look at our food labels and find out what actual ingredients we’re putting into our bodies. It prompts us to seek out the places in our neighborhoods we can purchase the most freshly made products – breads, cheeses, juices, vegetables, fruits, dairy – and take notice of our seasonal farmers markets. Consuming “real food” implies valuing the quality and source of what we eat.

    GMM's Customer Service Manager loves beets!

    2. Food Day is more than a celebration of just food. As stated on the National Food Day website (yes, there is such a thing!), “Food Day is a nationwide celebration and a movement toward more healthy, affordable and sustainable food….Food Day takes place annually on October 24 to address issues as varied as health and nutrition, hunger, agricultural policy, animal welfare, and farm worker justice. The ultimate goal of Food Day is to strengthen and unify the food movement in order to improve our nation’s food policies.”

    Celebrating Food Day helps lift all of our eyes out of the ruts of our daily dietary routines and take a glance at this country’s food systems and their direct effects on our lives.

    Now, to be fair, our prosperous country is uniquely blessed with systems of food production that stock our supermarket shelves with overflowing abundance. Food Day doesn’t necessitate a moral stance on how we receive our food, but perhaps it will urge us to ponder how these systems affect the farmers, animals, products, and people involved. Perhaps it will prompt us to investigate the Slow Food Movement, our area farms, and what it means to eat seasonally, locally, and organically. Hopefully so.

    Harmony shops at the farmers markets for her real foods!

     

    So what are we doing at Good Measure Meals? Something very basic, but also quite Food Day appropriate: We’re throwing a big Food Day potluck lunch for with our staff! Every meal contribution must feature at least one local ingredient, and judging by last year’s potluck, we’re in for some creative and delicious eating!

    The picnic table spread from GMM's Food Day 2011 potluck party.

  • 15Oct
    Rosemary Roasted Butternut Squash

    Picture provided by Tasty Yummies via Flickr.com

    Bethany and I had a great response from the participants in both of our cooking demonstrations last month at Cancer Support Community/Atlanta. We presented “Simple and Gourmet Vegetable Side Dishes”. Each recipe highlighted a vegetable and a cooking technique.

    One of my favorite ways of cooking vegetable is roasting, especially during the fall and winter months. Roasting imparts a rich and intense flavor to almost any vegetable. It concentrates the flavors of the vegetable and adds sweetness through caramelization. During the class at Cancer Support Community, we demonstrated how to roast butternut squash, but there are many other types of vegetables that can be roasted. Brussels sprouts, broccoli, cauliflower, green beans, tomatoes, mushrooms, beets… just to name a few!

    Want to get your roast on? Try these 10 tips:

    1. Cut vegetables into even sizes to ensure that they cook at the same rate.
    2. Toss vegetables with just enough oil to coat them – you don’t want them to be swimming in oil. The oil will help the vegetables to brown evenly and protect them from drying out. If the vegetable doesn’t have enough oil it will come out dry with spotty browning.
    3. For simple seasoning, just use salt and pepper.
    4. Evaluate your oven. It’s temperature can be off by as much as 50 degrees! Vegetables that are smaller and tenderer should be roasted at higher temperatures because they will take less time to cook through. Larger and harder vegetables should be roasted at a lower temperature to prevent burning before the vegetable is cooked through. Vegetables that have high water content (like tomatoes) can be roasted at a low temperature for a long time (about 250°F).
    5. Cook vegetables on a baking sheet that is heavy and sturdy. Avoid baking sheets that are flimsy because they will warp in the oven.
    6. For easy clean-up, spread the vegetables out on a sheet pan lined with parchment paper.
    7. Avoid overcrowding vegetables on the pan. Place them in a single layer. This will allow the steam to escape and the air to circulate.
    8. The cooking time will vary based on the type of vegetable, the size, your preference for doneness and your ovens actual temperature.
    9. Turn the vegetables if they are larger or harder and move them from the outside of the pan to the center. This will ensure even browning.
    10. To check for doneness, insert a knife or a fork into the vegetable. It should slide in and out with little resistance.

    Roasted vegetables are a great side dish. They can also be added to stews, risotto, sauces and used as a sandwich topping. What is your favorite vegetable to roast?

     

  • 12Oct
    October is a packed month with festivals, parades, food, and merriment galore! Below is a list of events that span the entire month – we hope you enjoy this Fall season as much as we do!
    And to start things off, look for the Open Hand/Good Measure Meals float in the Atlanta Pride Parade this Sunday! We will also have a booth set up at the festival in Piedmont Park.
    See you there!
    Piedmont Park
    10/12/2012 – 10/14/2012
    Kick-Off Parties, Lady Gaga-Inspired Yoga, Car/Motorcycle Shows, Cultural Exhibits, Community Health Expo, Vendors, Pride Parade, Starlight Cabaret Drag Entertainment, Closing Parties, and More!
    Join Good Measure Meals/Open and Atlanta to walk in the Pride Parade at 1 p.m. Sunday October 14th. Participants must meet no later than 12 (noon), and the Open Hand float will be in Row E

    Atlanta Fall Festivals

    Stone Mountain Park:  9/28/2012 – 10/27/2012
    Costume contests, Puppet Parades, a Trick-or-Treat Scavenger Hunt, and more!
    13 Stories Haunted House (Kennesaw): 9/28/2012 – 11/3/2012
    Stone Mountain Park: 10/11/2012 – 10/28/2012
    HAPPENING NOW! 4:00-7:30 pm 10/12/2012
    Free local beer tasting, food vendors,
    live music, kids’ activities, artists, pumpkins, and other Market favorites
    - CandlerPark Fall Fest
    Candler Park
    10/13/2012 – 10/14/2012
    5K Race, Music, Art Festival, Food, Games
    Peachtree Corners Festival: 10/13/2012
    Art Festival
    Sweet Auburn Historic District: 10/13/12
    Multi-cultural Music festival, Food, Entertainment, Arts
    Stone Mountain Park
    10/19/2012 – 10/21/2012
    Little Five Points: 10/20/2012
    Parade, Food Vendors, Two Outdoor Music Stages
    Little Creek Horse Farm: 10/20/2012
    Family fun, Carnival, Horse and Pony Rides, Food, Silent Auction
    Save the Horses (Cumming, GA): 10/20/2012
    Hay Rides, Pony Rides, Petting Zoo, Face Painting, Plate Lunches, Baked Goods
    Flat Shoals Park: 10/20/2012
    Costume Contest, DJ, Entertainment, Arts and Crafts, Food
    Decatur Square: 10/20/2012
    Live Music, Food, More than 100 Craft Beers
    Sterling on the Lake: 10/20/2012
    Balloon races, Kids games, Pumpkin carving, Hay rides, Food, and More
    The Rock Ranch
    10/27/2012
    Wholesome family Halloween experience including trick-or-treating,
    costume contests, scavenger hunt, flashlight corn maze experience, magician and more.
    Stone Mountain Park
    11/1/2012 – 11/4/2012
    Cabbagetown Park
    11/3/2012
    5K Race and Chili Cook-Off
    Chastain Park
    11/3/2012 – 11/4/2012
    Auburn Avenue (neighborhood)
    11/3/2012 – 11/4/2012
  • 09Oct

    Part two in our series, “Why in the world do we want our customers to eat these things?”

    Following are two more food items included in this week’s meals.  We thought you might like to know what nutritional value they bring to our new Fall/Winter 2012 menu.

    Flaxseed

    Flaxseed was cultivated in Babylon as early as 3000BC.  Not only can it add a tasty nutty flavor to some dishes, but it has quite a healthy reputation based on these three ingredients:  Omega 3 essential fatty acids which have heart-healthy effects;  Lignans, which have antioxidant qualities; and Fiber – both soluble and insoluble types.  GMM uses flaxseed in many of our baked goods
    and other recipes.

    Farro

    Farro is a non-hybridized wheat kernel that has been grown and used in Italy for centuries. We call it “spelt.”  Farro has a firm, chewy texture and a deliciously nutty flavor and can be used to make soups, salads, desserts and baked goods.
    Farro has twice the fiber and protein than modern wheat and is rich in magnesium and vitamins A, B, C and E. It is also easily digested and low in gluten.

  • 01Oct

    Following are two food items included in this week’s meals.  We thought you might like to know what nutritional value they bring to our menu.

    GREEK YOGURT

    Both Greek and regular yogurt, in their plain, nonfat or low-fat forms, can be part of a healthful diet. They’re low in calories and packed with calcium and live bacterial cultures, which help support a healthy digestive tract. But Greek Yogurt—which is strained extensively to remove much of the liquid whey, lactose, and sugar, giving it its thick consistency—does have an undeniable edge. In roughly the same amount of calories, it can pack up to double the protein, while cutting sugar content by half. Not only is it delicious on its own, but GMM uses it as a healthy alternative when making dips, spreads and sauces.

    QUINOA

    While Quinoa is usually considered to be a whole grain, it is actually a seed.  But it can be prepared like whole grains such as rice or barley.
    One of the best reasons to enjoy quinoa is because it has a high-protein content, which makes it a great cholesterol-free and low-fat source of protein. It is also a great source of fiber.
    Quinoa contains calcium, iron, potassium and zinc. GMM has found so many ways to utilize quinoa in our recipes: as a side item, in baked goods, in salads and more.  It has a unique texture and appearance.