• 18Jan

    by Fatema Bandukwala, an Atlanta resident who has volunteered with Open Hand & Good Measure Meals.  She is in the process of applying to a dietetic internship to become a Registered Dietitian.

    Getting tired of rice and pasta? Curious about quinoa?

    Quinoa (pronounced keen-wa) is a whole grain that makes a good substitute for rice, or pasta.  Quinoa is a nutritious South American grown crop, and in comparison to other grains, is high in protein, rich in vitamins and minerals, and delicious with vegetables, beans, or berries.

    One-fourth of a cup of cooked quinoa yields only 55 calories, but is packed with protein and fiber (1.3 g and 2 g respectively!). Quinoa contains the most protein in comparison to any other grain.  For six to eight people, try cooking one cup of dry quinoa. Quinoa is quick and easy to prepare. (see below for a recipe and directions).

    A common brand is Ancient Harvest Quinoa, usually found in grocery stores in the ethnic foods aisle. If not there, or in the pasta aisle, quinoa may be found in the gluten-free section.

    There’s an endless variety of items to prepare with quinoa! For a tasty alternative to breakfast oatmeal, try whole grain quinoa with berries, sliced almonds, cinnamon, honey and yogurt.

    A favorite of mine, and a delicious nutritious dinner option is Quinoa with sweet potatoes. Paired with the health benefits of quinoa, sweet potatoes also bring a healthy serving to the table. Sweet potatoes are full of potassium plus eye boosting Vitamin A and beta carotene.

    ps -These dishes save well as leftovers!

    2  cups cooked quinoa or (1 cup raw)
    1 large or 2 medium sweet potatoes
    1/4 cup minced onion
    1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil

    1. Cook the quinoa. Combine 1 cup dry quinoa with 2 cups water in a pot. Bring to a boil. Turn heat on medium-low, cover and cook for 15 minutes.

    Meanwhile, peel the sweet potato and dice it into 1/2-inch or smaller pieces. Cook in boiling salted water to cover until tender, about 15 minutes; drain well.

    OR a quicker alternative, cook the sweet potato in the microwave on high for 5 minutes, then peel and dice.

    2. Fluff together the potato, quinoa, and onion; sprinkle with salt and pepper. Add the oil and toss the salad. Taste and adjust the seasoning, garnish with a cinnamon stick.

    Want to try quinoa without cooking yourself?  Check out our Good Measure Meals Vegetarian meal plan that uses quinoa as one of many protein sources!

  • 27Jan

    Lamar Palmer, GMM’s Executive Chef, is currently focusing his attention on developing recipes for the new Spring/Summer GMM menu. Check out this video for a behind the scenes look at one of his latest creations. He is calling it ‘Fruitwood Smoked Chicken Salad’ and it is packed with nutritious and tasty ingredients.

    Do you have ideas for new menu items? Let us know!

  • 19Nov

    Breakfast is an essential component of a balanced diet, and not only provides your body with the energy that you need to function throughout the morning, but also assists with weight management by jump starting your metabolism!  I will admit that I have always been a breakfast eater, but until I started on my Good Measure Meals™- I usually resorted to a grab and go item or a bowl of cereal if I had the time.  I knew that I should be eating a more nutrient dense morning meal, but who has the time to whip up and perfectly balance breakfast?

    I have GMM to thank for my new morning routine, that still manages to keep my mornings quick (I really do enjoy hitting the snooze button in the A.M.!) and provides me with the protein and energy to make it through the day!  In honor of breakfast, I wanted to write a quick blog post about one of my favorite breakfast entrees, the Pumpkin Oatmeal Breakfast Bar with Cranberries and Walnuts!  We all love the taste, but in GMM fashion, there is a lot of great nutrition that goes into the recipe, so I thought I would break down some of the ingredients for everyone, to show you why our culinary staff includes certain items in our menu!  Here it goes…

    Pumpkin: A naturally low fat and low calorie food, pumpkin is packed with disease fighting nutrients like alpha and beta-carotene, fiber, vitamins C & E, potassium and magnesium. The carotenes are converted into vitamin A once eaten and promote healthy vision immune response.  There is also evidence that pumpkin helps reverse skin damage caused by the sun and acts as an anti-inflammatory.  The Carotenoid properties of pumpkin also boost immunity and lessen the risk of heart disease!

    Oats: A great source of soluble fiber, oats have been proven to help lower “bad” cholesterol (LDL), boost “good” cholesterol(HDL), maintain a healthy circulatory system, and help prevent heart attacks!  Not only do they provide these heart healthy benefits, they are also jam packed with a wide range of vitamins and minerals including vitamins B and E, magnesium, iron and calcium!  They are also low on the glycemic index, so for folks managing insulin resistance, oats are a great addition to the diet!

    Cranberries: They may be small, but this tiny fruit is a powerhouse for health!  Cranberries are high in soluble fiber and protect against heart disease.  Because of their quinic acid content, they are one of the best treatments for urinary tract infections and help prevent digestive disorders and stomach ulcers

    Walnuts: Nuts are notorious for their high fat content, but walnuts are much richer in polyunsaturated fats than monounsaturated fats, boasting an unusually high content of omega-3 fatty acid.  This makeup proves walnuts to be helpful in the prevention of heart disease, cancers, arthritis, skin problems and disorders of the nervous system.  There’s more too!  Walnuts have been should to lower “bad” cholesterol and blood pressure, while increasing the elasticity of the arteries!

    Cinnamon: Did you know that cinnamon has an anticoagulant compound (cinnamaldehyde) that can help protect against strokes?  It is also an anti-inflammatory, shown to relieve symptoms of arthritis and asthma…hard to believe, right?  The benefits don’t stop there though, cinnamon also functions as a digestive aid- relieving bloating and flatulence, and reducing heartburn… maybe that’s why it is so abundant in the holiday feasts!

    Now that you know some of the health benefits of this morning treat, get excited about Monday morning, because your GMM breakfast kicks off the week with our very own Pumpkin Oatmeal Breakfast Bar goodness!

    What’s your favorite Good Measure Meal™ Breakfast?

  • 02Nov

    Halloween is over and many of you are left with Jack-o-lanterns and a pile of dried pumpkin seeds that you were planning on doing something with, but just haven’t gotten around to yet… am I right?

     As my favorite seasonal food, pumpkin makes its way into many of my holiday recipes and while most people would probably guess that this means pumpkin breads, pies and cookies- there are also many healthy ways to use this amazing food. Today I want to focus on pumpkin seeds. Many of you might have noticed that new GMM menu found a use for pumpkin seeds in one of our new Dinner Selections: Northern Italian Raviolis of Sage Pasta stuffed with Butternut Squash topped with Genoa Style Tomato Sauce. Fresh Spinach Salad with Carrots, Pumpkin Seeds and Multigrain Croutons with Balsamic Vinaigrette. Sound delicious? It is and also a great way to incorporate the nutrient packed pumpkin seed into a balanced meal! Great work Ashley!

    Pumpkin seeds are not edible when raw, but with a little olive oil and 20 minutes in the oven on low heat, you have a tasty and oh so healthy snack. The seeds are extremely high in both zinc and iron, both minerals needed in our daily diets. Zinc is an antioxidant mineral, which not only boosts the immune system, but also protects against prostate enlargement and cancer in the male population. Iron improves energy levels and is vital for healthy blood cells. Foods that contain high amounts of these minerals are particularly important for vegetarians, but also very beneficial to meat eaters, as the seeds also contain sterols, which help remove “bad” cholesterol, lowering LDL. As if these benefits weren’t enough to entice you to add pumpkin seeds into your diet, they also contain some Omega-3 fats (the healthy fat!), vitamin E, folate, and magnesium that can maintain heart health!

     Tips for Using Pumpkin Seeds: Always chew the seeds well to ensure maximum absorption of nutrients and think about adding seeds to salads, yogurt, muesli or cereal. You can also consider grounding the seeds and adding it to veggie, nut or bean burgers to increase your iron!

    How do you use pumpkin seeds?

  • 07Jun

    If you’re looking for healthy and delicious foods to supplement your Good Measure meals – extra snacks, food for entertaining friends and family or for any reason at all - consider buying produce grown right here in Georgia. You don’t have to go to a farm to find fresh fruits and vegetables, though—local farmers bring their colorful, fresh-picked crops to farmers markets throughout the metro area. 

    In the summertime, I think of farmers markets as relaxing and inspiring places—people taking their time, strolling around, looking at the huge variety of vegetables and flowers.  I love to cook, but it’s easy to fall into a rut, and I’ve realized that shopping locally gives me a chance to try new foods at their best.  Just the other day, I bought some kohlrabi and a couple bunches of rainbow chard and turned them into a curry with the help of a recipe from the Internet.  And last year, I discovered that I actually really love beets—as long as I buy them fresh and roast them for salads or a stand-alone snack. 

    Some beautiful beets at the Morningside Farms Market in Virginia Highland.

    Besides, have you ever compared a California-grown strawberry from the supermarket to a big, juicy berry straight from a Georgia farm?  The difference in appearance and taste is incredible.  That’s because the California berry was picked before it was completely ripe, and while it might have ripened a little more on the journey east, it wasn’t allowed to naturally ripen like the local, fresh-picked berry.  Freshness and flavor are two compelling reasons to shop at farmers markets.

    Atlanta-area markets don’t just offer seasonal fruits and vegetables.  They’re good places to find artisanal bread, honey, jams & jellies, fresh eggs, meat, and even locally hand-crafted items like soap and jewelry.  Some, like the Morningside Market and Green Market at Piedmont Park, also feature weekly cooking demonstrations by local chefs.  You might even get a chance to taste food made with ingredients sold at the market.   

    If you’re interested in exploring some of the markets around town, visit Local Harvest for a list of the markets near you.  

    Wondering how to choose the best beets, or what to do with that strange-looking kohlrabi?  There are some great websites with shopping tips and recipes galore.  Here are a few:

    10 Farmers Market Shopping Tips

    Guide to seasonal fruit and vegetables in Georgia

    Recipes for specific fruits and vegetables

    Happy shopping!

  • 04Feb

    A friend of mine was reading through some of my current blog posts. He said, “This is really cool, but it looks like all your new recipes are coming out perfectly. Don’t you ever have any failures?” I realized I may not be portraying the whole picture and I did agree that all my posts do have a certain trend going lately. I also couldn’t stop thinking about my most recent recipe failure!

    Yes it’s true – my recipe ideas don’t always work out how I hope. Right now I’m focusing on the new Vegetarian menu.

    The recipe in review: Provencal Vegetable Tart with Zucchini, Mushrooms, Tomato and Parmesan Cheese. It is a new dinner “center of the plate”.

    I must have been feeling extra creative and experimental when I made this the first time. I wanted to try tofu to replace the eggs that would typically be used in a vegetable tart. I got this idea from a vegan cookbook (although I still wanted to incorporate some cheese). First, I sautéed the vegetables. I always try to think about the colors when choosing ingredients. Eating different colors of vegetables increases the variety of nutrients and antioxidants.

    The veggies go into the tart crust and are topped with parmesan cheese. This is where the tofu comes in….

    I blended the tofu with a few other ingredients (all for extra flavor) and poured it over the veggies. Baked it and whala!

    The tofu didn’t do exactly what I wanted. The flavor was OKAY – but not good by any means. My taste testers all said – This could use some work! They all agreed that the tofu was not appealing.

    I redid the whole thing. Got rid of the tofu and used the traditional ingredients for a tart.

    Much better!! This one got rave reviews.

    Are any of you currently getting the vegetarian meals?? How do you like the current vegetarian menu?? Please leave your feedback!

  • 17Dec
    We tasted the Mock Mole Turkey Chili today. Everyone loved it!

    I made three different versions with slightly different ingredients and levels of spice.

    Different versions of the chili.

    We all agreed on the best one. Thank you so much Lorraine for this great recipe! I think it is going to be a really nice addition to the menu. I hope you all agree!