• 12Jun

    Today’s blog post in the series, “What are your favorite summer fruits and veggies?” was contributed by Callie O’Steen, Good Measure Meals Community Registered Dietitian

    callieosteenWhen I think of summer, my mouth waters – Literally!

    So many in-season, fresh fruits and vegetables! And we’re lucky here in the South because we produce some pretty tasty produce. Let’s get to know some of our Georgia-grown (and some of my personal favorites) a little better, shall we?

    What is the state fruit of Georgia?

    So this is the easiest question on earth. And if you got it wrong… I’m just going to assume you moved here from the moon.

    peaches on treesThe answer, for our moon-peeps: Peaches! Not only do they provide fiber for digestive regulation, they’re also full of great vitamins and minerals. That rich, orange color in peaches contains Beta-carotene, a derivative of Vitamin A, which protect cells from harm. Peaches are also a good source of Potassium, which can counteract the effects of Sodium!

    Peaches are in season between June and August so they may also cost less in these months because of the higher supply. Plus they’re outrageously, naturally, and addictively sweet! Such a fun summer treat!

    Ready for another question? This one’s a little harder…

    We learned that Peaches are the state fruit of Georgia but what is the state vegetable?
    (Hint: it, too, is sweet…)

    vidalia onionIf you guessed Vidalia onions, you are right! They are only grown in a very specific region of South Georgia and are known for their sweetness. They are grown in low-sulfur soil, so this means no tears when you cut into them! And similar to our peaches, Vidalia onions contain potassium as well.

    So what happens when you combine these Georgia produce stars? “Simply Southern Salad!”

    Georgia Peach and Vidalia Onion Salad with White Balsamic Vinaigrette
    Recipe sourced from Chef Klaskala:
    Ingredients
    • 4 fresh peaches, preferably free stone
    • ¼ cup Vidalia onions, thinly sliced
    • 1 teaspoon fresh mint, roughly torn
    • 1½ tablespoons grapeseed oil
    • 2 teaspoons white balsamic vinegar
    • Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste
    • 1 cup mixed field greens

    Instructions:
    Cut the peaches in half, remove stone, and cut into thick wedges. In a medium bowl, combine the peaches, onions and mint. Add grapeseed oil and white balsamic vinegar. Season with salt and
    pepper and gently toss.
    To serve:
    Divide peach, onion and mint salad evenly between 8 serving plates. Toss field greens in bowl with the dressing that remains and clings to the bowl. Scatter field greens on plates and serve.

  • 22May

    Today’s Blog Post in the “What is Your Favorite Warm-Weather Form of Exercise” Series was contributed by GMM Business Development Representative, David Rogers.

    My favorite warm-weather exercise is either outdoor walking or bike riding. I grew up doing these activities with my parents and siblings after dinner to help us after our meals to promote good health, family time and better sleep.

    photo 2_2These days, I am very fortunate to live in a great walking and biking neighborhood. The rolling landscape of my route provides not only moderate resistance for raising my heart rate, but also a visually beautiful area to help reduce stress. Plus, it’s always nice to catch the smell of the flowers just before you need a burst of energy to stride up a hill (and build some muscle!).

    It’s also just nice to be able to chat with and catch up with any of the neighbors that might be out along the way, and to even bring my dog along for the walk. Having a community network is proven to be a key to good health and happiness, so taking a walk or bike ride around the neighborhood and speaking with the neighbors checks two health-promoting boxes at once!

    photo 1To mix things up, my town has also created a 5-mile trail system that has pedestrian- and bike-friendly lanes. I often step out of my usual routine and even enlist my friends and family to join me for a 30-45 minute trek along these trails. Most communities offer a similar set-up or have local parks nearby with wellness challenge stations to help improve your strength, flexibility, and stamina, so I usually look for these for an added challenge along the way.

    For me, exercising during the warm summer months is all about having the right shoes, bringing along proper hydration, and most importantly having good company to encourage me to get outside to keep promoting my good health and reduce my stress.

  • 29Apr

    Today’s post is contributed by Good Measure Meals Research and Development Chef, Catherine Izzo

    When we are planning a new menu, the first place that we look for inspiration is the feedback from our customer surveys. By analyzing the scores and reading all of the open-ended comments, we can clearly see which meals are customer favorites and what they would like to see more of.

    One of the distinct favorites from the menu that most customers wanted to see more of is our oven-fried chicken, which is marinated in buttermilk and herbs, coated in corn flakes and a little bit of Parmesan then baked until brown and crunchy.

    GMM Oven "Fried" Chicken

    GMM Oven “Fried” Chicken


    So, this got me thinking; how can I use the oven fried chicken more often without having the same meal twice in a menu cycle?

    Of course, the first thing that popped into this Italian’s head was one of my favorite comfort food recipes: Chicken Parmesan. So, we got to work on developing a meal that would still be as comforting, but would fit into our strict nutritional profile.

    The result is one my new favorite meals on the menu: the Chicken Parmesan with Whole Wheat Spaghetti and a side of Asparagus (coming up for dinner on Wednesday, May 14)!

    But it is so very hard to pick just one favorite meal from the GMM menus!

    From the Healthy Selection menu, I also love the Moroccan Chicken with Orange Couscous and Baby Spinach Salad (next Tuesday, May 6!), and the Kung Pao Chicken with the Thai Pineapple Rice (Friday, May 30). Of course, the Vegetarian menu also has great new items like the Mexican Vegetarian Rice Bowl (Monday, May 12), and the Sweet Potato Burger with Lemon Basil Spread served with the Cannellini Bean Salad (Monday, May 26).

    I could go on, but we would like to hear from you! Which are your new favorites?

    GMM Moroccan Chicken with Orange Couscous and Baby Spinach Salad with Toasted Almonds, Dates and Cumin Lime Dressing

    GMM Moroccan Chicken with Orange Couscous and Baby Spinach Salad with Toasted Almonds, Dates and Cumin Lime Dressing

  • 02Apr

    Today’s post is contributed by GMM Senior Vice President, Jess White.

    I’ll be the first to admit that I am not a writer. I can talk all day long, but when it comes to putting pen to paper, or rather fingers to the keyboard, I can’t ever seem to think of the right way to kick start the conversation!

    That being said, give me the opportunity to write about food, and I could pen a short novella in a matter of minutes.

    I should start off by dedicating this blog entry to the launch of our 2014 Spring/Summer Good Measure Meals Menu. In all honesty, it inspired me to write, to share, and to introduce you all to the things I love about our food. Yes, I may be a bit biased… after all, I live for this organization, our food and most of all, our mission to serve.

    If you’ve ever been to the Open Hand website, you’ll see our tagline front and center…“It’s About More.” Everything we do here has a deeper meaning, and so I thought I would share some of the new menu items and provide you with the insight behind why we’re excited to bring them to your table!

    Jess’ Top Three New GMM Dishes:

    1. Turkey Barley Stuffed Pepper- If you’ve ever been on our vegetarian meal plan, you might have had our lentil stuffed pepper, an old favorite of mine. This season, we’re introducing a new Healthy Selection version combining a lean ground turkey with barley, a grain that when consumed whole can help regulate blood sugar for up to 10 hours. As a bonus, barley contains 8 of the 13 essential amino acids! Not only is this is tastiest stuffed pepper that I have ever tasted, it will do your body good!

    peppers barley turkey stuffed pepp

    2. I didn’t think that I could possibly enjoy our Crab Cake lunch any more, but then our amazing menu development team decided to add in a fresh summertime salad to add some seasonal flare. Instead of your normal greens, we’re using Kale as our base, which is high in Vitamin A, C and K, and shown to be essential (along with other leafy greens) for preventing age-related macular degeneration. Tossed in a light vinaigrette and sprinkled with almonds and dried apricots, you have a tasty treat that is also easy on the eyes!

    almonds kale apricots

    3. Speaking of salads, our RD/Chefs put together another spring sensation, our New GMM Asian Chicken Salad with baby spinach, mandarin oranges, carrots, toasted almonds and a sesame vinaigrette. This salad is already a crowd pleaser. Not only is it packed full of taste and color, but it also contains Folate, vitamin C, K, and A. Add a little lean protein from the chicken and nuts, and you’ve got yourself a perfectly balanced meal that is simply scrum-diddily-YUMcious!

    chick salad up close

    Well, there you have it folks, a little behind-the-scenes tour of what to expect from the new Spring/Summer menu from Good Measure Meals. There are many more healthy and delectable entrees, so be sure to check out our menus online at www.goodmeasuremeals.com. Remember, you are the reason that we do what we do, so let us know what you like, what you want to see more of, and how we can continue to impress you!

    Bon appetit!

  • 27Mar

    Today’s post is contributed by GMM Community Nutrition Educator/Culinary Specialist, Ashley Van Cise.

    Adding a variety of color to my plate is one way that I keep myself on a healthy eating track. By choosing color, I know I’m eating an assortment of vitamins, minerals and phytochemicals.

    Pictured here are foods that I’ve made at home, highlighting some of my attempts to add color to my own plate. I’ve called out the phytochemicals that correlate to the color and the potential health benefits of each one.

    cherry tomato and basil pasta salad
    Cherry Tomato and Basil Pasta Salad – check out the bright red and yellow tomatoes. These tomatoes have concentrated amounts of lycopene which have been studied for their ability to protect against heart disease and cancer.

    blueberry oat
    Blueberry Oat Bran Muffins – focus your eye on the blueberries in these muffins. Their blue/purple color comes from a type of flavonoid called anthocyanins, which can act like antioxidants, reduce inflammation and combat against cancer cells.

    Black Bean Chili with Sweet Potatoes and Swiss Chard
    Black Bean Chili with Sweet Potatoes and Swiss Chard – Notice the orange going on here. Sweet potatoes are high in beta carotene which is a type of carotenoid that may protect against heart disease. The beans also contain flavonoids that can decrease inflammation and protect against heart disease, stroke and cancer.

    Roasted BBQ Chicken, Quinoa Pilaf and Arugula Salad with Radish and Carrots
    Roasted BBQ Chicken, Quinoa Pilaf and Arugula Salad with Radish and Carrots – There are a several healthy things going on in this picture. First, let me highlight the arugula which contains lutein, a type of carotenoid that can work to maintain healthy vision and protect eyes from cataracts and macular degeneration. Also notice the red radish, these contain anthocyanins, which I mentioned when discussing the blueberries found in the Oat Bran Muffins.

    Grilled Vegetables topped with Fresh Basil
    Grilled Vegetables topped with Fresh Basil – Check out those onions. Even though onions are white, they are high in a flavonoid called quercetin which works as an antioxidant to decrease inflammation and protect the body against heart disease, stroke and certain types of cancer.

    The way phytochemicals work and the optimum amounts for consuming are still being researched. Your goals should be to incorporate 5-9 servings of colorful fruits and veggies daily.

    What is the most colorful food on your plate today?

  • 20Mar

    Today’s post is contributed by GMM Marketing and Tradeshow Coordinator, Camille Johnson

    Let’s face it. Most of us are creatures of habit.

    I plead the fifth.

    I happen to be one of those people who doesn’t mind eating the same lunch five days in a row. When you find healthy recipes that are affordable to make and don’t take much time, it’s easy to repeat!

    But working at Good Measure Meals has allowed me the opportunity to try different types of food while simultaneously eliminating that “intimidating factor” attached to some health-promoting foods.

    One of those amazing discoveries is Farro, a hearty ancient grain with a nutty flavor.

    After I tried Farro on GMM’s menu, I decided I wanted to try and cook it on my own. I bought some of my favorite chicken stock (I always purchase reduced sodium), a bundle of kale, fresh garlic, & a huge onion.

    After cooking the Farro in the chicken stock and then sautéing the kale, onion, and garlic separately (using Extra Virgin Olive Oil), I thought “why not combine these together?” I’m glad I did! It was delicious, and it has even become one of my meals of habit lately, since it’s easy and satisfying.

    GMM isn’t only a great tool for weight-loss or convenience, but also a great way to inspire people to put on that apron and try something new!

    What new foods have you incorporated into your cooking routine lately? Share in the comments, and let’s inspire each other!

    Kale Farro Salad

    photo via a similar recipe on Bon Apetit Magazine

  • 04Mar

    It’s National Nutrition Month, so naturally, our dietitians are all in a tizzy with ideas and cooking demonstrations and classes and new recipes to share.

    Spoiler alert: I’m not actually a dietitian (although I certainly appreciate the hard work they all do – AND their genius recipe ideas). But I do like to cook, and I love experimenting with healthy recipes.

    To be fair, some of these experiments haven’t been the best ideas. For example, even though avocado is a healthy fat, it does not quite translate to a fat-replacement in a brownie recipe (sorry Gray!).

    kat cook collage

    Memory lane montage from some culinary escapades through the years…

    But then again, some of my experiments have turned out to be real winners. My shining example is my favorite, easiest-to-make, Katherine-Original-Recipe for Garlicky Raw Kale Salad.

    “Oh my gosh, another kale recipe.” – I can hear all those silent judgey voices in your heads right now.

    You’ve had the sautéed kale with raisins and nuts and balsamic; the sautéed kale with soy and garlic. Fair enough. You’ve tried some kale recipes.

    But have you tried this one? Because this one literally only requires 5 minutes of your time and ingredients you probably already have in the house. (And it can be winged without measuring utensils – see below – and tweaked to your tastes.)

    And in case you’re on the fence about another kale recipe (“it’s so bitter” “it’s too tough” “it’s too fad-ish” “just…no” – I still hear your head-voices), let me just tell you that Katherine’s Garlicky Raw Kale Salad has kind of become a “thing” around Atlanta, and it’s converted some pretty tough critics, too.

    Basically, this whole thing started from a rip-off of Whole Foods’ Raw Garlicky Kale Salad, which I love so much.

    “Surely this can’t be too hard to make,” I thought to myself one day, after realizing I’d purchased the salad three days in a row for dinner and needed to have an intervention with myself and my wallet.

    So I tooled around in the kitchen one afternoon, and below is the result. And I must say…I think mine’s better than Whole Foods’. Less dressing-y and way tastier.

    I’ve taken this recipe to multiple potlucks over the course of the last two years (because it is SO easy, but it still sounds gourmet). After each party, at least one person asks for the recipe and then tells me later that they’ve remade the recipe for another party of their own (and had someone from their party ask them for the recipe)! Basically, this salad has started its own pyramid scheme of nutritious delight.

    Here’s how it works…(and keep in mind this is all approximations – Play it loose! Play it by ear!)

    You’ll need:
    Kale: I used one bag of pre-chopped kale, but I’ve also used the leaves off of 1-2 bunches before
    Garlic: I used about 1 Tbs of the pre-minced garlic here, but I’ve also used 2-4 cloves of fresh minced garlic, too.
    Hummus: ¾ of a container of Garlic, Plain, or another flavor of your favorite hummus brand.
    Lemon Juice: I used about 1 Tbs. of the kind in the plastic lemon. But I highly recommend using the equivalent (or more if you like) of fresh-squeezed juice from a real lemon. (If you have the time, that is.)
    Parmesan Cheese: Start with ¼ cup and work up to 1/3 cup if you feel you need a little more.
    Red Pepper Flakes: Adds a hidden surprise kick! Sprinkle to taste. 1 Tsp added a good amount of spice to this mix below.
    Salt/Pepper: to taste. I don’t often add, because the lemon juice takes care of the “zip” I’m looking for.

    photo

    photo_1

    Kale

    photo_2

    Add the hummus in, and stir-stir-stir-stir. Then stir some more. Don’t give up – it takes a good while to incorporate. This is the longest step of the recipe!

    photo_3

    Voila!

    photo_5

    Minced Garlic

    photo_9

    Lemon Juice

    photo_11

    Red Pepper Flakes and Parmesan Cheese

    photo_12

    *This ended up being a spicy batch! Add Red Pepper Flakes to your specific tastes.*

    photo_13

    Parmesan Cheese

    photo_14

    (Added a little extra hummus at the end!)

    photo_2_polaroid

    photo_1_polaroid

  • 10Jun

    Contributed by Good Measure Meals Chef and Registered Dietitian, Catherine Izzo

    When I was a kid, I couldn’t wait for summer to start. Because school was out, I got an opportunity to spend most of my days outside riding my bike, swimming, and playing in my grandmother’s garden. My grandmother knew all the secrets to a successful garden. She could tell you which plants needed coffee grounds or egg shells and how much water each plant needed and how often. Her hard work and dedication paid off, because not only was her garden always lush and beautiful, the flavor of her produce was so delicious that every meal seemed gourmet.

    Cherry TomatoesAs both a dietitian and chef, I have carried my respect and love for seasonal and local produce into the meals that I create for Good Measure Meals and Open Hand. When we are planning the menus, we always think of what foods will be in season; when we are considering vendors, we prefer those who are local. The end result is nutritionally packed healthy fresh meals.

    This week is no exception, keep an eye out for these meals that include produce that is in season right now. This week’s breakfast is packed with seasonal fruit including Strawberry Compote and Blueberry Pancakes. Every week of the cycle, we feature different fresh salads at lunch. This week features roasted turkey over mixed greens, carrots, cherry tomatoes and onion with house-made Greek dressing. One of my personal favorite sauces that we make is in this Sunday’s lunch: Arugula Pesto, which is a flavorful blending of arugula, basil, walnuts, lemon and olive oil. Mixed Berries

    We are so happy and proud to present all of our customers with the best possible benefits of the season’s produce. Bon Appétit!

  • 24May

    Contributed by Good Measure Meals Registered Dietitian, Joy Goetz.

    One look at Pinterest, Tumblr, or just about any social networking website, and it’s clear that DIY is all the rage!

    Nothing gets me more excited than a new project, but I know from experience that they usually involve more work than I think, and things often do not go as planned – especially when Mother Nature is involved.

    Maybe that’s why gardening is intimidating for some people. Outcomes are not guaranteed, even when we do everything right! However, there is nothing more satisfying than picking your own fresh herbs from your garden or biting into your first home-grown tomato of the season.

    Garden-fresh cucumbers and tomatoes

    Garden-fresh cucumbers and tomatoes

    If you’ve never had a green thumb before, here are some of the most important things to remember:
    1. Pick a convenient location. This is key! If you see the garden every day, you are much more likely to notice if your plants need attention and it will increase your chances of success…AND your enjoyment of your  garden. Your ideal spot will get at least 6-8 hours of sunlight per day, have easy access to water, and be convenient for you.

    2. Plant the right thing at the right time. If this is your first summer, set yourself up for success by starting small: cherry tomatoes, cucumbers, hot peppers and herbs are pretty fool-proof and grow really well in containers. For a June garden, I’d recommend buying tomato and pepper plants, but herbs and vegetables that have larger seeds (think cucumbers, beans and squash) grow quickly and you can save some money by buying seeds for those. How many should you buy? The Square Foot Gardening method has excellent instructions for how to space your plants to maximize what you can grow by planting 1, 4, 9 or 16 plants per square foot. Do a little math before you go shopping!

    Potted cherry tomato plant

    Potted cherry tomato plant

    3. Pay attention to your garden. Picking a good location (step #1!) helps with this. Gardens are kind of like babies. They can’t talk to you, but if you pay attention, you’ll notice if they’re looking thirsty or if a pesky bug is bothering them.

    It’s really just that easy! Anyone can do it.

    Potted basil plant

    Potted basil plant

    In fact, as part of the Senior Community Garden Initiative last year, I helped over 100 people (half were first-time gardeners) get started.

    The Senior Community Garden Initiative was a joint project between Open Hand, the Atlanta Regional Commission and the Atlanta Community Bank, and resulted in 8 new community gardens in the Atlanta area, most of them in low-income neighborhoods.

    This is one of the ways Open Hand is working to improve the nutrition and quality of life of our neighbors. Remember, 100% of the profits from Good Measure Meals go directly to Atlanta non-profit Open Hand, and help to fund exciting projects like this.

    Let’s get planting!

  • 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?