Ideas For All Those Apples You Picked!

For me, September has always represented the quintessential fall day:  beautiful colored leaves, the crisp autumn air, and, of course, apples.  This is just about the time of year when it starts to feel like you have apples galore!  So below you’ll find a few tips and tricks to jazz up the ordinary apple into something extraordinary!

1.  Create an edible apple bowl for your oatmeal…core the apple, place your oatmeal inside, and bake (Newcomer)!

2.  Add sliced apple to the pan the next time you saute onions…the resulting dish will be a marriage made in heaven (Newcomer)!

3.  Dice apple (particularly Granny Smith) and toss it into a salad with spinach, blue cheese, nuts, (I enjoy walnuts) and balsamic vinaigrette…yum (Newcomer)!

4.  Add them to salsa to add a little sweetness to a spicy flavor (Newcomer)!

5.  Slice them the long way and bake them in the oven.  The result?  Crunchy apple chips (Newcomer).

6.  Make an apple smoothie (Newcomer).

7.  If you suffer from migraines or severe headaches, studies show that the scent of an apple can dissipate symptoms and alleviate pain… it’s worth a try (Newcomer)!

8.  Having a dinner party and your soup or sauce comes out a touch too salty?  Toss in a few sliced apples to the mixture, stir them around for a bit, and then remove before serving.  The apple will “magically” take away that overpowering salty flavor (Newcomer)!

9.  Bake homemade apple cinnamon bread (Newcomer).

10.  Dice them and put them in a frittata or quiche for a yummy autumn breakfast (Newcomer).

11.  Prepare a homemade chicken marinade with apple, garlic, onion, salt, pepper, and a variety of your favorite spices (Newcomer).

12.  Thinly slice them and insert them into your favorite sandwich…they go just as well in a peanut-butter and jelly as they do in a turkey and cheese sandwich (Newcomer).

I hope that you enjoy these quick ideas and let me know how your apple masterpieces turn out!

Until Next Week… Plan Well, Pack Well, Live Well,

Katie 🙂

Works Cited

Newcomer, Laura.  Greatist.  Greatist.  8 November 2012.  Web.  8 August 2013. <http://greatist.com/health/surprising-ways-use-leftover-apples>

Advertisements

Ingredient Spotlight #1: Chia Seeds

To commemorate the start of the school year, I’m adding a post category called “Ingredient Spotlights” in an attempt to highlight some of the latest and greatest super foods.  All of the ingredients that will be spotlighted in the year to come certainly do have a substantial amount of hype surrounding them in the food world, but they also have serious and undeniable nutritional value.  These spotlights will not be replacing the “Ingredient Profiles,” as these two posts will run simultaneously, but they will be offered to provide some insight into the foods out there that are most nutrient dense.  So this week, all hail the chia seed!

Chia seeds are small, dark colored seeds that nowadays can be found at almost any grocery store.  Unlike flax seeds, these chia seeds can be enjoyed whole, and don’t need to be ground or stoned in order to reap the health benefits.  These seeds originated in South America, where the Aztecs and Mayans incorporated them into many of their favorite dishes.  They aren’t made with any gluten or grains, so therefore, they can be an important part of a gluten-free diet (Hathwell).

As you will see when you pick up a bag of this nutritious food option, just two tablespoons of chia seeds contain approximately:

10 grams of fiber

18% of daily recommended intake for calcium

Approx. 1/2 of daily recommended intake for manganese

24% of daily recommended intake for magnesium

Heaps and heaps of antioxidants

Oodles and oodles of omega-3 fatty acids

35% daily recommended intake for phosphorus

Chia seeds can be added into almost any recipe you currently have.  For example, consider incorporating them into homemade waffle or pancake batter.  They’re also delicious sprinkled over Greek yogurt and fruit, fresh salad greens, or even vegetable soups.  Keep in mind that they do not alter the taste of what you’re eating in any way, instead, they add a crunch to your meal!  In addition, chia seeds can be easily substituted in for eggs in any batter or recipe.  This is because the outer portion of the seed inflates and expands when exposed to water.  Therefore, by combining 3 tablespoons of chia seeds with 1 tablespoon of water, and then waiting just 15 minutes,  you can create the perfect replacement for eggs!  The chia seeds and water create a gel that takes the place of an cholesterol filled egg (Hathwell).

Please let me know if these seeds are something that you’ve had before, or are looking forward to try!

Until Next Week… Plan Well, Pack Well, Live Well,

Katie 🙂

Works Cited

Hathwell, Jen.  HealthyEating.sfgate.  Hearst Communications Incorporated.  2013.  Web.  6 August 2013.  <http://healthyeating.sfgate.com/top-10-health-benefits-chia-seeds-6962.html>

Face Lift for Your Brown Bag Lunch

With the start of the school year upon us, I thought it would be fun to dedicate this post to lunchbox “upgrades.”  Below you’ll find ordinary lunchbox items, and then their nutritionally dense counterparts.  I hope that you’ll find these food “swaps” helpful, and that you’ll incorporate them into your brown bag lunches this year!

1.  In place of white bread, try whole wheat bread.  As you may remember from a previous post, the grain in bread is made up of three individual parts: the germ, the endosperm, and the bran.  Fortunately, whole wheat bread contains all portions of the grain kernel; however, the refined flour that is utilized in the production of white bread is stripped of the germ and the bran.  As a result, there is an absence of many vital nutrients and vitamins in white bread.

2.  Instead of store bought Ranch salad dressing, experiment with homemade vinaigrette.  Might I add, Project Lunchbox has a delicious recipe for “Homemade Maple Balsamic Vinaigrette” which can be found on my website (www.projectlunchboxletseat.com) under the Recipes Tab.  Enjoy!

3.  Rather than opting for potato chips, try blue corn tortilla chips with homemade salsa.  Blue corn tortilla chips offer more protein and fiber per serving, and the extra serving of veggies from the salsa can’t hurt!  To make homemade salsa, puree onions, jalapeno peppers, diced tomatoes, herbs, and whatever else your heart desires in the food processor.  You can also skip the food processor and finely dice these ingredients.  It’s really that easy!

4.  In place of iceberg lettuce, try spring mix, baby spinach, or romaine.   All of these greens offer more nutrients than iceberg.  Also, I personally think that spring mix, baby spinach, and romaine have a better texture and aren’t as bland.

5.  Instead of fruit snacks and roll-ups, try fresh or homemade fruit smoothies in a Thermos.  By doing this, you’ll be cutting out a great deal of high fructose corn syrup, artificial flavors, and artificial colors.  Only settle for the real thing, not a modified and processed version of something!

6.  Rather than blueberry flavored yogurt cups, (or strawberry, peach, raspberry, whatever you like) purchase a tub of plain Greek style yogurt and a carton of fresh fruit of your choice to split up in personal portions for the week.  Not only will this method be more cost effective in the long run, you’ll also be cutting out a lot of the added sugar and artificial colors that conventional style, fruit at the bottom yogurt contains.  Also, Greek style yogurt has more protein, and will keep you fuller all the way until dinner.

I hope that everyone has a phenomenal start to the school year!  Let me know how you like these lunchbox “swaps” or if you have some of your own that you’d like to share!

Until Next Week…Plan Well, Pack Well, Live Well,

Katie 🙂