Mushrooms On My Mind…

Last week I had a jewelry show at my house with my FAV jewelry designer Judith Bright so I decided to try to impress my fellow vegetarian friend and her gal pal Robin with a hearty Mushroom and Whole Grain Rice casserole.  Unfortunately we never got to eat it.  (Her stuff is AMAZING so it was no surprise that the show drew quite a crowd!)  I’ve been craving the casserole ever since so yesterday I decided to make it again.

Start by cooking the rice.  You’ll need about 4 cups cooked.  I used a whole grain blend from Target, but you can use whatever you like.  While rice is cooking, sauté mushrooms in a little olive oil and a dash of sea salt in a skillet over medium heat.  Preheat oven to 350.

Once mushrooms are nicely browned, add a diced onion.  I normally use a yellow onion, but only had red on hand.  Cook for a couple minutes, then add several chopped garlic cloves.  Cook for a minute more.  Add kale (I used frozen – run under water to de-thaw and squeeze excess water out) and stir.  Remove heat.

In a large bowl, mix together 2 eggs, 1 cup of cottage cheese, 1/2 cup of plain greek yogurt, a tablespoon of dijon mustard and a pinch of salt.

Grate gruyere cheese – about 1 cup.

Add rice, mushroom mix and half of cheese to cottage cheese mix.  Stir to combine.

Add to a greased 9 x 13 casserole dish, sprinkle with remaining cheese and bake covered with foil for 30 minutes.  Uncover and bake an additional 20 minutes or until top is golden.

Voila!

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My Favorite Sandwich

This is my go to lunch.  It is super easy, super healthy and super yummy!  I like to use Wholefoods 365 Sprouted Wheat Berry Fiber bread (70 cals and 5g fiber per slice = NICE).  Spread hummus on both slices and then add whatever fresh veggies you like – I like avocado, red pepper, cucumber and broccoli sprouts which I almost always have on hand, but grated carrots and leafy greens are also a good addition.  A thin slice of cheese (I like to get the deli to slice mine almost paper thin to save on fat and calories) is nice, too.

Hope you enjoy this sandwich as much as I do!

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Soups On!

Today it was gloomy and wet so it seemed like a perfect day to make some soup.  I always have a recipe or two that I have been wanting to try out so today I grabbed the latest edition of Vegetarian Times and decided on two soups that I had already folded down the pages on – Garlicky Leek and Artichoke Soup and Winter Squash, Leek and Apple Soup.

I roasted the squash and apple while making the artichoke soup…

 

I think I’ll have soup and salad for lunch and then feed the family soup and grilled cheese for dinner.

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Lunch Today

Those of you who know me know that I love the Today Show.  So today on Today they had Lori Powell from Prevention Magazine who showed us some ideas for making healthy Super Bowl fare.  I was superbly impressed and went straight away to my pantry where I just so happened to have all the ingredients needed to make the Seeded Tortilla Chips which served as a delightfully crisp backdrop to the hummus, avocado, tomato, cucumber and broccoli sprouts I had for lunch.

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breaking from the old

So obviously I haven’t posted anything in a long time.  I just wasn’t feeling it.  My heart wasn’t in it.  So I took a break and now I’m feeling a new direction, a positive direction, more of a celebration of what is good and right.  I realized I was trying to change people and their opinions, how they do things, etc, but what I really want to do is just be me and if that inspires somebody to try something new or be something else then so be it.

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Food or Candy given as a REWARD sets our Children up for future FAILURE…

Recently my daughter came home from school on a friday and told me she had a great day because she got candy/treats 7 times that day.  How can that be I asked?  Well it seems she was given candy by the gym teachers (yes, the very ones who are supposed to be educating our children about nutrition and fitness) for scoring a point, the spanish teacher for a job well done, the math helper for working hard, krispy kreme donuts for classroom friday treats sent in by a parent each week, a soda for “pop your top” which is also every friday, and the ice cream she bought in the cafeteria.  Ugh!  Educators are supposed to nurture young minds and encourage and create a positive learning environment.  The more a child is exposed to sweets and candy the more they begin to crave it which leads to a never ending cycle of sugar addiction and a “what’s in it for me” attitude toward academic performance and good behavior.  Schools should be educating children about healthy lifestyles and promoting an environment that supports such a lifestyle.

“Rewarding children with unhealthy foods in school undermines our efforts to teach them about good nutrition. It’s like teaching children a lesson on the importance of not smoking, and then handing out ashtrays and lighters to the kids who did the best job listening.”  Marlene Schwartz, PhD, Co-Director, Rudd Center for Food Policy and Obesity, Yale University

What’s a parent to do?

It seems to me the goal of rewarding children is to help them internalize positive behaviors so that over time they will not need a reward. Rewarding children at home or in the classroom does not need to involve candy or food. Experts agree using candy or food as a reward reaches beyond the short-term benefits of good behavior. Rewarding children with candy or food:

• Encourages overeating of foods high in sugar and fat

• Teaches children to eat when they’re not hungry

• Teaches children to reward themselves with food

• Teaches children to connect food to mood

• Contributes to poor health

• Undermines healthy habits

If we value the health and wellness of our children we need to put a stop to this practice of giving kids junk as a way of rewarding good behavior and instead instill and promote positive health habits that will last a lifetime.

Further reading – Joanne Ikeda’s article in  kansas nutrition news and Alternatives to Food as a Reward

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Why Buy Organic?

Buying organic is the smart and ethical thing to do.  It not only helps to promote good personal health for you and your family, but also has a lasting impact on the environment and the future health of our planet. Organic  food is produced without pesticides, synthetic fertilizers, growth hormones, artificial ingredients, dyes, preservatives or solvents, irradiation and genetic engineering.  Children are especially at risk from exposure to these toxic substances.  The nutritional quality of organic food is estimated to be about 40% greater than conventionally produced agriculture.  Organic farming helps the environment by promoting biodiversity and strengthening soil quality.  Organic farming practices also impact climate change by reducing greenhouse gas emissions.  Healthier for you plus healthier for the earth – Seems like a no brainer to buy organic whenever you can.
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Fast Food Marketing Aimed at Kids Is Stronger than Ever

by Danny JensenNovember 11, 2010 @ 03:30PM PTTopics: HealthIngredients & Labeling

Considering the unhealthy eating options that are pitched to kids within the school walls these days, it may not come as a surprise that fast food restaurants use every opportunity to market to children the rest of their waking hours. Despite most efforts to combat the onslaught, the trend has only gotten worse in recent years.

A new report from Yale University’s Rudd Center for Food Policy & Obesity reveals that fast food chains have increasingly pumped up the volume on marketing aimed at kids. And I’m not talking about a just few extra billboards — these increases are truly shocking.

Last year, preschoolers were exposed to 56 percent more ads for Subway, 21 percent more for McDonald’s, and 9 percent more for Burger King compared to what they saw in 2007. And older kids ages six to eleven were inundated to an even larger degree, witnessing 59 percent more ads for Subway, 26 percent more for McDonald’s, and 10 percent more for Burger King. Those ads aren’t cheap, either. According to the report, fast food restaurants spent $4.2 billion on marketing this year, which, compared to the $6.5 million spent by the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) to educate consumers on eating a healthy diet, makes for quite a Goliath for David to contend with.

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