Friday, October 26, 2012

Warm Buckwheat Groats with Apples and Cranberries

Warm Buckwheat Groats with Apples and Cranberries ©2012 - Michelle Loy, MPH, MS, RD, CSSD - Go Wellness
It's officially fall, and during this time of year, I'm ready to break out the warm, slower-cooking breakfast dishes, like hot oatmeal or quinoa.  Well, I am ready to try something new, so I experimented with whole buckwheat groats. Buckwheat groats are the hulled fruit seed of the buckwheat plant.  The seeds have a mild flavor that is intensified with roasting or toasting.  Nutritionally speaking, buckwheat groats are a good source of fiber, magnesium, and manganese.  It is also gluten-free for those who need that option.

Hot buckwheat groats - ©2012 - Michelle Loy, MPH, MS, RD, CSSD - Go Wellness
 While I'm sharing it as a hot cereal, it can also be added to soups and stews or combined with vegetables, nuts or seeds, and herbs or spices for a chilled salad.  Buckwheat groats can also be used in pilafs, casseroles, or stuffings in place of brown rice or other grains.

Buckwheat groats - ©2012 - Michelle Loy, MPH, MS, RD, CSSD - Go Wellness
I love the crunchy texture of buckwheat groats, and it has a slightly earthier flavor than other grains, like brown rice or steel-cut oats, with which most people are familiar.  If you like texture, then this dish will definitely serve it up with the groats, chopped apples, and cranberries.  If you wanted even more crunch, you could even add nuts, like pecans or walnuts.  Need kid-friendly breakfast dishes?  This one is kid-tested and approved!  Enjoy this slower-cooking breakfast dish on a weekend and save leftovers for easy reheating during the week.  It saves nicely in the fridge for at least 2-3 days after cooking.  Enjoy!

Have you tried buckwheat groats?  How do you enjoy them?  Will you give this recipe a try?  

Warm Buckwheat Groats with Apples and Cranberries
Adapted from: Jenn Cuisine,
1 cup buckwheat groats, rinsed
1 Tbsp coconut oil (or butter)
1 cup coconut milk (I use canned coconut milk. I require dairy-free recipes for my son who's sensitive to cow's milk. You could use cow's milk or other alternative milk, too.)
1 1/2 cups water
1 stick cinnamon
1 pinch nutmeg
1/2 tsp salt
1 large apple, cored and chopped
1/4 cup dried cranberries
100% pure maple syrup and extra milk for drizzling

1.  Combine the buckwheat groats, coconut oil, coconut milk, water, cinnamon, nutmeg, and salt in a large saucepan over high heat, and bring to a boil.  Reduce heat to low, cover, and simmer, stirring occasionally, for about 30 minutes or until the groats are soft and tender and the liquid is absorbed.
2.  Once cooked, remove from heat and stir in the apples and cranberries.  
3.  Drizzle with maple syrup and extra milk before serving.  (The fruit adds a nice hint of sweetness, so you could skip the maple syrup, if you like.  Or you could opt for stevia for sweetness, too.)  Enjoy!

Serves:  4
Nutritional Information:  
Calories:  383   Carbohydrate:  47 g   Protein:  6 g   Fat:  21 g   Cholesterol: 0 mg   Fiber:  5.5 g   Sugar:  11 g (3 grams added sugar from maple syrup)   Sodium:  308 mg
Excellent source of: zinc
Good source of:  thiamin, riboflavin, niacin, and iron

Friday, July 13, 2012

Foodie Friday: Jicama Fries

Jicama Fries -- Copyright 2012 by Michelle Loy, MPH, MS, RD, CSSD - Go Wellness

Not only is today Friday the 13th, but it is also apparently National French Fry Day.  What better way to celebrate than to share a new, healthier twist on an old favorite?  I will admit that I do enjoy the real fry deal on occasion, but I've found a way to satisfy that taste for fries in a very gratifying way at home.  My latest discovery has been jicama fries.  I'll be honest.  The way I've most frequently enjoyed jicama has been served raw in salads, so it's a veggie I'm just beginning to explore.  Known as the "Mexican potato", jicama is a root veggie that's like a cross between a potato and a very mild apple with its crunchy texture and hint of sweetness.  It's a great way to help satisfy your fluid needs through food since it's mostly water, about 90%! It also contains 6 filling grams of fiber per cup and is high in vitamin C.  It works well raw or cooked, like in stir fries.  Since I've made fries using other veggies, like sweet potatoes and carrots, I thought, "Why not try jicama, too?".  It turns out these jicama fries are a pleasant surprise for my entire fam.  Not only do they offer a tasty, unique twist on the good ol' fry, but they're also very easy to prep and cook.  Try them out and let me know what you think.  Are you a fan of jicama?  What's your favorite way to enjoy it?

Jicama Fries

{Print recipe}
1/2 small-medium jicama, cut into about 1/4-in thick sticks about 3-4-inches long -- For help on cutting up the jicama, I suggest this tutorial.
1 Tbsp extra virgin olive oil
Salt, garlic powder, onion powder, paprika, and turmeric, to taste (I don't measure here but probably use about 1/4 tsp salt and 1/8 tsp of the other seasonings/spices.)

1.  Preheat oven to 375F.  Combine olive oil and spices in a medium bowl.  Toss jicama sticks into the bowl to coat evenly.
2.  Place jicama sticks onto a baking sheet lined with parchment paper or on a wire rack (I use a wire rack for even heating without having to flip them mid-way through baking.)  Make sure that the sticks have enough space around them so that they don't touch one another.
3.  If baking directly on baking sheet lined with parchment paper, bake for 15 minutes.  Then flip the fries over and bake for another 10 minutes, or until golden brown in color.  If baking on a wire rack, then you can just bake continuously for 25 minutes, or until golden brown in color.  Remove from oven and enjoy!

Serves:  4
Nutritional Information:
Calories:  117   Carbohydrate:  20 g   Protein:  1.7 g   Fat:  3.6 g   Cholesterol: 0 mg   Fiber:  11 g   Sugar (natural):  4 g   Sodium:  156 mg
Excellent source of:  vitamin C
Good source of:  vitamin E, magnesium

Friday, April 6, 2012

Foodie Friday: Easy Overnight Oats

Easy Overnight Oats
I first saw the idea for overnight oats at Kath Eats Real Food at least a year or so ago.  I never tried it out until recently though because I had a hard time wrapping my brain around the idea of oats soaked overnight in liquid actually tasting good the next day.  I figured the texture would be like mush, and I do NOT like super mushy oats.  Well, I finally came around after seeing more inspiration and decided I've got to try this. So many people seemed to like it, so it must not be that bad, right?  I searched for recipes that sounded like something I'd like to try and stumbled upon this one from Whole Foods.  Guess what? It's not mushy!  I think it is not mushy as long as you use whole rolled oats rather than the instant or quick-cooking kind, which are a little more processed.  While overnight oats do not actually require any cooking before eating, I prefer to heat mine up for just a minute in the microwave. I just prefer warm oats.  This recipe is SO easy and really makes eating whole rolled oats in the morning much simpler.  I wasn't sure if my kids would like this dish since it's prepared in a different way than usual, but my son especially LOVES it.  Thank goodness this recipe makes more than enough, so not only do I have enough for my kids, but I also have enough leftover for the next day, too.  This is my base recipe, and you can add in other things to your taste.  I like my oats with blueberries (frozen pictured) and some sort of nuts, usually walnuts or pecans.  This is definitely something that you can make your own and experiment with in a variety of ways.  I hope you aren't like me and decide to try it sooner rather than later. It's SO easy!  Enjoy!

Easy Overnight Oats
Adapted from:  Whole Foods Market

{Print this}
2 cups whole rolled oats (not instant or quick-cooking)
2 cups unsweetened almond milk or other milk (I use unsweetened almond milk.)
1/2 tsp pure vanilla extract (Make your own like this. It's SO worth it!)

For topping:
1/4 cup chopped walnuts, pecans, or almonds
Fresh fruit (I most often use frozen berries. Other fruits, like bananas or peaches, work well, too.)
Cinnamon (I usually use about 1 teaspoon. I never really measure the exact amount.)
2 Tbsp pure maple syrup or honey for drizzling (optional)

1.  Combine oats, milk, and vanilla in a bowl.  Cover and refrigerate overnight.  Remove from the fridge the next morning, combine with the cinnamon, and top with nuts, fruits, and drizzle of maple syrup or honey, if you like.  This can be eaten cold or heated in the microwave for just 1-1 1/2 minutes.  (I heat the oats in the microwave for just a 1-1 1/2 minutes before adding the toppings.)

Serves: 4
Nutritional Information per serving:
Calories:  357   Carbohydrate:  61 g   Protein:  11 g   Fat:  8 g   Cholesterol:  0 mg   Fiber:  4.5 g   Sugar:  12 g  (6 g added sugar from maple syrup or honey)   Sodium:  6 mg
Excellent source of:  omega-3 fatty acid, thiamin, riboflavin
Good source of:  niacin, vitamin C, iron, zinc

Friday, February 3, 2012

Foodie Friday: Healthy Turkey Chili

Healthy Turkey Chili - Copyright 2012 Michelle Loy - Go Wellness

If there's one thing I love in the winter time, it's a nice hearty bowl of soup...or chili.  I love that you get so much  nutritious and delicious goodness in one bowl.  I discovered this Healthy Turkey Chili after my church launched a church-wide healthy eating initiative called The Daniel Plan in 2011.  One of the doctors leading the initiative is Dr. Daniel Amen, and this recipe hails from his wife, Tana.  This is one of the best white meat chilis I've ever had.  One thing that sets it apart is the pureeing of some of the veggies, which adds nice texture to this soup.  Since it's Super Bowl weekend, I thought this would be a great recipe to share for those of you that enjoy a nice bowl of chili during the Super Bowl.  Enjoy!
Do you like chili?  What's your favorite chili recipe?

Healthy Turkey Chili
Adapted from:  Change Your Brain, Change Your Body Cookbook by Tana Amen 

1 Tbsp +1 tsp refined coconut oil
1 pound lean ground turkey
1 cup yellow onion, chopped
*Optional: 1 jalapeno pepper (I leave this out because it's too spicy for my kids.)
3 cloves garlic, chopped
1 tsp chili powder
1 small can (4 oz) diced green chilies
1 Tbsp fresh oregano or 1 tsp dried oregano
1 tsp cumin seed
1-2 tsp salt
3 cups diced tomatoes, fresh or organic canned, no salt added variety
2 cups chicken or vegetable broth, reduced sodium
2 cups celery, chopped
1 cup bell peppers, chopped (I usually use a combination of green and red.)
1/2 cup zucchini, chopped (I usually leave this out as it's a summer vegetable and not in season during the winter. It still tastes perfectly fine.)
2 cups canned kidney beans, drained and rinsed
1 cup canned black beans, drained and rinsed 

1.  Heat 1 tsp of the coconut oil in a large skillet over medium heat, about 1 minute.  Add the celery, bell pepper, and zucchini and heat for another 2 minutes.  
2.  In a large pot, brown the ground turkey in coconut oil over medium heat.  Break up the ground turkey well with a wooden spoon so that it crumbles.  Add the onion, stirring, for about 2 minutes.  
3.  Add the garlic, jalapeno (if using), chili powder, green chilies, oregano, cumin seed, salt, and tomatoes.  Combine well until the spices and meat are thoroughly mixed together.  
4.  Add broth.  
5.  In a blender, add 2 cups of the chili mixture and half of the celery, bell pepper, and zucchini mixture and puree.  Then pour the pureed mixture back into the chili pot.  
6.  Add the remaining celery, bell pepper, and zucchini mixture along with the beans.  Stir thoroughly and heat through on medium-low, about 5 minutes.  Serve. 

Serves: 8
Nutritional Information:
Calories:  230   Carbohydrate:  25 g   Protein:  19 g   Fat:  7 g   Cholesterol: 40 mg   Fiber:  7 g   Sugar: 8 g Sodium:  710 mg   
Excellent source of:  vitamins C and A
Good source of:  vitamin B6, calcium, and iron

Friday, January 27, 2012

Foodie Friday: Baked Beet Chips

Baked Beet Chips - Copyright 2012 Michelle Loy - Go Wellness
Over the last year I've developed a special fondness for beets.  Although my all-time favorite way to enjoy them so far is roasted, I have enjoyed them in other ways as well.  One of the latest ways I've had fun with beets is by making baked beet chips.  These are great because they're really easy and they can satisfy that craving for something crunchy.  This recipe actually works with other veggies, too, like potatoes, sweet potatoes, and carrots.  Cooking times may vary depending on the veggie used.  I let my kids help me make these, and they really enjoy it.  They also like the chips.  If you try them out, let me know what you think.

Baked Beet Chips

{Print this recipe}
2 medium beets
Spray olive oil (or about 1 tsp olive oil)
Sea salt

Sliced beet rounds - Copyright 2012 Michelle Loy - Go Wellness
1.  Preheat oven to 325F.
2.  Using a mandoline slicer, slice the beets into thin rounds (about 1/8-inch to 1/4-inch thick - I use the narrowest setting on my mandoline slicer.)      
3.  Place the beet rounds in a single layer on a baking sheet.  (I also use a wire rack, which really helps distribute the heat evenly around the beet slices.)  Lightly spray with olive oil.  (If you do not have an olive oil mister, toss the beet rounds into a bowl before placing on the baking sheet, and drizzle with about 1 tsp of olive oil.)  Season with salt.  (I'm pretty light-handed with this since I personally don't like the chips too salty.)
4.  Bake for 25-35 minutes, or until the edges begin to crisp up.  (Baking time will vary depending on the thickness of the beet rounds and your oven. Just check on them starting at about 25 minutes.) Once finished, remove from the oven and let them cool on the baking sheet.  Enjoy!

Serves: 2
Nutritional Information:
Calories:  56   Carbohydrate:  8 g   Protein:  1.4 g   Fat:   2.4 g   Cholesterol:  0 mg   Fiber:  2.4 g   Sodium:  137 mg
Excellent source of: folate

Friday, January 20, 2012

Foodie Friday: Roasted Cabbage

Roasted Cabbage

If there's one family of veggies that I believe everyone should consume nearly everyday, it is the cruciferous vegetables.  This family of veggies includes broccoli, cauliflower, cabbage, Brussels sprouts, bok choy, chard, kohlrabi, and kale.  Everyone's favorites, right?  To be honest, I know a few people for whom some of these veggies can be a tough sell, but it can be done.  Sometimes it just depends on the method of preparation.  More on that later.  Why are these veggies so valuable to our health?  This group of veggies contains a variety of potent cancer-protective compounds, such as glucosinolates, indoles, and isothiocyanates, along with numerous essential cancer-fighting vitamins and minerals.  Research suggests that cruciferous vegetables may be especially helpful at guarding against cancers of the mouth, pharynx, larynx, esophagus, and stomach.  These veggies may also be protective against lung and colorectal cancer, too.  So eat your veggies, especially the cruciferous ones!

I mentioned earlier that some of these veggies can be a tough sell.  That sometimes depends on how they're served or prepared.  I've found that it's best to experiment with preparation methods to discover what ways work best for you or your family.  One tried and true method of preparation that makes some of the harder-to-like veggies more likable is roasting.  Roasting can help bring out a nice natural, earthy sweetness and flavor of the vegetable.  Plus it helps soften the vegetable, which can sometimes be the veggie challenge for kids.  Getting my kids to eat raw cabbage is pretty tough.  I think the texture is just a bit difficult for them to handle with their little chompers.  While my husband and I enjoy raw sauerkraut, the kids find it too tart.  Because I'm always trying to find new ways to get my kiddos and my family to enjoy veggies, I thought that roasting the cabbage would be perfect.  This did the trick.  This is one way that my kids will enjoy cabbage. Yay, a win for this Mommy RD!

Roasted Cabbage

1 Tbsp plus 2 more Tbsp of extra virgin olive oil
1 medium-head green cabbage, cut into 1-inch thick rounds
Coarse salt and freshly ground black pepper
1 tsp caraway or fennel seeds

1.  Preheat oven to 400F.  
2.  Brush 1 Tbsp of olive oil over a rimmed baking sheet.  Place the cabbage head rounds on the sheet in a single layer, and brush with 2 Tbsp of remaining olive oil.  Season with the salt and pepper, and sprinkle with the caraway or fennel seeds.  
3.  Roast until the cabbage is tender and the edges are golden, about 40-45 minutes.  
*Note: Another favorite option of mine that adds a nice pop of flavor is to top with a high-quality chopped bacon (about 4 slices works just fine) rather than the caraway or fennel seeds.  

Serves:  6
Nutritional Information:
Calories:  54   Carbohydrate:  1 g   Protein:  0 g   Fat:  6 g   Cholesterol: 0mg   Fiber:  0.5 g   Sugar:  0 g   Sodium:  50 mg

Friday, January 13, 2012

Foodie Friday: Asian Meatballs with Sesame Lime Dipping Sauce

Asian Meatballs
About a month ago, I had the pleasure of tasting a sample of grass-fed ground beef prepared by the very ranchers that helped raised the cattle that produced that ground beef.  That one bite was one of the most delicious bites of ground beef I've ever had. I had to ask how it was prepared, and the rancher-chef answered,  "Just a little bit of salt and pepper. That's it!"  I was sold instantly.  While I've made a variety of dishes with that ground beef purchase, one of my favorites so far has been these Asian Meatballs with Sesame Lime Dipping Sauce.  I thought that these would be a nice dinner option because my kids tend to like meatballs, and my husband and I love food with an Asian flair.  My family has definitely enjoyed these scrumptious meatballs, and I envision them becoming a regular option on our dinner menu.  If you give them a try, let me know what you think.  Enjoy!

Asian Meatballs with Sesame Lime Dipping Sauce
Adapted from:, January 12, 2010

{Print this recipe}
Ingredients for the Asian Meatballs:
1/4 cup whole wheat bread crumbs (If you're going for gluten-free, then there are gluten-free bread crumbs available.)
1 pound grass-fed ground beef or 90% lean ground beef
1 large egg, lightly beaten
1 Tbsp ginger, minced
1 clove garlic, minced
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 cup fresh cilantro, chopped
1 Tbsp reduced-sodium tamari (I use San-J Organic Tamari Gluten-Free Reduced Sodium Soy Sauce.)
2 tsp sesame oil

Ingredients for the Sesame Lime Dipping Sauce:
4 Tbsp reduced-sodium tamari
2 tsp sesame oil
2 Tbsp freshly squeezed lime juice
2 Tbsp water
4 sprigs of fresh cilantro, for topping

1.  Preheat oven to 500F.
2.  Combine the bread crumbs, ground beef, egg, ginger, garlic, salt, chopped cilantro, 1 Tbsp tamari, and 2 tsp sesame oil in a bowl.  Mix together with your hands until well combined.  Form the meatballs using about 3 Tbsp of the meat mixture.  Transfer each meatball to a 13" x 9" baking dish, making sure they are about 1/2-inch apart.  Bake until cooked through, about 15 minutes.
3.  While the meatballs are baking, prepare the dipping sauce by combining the remaining 4 Tbsp of tamari, 2 tsp of sesame oil, lime juice, and water. Stir together until well combined.
4.  When the meatballs are done cooking, transfer them to a serving dish.  Stir the sauce and drizzle about 1 Tbsp of the dipping sauce over the meatballs.  Sprinkle with the cilantro sprigs.  Then serve the meatballs with the remaining sauce.
*This dish pairs well with steamed brown rice and steamed, roasted, grilled, or sauteed Asian vegetables, like bok choy or cabbage.

Serves:  4
Nutritional Information for about 3 meatballs:
Calories:  284   Carbohydrate:  4 g   Protein:  27 g   Fat:  17 g   Cholesterol:  127 mg   Fiber: 0.5 g   Sugar: 0 g   Sodium:  1287 mg
Excellent source of: riboflavin, niacin, vitamins B6, B12, and A, iron, and zinc
Good source of:  potassium
*This dish is high in sodium due to the tamari.  If you'd like to minimize the sodium level, you can use less of the tamari and a little more water in the sauce and/or use less of the sauce.  My kids actually enjoyed these without any extra sauce.
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