It’s November 1st, and if you’re like me, you are ready for a sugar detox after helping yourself to more than one ________________ (fill in your favorite candy bar) from the bowl reserved for trick or treaters last night, and the days leading up to Halloween…let’s be real. As we welcome November, it’s time to gear up for the winter holidays and set some intention for healthy eating in the weeks to come.
- Don’t buy “easy sweets” at the store. I consider “easy sweets” to be packaged cookies, candies, and sweet breads. These can be tempting snacks to enjoy in excess when we should ideally be practicing moderation. My household eats sweets, believe me, but we try and enjoy them homemade. When I’m baking at home (and cooking), I tend to make double batches and freeze dough or baked cakes/breads to use later for dinner parties or unexpected guests. This is my best trick to the hosting game! We also enjoy desserts and pastries out for dinner or at coffee shops. I do buy dark chocolate to use for baking or when those sweet cravings are intense!
- Convenient fruit and vegetable snacking. This is where PCH deliveries become helpful by providing a steady stream of fresh produce. Try cutting up apples and other fruit and store in ziplock baggies for an easy snack on the go. Peel and chop carrots into sticks and store in a container with a dollop of peanut butter. Blanch green beans or broccoli, let cool, and store in ziplock baggies for a tender, flavorful veggie snack. This takes some work on the front end, but you’ll be glad to send kids out the door with produce vs. empty calories.
- Eat healthy fats. Satiation is an important sensation when stepping away from the sugar habit. Foods with higher fat content tend to have less sugar in many cases…don’t be afraid of the fats! Try out whole fat greek yogurt for it’s high protein and low sugar content. Nuts can be a rich, protein packed, satiating snack for that afternoon slump. I enjoy olive oil and ghee (clarified butter) in dressings or with bread at dinnertime to add a palette of richness and flavor, hopefully diminishing the sweet cravings that tend to creep up in late evening.
- Stay active. Our confidence and motivation for healthy eating is encouraged when we engage in other healthy activities like exercise. Start up a workout program or add a few running/walking days to your schedule to boost self-confidence for healthy living.
- Listen to your body. In the end, we all are human and need to enjoy the pleasures of food. The goal is to find a sustainable lifestyle of health and wellness which typically doesn’t mean crash dieting or cutting out all sugar cold turkey. Think of ways to enjoy sweets with boundaries; special occasions, when you have a strong craving, once per day.
Start this journey of listening and setting intentions now, and come the holiday’s, you may have a new sense of self-control with self-love at the dinner/dessert table.
Sushi takes a bit of work on the front end not just preparing ingredients, but having some utensils ready (sushi mat, rice paddle, rice cooker). You can prepare sushi without these essentials, it just may get a little messy. Might I suggest a fun trip to one of the many asian markets around Seattle for well-priced sushi rice, nori, and utensils. A few purchases now will allow for many sushi creating adventures in the years to come. If you don’t have a sushi mat on hand, try folding a clean tea towel to use for sushi rolling instead.
- 1 cup sushi rice
- 3 Tablespoons rice vinegar
- 2 Tablespoons sugar
- ½ teaspoon salt
- 4 sheets of nori (seaweed)
- various vegetables chopped in matchsticks: carrots, cucumber, red pepper, avacado
- additional fillings: sushi grade tuna or smoked salmon, cream cheese, panko crumbs, spicy mayo, sesame seeds, soy sauce/tamari, pickled ginger, wasabi
- Rinse rice thoroughly and cook according to package instructions in a rice cooker or on the stove.
- Once rice is cooked, add vinegar, sugar, and salt and mix well.
- Lay out 1 sheet of nori, shiny side down, on sushi mat. Using a rice paddle, spread a layer rice the over entire sheet.
- Arrange a single, horizontal row of vegetables and other filling in the center atop the rice. Keep in mind that too much filling causes some difficulty in rolling the sushi…use moderation.
- Starting with the edge closest to you, lift the sushi mat and begin rolling the mat way from you moving toward the row of filling. Apply light pressure to maintain a tight grip on the roll. Once the roll has made a full rotation, move the mat forward out of the way and continue to allow the roll to, well, roll! forward until the roll is completely closed off.
- Unfold the mat and marvel at your glorious sushi roll before chopping it into 6-8 bit size pieces.
Try a few of these sushi roll variations:
- salmon, avocado, creme cheese, cucumber, sesame seeds
- cucumber, carrot, avalado, red pepper, spicy mayo
- tuna, cucumber, red peper, panko crumbs, spicy mayo
- salmon, red pepper, spicy mayo, avacado, pickled ginger
This is a warm salad that is easy to prepare and seasoned with a unique blend of spices for a complex finish. Primary technique – blanching vegetables.
- 1 bunch carrots, peeled and sliced into disks
- 1 head cauliflower, chopped into florets
- 1 16 oz. can garbanzo beans, drained and rinsed
- 4 quarts water
- 4 tablespoons kosher salt
- juice of 1 lemon
- 2 Tablespoons olive oil
- 1 Tablespoon cumin
- 1 teaspoon paprika
- 1 teaspoon tumeric
- 1 teaspoon ginger
- ½ teaspoon cinnamon
- ½ teaspoon cayenne
- ½ teaspoon pepper
- fresh parsley, chopped
- Bring 4 quarts of water to a boil in large stock pot. Add salt.
- Carefully spoon carrots into boiling water. Let cook for 5 minutes before adding cauliflower to water as well. Allow vegetables to cook until just tender when pierced with fork.
- Drain vegetables in a colander and briefly toss under cold water. Set aside.
- Combine vegetables and garbanzo beans in a large bowl.
- Add olive oil, lemon, and spices. Mix well.
- Serve warm or store in refrigerator and serve cold.
It’s finally starting to cool off here in Seattle as we approach the first day of fall on Friday. We’re approaching the cozy, rainy weather that needs to be warmed with hot coffee and soups.
Here’s a recipe to homemade vegetable stock which can be made ahead of time and stored in the freezer until you’re ready to make some soup, or other recipes calling for stock.
- 1 Tablespoon high heat oil
- 1 celery bunch, chopped into 1-inch peices
- 2 carrots, peeled and chopped into 1-inch peices
- 2 onions, chopped into 1-inch peices
- 1 fennel bulb, chopped into 1-inch peices
- 1 head of garlic, halved
- bunch parsley
- 1 bay leaf
- 1 teaspoon whole peppercorns
- Heat oil in large stock pot.
- Add vegetables and stir until they begin to soften.
- Add enough water to cover vegetables (4 quarts). Bring to boil, and reduce heat to simmer for 1-1 ½ hours.
- Once cooked, strain through fine mesh sieve and discard solids. Store in freezer until ready to prepare recipe calling for stock.