Everyday Breakfast

I eat this breakfast most days and still crave it everyday. Full of fiber, beneficial fats, and protein, it’s a great way to fuel your day right.

1/3 c rolled oats
2/3 c  unsweetened, vanilla almond milk
1 banana, cut in half, sliced
1 Tbsp chia seeds

Place the oats and almond milk in a microwaveable bowl. Microwave on high for 2 minutes. Stir, then microwave again for 30 seconds. Add the banana and chia seeds to the oats. Stir and enjoy!

This doesn’t take a lot of time! You can make this everyday.

What‘s for breakfast today?

P.S. Please ignore the cruddy quality of my phone picture. I need to find my camera charger!
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What is a Vegetarian?

It has been over one week since I committed to a vegetarian diet and lifestyle. I feel incredible and as an added bonus I have lost 2 pounds! The biggest obstacle this past week was when I had to do a taste testing of a recipe that included turkey pepperoni. My preceptor was surprised that I wouldn’t taste it when I told him that I was a vegetarian earlier that week. And of course, I didn’t, but it also made me think about one of the things that I learned when I was at FNCE: A lot of people that say they are vegetarians do not know what it means.

There are varying degrees of vegetarians, which is why it can be confusing to so many. Here is a breakdown:

Lacto-Ovo-Vegetarian: does not consume beef, poultry, pork, or fish. Still consumes milk (and dairy products) and eggs.

Lacto-Vegetarian: all of the above, but they omit eggs as well.

Ovo-Vegetarian: does not consume the meat listed above or dairy, but does eat eggs.

Pescetarian: some consider this a version of vegetariansim as they consume no meat with the exception of fish. Sometimes they will leave out eggs/dairy as well.

Vegan: does not consume beef, poultry, pork, fish, eggs or dairy. No animal products or byproducts are consumed, including honey.

So what does a vegetarian eat? Grains, nuts, beans, fruits, vegetables, seeds, and meat/dairy alternatives. It may seem limiting, but the options are really endless! FitSugar did a great post the other day about some products that one may assume were vegetarian, but had ingredients that were not vegetarian.

A vegetarian diet is not any more restrictive than a normal, healthy, balanced diet. While I definitely feel conscious of what I eat, I am not more so than I was before. Part of that came with the dietitian-in-training mindset (i.e. food on the mind all the time!), and part of that came from being overweight several years ago and knowing that I have to plan in order to succeed.

And yes, you can get all of the nutrients you need, whether you are a child, teenager, young adult, pregnant mom, breastfeeding, or aging adult. These will likely be future posts for future days.

What questions do you have about vegetarianism? What surprises you most about the vegetarian diet?

To Your Health,

Megan (Nutmegs)

(Images from here and here)

A vote for oats

Oats, one of the many whole grains, can come in many different ways. Steel cut, irish, rolled, instant or bran.  My favorite is the rolled oats as they are easy to put in a bowl with some water and microwave every morning. However, when I have a little more time and forethought, steel cut oats are exceptional with some almonds, raisins, and blueberries.

(Going clockwise, from the left: Steel Cut Oats, Oat Bran, Quick Oats, and Rolled Oats)

Oats are nutrient dense source of manganese, selenium, tryptophan, fiber, B1, and some protein.In addition to being whole grains, oats have been linked to lowered cholesterol levels, valued antioxidants, and stabilization of blood sugars. Oats can be added to breads, eaten as breakfast or used as a binder in meatloafs (vegetarian or not).

This is a recipe that I make quite frequently, no matter the season, but it always seems especially appetizing in the fall. The combination of pumpkin, apples, walnuts, and cranberries, brought together with the flavor of vanilla and cinnamon is delectable.

It is perfect for a Sunday morning with a cup of coffee or tea and a good book.

Pumpkin Apple Cranberry Baked Oatmeal

(adapted from this version of this recipe)

  • 2 cups old fashioned oats
  • 1/3 cup wheat germ (omit for gluten free version)
  • 1/4 cup dark brown sugar, packed (use 1/3 cup if using fresh cranberries)
  • 1 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/2 cup dried cranberries (or 3/4 c. fresh)
  • 1 1/2 cups vanilla soy milk (or regular milk)
  • 1/2 cup + 2 tbsp. pumpkin puree
  • 1 large egg, beaten
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1 cup apple, chopped
  • 1 cup walnuts, chopped
Preheat the oven to 375°F.  Spray an 8x8in baking dish with cooking spray and set aside.
In a large mixing bowl, combine the oats, wheat germ, brown sugar, cinnamon, salt, baking powder, and cranberries.  In a separate bowl, combine the soy milk, pumpkin puree, egg, and vanilla, whisking until the mixture is smooth.
Pour the wet mixture into the dry mixture, and stir to combine all of the ingredients.  Add the apple and combine with the wet oatmeal mixture.  Spread the oatmeal into the baking dish, and sprinkle with walnuts.
Bake for about 20 minutes, until the oatmeal has set and the top is golden. Serve warm, topped with additional soy milk, if desired.
How do you like your oatmeal? Do you prefer it made with milk or water? Any great variations I need to try?

Perfect day to announce…

that I am changing my lifestyle.

After a lot of thought and consideration, I have decided to adopt the vegetarian diet. While I considered myself a “flexitarian” before (eating a mostly plant based diet with meat on occasion), I am embracing the vegetarian lifestyle with fervor.

Why is this the perfect day? Today is World Vegetarian Day and October is Vegetarian Awareness Month. The North American Vegetarian Society is even doing a contest with a pledge to be a vegetarian for one day, one week, or one month. Check it out here: http://www.worldvegetarianday.org/pledge-vegwin/

Why now? I grew up in the midwest where consuming meat was an unconscious norm and just continued that lifestyle without thought. When I lived in Boulder during my 4 years at the University of Colorado I became more aware  of the vegetarian diet, but it really wasn’t until studying nutrition years later that I recognized its benefits. Also, several films (including Food, Inc.) only made me more aware of the treatment of animals that we consume.

While this change will be difficult, especially with the holidays coming up, I am very lucky to have a supportive husband who does not mind eating vegetarian meals that I cook. Though, he isn’t totally sold on the idea for himself … yet.

I will be blogging about any trials (because, let’s face it, changing lifestyles can be hard), continue posting recipes and nutritional information, as well as discussing any other information about vegetarianism that may apply.

Will you join me? Will you sign the pledge, even if for one day or one week?

Roll with the grains

I love bread and rolls, especially homemade versions of both.  So when I stumbled across this recipe for multigrain rolls that included whole wheat flour, oats, and oat bran, I knew I had to make them. I have made them several times now, always freezing what I don’t need to reheat later with a subsequent meal.

The addition of nutrient packed seeds in this recipe really makes it that much better.  But let’s talk about the grains.  This recipe includes two types of whole grains – oats and wheat – and two different types of processes of oats.  These types are fascinating in their differences (a #youmightbeadietitiantobeif moment), and will be talked about in an upcoming post.  I wanted to delve into grains in general for this post, however.

The USDA recommendations for whole grains is at least 3 servings a day, or half of all the grains eaten.  A serving of grains would be equivalent to 1 slice of 100% whole wheat bread, 1/2 cup of cooked brown rice, whole wheat pasta or cooked cereal (like oatmeal) or 1 cup of ready-to-eat cereal. They actually have a very handy chart that lists which items are whole grains and how much is needed to equal a serving found here.

The reason for whole grains is that they contain more nutrients than the stripped down, regular grain version. Whole grains contain the germ, endosperm and bran part of the grain. They are higher in fiber, which reduces constipation, regulates blood sugar and dissuages the feeling of hunger.  They also contain multiple B vitamins, such as thiamin (B1), riboflavin (B2), niacin (B3), and folate (B9), which help maintain healthy metabolism, nervous system, digestion and blood cell production. Whole grains are also one of the handful of sources of iron not from meat (non-heme).  Magnesium and selenium are also in higher density in whole grains.

When buying grain products, be sure to look at the first ingredient in the food to make sure it is a whole product (such as whole wheat). Other grains to consider adding to your diet besides oats and wheat are amaranth, quinoa, cous cous, buckwheat, wheat berries, brown rice, barley, spelt, teff and maize (corn). 

Multigrain Rolls

Printable Version

(From Annie’s Eats, which was adapted from Martha Stewart’s Baking Handbook)

Ingredients:
 
For the dough:
½ cup oat bran
¼ cup flax seeds
½ cup boiling water
1 cup warm milk (105-110˚ F)
2¼ tsp. instant (rapid rise) yeast
¼ cup honey
2 large eggs
2/3 cup old-fashioned (not instant) oats
7 oz. (1¼ cups) whole wheat flour
1 tsp. freshly ground black pepper
1 tbsp. salt
15 oz. (about 3 cups) all-purpose flour
Oil, for greasing the bowl
 
For the topping:
1 large egg
1 tbsp. water
2 tbsp. mixed seeds (poppy, sesame, fennel, etc.)
Coarse salt, for sprinkling

Directions:

Combine the oat bran and flax seeds in a small bowl.  Pour the boiling water into the bowl and mix to moisten.  Let sit until the water is absorbed, about 5 minutes.  Set aside to cool. Meanwhile, in the bowl of an electric mixer, combine the milk, yeast and honey; mix briefly to blend.  With the dough hook and the mixer on low speed, mix in the eggs, oats, wheat flour, pepper, salt and oat bran mixture until combined.  Slowly add enough all-purpose flour, ½ cup at a time, to make a soft, slightly sticky dough.  Continue to knead on medium-low speed, about 3 minutes.

Form the dough into a ball.  Transfer the dough to a lightly oiled bowl, turning once to coat.  Cover with plastic wrap or a clean kitchen towel and let rise in a warm place until doubled in bulk, about 1½-2 hours.

Brush a baking dish lightly with oil (I used a 10-inch round baking dish).  On a lightly floured surface, turn the dough out and divide into 16 equal pieces, about 2½ ounces each.  Form each portion into a ball and place the dough balls in the baking dish, spaced slightly apart so they have room to grow together.   Cover and let rise until puffy and nearly doubled in bulk, about 30 minutes.

Preheat the oven to 375˚ F.  In a small bowl whisk together the egg yolk and water.  Brush lightly over the proofed rolls.  Sprinkle the unbaked rolls with the seed mixture and coarse salt.  Bake until the tops are golden, about 26 minutes.  Let cool 10-15 minutes before removing from the pan.

Yield: About 32 small rolls or 16 large ones.

Nutritional Facts: (approximated, based on 32 small rolls, dependent on how much/type of seeds and salt you add on top of rolls)
Calories: 94; Fat: 1.6 g (0.3 g Sat, 0.7 g PolyUn, 0.5 g MonoUn); Cholesterol: 18 mg; Sodium: 300 mg; Potassium: 48 mg; Carbs: 17.2 g; Fiber 1.6 g; Sugars: 2.7 g; Protein: 3.3 g

A flower worth eating

It’s cauliflower! This cruciferous vegetable is an excellent source of Vitamin C (providing ~95% of your daily value!), Vitamin K, folate and fiber.  It is also a very good source of B6, omega-3 fatty acids (the really good kind), manganese and B5. Due to its Vitamin K content, cauliflower is considered one of the main foods  to treat inflammation, along with kale, spinach, broccoli, brussels sprouts & many types of greens (collard, mustard, turnip & swiss chard). Cauliflower also contains many phytonutrients for anti-oxidant support.  This is definitely a nutrient dense flower!

Cauliflower can be added to salads, mixed with broccoli and carrots for a side dish, placed on veggie platters with a flavorful dip, added to stir-frys and soups, or eaten plain. 

This particular side dish is fairly rich for a side dish, but would go excellent with my beet salad (how I served it) or a lean protein and basic starch (like rice).

Cauliflower Gratin

(adapted from Ina Garten’s recipe, via Food Network)

  • 1 (3-pound) head cauliflower, cut into large florets
  • Kosher salt
  • 3 tablespoons unsalted butter, divided
  • 3 tablespoons all-purpose flour
  • 2 cups hot milk  (skim or 1%)
  • 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 1/4 teaspoon grated nutmeg
  • 3/4 cup freshly grated Gruyère, divided
  • 1/2 cup freshly grated Parmesan
  • 1/4 cup fresh bread crumbs (make by cutting up whole wheat bread in a food processor)
  • Cook the cauliflower florets in a large pot of boiling salted water for 5 to 6 minutes, until tender but still firm.

    Drain.

    Meanwhile, melt 2 tablespoons of the butter in a medium saucepan over low heat. Add the flour, stirring constantly with a wooden spoon for 2 minutes. Pour the hot milk into the butter-flour mixture and stir until it comes to a boil. Boil, whisking constantly, for 1 minute, or until thickened. Off the heat, add 1 teaspoon of salt, the pepper, nutmeg, 1/2 cup of the Gruyère, and the Parmesan.

    Pour 1/3 of the sauce on the bottom of an 8 by 11 by 2-inch baking dish. Place the drained cauliflower on top and then spread the rest of the sauce evenly on top. Combine the bread crumbs with the remaining 1/4 cup of Gruyère and sprinkle on top. Melt the remaining tablespoon of butter and drizzle over the gratin. Sprinkle with salt and pepper. Bake for 25 to 30 minutes, until the top is browned. Serve hot or at room temperature.

    Nutrition Information: (approximated) 4 servings, per serving:
    Calories: 390; Fat: 20 g ; Cholesterol: 62.2 mg; Sodium: 407 mg; Total Carbs: 32.6 g; Fiber: 5.9 g; Protein: 20 g

    Beet it, just beet it…

    No one wants to be defeated! Or at least I am aiming not to be defeated when it comes to posting on this blog! I’m baaaaaacckkk!! :::echoes:::

    Hello?

    It has been a while since I have blogged a good recipe – mostly due to a job change and and unusual schedule in which I don’t cook dinner much.  However, I am constantly finding and making new recipes that I just can’t let that get in the way anymore.

    Oh yeah and in the year since I blogged last, I finished my Bachelor of Science in Dietetics!  An internship should be on the way soon, I hope.

    Back to the recipe.  This one is completely my own that I made when I got inspired by the beets in the produce section.  I had always heard that you could use both the beet and the beet greens, but I had never done so.

    I knew I loved roasted beets, so I started there.  Then the idea of a salad using the greens sounded only logical and thus the Beet, Mushroom & Gorgonzola Salad was born.

    Beets are root vegetables that contain betalains – phytonutrients that are also responsible for their coloring.  However, these betalains can be damaged during heating, so it is best to cook the beets with the skin on to preserve these precious anti-oxidant and anti-inflammatory nutrients.  Beets are also an excellent source of folate, a very good source of potassium, and a good source of fiber, Vitamin C, copper, magnesium, iron and phosphorus. In other words, a welcome contribution to just about any diet.

    The other handy thing about roasting beets is that the oil used during roasting is infused with the extra beet juice and can be used on the salad. Reuse of ingredients? Check. Use of nutrients that would otherwise be lost? Check.

    Beet, Mushroom & Gorgonzola Salad

    by Megan Salazar

    Ingredients:

    • Bunch of Beets (about 3-4 medium beets)
    • 6 cups of spinach
    • 8 oz. mushrooms, sliced
    • 8 oz. container of Gorgonzola cheese
    • 3 Tbsp. olive oil
    • 3 Tbsp. balsamic vinegar
    • 1/3 cup of walnuts

    Directions:

    1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees (F).
    2. Remove stems from beets, save greens for later.  On a large piece of aluminum foil, place washed beets, olive oil and a pinch of salt.  Fold the foil over the beets, crimping the sides closed to ensure the steam remains inside.
    3. Place foil-wrapped beets in the oven for about 30 minutes, or until the largest beets is fork tender.
    4. While the beets are roasting, chop or tear the beet leaves into bite-size pieces.  Mix with the spinach, mushrooms and cheese.
    5. Once the beets are done roasting, let them cool until they are cool to the touch.  Using a paper towel, rub the skins off.  Chop into 1/2 inch chunks and mix into salad.
    6. Combine the vinegar with the remaining oil in foil, plus more as needed. Drizzle over salad mixture and toss.

    Makes 3-4 main dish servings or 8 side salad portions.