The New Year brings a fresh start, a chance to set goals, make resolutions, and try new foods. Here are three common New Year’s Resolutions and three recipes for the New Year!
So often a New Year’s Resolution to eat healthier means diets, counting calories, denying pleasures, and tons of guilt. Skip the counting and guilt and simply choose foods with high nutrient density – bang for your (calorie) buck, if you will. An example: try and learn to love kale! I was first introduced to kale eight years ago, when my husband and I agreed to work in the fields harvesting vegetables in exchange for our share in the Sippel Family Farm CSA. Week after week, we received bunches of kale, and week after week we found ourselves thinking, “What the heck are we supposed to do with all of this kale?!” It didn’t take long before we realized just how versatile it is – sauté it with other veggies, add it to pasta sauce, make tacos with it, add bacon (Everything is better with bacon!). And then the CSA season ended… and we missed our kale! The new “it” food, kale is turning up in green smoothies in your favorite food blogs, kale chips at the neighborhood happy hour, and on the menu at your favorite restaurants. It’s a nutritional superfood, no doubt – packed with antioxidant vitamins A, C, and K, full of phytonutrients associated with anti-cancer benefits and eye health, and it is high in fiber. The recipe below is adapted from Deb Perelman’s book The Smitten Kitchen Cookbook. Surely you’ve heard of this food blogger turned cookbook author, but if not, add her to your reader, buy her cookbook, and be inspired in the kitchen. I took this salad to Thanksgiving dinner and it was a big hit.
Kale Salad with Radishes, Apples, Cranberries, and Pecans
• bunch of kale, chopped – preferably a flat-leafed kale like Tuscan or Lacinato over curly kale
•bunch of radishes, sliced
•1 medium Granny Smith apple, diced
•½ cup dried cranberries or cherries
•½ cup toasted pecans
•2 oz. of soft goat cheese, crumbled
• 1 tablespoon Dijon mustard
• 1 tablespoon honey
• 3 tablespoons olive oil
• 3 tablespoons apple cider vinegar
1. Toast the pecans by spreading them on a baking tray in a 350° oven or shaking them in a pan over medium-high heat on the stove.
2. Chop the kale and sprinkle with sea salt. Massage the kale by scrunching it in your hands. This helps to break down the tougher kale leaves and makes it more flavorful and fragrant.
3. Slice the radishes and chop the apples.
4. Toss all ingredients except the goat cheese.
5. In a separate bowl, whisk ingredients for the dressing, pour it over the salad, and toss.
6. Crumble the goat cheese on top.
SAVE MONEY AND EAT OUT LESS
We all know we could save a lot of money by eating at home more often. Some nights cooking dinner seems so overwhelming and time consuming, and swinging by Chipotle would be so much easier! (If you need further convincing to stay in, just check out the nutrition information for Chipotle’s flour tortilla alone!) Here is one of our family’s go-to “recipes” for a quick dinner when life is hectic.
Sweet Potato Burritos
Ingredients (choose some or all!)
• flour tortillas
• sweet potatoes, baked
• tomatoes, diced
• avocados, diced
• canned black beans, rinsed
• frozen roasted corn
• shredded cheese
• sour cream or plain yogurt
1. Bake sweet potatoes, wrapped in foil in a 350° oven until fork tender. If your oven is capable, prep them in the morning and set your oven to begin baking them so that they’re ready when you get home. Sometimes we cheat and do them in the microwave, too.
2. Rinse the black beans and combine with roasted corn. Heat on the stove or in the microwave. You could add seasoning here too – cumin and chili powder, taco seasoning, etc.
3. Slice and dice your favorite burrito ingredients.
4. Warm the tortillas, covered with plastic wrap, in the microwave.
5. Smash or rough dice the sweet potato on top of the tortilla and fill with your favorite ingredients.
HIT THE GYM MORE OFTEN
CrossFit, bootcamp classes, TRX, P90X, and Insanity are among the hottest fitness trends right now. Those workouts are intense, and when you resolve to spend more time pumping iron at the gym and running sprints, optimal recovery foods are important to maximize the benefits of all of that hard work! The best post-workout recovery foods provide an optimal ratio of protein, carbohydrates, and fats and also help to rehydrate the body. This shake was adapted from a recipe in The CrossFit Journal. Depending on the ingredients used, the fat content can be adjusted or made to fit into a paleo, vegetarian, vegan, or gluten-free diet.
Morning Coffee Workout Recovery Shake
• 3 cups of iced coffee cubes
• 1 cup of milk, water, coconut water, or coconut milk
• 1 scoop whey protein powder
• half of a medium sweet potato, cooked
• ¼ cup almond butter
• 1 teaspoon vanilla
• ¼ teaspoon cinnamon
• ¼ teaspoon orange zest
1. Combine all ingredients in blender and blend until smooth.