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healthy eating

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Berry-Orange Smoothie with Heritage Reserve Oranges

March 17, 2015

Heritage Reserve Naval Oranges

A number of weeks ago, before Ainsley arrived, the sweet people over at Heritage Reserve Naval Oranges offered to send me a case of their oranges for review. Joe loves oranges, so he was as excited as could be, but I was a little hesitant. You see, I’m not really a fan of oranges. There, I said it! It’s not that I mind them, but I rarely sit down and eat an orange for a snack because I always find the flesh a little tough and unappealing. Clementines on the other hand? I could eat five or six at a time!

Despite my hesitation I agreed to sample the oranges, and they couldn’t have arrived at a better time. They showed up at our doorstep a few days before Ainsley was born while we were battling horrible colds and we were eager for the extra dose of vitamin C. Honestly, I didn’t expect to be as blown away by these oranges as I was, but they are truly amazing. Since the team sent us a box of 72 oranges, we gave them away to everyone who visited us in the weeks following Ainsley’s arrival and everyone who tried them had the same reaction.

The flavor of these oranges is incredible and the flesh is soft and tender, almost like a giant clementine. I think it may have something to do with the age and quality of the trees? The trees they are grown on are anywhere between 50 and 112 years old. Dare I say these oranges were my version of citrus fruit heaven? They’re only available from February through April, and for you Twin Cities residents, word on the street is that they’re available at Cub Foods right now, so look out for them when you’re at the grocery store!

Orange Berry Smoothie (1) | Espresso and Cream

We’ve been working our way through our giant supply, finding ways to incorporate the oranges into meals and snacks. Joe has even taken to making smoothies with them in our Vitamix! I thought I would share with you our favorite combination as of late. Since Ainsley arrived, smoothies like this one have been a staple in my diet because I’m able to get a bunch of nutrition into a single meal.

Berry-Orange Smoothie with Heritage Reserve Oranges
Author: 
Recipe type: Smoothie
Serves: 1
 
Ingredients
  • ½ cup milk or non-dairy milk of choice
  • ½ cup orange juice
  • 1 cup frozen mixed berries (I like the antioxidant blend from Target)
  • 1 Heritage Reserve Naval Orange, peeled
  • 3 to 4 ice cubes
Instructions
  1. Combine all the ingredients in a blender and blend on medium high speed until smooth, about 2 to 3 minutes to really break up the flesh from the oranges. Serve immediately.

 

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A Peek Inside My Fridge

June 14, 2014

FridgePeek_1
I guess I’m a little bit of a snoopy person, or as I would prefer to think about it, I’m just naturally curious. I’m endlessly fascinated with what people eat for breakfast, what they buy at the grocery store and what the inside of their fridge looks like. There aren’t many things that truly gross me out, but one of the things that gets me every time is a fridge that is bursting to the seams with food. I’m sorry if you fall into that category, but the idea that there is food in the back of a fridge that may be expired or rotting or kept at less than ideal conditions just gets me every time.

That said, our fridge is always operating at lean as possible while still having everything we need for the week. With the exception of eggs, milk, yogurt and butter (which, as you know, we buy in bulk at Costco most of the time) we usually only have just enough food to get us through the week. I’m not super Type A in all things, but I certainly am in this manner.

So what’s in our fridge? Let’s dive in!

FridgePeek_2
Top Shelf
Greek Yogurt: Joe prefers Greek yogurt with fruit while I favor plain Greek yogurt so we stock up on both types.
Eggs: As I mentioned in my last post, I buy cage-free, organic eggs from Costco in bulk.
Fresh Berries: We usually have one or two types of fresh berries on hand. These organic raspberries are from Costco.

Second Shelf
Whole Wheat Sandwich Bread: For lunches throughout the week for Joe and toast for breakfast
Jumbo Costco Container of Sabra Hummus: We go through hummus like crazy!
Guacamole Packs: These don’t last long at our house, either. I love guacamole with my sweet potatoes and on salads.
Meatloaf: Sometimes I bring home food leftovers from projects at work. This meatloaf will make quick meals for Joe this week.

FridgePeek_3
Third Shelf
Mini Sweet Peppers: These are so easy to toss onto salads or use as dippers with hummus, guacamole or salsa.
Organic Hearts of Romaine Lettuce: We usually have two bags of lettuce for the week. I love large salads for lunch so it doesn’t last long.

Fourth Shelf
Organic Whole Milk: We switched to whole milk a while back and I love it! It feels like a treat every time I put it in my coffee, which is usually the only time I drink milk.
Almond Milk: For smoothies and oatmeal.
Burger Buns: White bread! My hubby prefers white bread for his burgers and I can’t say I blame him. Sometimes classic is best.

Produce Drawer (not pictured)
Costco-Sized Bag of Green Beans
2 bunches of kale
4 zucchini
Bag of celery
2 heads of broccoli

Beer Drawer (also not pictured)
Yes, Joe gets a whole drawer for beer. And most of the time that drawer is totally stuffed!

What’s your fridge style? Do you stuff your fridge to the max or keep it lean and streamlined? I’m guessing that once we have kids it may be a little harder to keep our fridge this organized, but for now I love having it all in order. 

Madison

 

 

 

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My Favorite Healthy Items to Buy at Costco

June 13, 2014

CostcoItems2

Every 3 weeks or so I make a trip to Costco to stock up on a select few products that we go through in larger quantities. Since there are only two of us, it’s important that we choose wisely what we buy at Costco. That means it either needs to 1) have a long shelf life or 2) be able to be frozen and thawed. This doesn’t include fresh produce, which I still purchase from time to time.

If you’ve ever been overwhelmed at Costco and not sure where to start, I thought I would compile a list of the healthy foods we love to buy there. Since Joe and I try to eat as much organic as makes sense financially, I’ve included a lot of organic items in my list. I find that Costco is one of the best places to find reasonably-priced organic food.

Dairy
Cage-free, organic brown eggs (2 dozen)
-Organic Whole Milk (three 1/2 gallon containers that last for weeks!)
-Greek yogurt case of 15 (we usually just buy Joe’s fruit-flavored Greek yogurt at Costco)
-Organic butter (It comes in a 2-pack and butter can be frozen and thawed, giving it longer shelf life)
-Almond milk

Refrigerated Misc. 
Pre-packaged guacamole (they have a couple different types, and we go through it quick in our house!)
-Hummus (lots of varieties to choose from)

Dry Items 
Old-Fashioned Oats (two VERY large bags, we keep the bags downstairs and refill a canister for our pantry to save space)
Kirkland Signature Natural Creamy Peanut Butter (two very large jars, the pb only contains peanuts and salt)
Nut’N Better Natural Almond Butter (two regular-sized jars, contains only almonds and salt)
-Organic TruRoots Quinoa (4 lb bag)
-Cinnamon (we go through a lot of cinnamon so it makes sense to buy the big Costco container)
-Chia Seeds (they usually have great prices on large bags of chia seeds)

Frozen
Trident Seafoods Wild Alaskan Salmon Burgers (these are so easy to throw in the oven straight from frozen for a quick meal!)
-Wild alaskan salmon or other wild frozen fish filets (we rotate between salmon and halibut most times)
-Frozen organic mixed berries (a very large bag for a very reasonable price compared with traditional grocery stores)

Fresh Produce
This is a hard category because the bags of produce are very large so we sort of have to pick and choose each time we go what we’re going to buy. These are just a few of our regular picks:
-Organic Hearts of Romaine Lettuce (a bag of 6 heads of lettuce)
-Berries (I always have good luck with the quality of their berries)
-Avocados (usually they come in a bag of 5 or 6 avocados)
-Broccoli florets
-Green beans (they usually come in a 2-bag pack and we go through them very fast in the summer)

Other
-Bread (I don’t eat much bread, but Joe has a lot of sandwiches for lunch. We buy a 2-loaf pack and keep one in the freezer)
-Nuts (almonds, walnuts, etc. – They store well in the freezer)
-Food Should Taste Good multi-grain tortilla chips (one very large bag, we eat them with dinner and for snacking)
-Beer and wine! (Okay, not really healthy, but they do have great prices so we shop there when we have larger parties)

Are you a Costco shopper? It’s one of my favorite places to stock up, but I try to avoid it at all costs during the peak weekend hours. What items would you add to this list? 

Madison

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Berry Breakfast Cobbler

June 11, 2014

berry breakfast cobbler 4 | espresso and cream

I love breakfast more than any other meal of the day. We’ve been over this before, right? I tend to get pretty protective of my mornings, especially slow and lazy weekend mornings when Joe and I can watch the morning news and drink a pot of coffee together and eat breakfast with the sun shining through our big picture window. Although I love waking up early, even on the weekends, I don’t like to be rushed into action first thing in the morning. I’m all about having a little time to wake up and settle into the day.

If you’ve eaten dinner at my house any time in the last year and a half, the chances are pretty good that I’ve served you berry cobbler for dessert. This recipe from Sprouted Kitchen is one of my absolute favorite recipes because it’s easy, slightly healthier than a traditional cobbler and I always have the ingredients on hand. Usually I use frozen mixed berries in place of the blueberries and whatever Greek yogurt we happen to have in the fridge.

The other day I found myself thinking about that dessert and how fun it would be to have berry cobbler for breakfast. Since the base of any fruit dessert is, well, fruit, I figured it couldn’t be that hard to make a slightly indulgent yet totally breakfast-acceptable dish. And you know what? I was right.

berry breakfast cobbler 2 | espresso and cream
This Berry Breakfast Cobbler is going into regular rotation at our house, I can just feel it now. It’s perfect for breakfast, but Joe and I have also been eating it after dinner as a healthier way to ward off that need for something sweet at the end of the day. It’s packed with antioxidants from the berries and whole grains from the flour and oats, which add a hearty, earthy taste and texture in the best possible way.

Although I’m not one to typically use a lot of low-calorie sweeteners in my baking, I did sweeten the berry mixture with stevia instead of sugar to keep the calories in check and prevent this dish from becoming a morning sugar bomb in disguise. If you don’t want to use stevia, I would suggest swapping 1/2 cup of granulated sugar for the stevia in this recipe. I’m sure it would be every bit (if not more) delightful.

Berry Breakfast Cobbler
Author: 
Recipe type: breakfast, dessert, snack
Serves: 6
 
Ingredients
  • Cobbler Topping
  • 1 cup whole wheat pastry flour or all-purpose flour
  • ½ cup old fashioned oats
  • 2 tablespoons brown sugar
  • 1½ teaspoons baking powder
  • 3 tablespoons butter, cut into small pieces
  • 1 (6 oz) Greek yogurt (plain or some type of berry flavor - I used Greek blueberry)
  • Berry Base
  • 6 cups frozen mixed berries
  • ¼ cup granulated stevia (such as Truvia)
  • 3 tablespoons all-purpose flour
Instructions
  1. Heat oven to 375°F. Spray a 9-inch deep-dish pie plate with cooking spray. Set aside.
  2. In a medium mixing bowl, combine the flour, oats, brown sugar and baking powder together until well-combined. Work the butter into the flour mixture with your hands until the butter is in very small pieces and mixture resembles a coarse meal. Add in the Greek yogurt and stir until just combined (mixture will be lumpy.) Set aside.
  3. Toss together the berries, stevia and 3 tablespoons flour. Transfer mixture to the prepared pie plate. Sprinkle topping over berry mixture.
  4. Bake 40 to 45 minutes or until berry mixture is bubbly and topping is browned and crispy. Cool at least 30 minutes before serving.

 

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Basics of a Well-Stocked and Healthy Pantry {& a Giveaway!}

May 14, 2014

Basics of a Pantry 1 | Espresso and Cream
One of the post requests I get most frequently is around the topic of what I keep in my pantry. Having a well-stocked pantry is something I’m still trying to figure out, but I do have a handful of basics you can find in my pantry at any given time that make putting a meal on the table a breeze. I’ve also included my favorite freezer items, since I think of my freezer as part of my extended pantry.

Instead of stocking your pantry with items from the regular grocery store (which can be $$) I prefer to buy my basics from Costco and the bulk bins at Whole Foods. Sure, it takes us a long time to go through the Costco-sized box of oats, but it’s worth storing just for the amazing cost savings of buying in bulk. Stocking your pantry may be a little more expensive on the front end, but you’ll gradually see your grocery bill decrease in the weeks and months following.

DRY GOODS
Quinoa
Pasta (I usually have a few different shapes/sizes, including whole wheat spaghetti, bow ties, and penne)
Whole Wheat Couscous (super quick to prepare, great for meals when you don’t have time to make rice or quinoa)
Brown Rice (either minute or regular, depending on your cooking style)
Old Fashioned Oats (breakfasts, meatloaf, cookies, etc.)
Oat Bran (you know how much I love oat bran!)
Cornmeal
All-Purpose Flour
Whole Wheat Flour or Whole Wheat Pastry Flour
Sugar
Brown Sugar
Stevia

CANNED ITEMS 
Black Beans
Canned Diced Tomatoes
Coconut Milk (great for curries and quick Indian meals using chickpeas)
Marinara Sauce
Chickpeas/Garbanzo Beans
Crushed Tomatoes
Broth (chicken or vegetable broth)
Diced green chiles
Salsa
Tuna (I buy mine from Costco and always look for a low-mercury, pole-caught variety)

FROZEN 
Peas
Edamame
Chopped spinach
Fish filets (I buy them at Costco, usually Salmon or Halibut)
Ground beef
Butter (I buy butter at Costco and keep what I’m not using in the freezer)
Bread (again, I buy it at Costco and store extra in the freezer)

OTHER ITEMS 
Honey
Chia Seeds
Ground Flax Seeds (store in the fridge or freezer for longer shelf life)
Peanut butter and almond butter (Costco has some great options without added sugars or oils)
Nuts of choice (almonds, walnuts and pecans are my faves)
Olive Oil
Balsamic Vinegar
Eggs (not really a “pantry” item, but they last a long time in the fridge and are a great source of inexpensive protein)

Danas Decals Labels | Espresso and Cream

Of course, keeping my pantry organized is always a challenge. Since I buy items in the bulk bins at Whole Foods and the items I buy at Costco usually come in large bags and boxes, I am constantly transferring a small portion of what I buy into storage containers that I keep in my pantry. However, it’s not always easy to remember what grain I put in each container and sometimes I’m left guessing and crossing my fingers as the grains cook.

When Dana Decals offered to send me a package of their sticky chalkboard decals to review, I jumped at the chance. Immediately I got to labeling my jars and containers and I have to admit, I love the way they look and the functionality, too. Aren’t they cute?

Dana Decals has generously offered a $25 gift card to one E&C reader. Check out their website for a full line-up of products, including wall decals perfect for decorating. There are three ways to enter below!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

 

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