Tuesday, January 29, 2013

NuVal Scoring System and Raley's-Eating Healthy in the New Year!

My favorite grocery store, which I have mentioned here before, is Raley's. Not only do they have things I like, they have a wonderful staff. If I ask the produce guy if they have something, the next time I go in its there. Many of the cashiers ask after my children and family, always making me feel at home. One of the things that was most difficult about moving to another state for a year was shopping at a grocery store that I wasn't familiar with. I know that sounds ridiculous, but if you have ever moved you know it to be true. You have to relearn the whole store.
So when I received an offer from Raley's to try food and tell people about it I was ecstatic. I am not even joking. I love this store, I love trying new things, and I love eating! Sounds like a dream job-right? I have always thought that if I could pick anything to do it would be developing and demonstrating recipes at a local grocery store. It just sounds like fun to me.
Raley's is trying to get the word out about the NuVal system. Foods are rated based on 30+ factors, even taking healthy benefits into consideration. For example, we all know salmon has Omega-3 fatty acids, but that's not figured in on the nutrition information. Whole grains aren't listed there, either, but both of the previously mentioned items have countless benefits, which would help them to attain a high score on the NuVal system. Tabasco has no fat or calories, but does that make it good for you? This system will help you know, without having a degree in nutrition. Somebody had a good idea-right?
As an ode to the NuVal system, I have put together some links to recipes, and a few quick ways to prepare some of the highest ranking foods.

Apples: Score-96
For a healthy snack mix peanut butter, nonfat greek yogurt, honey, and cinnamon to dip apples in.
Tomatoes: Score-96
Tomato and Zucchini Gratin
Roasted Tomato Soup

Quinoa and Cucumber Salad with Tomatoes (Vegan)

Butternut Squash: Score-100
Butternut Squash and Applesauce Muffins

Broccoli: Score-100
Broccoli Slaw Salad with Bacon 

Asparagus: Score-100
Shaved Asparagus Salad Appetizer

Berries: Score-mostly 100
Berry Parfaits with Angel Food Croutons
Homemade Strawberry Shortcakes
Easy Morning Muffins with Lemon and Fresh Berries

Hope you enjoy!

Tuesday, January 22, 2013

Happy Birthday!-Kerala Style Beef Stew

January  19th marks my blog's 3rd birthday. Hard to imagine, because I feel like I have been writing on this thing forever. I actually double-checked to make sure I was right. This is my 175th post in three years!
This recipe is for my sister, Abby. She loves, I mean loves this stew. It is a standard beef stew with a couple of different ingredients, and the result is absolutely delicious.
I don't have a picture. I will get one soon.
I have made a few slight changes, but for the most part it is just like the recipe I read in Bon Appetit. It has coconut milk in it, but don't let that deter you from trying it. My sister and dad and mom don't like coconut AT ALL, but they love this soup. It is a bit sweet and a bit spicy, and so different from your usual beef stew.
My sister liked it so much she asked me to make it on her birthday. And then she asked me for the recipe, so I told her I would post it here.

Tuesday, January 15, 2013

Homemade Feta-Cheesepalooza Challenge #3

First, let me say, I am really enjoying this cheese making thing. I am not saying I am going to make all my cheeses at home, but I really think it is fun and very rewarding. I used up the last of my cream cheese on New Year's Eve when I made cream cheese rangoon, filled with thinly sliced scallions, salt and pepper.
I made the feta, together with my mom, and it turned out wonderful. I cannot wait to make marinated feta and olives for my husband, one of his favorite snacks.
It is a little bit of a longer process than making other cheeses, but it was well worth it. It was also fun because you cut the curds, which is something that you do when you make 'real' cheese.
After it is drained you cut it up and toss it with salt, then let it sit in your fridge for five days. The end result is a delicious, creamy cheese, that far surpasses anything the regular grocery store has to offer, even if you were to buy an artisan cheese.

Friday, January 11, 2013

SAAC- Stinkin Awesome Apple Cobbler

I have a confession to make. I have never made apple cobbler. I thought I had, but I hadn't.  I thought that a cobbler was a pie with no bottom crust. Boy, was I wrong. I saw it on The Chew, and I fell in love. I actually really like that show and try to record it. Partly because of my food crush on Michael Symon, and partly because I like food. And I like to laugh. This show has all of my favorite things. When I saw the cobbler, I just tucked it away in the back of my mind. A few days later, I was making Sunday Lunch (which is a big deal around here-the boys have a hard time deciding whether its lunch or dinner, because its lunchtime but dinner food-you see how that can be confusing)

Friday, January 4, 2013

Real Apple Turnovers and Quick Puff Pastry

I know often we hear people say things like, "Why make your own....its way too difficult, or it takes too long, or blah, blah, blah." Well, the fact is, things you make at home TASTE BETTER than things you buy at the store. There are few exceptions. Maybe ketchup, or Worcestershire sauce wouldn't be worth the effort, but just about everything else is. From salad dressings, and homemade jam, to ice cream, bagels, and now cream cheese, I haven't really run across anything that isn't drastically improved when made at home.
I know it's not for everybody, but its my hobby. I love doing it, I really enjoy it, and I love eating it!
It might seem like I try to create work for myself, but I really don't. I just hate relying on something expensive that I can only get from the store, read: puff pastry. I went to make some apple turnovers the other day, and I had already planned on picking up the puff pastry from the frozen aisle of the grocery store. As I made my plan I thought of what a cheater I was, making these apple turnovers. All I was doing was making the apple filling and baking them. That wasn't a real treat. What's next? Refrigerated pie crust? Biscuit mix? Canned cinnamon rolls??!!

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