Obviously, for a land locked area like Spokane sea vegetables are not top on everyone's list. Ease of access probably being the biggest reason for this lack of exposure. However, sheets of nori are now widely available in the Asian section of any grocery store and if you live in Spokane we actually have a couple of great Asian markets.
Nori is a sustainable crop that requires no fertilizers. It usually gets all the nutrients it needs from the environment. When processed into what we buy at the market, fresh nori is shredded, pressed into thin sheets, and then dried. Often what we purchase at the store is also toasted. During the drying process the seaweed turns a dark green or even black color.
Iodine is one of the biggest health benefits of nori. When a person is deficient in iodine they can have swelling of the thyroid and develop hypothyrodism. Now if you don't like iodine you can also get it from other common food such as cod, iodized salt, shrimp, tuna, eggs, prunes and lima beans.
In addition to having a lot of iodine - nori contains 25% RDI in just one gram- it also contains a lot of other good nutrients. Here are just a couple:
A recent study has also shown nori to help with significantly reducing plasma cholesterol.
Typically, we think of Nori as something we surround our sushi rolls with. There are so many other ways to incorporate this vegetable into our diets without eating raw fish. Below are a couple of ideas!
First up, what I call nori chips. I know its a bit of a stretch to think these are anything like chips! However I started eating them after my son Jack asked to include them in his school lunches. I guess the kids really like them! These little snacks can be found in most stores. My favorite one is the Wasabi Roasted Seaweed from Trader Joes.
This next idea is just in time for the Super bowl! Try out this Nori Sour Cream Dip from Food 52. Super easy to make and a little twist on traditional veggie dips.
Nori soup is often eaten in Korea for your birthday or for new moms. In fact most women eat this nutritious soup for up to three weeks after. Below is a link to a super easy and quick nori soup to try.
Furikake, which means literally to sprinkle, is a Japanese multipurpose seasoning. There are several different types out these. They could include wasabi, dried salmon or matcha green tea. This one pictured below is from good old Trader Joes. Other varieties can be found at the Asian market.
Typically, it is used on eggs, rice, ramen, over salads, in soup or sprinkled over popcorn.
All of these would make a great nutritious addition to anyone's diets. Hopefully you have also tried the nori wraps we posted about a couple of weeks ago. If not head over to nori-wraps.html
Let us know if you try any of these recipes! We would love to know what you think!
Next month we return to a more traditional veggies of the month: Sweet Potatoes.
When my life became gluten free a lot of foods were elimanted from my diet. One of my favorites were burritos. I literally lived on Taco Bell bean burritos the first trimester of my pregnancy with Jack. Flour tortillas are vehicles of food delivery that bring other yummy foods together. For example the tortilla is a vehicle for rice, beans, salsa and of course cheese. Just like chips become a vehicle for salsa. Crackers for cheese.
So as my life changed from gluten filled to not, I had to find other vehicles for my food. One in particular is Nori. Yes that stuff that sushi rolls are made with. Also known as seaweed and also January's veggie of the month. I know a weird choice for a vegetable to highlight but one that I think we must take a look at.
The main reason to add nori to your diet is iodine. Iodine is essential for the production of thyroid hormones and it is nutrient that we cannot make. With Americanized diets of processed foods and salt restrictions that has come with the worry of high blood pressure, iodine deficiency can happen.
One simple way to avoid damage to the thyroid is by simply adding nori to your diet. Not daily but a couple of times a week. Just 5 grams of nori meets about 57% of our daily intake requirement. To put this into context one sheet of dried toasted nori is 3 grams.
Besides eating sushi several times a week there a couple of options of adding this highly nutritious food in. For this blog we are going to be using it as a vehicle for other food much like the tortilla. Nori wraps are super easy to make plus they are a vehicle to adding in even more veggies!
All you really need is some protein, veggies, maybe a grain and of course a sauce. Plus some imagination.
These wraps I highlight below are purely suggestions. Add what veggie or grain or protein you prefer. There are no hard and fast rules here.
Suggested ingredients to make Nori wraps
First Roll: Salmon, Avocado, Cucumber, Sprouts, with Sriracha mayo.
This is obviously a take on my favorite sushi roll. In this instance I was using left over salmon from last night's dinner but I also used canned salmon often. To make the SIriacha mayo stir 1 tablespoon of mayo with 1 tsp of siriacha.
Second Roll: Rice Noodles, Shrimp, carrots, scallions, mint with a Peanut sauce
This one is super simple but makes me feel like I'm eating something fancy. Rice noodles cook up super quick, like in 2 minutes. I used mint this time as well, but if I have fresh basil I'll throw that in or cilantro.
The hardest part is making the peanut sauce. (But well worth it!) If you need a good recipe head over to Feasting at Home. It literally is the best one I've tried. www.feastingathome.com/best-ever-thai-peanut-sauce/
Third Roll: Lettuce, Turkey, Hummus, carrots, cucumber and sprouts.
This one makes a great quick lunch. Most of these things I usually have on hand and throw together if I don't have any left overs to eat. It can easily be made vegetarian by leaving off the turkey. You can add in some rice if you want.
A couple of tips:
In our next installment of Nori we will talk more about the health benefits. Picking out your sheets and other ways to subtly add it into your diet.
If you make your own signature nori roll please share below your combinations! Would love to hear what you create!
This is the time of year that I start to really crave those amazing farmer's market freshly picked leafy greens. I know this is not what everyone craves in December but for me the crunch of good lettuce leaves is something I do enjoy. We recently have been including BIG salads into our daily diets. (Pictured to the left. Jason's is one meal mine is easily two!)
Since the lettuce is a little lackluster and big salads become extremely boring to me. (Not Jason he could eat them every day.) I have turned to cabbage salads for my daily go to during the winter. One thing I love about any type of cabbage salad is the longevity. I can easily make the salad Sunday evening and still be eating it on Thursday. This cuts down on my prep time and gives me an easy lunch every day.
November got a little away from me so I never did finish up my vegetable of the month on brussels sprouts. Many might think this is due to the fact that so many folks hate brussels sprouts and that I just gave up trying to convince everyone out there to eat them.
In fact I have been working on perfecting this shredded brussel sprouts salads. I tried a couple of different vinaigrettes, cheeses and even compared adding crasins versus pomegranates. (A fruit often added to Brussel Sprouts salads.) I decided to pass on pomegranates. I like them but they were just to much work to put a quick salad together.
The recipe below is what I came up with, my new favorite salad. I have to say that it is also very Christmas-y looking.
Just a little side note: the week I photographed the salad for the blog I used purple Brussel Sprouts. They do not look as holiday inspiring or photograph well but they taste just as good. (The salad above is from this week and photographed much better!)
If you're adding this salad to any holiday meal you can balance out all the fat and sugar typical with these type of dinners with the healthy benefits of Brussel Sprouts! As mentioned in our last blog these little guys are full of vitamin K, C and Fiber.
With this recipe you can be as lazy as you want or really dig in for the freshest brussel sprouts out there. i.e. the ones on the stalk. My local Trader Joes has had these for the last month and they are fantastic. More work for sure but the taste is truly fresher.
Plus as it turns out the stalk can become a great chew toy for your pup. Mine decided to steal it off the table once I was done getting all the sprouts off!
After cutting the sprouts from the stalk, then starts the chopping. You can either use an attachment on your food processor or just cut as thin as possible like below.
If the whole stalk is not available or it just seems like too much work. No worries! Brussel sprouts can often be found already shredded and ready to go from the store. My only caution is to really look through the bag and make sure there are not brown spots. This usually means they are old. Keep looking for the greenest ones available.
Before I start all this chopping I get my hazel nuts ready. First you want to remove as much of the skin as possible. I use a clean towel and try to rub them together trying to get the brown skin off. Then place them on a sheet pan with parchment paper already down. Bake at 325 for 10-12 minutes. Once you smell the scent of hazelnuts you know they are ready. Take them out and set aside to cool. Once cool enough go ahead an roughly chop.
Once your Brussel sprouts are all shredded then move on to making the vinegrette. Place the following in a mini blender:
Give it a whirl, making sure everything is well mixed. If you don't want to use a blender just make sure to really dice the shallots and mince the garlic. Then just whisk everything together.
Now its the time to throw the salad all together!
Mix in to the shredded sprouts:
Lastly, toss with the dressing and Enjoy!
Shredded Brussel Sprout Salad
Prep time: 25 minutes
2. While the hazelnuts cook start shredding the Brussel sprouts.
3. Next place the olive oil, apple cider vinegar, lemon juice, maple syrup, shallots, garlic plus some salt and pepper in a blender. Mix until well blended.
4. Mix the shredded Brussel sprouts with the Craisins, cheese and hazelnuts.
5. Toss the above mixture with the salad dressing. Enjoy!
I know that this vegetable, like beets, can have a similar effect on folks. They either love them or they hate them. That seems to be how it is in my house. Jason and Jack will not touch them! However, I could eat them every day.
I didn't start eating brussels sprouts until I was an adult. Luckily, I was never exposed to the dreaded boiled brussels sprout until I ordered it once in a restaurant and wondered why on earth would anyone want to eat that!
My favorite way to eat them is roasted. Super simple and vey flavorful. Brussels sprouts is a member of the cruciferous vegetables that every health expert on the planet is always trying to get us to eat. This is for good reason!
Brussels sprouts are high in:
There are have been numerous studies done on eating brussels sprouts daily. It has been shown to help with cancer prevention and thyroid health.
If these health benefits don't convince you to start eating brussels sprouts than I encourage you to at least try the recipe below. As with most recipes I post, make it your own! Add flavors you enjoy.
Highlighted are three different ways to roast brussels sprouts. As chips, halved, or whole. All are super yummy!
Roasted Brussels Sprouts
Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.
There are several choices to making roasted brussels sprouts.
First is to make chips. When you are trimming the bottom of the brussel sprouts some of the outer leaves fall off. Keep those! Toss them with olive oil and your favorite seasonings. (There are a couple suggest below). And then roast! These will take a quicker time to cook. Around 8 to 12 minutes. Start to check the chips around 10 minutes. You want them slightly brown but not burnt!
The second and third ways are very similar. Either toss the whole brussels sprouts with olive oil and seasonings or cut them in half and toss. When cutting the brussels sprouts in half cook for about 12 to 15 minutes. The whole roasted take a little longer around 15 to 20 minutes. In either case they should be a nice golden, slightly browned outside.
When I made these roasted brussel sprouts I decided to make a garlic mayonnaise sauce. For the life of me I cannot make mayonnaise or aioli from scratch so instead I cheat and use this recipe:
Just one more thing, whenever I'm roasting any veggie I like variety. I'm a bit more lazy on a weeknight and would like to make it as easy as possible! So instead of peeling garlic or making a garlic mayonnaise sauce I use one of my four go to seasonings pictured below.
Please add in the comments if you have a favorite way to make roasted brussels sprouts!
Hopefully you all have been adding in the exercises we discussed last month. Building a solid foundation with the stability exercises.
This time we will be moving to more sport specific exercises while developing strength. Most snow sports have periods of high intensity exercise followed by rest and an active recovery. Think of downhill skiing. You get all of your gear on, skate down to the chair lift and sit. Then it's all out drive on the way down the hill. Repeat. This is what you are prepping for.
The other big one with snow sports is uneven and often slick surfaces. This is why we have included the balance board in part one and the BOSU squats in part two. They help to get your body ready for the ice and snow!
In addition to the suggested exercises, we also highly recommend adding stair running or the stair mill. These are huge in helping to add the endurance you need for downhill skiing, cross country skiing or snowshoeing. Start by adding 10 minutes in 3-4 times a week and add a couple of minutes each week.
Here are next six exercises to add into your exercise routine this month Try to get the number of prescribed reps in. If they are too easy then add some weight. As always, make sure your form is great, not just good!
Game of Thrones might be over, but winter is coming! Get prepared or get left behind.
There is nothing more soothing than a wonderful squash soup on a chilly fall day. I usually tend to pick butternut squash as my base squash but this year I tried out some different recipes using pumpkin. Since it is only here for a short amount of time it feels like a special event when making it.
With as many food allergies as I have, I tend to look at recipes as a guideline rather than a rule. This recipe is loosely taken from, "The Martha Stewart Cookbook".
Instead of half-and-half and sour cream I used coconut milk. I also roasted the pumpkin and carrots to add a little more flavor. Pumpkin is bland it needs all the help it can get!
This is really a base soup that other things can be added to it. Sage is always good with pumpkin as is ginger, rosemary, cumin, or turmeric. I like a little kick so I added red pepper flakes and more fresh ground pepper at the end.
As I do with recipes make it your own. Add flavors to it that make you happy.
Roasted Pumpkin Soup
Heat oven to 400 degrees.
Lightly brush the inside of the pumpkin and the carrots with olive oil. Place the vegetables on a cookie sheet lined with parchment paper. Cook for 45-50 minutes until the carrots and pumpkin can be easily pierced with a fork.
Once cool enough to handle, scrape the pumpkin pulp out of the shell and set aside.
In a cast iron soup pot, melt the butter. Next add the onion, leek and shallots. Saute for 5-7 minutes.
Next, add the pumpkin, carrots and pears and mix well. Cook for another minute.
Add the stock and the fresh thyme. Cover and cook for 30 minutes.
In batches, place soup in a blender and blend until smooth.
Return the soup to the pot and slowly add the coconut milk in.
Add salt and pepper to taste and serve.
Next Veggie of the month.... everyone's favorite Brussel Sprouts!
As the weather turns colder its time to think about changing up our workouts to start getting ready for skiing, snowboarding, snowshoeing or for some just snow shoveling! With any snow sport you must build a foundation of strength.
In this three part series we will give suggestions of exercises to add to your workout program. This first part is all about stabilization.
These exercises are foundation on which the next two parts will build on. There is nothing "sexy" about these. Just the basics! A must in order to get your body for the more dynamic moves to come.
The 6 exercises to add in this month to help build stability are as follows:
Start or add where you are in your workout program. As always make sure your form is spot on every rep. Make sure to check out our video below to get a visual of all these exercises.
Pumpkin became our obvious choice October’s vegetable of the month.
Mmm, pumpkin spice lattes and breads. Pumpkin waffles from Trader Joes and of course, pie with pumpkin ice cream no less.
That's all well and good, however, in our quest to get folks eating vegetables in a healthy way, this one is too often simply associated with lists like the one above. In reality, Pumpkins are a great base for healthy eating.
While containing not a lot of calories it's packed with nutrients. In fact in 1 cup of cooked pumpkin there are only 49 calories but it has 245% of the recommended daily intake of vitamin A, 2 grams of protein, and 3 grams of fiber.
The high amounts of beta carotene that converts to vitamin A in our bodies when consumed is credited with helping with eye and skin health. Beta carotene is also known to protect the cells from the damage caused by free radicals. Thats just some of the many good reasons to eat pumpkin!
The question is, "How do I eat more pumpkin to get the health benefits without all the not so healthy additions?"
A couple of good ways is to add pureed pumpkin to your morning oatmeal, or you afternoon yogurt. Or as a yummy smoothie. (Recipe below:)
The reality is that pumpkin is extremely bland. It needs some help with flavor, which it turns out tend to also be good for you.
For example the two most commonly used spices are cinnamon and ginger.
It is very easy to open a can of pumpkin and and add some extra fiber and vitamin A to a recipe. However, if you want to make the real thing. It is super easy to roast a pumpkin.
First pick up a sugar pumpkin or go to your local farmer’s market for a special roasting variety.
Cut the top off and cut the pumpkin in half.
Remove the seeds. (And save them to make some yummy roasted pumpkin seeds. Also highly nutritious.)
Lightly brush the inside of the pumpkin with olive oil.
Place on a parchment paper lined baking sheet, flesh side down and roast at 400 degrees for 40-50 minutes.
Once cool enough to handle, dig out the pulp and place it in a food processor or blender. Blend until smooth.
You may need to scrap the edges a couple of times and if needed add a tiny bit of water.
Store for up to a week in your refrigerator or freeze for several months in the freezer. Since there is such a high concentration of water in pumpkin you may need to mix up the pumpkin in the blender again once it is defrosted.
A great way to use up this great fresh pumpkin puree is in a smoothie. Super simple and very yummy.
Pumpkin Pie Protein Shake
Combine all ingredients in blender and enjoy!
You may notice that our straw looks a little different! In addition to trying to get folks to eat more veggies, I am also trying to use less plastic. The above picture features The LastStraw. It folds down to into a small carrying case that can attach to your keychain. Also includes a straw cleaner. Love this! For those of you in Spokane you can find it at the Kitchen Engine. It works great for those lattes I mentioned earlier :)
Coming up in two weeks a Pumpkin soup recipe!
There are many things I do that I know my clients think are weird. Probably the one I get the most reaction to is when I feel a cold coming on - I drink garlic tea. I swear it keeps the cold/flu from going into a full blown event.
This idea was shared with me by one of my past clients. She was a midwife who would prescribe garlic tea to her new mom’s with mastitis. She would have them try 24 hours of the tea before prescribing antibiotics. She said only one mom came back after the 24 hours asking for the big guns.
This lead me to make garlic tea whenever I feel a bad cold coming on. I just fill a sauce pan 3/4 full and place an entire bulb of garlic (papery skin removed) and boil until the water is reduced in half. Then I drink the tea and eat the garlic.
I know to some of you this sounds disgusting but the boiling actually mellows out the flavor of the garlic.
In a time when there is a fear of prescribing and taking too many antibiotics garlic may be useful. While I would not say it would knock out everything it might help with some milder illnesses.
In recent years there have been many studies on the benefits of garlic not only with cold/flu prevention but with other health claims as well. Here are just a couple of reasons that garlic maybe good for your health.
Garlic is available all year however the 'in' season of garlic is Summertime. When picking out garlic make sure there are no black spots, its firm, and does not have a garlic aroma. When storing your garlic place it in a cool dark place, not the refrigerator.
Garlic powder and granulated garlic can be substituted into recipes. 1 clove = 1/4 tsp of either. If you are worried that these are artificial in any way don't! Granulated garlic is just fresh garlic that has been minced, and dehydrated. Garlic powder is dehydrated garlic ground into a powder.
I wanted to find a fancier way to make my garlic soup so, of course I went to the master Julia Childs. In her first book, "Mastering the Art of French Cooking" she has a very simple recipe for garlic soup. Below is my version of her recipe. I used fresh herbs since I have an over abundance of herbs right now. In her book she gives you options for dried.
2 heads of Garlic, peeled
2 quarts of water
3 whole cloves
2 TBSP of fresh sage, minced
2 TBSP of fresh thyme, minced
1 Bay leaf
1 TBSP of fresh parsley, minced
Salt and Pepper
3 Egg yolks
3-4 TBSP of Olive oil
1. Place the first 8 ingredients in a saucepan. Boil for 30 minutes.
2. While the soup is cooking whisk the eggs until they are thick. Very slowly add the olive oil in one drop at a time will whisking slowly turning the eggs into a mayonnaise.
3. Once the soup is done strain through a strainer. Pushing as much garlic as you can through.
4. Next take just a ladleful of soup out and put in a smaller bowl. Drop in the mayonnaise mixture slowly into the soup slowly incorporating it. You have to be very careful with this one since you don't want to make egg drop soup! After the egg mixture has been incorporate add the smaller bowl to the larger bowl of soup and whisk together.
5. Enjoy your soup with some hard cheese such as parmesan or bread of your choice.
This soup is extremely mild and yummy tasting. Enjoy!
Next month's veggie: Pumpkin!
Growing up in Denver we often went to a local restaurant, The Saucy Noodle, for dinner. Walking in, one of the first things you were meant to notice was printed on the back wall, - If you don’t like garlic, go home!
It was one of my favorite places to go. Mostly because of the garlic.
At home, however, we never ate much garlic and it didn’t help that I went on to marry a man that hated garlic. Luckily, while I was pregnant with my son I took my first cooking class. A wonderful experience that sent me on the way to cooking for my family and incorporating garlic into our daily diet.
It turns out adding just this little, but highly nuturious, vegetable to our diet can have many health benefits. Documentation of the use of garlic goes back centuries.
Egyptians, four thousand years ago, used garlic in addition to onions and radishes to feed thousands of pyramid builders to keep their up their strength. In Ayuveda medicine, which dates back 2,000 years, garlic is believed to help maintain a healthy heart.
Many cultures over the years have claimed various health benefits when it comes to garlic. However, the first documented experiment was not done until 1858 when French chemist and microbiologist Louis Pasteur found that garlic inhibits the growth of bacteria.
Almost a century later in 1944 Chester Cavallito, an American Chemist and also known as the Father of Garlic Chemistry, isolated and started to study allicin in garlic.
Allicin really is the magically component to garlic. It is a sulfur compound that is not present until the clove of a garlic is crushed. This sulfur compound is the plants natural defense mechanism against insects and fungi. Which makes sense since it is the reason for garlic’s pungent taste.
Allicin is highly unstable and breaks down into more than a 100 biologically active sulfur containing compounds. One of these compounds is Ajoene. It is believed that ajoene is responsible for garlic’s anticoagulant proprieties and maybe why studies have shown garlic helps to reduce the risk of heart disease and stroke.
Several studies have been done on garlic intake and hypertension. Individuals with high blood pressure had reduced blood pressure while taking a garlic supplement. The intake to achieve this reduction is high. Close to 4 cloves of garlic a day! (1, 2)
Cholesterol can also be reduced. One study showed up to a 10-15% reduction in LDL. (3, 4)
With all these health benefits there are so many reasons to start adding garlic into your daily diet. One of my favorite ways is roasted. It is super simple and adds so many flavors to an otherwise blah dish. I love to add the raw cloves to a pan of roasted vegetables or to just roast an entire clove. Then I can add to salads or smear onto a nice piece of gluten free bread!
The roasted garlic is much milder than raw and for individuals that have a hard time digesting garlic this maybe the way to go.
Roasting Garlic 101
First remove as much of the outer papery skin as possible without having the cloves come apart.
Next, cut the top 1/4 inch off the top of the garlic.
Then place the garlic in a small sheet of aluminum wrap. Drizzle with olive oil.
Wrap up the garlic. Place on a baking sheet.
Roast at 325 degrees for about 45 minutes.
The cloves should be soft and the juices brown.
Use a small fork to remove the cloves.
Enjoy in salads, on a piece of toast or with any meal really!
On our next garlic post: Garlic Soup & Cold Cure