easy recipe

Rosemary Rutabaga Fries

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We fired up the grill for the first time this year and invited a few friends over to help us enjoy some homemade burgers. I was recently introduced to rutabaga, and decided to try out roasted rutabaga “fries” as a side.  They turned out to be delicious!

Rutabaga can be found in the root vegetable section in the grocery store. 

Rutabaga can be found in the root vegetable section in the grocery store. 

Rutabaga is a root vegetable that is related to cabbage and turnips, and has an earthy flavor. This recipe roasts the rutabaga with a sprinkle of rosemary - one of my favorite herbs - for this healthier take on French fries. I then toss it with a little apple cider vinegar, which highlights the mild sweetness and reduces the bitterness of rutabaga. 

So if you’ve ever been interested in trying that weird big purplish waxy-coated vegetable in the grocery store, go ahead - you will not be disappointed! Rutabaga is high in fiber, potassium and vitamin C. It is perfect for roasting, mashing like potatoes or adding into soups, which makes it super versatile and can be a substitute in most recipes where potatoes are required. 


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Rosemary Rutabaga Fries

Serves: 4
Total Time: 45 minutes

Ingredients: 
1 large rutabaga
2 Tablespoons olive oil
1 ½ teaspoons dried rosemary
¼ teaspoon salt
¼ teaspoon pepper
1 teaspoon apple cider vinegar

Preparation Instructions: 

  1. Preheat oven to 425°F
  2. Peel and cut rutabaga into French fry shapes.
  3. Toss rutabaga with olive oil, rosemary, salt and pepper and arrange evenly on a baking sheet. Roast in the oven until golden and tender, about 40 minutes.
  4. Remove rutabaga from the oven and toss with apple cider vinegar. Enjoy!

Nutrition Facts (per serving): Calories 89, Total Fat 7g (Saturated Fat 1g, Trans Fat 0g), Cholesterol 0mg, Sodium 155mg, Total Carbohydrate 7g (Dietary Fiber 2g, Total Sugars 3g, includes 0g Added Sugars), Protein 1g. 

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Creamy carrot apple & avocado smoothie

We are beginning to see the grass in our front yard! This is proof that spring will come eventually – now if only the temperature would go above 35! Hubs and I have been working on house projects this past week to get ready for warmer weather, when we will inevitably rather be outside enjoying the sunshine, rather than inside watching Netflix marathons of Gilmore Girls (actually that’s just me) and packing bags of old clothes to donate to goodwill (also, just me). Ever since we moved in I have been wanting to renovate our guest bedroom closet, so we began to tear down the shelving this weekend and I will try to get new shelves up and ready soon. My secret plan is to turn it into a reading nook, which is a childhood dream of mine.

We have been so busy with projects that smoothies have been a great way to have a nutritious meal without a great fuss. I decided to try something new – avocado smoothies. I see them all the time on the internet, but I had not yet tried one. All the recipes I found online seem to play off the creaminess of the avocado - which is actually a fruit - yet none seemed like anything I would actually make. I consider avocados green gold – the price may be high, but they are one of my absolute favorite foods in the world* and are a super source of monounsaturated fatty acids, fiber, potassium, folic acid and vitamin C! I did not want to waste my delicious green gold on something that I may not like. So I decided to create my own recipe using some of my favorite flavors.

In order to make a smoothie that did not taste like I was drinking salad dressing I added carrot juice, apple and agave to brighten up the flavor. The apple and the avocado make this smoothie super high in vitamin C, which helps boost immune system function. I then added some flax meal for even more fiber, healthy fats and protein, and to make it a filling beverage I used plain non-fat Greek yogurt. A dash of lemon juice gave it a crisp and bright flavor.

Give this creamy carrot apple avocado smoothie a try – even if you feel hesitant as I was, this is definitely going to open your eyes to a new way to any leftover “green gold” you have before it turns to mush. Do you have any avocado smoothie suggestions? Tell me in the comments, I’d love to hear from you!

*Trivia – avocados are one fruit I could not live without, and if I was stranded on a deserted island I would definitely wish for an avocado, then I would plant the pit and hopefully grow a tree to give me fresh avocados forever. Yup, that’s how much I love them!

Creamy Carrot Apple & AVOCADO Smoothie

5 min
Serves 1

Ingredients:
½ cup carrot juice
1/8 avocado
½ Granny Smith apple
½ cup plain nonfat Greek yogurt
1 Tbsp flax meal
1 tsp agave
1 tsp lemon juice
3 ice cubes

Blend all ingredients in a blender and serve. 

Pineapple & Mango Lassi

Lassi merchant in India

Long before the smoothie there was the lassi. Originally from Punjab, India, the lassi is a refreshing drink best enjoyed during the long hot Indian summer days. It is traditionally a simple blend of yogurt, water, sugar (or salt), herbs and spices, and can be served along with food or had alone. Cumin, cardamom, turmeric and ginger are common spices used, while mint, mango, strawberries and other fruit pulp may also be blended in to add subtle sweetness to the otherwise tart drink.

My lassi recipe is a less sweet and slightly savory version than many of the lassis you might see on menus at Indian restaurants across the US. It has a savory flavor from the ginger and turmeric*, but is lightly sweetened by pineapple, mango and a dash of vanilla. I opted to use coconut milk here, as it imparts a tropical flavor, but water would be just as good a substitution. Ice cubes help to thicken the beverage up and keep it chilled.

Turmeric, when traditionally used in lassi recipes, is believed to help relieve stomach ailments in India and other Asian countries. Science is aiming to back up this claim: there have been some clinical trials that suggest this homeopathic remedy can improve digestion and reduce relapse of ulcerative colitis flares (1), among other pro-inflammatory diseases.

I hope you enjoy this lassi recipe, which has no added sugars and is packed with vitamin C, vitamin A, potassium and fiber!

*Ginger and turmeric may interfere with anticoagulants, such as warfarin, and increase risk of bleeding. Please discuss with your dietitian or doctor before using herbal supplements for any potential drug interactions.

Pineapple & Mango Lassi

Serves 2
5 min  

Ingredients:
1 cup nonfat plain Greek yogurt
½ cup pineapple
½ cup mango
½ cup coconut milk
1/8 tsp ground ginger
1/8 tsp turmeric
dash of vanilla
6 ice cubes

Blend all ingredients in a blender and serve. 

(1) Thavorn K, Mamdani MM, Straus SE. Efficacy of turmeric in the treatment of digestive disorders: a systematic review and meta-analysis protocol.Systematic Reviews. 2014;3:71. doi:10.1186/2046-4053-3-71.

TROPICAL GREEN ANTIOXIDANT SMOOTHIE

This week we have a Tropical Green Antioxidant Blast Smoothie. Greek Yogurt provides most of the protein in this smoothie, which packs 18 grams per serving. There is tons of fiber from fresh fruit and spinach, as well as chia seeds, which help reduce hunger. Chia is also high in calcium, phosphorus, selenium and omega-3 fatty acids, which have been shown to lower cholesterol and increase brain function. Ginger and turmeric* have anti-inflammatory properties that can help ward off chronic diseases such as cancer, and heart disease, and can reduce symptoms of arthritis. Everything in this tropical green smoothie can start your day with a mega-dose of nutrition!

*Ginger and turmeric may interfere with anticoagulants, such as warfarin, and increase risk of bleeding. Please discuss with your dietitian or doctor before using herbal supplements for any potential drug interactions. 

Tropical Green Antioxidant Smoothie

Serves 1

Ingredients:
½ cup unsweetened coconut milk
½ cup nonfat plain Greek yogurt
1 cup baby spinach
½ cup banana slices (approximately ½ medium banana)
½ cup pineapple chunks
1 tbsp chia seeds
1/8 tsp ground ginger
1/8 tsp turmeric 

Blend all ingredients together in a blender and serve

Bright and Lemony Couscous Salad

Lemony couscous photo1

This February has seen a deluge of snow here in Boston, and it doesn’t appear to be letting up anytime soon! The snowfall has left us with piles in our front yard taller than the hubs and this weekend we might get another foot on top of that! This has left us sore from all the shoveling and daydreaming about summer. (I’m already picking out my summer vacation wardrobe – too soon?)

7-foot tall snowpiles! 

Our newest kitchen gadget - the Instant Pot 7-in-1 Pressure Cooker!

To help us get through this crazy winter we purchased our first electric pressure cooker! After hours of comparing various pressure cookers online and gathering input from friends on Facebook, we decided to go with the Instant Pot IP-DUO60 – a 6 quart model that is also a slow cooker, rice cooker, steamer and yogurt maker! I have yet to try out it’s various other functions, but we have had loads of fun cooking up recipes we’ve never made before. So far we’ve made mushroom risotto, beef stew, barbecue pulled chicken, cola and soy short ribs and beef stroganoff! Mostly warming comfort food for this blistery weather as you can tell. A blog post about healthy pressure-cooking will probably come along once I gather my bearings with this nifty gadget.

Although it’s been fun playing with the Instant Pot, hubs and I have been craving something simpler and less heavy. We need to maintain our energy for shoveling, after all! I remember having a couscous salad at our friends’ housewarming-slash-birthday party a few weeks back and wanted to recreate it. I used whole wheat Israeli couscous and added avocado to the mix. This would be perfect for work lunch, as a side salad or summertime picnic dish (if I cook it, summer will come? Field of Dreams reference for you there). You could easily exchange any of the ingredients for other fresh veggies. I forgot to put red onion in it this time, but it would be delicious with some diced in. Add some toasted walnuts or pine nuts to make it even heartier, or leave out the feta to make it vegan-friendly.

I hope you enjoy this recipe. I will be – along with a nice big hot cocoa by the fire! Stay warm out there everyone!

Bright and Lemony Couscous Salad
Serves 6-8     
25 minutes

Ingredients:
1 cup whole wheat Israeli (big pearl) couscous
1 tbsp olive oil (for toasting the couscous)
1 ¼ cup water
1 English cucumber, diced
1 pint grape tomatoes, cut in quarters
1 avocado, diced
1/2 cup olives (kalamata or black olives)
1 bunch curly-leaf parsley
2 cups feta cheese
1 lemon
3 tbsp olive oil
optional salt and pepper to taste

  1. Heat 1 tbsp olive oil over medium heat in a small saucepan. When the oil is shiny add couscous to the saucepan with the oil and toast couscous for approx. 3-4 min, turning to coat all of the grains of couscous and toast evenly.
  2. Add water and cover, reducing heat to low-medium. Cook for 20 min or until all of the liquid is absorbed.
  3. Dice and cut cucumbers, tomatoes, avocado and olives. Finely chop parsley. Add all to a large bowl and toss with feta cheese.
  4. Squeeze the juice of the lemon on top of the salad and then drizze with olive oil. 
  5. When the couscous has finished cooking add to the salad and mix thoroughly. Add salt and pepper to taste.