Return to Spring Cleaning via Creamy Polenta with Oranges & Almonds

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Seems like everyone’s captivated with decluttering their lives. I too have jumped on the let’s simplify life  bandwagon.  But  lately, everytime I take one step forward,  I take several backwards.

My latest upset…

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Lightning strikes again! Needless to say, simplifying life will have to wait, and  I can hardly believe it’s my day for the Recipe Redux. (Time flys when your having fun, lol).

 But here’s the good news! This month’s theme  is helping me get back on track with Spring cleaning: Today we’re giving  love to ingredients that have been hanging out for awhile in the  pantry, refrigerator or freezer.

Admittedly, I found two unopened bags of cornmeal sitting in on a shelf in my pantry  waiting for attention;  surely there are ways to enjoy cornmeal other than the occasional loaf of cornbread?!  Enter my signed copy of  the Vegetarian Flavor Bible which is  the inspiration behind this harmonious combination of ingredients (stay tuned for my upcoming book review) …IMG_1561.6

Ta da!   Yes, this porridge  tastes as good as it looks and  one serving provides: 294 calories, 10 grams of protein, 4 grams of fiber and is a good source of vitamin C.  For me, it’s the new alternative to oatmeal. Make this delicious  breakfast in 15 minutes any day of the week,  and/or be the hostess with the mostest the next time you have visitors over a long weekend.

Please check out the links at the bottom of this post to see how spring cleaning is inspiring my  friends and colleagues.

How are you simplifying life?

What ingredients have you been neglecting?

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Creamy Polenta with Oranges & Almonds; serves 4

cooking time: 5 minutes

Prep time : 10 minutes

by Diane Boyd

Ingredients

  • 1 orange
  • 2 cups water
  • 1 1/2 cup skim milk
  • 1/2 teaspoon sea salt
  • 3/4 cup stone ground yellow cornmeal, made with whole grain corn
  • 1/2 cup low fat Greek yogurt
  • 6 Tablespoons organic agave nectar, divided
  • 1/4 cup sliced almonds, toasted

Instructions

1. Zest the orange; you will need 2 teaspoons of orange zest. Set aside.

2. Peel orange and break into segments. Cut segments into thirds. Set aside.

3.Combine Greek yogurt, 1 1/2 teaspoon agave nectar and 1/2 teaspoon orange zest. Set aside.

4. Combine water, milk, and salt in a large sauce pan. Bring to a boil.

5. Add corn meal in a thin stream stirring continuously.

6. Cook while stirring until corn meal  thickens and separates from the sides of the pan. (May take anywhere from 1 minute to 5 minutes.)

7. Remove from heat. Add 1 1/2 tablespoons agave nectar and 1/2 teaspoon orange zest. Divide between 4 bowls.

8. Top each bowl with yogurt mixture , orange segments and toasted almonds.

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Post Resistance Recovery Snack: Pineapple Greek Yogurt with Granola

Stop working harder. Start working smarter and seeing results. In my last post, Get in Shape: No Additional Time Required, I discuss the  the concept of living healthier by making small changes or swaps that add up to permanent change and real results. This post is for you if you’d like maximize training gains after a bout of resistance/strength training.  Muscle protein synthesis can be upregulated  by paying attention to three factors: time of recovery, amount of protein and type of protein.  So 30 minutes after a series of strength exercises like this 

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This lunge with rotation is one of a series of strength exercises I perform with a medicine ball in my garage that doubles as a gym.

I aim to get  20-30 grams of (high branch chain a.a.) protein  in a snack like thisIMG_1529.1

IMG_1527I hope you will join me with this  recovery snack after your next bout of strength training!

Pineapple Yogurt Parfait with Coconut Mango Granola

by Diane Boyd

makes 1 yogurt parfait with granola to spare

Ingredients 

    for the granola

    • 1/2 cup old fashioned oats, (GF look for gluten free label)
    • 2 tablespoons quinoa, rinsed
    • 1/4 cup peanuts
    • 1/4 cup unsweetened flaked coconut
    • 1 egg white
    • 1 Tablespoon olive oil
    • 1/2 teaspoon lime juice
    • 1Tablespoon honey
    • 1/2 teaspoon sea salt
    • 1/2 teaspoon lime zest
    • 1/3 cup chopped dried mango

    for the yogurt

    • 6 ounces low fat vanilla Greek yogurt
    • 1/2 cup canned crushed pineapple, packed in its own juice

    Instructions

    for the granola

    1. Preheat oven to 300 degrees F.

    2. Place ingredients oats through sea salt in a small bowl and stir to combine.

    3. Pour onto a foil or parchment paper lined baking sheet and bake for 20 to 30 minute or until golden, stirring every 10 minutes.

    4. Allow to cool. Add lime zest and dried mango. Store in an air tight container.

    to assemble parfait

    1. Layer three ounces of yogurt, pineapple and remaining yogurt in a parfait glass. Top with 2 tablepoons of granola.

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    Get in Better Shape: No Additional Time Required

    Are you doing aerobic exercise (such as running) at least 5 days a week, but still not seeing the physical results you desire? Wouldn’t it be nice to improve your conditioning (including trimming and toning) without spending any additional time?  You can! The idea is to train smarter, not harder. Consider this:

    A growing body of clinical evidence shows that the healthiest bodies are those that reflect the hard work of a varied exercise rountine, including resistance training. Current fitness recommendations from The American College of  Sports Medicine are for adults to  strength train twice a week (three times is optimal).

    Get in better shape: No Additional Time Required

    Unconventional resistance training with Gorilla wrestling throwing dummy.

    Here’s how to put this principle to work if your exercise routine is an aerobic activity everyday, (or 5 days a week ). Simply swap out 2 days of  aerobics  for 2 days of reisitance/strength training. You don’t have to add any additional time to your training,  just mix it up. When I strength train, I generally perform about 5-6 exercises (each challenging enough to do 10-12 reps) and I do 5 sets of each. Moving quickly from one exercise to the next, without a break, helps keeps my heart rate up and provides for a more intense level of training (more fat burn and muscle enhancement).

    Stop thinking you  have to work harder to get healthier. I love this concept of living healthier by making small changes or swaps that add up to permanent change and real results. Please check out Simple Tweaks for a Healthier Life by fitness blogger Anne Mauney, MPH, RD for more ideas to make fitness, food and  healthy living more manageable. And if you are interested in maximizing training gains after strength training, you won’t want to miss my next post!

    Do you have fit tips to mix it up or simple tweaks for better health?

     

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    Eat Smart: Granola as a flavor ingredient

    Mango Curry Granola is the perfect salad topper for cukes and ricotta!There’s somethin’ about spring that’s motivating. I don’t know if it’s the sight of  trees budding, the warmth of  sun on my face, or the liberating feeling  of running  bare legged, but it brings out the best in me. This week, I have completed ‘the task’ I’ve been dodging for over seven months.   I am happy to report reorganizing my study is like a breathe of fresh air…

    organizing my workspace   In addition to some obligatory spring cleaning, I ‘ve also been busy with one of my favorite spring activies,  transitioning menus to reflect the  fresh flavors of spring and summer.  It started with  Mango Curry Granola and the third  smart way to eat this delicious and nutritious fruit, nut and oat combination:  use it as an ingredient in other foods to easily and consitently  keep the granola portion size in check. There’s no limit to the foods that pair with granola for  high impact flavor. Today it’s  the topping on a cool cucumber salad (which btw can also top 2 slices of bread for an easy vegetarian sandwich). This is the salad that’s the perfect afternoon snack, providing some simple and complex carbohydrates, protein, and produce.  Here ‘s how simple it is to make: Spoon ricotta cheese onto a plate. Toss sliced cucumber with lemon juice and arrange on top of ricotta cheese.  Drizzle with olive oil and sprinkle with a tablespoon of granola. Detailed recipe below.

    How is spring motivating you?

    Cucumber & Ricotta Salad with Mango Curry GranolaCucumber Ricotta Salad with Mango Curry Granola

    by Diane Boyd

    Ingredients (serves 4)

    • 1 English cucumber, thinnly sliced into rounds
    • 1 1/2 Tablespoon fresh lemon juice
    • 1 1/2 Tablespoon olive oil+ more for drizzleing
    • Maldon sea salt
    • Freshly ground black pepper
    • 2 cups low fat ricotta cheese

    for the Mango Curry Granola

    • 1/2 cup old fashioned oats
    • 2 tablespoons quinoa, rinsed
    • 1/4 cup peanuts
    • 1/4 cup unsweetened flaked coconut
    • 1 egg white
    • 1 Tablespoon olive oil
    • 1/2 teaspoon lime juice
    • 1Tablespoon honey
    • 1/2 teaspoon sea salt
    • 1/2 teaspoon ground curry
    • 1/4 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
    • 1/2 teaspoon lime zest
    • 1/3 cup chopped dried mango

    Instructions

    for the Mango Curry Granola

    1. Preheat oven to 300 degrees F.

    2. Place ingredients oats through red pepper flakes in a small bowl and stir to combine.

    3. Pour onto a foil or parchment paper lined baking sheet and bake for 20 to 30 minute or until golden, stirring every 10 minutes.

    4. Allow to cool. Add lime zest and dried mango.

    to assemble salad

    1. In a small bowl toss cucumber, with lemon juic and olive oil.

    2. In a small bowl whisk ricotta until smooth and season with salt and pepper.

    3. Spoon ricotta onto plates and top with cucumber. Sprinkle some of the granola on the cucumbers and garnish with a drizzle of olive oil and several tablespoons of granola. Serve right away.

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    The Smart Way to Eat Granola + Mango Curry Granola

    IMG_1425.2I love granola. But after all these years,  (granola was orginally introduced in the late 1800′s), many of us have been doing it all wrong. We’ve been eating this delicious, high fiber combination, the way it was marketed to us: filling cereal bowls to the brim  or snacking on it right out of the box or jar. Sound familiar?

    What’s wrong with filling your cereal bowl with granola? It’s so nutrient dense (yes, I do mean high in calories!) and if you follow the recommended portion of  1/4 cup,  your bowl of cereal is teeny tiny. Here’s the solution: mix it with other, less nutrient dense cereals or use it as a topping for oatmeal (love it this way).

    What’s wrong with snacking on granola out of the box or jar? It’s documented that we eat more food when eating out of large containers, than we do when eating out of smaller ones.  If you love to snack on granola, make sure to portion it  into smaller containers for eating (2 Tablespoons to 1/4 cup portions are reasonable for most individuals).

    Here’s the third, smart way to eat granola: Get creative with granola and us it as an ingredient in other foods. This easily and consitently  keeps the granola portion size in check.  I love   sweet and savory granola as a topping for vegetables;  raisin and sunflower seed granola as a coating for frozen bananas;  and fennel seed and pine nut granola paired with goat cheese. Once you try granola as an ingredient, you’ll find more uses for granola beyond breakfast and understand why this concept is so popular.

    Today’s I made a granola that’s different then any of the ones I have made before  including my dark chocolate granola with za’tar and spooky apple pie granola.  This granola has some heat and is a flavor bomb, making it  the ideal granola for a cooking ingredient.  Stay tuned, you don’t want to miss my recipes using this salty and sour granola as a  substitue for panko on fish, a topping for a  springtime salad, and in a  recovery snack.

    IMG_1430_edited-1IMG_1421How do you use granola as an ingredient in other foods?

    Mango Curry Granola

    by Diane Boyd

    Prep Time: 5 minutes

    Cook Time: 20-30 minutes

    Ingredients

    • 1/2 cup old fashioned oats (GF: look for gluten free label)
    • 2 tablespoons quinoa, rinsed
    • 1/4 cup peanuts
    • 1/4 cup unsweetened flaked coconut
    • 1 egg white
    • 1 Tablespoon olive oil
    • 1/2 teaspoon lime juice
    • 1Tablespoon honey
    • 1/2 teaspoon sea salt
    • 1/2 teaspoon ground curry
    • 1/4 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
    • 1/2 teaspoon lime zest
    • 1/3 cup chopped dried mango

    Instructions

    1. Preheat oven to 300 degrees F.

    2. Place ingredients oats through red pepper flakes in a small bowl and stir to combine.

    3. Pour onto a foil or parchment paper lined baking sheet and bake for 20 to 30 minute or until golden, stirring every 10 minutes.

    4. Allow to cool. Add lime zest and dried mango. Store in an air tight container.

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    Posted in Fitness, Health and Wellness, Recipes | Tagged , , , , , , , , | 12 Comments