Tag Archives: fresh fruit

Grilled Salsa. Yum.

3 Sep

I stopped at a farm stand to take advantage of the (boohoo!) ending peach season.  Luckily they still had some yummy peaches left, but they had to be eaten quickly.  They were ripe and ready!  There were more peaches than we could eat, and I was not able to can the peaches and put them up.  I had to get creative. Time to dig thru the pantry and the fridge for more inspiration.

Ah yes, onions.  Sweet summer Vidalia onions were in a basket in my pantry.  And chicken was in the fridge ready to grill.  What could be better. Luckily, there was also leftover pesto pasta in the fridge too.  So here we go.

I fired up the grill.  But the chicken would go on second.  What to grill first?  Why, the peaches and the onions, of course!  I sliced the 2 onions about 1/4 inch thick.  I sliced the peaches in half and removed the pit.  Next, I laid them on a cutting board and sprayed them with a bit of vegetable oil.

 

Sliced onions and peaches getting ready to grill.

Sliced onions and peaches getting ready to grill.

Onto the grill they went.  The heat was good and high to get a quick char and that desired carmelization that only the grill can provide.  I wanted those sugars in the peaches to get to work!  And they did not disappoint!

The onion slices and peaches went onto that hot grill.

The onion slices and peaches went onto that hot grill.  The beginning of some great grill marks!

The scent that wafted from the grill was absolutely mouth watering!  It certainly produced one of those culinary “moanable moments”.  When that happens, your eyes close, your head falls back a bit, and a deep breath in is amazingly delightful.  Those sizzled on the grill for about 3 minutes per side, then they came off the heat.

The peaches and onions grilled up beautifully!

The peaches and onions grilled up beautifully!

Next, I let the onions and peaches sit.  While the peaches and onions were cooling, I grilled the chicken.  I went light on the seasoning because I wanted the flavor of the salsa to stand out.

When they were cool to the touch, I coarsely chopped the onions.  They were soft and sweetly  fragrant.  On to the peaches.  The fuzzy outside jacket of the peaches slipped right off.  I chopped up that sweet peachy flesh and mixed the two together in a bowl.  I added about a 1/2 of a chopped jalapeño (I should have grilled that too…Rats!).  I also stirred in a little bit of cilantro, lime juice, olive oil, and just a dash of vinegar.  A little salt and pepper completed the fresh salsa.  The resulting salsa was fantastic! It was not my “prettiest” salsa ever, but it was really tasty!

This was fantastic piled on top of grilled chicken.  It was a healthy low fat option packed with nutrients and flavor!

This was fantastic piled on top of grilled chicken. It was a healthy low fat option packed with nutrients and flavor!

Dinner consisted of a crisp salad, leftover pesto pasta, and flavor packed grilled chicken slathered in peach onion salsa.  It was a hit.  So delicious and a fun way to use fresh ripe reaches.  Cleanup was a breeze because I grilled most of dinner.  Gotta love that!

I am certainly going to try some more grilled salsa recipes.  Tomatoes are at the end of the season, but there is surely enough time to get creative  and grill those up next!  Grilled tomatoes with perhaps some creamy diced avocados.  Maybe roasted garlic too.  Oh yeah, can’t wait for that one!

 

Surviving Morning (C)rush

25 Feb

Any busy parent has been stuck in what I call “The Morning Crush”.  We get caught up in finding this, grabbing that, scheduling this, signing that.  Find a coat.  Pack up lunch.  Locate the car keys.  Take the dog out.  Yup, mornings are busy.  But they are survivable.  It does take some planning and organization though.  But any parent with kids, a job, multiple schedules, taxi duty, and household management duties can do it.  In fact, planning and organization makes mornings a bit of a breeze sometimes.  As with anything, practice is key here.  You get better with experience.

Making one change at a time is a good way to make positive changes work for the long-term.  Let’s begin with a good hot nutritious breakfast.  Made fast.  Loaded with vitamins, minerals, and goodness.  And super easy.  Just pull it out of the fridge, heat it up, and enjoy.  Impossible you say?  Nope, not at all.  With a little advance planning and prep, weekday morning breakfast will be a snap.

My secret weapon here is oatmeal.  Made ahead of time, my oatmeal will keep in the fridge, and can even be frozen.  It is quick to reheat on a busy morning, and a healthy way to begin any day.  And for those of you with a sweet tooth, you can add in fresh or dried fruit to sweeten this without sugar.  The possibilities are endless with the add ins to make my oatmeal into your oatmeal.  Just toss in what you have around, within reach, and bammo!  You have a powerhouse start to your day in minutes.

I make oatmeal with quinoa.  Why add quinoa to oatmeal?  Well, first of all, it is a good way to add another whole grain to your diet.  Second, quinoa is a complete protein.  Third, this pumped up oatmeal is stick to your ribs and will really hold off hunger and temptation for the entire morning.  Quinoa is also a good source of iron and fiber.  I like to make a big batch of quinoa and keep extra in the fridge.  In addition to adding it to oatmeal, I also add it to, for example, roasted veggies for an easy side dish for supper.  But back to oatmeal.  Let me share my pumped up oatmeal recipe for you to try.

Do Ahead:  Make a large batch of quinoa.  Cool and keep cooked quinoa in the fridge.

Amy’s Pumped Up Oatmeal

  • 2 cups skim milk (may substitute with almond or soy milk if desired)
  • 2 cups water
  • 2 cups oatmeal
  • 1 t. cinnamon
  • 1 cup cooked quinoa
  • dried fruit like raisins, and/or 1 banana to add, sliced, at serving time (avoid if watching sugar intake. Dried fruits are high in sugar.)
  • nuts or seeds, like sunflower or almonds, to add at serving time

Combine water and milk in a saucepan over medium high heat.  When boiling, add oatmeal and cinnamon, stir, and turn heat down so the oatmeal simmers uncovered.  Cook for 5 minutes.  Stir in quinoa.  Continue cooking until desired doneness, about another 5 minutes, stirring as needed.  Remove from heat.  Portion in 6 ounce serving size and refrigerate or freeze.  Easy tip:  Freeze in muffin tin.  Pop out to heat and serve.

When ready to prepare, remove number of portions needed from fridge or freezer and place in separate bowls.  Add 1 T. water and microwave for 2-3 minutes.  Stir and add fruit, nuts, and/or seeds.  Enjoy a super fast, easy, and nutritious breakfast.  This is a terrific recipe to customize for preferences.  I have had this breakfast, and it has lasted through morning crush, a tough workout, and a busy morning at work.

There you go.  One step toward making morning crush more manageable.  And a way to start your day off with a solid healthy breakfast!  Go ahead.  Get going.  There is nothing stopping you.  Bon appetite!

Produce. Fruits and Vegetables?

12 Jul

Ok. I am really honked off now! This beats all!

I am signed up to receive specials from my local grocer. A weekly flyer lands in my email every Wednesday. I can peruse specials by category and make my grocery list online. The convenience of this sure works for me as a busy working mother. But today, there was a glaring addition to the produce section of the e-flyer.  Right there, sandwiched between cantaloupe and black plums was listed the unthinkable. AN ENERGY DRINK!! Oh no! This cannot be!!  Is that how we categorize produce?

Let’s see.  Dictionary.com defines produce as “agricultural products  collectively, especially vegetables and fruits”.  Hhhmmm. Don’t see “energy drinks” in that definition.  So I took a stroll through the store that sent me the e-flyer.  Nope.  No energy drinks in the produce section.  In fact, the energy drinks were by the soda products.  Interesting.  And to me, appropriate merchandising.

Health and wellness have been core values of mine for as long as I can remember, and I have worked in the field of clinical nutrition for many years.  The local schools that my children attend have always asked me to come visit a couple of times a year and speak to the children about nutrition.  I absolutely love doing this.  I love going into the schools and educating the kids about nutrition basics.  (Do my own kids love it? Um, that might be another story which would include some huffing and eye rolling on their part…).  Last spring, with a son in 8th grade, I was invited to his school to talk to the children.  I asked what topics the teachers wanted me to touch on.  Were there any problems, I asked the teachers, that they saw in the student’s diet that they wanted me to specifically address.  The emphatic answer was energy drinks.

So talk to them I did.  We discussed caffeine and sugar.  Appropriate hydration.  And what “energy” in food really means.  And guess what?  When I asked how these students had gotten their hands on the energy drinks, most of them said “vending machines”.  The kids also admitted to sneaking them when their parents weren’t around.

So.  Here are the game stats folks.  The parents had not picked these items up in the produce section of their local grocer.  In fact, most of the kids had to sneak it.  They did not necessarily want their parents to know that they were imbibing in energy drinks.  And reeling from the negative affects of them.  The children reported a racing heart, mild panic attacks, and a little bit of a “rush” from energy drinks.  Not exactly the epitome of good health that we want to instill in our children.  Or what any parent would want their middle schooler to experience at such a tender age.

For many reasons I am outraged by this grocer putting an energy drink in the produce section of their e-flyer.  I think it gave the appearance of the drink being healthy, like a natural juice.  I do not like the idea of these drinks, or any sugary manufactured drinks in fact, being mainstreamed in ads like this.  I will be the first to admit that I can be hyper sensitive at times to how food is marketed and presented, especially unhealthy food options.  Like I said, good health is important to me.   And teaching our children about it is even more important.  I felt that this ad muddied the waters a bit.  So I vent on my blog.  Hey, be grateful that I didn’t call you today to express my disdain like I did some of my other friends!

I will continue to go into the schools and talk to the students about nutrition.  I will try to stay on my path to wellness.  But most importantly, in the end, I will just go to another grocer!