Saturday, October 27, 2012

stocking up for a storm - foods to have on hand if the power goes out for days

With Hurricane Sandy (aka "Frankenstorm") threatening to blow through our town in the next few days, my food focus this week has been on using up what we've got, and stocking plenty of vittles for a power loss. I don't want to get all crazy about this but a) we always lose power b) we usually lose power for several days and c) there's something comforting about having a stash of batteries, firewood, and food so you kind of feel like you've got control of what is usually a pretty dismal situation...turning it into a fun adventure (at least for the kids).

On the shelf-stable food front, here's what I picked up:
  • freeze-dried and/or dried fruits
  • nuts (almonds, cashews, pecans, walnuts...)
  • trail mix 
  • granola bars (ideally with high protein, Clif and Lara bars are good bets)
  • apple sauce (or other unsweetened canned fruit... check labels to make sure it's really just apple sauce!)
  • bread
  • peanut, almond, and/or sunflower seed butters
  • jam (small containers so they can be "single use" if we don't have a fridge)
  • peanut butter crackers (Late July ones are my preference, but we could only find Keebler ones yesterday, bummer on the HFCS)
  • turkey and/or beef jerky (make sure no MSG)
  • crackers (aim for ones with high fiber and/or protein. some good ones are: Ak-Mak and Mary's Gone Crackers)
  • brown rice cakes (Lundberg has a bunch of good ones)
  • shelf-stable veggie and/or bean-based dips (again, single use sizes, since you might not have a fridge)
  • cereal
  • shelf-stable milk (single-use sizes)
  • cookies and/or another treat (we bought Halloween sugar cookies at Trader Joe's)
  • water (if you're not on town water)
  • wine, lots of wine
And then right before the storm (like, tomorrow apparently), I am purchasing these fresh fruits and veggies that will last a few days (the veggies will have to be enjoyed first):
  • carrots
  • celery
  • bell peppers
  • apples
  • grapes
  • bananas
The beauty of a well-stocked stash is that even in total weather chaos, we can still enjoy snacks like this, and it's still totally possible to pull together a well-rounded, colorful meals (aka "rainbow plates") for my family.

OK, so that's what I've bought this week. Then, in addition to making sure we had plenty of pantry-friendly foods, wine, books, board games, candles and flashlight batteries, I am also spending this weekend getting ahead of the curve health-wise + trying to use up what we have in our fridge and freezer. This morning, we enjoyed a "use-up-what-is-in-the-fridge frittata". Here's my simple, go-to frittata recipe if anyone else is trying to plow through eggs, cheese, veggies and or meat! (And here's the video if you prefer to learn a new recipe that way.)

The one fresh thing I did stock up on yesterday was a lot of organic greens-- more than normal. I've got the whole family enjoying 3 green smoothies a day, since we'll likely be eating 'junk' for several days in a row. (Junk being relative...much to my husband's dismay I didn't load up on the Chef-Boy-Ar-Dee of his childhood.)

Here's my go-to green smoothie, but you can add any fruits and greens you like. As you can see above, this morning's was a combination of: 1 banana + 6 oz spinach + a handful of frozen pineapple and strawberries + water and everyone loved it. You can use any ratio of greens: fruit. When I first started making green smoothies, I made them 60% fruit: 40% greens, but now we're more like 40% fruit to 60% greens. I only mention this b/c I know several readers have anticipated that their kids won't like the taste. I say, give it a try (perhaps in an opaque cup) before writing them off. Smoothies are simple, loaded with goodness, and you just need to taste as you go to arrive at the flavor your family is going to enjoy.

Alrighty, this might be it from me for a few days. Hope everyone stays safe, well-fed and has some fun family time these next couple of days. Cheers to this not being as major as the weather gods-- or newsmen-- are making it out to be!!

Tuesday, October 16, 2012

after school snack: apple nut butter sandwiches

simple after school snack (that has quickly become a favorite): cored organic apple smothered with creamy peanut butter...

and another hit: slices of apple smothered with almond butter and topped with unsweetened coconut and cinnamon. mmm. enjoy!

Sunday, October 14, 2012

lemony kale, sausage and white beans

4 ingredient dinners make me swoon.

After a fun, action-packed weekend, I wanted to whip something simple up this evening for our family dinner. A quick inventory of the pantry: various canned beans and nuts. The fridge: a package of chicken sausages, a tub of kale, and a lemon. And I always have oil, salt & pepper kicking around. Perfect. 

Lemony Kale, Sausage and White Beans 
(with or without walnuts)
serves 4

olive oil or walnut oil
4 sausages, chopped*
5 oz. tub of kale (or more, if you'd like)
2 15oz. cans cannellini beans, rinsed and drained
zest and juice of 1 lemon
salt & pepper
chopped walnuts (optional, as a topping)

In a large fry pan, saute the sausages in your choice of oil, over medium heat, until lightly browned. Add the tub of kale and cover the pan for a minute or so, until the kale begins to wilt. Add the white beans, stir, and cover again until kale is completely wilted. Add the lemon zest, salt and pepper to taste. Right before serving, squeeze a bit of lemon on each bowl. (Adding the lemon juice right before serving will prevent the greens from discoloration from the lemon juice.) Enjoy!

* I used Lou's Famous Feta and Spinach Chicken Sausages, but any variety of your favorite soy, chicken, turkey, or pork sausage would work in this dish!

Here it is in photos for those who like a visual:

Sunday, October 7, 2012

whole foods detox-friendly treat: coconut-almond "candies"

After 7 days of eating exclusively whole, unprocessed foods + drinking lots and lots of water + making more of an effort to get out and exercise several times/week + setting aside time to relax and get enough sleep, I am thrilled that I have kicked some of my bad eating habits.  Several months of dining out, and simply operating on "vacation mode" this summer had taken their toll. It happens to the best of us.

When I was craving something sweet last week, this was a simple treat that hit the spot.

Simple Coconut-Almond "Candies"

pitted dates
unsweetened shredded coconut
raw almonds, soaked*

Slice dates in half. Roll inside of date (which is quite sticky) in unsweetened coconut. Press a soaked almond into the date. Enjoy!

*Place raw almonds in a bowl, and cover with water. Place into fridge overnight, then drain and store in fridge. The almonds will be fresh for 1 week, after soaking, if stored in the fridge. The almonds will be softer and soaking will make it easier for your body to digest all of their nutrient goodness, including protein, fiber, omega-3 and omega-6 fatty acids. 

p.s. Dates also pack a nutritional punch, being loaded with minerals, antioxidants and fiber.... but they do have a high natural sugar content, so don't indulge in too many of these sweet treats!

Thursday, October 4, 2012

2 new food crushes: treats to keep in my purse

This is a quick post because I am fully immersed in an Autumn detox where I am enjoying whole foods... but no sugar, dairy, meat or gluten for a little bit. Our family meals have been delicious and filling, and I have allocated my free time to crossing things off my to-do list, and really taking care of myself.  Doing a re-set like this makes a world of difference in my life.

OK, so real quick-- In the course of this detox, I came across two new food crushes that I want to share. I found both of these at our local Le Pain Quotidien when I met a girlfriend for bday lunch. I did a little searching and you can also buy the energy mix pictured up top directly from the Chukar site here or on the REI site. The one I love is called "Nuts Over Bings". It's a simple combination of dried cherries, pecans, cashews, almonds and a bit of salt and has quickly become the snack I pop in my purse in case I am hungry and out and about. 

They also sell a spendy (but totally worth it, if you're looking for a healthier *treat*) granola bar. Made by Westport, CT-based Nothin' But which sells their yummy bars a lot of places in CT/NY. I've tried some of Nuthin' Buts other bars, but this one is definitely my favorite. The bar pictured above is made with: organic oats, cranberries, raisins, currants, hazelnuts, almonds, honey, olive oil, organic coconut, almond flour, almond butter, brown sugar, quinoa puffs, vanilla, sea salt and cinnamon.

I am wishing it didn't have the added sugars, so I could enjoy it this week. But, it's good to know that a delicious alternative exists to the 'junk' I sometimes pick up when I am craving something sweet!