Carrots with Red Wine Reduction + New Website

First off, thank you for stopping by and reading my blog! Shop, Eat, Live Well is getting a new name and moving to a new address, danaartinyan.com, so please check out both my new website as well as the many nutrition services I offer.

Now, onto the food…

The other day, I got a present from my coworker: a whole bag full of colorful baby carrots just picked from her garden. Clearly, she knows the way to my heart!

I absolutely love the look of a baby carrot and wanted to keep them whole and intact to highlight their beauty. Besides being pretty, carrots are an excellent source – 110% of your daily needs in just one carrot – of vitamin A (immune functioning, eye health, anti-oxidant properties) and a good source – 10% of your daily needs – of vitamin C (another powerful anti-oxidant, plus it promotes better skin and improved cardiovascular functioning). Carrots are also low in calories (only 30 calories for a large carrot) and surprisingly low in sugar, despite their natural sweetness.

I wanted to bring this sweetness and also lend a bit of earthiness to the carrots with a red wine reduction sauce over the carrots. I paired with some garbanzo beans to give some protein and fiber, and had quite a delicious and filling (thanks to all that fiber!) meal.

Red Wine-Glazed Carrots

Red Wine-Glazed Baby Carrots:

Ingredients:

  • 2 cups baby carrots with stems intact (I used multi-colored), rinsed/scrubbed
  • 1 Tbsp olive oil
  • 1 clove garlic, minced
  • 1/2 cup red wine
  • 1 tsp rosemary
  • 1/2 tsp black pepper
  • 1/2 tsp smoked sea salt

Directions:

Heat olive oil and minced garlic for about 1 minute. Add carrots and saute for 10 minutes (on medium-high heat). Add wine and remaining ingredients and cook until the red wine has reduced to about 2 Tbsp (will also be thicker).

Serve over grains such as quinoa, brown rice, or buckwheat or along with beans (garbanzo, pinto, kidney). Would also make a great side dish to white fish, chicken or pork tenderloin.

See you at danaartinyan.com!

Curried Butternut Squash and Lentil Cakes

Happy Halloween! Are you up to your ears in nougaty, caramely, chocolatey-ness yet? Get back on the right (read: healthy) track and eat some veggies!

Since it’s Halloween you know that it’s also fall and with fall comes a whole slew of delicious and nutritious foods – cranberries, sweet potatoes, turkey and brussel sprouts to name a few. One of my favorite fall foods, though, is squash. Butternut, spaghetti and acorn squash are my top picks, though really I like them all – I don’t discriminate.

The other day I was baking my spaghetti squash and figured I might as well save time and make my butternut squash too. This was a great idea (gotta love efficiency!) until I realized that I had TONS of squash to use up.

One can only eat so much squash on its own, so I had to find a way to transform the squash. I set out to make squash cakes but in order to up the protein I also added in lentils (so that I could make the squash cakes my dinner rather than having to cook a protein to balance things out). Since I’ve been loving lentils lately (the split ones only take 15 minutes to cook!), I decided on a curried butternut squash and lentil cake. Butternut squash is an excellent source of vitamin A (more than 250% your recommend daily intake for just 1/2 a cup of the stuff) and vitamin C, plus iron. Lentils are also loaded with iron, along with protein and potassium. That makes for one fantastically healthy cake! Add some curry powder and other spices and top with an apple “salsa,” and they become a delicious cake too. Oh and an added bonus – because of all the fiber in both the squash and lentils, these will make you feel super-full without loads of calories.

Butternut Squash and Lentil Cakes
Curried Butternut Squash and Lentil Cakes
Ingredients:

  • 3 cups cooked butternut squash, mashed (about one whole squash)
  • 1/2 cup dry lentils (makes about 1 cup cooked)
  • 1/4 red onion, minced
  • 1 egg
  • 1 Tbsp Sriracha sauce (or to taste)
  • 1 1/2 tsp curry powder
  • 1 tsp cumin
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1/2 tsp pepper

Garnish:

  • 1 apple, diced
  • 2 Tbsp orange juice

A one-bowl preparation!

Directions:

Cook lentils according to package directions. Mash squash and lentils together and add remaining ingredients. Heat a large pan and spray with cooking spray. Form squash mixture into patties and drop into pan. Cook for about 5 minutes on each side.

Top with apple “salsa.”

 

Curry Butternut Squash and Lentil Cakes with Apple Salsa

*Note: mine were a bit fragile (mushy), so I baked them at 375 for 10 minutes just to stiffen them up a bit. They are delicious either way, though.

 

 

When Life Gives You Celery Root

I like to think of myself as a fruit and veggie expert. I have used lots of interesting, unique produce (see my farmer’s market wtf series) and I am generally good at identifying out-there foods. It all went down the drain, though, yesterday at Whole Foods.

I wanted parsnips because my Grandma used to always make chicken soup with them, and I wanted to see what else they’d be good in.

But alas, I didn’t get parsnips. I got celery root, or celeriac. I won’t lie – I am not that big a fan of celery. I can bear it at times but celery root, which basically tastes just like celery, was not my first choice for vegetables. I’m not even sure how I mixed them up…I know what parsnips look like, dammit, and these were clearly not parsnips (see comparison below).

Celery Root

Celery Root

Parsnips

Parsnips

Well kids, when life hands you celery root, you make…

What do you make? I had to explore. First I found a recipe for celery root remoulade from the blog Wrightfood. This recipe was a creamy, mayo-based salad, however, I wanted something a little lighter. I did like the idea of some sort of celery root slaw, though.

There is one area where I do enjoy the taste of celery: in a stir-fry, when there’s a little teriyaki sauce to offset some of the celery flavor. So I decided to make an Asian celery root slaw. Had some English breakfast radishes to use up, so those had to be a part of the recipe too.

Asian Celery Root Slaw

Asian Celery Root Slaw

Ingredients:

  • Shredded celery root (about 1.5 cups shredded)
  • 1 cup English breakfast radishes, sliced into thin coins
  • 1/4 cup no-salt, no-sugar rice wine vinegar
  • 1/4 cup Trader Joe’s Island Teriyaki (has pineapple juice in it) or standard teriyaki sauce.
  • 2 tsp honey
  • 2 tsp minced cilantro
  • 1 tsp black sesame seeds
  • 1 tsp minced ginger
  • 1 tsp Sriracha sauce
  • 1/2 tsp black pepper

Combine all ingredients in a large bowl. Let marinate in the fridge for at least 1 hour before eating.

The slaw has a nice crunch and surprisingly didn’t have an overwhelming “celery taste” – a plus in my book! With the sweetness of the Island Teriyaki sauce plus honey, it was the perfect balance of sweet, fresh (celery root), tangy (vinegar) and spicy (radishes/Sriracha). Quite a serendipitous event, mixing up parsnips and celery root, if you ask me.

Plus, one can’t complain about the nutritional perks of celery root (1 cup): only 70 calories, excellent source of vitamins C & K, good source of potassium, fiber, phosphorous and several other nutrients and no cholesterol or fat! AKA celery root is good for eye and bone health, immunity, can help improve blood pressure and will make you feel full with all that fiber.

Hmm what else can I make out of celery root? I’m thinking celery root chips…stay tuned.

Smoothie Time

What’s delicious and refreshing, takes one minute to make, has hidden veggies and brings all the boys to the yard?

SMOOTHIES!

Banana Berry Smoothie.

Banana Berry Smoothie…and Flowers!

Okay so technically, milkshakes bring the boys to the yard…but that’s neither here nor there.

I absolutely love smoothies for several reasons:

  1. They’re an extremely quick supplement to a meal or even a meal replacement. To make it a meal replacement, add oats and about 1 Tbsp peanut or almond butter (to make the calories more appropriate).
    • Having a smoothie in place of one meal/day is a great way to stay on track with your weight loss goals.
  2. You can throw whatever you have on hand into the smoothie.
  3. They are extremely nutritious, when made with the right ingredients.

In my mind, smoothies must include two main ingredients: fruit and dairy (milk or yogurt). However, there are ways to take your smoothie to the next level, nutrition-wise. Since smoothies tend to be either a post-workout snack or a part of my dinner, I always add protein powder. Some of my favorites include:

  • Swanson Whey (Vanilla flavor – it’s more versatile): 90 calories and 20 grams of protein. That’s pretty unbeatable. Plus, I like this one because it is less sweet than other varieties. Also comes in a grass-fed version.
  • Tera’s Whey (Plain or Vanilla – the Vanilla is pretty sweet so I like the Plain better): midwest-based (read: local), sustainable practices and fair animal treatment, no growth hormones, grass-fed (plain flavor) and just a nice high-quality, small batch product. 110 calories and 22 grams protein per serving.
  • Designer Whey (French Vanilla flavor): made with Stevia (more natural sweetener) and contains 18 grams of protein per scoop (for 100 calories). Because of the Stevia, this one is a little sweet, which is good or bad depending on your taste. I think it’s nice for masking veggies and other more bitter ingredients.

Besides the protein powder, I like to sneak in a little kale, which is an excellent source of vitamins A and C and a good source of calcium and potassium. If you don’t have kale, spinach works well too.

**Tip: make a habit of keeping frozen fruit on hand. I use the frozen fruit in place of ice to keep things cold/frozen without diluting the flavor.

So, when you put the whole smoothie together, it looks something like this:

Banana Berry Smoothie with Kale

Banana Berry Smoothie with Kale

Fruit: about 1 cup total. I used a frozen mixed berry blend and about 1/3 of a frozen banana.

Kale: about 1/2 cup (make sure it’s rinsed)

Milk: about 1 cup

Protein Powder: 1 scoop

Other: splash of vanilla extract and sprinkle of cinnamon

Alternate smoothie ideas (you can add 1/2 cup of kale to any of these):

  • Banana oatmeal: 1 frozen banana (add ice if using fresh banana), 1/4 cup oats, 1 cup milk, protein powder and cinnamon.
  • Berry almond: 1 cup frozen berries, 1 cup milk, protein powder, almond extract.
  • Pumpkin: 1/3 cup canned pumpkin, 1 cup milk, protein powder, sprinkle of pumpkin pie spice and ice.
  • Banana mango: 1/2 banana, 1/2 cup frozen mango, 1 cup milk, protein powder.

Texas Caviar Goes Local

My girlfriends and I have recently started doing potluck dinners/wine nights. Is it a sign that I’m getting older that I would rather do that than go out?

Now, even though I am a dietitian, I love, love, love sweets. In fact, most dietitians I know feel the same way. So naturally, I volunteered to bring cupcakes.

Swirlz Cupcakes

How could you not want to share these works of art? Cupcakes from Swirlz Cupcakes in Chicago.

To balance things out, though, I wanted to make something a bit healthier. Lucky for me, the Green City Market is brimming with amazing veggies right now. Tons of varieties of tomatoes and peppers plus delicious sweet corn. Yum!

I wanted to also incorporate some pinto beans as I had a big bag to use up. Hmm, what could I make? Then I realized…Texas caviar! Even though the traditional recipe uses black eyed peas (cue “Boom, Boom, Pow”), I could easily replace them with pinto beans. I found this amazingly quick method from the Paupered Chef (only 90 minutes start to finish) to cook dried beans. Check out the dried beans below – so pretty, and a nutritional powerhouse. Per 1/2 cup of pinto beans, you’ll get 8 grams of protein, 7.7 grams fiber, 2 grams Iron, loads of potassium, and a slew of other vitamins and minerals. All for approximately 120 calories. Not too shabby.

Pinto BeansTexas Caviar (inspired by this recipe I found on allrecipes.com):

Ingredients:

  • 3 cups cooked pinto beans (or 1.5 cans, rinsed)
  • 1 cup minced bell pepper
  • 1 cup cherry tomatoes, diced (I used amazing black cherry tomatoes)
  • 1 ear of corn, cut off cobb (or about 1 cup frozen/thawed corn)
  • 1/2 sweet onion, minced ) (about 1/2 cup)
  • 1 small jalepeno, finely minced
  • 3 Tbsp olive oil
  • 3 Tbsp red wine vinegar
  • 3 Tbsp rice vinegar
  • 1 Tbsp minced fresh cilantro
  • 1 tsp cumin
  • 1/2 tsp oregano
  • 1/2 tsp black pepper
  • 1/4 tsp salt

Directions:

  • Heat de-cobbed corn for about 90 seconds in the microwave.
  • Mix all ingredients together

Serve on top of tacos or salad, or as a dip with tortilla chips.

Texas Caviar