Wednesday, July 7, 2010

Lunch And Learn Recipes

Good Wednesday Day to you all!

Last Wednesday, I presented a Lunch and Learn for some City Health Department employees on the topic of "Can Healthy Taste Good?" With the exception on me boffing the smoothie samples (*siiiigh*) I think it went pretty well! An attentive group of learners, with questions and a good sense of humor! Thanks guys!

I had a few people ask about the recipes I brought as taste tests of healthy and (hopefully) tasty foods! So I wanted to post them here! There are some repeats from prior posts, but this will put them all in one place.

1. Beginner's Smoothie: very fruity, to easily hide the taste of green goodness!
1 pineapple
1-2 cups frozen mixed berries
1 cup spinach, water to thin
OPTIONAL: Sprinkle of sesame seeds
Put it all in a blender, and blend away! (I made the mistake of sprinkling in a few too many sesame seeds - aiming for a little extra kick of calcium, and was told it "smelled like tar." Sorry guys! Keep the sesame seeds to a minimal, or just sprinkle them on salads instead!)

2. Walnut Spice Truffles (also found here): Makes about 30
2 c walnuts
1 c raisins (or chopped dates - or maybe dried cranberries for a festive flair!)
1/4 c agave (or honey or pure maple syrup)
1/2 tsp cinnamon
1/4 tsp nutmeg
1/2 tsp vanilla
Pinch of sea salt
In a food processor, process walnuts into a moist flour-like powder. Then add the remaining items. Blend it all up until you have a crumbly dough that will hold together when rolled. I like to leave it just unprocessed enough that there are little raisin bits in it. If you over process it, you may need to chill or lightly freeze the dough to make it more workable. Form into little balls and leave plain, or roll into something fancy! Cacao powder, hemp seeds, shredded coconut, dust of spices, cacao nibs... Or for a bigger splurge, melt some organic chocolate bars (70% or higher cacao, please!) and dip them for the chocolate indulgence. These will freeze well for several months, or even keep in the fridge for a while. Pull 3-4 out of the freezer and let them thaw a little in the fridge (frozen raisin bits are not pleasant on the teeth!) Don't thaw too many, or you just may eat them all at once! ;-)

3. Savory Squash Side Dish (Variations here and here)
1 butternut squash
1/4 onion, diced
1/2 c dried cranberries
1/2 c pecan pieces
1 Tbs cumin seeds
Dash sea salt

Cut off both ends of squash, and peel with potato peeler, making sure to get rid of green veins. Cube into pieces roughly 1-inch cubes. Process in food processor until rice sized (may want to process in two batches to go easy on your machine!) Put into serving dish. Add remaining ingredients. Can enjoy fresh, or let sit over night to allow flavors to combine. Feel free to adjust amounts based on preference!

4. Dark Chocolate Fruit Dip
1 c Medjool dates, pitted (can use other dates, but these seem to be easiest to find)
1/2 c agave syrup, or honey
2 1/2 to 3 ripe avocados
1 c cacao powder (can use cocoa powder if more convenient, but it is more processed and a little less natural - Hershey's Special Dark makes a nice dip!)
2 tsp vanilla extract (or any extract flavor you may like - orange extract, almond extract, etc!)
In blender or food processor, process dates and syrup or honey; gradually add in avocado flesh and cacao/cocoa powder. Flavor with extract and blend until mixed. Keeps about 1 week in fridge.

So I hope those are some simple starter recipes, trying to get to more natural eating! But, as I discussed with one sweet woman after the session - all in balance! Do what you can! Yes, a health natural diet is important! And I urge everyone to really strive to take steps towards a "gold standard" of health! BUT!! It's not worth being so over-zealous with foods that you spike your stress levels, and your blood pressure rockets through the roof! What good is healthy eating if you're unhealthfully overwhelmed in trying to eat well? One step at a time, one change at a time - balance food, activity, stress management, and an all around positive lifestyle!


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