Monday, October 31, 2011

Victory Garden

I stumbled upon a really cool group from Portland the other day, Victory Garden of Tomorrow. They design posters that comment on food culture in the US and have the energy of WWII propaganda. I really love how they are merging the worlds of design and food. Here are a couple of my favorites from their website.


Friday, October 28, 2011

Spaghetti No More

We all have spaghetti sauce recipes that are "the best ever." And I'm pretty sure each of the recipes make two to three times more than we could possibly consume in a week.

To be honest, I don't love spaghetti. I like making it because it's quick and easy, but I don't really crave it. However, I do enjoy the aftermath. Containers of spaghetti sauce fully prepared, making leftover creations a breeze.

This time (like every other house in America, we eat spaghetti at least once a month) I decided to make a cheesy-marinara bake. I also happened to have leftover ricotta cheese, parmesan cheese, and a box of pasta.. so it wasn't a difficult decision...

You will need:

3-4 cups leftover spaghetti sauce
8 oz (or more) low fat ricotta cheese
1/2 cup parmesan cheese (shaved, shredded, or otherwise)
1 box of rotini pasta (whole wheat works perfectly)

What to do:
Cook pasta according to directions on the box, salting the water heavily. Spoon 1/2 cup of spaghetti sauce onto the bottom of a 13x9 baking dish. Pour cooked pasta into the baking dish and season with garlic powder and black pepper. Spoon dollops of ricotta cheese over pasta, and cover with remaining spaghetti sauce. Sprinkle with parmesan cheese and bake at 350 degrees until cheese is melted.

I'll admit... Not exactly a ground breaking recipe, but the perfect comfort food for the first legitimate cold snap of the season.


Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Monday, October 24, 2011

Chili Roasted Pumpkin Seeds

In true October fashion, I roasted pumpkin seeds this weekend. This was my first go at roasting seeds and it was a thrill. This was one of the easiest snacks I have ever made, and everyone loved them. The time in the kitchen was less than 10 minutes!

What you need:

  • 2 cups raw pepitas (this is just the pumpkin seed after shelling)
  • 3 tsp olive oil
  • 4 tsp chili powder
  • 2 tsp salt
What to do:

Spread the pepitas evenly in a dry griddle over medium heat. Once the pepitas start making a popping sounds stir them around and wait for the sound again. Roast for 30 more seconds and remove from heat. Pour the seeds into bowl with the rest of the ingredients and stir. Place the bowl in the fridge until the seeds have cooled. Transfer the seeds to a sealed glass jar and start snacking!

This snack recipe is vegan, sugar-free, and gluten-free! Chili powder is high in antioxidants and has anti-inflammatory properties. Enjoy!

Cooking Diary:

Purchased 2 cups of pepitas and a glass jar.

Spread the pepitas over griddle and started roasting. Mixing bowl ready.

Caroline got spooked by the popping seeds and took cover in Chris's arms.

Mixed the roasted seeds with chili powder, salt and oil. Cooled in fridge.

Transferred seeds to jar to store.

Enjoyed my new snack and a cup of tea on the porch!


Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Sweet Potato Chili

I absolutely love chili. And all variations of it, too. All meat, no meat, with beans, without beans, it doesn't matter. Every version I've ever tried has been delicious.

At the first signs of Fall, I always plan my first pot of chili. This year, I decided to add a sweet potato to the pot... and it turned out amazing.

Sweet Potato Chili

1 lb ground turkey
1 large sweet potato (about 1 pound)
2 bell peppers (I used green, but any variation will do the trick)
1 large onion
3 cloves garlic
4 stalks of celery
1 can cannellini beans
1 can diced tomatoes
1 can chopped green chilies
1 pack of McCormick's Low Sodium Chili Seasoning
1 bay leaf
2 cups of low sodium chicken broth (or vegetable broth)
1/2 tbsp flour
s & p
cayenne pepper (optional)
hot sauce (optional)

What to do:

Slice potato into 3 equal pieces and place into a pot filled with water. Boil until potato is tender, about 20 minutes. Remove potato from pot and set aside to cool.

In a large pot, heat 3-4 tbsp of olive oil over medium heat. Add chopped onion, bell pepper, celery, and garlic to the pot and season lightly with salt and pepper. Cook 4-5 minutes until vegetables begin to soften. Add ground turkey and cook until meat is cooked all the way through. If you like your chili spicy, add in a few shakes of hot sauce and 1 tsp cayenne pepper.

Drain and rinse cannellini beans and green chilies, then add to the pot. Drain tomatoes and add to mixture. Pour spice packet on top and stir to combine. Sprinkle 1/2 tbsp of flour over the chili and mix to combine, then add 2 cups of chicken broth, sweet potato and bay leaf. Stir and let simmer with lid tilted over low heat for 1 hour.

Top with sour cream, green onions, and shredded cheddar cheese.

Serve with these corn bread muffins. (Who can eat chili without cornbread anyway?)

Ah, autumn. We love you so.

Monday, October 17, 2011


In an earlier post, I briefly touched on the correlation between what we eat and the health of our skin. The other day, I read an interesting article on Gwyneth Paltrow's blog GOOP . She interviews Dr. Perricone, a professional on this subject, and it’s packed with great information about how foods affect our skin.

The one food I think Dr. Perricone left out is carrots. We have heard that carrots are good for our eyes, but they are also extremely beneficial to our skin. I can speak to this first hand. I was having issues with brown spots on my face for a while. I tried everything to make them go away. Laser removal, topicals, and expensive daily regimens. I was using very abrasive techniques and chemicals I couldn’t pronounce. My entire face was shedding a layer of skin when it hit me, “maybe this isn’t healthy”. Finally, I got so exhausted by my fruitless efforts that I turned to natural remedies. I threw all my expensive lotions and washes out. I turned to carrots, an organic lemon face wash, and coconut oil moisturizer. I started drinking carrot juice and consuming more green tea, both very high in antioxidants. It wasn’t overnight but my brown spots vanished and the whites of my eyes got whiter. It’s been almost a year since I turned to carrots and it is the only technique that has delivered lasting results.

Ways to start sneaking more carrots into your diet:

  • Carrot juice
  • Shredded carrots on salads
  • Add carrots to soups and stews
  • Add diced carrots to rice
  • Eat more stir fry
  • Always use them in steamed veggie medleys
  • Baby carrots for dips (especially hummus)

Carrots are also great for improving elasticity in skin and reducing breakouts. I have read that carrot juice can be used as a topical for acne but I have not tried this myself. Read the article on GOOP for some great information on other skin healthy foods. Also, I highly recommend trying the Salmon and asparagus recipe at the bottom of the article. I have never cooked salmon before because it intimidated me. But I followed the recipe this week for friends and family and they were extremely impressed.


Friday, October 14, 2011

One Man's Trash Is Another Man's Compost

At first, it was hard to remember to put my banana peels and coffee grounds into the bucket instead of the trash can. Now, it irks me to toss a banana peel in the garbage.

It came from the earth, why shouldn't it go back into it? Sprinkling compost in your garden adds rich nutrients not present your average bag of dirt.

It's completely free, and completely useful. The City of Austin even encourages it!

Old habits die hard-- but new ones can reduce your carbon footprint :)

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

Oh, Pasta... I love thee.

Seriously, I love pasta entirely too much. I crave it constantly, have no self control when near, and cook it at least once a week.

On Sunday I was browsing through the November issue of Every Day with Rachael Ray magazine (guilty). She featured a few recipes on one of my favorites super foods: kale. When I saw that she combined it with pasta, I ran out to the store to pick up the remaining components.

Kale & Sausage Ragu: (adapted only slightly)
1 lb rigatoni
1/2 lb spicy italian sausage
1 cup chopped white onion
3 cloves chopped garlic
1 large bunch of kale, stems removed
1/2 cup white wine
1/4 cup parmesan
1 lemon

Cook pasta & drain, reserving 3/4 cup cooking water. Brown sausage and reserve. In the same pan, cook onions and garlic 2 minutes. Add kale, white wine, and 1 cup of water. Simmer 15 minutes. Stir in pasta, 1 tbsp lemon juice, sausage, cheese, and 3/4 cup cooking water. Top with extra cheese & lemon zest, or serve as is.

See? Pasta can be healthy!


Monday, October 10, 2011

Slow Food

I first became acquainted with Slow Food when they partnered with the Lobby Lounge at the Four Seasons Hotel in Austin to host a "Slow Food Happy Hour". It featured locally sourced appetizers and discounted "slow" drinks. After reading further about Slow Food and what the movement stands for, I quickly realized that this is a movement that I fully support.

What is Slow Food?

"Slow Food is an idea, a way of living and a way of eating. It is a global, grassroots movement with thousands of members around the world that links the pleasure of food with a commitment to community and the environment."

The Slow Food way of living:

1. Get cooking.

2. Shop locally.

3. Avoid genetically modified foods.

4. Buy organic.

5. Grow your own food.

6. Share your home cooked meals.

Here at One Green Table, we fully support all of these ideas. We also believe that food=community. There are over 200 local chapters, linking communities all over the U.S.

It's time for everyone to slow down, don't you think?


Wednesday, October 5, 2011

Words of Advice

Two years ago, I didn't know even what Kale was. Hell, I had never even heard the word. Still to this day, I don't remember what sparked my interest in food. But nevertheless, I set out on an learning adventure. I have crammed my brain with books about whole nutrition, food processing, government regulations on food, food as medicine and herbal remedies. But about a year ago, I realized that "Yeah, I know a helluva lot about food and I haven't changed anything about my eating habits." I knew what I should be eating, and what I shouldn't. But I was still eating the most convenient things and in turn, I still felt sick all the time. Sick as in lethargic, slow, fatigued, cranky, and depressed.

I have lots of reasons why I didn't change overnight: food is family, food is home, food is comforting, food is addicting. I'm not gonna lie, the only way you're going to change your eating habits is by putting in enormous effort. Once you experience the health benefits of whole nutrition, you won't turn back. I promise. All of a sudden, that Twinkie won't be so worth it. Unless of course, you made it from scratch. In which case, I hope you'd make enough to share. Remember I never promised you skinny, I promised you healthy.

The best piece of advice I have learned along the way is "stick to the perimeter". And I have found this advice in so many food books and documentaries despite the main subject matter. But what does this phrase mean? It means that when you are in the grocery store, avoid the center aisles. The aisles, the bulk of the grocery store, are usually filled with processed and packaged foods. You know the ones I'm talking about. The ones with ingredients you can't pronounce. Whole foods (not processed) are usually positioned in the perimeter of every grocery store. These are foods like fruits, vegetables, nuts, fresh bread, and butcher meats. Real food. And look, I've done my time at the Piggly Wiggly and this rule still remains true. You don't need a Whole Foods Market to eat right. The closer you can stick to the perimeter, the better off you are. If you have to venture into the aisles, read the ingredients carefully.

I hope you find this advice helpful.


Tuesday, October 4, 2011


Do you have a morning routine? For me, green tea is essential. My love for green tea may be a bit excessive. Most days I drink 4 cups. On the really intense days, I add coffee to my regimen because the caffeine content of green tea can be minimal.

I have also grown to love herbal teas, most of which contain no caffeine. Some of my favorites are:

Detox tea - This tea usually contains licorice root which is known for detoxifying the liver. Drink some of this tea after a night drinking to speed up the hangover process. Also, detox tea is great for your skin. You skin is a peek into your overall heath. If your insides are clean, you’re skin will soon follow.

Chamomile – known for its relaxing properties can be used for insomnia and anxiety. Also can be used to calm the stomach. Drink some right before bed and you will sleep like a baby. Chamomile is often found in “Bedtime tea” blends.

Lemon Ginger – both of these ingredients work wonders for your digestive system. This tea is great for settling the stomach.

Echinacea – known for boosting your immune system. If you ever feel a cold coming on, spend a couple days day fighting it with this tea paired with Vitamin C.

Drink up,
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