Product Placement

They Found A New Way For You to Eat Your Veggies

Savory vegetable yogurts – they do exist! I have to be honest, I prefer salt over sugar any day of the week. It’s this reason I do not enjoy eating yogurt for breakfast. It’s just too sweet, even if it is plain. For myself, yogurt falls into the snack category. So you can imagine my confused delight when I saw these Blue Hill Yogurts at Whole Foods.

Photo Credit: Kimberly Sabada MS, RD, LDN

Photo Credit: Kimberly Sabada MS, RD, LDN

Made from the whole milk of grass-fed cows, the flavors offered include Tomato, Sweet Potato, Carrot, Beet, Parsnip, and Butternut Squash. Naturally I picked up the only 3 varieties Whole Foods had on the shelf and headed home to timidly taste test. The review is as follows:

BEET
The Beet yogurt was by far the most tart, probably due to the raspberry vinegar found in the ingredient list. Clearly the honey wasn’t enough to carry the team. It was pretty good, but I cannot imagine consuming a whole 6 ounce container of it in one sitting. Popping it into the freezer for a few minutes and eating it as frozen yogurt seems more likely.

CARROT:
The Carrot yogurt was a little sweeter than the Beet. Unquestionably less tart, and therefore, a little richer. Of the three flavors it was the most boring with just milk, carrots, water, carrot juice concentrate, sea salt, and live cultures.

BUTTERNUT SQUASH:
Thanksgiving in my mouth, period. The sweetest of the three, which I attribute to the cinnamon, clove and nutmeg. I could eat a whole container of this flavor, no questions asked.

Nutritionally, these yogurts run around 100-120 calories with 4.5 grams of fat, 4-5 grams of protein and 10-15 grams of carbohydrate (depending on the flavor). They may not be Greek or Icelandic yogurt, but with all natural ingredients, there’s no harm in changing up your yogurt every once in a while. Just keep in mind these are neither low fat or fat free dairy products.

You don’t have to eat the yogurts in a solitary fashion either. Incorporate them into smoothies, baked goods (morning glory muffins with carrot yogurt anyone?), dips or soup bases. Check out bluehillyogurt.com for a few recipes ideas!

Shameless Product Placement of April: Ancient Harvest Quinoa Harmomy

Some say you can’t have your cake and eat it too. When it comes to quinoa, I beg to differ. Quinoa is the ‘moving on up’ of whole-freaking-grains so get ready to be amazed by what THR is about to throw at your noggin!

Whole grains are obviously a hot topic of discussion here on THR. This post isn’t about to stray far from that very subject today. Quinoa is one such example of a whole grain, despite it actually being a pseudo-cereal (we’re getting to that). And for those swearing off gluten, for medical or fad purposes, it also happens to be gluten-free!

Photo Credit: Kimberly Sabada MS, RD, LDN

Photo Credit: Kimberly Sabada MS, RD, LDN

Quinoa is a ‘pseudo-cereal’ meaning it’s a food similar to grains in how it’s cooked and eaten, as well as it’s nutrient profile. Having been harvested back nearly 4,000 years ago in the Andes region is what gives this seed its ‘ancient grain’ moniker. Us late-blooming Americans must be pretty late to the game because this protein-rich seed seems to be just now making its way into the forefront of the dietary world and current grain research. Such newbs. How late? Well, the Food and Agricultural Organization of the United Nations (FAO) officially declared that the year 2013 be recognized as “The International Year of the Quinoa.” Yeah, that late. Sure America doesn’t make up the United Nations, but you get my point. 

Grains (and their look-a-like counterparts) are often thought of as mainly carbohydrate, but quinoa bucks the traditional views of the grain world with its high protein-to-carbohydrate ratio. Whole grains contain three parts: the bran, the germ and the endosperm. The bran and germ make up 25% of the grain’s protein content. Keeping that in mind, the germ of a quinoa seed takes up 60% of the grain’s real estate. To put this in perspective, the germ of a kernel of wheat makes up a measly 3% of the grain. Psh! What’s that wheat? I can’t hear you over quinoa’s awesomeness. 

Letmegeekoutforaminute. To dig a little deeper on this protein point for one hot second, those in the nutrition world look at protein in two categories: complete and incomplete. Sometimes it’s not just about quantity, but rather quality. The distinction between these two forms of protein lies in the number of essential amino acids the protein contains. Essential amino acids are deemed ‘essential’ because our stupid human bodies cannot make them, but are necessary for survival. Animal proteins are complete. Plant proteins? Not so much. But I’ll give you one guess as to which plant contains all nine essential amino acids. You guess it! I hope. Quinoa!

Now that you know why quinoa is so great, we are FINALLY to the Shameless Product Placement of April:

Ancient Harvest Quinoa Harmony Blend

Image from ancientharvest.com

Image from ancientharvest.com

Ancient Harvest Quinoa Harmony Blend is a combination of traditional, black and red quinoa. While I enjoy traditional quinoa, the blend is a fun way to jazz up salads, serve in place of rice or pasta and works well when manipulated into burger form. The blend retains the natural nutty flavor of traditional quinoa that pairs well with a variety of ingredients. Do not be afraid to experiment with this beautiful product.

One rule to keep in mind prior to preparing: rinse the quinoa. Yeah, I know it says it’s ‘pre washed’, but quinoa develops a natural bitter coating called saponin that fends off pests and helps it grow without the necessity of chemical pesticides. I agree with the Whole Grain Council on this one, the extra rinse may help remove any residue left on the grain. Hey, a little extra water aint’ never hurt nobody (my words, not theirs).

One quarter cup of this tri-blend quinoa (dry) contains 170 calories, 2.5 g fat, 30g carbohydrate, 5g of protein. Ancient Harvest Quinoa Harmony Blend is certified USDA Organic and is a non-GMO food, if you’re into that stuff. Sold in most natural foods stores, click this link to find your nearest retailer.

Come back next week for a Harmony Blend quinoa recipe!

Resources:
wholegrainscouncil.org
http://www.whfoods.com

Shameless Product Placement of March: Trader Joe’s Red Curry Sauce

Shake off those dust bunnies because Shameless Product Placements are back! Readers take note – I receive no monetary compensation for the products in any of my posts. Now let’s get started!

Image by Kimberly Sabada

Image by Kimberly Sabada

I tried Trader Joe’s Red Curry Sauce by accident because an emergency. You see, yours truly doesn’t always develop five-star recipes. It’s rare, but occurs about once or twice a year. A few weeks ago, I decided to try to make my own chicken curry in the slow cooker. After 8 hours of simmering, I absolutely hated it. The minute I walked into my apartment from work, I knew I’d made a misstep. The smell wasn’t right. It wasn’t appalling, but definitely not what I wanted nor expected after dumping five ingredients into my slow cooker at 6am. In order the rectify the situation, I hustled up to Trader Joe’s to look for a supplemental Thai/curry sauce to doctor up the devil dish. I picked up two sauces, used one and was left with a bottle of Trader Joe’s Red Curry Sauce in my pantry for the past month or two.

Cut to a few weeks ago, when an impromptu dinner party sneaks onto my schedule midweek. On my train ride home from work that night, I contemplated ingredients I had on hand – basmati rice, zucchini, sesame oil, tofu and…oh yeah, TJ’s Red Curry Sauce. I picked up a few extra items from the food store and got to cooking. Now then, I did have a moment where I contemplated making my own curry sauce. You see, I don’t exactly love this sauce from a nutrition perspective. For starters its high in sodium, like so many bottled sauces before it. Its saturated fat content is also a little disappointing. One serving of TJ’s curry sauce contains 3.5g saturated fat (5 servings per bottle). So I pondered what I would use to make my own sauce, light coconut milk being at the top of the list. But then I remembered, ANYTHING containing coconut milk will be high in saturated fat even if one uses the ‘Light’ version. One serving of light coconut milk (1/3 cup) carries 3 grams of saturated fat (5 servings per can). So I’ll do the math for you. One bottle of Trader Joe’s Red Curry Sauce has 2.5 more grams of saturated fat than one can of light coconut milk. I’m not saying it’s not a big deal, but in a pinch, I am willing to accept it.

Shameless Product Placements on The Healthy Revival can do a few things. I do these post to (1) help foster healthy snacking, (2) provide you with alternative products for substitutes when trying to cook healthier recipes, and/or (3) simply making home cooking a little bit easier. I believe, as a whole, our society has lost touch with cooking at home. So many people are under the impression that in order to put dinner on the table it has to be complicated and time-consuming. It’s one of my many quests in life to make people aware of this misapprehension. If that means you need to buy a pre made sauce (be it marinara, a good marinade, salad dressing, etc), then so be it. We can start there.

Per serving, one bottle of TJ’s Red Curry Sauce has 80 calories, 6g fat, and 3.5g saturated fat. As mentioned above, it is high in sodium so keep that in mind – ergo: do not add salt. You don’t need to.  Feel free to adjust the vegetables in this curry, there’s honestly no rules on this one! I used basmati rice, but as a dietitian, I recommend using brown rice. Do as I say, not as I do.

The Healthy Revival’s TJ’s Red Curry with Tofu

Image by Kimberly Sabada

Image by Kimberly Sabada

Serves: 5-6

Ingredients

16 ounces of Extra Firm Tofu, drained, pressed and cubed (see below)
1 small onion, diced
1 medium eggplant, cubed
1 red pepper, chopped
1 medium zucchini, diced
1 cup uncooked Basmati rice
2 teaspoons sesame oil
1-2 Tablespoons olive oil
Cilantro
1/4 cup water

Sriracha or your preferred hot sauce

Directions:

Prepare basmati rice according to directions.

To press tofu, line a large dinner plate with one layer of paper towel. Place tofu on plate, top with another layer of paper towel cover with a cutting board and weigh down with canned goods, a brick, etc. See below for image.  Let press for about 30 minutes, replacing paper towels halfway through. Once tofu has been pressed, cut into 1/2 inch cubes.

Image by Kimberly Sabada

Image by Kimberly Sabada

Preheat oven to 375. Toss cubed eggplant in olive oil, season with pepper and place on an aluminum lined baking sheet. Bake for about 15 minutes until browned and tender. Set aside.

Image by Kimberly Sabada

Image by Kimberly Sabada

Heat a large pan over medium-high heat with sesame oil and 2 tsp of olive oil. Add tofu, season with pepper and sauté until lightly browned, about 10 minutes. Remove from pan and set aside.

Image by Kimberly Sabada

Image by Kimberly Sabada

Add 1 tsp of olive oil back to pan. Once reheated, add onions, zucchini and red pepper. Saute for about 5 minutes. Stir in roasted eggplant and tofu, reheat.

Image by Kimberly Sabada

Image by Kimberly Sabada

Add the whole 11-ounce bottle of Trader Joes Red Curry Thai Sauce, once emptied, fill bottle with ¼ cup of water, replace cap and shake. Add contents of bottle back to pan. Stir, cover and simmer for about 10 minutes.

Plate rice and top with curry mixture. Garnish with cilantro and hot sauce if preferred. Serve and enjoy!