#HH30Days Week 3 Recap: Some New Favorites!

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How is everyone doing with the Real Food Challenge??  I hope you are enjoying it and feeling great!  I wanted to share some of my new favorites that have been helping me get through the challenge without feeling like it’s a challenge at all!  It’s really more of a reminder to make good choices and most importantly, to plan ahead.  When I plan ahead, great things happen for my food choices.  When I don’t, well…that’s another story, and it ends sort of sadly.

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Which is why I’m glad to share these ideas with you!  One of my favorite breakfasts, and one that has become my go-to this past week is an almond butter green smoothie.  I use almond milk, almond butter, a ton of spinach, a banana, and a little bit of yogurt for protein.  It’s great because it doesn’t need any added sweetener, plus it keeps me full until lunch.  Ok, let’s be honest, nothing keeps me full until lunch.  But it really does tide me over until snack time, which is still no small feat!🙂

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Another thing that has helped me a ton is planning ahead and preparing my lunches.  I’m always on the run, so it’s helpful to have something I can just grab from my lunch bag and eat without having to find a microwave.  For that, I bring you…my favorite veggie rice bowls!  I have a mild obsession with peanut butter, so using veggies as a delivery vehicle is a great way to feel good about it.

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I started with some brown rice, then added in a ton of veggies, including cucumbers, bell peppers, radishes, and some leftover grilled asparagus.  I put a big dollop of peanut sauce on top of the rice, then added some cubes of tofu for protein, then added the veggies on top.  It was delicious!  I was actually surprised at how easy they turned out to be, plus how tasty they were!

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These were so easy to grab and go, plus they made me look forward to lunch everyday!

Comment below to let us know how you are doing with the Real Food Challenge!  We would love to see your photos of your meals!  Tag us on instagram!

 

All About…Radishes!

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Poor radishes are often an afterthought in cooking!  Let’s change that!

Radishes are, to be technical, the bomb.  They add a subtle peppery taste to whatever they are in, plus, they contain a good chunk of vitamin C, vitamin A, and fiber.  They are about one calorie per radish too, and let’s be honest, they’re pretty!

Radishes have been around for quite some time, first seen in New England in the early 1600s, and they are part of the cabbage family, so they are in related to cauliflower, kale, broccoli, and cabbage.  There are a ton of different ways to use them and add them to dishes…let’s look at a few!

One of my favorite breakfasts has to be avocado toast.  I had it at a restaurant once, and they put lemon zest and lemon juice on top.  It was so good!  I added some radishes to up the nutrition profile of my breakfast, and it was quite good, if I do say so myself!

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You can always smash your avocado, or even add some hummus for a bit more protein, but I highly recommend adding the radishes.  They give a nice crunch to the toast, and the little bit of peppery taste is a great contrast to the avocado.

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I used a mandoline to get the thin slices.  Again, always use the hand protector thingamabob.  It’s super useful for keeping all of your fingers right where you want them.

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Not pictured here are the lovely radish greens that are also entirely edible and share the bulb’s peppery taste.  Toss them in a salad or sauté them separately.IMG_2069

Don’t stop there though!  You can roast your radishes with some fresh thyme or rosemary.  Or, you can add them to a salad, or shred them and add them to a cole slaw.  The possibilities are endless!  Comment below and share how you use radishes!

#HH30Days Week 2 recap! Teaser: I love dessert.

Peach Sorbet and Chocolate “Ice Cream” Recipes!

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It’s the truth.  I love dessert.  Who doesn’t?  If you’re struggling with finding #HH30Days-friendly desserts, you will love this post!  Lots of cool, creamy treats for the warming weather to add flavor and sweetness to your life without a ton of calories or processed junk.

To start, I’ve mentioned before that I buy a ton of summer produce, then freeze it and enjoy it all year.  One of my absolute favorites is summer peaches.  They are juicy, sweet, and an absolute treat when they are in season every year.  One of the advantages to freezing them is that they can easily be transformed into a healthy, homemade sorbet.

I started by taking about one peach worth of peach chunks out of the freezer and putting them right into the blender. IMG_2083

I then added 1/3 cup of almond milk, a sprinkle of cinnamon, and that’s it!  No sugar added!  Woohoo!  Now whirl it up in your blender.  I’m not going to lie-it gets stuck a bit.  If you have a tamper stick to shove in there, get it ready!  If it gets really frozen and stuck, you can add a touch more almond milk to loosen it up.  Just don’t go too crazy or you will end up with a smoothie rather than a sorbet!

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Looks smooth and smells like cinnamon!  Time to dig in!
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Now, if you’re not into the sorbet idea, or if you aren’t a fruit hoarder like I am, you might want to go with something a little creamier, that uses ingredients you can get delivered in your bag right now: bananas!  This is too easy for words.  It takes a little time, but it’s worth it!

Start by slicing a rather ripe banana into 1/2 inch slices, then place in a single layer on a baking sheet.  I use wax paper so it doesn’t freeze to the baking sheet.

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Then place the whole sheet in the freezer for an hour:

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Take them out of the freezer and pop into a food processor:

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Now here is the fun part.  You can make this whatever flavor you like!  I added one tablespoon of cocoa powder and 1/2 teaspoon vanilla.  You could add in peanut butter or any flavor you like.  Share your ideas in the comments section!

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Whirl it up!

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So smooth!

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Now, in the interest of being honest and not pretending chocolate ice cream and bananas taste the same, I will admit that it’s not just like eating a bowl of chocolate ice cream, BUT, and this is an important point: the calorie difference is ridiculous.  A cup of chocolate ice cream (premium) contains around 530 calories and 34 grams of fat.  Compare that to this little gem, where there are about 100 calories and .4 grams of fat in the banana, then none in the cocoa powder and vanilla, and it’s no contest.  This is a great option for a healthy and sweet treat!

Share your ideas and experiences for #HH30Days treats below!

 

Tips & Tricks for the Farmer’s Market

Shopping at a farmer’s market is a great way to choose healthy products that are locally grown and sourced by farmers and merchants that are passionate and knowledgeable about what they’re providing to consumers.

Farmer’s markets are also a great way to meet and interact with the same people that are producing your food.

Here are some tips and tricks for visiting your local farmer’s market:

Go early: Vendors present all items at once so oftentimes products disappear fast! Plus, there are great people to meet and talk to, both that produce the products you buy and those who are also shopping!

Bring a reusable bag: Bringing your own bag isn’t only good for the environment, it’s a great way to ensure you can carry all of your items easily. Having an insulated bag or cooler is another great way to keep perishable goods fresh while traveling.

Don’t be afraid to try something new: Sometimes root vegetables like carrots and beets can be presented at a farmer’s market whole and with greens still attached. Don’t worry! This helps the vegetables stay fresh for longer. The same goes with products that you haven’t tried before. Just because they may look different or contain an ingredient you’ve never heard of doesn’t mean they won’t be delicious. Chances are there’s a great recipe for whatever you’re about to purchase!

Take a lap: With brightly colored fruits, vegetables, jams and more displayed it is easy to miss something the first time around. Make sure you circle back to all vendor tables to ensure you didn’t skip over something worth buying!

Ask questions: This may seem like a no-brainer, but asking questions is the best way to learn about what you’re buying, how to pick the best item, and where your food was sourced. Learning more about healthy, local foods helps you achieve healthy eating goals!

Take a friend: Farmer’s Markets make the perfect day-date: good company plus lots of great food!

You can find farmer’s markets all over the metro-DC region by doing a simple Google search. Hometown Harvest will host its first Farmer’s Market on Friday, May 20th at the warehouse on Wedgewood Blvd. in Frederick. Don’t have time to stop by? Try having the market delivered!

Find out more online at www.hometownharvest.com!

Asparagus, two ways!

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Asparagus for breakfast and lunch?  Yes please!

I’m a big fan of batch cooking.  I like to roast or grill a big bunch of asparagus, then use it throughout the week, if it lasts that long (usually doesn’t, truth be told).  Well, I got a little carried away with it, but it turned into a good thing: asparagus for breakfast and lunch.  It was incredibly easy, which is really a requirement for me, since I tend to go from zero to starving in a very short amount of time, so quick meals really help keep the hanger to a minimum!

I grilled a bunch of asparagus, then made a quick breakfast with an egg on top.  I was tempted to put both the asparagus and egg on avocado toast, but alas, the hanger won out, and I just ate it as pictured🙂  Still good!

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Wait for it…

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Runny yolk with grated parmesan and asparagus spears!

Then lunchtime rolled around, and I wanted to use the ridiculous amount of leftover asparagus, so I used my veggie peeler and shaved it into these pretty little strips, then tossed it with lemon juice, olive oil, feta, and pine nuts.  I had only grilled the asparagus for a minute or two on each side, so it was still nice and crunchy, and it worked well in the salad.

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All that’s here is 3 stalks of shaved asparagus, a tablespoon each of pine nuts and feta cheese, 2 teaspoons of lemon juice, and a teaspoon of olive oil.  Enjoy!

#HH30Days Week 1 Recap!

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Week one is in the books!  How did you do?  I have loved all of the healthy food I’m cooking up!  It’s a little more challenging to stick to only whole foods, but it is completely doable, especially when you have HH in your corner!

One of the my favorites has been the fresh, local asparagus.  It is the first sign of spring to me, and since the weather hasn’t gotten the memo yet that it’s spring, I am glad the asparagus crop did!  It has been my favorite side dish to basically every dinner this week.  It cooks up in a few minutes on a grill pan (see above re: weather not cooperating with outdoor grilling), and it turns an even brighter shade of green, which is just downright beautiful!  Top it with a little salt, and you are in business!

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I have been enjoying my snacks too, and I shared some ideas earlier in the week.  Comment below if you’ve come up with any particularly good ones you’d like to share!

I’ve noticed that I go to fruit as a snack more than normal, which has been great!  To avoid boredom, I try to spice it up a little bit.  For example, I packed a container of blackberries to take to work, and I added some chopped fresh mint to it.  It was lovely!

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HH’s seedless red grapes also make a great snack.  They’re cool, juicy, and refreshing, and they are easy to grab and go!

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Not necessarily (or even a little bit) a fruit, but my baked blue potato chips have also been a great treat this week.  They are crunchy and salty, but without the processed junk that you find in a bag of chips!  Have you tried them?  Did they disappear quickly in your house like they did in mine?

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Another spring favorite is pea shoots!  These delicious little greens have been giving new life to my salads!  I love them!  They are also delicious as a side dish, just sautéed in some olive oil with a touch of salt.  Let us know how you like to use them, and if you haven’t tried them yet, add them to your bag this week to give them a try!

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Those are some of my favorites this week, and I am beyond thrilled for the imminent arrival of strawberries!  Anyone else?  I’ll be posting some more #HH30Days posts as we eat our way through this month of delicious and healthy food, so stay tuned!

 

Baked Blue Potato Chips (#HH30Days-friendly!)

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Who doesn’t love potato chips?  Or at least like them?  I can’t think of anyone I know!   So if you are doing the #HH30Days Challenge, you might be missing that crunchy, salty snack…but no more!  We are making our own chips here!  And it’s so easy, you might want to do this permanently!

Start with those blue potatoes from your bag.  They are so pretty once sliced up!  I love the color, and I tell myself that it makes them taste better because they look better.  Reasonable.

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If you have a mandoline, slice the potatoes on there.  If not, just thinly slice them with a sharp knife.

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(Not pictured is the handy dandy protector thingy for the mandolin.  Always a bonus when you can use it and keep all five fingers in tact!)

Slice them thinly, then pile them up in a bowl!  Pause to admire that gorgeous color!

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Then toss them with 1-2Tbsp olive oil and about 1/2 tsp. salt.

Lay them on a baking sheet in a single layer, baking at 425 for 23-25 minutes.

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Mine needed a touch more salt when they finished baking.

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They came out crunchy, salty, and delicious!  Enjoy these as a healthier potato chip!

Tell us below what you do with your blue potatoes!

Baked Blue Potato Chips

4-5 small blue potatoes
1-2Tbsp. olive oil
1/2 tsp. salt

Instructions

  • Wash your potatoes, then thinly slice on a mandolin or with a sharp knife.
  • Toss with olive oil and salt.
  • Arrange in a single layer on a baking sheet, making sure not to overlap potato slices–if you overlap, they won’t get crispy!
  • Bake at 425 degrees for 23-25 minutes.

#HH30Days Snacktime!

 

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So have you signed up for the #HH30Days challenge yet? I have! And I am determined to stick to it for 30 days!  How do I plan on doing that while also working full time and dealing with life in general? Good question!

Planning

So let’s think about this: if I want to eat healthy things, then I have to have healthy things available to me. That means I need to shop on HH’s site for delicious things that I want to eat, and it just so happens that one of my favorite things on the planet is tzatziki. To be even more specific, Cava Mezze’s tzatziki. I’ve googled online for the recipe more times than I care to admit, but now I don’t have to because I can just order it and have it ready-made and in my bag on my delivery morning. JACK. POT. I could eat it with a spoon, but I use celery instead:

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Another favorite is guacamole and chips, but I keep it healthy by substituting red peppers for chips.  Still delicious!

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Prep work

For me, and for many people I think, the most important part of the week is the part before it even starts. Basically, Sunday night. If I prepare and plan on Sunday night, then I have healthy options in the fridge that make it easy to grab and go. If I have to work late, then I have to take all of my meals with me, and that’s especially doable if I have a fridge full of healthy prepared meals. So I take all the yummy things I got in my bag and make them into something delicious. This week, it was a quinoa salad with corn, black beans, red peppers, mango, and…spring garlic! I am obsessed with it lately!

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PROTEIN (MY BFF)

So really, my sister is my BFF, but protein is a close second.   It helps me feel full on fewer calories, so that’s a win right there.

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Pairing protein and veggies or fruit is an excellent way to feel full on a smaller total amount of calories. For example, celery and tzatziki (can you tell I love that snack?), carrots and hummus, an apple and peanut butter, hard boiled eggs…it’s all a win, because they will keep you feeling satiated and not ravenous for longer than a bag of chips will.

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Share your favorite healthy snack below!

Cape Gooseberries, Two Ways!

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If you got cape gooseberries in your bag this week and weren’t sure what to do with them, I’ve got you covered!

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These pretty little gems look like yellow-orange cherries, and they have a similar texture, but with lots of tiny seeds inside. Go ahead and eat the seeds though! Their oils are the source of lots of antioxidants, and the berries as a whole are a good source of vitamins A and C.

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If you’re thinking, “that’s nice, but what do I do with them,” again, I have you covered! I actually have you covered twice because I have two ways to use them, both sweet and savory. They actually lend well to both uses, as the flavor is slightly tart but not overwhelmingly so.

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The first use was in a salad with this week’s sweet and spicy greens mix! I used that as my base, then added the gooseberries, some cashews, a sprinkle of feta, some avocado, and a little lemon juice, and it was mmm mmm good. The combination of lemon with the greens helps your body absorb the iron in the greens better, and it’s also pretty tasty, so dig in!

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The second was in a crumble.  Three cheers for dessert!

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I took my favorite blueberry crumble recipe, and instead of blueberries, I halved the gooseberries and let them macerate in some sugar for a few minutes.

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Then I mixed up my crumble topping (2 Tbsp flour, 2 Tbsp brown sugar, 2 Tbsp oats, 1.5Tbsp butter), and put it on top, then baked in a 375 degree oven for 40 minutes. That topping made enough for two individual gooseberry crumbles, and they were deeeeelicious.

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Comment below and let us know how you like to use gooseberries!

How to Conquer Our 30 Day Healthy Eating Challenge

Our #HH30Day challenge isn’t just about food. It’s about a food revolution!

HH30Days-logoSaying yes to a new challenge is never easy. And our #HH30Day challenge isn’t just about food. It’s about a food revolution! We hope to challenge you to redefine the way you think about food and how you choose what you eat every day. Can you eat whole, natural and local foods for 30 days? We think so! We’re here to empower you to conquer our challenge and achieve your goals! Here are some tips so you can be ready on May 1st:

  • Challenge a friend: Encourage your friends to participate with you and touch base each week to track your progress. You can hold each other accountable and celebrate small successes! We suggest using social media as a platform; it makes it easy to connect!
  • Set up recurring orders: Having healthy and nutritious items delivered on a regular basis can help you stay on track. Fresh produce, meats, dairy and more can easily be delivered on a recurring basis!
  • Try new recipes: Eating healthy doesn’t have to be boring! Our blog provides recipes that accommodate the 30 day challenge and our friends at 100 Days of Real Food offer full meal plans!
  • Plan in advance: Going out to a restaurant? Look at the menu online before you go. Leaving for vacation? Pack healthy snacks and water for the trip so you’re less tempted to buy junk food on the road! Planning in advance isn’t always fun but is a great key to forming healthy eating habits.
  • Celebrate: This, like any other challenge, is difficult! Celebrate the small and big wins because choosing better foods for you and your family is a great accomplishment!

Are you up for the #HH30Day challenge? We’re here for you and are happy to answer any questions along the way. Plus, we’ll have great prizes throughout the month of May to celebrate!

For more information and to pledge, visit our website! And don’t forget to use the hashtag #HH30Day on social media.