#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!

 

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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!

 

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!

#HH30Days Kicks Off!

GET EXCITED!!

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It’s Hometown Harvest’s 30 Days Challenge! You get to focus on eating whole foods for 30 days, AND you can enter to win fun prizes along the way! DAILY giveaways!!  Who doesn’t love eating well and winning prizes? Clearly, I am pumped for this month!

Sign up here.

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Ok, so you’ve signed up…now what? Check out the rules here.

Then, start by cleaning out your fridge. Having a helpful environment to support your healthy eating endeavors is a big part of the equation. Go through and clean it out; get rid of junk food, throw out spoiled produce (or see if you can salvage it by checking out my posts on wrinkled peppers and wilted lettuce!).

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Specifically, think about these potential game changers:

  • Make the healthy options the first thing you see: what do you see first when you open your fridge? Is it something healthy or
    something that’s processed and not so much what you want to eat? Make the healthy choice the easy choice! How? Keep reading!
  • Prep makes it easy! Are the healthy options the easiest ones? More often than not, we choose the easiest, most accessible foods when we are tired and hungry and short on time. Making sure your produce is not only in your fridge, but prepped and ready to eat is a way to make sure that when you’re low on energy, you’re still making the best choices.
  • Make it fun! Stay tuned in to HH’s blog for Coach Sarah K’s tips and encouragement! Follow us on Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter for new ideas that will make healthy eating fun and delicious all at once. How about having a challenge with your coworkers? Share ideas, meals, snack ideas, etc.

Now what?

Time to shop! Check out the Just Arrived section of our website for our newly arrived produce, then start adding to your cart! Post your favorite meal ideas on our social media sites, and keep an eye out for our daily winners! 

 

Let’s Get Started!

Share your initial thoughts, ideas, excitement, below!

All About…Spring Garlic!

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Have you ever had spring garlic?  If so, you already know how delicious it is.  If not, let me tell you how delicious it is!!  I’ll start by saying I am absolutely not a morning person.  I basically stay in bed until the absolute last possible second, then rush around to get out of the house on time with coffee and a quick, grab-able breakfast from the fridge that I can eat in the car on my way to work.  It’s always a close call.  HOWEVER!  All of this changed the minute I put spring garlic in my eggs over the weekend.  I now, somehow, manage to drag myself out of bed for the sole purpose of making scrambled eggs before I leave the house.  Now, that’s a total of about 10 minutes, max, but for someone who allows less than a minute at home for breakfast on a typical day, that is quite a feat!  While I could go on and on about how magical this little spring delicacy is, let me first explain what it is.

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If you’ve seen spring garlic, you know that it looks a lot like scallions, aka green onions.  So what exactly is it?  Well, it’s young garlic that has not yet developed a bulb, and it is usually pulled out of the ground early, in spring, if the garlic crops look crowded.  Removing the young garlic plants allows the ones still in the ground to develop into big ole garlic bulbs that we all know and love.   Now, if you are wondering how these differ from garlic scapes, the difference is simply that the spring garlic is the actual garlic plant, whereas scapes are the flowers, essentially, that grow from the actual garlic plant.  Similar tastes, but different things.
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What does spring garlic taste like?  Mmmm, a little bit of heaven, if I’m being honest.  It is a milder flavor than a garlic bulb, but still potent.  I used maybe a tablespoon in my scrambled eggs (though I put more on top because they are so delicious that I want them all!), and the flavor was noticeable but not overwhelming.  I did not feel like I would knock someone over with my garlic breath after eating them, but you know, brush your teeth anyway.
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So why should you eat it?  First of all, as mentioned more than necessary, it is delicious!  Nutritionally, too, spring garlic has all of the health benefits that regular garlic has, but it’s a bit easier to eat raw than regular garlic (see above re: brushing your teeth), and when eaten raw, you get the most health benefits, particularly in the allicin, a compound found in garlic that is thought to have anti-inflammatory properties.  Basically, all signs point to eating more spring garlic!
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How can you enjoy this spring treat?  Well, my favorite way is in my eggs, chopped up and mixed in with scrambled eggs.  I found one tablespoon of chopped spring garlic was perfect for two eggs.
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You could also easily add it to salads or a sandwich or make pesto out of it.  Share your favorite way to eat it below!