Curried Chickpea Wraps

Last week I cooked up a big batch of chickpeas with intentions of hummus, but accidentally under-cooked them a little. They were tender enough to eat, but weren’t quite able to blend into a smooth puree, so I bagged them in the freezer for later use (in case you’ve never tried, this is a great way to store cooked beans – the texture doesn’t suffer at all from freezing/thawing).

When I rediscovered them while foraging my fridge for lunch on Saturday, I had visions of chana masala… but I needed something a little more casual. I don’t currently have a favorite recipe for the classic north Indian chickpea curry*, and at the time I wasn’t interested in dropping everything to find one. I just wanted the essence of the dish – spicy garbanzos – in a quick and simplified way. If I could also find a quick and simple substitute for the experience of an accompanying naan… that would seal the deal.

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Steak and Potato Salad

Man Food… it’s taking over the internet this week! In anticipation of Superbowl Sunday, folks are pulling out all the cheesy, greasy, chicken-wingy stops. While I could never pass for a sports fan, and (real talk) probably can’t even bring myself to watch the game, I can’t pass up a chance to indulge in some good old-fashioned Americana… dietitian-style, naturally. While not exactly football finger food, this salad is my veggie-lover’s take on the meat-and-potatoes movement.

I’ve mentioned before that I don’t eat a ton of meat, and red meat in particular is an infrequent grocery purchase in the flavorRD household. Partly because we find it heavy, and partly due to the expense – especially for the grass-fed beef we prefer. But occasionally, a good dense source of protein and iron (more on that later) is exactly what we need.

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Steel-Cut Oat Pancakes

So, I have a thing for steel-cut oats. These are the coarsely chopped oat groats that cook up with a nutty flavor and chewy/creamy texture. While I’m a long-time oat devotee (all varieties have the same fiber and protein-packed benefits), I had always stuck with the “old fashioned” rolled oats. I was stuck on the idea that they were the only way I could be guaranteed a bowl of hot oats in three minutes flat, and was convinced that the esteemed steel-cuts were only attainable for those willing to postpone breakfast in favor of 30 minutes of tending the stove. What I know now, is that steel-cut oats are perfect for reheating – seriously, good as new! We can cook up a mega-batch, refrigerate, and supply our healthy breakfast habits for a whole week.

Of course, no man can breakfast on porridge alone… sometimes the occasion* calls for pancakes. Back when I used to buy rolled oats on the regular, I hardly ever made a batch of pancakes without throwing a couple handfuls of oats into the batter. But now that my pantry is stocked with steel-cut (which I feared could break my teeth if given the same treatment), the oat pancake fix called for some creativity.

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On Cooking

why to cook

If you’re one of my regular readers, today you may feel a “preaching to the choir” kind of situation. The bulk of my content revolves around home cooking, the best ways to enjoy it, and how to use the skills to our advantage. A big segment of my audience spends their time away from the kitchen daydreaming about their next chance to pull out the chopping board, and I identify with that sentiment.

But not everyone feels this way about cooking. Whether you hate to cook, consider yourself a “bad cook,” or simply find making time to cook too often overwhelming,  my recipes alone aren’t going to be enough motivation to brave the kitchen (however tantalizing they may be!!). If you find yourself in any of these positions, do yourself a favor and take a moment to read today’s post about why I think cooking more for yourself at home could be the #1 most significant way to improve the quality of what you eat.

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Favorite Kale Slaw

Salad ruts can be a real problem. Maybe you’re a better planner than I am, but too often I find myself scrambling, raiding the usual suspects in my veggie crisper to throw together the same old boring salad to green-ify our dinner. It typically goes something like this: spinach or romaine, slivers of onion, slices of bell pepper, maybe an avocado if I’m lucky, and basic vinaigrette. It gets the job done, sure. I dutifully eat my greens, but time after time, it becomes a real snooze-fest.

And it’s a shame, because a good salad can be such a pleasure. Beautiful produce in its natural state, a contrast of textures, a tangle of harmonious yet unexpected components… Really, I’ve slacked long enough. I want to be eating good salads. Great salads. Mind-blowing salads! I want to gasp, not yawn!

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Masala Eggs with Spicy Kale

I know a lot of health foodies who hard-boil eggs in bulk… Even the manliest of athletes can embrace this cooking habit. Is this a part of your Weekly Food Prep? It was never a routine of mine, but after trying a few small batches, I’m finding them really handy. I rely heavily on eggs for at-home lunches, and my new hard-boiled stash has allowed so much more variety beyond my usual scramble.

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Coffee Talk

In addition to caffeine, we love coffee for its deep, complex flavor. But it also has a deep, complex chemistry. It’s nearly as popular as a research topic as it is in our morning cups, and even with such constant attention from nutrition scientists, there is still plenty to discover.

Today I’m focusing on a tiny detail of coffee’s big picture: fat. People don’t often think of coffee in terms of its fats (after all, the label shows that it is fat free!), but there are trace amounts of oils derived from coffee beans. These oils are stripped away when dripped through a paper filter, but remain present in unfiltered coffee – think espresso, Turkish-style, or French press brewing methods. Although these fats are not enough to make a caloric contribution, they have some compelling physiological effects.

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Joe-Joe Fro-Yo: Dark Chocolate Frozen Greek Yogurt

If you think that just because this is a dietitian’s blog, that there will be no sugar… you have the wrong idea . This is real life. Dessert is important. We have to stay sane somehow.

I’m of the opinion that we eat desserts for FUN, not for the health benefits – I’m not normally one to whip squash into my brownies, you know? However, this dessert has the added bonus of not destroying my RD credibility, because it is doctored-up Greek yogurt. Take satisfaction in the extra protein and probiotics while you achieve your recommended daily allowance of frozen chocolatey goodness.

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Bean & Slaw Tostadas

Quick dinner! This is one of my favorite deceptively simple dishes that ends up tasting greater than the sum of its various nutrient-dense parts. Crunchy fresh vegetables pair with a spicy saute of beans – my favorite type for this dish is the dark red kidney bean, which I cook with minced onion and peppers, until they have crisp exteriors and creamy middles (yum!)

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3 Simple Ways to Take Advantage of Fall/Winter Fruits

In summer, getting our daily dose of antioxidants isn’t rocket science. Fruit is everywhere, and it’s easy to eat it non-stop. Sliced over yogurt, churned into smoothies, and perfectly ripe and juicy out of hand… But when fall rolls around, and the beautiful fresh berries start to disappear, I can feel my fruit consumption slow down. Here are three no-fuss fruit fixes I’m using to fit into my busy winter season:

Apple Maple Oats

Apple Maple Oats

Cool-weather breakfast at its finest. Lately I’m into steel-cut oats (creamy/hearty/sogood), so I make a big batch for the week and prep the toppings separately. For this bowl, I thinly slice half of an apple, sprinkle with cinnamon, and microwave until tender. Top your hot oats with the apples, a splash of milk, and a drizzle of maple syrup.

Fruity Salad

Fruity Salad

Jazz up those leafy greens! A juicy pear sliced into a salad like this, loaded with textures and flavors, is a great way to break up the lunch routine. I like to cut the sweetness with something salty/funky – here I’ve paired it with ham and goat cheese. Add some nuts for crunch and you’re good to go!

Pomegranate, Straight Up

Pomegranate

Why mess around with perfection? Pomegranate is the season’s most dazzling beauty, and also a nutritional powerhouse. To avoid the mess, I break apart the arils in a bowl of water. The good stuff sinks to the bottom, and then can be transferred to a container in the fridge for simple snacking.

If you have a tip for keeping up with fruit through the colder months, let’s discuss!