Wednesday, January 26, 2011

Healthy Snack Wednesdays: More than Snack Time

Planning is essential for fitting healthy eating into a busy schedule. Most of us eat on the go and it can be hard to resist the urge to eat unhealthy fast foods. Today’s healthy eating post is dedicated to a healthy breakfast that could also be a great lunch or late snack. You can make it on Sunday and be ready for the week.

Before I talk about the new recipe, congratulations to the winner of the Chobani yogurt giveaway! Using, the winner is Nicole of I am a honey bee, who said...

“I tend to use a lot of sour cream so I would swap that out and use plain Chobani on things like baked potatoes.”

Thank you to everyone to stopping by to enter! I really enjoyed reading the creative uses for Chobani! They included:
  • Yogurt in my baked potato soup
  • I would mix it with Frank's Red Hot - my favorite hot sauce! And I'd probably add garlic too, because I love garlic.
  • It's great on top of nachos, and in soups. I've made a wonderful spicy green tomato soup that needed a little cooling down so I mixed up some chopped cilantro and plain chobani and drizzled it over the soup
  • I use it mixed with herbs as a swap for mayo on sandwiches too.
  • Love mixing Greek yogurt and jam together...favorite snack and quick breakfast.
  • I just recently tried it in my corn pudding recipe instead of sour cream and it was fantastic!
  • It's great in a whole wheat pumpkin bread with cranberries
  • I would love to use Chobani in place of cream when making a Thai Curry!

Check the bottom of this post for another great giveaway! This week’s giveaway is from Veggie Patch for some delicious vegetarian food. Now on to this week’s creation!

If you are like me, breakfast before work is an on-the-go type of meal. I eat in the car on the way to getting dropped off at the commuter rail station. With an hour commute, it isn’t reasonable to wait until I get to work to eat breakfast. Some of my regular breakfasts include low-fat waffles with almond butter, toast and peanut butter, and a microwave egg on toast. These can all be made in about 2 minutes before heading out the door. But you’ll notice something is missing from all of these – fruits and vegetables! I do try to eat a piece of fruit for a morning snack at work, but that doesn’t always happen.

On Sunday I decided to come up with a new idea for this week’s healthy breakfast. It needed to be in individual serving sizes and easy to reheat before work. I decided on mini-muffin omelets and turkey bacon. For the omelets I used eggs, broccoli, and a little Monterey jack cheese. I also baked turkey bacon while the muffins were cooking. Turkey bacon has less fat and calories than regular bacon and adds additional protein to power up your morning. The turkey bacon I buy has 35 calories, 1.5 grams of fat and 6 grams of protein per slice.

A fun fact about broccoli - did you know that the peak season for broccoli is in the winter? It is available year round, but its peak season is between October and April. Broccoli is also a good source of iron and vitamins A and C.  The cheese adds some healthy dairy to the mix for a well-rounded breakfast!

This recipe makes 12 muffins, you could easily cut it in half to make 6. For a bite sized treat you could cook the muffins in a mini-muffin pan. If broccoli isn’t your favorite, throw in any leftover vegetables like diced peppers, chopped spinach, mushrooms, or tomatoes. To keep the muffins fresh for the week wrap 1-2 muffins in plastic wrap. If you plan to eat them the next day, place them in the fridge. If not, place them in the freezer. Take out a package the night before and put them in the refrigerator to thaw overnight.

To reheat, microwave for 45 seconds - 1 minute on high heat. You could also pack these for a light lunch or late afternoon snack if you are working late. If you want an easy way to make these even more portable, roll up a muffin and a piece of bacon in a tortilla for a breakfast burrito or between two slices of whole wheat bread!

I’ve noticed that this protein packed breakfast has kept me full until lunch this week. I throw a piece of fruit in my bag for a snack but often don’t eat it until the afternoon. I hope this inspires you to think about powering up your breakfast and starting the day right!

Weekday Mini-Omelets and Turkey Bacon
6 eggs
1/2 cup low-fat milk
1/4 cup shredded cheese (I used Monterey jack, you could use cheddar or Swiss)
Chopped veggies (I used 3-4 small pieces of broccoli per muffin tin)
Salt and Pepper

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees
Spray a non-stick muffin tin with cooking spray, making sure to coat well
Whisk together eggs and milk
Mix in shredded cheese
Pour about 1/4 cup of eggs into each muffin tin
Add broccoli pieces or chopped vegetables into each tin
Bake for 20 minutes until cooked through
Remove from oven and carefully remove muffins from the tin (a mini spatula helps loosen the edges)
Cool completely before putting in the refrigerator or freezer

Easy Turkey Bacon
Line a baking sheet with parchment paper
Lay out the turkey bacon in a single layer
Bake in the oven along with the muffins
After 10 minutes carefully turn over the slices of bacon
When muffins are done (20 minutes), remove the bacon and cool on a paper towel
Wrap well in plastic wrap, then foil (you can either refrigerate or freeze)
To reheat, wrap in a paper towel and microwave for 30-45 seconds


Win 2 coupons for Veggie Patch Products!
This week the lovely folks over at Veggie Patch are giving one lucky winner 2 vouchers for Veggie Patch products of their choice. Veggie Patch makes a variety of vegetarian and soy products like broccoli and cheese bites, meatless meatballs, veggie dogs and falafel (just to name a few).

If you have a great recipe that sneaks vegetables into something delicious, check out the Veggie Patch Ultimate Sneak-Away Contest with best-selling author and culinary expert, Missy Chase Lapine—known as The Sneaky Chef—to give moms clever new tricks for sneaking real vegetables into some of America’s favorite foods. The Ultimate Sneak-Away Contest, hosted on Facebook invites you to share your “Sneak of the Week” – a favorite tip, trick or recipe designed to sneak veggies into a meal, snack or dessert. One lucky “Sneak of the Week” submission will win The Ultimate Sneak-Away grand prize, including an exclusive, in-person culinary consultation with Missy Chase Lapine, where she will share cooking tips and provide custom nutritional advice. In addition, Missy will prepare a delicious dinner for the family while you sneak out of the kitchen to enjoy a relaxing spa treatment. The contest will run through January 30 2011, with three recipes selected weekly by Veggie Patch and Missy Chase Lapine as the featured “Sneak of the Week.”

To enter to win 2 vouchers to try out their products, here’s what you have to do:

Required Entry: Comment below and let me know what your favorite vegetable is and how you like to eat it!

Bonus Entry #1: Follow GoodCookDoris on Facebook, subscribe to the RSS feed or add to Google Reader (see the Connect tab up top)

Bonus #2: Follow Veggie Patch on Facebook or Twitter

Please leave a separate comment for each action below. Entries will be accepted through 9:00 p.m. EST on Tuesday, February 1, 2011. One winner will receive two vouchers for Veggie Patch products. The winner will be announced in next week’s healthy Wednesday post!  For an extra chance to win, and some more great healthy snack ideas, visit Renee over at Eat.Live.Blog!

Full Disclosure: Veggie Patch generously agreed to sponsor a giveaway as part of the Healthy Snack Wednesday series. Veggie Patch is responsible for fulfillment of the prize. I was not compensated for this post and do not have any personal tie-ins to the Sneak-Away contest, it just sounds like fun!

Happy snacking!

Friday, January 21, 2011

Back to School: Thinking about Food

Winter break is over and I've headed back to school for another semester. After taking a year of MBA classes, I decided to follow my passion for food (some might say obsession) and take classes in the Master of Liberal Arts (MLA) in Gastronomy program at Boston University. The Gastronomy program is not culinary school – it’s a program about the study of food – food business, marketing, culture, history, tourism, and more. My classmates came from many different backgrounds: food enthusiasts, career switchers, professionally trained chefs, and other food industry veterans.

Last semester I took an introductory course, Understanding Food: Theory and Methodology. Each week we explored ‘food’ through a different liberal arts discipline. These ranged from philosophy to art history to archaeology to sociology. With a little dose of theory thrown in the curriculum helped me to understand the different lenses through which you can study the broad subject of food. Going from thinking about accounting problems to contemplating the globalization of corn was quite a switch! While it was challenging, it was a thought-provoking and enjoyable semester. How can you be unhappy when your assignments include a cookbook analysis, observing farmers markets and writing a research paper about a topic of your choosing related to food?

Charles Square Farmers Market

I spent a lot of hours working on my final paper. It wasn’t perfect, but it was a great start for not having done a research paper in at least 10 years! I combined what I was already doing regularly, visiting farmers markets and interviewing vendors, with some academic research for a paper discussing female food entrepreneurs and the Boston farmers market scene. I typically visit a farmers market 1-2 times per week in the summer and biweekly in the winter. Through my observations I was intrigued that most of the non-farm food vendors were female owned and managed. I started thinking about why this was the case? Was it something about the Boston market scene? Something about the women? The nature of the food business? There were a lot of angles to consider. I reached out to a number of these women who graciously agreed to answer questions about how they got into business and their experience at Boston area farmers markets and in the food industry. I won’t bore you with all 30 pages of my paper and exhibits, but I will work on an edited version to share on the blog.

Chatting with Atlas Farm on the last day of the Copley Square Market

This semester I am enrolled in another class, Anthropology of Food. I am fascinated by how people think about food, how it defines cultures, and its role in society. Do you ever think about how much food likes/dislikes can tell you about someone? And how people readily share this information? You wouldn’t normally tell a casual acquaintance about health issues or personal secrets, but you’ll readily share your food preferences (which can reveal a lot about you, I think!). The class will look more broadly at what food can tell us about human culture and society. From food centered life history to globalization to social structures, the class will look at how anthropologists approach these topics along with the necessary methodological tools.

Some of the assignments include conducting an interview and writing an essay on a food centered life history, observing a food related environment and analyzing the experience, and researching, preparing, and presenting a dish based on one of the course themes for our final class.

It is going to be a lot of work, but it will be engaging, challenging, and I think enjoyable! My blog posting frequency will likely decrease with the increase in homework, but I will do my best to keep to a regular schedule. I’ll try to sprinkle in learnings from my class along with regular recipes and features.

Thanks for your continued support and readership. I’m looking forward to a great 2011!

P.S. Don't forget to enter for a chance to win Chobani Greek Yogurt! Winners will be announced on Healthy Snack Wednesday! Enter here.

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

Healthy Snack Wednesdays: Endless Possibilities with Greek Yogurt

First, congratulations to the winners of last week’s Healthy Snack Giveaway! They are:

Case of pretzel crisps:  Jacki, one of the participants in the weight loss challenge
Tribe Hummus vouchers: Kathy of @KathyCanCook, and two new readers Kristy and Jeannine


Please email your name and mailing address to lara [at] goodcookdoris [dot] com and I’ll make sure your prize gets out to you! Now on to this week’s healthy snacking.

If you’ve been grocery shopping lately, you’ve seen the explosion of choices in the yogurt section. There is regular, low fat, fat free, fruit-on-the bottom, lactose free, rice yogurt, coconut milk yogurt, probiotic, organic, Greek, and the list goes on.  Everyone has their favorite, but lately I’ve been sticking with Greek yogurt.

Greek yogurt is thick, creamy, a little tangy, and full of nutrition. For this week’s healthy recipes I used Chobani low-fat plain yogurt.  I won a case of Chobani in an online giveaway (hosted by Chobani) and decided to put it to use for Healthy Snack Wednesday.  Here’s the rundown on one 6-ounce container of the plain yogurt:  130 calories, 3.5 grams of fat, and 17 grams of protein. That is some nutritional power! I checked Chobani’s website for a few other nutritional details. The plain low-fat yogurt is gluten-free, vegetarian (gelatin-free), and kosher certified. Pretty powerful for a small container! You could also choose non-fat if you would like to reduce your fat intake. See the end of the post for how you can win some Chobani for yourself!

This week I have a variety of recipes to share. Some are snacks, some are meals, but all of them are easy and full of flavor. I’ll include all of the recipes at the end.  For even more ideas, visit Renee's blog at Eat.Live.Blog.

First up a colorful and healthy soup. I had leftover carrots, parsnips, and white beans in the refrigerator along with my yogurt.  Homemade soups are not as difficult as you might think. With about a half an hour and either an immersion blender or blender you can make a healthy homemade soup.  You control the ingredients and most importantly the flavor and saltiness. Swap in plain Greek yogurt instead of blending in heavy cream, milk, or sour cream and you boost the nutritional power of your soup.  You can use this basic recipe and swap in different vegetables, herbs, and spices to put together your own soup creation.

Greek yogurt also makes a great base for dips and spreads. You can take any recipe that calls for sour cream or mayonnaise and swap in an equal amount of yogurt. It’s thick consistency and tangy flavor stands up to bold flavors like spicy hot sauce, refreshingly cool cucumber, or even sweet cinnamon and pumpkin.  Inspired by a tweet I saw from L’Espalier about a spicy cocktail tasting (one w/ sriracha & lime) I mixed up yogurt, sriracha sauce, lime juice and salt.  The dip would be great as a vegetable or chip dip, but I used it to top off a big bowl of quinoa and vegetables.

Greek yogurt can be as a base for a variety of mix-ins.  Stock a few containers of yogurt in your refrigerator at work and you’ll always have the beginning of a healthy snack.  You can start with plain yogurt, but my favorite flavors are honey and pineapple.  Just measure the proper serving size for the mix-ins to manage the fat and calories.  Some fun & healthy mix-ins:

-Fresh or dried fruit
-Granola or cereal like Kashi Go Lean Crunch
-Grapenuts (great way to drown out a noisy office!)
-Chocolate chips
-Fruit preserves
-Canned pumpkin (a great dip!)

Sunshine Soup ( you need a catchy name for a healthy recipe, right?)
Serves 4-6

4 parsnips, peeled and cut into 1/8 inch coins
4-6 carrots, peeled and cut into 1/8 inch coins
2 cloves of garlic, minced
Kosher salt to taste (a pinch to start)
1-2 teaspoons olive oil
4 cups soaked white beans or 3-4 cans of white beans, drained (navy or cannellini beans)
4 cups stock (could be chicken, turkey, vegetable)
1 6-ounce cup of Chobani Plain low-fat Greek Yogurt
Salt and pepper to taste

Heat 1-2 teaspoons of olive oil in a medium soup pan over medium heat
Add carrot and parsnip coins and toss to coat
Cook for 10-15 minutes until softened, but not mushy
Add minced garlic and cook for 1-2 minutes, being careful not to burn garlic
Add beans to pot and mix with vegetables
Add stock and stir to mix
Bring to a boil and then reduce heat to medium-low
Cook for 10-15 minutes
Remove from heat
If you have an immersion blender: Blend carefully in pot
Blender: Transfer soup to blender and blend carefully. You may need to blend in batches
Once soup is blended to desired consistency, add yogurt and stir until smooth
Garnish with fresh herbs, salt, and pepper
Drizzle a little olive oil on top and serve

Prep Time: 10 minutes chopping and assembling
Cook Time: 30-40 minutes
Cutting board, knife, soup pot, measuring cups and spoons, immersion blender/blender, spoon, ladle, serving dishes

Sriracha Lime Dip
Recipe for 1 container of yogurt
Add more hot sauce depending on your heat tolerance.  The amount below would be considered mild.

1 6-ounce container of plain Greek Yogurt
1 tablespoon of Sriracha hot pepper sauce (or  your favorite hot sauce)
Juice from half of a lime
Pinch of salt

Mix all ingredients well
Serve with vegetables, chips, or pretzel crisps
Or top vegetable stir-fry, rice, quinoa, or even grilled tofu or chicken

Prep time: 5 minutes
Cook time: 0 minutes
Mixing bowl, measuring spoon, serving dish and spoon

Win a case of Chobani yogurt (12 6-oz containers) in your choice of flavor! You can enter up to three times. You can include all entries in one comment, just be sure to mention them all.  Entries due by midnight on Tuesday, January 25 and the winner will be chosen with and announced on Wednesday, January 25.

This contest is now closed. Thank you for stopping by to enter!

Full Disclosure: I won a case of Chobani yogurt through a Twitter giveaway. I was not asked to review or blog about the products. I did not receive any compensation for my post or recipe. I just love to create fun new dishes!  Chobani generously offered to provide a giveaway on the blog. Prize fulfillment is the responsibility of Chobani.


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