Eating Well, Recipes, Seasonal, Uncategorized

Roasted Leg of Lamb

November 20, 2019

Fresh lamb can start to be available as early as December and run through June.  This recipe comes in handy after the Thanksgiving Holiday is over and you are still entertaining large family crowds.  The crispy potatoes as a result of the lamb fat drippings makes for a delicious side dish,  just add lots of fresh greens and you have a  feast that is sure to wow a crowd.   

 

ROASTED LEG OF LAMB WITH CRISPY POTATOES

1 4-5 pound leg of lamb

3 pounds yukon gold potatoes, medium size, cleaned and cut in half

fresh rosemary 

olive oil

6 garlic cloves crushed 

salt and fresh crushed pepper 

juice from 1 lemon

Preheat oven to 425* convection roast. (if available) Combine 3 tablespoons fresh chopped rosemary with 4 tablespoons olive oil, crushed garlic and a generous portion of salt and pepper.  Rub herb paste over the entire surface of room temperature leg of lamb.  In stainless steel roasting pan layer potatoes on bottom of pan and spray with a light coating of olive oil.  Squeeze 1/2 of fresh lemon over potatoes and sprinkle with sea salt.  Set herb coated lamb directly on top of potatoes so rendered fat drips directly onto potatoes.  Squeeze the second half of lemon over lamb before putting it into preheated oven.  Roast for approximately one hour, stirring and turning potatoes once or twice during cooking process.  Test for doneness and remove from oven.  Let sit for 15 minutes prior to serving.  Enjoy!

testimonials

October 7, 2019
Megan spoke at our corporate wellness retreat in Nemacolin this past week.  Her lecture was extremely informative and eye-opening.  The group was very engaged and asked a number of questions.  Megan graciously stayed for a short while after the lecture as a group formed around her with more questions.  Several of my peers commented on the effective delivery of the material (no slides  – which we are typically bombarded with in corporate America!) and on how much they learned.  Everyone came away with immediate and simple lifestyle changes they can apply.  Thank you Megan!
 
Mary Pat Myers
Director, Enterprise Operations at Allegis Group
Eating Well, Seasonal, Uncategorized

A Healthy Cup of Java

June 20, 2019

Like wine, chocolate, and even popcorn, coffee is in the group of unlikely consumables with healthy benefits.  But now, finally, there is an increased body of research that drinking coffee , even several cups per day, has its merits.  Notably,  a 13- year study conducted by the National Cancer Institute and published in the “New England Journal of Medicine,” concluded that regular coffee drinkers experienced a reduced risk of early death by up to 16 percent.  And  there are many other benefits of drinking the morning, afternoon and/or evening Joe.  (Note:drinking excessive coffee can increase levels of cortisol (the stress hormone) and lead to dependence.  The keys are moderation and skipping the sugar.)

Here are the top additional benefits.

1.  Gallstone Prevention – 25 percent lower risk of gallstones

2.  Memory Improvement – long and short-term

3.  Depression Prevention – two to three cups per day may reduce your risk of depression by 15 percent

4.  Less risk for Diabetes – those who drank upwards of 4 cups per day were 50 percent less likely to develop type-2 diabetes

5.  Metabolism Boost – coffee can be helpful in maintaining or reducing weight by stimulating the metabolism, but this was only proven effective in non-obese participants

6.  Lower risk for Parkinson’s Disease – two to three cups per day can mean up to a 25 percent less chance of developing the disease

7.  Antioxidative Properties – coffee has more antioxidant activity than cocoa or tea (chlorogenic acid and caffeic acid) 

8.  Performance-Enhansing Benefits –  coffee, and the natural caffeine in it, has been shown in multiple studies to increase both endurance and short-term performance

9.  Gout Prevention – men who consumed as much as six cups per day (not recommended) had as much as a 60 percent lower risk for gout

 

 

Eating Well, Recipes, Seasonal

SPRING GREEN RISOTTO

April 26, 2019

Spring is finally in the air and the first of the fresh seasonal vegetables are showing up in our markets. I eat asparagus in all ways possible as long as it is fresh, usually throughout the month of April here in Maryland.  This delicious pasta dish is well worth the wait and satisfies a hungry appetite. Asparagus in an excellent source of vitamin K, C, and E in addition to being high in fiber and potassium and also a natural diuretic.  This risotto can be topped with shrimp, lobster, or scallops if you would like some added protein to your dish.  

SPRING GREEN RISOTTO

3 tablespoons olive oil

2 leaks, white part only, cleaned and chopped

1 large fennel bulb, cleaned and chopped

1 1/2 cups Arborio rice

2/3 cups dry white wine

4-5 cups simmering chicken or vegetable stock

1 pound asparagus trimmed and cup into 1 inch pieces then blanched for five minutes (drain and cool)

10 ounces fresh or frozen peas (defrosted)

zest from one lime, zest from one lemon

2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice

2/3 cups fresh grated parmesan

sea salt and fresh pepper to taste

3 tablespoons minced fresh chives

Heat oil on medium heat in large surface deep saucepan.  Add leaks and fennel and saute  for 5-7 minutes.  Add rice, cook for one minute before adding white wine.  Simmer until wine is absorbed.  Add chicken stock 1/2 cup at a time stirring almost continuously, waiting for the stock to be absorbed.  When the risotto has been cooking for 15 minutes add asparagus, peas, lemon zest, lime zest, lime juice and fresh pepper.  Continue adding stock until all stock is absorbed and rice is tender but still firm. (this should take about 25 minutes)

Right before serving add parmesan, chives, and additional salt if necessary.  Serve immediately with additional parmesan for topping.  Enjoy!

 

 

 

Eating Well, Recipes, Seasonal

MEGAN’S MINESTRONE

January 31, 2019

All the news of freezing temperatures and 6 more weeks of winter makes me want a pot of soup to be a permanent fixture in the kitchen these days. I go from a healthy vegetables soup to replace the dinner salad to something heartier to have as a stand alone meal.  This meatless soup requires no additional food as the beans and pasta provide plenty of nourishing protein along with a tasty bowl full of anti-oxident rich vegetables.  If desired, serve with shaved fresh parmesan and crusty bread.

2.5 pounds soup bones.  Ham, beef or chicken

1 large can crushed San Marzano tomatoes

1-15 ounce can tomato sauce

1 large russet potato diced

1 large sweet onion chopped

3 celery stalks chopped

3 full size carrots chopped

1 bag frozen chopped spinach

1 bag frozen corn

6 oz. orzo pasta or gluten free pasta 

1 can organic cannellini beans, rinsed and drained 

1 tablespoon dried thyme

1 tablespoon dried oregano

2 teaspoons dried basil

3,4 teaspoon crushed red pepper 

minced fresh parsley (optional)

salt and pepper to taste 

Simmer bones in large stock or slow cooker full of water for 8-12 hours on low heat. Drain fresh stock to use as base for your soup, approximately 64 ounces (8 cups). You can substitute  2-32 ounce boxed vegetable or beef stock, one full sodium, one low sodium.

Bring fresh stock to low boil in clean large non-stick soup pot and add all above ingredients except pasta and beans.  Once soup starts to boil add pasta and cook on low boil for 30 minutes until pasta has cooked and vegetables have softened.  Add beans and adjust salt and pepper to taste. If needed add additional stock. Enjoy!

Eating Well, Shopping & Markets

SALT

November 29, 2018

The benefits of salt

As much as sodium has been demonized in the American diet—it actually plays as vital a role in the functioning of our bodies.

Sodium (like calcium, magnesium, phosphate, and potassium) is an electrolyte, meaning that it creates an electrically charged ion when dissolved in fluids like blood. Our bodies need electrolytes to facilitate nerve impulses and regulate body functions, such as heart rate, digestion, respiration, brain activity, and blood pressure. It is an essential nutrient where only in extreme cases not getting enough can cause health concerns.  While you lose a little sodium daily through sweat and urination, it is generally not enough to cause a sodium deficiency unless you are severely malnourished.  Hyponatremia, which is the extreme loss of sodium, can cause muscle cramps, nausea, vomiting, dizziness, and even death.

But on a happy note – salt makes our food taste better!  With unique flavors from salts from different regions of the world, experimenting with various salts can be fun and really enhance your dishes.

Simply put, the average person who eats well and exercises regularly should enjoy this tasty nutrient without concern.

The difference between salt and sodium

One of the main causes of salt confusion is that people use the words “salt” and “sodium” interchangeably. But they aren’t the same thing. Sodium, which has been linked to heart disease and risk of a stroke, is only one of the basic elements that make up salt (a.k.a., sodium chloride (chlorine is the other element)).  Regular salt is 40% sodium.

Pink salts, used frequently by home cooks, have nearly the same amounts of sodium chloride as table salt, but they also contain small amounts of additional minerals that give it coloring and unique flavors.

So how much sodium should we be getting?

When it comes to tracking your sodium intake, the established number to keep in mind is 2,300 mg, the FDA’s suggested amount per day. But it’s important to note that less isn’t better, because we need sodium for a balance of electrolytes. If you don’t have enough and your blood pressure is too low, you can get dizzy and light-headed. (That goes double if you work out intensely and are drinking lots of water).

Watching salt intake is one way to monitor the amount of sodium we consume, but you shouldn’t weigh out salt and think it’s all sodium – remember, salt is only 40% sodium. The sodium to really keep an eye on is in processed foods. Most people actually only get 11 percent of the sodium in their diets from their salt shakers because processed foods are typically high in sodium.

So, if your diet is rich in non-processed, whole foods and you only salt your foods to enhance taste, then you probably don’t need to be concerned with how much you are getting; unless, of course, if there is a medical condition affected by sodium, then keeping track becomes important.

Eating Well, Recipes, Seasonal

Fall Pumpkin Soup

October 18, 2018

Do you want to feel good again, have abundant energy, and take control of your health? Are you ready to make the connection with what’s on your plate and how you feel? A high nutrient diet slows down the aging process, helps repair cells, reduces inflammation, and helps rid the body of toxins.

Fall brings an abundance of superfoods to mind once the weather starts to turn.  Pumpkin and autumn squash are two that I love to turn into soup at the first sign of cold temperatures. Keeping natural canned pumpkin in the pantry makes this an easy soup to put together that is low in calorie and high in nutritional value.  Pumpkin is high in vitamin A, several B vitamins, vitamin C, and potassium.  It is a rich antioxidant.  Enjoy!

4 nitrate-free bacon slices, chopped
3 TBL olive oil
2 large onions chopped
2 medium carrots chopped
2 celery stalks chopped
8 cups chicken stock/ 4 full sodium-4 reduced sodium
2 16 oz cans pumpkin puree
2 TBL chopped fresh thyme or 2 teaspoons dried
1 cup fat free evaporated milk
1/2 tsp ground nutmeg

In large non-stick soup pot saute bacon app. 8 minutes. Pour off drippings. Add olive oil, onions, carrots, and celery, saute until vegetables soften. (app. 15 minutes) Stir in stock, pumpkin, and thyme and boil on low boils for app. 20 minutes. Puree soup with hand held mixer and then add evaporated milk and nutmeg. If soup is too thick add additional stock. Serve with grated parmesan on top. Enjoy!

Eating Well, Recipes

“I’LL EAT SOME BREAKFAST, THEN CHANGE THE WORLD” Hairspray

September 7, 2018

With diets trending in the direction of long periods of fasting, breakfast seems to be on the back burner for a lot of people. The truth is, not everyone does well with skipping what I still believe to be the most important meal.  Starting your day with healthy protein, healthy fats and delicious nutrient-rich fruits and vegetables gets your blood sugar normalized after a long period of sleep and sets you up for an energetic start to your day.   An easy treat is a frittata made with organic eggs, nitrate free bacon or sausage, and vegetables of your choosing.   This recipe can be adjusted to accommodate individual taste and preferences.

ASPARAGUS, MUSHROOM AND SPINACH FRITTATA

6 servings

Preheat oven to 375.  Spray deep dish quiche pan with olive oil and set aside.

6 eggs

1 cup whole milk

1/4 cup half and half cream

olive oil for sautéing vegetables

2/3 pound asparagus cleaned, trimmed, and diced

1 cup sliced baby bella mushrooms

2 cups spinach, chopped

4 pieces cooked, nitrate free bacon, chopped

3/4 cup shredded gruyere cheese

salt and pepper to taste

2 tablespoons fresh herbs (thyme or chives, optional)

Cook bacon, set aside.  Heat 1 tablespoon olive oil in non-stick pan and sauté vegetables on medium heat until tender and starting to brown, approximately 6 minutes.  In separate bowl, beat eggs, milk, cream and seasoning until well blended. Lay chopped bacon evenly covering bottom of dish, spread cooked vegetables on bacon, then poor egg mixture to cover completely.  Top with grated cheese.  Cook for 25- 30 minutes or until middle is firm.  Do not over bake.  Enjoy!

Eating Well, Recipes, Seasonal

HEARTY KALE AND BRUSSELS SPROUT SALAD

February 27, 2018

WITH WINTER COMING TO AN END BUT COOLER TEMPERATURES STILL AMONG US THIS SALAD OFFERS A HEARTY SIDE USING VEGETABLES THAT ARE READILY AVAILABLE THIS TIME OF YEAR.  ONE OF MY ALL TIME FAVORITES THAT HAS BECOME A FAMILY STAPLE. 

KALE AND SHAVED BRUSSELS SPROUT SALAD WITH CRANBERRY VINAIGRETTE

1/3 cup olive oil
1 shallot peeled and thinly sliced
1 clove garlic coarsely chopped (optional)
1/2 cup dried cranberries
2 tablespoons red wine vinegar
2 teaspoons honey
juice and zest of half lemon
1/8 tsp. salt
1/8 tsp. pepper
1 bunch of kale, very thinly sliced
2 cups shaved raw brussels sprouts
1/3 cup sliced toasted almonds
1/4+ cup crumbled blue cheese

Mix first 9 ingredients in dressing cruet until well combined. Let stand at room temperature, do not refrigerate. Mix together kale, shaved raw brussels sprouts, almonds, and blue cheese. Just before serving add dressing and mix well. Enjoy!

testimonials

December 19, 2017

“Thank you so much for your guidance and support on my journey to helping me be my healthiest self. Your recommendations were very helpful. I appreciated your honesty and that you took the time to help me figure out what would be most helpful for my own experience. I think that even if you don’t have anything necessarily “wrong” with your health, it doesn’t hurt to consult with someone who has nutritional knowledge because I think we could all take the time to be a little more healthier. I do believe that an investment in yourself is the best investment.”

Rachel Snyder- client