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Robinsbite: December 2009

Thursday, December 17, 2009

Who Doesn't Love a Cutie?

One of the tried and true techniques to surviving a holiday party without losing control of what goes in your mouth is to bring a least one healthy item. That way, you know that there will be that one healthy item for you to snack on.

I have one request of you and that healthy item--please don't bring the veggie tray you find in the grocery store with the plastic film over it secured with a cup of ranch dressing! You know the one-it sits there, sad and lonely, with the dressing congealing over while the carrots develop that weird, white film over them. Instead, I have a new holiday treat for you to bring! This one will be the center of the table and there will be none leftover...I promise!

Behold the Blackberry and Cutie Orange Salad!

Blackberry & Cutie Orange Salad

1-2 bags romaine lettuce-can use any lettuce you would like to-except head lettuce!

1-2 bunches green onion chopped (use green and white parts)

Cuties or Clementines - as many as you desire! Peel and then cut the entire clementine in half and the pieces will all be 1/2 sections.(can also use mandarin oranges)

Blackberries - as many as you desire! Feel free to cut in half, or don't!

Small cubes of cheese-I like an aged cheddar or a Spanish Manchego and instead of cubing, I used a microplane zester to give the salad a bit of a different look

Almonds-chopped (can be sugared or sweetened, but plain almonds are just fine, too!)

Dressing: (This is a great, all purpose dressing to keep in the fridge for any salad)

1/4 cup olive oil or vegetable oil

1 TBSP Balsamic vinegar

1 TBSP Apple cider vinegar

2 TBSP sugar-I used 1 1/2 TBSP.

1/2 teaspoon salt

As many of us know, the best recipes come from others and this is no exception. So, I'd like to thank my sister in law Gail and her sister Marcia for introducing me to this wonderful salad. I know that it will be in my salad "rotation" -and hopefully yours, too-for many years to come!!

Let me know if you make it and how it turns out-I promise you'll have people asking for the recipe!

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Tuesday, December 8, 2009

My Heart Belongs to All Things Caramel-Including These!

I've recently renewed my love for something caramel-y and I have to share. I became familiar with these little nuggets of goodness a few years back when I used to buy them individually and pass them out to my staff during a particularly rough day. A square of chocolate always brightened the mood.

So these squares of deliciousness came back into my life when I realized that everywhere I turned around, they were there! The grocery store, the pharmacy, the gas station. I was happy to see them, but knew I had to approach with caution.

From the Ghirardelli website: Our Milk Chocolate with Caramel SQUARES™ chocolate delivers the perfect balance of intense Ghirardelli milk chocolate and a rich buttery center. Our smooth caramel center is so popular and uniquely delicious, we offer it with two different chocolate shells: milk chocolate and 60% cacao dark chocolate.

I know the dark chocolate is better for me and my heart. I know there are better chocolates out there. But guess what? I can't say no to G's milk chocolate with caramel filling. I'm okay with the 52 calories and 2.8 grams of fat that come with one of those delicious squares. How to eat just one? Here's the trick: Buy the package filled with the mixture of fillings (mint, raspberry, white vanilla, peanut butter) and give those away.

My heart stays true only to the caramel.

Find these yummy treats here and any grocery store, pharmacy or gas station. I wouldn't be surprised if they wound up in vending machines soon.

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You are invited to a Roast! No, not that kind of Roast!

So it started with a simple question on my Facebook page from my friend and colleague, Carol Plotkin, RD. (no relation) Her status stated:" I'm looking for creative and yummy ways to increase vegggie consumption daily." Carol even posted the first suggestion by saying something to the effect of taking larger helpings.

Enter Wendy Jo Peterson, RD, another foodie buddy of mine who posts: "Toss a handful of spinach or carrot juice to your smoothie." Both good ideas. But, I had to throw in my 2 cents-not surprising-which was, of course, to ROAST veggies. Odds are that you eat veggies the same way you grew up eating them-boiled, microwaved, baked perhaps or even grilled at times. I'm telling you that the sweet flavor, aroma and taste that comes from a roasted veggie is like no other. Let me just tell you of the onslaught of comments Carol got on her FB post after my roast suggestions.

How does one roast veggies? Simple.

1. Heat oven to 450.
2. Chunk your favorite veggies-whatever you have (potatoes, carrots, sweet potatoes, asparagus, broccoli, cauliflower, squashes, onions, tomatoes, eggplant, turnips, rutabaga, garlic, peppers, etc. It's a great way to clean out the produce box in the fridge). Try to make them about the same size and thickness
3. Toss with a few teaspoons of olive oil-nice to do in a plastic baggie, or just toss with your hands
4. Season generously with salt and pepper OR add a favorite herb such as rosemary.
5. Place on baking tray and roast for 20-30 minutes depending on the thickness of the vegetable. (i.e. root veggies will take longer than non root veggies). Give it a stir once in a while and be sure to check on the doneness--if you like it more al dente, take it out earlier.

Now, there are a million and one websites out there that will teach you, encourage you, provide recipes for you and basically do everything but make the veggies and toss them down your throat. We all know that more veggies are better for us-its the old adage of having to either create a new habit or breaking an old one. Take a look at some of these sites below for recipe ideas, growing ideas, storage and seasonality, kids games and more. One last thing to remember, many of these sites offer competitions for recipes-cash prizes and more! So if you've got a winning recipe, check out the potential for the prize.

If you find more websites, please let me know. I'm always looking for more.

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