How is the weather where you are? On the west coast, although weeks away, Spring is in full swing! Are you ready for the sun? I am!
March is National Nutrition Month, and of course, I am super excited about this month! Every year, the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics comes up with a theme and focus for the month and this year’s theme is “Savor the flavor of eating right”. Eating real nutritious whole food is so important and who doesn’t love to love what they eat? You don’t have to sacrifice flavor to eat well. Enjoy the process of picking out your food, preparing, cooking, and savoring your meal.
Nutrition should be fun and should taste good! You can make small changes to your diet and lifestyle to become healthier. For instance, I have found this great handout From the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics that gives some incredible tips on how to eat more vegetables. You can click here to find the full details. If you want further advice on how to make changes to your daily nutrition routine, you can read more in my books (found on my website here). You can also find several recipes on my website here, and if you’re in the delivery area you can jumpstart your nutrition plan with a Real Food Meal Delivery plan. There are options for just about every budget, preference, and diet out there – no excuses; start making changes today!
I would love to hear how your month is going and what changes you’re making to your daily nutrition. Find me on Facebook or Twitter and post your meals and update me on how you are “Savoring the Flavor of Eating Right” during National Nutrition Month!
Daylight savings begins March 13th, so don’t forget to set your clocks forward an hour. When you wake up without that extra hour of sleep, don’t forget your nutritious breakfast. If you’re running late, I’ve got the perfect recipe that is quick, yummy, nutritious, and will still get you out the door on time:
- 3/4 cups low fat cottage cheese (or Greek Yogurt)
- 1/2 cup strawberries
- 1/2 cup blueberries
- 1 Small banana, sliced
- 1 tablespoon slivered almonds
Step 1 – In a medium bowl combine cottage cheese, fruit and sprinkle with almonds. I told you it was quick and easy!
March 14th is National Pie Day. Why do you ask? Because it’s 3.14! (How many digits after can you name?) But have you tried cobbler? Cobbler is a favorite of mine and it is so similar to pie, yet it is missing one thing that makes it pie – a bottom crust!
Although pie is more popular than cobbler, I think cobbler is under-rated because it can be baked in many more shapes than pie – it’s versatile. On National Pie Day, try a little Cobbler instead; I’ve got a great recipe for it 😉
- 4 Medium white peaches, peeled, pitted an cubed
- 2 cups Bing cherries, pitted
- juice of 1 lemon
- 1/2 teaspoon lemon zest
- 1/4 cup organic palm sugar
- 2 tablespoons whole wheat flour
- 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon, ground
- 1 1/4 cup whole wheat flour
- 1/3 cup organic palm sugar (or ZSweet)
- 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
- 1/4 teaspoon salt
- 3 tablespoons unsalted organic butter, chilled and cut into small pieces
- 1/2 cup low fat buttermilk
- 1/2 cup water
- 1 tablespoon sugar in the raw (also called turbinado sugar)
Step 1 – Preheat oven to 400°. Coat an 8”x8” square baking dish with butter flavored cooking spray.
Filling – Step 2
In a bowl combine peaches, cherries, lemon juice, lemon zest, sugar, and cinnamon. Toss and coat fruit evenly. Pour into a prepared baking dish. Bake at 400° for 15 minutes.
Step 3 – While the fruit is baking make the topping. Combine dry ingredients into a medium size mixing bowl.
Step 4 – Add chilled butter by cutting it into small pieces with a pastry blender or by cross cutting with two knives.
Step 5 – Next, add reduced fat buttermilk and water stirring until the batter is slightly moist.
Step 6 – Remove fruit from the oven and using a medium sized serving spoon place 8 dollops of topping evenly over fruit.
Step 7 – Leave a one-inch border around the baking dish. Sprinkle dough with sugar in the raw (also called torbinado sugar).
Step 8 – Bake for an additional 25 minutes or until top is golden brown and fruit filling is bubbling.
March 20th this year is the first day of spring! Have you been waiting for the fresh bloom of flowers, the shorter days, the sunlight, and the warmer weather? I have! Spring means new beginnings; it means that the winter is finally over and we are well on our way to summer. How exciting is that?
Not only is the 20th the first day of spring, but it is also the “Great American Meat Out”. This is the one-day where everyone joins together and becomes a vegetarian – of sorts. It’s a day where everyone cuts meat out for just one day – if you choose, of course. Since it is also the first day of spring and the perfect day to fire up the grill for the first time this year, I have the perfect meat-less, grilled recipe for your menu that is not only delicious, it is the perfect comfort food to usher in the new season.
Guiltless Grilled Cheese w/ Roma Tomatoes:
(and fresh organic oregano)
- 2 Slices large whole wheat bread
- 1 1/2 Slices light Swiss cheese
- 1 1/2 Slices fat-free Cheddar cheese
- 1 Small organic Roma tomato, sliced
- 1/4 teaspoon fresh organic oregano, finely chopped
- olive oil spray
Step 1 – Place the Swiss cheese on one side of a slice of bread. Then place sliced tomato on top and sprinkle with oregano.
Step 2 – Follow with the Cheddar cheese and second piece of bread.
Step 3 – Heat a nonstick pan over medium heat. Spray the outside of the sandwich with olive oil spray. Cook sandwich 2 to 3 minutes on each side, until cheese is melted and bread is toasty. If cheese isn’t melting, cover the pan and check every minute until done.
Easter is in March this year and falls on the 27th. There are a number of traditions that are celebrated around the world and some of them can seem a bit strange to our culture in the United States. For example, In Poland, pouring water on each other is an Easter tradition called Smingus-Dyngus. On Easter Monday, boys try to drench other people with buckets of water, squirt guns, or anything they can get their hands on. Legend says girls who get soaked will marry within the year.
On the morning of Holy Saturday, a tradition called “Pot Throwing” takes place on the Greek island of Corfu. During this ceremony, people throw pots, pans, etc. out of their windows, smashing them on the street. Some say the custom comes from the Venetians, who on New Year’s Day used to throw out all of their old items. Others believe the throwing of the pots welcomes spring, symbolizing the new crops that will be gathered in the new pots.
In Norway, Easter is a popular time to read crime novels. Publishers actually come out with special “Easter Thrillers” known as Paaskekrimmen. The tradition started in 1923 when a book publisher promoted its new crime novel on the front pages of newspapers and because the ads looked so similar to real news stories, people didn’t know it was a publicity stunt – the tradition has stuck with them ever since.
There are so many traditions around the world that are celebrated on Easter – I wonder if other countries think that a bunny and chocolate eggs are a strange tradition? Do you have any traditions that you celebrate with your family? I’d love to hear about them! Facebook or Tweet them to me! It would be fun to see how many different traditions are out there.
A tradition of our family’s is to attend church on Easter Sunday and share a meal together afterward. One of my favorite meals to prepare on Easter Sunday is rack of lamb and I have a great recipe that I’d love to share with you and your family for this Easter:
- 2 tablespoons finely chopped fresh oregano
- 2 tablespoons finely chopped fresh parsley
- 2 tablespoons finely chopped fresh thyme
- 2 teaspoons Dijon mustard
- 2 Large garlic cloves, minced
- 5 tablespoons sherry vinegar
- 2 1 1/2 racks of lamb with 8 ribs each, trimmed
- 1 teaspoon salt, divided
- 1 teaspoon pepper, divided
- cooking spray
- 1/4 cup port wine
- 4 tablespoons finely chopped shallots
- 1/2 cup low sodium chicken broth
- 1 cup acai berry juice
- 1 teaspoon butter
Step 1 – Preheat oven to 400°.
Step 2 – Remove the fat from the top side of the bones by keeping the knife blade flush with the bone and follow the contour of the bone.
Step 3 – Trim the fat from between the ribs and scrape the bones clean for an elegant final presentation.
Step 4 – Combine oregano, parsley, thyme, Dijon, garlic and one tablespoon of vinegar in a bowl. Next sprinkle lamb with salt and pepper.
Step 5 – Heat a large oven proof skillet over medium heat. Coat pan with cooking spray.
Step 6 – Cook lamb for 2 minutes on each side or until lightly browned.
Step 7 – Place lamb on a cutting board and pat herb mixture over lamb. Return lamb to pan and place into the oven.
Step 8 – Bake at 400° for 10-15 minutes or until a thermometer registers 138°.
Step 9 – Remove lamb from pan and let cool for about 10 minutes. Carefully cut into chops.
Step 10 – Return pan to medium heat; add remaining vinegar, port and shallots.
Step 11 – Bring to a boil and reduce by half. Stir in broth and reduce again.
Step 12 – Add salt, pepper acai berry juice and reduce by half.
Step 13 – Add butter and stir until butter is melted. Serve sauce with lamb.
Happy Spring and Happy Easter!
“God proved His love on the Cross. When Christ hung, and bled, and died, it was God saying to the world, ‘I love you.’” – Billy Graham