Saturday, January 17, 2015

GIVEAWAY: Eat Clean Live Well by Terry Walters

If you're a regular reader of FSTS you know how much I adore Terry Walters and how much I love her cookbooks. I first met her in 2011 when I got to hang out with her at Kitchenwares on Newbury Street in Boston (blogged about it here). She was so warm and friendly and I loved how non-judgmental she was about clean food, which Terry often describes simply as "minimally processed."

Over the last few years, I've found my favorite Terry Walters recipe and have shared many of them here (Check out my step-by-step granola post with lots of visuals here and my bulk gift granola recipe here.) Terry lives in Connecticut and has some roots here in Beantown, so she comes for speaking engagements, cooking demos, and book signings, some of which I've helped organize and wrote about here. When I hosted my family for Thanksgiving a few years ago, we used Terry Walters' recipes to put a well-rounded vegetarian thanksgiving meal on the table (wrote about that here). And, when my sweet tooth is craving peanut butter and chocolate, I turn to one of the easiest recipes I know, Teff Peanut Butter Chocolate Chip Cookies. I made a double batch the night before my foot surgery a few weeks ago so that I'd have something quick and easy to nosh on in the days after when cooking wasn't really in the cards.  

Terry's latest book, Eat Clean Live Well combines seasonal recipes with healthy living tips to help you not only eat clean, but live in harmony with the seasons. The winter part of Eat Clean Live Well includes tips on maintaining balance like never show up hungry and ways to spend time outdoors), winter self care (great tips on skin care, exercise, and favorite teas and herbs), and giving (recipes for healthy homemade gifts). For the more ambitious among us, there are tips for planting seeds, sprouting, lacto-fermenting, composting, and homemade cleaning products. It's like a guide to healthy living and a cookbook in one...

And I want you to have a copy! Terry's publicist at Sterling Epicure was kind enough to send me a copy to give to one of you. To enter, click on the rafflecopter link below. You'll have to follow @FrSeed2Stomach (that's me!) on twitter to win and you can earn additional entries by leaving a comment and visiting my Facebook Page. I'll randomly select a winner on Feb 1 and that winner will be notified via email then. Good luck!!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Wednesday, January 7, 2015

Slowcooker Chicken Cacciatore in the Vitaclay

Chicken Cacciatore is a magical meal. It's hard to screw up, well-balanced, and delicious. I prepared a batch a few weeks ago and was shocked to hear that out of the 4 of us enjoying the dish, I was the only one who had ever eaten it before! I remember my mom preparing this dish when I was young and I made it for my family when my mom started a full-time 9-5 job that came with a commute (I was 12, so if I could do it then, you can do it now!).

You don't need a VitaClay to cook this dish. It can simmer on the stove unattended or cook in your slowcooker all day. Like a good tomato sauce, the longer the flavors have to spend time with each other, the better.

This dish is often served over pasta, but I love it over mashed potatoes and this time, I mashed some celery root with the potatoes for extra flavor and nutrition and left the cheese and milk out to keep this very filling dish from being too heavy. Nobody missed the cheese or milk and I don't think anyone would have been aware of the celery root if I hadn't told them. If you're looking for a dish that gets more veggies into your family's diet, give this one a try!

Ingredients (in order of appearance):
1 package of organic, skinless, boneless chicken thighs (there were 6 in mine. get pastured local chicken if you can)
1/2 cup brown rice flour (optional) seasoned with a dash each of black pepper, garlic powder, and Italian seasoning
2 tb extra virgin olive oil
1 yellow onion, thinly sliced
1 red bell pepper, sliced
2 cloves minced garlic
Splash of red or white wine (optional)
1 tsp dried oregano
1 tsp Italian seasoning (or a pinch each of dried marjoram, thyme, rosemary, savory, sage, oregano, basil, and parsley - if you're missing any one of these, no worries!)
1/2 tsp dried thyme
1/2 tsp (or more if you like it spicy) red pepper flakes
1 can or jar (14 oz) crushed roma tomatoes
sea salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste

1) Bring the chicken to room temp while prepping the rest of the ingredients. 

2) Coat the chicken in the flour (wheat flour is fine, too). Heat 2 tb extra virgin olive oil over medium-high heat. When hot, add the chicken and brown, cooking for about 2 minutes per side. 
Step 2: Brown the Chicken
3) Remove chicken from pot and add the onion, pepper, dried herbs, and a pinch of salt and pepper to the oil. Add another tb of oil if pan is dry. Saute until onions are translucent and peppers soften. Add the garlic and the wine soon thereafter to deglaze the pan. You don't want the garlic to brown. 

Step 3: Saute the peppers and onions
4) In the slow cooker, put half the crushed tomatoes, then the chicken and everything you've sauteed, then the rest of the crushed tomatoes. Add some more salt and pepper to taste, set it, and forget it. 

Step 4: Set it and forget it!

Vitaclay: Stew for 2 hours. It'll be done in 1 and can probably go for the full 4, but 2 worked well. 

Crock-Pot/Slow-Cooker: Cook on high for 4 hours or on low for 8.

Stove-Top: Simmer for 1 - 3 hours. It's ready when a chicken thigh is no longer pink in the middle but will be better when the chicken falls apart when you try to cut it with a fork. 

Note: If you're pressed for time, you don't need to coat the chicken in flour, brown it, or saute the veggies. You can just dump all the raw ingredients into the slow cooker and be done with it. It won't be AS flavorful, but it will still be absolutely delicious! 

Enjoy over pasta, mashed potatoes, quinoa, brown rice, or your grain or starch of choice. 

Wednesday, December 17, 2014

Favorite Things, Part 2: Too Cool Not to Share

Hi there! This is Part 2 in a multi-part series on my favorite things of 2014. If you missed Part 1: Things You Plug In, check it out here.

Paderno World Cuisine A4982799 Tri-Blade Plastic Spiral Vegetable Slicer

$32.40 on Amazon

These things have been all the rage lately, but I haven't been compelled enough to spring for one myself. Well, I'm really grateful to my good friend Laura for this wonderful shower gift. We still have a lot of dishes to try out, but for steamed zucchini tossed in pesto and for a fun twist (get it?) on cucumber salad, this thing has been super. It is easy to assemble, use, and clean and I think it would be a great way to make preparing and eating veggies fun for kids and for adults who are kids at heart. ;-)

Bodum Columbia Four 6 Oz Cups Stainless Steel Thermal Vacuum Coffee Press, 0.5 l, 17-Ounce

$84.99 on Amazon

I confess: I LOVE coffee. But not any old cup of Joe. Nope, I'm a coffee snob. The luke-warm cups from the keurig at work infuriate me. Dunkin Donuts coffee is no more than a carrier liquid for excessive amounts of cream and sugar. You get the idea. I also don't own a drip machine b/c frankly, it takes up a lot of counter space and I'm the only one who drinks it. So, I've been doing the pour-over thing since before that was a thing and making espresso on the stove with one of those cute Italian things my Grandma gave me. I buy good, freshly roasted beans and I grind them myself and well, both of my methods were falling short. The pour-overs are never dark enough and the stove-top stuff can burn pretty easily. I knew a french press would fill a void in my life. And oh, how it has! This pot is petite, so it's footprint is small and it makes just enough coffee for me to get my morning fix. Best part... it keeps it hot until I'm ready for my second cup and cleans up with a very quick rinse. Is it worth $85? Guess THAT depends on how much of a coffee snob you are. :-P

Joseph Joseph 9 Piece Compact Mixing Bowl, Food Prep and Measuring Set, Nest 9

$49.95 on Amazon

A colorful, space-saving set that includes measuring cups (we had a few from one set and a few from another, but were always searching for the right one for whatever we were measuring at the time), a large mixing bowl (you can never have enough), 2 strainers (the ones we still have hog way too much space in our cabinets!), and a small mixing bowl that's great for prep. 

Joseph Joseph Twist 2-in-1 Silicone Whisk, Multi-Colored

$10.16 on Amazon

The most annoying thing about a whisk is that it can take up so much space in a drawer! This one is great because it stores flat and the colors are super fun, too. It works, it's easy to clean, it won't damage cookware, and well, I love it.

Tervis 4-Pack Tumbler, 16-Ounce, Clear

$39.99 on Amazon

We had a good friend tell us we had to get these after staying with us for a few months and observing our drinkware patterns: Let's just say he was right. We also got the lids that pop on to make these to-go sip cups for coffee or straw cups for water. Best part? They're top-rack dishwasher safe and don't sweat. 

Progressive International GT-3468 Snap Fit Stainless Steel Measuring Spoons, Set of 5

$15.00 on Amazon

Another colorful space-saver that is super practical! I've had sets of measuring spoons over the years. They've come on rings that don't really hold them together and that ring of spoons can be pretty irritating because you have to decide if you should pop the 1 or 2 spoons off the ring or leave them all together. 

Silpat AE420295-07 Premium Non-Stick Silicone Baking Mat, Half Sheet Size, 11-5/8-Inch x 16-1/2-Inch

$13.29 on Amazon

Cookie season is here! I've wanted these for a while and love how easy they make baking and clean up. 

Wednesday, December 3, 2014

Favorite Things, Part 1: Things You Plug In

This year has been amazing for SO many reasons and while material things certainly don't top the list, James and I had fun selecting stuff for our registry. There wasn't much we "needed," so I took special care to research every possible want and need before adding anything to our lists. We ended up selecting a handful of practical things that we would use regularly.

After a few months of use of some very generous gifts, I'm happy to share reviews of my favorites. Some of the "things" on the lists in this mult-part blog post series (!) weren't gifts, but were things that made their way into my life this year that I wholeheartedly recommend. Use this and the following lists for inspiration this gift-giving season or gift yourself with something you know you'll use every day. I've separated things into fun categories and included images that link to the items on Amazon for your convenience. ;-)

Part 1: Stuff You Plug In

I had my eye on most of these things for a while and I did a ton of research before I knew they were "the ones." I even subscribed to Consumer Reports to read expert reviews on a lot of the products I was eyeing. They also publish these great buyer guides that tell you what to look for when you're shopping for a particular item. Yeah, I'm a dork. What?

VitaClay VM7900-8 Smart Organic Multi-Cooker/Rice Cooker 

$129.99 on Amazon

I have a hand-me-down crock pot that works. But the only functions on it are high and low. There's no option to set a timer and the lightweight plastic lid lets a lot of liquid escape. It's also a bit small for the type of things I like to cook in it - soups! I also have a cheap rice cooker that works well, but is coated with a nonstick surface that probably leeches all kinds of chemicals into our otherwise healthy brown rice, quinoa, and other grains. I've had my eye on this since I saw it reviewed on another blog and well, I knew I wanted it. It's pretty amazing. It works for rice and other grains, roasts, soups, and stews. The clay pot means it gets really hot and actually reduces the time needed to "slow" cook from 6 - 8 hours to 2 - 4. It has a timer that lets you schedule when it starts cooking and it keeps food warm. The lid locks, so liquid is retained. And, the pot is easy to clean even though it's not painted or covered in "nonstick" stuff. If you don't have a slow cooker and/or a rice cooker, this is a no-brainer! Thank you Roseanne!

Breville BOV650XL Compact Smart Oven 1800-Watt Toaster Oven with Element IQ

$179.95 on Amazon

The "oven" on my ancient Black-n-Decker toaster oven died a year or two ago and I swore I wouldn't buy another one. Instead, I'd put best one I could find on our registry and thanks to James' Godmother and her daughters, we now have a brand new top of the line amazing toaster oven that toasts, bakes, and broils. We've toasted english muffins, baked cookies, broiled fish, and even reheated chicken pot pies in this bad boy. And it's been good at all of them. The digital stuff took some more getting used to than I expected, but it counts preheating down and beeps when it's ready. We even got a coordinating cutting board that fits on top perfectly. I love it's small footprint, too. I wasn't looking for an oven to put on the counter, you know? We have an oven... but this thing will certainly help us get a hot dinner on the table in the summer without heating up the rest of the apartment. And, I love Breville. The designs are so sleek. Thank you Aunt Janet, Marie, and Nancy!

Breville BTM800XL One-Touch Tea Maker

$249.95 on Amazon

Splurge alert! If you're like us and make several POTS, not cups, of tea for like five months out of the year, this might be worth it. Otherwise, it's kind of hard to justify unless you've got $250 burning a hole in your pocket. I used a $15 electric kettle that I bought at Wal-mart for over a decade. I love electric kettles, counter footprint aside. They boil water faster than the stove and it's nice to have a device dedicated to only water. When I started "shopping" for a new electric kettle, all I wanted was one with an auto-off feature that I could customize the temperature on (I used to use a digital thermometer to achieve the ideal temperature for steeping green and other delicate teas). The more I researched, the more I wanted one with a detachable base so the kettle could go from counter to kitchen or coffee table without a cord. Things started to get pricey when I combined those features with a kettle that didn't have plastic and I hated the thought that I might be sipping BPA or other endocrine disruptors with my cup of antioxidants. When I saw a kettle with a list price of $300, I thought it was a joke. Until I watched the video and saw the Breville magic. There are pre-set buttons for green, white, black, and herbal teas and for mild, medium, and strong. There's a rather magical basket (that somehow doesn't let loose tea into the water) on a magnet that automatically enters the water at the exact moment the water reaches the perfect temperature and removes the basket from the water once it has steeped according to your preference. And yes, there are custom temperature and steep time settings, a keep warm button, an auto-off feature, and a detachable base. Heavens, you can even program it the night before to make your tea when your alarm goes off in the morning. People... what more do you need in life than the perfect cup of tea?! Thank you CarolMom!

Cuisinart GR-4N 5-in-1 Griddler

$64.99 on Amazon

OK, I full well know that I dissed nonstick surfaces like 2 sentences ago, but you have to pick your battles in life, right? Well, we have lodge cast iron pans and the grill/griddle thing has NOT been working for us. This thing has been life-changing. Eggs. Pancakes. Grilled veggies. Grilled chicken. Burgers. It does it all. But wait, there's more! Because James' one registry request was a waffle iron and well, I didn't want a separate appliance taking up precious space. There are WAFFLE plates for this bad boy! And they work perfectly fine for the (let's be honest here) 5 times a year we'll probably make waffles. ;-) The plates are pretty easy to change and clean up nicely in the dishwasher. Note: Cuisinart makes several versions of the "griddler." I compared and contrasted them all. Read all the reviews. This one won hands down, I promise. Thank you to the Sicuranzas!

In the next week, I'll post one or two more "favorite things" round-ups, but the above captures most of the big ticket items. Have you ever used any of the above products? If so, let us know in the comments! 

Monday, November 24, 2014

Fall Recipe Round Up + Thanksgiving Inspiration

This week, I'll enjoy my first Thanksgiving turkey since 2007 and I think I'm going to enjoy every bite. Adding meat back into my diet over the past few months has been interesting on so many levels. Some of my concerns over the slippery slope have been realized and lately, I'm making more of an effort to bump the veggies in our meals back up to pre-omnivore levels!

Since I've mastered some crowd pleasing veggie-filled dishes, I'll be preparing some crispy roasted brussels sprouts with garlic aioli and a new variation of my butternut squash lasagna for our family's Thanksgiving feast. If you need some inspiration this week, here are a few of my favorite fall recipes and a look back at some of our past Thanksgiving meals.

Delicata Squash Stuffed 2 Ways
If you have any non-meat eaters coming to your Thanksgiving feast, this is an entree option that is sure to wow. Delicata squash are delicious but are near the end of the season. If you can't find them, you could try this with any small squash. 

Butternut Squash Lasagna with Leeks

This year, I'm going to add some kale and mushrooms to this recipe and sub goat milk for the half and half. I also got some gluten free no-bake lasagna noodles so my niece can enjoy this! 

Roasted Spaghetti Squash with Pistachio Parsley Pesto

The parsley and pistachios that top this squash will add a burst of color to what can otherwise be a fairly monochromatic table full of shades of brown (no offense, stuffing, turkey, and potatoes, but you're a little lacking in the color category!)

Another delicious vegetarian entree option. Add some cannelini beans to the pesto to bump up the protein. 

Ah, my old standby. 

Vegetarian Thanksgiving Feast

We hosted Thanksgiving a few years ago and got super creative so nobody missed the Turkey. Even my sister, not the world's biggest fan of veggies, loved the massaged kale salad. 

Maple Ginger Cranberry Sauce

Leave the refined sugar in the pantry with this recipe! It's still sweet and the maple and ginger add some more complex flavors. 
Spice things up a little with this superstar soup! 

Hopefully you've found some inspiration for something a little different than your standard candied yams, mashed potatoes, and stuffing here.

If you end up overindulging this week, you might want to try my Easy Detox Week

Tuesday, November 4, 2014


It's getting cold, and that means I'm transitioning from smoothies to oatmeal in the morning. I wasn't all that excited about this transition because last winter, I think I overdosed on oatmeal and I didn't do a great job with my ratios, meaning that it often ended up turning into a brick before I finished it. Well, I put a little more effort into my first bowl of the fall and when I shared a photo of it on InstagramFacebook, and twitter I got several requests for the recipe, so here it is! Note that I ate this for brunch. It makes a really big bowl that could easily serve 2. I've included rough nutritional estimates below. 

1 c unsweetened original tempt hemp milk (any unsweetened milk or water will work)
1/2 c rolled/old fashioned oats (this makes a very large bowl but is a "serving" according to the package)
1/2 apple, diced small (use the whole apple if feeding 2 with this)
2 tb raisins
1 tb chia seeds (can be bumped up to 2 tb for 2 servings)
1 tb pumpkin butter (or pumpkin puree to taste)
1 tsp pumpkin pie spice (or to taste)
1 tb sunflower seed butter (or any nut/seed butter of your choosing)
dash sea salt

Optional: To make these into proats (protein oats) add 1 tb of unflavored whey (try to find organic grass-fed if you can!) protein powder (or plant-based protein powder if you prefer). This makes a great post-workout recovery meal to help muscle synthesis. Added protein not included in nutritional info below.

Soak oats and chia seeds for as little as 5 minutes or overnight in water. This helps wash away water-soluble anti-nutrients in the oats and encourages early stage sprouting of the chia seeds; even a quick soak/rinse is better than no soak.

Combine hemp milk, raisins, salt, and apples (and whey if making proats) in a small/medium saucepan over medium heat. Heat, stirring occasionally, until small bubbles form. Add the pumpkin butter, pumpkin pie spice, and oats. Stir to combine, lower heat to simmer, and cook until you reach your desired texture. This shouldn't take more than a few minutes since your oats have already soaked! Stir in the chia seeds, transfer to a large bowl, and top with a the sunbutter. Note that if you skip the nut/seed butter, you might want to stir in a tb of real butter or ghee. A little fat is an important part of a well-balanced meal, adds a ton of flavor, and should not be feared! That said, this recipe is sweet enough with the pumpkin butter, raisins, and apple... you don't need any added sugar! Enjoy your bowl of fall!

Quaker Quick Rolled Oats - Rolled Oats, 1/2 cup150202500
Tempt - Hemp milk (unsweetened), 1 cup801821250
Apple - Washington, 0.5 large (3-1/4" dia)551500111
Raisins - Seedless, 2 tbsp(s)621601212
Trader Joe's - Pumpkin Butter, 1 tbsp (18g)40100009
Spices - Pumpkin pie spice, 1 tsp610010
Trader Joes - Sunflower Seed Butter, 1 tbsp100484602
Tj Chia Seeds - Chia Seeds, 1 Tbsp137153450


Monday, November 3, 2014

It's Been a While

Why hello there. You may remember me as the sustainable food and nutrition blogger who used to post recipes and stuff once in a while. Well, I've been a bit busy this year with my new job publishing Food Science books covering Sustainable Food, Nutrition, Functional Food, and Dairy and oh yeah, GETTING MARRIED (more photos of our big day here). It's been a wonderful year and now that I've hit my goal at work (and then some, yipee!) and have wedding planning (phew, that was tiring) behind me, I'm so excited to be re-launching my blog along with nutrition workshops, cooking classes, and 1:1 health coaching!

I'll delve into more specifics about those in a future post and in page updates, but for now, I figured I'd share some of this year's highlights with you in a digestible list with some fun pictures just to get us caught up. Sound good? Great. Here goes.
  • 18 new scientific reference books contracted on topics like protein and amino acids, vitamins, sustainable protein sources, insects as food ingredients, and probiotics. All right up my ally.
  • 5 conferences attended, including American Society for Nutrition at Experimental Biology in San Diego, Institute of Food Technologists (IFT) in New Orleans, IFT Wellness in Chicago, the 17th World Congress of Food Science & Technology (IUFoST) in Montreal, and Elsevier's Editorial Retreat in Chicago. I sat in on some fascinating scientific sessions which gave me new perspectives on macronutrient balance in our daily diets, micronutrient fortification of foods, the definition of sustainability, industry's role in our food supply, economies of scale gained in food production, food waste, food loss, and a whole host of other really fascinating topics. 
  • After sitting through and speaking 1:1 with scientists who have spent their entire careers studying protein, amino acids, and cardiometabolic health and muscle syntheses, I gradually reintroduced meat back into my diet. After 6 years of semi-vegetarianism (there was some fish in there), it's been good. I tried meeting the complete protein recommendations made by said scientists without meat, but it was really hard to do while staying within my reasonable daily calorie requirements. My new husband was rather reluctant about eating meat again, but he's fully on board now and makes a mean grass-fed organic pasture-raised burger, which we like to sandwich between english muffins made of sprouted organic ancient grains and top with whole grain mustard and home made slaw. 
  • Before the wedding, James and I both started 5 am classes at a fitness studio around the corner from our new home. We also cut WAY back on dairy, refined grains, and refined sugar. These were the biggest offenders in our diet and these changes helped both of us look and feel our best for our big day. :-)
  • Oh yeah, we moved from Somerville to Malden in July. I will have to convert one of our off-street parking spots to a container garden next summer or find a community garden to get my hands dirty in.
  • Turks and Caicos is beautiful and the food there is delicious. We spent 8 glorious nights in an oceanfront suite on Grace Bay. I had never needed a vacation so badly in my life and we thoroughly enjoyed ourselves. I drank lots of rum punch and ate lots of fresh fish. I even indulged in the best bread pudding I've ever had. Every morning. With breakfast. I also listened to 3 audiobooks and took 3 yoga classes. We swam in the ocean, went snorkeling, jet skiing, and kayaking and rented a vespa to explore the island ourselves. So. Much. Fun! 
I promise to write another post this week. Feel free to leave a comment with any questions, comments, or ideas for future posts!