These images come to you From Ruthie With Love. We share a philosophy when it comes to food: simple and fresh is best. We also share a love of traditional Italian components. Check out these gorgeous images which are also recipes. Because they are so simple you need no instruction. Thanks for the contribution Ruthie, Mangia!
It is always nice to put your own spin on the classic ingredients that make up the Turkey day spread. I did just that this weekend for a few friends to let them know how thankful I am for their presence in my life. I believe in going lighter where you won’t sacrifice taste in the slightest and go all out with a classic that should never be altered (Paula Dean Pecan Pie). Here is my version of the feast:
Roasted sweet potatoe, cranberry, pumpkin seed, red onion and spinach salad w/ maple vinegrette.
Ina Garten Herb Roasted Turkey Breast
Hericovert w/ lemon, olive oil & chopped almonds.
Savory Sage & Corn Bread Stuffing
Paula Dean Pecan Pie & Vanilla Ice Cream
When I think of Walmart, I think of a go to spot akin to a super sized CVS. Their food aisle in my mind is many rows of insanely processed food-like imitators stacked neatly in their boxes and cans. You know, the stuff that is making 1/3 of our country obese and the largest cause of diabetes, heart disease and the other big killers out there. Hello rising healthcare costs! I do not think of it as a grocer but apparently this 120 billion dollar giant is the largest in the US. Accordingly, you can imagine my delight when I saw the following front-page headline in the WSJ on Monday: “Local grows on Walmart”. Historically, this shop has a reputation for leveraging their mass scale to buy cheap no matter where cheap comes from. Lately however, they have implemented increased purchasing of locally grown produce to sell in stores. With gas at such a premium, they are not only finding some cost efficiencies but are also pleasing their customers who would rather eat their neighbors beans then those from halfway around the world. This excites me for a number of reasons. First, if Walmart is doing it, hopefully smaller chains will follow. Second, by providing affordable, local produce they are not only improving the health of their customers but improving their local economies by increasing jobs. Here is the glitch. While Walmart is now purchasing 9% of their produce locally, which is double last year’s percent, it is still a small amount. The reality is that the american consumer is used to a store where blueberries are in season 12 months a year and to meet that demand, store must buy from far-away lands. Regardless it is a step in the right direction and I am very pleased to see this headline news. Congrats giant.
I am not a big fan of diets. I spent way too many years thinking that some diet or another would fix all the problems in my life, often problems not related to food or weight. The thing about a diet is you are dramatically changing the way you eat in a way that is not sustainable over time. They are restrictive, guilt and self-hatred inducing things that rarely work. I have found that tying my emotions to the success or failure of diet related weight gain or loss is a recipe for a big FAIL. You are bound to feel happy, than sad, than happy again and food should not have this type of power over people. All of that said, I do not think life should be one big free pizza, cupcake, ice cream, bread and cheese/butter free for all. Those are my favorite foods by the way. Putting superficial appearance aside, such a life would wreak havoc on your health which is the most important thing that we can actually control as humans. Without your health you have nothing. I digress. While I don’t like diets, I do believe in working towards being the healthiest version of yourself because physical health promotes mental health – read happiness. I believe that the only way to make lasting changes with regards to your eating habits is to tackle the bad ones one at a time. Instead of trying a massive overhaul, i.e. I am giving up carbohydrates, why not shift your intention to limiting refined carbs and eating more whole grains? Instead of going vegan tomorrow, try meatless Mondays. Want to run a marathon, start with a mile. Setting small, achievable goals has helped me as I try to move towards a healthy diet. Which brings me to the point of all this. My biggest vices are sweets. I can always talk myself into some coconut ice cream at the end of the day because didn’t I run an extra mile and it is not dairy anyway. Well Alexandra, it is still sugar and fat and you just cancelled out the benefits of your run (strictly from a weight management perspective). When I dine out, isn’t it a special occasion worthy of desert? Not always young lady. I know some of you are thinking, DUH, but it is my bad habit and I must own it. So for me, my next pet project is to limit dessert to once a week for the next month. We will see what happens and what shifts. Maybe my weight, maybe my emotional attachment to sweets, maybe nothing. Whatever it is, can’t hurt right?
How often do you leave a restaurant actually feeling better physically then when you went in? I can’t say that it is something I have experienced often. Of course I often go from hungry to full after chowing on some delicious food but rarely do I actually feel more energized then when I entered. Well that was my experience last week when I grabbed a quick-lunch at Life Alive in Central Square. I will let their mission speak for itself below:
If you have trouble reading my gorgeous iPhone shot above, here it is more clearly spelled out:
My meal was amazing.
I can’t say enough good things about this dining experience and I love how they turn food into a joyous experience aimed at promoting health and happiness. Service was stellar, environment warm and welcoming, extensive menu. Check it out folks, you won’t be disappointed.
I often pass this sign in my way out of Charlestown:
“Real fruit, blended just for you” they say. I don’t know about you but for me this conjures images of whole strawberries, bananas, some liquid and ice whirring together. Fresh, healthy, delicious. Au contraire my friends. The McDonald’s smoothie is actually made out of chemical laden, pre-made fruit concentrate, fake yogurt and ice. As you can see from the ingredient list below, this “healthy” food option is far from good for you:
Cultured Grade A reduced fat milk, sugar, whey protein concentrate, fructose, corn starch, gelatin, Strawberry puree, banana puree, water, sugar, concentrated apple juice, cellulose powder, natural (botanical source) and artificial flavors, xanthan gum, citric acid, colored with fruit and vegetable juice, pectin, ascorbic acid (preservative).
A medium smoothie contains 54 grams of sugar (a full snicker’s bar has 30 grams), 260 calories and almost zero nutritional value. What bugs me the most is not that McDonald’s is selling food that is contributing to the obesity epidemic and healthcare crisis we have in our nation today but that they are trying to sell it to people as healthy. Just be honest about what you are. Don’t trick your poor consumers into thinking they are doing something good for their bodies when they are actually harming them. I’d rather eat a Snickers. Sorry to be soap-boxey/depressing today folks. Just had to get it off my chest. I promise tomorrow’s post will be all pretty, happy things:)