Give Thanks

thank-you

As I was preparing to write this blog, I came across the usual array of articles about holiday weight gain, including one about how much exercise is required to burn off your Thanksgiving dinner. Rather than add to the litany of advice about holiday eating (and guilt) I have decided this year to focus on what Thanksgiving is all about: giving thanks. 

Thanksgiving Day is a holiday where we celebrate with friends & family, coming together for a meal of traditional favorites. Many of us have foods we prepare each year that bring us a great deal of comfort & memories. For me personally, my favorite Thanksgiving dish is Corn Bread, Wild Mushroom & Pecan Stuffing. This dish is filled with lots of hearty goodness. I add extra veggies & skip the heavy cream lending to a decent nutritional profile. 

So this Thanksgiving rather than obsessing about the calories you put in your mouth, enjoy time with friends & family, go for a walk (or turkey trot), be mindful of the quantity of food your consume (no “thanksgiving full” this year) & quite simply, give thanks.

A look at our a-maize-ing cafeteria staff

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Article from The Guilfordian

This article is part of a series highlighting the often overlooked amount of work that goes into keeping our campus fed.

Founders Dining Hall. The Cafeteria. The Caf. Open for breakfast, lunch and dinner, this place is a staple of the Guilford experience.

At some point or another, we have all enjoyed a meal there, shared a smile with the staff or ate way too much ice-cream from the ice-cream bar — guilty.

How many of us, however, have actually thought about the work that goes into it all?

“There are a lot of things that I think the community doesn’t see,” said Long Nghiem, district manager of Meriwether Godsey, the company that caters Guilford’s dining halls.

“All the hard work that (the dining staff) does is fantastic. They’re committed, and it really is a true partnership with the students. They love the community and they’re here to serve it.”

From planning menus and purchasing ingredients to preparing and serving three meals a day, a lot of work goes into running the dining halls here on campus.

“When you have to produce, for example, mashed potatoes for 1,000 people, that’s a big deal,” said Nghiem. “Think about when you’re at Thanksgiving and you have a family of about 20 people over, multiply that by 50 — for breakfast, lunch and dinner.”

Planning for each semester begins immediately following graduation, which allows dining services to operate more smoothly throughout the year.

“The operation is smooth and it is efficient, and becomes effective because there is a lot of planning and a lot of organization that goes into it,” said Snehal Deshmukh, director of dining services. “It simply becomes a matter of executing an operation”

The cafeteria’s menus prioritize balance and variety, things that, as a company, Meriwether Godsey strives to provide.

“The misconception we often hear is that we don’t want to (serve something), or that we can’t do it or don’t know how to, but that’s not the case,” said Nghiem. “We’re constantly trying to bring balance and to please the entire community. It’s our due diligence to prepare healthy made-from-scratch food.”

On top of all of this, dining services has also dedicated itself to promoting sustainability here on campus. Deshmukh’s team has even collaborated with the on-campus farm as a supplier for fresh produce.

“This partnership serves as an example of how local food can be incorporated into institutional kitchen settings,” said Nicholas Mangili, farmer and employee of the Sustainability Department. “If a farmer can meet the demand, institutions serve as great markets for local food expansion.

“For myself and the students that work and volunteer on the farm, it’s great to walk in for lunch and see the hard work of the farm and the cafeteria come together for a great meal.”

Dining services and its staff are clearly dedicated to the students here at our school.

“Food service is a very passionate job,” said Desmukh. “You have to have great passion for it. It is, however, a very gratifying (experience). Students on campus really come to know us and we really come to know the students. We become a family.”

As a community, we should try to be more mindful of the work they all do for us every day. They are, after all, a part of the family.

 

Cast Iron Skillet Pizza

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Serves 16

1 whole wheat pizza dough ball

6 slices thick cut bacon, chopped

1 shallot, sliced

2 cloves garlic, minced

1/2 lb brussels stemmed, thinly sliced

1/4t s&p

8 oz mixed provolone & fontina,

2 T grated finely grated parmesan

1. Preheat broiler

2. Cook bacon until crispy, drain on paper towel, reserve 2T bacon fat

3. Sauté shallots, garlic & brussels in bacon fat, s&p, 6-8 mins.

4. On stove top, heat 10-12″ cast iron skillet, high heat, 10 mins

5. On floured pizza peel, roll-out dough to skillet diameter

6. Slide dough into very hot cast iron skillet

7. Cook dough 2-3 mins, until browned, turn over

8. Top dough with brussels, bacon, cheeses

9. Slide into broiler. Cook 1 min, rotate 180 ̊, cook 1 min more

Note: cast iron skillet handle gets VERY HOT! Touch only with thick pot holder!

 

Our Relationship with Food

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When it comes to eating very few of us would argue that our relationship with food has many psychological components.  Eating based on only physical cues (i.e. physiological hunger) can be a challenge in today’s world.  Many of us use emotions, social cues, etc. to choose when & what to eat. The past few months I have been reviewing intuitive Eating Principles for my practice & the message that has resonated with me is “permission,” permission to eat, permission to actually enjoy food. That is why I loved this recent blog from Raise Healthy Eaters, which highlights the change in our relationship with food when we actually give ourselves permission to eat

  • I give myself permission to not have chocolate cake because it just doesn’t sound good.
  • I give myself permission to work out because it will enhance my day, even with an out-of-control to-do list.
  • I give myself permission to skip my work out because it will only add more stress to an already packed day.
  • I give myself permission to have coffee with a friend because I need connection, even though time is limited.
  • I give myself permission to cancel with a friend because it’s just one of those days.
  • I give myself permission to blow off my Sunday to-do’s (grocery shopping, getting ready for the week) and stay in my PJs with my kids, order take out and watch a movie because I just know I need a break.
  • I give myself permission to spend much of my Sunday getting ready for the week because I know it’s going to be a crazy week.
  • I give myself permission to pursue an interest or different career even though it will sound crazy to my family and friends.
  • I give myself permission to focus on what I’m doing now, and not feel like I have to do anything more to impress anyone.

As you can see, this advice does not just apply to food, so go ahead, give yourself permission.

 

Apple, Cheddar & Virginia Ham Flatbread

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Serves 2-4

10″ – 12″ round flatbread

dijon mustard

apple butter

grated aged white cheddar

country ham, thinly sliced, julienne

large apple, cored, very thinly sliced (peel on)

baby arugula

olive oil

sea salt & pepper

Pre-heat oven to 450°F

Mix dijon & apple butter, spread on flatbread

Top with cheddar, country ham & thinly sliced apples

Bake 7-10 mins, until cheese is melted & golden

Toss arugula with olive oil & s&p; mound on top of pizza

Note: can sub prosciutto or pancetta and smoked gouda

 

Habits That Stop You From Eating Healthy

healthy-eating

Like most people, I struggle to maintain healthy habits, especially as we enter into the busy season of back to school & sports.  Of course, one can always find excuses as to why they aren’t maintaining their healthy habits.  However, there are some habits that always interfere with eating healthy, despite the season. Summer Tomato came up with a great list of Habits That Stop You From Eating Healthy:

Avoiding the Grocery Store:

Not Sleeping Enough

Not Keeping A Stocked Pantry

Buying out of Season Veggies

Ignoring your Dirty Kitchen

Over- Exercising

This article gives some great basic tips and reminds me it is quite simple to adjust my habits to keep my on track when it comes to healthy eating (& exercise). 

Fig & Goat Cheese Salad / Flatbread

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Serves 8

​¼ c apple cider vinegar

2 t dijon mustard

1 T honey

1 t sea salt

½ t freshly ground black pepper

1 c extra virgin olive oil 

2 qt mixed greens (with arugula),roughly chopped

1 c fresh or dried figs, quartered

¾ c goat cheese

¾ c​ candied pecans 

Dressing

1. Mix vinegar, dijon, honey, s&p; whisk in olive oil

2. Toss greens with ½ of vinaigrette, add more as desired

3. Top with figs, goat cheese & candied pecans

Note: For flatbread: spread with goat cheese, top with figs & chopped arugula, bake. Top with more arugula.

Summer Veggie Flatbread

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Serves 2-4

tomato, sliced or chopped

zucchini, squash &/or eggplant,

thinly sliced

vidalia onion, thinly sliced

s&p

olive oil cooking spray

naan bread

basil pesto

goat or mozzarella cheese

1. Preheat grill or broiler

2. Slice tomato & eggplant, lightly salt & drain on rack (15 mins), pat dry

3. Spray squash, eggplant & onions with cooking spray; season s&p

4. Grill or broil squashes & eggplant (2-4 mins), set aside

5. Spray both sides naan bread with cooking spray. Broil or grill 1-2 mins per side

6. Spread naan with pesto, top with grilled vegetables, tomatoes & cheese

7. Grill or broil 2-4 mins, until cheese melts

Note: sub Udi’s Gluten Free Pizza Crust

The Number One Reason You’re Not Losing Weight

losing-weight

I recently came across this article on a popular fitness blog. I almost immediately dismissed the article as another piece telling the reader they are eating too may calories, not fasting enough, not burning enough calories, etc, etc. I was pleasantly surprised that this was not the case. It is not a topic that is often discussed when talking about weight loss, but “too much” dietary restriction is often the culprit when weight loss fails.

Metabolism 101 is that the body will go into starvation mode and store what food it does get when it’s not being fed. I see this often when working with college students who believe extreme calorie restriction is the answer to their weight problems. We all know calorie restriction can be a slippery slope, so what is the best approach? As the author states, eating enough calories to keep you satiated, but enough to create a calorie deficient that results in a 1 to 2 pound weight loss per week. It’s not a glamorous recommendation or a magic bullet, but one that is proven to work.

Long-Term Healthy Lifestyle Behaviors

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“Bikini season” is now in full force. I will admit giving into this phenomenon by purchasing a DVD that claims to have your body bikini ready in one week.  Full disclaimer, I do not buy into this marketing ploy, I just happen to be a fan of this fitness person’s exercise regimen   As I sweat through the vigorous workout and listen to her drone on about getting bikini ready, I do wonder how many people actually believe this work out will result in bikini worthy abs.  Realistically, working out for a week will not result in Olympic style abs, but that doesn’t mean you should give up exercise and healthy eating all together.  Establishing long-term healthy lifestyle behaviors will enable you to enjoy food and meet your health & wellness goals.

A few healthy eating tips courtesy of appforhealth:

  • Reduce overall calories to promote fat loss. Excess fat is quickly mobilized from the middle, so you’ll quickly see changes to your mid-section, if you lose just a few pounds.
  • Reduce or eliminate nutrient-poor carbohydrates (read: candy, soda, baked goods). Simple sugars cause rapid rises in blood sugar and have been linked to excess belly fat. To know the 46+ names food manufacturers use for sugars in their product, use this tool. 
  • Keep saturated fat to recommended levels (7-10% of total calories) Again, saturated fat has been shown to be linked to larger waistlines, so eat more poly and monounsaturated fats in place of foods rich in sat fats.
  • Avoid man-made trans fats, which are still in many foods. To tell if a processed food contains trans fats, look for partially-hydrogenated oil in the ingredient list.
  • Eat more whole grains, fruits and vegetables. Diets rich in these foods are consistently associated with smaller waistlines.
  • Enjoy nonfat or lowfat plain Greek yogurt.  Yogurt may help whittle your middle and the beneficial probiotics may help alter your gut bacteria to keep your GI tract healthy.
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