Tag: sponsored

Secret ingredient french onion soup

From the palace to the pauper

As the story goes, French onion soup came to be in the kitchen of King Louis XV, on a day that there was nothing but butter, onions, and champagne to be found in the pantry – an early “Chopped” episode, of sorts!  The humble onion, which even peasants had access to, had been elevated to French cuisine.  Whatever its beginnings, I’m glad this soup survived time and distance to end up on my mom’s recipe rotations during my childhood.   Sweet, caramelized onions, savory broth, and a fun crust of cheesy bread to break through…just the sight and smell feel cozy and nostalgic to me!

The secret ingredient

Many recipes call for worcestershire sauce as a savory, umami addition, but the late renown Chef Michel Richard used soy sauce, “because it gives it a meaty flavor.”  Sounds great to me!  Because soy sauce is high in sodium, I don’t call for any salt in this recipe – one study even found that sodium could be reduced by half without compromising flavor if soy sauce was used instead!  Many soy sauces contain gluten, so look for certified gluten free versions if you need to – there are also low sodium versions available.  Kikkoman is available at nearly any grocery store you’d go to, and have versions of both.  Be sure to check out all the other RecipeRedux entries to their contest to see other sneaky ways to use it!

Ingredients

  • 3 large onions, sliced into half rings
  • 1 Tbsp olive oil (or butter)
  • 1/3 c red wine
  • 2 Tbsp soy sauce
  • 4 cups broth of choice (I used a homemade version; look at the sodium on this too as it can be quite high)
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 2 sprigs fresh thyme (or sub 1 tsp dried)
  • 4 slices whole grain bread of choice
  • 4 ounces mozzarella cheese

Directions

Heat the oil or butter in a soup pot over medium high.  Add the onions and cook down, stirring frequently until translucent (about 5-10 minutes) and then reduce heat to low and cook for another 20-25 minutes, stirring occasionally.  When caramelized, add the wine, soy sauce, broth, and herbs and simmer for 10-15 minutes.  Meanwhile, cut bread to a size that will fit into the ramekin (regular bowls work too; it just has to be able to go under a broiler) and toast them – drier is better, since you’ll be submerging it into the broth.  Scoop soup into ramekins (remove bay leaf), place bread on top, then layer on mozzarella (other cheeses that melt work well for this too!) and broil until cheese is brown and bubbly in places – putting ramekins on a baking sheet makes transferring to the oven much easier!  Enjoy as a soup course, or as a mini-meal…after all, it contains a vegetable, protein, and whole grain all by itself!

I received a free sample of Kikkoman soy sauce mentioned in this post. By posting this recipe I am entering a recipe contest sponsored by Kikkoman and am eligible to win prizes associated with the contest. I was not compensated for my time.
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Lunch wrap hack (+Sabra chickpea spread)

The good & bad of wraps

There’s so much potential for a wrap to be the perfect lunch: veggies, protein, some zingy flavors, all ready to eat quickly in a handy whole grain sleeve, no silverware required!  Unfortunately what you’ll usually find in restaurants and stores is a huge portion of deli meat, mayo spread, and a white tortilla that could be over over 300 calories before anything even goes inside.  And if you choose a vegetarian wrap, there’s usually not enough protein to make a full meal’s serving.  Not worth your time or money!  Instead, try stocking up on some 100% whole grain shells, a variety of veggies, spreads, and some interesting flavor ingredients (fresh herbs, capers, pickles) to make your own unique combo.

Sabra spreads

These are a new spreads from one of the best known hummus companies in the country – Sabra bottles them for easy squirting, and the first ingredient is always chickpeas.  Check out the links below in this RecipeRedux Roundup contest using three of their new flavors – Salt & Pepper, Garlic & Herb, and Honey Mustard – this is a great way to add flavor and help bind your ingredients together!

Wrap hack: 4 components for a winning combo

Flavor, color, and texture variety are all keys to a well-balanced wrap.  Shake on your favorite seasonings, add a vinaigrette, or pop some pickles in to hit the right tasting notes, and choose some soft or cooked and some crispy elements so each bite is interesting.

  1. Pick your protein – beans, cheeses, tempeh, leftover meats from roasts or chicken entrees, or canned salmon or tuna are all good options; aim for the portion to provide ~15g.
  2. Veggie serving – a serving of vegetables is about the size of your fist, so do not skimp here!  Roasted red pepper, spinach or other greens, cucumber, carrots, cooked eggplant, cucumber…grab at least 2 for color variety.
  3. A spread, sauce, or dressing – preferably with an acid element!  My wrap below features a quick-pickled carrot, which counts as part of the veggie volume and really adds some great flavor notes.
  4. 100% whole grain wrap, 6-8″ – this is key; the wrap I use here is 8″ and has 6g of protein and 5g of fiber with 210 calories (34g carb) so my meal is clocking in at less than 500 calories (which is a good ball park if you’re in a sedentary job!)

Here’s my combo:

  1. Chickpeas lightly sauteed, then crush with half a lemon’s juice (1-15 oz can; 1/3 of the chickpeas per wrap)
  2. Roasted red bell pepper (I made my own but canned work too!), cucumber, and quick-pickled shredded carrots
  3. Sabra Garlic & Herb Spread (2 Tbsp)
  4. 8″ whole wheat wrap

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I received free samples of Sabra Spreads mentioned in this post. By posting this recipe I am entering a recipe contest sponsored by Sabra and am eligible to win prizes associated with the contest. I was not compensated for my time.


The future of health: personalized nutrition assessment (+what’s a food sensitivity?)

The year is 2116…

Just over a hundred years ago, in 1912, vitamins were categorized as food components necessary to maintain health.  Diseases like scurvy & rickets (simple deficiency diseases caused by lack of vitamin C and D, respectively) were finally easily curable and nutrition science was on its way to defining a host of other maladies.  Today, only a century later, we’ve developed complete blood workups, antioxidants in pills, fresh food prepared and delivered to your door, and genetic analysis to help us obtain optimal health.  Imagine where we’ll be in another hundred years!logo

I’m going to stake a claim here: nutritional counseling will advance to the point where we will be able develop hyper-tailored nutritional goals centered on individual physiology.  We are already developing tests that will show which nutrients you are over or under consuming, how quickly you metabolize those nutrients, and which foods to avoid altogether.  Best of all, these tests will be as easy and time consuming as getting a haircut.  And I say this with certainty because in some ways the future is already here!

There are many organizations exploring this field, and one that caught my attention is Everlywell.  Everlywell is a company that provides at-home kits for testing for all kinds of things – fertility, heart health, sleep hormones, and you guessed it: food sensitivities.  When they reached out to me about trying a test, I was most curious about that one.  I eat all foods, enjoy all food groups, and have never noticed any symptoms distinctly related to any particular food, but I’ve also heard people say that they didn’t know how bad they felt until they tried cutting out something that turned out to be a trigger.  Could I be sensitive to certain foods and not realize it? I was curious, and while the Everlywell test measures IgG levels, not IgE (more below about what that means) I am never opposed to more information when the test is low-risk!

Testing, testing…

I wasn’t sure how easy I expected the process to be – many food sensitivity tests require you to obtain a doctor’s order, visit a lab for a blood draw, and then mail the results back to your doctor. It can take weeks before you get the results. (Pro tip: ALWAYS ask your doctor for a copy of any test results – keeping an ongoing file as you move around is important!)  With Everlywell, the process is pretty straightforward:

  1. Create a profile on their site, and order your test. It should arrive within 7 days, right to your door.
  2. Take the test.  Some tests require urine collection, others a finger prick.  The food sensitivity test is a blood test, so it comes with 2 easy-to-use lancets for a finger stick.  I tried to use mine first thing in the morning and found it hard to get enough blood flowing to fill the circles on the test, so I stopped and did it again right after I exercised.  Blood flow, no problem!  If you’re queasy or anxious about this, make sure there’s someone else in the room with you.  I promise, it doesn’t hurt any more than a rubber-band snap, and it requires less blood than what you’d get from a paper cut!
  3. Mail it back in the pre-labeled envelope and wait.  But not for long.  My test results came back within 7-10 days; they’re posted right on your Everlywell profile online so no need to wait for snail-mail!

Food allergy vs sensitivity vs intolerance

There are actually many ways your body can react poorly to food, and each specific reaction dictates how it is categorized.

Allergy

Your body creates Immunoglobin E (IgE) antibodies (tiny proteins) in response to a food that it identifies as harmful.   These initiate histamines and a cascade of other hormones which result in acute (very quickly occurring) responses such as rashes, itchiness, and swelling, the latter of which can be fatal if it inhibits airways.

Sensitivity

Your body creates Immunoglobin G (IgG) antibodies in response to a food.  Some studies show that eliminating foods identified by an IgG sensitivity test can result in decreased symptoms like systemic inflammation, migraines, irritable bowl syndrome (IBS), and even skin conditions like eczema.  IgG proteins may or may not indicate that you shouldn’t have a food; just that it could be one to try eliminating if measures are high.  Symptoms can take hours or even days to develop and can take just as long to disappear after withdrawing  the offending food.  This is what the Everlywell test measures.

Intolerance

Your body is missing an enzyme needed to break down a food, or the bacteria living in your gut aren’t the right kind or are improperly balanced.  Lactose intolerance falls into this category.  If a person’s body doesn’t produce lactase (the enzyme needed to break down the sugar lactose found in milk) it proceeds into your intestines where bacteria break it down – in a very gassy reaction!.

Got it?  There’s a more in-depth explanation and references here if you want more information!

So what does it mean?

Everlywell clarifies that just because you have an IgG sensitivity to a food, you may or may not need to remove it from your diet.  It analyses 96 foods and puts them into one of four categories (0-3) based on how strong the strength of the IgG reaction (3 is the strongest). So you can start by removing the foods in Category 3 to see if you notice a difference.  You should definitely share results with your doctor or dietitian to get their feedback, and to focus in on other tests that might be necessary.everlyreactivityscale

Since I want you to really see what the test results look like, I’m making mine available for anyone to check out: click here to view!

You can sort the list by food group or by reactivity in descending order.  I have only one food in Categories 3 & 2 each, about 20 in Category 1, and most fall into Category 0.  According to this test, the most likely foods to cause a reaction for me are brewer’s yeast and cashews.  Both found in many things I love!! Like I said, I’ve never noticed any particular reactions to foods, but now I’ll pay closer attention and maybe try taking a few weeks off of beer and cashews.

Want to get tested?  Use this link and the code “EVERLY10” to get 10% off your order!

A few things to note: the tests aren’t diagnostic; that is to say, you should visit your doctor and share it with him or her to get a professional opinion.  It’s not available in 4 states due to regulations: NY, MD, RI, NJ.  The labs they use are CLIA certified with 95% 3rd party validated accuracy.

Taking control of the food you eat is the first step to controlling your overall health – and the more you know, the better you can decide what to eat more of, and what to avoid.  A simple habit swap can have a huge impact on health!  Have you ever done food sensitivity testing?  What’s on your “avoid” list?  If you haven’t, would you choose to?

Everlywell sponsored this post and offered me a complimentary testing kit.  I’m planning to order more from them in the future at my own cost because I liked the quality of information and their ease of use.

Kiwi-lime pie with Zespri SunGold kiwi

IMG_4045Zespri kiwi: the yellow fruit with smooth skin!

I’m always game to try a new fruit variety, and had never even heard of Zespri kiwi, let alone their new variety call SunGold.  They have yellow flesh, no fuzziness on the outside, and are sweeter and less tart than the ones you’re probably familiar with.  Now, you can actually eat the skin on all kiwi varieties – fuzz and all! – but these are softer and even easier to eat sliced or whole.  They’re richer in vitamin C than oranges and as much potassium as a banana in 2 small fruits.  I’m sold! Look for these in the grocery store…and then think about making a pie!

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Ingredients

Crust

Filling

  • 4 Zespri kiwis
  • 3 egg yolks
  • 1/2 c milk
  • 1/2 c sugar
  • juice of 1 large lime

Meringue topping

  • 3 egg whites
  • 1/4 tsp cream of tartar
  • 1/3 cup powdered sugar
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract

Directions

Preheat oven to 350F.  Melt the butter and coconut oil in a 10″ tart pan.  Add remaining crust ingredients and mix with a fork until evenly combined, then press with the back of the fork until distributed over bottom of the pan.  Bake for 10 minutes.  Meanwhile, combine filling ingredients in a high speed blender (save a few slices of kiwi for garnishing!) until completely smooth.  When crust is baked, pour on top and spread out to edges, then bake for an additional 20-25 minutes.  To make the meringue topping, whip egg whites in a blender on high speed, adding the other ingredients when froth starts to form.  When filling is baked, top with meringue and bake for an additional 10-15 minutes, until top turns golden brown.  Cool, then chill for at least 2 hours before serving.

I received free samples of Zespri SunGold Kiwifruit mentioned in this post. By posting this recipe I am entering a recipe contest sponsored by Zespri Kiwifruit and am eligible to win prizes associated with the contest. I was not compensated for my time.


Warm walnut bread pudding

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A new dessert go-to

“This might be the best thing I’ve ever made?”

“It’s up there.”

That was the entire conversation I had while enjoying this little dessert with my boyfriend last night…we were too busy savoring bites to say much else!  The recipe is really simple, but this was my second try – the first was too dense, and a little chewy…but with the addition of milk and a bit of baking powder, second time was the charm!  And it’s my second entry to the California Walnuts contest for TheRecipeRedux – one I’ll definitely be entertaining with at the next opportunity.  Desserts based on walnuts offer lots of fiber and protein, and I kept the sugar reasonable.  The crust is crunchy and salty, the filling soft and melt-in-your-mouth sweet and spongy.  It’s definitely a treat, but making them in these cute 3″ ramekins means portion control is easy…I highly recommend serving with a drizzle of cream or whipped cream!

IMG_3782Warm walnut bread pudding

Ingredients

Crust

  • 1/2 c chopped walnuts
  • 1/2 c quick cooking oats
  • 2 Tbsp sugar
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 1/4 c melted coconut oil

Filling

  • 1 c raw walnuts
  • 2 eggs
  • 1/2 c milk (or milk alternative)
  • 1/4 c sugar
  • dash ginger
  • 1/2 tsp baking powder
  • 4 tsp honey
  • extra walnut piece for garnishing

Directions

Preheat oven to 350F.  Spray ramekins with cooking oil (or use a little extra coconut oil) and combine the crust ingredients in a bowl, mixing with the side of a fork until oats and nuts are coated with oil.  Portion out 1/4 into each ramekin and press with the bottom of the fork (see picture below).  Bake for 12 minutes.  Meanwhile, combine all the filling ingredients except honey in a high speed blender or food processor and puree until smooth.  Pour evenly into ramekins over the baked crust, then drizzle 1 tsp of honey over each.  Bake in the 350F oven for 25 minutes.  Remove and allow to cool to touch.  Serve warm. (Can be reheated in the microwave after baking.)

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I received free samples of California walnuts mentioned in this post. By posting this recipe I am entering a recipe contest sponsored by the California Walnut Commission and am eligible to win prizes associated with the contest. I was not compensated for my time.


RecipeRedux Walnut Contest: a new dip you can impress with!

A nut a day!

I am an avid believer that everyone should be eating at least a serving of nuts or seeds daily, so I was excited when California Walnuts sponsored a contest for RecipeRedux…there will be some amazing recipes in this roundup, I promise!  Walnuts contain 2.5 grams of the essential plant-based omega-3 alpha-linolenic acid (ALA), and 4 grams of protein and 2 grams of fiber, all of which amounts to a great snack (one palmful) at your desk or on the go.  I’m entering a few times, so stay tuned this week for a couple of walnut recipes – they sent 2 pounds of walnuts and a silicone baking sheet liner which was enough to keep me in the kitchen all afternoon yesterday.

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My new favorite spread

I wanted to try some new things and reinvent some classics, so I started doing some searching and came upon one that intrigued me: muhammara.  It originates in Syria, and there are lots of variations but all seem to contain walnuts, roasted red peppers, and some sort of smoky flavor.  The idea of walnuts and red peppers together seemed a little strange to me, but I’ll try anything once!  And I’m so glad I did: this is a better-than-hummus spread that people will be delighted by (and surprised to learn the secret ingredient!).  PLEASE TRY THIS.  Seriously delicious, and incredibly nutrient rich – perfect for dipping or as a sauce on a quinoa bowl.
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Spicy Muhammara

Ingredients

  • 3/4 c walnuts
  • 1 c roast red peppers, drained
  • 1/4 c + 2 Tbsp extra virgin olive oil
  • 1/2 tsp smoked paprika
  • 1/2 lemon’s juice
  • 1/2 tsp chili pepper flakes
  • 2 Tbsp tomato paste
  • dash salt
  • 3-4 fresh basil leaves, chopped

Directions

Place all ingredients (except basil and the 2T olive oil) in a food processor or high powered blender and puree until smooth.  Garnish with olive oil and basil.

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I received free samples of California walnuts mentioned in this post. By posting this recipe I am entering a recipe contest sponsored by the California Walnut Commission and am eligible to win prizes associated with the contest. I was not compensated for my time.


Cooking with Siggi! (+how to choose a yogurt)

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A word about yogurt

Here’s the sad truth: most yogurt on the shelves in the US is basically a light dessert, at best.  Many brands add tons of sugar (or artificial sweetener), colors, flavors, and stabilizing ingredients so that the resulting product is far from the nutritious, versatile food that it should be!  Siggi’s is one brand I like a lot – their claim is “simple ingredients, not a lot of sugar,” and in fact their cups always contain more protein than sugar.

What to look for in yogurt

Those criteria alone will get you far (and rule out most of the options on the shelf), but read the ingredient list to make sure they don’t contain gelatin, starches, gums, carageenan – all just thickeners that are hiding low-quality yogurt.  Milk, cream, and active cultures are all you need to make yogurt!

With lots of flavors and several in the 2% and whole milk categories (I’m partial to the whole myself), Siggi’s is competitive with other brands out there.  And with the outreach they do for dietitians, they’re at the top of their marketing game!  Today they hosted a lunch based on Nordic cooking – we got to see how to filet a whole fish, and then cooked in groups.  My team had the mushroom and arugula salad, which had just a dollop of plain yogurt to give some tangy creaminess.

Best of all, Siggi himself was there – he is a jolly Scandinavian fellow, and it’s amazing how he’s grown the company in just 6 years.

The whole meal was delicious – thanks for having us, Siggi’s!

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The full meal – mashed sweet potatoes, roast root vegetables, arugula and mushroom salad, and the pan seared salmon with edible flowers, seasoned yogurt, and raspberries (an amazing combo!).

*This event was sponsored by Siggi’s Dairy.  I was not compensated for my time financially.*

Is red meat bad for you? (+grilled flat iron steak + peach salsa)

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I received beef product mentioned in this post at no cost. By posting this recipe I am entering a recipe contest sponsored by The Beef Checkoff and am eligible to win prizes associated with the contest. I was not compensated for my time.

Red meat: how much is too much?

Some people will tell you that any amount of red meat is unhealthy.  Some will tell you a diet of mostly meat is the way to go – so who’s right?  The truth is probably somewhere between the two: in the US, we eat a LOT of meat, and a healthy diet is all about balance.  We rank 3rd in world beef consumption at 85.5  pounds/person/year consumed (behind Uruguay and Argentina, in case you were curious), and the hamburger is basically synonymous with American food culture.

I believe the problem with way we eat red meat in this country is threefold: in context, amount, and source.  Context: most meals are based on meat and refined grains/fried foods (hamburger on a roll, steak and fries, meatballs over pasta, etc).  Amount: portions are huge!  Source: cheap meat is cheap because the animals were fed inexpensive grains, which alters the nutrient content from those fed a grass-based diet quite a lot.  If you change the context (a balanced meal, with lots of produce), the amount (small, to reflect that you don’t need much and 30-40g of protein is ideal for digestion/absorption), and the source (choosing grass-fed meat with a higher amount of omega-3’s), the healthfulness of the meal is drastically increased.  Eating meat this way, for a few meals a week, is good way to practice moderation while still enjoying the variety of cuts and luxury of availability we have!

For this recipe (part of a RecipeRedux contest), I wanted to combine some unexpected flavors: the sweetness of peach salsa with savory meat – it’s the onion and cilantro that really take it over the top!  I got my flat-iron steak from Country Vittles, a farm near my hometown about 2 hours north of DC.  The cattle spend their life from birth on the farm, and are grass-fed by the family who have generations in the business.  What I love most about buying from them (and all the market vendors) is that you can ask questions, hear the story, and get tips directly from the people who are doing the farming.

They were sold out of the skirt or flank steak I wanted by the time I got to them last week, but suggested using the flat iron instead, and it worked perfectly.  At $13/lb, it was one of their less expensive cuts, and I know that sounds like a lot – but remember, meat should be expensive!  It’s extremely labor and resource intensive, and reflects more closely the real price of eating animals (that you don’t have to go out and hunt yourself!).  A little reverence & gratitude for the life of the animal who provided it might also be in order!

So here it is: the recipe!  I’d love to hear your thoughts on eating meat, eating meat with fruit, and how you find balance…and don’t forget to check out the rest of the beef recipes by clicking the blue frog!

Grilled flat-iron steak and peach salsa

Ingredients
  • 8 ounces flat-iron, skirt, or flank steak
  • 4 lg peaches
  • 1 lg onion
  • 3 banana peppers
  • 1 jalapeno pepper
  • ½ tsp salt
  • 1 bunch cilantro
Directions

How to grill (or broil) the perfect steak:

  1. preheat grill to high; ensure that grates are well-oiled
  2. dab meat dry with a paper towel, then season with salt & pepper
  3. with grill hot (~450F), lay the meat down and close the lid
  4. cook for 5 minutes, then open grill and flip, close lid then cook for 5 more minutes (this will be rare; cook longer for medium or well-done)
  5. remove from the grill and place on a plate.  Allow to rest for 8-10 minutes (crucial step!)
  6. slice against the grain (make cuts perpendicular to the direction the muscle runs)

Dice and combine the remaining ingredients in a bowl to make the salsa.  Serve over strips of steak. (8 ounces raw meat should serve 2 servings of 3 ounces each cooked; salsa will yield 4-5 cups and is excellent as a dip for chips, too!)

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California Raisins: pear crostini with goat cheese, prosciutto, and spicy raisin compote

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RecipeRedux time!

This week’s competition is with California Raisins – which I use often as part of a snack, but don’t cook with often enough!  They’re naturally sweet, sun dried (How It’s Made did an episode I happened to catch a few months ago – never knew they dried on the vine!)  so they make a great addition to dessert and savory recipes.  Dried fruit is a great way to add sweetness, and lots of nutrients (notably fiber and potassium) in an unexpected and economic way, and raisins are the most versatile.

This little recipe is the perfect appetizer for holiday entertaining.  Simple ingredients, but all bring out and balance sweet spicy, and savory flavors.  Replacing crostini with a pear slice cuts out refined flour, and the cheese, prosciutto, and nuts add filling protein.  Delicious with some festive champagne!

Pear crostini with goat cheese, prosciutto, and spicy raisin compote

Ingredients

  • 1 lg pear
  • 3 oz goat cheese
  • 3 slices prosciutto
  • 1/4 c toasted slivered almonds
  • 1 c golden Califonia Raisins
  • 1/2 c water
  • dash nutmeg
  • dash ground red pepper

Directions
Roughly chop the raisins, and simmer for 5 minutes with water and spices (water should be absorbed, raisins soft).  Slice the pear from top to bottom to create rounds (dip in lemon water to prevent browning if not serving immediately).  Spread with one teaspoon of goat cheese. Roll each slice of prosciutto and cut into ribbons; unwrap and place on top of cheese.  Top with raisins, then add nuts.

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By posting this recipe I am entering a recipe contest sponsored by the California Raisin Marketing Board and am eligible to win prizes associated with the contest. I was not compensated for my time.

Build a better sandwich (+gluten-free turkey & brie crepes)

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I received free samples of Breton Gluten Free Original with Flax and Breton Gluten Free Herb and Garlic from Dare Foods Incorporated mentioned in this post. By posting this recipe I am entering a recipe contest sponsored by Dare Foods Incorporated and am eligible to win prizes associated with the contest. I was not compensated for my time.

With a blog & business called “WhyFoodWorks,” I spend a lot of time thinking about not only why certain food combos are good for you, but also how to easily distill combining foods that taste good together.  People make their food choices primarily based on taste, and I don’t think anything I do for the rest of my career will change that!  Nor should it – but the combo in your mouth needs to have as good an impact on the rest of your digestive system, and certain pairings just work better than others.  Hence my “5 Rules for a Healthy Breakfast,” “Sarah’s Rules of Pesto,” and the “3 P’s of Healthy Eating” that I use to base all my food decisions on and talk about at length during dinner parties, lunch presentations, and cooking classes.

Basically, I want to create guidelines so you can follow a blueprint to better eating for flavor and health.  Sandwiches are one of the easiest lunch or snacks to grab, but can easily go awry nutritionally with portion size, ratio of ingredients, and omission of veggies!  So, here’s the hack:

  • Pick a protein (2-3 oz of meat, sliced egg, cheese)
  • 2 veggies – at least! Many people think that sad little romaine slice counts as a serving – it’s not enough!  A handful of greens and another veg will take you much farther! (Kale, spinach, arugula, roasted red pepper, slices of cucumber or squash, tomatoes, even fruit like apples and pears will make your sandwich next-level.)
  • Season it! A few twists of the pepper grinder, sprinkle of garlic powder, a seasoning mix like Mrs. Dash (we love those and Trader Joe’s  Everyday Seasoning grinder at my house!) will go a long way to make your sandwich or wrap restaurant quality.
  • Spread and bind. Think beyond mayo – a soft avocado, pesto, a greek yogurt-based dip, or even salsa work well.
  • Go whole grain. Bread choice is a whole other post by itself, but skip the white bread!

As my third and final entry to the Breton contest, I used the above to create a sandwich filling that would work on bread, in a wrap, or even in a savory crepe!  I was pleasantly surprised to find that the cracker crumbs work well to hold the crepe together, and this was sampled in my pottery class (check out those handmade plates!) by gluten eaters and avoiders alike with equally pleased palettes.

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Speaking of my pottery – you can win a ring holder on Capitol Romance’s blog this week!

Gluten-free turkey & brie crepe with spinach & pesto

Ingredients:

Crepe:

  • 1/2 c milk
  • 1 egg
  • 1/2 c Breton Gluten Free Herb & Garlic cracker crumbs
  • 1 Tbsp melted butter + 1 Tbsp butter for coating pan
  • Dash salt

Filling:

  • 8 oz sliced turkey
  • 2 oz brie, sliced
  • 2 c spinach
  • 1 c zucchini ribbons (shave a squash with a peeler)
  • 4 Tbsp pesto
  • A few twists of Everyday Seasoning or other mix or herbs

Directions:
In a mixing bowl, whisk the egg with milk and melted butter until evenly combined.  Stir in the cracker crumbs and mix.  Heat an 8″ nonstick pan on high and add butter to coat.  When hot, pour 1/4 c of the batter into the pan and immediately move pan so that it coats the bottom thinly and evenly; reduce heat to medium-high.  Using a spatula, flip once after the first side is set and lightly browned (~2-3 minutes) and cook the second side until light brown blisters form.  (There’s a good tutorial that demonstrates the flipping here, though he has slightly different directions.)  Makes 4 crepes; filling ingredients between the crepes.

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