Will Gilmer Guest Lecture

A few weeks ago in my computer applications class, we had a guest lecturer by the name of Will Gilmer. Mr. Gilmer is a partner in the Gilmer Dairy Farm located in Lamar County Alabama. For his lecture he Skyped us and talk to us about his farm and his perspective on “agvocacy.” It was really neat to see and speak with someone who devotes his life and work to his farm and agvocacy. Agvocacy is something we have been focusing on all semester long in this class so I really enjoyed getting to see how he gets the word out about his farm beliefs. He also spoke to us about his daily routines and how he keeps up with everything, which includes several social media sites and a blog, which was very impressive!I never fully realized how much time and energy went into the farming industry and it gave you a new perspective on where your food products comes from. Mr. Gilmer was extremely informative and provided a lot of insight on the life of farmers. I would highly recommend checking out his blog and following him on Facebook and Twitter. You will learn a lot and will definitely get a kick out of some of his post!

Preparing for Finals

Chicken-and-Veggie-Stir-Fry-photo-300x225

I hope everyone had a great Thanksgiving!Although I had a lot of driving to do, it was so nice getting to visit with family and relax along with great food and an amazing weekend of football. As Thanksgiving break has come to a close, final exams are slowly creeping up on us. If you’re anything like me, I try to plan ahead so I don’t get caught eating one fast food meal a day because I get so caught up with my studies. It’s not healthy and I always feel terrible after so this semester I am determined to stock up early and have lots of brain food for next week! Today I have a stir fry that is delicious and is great to make in bulk so you can make it and then have leftovers throughout finals week. It’s filled with protein, fiber, and lots of veggies!Another great thing about this recipe is its so versatile. You can add whatever extra vegetables you’d like or change up the meat to your liking. I like to get some brown rice to serve this with as well.


Ingredients for Stir Fry:

2 cup broccoli florets, cut in half, see shopping tip

2 cups onion, diced

1 cup carrots, diced

5 cups cabbage, shredded

2 cups Chinese pea pods (snow peas) sliced in half

1¾ cups cooked chicken breast, diced

Cooking spray

1 tablespoon vegetable, canola or olive oil

3 tablespoons water for stir frying

Ingredients for Sauce:

⅓ cup plus reduced-sodium soy sauce

2 tablespoons brown sugar

2 tablespoons rice vinegar

3 tablespoons water

2 cloves garlic, mined

2 teaspoons ginger (from a jar), see shopping tip

Fresh ground black pepper, to taste

Directions

1. First prep all vegetables and dice the chicken. Set aside.

2. In a small bowl, add all sauce ingredients and mix until well blended. Set aside.

3. Coat a large nonstick wok or pan with cooking spray. Heat 1 tablespoon of oil in pan. 
Add broccoli, onions and carrots and water. Saute over medium-high heat for 3-5 minutes until broccoli is soft. Add cabbage and chicken. Saute another 2 minutes until soft. Turn down to medium heat, stir in pea pods and sauce mixture. Stir fry for about 2 minutes until all heated through. Stir constantly to blend everything.

4. Store any leftovers in the fridge for a few days.

Makes 4 servings. (each serving, 2 cups)

Happy Thanksgiving!

 

thanksgiving

Thanksgiving is quickly creeping up and I’m sure all of you are just as excited as I am for the upcoming break of relaxing, spending time with family and friends, and eating good food. It’s hard not to love Thanksgiving but sometimes it is hard to stick to eating healthy and not splurging on turkey and the copious amounts of pie and desserts. Today I hope to help you all find delicious and healthier substitutes to traditional Thanksgiving favorites.

Sweet Potato Pie- http://www.skinnytaste.com/2010/11/sweet-potato-pie.html

Green Bean Casserole- http://www.skinnytaste.com/2012/11/lightened-up-green-bean-casserole-with.html

Pecan Phyllo Tarts- http://www.skinnytaste.com/2012/11/mini-pecan-phyllo-tarts.html

Stuffing- http://www.skinnytaste.com/2012/11/mini-pecan-phyllo-tarts.html

All of these recipes come from one of my favorite bloggers, Gina Homolka from Skinnytaste. She comes out with great recipes and is so motivational! I highly suggest looking at some of her post.

I hope some of you will give these recipes a try and have a very Happy Thanksgiving!

 

Who’s ready for some football?!!

As some of you may know, last week I decided to try out a new recipe with you guys and am curious to see what you thought! I made them and added in some chopped mushrooms and have fallen in love. I halved the recipe and it made enough for me to eat off for the next few days, and not to mention it was a healthy and fulfilling meal. I honestly don’t know why I have not made these until now because it is so many wonderful things in a little, compact package. Moving onto this week, I’m bringing to you a football recipe!

Although college football is almost over, there are still some big games left in the season and who doesn’t love great game day food?. On game days my fiance and I usually eat out or eat at the tailgates we go to. If we go out to eat I almost always order the spinach and artichoke dip appetizer and it has come to that time where I find a better substitute. I thought it would be a good idea to make a healthier version of it at home and pair it with some baked tortilla chips versus the regular kind to lighten it up and not over indulge on the restaurant versions. This recipe is super easy to make and is great for at home or at a tailgate!

Happy Tailgating!

Ingredients

  • 1 (8 ounce) package of fat-free cream cheese, softened or whipped
  • 1/4 cup low fat mayonnaise
  • 1/4 cup grated low fat Parmesan cheese
  • 1/4 cup grated low fat Romano cheese
  • 2 cloves garlic, peeled and minced
  • 1/4 tsp. garlic salt
  • 1/2 (14 ounce) can artichoke hearts, drained and chopped
  • 1/2 cup frozen chopped spinach, thawed and drained
  • 1/4 cup shredded low fat mozzarella cheese
  • Salt and pepper to taste (you don’t need much)

– See more at: http://www.eat-yourself-skinny.com/2011/03/spinach-and-artichoke-dip.html#sthash.DlvN1wvp.dpuf

8 ounces fat-free cream cheese

1/4 cup low-fat mayonnaise

1/4 grated low-fat Parmesan cheese

1/4 grated low-fat Romano cheese

2 cloves minced garlic

1/4 teaspoon garlic salt

7 ounces chopped artichoke hearts

1/2 cup frozen chopped spinach (thawed and drained)

1/4 cup shredded low-fat mozzarella cheese

Salt and pepper to taste

Directions

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

Lightly grease a small baking dish. In a medium bowl, combine all ingredients in except for the artichoke hearts and spinach. After, mixed, gently stir in the artichoke hearts and spinach. Pour mixture into the greased baking dish.

Bake in the oven for 25 minutes, or until bubbly and lightly browned.

  • 1 (8 ounce) package of fat-free cream cheese, softened or whipped
  • 1/4 cup low fat mayonnaise
  • 1/4 cup grated low fat Parmesan cheese
  • 1/4 cup grated low fat Romano cheese
  • 2 cloves garlic, peeled and minced
  • 1/4 tsp. garlic salt
  • 1/2 (14 ounce) can artichoke hearts, drained and chopped
  • 1/2 cup frozen chopped spinach, thawed and drained
  • 1/4 cup shredded low fat mozzarella cheese
  • Salt and pepper to taste (you don’t need much)

– See more at: http://www.eat-yourself-skinny.com/2011/03/spinach-and-artichoke-dip.html#sthash.DlvN1wvp.dpuf

Ingredients

  • 1 (8 ounce) package of fat-free cream cheese, softened or whipped
  • 1/4 cup low fat mayonnaise
  • 1/4 cup grated low fat Parmesan cheese
  • 1/4 cup grated low fat Romano cheese
  • 2 cloves garlic, peeled and minced
  • 1/4 tsp. garlic salt
  • 1/2 (14 ounce) can artichoke hearts, drained and chopped
  • 1/2 cup frozen chopped spinach, thawed and drained
  • 1/4 cup shredded low fat mozzarella cheese
  • Salt and pepper to taste (you don’t need much)

– See more at: http://www.eat-yourself-skinny.com/2011/03/spinach-and-artichoke-dip.html#sthash.DlvN1wvp.dpuf

Spinach and Artichoke Dip

Yield: 6 servings

Ingredients

  • 1 (8 ounce) package of fat-free cream cheese, softened or whipped
  • 1/4 cup low fat mayonnaise
  • 1/4 cup grated low fat Parmesan cheese
  • 1/4 cup grated low fat Romano cheese
  • 2 cloves garlic, peeled and minced
  • 1/4 tsp. garlic salt
  • 1/2 (14 ounce) can artichoke hearts, drained and chopped
  • 1/2 cup frozen chopped spinach, thawed and drained
  • 1/4 cup shredded low fat mozzarella cheese
  • Salt and pepper to taste (you don’t need much)

Instructions

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C).
  2. Lightly grease a small baking dish. In a medium bowl, mix together cream cheese, mayonnaise, Parmesan cheese, Romano cheese, mozzarella cheese, minced garlic, garlic salt, salt and pepper. Gently stir in artichoke hearts and spinach.
  3. Transfer the mixture to the prepared baking dish. Bake in preheated oven for 25 minutes, until bubbly and lightly browned

– See more at: http://www.eat-yourself-skinny.com/2011/03/spinach-and-artichoke-dip.html#sthash.DlvN1wvp.dpuf

Quinoa Burgers

quinoa-patties

Photo: Courtesy of Skinnytaste.com

So today I want to try something a little different! While I normally share with you all some of my favorite recipes, today I thought I would change things up and provide a recipe that we could try together. With such a hectic schedule it can sometimes be difficult to eat healthy all of the time, especially when you get bombarded with loads of homework and tests. When this happens to me, I always aim to eat as clean as possible following my caffeine binge and not so healthy meals. Eating clean means eating whole foods and avoiding any refined sugars and processed foods. I have been searching for some new recipes and have come across recipes similar to this but always seem to overlook it. The recipe is for a quinoa patty that is not only versatile but has excellent reviews. Now i have decided to finally give it a try and hope you will too!

I hope y’all enjoy and let me know what you think!

Ingredients

  • 1 cup uncooked quinoa
  • 2 cups water
  • 4 eggs, whisked
  • 1/3 cup Parmesan cheese
  • 3 large scallions, sliced thin
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1 cup kale
  • 1 cup plain breadcrumbs
  • 1 teaspoon olive oil

Directions

  • Rinse the quinoa thoroughly and place the grains in a medium sauce pan with 2 cups of water. Bring the water to a boil and reduce to a simmer. Cook until quinoa is tender and has absorbed the liquid, about 20 minutes. Let it cool.
  • In a large bowl, combine the cooked quinoa, eggs, Parmesan, scallions, garlic, salt, steamed spinach, and breadcrumbs. Let everything sit for a few minutes to absorb the liquid. The batter should be moist, but not runny. Form patties 1/4 cup each.
  • Heat the oil in a large non-stick skillet over medium-low heat. In 2 or 3 batches, cook the patties covered for 8-10 minutes on each side, or until browned and golden.

 

Brunswick Stew

The cooler fall weather is finally here and I am so excited to be able to share this Brunswick Stew recipe with all of you. I first had this stew on a camping trip during the freezing winter nights of December and needless to say, I fell in love! Our friend had gotten this recipe from his dad that made this for their family on special occasions and made it at our camp out. Once we started eating, I literally could not stop eating it. Although, I get teased to this day for that, it was completely worth it and now my fiance and I have made it a tradition to always make when the cold weather hits. Without further adieu, I bring to you a lighter version of the infamous Brunswick Stew. It is better to let it simmer for a few hours, but if you are short on time, or just really eager to eat, it’s no problem to shorten the time to accommodate you.

Ingredients 

1 Tablespoon Olive Oil or Peanut Oil

1 1/2 Cups finely diced sweet onions

1 Tablespoon Minced Garlic

1 Teaspoon Cayenne Pepper

1/2 Tablespoon Fresh Ground Black Pepper

1/2 Tablespoon Sea Salt

1/8 Cup Worcestershire Sauce

1/4 Cup North Carolina Vinegar Barbecue Sauce

1/2 Cup Sweet-Mustard Base Barbecue Sauce

1.5 Pounds Meat ( we usually use 1/2 lb shredded chicken, 1/2 lb lean ground beef, and 1/2 lb pulled pork)

4 Cups Crushed Tomatoes

1 Cups Coarsely Chopped Tomatoes

2 Cups Fresh Shucked Sweet Corn

2 Cups Fresh Baby Butter Beans

32 Ounces Low Sodium Chicken Stock

Texas Pete Hot Sauce ( or hot sauce of your choosing to taste)

Directions 

In a good-size cast-iron Dutch oven or stockpot, heat the oil over medium-high heat.

Add diced onions, then garlic, and sweat until translucent, about 15 minutes.

Stir in cayenne pepper, black pepper, salt, and Worcestershire. Simmer for 6–8 minutes, then add barbecue sauces and meat to the pot (you want to completely cover the meat with the sauces), and cook for another 10 minutes.

Add tomatoes, corn, and beans, stir in chicken stock, and let it all simmer for a few hours over medium heat, adding more stock to thin if needed.

Add Texas Pete Hot Sauce to your liking.

Serves 8-10

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Pumpkin Spice Smoothie

My favorite time of year is finally here! I don’t know about y’all, but the fall season is my absolute favorite time of year. The days begin cool down, the trees begin to change colors, and the air just has that crisp feeling that is so amazing. One of my favorite parts of fall is all things pumpkin come out to play. From coffee drinks, to pies, to waffles and pancakes, pumpkin has become a staple for fall cooking. One of my my go-to recipes during the fall is a pumpkin spice smoothie. It’s great as a quick and easy breakfast or snack. I also love that you can add in some additional ingredients to add in some extra nutrients like chia seeds or you could even add in protein powder for a post-workout smoothie.

Ingredients

1/2 Cup Pumpkin Puree

1/2 Ripe Banana

1 Cup Skim Milk or Almond Milk

1 Tablespoon Honey

1 Teaspoon Pumpkin Pie Spice

1/4 Teaspoon Vanilla Extract

1/2- 1 Cup Ice

Directions

Combine all ingredients in a blender and blend until smooth. I like to add about 1 teaspoon of chia seeds for extra nutrients like Omega-3, protein, and fiber.

 

Peanut Butter, Banana, and Oatmeal Cups

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I absolutely love bananas, but when I buy them I always seem to have a few that get a little too ripe for my liking. One day I decided to find a recipe that could utilize these bananas that I would normally throw away and create a healthy treat that could also satisfy my sweet tooth. These oatmeal cups are so easy to make and I almost always have the ingredients on hand, so I never have to have those pesky late night grocery store runs if I get the urge to make them. These are perfect for an on the go breakfast or an anytime snack. Enjoy!

Ingredients

3 mashed bananas( the more ripe the better because they will add more sweetness)

1 Teaspoon honey (depending on the ripeness of your bananas, you may or may not need the honey)

1 Cup of fat free milk (any kind will work)

2 eggs

1 Tablespoon baking powder

3 Cups old fashioned or rolled oats

1 Teaspoon vanilla extract

1/2 Cup natural peanut butter

1/4 chocolate chips

Directions

Preheat the oven to 375 degrees

Mix all ingredients together except for the chocolate chips and let rest while you prepare the muffin pans.

Spray a muffin pan with non-stick cooking spray.

Fold the chocolate chips into the muffin batter and divide the batter evenly into the muffin cups.

Cook for 20-30 minutes until firm and the edges start to brown.

Grilled Chicken Parmesan With Veggies

I love all things Italian when it comes to food. I do not think there has ever been a single Italian dish that I have not liked, but as we all know they are not always the healthiest of meals. A few years back I found a recipe in one of my roommate’s cookbooks, which is what sparked my inspiration for this dish. It is a take on Chicken Parmesan with some extra ingredients to create a well balanced meal. I love this recipe because it is so easy and fast to throw together and it saves well so I can have leftovers for another meal.

Ingredients

1 Cup Baby Bella Mushrooms

2- 2 1/2 Cups Spinach

4 Chicken Breast

16 oz Whole Wheat Penne Pasta (or pasta of your choice)

24 Oz Marinara Sauce

1 TBSP Extra Virgin Olive Oil

Parmesan or Mozzarella Cheese

*These measurements are for 4 servings with room for leftovers, but it’s very easy to create more or less.  *

Directions

Bring 4 quarts of water to a boil and add add 1 teaspoon of olive oil to prevent pasta from sticking. Add the pasta in and cook uncovered for 10-12 minutes and then drain. While the pasta is cooking, heat a skillet over medium heat and add the remaining olive oil to the pan. Add the chicken and cook for about 8 minutes on each side. While the chicken is cooking, add marinara sauce into a small sauce pan and heat up. Once the chicken is cooked and the juices run clear, take the chicken out of the pan and add mushrooms and spinach into the pan. Cook for 2-3 minutes so the mushrooms brown and the spinach wilts but still holds its’ shape. Once everything is cooked, place pasta down on a plate and top with chicken, spinach and mushrooms, marinara sauce, and then top with Parmesan or mozzarella cheese if you would like.

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* You can use whatever type of Marinara Sauce you prefer; I like to make a big batch of  homemade sauce that you can freeze for later use or freeze whatever you don’t use. If you have more time to grill your chicken on the grill, that will add a nice smokey flavor to the dish. Here is a recipe for a quick and healthy marinara sauce:

http://www.skinnytaste.com/2011/09/quick-marinara-sauce.html

 

Strawberry Poppyseed Salad

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Photo provided by Pinterest

I am so excited to be sharing this recipe with you all today for two reasons. The first is that it is finally that time of year again when we slowly begin to transition into the fall and leave our summer things behind. For any of you like me, you love cramming all of your favorite summer recipes in before the fall flavors roll in, and this is by far my favorite summer recipe! The second reason is that I just recently found the strawberry poppyseed and chicken salad from Panera Bread and it is phenominal! A lot of you are probably thinking that I have been living under a rock because I have never tried this salad until now, and I am right there with you. Since there are no Panera Bread restaurants in Starkville I decided to try and make this recipe to share with all of you so maybe you can enjoy it as much as me!

Ingredients

Romaine lettuce ( you could use any lettuce you prefer, however I made it the first time with a baby spring mix and found that a lot of the flavors were too overpowering for the fruit and dressing, so be sure to watch out for that)

Fresh strawberries (quartered)

Pineapple (cut into small chunks)

Mandarin Oranges

Blueberries

Pecans (chopped)

Fat Free Poppyseed dressing ( Maple Grove Farms of Vermont is a good one I’ve tried)

Sliced, grilled chicken (optional)

Directions

Combine all ingredients together and mix in the dressing. For a more hearty salad you could add in some grilled chicken.