8 Simple Tips to Keep Food Fresh for Longer

8 Simple Tips to Keep Food Fresh for Longer

We’ve searched the internet for trusted, simple ways to keep our groceries around for longer. It’s no secret that healthy eating serves as fuel for an active and happy life. So, with the goal of feeding our bodies with healthy and fresh foods, take some time to read through this list of eight tips to keep your food fresh!

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Healthy Eating: Spaghetti Squash a la Mode

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It has recently come to our attention that spaghetti squash is seriously underrated. Though many pass by this amazing food while in their local grocer's store, here are a few noteworthy facts about spaghetti squash that might compel you to take a second look: they are gluten-free, low in carbs, high in fiber and rich with antioxidants like Vitamins A, C, and B-12. They has a relatively mild flavor so it is a great vehicle for flavor--much like your traditional wheat-and-egg pasta--and the texture almost trumps that of an al dente angelhair pasta. They are grown locally and come in organic varieties. The finished product freezes and reheats well and is super easy to dress up. Now that you know why, we'll show you how....

For a meal for TWO, you will need ONE spaghetti squash--you will have leftovers!

1.) Preheat oven to 400°F  

2.) Cut the spaghetti squash lengthwise - be careful! They are very dense, take your time and use caution!

2.) Deseed much as you would a pumpkin, with a sharp spoon. Extra points for saving the seeds and baking them! They are great as a snack or as a topper for a salad!

3.) Drizzle two tablespoons on top of sqash and season as you wish--we recommend 1 teaspoon sea salt, one teaspoon freshly cracked pepper, one minced garlic clove and a half teaspoon of rosemary, but any other herb that is typically used in Italian dishes will do (oregano, thyme, chives, sage etc.) 

4.) Place in aluminum foil-lined dish and cover with foil. Bake at 400°F for 90 minutes.

5.) Remove and let cool for at least 20 minutes. Then use a fork to make your spaghetti.

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So what now? The possibilities are endless, but here are some suggestions, all of them serve two.

Classic Marinara

This simple sauce is vegan and oh-so delicious. Add some cheese and/or a protien if you like...

Ingredients

2 cups cooked spaghetti squash
1 tsp EVOO
1 28 oz can whole San Marzano tomatoes
2 Cloves garlic, minced
1 medium onion, diced
1 tsp fresh rosemary, finely chopped
2 tsp freshly cracked pepper
1 Tbsp sea salt

Directions

Use your hands to break up the whole tomatoes in a bowl.

In a medium sized saucepan, heat the EVOO under a medium-high heat. Add onions and sautee for two minutes, or until onions are getting just a little translucent. Add garlic. Continue to sautee for five more minutes. Add salt, pepper and rosemary. Reduce heat to low and add tomatoes. Simmer over low  heat for 30 minutes and serve!

Mediterranian Salmon with Spaghetti Squash

This recipe is a hand-me-down from a dear friend. You can cook the salmon while your squash cooks; it is light, healthy and perfect for summer!

Ingredients

2 cups cooked spaghetti squash
Two 4oz portions of salmon
2 Tbsp EVOO
1/3 cup Kalamata olives
1/4 cup feta crumbles
1/3 cup capers
2 garlic cloves, minced
1/2 cup Roma tomatoes, diced
1 tsp Salt
1 tsp freshly cracked pepper

Directions

Heat oven to 400°F. spread one tablespoon EVOO on a small, foil-lined cookie sheet. Place salmon skin-side-down on foil. Drizzle one tablespoon on top of the salmon fillets and season with 1/4 teaspoon salt and 1/4 teaspoon freshly cracked pepper. Pop that salmon in the oven and cook for 15 minutes. Pull it out and use a metal spatula to remove from the skin as shown in the video below.   

In the meantime, heat the EVOO in a large sautee pan over medium-high. Add minced garlic and sautee for one minute. Add olives and capers and continue to sautee for two more minutes. Add salt and pepper, mix well and reduce heat to low. Add 2 cups cooked spaghetti squash and sautee on low for one minute until ingredients are evenly distributed. Is your salmon done yet? It should be! Serve it on top of the spaghetti squash mixture and garnish with the diced tomato and feta crumbles. 

Simple Walnut Pesto

This vegetarian option is simple and delicious, but can be spiced up by adding sauteed shrimp, bacon crumbles or goat cheese crumbles. You will need a food processor to get the pesto to the correct consistency, but this sauce is great for all types of dishes, and its no-cook method makes it ideal for hot summer days.

Ingredients

2 Cups cooked spaghetti squash
2 cups basil leaves with stems removed
2 cloves fresh garlic, minced
1 Tsp Sea Salt
1 Tbsp freshly cracked pepper
4 Tbsp EVOO
1 cup freshly grated parmesan
1/2 cup walnuts

Directions

Put basil in food processor with minced garlic, salt and pepper; drizzle EVOO on top of the ingredients. Blend on low for 2 minutes. Add parmesan and blend on high for 1 minute. Add walnuts and pulse briefly so that walnuts are mixed throughout and broken up--you don't want them to get too small, they add a wonderful texture. Voila! Your pesto is done. You may mix it with cold, cooked spaghetti squash to make a cold "not-pasta salad" (feel free to add raw veggies like asparagus, tomatoes and onion) OR you can sautee the pesto and the squash over medium heat for 7 minutes (this is where you could add bacon bits, cooked shrimp or goat cheese) and serve.

Healthy Eating: Winter Kale Superfood Salad

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Staying healthy through the colder months is a lot easier when your body has the nutrients it needs to stay healthy. This low-cal salad has blueberries and pomegranate seeds, which are packed with antioxidants, almonds which provide protien, walnut oil, which can help lower cholestoral and cardiovascular diseasease, and of course kale, which is an amazing superfood all by itself. It has tons of fiber, iron, and is rich with Vitamins K, A, and C and Calcuim. As if that weren't enough, it also has antioxidants such as carotenoids and flavonoids, is an anti-inflammitory food, offers cardiovascular support, and is a great detox food. Maybe that kale craze that has been circulating for the last couple years isn't so crazy after all...  

Winter Kale Superfood Salad

Ingredients

1 Head Kale
1 Pomegranite, Seeded and Shelled
1/2 Cup Parmesean Reggiano (optional for vegan/light)
1/3 Cup Purple Onion
1 Cup Shredded Carrots
1 Cup Sliced Almonds
1 Cup Blueberries

Directions: Clean Kale well, remove leaves from head, and "de-vein" by cutting out the veins that run down the center of the leaves (this is more fibrous and is difficult to chew), and then chop the rest of the leaves so pieces are no bigger than 1"X1". Shell your pomigranite--see video below. Toss with remaining ingredients and serve with dressing on the side.

Dairy-Free Creamy Lemon Poppyseed Vinaigrette

Ingredients

3 Cups Water
1/4 Cup Cashews
2/3 Cup White Wine Vinegar
4 Tbsp Walnut Oil
3 Tbsp Local Honey (or raw agave nectar for vegan)
2 Tbsp Fresly Squeezed Lemon Juice
2 Tbsp Finely Minced Shallots
1/2 tsp Salt
1/4 tsp Freshly Cracked Black Pepper
1.5 tsp Poppyseeds

Directions: Bring water to boil in small saucepan on stovetop. Recuce heat to low and add cashews. Simmer on very low heat for 5 minutes, then turn off heat and allow cashews to soak an additional ten minutes. While they are cooling, you may continue by combining vinegar, shallots, lemon juice, honey and salt in a blender/food processor, and pulse on low until ingredients are combined. Strain cashews and add to mixture, blend until creamy, and slowly add oil as they are blending (this EMULSIFIES the dressing--making it creamy throughout). Remove mixure to serving dish and stir in poppyseeds and freshly cracked pepper. 

The Scoop: Are GMOs Safe?

Recently a lot of controversy has surrounded the subject of GMOs. A line has been drawn, a battle is about to ensue but amidst the varying news sources, it's sometimes hard to know what to believe. So, we did some research.

It wasn't always easy deciphering the facts from the rest. We watched Dr. Oz, combed through countless YouTube videos, read articles and opinion blogs. One thing we found was that news sources that look at numbers--statistics on GMO use worldwide, the costs of labeling, economic costs and benefits to using GMOs and driving shareholder return are far better that the "news" sources that simply tell you how to think as a consumer. At this point, awareness and concern about GMOs is widespread enough that something has got to give, one article we found in the Huffington Post said it best:

"The food industry has a choice to make: stand with the chemical companies or stand with its consumers."

They also innumerated the reasons why we all should be weighing in on this issue:

  1. The novelty of these ingredients is so unprecedented that the Environmental Protection Agency now regulates genetically engineered corn as a pesticide. Before GMOs, insecticide was sprayed on corn and could be washed off. With the introduction of GMOs, corn is engineered to produce its own insecticide. Why label? If you had a choice between the two kinds of corn, one that is regulated as a food and the other regulated as a pesticide, which would you choose?

  2. The Food and Drug Administration says that these foods look, taste, and smell the same, that they are "substantially equivalent," but the United States Patent and Trademark Office says they are substantially different, with GMOs being so unique that the office has granted patents to the chemical companies that invented them. Not unlike Intel Inside, we now have GMO Inside.

  3. Chemical companies engineered food crops like soy and corn to withstand increasing doses of their chemicals. It's a brilliant business model if you're selling chemicals. And while shareholder reports note what a remarkable impact that has had on the top lines of weed killer and other chemical products, the President's Cancer Panel is telling all of us, especially those of us with kids, to reduce our exposure to these very same chemicals. Wouldn't you like to know which corn and which soy has been saturated?

  4. Twenty-five states have introduced GMO-labeling legislation, and more than 6 million residents voted for labels in California, the first state to introduce a labeling initiative last year.

  5. Sixty-four countries around the world label these ingredients. A partial list includes every country in the European Union, Japan, Australia, and even Russia, India, and China.

  6. More than 20 countries around the world flat out banned GMOs, didn't introduce them at all. The reasons vary, from no long-term human health studies and no synergistic toxicity studies (eating a pesticide sprayed with other weed killers, anyone?) to no prenatal studies and concerns over everything from cancer to allergies.

[Read full article HERE]

We also found an article in The Washington Post that studied the points GMO supporters and opponents actually agree upon. They found three items that even the food industry cannot refute. First, that "GMOs have contributed to the rise of herbicide-resistant weeds and pesticide-resistant insects." And while it is well known that resistance would happen regardless of GMOs, the ecological effects of this phenomena are yet to be seen, and certainly ominous. Second, they found that "Most of the benefits of GMOs accrue to biotech firms and farmers, leaving little to balance consumers’ assessment of risks." So just to be clear now--even the food industry agrees, this isn't about "feeding the world," it's about turning a profit, and is simply another case of economic shortsightedness in our society--the person making the profit has decided that the short-term rewards outweigh the long-term costs of their practices. Finally, they found that, "We need to evaluate GMOs on a case-by-case basis." The bottom line is, we don't know how GMOs are going to affect us physiologically, because they haven't been around that long. It is not unfathomable that some might be worse that others. 

[Read full article HERE]

All this being said--regardless of whether or not you personally are willing to consume food with GMOs--it is time that we start demanding our right to know what is in our food. From there, it is up to each of us as individuals to decide what we put in our bodies.

So what can we do to help?

The answer is simple: you vote with your dollars each time you shop at the grocery store--so make an informed decision. An easy way to do this is to look for products that clearly label that they do not use GMOs; food companies that have gotten onboard with the non-GMO movement are wisely marketing their products and boosting their sales by letting consumers know where they stand. Not sure if a product has GMOs in it? We went to the non-GMO Project's website and found this list where you can browse non-GMO products by brand. By buying only non-GMO products not only are you ensuring the health and safety of yourself and your family, but you are telling the companies that control the food in our country that they need to change their ways if they want to survive. It's so funny how powerless the average person feels about this issue, yet we alone have the power to change the profit margins that make it worthwhile for these companies to continue to not label and use GMOs. 

Before we go, we wanted to leave you with a brief look at some of the companies that are working hard to keep the FDA from requiring GMO labeling. It is unfortunate that the brands that we all grew up with have refused to ensure that their "new and improved" products are safe for consumption, but we must be aware that they should no longer be considered "household names." It is time to let these companies know that we do have the power to change this situation--by changing our minds about what we are willing to put in our bodies. 

 

 

Healthy Eating: Chipotle Hummus

Having a football party? Here's a spicy dip that will please the masses. It's super quick and doesn't require any cooking! Serve with fresh veggies.

Ingredients

2 cans of garbanzo beans

1 chipotle pepper (from the can) chopped **Spicy - with seeds; Mild - seeds removed

2 garlic cloves, chopped finely

2 Tbsp cumin

1 Tbsp tahini

2 tsp smoked paprika

2 Tbsp EVOO

Garnish: One chopped chipoltle pepper on top (spicy), or a dash of smoked paprika (mild) and a sprig of parsley

Directions

Combine all ingredients EXCEPT EVOO (extra virgin olive oil) in food processor and blend until all ingredients are smooth and texture and color are consistent throughout the dip (about 3 mins), as you are blending, gradually add the EVOO, this will ensure that it is evenly distributed.

Remove to serving dish, garnish, and serve.

Bon Appétit!  

Healthy Eating: Healthier Honey Baked Chicken

This healthier version of Honey Baked Chicken is hearty and filling, but healthier than the original recipe which calls for a whole stick of butter. Serve with steamed broccoli and brown rice for a meal the whole family will love.

  

Healthier Honey Baked Chicken

Recipe submitted by Jeanette Barrow

Prep: 15 minutes

Cook: 1.5 hours

Ingredients

One whole fryer chicken, cut up

1/4 cup coconut oil

1/3 cup honey

2 Tbsp yellow mustard

1.5 Tbsp yellow curry

1/2 Tbsp freshly cracked pepper

1 tsp salt

Directions

Preheat oven to 400°F. Arrange chicken skin-side-down in a 9X11" baking pan

In a microwave safe bowl or on stove top in saucepan heat coconut oil, honey and mustard. Heat until liquid and stir. Add in curry, pepper and salt. Drizzle all over top of chicken.

Cook chicken for 30 minutes at 400°F then remove. Reduce heat to 350°F, flip chicken so skin is facing up and put back in oven. Continue to cook at 350 for one more hour, basting with the juices from the bottom of the pan every twenty minutes (three times total). Once chicken is finished it should be golden brown on top, fragrant, and should have an internal temperature of 165°F.

Remove chicken from pan to serving platter reserving liquid from the bottom of the pan in a clear measuring cup. Using your baster, render the fat that settles at the top of the measuring cup and discard. Pour remaining juices into a gravy boat and use as a glaze for the chicken and a dressing for your brown rice.

Bon Appétit! 

Healthy Eating: Vegan Spiced Acorn Squash Soup

 

Fall is upon us! For our first "Healthy Eating" entry we have decided to share a recipe that uses acorn squash--a falltime favorite. With a touch of cinnamon and spice, this soup is sure to satisfy through the holiday season.

 

Vegan Acorn Squash Soup

Recipe submitted by Jeanette Barrow

Prep: 20 minutes

Cook: 2.5 hours

Ingredients

3 whole acorn squash, halved with seeds removed (a spoon is the best tool here)

4 shallots, diced

3 garlic cloves, diced

5 Tbsp extra virgin olive oil

1 Tbsp sea salt

1 Tbsp freshly cracked pepper

3 cups low-sodium vegetable stock

1/4 tsp cayenne

1/4 tsp smoked paprika

1/4 tsp cinnamon

1/8 tsp nutmeg

1/4 tsp white pepper

2 cups coconut milk (canned)

2 tbsp chopped fresh parsley (to garnish)

1/2 tsp cinnamon (to garnish) 

Directions

Preheat oven to 350ºF. Arrange squash halves cut-side up on an aluminum foil covered cookie sheet. Drizzle squash flesh with 2 Tbsp extra virgin olive oil (EVOO), then sprinkle them with salt and freshly ground pepper. Bake until tender, approximately one hour. Let cool and then remove flesh from skin with a spoon and set aside.

Heat 3 Tbsp EVOO in large soup pan or dutch oven on stovetop at medium-high heat. Add diced shallots and garlic and cook until soft and just beginning to carmelize, about 5-6 minutes. Deglaze pot with 1/4 cup vegetable stock. Reduce heat to low. Add remaining vegetable stock, cooked squash, cayenne, smoked paprika, 1/2 tsp cinnamon and nutmeg and bring to a simmer. Once simmering, add coconut milk. Cover and cook for 1 hour and remove from heat. Once slightly cooled, blend with a hand-blender or in counter-top blender and return to pot. Reheat, and serve in individual bowl and finish each with a sprinkle of fresh parsley and a dash of cinnamon.

Bon Appétit!