thyme

3 Reasons to Start Eating Chickpeas!

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I love foods that are versatile!!!  This is probably the main reason I love chickpeas!! Chickpeas can be used in salads, soups, curries, chilis or stews.  I highly recommend that you consider roasting chickpeas as a tasty and inexpensive protein source!

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 In addition to their versatility, chickpeas also offer 3 health benefits you do not want to miss.

  1. Reduce Cholesterol Levels: Research has shown that including 3/4 cup of chickpeas in your diet can help lower LDL (bad cholesterol) which in turn, lowers your risk of heart disease!  Research has also shown that individuals that consume chickpeas on a regular basis have better body fat regulation, lower LDL cholesterol levels, lower total cholesterol levels, and lower triglyceride levels.
  2. Control Hunger Cues: Due to their high fiber and high protein content, this powerful combination will stabilize your hunger cues.  My consuming 1/2 cup chickpeas in your daily intake you are more likely to eat an appropriate amount of calories for your body due to more accurate hunger/fullness cues.  The long-term benefit means your body will rest at a healthy body weight.
  3. Improved Digestive Support: Did you know that 2 cups of chickpeas will give you approximately 28 grams of fiber? That is 100% of the recommended daily value!  Consider chickpeas a staple on your grocery list if you want good colon health. 65-70% of the fiber found in chickpeas is insoluble fiber.  This means the fiber is not digested until it reaches the very end of your colon which promotes healthy bacteria growth and reduces your risk of colon cancer!

Today, I'm sharing the easy concept of roasting chickpeas so you can always have a tasty, nutrient dense, meatless protein option available for your main entrée or for a snack!

Roasted Chickpeas:

Ingredients:

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  • 2 - 15oz Cans of Low Sodium Chickpeas
  • 1 Tbsp Extra Virgin Olive Oil (EVOO)
  • Assorted Herbs and Spices of Your Choice (I like to use Dried Thyme, Oregano, Ground Cayenne Pepper, and Crushed Rosemary)
  • Garlic Salt
  • Ground Black Pepper
  • Cooking Spray

Directions:

Pre-Heat oven to 425 degrees.  Spray baking sheet with cooking spray and set aside.  Drain and rinse chickpeas.  Pat dry.  Once dry, toss chickpeas with EVOO, assorted spices and herbs of your choosing, garlic salt, and ground black pepper.  Toss chickpeas to make sure they are evenly coated with EVOO and herbs/spices.  Pour chickpeas onto baking sheet and spread out so that all chickpeas are in a single layer.  Roast at 425 degrees for 20-25 minutes (depending on your oven).  Stir chickpeas halfway through cooking process to cook evenly on all sides. Serve hot or cold.  This recipes makes 4-5 servings.

I like to serve roasted chickpeas on salads or over rice as a curry!  Roasted chickpeas are great to make hummus and delicious as a portable snack!!!  Be creative and enjoy this nutrient dense food!!!

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Roasted Okra .... Your New Favorite Food

Wash & Pat Dry Okra. Toss with Extra Virgin Olive Oil or Coconut Oil, Thyme, Garlic Powder, Sea Salt, and Freshly Ground Black Pepper.

Place on a Baking Sheet in a Single Layer

Roast for 15 minutes!

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ENJOY AS AN APPETIZER, SIDE DISH OR A NUTRIENT DENSE SUPERFOOD SUMMER SNACK!

Okra is high in antioxidants such as xanthin and lutein, Vit A & C & B, Calcium, Iron, and Fiber!

And the seeds are high in PROTEIN!

Vinaigrette 101

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Making vinaigrette is all about making it your own. I tend do keep my vinaigrette dressings at 2 parts oil, 1 part vinegar. You can use a wide variety of vinegars such as balsamic, red wine vinegar, white balsamic, or apple cider vinegar.

Instead of vinegar you can also use citrus juice as your acid such as lemon juice (think kale salad) or pink grapefruit juice which works nicely baby spinach salad.

Basic Vinaigrette 1 Tbsp Dijon 1/4 cup balsamic vinegar 1/4 teaspoon salt 1/4 teaspoon pepper 1/2 cup olive oil

Place Dijon into a jar or bowl and add vinegar, salt and pepper. Shake or mix vigorously. Add oil and continue to mix or shake. Taste and adjust as necessary.

Dressing will keep up to 1-week on your counter.

To add sweetness add sugar, honey, maple syrup or agave nectar.

To add creaminess add goat cheese, feta cheese, or Gorgonzola cheese.

Add fresh herbs to add zest and character. For example, add oregano and thyme for a Greek inspired vinaigrette.

Be creative! It's your salad!!

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Pictured Above: Warm Brussels Sprouts Salad tossed in Lemon Vinaigrette topped with Organic Walnuts, Roasted Sweet Potatoes, Sautéed Red Onion, Organic Sun-Dried Roma Tomatoes, Kalamata Olives, and Feta Cheese

Bring on the Brussels Sprouts!

As members of the cabbage family, it is easy to see by their cabbage-like appearance.  Typical Brussels sprouts range from 1 – 1 ½ inches in diameter.  Brussels sprouts are readily available year-round, but the peak season is from September to mid-February.

A firm sprout, with small bright-green head is indicative of a sweet taste.  When choosing sprouts, look at the size for taste, but also for cooking purposes.  It is important to choose sprouts of similar size so they will cook evenly.

To store the sprouts properly, remove any loose leaves and place the unwashed Brussels sprouts in a Ziploc bag and store in the refrigerator.  You can expect most sprouts to store for approximately 3-4 days before the flavor begins to turn unpleasant.

To cook sprouts properly, wash each Brussels sprout, pat dry, and trim the stems.  Brussels sprouts should not be cooked for more than about 10 minutes.  Their green color should remain intense.  A drab color is indicative of overcooked sprouts.

Why Eat Brussels Sprouts?

  • Brussels sprouts are full of phytonutrients, which may help protect against cancer.
  • Brussels sprouts may have a detoxing effect on our bodies due to their content of glucosinolates and sulfur.  Enzymes in our cells required for detox, can be activated by compounds made from glucosinolates.
  • Our natural detox system also requires sulfur to run efficiently, which Brussels sprouts have been shown to provide in abundance!
  • Brussels sprouts are powerful dietary source of vitamins and antioxidants, including vitamins A (in the form of beta carotene), C, and E. Vitamins A and C help fight against heart disease, cancer, and cataracts.
  • Anti-inflammatory response can result from the Vitamin K content in Brussels sprouts.  Vitamin K (also known as potassium), helps lower blood pressure and cholesterol.  Other important vitamins:
  • Folate- necessary for normal tissue growth and may protect against cancer, heart disease, and birth defects
  • Iron - necessary for maintaining red blood cell count

I tried a new recipe with hesitancy.  My favorite Brussels sprouts are at Ocean’s (www.oceanbirmingham.com) located in the Five Points area of Birmingham, AL.  The recipe I used was titled: Sautéed Brussels Sprouts with Bacon, which I found in the March 2011 edition of Cooking Light. Thank you to one of my awesome clients that brought me the magazine to session (you know who you are!!)

I started the recipe with cooking 4 pieces of Applegate Bacon (nitrite and nitrate free) in a deep dish skillet.

Once the bacon was cooked, I placed onion slices and dried thyme in the same skillet with the bacon drippings.  I allowed the onions to sauté long enough to turn soft and slightly transparent.

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Next, I chopped the Brussels sprouts in half and added to the onion mixture in the skillet, along with 3 cups of low-sodium chicken broth.

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The mixture did not take long to bring to a boil, but once boiling, I placed the lid on the skillet and allowed to cook for approximately 7 minutes.  The recipe was ready to serve!  I plated the Brussels sprouts and sprinkled the fresh cooked bacon to add flavor.

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Although the Brussels sprouts were not exactly like Ocean’s, they most certainly were close!!!  A super easy recipe helped add flavor and variety to my dinner plate.  I get tired of eating the same ol’ same ol’ green vegetables, so I’m pleased to share this simplistic recipe to help you add variety to your dinner plate as well!!  Hope you enjoy as much as my household did!!! I served the Brussels sprouts with boneless, center-cut pork chop topped with black cherry sauce (you can find recipe in an earlier blog!), baked sweet potato, and a slice of rosemary sourdough bread! The total amount of time spent on cooking was approximately 30 minutes!   

Bon Appetite!

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Sautéed Brussels Sprouts with Bacon

Other Time: 20 minutes Yield:  4 servings (serving size: about 1 cup)

3 slices center-cut bacon, finely chopped 1/4 teaspoon dried thyme 1 1/2 cups presliced onion 1/3 cup fat-free, lower-sodium chicken broth 1 pound Brussels sprouts, trimmed and halved

1. Heat a large skillet over medium-high heat. Add bacon; cook 7 minutes or until crisp. Remove bacon from pan with a slotted spoon; drain.

2. Add thyme and onion to pan; sauté 3 minutes. Add broth and Brussels sprouts; bring to a boil. Cover and simmer 6 minutes or until crisp-tender. Sprinkle with bacon.

(You can find the recipe in the March 2011 Edition of Cooking Light or on the web at www.cookinglight.com)