Seriously Craveworthy Carrots

IMG_8343I was shooting for a quick, healthy way to cook a bag of organic baby carrots … and, OH did I come up with one! Can’t wait to hear if your family loves this as much as I do!

Grab a bag of baby carrots … and cut each one in half lengthwise (so they stay long, but are just thinner). I hear you groaning, but this takes about 4 minutes and gives you way more surface area, which you’re going to want.

Meanwhile (while you’re chopping the carrots), heat a large cast iron skillet up on medium high to high heat – as high as it can take. When it’s hot, add 1 tbsp of coconut oil and let it melt.

When melted, add the sliced carrots (see, that was fast, right?) to the pan and push them around so they are as much in a single layer as possible. Now the important part – DO NOT MOVE them for at least 3-4 minutes, or until you see charred bits developing on some of the bottoms. Really important – it’s the charring that makes a difference. Once the bottoms develop a char, stir them around a bit, let them char some more, and repeat until you’re starting to worry if you’ve cooked these carrots too much (you haven’t). At that point, turn off the heat, sprinkle the carrots with sea salt to taste, and cover. Leave covered for about 3-5 minutes, or until the carrots are fork-tender.

From this point, your choices are:
– Eat them exactly as they are (yeah, I’ve eaten them straight out of the pan, too :-))
– Sprinkle with your favorite vinegar or squeeze of lemon for acidity (my favorite – I LOVE the vinegar – kind of like smoky Salt/Vinegar chips, only clean eating!)
– Toss them in a bit of curry powder, and lime if you like
– Toss in hot sauce and honey

Less food – more satisfaction!

If your meals leave you unsatisfied, it’s may not be insufficient food … it may be insufficient attention and time given to the overall process. Every aspect of the meal is part of the full cycle of satisfaction, and rushing through any of it can leave you dissatisfied and full of cravings for more. Maybe the secret to the slimming, healthy Mediterranean diet is less about the food itself, and more about the complete lack of rushing around the meal. Worth trying!

Satisfaction

Happy Healthy Birthday!

Healthy Birthday Cake

So, today is my birthday – one of the ones that end in “0” and cause you to pause to take stock of where you’ve been and where you’re going with the time you have left. This morning, I’m taking a few moments to give HUGE thanks to the body that has somehow been able to withstand all of the craziness I’ve thrown at it for so many years, and has provided a healthy, strong place to live through it all.

Of course, the LAST thing I want to do to celebrate this milestone is to violate myself with foods that will gunk up the works and negatively impact my health … so I’m making my own version of this “fruit cake!”

Totally wish you all could be here to share it with me – but here’s how to make your own!

Healthy Birthday Fruit Cake!

Ingredients
– One large seedless watermelon
– In-season fruits: melons, blueberries, strawberries, kiwi, pineapple, blackberries, dragonfruit, cherry, apple, bananas, pears, oranges, figs … anything!

Lay the watermelon on its side. Using a large, non-serrated, sharp butcher knife, cut both ends off to form parallel straight edges. Turn the watermelon so that it is sitting flat-sides up and down. Carefully slice within the rind to remove it, leaving a round form. If you’re anything like me, there is still quite a bit of cutting to do to make it even, but all of the trimmings are delicious!

Pro tip: place two plates (slightly smaller than the diameter of the watermelon) on either side of the cake – one on top and one on bottom, and use the plates as guides for your knife. Voila – perfect circle!

Arrange whatever fruit is fresh atop the cake and around the bottom. To make shapes, use a cookie cutter, and then use toothpicks to affix them to the cake (be sure to remove toothpicks from fruit before kids serve themselves).

Cover and refrigerate until ready to serve (serve same-day). For serving, it helps to have an additional bowl of fruit so that you can simply slice the watermelon and spoon the fruit from a bowl.

Homemade Tomato Jam Crostini – with Lemon Ricotta

My favorite season? Easy, tomato season. I wait for this all year … and when it hits, I’m the first to the Farmer’s market to buy beautiful slicing heirlooms, and then the last to the Farmer’s Market to buy up the scratched/dented/bruised tomatoes for sauces and jams, at a discount. Actually, I owe a shout out to the nice folks at Crystal Organic Farms who are nice enough to set aside their “seconds” for me each week now!

Last week, I decided to turn the bumper crop of beautiful Black Krims into a homemade tomato jam. I made a few different batches to play around with the ingredients and ratios, and this one produced the hands-down favorite!

Tomato Jam Crostini

Lemon Ricotta and Homemade Tomato Jam Crostini

Fresh bread – whole wheat baguette or sourdough are my favorites – thinly sliced on the bias for 4-6 large slices
Fresh whole-milk ricotta – about 1/2 lb
Fine zest of 1 organic lemon
Homemade tomato jam (see recipe, below)
tiny pinch of salt
Freshly ground black pepper
Fresh basil, washed and torn by hand

Zest the lemon into the ricotta, add pinch of salt, and stir. If you can, let sit for 30 minutes or so to let the ricotta come to room temp and to give the lemon a chance to flavor the cheese.

Turn on broiler to start warming. On the stove in a seasoned cast iron pan, grill the thin bread slices on both sides (sure, you can just use a toaster, but grilling is tastier and just as easy!)

Spread the ricotta onto the bread slices and put under the broiler for a few minutes to let it warm and slightly brown. Remove from oven and spread the homemade tomato jam over the ricotta. Top with fresh ground pepper and torn basil to taste, and serve.

Homemade Tomato Jam

About 6 pounds of Black Krim tomatoes, with the cores and seeds removed (NOTES: I do this by coring the tomatoes and then squeezing them – some of the seed are left and I’m OK with that. Also peel them if you’re a purist – I usually just pull the skins out while cooking, and am not bothered if a skin or two is left.)
1 cup cider vinegar
5 garlic cloves, peeled and pressed
4 tablespoons grated fresh turmeric (substitute ginger if you don’t have fresh turmeric)
1/4 cup raw sugar
Grated zest and juice of 1 lemon (be sure to use organic since you’re using the peel)
½ teaspoon ground coriander
1 teaspoon red pepper flakes
1 teaspoon Kosher salt

Put all ingredients into a large pot (do not use uncoated cast iron). Bring to a simmer over medium-high heat then reduce to medium-low and cook, stirring occasionally (more often as it reduces), until jammy. Depending on how well you squeezed the tomatoes, this can take 3-5 hours.

To can the jam: ladle the jam into 3 hot sterilized canning jars, leaving ½ inch of headroom. Seal with hot lids and process the jars for at least 10 minutes.

To store for <1 month (it doesn't last anywhere near that long in my house): store in a covered glass jar in the fridge. Other usage ideas for jam:

Serve over warmed brie, feta, or pretty much any other cheese
Serve over quick-sauteed spinach, swiss chard, or kale
Serve alongside pretty much any egg dish, like quiche or omelettes
Serve on toast in the morning – delicious!
Stir into pan-sauteed fresh corn
Eat straight out of the jar (seriously)

On food as ART … and eating as ART

Eating as art

I’m recently home from a vacation trip to Italy and have SO much to share about the food (recipes coming as soon as I recover from jet lag and a backlog of work!).

But the most meaningful thing I can share isn’t a recipe for a meal, but the overall Italian approach to eating/ food as art. In two weeks of meals, I never got one plate that wasn’t photo-worthy. The foods were all beautiful, vibrant, simple, whole foods presented beautifully. There were no distracting sauces or over-salting … rather, each food was an invitation to enjoy one clean flavor at at time. The crunch of fresh lettuce. The bite of basil. A sweet, ripe tomato. Soft eggplant, a spoonful of creamy ricotta.

With this sort of attention coming from the kitchen, I found that my attention to the food – and my enjoyment of it – were naturally heightened as well. And as a result, I was MORE than satisfied with a bit less food than usual.

Which left room for a bite of tiramisu :-) (recipe coming soon, I promise!).

The Farmer’s Market Organic Tomato, vs. the Grocery Tomato

Also, one traveled 1000+ miles to reach me, the other traveled 20 miles.

Hold onto this to send to people when they complain that organic is “too expensive.” This organic tomato looks like a bargain when you look at it this way, doesn’t it?

I know which one I want in my body, and which world I want to support with my purchase.
tomato regular vs farmer

We’re giving away two cookbooks – The Plantpower Way, by Rich Roll and Julie Piatt!

The Plantpower Way, by Rich Roll and Julie PiattRich Roll and Julie Piatt – endurance athletes, food influencers, lifestyle gurus, expert podcasters, and all-around amazing people – are releasing their incredible cookbook, The Plantpower Way, on April 28, and they were kind enough to partner with Eat Yourself Well to give away two copies!

To enter, simply comment below or on our Eat Yourself Well Facebook page. We’ll draw two names randomly on April 28 and announce the names on Facebook and via the blog (be sure to Subscribe here so you don’t miss the announcement)!

Also – don’t miss the Pre-order bonuses that Rich and Julie are offering – extra recipes, and more!

REAL Fruit Doesn’t Come “by the Foot.”

Real fruit rots, bruises, has odors and attracts flies. It also is full of healthy vitamins, minerals, living enzymes, fiber, and all sorts of things we don’t even understand yet! To hold onto its sweet goodness, you can freeze it, cook it, dehydrate it, ferment it into delicious kombuchas, or more … but for goodness sake (literally), don’t buy it in packages laced with chemicals, added sugars and fats, and natural/artificial flavors and colors! That’s not fruit, it’s frankenfruit, and your body deserves better.

Real Fruit

Your Choice: Eat Yourself Well

The great thing about this is that we can make this choice whenever we want – we don’t have to wait for a new year, a new week, or a new season to make choices that will bring on a “new you!”

And the most awesome choice of all is to free yourself from the tyranny of having to make and re-make this decision again and again … to decide, once and for all, that the only foods for you are the ones that promote wellness and vitality – that the rest is not worthy of the word “food” in your world. Eat Yourself Well!

P.S. If you haven’t subscribed to the blog yet, please do so (to the right, or below the pic), for regular inspiration, recipes, and more goodness to help you Eat Yourself Well!

Your Life, Your Call

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