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Tuesday
Aug172010

Milk the Moment

That's the theme of this year's 75-city Milk Mustache Mobile Tour, rolling into Boston next week with celebrity chef and family man, Tyler Florence. He'll be around to demo some kid-approved recipes and to promote the importance of eating healthy dinners together. There will be interactive displays, a local registered dietitian available for nutrition questions, and free milk from Garelick Farms, HP Hood, and Nestle. Studies show that when kids eat dinner with their families they’re more likely to have nutritious diets, healthier weights, and do better in school. They also tend to have higher fruit, vegetable, and calcium intakes. “Family dinnertime provides a host of emotional and health benefits,” says Jenny Bourbeau from the New England Dairy and Food Council. Milk can pump up the nutrient content of any meal as it is a major source of calcium, vitamins B and D, and protein.   

Catch the got milk? crew at Faneuil Hall Marketplace on Monday, August 23 from 10 am to 7 pm. Tyler Florence will be cooking from noon to 1 pm. The Tour will also appear at Zoo New England/Franklin Park Zoo on Tuesday, August 24 from 11 am to 1 pm.

Here's a special giveaway for FitMamaEats readers: A copy of Tyler Florence’s latest cookbook Dinner at My Place and a got milk? t-shirt and picture frame. Tyler's cookbook offers pared-down everyday comfort food recipes. Examples of the family-focused chapters include "Pregnancy Pasta" and "Workin' Late." He even includes recipes for freshly prepared baby foods. Just click on "Contact Me" and send me your name and email address by August 24 to be entered in a random drawing—I'll shoot you a note if you're the winner! Apple

Tuesday
Aug102010

Just Peachy Couscous Salad

If you love couscous, what's better than eating those delicate little grains of pasta? Eating bigger grains of couscous! Otherwise known as pearl couscous or Israeli couscous, it's chewier and heartier than regular couscous and makes the perfect base for adding vegetables or meat. My super intern Christina Regon, not to be confused with my other wonderful contributor Christina Nelson, created this recipe using fresh summer produce including juicy sweet peaches now available everywhere. Christina R. is studying to be a dietitian and is a foodie and former restaurant co-owner. This dish would perfectly complement barbequed chicken or fish or taste delicious solo as a light lunch. When I recreated the recipe, I was able to find all of the produce and herbs at one farm stand. Feel free to use whatever ripe produce you like as just about anything works. I made a few minor changes such as using regular Israeli couscous because I couldn't find whole wheat. I also substituted sliced almonds for the pine nuts, which have a hefty price tag. Even at Trader Joe's, which has the cheapest high-quality nuts around, they cost $7.99 for 8 ounces. No big loss, the almonds worked beautifully. I also cut the oil to about 3 tablespoons. This recipe is easy and kept my 3-year-old son Jake, who has now graduated to Master Stirrer, quite busy!

 

Couscous Salad

Ingredients

(Makes about 4-6 servings)

1/4 cup olive oil

2 cups whole wheat giant pearl couscous (Israeli couscous)

Vegetable or low-sodium chicken stock (enough to cover toasted couscous for simmering)

2 T lemon juice

1 T balsamic, sherry or rice vinegar

1-2 cups cherry tomatoes, cut into halves

1-1 1/2 cups peaches, cut into wedges

1/2 cup green onions, chopped

1/2 cup bell peppers or radishes, sliced

1/4 cup toasted pine nuts

10-12 basil leaves, cut in pieces

Salt and pepper to taste

Directions

  1. Heat 2 tablespoons of olive oil in a skillet over medium-high heat. Add couscous and toast, stirring, until couscous is golden brown (about 2 minutes). Add stock and bring to a boil. Reduce heat, cover with lid, and simmer until liquid is absorbed and couscous is tender but firm and chewy (4-6 minutes). You may need to add more broth or water if the couscous is drying out before it’s tender.
  2. Remove from heat and transfer couscous to a large bowl, fluffing with a fork. Stir in remaining olive oil, lemon juice, vinegar, salt and pepper. Set aside to cool. 
  3. Once couscous has cooled, transfer mixture to large bowl and add remaining ingredients.

Tuesday
Aug032010

A Totally Different Tortilla

Cheers to a local company Food Should Taste Good headquartered in Needham that has come out with an innovative line of tortilla chips. Innovative because they offer 10 unusual flavors packed with really unusual ingredients, at least for a tortilla chip. They sent me a sampling of their chips to taste-test, which is great because I don't think I'd willingly buy a chocolate tortilla chip. How about a chip baked with quinoa? The packaging says "it's a cracker, too!" giving it more flexibility with how it's eaten than just straight out of the bag or with salsa. These are the kind of high quality (and higher priced) chips that you'd serve to very special guests, maybe even on dinnerware. Each variety stays remarkably true to its advertised flavor. My favorite, the sweet potato chip, tastes exactly like, well, a sweet potato...and much better than the soggy sweet potato fries you get in restaurants. With just six ingredients (stone ground corn, sunflower oil, sweet potato, corn bran, cane juice, sea salt), these chips contain 3 grams of fiber and 20% of the RDA for vitamin A. They also qualify as "low sodium" with less than 80 mg per serving though they certainly don't taste it. The olive chip is made with no less than three kinds of olives including black, green, and kalamata, contributing to its distinctive salty-sour tang. The chocolate variety made with dark cocoa somehow works with the sea salt. Some of them are even more complex like the blue corn chip with three types of seeds (flax, sunflower, sesame), oat flour, and quinoa, but the flavors always blend together perfectly. Because of the all-natural ingredients like whole grains, bran, polyunsaturated oils, and sea salt, I'd quality them as a wholesome snack. Unfortunately they have almost the same amount of calories and fat as a regular potato chip, and it's far too easy to chomp through the relatively small 6 oz. bag. Costing about $3.29 a package, these could become an expensive addiction!

My best advice is to crush them and sprinkle on foods as a condiment. Try the delish flavor/texture combinations below of chocolate tortillas sprinkled on frozen yogurt or the olive or multigrain varieties sprinkled on salads. You'll enjoy all the flavor while controlling calories and making them last longer!