Random Update: My Salad is Growing

Occasionally weird things happen to me.

If you read my post about the foreign greenery found in my package of organic lettuce, you'll be pleased to learn it's growing!

Check out that height and there are even roots. I have no idea what it is, but I got a free plant with my romaine lettuce. Nice!

Mystery plant. Photo by Angela Tague

Blueberry Flax Seed Pancakes

How are you eating healthy today? I'm serving up a plate of blueberry-flax seed pancakes for breakfast.

No, there's no recipe. I simply tossed a handful of blueberries and a few tablespoons of milled flax seed into my gluten-free pancake batter. I like the extra nutrition and the flavor!

On our honeymoon we indulged in wild rice and blueberry pancakes several mornings. It's a popular breakfast treat in Northern Minnesota. Since I don't have wild rice on hand, I used flax seed for the nutty flavor and texture.

What do you like to add to your pancakes to make them healthier?

Until Next Time,
Choose Healthy!

Angela Tague

Beyond Tofu: 6 Vegetarian Sources of Protein

Almonds. Photo Credit: SXC.HU
I talk about food and nutrition with my friends and family quite often. The most popular question I'm asked is "How in the heck do you get enough protein in your diet since you're vegetarian?"

Well, since I don't eat meat or seafood, I look to natural plant-based sources of protein. I also consume dairy products since I'm not a vegan.

Why is it important?
Protein is essential for skin, bone, muscle and organ health according to the Mayo Clinic, so I try to make sure I get enough in my diet each day.

The Centers for Disease Control (CDC) recommends women ages 19-70 consume 46 grams of protein each day. (For other age groups, click HERE and scroll down.)

6 Vegetarian Sources of Protein
  1. Greek yogurt: I enjoy eating Chobani Greek Yogurt for breakfast or as a snack. One 6 ounce single-serve container contains 13-18 grams of protein. (Source: Chobani)
  2. Nuts: One of my favorite go-to snacks is lightly salted almonds. I also use them to make flourless brownies and thicken smoothies. One-fourth cup of almonds contains 7.62 grams of protein--that's more than an egg, according to The World's Healthiest Foods.  (Source: The World's Healthiest Foods)
  3. Beans: 1 cup of dry beans (uncooked) contains approximately 16 grams of protein. Use them to make bean burritos, bean soup or baked beans. (Source: CDC)
  4. Lentils: I use lentils to make everything from faux burgers and meatloaf to soup and cold salads. These little powerhouses pack almost 18 grams of protein in each cup of cooked lentils. (Source: The World's Healthiest Foods)
  5. Rice: Whole grain brown rice isn't only rich in fiber and minerals, it's also a great source of protein. Each cup of uncooked rice contains 5 grams of protein. Mix the rice with beans and seasoning for a protein-packed entree. (Source: The World's Healthiest Foods)
  6. Seeds: I also enjoy snacking on sunflower seeds. Try sprinkling them on a salad or blended into a rich butter to spread on sandwiches. Just 1/4 cup of sunflower seeds adds 7.27 grams of protein to your diet. (Source: The World's Healthiest Foods)
How do you add non-meat protein to your diet?

Until Next Time,
Choose Healthy!

Angela Tague
Whole Foods Living


Weird Things in My Organic Greens

Photo by Angela Tague
I try to buy organic produce as much as possible. Even through it often costs more, and requires a little extra washing, the lack of pesticides and herbicides are important to me.

But, sometimes my organic produce comes with a few strange accompaniments.

This week's package of mixed red and green romaine lettuce included a clover-like green. It looks nice in a tiny vase. I'm not sure if it's edible or a stray weed that was harvested by accident.

Tonight I found another mystery addition to the greens. It looked like a chunk of mushroom. But then I remembered I didn't add mushrooms to my salad. After a quick rinse under water, it appears to be a small piece of cooked beef. GROSS!

I even washed the greens carefully and let them drip dry for a few minutes. Apparently I need to wash each leaf individually from now on!

The hubby thinks the meat was a straggler in my cup of leftover salad dressing from a restaurant. I think I would have noticed a chunk in my creamy dressing, but maybe not. Still, that hunk of whatever didn't belong in my vegetarian salad!

Have you ever found something that didn't belong in your food? I'm thankful I haven't come across the cliche tarantula on a bunch of bananas or a thumb in a can of green beans. Whew!

Until Next Time,
Choose Healthy!

Angela Tague
Whole Foods Living


Blogging from A to Z Challenge: Are You Participating?

Last week the gurus at the Blogging from A to Z Challenge opened the flood gates. Yep, it's time to sign up for the annual April blog challenge. If you've never participated, here's why you should:
  • You get to explore new blogs.
  • You gain new readers and followers.
  • You're challenged to post to your blog each day for a month.
  • It's a great way to reboot your creative juices.

Here's a recap of my posts from the 2012 challenge.

I'm not sure what direction or theme I will follow this year. I've been tossing round the idea of raiding the produce department and trying a new whole food each day. Or maybe highlighting a favorite recipe each day. The key is to blog from A to Z, highlighting one letter of the alphabet each day, excluding Sundays.

Want to know more? Visit the official Blogging from A to Z Challenge website HERE.

Until Next Time,
Choose Healthy!

Angela Tague
Whole Foods Living


Review: The Complete Gluten-Free Whole Grains Cookbook by Judith Finlayson

Going gluten-free isn't an easy dietary transition. Although I've been without wheat, barley and rye for a little over a year, I still have a lot to learn.

When I was approached to review The Complete Gluten-Free Whole Grains Cookbook by Judith Finlayson on Whole Foods Living, I agreed and added the cookbook to my bedside stand. Yes, really. I'm not into regurgitating press releases.

(Disclaimer: Yes, the cookbook was provided free of charge for review purposes. But, all opinions expressed on Whole Foods Living come from me, Angela Tague.)

Since going gluten-free, I've struggled with two areas: how to explain sources of gluten to family and how to bake without wheat-based flour. The Complete Gluten-Free Whole Grains Cookbook by Judith Finlayson has nailed these two concerns.

The cookbook starts with 33 pages of background information on gluten and uncommon whole grains such a job's tears and amaranth. In addition to a glossary titled "Just the Grains" which showcases several types of gluten-free grains, there are sections called "What is Gluten and Why Does it Matter?" and "A Whole Grains Primer". Anyone who is new to a gluten-free lifestyle, or who needs a few talking points to educate others, must read this cookbook.

Finally, the recipes!

Like all great cookbooks, this one offers variety. There's 125 recipes broken into the following chapters:
  1. Bread and Breakfasts
  2. Appetizers
  3. Soups
  4. Salads
  5. Poultry
  6. Fish and Seafood
  7. Meat
  8. Meatless Mains
  9. Side, Sundried and Basics
  10. Desserts
As a bonus, there's an appendix listing diabetic food values (carbs, fats, food groups) for each recipe.

The other night I turned to the Desserts section and had to test one of the recipes. Since I struggle with baking gluten-free, I wanted to try a dessert. I decided to make the Oatmeal Shortbread Squares on page 198. This simple recipe wasn't covered in chocolate, fruit or any other disguise to "make it taste better."

The recipe was quick to assemble in my food processor and came together just as promised in the recipe. Since I used a slightly smaller baking pan than recommended, I had to bake the cookies longer, but also enjoyed thicker treats.

The Oatmeal Shortbread Squares were fabulous: tender, flaky and sweet. In addition to eating them plain, I served them topped with fresh strawberries and vanilla ice cream for dessert. The gluten-eating hubby even went back for seconds. We were both impressed and have already marked this page in the cookbook as "Great! Tender and buttery. Let cool or they crumble."

Yes, I write in my cookbooks. And yes, I ignored the instructions to let the dessert cool or they will crumble. I have an addiction to warm cookies. The leftovers were perfectly formed squares--as promised by the author.

Now I'm anxious to try more recipes in the The Complete Gluten-Free Whole Grains Cookbook by Judith Finlayson. My short list includes:
  • Cranberry Orange Pecan Muffins, page 36
  • Vegetable Tempura, page 63
  • Asian Style Quinoa Salad with Chili-Orange Dressing, page 84
  • Gluten-Free Pizza Crust, page 184
  • Rhubarb-Strawberry Cobbler, page 204
Each recipe includes a helpful "Nutrient per Serving" information box, cooking tips and variations on the original recipe. Most recipes are paired with a colorful photo sure to make you drool.

OK, time to finish off those Oatmeal Shortbread Squares with a cup of tea.

Until Next Time,
Choose Healthy!

Angela Tague
Whole Foods Living

PS: Here are more titles from this author:


Why do you eat?

Photo: SXC
OK, I haven't fallen off the apple cart. Of course you eat to survive. Food is life. But, beyond that, why do you eat?

Hunger? Temptation? Stress? Nourishment?

I'm always curious to learn how people decide what to put in their grocery cart or on their dinner plate. Personally, I'm always looking at the nutrients in food. As a vegetarian I try to make sure I get enough protein each day.

But, sometimes the appearance of a certain food makes me want to gobble it down too. (Cookies, I'm looking at you!)

Do you pay attention to the basic food groups each day? For example, if you haven't' had any fruit by mid-afternoon, do you try to get a few servings in as a snack or with dinner? I know I'm probably in the minority, but I do consciously think about what I'm eating at each meal.

So, think about what you've eaten today. 

Why did you put it in your mouth? Did it look good? Was it what was available? Did it satisfy a craving? Is it what the doctor said you should eat? I'm curious! Tell me about your food choice habits in the comments below.

Until Next Time,
Choose Healthy!

Angela Tague
Whole Foods Living


Horse Meat in Burger King Burgers?

A Burger King Whopper (Photo: Wikimedia Commons)
Ok, if you've thought about giving up processed foods, here's another reason for your "Do it!" list.

This week Burger King admits horse meat was found in its ground beef blend at some restaurants in Ireland and Britain, according to National Public Radio's The Salt.

For those of you that feel it's fine to eat horse meat, I'm not arguing with you. Bon appetite.

What you put on your plate is your choice.

My concern is people think they are getting a burger made with beef--not horse. I'm upset about the false advertising and deception. I'd feel the same if I found out my vegetarian friendly soy burgers were prepared with pork fat. Or, my gluten-free soup was prepared with wheat-based emulsifiers.

This horse meat fiasco with Burger King makes you wonder what else is mixed into processed foods, doesn't it?

Stick to whole foods. Know what you're eating.

Until Next Time,
Choose Healthy!

Angela Tague
Whole Foods Living