Terre Pruitt's Blog

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Posts Tagged ‘spinach’

Leftover Rainbow Chard To The Rescue

Posted by terrepruitt on October 25, 2014

You might know from reading my posts that 1) I teach Nia in the morning and yoga in the evening on Thursdays  2)  On Thursdays I like to have dinner at the point of readiness at which it will only take a 20 minutes tops for me to have dinner on the table  3)  I cook a lot of ground turkey and use the same flavors/spices.  So, I was so excited that on Sunday I thought ahead to what I would cook on Thursday.  I found a recipe in my “Recipes I really want to try” folder.  Artichoke hearts are not something I think of using because I didn’t always like them.  The recipe I decided to try had them in it.  I was very focused on the artichoke hearts.  My plan kind of consisted of the fact that by the time I went shopping on Thursday we would need A LOT of things.  The weekend before we had been out of town so I let the fridge get rather empty.  So this trip I was going to be grabbing some staples.  I had added a few things to my list as I thought of them.  I was focused on the artichoke hearts, that DIFFERENT flavor.  The recipe I chose was a chicken recipe and when I glanced at it when scribbling out my list I thought the chicken was shredded.  My idea was to check the recipe again before I shopped on Thursday to see if it was or not.  If it was I could have used chicken I had, if not, I needed to buy some.  I got busy and didn’t check the recipe again and I just decided I could buy the chicken and use it if I needed it or save it if I didn’t.  Something came up Thursday morning after my Nia class so I arrived home after shopping later than I planned.  After putting away the groceries and having some food, I looked at the recipe – the SPINACH and Artichoke Chicken recipe.  I hadn’t bought spinach.  I hadn’t even put it on the list.  (EYE ROLL!)

Dance Exercise, Nia, Nia at the City of San Jose, Nia classes in the South Bay, Nia Teacher, Nia Class, San Jose Nia, Nia San Jose, Nia workout, Nia, Zumba, PiYo, Gentle Yoga, Group Ex City of San Jose, San Jose Group Ex classes, YMCASo click here for the recipe I was going to make.  The recipe I ended up making is below.  Just some slight adjustments. (Be sure to visit Dinner of Herbs for more yummy recipes!)

When I was putting away the groceries I noticed I had a container of “fresh” baby spinach that needed to be used.  There was about a handful of nice looking leaves.  I had also noticed we had our leftover Rainbow Chard.  I had cooked the Rainbow Chard as I usually do with onions and garlic and salt in some olive oil.  I had even added a bit of Worcestershire sauce to help over power the “green” taste.  So the chard was tasty.  I was just concerned that it would get too cooked after baking for 25 minutes.  But . . . I didn’t have the time nor the desire to go out to get spinach.  I needed to use up the chard anyway so . . . why not?

Also, the store I was at did not have the usual brand of chicken breast so I bought some that I have never seen.  They were quite large.

So below is what I ended up making.  I thought to take a few pictures while I was making it, but after I got home from class and was in get-it-on-the-table mode I forgot to take pictures of it cooked.  It was good.  I will be making it again . . . . next time with spinach and then who knows.  It seems any green you would cook would work.

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Chicken With Spinach, Rainbow Chard, and Artichoke Hearts

4 boneless, skinless chicken breasts, butterflied
garlic salt
handful of baby spinach, chopped
1.5 cups of cooked Rainbow Chard
2 6.5 oz jars of artichoke hearts, drained (save a little for the pan)*, and chopped
1/8 C sliced almonds**
2 oz Neufchâtel cheese
2-3 tbsp Parmesan cheese
Garlic powder
Onion powder

Preheat oven to 375° F.  Sprinkle garlic salt on both sides of each chicken breast.  In a large bowl mix the spinach, chard, artichoke hearts, almonds, Parmesan cheese, and powders.  Use two utensils to cut the Neufchatel cheese into the mixture.  Put the chicken in a 9X13 glass casserole dish.  Spoon the filling onto one side of each of the butterflied chicken breasts, then fold over.  Spoon any remaining filling onto each folded chicken breast, if you have enough put it all around.  Bake for at least 20 minutes . . . until chicken is cooked to your liking.

*I poured a little bit of the artichoke marinade on the chicken.
**Next time I am going to add more AND sprinkle some on top!

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Dance Exercise, Nia, Nia at the City of San Jose, Nia classes in the South Bay, Nia Teacher, Nia Class, San Jose Nia, Nia San Jose, Nia workout, Nia, Zumba, PiYo, Gentle Yoga, Group Ex City of San Jose, San Jose Group Ex classes, YMCAThe chicken breast I used were so huge, I actually had to cook them for 40 minutes.  PLUS, I left them in the oven with it turned off for an additional 10 minutes while I prepared our plates with the rice I served.  I don’t think that the chicken I normally buy would require 40 minutes.

Neufchâtel is like cream cheese in that it has the same consistency, so it just didn’t stir into the other ingredients.  I had to “cut it in” with two utensils.  Basically you want to make sure there are no clumps of cheese.

The store I was at had only ONE brand of Neufchâtel cheese and I don’t know how authentic it is because it tastes just like cream cheese to me.  Perhaps on my next go at this recipe I will find a brand that I feel is more authentic.  I will do some research.

Sounds yummy, huh?  Don’t you think any green that you would cook would work?  If you make it with another green (kale, collard greens, etc) let me know.  Go wild!

 

 

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The Greens Go Round And Round

Posted by terrepruitt on October 23, 2012

I love the grocery store that is near the facility in San Jose where I teach Nia on Tuesdays.  Right after Nia class I can easily stop by because it is literally on the way home.  It seems so new because it is fresh and clean!  They have a very large produce department.  Today I purchased some dandelions greens.  Yeah, I bought a weed.  You might know that I have mentioned that different plants fall into different botanical families and how we might think of it as a vegetable but it is really a fruit according to the world of botany.  I have shared how I cannot keep track of that.  Well, I am going to have to start at least when it comes to greens.  Apparently when you eat a lot of greens over an extended period of time you risk eat high level of toxin.  It is important to rotate the family of greens.

The science behind it is that plants, what we call greens have a survival mechanism where they contain small levels of toxins.  These toxins are contained in the plant in order to keep the entire crop from being depleted.  The toxins build up in the body and cause reactions.  So that keeps them from being eating in large quantities.  The toxins are specific to a family of greens.  Here are some families and the vegetables/greens that belong to them:

Plant Family:  Brassicaceae/Cruciferae (cruciferous vegetables) – kale, collards, arugula, cabbage, bok choy, radish greens, mustard greens, broccoli, Brussels sprouts, Chinese cabbage, cauliflower, turnip root greens, rutabaga, daikon

Plant Family:  Amaranthaceae/ Chenopodiacea Family (beet family) – beet greens, beet root, spinach, chard, beets

Plant Family:  Asteraceae – Romaine lettuce, dandelion greens, leaf lettuce, escarole

Plant Family:  Apiaceae (carrot family) – carrots, parsley, cilantro, anise, celery, chervil, cumin, dill, fennel, parsnip,

Plant Family:  Poaceae – wheatgrass

I’ve been mixing a bitter green, such as kale, with a mild green, such as baby bok choy or spinach.  Now according to the families it’s ok to mix the kale with the baby bok choy, but if I want to rotate my greens by doing it between the different families then I shouldn’t mix kale and spinach.  For me I think rotating between different families and keeping them separate will be easier than try to track two families then switch to another, but we will see.  I love spinach and baby bok choy so I think it would be better for me to keep them separate so that I can have one or the other more often.

I have yet to try lettuce in a smoothie.  As I mentioned, I just bought my dandelion greens and I have not used them because I have a large amount of spinach I want to try to make a dent in first.  I did read they are bitter so, maybe this will be an opportunity for me to try lettuce in a smoothie.  I feel that mixing a bitter green with a mild green cuts the bitter so that is what I have been doing.  The information I have seen said that spinach is mild and that is what people start with so I was using that as my “mixer”.  But now I will try to use something from the same family in order to keep with my plan of rotating between families.

I don’t know that I am really so concerned about these toxins building up to unsafe levels because I think I do a good job of switching, but this type of information gives me an extra push to really work to get the variety of greens in my smoothies.  I mean aside from wanting to have more greens I do think of my smoothies as a way to get nutrients from greens that I would not normally eat.  As an example, I eat spinach all the time so it is good to for me to “have” to branch out with some of these other greens.  A good variety of fruits and vegetables is how we get the most nutrients out of our food.

Also, having this information is good because if you do start feeling ill/off you could look to this information to see if you are consuming too much of one thing and it may be the cause.

Do you rotate your greens?  How do you do it?

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Variation of the Baby Bok Choy Soup

Posted by terrepruitt on January 28, 2012

Dance Exercise, Nia teacher, Nia Student, Nia Class, San Jose Nia, Nia San Jose, Cardio Dance, Nia workoutI spent a large portion of the day practicing Alive, it is the Nia routine I am starting to teach.  I debuted it Friday, but I need to practice and practice.  In Nia we say, “tight but loose”. So I need to know the music and choreography to perfection which allows me to dance with it and play to it is loose and flowing and fun to my Nia students.  So practice and play is the key.  I was so busy having fun with it I didn’t have a lot of time to come up with a blog post.  Because I also spent some time in the kitchen making a different version of my Baby Bok Choy and Spinach Soup recipe.  The people I made it for convinced me that it was good enough that I could use my adaptation of my Baby bok choy and spinach soup recipe as a post.  So here goes.

Parsnips, Broccoli, Baby bok choy, and Spinach Soup

–olive oil
–1 medium sized onion chopped (save some for garnish)
–2 parsnips (chopped)
–1 bunch of broccoli (chopped)
–4 bundles of baby bok choy  (bottom portion separate from leafy portion, chop both and leave separate, they are added to the soup at different times)
–2 or 3 tsp of minced garlic
–1.5 tsp granulated garlic
–1.5 tsp garlic salt
–48 oz of chicken broth
–a half of bottle or can of beer
–shake or two of teriyaki
–small piece (3/4 of an inch) of ginger, chopped
–3/4 of a 6-oz bag of spinach
–1.5 (ish) wooden spoonful of cream cheese spread whipped with chives

Sautee chopped onion in the olive oil.  When the onions look tender add in the chopped parsnip, add granulated garlic and garlic salt.  Cook parsnip until it seems a bit tender, then add the bottom portion of the bok choy and broccoli. Let it cook a minute, then add the minced garlic.  Sautee until tender.  Then pour in the broth.  Add about a half can or bottle of beer and the few splashes of teriyaki.  Stir it as you feel necessary throughout the entire process.  Bring to boil. Add the cream cheese if you are going to use it.  Add the ginger.  Add leafy portion of the bok choy and bag of spinach.  Let cook for a few minutes or until the veggies are wilted.  Once the veggies looked wilted use the blender to mix it all up.  (I use the immersion blender so I can keep it all in the same pot.  Please remember to be cautious of the steam.)

The parsnips give this a little difference flavor and the broccoli leaves little green specks in the soup no matter how much you blend it.  Actually when you look at it, it looks the same as all the other soup I make.  But it tastes different.

I was trying to make something easy to eat for someone with a sore throat.  This soup is kind of thick yet easy to swallow and it packs a punch with all the vegetables it contains.  Thank you so much for taking the time to read this and let me to continue to share my soup experiments and at the same time put spending time with friends and family at the forefront of life!

Enjoy!

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Chinese Dumpling Soup – Super Easy Soup

Posted by terrepruitt on November 12, 2011

I have been slowly learning a new Nia routine.  I worked on it this morning then right before dinner I decided to do a few of the katas that I are challenging me.  I knew that dinner would be easy because it is FINALLY soup weather in San Jose, California and I made Chinese Dumpling Soup last night and I was just going to add a little more broth.  Well, I ended up adding a little more than that.  After I first had this soup, which I first mentioned in my Ginger post, I wanted it again.  I made it once and I wanted to post about it then because it is so good.  But normally I only like to post recipes when I made adjustments so it can be more like my own and not like I am just copying someone else’s recipe, but I really haven’t made any adjustments to this soup.  It is so good.  This time I did add some mushrooms.  Ya know, have you ever had that soup at a Chinese food restaurant with paper-thin mushrooms in it?  That is what I was thinking of so I sliced some mushrooms and put them in the original cooking and them more tonight when I added more broth and more spinach.  This soup has so many flavors going on it is really a wonderful thing.  I am going to make it and eat it without the dumplings (pot stickers).  My hubby doesn’t want me to omit the pot stickers, but it is such good soup he will forgive me.  I know he will.

Chinese Dumpling Soup

Ingredients
8 cups water
8 teaspoons Better Than Bouillon low sodium chicken bouillon
2 inch piece fresh ginger, peeled and chopped
1 tablespoon soy sauce
1/4 cup rice vinegar (although you can use sherry, which I am sure I will have to do one day)
1 tablespoon balsamic vinegar
2 teaspoons sesame oil
1 teaspoon sugar
sprinkle of salt
about 1 cup Julienne baby carrots
24 frozen Chinese dumplings
3 scallions (white and green parts), thinly sliced
4 cups bag baby spinach

Directions

Heat the eight cups water, stir in the 8 teaspoons of bouillon.  Add the ginger, soy, wine, vinegar, sesame oil, and sugar.  Bring to a boil. Lower the heat and let simmer for about 10 minutes.

Add the dumplings and cook for about 5 minutes.  You might want to adjust the heat up a bit since the frozen dumplings will bring the temperature of the liquid way down.

Add the carrots (I like them crunchy).  Turn the heat down a bit and cook for about two minutes.

Then add the spinach, sprinkle the salt in, and add the scallions.  Let the spinach wilt, about a minute.

Get your taste buds ready for some super yumminess and serve.

dance exercise, Nia teacher, Easy Soup, Nia San Jose, Nia workout, Nia classes, Nia classes in the Bay AreaWell, now that I have typed it up, the directions on the site are a bit different than mine, I am sharing with you the way I do it.  But basically it is from the Food Network Cookbook and website.  I don’t like my carrots really cooked so I add them after the dumplings where the site and the book say to add them before and cook them longer.  The site also suggest cooking the soup without the pot stickers and just have them on the side.  That is what I am going to do.  If my hubby wants them in the soup he can put them in there.  The way I cook them added them to the soup would add ANOTHER layer of flavor and probably make it better anyway.

The soup is really, really, really easy and without the dumplings is has to be really low in fat.  With the spinach you are getting a good amount of greens.  YUM.  This soup is really good.  One of those foods that has you thinking about it.

Well, the recipe this book came from is from a book I bought for my friend and she has made a few recipes in it for me and they have been really good.  I would recommend this book to anyone that likes to use cookbooks.  What made me get it for her is that there were simple recipes in it (she has kids) and because it shows “additional uses” for some of the ingredients you might not know what to do with.  If you buy a can of tomato paste and use two teaspoons, it shows you other recipes in the book that also use tomato paste.  I thought that was so cool because I often end up with leftover ingredients.  As it turns out I love this book because it has this soup recipe in it and I love this soup.

I hope you will try it and enjoy it too.  If you do let me know what you think.

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Baby Bok Choy and Spinach Soup

Posted by terrepruitt on April 12, 2011

I was going off the “recipe” for Green Garlic and Spinach Soup, but I was not measuring and making it up as I went along so the measurements are not exact.

When I served it I put some mozzarella in it.  For hubby I put some raw onions and mozzarella.  But I made him taste it BEFORE I added anything and he thought is was good without the added onions and cheese.  I would imagine if you like pepper it would be a GREAT addition to this soup.  I was going to serve it with hot sauce to my hubby because originally I thought it was going to be rather flavorless, but it turned out not to be flavorless and he liked it.

Keep in mind that I made this up, never having made a soup like this and never having used the immersion blender.  So you might want to read my “Experimental Soup” post so that you know some of the issues if you haven’t done something like this before.  Basically keep an eye on things because this post is not a step by step, “turn stove on, turn stove off” kind of recipe.
Baby Bok Choy and Spinach Soup

–olive oil
–1/2 (ish) of a medium sized onion chopped
–some chopped onion (for garnish)
–2 bundles of baby bok choy
(chopped, bottom portion separate from leafy portion)
–2 or 3 tsp of minced garlic
–garlic powder
–garlic salt
–48 oz of chicken broth
–some beer
–shake or two of teriyaki
–1 6-oz bag of spinach
–1.5 (ish) wooden spoonful of cream cheese
–mozzarella

Sautee onions in the olive oil.  When the onions look tender add in the chopped bottom portion of the bok choy. Let it cook a minute, then add the garlic.  While the bok choy is cooking, add garlic powder and garlic salt to help the veggies sweat.  Sautee until tender.  Then pour in the broth.  Added some beer and teriyaki.

Stir it as you feel necessary throughout the entire process.

Bring to boil. Add the cream cheese if you are going to use it.  Add leafy portion of the bok choy and bag of spinach.  Gently boil for a few minutes or until the veggies are wilted.

Once the veggies looked wilted use the blender to mix it all up.

Ok, so if you try this let me know.  If you make changes let me know.  Sometimes I just stick to what I have tried because I don’t wanna ruin a good thing so you can do the experimenting for me and let me know what you’ve done that works!  😉

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Creamy soup without Cream

Posted by terrepruitt on April 5, 2011

Last week one of my friends posted something on her Facebook page about green garlic.  I meant to ask her about it when I talked to her but I forgot.  Then she visited my blog and made a comment that included green garlic.  She said she had posted a recipe of green garlic and spinach soup.  She has many things that she makes that I want to try and I told her I put that on my list, well, I can cross it off.  She had me over to lunch and she made green garlic soup.

First of call green garlic is somewhat what it sounds like.  It is not GREEN so much as it is “new’ or not yet read to be mature garlic garlic.  It looks like a scallion, but it is the garlic before it starts changing into cloves and a bulb.

I was able to witness this being made and she made it look so easy.  Much easier than the recipe looked.  She made a creamy soup without any cream.  It is awesome.  I need to find my immersion blender and start using it and I too will be able to make creamy soups and sauces without cream.

She cut up the green garlic.  Sautéed it in olive oil.  She used a little bit of butter, maybe a teaspoon or two.  She cooked it until it was tender.  Then she poured in a box of stock.  I spotted the recipe and it called for vegetable stock, but as we were dining she said she used chicken.  So I am going to use whichever one I can find without Canola Oil.  🙂  Then she put in a huge bunch of spinach.  It wilted quickly then she blended it all in the pot.

It was gorgeous.  It was delicious.  It has to be nutritious because it was garlic, olive oil, spinach, and low sodium chicken stock.    Oh, she did add crème fraîche to the bottom of our bowls, but that could be left out.

I can’t wait to find my blender’s directions so I can change the blade and get to making soups.  I sure it will happen just in time as the weather changes.

If my friend happens to read this and wants to correct, add, or change anything in my notes on her recipe please do.  Also, if you are here . . . . thank you so much.  Thank you for visiting and thank you for having me over for your yummy soup and closet shopping!

Soup?  Do you make your own soup?  What is your favorite recipe?

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Paying More For Less

Posted by terrepruitt on April 10, 2010

After dropping a friend off at the San Jose Airport, I went to the store that was on the way home to get some vegetables. Not my “usual” store. I decided to get some pasta to have with the chicken and salad I was planning on serving. I like to have the Buitoni Pasta that is stored in the refrigerated section. We have that every once in a while. I walked up to the case and I saw a couple of choices that I would normally choose. $4.59. And then I saw another brand, Monterey Gourmet Foods, and I thought, “Oh, I think I had that before and I liked it.” So I looked for something that sounded familiar and I didn’t see it but I saw the price $5.79 and I thought, “Over a $1 more, well that’s a no-brainer.” But then the brain, the one I have in my head, said, “Hey why don’t you look for HFCS in the Buitoni. It’s in everything else.” Well, it didn’t have HFCS, but it has corn syrup solids and partially hydrogenated soybean oil. So I looked at the one that was a $1.20 more, neither corn syrup solids nor partially hydrogenated soybean oil.

I stood there for a minute and thought not to get either, but then I thought, “Well, I want to try this Whole Wheat Spinach and Cheese Tortelloni.” I’ve had the whole wheat before and I thought it was to thick. But I don’t remember which brand, but I didn’t care for it.

Well, I liked this. It was light. The pasta didn’t seem thick. I was glad my decision to avoid the corn syrup solids and partially hydrogenated soybean oil and spend the extra $1.20 worked out good.

Now what that means is I will have this type of pasta even less often than I did before, because now it costs more.  Yeah, I know $1.20 isn’t that much, but . . . . it IS more.  Oh well.

I FEEL better about not eating the corn syrup solids and partially hydrogenated oil in my pasta.  Transfat is in a lot of other foods, so I try to avoid it when I can.

I am going to point out that the tortelloni I had didn’t have corn syrup solids and partially hydrogenated soybean oil in it whereas the toretellini from Buitoni did, but . . . the website shows that the tortelloni does not. The store I was at did not have Buitoni tortelloni, nor Monterey Gourmet Foods tortellini–not even sure if they make tortellini. So . . . . if you are so are interested in seeing what is in the food, read ingredients. Often times different companies will make a similar product without certain ingredients you might be trying to avoid.

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Tired, Not Enough Iron?

Posted by terrepruitt on December 15, 2009

Not too long ago I was feeling so tired.  I didn’t know why and I still don’t KNOW why, I think I know, but I am not sure.  I think I wasn’t getting enough iron.  I take Calcium supplements, they are Cal Complete so they have other stuff in them.  I understand and I like the idea of being able to get all the nutrients I need from food and not having to take a supplement.  But . . . I don’t think that is realistic for me.  I think that sometimes I just don’t eat all the nutrients I need.  Also, since our food is so altered who really knows if I am getting the nutrients I need from the food.  There are other reasons I food might not have all the nutrients we think, first of all the food can be altered (as I just stated), or it could be not as fresh as it needs to be for optimal nutrients, or I could be cooking some of the nutrients out.  Either way, I like the idea, but I don’t think it is entirely possible to get everything I need all the time from food.  And with calcium it is recommended to take a supplement anyway.

With calcium your body can only absorb so much at a time so it is recommended to take it twice a day.  I always take the “going to bed” one, but I was forgetting about the morning one.   And I think it was affecting me.  I eat a spinach salad almost every night so I thought I was getting enough iron through that, but apparently even though spinach has a lot of iron the body cannot absorb it that well.

 

 

 

 

There are two kinds of iron heme and nonheme.  Heme is found in meat and is most easily absorbed by the body.  Nonheme is typically found in plant sources and is not as easily absorbed.

I eat mostly chicken with about 1.1 milligrams per 3 oz. compared to beef at 2.2 to 3.2 milligrams per 3 oz.  Add my chicken to my salad, I have about 3.8 milligrams.  The total of the two is close to 20% of the recommended daily allowance.  So, if you add my two calcium pills with a total of 83% of the RDA you get 103%.  If I only take one then I am missing about 40%.  Now I don’t know if that is enough to make me feel like I did, but I thought, “Hey, let’s get back to my 83% and remember to take both pills and now I am feeling less tired.’”

Of course, only lab tests and a doctor can tell me what if it truly was low iron.  It could be a lot of things, but I just thought it was interesting that spinach doesn’t contain as much iron as I thought and absorbing it depends on what it is mixed with.  So I figure with the chicken I eat, the spinach I eat and the calcium with iron I take, in addition to anything else I am eating that might have iron in it, I really will be getting the RDA.

For a lot more information on iron:   (06.07.20 – sorry seems like this link no longer works)
http://dietary-supplements.info.nih.gov/factsheets/iron.asp

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