4.13.2015

Deconstructed sushi bowl with wasabi cashew sauce

There are crazy things stirring in the Larson house.

We've confirmed that Mike has high cholesterol. Genetics are undoubtedly a major factor, but his love for butter and bacon probably don't help. In a last-ditch effort to avoid medication - and I can't believe what I'm typing - my husband is trying veganism.

Folks, keep an eye outside because there must be pigs flying around everywhere.

When Mike and I first met, I had been eating a mostly vegetarian diet for about 4 years. He laughed and joked about how the words "vegetarian" or "vegan" were like curse words in his world and swore to change my ways (and succeeded). He grew up eating beef on the regular and loves hamburgers and a good steak more than anyone I've ever met, so for him to consider giving up meat for the sake of heart health is an act of God.

We're about a week in to these new dietary changes, and we've actually enjoyed it. We've been branching out of our usual dinner comfort zone, trying new recipes, and keeping the fridge stocked with colorful produce. We've found cashews to be a huge asset. Batch cooking brown rice has been a time-saver. Soaking beans is becoming a nightly ritual.

In three months, he'll have another blood test and we'll weigh if his efforts have been effective. Until then, we'll be over here eating plants.
If you love sushi, you'll adore this deconstructed sushi bowl. Pile together seasoned rice, shredded nori paper, avocado, and whatever vegetables you fancy, then top with the creamy, spicy sauce for all the glorious sushi flavors and half the work. Seasoning the brown rice in the way you'd season sushi rice - with rice vinegar, salt, and sugar - is the secret to making this bowl delicious and irresistible.

3.22.2015

Immunity juice

In the midst of an emotionally taxing job, daily responsibilities, and the stresses life tends to bring, I'm always grateful for a moment to slow down. I tend to ruin these opportunities for myself, though: a worrier by nature, I have a self-destructive tendency to dread the coming tasks and tomorrow's worries instead of taking life moment-by-moment. This, of course, leaves me feeling drained and wondering when I will ever be able to catch my breath. What I fail to see most days is that the opportunity for recovery and rest - both physical and mental - is there, but something inside me prevents me from seizing it. I'm trying to grasp the idea that there will always be to-do lists, projects that need finishing, and problems that need my attention, and sometimes they need to stay un-done and not worried about for the sake of sanity. It's something I'm working on.

Today, though, I'm getting it right. Life at this very moment looks like a quiet afternoon on my comfy, well-worn sofa, tea in hand, windows wide open to let in the cool spring air, The Civil Wars playing on repeat, and components of tomorrow's dinner cooking on the stove. Inhale. Exhale. Life is good.
I avoided getting sick this winter. I feel like I can say that now that it's March and the first official day of spring came and went on Friday. Now, this was no small feat: I work in healthcare, and I can't count how many rounds of the common cold, the flu, gastroenteritis, and pinkeye came through my workplace this year. Yikes. I'm chalking my victory up to a strong immune system assisted by plenty of sleep, fresh produce, and Theives spray.

If you find yourself needing a boost, this juice might provide some help. Brilliantly colored by beets, turmeric, and carrots, it is packed with antioxidants, anti-inflammatory nutrients, and loads of vitamins C and A. I love my juicer (an Omega J8006), but if you don't have one, check out my Winter Goodness Smoothie, which can be made in a good blender, and substitute turmeric for the ginger.

3.05.2015

ROOTS SERIES \\ Nutrition 101

Welcome to the ROOTS series of Taste & See: a source for education on all things nutrition and wellness. We'll dig though the fad diets, buzzwords, and confusion to get to the roots of healthy living, which will help you make educated, confident decisions about your food and lifestyle. I am a self-declared nutrition nerd, and I love understanding the ins and outs of how the body works, so be prepared to get a little science-y. This will be an expanding section of information, so check back periodically for new topics. Let's dig in!

2.22.2015

Protein power smoothie (Recipe Redux)

This month's Recipe Redux theme is "Favorite Chocolate Matches," and bloggers were asked to create a recipe highlighting their favorite chocolate pairings. I decided to go the tried-but-true route with a delicious and satisfying chocolate, peanut butter, and banana combination.
I've been loving this Protein Power Smoothie for quite some time now. It was inspired by my husband's love for Jamba Juice's Peanut Butter Moo'd smoothie, and it has powered many of our mornings, particularly during our recent marathon training. It's silky smooth, thickened by the flax meal, and has perfectly balanced ratios of it's three star ingredients: chocolate, banana, and peanut butter. One serving (about 8 ounces) contains 360 calories and a filling 15 grams of protein to get your day started.

2.03.2015

Massaged kale winter salad with crunchy quinoa

As much as I love a good bowl of greens, I just can't bring myself to eat many salads in the winter. When it's chilly outside, I want a hot, hearty meal - not cold, light lettuce. This salad, however, is different. Using dense kale instead of crunchy romaine and topping with warm fried quinoa and shaved winter vegetables, this salad is perfectly winter-worthy and satisfying. Top with garlicky shredded chicken or glazed salmon, and you've got yourself a healthy and hearty winter meal.
Few vegetables have taken the market by storm the way that kale has in the past couple of years. Kale, a member of the Brassica family of vegetables along with cabbage, cauliflower, and broccoli, is packed full of nutrients. One cup of chopped fresh kale provides 206% of your daily vitamin A, 134% of your vitamin C, 684% of your vitamin K (talk to your doctor or RD about kale if you take blood thinners), and 26% of your daily manganese. We know the Brassica family is fantastic at reducing internal inflammation, which is linked to many chronic diseases like heart disease, cancer, and diabetes. Glucosinolates, compounds responsible for the pungent flavor of these vegetables, are thought to be responsible for this reduction in inflammation.

Keep eating kale, America.