Eat Write Retreat is more than simply a food blogging conference. We offer a weekend of culinary exploration and education that makes this conference a true learning vacation, featuring a tantalizing mix of hands-on learning, professional networking and one-of-a-kind dining events.
This year, we’re THRILLED to partner with Williams Sonoma, Aversa PR & Events and local food blogger Philly Loves Fun, plus all of these fabulous sponsors below to make this year’s conference our best ever! Hint: can you say SWAG?
I just wanted to give them a huge THANK YOU, and I do hope to see you at the event!
All About This Blog
There isn’t a day that goes by when I am not asked what is the best olive oil or which skillet would be the best for sauteing. As a nutritionist, cookbook author and culinary instructor, I take it as a personal responsibility to be on the lookout for products that will enhance my clients' lifestyles.
Fabulous Food Finds is an outgrowth of my original blog You Can Eat That. Every Friday on the original blog, we would do Friday Food Picks: Products We Love. It became our favorite blog entry and so we decided to create a blog entirely devoted to scouring the markets to bring our readers the best food and kitchen tools we can find.
We do not accept any products directly from the manufacturers. We actually hunt, forage, and search for products aisle after aisle in markets large and small. We are not in the business of totally trashing a product, but will give an honest review of the things we find.
We’ve done the work for you. All you need to do is enjoy our selections and our original recipes that go with them. Feel free to leave us comments and if you have favorite products of your own, please be sure to let us know!
I’m working on an exciting new project, and it’s keeping me as busy as a spring bee! This one is not really about food either, it’s about one of my favorite cities in the world: PARIS!
That’s all I can tell you for now, sorry for the little tease, but I also would love to hear about your travels too!
Have you been to Paris? Please tell me about your travel adventures and/or your favorite cities too!
All photos via http://photos.parisinfo.com
After a spending a wonderful winter in Miami (go ahead call me a “snowbird”) I’m happy to be back to my home sweet home (and kitchen) in Alexandria, Virginia. I’ve been so busy prepping for the upcoming Eat Write Retreat food bloggers conference, so please stay with me — I’ll be back soon with new recipes and fabulous food finds to make your spring and summer a bit more tasty!
Today’s guest post contributor is Shelly Flaherty, who is going to share some tips about matching your wine with your dinner. Enjoy, Robyn
Wine can truly top off any meal and add a finishing touch to your palate. Choosing the right wine is crucial though, as the wrong wine can seriously clash with whatever food you are eating. Depending on the type of meal you’re cooking, you should keep in mind various tips as well as look into what types of wine you should choose – beyond “white or red?”
If you’re a real wine newbie, then try and get yourself to a wine tasting class. It can really teach you a lot about what to look for in a good wine and also you will be shown what wines should be placed with various foods.
If you’re making a menu for a dinner, for example, then you need to ensure that you keep consistent with your wine choices. Don’t choose foods such as a cheese salad followed by a spicy fish course, huge variations in tastes will mean that you have to choose various wines.
You need to consider a few different factors when it comes to choosing a good wine, this will include the acidity, intensity as well as the weight of the wine.
Acidity - This is the characteristic you need to consider if your food is particular tangy or has a lot of citrus notes in. If you have used a lot of lemon, apple, balsamic vinegars or spiced oils then you should look for a wine that matches in acidity. Sauvignon Blanc or a Pinot Noir are both very acidic and will sit nicely with food of the same crispness.
Weight – This is as simple as how the wine tastes. A heavy red wine will not go well with a light and fresh salad. The same as a light white would not match well with a spicy and thick vegetable curry.
Intensity – Always aim to match the overall taste of your meal with the wine. A spicy meal should be paired with a sweet and spiced wine such as a Riesling.
If you are attending a dinner party, then choose some wine to give as a gift. You could even wrap the wine with a funky gift bag and tissue paper.
Shelly Flaherty is a mom of two and loves cooking. She enjoys long walks in summer and a glass of red with a good book.
~ ~ ~
We also found a few more tips at www.foodandwinepairing.org we wanted to share with you:
Drink what you like.
What you like to drink always takes precedence over any recommendation that I might make.
Start by thinking about the dish or meal as a whole. What are its dominant characteristics?
Is it mild or flavorful?
Is it fatty or lean?
Is it rich or acidic?
With these characteristics in mind, select a wine that will:
Keep flavors in balance.
Match mild foods with mild wines. Match big, flavorful foods with big, flavorful wines.
(For example, pair a bold-flavored Pepper Steak with a spicy, bold red Zinfandel.)
Similarly you generally want to match the richness of the food and the richness of the wine.
(For example, pair a rich Chicken in Cream Sauce with a rich Chardonnay.)
You can refer to their Wine Board to see what different wines taste like.
Cleanse the palate with tanins or acids.
If you’re eating a relatively rich, ‘fatty’ dish and thinking about drinking a red wine
(when you eat a beef steak, for example) you probably want a wine with some good tannins in it to help cleanse the palate.
If you’re eating a very rich, ‘fatty’ dish and thinking about drinking a white wine
(when you eat fried chicken, for example) you probably want to contrast the meal with a refreshingly crisp acidic wine
such as a Sauvignon Blanc. You can ignore this rule for dishes that are just
relatively fatty – such as Chicken in Cream Sauce – which will probably
do better with a rich Chardonnay that can match their rich flavors.
Match Acids with Acids
If you’re eating a dish with a strong acidic content
(such as Shrimp with Lemon or Pasta with Tomato Sauce)
pair it with an acidic wine that can keep up with the acids in the food.
Acidic Wines and Cream Don’t Mix
Rich cream sauces will usually clash with an acidic wine like a Sauvignon Blanc.
Think about it this way…If you squeezed lemon juice into a cup of milk, would it taste good?
When In Doubt…
Remember that foods generally go best with the wines they grew up with.
So if you’re eating Italian food, think about having an Italian wine.
This isn’t a requirement, but often helps simplify the decision.
Learn all about our 3rd annual Eat Write Retreat food blogger and writer conference, and you’ll want to join us!
Eat, Write, Retreat was developed by myself and Casey Benedict as a way to strengthen connections in the food blogging community through a shared exploration of cooking, writing and photography. We’ve worked tirelessly to create an intensive, hands-on learning weekend, full of opportunity, friendship and fun at a great value.
Here’s the scoop:
We’re thrilled to announce that this year’s event will be held in Philadelphia at the Doubletree Hilton on Broad, in the heart of the Philadelphia
May 31 – June 2, 2013 – Philadelphia – Hilton Doubletree
Early Bird pricing in effect until March 1, 2013. Register today! (You’ll also be entered to win a Nikon D5100 DSLR 2-lens camera package.)
Eat, Write, Retreat is an intensive learning weekend focused on strengthening connections within the food community through shared exploration of cooking, photography and writing. We have a wonderful array of hands-on learning, valuable networking and one-of-a-kind dining events lined up for a weekend you won’t forget. As always, registration is all-inclusive, allowing you to enjoy every moment with us.
To kick off registration in high style, we’re throwing in a brand new Nikon D5100 D-SLR kit for one lucky attendee who registers between now and March 1, 2013*. What’s more? Take advantage of early bird pricing with 10% off your registration (until March 1, 2013). Simply use code “EWR13″ at checkout.
Visit the Eat Write Retreat website for more information on schedule, speakers and sponsors. Stay tuned for updates as we reveal all the fabulous events and sessions we have in store for you!
We have a wonderful array of hands-on learning, intensive networking and one-of-a-kind dining events lined up. Take a sneak peek at this year’s highlights below. Stay tuned as we reveal more about our fabulous weekend in the coming weeks.
This hallmark of Eat Write Retreat programming takes on an exciting new twist, with the Amazing Apps Culinary Challenge sponsored by California Figs, California Ripe Olives, US Potatoes and California Raisins. Mystery boxes of ingredients, tools and recipe inspiration will be shipped right to your door!
Read all of the delicious details here, then register before April 15 to take part. You could walk away with a brand new iPad at our Saturday night Gala Awards Ceremony!
Food Writing in the Age of Sponsored Posts — Monica Bhide
Our food writing education expands to multiple sessions over three days. Noted food writer, Monica Bhide will guide you in during a variety of workshops aimed at shaking up your routine and grabbing your full attention. You’ll come away refreshed, inspired and full of ideas for bringing your stories to life.
During our core session, Monica will challenge you to stretch beyond your comfort zone as you craft a multi-platform piece highlighting mystery tools from OXO. Then Monica will re-visit her teachings throughout the weekend, emphasizing the techniques that every great writer should implement when approaching a new story.
Photography & Food Styling — Carolyn Ketchum and Sarah W. Caron
Stunning visuals are a must these days, especially for a food blog. Our readers eat first with their eyes, and a captivating photo can help build readership as much as an engaging story can.
But great photography doesn’t always require the latest gadgets, a premium lighting package and pricey editing software. Successful bloggers Carolyn Ketchum and Sarah Caron will share “grass roots” tricks of the trade that have allowed them to prosper professionally while still considering themselves amateur photographers.
From utilizing natural light and emphasizing the basic appeal of a dish, to entry-level software packages and semi-manual settings, Carolyn and Sarah will walk you through the choices and best practices of a home photographer. Their photography education will begin in a core workshop, and continue through “refresher moments” during other sessions of the conference, with ample opportunity to apply their insights “on the spot” to improve your results.
What’s more, this invigorating session is presented at Eat Write Retreat in partnership with Watermelonand Jarlsberg USA. During the workshop, you will benefit from direct feedback from the PR pros in charge of their brand’s image, including frequent collaboration with stylists and photographers. Stephanie Barlow and Ronnie Campbell (National Watermelon Promotion Board and Jarlsberg USA, respectively) will give pointers and insights into what they look for in brand imagery as the session unfolds, giving us a crash course in best practices when working with clients.
Beyond SEO — Jesse Gardner and Carolyn Ketchum
Your blog is your bread and butter. Let us walk you through the best practices for harnessing today’s technology to get the most out of your platform. We’ll cover: design/user experience, analytics, plug-ins, emerging technology and more. Several attendees will have their blogs analyzed during this session, so you’ll come away with oodles of practical, applicable information.
We’ll spend time learning about various culinary traditions, deepening your understanding of different foods, growing cycles, cooking techniques and nutritional benefits.
Contact High – Joy Manning
You’ve probably heard the term “power networking,” a phrase that evokes quick bursts of sweaty exertion. “Power networking” is what you do when you’re panicked because you lost your job. But that isn’t how you do it–at least, not the kind of networking that really helps find opportunities and grow your readership. The best networking is more like religion–it’s an inner sanctuary you tend to a little bit every day and commit an hour to at least once a week. Like religion, if you turn to networking only when you need it, it isn’t going provide the bridge over troubled waters it’s so famously supposed to. Good networking is a lifestyle–a fun one!–and this short, perspective-changing session will show you how to start living it. Joy will review a list of 5-minute actions, one of which you should take daily like a vitamin, as well as a few bigger networking initiatives to take when you have more time. At the end of the session, attendees will jump start their networking streak–a mad-libs style email template that they will customize at the end of the session and email to someone they would like to have in their network.
MORE, MORE, MORE!
Networking — We structure Eat Write Retreat so that you have access to the sponsors all weekend long. Not only is there ample time to pitch your ideas, but you’ll find that you establish meaningful, lasting relationships that will serve you well going forward. The same applies to fellow attendees. You’ll make lifelong friends during your weekend with us.
Dining Events — Philadelphia is a food-lover’s paradise. From old world to avant garde, if you’re hankering for it, chances are it’s a bagel’s toss away. We’ll pack as much of Philly’s culinary highlights as possible into 48 delicious hours.
Sponsors — We are stacking the deck with oodles of fabulous sponsors who are interested in connecting with you! Our sponsors will join us all weekend, as well as taking your pitches during the one-on-one “Pitch to the Pros” session, so the networking opportunities are endless.
SWAG — Bring an empty suitcase. We’re not kidding.
*Winner will be chosen randomly from all attendees who register on or before March 1, 2013. Must be in attendance to win. Please see website for more details.
Casey Benedict considers herself a “food blogger resource,” as evidenced by her other food-related projects. TasteStopping publishes rejected food photography and editorial pieces on the business of food blogging. She developed Kitchen Play to connect food bloggers to the world of food PR through a variety of dynamic culinary events. In addition, Casey has a successful ready-to-bake cookie business, two wonderful daughters, and one very patient husband who usually doubles as household chef. She holds a BA in Creative Writing from The University of Michigan and an MFA in Screenwriting from Emerson College.
*** WE HOPE TO SEE YOU AT Eat Write Retreat !! ***
Another fabulous guest post which will teach us how to Cook Israeli Style, with Varda Epstein. Enjoy, Robyn
Learning to Cook Israeli Style by Varda Epstein
I got married young, at the age of 18. Despite my tender age, I had a good grounding in the household arts, for instance cooking. I had always been my mom’s sidekick in the kitchen. I loved my mother and I loved food. Here was a way to spend time with both.
By the time I got married, I could turn out a velvety smooth white sauce, and a mean warm boysenberry cobbler with vanilla ice cream. I could pick any recipe from my mother’s extensive collection of cookbooks and execute it with aplomb. I could time things to perfection so that the baked potatoes were done at exactly the time the steaks were cooked to au bleu perfection.
But all of that was in America.
The year I got married, when I was 18, was also the year I moved to Israel. I fell in love with Israel the first time I read Leon Uris’ Exodus, at the age of 13 and I knew I would live there someday. The plan was for me to spend two years studying in Israel to be followed by a year’s study at Touro College in New York, after which I would have earned my degree in Jewish Education.
But that wasn’t what happened.
I met my husband; we fell in love, got married, and began having children, lots of them: twelve of them, to be exact. At the same time, I had to learn a whole new way of cooking. The ingredients were different and even those ingredients with which I was familiar had different, Hebrew names. Even the measurements were different. In Israel, the metric system is used. None of my standard American recipes fit that system!
But slowly, I began to acclimate. I learned to convert ounces to grams and pounds to kilograms. I learned to change Fahrenheit to Celsius, and I dared to try some of the local produce. Vegetable marrows, called Kishuim, were a delicious revelation, as was Silan (date molasses).
I also learned to ask questions. I got up my gumption and used my stuttering Hebrew to question the better cooks I met, learning how to cook both long-grain rice and couscous (out of semolina, yet!) from a friend with a proud Moroccan-Jewish history. I received recipes by word of mouth anywhere and everywhere I could.
One day, for instance, I noted a type of meat at my local grocery store that was quite inexpensive, called “nitchei hodu.” As it turns out, nitchei hodu are irregular turkey pieces, leftover from the butchering process of cutting the turkey into steaks and stew meat. They are just fine for a quick braise.
I asked my two year-old’s daycare teacher if she knew a good recipe for this type of meat. Being of Turkish-Jewish extraction, the recipe Sarah Ezra recited to me, as she watched over toddlers playing in the sandbox under the midday Israeli sun, was Sephardic in origin, with a Turkish flare. This classic Middle Eastern recipe became a standby in my home, being both fast and easy to prepare, not to mention savory and delicious.
Today, I work full time as a communications writer for the Kars4Kids car donation charity http://www.kars4kids.org and with my busy schedule, often fall back on this simple, meaty, and flavorsome dish, for supper at the end of a long, hard day at work. It never fails to please.
Dark meat turkey is best for this recipe. Have your butcher cut the turkey into chunks, as for stew.
Sarah Ezra’s Nitchei Hodu
About six portions
2 Tablespoons olive oil
1 large onion, chopped
1 kilogram (2 ¼ lbs.) turkey pieces, cut into chunks
4 stalks of celery (or more), sliced
1 cup frozen peas
1 bay leaf
½ teaspoon turmeric
¼ teaspoon granulated garlic
Salt and pepper to taste
Heat olive oil over medium heat in large pot. Add onions and cook stirring occasionally, until clear.
Raise heat, add turkey, and turn here and there with a spoon until it loses its pink color. The Middle Eastern way is not to seal the meat, but rather to turn the meat until no more pink can be seen.
Add the rest of the ingredients and salt and pepper to taste.
Add water just to cover the meat. Cover the pot and bring to a boil.
Turn the heat down to a simmer. Cook covered for 10 minutes or until meat is tender when pierced with the tip of a knife.
Serve over rice.
Chanita Carmel’s Long-Grain Rice
Heat 2 Tablespoons of fruity olive oil with 2 cups of rice in a wide, one-liter (1 quart) saucepan and stir on low heat, for two minutes. Add 4 cups cold water, 2 teaspoons salt, and 1/8 teaspoon pepper. Bring to a rolling boil on a high flame, then turn down heat to very low.
Cook covered 15-20 minutes.
Remove from heat. Allow rice to stand covered for 5 minutes. Fluff rice with a fork and serve.
Varda Epstein is a mother of 12 children and communications writer at Kars4Kids: http://www.kars4kids.org
Kendra Thornton, my Fabulous Food Finds guest today, is going to whisk you away (virtually) to beautiful Maui with this delicious recipe, and some travel tips in case you wish to plan that winter getaway you deserve! Enjoy, Robyn.
Let’s begin with this mouth-watering recipe:
Maui Onion & Sesame Seed Crusted Seared Ahi
I recently visited the beautiful Hawaiian island of Maui and indulged in an exquisite meal at the Lahaina Grill Restaurant. I could not wait to share this decadent dish with my east coast friends so I talked the chef into giving me the recipe. Bring a taste of Hawaii into your home with this dish, so you can share my experience.
- 4 (6 oz.) tuna steak fillets (about 2 inches in thickness)
- 1 1/2 cups sliced onions, dried and crushed
- 2 cups sliced onions for caramelizing (see below)
- 3 tbsp. olive oil</li>
- 1 tbsp. sesame seeds (not toasted)
- Salt and pepper
- Prepare caramelized onions: Over medium high heat, cook 2 cups sliced onions with 2 tablespoons olive oil in a cast iron pan or sauce pan. Stir frequently, until onions appear to have a glazed appearance. Set the onions aside.
For tuna steaks: Heat 1-tablespoon olive oil in a large saucepan. Roll Ahi fillet in dried crushed onions and sesame seeds. Sear the steaks on all sides until browned, about 2-4 minutes per side.
VANILLA BEAN JASMINE RICE
- 1 tbsp. shallots, chopped
- 1 tbsp. unsalted butter
- 1 cup Jasmine rice
- 2 cups clam or fish broth
- 1 tbsp. split vanilla bean
Cook rice over medium heat with remaining ingredients, bringing mixture to a boil. Reduce heat, cover, and simmer until no liquid remains. Remove mixture from heat. Fluff with fork.
APPLE CIDER-SOY BUTTER VINAIGRETTE
- 2 cups apple juice
- 2 cups apple cider vinegar
- 1 cup balsamic vinegar
- 4 oz. margarine, cubed
- 2 oz. unsalted butter, cubed
- 1 oz. chives, finely chopped
- Mix the vinegar and cider in a sauce pan over medium heat until 1/2
liquid remains. Slowly add butter and margarine to liquid while mixing over medium heat. Place in a blender and pulse for 2 seconds. Sprinkle with chives.
Arrange vanilla jasmine rice in center of plate, and top with seared Ahi and a tablespoon of caramelized onions. Drizzle sauce over and around fish, and garnish with chopped chives. Serve with freshly steamed vegetables such as organic baby carrots and/or roasted baby beets. I hope you enjoy this recipe as much my family and I have. Enjoy!
While Honolulu has a big draw for nightlife, arts and beautiful private beaches, Maui is a more serene, charming area in Hawaii that offers picturesque beaches, lush green parks and whale watching right off the coast. Haleakala National Park is one of the major draws to “The Magic Isle” but there are also plenty of award winning resorts, golf courses, gourmet restaurants and local fare that keep visitors returning to this wondrous part of Hawaii. Personally, I lust thinking about the warm weather during the winter months so why not getaway for a bit and give yourself a treat?
1. Four Seasons Resort Maui at Wailea
This hotel is rated number one for a reason. With five stars and over 1400 top reviews, the Four Seasons Resort in Maui was named one of U.S. News and World Report’s Best Hotels in 2012. People love this resort for the beautiful location, complimentary drinks and excellent customer service. This resort also has one of the best views in Hawaii, right on Wailea Beach.
2. Whale Watching on the Coast
If you love water activities and animals; this is a family-friendly activity that Maui is known for. In December and March, whales migrate to this area and take advantage of the warm waters. There are more than a dozen different whale watch companies in this area, but the Ultimate Whale Watch promises either a two-hour Maui whale watching tour or five hour Lanai dolphin snorkel event. In addition, this whale watching tour promises no crowds upon the boat, making it easier to get a great view and enjoy a day on the water with these amazing sea creatures.
3. Pineapple Grill in Kapalua
You can take a break from golfing and relax at the Pineapple Grill, a place famous for its pineapple upside down cake and wasabi pea crusted rare ahi steak. With fabulous reviews, the Pineapple Grill keeps people coming back many years after their initial visit to the Magic Isle.
4. Jungle Adventures
The nature aspect of Maui can’t be ignored, and there are tons of things to see, even as you soar above a waterfall. The Skyline Eco-Adventures in Maui provides two different locations right over Ka’anapali or Halcakala. This is a fun, family friendly exploration activity that will take you through the luscious jungles of Maui’s forests and allow you to zip ahead for an unbelievable thrill.
5. Travaasa Hana
A top-ranked and award winning hotel on Maui, the Travaasa Hana is known for its location on Hamoa Beach while also providing connections to local culture and luxurious amenities like the lava rock whirlpool. Private and friendly, Travaasa also offers smaller cottages to rent for more exclusive visitors which come with a 50-minute treatment at the Honua Spa, which is located right in Travaasa Hana.
If you love donuts, you’ll love malasadas, a delicacy of fried dough that’s stuffed with some Hawaiian ingredients like pineapple or even strawberries, then dunked in sugar. The best place in Maui to experience the malasada and other treats is the Komoda Store and Bakery located in Makawao.
7. Kula Botanical Garden
For a fun hike that also serves up the perfect picture-taking opportunities, check out Kula Botanical Garden located right on the hills of Haleakala. Spreading across eight acres, you can find tons of colorful and one-of-a-kind flora and fauna located at Kula while also enjoying the spectacular views.
8. Mama’s Fish House
Located on North Shore in Maui, Mama’s Fish House is a delicious local restaurant and inn that has some delicacy items and gourmet fish dishes that you won’t find anywhere else in Hawaii. From the Mahimahi Macadamia nut sauté to the tomato ginger bisque soup, there’s something delicious brewing inside of this historic restaurant.
9. Best Budget Hotel
Recommended by Frommer’s and top rated on U.S. News and World Report, the <a Kaanapali Alii resort offers beach views within a casual atmosphere. Along with the perfect outdoor barbeque and picnic area on the beach, the staff at Kaanapali Alii has been reviews as thoughtful, attentive and quick to answer service calls. Located on the shores of Ka’anapali Beach, it’s a quiet atmosphere nestled in a lush green spot of Maui.
10. Wake Maui
For water sports lovers; Wake Maui is a snorkeling and boat charter that offers thrilling water skiing and wakeboarding in private areas around Maui. Top rated by reviewers, this wakeboarding adventure is definitely extreme but also provides some high-speed boat rides, jet skis and snorkeling adventures.
Getaway these winter months and jump the Spring break madness by heading to one of my favorite places on my hefty travel list; go visit Maui. Just remember where you rest your head at night is just as important and your daytime adventures. Aloha!
About Kendra: Travel advocate, TV spokesperson, PR businesswoman, proud wife and mama of 3. Kendra is a long time travel expert who has been packing her bags and traveling the world since she was 3 months old! She mixes her excitement for travel by bringing the taste of authentic cuisine to her own home with unique recipes. Find Kendra on twitter at https://twitter.com/KendraThornton
Time for me to bid farewell to 2012 and welcome a new year for myself too, as today is my birthday. To me, it’s a treat to celebrate a birthday on the last day of the year, and to begin fresh come January 1st.
However, this birthday is bittersweet, as tonight I will be paying tribute to my dear mother who passed away just two weeks ago. To honor my mom, I recently passed along her potato latke recipe to my daughter, a beautiful tradition which means so much to all of us.
Please share with me how you’ll be spending your last day of 2012, and I wish you a deliciously happy 2013!
So many of us are busy this season with parties, visits to family and friends or holiday shopping, so these one-dish meals are the perfect ticket to please the whole family. While I am taking a couple of days off, I hope you enjoy this guest post by By Katie Brind’Amour, MS. ~ xo Robyn
I am a die-hard one-dish meal fanatic. I promise: it’s not just because I am a student with limited cooking skills! I love food, I love eating, and I love a good five-course meal. But the fact of the matter is, I love one-dish meals even more. And here’s why.
1. Fewer dishes for prepping and serving means fewer dishes to clean. This may just be the best part about one-dish meals. I hate doing dishes, and one-dish meals make cleanup a breeze.
2. Slow cooker meals, casseroles, soups, chili, stews, hearty salads, and stir fries all qualify. There are so many varieties and flavors of one-dish meals to choose from that you could cook them for a year and never get tired of them (trust me, I know!).
3. Eating one-dish meals can help you limit the amount of food you eat—without even knowing it! This is because your body isn’t as motivated to keep eating after it has satisfied its original urge to indulge in the food it was smelling and tasting. When there’s only one main flavor in every bite of the meal, you may eat less than you would if you alternated among a variety of separate flavors. This is excellent news for people trying to watch their weight for dietary or diabetes management purposes.
4. One-dish meals can help you pack in some majorly healthy ingredients into one meal. I find that some of the healthiest meals I cook are a single dish—lentils mixed with carrots and onions and sweet potato for a fabulous, complex flavor packed with nutrients.
5. When everything is mixed together, you can sneak in healthy ingredients your kids or spouse would never otherwise eat! Quinoa was a no-go with my husband until I mixed a bit of sausage in with Robyn’s Rainbow Quinoa Salad this year. Other ingredients I’ve hidden? Leeks, turmeric, Swiss chard…you name it.
6. It’s easy to substitute and customize to make a dish you love. Not feeling the edamame in that stir fry recipe? Swap it out for snow peas. Tired of post-holiday ham? Sub in some turkey sausage. Think the dish could use some spice? Toss in some jalapenos or a bit of chili powder. No one-dish meal ever has to be dull, blah, or anything other than exactly what you want.
7. Your favorite side dishes can become the main meal. Turn a gooey mac ‘n’ cheese into a casserole-style meal by adding canned tomatoes, sausage or prosciutto, spinach, and onions. Yum!
8. Save time and effort by using the slow cooker. Toss it all in one big pot in the morning, and come home to a kick-butt meal. Can’t beat that.
9. One-dish meals make other healthy food tricks less noticeable. For instance, serving a hearty helping of a one-dish meal in a smaller container than normal (as well as with smaller utensils) will be less obvious than if you have itty bitty amounts of a multiple-dish meal on a plate the same size. Even better, the taste of ingredients low in fat, sugar, or salt (like low-sodium broth or a butter substitute) will be less apparent when they are mixed with other flavors.
10. There is nothing more comforting than a hot bowl of stew during the cold, dark winter. I may be a sucker for one-dish meals in general, but everyone must admit the appeal of a hearty dish of beef stew, chicken and dumplings, or a nice potato and corn chowder when it’s frigid outside.
Katie Brind’Amour, MS, is a Certified Health Education Specialist and freelance health and wellness writer. She enjoys hunting for the yummiest bargain wines and prepping at least a few one-dish meals each week. She is currently chipping away at her PhD in Health Services Management and Policy and taste-testing her way through each cookbook on her counter. Bottoms up! You can find Katie online at her blog www.womenshealthcaretopics.com and on Facebook: www.Facebook.com/PregnancyAtoZ
I’ve been thinking a lot about my childhood lately. I suppose that’s normal considering I’m one year into the second act of my life. I make no apologies for looking back as there are more happy memories than I can count. And when it comes to those memories involving food, where do I begin?
While cupcakes may be all the high brow rage now, their regular existence on our table in the 1960′s was a little more homespun. Simple vanilla cakes with a good glob of chocolate frosting swirled into a bucket of rainbow sprinkles made this little girl very, very happy.
So in being nostalgic this week, I wanted to recreate that happy time without a lot of fuss. The cupcake batter was always fun to make, but frosting always was a pain. So fortunately this week I found a divine, all natural ingredient schmear named the Frosting Queen Charmed Chocolate Frosting. Just zip open the package, swipe a spatula across your divine little cakes and then dip in rainbow sprinkles and relish in the really good old days.
Low Fat Vanilla Cupcakes with Charmed Chocolate Frosting and Carnival Sprinkles
1 1/3 cups all purpose flour
1/2 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/4 tsp salt
1/3 cup canola oil
3/4 cup sugar
1 Tbsp pure vanilla
1cup low fat buttermilk
The Frosting Queens Charmed Chocolate Frosting
India Tree Carnival Mix Sprinkles
1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Line a 12 cup muffin pan with cupcake liners. Set aside.
2. In a medium bowl, mix together the flour, baking powder, baking soda and salt.
3. In a large bowl, whisk together the oil and sugar. Add the egg and vanilla and whisk well. Add some of the flour mixture to the sugar mixture. Add in some of the buttermilk and mix. Continue alternating the flour and buttermilk to the sugar mixture until combined.
4. Divide the batter between all the cupcake liners. Bake for about 18-20 minutes. Remove the cupcakes from the muffin tin and let the cupcakes cool completely.
5. Spread the frosting ( about 1-2 tbsp per cupcake) on each cupcake. Garnish with the sprinkles.