Welcome to the 2017 Choices Road Trip for Health! We call it the Choices road trip, but never lose sight of the fact that this is YOUR journey. The goals for eating well and improving health are uniquely yours. You might be transitioning to a vegan lifestyle. You might be adapting to eating gluten-free. You might be following the paleo diet. You might be practicing the Whole 30 regimen. You may be just getting started--trying to figure out how to cook healthy food and learn more about how to make it happen.
It is our intention to inspire and encourage you as we move into the New Year.
We begin today!
The first step is figuring out where you are now. That will guide your steps moving forward. Look back on 2016 and celebrate your successes!
Did you get soda out of your diet? Did you eat more veggies and fruits? Did you start reading labels? All of these are great reasons to pat yourself on the back.
Identify your challenges? What got you off track?
Did you start strong then fizzle (me!)? Did you have life events that threw you for a loop? (new baby, death in the family, new job, lost a job, child left for college....child moved home after college??) Any number of events can send us on a detour from our health journey.
Small daily choices will be the key to lasting change! Which small choice will you commit to?
The focus of the Choices Road Trip for Health will be:
1. Provide information and encouragement.
2. Share recipes to get you into the kitchen.
3. Offer ideas to help you save money and keep your budget on track.
INFORM & ENCOURAGE
COOK AT HOME--When you cook at home you control the quality of the ingredients and how much sugar, salt, and fat is in your food. This might be the single daily choice you can make that will make a difference in your health. Big food companies and fast food giants have played a huge role in selling us on the idea of eating fast, cheap food. Check out what author, Michael Pollan, has to say about the importance of cooking at home. "How Cooking Can Change Your Life"
If you're already cooking in your kitchen, then check out these videos now available on our website!
What? Another cooking show? "Eat Well Be Happy" is different. It is about using natural ingredients to make dishes that are quick, easy, organic, non-GMO, drop dead gorgeous and delicious. We believe that if you eat well, you'll be happier (and healthier.) A new episode will be added each week. Click here to see the first two episodes!
To create a community filled with healthy recipes, You are encouraged to share recipe ideas in the comments section each week, as well.
This week, I'll share one of my favorite Meatless Monday recipes!
No Noodle Lasagna!
This recipe comes to you from https://www.weightwatchers.com/us/recipe/no-noodle-vegetable-lasagna-1/5626a635a6d5b3961070161b
I have found when I include the zucchini, it turns out pretty soupy. So, I just use all eggplant--3 baby or 2 regular. I slice them thin, lightly salt, and place on a baking sheet with paper towels to absorb the liquid as it begins to seep out. After it's had time to seep (20 minutes or so), I blot off the moisture and excess salt and proceed with the recipe as written.
- 5 spray(s) cooking spray, divided
- 1 medium eggplant(s), trimmed, sliced lengthwise in 1/4-in thick slices
- 2 large uncooked zucchini, trimmed, sliced lengthwise in 1/4-in thick slices
- 1 large egg(s), beaten
- 3/4 pound(s) part-skim ricotta cheese
- 1/4 cup(s) basil, fresh, cut into thin strips
- 1/2 cup(s) grated Parmesan cheese, high-quality recommended, divided
- 4 cup(s) store bought marinara sauce, divided
- 1/2 pound(s) shredded part-skim mozzarella cheese, divided
- To roast vegetables, preheat oven to 400°F. Coat two baking sheets with cooking spray. Place eggplant on one prepared baking sheet and place zucchini on other prepared baking sheet; coat vegetables with cooking spray. Roast 8 minutes; flip vegetables and roast for 7 to 10 minutes more (total roasting time should not exceed 20 minutes or the vegetables will get too mushy). Remove vegetables from oven; reduce oven temperature to 350°F.
- Meanwhile, while vegetables roast, in a medium bowl, combine egg, ricotta cheese, basil and 1/4 cup Parmesan cheese; set aside.
- To assemble lasagna, coat bottom and sides of a 14- X 8-inch baking dish with cooking spray. Spread a thin layer of sauce (about 1/4 to 1/3 cup) on bottom of pan. Layer eggplant over sauce (use all the slices, even if you have to overlap them). Cover eggplant with half of marinara sauce and then spread half of ricotta mixture on top; sprinkle with half of mozzarella cheese. Top mozzarella cheese with zucchini and cover zucchini with remaining marinara sauce; spread with remaining ricotta mixture and then sprinkle with remaining mozzarella and Parmesan cheeses.
- Bake until the bottom starts to bubble, about 35 to 40 minutes. Remove lasagna from oven and allow it to rest for about 15 to 20 minutes before slicing into 12 pieces. Yields 1 piece per serving.
Use a mandoline to slice the vegetables, if possible. If you do not have a mandoline and you cannot cut long, even slices of the eggplant and zucchini with your knife, you can slice them into 1/4-inch rounds instead.
Shop the sales!
By far the comment heard most often regarding the purchase of high quality organic food, is that it costs more and makes it harder to stay on budget. We hear you. Whether you're shopping at Choices or any other store, make sure to look through the sales flyer and tailor your recipes to utilize the foods/ingredients that are on sale.
At Choices, our sales last the entire month PLUS we have a Thrifty Thursday special produce deal every week. Since our sales flyer offers significant savings, you'll be able to get your budget to go further if you plan well!