Put this in the Pantry

August 27, 2013

I’ve recently rediscovered how wonderful an egg can be!  Eggs are a complete protein and are a very affordable source of protein.  Plus, chickens can lay eggs and still live long healthy lives.  We have chickens living in the Urban Meadow down the block from where I live.  The chickens are in a coop and are part of the garden’s landscape.  It makes us feel like we have a little piece of farm life right here in Brooklyn!

Dylan checking out the chickens in the Urban Meadow

Dylan checking out the chickens in the Urban Meadow

The chickens spend their days laying a few eggs, getting to see loads of happy families and children and enjoying a lovely life!  So, if animal cruelty is on your mind, you can eat eggs without worry.  Now, the caveat to that is, that it’s really best to aim for Organic eggs, because those chickens are raised humanely.  Organic eggs are the gold standard, but eggs labelled “cage-free” are second best.  Some brands are organic AND cage-free, but you need to read the packaging carefully. Eggs that aren’t organic or cage-free or usually factory farmed and kept in cages from birth to death.  Something to think about.

One dozen organic eggs is currently $4.39 on Fresh Direct.  That’s only 37 cents per egg!  I think almost all of us can afford that.  Find me a snack that’s cheaper and tastier – I dare you! Think about taking just 37 cents into the corner store or bodega.  What on earth would you get for 37 cents? 1 piece of gum?

The easiest and most fool-proof egg is the hard-boiled egg, and the reason I know this is because I formerly had AWFUL luck cooking eggs.  When I first started cooking, back in 2001 while living in London, I ruined an entire batch of eggs just trying to make some over-easy.  So I had to regroup and start from scratch.  Hard-boiling an egg only requires, water, eggs and a saucepan with a cover.  If you can boil water for pasta, you can make a hard-boiled egg.

Here’s my recipe for the easiest hard-boiled egg.

Eat these as a snack with a sprinkle of salt and pepper, or use a few and make an egg salad. Two hard boiled eggs also makes a great breakfast you can take on the go.  I usually make these on the weekend and peel them, so they are in the fridge are ready to eat all week long.

Now, some clients have asked me about eating the yolks.  My preference is to eat the entire egg with the yolk because that makes it a complete protein.  If you are trying to cut calories, you can eat only the egg white, but I hate to waste the yolk so I always eat it.  Of course, you should use your discretion.

If anyone has a great egg salad recipe, please send it along – always looking for new ways to make it!

 

 

 

Marie's New Office

Marie’s New Office

I never would have dreamed over 4 years ago when I started this blog that someday I would have such an exciting announcement to make.  But here it is – my first office in New York City for personalized health coaching.

Since January, I have been a student at the Institute for Integrative Nutrition – the world’s largest nutrition school.  I have been working towards my Health Coach certification and it’s been a trans-formative year.  I’ve learned over 100 dietary theories and how to successfully coach people to unlock their inner potential to achieve health and much more.

Health coaching was not something I was even aware of when I left my job in the corporate world last year.  I knew that I wanted to do something in a health related field, but I assumed that I would become a yoga teacher.  I was practicing yoga 3x a week and found it to be a good fit for me, because I’d spent so much time in corporate education.  I thought, “well, I’ll just go educate people about yoga instead of cosmetics.”  The one hurdle was that I really loved Bikram Yoga but the training to become a teacher is 9 weeks long and held in Los Angeles.  I had a 15 month baby at home and a husband, I couldn’t very well leave for LA for 2 months.  I started to look around for other types of yoga that I might enjoy so that I could potentially become certified in a different type of yoga, but nothing really spoke to me.  Just when I thought yoga teaching might work out for me a dear friend told me about a certification course she was taking.  She mentioned, off-hand, “Marie this might be a good idea for you.”  I said to her, “You’re nuts! Me? Telling people how to get healthy? No way.”  I just couldn’t see myself as a “health professional”.  I still saw myself as someone who was in the trenches fighting everyday to regain health.  I was looking for health professionals to help me, not the other way around.  But then she reminded me, “But what about your blog?”

cropped-bluecheese2.jpg

The picture that inspired a cheese-loving blog.

Oh yeah.  What about my blog?  My whole reason for starting the blog was to give other people a first hand account of what it’s like for a “real person” to lose weight.  I was so sick of the shows on TV like “Biggest Loser” that were only targeting the morbidly obese.  Where were all the women who had 30lbs to lose?  The average women?  The women who looked like me?

They weren’t on TV.  It was either super skinny actresses or people with hundreds of pounds to lose.  That’s why I started writing.  I got so many encouraging responses about the blog that I kept writing.  There were lean times when I had zero inspiration and there were times when blogging came very easy – just like weight loss.  I kept writing and hoping someone was out there listening feeling comforted knowing someone else (Me) was going through things with them.

The Family Plate Logo by Paul Ingrisano

When I decided to take a leap of faith and enroll in the Institute for Integrative Nutrition, I didn’t know what would come of it.  I figured, I’ll do the course and see if it works out.  In the meantime I was just going to learn as much as I could even if it would end up being for my own knowledge.

Just 2 months after starting The Family Plate, I am already working with 10 people on reclaiming their health!  Meeting these women and men (yep! one dude) has enriched my life immeasurably.  Hearing their stories and their struggles gives me a greater insight into not just my own life, but the world.  Guiding them to try new whole grains, vegetables and self-care activities is so rewarding for me.  Hearing them say, “Before I ate that extra serving, I thought ‘What would Marie Do?'” was unbelievable to me!  Here I am – ready to help! Ready to inspire you and hold you accountable.  Wow – what a year it has been!

Through another stroke of good luck and timing, I was given the opportunity to open an office as part of the Soho Professional Health Center in Soho, NYC.  I am writing this post to you from my new office with some “Stress Away” essential oil diffusing into the air.  It’s lovely.

The beauty of health coaching is that it can be done in person or by phone, so for those of you not able to make it to Soho – fear not!  I can still become your personal cheerleader and health coach.

While writing this blog entry, I was reminding of Oprah Winfrey’s interview with Barbara Walters from 2010.  This was her farewell tour as she was ending her show and starting OWN.  I won’t even attempt to paraphrase or explain it – but her words inspired me.  I didn’t know then how I was going to let God “use me up” but I think I do now.

If you are interested in having a conversation with me about health coaching and how it could change your life email me at marie@thefamilyplate.com.  Visit my website http://www.thefamilyplate.com for more information or stop by my Soho office!

20130807-140211.jpg

Tomato Sauce for Shakshuka simmering away

As I mentioned, for Meatless Monday we attempting a new recipe called Shakshuka.  I found the recipe on Smitten Kitchen and it was very easy to follow and the results were deliciously amazing!  First you make a simple tomato sauce with jalepeno’s for added kick.  Cumin and paprika give it a middle eastern flavor.

20130807-140235.jpg

Eggs cracked into the sauce

Then you crack 6 organic eggs into the sauce.  Cover it and let it poach for 5 minutes.

20130807-140249.jpg

Shakshuka, ready to eat

The results are soft boiled eggs (or hard boiled if you let it cook longer) enveloped in a spicy tomato sauce.  We ate it with salad and some warm pita.  It would so satisfying as a meal, and there was plenty of tomato sauce left over.  The next night, we put the tomato sauce back on the stop top.  I added one small can of tomato sauce and some water and let it simmer.  Then added 6 eggs and made another fabulous dinner out of it.

In the future, I would probably only make 4 eggs because 2 for each of us is plenty.  Then I would save the sauce, as I did, and make it again with fresh eggs another time.  I have a feeling you can’t really reheat the eggs once they are cooked.

My favorite part of Meatless Monday is all the new recipes we are trying.  It’s become a fun project for my husband and I to tackle together every week.  Plus, trying 1 new recipe a week is just about all I can handle as I juggle health coaching, school, work and being with my son and husband.  Anything more than that and I might go a little nuts!

Next Monday we will just be returning home from a weekend out of town, so I’m not sure if I’ll be able to try a new recipe.  But, having this one in my rotation will be great especially because it uses ingredients I normally keep in the pantry and it is so easy to make.

Hello!  It’s Sunday night so that must mean it’s time for me to rack my brain for a Meatless Monday dinner for the family.  While my husband and I were brainstorming ideas, we both came up with Shakshuka at the same time.  It’s an Israeli dish that is make with eggs in a spicy tomato sauce.  I’ve never made it before and have only had it out to eat at places like Mimi’s Hummus here in Brooklyn.  It’s a wonderful dish because it had tons of flavor and can be made with no meat added.

Marie and Ran overlooking Jerusalem, 2010

Marie and Ran overlooking Jerusalem, 2010

The recipe I’m going to attempt tomorrow night is from Smitten Kitchen.  I’ve never made any of their recipes, but I have heard good things.  Plus the recipe seems easy enough to follow. Fingers crossed!

I’ll probably serve the shakshuka with a green salad and a cucumber salad because I recently acquired some farm fresh cucumbers!  Pita bread is also a customary compliment to shakshuka.

If this recipe goes well, I look forward to serving it again at my next brunch!

So far, Meatless Monday has become a great family project for us to tackle.  We are really enjoying finding new and exciting recipes to make and enjoy.  It’s fun for us to do together and it really does start the week off on a good foot.

We’ve also started eating meat only 1x per day.  I’ve been doing this for a while, but my husband recently got on board.  My main reason for choosing to eat vegetarian most of the day is because I really need to make sure that I get enough veggies in my diet. So less meat, means more creativity with veggies.  I’m also very aware of the fact that meat consumption is terrible for the planet right now, so I want to make a small difference by choosing to eat meat less and less.  I’m also buying mostly organic meat which is more expensive, so if we eat meat less I can mitigate the cost that way.

I’d really love to beef (haha) up the section of my recipe repertoire that’s vegetarian, so if you have amazing recipes you like for Meatless Monday, please put them in the comments below!

I promise to post pictures of my final product as soon as I can.  Wish me luck!

 

%d bloggers like this: