Posts Tagged ‘organic’

Manna Bread Review & Giveaway

This giveaway is now closed.

Winner here.

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For the last 100 or so years, we’ve had the technology to easily make shelf-stable flour from our abundant amber waves of grain. Unfortunately what happens when you start mass producing a food into a highly processed food-thing is that you get a decline in the quality of the food. Nutrient-deficient food-things line the shelves of grocery stores and the Standard American Diet (I call this the “industrial diet”) is based on these products. Perhaps this is the reason for the decline in the health of the average American and why it seems like 90% of the commercials on TV are telling me to take the latest drug that will solve my myriad health issues.

Bread has been one of the worst victims of industrialized food production. Chemicalized, preservatized, and devitalized, both bread and the flour it is made from lack the benefits that perhaps a traditional bread may have had. Sprouted bread, though, bypasses most of these issues. Sprouted grains are not stripped of nutrients, and they seem to be easier to digest (especially for those of us with IBS) than flour. I’m a fan of sprouted breads but they are so dang pricey I don’t buy them that often.

Manna Bread Review

Fortunately, Manna Organics was kind enough to send me some bread to try – they sell sprouted bread that also happens to be yeast free, organic, free of salt, free of oils, without sweeteners, and uses no leavening agents. With a list like that you might think it tastes like cardboard or dog poop, but it’s actually quite delectable. They have two types of bread – the regular Manna Bread, which comes in fun flavors like Carrot Raisin, Fruit and Nut, but also the standard flavors like Millet Rice, Multigrain, etc… They also have a new line of Bavarian Style Sourdough Breads.

I will start with my favorite, the Multigrain Sprouted Bread. It is not presliced and comes in a petite hearty loaf.

This manna bread is appropriately named, because it is divine. It is incredibly moist and soft. It’s dense, but not in the way that many whole grain breads are – it is not dry at all, and reminded me of the consistency of a moist, hearty, healthy muffin. So this bread is basically like an unsweetened muffin. I have only had it plain (it’s just that good) and with butter (another product I like to call manna). The ingredient list includes sprouted organic wheat kernels, organic brown rice, organic barley, organic millet, organic flax seed, organic rye kernels, organic soy beans, organic rolled oats, organic oat bran, and organic cornmeal. I loved it!

Now for the sourdough breads. The sourdough breads do have organic whole grain flour and salt added, but the sprouted Manna breads do not have either. I much preferred the regular kind but Bobby liked these better! We have very different taste buds. The other morning we had toast and eggs and used one of the sourdough breads. The sourdough breads are pre-sliced. The slices are nice and thin so you can have a couple and not be too full.

Sourdough bread is said to be easier to digest since it is partially fermented. We tried three kinds – the Whole Rye, the Sunny Sourdough, and the Multigrain Flax (pictured above).

If you’re looking for Manna Breads, I think they are found in the freezer section of your grocery store. Definitely check out that multigrain one. I want to try other flavors as well.

***

This giveaway is now closed.

Winner here.

***

Manna Organics is also going to let one (1) lucky reader try their breads. You’ll get 4 loaves (either you pick or they will send 4 of their most popular ones). Retail value is $25. Open to USA addresses only. This contest will close next Thursday, June 16, at midnight (EST). Unless I forget to end it, in which case it will end a day or two later 😉 So get your entries in asap.

Here’s how to enter (leave one comment per entry please):

  • Follow Manna on Twitter: @MannaOrganics
  • Like Manna on Facebook: Manna Organics
  • Follow me on Twitter: @TheSaladGirl (leave your handle in the comments)
  • Like me on Facebook: Say Yes to Salad
  • Add me to your blogroll 😉 (I’m sorry again, this is shameless.)
  • Blog about the giveaway.
  • Tell me what your favorite kind of bread is!

Happy Wednesday! I am off to do the 30 Day Shred. I am super sore from yesterday in my quads. Gahhhh squats.

Yasai Yaki Soba Recipe {Project Food Blog}

Today’s post is my second Project Food Blog entry (see my first entry here). The challenge? “The Classics”. Each contestant must pick an ethnic classic that (s)he is unfamiliar with. We’re supposed to keep it as authentic as possible.

Ethnic food? Nothing new to me. Authentic ethnic meals? Okay, now you’re onto something. I make a lot of so-called “ethnic” dishes, but they are not usually true to the traditional recipe. I’m always modifying and Maggie-fying dishes, sometimes to the point that they are unrecognizable by the end. I always enjoy the outcome, but I will admit that I can’t follow a recipe to save my life. So this challenge is very… well, challenging for me (as it is supposed to be). The main reasons that I usually change a recipe are:

  • I don’t have all the ingredients and I make substitutions
  • I healthify recipes by reducing the amount of oil or adding extra vegetables
  • I simplify recipes to make them quick and easy

My Challenge: Yasai Yaki Soba

Japanese food is a definite favorite for me, but I rarely make traditional dishes. I use a lot of Japanese ingredients, but I don’t make a lot of Japanese dishes. I leave that up to Bobby’s mom (one of my two favorite cooks – my mom being the other one). In my googling I came across a few recipes for Yasai Yaki Soba. I had to pick it because Bobby and I have an inside joke about Yakisoba (it involves a hysterical commercial they used to play on California TV). Turns out that I had almost all the ingredients needed and I only had to run out for 2 things: the garnishes.

Yasai Yaki Soba: What does it mean?

I know there are linguists out there (Lauren and Amber Shea!) that share my passion for words, so let’s break down this recipe to see exactly what Yasai Yaki Soba is.

Yasai = vegetable. Yaki = from yaku, which means “to bake or to grill”. Yaki appears in a lot of Japanese dish names – teriyaki, sukiyaki, takoyaki, okonomiyaki. Soba = buckwheat noodles. I had a lot of trouble finding Japanese etymology resources online, so all I can offer are these definitions. (If you know of a good resource please let me know!) So this is a veggie noodle dish that is “grilled” in a wok (fried). This version happens to be macrobiotic (if organic eggs count) and vegetarian.

Yasai Yaki Soba: The Recipe & The Details

I set about setting up my ingredients.

The main source of panic for me for this recipe? The vegetable oil! I never use that much to stir-fry things. I got over it though; I had to follow the recipe to be authentic. That is the point of this challenge.

Yasai Yaki Soba Recipe (Serves 2)

Ingredients

  • 6 ounces soba noodles (dry weight)
  • 1 green pepper, sliced and chopped
  • 1 large thinly sliced carrot (I used a mandoline)
  • 1/2 cup sliced onion
  • 3 garlic cloves finely chopped
  • 2 eggs
  • 3 tablespoons vegetable oil

Seasoning Ingredients

  • 2 tablespoons soy sauce
  • 1 tablespoon rice wine (mirin)
  • 1 teaspoon sesame oil

Yasai Sauce Ingredients

  • 2 tablespoons rice wine (mirin)
  • 1 tablespoon rice vinegar
  • 1 tablespoon soy sauce
  • 1 teaspoon sesame oil
  • 2 teaspoons freshly grated ginger (or 1/2 teaspoon ginger powder)

Garnish Ingredients

  • pickled ginger
  • sesame seeds (black or regular or both)

Method

  1. Cook the soba noodles according to the package (usually 4 minutes in boiling water). Immediately rinse with cool water to stop cooking. Set aside.
  2. Beat the 2 eggs and mix in the seasoning ingredients. Add the veggies (pepper, carrot, onion, garlic) and then add the noodles (gently so they don’t break).
  3. Heat a wok over high heat for 1-2 minutes until it’s very hot (almost smoking), then add the vegetable oil. Add the noodly veggie egg mixture and cook for 4 minutes, stirring occasionally. Mix together the yasai sauce ingredients while the noodles are cooking.
  4. Remove from heat, add the yasai sauce (while still in the wok), and mix. Divide between 2 dishes and top with the garnishes – ginger and sesame seeds.
  5. Enjoy!

Yasai Yaki Soba: What was challenging?

I had a few difficulties with this…

  1. I followed the recipes to a T – I actually went out and bought the specific garnishes that the recipe called for. And those garnishes made this dish exactly the classic dish I was hoping for! I don’t usually do this, but maybe I am missing out. The little things really do make a difference.
  2. The oil content. When I stirfry I don’t usually use this much oil. I use enough, but I never take the risk of using too much and making it soggy with fat. I used the amount it called for, but it turns out I was probably right – Bobby and I both prefer it less oily.
  3. It didn’t have as many veggies as I usually use, and I was tempted to add more in. When I make noodle-veggie dishes, I always use at least half veggies (in terms of volume). This had more noodles than veggies, but it made me appreciate the simple flavor of the soba.

So this challenge was awesome in that it made me appreciate the fact that I am actually a very good cook (Bobby loved it), I don’t have to always make uber-healthy food, and it solidified my love for true Japanese cuisine. Thanks Project Food Blog!

I will remind you how to vote for me tomorrow. I will also be back either later today or early tomorrow with my weekly roundup – I was out all day yesterday and didn’t get to it.

What’s your favorite ethnic dish?

Mine is papaya salad, duh. I would have made that except I’ve already made that lots of times.

*Note: I combined elements of 2 recipes to get this recipe. See here and here for my inspirations.

Recipe: (Organic) Roasted Veggie Bi Bim Bap

Last night (on the fourth of July) I made bi bim bap for dinner. Bi bim bap is a Korean dish – it’s rice, topped with lettuce, various cooked veggies, and an egg. And meat, for non-vegetarians. (Like that yolk, Sophia?)

In the spirit of being local/homegrown/American (it was fourth of July) I made this with mostly organic produce from our farmers’ market; the eggs are also organic and free range and delicious. I think the rice is even organic too. I’m making a serious effort to be more local/organic these days.

That is Bobby’s bi bim bap. It’s brown/white rice (a mix), some lettuce, a fried egg, and roasted veggies.

Maggie’s Organic Roasted Veggie Bi Bim Bap

Ingredients

  • brussels sprouts, quartered
  • green beans
  • burdock, finely sliced
  • turnips, sliced (I used a mandoline)
  • zucchini, sliced (mandoline again)
  • peanut oil (a few tablespoons)
  • soy sauce (a few teaspoons)
  • lettuce
  • rice (brown or white)
  • red spicy Korean sauce (we used ketchup + hot sauce – a good approximation!)
  • 1 fried egg per person

Method

First I coated the brussels, beans, turnips, zucchini, and burdock in peanut oil and soy sauce. I put the brussels, burdock, and beans on one pan because those have to cook for longer; the turnips and zucchini can go on another sheet. I baked them at 400F for 35 minutes. I took out the turnips/zucchini early (25 minutes or so).

(Note: in the picture above I had put the burdock with the turnips/zucchini – I had to move it to the other pan because it wasn’t done after 25 minutes!) Then they came out:

Once the veggies were done, we simply made bowls of rice + lettuce + fried egg, and added the toppings. Here is the bi bim bap base (Bobby’s):

And here is the finished product (mine – extra lettuce, obviously):

We topped it with homemade ketchup + organic hot sauce. Yum!

This was so much better than some of the other things I have made recently – not because the other things are bad, but because this was made with fresh, organic, local ingredients. I am finally converted. These veggies were fabulous and it’s not worth it to me to save money with non-organic produce anymore. I’m going GREEN.

Exercise of the day: I’m about to do my Diane von Furstenberg exercise, and then Bobby and I are going to the Met a little later to meet up with a friend. We’ll walk there (over a mile) and back.

Do you buy organic? Is it worth it to you? Can you get organic produce/products where you live?

A Filling Salad

I like to think I’m a pro at making salads. I posted 2 of my new yums yesterday – salads really can be wholesome and filling (not just greens and no oil!) and they can be for lunch or dinner.

They key is adding things like kabocha or squash or other root veggies (beets, sweet potatoes, etc…), healthy fats (avocados, olive oil, bacon, butter), and other extras. I am currently *not* vegetarian or vegan, so I definitely enjoy meaty add-ons like bacon, lunch meat, cheese, and eggs.

(I am a vegetarian/vegan enthusiast but that strict lifestyle is not for me!)

(Picture is not today’s salad, but quite similar. I thought I had uploaded the picture but I hadn’t!) Today my lunch salad consisted of:

  • base: massaged kale with avocado, lemon juice, bragg’s liquid aminos, and salt + chopped romaine
  • toppings: organic nitrate/nitrite-free turkey bologna, shredded cheddar, thinly sliced celery (mandoline)
  • dressing: annie’s light honey mustard

I addition to salads, I like bringing sauteed veggies (with more filling toppings) to work for lunch as well. I’m not usually a fan of processed foods, but some of the frozen options at Trader Joe’s have served me well for toppings.

This is:

  • base: purple cabbage and beets sauteed in organic butter + cilantro
  • toppings: half of a vegetarian frozen lasagna from Trader Joe’s

It was delicious and held me through the afternoon… with a few nuggets of dark chocolate that I had for lunch dessert.

When I do dinner salads (often) I abide by the same rules. A base of healthy greens, and I add on healthy fats and carbs (kabocha, squash, root veggies) and maybe some extras (organic meat).

What’s your favorite lunch to bring to work/school/on a plane/wherever? What are your salad tips?

Salad Tuesday and Flat Bread

I added a tab on the blog called “Operation Wedding“. I’ll be tracking my workouts and progress over the next 2.5 months… July 24th is quickly approaching! Operation Wedding is well underway – I am very sore this morning.

In other wedding news, I got a caterer. It’s going to be a secret though. You will just have to wait and see because I feel like being secretive. At least for now.

I wanted to share two yummy salads that I have made recently. I always eat more salads in the summer – I just crave them. And I have decided that $2.99 for a bunch of kale is not so terrible. It’s cheaper than eating out, I suppose.

Salad numero uno:

  • base: romaine; massaged kale with avocado, lemon juice, salt, and bragg’s liquid aminos
  • toppings: tomatoes, cucumbers, uncured organic turkey bologna (nitrate/nitrite-free)
  • dressing: pear-feta dressing from trader joe’s

Salad numero dos:

  • base: romaine; massaged kale with avocado, lemon juice, salt, and bragg’s liquid aminos
  • toppings: beets sauteed in butter + some cilantro, uncured organic turkey bologna (nitrate/nitrite-free), shredded cheddar cheese
  • dressing: annie’s lite honey mustard dressing

They were delicious. Reminds me of doing Leng’s salad challenges last year. I hear RhodeyGirl is doing a salad challenge right now too, and so is Lara. I adore salad, and I probably have a salad almost every day without even trying. Don’t forget, I am The Salad Girl.

In non-salad news, I had this amazing flatbread from Trader Joe’s this weekend:

It was called the “Tarte aux Champignons” – a French style flat bread with mushrooms, emmental, and parmesan (love!) cheese. I ate half and Bobby ate half… but I stole his crust. It was amazing. I actually wish the whole thing was just crust. We’ll definitely be buying this again if we can ever get into Trader Joe’s. I had to get this when I was in New Jersey because the Union Square Trader Joe’s lines are always too long.

What’s your favorite salad dressing? Mine is certainly honey mustard! I get it 99% of the time.

Review: Slice Perfect Pizza in New York

If you haven’t checked it out already, Foodbuzz just launched a new Healthbuzz section. I’m one of the Contributing Health Editors, along with a few of my favorites – there are too many to list so go check them out yourself.

I mentioned yesterday that my sister came to visit me for the weekend. So…

Bobby and I have been meaning to go to this organic pizza placeSlice – on the upper east side for a while now. I’d heard of it through my Cornell listserve (the owners are fellow Cornellians) and apparently Bobby’s business partner is actually friends with them. We decided to take Julia there for her first night in the city (Friday).

Slice also offers gluten-free pies, and actually pies for people with all different allergies – dairy, wheat, gluten, nuts, casein, etc… Everything is made to order and fresh (no pre-made pizza that gets reheated). The slices come sliced into bite-size pieces – about 5 per slice, I think. Apparently they are the only pizzeria in the country that uses 100% organic mozzarella cheese.

We shared the bruschetta to start ($5.50 I think). I left my camera at home so these pictures are taken from Yelp. This picture shows the bruschetta on little crackers, but it was actually served with fresh toasted pita bread – which was delicious. I think the “pita” was actually the same dough they make their (thin-) crust pizza with.

Source.

Julia got the “intermediate” slice ($5). It was a honey whole wheat crust with marinara, arugula, and goat cheese. It was amazing. Their menu is set up like a school – appetizers are “additional learning”, drinks are “extracurriculars”, and so on.

Source.

Bobby got 2 slices – one was “Taste of India” ($4.50) (honey whole wheat crust, channa masala, and part-skim mozzarella). You had to eat this with a fork it was so thick and chickpea-covered. I’m going to be honest and say I didn’t like this one at all… but I don’t like Indian food; maybe an Indian food lover would enjoy it. Bobby and Julia didn’t like it that much either.

Source.

His other slice was called “the master” ($5.50), which was my favorite. I don’t have a picture. It was a thin-crust honey whole wheat pizza topped with marinara sauce, organic part-skim mozzarella, and crumbled free-range organic herbed chicken sausage. Oh my goodness, so delicious. It was light but meaty and the flavors were perfect.

I got this amazing salad, ($7) and I shared some of the pizzas and of course the bruschetta. (Greens, cucumbers, tomatoes, goat cheese.) I got this with the carrot ginger dressing – I dumped all 3 containers of dressing on the salad and wished they had given me more.

Source.

Next time I think I will get “the intermediate” (Julia’s pick) and steal some of Bobby’s “the master” (the organic chicken sausage one).

Slice was great – organic and reasonably priced. We left feeling pretty full – could definitely do without the appetizer next time. We’ll probably be back one night this week.

I broke out my camera yesterday and took pictures of several things I ate. It was nice. It felt odd after keeping the camera away for so long. The pictures include yummy oatmeal that converted Bobby and Julia into oatmeal lovers. That makes me happy. Bobby has been a willing weekend oatmeal participant for the last few weeks, ever since he found out about steel cut oats.

Do you like pizza? What’s your favorite kind? I like vegan or vegetarian pies with lots of veggies.

P.S. I saw a celebrity at Souen at Saturday brunch. She was gorgeous and her role in one of my favorite TV shows does not do her any justice at all. The women is 44 but she looks about 25. I want to be her. If I’m a vegan too will I look like that? If I practice yoga daily will I look like that? Guess who!

Review: Josie’s West (New York City)

It’s good to be blogging again!

On Thursday night Bobby and I met up with one of my friends from a long long time ago. Gosh, I missed her. We met her very smart and cool boyfriend as well. Thursday (December 3rd) was actually Bobby’s and my 4 year anniversary as well as my brother’s birthday and Bobby’s sister’s birthday. Pretty awesome day.

Anyway, Kate and Simon suggested that we check out Josie’s West on 75th and Amsterdam. It’s a restaurant that serves food and uses “healthy & wholesome ingredients”. Their menu had a glossary (maybe people kept asking questions?) that described some of the more atypical ingredients like “Air baked organic Belgian fries” and “coulis”.

Disclaimer: I didn’t take pictures; I found what I could online.

The meal started with complimentary bread. I chose the cornbread. It was just okay; Whole Foods’s cornbread is better. There was also a dish of some kind of creamed squash spread, which was completely fabulous. I put it on everything.

Bobby and I got two things and kind of shared. We got “organic mesclun greens” with grilled chicken and a red wine-wasabi vinaigrette. The vinaigrette was nothing short of incredible, but the greens and the chicken were fairly boring. I wouldn’t get this again (so bland) but I do want to try to recreate the vinaigrette.

burger

We also got the “char-grilled natural turkey cheeseburger” (picture from the website) which came with cheddar and a honey mustard sauce. Bobby got steamed greens instead of fries (who is this boy?). The burger was very flavorful and juicy. I’d get it again for sure.

To be honest, the company was way more interesting than the food. We might go back, because I feel like I missed out on some cool dishes by getting the salad… but we weren’t really focused on the food at all and I had to pick something to order at the last minute so I went with my fallback (yep, I’m a salad girl). I was way more interested in catching up with Kate!

Overall rating: 6/10 stars. If it had been cheaper I would have rated it higher. The salad was about $15 and the burger was about $14. ::Shrug:: It was a great night, though.

Before dinner I hit up Lululemon and made a kickass buy; more on that later. I also have to blog about…

Stay tuned.

What are you doing this weekend? Tonight Bobby and I went to a neat joint in Astoria and tomorrow we’re going to Chinatown for lunch with 2 of my coworkers. We’re also going back to Lulu and I hope to do some grocery shopping so that I can actually cook something yummy.