Mediterranean Mania

Happy Saturday!!

This morning started off with a fruit medley of sorts – and I think maybe a first, too?

I don’t think I’ve ever had fresh apricots in oats before! After today though, there’s no reason why one shouldn’t!

I promise that's not babyfood.

The base:

Topped with:

  • chia-acai icing (the last of the mix with the Bossa Nova juice)
  • cashews
  • Mae’s coconut butter
  • shredded unsweetened coconut
  • and a compote of a diced fresh apricot and a sliced fresh strawberry, simmered in some almond milk and maple syrup.

It was stellar! I love the addition of the Bossa Nova juice. I’d never played with adding juice in place of water/coffee – but I have a hunch this is what my other juice will be put towards, too.

I had another newbie with coffee – Green Mountain Heifer Hope with a bit of cream! Usually I enjoy almond milk in my coffee – but for some reason, if I ice it and make it with almond milk, it just doesn’t taste good. I guess iced coffee and cream are just made for each other – though I really didn’t notice much difference for this hot cup. I’m going to try starting my own iced coffee making, though. I haven’t mentioned it, but it’s become a habit at work already. The gas station down the road has the. best. iced coffee. It’s hard to find a place that brews the flavored coffee rather than just brewing a regular cup and adding the flavoring. I’ve realized my tastes have changed so much that I despise the artificial taste the flavoring gives it – even if it’s just vanilla! blech.

Now that I got that shamelessy yet needlessly long novel about coffee over, you must be dying to know how I spent my day.

No? Oh, well, I’ll spill anyway!

I did some nice yoga sculpt where Dawnelle kicked my booty before going into town with my mom on a trip into town. Actually, the yoga was a carbon copy of what we did in that gym class two years ago. Anyways – the highlights include:

  • tack sale
  • farmers market (amazing bread + spinach + butter ย lettuce)
  • tag sailing (teehee, am i the only one who gets a kick out of saying tag sailing, as if it’s a boat? anyways – we picked up a toaster oven. score)

and then getting home just in time for lunch. Every time I say “just in time” or “just in case,” I think of the poor soul who’s mother thought it would be a good idea to name him Justin Case or Justin Time.

Anyways – it’s been too long since I’ve had hummus and eggs so I made myself and my mother some delicious sandwiches, utilizing some fresh bread, butter lettuce, local goat cheese, Cedar’s garlic & chive hummus, tomato paste, roasted reds, artichoke hearts, roasted eggplant, and microwaved eggs. Mainly because I forgot about eggs until it was a bit late in the sandwich making game, but hey.

Am I the only one who enjoys tomato paste on sandwiches? I kind of have a thing against tomatoes on sandwiches lately, but think tomato paste blends so nicely with the hummus & cheese, and still gives you good tomato flavor. And you don’t get all the sloppy sloop of a real tomato! That and…sometimes tomatoes are just so blah.

I paired mine with some New York Deli lightly salted pita chips & hummus, and of course a delicious plum.

I poked around the “tack closet” and cleaned some old tack whilst digesting, and then went out and worked a bit in the yard. Er, pasture. It got hot today! I guess I can’t complain – but today was more of a gross hot – a “I think it’s going to rain any minute,” sort of muggy-ness, not a nice, sunny, just plain hot day. Am I making sense? No? Oops. Anyways – I perked right up after remembering what I had stashed away in my fridge.

Yep. Had to break into this puppy last night after polishing off my TJs. I was worried – but – dare I say that Price Chopper’s Full Circle organic line is better than TJs?! I mean – lets be real, they’re pretty darn similar. But I think PC has a slight edge with their creamy-factor. And it’s not quite as salty as TJs.

So, I had a bowl of kashi H2H warm cinnamon, almond milk, dried cherries, peanuts, strawberries, cinnamon and sunflower butter. Fun fact: I have this everynight before I go to bed. Well, some sort of variation, anyway. ย It’s my favorite way to eat cold cereal – whether it’s Kashi or Puffins.

aaaaand dinner incorporated some of my favorite flavors ever. This was essentially, the epitome of healthy exposures. I will never tire of garlic, basil, italian essence. I almost went the chana masala route tonight but then stopped and realized: I don’t want curry, it’s hot out. Why am I set on curry? And so, using the same ingredients, birthed this instead.

Are there any flavors, cuisines, dishes, etc that “define” you, or do you love everything? Don’t get me wrong – I enjoy quite an array, but feel like Italian will always be my one true love, something I can fall back on.

A grilled portobello (do you say portabella or portobello, btw? I preferred bella until being told that was incorrect. Now I see it works both ways, but I’m stuck on bello) marinated in balsamic, enjoyed with chickpeas sauteed in some minced garlic and then to the pan added a spoonful of Ragu 7-herb tomato sauce, fresh tomato, local spinach, scallions, artichoke hearts, basil, grilled eggplant, red pepper, and cracked black pepper. I think “cheating” and adding the jarred pasta sauce really tied everything together. Hats off to Ragu, ladies and gents. Funny that one of the cheapest brans at the store happens to be my favorite, second only to Newman’s.

Topped with some feta and cashews. And why yes, that is my third can of garbanzos (doesn’t garbanzo sound so super-hero-esque?) opened up this week. I’m hoping the BPA won’t set in until I’m at least mid-fifties, though. Maybe?

And since my dinner certainly ties in to tonight’s subject at hand – enjoy!!

________________________________

Mediterranean Madness

Seems like the Mediterranean Diet is all the rage lately – and yet, I’ve never truly delved into the perspective behind it. I grasped that it was a lifestyle that relied majorly on fruits, nuts, veggies, whole grains and foods high in healthy fats, which I’ve payed tribute to before. What’s not to like? I was thinking about it again today, and while I was cooling down from working outside, thought to look more into it.

Lately, research has shown that following a diet such as this can help to lower cases of asthma and allergies, helps to lessen your risk of metabolic syndrome, cancer and depression, and most interestingly to me – may help to eliminate the need for medication to treat Type II Diabetes. Oh, yeah, and a longer life.

Who is the main player in the effectiveness of all this mediterranean madness? Extra Virgin Olive Oil. EVOO, if you will. (Lets all just admit it – we love Rachy) EVOO consumption on a regular basis has recently been shown to significantly lessen inflammatory activity within your body. And, when tested against breast cancer cells in lab tests – the EVOO phytochemicals (which would be lost in typical olive oil refining processes) inhibited a breast cancer gene. Though these tests wouldn’t be practically re-lived in real life based solely on the amount of olive oil that would need to be consumed – this information is certainly helpful to those aiming to develop breast cancer treatments andย preventatives, and is being utilized to produce effective treatment.

When this is teamed with the addition of nuts into your diet – you get even more benefits than solely relying on olive oil for your unsaturated fats. Nuts offer fiber, arginine, potassium, calcium and magnesium, too! And, my favorite blurb:

“A typical Mediterranean meal includes generous amounts of fruits, vegetables, legumes, whole grains, pasta, cereals, nuts, seeds and olive oil, with lesser amounts of poultry, eggs, and dairy, and very little red meat. A glass of wine is almost always served with lunch or dinner. The Mediterranean diet also emphasizes minimally processed, fresh, and preferably local foods. The total fat in this diet is 25 to 35 percent of calories. Actually, the dietary guidelines recommended by the American Heart Association are very similar to that of the Mediterranean diet.”

Hmm…high in fat and unsaturated fat…and tasty! Who says you need to go low-carb and low-fat to be healthy?

Want more help in putting together Mediterranean Meals? Click Here!

a-la healthnews.com

Do you find yourself leaning towards any “diet” in particular? And by diet I mean what and how you eat, not the typical “trying to lose weight” that many people immediately associate with the term diet ๐Ÿ™‚

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24 Comments

Filed under breakfast, cooking, dinner, foodblog, health, health food, healthy living, lunch, oatmeal, recipe, Uncategorized

24 responses to “Mediterranean Mania

  1. Mo

    Your dinner looks so good! Garbaaaaaaaaaaaahhnzo. I call them garbanzos when I’m feeling mighty, and chickpeas when I feel like saying cute words such as that.

    Mediterranean food rocks. I just need to get over my dislike for eating olives and I’m all set for the diet since I kind of already slightly adhere to the guidelines anyway, save for the red wine. ๐Ÿ˜‰

    Uhm, I dunno, concerning your question. Flavor-wise, I’m all over the place. I love cooking all different types of flavors but the most common are probably Middle Eastern (especially Indian) and Italian. I kind of just go with what’s good for me, regarding WHAT I eat. Lots of fruits and veggies, whole grains, legumes, tons of water, the occasional animal product, healthy fats, nuts, seeds, yadda-yadda… I definitely don’t eat a completely balanced diet and it varies day-to-day. One day I’ll eat 2 pounds of broccoli, the other I’m eating a ton of baked goods (albeit not-too-bad-for-you baked goods, but still). ๐Ÿ˜›

  2. That’s an interesting question…I know that I lean away from an Italian diet. I guess I’d have to say that I eat mostly Mexican inspired dishes…and a lot of sandwiches. I’ll just call it fusion. That oat bowl is beautiful and very well photographed!

  3. I say portabella!

    I’d like to say I lean towards a Mediterranean diet. I use a lot of olive oil when cooking and eat a lot of nuts, grains, and fish. All I need is the daily glass of wine!

  4. I definitely follow the Mediterranean diet the most. I love fats and almost everything else in that diet. I guess the one thing I don’t like in it is red wine. Alcohol just doesn’t taste that good to me, though champagne can be tasty ;-).

    And your meals look absolutely delicious as usual, especially breakfast!

  5. Loving the oats today!! Looks SO good!! I dub you the Oats Queen.. so you come make me oats and I’ll come make you pancakes, deal? Yay ๐Ÿ™‚
    I know what you mean about the gross hot thing… welcome to the south! haha I hate it when it’s like that, kinda muggy and the air is just heavy and makes you feel, well, gross when you go outside! Blech.
    You lunch sounds delicious!! I’m going to have to try tomato paste on a sandwich.. sounds amazing! I never would’ve thought of that..
    I’m with you on the coffee. I don’t much like artificial flavorings either… just give me plain old coffee and some half and half and I’m good to go ๐Ÿ™‚
    And yay for Ragu!

    Thank you so so so much for your comment Jess!! Seriously, you’re the best. I wish we lived closer to each other!!! Does that sound creepy? I hope not haha And you are right about tomorrow… let’s make it FABULOUS!!!!
    Love you girl! Always here for you too!

  6. these are amazing! love the idea of mediterranean meals!!! i always notice how many colors they use in their food and the flavors are heavenly. it all look INCREDIBLY delicious โค

  7. I absolutely love your photography! I guess it helps that you make fabulous meals! Your oats look AMAZING! Actually, everything does! (and I love coffee as much as you do ๐Ÿ˜‰ hehe)
    Have a great night!

  8. I don’t really LEAN in any one direction, but Mediterranean and Middle Eastern cuisines are the most fascinating and the most delicious looking to me.

    I’m dying to find some nice portobello caps, btw. I’m cheap, therefore I go to Kroger and they never have BIG caps like I’ve seen there before – I anxiously await the day I find them there so I can try portobello cap paninis or pizzas. Mmm.

  9. I don’t know how you make your iced coffee, if it’s cold brewed or just iced from regular brewed coffee, but if you made cold brewed coffee you could probably make 1 -2 cups worth and try replacing some of the water with almond milk to see how it comes out.

    I love coffee!

  10. BETTER than TJ’s!?! I actually just cracked open a TJ’s jar a few hours ago….so creeeeeamy!

  11. Green monsters, kabocha, parsnips, cinnamon – they define me!!
    I don’t know why, but I always admire the fruit you put in your oats – I just can’t imagine oats without banana!!? But fresh apricots..that does sound good!
    I read yesterday that the only good oil is coconut – all the others (when heated, not unheated) lose their goodness and release loads of nasty things :s very odd!

  12. I’ve never had tomato paste on a sandwich, but I use it for pizza.

    I don’t eat a particular diet, I eat a little of everything. However, my tastes usually gravitate toward Mediterranean dishes. I love veggies, whole grains, EVOO, olives, beans, etc., so I’d say I probably eat around 75-80% Mediterranean-like. ๐Ÿ™‚

    Jenn

  13. I love Mediteranean meals, that’s definitly what I gravitate towards. I totally agree about flavored iced coffee, I HATE when they add the pumps. It tastes SO fake! I never liked the pumps so it’s not something I’ve grown to not like but I did have to kick my splenda habit. I also love hummus and eggs, mainly just hummus, with or without the eggs hahah. Oh btw can you take me to that farmer’s market with you? thanks ๐Ÿ™‚

  14. I love Mediterranean food! It’s funny how Americans have come to characterize the cuisine with Greek yogurt and feta cheese, when in reality these are usually added to dishes “to taste,” not loaded onto a plate of iceberg lettuce. I’ve always found it interesting that the lower the consumption of animal products, the lower the rates of cancer….definitely food for thought in our steak-loving culture!

  15. I used to lean mostly towards Asian cuisine and my default meals used to be stir fries because they were so easy to whip together when I didn’t want to think about cooking.

    But I also love Mediterranean food and I’ve been trying out a lot more dishes with grains and beans lately. It’s a little more time consuming to prepare but so delicious! ๐Ÿ˜€

  16. I wish you didn’t live so far away…I could totally invite myself over for any meal you eat during the day! It was a muggy sticky mess here too yesterday! I felt gross being at the park for the art competition. UGH…then they ran late in announcing the winners (Jay got 2nd…yay!) and we did not have time to clean up before our company came over for dinner. Anyway, on to diets…I think I am a mix of Mexican and Mediterranean. I could not decide between the two because I have a serious love affair with cumin. It smells like BO, but it is so good! I hope you enjoy your Sunday! I am off to a baby shower (UGH…I am only going cause it is my cousin (she is not nice to me), but my grandmother should be there and I want to see her). Why did I go into to much detail? Anyway, have a good day!

  17. Dee

    I definitely find myself leaning towards Mediterranean style eating. To be honest, I never really thought about it until reading your post. Imagine my surprise when I realized that that’s the case. lol. ๐Ÿ™‚

  18. Michelle

    I read it as -bello but I say it -bella. Makes things a bit confusing in my head ๐Ÿ˜‰

  19. Love the idea of fresh apricot oats, I have only seen dried around here so far. It definitely sounds delicious though! Ok, I wish you were here so you could help me with this canon rebel….yikes. How do ya get a clear foreground but fuzzy background? I can’t seem to figure that out but that might be because this doesn’t have a super duper lens like you were talking about.

    Mediterranean meals were the most common when growing up. My mom lived in italy for a few years and I think that had a tremendous influence on her. We always ate a LOT of nuts (pine..yum!), olive oil, tomatoes, basil, etc. My dad, being british, always cooked curries because thats just how they do things over there due to colonization way way back of india (i’m sure ya know this lady…). I could talk for days about all the different types of food I love to eat but lets just say that I cook a lot of Asian and Mexican too. I think living in Cali in my middle school days made me a tad obsessed with huevos rancheros. Now I just love the sweet potato, refried beans, avocado, corn-tomato salsa thang….mmm.

    Love all the interesting facts about the Mediterranean diet. Unfortunately, my mom had a pretty bad case of Breast Cancer when I first went to college and she eats mostly that way. It’s sad but true that sometimes even when you do all the right things, cancer still can happen to you (not to be a downer).

  20. I love Mediterranean meals. Olive oil, garbanzo beans, ripe tomatoes and grilled veggies…so so good. When I saw your portobello meal, I began drooling (I like portobella too). I know I’ve said this many times, but you are just so creative and talented. So yes…Italian for me. Whenever my husband and I travel, we always end up falling in love with one Italian restaurant (the pizza usually does it for me) and we’ll visit it at least two or three times before leaving. Thank you for another great post, and thank you for your sweet comments on my blog. I would love to see you on my way to Maine ๐Ÿ™‚

  21. I just found puffins for my girls and we have gone through 5 boxes already, hubby loves them but like you he eats them for snack time, my girls accused me of holding out on them…well my flavors lean towards mexican, i think it gets a bad wrap, mexican can be low fat and healthy but ya gotta be willling to work at it, i am slightly obessed with cilantro…ha aha great eats

    sweetlife

  22. If breakfast was a cuisine, then I think that would define my eating ๐Ÿ™‚

  23. Fresh apricots in oats sounds wonderful! And I think the Mediterranean “diet” is a good one, or at least has some pretty solid principles. Not to mention Medterranean food rocks! Oh and your nighttime snack looks delicious ๐Ÿ™‚

  24. Pingback: Artichoke Experiences « Healthy Exposures

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