Sharing What I Love – 02.15.2013

Five Food Firsts: Lately, what I love about being healthy is learning to love new (to me) foods that I thought I hated.

In truth, I had never actually tried some of these foods before. When I was little, someone I looked up to probably said they didn't like it so I decided I didn't like them either.

Over the past week, I've been strongly encouraged by friends to "expand my palate horizons." So in the spirit of being adventurous (seriously, this is as exciting as it gets over here) I stepped out of my comfort zone and gave the following a try:

1. Beets:

I was so unfamiliar with beets that I really didn't know what it was. A fruit? A vegetable? When vegetable family did it belong to? There may have been an in depth dinner discussion on these very topics.

I tried it in a salad and was very pleasantly surprised by its taste. It was kinda sweet - not what I expected! Its texture was like a potato, except magenta red. I liked it so much that I looked for it at the grocery store and didn't recognize it in its original state. Nor did it look very appealing. Perhaps that is why I never liked it. After a quick text exchange with the friend who introduced me to do I'm told that I can buy it already cooked and pretty looking at Trader Joes...

Cooked Beets from Trader Joes // photo courtesy of @Roadbunner
Cooked Beets from Trader Joes // photo courtesy of @Roadbunner

2. Brussel Sprouts

The same friend and her husband also convinced me to try brussel sprouts. Again, a food I always said I hated but never actually tried. I had no idea how to even begin to cook it (or were you supposed to eat it raw?...I didn't know!) they advised me to cook it this way:

+ Remove the stems and cut in half + Place it in an oven safe dish + Season it with olive oil, salt, pepper and lemon juice + Bake at 375 degrees for 25-30 minutes + Check on it and stir it around in the oven every 10 minutes

The fact that I've already made it twice this week is a sure indication that I LOVE IT! Seriously, why didn't anyone tell me how good this stuff was sooner?!

A funny thing about me is that there always has to be one component of my meal that I love and will always save for last. It's usually a piece of lox at breakfast, or the last piece of meat at dinner. It's never a vegetable - until now. I actually saved it as the last bites of my meal to savor. This will be a permanent fixture on my grocery list!

Sorry I ate them too quickly to take any photos...

3. Tilapia

I am not a food blogger so my photos aren't pretty. I use my iPhone to take pictures because I am too lazy to use my point and shoot camera, and I'd rather buy running stuff than dish out cash for a DLSR. All that being said, I know that my photo of tilapia does not make it look very appetizing. But trust me, it was.

Baked Tilapia // photo by @NJnSF
Baked Tilapia // photo by @NJnSF

I grew up in Hawai'i and half of my family lives in Alaska. I come from a long line of fishermen (and women) and I love to go fishing myself. So it's no surprise that I am a fish eater. I love all seafood (except oysters). But I've never had tilapia. I'm not sure why. Anyhow, my nutritionist encouraged me to try it and gave me a simple way to prepare it:

+ Season with very light butter (I used coconut oil), lime zest (I got to use my new zester!), lime, salt and pepper. I also added some garlic herb seasoning. + Bake at 375 for 10 min. I ended up baking it for 20 min.

It was very flavorful, and light. It's also a lot cheaper than salmon. Definitely something to keep in my rotation.

4. Gluten-Free Macadamia Nut Pancakes

Gluten-Free Macadamia Nut Pancake Mix, Coconut Peanut Butter from http://www.northshoregoodies.net/
Gluten-Free Macadamia Nut Pancake Mix, Coconut Peanut Butter from http://www.northshoregoodies.net/

I've had pancakes before (who hasn't?), and I've also had macadamia nut pancakes, but not gluten-free macadamia nut pancakes. I've actually steered clear of attempting any gluten-free baking on my own because it looks hard. And I'm not eating refined sugar.

But when I went online to order more Coconut Peanut Butter I perused the other products for sale and this pancake mix caught my eye. I had not had pancakes since I started eating gluten-free and realized that I was craving them. I know most people wouldn't call using a pre-made mix "baking" but I do because stuff like this happens...

...still haven't learned the art of flipping.

5. Coconut Oil

As I mentioned, I used coconut oil on the tilapia. It was only my second time using coconut oil (the first time being on Sunday). I've seen it used in so many recipes (mostly paleo ones) that I was curious. I also love all coconut things. So I looked for it in the store and was appalled at how much it cost. It took me almost three months to finally give in and fork over $11 it.

The first thing I used it for was this Spiced Peanut Butter Banana Honey Sandwich.

Now I have never been able to make a decent grilled cheese sandwich. I hate having buttered, greasy fingers and just couldn't bring myself to butter the bread to grill. But I was curious enough about coconut oil to give it a try. Along with my newly arrived Coconut Peanut Butter I made the most delicious PBBH sandwich I have ever tasted. EVER. And I've had a lot of them. It changed my life.

Spiced Peanut Butter Banana Honey Grilled Sandwiches
Spiced Peanut Butter Banana Honey Grilled Sandwiches

And now with a little bit of cinnamon sprinkled on the finish products...

Spiced Peanut Butter Banana Honey Grilled Sandwiches sprinkled with cinnamon
Spiced Peanut Butter Banana Honey Grilled Sandwiches sprinkled with cinnamon

...told you I'm not a food blogger...

A couple of other food firsts this week:

+ I used Renee's recipe and made Homemade Almond Milk. This deserves a full post of it's own - coming soon.

+ I invested in a Vitamix. I say "invested" because it cost more than my 40" HD TV. Seriously. Thank goodness for tax returns and the Bed Bath and Beyond 20% off coupons. I surveyed at least 10 people who own a Vitamix and each one of them swore by it as one of the best investments they ever made. I'm now in "experimenting mode" and will be sharing my adventures with it!

So what do you love about being healthy?