Healthy Living: Who is it for? (and a tutorial!)

A quick and full-of-goodness scrambled egg tutorial at the bottom! I promise the read is worth it but feel free to skip down. 🙂

On Saturday, September 20th, NBC’s TODAY show held “Shine A Light” Health Fair in Baltimore City, MD, in conjunction with Living Classrooms and the Baltimore City Health Department.  The event was part of the year-long “Shine a Light” campaign, dedicated to helping the city improve its health and fitness by showing city residents how to exercise in creative ways; encouraging and teaching healthy cooking and eating; and empowering the city residents to improve their lives on their own.  All in all, a great message and goal that I could analyze and discuss for multiple posts so I’ll move on for now.

A little background: part of the reason the TODAY show selected Baltimore is because of the city’s high rates of diabetes, obesity, and residents who smoke.  However, the problem is greater than just the simple “health + fitness” formula: Baltimore’s easy access to drugs, lack of conveniently accessible grocery stores, abundance of gas station convenience stores, high infant mortality rate, and lack of funding in public schools for gym class or sports makes it one of the least healthy cities in the country.  And those items aren’t even the entire list! As a resident of this fine city for over 2 years, I see this clearly.

But on the other hand, I also see the exact opposite lifestyle all over the place.  Indeed, we are a city of contradictions! Personally, I experience farmers markets and exercise fanatics.  People who choose to bicycle to work instead of drive. And the best part, group fitness classes in parks scattered throughout the various Baltimore communities. These things are what I see and experience in Baltimore.

I went running Saturday morning around 7 a.m. and on Sunday morning around 8 a.m.  My favorite time of the day in the city is the morning (on weekdays it has to be about 6 a.m. to get the same effect); no one is outside, no sirens or panhandlers, the harbor is quiet and pretty, and the only other people out and about are the other runners.  It’s a strong community, the people who jog around Baltimore city and explore the history on foot, whether within a Meet Up! group, a community oriented group like Friends of Patterson Park, or just neighbors and friends.  However, it is clear that the young middle-class adult exercise community lives in a city that is functionally miles apart from the city residents the TODAY show focused on.

The point of this rambling is that healthy living comes in all shapes and sizes.  I believe that a person’s affinity for healthy living comes from how you were raised and where.   My parents don’t exercise but due to living on and running a farm, they never stop moving.  When I moved to a city, first Columbus, OH,  then Baltimore, I had to find a way to be just as active but without the built-in exercise that is living on a farm – hence, now I marathon!  I have friends who exercise because they hate only having law school in their lives.  Others have health issues that need to be controlled.  And for The Pilot, if he doesn’t exercise and get all the extra energy out, it leads to some cranky times in the house.  (Admittedly, I have the same issues – I once had a temper tantrum because I didn’t have time to run the 12 miles I was scheduled to and could only do 6.  Pathetic, I know. #nojudging)

So, who is healthy living for? Everyone. But in their own way. You can’t force someone who has been taught that Doritos and Sprite are dinner to shop only at the farmers markets any more than I can make my roommate train for a marathon with me or The Pilot make me do a Triathlon next weekend. We all should live healthily on our own terms! With that said, the TODAY show’s message of demonstration, encouragement, and teaching is a wonderful vessel to bridge the gap and show an alternate healthy living style to those who may not have been taught the basics of healthy eating and working out.

I’m passionate about this because I have seen the disparities, and how much they can drive a wedge between people, communities, and specifically, socio-economic groups. I’m from a mid-western farm; you think that working criminal defense in Baltimore only taught me how to file paper work? Nope! So much life learning came with it.

So, work with what you have! Don’t ever feel like you have to buy specific, organic things at the store. Empty out your fridge and put together the things you love anyway to do some healthy eating and a little treat will be that you’re wasting less food! Cha-ching!

Scrambled Eggs with Peppers, Tomatoes, Ham, and Cheese (aka: the stuff that was going bad in my fridge)

I had all this stuff in the fridge and it was starting to go bad.  I don’t eat an egg a day, I get sick of them easily so sometimes they sit too long.  Mix it up to make it more exciting!

First: chop up your veggies and put them over heat.  Whether you brown them or just soften them up, they just taste better with the soft eggs when they are a little soft too.  Then, I chopped up the ham and tossed it in with the veggies.  I browned it all up and when it was good and crispy like I prefer.  When it was done, I put it aside.

Next: mix together some eggs and milk (salt and pepper if you are a fan of that).  Put it in the same hot pan you just used for the veggies and ham.  Make the eggs however you like and when they are almost done, add in the veggies and ham.  Mix together.

Finally, the cheese!  I had sandwich cheese so I laid it on top and put the lid on for a minute but if you have shredded you can probably mix that in with the veggies!

Finish it all to your preference, make a fresh cup of coffee, and enjoy! You just prepped a great meal, you saved some food from being thrown out, and you are still on your healthy living trek!

L

For more information on the “Shine a Light” program: http://www.today.com/allday/tag/shine-a-light

And how it is at work in Baltimore:

http://www.today.com/health/shining-light-weekend-todays-baltimore-health-expo-2D80163205

http://www.today.com/allday/todays-weekend-team-shine-light-healthy-lifestyle-habits-2D11897190

 

 

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Meaty Sweet Potato Hash

(Originally posted on Tiny Girl Eats at tinygirleats.wordpress.com)

Preheat your oven to 350 degrees.

INGREDIENTS:
– 3 medium to large sweet potatoes
– Kerrygold herbed butter
– 1 container Jimmy Dean All Natural Sausage
– 6 slices of natural, uncured & nitrate-free bacon
– 4 eggs

INSTRUCTIONS:
– Peel the sweet potatoes.  Boil some water and boil the sweet potatoes until they can be easily halved with a fork.  You don’t want them “mashed” softness, but tender enough that you aren’t biting into raw potato.
– Heat up a cast-iron skillet on the stove, placing a slice of Kerrygold herbed butter in it (about 4 quarters together thickness).  Let it melt a bit then swish it around so the bottom is covered.
– Once the potatoes are done, toss them in the cast-iron skillet so the bottom is covered.  Cut off another slice of herbed butter and quarter it, then put the pieces spread out on top of the potatoes.  Keep the skillet over low to medium heat, flipping the potatoes occasionally.
– Put a slice of butter in a regular frying pan (or Pam non-stick spray, really whatever you normally use for non-stick) and brown the sausage.  Once the sausage is cooked through, take it off the heat and then get the grease out. I scooped about one spatula amount onto a shallow wide bowl lined with three paper towels and then press three papertowels onto the top of the sausage to get some of the grease out. After that amount has been “degreased”, I add the sausage to the sweet potatoes; throw away the bottom greasy papertowels and replace them with the top degreaser papertowels I had just used (flip them over so that the non greasy side is facing up).  I repeat the “degreasing” until all of the sausage has been “degreased” and added to the sweet potatoes skillet.  Once the sausage is all in the skillet as well, I flip the potatoes around so the sausage and potaotes are evenly mixed.
– Put one more quarters slice of butter on top of the mixture and pop the skillet in the oven for 10 minutes.
– I take the other frying pan that I used for the sausage and drain as much of the grease as possible.  Then I cut the 6 strips of bacon in half so there are 12 mini strips and fry them up until they are crispy.  Once all of the slices are done and “degreased” (same way as the sausage), I pull the skillet out of the oven real quick and crumble the bacon over it.  If all of the slices are not crumbling, but rather some of them are still cooked but limber, you have two choices: a. eat it straight (this happened to quite a few of the slices I had… Don’t hate, I’m a bacon addict) or b. cut it with some scissors and pop it in the skillet as well.  Mix the potatoes, sausage and newly added bacon around.
– Put the skillet back in the oven.  If the ten minutes were up when you pulled the skillet out, try a potato.  If its still on the harder side, put the skillet back in for another 10 minutes.  If the potatoes are to your liking, then fry up an egg and munch away!

I like to put a splash of hot sauce on the hash, then add two over easy eggs and cut it all up into a delicious mix so the yolk is mixing with the hash, the whites are mixing with the sausage, and the bacon is a delightful cruncy surprise.  Corny enough? Yeah, I’ll stop now.  Before the new stomach troubles, I would add chopped green peppers, onion, and garlic; other times I would mix the sausage with ground beef and ground turkey (this helps make the hash go further into the week!)  However, as you will see, once you splash some green Tabasco sauce or Chalula on top with an over easy egg or two, the foundation recipe is super filling on its own!

Gluten-Free Egg & Spinach Quiche w. Almond Flour Crust

(Originally posted on Tiny Girl Eats at tinygirleats.wordpress.com)

Original recipe: http://cookieandkate.com/2013/arugula-and-cremini-quiche-with-gluten-free-almond-meal-crust/. I made it very similarly with small substitutions (spinach ins tread of arugula; no mushrooms).

Preheat your oven to 400 degrees.

INGREDIENTS:
– Kerrygold butter
CRUST:
– 2 cups of almond flour
– 3 cloves of garlic “minced” into small chunks (I’m not good at mincing. #sorrynotsorry)
– A couple shakes of dried sage
– A couple shakes of dried oregano leaves
– 2 tablespoons water
– 1/3 cup of olive oil
EGG QUICHE PART:
– 6 eggs (I did 3 eggs, 3 egg whites)
– Goat cheese and aged cheddar (I don’t have mesaurements because these were just random hunks of cheese in my fridge I wanted to get rid of)
– Couple shakes of red pepper flakes
– 1 defrosted block of spinach

 

PREPARATION:
In case you didn’t do it when you read it at the top, preheat your oven to 400 degrees.

Chop some plain or herbed Kerrygold butter into three squares and pop onto a cast-iron skillet/glass pyrex pan.

Put the pan with butter into the preheating oven; after the butter has melted some, take the pan out and rub butter around in the bottom and on the sides of the pan.

CRUST: mix together all of the dry ingredients in a bowl; add the wet ingredients; mix it all together!
– 2 cups of almond flour
– 3 cloves of garlic “minced” into small chunks (I’m not good at mincing. #sorrynotsorry)
– A couple shakes of dried sage
– A couple shakes of dried oregano leaves
– 2 tablespoons water
– 1/3 cup of olive oil

Spoon the crust mix into the buttered pan, smoosh out so it fills the entire pan and up the sides. Cookie + Kate stated go 1 1/2” up the sides, but my crust mix did not smoosh that far up the sides. I would say about a pinky nail or less amount.

Cook the crust at 400 degrees for 20 to 30 minutes. Mine took 20 minutes but we have one of those gas stoves that takes forever to catch and then PHOOSH! You are sketching your eyebrows back on for 3 months.

EGG QUICHE PART:
– 6 eggs (I did 3 eggs, 3 egg whites)
– Goat cheese and aged cheddar (I don’t have measurements because these were just random hunks of cheese in my fridge I wanted to get rid of)
– Couple shakes of red pepper flakes
– 1 defrosted block of spinach

Whisk together the 3 eggs, a scoop of herbed goat cheese and a few slices of aged cheddar, and some shakes of red pepper flakes.

Spinach: are you supposed to cook spinach? If you are used to cooking spinach, do that. I didn’t — I stuck the spinach block in the microwave semi-opened, on papertowels on a plate for 30 seconds; kept doing that until its completely thawed. Then I put the spinach on a strainer and pressed down on it with paper towels until most of the wetness/spinach water is gone. Then I mixed it in with the eggs.

Then pour this mixture over the crust. Then whisk together the 3 egg whites and pour over the spinach. You could mix this all together, you could not even add the extras. I felt there wasn’t enough eggs given the entire spinach block so I added those egg whites on top.

Then cook for 30 minutes at 400 degrees or until the center is firm. I pulled mine out with like 30 seconds to go. It had some liquid bubbling up along the sides of the pan but that went away as it cooled.

I cut it into 8 peices, it was easy peasy to cut. Ate a piece as soon as I could, put some Chalula hot sauce on it and loved myself.

BEST PART: Full stomach and no shooting pains. =]

Delicious. Make it. Love it.