New Products, Meeting Bobby Deen + Spicy Veggie Stew

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Oh my gosh where did this week go?  I have a yummy veggie stew for you plus I need to catch you up on the latest new products I found at a recent health fair and at Whole Foods. The kids and I finally made it to the new Whole Foods store – it was nice for a smaller store but I wasn’t overly impressed like the big stores in Chicago.

This is my daughter loving the bulk section – we tried about 7 different new types of rice and grains, very fun!

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Anyway last Saturday, I was debating about going to Hy-Vee’s Whole Health Experience.  I am always a little torn when it comes to attending health fairs because I have worked a million of them in the past but once I heard the non stop “Mmmmoooooooom!” coming from kids I decided it was time for a little me-time!  Hurry, get the keys and go! I was off to the expo, woohoo! Every time this stay-at-home mom makes a run by herself I want to cheer to the world because I am so stinkin’ excited!  Ok, I did bring my baby but that is minus two kids.

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I got to the expo and had fun trying some new products including these below. I thought these were kind of neat – frozen organic fruits and veggies including kale and butternut squash, hmmm . . .  I am already thinking of recipes to test.

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I can’t believe I haven’t tried the latest food craze – kale chips!  I would always look at the package and price in the grocery store and think, really?  The package is small for the price.  I would rather buy a giant container of fresh kale for the same price.  However, the chips are really good so it would be worth the swap for a healthy chip alternative.  They are super crispy and chip-like, which I was not expecting plus loaded with flavor!

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I have seen this product before but cannot remember where . . . it’s a healthier ice cream!  It was absolutely delicious and I was actually really full after I ate it, huh?

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Look at the nutrition profile: 3 grams of fiber plus 9 grams of protein!  For six-ounces it is still 250 calories and 5 grams of saturated fat so . . . still not fantastic but it is very yummy!  I guess I would eat it if I was dying for ice cream to help satisfy the craving with the help of protein and fiber but it would not replace regular ice cream for me.  I like to eat a small servings of ice cream (like a Wendy’s junior frosty only 160 calories) anyway Smile .   Pssst . . . that is baby Lucy’s chubby little hand reaching for more ice cream, she loved it!

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Hey calling all lactose intolerant friends!  This cheese is for you!  Real cheese that has been tested to be lactose free!  Cabot even has labeled it lactose free.  Plus they also have lighted up some of their cheeses without losing all the flavor.  The Cabot rep said it also melts well but I will have to test it myself.  If it melts as good as it tastes then this product is a total winner!

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Pretty good on the nutrition facts! It was very yummy! Maybe I can finally lighten up my beloved broccoli cheese soup recipe, hmm . . . .

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And once I found Bobby Deen’s cooking demonstration I knew I made the right decision by attending this event!  Yay!  Confession: I am a also a Food Network Junkie!  Instead of folding laundry and watching the Food Network on a normal Saturday morning I was able to watch Bobby Deen right in font of my eyes!  Oh my gosh, this is so exciting!  I do enjoy his show Not My Mama’s Meals where he makes over his mother’s recipes into a lighter dish.  Hey, that’s what I like to do, too!  Awesome!  He seems like a very nice, down-to-earth kind of guy as he told the audience what he did for Easter. He said he went to his mama’s house and ate and ate and watched his family have an egg hunt.   He also introduced the audience to his cute, tri-athlete girlfriend.    I wish I would have snapped her pic too so you could see her, sorry.  He is a great ambassador for health by showing people how to cook healthier dishes.

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At the demonstration he made stuffed Strawberry Cream Cheese French Toast in a New Light which was very good and answered questions from the audience.  Then afterward he was at a booth talking with people.  Right before I was going to leave I passed by his booth and saw there were not many people there and so  . . .  heck, why not?  I did!  I got in line for a picture.  I was a little embarrassed but whatever I am doing this for you!  So you can see Bobby Dean close up! Ok, so blogging made me justify looking nerdy and getting my picture taken but you only live once, right?   As I was holding my sweet baby Lucy, she was just about to fall asleep on my shoulder until she saw . . .  yep, that’s right Paula Deen!  Okay, okay it was a cardboard cut-out of Paula Deen but for some reason she woke up and was waving and talking at Miss Deen.  It was unbelievable cute and I will have to say (proudly) Bobby thought she was just adorable.  He even admitted that he didn’t hear anything I was saying because she was so cute, hahaha!  Here she looks super tired and I look weird because I was hoping the lady knew how to work my phone and get a picture. By the way, that purple sleeve is Paula’s cardboard cut-out Smile.  Fun day!

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At the next demonstration Bobby made Vegetarian Gumbo in a New Light but since I was unable to stay for that session I grabbed the recipe to try it myself, yum!  It sounded amazing and very simple, however I did not have one of the main ingredients: vegetarian spicy sausage.  I am sorry but since I was already at the store twice this week, I was not going back again!  I despise going the grocery store with my kids, it is exhausting.

Let me describe it for you . . . on one arm I am carrying my 36 pound 2 1/2-year-old while pushing the stroller with a 10-month-old and keeping my 5-year-old by my side.  I make a detour around the toy aisle or cereal aisle where those darn managers place every toy on clip strips.  I hear quite a few comments from customers saying, “Wow, you got your hands full!”  It’s a good thing my sweatshirt hides the sweat dripping down my back, whew!  My kids are usually pretty well-behaved but of course we have had our memorable melt downs, so if I can go kid-free to the store then  hooray for me!

Okay, a little off tangent but in the end I made my own version of Mr. Deen’s Vegetable Gumbo –  I call mine Spicy Veggie Stew!

Sauté one small onion in olive oil.

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I had some zucchini, yellow squash and mini sweet peppers in my frig so that is what I am going to use in this recipe!

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I love these little guys! They are awesome raw with some vegetable cream cheese.

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I used Cajun seasoning and some crushed red pepper flakes to give it a kick!

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Man, when these fire roasted tomatoes go on sale I load up – such wonderful flavor!

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And let’s not forget about unsalted cooking stock!  For one serving only 130 milligrams of sodium – that is a whopping 770 milligrams less than regular stock or broth!

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Here is one of our fun finds in the bulk section at Whole Foods: organic multi-colored quinoa! I think it’s beautiful!

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Remember to rinse off quinoa because it contains saponins, which can taste almost like soap.  Since quinoa is so tiny, rinse in a paper towel lined strainer.

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Cook just like rice using a 2-to-1 ratio: 1 cup quinoa and 2 cups unsalted chicken stock.

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Quinoa contains high quality protein (all the essential amino acids), B vitamins, phosphorus, iron and calcium.  One cup of quinoa contains 222 calories; 4 grams fat; 13 milligrams sodium; 39g carbohydrates; 5 grams fiber; 0 grams sugar; 8 grams protein.

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Now back to the stew:  I added mushrooms! Mushrooms are loaded with nutrients including: B vitamins (riboflavin, niacin), selenium and even vitamin D.  Some studies have shown mushrooms may help reduce the risk of colon and prostate cancer.  If you think you don’t like mushrooms, try them again!  I was never a fan of mushrooms but within the past couple of years I love them, raw and even cooked! I started eating them raw on salads, next I enjoyed them on pizza and it was history after that.

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I made a bed of the beautiful quinoa and covered it up with the veggie stew.  Topped it off with some green onions and a sprinkle of cheese.  What a yummy way to get some veggies in for the day.

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Spicy Veggie Stew  Adapted from Bobby Dean’s Vegetarian Gumbo in a new light.

Ingredients

2 tbsp olive oil

1 small onion, chopped

4 mini sweet pepper, chopped

1 small zucchini, chopped

1 small yellow squash, chopped

1 tsp Cajun seasoning

1/4-1/2 tsp crushed red pepper flakes

1 cup sliced mushrooms

1 can fire-roasted tomatoes, with juice

1 cup unsalted chicken stock

Preparation

In a hot skillet, drizzle with oil and sauté onion until golden brown. Add peppers, zucchini, squash and sauté until tender. Add Cajun seasoning and crushed red pepper flakes. Add the remaining ingredients and cook for 2 to 3 minutes.  Enjoy over a bed of rice or quinoa.

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Quinoa: Rinse quinoa. Place 2 parts liquid to 1 part quinoa in heavy pan and bring to a boil. Simmer approximately 12 to 15 minutes until all liquid is absorbed.

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Yum!  Enjoy!  I have a rule to judge if a dish taste really good:  Does it taste good as leftovers?  In this case, absolutely!

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