Wednesday, October 1, 2014

Eating for BEAU-TI-FUL skin this FALL!

If you haven’t noticed already, we LOVE eating seasonally….especially when the season is FALL!  I know, this past June we gushed about summer produce but we take it back autumn inspired dishes are our favorite. 

We also love the harvests of fall because
  1. Fall produce is delicious.
  2. Fall produce is warming and contains nutrients that keep you healthy during the cold, shorter days of September, October and November.
  3. Many of your favorite fall vegetables and fruits are incredible when it comes to keeping your skin looking young, acne-free and fresh!
You heard that right…. your favorite fall foods are incredible for your skin!  Check out the below list of fall fruits and veggies that are guaranteed to make sure your skin glows this autumn.

KALE, BRUSSEL SPROUTS and APPLES are high in vitamin C which is key in the production of collagen which is that key ingredient in many of your expensive beauty products. Collagen is a protein that aids in the growth of blood vessels and cells and helps skin stay firm.  Also, load up your accident prone kiddo with lots of vitamin C as this nutrient is great at helping skin repair itself and can (overtime) dull even the gnarliest scars.

PUMPKIN is the king of fall and the king of skin care.  Pumpkin puree contains crazy high levels of vitamin A, which softens and brightens skin.  Pumpkin is not only for eating this fall, Pumpkin is a fantastic base for a DIY facemask! If you have dry skin mix 2 Tbs with 1 tsp of honey, apply in a circular motion and let dry for about 20 minutes and your skin will feel hydrated and soft.  If you have acne-prone skin substitute honey with apple cider vinegar and follow the same instructions. 

PUMPKIN SEEDS are high in Zinc which protects your cell membranes and promotes the creation of new skin. Zinc also helps the body regulate oil that can lead to blemishes.  Pumpkin seeds are the perfect purse snack as a very small handful will leave you feeling full and satisfied.

BEETS are not only your favorite dirt candy, they also brighten up your skin because they increase oxygen carrying ability in the blood. Next time you make a salad, load it up with freshly roasted beets; your tongue and skin will thank you.

CRANBERRIES AND POMEGRANATE are both loaded with antioxidants and anti-inflammatory nutrients, which can reduce puffiness, acne and even fine lines.  The easiest way to get these benefits is by making a post dinner, pre-bed time cocktail of unsweetened REAL cranberry juice (this means the only ingredient should be cranberries…no sugar, no artificial sugar…just cranberries). Take a small 8 oz water cup and fill it about ¼ of the way with Cranberry or Pomegranate juice and fill the rest with water. Drink this every night (pre-tooth brushing of course) and we swear, you’ll start seeing that Autumnal glow!

Wednesday, September 24, 2014

Waste not, Want not

Contrary to what many think, eating fresh vegetables and maintaining a healthy diet does not need add strain to your weekly grocery budget. In fact, there are many ways to utilize every part of certain vegetables to save money AND add even more of a nutrient power punch to your diet.

This week the Peas Perspective is here to give you some ideas on how to waste not and $ave more.  We're going to show you how to save common kitchen scraps that are usually thrown out and repurpose them so that they're delicious and even more nutritious.

When cutting scallions and green onions, start with the top, leaving the roots and white part of the onion untouched. Fill a small glass with an inch or two of water and place the chive bottoms in the water. Do not fully submerge the onion; only the roots and the very bottom of the onion should be in the water.  The onion will quickly (almost right before your eyes) start to regrow.  Next time you need a quick baked potato topping, they'll be ready and FREE.

After your artichokes are done steaming don't throw out the water.  Put it in a jar to save for later or if you're feeling extra motivated take a quick pre-dinner shot.  Artichoke tea and water is climbing the list of foods trends, the reason being is that the water is loaded with antioxidants, protects the liver and kidney, has anti-bacterial and anti-inflammatory properties.  A great way to use this nutrient dense elixir is by simply adding it to the next soup you make; your family won't be the wiser but you'll know that there livers will!

Candied orange peels are one of our favorite fall treats. Check out Giada's recipe and don't forget to save your orange peels (or any other citrus for that matter); we recommend that you keep a ziplock bag of citrus peels in your freezer and add to it as you devour these tasty winter fruits. Then one Sunday when you're feeling inspired, defrost them and follow the above recipe.

Many people simply cut off the stalks or stems of the broccoli and toss them in the garbage. Which, let's face it, is usually about half of the vegetable.  Yes, the skin of the stalk tends to be woody and almost inedible, but what's inside is crispy and delicious.  Cut off the stalk as you normally would and use your knife to cut off the skin.  You can use a peeler but we find that a knife is easier to ensure that you get all of the skin off.  The middle of the stalk can be eaten right then and there as it's very crispy and moist; broccoli stalk also makes a fantastic addition to your vegetable platter, can easily be chopped into the perfect slaw or simply used with broccoli florets to steam and cook as you normally would broccoli.

Make vegetable stock!  If you're prepping a lot of veggies, there's no reason to throw anything away. Simply wash your veggies as you normally would and throw the scraps in a pot of boiling water.  We're talking onion skins, carrot peels and tops, potato skins, the tops of your favorite root vegetables. The only thing we don't recommend using in your stock is cruciferous vegetables like broccoli, cauliflower and kale as they tend to have an off putting smell when boiled for too long.

Okay... let's get scrappy!

Wednesday, September 17, 2014

Sloppy Jills!

We all know Sloppy Joe, right? He’s filling, messy, perfectly sweet and tangy and tends to spend lots of time in cafeterias.  But have you heard of his healthy, vegetarian and more sophisticated sister, Sloppy Jill? Probably not…because we just invented her! The Sloppy Jill sandwich is a nutritious, low-fat and more upscale version of the classic meat sandwich we all grew up loving.  Our reinvented version features lentils, which are loaded with protein and easy to digest and of course, hidden veggies!  This one pot meal will leave your family asking for “more SLOPPY JILL’S PEA-LEASE!”

1 ½ cup green or brown lentils
2 Tbsp olive oil
1 clove of garlic chopped
½ cup chopped onion
½ cup bell pepper
½ cup diced carrot
1/2 cup ketchup
2 Tbsp maple syrup
2 Tbsp chili powder
½ tsp smoked paprika
3 Tbsp tomato paste
1 Tbsp balsamic vinegar
1 Tbsp yellow mustard
½ tsp sea salt
½ tsp black pepper
1 cups water

- The morning you plan on making this meal, leave lentils to soak in a bowl of water.  This will shorten the cooking time of the lentils and make the beans more digestible.
- Rinse and drain soaked lentils and place in a large pot. Fill the pot with enough water to fully submerge the lentils and bring to a boil. Let the lentils simmer for about 20-25 minutes or until fully cooked but still somewhat firm.
- Drain lentils and set aside.
- In the same pot you made the lentils in pour in oil, onions and garlic and let cook for about five minutes over medium heat.
- Add bell pepper and carrot and cook for another 8 minutes.
- Add lentils, ketchup, maple sugar, chili powder, smoked paprika, tomato paste, balsamic vinegar, mustard and water.
- Mix all ingredients together and bring to a simmer for 20 minutes.  If you’d like the filling “sloppier” add a Tbsp of water at a time until you get your desired consistency. Add salt to taste.
- Remove from heat and allow to sit for another 10 minutes to thicken up.  
- Serve with your favorite sandwich bread or roll.

Serves 8

Wednesday, September 10, 2014

We Give a Fig!

September's Food of the Month is FIGS! 

More than a modest leafy cover-up, figs (and their leaves!) are the most luscious and versatile of our September harvest. We don’t mind saying goodbye to summer when it means fig season! This month is prime-time for figs to shine in your house, and they’re a great source of nutrients in a kid-friendly package.

Turns out, figs are one of the oldest cultivated foods known to man. We have been farming them for over 11,000 years (likely before most grains) and they’ve been growing in California (producer of 98% of the nation’s figs) since the Spanish explorers brought them in the 1500’s. With the PeasHQ located in the heart of San Francisco, we feel it’s our duty to take advantage of fig season!

Figs are jam-packed with loads of great nutrients.  In their freshest and ripest form they are packed with antioxidants and fiber, and per the USDA, they are a good source of Calcium and Potassium, as well as Vitamin K and Magnesium.

Their sweet flesh and cartoon-cute shape make them an easy sell with kids. Not to mention that bright colored inside can attract even the wariest of our little ones. The best part, however, is definitely the fact that these little superfruits are perfect for literally any age – our young ones with small hands and only a smattering of tiny teeth can power through our ripest figs while our older ones can just grab-n-go with no worries about a pit or a peel.  We’ve all been handed those apple cores and banana peels as though we had a wastebasket for a handbag!

Getting Choosey

When you’re eyeing the figs at the market this month, what should you look for?
-       Plump and tender
-       Slightly leathery skin (but not withered or dry)
-       Aromatic – they should smell sweet!
-       Deep, rich colors

Once you’re home, toss them in the fridge if they’re ripe (well, don’t actually toss them, but you know) or leave them on the counter if they’re a touch under. Just remember to use ‘em fast (never a problem in our house!) because they are so delicate and perishable. To help extend their life in your house, don’t wash them until you’re about to eat them.

Use Em’ or Lose Em’

Okay, so now you’ve come home with a pint or two of these beauties. How to make the best use of them while they’re abundant?

We have a few suggestions from the PeasHQ

Easy:  Figs and breakfast are the most laid back of friends. Slice those babies over some greek yogurt, oatmeal, or a big bowl of cereal. An easy way to get a few extra nutrients into the morning routine.

Medium:  Put a fig on it! Slice your figs into quarters or so. Grab some pizza dough, or phyllo dough, or even some frozen naan. Any flatbread will do here. Spread some cheese on the dough while your oven heats up (375 should do the trick.) Figs LOVE cheese – anything from ricotta or goat cheese to fontina or mozzarella. Now add your figs and a nut or an herb. Walnuts are lovely, as is a bit of basil or oregano. Get fancy with pomegranite seeds or caramelized onions. Bake until the cheese is melted and the figs are roasted. Slice. Try not to burn your mouth.

Extra Credit

OH NO! : So it’s happened to us all – you forgot about the figs in the fridge, or went out for pizza, or took a decadent weekend trip to Hawaii (a mom can dream!) and now you’ve got to use those figs STAT! Here is where jam comes to your rescue. Chop em up, throw them in a thick-bottomed pot (more Kardashian than Kidman) with a glug or two of honey. Cook on low for half an episode of Modern Family. Stir it when you remember. Now it looks like a jammy preserve, right? If not, give it til the end of the episode. Add a touch of vinegar or lemon juice, Done! Now chill it in clean containers and it’ll keep in the fridge for about 2 weeks.

No matter how you eat them, figs are a great way to introduce new food and seasonal eating habits to our favorite little ones!

Wednesday, August 27, 2014

Get your Freezer Ready for Back to School

Now is the time to enjoy the last moments of summertime R&R. Yes, school has started, but it’s not yet Labor Day, the days are still long, PTA meetings have yet to begin and the holidays are still off in the distance.  This weekend is a great time to organize your household so that come GO time (the non-stop marathon that is September, October, November and December) you’re ready!

 One of the best ways to make your life easier this Fall is to utilize your freezer so that even on your busiest nights, dinner can be hassle-free and ready in a jiff. 

Load up on your family’s favorite homemade entrees:  pack your freezer full of meals made with love by you that  also freeze well.  Our favorite frozen homemade meals are enchiladas, lasagna, soup and stew (broth based soups, as dairy based soups don’t freeze well), Peas Protein Burgers, veggie casserole and shepherds pie.  When packaging these frozen meals, make sure that they have thoroughly cooled and are loaded to the brim; too much space in the container will cause freezer burn.

Load up on premade staples:  Next time you make grains, beans or some kind of sauce, prepare extra and freeze for a rainy (busy) day.  You can use these sides as a base for a quick meal, adding fresh veggies to freshen up the dish.

Peas of Mind will save the day:  Stocking your freezer with Peas of Mind products will leave you and your little ones happy, satisfied and feeling good about the fact that you’ve all eaten your daily dose of veggies. All of our products have clean, simple ingredients loaded with FULL servings of veggies. Not to mention the fact that cook time is minimal. 

 Now is your time to utilize your nice long weekend and get your freezer back to school ready; your future self will thank you!

Wednesday, August 20, 2014

Late Summer Rainbow Noodle Salad

School is officially in session and your weeknights are becoming a whirlwind of carpooling, homework and early bedtimes. But it's still summertime and evening temperatures are still scorching  so when it comes to dinnertime, you'd like to whip up a quick to prepare and refreshing salad. But your family doth protest; they need something much more filling and exciting than a bowl of lettuce - that’s where our Rainbow Noodle Salad comes in.  This month we're making noodle ribbons out of our favorite summer veggies and topping it with protein rich peanut sauce. This gluten-free noodle salad will cool off your family and ensure they eat their daily dose of veggies!

Rainbow Noodle Salad
-2 carrots 
-1 zucchini
-1 yellow squash
-1 cucumber
-1 8oz package of soba noodles
-1 tsp of sesame oil
-1 tbsp of sesame seeds to garnish

Peanut Sauce
-1/2 cup smooth peanut butter
-2 tbsp  soy sauce
-1 inch fresh ginger, minced 
-1 clove garlic, minced
-1 tsp ground coriander
-1 tbsp agave nectar, or sugar
-juice of 1 lime

Follow the cooking instructions on the soba noodle packaging.  Pour
drained noodles into a large bowl and toss with the sesame oil. Next,
peel off the skins of the carrots, zucchini, squash and cucumber.  Once
the veggies are skinless, continue to use the peeler to make vegetable
ribbons by simply peeling the flesh of the vegetables. Add the ribbons
to your bowl of soba noodles and mix.  Put the bowl in the refrigerator
to chill for 25 minutes.

In a small bowl combine, peanut butter, soy sauce, ginger, garlic,
coriander, agave and lime. Mix all the ingredients together until the
peanut sauce is creamy.  If the texture is too thick, add a small amount
of water and mix in until desired consistency.

Pour sauce over noodles and toss well. Sprinkle each serving with

sesame seeds. Serves 4

Wednesday, August 6, 2014

Food of the Month: Tomatoes

Is a tomato a fruit? Or is it a vegetable? Here at Peas of Mind, we really don't care; what we're looking for this August is a perfectly vine ripened summer tomato.  The trick to truly loving a tomato (and getting your little one to do the same) is to be picky.  Yes, you heard that right, we want you and your kids to be BE PICKY. This means waiting all winter and spring  for beautifully seasonal summer tomatoes and saying NO to the mealy refrigerated tomato that comes as an after thought on the salad you ordered in the middle of February.  Nobody really likes that kind of tomato and that might be why your little one turns up her nose when you try to cut her up a tomato for a snack.  Yes, you will wait months for your for the perfect tomato but trust us, when it comes to nutrition and flavor, it will be well worth the wait.   

When eaten during the summer months tomatoes are a great source of vitamin A, C and folic acid. They also have high levels of lycopene which has been shown to protect against heart disease and choline which helps with learning and memory (a tomato a day may make summer reading time that much more productive). 

Now the question is, how do you incorporate these delectable summer treats into your kid's diet? Have no fear, Peas of Mind is here and we've compiled our favorite tomato recipe ideas and made them extra simple and extra kid friendly:

Homemade tomato sauce: 
The trick to an easy and yummy tomato sauce is using your blender or food processor.  Simply halve the tomatoes, peel a few cloves of garlic and puree in your blender.  Pour into a sauce pan and add your favorite herbs and veggies, bring to boil then put on low and let simmer for about 90 minutes (no need to stir, just make sure it's nice and low).  Before serving add a "glug" of olive oil, a squeeze of lemon, salt and sugar to taste (this will bring out the sweetness of your fresh tomatoes).

Some kids say EEEK to salsa BUT if you can figure out what it is they don't like about salsa and remove that and combine it with their favorite corn/tortilla chips, they'll devour it.  Most kids tend to be sensitive to spicy peppers, onions and cilantro.  Make a simple salsa with a small amount of finely chopped yellow onion (the most mild), chopped tomatoes (have your little ones choose a special heirloom tomato - with all the different colors, sizes, and shapes they'll love the challenge of finding the coolest tomato at the farmers market), a small amount of finely chopped cilantro, a squeeze of lime, salt and agave.  Again, this hit of sweetness brings out the natural kid friendly flavors of a ripe tomato.  Allow the salsa to marinate in the refrigerator for about 45 minutes before serving.

Rustic Homemade Ketchup:  Follow this recipea for our delicious and easy to make homemade ketchup. Don't forget to pair with a tray of Broccoli Veggie Wedgies for the perfect afternoon snack!

Stuffed tomatoes:
Halve a few large tomatoes and have your little ones help you gently scrape out most of the insides/pulp of each tomato.  In a hot pan combine bread crumbs, the tomato pulp, herbs, cheese and stir-fry together until mixed thoroughly.  Add mixture back into tomatoes and top with a bit more cheese. Bake in the oven for about 15 minutes for 350 degrees.

The time is NOW to seize this year's tomato harvest and enjoy some vine ripened, nutrient dense summer tomatoes. Now is your chance to get your little ones loaded up with vitamins, anti-oxidants and the joy that comes with waiting all year for the perfect summer fruit (or is it a veggie).