Recipe: Saving Strawberries 🍓

We’re using the ‘recipe’ term loosely here because you’re not immediately transforming the strawberries into a dish – what we’re doing is saving these strawberries from an early death caused by the dreaded white fuzzies (which could be a noteworthy name for a rock band) so that you can use them for other recipes on the blog. See below for four, strawberry-inclusive recipes.

How long do strawberries last?

On the counter, strawberries will only last a mere day or two.

Strawberries typically last 5-7 days when kept in the refrigerator.

If storing properly in the freezer, you can expect them to about 6 months. Use an air-tight container for best results.

Why should we rinse/soak berries?

You’ve probably heard about the recent outbreak of hepatitis A linked with strawberries. Because berries are picked by hand, there are a couple main routes for this virus to travel.

1. Infection + improper hand washing. In this case, someone who has hepatitis A could have a bowel movement, not fully their wash hands, and then go out to pick your berries. Gross, we know.

2. Watering with waste water. It’s very possible that sewage-contaminated water could have been used to berry crops. Also super-gross.

Pair either one of these with the fact that blueberries, raspberries, blackberries, and strawberries have many little crevices where a virus could effectively hide out and there’s a problem.

Those crevices also are a sneaky place for mold to grow.

How can I save my strawberries from mold?

Ah yes, the dreaded white fuzzies. Well, remember the saying of “a bad apple spoils the whole bunch”? Same with strawberries. If you see one with some mold growing on it, remove it so it doesn’t start to contaminate the others.

Here’s another way to save your strawberries: in a vinegar bath. Here’s what you’ll need:

Time: about 20 minutes (most of it is passive, waiting time where you can do something else)

Ingredients

1 carton of strawberries

1 part white vinegar (we used 1/2 cup)

4 parts water (we used 2 cups)

Instructions

Place strawberries in large bowl and fill it with the water and white vinegar. Berries should be submerged in the vinegar bath. Leave for about 20 minutes to soak, remember to occasionally rotate the ones floating at the top. Rinse thoroughly with cool water and pat dry with paper towels or set strawberries on top of paper towels to air dry. Use a clean container to store your berries in the fridge.

Success! You’ve saved your strawberries from an early death at the garbage or compost bin. You can use them in some of the following recipes:

Royal Coco-cacao Smoothie Bowl

Red, White, and Blueberry Tart

Amaranth for Breakfast

10TV Summer Mocktails

and many more. Enjoy!

Client Spotlight: Madelynn N. 🏆

Beginning

“My main issue was a lack of energy and a fear that I was not getting enough nutrients from my diet. I am definitely feeling more energized now, and I’m eating a wide variety of foods with plenty of nutrients. The nutrition coaching made me more aware of my daily habits, even those not related to food! It allowed me to recognize how different foods affect my energy level and health issues. I now crave healthier foods because I can feel that my body runs better with them.”

Progress

“I was surprised at how much I began to crave fresh fruits and vegetables! I love sweets but have never really loved anything green. I would come home from work and want a salad. Very strange! 

A huge breakthrough for me was realizing how each new habit impacted other areas of my life. I learned the order in which I should focus on aspects of my health to most effectively get back on track. I really enjoy having more energy to put into different activities that I’ve always wanted to try. I’m taking ice skating lessons now, which I didn’t have the energy to even consider before changing my diet.”

Results

“I now sleep and eat more consistently, eat more fresh food instead of processed food, and listen to my body. If I eat something and it upsets my stomach or I feel off (usually something processed), I try to avoid that food in the future. Likewise, if a food makes me feel great and I crave it, I eat it more. I also eat out a lot less, which has the added bonus of saving me money. The biggest strength is being tuned in to my own body. I choose what I eat consciously instead of letting my emotions or cravings pick for me. I also have a plan for what to do if I fall off healthy eating, which will make me more resilient in the future when issues arise. 

Beans and rice were staples for so long that it’s no wonder I started eating so much fast food to break it up. With my new healthy habits, making sure to spice things up will help me stay on track long-term. “

– Madelynn N.

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This client in her early 20s wasn’t feeling the energy and vitality we’d all hope, and assume, for someone her age. Like so many vegetarians and vegans, including this author, she fell into the trap of fast-food/ junk-food vegetarianism. But all that’s changed! Now that she has healthy habits in place, and knows how to pick herself back up when she falls, there’s a resiliency that will set her up for success way into her future.

While we wish we’d all started this young, there’s no better time to get a handle on your health than right now. Schedule your complimentary 20-minute Discovery Call to get started.

Recipe: Plant-based Taco Tuesday 🌮

You definitely don’t need it to be a Tuesday to enjoy these tasty tacos, but “Sunday Tacos” doesn’t exactly have the desired alliteration. We like to call these the Anytime Tacos – the ‘t’ sound is still in there and it’s much more freeing – but social convention is a powerful thing. Regardless, have this crunchy, delicious, and nutrient-dense meal whenever you’d like. Remember the “Got Milk” slogan? Well, this calcium-rich meal actually does a body good. Enjoy!

Disclosure: some of the links below are affiliate links or discount codes, meaning, at no additional cost to you, if you click through an affiliate link and make a purchase, we may make a commission.

Prep time: 10-15 minutes, depending on number of condiments offered

Serves: 3-4 people

Ingredients

1 package of 12 hard taco shells (we used Siete grain-free ones)

1 head of lettuce, romaine or green leaf, chopped

1 can, 15oz of black beans and/or our cauliflower & walnut crumble recipe (if time allows)

1 tsp taco seasoning

2 tomatoes, diced

2 avocados, sliced

1 bunch of fresh cilantro, chopped

1 jar of salsa to share

2 limes, sliced (optional)

Instructions

Rinse beans from a can and then put in a small pot over low heat. Add taco seasoning and stir; simmer for about 5 minutes. Preheat oven to 400 degrees for the tacos. While waiting, prep lettuce, avocado, cilantro, tomatoes and limes. Follow directions on hard taco shell box for how long to heat them up in the oven (about 2-3 minutes). Plate tacos and allow each dinner guest or family member to decorate their own tacos with the condiments provided. Lime juice provides a nice splash of flavor and acidity to the meal. Your taste buds might just shout ¡olé!

Recipe: Chocolate Chunk Tahini Cookies 🍪

Do you miss chocolate chip peanut butter cookies? Well, with peanuts out-of-the-picture for many school kids (and adults), what can we do instead? Tahini to the rescue!

What is tahini? It’s sesame seed paste that is a great source of protein, healthy fats, and is reminiscent of peanut butter’s taste. With the 90% chocolate chunks and lower amount of maple syrup, this struck us a “healthy cookie” (i.e. not very sweet). Also, amaranth is a come-back grain (really a seed) after a rather sordid history of being banned because it was considered blasphemous (it also strengthened the people to fight against the invaders). Feel free to use chocolate with a lower percentage of cacao and a little more maple syrup, if desired, to fit your sweet tooth.

Prep time: 10 minutes

Cook time: 11 minutes

Servings: 12

Ingredients

1/2 cup tahini

3 oz dark chocolate, chopped

1 cup amaranth flour (for extra protein; or use gluten-free flour of your choice)

3 tbsp gluten-free oats

1/3 cup maple syrup

1-2 tbsp water (if batter becomes too thick)

1 tsp vanilla extract

1/2 tsp cinnamon

1/2 tsp sea salt

Instructions

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. In medium mixing bowl, combine tahini with maple syrup and vanilla. Then add in amaranth flour, gluten-free oats, cinnamon, and salt. Mix and then add chocolate chunks. If batter is too thick, add 1-2 tbsp of water or maple syrup (for those who want this sweeter). Scoop onto baking sheet lined with parchment paper. Bake 11 minutes. Cookies should be chewy and look underdone in the middle (they are vegan and perfectly safe to eat this way). Let set and cool for 10 minutes and then dig in!

Review: True Food Kitchen

True Food Kitchen at Easton Town Center, Columbus, Ohio

It was another hot day in Phoenix when we first went with our friend to True Food Kitchen. Because we were both dietitian-foodies, we had tried all sorts of local restaurants and smoothie shops…but this restaurant was different. We found out that it was created by our long-time hero, integrative physician Dr. Weil. The food was authentically good – healthy and delicious (so nice when we don’t have to choose between the two). It’s fresh without trying too hard.

During one of our last visits to the Arizona True Food Kitchen, we expressed to our waitress how Columbus could be a great place for another location. When she returned, after speaking with her manager, she told us that there was one on the way. We could scarcely believe it. So we rather (im)patiently waited. And waited some more. AND THEN…

It looked like our wish was about to come true. We mentally planned a jubilant parade through Easton to celebrate the opening.

But you all know what happened. Covid. So another year of waiting.

It was a moment of absolute glee when we were able to visit last week. Did we go a bit overboard? Yes. After hours of wistfully looking at the menu and planning, we were finally able to pick up a rather gigantic order so that we could try nearly everything, and report to all of you. Ah, the things we do for love & food.

Their fall menu had just come out; here’s what we ordered and recommend:

The Butternut Squash Pizza. Oh my goodness, the pizza. There is an evening we’ll never forget that took place in Akron, Ohio. We gathered with a group of friends at Vegeterranean (R.I.P. 2011) and, in one of the best decisions of our life, ordered a butternut squash pizza with carmelized onions and balsamic vinegar. It was so very good, we rather desperately wrote down the ingredients and then stored it in our recipe binder, with the hopes and plans of recreating it. Alas, it has not yet happened and the restaurant is no more. Buuuut….remember this moment from Ratatouille?

True Food’s pizza transported us back in time, while keeping our taste buds mindfully primed for the next exquisite bite. (Vegan and can be made gluten-free)

Grass-fed burger – this was for Mr. Chef, but we’ve had it before in the past and remember the deep, umami flavor from the carmelized onions, parmesan, and mushrooms.

Squash soup. This one was a great surprise! Sometimes squash soup can be a bit boring, but this was anything but bland. The blend of spices in the hot soup conjures up hygge-inspired evenings cozied up with blankets, a warm fire, and company of a loved one.

Spaghetti Squash Casserole. This was another favorite from the AZ location and last week we froze it to keep as a meal for when we weren’t wanting to prep dinner. That evening came and the dish reanimated very well after a proper defrosting and cooking. Definitely recommend. (Vegetarian, gluten-free)

Side of Sweet Potato Hash. This order included what looked like overly-roasted spuds and yet the insides were a bit tougher and undercooked. Having had this side before at the other location, we’re not giving up and will order it again.

Roasted Brussels Sprouts. Hands-down a winner. The miso sesame vinaigrette, along with the mushrooms and chili threads, created a savory appetizer.

Tuscan Kale Salad. We forgot to order these without breadcrumbs so Mr. Chef was the lucky recipient of both salads. His review: “it had a tangy, citrus-y dressing and if that weren’t enough, it had parmesan cheese on top. The kale itself is good, so it’s a bit like gilding the lily.”

Desserts

Flourless Chocolate Cake. Back in the day when eating gluten-free wasn’t very cool and restaurants pretty much had only baked goods with regular flour, this dessert was a gold mine. We ordered it every.single.time we went. All you need to know is that it contains chocolate, caramel, and ice cream. This dessert is all that and a sprinkle of cacao nibs. (Vegetarian, gluten-free)

Squash Pie. The flavor was very good and reminscent of pumpkin pie at Thanksgiving. The crust was crisper and the portion more generous than anticipated.

Chocolate Chip Cookies. Gluten-free & vegan, cakey and chocolately. We ordered a half-dozen. Only one survived past Day 3.

While we haven’t seen old favorites, such as Kale-aid juice and the Inside-out Quinoa burger yet, we’re thrilled to see what each season will bring to the menu of True Food Kitchen.

Our aim, despite our perhaps rather obvious obsession with this place, is to provide a balanced review. If you like what you’ve read, take a little trip over to 4052 Worth Ave at Easton Town Center. There’s a good chance you’ll catch us leaving there with a pizza.