Wednesday, February 20, 2013

Simple 7 Rule - Eat Better. Eat your (Artichoke) Heart Out

You can't eat too many vegetables, and people don't get fat or lessen their heart health from eating too many vegetables.  

I know. Technically, you can eat too much of anything, and you could put on some poundage with over-processed or deep-fried veggies or dips.  But I keep this mantra in my head when I'm thinking about cooking for the week.  I don't plan out my meals, but I know that if I load up my cart with fruit and vegetables, there are limitless combinations I can put together, and I can eat as much of it at a time as I want.  I can GO TO TOWN on a bowl of roasted brussel sprouts guilt free.  And I can happily munch while updating Etsy at my computer on apple slices, rather than the chips that I default crave. 

Here are a couple of my current obsessions that I make several times a week, and a couple of hints that may help you get over some little obstacles.

Lots of seasoning and a vintage plate. 

Roasted Zucchini

- Pre-heat the oven (or toaster oven if you're living small!) to 400 degrees.  
- Slice 2 zucchinis into 1/2" thick rounds.  (For me, this the key.  Zukes sliced too thin and cooked get majorly wimpy and limpy and don't hold the flava as well.  Sliced thicker, and this squash has a crunchy outside and a hot and juicy inside that makes their natural flavor and your spices explode.)  
- In a bowl (or even on the pan- who needs a middle man to clean?)  toss zukes with 1TB olive oil (or your fave oil of choice, I am obsessed with sesame oil right now too).  If you don't like to measure ingredients while cooking (I don't), its better to go with less oil than more, because these puppies will be plenty juicy. 
-Add on pepper, a pinch of salt, oregano, and maybe something a little spicy if you like- maybe some cayenne or chipotle pepper.
-Bake for 8 minutes, flip the zukes on the pan, and bake for 5 minutes more, give or take to your preferred crispiness. I think they are perfect just before they start to get translucent. 
-Serve hot on a cute little vintage plate! 

This concoction barely warrants a literal recipe, its that easy and open to interpretation. 

I love to save some for my lunch the next day, knowing my future self will really appreciate my current self for creating healthy tupperwares of vegetables that are ready to grab on a busy morning. 

While you're chopping, make one for your rommie or for later.

Sexy Mexi Salad

-Romaine or other crunchy dark green lettuce.  (Go bagged if you need to.  I know. I want to shop at Farmer's markets every weekend and buy those big beautiful leafy greens too, and I often do.  But if you find that you aren't getting to all those pretty cruciferouses wilting in your fridge because you aren't finding the time to pluck, clean, dry and chop, just go right ahead and buy the bagged, and preferably organic, lettuce and broccoli, etc.  We are talking about your HEART HEALTH here, ladies.  Lets take out all the obstacles and get right to it.)
-Avocado, soft
-Red pepper
-Canned corn or roasted corn (or frozen- see below)
-Red Onion
-Any other fruit or veggies in your fridge or freezer you need to use up.  Frozen peas? Throw them on.  Strawberries with 1 more day of prime eating? Slice em up.  Cucumber nub? Chop chop.  Some frozen veggies will thaw more nicely than others in time for your lunch, but just start trying a few!

Chop all of the above up, toss, then drizzle with your favorite salsa. Don't worry about the cheese, it doesn't add much flavor, and you've got so much going on here, you won't even miss it (or the calories). Forget about the dressing- your salsa and chopped fruits will provide enough juice.  If I am bringing my lunch to work, I try to keep the salsa and other juicy cuts separate from the lettuce in my tupperware by barricading them into a corner with the red peppers.  And if I find myself getting a little sick of chewing spinach all the time, I go heavier on the other ingredients and forget the rules of a traditional salad.  Whatever it takes for you to enjoy your salad and want to keep making more.

Whatever you have to do to eat more apples in the afternoon. 

Sliced Apples

-Clean apple
-Cut into slices

I'm just joking.  But seriously, I eat way more apples now that I slice them.  I just never wanted to bite into one.  It bothered my dry lips.  But now I eat one almost every day.  

Thank you for reading!  ---Katie

The two designers of Scarlett Garnet Jewelry are writing a short series on how they incorporate American Heart Association's "Life's Simple 7" steps into their own lives.  Scarlett Garnet designed The Heart Nouveau Necklace to benefit the AHA, with 15% of each sale going to women's heart health education and prevention.  Explore what led Scarlett Garnet to Go Red for Women on an earlier blog post at and follow them on

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