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Welcome to the Live Well Furman blog!  This blog is designed to help support healthy behaviors in the Furman community and beyond.  Be sure to sign up for our email subscription to have the latest campus wellness offerings, wellness news briefs, healthy meal ideas, and exercise tips delivered straight to your inbox each week!

FUEL Cooking Workshop 4/29: Simple Salads, Sandwiches, and Snacks

Our final FUEL cooking workshop for the spring term featured Simple Salads, Sandwiches, and Snacks.  We focused on some very flavorful but less familiar vegetables, fruits, whole grains, and plant proteins that are all a snap to prepare.

Check out these tasty recipes below:

  1.  Arugula Salad with Fennel, Pears and Lemon Vinaigrette.  Our first recipe featured some of my favorite vegetables that all pack a ton of flavor.  Arugula is a peppery salad green that pairs nicely with lemon, olive oil, and Parmesan cheese for a simple salad.  Thinly sliced pears add a little sweetness while thinly sliced fennel bulb adds a little crunch and hint of black licorice flavor.

If you have never used fennel  before, simply cut off the tall thin stalks from the top and set them aside.  Pull off the thin little fronds (leaves) from the stalks and set them aside to garnish the salad.  Cut a small slice (about 1/2 inch) off of the bottom of the bulb to remove the woody portion.  Then place the bulb cut side down on a cutting board.  Cut it in half lengthwise and then crosswise to make four quarters.  There is a very woody center core that will need to be trimmed off of the inside of each piece.  Simply slice the raw fennel quarters crosswise to make thin strips.  Fennel can be eaten raw, roasted, braised with tomatoes, steamed, or stir-fried.

To make the salad, toss together the fresh arugula, thinly sliced pears, and fennel.  We used a store-bought lemon olive oil dressing from Wishbone but you can also make a quick dressing with olive oil, lemon juice, honey, and a pinch of salt.  Top with Parmesan and the reserved fennel fronds.

2.  Mediterranean Farro.  Farro is one of my favorite whole grains because it is really soft, tender, and fluffy like white rice.  Except farro is a form of whole wheat so it has more nutrients than white rice.  Boil the farro in salted water according to package directions.  This may vary from 10 minutes for pre-cooked varieties (Trader Joe’s) up to 30-40 minutes for traditional farro.  If you can’t find farro, substitute your favorite whole grain such as quinoa, brown rice, or whole grain couscous.

Once the farro is cooked and cooled, simply add your favorite ingredients.  We used some colorful Mediterranean flavors with diced mini-cucumbers, grape tomatoes, smoked sun-dried tomatoes, sliced green olives, diced multi-colored bell peppers, chopped parsley, red onion, and feta cheese.  Dress with either a store-bought balsamic vinaigrette or make your own with olive oil, balsamic/ red wine vinegar, garlic, and a pinch of salt.  This can be served immediately or chilled.  For a complete meal, add garbanzo beans or chicken and serve over salad greens.

3.  Watermelon Salad with Blueberries, Jicama, and Fresh Mint.  Jazz up watermelon and blueberries with diced jicama  (HICK-ah-mah) and fresh mint.

Jicama is a brown root vegetable that is also known as a Mexican turnip.  It looks like a potato but tastes like a cross between an apple, potato, and celery.  That may sound strange but I find the crunch and flavor of raw jicama terribly addictive.  My kids love snacking on raw jicama cubes or sticks.  We also add little diced cubes to fruit salad or cold black bean salads with red bell peppers, corn, cilantro, and lime.   It is really simple to use– just peel it and cut it into desired shapes.  What is so special about jicama?  It is low in calories, high in prebiotic fiber, and is a great source of vitamin C.

To make this fruit salad, simply combine the watermelon, blueberries, diced jicama, and fresh mint.  Serve immediately or chill in the refrigerator.

4.  Asparagus and Tomato Tabouleh with Lemon and Feta.  I love prepacked whole grain mixes because they are quick and inexpensive.  We used boxed tabouleh for this recipe which contains a whole grain called bulgur (cracked wheat).  Other mixes with brown rice, quinoa, or whole grain couscous work well here also.  If you want to reduce the sodium, simply use half of the seasoning packet.

Simply prepare the tabouleh according to package directions (combine it with boiling water and let it sit for 20 minutes).  While it steeps, saute some asparagus and halved grape tomatoes in a little bit of olive oil and garlic for 5-10 minutes or until desired texture.  Add the vegetables to the tabouleh, squeeze in some fresh lemon juice, and top with a little feta if desired.  Enjoy this warm or cold.  For a complete meal, add garbanzo beans or chicken and serve over salad greens.

5. Smashed Chickpea Sandwich with Avocado,Cilantro, and Lime.  Most folks stick with traditional processed meats and cheese for sandwiches.  But it really is wiser to try to use healthier sandwich fillings.  Processed meats have been identified as a human carcinogen by the International Agency for Research on Cancer.  They are actually placed in the same high risk category as asbestos, tobacco, and estrogen replacement therapy.  According to the IARC, sufficient evidence suggests that processed meats contribute to colorectal cancer which is the third most common cancer among American men and women.  Time to rethink those sandwiches fillings.

For this workshop, we tried two plant based sandwiches and one with fresh chicken.  Workshop participants loved the fresh flavors and hearty fillings.

For the Smashed Chickpea and Avocado sandwich, rinse and drain canned garbanzo beans and add them to a medium bowl.  Add the flesh of one ripe avocado and mash them together with the back of a fork or a potato masher.  Squeeze in the juice of a lime and stir in some fresh chopped cilantro and a pinch of salt.  Use as a sandwich filling with whole grain tortillas (pictured above) or bread (pictured below).  We used Ezekiel 100% whole grain sprouted bread which has a really hearty texture.  Top with lettuce, red onion, and tomato slices, if desired.

6.  BBQ Tempeh Sandwiches.  This plant based sandwich always seems to be a crowd pleaser.  We have made it at a local men’s homeless shelter, OLLI cooking class for retirees, culinary workshop for Furman students, and countless FUEL workshops.  I love it because it is quick, cheap, and easy and reminds me of a Carolina BBQ Sandwich.

 

This plant based sandwich features tempeh– a “vegan powerhouse” due to its high protein and fiber content.  Tempeh is usually made with fermented soybeans and/or whole grains.  It also boasts impressive roles as both a prebiotic (which encourages the growth of healthy bacteria in the gut) and a probiotic (which contains live active healthy bacteria for the gut).  A healthy gut flora may improve multiple aspects of health such as cognitive function, heart disease, metabolism, diabetes, and cancer risk.

To make this tasty sandwich, saute some diced onion and carrot in a large skillet over medium heat for about 5 minutes.  Meanwhile, grate the tempeh on a box grater or finely chop it to make little crumbles.  Add the tempeh to the skillet and saute for a few minutes until lightly golden.  Drizzle in some BBQ sauce and simmer for a few minutes longer.  Make a quick coleslaw with shredded coleslaw mix, a little bit of light mayonnaise, and a bit of minced onion.  Serve the BBQ tempeh and coleslaw on a whole grain bun and enjoy.  Leftovers are fantastic for lunch.  For variety, serve the BBQ tempeh and coleslaw over a baked sweet potato.

7.  Balsamic Chicken and Strawberry Sandwiches with Walnuts and Goat Cheese.  Saute chicken breasts in a little bit of olive oil with salt and pepper.  Let cool slightly, cut into strips, and toss with store-bought balsamic vinaigrette.  Serve it on a whole grain tortilla with lettuce, sliced strawberries, diced red onion, diced walnuts, and goat cheese.  Wrap up and enjoy.

8. Easy Banana Oat Cookies with Coconut and Chocolate Chips.  The world’s easiest cookie recipe never fails and is a perfect way to use up ripe bananas.  In a medium size bowl, mash two ripe bananas with the back of a fork or a potato masher.  It is important to use ripe bananas that are yellow with little brown “sugar spots” on them.  This means that the starches have turned to sugar and the bananas will be naturally sweet so you don’t need to add sugar.

At this point, you can drop little spoonfuls of the mixture on a lightly greased baking sheet.  Or you can add your favorite toppings such as mini-chocolate chips, shredded coconut, raisins, nuts, or flaxseed.  Bake for 10-15 minutes at 350 degrees F until they are lightly golden on the bottom.  Store them in the refrigerator and enjoy them for breakfast, snacks, or dessert.

Interesting in trying some new healthy recipes?  The Furman Employee Wellness Program will be sponsoring two free cooking workshops for Furman employees, spouses, and dependents this summer.  We will feature Easy Farm to Table Recipes with local produce on Monday, June 26 and Simple Make Ahead Meals (perfect for busy individuals or families) on Monday, July 17.

Both workshops will be held in the Herring Center classroom from 11:30 a.m.- 1 p.m. and include lunch.  Registration is required by contacting Kelly Frazier via email at kelly.frazier@furman.edu.

Can’t make it?  Be sure to check back for the recipes and photos.  We also have over 4,000 healthy recipes on our Live Well Furman Blog Pinterest page at https://www.pinterest.com/eatveg/.

Summer FUEL Healthy Cooking Workshops

 

Furman Faculty, Staff, and Dependents are invited to join us this summer for our FUEL Healthy Cooking Workshops.  Contact Kelly Frazier to register at kelly.frazier@furman.edu.

(click image above to enlarge)

Furman Employee Wellness Summer Activity Series

The Furman Fitness center is sponsoring many activities for Furman employees and spouses this summer.  (Click on the links to enlarge)

FUEL Cooking Workshop Recipes 4/7: Sheet Pan Suppers and One Pot Meals

I love to cook; just not when I am hungry.  This is why I am a big fan of one pot meals.  They contain everything you need– plenty of vegetables, some lean protein, whole grains or potatoes, and  a little bit of healthy fat.  Plus you only have to clean one pot or pan when you are done.

Our most recent FUEL Cooking Workshop featured six delicious one pot meals and sheet pan suppers that all conform to the FUEL plate.

Sheet Pan Greek Lemon Chicken with Green Beans, Potatoes, and Carrots

Slice waxy white or red potatoes into 1/2 inch slices or wedges.  On a 9×12 sheet pan, combine potatoes with carrot sticks, green beans, and boneless, skinless chicken thighs.  Drizzle with olive or canola oil, salt, and pepper. Spread the mixture evenly over the baking sheet.  Top with a few lemon slices.  Roast at 450 degrees F for 30 minutes, stirring halfway.  The chicken should be cooked through and the vegetables and potatoes should be golden brown. Top with feta cheese, chopped fresh oregano, and additional lemon juice.

Sheet Pan Maple Apple Chicken Sausage with Potatoes and Vegetables.

This was definitely the workshop favorite. Slice waxy white or red potatoes into 1/2 inch slices or wedges.  On a 9×12 sheet pan, combine potatoes with sliced chicken sausage (we used Maple Apple Chicken Sausage).  Add your favorite vegetables such as chopped broccoli florets, green beans, carrots, or bell peppers. Choose as much color as you can because this dish looks really impressive.  Drizzle with olive or canola oil, salt, and pepper; toss to combine well. Spread the mixture evenly over the baking sheet.    Roast at 425 degrees F for 30 minutes, stirring halfway.  The chicken should be cooked through and the vegetables and potatoes should be golden brown. Top with Parmesan cheese, if desired.

Asian Chicken Salad with Napa Cabbage, Almonds, and Mandarin Oranges.

I love this recipe in the summertime when nappa cabbage is at the farmer’s market.  It has a light flavor and a crisp texture that is similar to iceberg lettuce.  The entire salad is light and delicious. In a large bowl, combine chopped napa cabbage, matchstick carrots, chopped cucumber, chopped scallion, and chopped cilantro.  In a separate bowl, combine ingredients for dressing (canola oil, honey, reduced sodium soy sauce, sesame oil, and Dijon mustard).   When ready to serve, toss the salad with the dressing and top with chopped cooked chicken, mandarin oranges, and sliced almonds.


Mango Coconut Quinoa Salad with Edamame

This is delicious over a green salad or just add more carrots and bell peppers to make it a one-pot meal.  Combine cooked quinoa with edamame, matchstick carrots, golden raisins, sliced almonds, chopped mango, unsweetened coconut, cilantro, lime juice, and a pinch of salad.  Leftovers hold well in the refrigerator for a few days.

Asian Soba Noodle Salad with Edamame

Soba noodles are an Asian style noodle with a hearty texture and earthy flavor.  They are made with buckwheat which is a whole grain that oddly is not related to wheat.  If you can’t find them, substitute whole wheat spaghetti, brown rice, or quinoa.  Cook the soba noodles according to package directions.  Combine with edamame, matchstick carrots, thinly sliced bell peppers, chopped cilantro, grated garlic, and minced ginger.  In a small bowl, combine canola oil, reduced sodium soy sauce, sesame oil, honey, and rice vinegar.  Toss to combine.  Serve hot or cold.

Butternut Squash and Black Bean Enchiladas

This is a delicious and colorful plant-based meal.  In a large skillet, saute chopped onion, garlic, and jalapeno peppers in oil over medium high heat 3-5 minutes or until softened.  Add butternut squash, diced red bell pepper; saute 3-5 minutes until slightly softened.  Add a can of fire-roasted tomatoes, canned black beans (rinsed and drained), cumin, chili powder, and salt; simmer for 7-10 minutes.  This mixture can be served over brown rice or rolled up into whole wheat tortillas to make enchiladas.  Top with a little cheddar cheese, light sour cream, and chopped fresh cilantro.  The butternut squash/ black bean mixture can be made ahead and also freezes well.

Greek Pasta Salad with Shrimp, Olives, and Feta- BONUS Recipe!

This dish makes a delicious cold lunch or dinner when the weather warms up.  Combine cooked soba noodles or whole wheat spaghetti with cooked shrimp, chopped yellow and red peppers, grape tomatoes, olives, feta, lemon, and chopped fresh parsley.

Our last cooking workshop for the spring term is Friday, April 29 at the Herring Center from 2:30-4 p.m.  The theme will feature Simple Salads, Sandwiches, and Snacks.

FUEL Cooking Workshops are free for Furman faculty, staff, and spouses.  Email kelly.frazier@furman.edu to register.

Furman Student Culinary Club Workshop Recipes Spring 2017

The Furman Student Culinary Club has wrapped up another great semester.  Check out some of the delicious recipes from our spring 2017 workshops.

In February, Furman Student Morgan Cooper led the Club with a Baking Workshop that included both healthier and indulgent recipes.  Here are a few of the favorites:

Chocolate Avocado Pudding with Hazelnuts.  In a food processor or blender, combine 2 avocados, 1/2 cup milk (coconut, cow, soy, almond), 1/3 cup cocoa powder, 1/3 cup maple syrup, and 1 tsp. vanilla.  Refrigerate for 15 minutes.  Top with hazelnuts and a pinch of sea salt

Winter Fruit Salad with Maple Lime Dressing and Crunchy Oat & Chia Topping.  Combine chopped apples and pears, clementine segments, kiwi, and pomegranate seeds.  Drizzle with maple syrup and fresh lime juice.  Top with your favorite granola.

Easy Coconut Macaroons with Chocolate Drizzle.  Recipe here.

Red Velvet Cupcakes with Cream Cheese Frosting.  Morgan used her secret family recipe for the workshop.  Here is another favorite from Cooking Light.

Our last workshop for the Spring was “A Taste from Afar” and included recipes from around the world.  Here are a few of the favorite recipes:

Korean-Style Bok Choy.  Bok choy is a delicious Asian cabbage.  We stir-fried it with garlic, ginger, soy sauce, sesame oil, and topped it with sesame seeds.

Asian Style Chicken Lettuce Wraps.  Warm oil in a large skillet over medium high heat.  Add 1 pound lean ground chicken; cook 3-5 minutes.  Stir in 1 chopped onion, 1 tsp. minced garlic, 1 tsp. freshly grated ginger, 1/4 cup hoisin sauce, and 2 Tbsp. reduced sodium soy sauce, and a can of diced water chestnuts; simmer 3-5 minutes ingredients are combined and chicken is cooked through.  Spoon mixture into lettuce leaves (e.g., Bibb or Boston) and garnish with green onions.

 

Mexican Tostadas with Homemade Pinto Beans, Homemade Guacamole, Homemade Salsa, tomatoes, and cotija cheese.  We soaked pinto beans overnight and then cooked them with onions and garlic until tender.  Then we mashed them, combined them with a little water and reheated them.  In a pinch, you can just use a can of refried beans.  Spread the beans over the store bought tostadas.  Top with your favorite toppings.

Quick Cashew Chicken.  This easy dish was a workshop favorite!  Cut 1 pound of chicken breast into bite size pieces and toss with 1/4 cup cornstarch.  This creates a light and crisp coating on the chicken.  Toss a large handful of cashews in a large skillet over medium low heat and toast for a few minutes until fragrant; remove cashews from pan and set aside.  Add 1 tbsp. canola oil to the skillet and increase to medium high heat.  Add chicken; saute for 3-5 minutes until lightly golden.  Add 1 chopped red bell pepper, 4 tbsp. reduced sodium soy sauce, 1 tbsp. rice wine vinegar, 1 tbsp. Hoisin sauce, and 1 tsp. sesame oil; saute for 3-5 minutes until sauce is thickened and chicken is cooked through.  Top with cashews, sesame seeds and chopped green onion.

Tuscan White Bean Soup.  Saute onion, carrots, celery, and garlic in a pan 3-5 minutes or until tender.  Add low sodium chicken broth, a can of diced tomatoes, canned white beans (rinsed and drained), chopped fresh kale, and dried Italian seasoning; simmer for 15 minutes.  Top with shredded Parmesan.

Crepes with Homemade whipped cream and fresh berries.  Crepes are delicious thin French pancakes.  In a medium bowl, combine 2 cups flour, 4 eggs, 2 Tbsp. melted butter, 1 cup of low fat milk, 1 cup of water, and 1/2 tsp. salt.  If mixture seems thick, add a little more milk. It should be thinner than a pancake batter. Warm a medium skillet over medium high heat.  Pour 1/4 cup of the batter into the pan and swirl to coat the bottom of the pan evenly.  Cook for 1-3 minutes or until lightly browned.  Turn with a spatula and cook on the other side 1-3 minutes until lightly golden.  Fold or roll up with toppings such as fresh berries, peaches, bananas, whipped cream, or powdered sugar.

The Point Pantry: Furman Students donate Pden Points for Loaves and Fishes

 

Attention Furman students:  Did you know that you can donate your end of year Pden Points to the Loaves and Fishes local food recovery program?  

The Furman Department of Health Sciences has been working closely with Loaves and Fishes to help improve access to healthful foods to 97 local food pantries and homeless shelters.  Your contributions can help considerably.

Contact the Pden cashier’s for more information.

FUEL the Community: Battling the Hunger-Obesity Paradox

FUEL the Community

In the United States, hunger and obesity often coexist within the same individual.  This concept, known as the “Hunger- Obesity Paradox” seems almost counterintuitive.  How can the same individual be hungry and obese at the same time?

William Dietz, MD, PhD first described this phenomenon in the journal of Pediatrics in 1995.  As an example, he described one of his young female patients who was severely obese.  She lived with her mother on an extremely limited income.  They often purchased low cost, high fat food items to stave off hunger when money was scarce.

Dietz suggested that the Hunger-Obesity Paradox may be explained by intakes of high calorie density/ low nutrient density foods combined with irregular access to healthful foods.  Indeed, numerous other studies have confirmed this paradoxical relationship and stressed the need to improve access to healthful foods to low income individuals who experience food insecurity.

Obesity rates are at an all time high in the United States with over 69% of adults currently classified as overweight or obese.  Due to this epidemic— for the first time ever in American history— children born today are expected to live a shorter life expectancy than their parents.  Obesity has been associated with cardiovascular disease, type 2 diabetes, metabolic syndrome, cancer, systemic inflammation, osteoarthritis, overall mortality rate and countless other chronic conditions.

These physical manifestations can then affect other areas of well-being including mental health.  For example, obesity is associated with an increased rate of depression.  Researchers speculate that this may be due to the fact that obesity contributes to systemic inflammation, HPA-axis (brain) dysregulation, and insulin resistance which can induce changes in brain function in a way that increases the risk for depression.

Research suggests that the way a person eats can affect the way he/ she acts and feels.  Diet can affect several behavioral problems and psychological conditions such as autism, attention-deficit/ hyperactivity disorder, schizophrenia, dementia, antisocial behavior, and depression.  It is important to note that a poor diet can negatively affect multiple aspects of health and well-being, even in the absence of obesity.  Our community is suffering.  Something must be done.

In the fall of 2017, the Furman University Department of Health Sciences will be launching a new initiative called “FUEL the Community.”   Furman Health Science majors will work directly with local non-profit agencies to provide health and nutrition education as well as healthy cooking demonstrations and recipes to individuals in need.  Local homeless shelters will strive to serve healthier meals to the men, women, and children they serve.

FUEL the Community is an extension of a six year research program that has been conducted at Furman.  Over 150 Furman employees and spouses have learned how to conform most of their meals to the FUEL plate which is ½ vegetables and/or fruits, ¼ whole grains or potatoes, and ¼ lean proteins.  The results of the FUEL Plate Dietary Intervention suggest that this simple eating guide can 1) improve nutrient intake, 2) facilitate weight management, and 3) improve health outcomes associated with chronic disease.

With the assistance of Furman University and Loaves and Fishes, over 12 nonprofit organizations will begin implementing the FUEL plate healthy eating guidelines this fall.  These organizations include all of the Miracle Hill Adult Ministries (Greenville Rescue Mission homeless shelter for men, Shepherd’s Gate homeless shelter for women and children, Renewal Addiction Recovery Center for Women, Overcomers’ Addiction Recovery Center for Men, Spartanburg Rescue Mission, and Cherokee County Rescue Mission), Greenville Free Medical Clinic, Greer Free Clinic, Greer Food Relief food pantry, Project Hope soup kitchen, North Greenville Crisis Ministry, and Our Lady’s Pantry community wellness pantry.

Low income members of our community do not have adequate access to healthful foods or the knowledge and skills how to use them.   Together, we can make a difference.

 

Cited works:

Dietz WH, Does hunger cause obesity? Pediatrics. 1995; 95:7667.

Luppinoo FS, et al. Overweight, Obesity, and Depression. Archives of General Psychiatry. 2010; 220-229.

Olshansky, SJ, et al. A Potential Decline in Life Expectancy in the United States in the 21st Century. New England Journal of Medicine. 2005; 1138-1145.

Scheier LM, What is the Hunger-Obesity Paradox? Journal of American Dietetic Association. 2005; 883.

Sanchez-Villegas, A, et al. Mediterranean Diet and Depression. Public Health Nutrition. 2006; 1104-1109.

New Food Labels Hit the Stores

Frustrated with the small print or misleading information on Nutrition Facts Panels?

Be sure to check out the new labels that have been approved by the Food and Drug Administration and are already hitting the stores.

You can see some of the important changes on the salad dressing labels above.  The old label is on the left, the new label is on the right.

Health conscious consumers will be happy to see some key updates such as:

1) Calories are in larger print. Certain packages like 20 oz. bottles of soda and King Size bags of chips will be required to list calories per serving AND calories per package if the entire package may typically be consumed in one sitting.  No more misleading information or math calculations required.

2) Sugars will now distinguish added and naturally occuring sugars. For example, the product on the right above has 1 gram of sugar– 1 of which is added sugar.  It is helpful to try to limit added sugars because they don’t come packaged with other beneficial vitamins, minerals, and fibers like natural sugars often do.

3) Sugars will now list a % Daily Value. This means that consumers will clearly see that a bottle of soda may contain an entire day’s worth of sugar (100% Daily Value). Remember than anything above 20% Daily Value is considered “high” and less than 5% Daily Value is considered “low”.

4) Mandatory reported vitamins and minerals will change. The old labeling system required manufacturers to report the content of vitamin A, vitamin C, calcium, and iron. They may choose to list other nutrients if they desire.

The new system requires manufacturers to list vitamin D, potassium, calcium, and iron since those nutrients tend to be low in the average American diet.

So what hasn’t changed? Manufacturers are still given some freedom about what they list as a serving size. For example the dressing on the left lists 2 Tablespoons as a serving; the dressing on the right lists 1 Tablespoon.

Be sure to check the serving size first when comparing products or estimating how much you are actually eating.

FUEL Cooking Workshop Recipes 3/17: Superfast Vegetables and Fruits

No time or energy to cook a healthy meal?

Apparently, you aren’t alone.

We had a great turn out for our first spring FUEL cooking workshop featuring “Superfast Vegetables and Fruits.” We prepared 10 delicious and simple vegetable dishes in one hour. Everything came from our local Publix.

 

1) Fresh Vegetable Platter. First up, an easy fresh vegetable platter with two Greek yogurt based dips. We featured sugar snap peas, rainbow carrots, sweet peppers, and mini cucumbers cut into sticks. Keep these easy snacks in the fridge or prepackage them in reusable containers for the go.

2) Next we fixed an easy Tex-Mex Kale Salad. Start with a bag of prewashed and cut kale. Toss it in a large bowl with fresh lemon juice and olive oil.  Massage it in well to fully coat the leaves. At this point, you can eat it immediately or store it in the fridge for a few days. It will marinate and become more tender.

When you are ready to eat, sprinkle over black beans, diced avocado, diced red bell pepper, corn, and shredded cheddar.

3) Our last cold dish was an easy Zucchini Ribbon Salad with lemon, olive oil, and a pinch of salt. Simply use a vegetable peeler to slice the raw zucchini into thin strips. Then toss with dressing and serve cold.

4) Next we moved to the oven and tried a few variations of roasted vegetables. Roasting involves high dry heat in the oven (above 400 degrees F). When vegetables are roasted in a single layer on a baking sheet, their natural sugars caramelize and they become incredibly delicious.

First up was Asian Broccoli and Mushrooms with Sesame. Simply toss broccoli and mushrooms with a little minced garlic, oil, and salt. Roast at 425 degrees F for about 20 minutes or until lightly golden, stirring halfway.  Drizzle in a little reduced sodium soy sauce,  sesame oil, rice vinegar, and sesame seeds.

5) Roasted Green Beans and Tomatoes with Pesto.  Our next roasted vegetable was green beans and grape tomatoes. Toss with a little oil and salt and spread over a baking sheet. Roast about 15 minutes or until lightly golden at 425 degrees, stirring halfway.  Stir in a little bit of jarred pesto.

6) Another delicious roasted vegetable medley is Roasted Squash and Zucchini with Smoked Sun-dried Tomatoes. Toss sliced squash with oil and salt and spread over a baking sheet. Add sliced lemons, if desired.  They release their juices in the oven. Roast for 20 minutes or until lightly golden at 425 degrees, stirring halfway.  Sprinkle over sun-dried tomatoes and serve.

7) Our final roasted dish was Buffalo Cauliflower— one of my favorites, I could probably eat the whole batch.  Toss cauliflower florets with oil and salt and spread over a baking sheet. Roast about 20 minutes or until lightly golden at 425 degrees, stirring halfway. Drizzle with a little bit of hot sauce. Hot sauce is very flavorful but high in sodium so try to use it sparingly. Even our participants who didn’t like spicy food enjoyed this dish.

8) Next we moved to the stovetop for two easy sauteed vegetable dishes. Just like roasting, the key here is to use hot dry heat and don’t pile up the vegetables too high or they will steam instead of saute. You want the vegetables to turn golden brown for best flavor.

Sauuteed Brussel Sprouts with Dried Cranberries and Pecans were a big hit. Warm oil in a large skillet over medium high heat. Add shaved Brussels and a pinch of salt. Saute for 5-10 minutes or until golden, stirring occassionally. Top with dries cranberries and chopped pecans. This is also delicious when finished with a little drizzle of fresh orange juice and zest.

9) The most popular recipe of the workshop was the easiest– Parmesan Garlic Cauliflower Rice.

Simply warm a little minced garlic and oil in a large skillet over medium high heat. Add cauliflower rice and cook for 5-10 minutes until tender and lightly golden, stirring occassionally. Stir in grated Parmesan.

Cauliflower rice is a new item to the fresh produce and frozen vegetable section. It is just finely chopped cauliflower.  Make your own by pulsing fresh cauliflower florets in a food processor until they resemble pebbles.

10) Our final dish was our famous Green Monster Smoothies. In a blender, combine 2 bananas, 2 cups of fresh spinach, 1 cup of orange juice and 1 cup of frozen pineapple or mango.

Be sure to check our Pinterest page for more delicious FUEL recipes: www.pinterest.com/eatveg.

Our next Employee Wellness Cooking  workshop will feature one-pot meals and sheet pan suppers.  Email kelly.frazier@furman.edu to register.