Tuesday, October 16, 2012

New Adventures

I’m never been much of a regular blogger. Other areas of life, mom, chef, and of course Head Spear of Purple Asparagus, have always taken precedence. Knowing this, I recently decided to make a change to rejuvenate my writing spirit. This decision was inspired a well in part by a change in platform over at Purple Asparagus. Last June, we moved over to Wordpress. After seeing how easy it was to maneuver, I realized that it was time to pick up and move.

While I have enjoyed my time here at Little Locavores and may return from time to time, I’ll be spending the majority of my time over at Purple Asparagus’ new blog, Delicious Nutritious Adventures. Hopefully, you’ll join me for new adventures in the classroom and at the family table.

Saturday, August 4, 2012

Purple Asparagus, Purple Monkey and More than Milk

A few months ago, a feature in Daily Candy caught my eye. It highlighted a new non-profit called More than Milk that organized opportunities for new moms to volunteer with their children. Founded by former teacher, Amy Cahill, More than Milk partners with a different non-profit 4 times a year. More than Milk highlights the partner organization in its newsletter and events. It also allows moms to volunteer with the featured non-profit by arranging for babysitters through Urban Sitter to watch the little ones.

Since July, Purple Asparagus has been the beneficiary of More than Milk's efforts. The moms accompanied me to Green City Market for our Club Sprouts session where we made Salad Cubed (Tomato, Peach, Cucumber Bread Salad). More recently, More than Milk organized a book signing and talk with Dr. Natalie Digate Muth, author of Eat Your Vegetables and Other Mistakes Parents Make at Purple Monkey Playroom.

After a great talk with Dr. Muth, the spotlight turned to us where we spoke about our own Delicious Nutritious Adventures and made Yogurt Parfaits with our little patrons.

Makes 4 ½ cups

3 cups old fashioned rolled oats
1 tablespoon flax seeds
¼ cup maple syrup or more to taste
¼ cup canola oil
½ cup sunflower seeds
½ teaspoon vanilla
½ teaspoon cinnamon
¼ teaspoon salt
¼ cup dried cranberries

Preheat the oven to 350° F.  In a large bowl, mix together the first eight ingredients.  Spread out the mixture onto a non-stick pan.  Bake for 45 minutes or until light brown. Let cool and then stir in the cranberries. Scoop into an airtight container. The granola will keep for a few weeks.

Perfect Parfait
Makes 4

2 cups of plain low fat yogurt
¼ cup strawberry jam
¾ cup granola
1 cup mixed fruit like raspberries, bananas, blueberries, bananas

Stir together the yogurt and jam in a medium bowl. Divide the yogurt evening into 4 pretty glasses. Top with fresh fruit and granola. Enjoy.

Photography Credit, TK Photography

Wednesday, July 11, 2012

Porky Goodness: Barbecue Pork Burgers

With grilling season underway, my family and I like to enjoy a tasty twist on the traditional (and usually leaner) alternative to your standard beef burgers. We love grilled pork burgers, which I serve with barbecue mayonnaise and cabbage-carrot slaw.

The slaw provides an easy way to incorporate vegetables and thus more color and more nutrients (like Vitamin C). It also gives the burger a fresh crunch and flavor. I recently developed this recipe for Right@Home™, SC Johnson’s online destination for coupons, cleaning and organizing tips and easy recipes, like this one.

If you’d like to see my upcoming recipes, register for Right@Home to receive their monthly newsletter, which will highlight my future recipes and interesting articles about caring for your home.

In the meantime, my family and I are going to go back to enjoying our juicy pork burgers on our deck. I just love summer!

Friday, May 25, 2012

A Heartfelt Thank You

Photography Credit, Artisan Events
When I posted about my son’s little league snack on Monday, I could not have anticipated that it would generate so much interest! Jeez, Louise.

I want to welcome those of you who are new to Little Locavores. In this blog, I write about my efforts and those of my family to eat well. I also often chronicle the work that I do as the Executive Director (or head spear as I like to say) of Purple Asparagus.

Purple Asparagus is a non-profit that educates children, families and the community about eating that’s good for the body and planet. During the school year, we teach our flagship program, Delicious Nutritious Adventures. Delicious Nutritious Adventures gets kids excited about fresh fruits and vegetables through guided tastings and hands on cooking. In the 2011-12 school year, we visited over 30 Chicago Public Schools, providing regular monthly programs in 18 of those.

As the school year comes to a close, we receive the most charming thank you letters both from our kids and from the teachers, two of which I’d like to share here.

First, from the kids:

And then from the teachers:

Dear Melissa,

            We would like to take this opportunity to say a heart-filled thanks for bringing the Purple Asparagus workshops to Galileo.    Our students have loved every minute of the program.  They experienced new foods, tasted what they made and became aware of the huge variety of local and organic fresh fruits and vegetables available to them.

            The presenters were friendly, knowledgeable, and addressed all our students’ questions and insights.  They were patient and understanding to needs of all students.  Each month they came prepared to engage and challenge the children to try nutritious and healthy foods.

            It was exciting to see our kids taste and love unusual fruits and vegetables.  At first we had our reservations, thinking they might not be willing to try these foods, but were we wrong.  Many times students finished the samples and asked for seconds.  More than once we had students ask the presenters to write the foods down so they could ask their moms to purchase the foods for them.  Students also related their trips to Whole Foods in search of these foods.

            It is our hope that Purple Asparagus will be back next year to offer our new first graders the opportunity to experience this exciting and hands-on learning.  Our kids have brought their ideas and experiences home to teach and share with their families. This type of extended learning is what we hope to achieve when we teach each day.  It has been our pleasure to participate and once again, thank you so much.  You have opened our eyes to healthy and good foods.


                                                            Jack Beven, Mary Mattson and Valerie Sarvin
                                                            Galileo First Grade Teachers

Tuesday, May 22, 2012

Snack Attack in the Snack Culture

Every spring, when Little League games begin, three little words strike terror into the hearts of health-conscious parents all over the country: post game snacks. When I hear the phrase, visions of neon colored sugar water and Costco valu-paks brimming with sodium and artificial colors fill my head.

I try to advocate balance as my son’s chief dietician. As my mom says, one bag of junk won’t ruin your body. As a result, I don’t forbid Thor from taking a bag of Doritos or a bottle of Gatorade but instead let him decide for himself. Fortunately, he usually politely declines knowing that healthier and tastier alternatives await at home (Greater Than coconut water and Tia tortilla chips are delicious natural alternatives to these chemically enhanced treats).

This year, however, is different. My husband, our team’s coach, and I paid for Purple Asparagus to sponsor the team. Forgoing the folksy tone, I’d adopted for past emails as snack mom, I drove straight to the heart of the matter. From my email:

“Some of you may have seen a recent article in the Trib suggesting that kids who play organized sports eat more junk food because of the treat culture pervasive in youth leagues. I’d like us not to be that team. To encourage that, I want to give a few guidelines.

  • The post game nosh is a snack, not a treat. If our team track record persists, they’ll be plenty of time for those (both of the kid and adult variety) towards the end of the season - the White Sox like a good party. But after a game, the kids need something to replenish their energy, not send them into sugar shock.
  • Please be conscious of allergy concerns. If any of your kids has a food allergy, please let me know. I know we all want our kids to be safe and will accommodate any food allergies.
  • Let’s try to avoid foods with artificial colors, high fructose corn syrup, and lots of loaded sugar and salt. I promise I won’t bring your kid kale chips if you don’t bring mine Cheetos.”

You know what? Thus far, we’ve had awesome snacks ranging from a banana and a bottle of water to homemade pumpkin whoopie pies.We’ve got a winning record not only on the field but also in the snack realm. Do I attribute this to my well-crafted email? I wouldn’t flatter myself. I think we lucked into a great group of parents. And, perhaps, sometimes folks just need a little encouragement to pass up the potato chips in favor of the apple chips.

Pink Lemonade
Serves 4

For three years running, we’ve served Pink Lemonade as the beverage portion of my snack rotation. Ordinarily, I use strawberries to create the hue, but this year I had a mushy blood orange to rid my fridge of. It turned the lemonade a salmon-y shade of pink.

1 blood orange
3 lemons, approximately
2 to 3 tablespoons of sugar syrup

Juice the blood orange into a 4-cup measuring cup. Add enough lemon juice to the blood orange juice to make 1/3 cup of juice. Fill water into the cup to measure 3 cups total of liquid. Stir in sugar syrup. If the lemonade is too tart to your taste, add more sugar syrup gradually.

Monday, May 14, 2012

Supermoms Against Superbugs

Greetings everyone,

Two years ago, I wrote about the clear and present danger presented by the over use of antibiotics in the livestock industry in The Morality of Meat. Children dead within days of being exposed to Methicillin Resistant Staph (or MRSA), the development of superbugs resistant to our antibiotics - it scares the shit out of me.

Despite all the attention to childhood obesity, I firmly believe that this is the number one public health crisis in America. We need to change the hearts and minds of our government and our populace, to demonstrate the importance of keeping our antibiotics safe and effective for our children when they need them.

Because of my advocacy in this area, I was selected to be a “Supermom” for an event called Supermoms Against Superbugs. Today, Thor, Mike, my mom and I travel to DC to participate tomorrow in a day of advocacy in Washington, D.C. We will celebrate and unite moms and dads across America to preserve the effectiveness of antibiotics for their children and families.

Organized by The Pew Campaign on Human Health and Industrial Farming, in partnership with the American Academy of Pediatrics, our goal is to encourage the White House and the U.S. Food and Drug Administration to reduce antibiotic overuse in food animal production—a practice that breeds drug-resistant bacteria that can make us sick.

I will be joined by chefs, pediatricians, farmers, and everyday moms who have a particular interest in this issue.  Some raise food animals without the routine use of antibiotics, some serve meats raised without antibiotics in their restaurants and homes, some work on the frontlines treating a growing number of children with antibiotic-resistant infections, and some have personal stories to share about how antibiotic resistance has impacted their lives.

I hope you will join me by participating virtually! No planes, trains, or automobiles required, just a computer with an Internet connection, a smart phone, or a tablet.

Here are some things you can do:
·         Visit Supermoms Against Superbugs to learn more about the event, including bios on all of the Supermoms and a list of virtual actions you can take on May 15. 

·         Follow us on Facebook and Twitter as we prepare for our trip and take Washington by storm!

Thank you for your support!

Sunday, May 13, 2012

Dad, Man the Grill for Mom

Ah, Mother’s Day: a day for dads and kids to celebrate Mom by making a giant mess out of her kitchen. While I’m sure that there’s a goodly percentage of dads out there who pull off a delicious family brunch without flour on the ceiling and eggs in the cabinet hinges, my husband is not one of them.

To read more, visit Williams-Sonoma's Blender blog.

Thursday, May 10, 2012

An Open Letter to my Marvelous Mother

Photo Credit, SC Johnson, Right@Home
Dear Mom,

Culling out a single food memory from my childhood would be impossible as there are so very many, so here is my open thank you letter to you.

Thank you for our family field trips to farm stands on the east end of Long Island. At the time, I had no idea how important it was for me to see real food in its natural state.

Thank you for being a gracious and creative hostess. I couldn't possibly remember all of your parties, but some of my best memories are of making and serving dinner by candlelight for a Colonial Williamsburg dinner, clambakes, and cocktail hours that lasted several hours on our boat. But of course, I'd be remiss in not recalling your very popular, annual survival party - an outdoor event on New Year's Day. Yes, you served too much food and people drank too much. But the laughter that you inspired will ring forever in my ears.

Thank you for taking risks. What were you thinking when you taught a group of 4th graders to make croissants for a French class project with no oven. (Oh, yeah, I would probably do something so silly these days).

Thank you for your willingness to experiment. While you'd never touch a roll of sushi, you exposed me to so many different cuisines as a kid - I remember the fondue pot, the wok, the crepe pan, and of course your famous krumkakers filled with sweetened whipped cream.

Thank you for showing me the importance of family dinner. While I may forgo the candles that you set out, we continue this tradition every night, one that keeps our family strong.

Thank you for not being perfect, for the occasional Dorito, coke and McDonald's visit. Although you made what we may now consider mistakes, it's comforting to know that if you get all the big stuff right, things will probably turn out okay.

Thank you for birthday cakes, raucous parties, cooking lessons, nourishment and nutrition, and of course for soft-boiled eggs.

I'm pretty certain that I have never pulled out an egg cup in my own home. I've scrambled, poached, hard-boiled, omeletted, fried, even coddled, but never made myself a soft-boiled egg with sliced buttered toast like you served me on a many a cold morning before school. Thank you for that memory, so simple, so unspoiled and yet so profound.

Thank you most of all for being my mom.



Soft-Boiled Eggs
Do I really to give a recipe for this? Probably. Because many people weren't lucky enough to have a mom like mine to show them the ropes in the kitchen.

3 eggs

Bring a pot just large enough to hold the eggs filled with water to a hard boil. Add the eggs and cook between 3 and 4 minutes or until done to your preference. Cut of about a 1/4-inch of the egg's top with a serrated knife. Serve with thinly sliced buttered toast.

If you're looking for a home run recipe to make for your marvelous mom, try the Orange Delight Pancakes pictured above, a recipe I created for SC Johnson's Right@Home website.

Thursday, April 5, 2012

Best Steak Sauce Ever: Staking My Reputation

I hate superlatives in food.

When I see a restaurant touting "the best [fill in the blank]," I turn on my heels and look for another.

"Best" in a subjective realm like food is a matter of taste. My best chocolate chip cookie is super thin, with crispy edges and soft chocolate chips. Yours may be soft and chewy with the addition of chopped nuts.

That being said, after dinner tonight, I need to share with you the best steak sauce ever or at least the best steak sauce I've ever made.

I'd been hesitant in the past to share this recipe because it has a secret ingredient. I'm not keeping it a secret, it's simply one that you likely won't have readily at your disposal. However, given that the raw material for this secret ingredient is now in season, I thought I'd share with you with my best steak sauce ever.

Strip Steaks with Special Steak Sauce
 Serves 2-3

2 strip steaks
2 teaspoons grapeseed or vegetable oil
¼ cup red wine
2/3 cup chicken or beef stock
1 teaspoon balsamic
1 ½ teaspoon Dijon mustard
2 pickled ramps (recipe available at The Local Beet)
1 teaspoon sour cream

Heat a cast iron skillet over high heat. Add oil and heat until smoking.  Sear seasoned steaks on each side. Reduce the heat to medium heat and cook until 120° F about 7 to 10 minutes total.

Remove the steaks to a plate and cover with aluminum foil. Pour in the red wine and reduce slightly. Add stock and reduce until there’s only about 3 tablespoons of sauce in the pan. Add balsamic, mustard, and finely chopped ramps. Cook for 2 minutes.  Reduce the heat to medium and whisk in sour cream and any juices that have accumulated on the plate.  Serve the steaks drenched with sauce.

Monday, February 6, 2012

Purple to the People: Fig Food Co.'s Carton of Beans

A lot of cool products come to my attention. Sometimes, I’m asked to review them either in my capacity as a blogger or in my role as Purple Asparagus’ head spear. Other times, I just happen upon them during my many trips to the grocery store. To share these quality products, I start this new series: Purple to the People.

These days, most of us know to avoid BPA or bispenol A, the industrial chemical used to make certain plastics and resins since the 1960s. Studies suggest that BPA may have a negative effect on the brain development of infants and children – certainly nothing that we moms want to happen.

To avoid BPA, I switched all my sippy cups to stainless canteens. I disposed of all non-BPA free plastics. The one remaining source of BPA I found difficult to excise was canned goods, particularly beans. While I love beans cooked from scratch, it’s just not always feasible with my busy schedule. Given this, I couldn’t have been more pleased to come across Fig Food Company’s products.

Fig Food Company’s beans are packed in BPA-free cartons, not cans. What’s just as appealing as its commitment to safety is their convenience. With a perforated top, this Tetra Pack can be opened without utensil, a terrific feature for someone who regularly demonstrates recipes. (There’s nothing worse than arriving to a venue and realizing that you’ve forgotten a can opener!)

This simple pasta is a delicious and easy weeknight supper.

Chickpea and Chard Pasta
Serves 4

1 box chickpeas
1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
6 garlic clove, finely chopped
2 teaspoons finely chopped rosemary
1 pinch red pepper flakes
2 large leaves of Swiss chard, trimmed and cut cross-wise into 1-inch pieces
3 tablespoons white wine
1/2 pound spelt pasta
Parmiggiano-Regianno to taste

Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil. Cook the spelt pasta according to the package. Reserve a 1/4 cup of the cooking liquid before draining the pasta.

Drain the chickpeas. Heat the olive oil in a non-stick saute pan over medium heat. Add the garlic. rosemary. and 1 pinch red pepper flake and cook for about a minute or until fragrant. Pour in the wine and 2 tablespoons water and stir in the Swiss chard. Cook until the greens are wilted. Stir in the chickpeas and salt and pepper to taste.

Stir in the pasta and a tablespoon or two of the pasta cooking water. Serve topped with freshly grated cheese.

Wednesday, February 1, 2012

Dirty Little Secrets Inside the Fridge

Refrigerators hold the dirty little secrets of a family's lifestyle. I learned this while catering when I saw more than my fair share of refrigerators. Are they sugar fiends or health nuts? Look to the fridge. Are they avid cooks or do they eat out regularly - all you have to do is open the fridge.

This is one of the reasons I loved Robin's Bite's feature Inside the Fridge. I was tickled when Robin asked me to participate. To read more and to learn my dirty little secrets (that is Coke on the top shelf, and yes, that is premade baba ghanoush), visit Robin's site.

Monday, January 30, 2012

Egg Rolls and Geo Politics: Cooking Chinese with Kids

Kids are funny, aren’t they?

I don’t know about yours, but my son’s favorite playthings are often not even toys. Give him a map and hours later you’ll find him tracing his way from Maine to California. Google maps and GeoMasters are tied as his favorite iPad apps. Neither he nor I could live without our car’s GPS; we’re simply motivated by different needs.

Maps aren’t his only geo-political obsession. I have a whole slew of his drawings of the flags of the world dating back to 2010.

Late last year, we hatched an idea that combined his love of nation states and my love of cooking. Regularly, we plan to focus on a country. We dedicated a blank book to this purpose. In it, he’ll draw the nation’s flag and pair it with a few quick facts about the selected country. For my part, he and I will cook together a meal from the country.

Starting with China, we launched our project on Saturday to coincide with the country’s New Year. We made Egg Rolls and Shrimp Toast from scratch and enjoyed Stir-Fried Hoisin Pork with Peppers from Grace Young’s Stir-Frying to the Sky’s Edge.

Chicken Egg Rolls

A few years ago, I comandeered a few my mom's old cookbooks including The Thousand Recipe Chinese Cookbook by Gloria Bley Miller, and this recipe is adapted from one in that book.

Makes 10

Raw ingredients
2 tablespoons dried porcini
1/4 pound chicken breast
1 teaspoon cornstarch
1/2 teaspoon sugar
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon tamari
2 1/2 cups bean sprouts
4 cups fresh spinach, loosely packed, sliced into 1-inch ribbons
The greens of 2 scallions, finely chopped
2 tablespoons tamari
2 tablespoons peanut oil
Egg roll skins
Vegetable oil for frying
Sweet and Sour Sauce for dipping

Soak the mushrooms in hot water.

Cut the chicken breast into very thin strips. Combine cornstarch, sugar, salt, and tamari in a small bowl. Add the chicken strips and stir to coat. Let the chicken sit for 10 minutes.

Bring a large pot of water to a boil. Blanch the bean sprouts in the water for 2 minutes. Drain.

Heat 1 tablespoon oil in a saute pan over medium-high heat. Add chicken and cook a few minutes or until it's no longer pink. Remove from the pan and let cool on a small plate.

Fresh filling ingredients
Cooked filling
Heat remaining oil in the pan. Add the scallions and saute for a minute. Dump in the bean sprouts and spinach and cook until the spinach is softened. Return the chicken to the pan and stir together all the ingredients.

Scrape the mixture into a colander and let drain while it cools.

Heat a large pot filled with several inches of vegetable oil over high heat.

Fill egg roll skins according to package. Set the filled egg rolls onto a plate.

When the oil reaches 375-F degrees. Add 3 egg rolls at a time to the pot. Cook until the egg rolls are golden brown. Drain and serve hot with sweet and sour sauce.

Monday, January 23, 2012

Cook a Rainbow with Your Kids

Purple carrots, had only I known you six years ago. . .

Unlike many other purple vegetables, like purple Brussels sprouts and sadly even purple asparagus, purple carrots, the ones colored through to their core retain their vivid hue after cooking. Not only do they keep their color, but purple carrots lend it to their partner ingredients in a dish.

You won’t find these carrots at your ordinary grocery store. No, for these, you’ll have to make a stop at Green City Market. Look for Vicky Westerhoff of Genesis Growers, she’ll hook you up.

Purple carrots will help your kids to eat a rainbow – a recommendation that many a dietician and doctor would make for a healthy diet. Thor and I were given a terrific tool to keep track of his rainbow consumption from my friend, Kia Robertson: a Today I ate a Rainbow Kit. He tracks what colors he’s eating on the magnetized fridge chart, I plan for our week’s worth of rainbow foods with the shopping list, and we both enjoy her delightful book, The Rainbow Bunch.

I’m sharing this wonderful tool with one lucky reader. To enter our Today I Ate a Rainbow giveaway, all you have to do is become a Facebook friend of Purple Asparagus. If you are already one of our friends, simply recommend our page to your friends. My Little Locavores kid will pull a number out of a hat this Friday.

Happy friending!

Purple Bean Soup
Serves 4
6 cups chicken stock
1 ham hock
2 teaspoons extra virgin olive oil
1 red onion, chopped
1 purple carrot, peeled and chopped
1 celery stick, chopped
½ teaspoon cumin
3 cups cooked black beans
1 bay leaf

Pour the chicken stock into a large pot and add the ham hock. Bring the mixture to a boil. Reduce the heat and simmer for 45 minutes. Remove the ham hock and reserve for another purpose.

Heat the oil in a medium saucepan or soup pot over medium high heat. Add the onion, carrot, and celery and sauté until the vegetables are softened. Sprinkle the cumin over the vegetables and cook for another minute.

Add the black beans and pour in 4 cups of the ham stock. The remainder can be frozen for another purpose. Drop in the bay leaf, 1 teaspoon kosher salt, and three grinds of freshly ground pepper and bring the stock to a boil. Reduce the heat and cook for 30 minutes.

Puree in a blender (be sure to cover the top with a clean dish towel) or with a stick blender. Ladle into shallow bowls and dollop with sour cream and a spritz of lime juice.

Monday, January 16, 2012

Lucky John Hops into the New Year: Black Eyed Pea and Ham Salad

When growing up, my parents hosted an annual New Year's Day party. In addition to family favorites, my mom filled the table with traditional dishes thought to impart good luck to the eater.

Several years ago, my husband and I began hosting our own New Year's celebration and I renewed my mother's tradition. Well sort of.

Rejecting the herring (I just don't want money that badly), Hopping John always graces our table though more for the flavor it provides than the luck it promises.

The second helping I returned for must have done the trick because 2012 has started on a really great note. Between a successful annual appeal, a new logo and a new office in the Green Exchange for Purple Asparagus, the New Year has been treating me well thus far.

While Hopping John with its indulgences of white rice and pork rich stock is a one a year dish, black eyed peas should not be. For a healthier, weekday version of the combination, try this Black Eyed Pea and Ham Salad. Hopefully, you too will enjoy some good fortune afterwards.

Black Eyed Pea and Ham Salad
Serves 4

3/4 cup black eyed peas
1 bay leaf
1/4 yellow onion
1 celery stalk
1/2 red pepper
1/2 chayote squash
1 tablespoon mayonnaise
1 tablespoon lemon juice
1 teaspoon extra virgin olive oil
1/2 teaspoon thyme
1 teaspoon butter
1/2 cup cubed ham

Soak the peas for 3 hours. Drain and dump into a medium pot. Cover with cold water and add a large pinch of kosher salt and the bay leaf. Bring to a boil. Lower the heat to a simmer and cook until the peas are tender approximately 30 to 45 minutes.

While the beans are cooking, cut the onion, celery, and pepper into small dice. Core the squash and cut into julienne strips.

Whisk together the mayonnaise, lemon juice, extra virgin olive oil, thyme, salt and pepper to taste in a small bowl.

In a nonstick saute pan, heat the butter over medium heat. Add the ham cubes and cook until lightly browned. Cool.

Drain the peas and cool slightly. Dump them into a medium bowl. Add vegetables and ham. Fold the dressing into the salad. Serve as a light main course or as a side dish.

Wednesday, January 4, 2012

Diet Food that Doesn't Suck: Salsa Turkey Burgers

I hate diets. There’s far too much delicious food to be eaten in this world to deprive ourselves of it.

And yet, every January, I start one. Sort of.

After a month long of indulgences, including a 4 day sojourn to the dining capital of the southern states: New Orleans, I need to recalibrate my eating.

Out go the cookies, in come the carrots. Skim milk, turkey bacon, and lots of lettuce all went into Sunday’s grocery cart.

The weight watching regime will last about a week or until I feel back to my old self. However, the turkey burger I made last night may just make the regular dinner rotation.

Southwestern Turkey Burgers
Makes 4

1 slice whole grain bread
2 tablespoons skim milk
1 pound ground turkey, preferably a blend of breast and thigh
1/4 cup finely diced onion
1/4 cup Monterey Jack cheese
2 tablespoons salsa (I used Frontera Food's Guajillo)
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
1/4 teaspoon cumin
ground pepper
1/4 cup Greek yogurt
2 tablespoons salsa
1 avocado

Break the bread into small pieces into a small bowl. Sprinkle the milk on top. Mix together the soaked bread, turkey, onion, cheese, salsa, salt, cumin and pepper in a large bowl using your hands. Form into 4 patties. Cook on a preheated griddle. Flip when brown and fry until cooked through.

Mix together the yogurt and salsa. Slice the avocado. Top the burger with avocado and the salsa yogurt.
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