Sunday, April 18, 2010

Shopping, chopping and a new way to shop

Yesterday I had some extra time to devote to a mini field trip to see something that is an application of the idea that not all food is created equal. It is called the Nuval scale, and it ranks foods by nutritional value.Some of the nutrients used in the scale are fiber, foliate, Vitamins A,C,D,E,B12,B6,potassium, zinc,omega fatty acids, iron, magnesium and more. Nutrients that detract from the overall score are saturated fats, trans fats, sodium, sugar and cholesterol. Finally, something that actually recognizes that micro nutrients are of greater importance ! The scale will help people make wiser choices with food, and could go a long way towards battling obesity and many other problems we face in today's society. I discovered that one of the stores in my area was using the system , and I wanted to see it in application.
The Nuval number is listed on the shelf price tag, and you can easily see the score. This is for a large container of Dannon Plain, nonfat yogurt- 96 ( which incidentally ranks higher than Chobani Greek Yogurt- which rates a 63)

To find out more about the system and a store in your area that is using it, check out Nuval .
Enough fun though- on to my own quest for shopping ! I did not escape that store without purchasing a few needed items, but my main needs were to be found elsewhere this pass. I think there is something now deep inside of me that has become a rabbit, and calls me to come buy things to bring home, chop and eat( and most of these veggies come in at 95 or higher on the nuval scale)
This weeks Mt Chop Me- a pretty slender haul for some reason. I think the zucchinis, eggplants and peppers made up the greater amount this week.

My friend fruit ! How I love you- no chopping involved !! Sadly, we will need to buy more fruit before the week is over. After the primary chopping it was time to make some salads for lunches this week . Bob brown bags breakfast and lunch 5 days a week, and I find making two salads of some form to store in the fridge makes putting together lunches super simple.( salad, some kind of fish or seafood, fruit and a grain). We alternate the salads and on Friday or Saturday we eat the leftovers ( makes for a quick deli type lunch)

Colorful Salad

1 c. parsley -- chopped (by hand or food processor)
1 c. cilantro -- chopped (by hand or food processor)
1 small red onion -- chopped (by hand or food processor)
2 red peppers -- chopped (by hand)
2 medium cucumbers -- peeled and seeded, chopped (by hand)
2 c. corn kernels (fresh or frozen)
2 stalks celery -- chopped (by hand) - optional
3 chopped carrots

Mix all together. Dress the mixture with Vinaigrette.

Couscous Salad

2 cups water
2 Tablespoons oil
1/4 teaspoon turmeric
1/4 teaspoon cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon chopped fresh gingerroot
2 cups couscous
1/2 cup raisins
1 cup chopped zucchini
1/2 cup chopped carrot
1/2 cup chopped green onion -- including tops
1/4 cup chopped green bell pepper
1/4 cup chopped red bell pepper
1 can garbanzo beans drained
3 Tablespoons oil
1 1/2 Tablespoons lemon juice
1/2 cup sliced almonds

In a 1-quart saucepan, bring water, 2 tablespoons oil, turmeric, cinnamon, and ginger to a boil.
Stir in couscous and raisins6. Cover pan and remove from heat; let stand for 15 minutes.
Transfer to a large mixing bowl and add zucchini, carrot, green onion, bell peppers, and garbanzo beans and almonds.
In a small bowl, combine 3 tablespoons oil, lemon juice, and salt. Pour over salad and mix well,
breaking up any clumps. Cover and refrigerate for 8 hours or overnight.

I also decided to make a batch of granola for sprinkling on top of yogurt. We have grown to love plain yogurt with frozen blueberries and a sprinkling of granola for an evening snack.Granola can be made very easily, and in making it you can control whatever ingredients go into your mix. Making it in a crockpot saves time and oven space !

Crockpot Granola 3 points

5 cups old-fashioned rolled oats
1/2cup honey
1/4 cup oil
1 cup raisin or other dried fruit
1 c sliced almonds( or other nuts)

Set crockpot to low heat.
Combine all ingredients until oatmeal is evenly coated.
Cook in crockpot for 3 hours with lid slightly off.
Stir every half hour or so.
(I leave the wooden spoon in the crockpot with the handle sticking out.
This way I don't forget to leave the lid a bit open or to mix it.)
serving size 1/3 of a cup

Finally it was time to make dinner- sometimes the hardest meal for me to plan because of the chopping and shopping ! I had cut up extra peppers while making the salads as well as zucchini and onions, placed them on a cookie sheet and topped them with Italian sausages. I baked them at 375 for 45 minutes and served them on hoagie rolls with Pita chips. Quick and easy !
Later today we plan on playing in the park. We have jump ropes, Frisbees and Health Care Insurance. It should be a good day !


Marisa (Loser for Life) said...

NuVal is a cool shopping tool! I wish it would come to my markets.

Wow, you are a cooking lady! Look at you go!!! Everything looks so delicious :)

spunkysuzi said...

Wish i could get NuVal in Canada!
How did the granola turn out??

The Incredible Shrinking Family said...

The granola turned out great ! About 3 years ago I was making large batches of this every week because we loved it for breakfast. I stopped because Kashi cereal was lower in points, and we were eating a lot more of that as a result. I think any granola recipe could work well in the crock pot if you remember to stir it every half hour or so. I think the NutVal scale will expand as more people become aware of it and request that their stores participate.