Cooking and Preserving the Autumn Harvest

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You know the end of summer is near when the piles of heirloom tomatoes, leafy lettuces, pints of fresh berries and quarts of stone fruit slowly dwindle away from the weekly offering at your neighborhood farmers market. In its place are heaps of colorful carrots, hearty brassicas like kohlrabi and broccoli, golden and purple beets, crisp local apples, and wonky looking varieties of winter squash. Although some of these items like the carrots and broccoli have been around for most of the summer, they receive a new appreciation once the weather has chilled. The possibility of a long and slow roasting or chopping up and tossing into a large stew to release their complex flavors becomes an activity that is looked forward to as the days get shorter and we spend a bit more time at home (and maybe more time cooking!) than we did in the summer months.

Autumnal fruits and vegetables have the bonus of being hearty and keeping in your fridge or pantry with a long life if stored properly. This means you can stock up on local root vegetables when the price is right and you don’t have to stress about cooking them in the immediate days following their purchase. This makes it easier to always have produce on hand and being able to whip up a tasty and nutritious meal with the addition of a few pantry staples.

 

Best Practice for Storing

Apples: Store your apples in the crisper drawer of your refrigerator with a slightly moistened paper towel on top. Apples give off a lot of ethylene gas, so just one bruised or rotting apple will quickly ripen the others. If you have any apples with soft spots, set it aside to eat or bake.

Potatoes: Potatoes are best kept in a cool and dry location in a paper bag or cardboard box. Their ideal temperature range is 45-55 degrees F which can be difficult to find in your home, so you can try to store them in the coolest part of your kitchen or on the steps going down to your basement.

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Winter Squash: Most winter squash will have been cured before you purchase it and bring it home. This means that the squash sat out in a sunny and dry place for 7 to 10 days just after being harvested. If this has been done well, the squash should last for several months.Squash store best at an even 50 degrees F in a cool dark place and are best to not be touching one another to avoid bruising.

Carrots: Cut off the greens - if you are going to use them later (which we recommend!) you can store them separately in a plastic bag with a damp paper towel inside. Place carrots in a container filled with water and place in refrigerator. Whole carrots stay crunchy in this cold water bath. If the water starts to look cloudy swap it with fresh water.

Kale: Kale is one of the rare greens that can be washed and preps days in advance without wilting or losing quality. It will stay fresh in your crisper, if kept dry, for over a week. The key is to remove any moisture; You can wrap the greens in a dry paper towel and store inside plastic bag.

If you’re not going to use your kale within a week of purchasing you can freeze them and save them for smoothies or cooking later on. You will need to blanch the kale beforehand (cook in boiling water for 1 to 2 minutes, drain, then transfer to ice water), dry kale thoroughly and store in a freezer bag for up to 8 months.
 

What pantry items to keep stocked in your kitchen this fall and winter

  • Gnocchi - this is a welcome change from the classic pasta staple which is filling and adds great texture to a dish. You can find shelf stable gnocchi at your local supermarket.

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  • Lentils - Nutty and earthy in flavor, lentils are inexpensive and are an excellent source of protein and fiber. They bulk up a meal easily and are easy to prepare.

  • Garbanzo Beans - taste great sauteed with greens, lemon, and garlic and topped with a yogurt based sauce. If you have a food processor at home you can even try making your own hummus!

  • Canned tomatoes - the more variety, the better! You can whip up salsa with diced tomatoes, add a hearty layer of flavor to a stew with crushed tomatoes, or make a simple and tasty tomato soup with pureed tomatoes.

It's National School Lunch Week!

It's National School Lunch Week!

This week at Gourmet Gorilla, we are excited to highlight the National School Lunch Program! Not sure what that is? Read on to find out more!

The National School Lunch Program (NSLP) was established in 1946 by President Harry Truman. Over the years, the NSLP has provided millions of children with nutritionally balanced, low-cost or free lunches each school day. In 1962, President John F. Kennedy created the National School Lunch Week, which takes place THIS WEEK!

Not only is it National School Lunch Week, October is National Farm to School MONTH. That’s right, a whole month dedicated to advocacy and community outreach, bringing local food sourcing to schools near you.

At Gourmet Gorilla, we strive to provide quality, great tasting meals that are also locally sourced and nutritionally balanced that kids of all ages will enjoy. We have Registered Dietitian Nutritionists on staff to ensure we are meeting NSLP guidelines and our food is kid approved. Our 
Purchasing Manager works hard to source local and organic foods that come from the Midwest. Our entire team is diligent in making sure that the food we provide for the kids is top notch.

Bring one of our favorite meals home by using our in house mac n cheese recipe:

Creamy Mac n Cheese

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Cook Time: 30-60 mins

Yield: 4 Servings

Ingredients

1 tablespoon unsalted butter

1 tablespoon flour

¼ tsp sea salt

¾ cup whole milk

½ cup shredded American Cheese

¼ cup shredded Cheddar Cheese

¾ cup Elbow Noodles

 

Directions

Preheat oven to 350 (optional, if you would like to bake mac n cheese).

Heat butter in small skillet. Add flour and mix with flour until it forms a thick rue (until there is no more white dry flour, and it become paste-like).

Slowly add milk to heated skillet and stir until dissolved. Keep on medium low heat with a lid, stirring occasionally, until mixture is thick (about 15 minutes).

Boil water for pasta. Cook until elbow pasta is al dente (about 7 minutes).

Once mixture has reached a thick consistency add shredded American and Cheddar Cheese slowly, stirring to combine.

Add salt.

Combine pasta and cheese sauce together.

Option to bake for 25 minutes until warm and slightly brown on top.

Enjoy!

Staff Spotlight: Lead Baker Daisy Lopez!

This week, I sat down with Gourmet Gorilla’s lead baker, Daisy Lopez, to discuss everything from blueberry bread to tarantulas. As Gourmet Gorilla’s lead baker, Daisy is the creator of all those delicious breads, brownies, and muffins that have become kid favorites. Read on to find out more about Daisy!

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Anna: What is your official title?

Daisy: I am the lead baker

A:  And how long have you been at GG?

D: I have been here for about a year and a half

A : What were you doing before GG, and what led you to this position?

D: So I went to school for baking and pastry, and I was a pastry chef for a few years. I used to do wedding cakes, and then I switched over to being a regular pastry chef, and it wasn’t really rewarding. I always wanted to do something where I could feel like I was helping someone, and I didn’t really feel like I was making a difference at all and was very over worked.  I just thought, you know I need to find something where either I’m helping someone, or at least I’m helping myself because I wasn’t really happy. So I started looking at jobs and found this position at Gourmet Gorilla and starting reading what the company was about and thought, hey that’s pretty cool! I have always thought that helping kids learn about food at a young age will definitely help them regarding nutrition in the future. so applied and thought, ok let’s see what happens.

A: How has your background as a pastry chef helped you in this role?

D: I did a lot of work with substitutions, both for myself at home and at work, so I had a lot of practice with making recipes healthier. One thing I took on here was tweaking the brownie recipe. It used to have oil, so I removed that and added applesauce, and reduced the sugar to make it healthier, and the texture really improved!

A: What do you find is the most rewarding part of working for Gourmet Gorilla?

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D: For me it is the fact that sometimes I get to help my other co-workers. A lot of them don’t know English very well, and since I have been getting to know them better and am learning what they are able to understand it allows me to assist them when they are having a hard time understanding something. Because I am bilingual, and I came from a household where my mom also didn’t really know English very well, I learned to be a little more patient and try to translate for her. With my teammates, I am always trying to listen to them and whatever needs they have to try and help communicate that out to the rest of the kitchen. I have found that over time this has also helped a lot of my team members become more confident, because it gives them the opportunity to also practice and be heard.

A: Do you have any experience with the menu development?

D: My main task has been taking past or current menu items and making them a little bit healthier!

A: What are your favorite current menu items

D: The cornbread is really good! I ended up changing that recipe a little bit too. We changed the flour to whole wheat and added applesauce. I like this one to make as well, because even though it is tough to mix sometimes, I don’t have to spread it! Overall though, I think the blueberry bread is my favorite.

A: So tells us more about you! What do you like to do outside of work?

D: Me and my husband like going on picnics, going to the park, I love patios – if we are going out to eat I always have to find a patio! I also love to explore and try new foods, I have to try everything once. On our Honeymoon we went to Cambodia and we had bugs – tarantulas and scorpions – and you know what the tarantulas weren’t that bad! 

 

This Blog Post was Written by Anna Crofts - Client Account Reprsentative

Fall Flavors: The Power of Pumpkin

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Fall has officially arrived, and you know what that means: sweater weather, pumpkin flavored desserts, and Halloween! If you’re planning on carving pumpkins soon, remember to save the pulp - it can be used for a hearty chili! Although pumpkins make great jack-o-lanterns, they also have numerous health benefits. Pumpkin is a good source of:

  •   Fiber, which helps you feel full and promotes regular bowel movements. Fiber is also known to help maintain blood sugar levels and reduce cholesterol levels.

  • Vitamin A, which is important for healthy vision, normal cell growth, and a strong immune system. With flu season upon us, Vitamin A can help fight the abundance of viruses.

  • Vitamin C, which helps to repair tissues, protect against heart disease, and helps with the absorption of iron.

  • Potassium, which helps maintain a healthy blood pressure, as well as enables the heart and other organs to function properly.

Pumpkin is also low in calories. One cup of cubed pumpkin is about thirty calories and one cup of pumpkin puree (not to be confused with pumpkin pie mix) contains about eighty calories. Chili is a fall favorite and this recipe is sure to be a crowd pleaser!

Hearty Fall Chili

Ingredients

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  •   1 Tbsp. extra-virgin olive oil

  •   3 cloves garlic, minced

  •   1-2 jalapeños, minced (with seeds removed for a milder chili, and with seeds for a more spicy chili)

  •   1 lb. ground turkey

  •   2 tsp ground cumin

  •   2 tsp chili powder

  •   1/2 tsp salt

  •   1 tsp cinnamon

  •   1 tsp thyme

  •   2 cans of beans, rinsed (white, black, or pinto beans)

  •   1 8-oz can corn

  •   1 can pumpkin puree

  •   1 28-oz can crushed tomatoes

  •   1 cup sodium-free chicken broth

  •   Optional toppings (jalapeño slices, Greek yogurt, sour cream, cheddar cheese)

 

 

Instructions

1.      Place 1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil in large saucepan over high heat. Once heated, add 3 cloves garlic (minced) and sauté for 1-2 minutes, until fragrant. Next, add diced jalapeños and sauté for another 1-2 minutes, or until softened.

2.      Add ground turkey and cook until browned. Then, add 2 tsp cumin, 2 tsp chili powder, 1/2 tsp salt, 1 tsp cinnamon, and 1 tsp thyme. Stir the mixture well.

3.      Next, add the 2 cans of beans, 1 8-oz can corn, 1 can pumpkin puree, 1 28-oz can crushed tomatoes, and 1 cup sodium-free chicken broth. Bring to a boil, then reduce heat to low and allow to simmer for 30 minutes, or until thickened. Be sure to taste as you go and add a few extra dashes of the seasonings if needed.

4.      Once cooked, serve chili and top with optional jalapeño slices, cheddar cheese, or plain Greek yogurt.

The recipe yields eight servings. One serving is 370 calories, 14 grams of fat, 3 grams of saturated fat, 50 grams of carbohydrates, and 28 grams of fiber.

Recipe courtesy of http://www.thehealthytoast.com/pumpkin-turkey-chili/

This Blog Post was brought to you by Carolyn Prucha, RD.

 

 

 

Staff Spotlight: Purchasing Manager Jared Jaggers

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Last week I sat down with our purchasing manager, Jared Jaggers, to find out a little more about him, his role at  Gourmet Gorilla, and how he works with Gourmet Gorilla’s mission to source sustainable ingredients for all of the meals we create each day.

DS: How long have you been working at Gourmet Gorilla?

JJ: 5 years!


And what is your official Title?

Purchasing Manager


Tell us a little about yourself; What led you to working to Gourmet Gorilla, and this position in particular?

I have a background in Environmental Studies and Biology. I was working for a private Ecological Landscaping company before working at Gourmet Gorilla, and one of my co-workers left the company to start working here. He later referred me to an open position in inventory and I left the Ecological Landscaping company to begin working here. I moved around in the company a bit, later working in a logistics management position, at that time we had about 10 trucks, 10 drivers, and 100 schools. When the purchasing manager position opened up, I wanted to move into that position. I am more of a numbers person anyway, so that position appealed to me more than the logistics manager. I wanted to be more focused on the kitchen side of things and already had the background knowledge from working in inventory. I have been doing purchasing now for about 4 years.

 The Famous Lion-O!

The Famous Lion-O!


What do you like to do outside of work?

I like to play video games and I try and be in a sport team; In the summer it’s volleyball or kickball, and I’m about to join a soccer team. Basically hanging out and relaxing with my wife and my cat, Lion-O.


What policies and standards does Gourmet Gorilla have around purchasing?

We are looking through every ingredient of everything we buy and try to keep everything as clean as possible.There are some ingredients we just don’t allow, like tree nuts, peanuts, high fructose corn syrup, MSG, artificial colors or flavor, trans fat, and GMOs for instance. We keep our products at least 70% local and organic and avoid GMO when possible. I work closely with our staff dietitians when selecting items.


What are the benefits and difficulties of sourcing products and ingredients in the Midwest?


There is a lot of protein and dairy agriculture in the Midwest; We get our turkey from Michigan, chicken from Missouri, our drumsticks are from a small Amish farm in Indiana. We source our milk from Sassy Cow farm in Wisconsin.
There is a large variety of produce available during our growing season and there is an increasing amount of organic produce that is available in the Midwest. However, there are produce items we simply can’t source locally, like lemons or pineapple.

Sourcing the right quantity of local and small batch product can be difficult. It’s doable, it just takes a lot of work and communication with the vendor. Smaller producers need more time to prepare for a large order, like Country View Dairy in Iowa who we source our yogurt from, you can’t just let them know you need something for the next day, you need to give them a few weeks notice.



What are you most excited about for the upcoming school year?

Our newest waste reduction efforts. NSLP (National School Lunch Program) schools are now able to order in a new way that is specified by component, which will lead to less waste. The severs at those schools know what the kids like and don’t like, and allowing servers to control the orders on this level will help reduce their food waste and we will not be ordering food that isn’t consumed by students.


What is your favorite part of working at Gourmet Gorilla?
The people. I am lucky to work with a lot of dedicated people who work so hard to get healthy food out the door everyday.

*This blog post was brought to you by Davin Steiger, Client Account Representative

'Tis is the season of strawberries

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We at Gourmet Gorilla are welcoming the warm weather and the bountiful fresh fruits and vegetables that arrive with summertime. A universal favorite among the GG team is strawberries... of course! Let me tell you, if you are a farmer’s market junkie like me, this is the best way to shop for some fresh strawberries and start a conversation with the vendors about where they are grown and how long the season will last. Of course, don’t forget to buy some extra boxes and consume them in various ways. And even if they start to get mushy and overripe sitting in your refrigerator, we can suggest some cool recipes before you make your way to the bin.
As Brad Leone, Bon Appetit’s Test Kitchen Manager rightly said, “Strawberries are like tomatoes for me; I’ll wait till they’re in season, then gorge myself like a brown bear before hibernation.” Amen to that!


Here are some easy recipes we’ve compiled as you make your way through the strawberry season: 

Strawberry Eton Mess

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Ingredients: 
-    1 cup strawberries – half sliced, and half kept whole for assembling
-    1/3 cup sugar
-    1 1/2 cup heavy cream
-    1 box store bought meringues

This classic British dessert is easy to whip. When the party arrives - it wouldn’t take more than 10 minutes to assemble this! 
-    Toss half of sliced berries with sugar in a medium heatproof bowl. Cover tightly with plastic wrap and set over a medium saucepan filled with 1" of barely simmering water. Let sit until berries are soft and juices have accumulated in bowl, 25–30 minutes. Let cool, then toss in remaining sliced berries.
-    Whisk cream in a medium bowl to soft peaks. Layer cream, meringues, then strawberry mixture in four 8-oz. glasses. Chill 20 minutes. Top with whole strawberries to serve.
Link to the original recipe

Strawberry Arugula walnut Salad

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Ingredients: 
-    1 ½ cup fresh arugula
-    4 oz. cooked chicken breast. We recommend grilling and basting with honey Dijon mustard!
-    1 cup sliced strawberries
-    8 roasted walnuts
-    1 scallion, thinly sliced diagonal
-    Crushed red pepper flakes
Ps: This is a farmer’s market friendly recipe. Don’t forget to pick your favorite salad dressing for this recipe. 

Arrange arugula, cooked chicken breast, sliced strawberries, scallions, and walnut in your salad bowl. Gently sprinkle red pepper flakes if you are feeling bold. We also recommend dried oregano or fresh basil if you have some in your pantry. Drizzle your dressing and you are good to go with this easy recipe. 

Strawberry Lemonade

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Ingredients: 

-    1 can sparkling water
-    5 sliced strawberries
-    4-5 mint leaves
-    2 lime slices
-    Ice

When the sun is up and above, this could be your go-to drink! This one is a kid friendly recipe. 
 Put 4 sliced strawberries and mint leaves in a glass and crush them until the fruit is broken up and the   leaves are bruised. Add ice to glass. Pour sparkling water over ice. Add lime slices and the last of the strawberry slices to the drink. Garnish with fresh mint and a strawberry.

   Link to original recipe

Happy Berrying!

This week's blog post is brought to you by Ritika Jagasia, Client Account Representative

Summer Feeding - School’s Out!

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Temperatures nearing 90 degrees, kids playing in jungle gyms at parks where dozens more are lined up to receive today’s lunch- a chicken salad sandwich, fresh clementine, cucumber slices and ranch dip, and a cold carton of milk. This is summer for us here at Gourmet Gorilla.  Our drivers are getting ready to start out on their summer routes, our dietitians have been busy creating nutrient packed, delicious summer meals, and our kitchen staff is getting geared up to providing millions of meals to kids throughout Cook County.

The anticipation of our summer feeding programs is here and we are excited by the impact we can make each day. During the school year, Gourmet Gorilla provides meals to early childhood programs, elementary and high schools, and after school programs. When school is out during the summer months, our operations don’t stop, we continue to provide summer meals throughout the area to local libraries, YMCAs, and community centers, hoping to bring much needed access of a healthy meal to children who typically rely on these meals at their schools throughout the academic year. 

Nationally, 22 million children receive free or reduced meals through the National School Lunch Program, but in the summer months when school is out, only 3.9 million receive meals through the USDA summer food service program. That equates to only 1 out of 6 getting meals during summer break.*  At Gourmet Gorilla, we are working to help narrow this gap by improving access to meal sites, raising awareness, and nourishing kids through these months with fresh, healthy, great-tasting meals.

Many of the kids we serve in the summer rely on them to keep them fed and we believe that helping them receive the proper nutrition will help put them on the path to success.  Our goal is for our meals to be a way to teach them healthy habits now in order to build the groundwork for them to take care of themselves later.

If you’d like more information on where our meals are served, here’s a link to one our partners’, Greater Chicago Food Depository, that provides our meals at their Lunch Bus sites located throughout Cook County.  https://www.chicagosfoodbank.org/summer-lunch-bus/
 
 
*Food Action Research Center
 

This week's blog post is brought to you by Danielle Hrzic, Chief Business Development Officer, Co Founder

 

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The Secret to Good Cooking

The Secret to Good Cooking

The secret to good cooking comes from a well-stocked pantry and a kitchen full of essential equipment. As Peter Parker rightly said, “With great power, comes great responsibility”, we at Gourmet Gorilla have the most rewarding as well as challenging task of providing nutritious food to kids. With this power, we also have the responsibility of maintaining an industrial kitchen and keeping a special check on our gigantic equipment. Compared to this, maintaining tiny kitchen tools seems so much easier.

The Power of Superfoods

Superfoods. What is this term that is so hot in the nutrition world right now? The term “superfoods” does not have one singular definition. There are no standards created to qualify if the food is considered “super” or not. In fact, in some ways I believe all food is super! Even though the term “superfood” does not have a singular definition you will find that most foods that are described as a “super” are high in antioxidant, vitamins, minerals, and phytochemicals. Antioxidants and phytochemicals are both important to include in a well balanced diet. Antioxidants help protect the body from damaged molecules called free radicals. There are studies connecting free radicals to blood vessel disease and cancer. Antioxidants have been shown to help prevent that. Phytochemicals are a chemical compounds found in plants. There have been studies that have shown the these help fight atherosclerosis which is the buildup of fatty deposits in artery walls.  So what are some examples of common “superfoods”? Take a look at the list below:

  1. Berries - Blueberries and strawberries are both great examples. They both contain high levels of phytochemicals called flavonoids which are important for cardiovascular health.

  2. Tomatoes - Tomatoes are a great source of the antioxidant lycopene. Lycopene is helpful in removing the “bad” cholesterol which improves blood vessel health and can help prevent heart attacks. They are also high in potassium which is heart healthy!

  3. Dark Chocolate - Dark Chocolate that is made up of at least 60-70% cocoa contains flavonoids called polyphenols. Polyphenols have been shown to help reduce blood pressure and inflammation. Dark chocolate is high in fat so it is important to not over consume.

  4. Cinnamon - Cinnamon is loaded with antioxidants, such as polyphenols. Cinnamon has also been shown to help with inflammation.

  5. Sweet Potatoes - Sweet potatoes are high in phytochemicals and vitamin A. Vitamin A in a vitamin that plays an important role in eye health.


 

How to Grow Broccoli Sprouts at Home - And Why You Should!

Growing your own sprouts at home is a fun, exciting and healthy project!

Broccoli sprouts are 10x – 100x higher in some cancer fighting compounds than the actual mature vegetable!

Sprouts are a tasty and nutritious addition to sandwiches, salads, or stirred into a bowl of soup. You may have noticed they can be a bit pricey at your local grocery store, but luckily they are very easy and affordable to grow at home. I chose to focus on growing Broccoli Sprouts because they are quite the super food! Broccoli sprouts are 10x-100x higher in some cancer fighting compounds than the actual mature vegetable. They are also packed with protein, fiber, antioxidants and a variety of vitamins and minerals. The process of growing your own sprouts involves soaking the broccoli seeds overnight and then keeping them in a dark and warm place while they germinate.The key to growing healthy sprouts is regular rinsing and draining which will prevent mold and fungi from growing.

What You Will Need:

Wide-mouth quart jar

Sprouting lid

Broccoli Seeds
Filtered Water

Instructions for Growing Broccoli Sprouts:

Add 2 tablespoons of broccoli sprouting seeds to a wide-mouthed quart jar.

Cover with a few inches of filtered water and cap with a sprouting lid (cheesecloth or mesh will work too!)

Store in a warm, dark place overnight, like a kitchen cabinet.

The next morning, drain the liquid off and rinse with fresh water. Be sure to drain all the water off.

Repeat this 3-4 times a day. Continue to store your seeds in a warm, dark place. After a few days, the seeds will start to break open and grow!

Eventually, the sprouts will be an inch or so long and have yellow leaves. Now you can move the sprouts out into the sunlight.

Continue to rinse them 3-4 times a day until the leaves are dark green. Now they are ready to eat!

This whole process will take about a week. Patience is key!

Once they are ready, replace the sprouting lid with a standard mason jar lid and store in the refrigerator.

Serve on top of salads, stirred into soups, or however strikes your fancy.

Growing your own sprouts at home is a fun, exciting and healthy project!

Sweet Potato Pie Oatmeal

To be the best, you need to train your best.  Training involves more than cardio and lifting weights, it also includes eating!  Olympic athletes exert massive amounts of energy, through many vigorous workouts, to stay fit for their big events.  To keep up and maintain energy needs, it is crucial to fuel the body with the right nutrition. Eating a combination of carbohydrates and protein 1-3 hours before your work out will give you the energy needed to complete an event at optimal levels.  Depending on the type of workout and person, those amounts may vary.

What do carbohydrates and protein do to the body? Carbohydrates give your blood glucose, which is converted into energy used to support the body’s functions and physical activity.  Protein helps repair and strengthen muscle tissue, which is extremely beneficial for Olympic athletes who are putting tons of stress on their bodies.

When deciding what to eat, look for slow digesting complex carbohydrates such as oats. A good recipe to incorporate oats and a protein is Sweet Potato Pie Oatmeal.  This recipe will give you the right fuel to start your engine!  Adding some sweet potato puree adds a ton of vitamins and minerals, including 100% of your daily vitamin A needs and a good source of Iron.  The nuts and milk you add in gives your body some protein to round out the combinational meal.  The recipe is simple and a great option for a pre-workout meal!

 

Two Servings:

  • 1 cup rolled oats

  • 1 3/4 cups milk

  • 1/2 cup sweet potato puree or 1 small potato

  • 2-3 Tbsp brown sugar, maple syrup, or other sweetener of choice

  • 1/2 tsp ground cinnamon

  • 1/2 tsp ground nutmeg

  • 3 Tbsp walnuts or pecans

 

Directions:

  1. Combine oats, milk and sweet potato puree onto a stove top

  2. Cook on medium heat until the oats are tender

  3. Stir in sweetener, cinnamon and nutmeg

  4. Add nuts to top it off and enjoy!

 

Olympian Tumeric, Ginger and Lemon Tea!

The 2018 Winter Olympics are off to a great start! How great is it to watch athletes who have trained years for this moment achieve their goal?! I’ve always seen Olympic Athletes as real life superheroes. So strong, so confident, so determined. There dedication to a healthy lifestyle has always been so motivating to me. This year I made it my goal to focus on finding ways to fuel like an Olympic Athlete during these winter games

How do I fuel like an Olympic Athlete? My latest obsession is ginger and turmeric. Both are great ingredients that you can fit into a lot of recipes (especially warm drinks). Both have been shown to have a great impact on the body, especially, for people who are active. They both fight inflammation, help keep your body regulated, and promote a healthy immune system. The perfect combination to bring home the gold.

Ginger is great for digestion. Ginger has been shown to help the stomach maintain its regular digestion rhythm. A great example of this is after a large meal ginger helps regulate high sugar levels that might disrupt digestion. Ginger is also great for bone health and for relieving joint pain (Great for an Athlete!). Ginger contains a compound called gingerols which have been directly associated with suppressing inflammation in the body.

Turmeric is also a great ingredient to aid in preventing inflammation and reducing pain. Turmeric contains a compound called curcumin. Curcumin has gained a lot of attention for its anti inflammatory properties. Turmeric has also been shown to improve liver function by stimulating the lymphatic system ensuring that toxins are removed efficiently.

Turmeric and Ginger are both ingredients that can help spice up any dish. Not only will adding they help take your food to the next level it will also help boost your health. Looking for something easy to make that contains both ginger and turmeric?! Check out this delicious Turmeric, Ginger, and Lemon tea. It’s a great night time drink to sip on which will help fight inflammation making sure you are ready for you workout the next day!

Turmeric, Lemon, and Ginger Tea

Ingredients:

  • ¼ tsp turmeric

  • ¼ tsp cinnamon

  • ⅛ tsp cayenne pepper

  • ½ inch ginger root diced

  • Juice of ½ of a lemon

Directions:

  1. Place turmeric, cinnamon, cayenne pepper, ginger, and lemon in your favorite mug

  2. Boil 1 cup water

  3. Pour boiling water into mug and let sit for 10 minutes

  4. You can strain the tea or just drink with everything in it!

  5. Enjoy!

Visions of Sugarplums!

A candy cane at the holiday after school activity.  Hot chocolate with whipped cream after ice skating.  A plate of cookies that were supposed to be for Santa.   The holidays can turn into an IV sugar solution for kids!

Research suggests that babies are naturally inclined to crave sugar as soon as they exit the womb.  It's not a preference at this very early stage but rather a biological reality. To complicate matters, consuming sugar causes kids to crave even more of the sweet stuff.   This can be a recipe for disaster during the holidays!

US dietary guidelines recommend consuming less than 10% of daily calories from added sugars. On a 1,500-calorie diet, a level appropriate for moderately active 4- to 8-year-olds, just less than 10% would be about 33 grams of added sugars per day.

So what do we do here at Gourmet Gorilla?  Our goal is to limit the amount of added sugar, especially raw sugar.  Since we still want to make sure that the children we are serving enjoy the food & think it looks, smells, feels & tastes great, we use more of honey & fruit (applesauce/blueberries/bananas) for the sweetness in items like our muffins, granola bars, and quickbreads.  But we know that sugar does more than just sweeten the product.  It also plays an important role in the chemical properties of the baked good, and we have to keep a little in.  It locks in moisture which gives the muffins/quick breads a moist & soft texture, and helps with the structure & color.  Our ultimate goal is to limit the amount of added sugar but since we make all our baked goods in house, we can control where that sugar comes from and keep it to a minimum! 

 

Back to School

Back to School

Back to school is often a hectic season with alarms, running around finding clothes and books, finishing homework, and getting breakfast down (or on-the-go)!  How can I get a nutritious lunch prepared in the middle of this?  Here are a few tips that help me get things going and give the kids a healthy start