Happy New Year!! I’m starting 2011 with a brand new header – what do you think? My friend Sydney made it for me, using a photo I took of those figs back when I made brown sugar broiled figs so I was really happy to be able to use an original photo. I’m so excited to have a real header rather than the one I made previously… in paint. No joke.
Moving along… I thought it would be a fun way to kick off 2011 by talking about the top 10 new-to-me (and some new to the market!) products and foods that I discovered in 2010. Without further ado… Enjoy!
10.) Fresh Figs
- I can’t believe I had never had a fresh fig before this past year! It’s very unfortunate their season is only a few months because they are absolutely delicious and nutritious. They are awesome on oatmeal, straight up, or broiled with brown sugar.
9.) Green Monsters
- Again – cannot believe I didn’t try one of these before 2010! I did a tutorial on how to make one here, but they are such an awesome way to get tons of fruits and veggies in one go. My go-to is 1 cup of milk, frozen strawberries, frozen banana, and 2 big handfuls of spinach. You can add in whatever other frozen fruit you have, or regular fruit and some ice cubes. Delicious, and now that fruits are no points – – VERY low points on WW! (2 pts+ if you just use one frozen banana, a few frozen strawberries, 1 cup of skim milk, and spinach).
8.) Trader Joe’s Light Mozzarella (1/4 cup = 1 pt+)
- No photo for this one – but my favorite cheese by far. It is only 1 pt+ for a serving, and is absolutely delicious and has a relatively low ingredient list. It’s awesome on pizzas, on pasta casseroles, in wraps, for grilled cheese – literally any way you can think of to use cheese.
- My new go-to sweetener if I need a little sweet in my life. I don’t use it often, but when I want to use something in iced tea or oats, this is perfect. It’s much better and more natural than Splenda, which is what I used to use. I’ll never go back.
6.) Chia Seeds (1 tbsp = 2 pts+)
- I wrote a whole post about the benefits of chia seeds, but bottom line – they are very good for you. 🙂 I love that they absorb liquid and add an awesome texture if put them into oatmeal, a smoothie, or pancakes (chiacakes as I call them!) I get mine from amazon because they are cheap! 7.50 a pound at that link.
- Can you believe I had never had kale until this year? It’s now one of my go-to farmer’s market purchases because its delicious, nutritious and super cheap. My three favorite ways to use it are in casseroles (like my cheesy kale, squash pasta bake), kale chips, and massaged kale salads.
4.) Quinoa (1/4 cup dry or 1 cup cooked = 4 pts+)
- Quinoa is an awesome grain because it’s packed with protein and extremely versatile. I normally get it in the bulk bins at Whole Foods where its 3.99 a pound, and I can decide how much to get rather than buying the prepacked kind. To cook it, you use 1:2 ratio of quinoa to water, and bring it to a boil and then a simmer, and cook it until the water is absorbed – about 15 minutes. One of my favorite recipes of the year is my Quinoa Burgers, followed closely by the veggie quinoa salad with honey lime dressing.
3.) Black Bean Sweet Potato Combination
- I don’t know how I lived without sweet potatoes and black beans together in my life. A sweet potato with black beans and a salad on the side is one of the lunches I have quite often when I don’t have leftovers. I also made sweet potato black bean chili and sweet potato black bean burgers, both of which were great.
2.) Heat ‘n Eat Steel Cut Oats
- This has been a true life changer for me. I loooove steel cut oats, but just can’t get it together enough to spend 30 minutes cooking them on weekday mornings. Instead, the night before, I take 1/4 cup of the steel cuts, add them to 1 cup of water, bring it to a boil for one minute, cover it, and leave it on the stove overnight. In the morning, the oats are ready to be heated and eaten, and are perfect. Because I pack my lunch the night before, spending 1 minute prepping oatmeal is totally worth it. Lately I’ve been adding peanut flour to them the night before, which adds 16 grams of protein! They keep me full for 4-5 hours.
1.) Trader Joe’s Peanut Flour (1/4 cup = 3 pt+, 2 tbsp = 2pt+, 1 tbsp = 1pt+)
- This stuff has completely replaced protein powder in my life. 1/4 of a cup packs a whopping 16 grams of protein, and has only 110 calories. The ingredient list is short and simple – just roasted peanuts, and it tastes great. I use it almost daily and love it.
- Besides mixing it in with my oats, I also mix it with milk or water (just slightly less liquid than powder) and it makes a paste like peanut butter. If you add a touch of sea salt, its perfect. It’s not quite the same as peanut butter, but its really good, low calorie replacement that is packed with protein. It’s also great in smoothies, with yogurt, and in baking – but I’ve yet to experiment with that.
So what about you? What’s your favorite thing that you discovered food-wise in 2010?