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Creative ways to eat new, nutritious food

September 7, 2009 12:00:00 AM PDT
Many of us have every intention of eating new and nutritious foods, but often don't have a clue as to how to go about it. Here's a look at some ways to get creative nutrition, whipped up by a chef in the know."Not everyone is focused on health but a lot of people are, and it's a very important thing for us to prioritize," said James Overbaugh, executive chef at the Peninsula Hotel.

Overbaugh is a master at making healthy taste good, coming up with concoctions most of us would never dream of, like a kale smoothie.

"This actually started out as a healthy drink I was making for myself and I used to put tofu in it," Overbaugh said.

While that might have a certain ick factor for some, the ingredients tell a different story. It has antioxidant-packed green and fibrous kale, and it is also blended with real oranges, apples with skin and tangerine juice as well. With lots of crushed ice, many find it a refreshing wake up call.

Overbaugh also uses an unusual yet tasty grain that is gaining in popularity: Quinoa.

"The thing its most similar to as far as how you cook it, and I'm really reaching a little bit, but it's rice," he said.

With many suffering from gluten sensitivity, swapping other grains with rice like quinoa is a good way to go as a high-fiber, high-protein plant food that can be used as a side or even a morning cereal.

"It has one of the most complete sets of amino acids known," Overbaugh said.

He made a parsley sauce creamy by pureeing a potato and drizzling it over cooked quinoa with roasted squash topped with grilled salmon.

If you are ready to try your hand at quinoa, combine 1 part quinoa with 2 parts water, bring to a boil, reduce to a simmer, and in about 15 minutes your quinoa is ready to go.

For the kitchen novice, try a simple tomato salad with greens and a smattering of fresh herbs, which Overbaugh says are merely intense greens, perfect for snipping and tossing.

"Even with just a regular mixed green salad, if you have an herb garden, it just comes alive when you have mint leaves and tarragon leaves and dill in there," Overbaugh said.

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