Alabama’s Wellness RX: Healthy Families, Healthy Schools, Healthy Communities

Hi folks! As a way to get the word out about an exciting event happening in Alabama, I’m taking to my blog to share! Some of you may recall me mentioning my work on the Alabama Obesity Task Force. On October 29th we are hosting an exciting event with a number of all-star speakers across the state. Please see all of the event information below and share with any colleagues that this may be of interest to 🙂

Please join us for “Alabama’s Wellness RX: Healthy Families, Healthy Schools, Healthy Communities” hosted by The Alabama Obesity Task Force and Alabama Action for Healthy Kids. This one day summit will discuss solutions for creating a healthier environment to live, learn, and play in our Alabama communities. Featured speakers include State Health Officer Dr. Donald Williamson, State Superintendent of Education Dr. Tommy Bice, Stephenie B. Wallace, MD, Robert Murray, MD and Tuscaloosa Mayor Walt Maddox just to name a few.

 

Mark your calendar for Tuesday, October 29th and invite colleagues in your respective organizations. School professionals, community and government leaders, health care providers, health professionals and concerned citizens are encouraged to attend this exciting event. The summit will be held at the Pelham Civic Complex from 8am-4pm. Cost is only $10 per person. Register and pay $10 online to ensure a spot and lunch choice at http://www.actionforhealthykids.org/events/event/52. Due to limited seating, you are strongly encouraged to register and pay online. For individuals that would like to pre-register for the event but plan to pay at the door, please call (205)348-0205 and leave your name, lunch choice, and email contact information. You may also email sqgregg@cchs.ua.edu. Registration will be accepted until one week prior to the event. For more information, please visit http://www.adph.org/obesity.

 

Registration and payment will also be accepted at the door but seating may not be available.

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Oven Roasted Corn and Okra Salad

oven roasted corn and okra salad

Okay clearly I have been on an okra kick lately! I’m not sure what’s gotten into me, but ever since buying some okra a few weeks ago at the farmer’s market, I haven’t been able to stop myself from purchasing this amazing vegetable another time.  I am happy to say that this recipe was inspired by this recipe from Cook Up a Story Blog that I am so happy was shared in the comments to my Sauteed Okra with Heirloom Tomatoes and Bacon dish from a few weeks ago. I love both corn and okra so when it was suggested to me to try them together, I could not resist. The delicious flavor of the roasted okra was well paired with the contrasting sweetness of the corn that I roasted in the oven, off the cob. If I had to make this recipe again I’d likely use a little less okra (I bought 2 lbs and used all of it) so that I could roast the corn and the okra on the same cookie sheet.

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Ah take a look at this beautiful okra from the farmers market!!

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After I washed up the okra, I chopped it up, only omitting the heads and placed them on a cookie sheet.

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After coating the okra, I seasoned with freshly ground black pepper, ground sea salt, and a little sprinkle of some garlic powder. After seasoning, I put the okra in the oven pre-heated to 425 degrees then started to work on prepping my corn. I knew that I’d have to use a separate cookie sheet for the corn and from the recipes I saw on the internet, it looked like the corn wouldn’t need as much time to roast but would need an oven temperature adjustment (~475 degrees).

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Picked up this package of corn from Publix grocery in my city.

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I feel like I made a mess during this process but was still able to avoid not losing too many kernels. Next time I am going to plan to use this technique with a bundt pan.  🙂

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All 4 ears of corn with the kernels removed raw off the cob. I did the same light drizzle of olive oil, salt, pepper, and garlic powder as I did with the okra. About 8 minutes into the okra cooking I raised the oven temperature to about 475 degrees. At the 10 minute mark I added the corn in the bottom rack of the oven and roasted both the okra and corn for an additional 15 minutes with an additional 5 minutes at the end rotating the corn and okra to the top rack to broil on low for a little teeny extra browning 🙂

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Okra out of the oven!!

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After the veggies finished roasting, I added an additional drizzle of olive oil, some extra salt and pepper to taste, garlic powder (although I think that minced garlic would be really nice with this too) and a few shakes of red pepper flakes to give it some kick.

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We ended up pairing this concoction with some steaks off the grill. I apologize for the blurry picture; I honestly didn’t want my husband to catch me “again” taking pictures of my food before eating it….and I was pretty anxious to get to try all these yummy flavors in my mouth 🙂

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And without further ado, here is my recipe:

Oven Roasted Corn and Okra Salad

Ingredients
1-2 lbs okra, washed and chopped
4 medium ears corn
sea salt or kosher salt grinder
freshly ground black pepper
garlic powder (or minced garlic if available)
red pepper flakes (optional)

Directions
Begin by preheating oven to 425 degrees. Wash okra, chop into 1 inch or so sections, removing the “head” but leaving the tails. Place chopped okra on a cookie sheet, drizzle lightly with olive oil and using a brush or hands, make sure okra is lightly coated. Next add 1 tsp or so of sea salt or kosher salt followed by black pepper and garlic powder as desired. Place in oven and set timer for 10 minutes. While okra is cooking, wash raw corn and remove kernels from cob; place raw corn on a separate cookie sheet and oil and season in the same way the okra was prepared. At the 8 minute mark on the oven timer, increase your oven temperature to 475 degrees. When the timer goes off at ten minutes, add corn to your bottom rack of the oven and roast both okra and corn for an additional 15 minutes. If you’d like to get some additional browning on your okra or corn, alternate the vegetables to the top rack and broil on low for about 5 minutes total or as desired. After roasting and broiling is complete, add cooked vegetables to a mixing bowl and mix together, adding an additional drizzle of olive oil, sea salt, ground black pepper, garlic powder (or 1 tsp minced garlic) along with a few shakes of dried red pepper if you want it spicy. Serve warm.

There really is no specific way to make this dish and you may find yourself wanting to experiment with the oven temperatures a bit. The next time I try this recipe I will likely heat the oven to 475 from the get go and also use a tiny bit less olive oil on my okra to yield a slightly crispier texture. If you try out this recipe, please let me know how you like it and if you had some additions so that I know some things to try next time!! 🙂


A trip to the Farmer’s Market and Sauteed Okra with Heirloom Tomatoes, and….BACON!

sauteed okra with tomatoes and bacon

Gah! Yes I know, it has been quite too long since my last post and I’m sad that I went an entire month of August without any posts! But today I am back at it with some current happenings going on. I’m hoping to catch up from summer activities to be able to share on here. But in the meantime, I wanted to share my recent trip to the farmer’s market as well as a yummy little Pinterest recipe to use with the okra I picked up.

Below is a picture of me and my interns that are currently doing their community rotation with me. We decided it would be fun to have a table set up at our campus farmer’s market to share recipes featuring the seasonal produce available at the market. My interns also created a nifty Pinterest account for folks to follow in they didn’t feel like being bogged down with paper recipes. Don’t they look cheery? 🙂

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The great thing about the campus farmer’s market is that we have folks that drive in, ride their bike in, or walk in from after class.

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Many of the vendors are featured at our local restaurants in Tuscaloosa, including Epiphany Cafe (I will have a post on them coming up soon!) which boasts a Farm to Fork concept. Market goers can purchase meats, veggies, handmade soaps, cheeses, baked goods, and a variety of other goodies 🙂

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At my most recent trip to the Farmer’s market, I picked up okra (yum), tomatoes (red and green), basil, sweet potatoes, and a watermelon. I absolutely love okra but always forget to buy it in season and make something yummy out of it.  I did a pinterest search (I LOVE the search feature on pinterest BTW) for okra and tomato recipes and found a Sauteed Okra with Heirloom Tomatoes and Bacon (YES BACON) recipe from the Martha Stewart website. Apparently the original recipe came from Scott Peacock and Edna Lewis in their cookbook, “The Gift of Southern Cooking” which already screams delicious from its title. The original recipe from Martha’s website can be found here.

Sauteed Okra with Heirloom Tomatoes and Bacon

Ingredients
5 slices bacon
1 pound (next time I’d go with 1.5 to 2lbs) okra, washed, trimmed, and sliced about 1/2 inch thick
1 large sweet onion cut into 1/3 inch wedges
coarse salt
freshly ground black pepper
4 medium heirloom tomatoes, cut into 1/2 inch wedges

Directions
In a large, skilley, cook bacon over low heat until crisp and fat is rendered. Remove bacon and set aside. Next add okra to skillet (yes in the remaining bacon grease— everything in moderation, right?) and cook, stirring frequently, over medium heat for 5 to 7 minutes. Add onion wedges, 1/2 tsp salt, and 1/4 tsp pepper, and cook, stirring, for 5 minutes. Add tomatoes and reduce heat to low. Continue cooking, partially covered, until tomatoes are just heated through, 3 to 4 minutes. Season with salt and pepper. Crumble bacon slices over tomatoes; serve warm.

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Oh okra, I truly believe you are one of my favorites.

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Chopping up those delicious tomatoes!

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Can see why I’d like to double the recipe on the okra next time? Just not enough 🙂

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Delicious sweet onion

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Adding those wonderful tomatoes

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And finishing it off with some crumbled bacon. YUM.

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And ta-da! It was very yummy. If you are weird about the texture of your onions, you may want to cook them a little longer prior to adding your tomatoes. I did add just a teeny tiny dash of garlic powder while sauteing the okra that I did not mention in the previous recipe instruction. I would love for you to share YOUR favorite okra recipes— when I pick up okra again this week I think I’ll be making some bhindi masala— WEE!