Heart Healthy and Delicious Fall Recipe!

“Oil-Optional” Vegetable Chili with Hemp Seeds

by Rebecca Johnson, Certified Plant-Based Nutrition & Wellness Expert, The Plant Rich Life

 

There’s nothing like a great chili to kick-off the Fall season as the temperatures begin to cool. Although beans grow best in the winter, easily storing them for later in the year is one of their great appeals for meal budgeting and planning. Beans are a filling, comforting option for a heart healthy meal. This recipe includes the nuttiness of hemp seeds, which lower “bad” cholesterol and provide more Omega 6. Hemp seeds can be eaten as a snack, and they make a great topping for salads and stir frys.

1 quart low sodium vegetable broth

½ cup onions, diced

2 cloves garlic, minced

3 tbls tomato paste

1 cup tomato sauce

3 tbls agave nectar

1 tsp cumin

1 tsp chili powder

1 tsp smoked paprika powder

1 tbls oregano, fresh and dried

1tbls thyme, fresh or dried

½ tsp Himalayan sea salt

½ tsp cayenne pepper

½ tsp black pepper

1 small celery stalk, chopped fine

7 sun dried tomato halves, chopped fine (optional)

¼ cup bell pepper, red or green

2 cups red beans

½ tsp jalapeno pepper, minced

Additional Vegetable Broth as needed

1 tsp coconut oil (optional) can be added to onion, garlic mixture if no health concerns exist.

Soak beans overnight. Rinse beans and boil in low sodium vegetable broth. Sautee onions and garlic in ½ cup vegetable broth. After five minutes, sprinkle with a dash of salt. Cook for another five minutes. Add tomato paste, tomato sauce, agave and spices, stir well. Add vegetables, then beans and simmer for 45 minutes. Add vegetable broth as needed.

After your meal masterpiece is complete, scoop the warm chili into your favorite bowl served over brown rice, quinoa or millet.  You can also add chopped Swiss Chard or any dark green to balance the look and flavor. (Did you know you can roast the ribs and add them too?)  Yum!

Nutrition Facts

 Beans have B-complex vitamins niacin and folate, magnesium, calcium, omega-3 fatty acids and soluble fiber and help to decrease inflammation.

 Hemp seeds contain all 10 essential amino acids and 3 tablespoons have 11 grams of protein! Plus they have a 3:1 ratio of omega-6 to omega-3 (healthy) fat. In addition, hemp seeds contain GLA (gamma linolenic acid), an especially beneficial type of omega-6 fat that helps lower LDL cholesterol and improve cholesterol ratio.

Ingredients like hemp seeds are becoming much more available in neighborhood markets. Otherwise, they can be found at any health food store and most specialty food markets.

 About Rebecca Johnson

Rebecca started cooking with her chef Dad when she was 6 years old. But it wasn’t until he fell at 63 to a heart attack and she was diagnosed with a pre-cancerous condition that she discovered the connection between nutrition and health. After decades in restaurants, catering and health-related roles, she received a Certification in Plant Based Nutrition from Cornell University and became a Certified Health Minister at Hallelujah Acres.

Now, Rebecca teaches nutrition education and culinary classes in NYC public and charter schools through Plant Rich Life and plans healthy cooking classes and cooking demonstrations for Fortune 500 clients and non-profits through the event company, Celebrevents, LLC.

Plant Rich Life provides creative wellness solutions to help people transition from a low-nutrient Sad American Diet (SAD) rich in fat, sugar and animal protein to a nutrient-dense, low fat, plant protein HAPPY diet that restores and maintains health. Find recipes, nutrition information and more on Rebecca’s blog at www.phytalitycoach.com, on the Web at www.plantrichlife.com and on Facebook at The Plant Rich Life.

SPOTLIGHT ON: GACIA TACHEJIAN

Name – Gacia Tachejian- Social Work Intern

Current role at Harboring Hearts :  As a second year Management Fellow graduate student at Columbia University, my role at Harboring Hearts is to assess the needs of patients and their families Also, as Harboring Hearts grows I will be working on the administrative and developmental tasks of the grant program. I work collaboratively with the CEO and one of the board members to ensure the success of the grant program and help as many families in need as possible.

How and why did you get involved with Harboring Hearts? I was introduced to Harboring Hearts through Columbia University Social Enterprise Administration Graduate Program. I was looking to complete my second year internship at a startup nonprofit agency that provides assistance for people of all ethnicities and age groups. I also wanted to work for an organization that provides assistance for those who are suffering from health disparities. It seemed like Harboring Hearts was the perfect fit.

I wanted to be a part of an organization that provides this type of support for personal reasons as well. Within the past 10 years I have lost three family
members to cancer and heart disease. I have learned first-hand the emotional and financial struggle that patients and their families go through. Programs such as what Harboring Hearts offers can have a significant impact on patients and their families. My personal experience made me want to get involved in the development of a program such as this.

Who or what have been your greatest inspirations in your life?

My greatest inspiration in my life has been my father. He lived a life of constant struggle, moved from country to country as an orphan and still has managed to be the hardest working person I know. With no real father figure in his life, he has parented both my brother and I in an incredible way. He has been our constant support and has never given up on our dreams even when we doubted ourselves. He is my greatest inspiration.

What are your career and life goals?

My career goal is to be running an organization that makes a positive impact on the lives of children and adolescents. I have a passion for children, their innocence, and their potential. I want to always have direct contact with the people or population that I am working with. As a social worker, it is important for me to not only be administratively running a program, but also have hands-on clinical work with patients.  A life goal is to be passionate about my work and have a balanced life that has room for work and play. 

Gacia’s Favorites

  • Favorite Food? – Sushi         
  • Favorite Ways to Relax? – Swimming, Yoga, and a nice bubble bath!
  • Favorite Music? Beyonce
  • Favorite Travel Destination? Paris and the south of France
  • Favorite Book? Random Family
  • Favorite Movie? The Notebook

Greek Watermelon Salad


For a refreshing summer lunch, try this easy and delicious (and healthy!) twist on a traditional Greek salad, courtesy of Elizabeth Woolfe, our interim Executive Vice President. Elizabeth says, “Nothing reminds me of summer more than the crisp, sweet, mouth-watering taste of watermelon. ENJOY!”

A refreshing twist on a traditional Greek salad.  So rich in flavor that it doesn’t even need dressing!

Serves 4 for lunch

I small head Romaine lettuce, washed and cut/torn into bite-sized pieces

3 cups watermelon, cut in 1-inch chunks

1 large cucumber, peeled and diced

¾ cup pitted Kalamata olives, sliced

½ cup red onion, diced

¼ cup olive oil

Fresh ground pepper to taste

Fresh mint and parsley to taste

Combine all ingredients and chill together.  Add ¾ cup feta cheese, crumbled, just before serving.

Note:  you can add or substitute other salad ingredients: red or green pepper, ripe tomatoes, fresh mozzarella for the feta.

 

Our Spring Gala Event

May 23rd was a special day for Harboring Hearts. We celebrated our third annual Spring Gala.

We would like to thank to special people at this event. Dr. Yoshifumi Naka, Cardiothoracic Surgeon at New York Presbyterian and Associate Professor at Columbia University College of Physicians & Surgeons, and Dr. Donna Mancini, Medical Director, Professor of Medicine and Sudhir Choudhrie Professor of Cardiology at the Center for Advanced Cardiac Care at Columbia University Medical Center.

We would like to thank Claudia Chan, The Rubin Museum, Eric Trump,Clay Aiken, Hope Geier Smith.

 

Press

Guest of a Guest

 

http://www.flickr.com/photos/63317659@N03/sets/72157629986157000/show/

Photo credit: Sunny Norton

Meet Maya Oaks

We want to take this opportunity to showcase key people who have been essential in the development of Harboring Hearts. Without the help of our amazing board members, volunteers and interns, we would not be where we are today.

Forward by Yuki Kotani

Maya Oaks is one of our amazing and dedicated Board of Directors.  She has provided guidance for the organization and has used her knowledge in social work and program development to create and implement our Grant Program.  This program provides financial assistance to heart patients and their families.

Maya brings the energy and passion necessary for Harboring Hearts to grow.

Thank you Maya for your support and hard work.  Read below to learn more about our amazing board member.

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Name – Maya Oaks

Current Occupation – Civil Servant, Office of Head Start/Administration for Children and Families

How and why did you get involved with Harboring Hearts? – I connected to Harboring Hearts through a group named Palindrome Advisors, which links industry leaders to nonprofit organizations. When I first sat down to speak with the co-founders, I was struck by their passion and was excited to be part of a rapidly growing organization. I’ve also seen firsthand the impact chronic disease can have on patients, families and friends, and know that the support and resources provided by Harboring Hearts are crucial.

How do you balance your career and giving back so successfully? – It’s tough, to be sure! When you’re thinking about both careers and volunteering, I think the key is to find organizations, people and causes that inspire you. If you love what you do, it won’t really feel like it’s a difficult balance. I also have had to be pretty realistic about what I can and can’t do, and to tell myself that there are only so many hours in any given day!

Who or what have been your greatest inspirations in your life, your career, and your volunteer experience? – There are two experiences in my adult life that have really shaped the work I pursue today: building HIV/AIDS awareness in a remote village in Tanzania and working with adolescents in New York City’s juvenile justice system. While on the surface these experiences appear to be radically different, both of them were integral in shaping the way I approach working with undeserved and underrepresented populations. In both places, I encountered people who taught me so much more than I ever could have imagined.

What are your favorite memories about Harboring Hearts? – I’m relatively new to Harboring Hearts and am looking forward to cultivating many more memories in the year to come! However, my favorite memory thus far is probably the first Board meeting I attended, when the passion and dedication of all those connected to the organization became even more evident to me.

Maya’s Favorites

  • Favorite City? It’s a tie between three cities for three very different reasons: New York (for its diversity), San Francisco (for its strong activist tendencies) and Paris (for its beauty and general joie de vivre).
  • Favorite Food? My mom’s Burmese chicken curry.
  • Favorite Activity? Exploring new places – whether a new park, museum, neighborhood, city, country, or continent.
  • Favorite Music?  Depends entirely on my mood, although I love pretty much every genre. Right now, the Wicked soundtrack seems to be running through my head…
  • Favorite Museum? The Shedd Aquarium in Chicago.
  • Favorite Travel Destination? That’s like asking a child to pick his favorite toy at FAO Schwarz! But if I had to choose, I would probably say Tanzania and other countries in the East Africa region.
  • Favorite Book? The Time Traveler’s Wife.
  • Favorite Movie? Another hard category! Like music, it depends entirely on my mood. I recently watched Marley and Me, which I think is an especially poignant movie for anyone who grew up with a labrador retriever.

Meet Peter Christodoulou

We want to take this opportunity to showcase key people who have been essential in the development of Harboring Hearts. Without the help of our amazing board members, volunteers and interns, we would not be where we are today.

Forward by Yuki Kotani

As our Spring Gala fast approaches, we want to recognize people who have been essential to ensuring that the event would be a success.  For the second time, we are holding another exciting event at the Rubin Museum of Art and we want to thank Peter Christodoulou for securing us the venue.  The museum is beautiful with amazing Tibetan and Himalayan art work.  The peaceful yet trendy ambience has been one of the best venue choices for Harboring Hearts.

We want to thank Peter for his continued support and dedication to the organization.  Please read about our amazing volunteer, Peter Christodoulou. 

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Name – Peter Christodoulou

Current Occupation – Finance, specifically Asset Management at Credit Suisse

How and why did you get involved with Harboring Hearts? – I have been friends with Michelle Javian, one of the co-founders of Harboring Hearts, ever since I met her at the airport. We were both returning from vacation in Greece, and we shared a few common connections which we discovered while waiting in the taxi line! We continued to stay in touch, and as I discovered Harboring Hearts I immediately took an interest in the organization’s mission and helping out any way I could.

How do you balance your career and giving back so successfully? – My career keeps me quite busy, but helping Harboring Hearts has always been a rewarding experience and it has never been hard to find time to help (especially given how fun Harboring Hearts events are!). I am generally most useful with event hosting and planning, and I am always able to catch up after regular working hours or when my work load is low.

Who or what have been your greatest inspirations in your life, your career, and your volunteer experience?  – My greatest inspiration is watching other people with the drive to succeed, specifically in watching others who manage challenging projects from an idea all the way to completion. I see this in colleagues, my closest friends, my fiancée, and my family. I’ve also seen such drive from the volunteers at Harboring Hearts, and it is this drive which is part of the reason I am involved with the organization. Having seen multiple fundraising events worked on by volunteers who truly feel motivated by the organization’s mission, I am myself motivated to make each and every event even better.

What are your favorite memories about Harboring Hearts? – I have been a member of the host committee for various Harboring Hearts events. My favorite was the first event at the Rubin Museum since I helped secure the venue. The space and the turn out made for a fantastic and successful night!

Peter’s Favorites:

  • Favorite City? New York City
  • Favorite Food? Italian (especially spaghetti with pesto)
  • Favorite Activity? Travel
  • Favorite Music? Classic rock
  • Favorite Museum? Museum of Moving Image
  • Favorite Travel Destination? Greek islands
  • Favorite Movie? A Shot in the Dark (1964)

Striped Sea Bass Stuffed with Lemons, Bay Leaves, and Thyme

*Fast, Healthy and Divine.*

It is not easy to find a meal that is fast to make, healthy, and tastes absolutely divine. Given my passion for food and cooking, as well as, my background in medicine, and nutrition, part of my mission is to ‘dazzle’ the simple foods, in a subtle, savory, and yet healthy way.

Fish is a great source of omega-3 fatty acids, which clinical studies, have
proven to decrease cardiovascular disease, blood pressure, and triglycerides (lowering LDL, the ‘bad cholesterol’, and increasing HDL, the ‘good cholesterol’) . The lemons, herbs, tomatoes, and arugula salad also contain many vitamins, and minerals, which have antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties, and numerous ‘healthy heart’ benefits. For example, potassium, found in these foods, is a mineral which plays a large role in treating high blood pressure. The health advantages are tremendous, and the fresh, light, heavenly flavor will transport you to that long sought-after seacoast; even if just for a bite or two 😉

This dish requires only a few key ingredients, and may easily be served within 25 minutes.

2 Servings:

2 1-pound sea bass (scaled and gutted)
2 thyme sprigs
2 bay leaves
2 lemons, thinly sliced
2 tbs olive oil

*Directions*:

1) Preheat oven to 425 degrees.
2) Season the fish with a sprinkle of *salt and pepper.
3) Insert a thyme spring; and a bay leaf.
4) Coat sea bass with olive oil, and *salt and pepper
5) Place fish on aluminum foil, and fold up all sides.
6) Transfer to oven and steam for approximately 20 minutes.

** Use of salt is optional; lemon is a good substitute. This is a low-fat, low-sodium meal. Adjust servings as necessary.

-Courtesy of Food & Wine.

-Please see below for more information on fish, and omega-3.

Meet Kristen Lohser

We want to take this opportunity to showcase key people who have been essential in the development of Harboring Hearts. Without the help of our amazing board members, volunteers and interns, we would not be where we are today.

Forward by Yuki Kotani

I met Kristen through Michelle at the beginning stages of Harboring Hearts.  She immediately extended her support to our cause and has continued to support us to this day.  She recently hosted a Brooks Brothers shopping event at a Long Island, NY mall where a percentage of the purchased goods were donated to Harboring Hearts.  Kristen’s giving nature is always on full display as she finds creative ways to help Harboring Hearts fulfill the mission of helping heart patients and their families.

Please read about our amazing volunteer, Kristen Lohser.  We thank you for believing in our organization and our mission.

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Name – Kristen Lohser

Current Occupation – Physician Assistant at North Shore Long Island Jewish

How and why did you get involved with Harboring Hearts? – The co-founder, Michelle Javian has been my best friend since college. One day Michelle and I met for lunch and she told me about the idea and I knew with her heart and work ethic it would be successful. Knowing her desire for the charity to thrive was so motivating to me.

How do you balance your career and giving back so successfully? – It can be busy but with a career in healthcare helping the charity seems like an extension of my everyday and is very fulfilling.

Who or what have been your greatest inspirations in your life, your career, and your volunteer experience?  – I believe having multiple spine surgeries has been very influential. It has shaped me into a kind and compassionate health care provider. The struggles have taught me not to take anything too serious in life and to help those that are struggling with even bigger healthcare issues.

What are your favorite memories about Harboring Hearts? – My favorite memory was one of the golf outings. It was such a beautiful day and at the event everyone has so happy and having so much fun!  It was an opportunity to be with both my family and friends to help spread awareness of such an important mission.

Kristen’s Favorites:

  • Favorite City? Washington dc
  • Favorite Food? Pizza
  • Favorite Activity? Baking
  • Favorite Music? Coldplay
  • Favorite Museum? Smithsonian, The American History Museum
  • Favorite Travel Destination? Zermatt, Switzerland
  • Favorite Movie? Love Actually

Magic in the Kitchen

Forward by Yuki Kotani

We are very excited to introduce Shayla Frandsen, our event intern at Harboring Hearts.  She comes to us from Seattle and is a recent graduate of Brigham Young University.  She is currently studying at CUNY for a Masters in English Literature. 

Shayla plays a crucial role in our upcoming May 22nd Gala by assisting Michelle Javian and the event team in any way possible.  In addition, she has worn many different hats within the organization and she has been an invaluable part of Harboring Hearts.  We appreciate Shayla for sharing her story with us today.

I hope you enjoy her story and heart-healthy recipe!

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Have you ever been to a magic show? The only time I’ve ever been to an actual sit-down magic show in all its glory was when I was about eight or nine years old. It was held in the gym of an elementary school, and (if I remember correctly) I went with my friend and her family.

At one point during the show I was chosen to be a helper in the next trick. I walked up on stage, faced the audience, the magician had me wear a pair of yellow, oversized sunglasses—and that’s the end of what I remember. I can’t remember what trick the magician than did or what happened afterwards—you know how childhood memories go sometimes. Oh well.

In a way, cooking is a lot like magic. The stage is set: in a mixing bowl, pop in a dash of this, a teaspoon of that, close it up in the oven for a few minutes, wave your wand and voila! Chocolate cake. Voila! Warm banana bread. Voila! Pumpkin chocolate chip cookies (a personal favorite of mine).

In her book A Thousand Years Over a Hot Stove, Laura Schenone writes, “Women wield almost mystical strength in their kitchens . . . I have days in my very own kitchen when I am a high priestess of life. Steam rises up from my bubbling pots. Spices dance in their jars like spirits yearning to be set free . . . Outside my kitchen door people clamor with hunger, and I am the only one who can make things right” (page xv). Doesn’t that make cooking sound so…exciting? So magical? Yet sometimes I am so overwhelmed at the idea of cooking a delicious & heart-healthy meal for my husband & I that “magical” is the exact opposite way I am feeling.

It is no secret that cooking & eating heart-healthy food can require lots of time, money, and preparation. If you’re like me, it takes Internet research, advice from friends, and even Yelp to find those heart-healthy recipes or restaurants. Finding the time in your busy schedule to shop for and then cook these recipes is a magic trick unto itself. If you’re also like me, however, you’ve realized that it’s worth it. So take that extra bit of time to figure out how you can be the healthiest you can be, and then work up some magic in your kitchen!

Here is a recipe for grilled ginger salmon (I’m originally from Seattle, so what can I say? Salmon has an extra-special place in my heart!). This cold-water fish is rich in protein and omega-3 fatty acids, meaning it is at the very top of the list of foods that are healthiest for your heart.

Grilled Ginger Salmon

Prep time: 5 minutes

Cook time: 5 minutes

Serves 4.

Ingredients:

1 teaspoon ginger

1 teaspoon garlic powder

1/3 cup soy sauce

1/3 cup orange juice

¼ cup honey

1 green onion, chopped

1 ½ lbs salmon fillets

Directions

1. In bowl, mix the first five ingredients.

2. Place onions in small bowl and chill until ready to use.

3. Gill salmon over medium coals for 10 minutes, turn and grill the other side for 10 minutes.

4. Brush with ginger sauce throughout grilling.

5. Place salmon on platter and sprinkle with onions.

 

 

 

February Food Blog: Vegetable pitas w/ white bean hummus

For Valentine’s Day, I was out with the Harboring Hearts team for a fundraiser at the Ainsworth – so the following day, I decided to cook my mom a (belated) heart-healthy V-day special.  Since I’ve been involved in Harboring Hearts, and February is heart month, I felt that the best way to show my mom I love her was by serving a dish that was as delicious as it was nutritious.


And it honestly was – I loved the way the freshly-made white-bean puree / ‘hummus’ gave it a layer of great flavor (instead of a fattening sauce), and it served as an extra dose of nutrition with the vegetables & nuts. Plus – it was so easy to make in the food processor!

Remember: even though February (Heart Month) is coming to a close, you can always show your loved ones that you care by making something heart-healthy & delicious! And don’t forget to remind them to take care of their hearts by getting routinely checked out.

For this dish, I googled what kinds of spices are used together in Mediterranean food and went from there.  Giving a bit of thought to nutrition for my health-conscious mom, rummaging through the fridge & pantry, and with a little inspiration from Food Network, I came up with this:


Vegetable pitas & white bean hummus


Whole wheat pita pockets


For the ‘hummus’:

 

1 (15-ounce) can white beans (cannellini) or chickpeas, rinsed and drained

1 to 2 tablespoons water

handful of grated parmesan (can use manchego or pecorino romano cheese)

2 teaspoons freshly squeezed lemon juice

1/2 tsp salt

Pinch crushed red pepper flakes

1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil

Freshly ground black pepper
(this is a slightly altered recipe from Food Network for white bean puree)


For the vegetables:


3 cloves garlic, minced
1 onion, chopped
1 zucchini, chopped into quarters

1 red pepper, chopped

1 yellow pepper, chopped

1/2 tsp thyme (add more to taste – didn’t actually measure it!)

1/2 tsp oregano (“)

fresh feta cheese, crumbled

dried cranberries (“craisins”)

Optional: handful mint, chopped

 

Directions:

 

Heat olive oil on big saute pan with pinch or two of black pepper.  Turn heat low to cook garlic till it releases its fragrance (under a minute), then add onions and cook for another minute.  Add peppers, cook for a couple minutes, watching it so it softens only slightly.  Add zucchini and cook till desired tenderness.  Add thyme, oregano, s&p, stir and add more to taste.  Add generous handful of craisins and stir.  Remove pan from heat and add crumbled feta (and mint if available) to the vegetables, stirring gently.

Combine the white beans, water, cheese, lemon juice, salt and red pepper flakes in a food processor (I used a blender) and puree until completely smooth, about 5 minutes. While the motor is running, pour in the olive oil and process until fully incorporated and velvety. Season with pepper to taste. (also from Food Network)

Lightly toast the pitas in an oven/toaster.  Spoon in some hummus to coat the inside and then add vegetables. Add more hummus and mint to the top if desired, and enjoy! 🙂

 


Note: You can also see this post and more on my personal food blog, http://itsallfoodlove.blogspot.com.  Thanks! -Pareesha